The Edit

My Day on Downton Abbey by Halimah Haque

Halimah Haque formerly worked at Illamasqua as part of the Product development team. Now she works as freelance make-up artist.

Halimah was lucky enough to work as a daily make-up artist on Downton Abbey. Spob caught up with her after her busy day…

 Silly question, but are you a fan of the show?

 I’m a HUGE fan of the show, and getting the opportunity to work on the new series of Downton Abbey was very exciting!

 How did you prepare for your day on Downton?

Once I had packed my make-up kit, it was an early night. We had an early call to Ealing studios where they had built the ‘Jazz Club’ and we would be filming all day.

In the crowd make-up room, there were lots of reference pictures to look at to inspire you further. Magi Vaughan, the make-up designer came to see us all and have chat about the looks she had designed for the ‘Jazz’ dancers.

What was the big make-up challenge of the day?

The jazz club scene required big twenties make-up looks. The dancers had to dance non-stop during filming so the make-up needed to last well on both the ladies and men.

There would only be brief moments to quickly dash in to touch up the make-up.


What products did you use on the female dancers?

SkinSkin Base Foundation was the base I primarily used, with little or no powder, as the dancers needed to look a little ‘sweaty’! Gleam was applied sparingly as a highlight to emphasis this look.

Cheeks were flushed with a bright pop high on the cheekbone using my personal favorites’ Lover, Nymph and Tweak.

EyesSophie Pencil, Precision Ink in Abyss and Powder Eye Shadows in Jules, Faith, Obsidian and Savage along with Pure Pigment in Furore and Ore helped to create a variety of dark, sultry eyes.

Eyebrows – Period eyebrows were created using the Eye Brow Cake in thunder mixed with Sealing gel. Plus this would mean, as they got hotter the eyebrows would stay in place!

Lips – Medium pencil Severe was used to create the lips shape, and Diablo, Howl and Box lipsticks and Lipgloss in Hermetic were used to complete the lips.

What products did you use on the male dancers?

The men also had bold make-up looks with darkened brows and eyes.

Heroine, Obsidian, Drama, Jules and Vernau were all used, along with Disobey to create a contour on the cheekbones.

It was such a great day and a lovely team; everyone was so welcoming and friendly. I felt really proud when I saw the scene I had work on, in the last episode of Downton Abbey.

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Govinder Rayt

Govinder Rayt

Writer and expert