If you’re still in a Mad Men-induced haze after last night’s mid-season finale, we feel you. To help you cope with waiting yet another year to reunite with your favourite cast, we spoke with Lana Horochowski, the makeup artist responsible for Betty’s always-perfect lipstick and Megan’s fluttery fringe. Taking an ensemble cast from the classic vibe of the late ‘50s to the fresh, mod beauty ‘60s is no small feat, so we sat down with her and asked her to walk us through each of the leading ladies’ iconic looks.
Click through the slideshow above to find out what it was really like working on Mad Men!
Horochowski admits that it’s intense and incredibly challenging to work on a period show. “Every single detail—from cheek color to nail shape to facial hair—has to be researched, planned, and approved,” she says. “Every single detail has to be exactly right. If you’re not seeing a face, then the silhouette has to be right.” She explains that even the extras [require] special attention, because they set the tone and communicate not only where the show is taking place, but also when. “On any given day, we’re creating up to 100 characters from scratch!”
Simply put, yes. “It’s difficult on a number of levels,” Horochowski says. “Sourcing [makeup] can be really tough…a lot of them just aren't around or available anymore. Things now tend to be browner, frostier, more textured, less matte.” When it comes to inspiration, she says she flips through old magazines—more specifically, old advertisements—to see what colors were available and popular during the era. One interesting trend she’s noticed? “For one reason or another in recent years a lot of the ‘50s and ‘60s trends have come back around,” she says. “I'm not sure if it's a result of the show being so popular, or maybe just coincidence. It's a lot easier to find a great matte red lipstick now than it was a few years ago!”
When it comes to Don Draper’s ex-wife, it’s all about keeping things polished. “As a wife of a politician, appearance is everything,” Horochowski says. “She’s always perfectly put together, with every hair in place, and makeup done to a T.” Horochowski compares her to Grace Kelly and cites Betty as a classic beauty: “We do play around with brighter colors, like red, brighter pinks, but does it in a very understated and elegant way,” she says.
Christina Hendricks’ character, on the other hand, is a classic bombshell when it comes to beauty. “She’s a very ‘big’ personality,” Horochowski says. “She’s always wearing bright colors and is very outspoken, so we try and soften her a bit with makeup.”
We asked Horochowski to divulge the name of Joan’s signature red lip, and were surprised to learn that she’s only worn a red lip two or three times—instead, she wears a paler pink, like Laura Mercier’s Baby Lips ($23) or MAC’s Fanfare ($16), because Hendricks’ lips are so naturally vibrant.
“Honestly, Megan’s always stepping it up,” Horochowski says. “She’s young, she’s an actress, and is surrounded by creative people.” One of Horochowski’s favorite beauty moments on the show was during the Zou Bisou episode, which was her first opportunity to create the ‘60s cat eye and frosty lip look. “She also loves lashes—top and bottom. The more the better!”
Though Peggy’s character may have changed through the season, Horochowski says her makeup hasn’t changed much. “If we do something different with her, it’s maybe just a blue eyeshadow that we think she’d grab at the drugstore to try out,” she says. “Unlike Megan, she doesn’t really have the instinct or the skill to do her own makeup or create a different look. She generally looks like a bit of a mess!”
Like Betty, Trudy’s makeup style tends to be polished and put-together. “Like a typical housewife, she’s concerned with looking nice for her husband when he gets home from work,” Horochowski says. “But she’s a bit softer than Betty—we use lighter shades with her, like pinks instead of reds.”
When she’s not busy finding the perfect lipstick for Betty or gluing on false eyelashes for Megan, Horochowski likes to dedicate her time to the Look Good Feel Better program, an initiative that supports women in cancer treatment by teaching them how to cope with side effects like hair loss, skin changes and body changes through cosmetics, accessories, and clothing. “I experience firsthand, every day, how makeup can transform,” she says. “To be able to use it to transform women who are enduring such hardship, to help them not only look but feel beautiful and confident for the first time in a long time, is such a special opportunity.”