Spotlight: The Work of Pati Dubroff, Charlize Theron’s Makeup Artist

Patti Dubroff, Charlize Theron's makeup artist

Photo courtesy:  US Magazine

At the tender age of 10, she began playing with makeup, applying it on family members and friends. Pati Dubroff went on to assist Bobbi Brown at New York Fashion Week in the 80s and became Francois Nars’ main assistant around the same time. She has ascended the ranks of Hollywood’s glam squad to become one of the IT makeup artists for the IT girls. Her client roster is a Who’s Who of glamazons, such as Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Margot Robbie, Natalie Portman, Gisele Bünchen, among others. You get the idea.

Her longtime client, Charlize Theron, asked her to work on The Huntsman: Winter’s War, where she played Queen Ravenna, which marked Pati’s first feature film project. (A refreshing reminder: there’s a first time for everything—even seasoned veterans.) Although the world is her oyster, Dubroff’s artistry mostly graces magazine covers, advertising campaigns and the red carpet, all gigs that require less time away from her family than film and television projects.

Over the years, Pati and Charlize have developed a collaborative relationship; trust has been cultivated and it allowed them to create many mesmerizing makeup looks for The Huntsman (think of them as beautiful editorial makeup looks on the big screen). Pati is no stranger to the power of makeup, but for this particular project, that power became dramatically heightened as Queen Ravenna became more and more evil. Even extending a dark brown shadow from the eye crease to the nose–creating a hook-like effect–makes Theron’s face appear more menacing .

Photo courtesy, Patrick Demarchelier for Vogue

Photo courtesy, Patrick Demarchelier for Vogue

 

Before shooting one particular scene, Charlize had a dream that Queen Ravenna had gold flakes on her eyes. Pati swiftly obtained gold flakes from another department on set (purchased from an art supply store) and expertly secured the flakes around Charlize’s eyes with Lucas’ Paw Paw ointment and Homeoplasmine Balm, which also creates a subtle glistening effect. Dubroff says she has seen makeup tutorials that try to replicate this look using eye lash glue instead, of which she disapproves, noting “it’s too heavy and dense”. This seemingly insignificant insight is what separates the makeup queens from the princesses.

You can see the aforementioned golden regal makeup makeup tutorial by Pati here:

Like most of us, Pati is obsessed with good skin. For her clients, she’ll prep the skin with Bioderma and sometimes uses a Biocellulose restorative sheet mask, if necessary. Next comes an application of a rich moisturizer on the high points of the face, such as the cheek bones while keeping the rest of the face lightly moisturized–or even on matte side–to ensure the makeup application lasts longer. Even the genetically-gifted require work for their glamorous game faces, so her secret sauce is to spend around 20 minutes on the skin—blending various concealers and foundations in multiple colors with brushes, fingers and sponges. The key is to make skin flawless and makeup undetectable.

At home, she is also religious about her own skincare regimen and has a bathroom exploding with beauty products to prove it. Admittedly, she doesn’t wear much makeup because she is so busy and says her clients can find it off-putting when an artist comes in with a full face of makeup. Note, if you have any aspirations to assist Pati: save your cat eye for GNO.

To see the range of makeup looks created by Pati for Charlize Theron, check out The Huntsman: Winter’s War which is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray and includes outtakes and behind-the-scenes footage.

10 comments

  1. Hi! I’m Bailey this is such a beautiful post. but im confused about the gold around the eyes and also what brushes/ sponges did you use?
    sincerely,
    bailey

    1. Hi Ashley,

      I recommend using a yellow creme highlighter as a base all over the eyelid, like Jouer’s Tiare.

      Apply any neutral brown color to the crease of your lids to create some depth such as Smashbox’s Wheat.

      Further embolden the gold by applying something like Makeup Forever’s Eyeshadow in Crystalline Yellow.

      Brighten the eye with a flesh colored eye pencil on the lower tear ducts with the Two Faced Refreshing Eye Brightening Pencil.

      Get some gold flakes from the art supply store and use Lucas’ Paw Paw ointment as a base for the flakes to adhere to.

      Hope this helps. This could be an excellent Halloween Costume!

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