This Woman’s Job: Smearing Makeup Globs Just Right For Photos

Image courtesy of Marissa Gimeno

When you see a photo in an ad or on a website of a cosmetics product that’s been artfully smashed, smeared, or scattered on a surface, that’s a special kind of advertising art that requires special tools. What’s it like to smear lipstick around for a living, smash eyeshadows, and build towers of perfume bottles with a hot glue gun?

It’s kind of comforting to know that the product smears in cosmetics ads are real smears of the products, and that’s the job of Marissa Gimeno, who calls herself a “cosmetics still life specialist” and recently discussed her work with Racked.

She also calls herself a “makeup artist without the models,” and her still lifes usually appear alongside a photo of a model in advertisements. She carries around a 55-pound case of tools, and the most useful ones would have come from a craft store, like her glue gun (for creating gravity-defying piles of bottles or other containers) or an X-Acto knife for cutting powders out of their pans or palettes.

Her job involves going to places where everyone else is dressed very nicely, like photo studios and magazine headquarters, but preparing like she’s going to paint a house. Well, the “paint” part is accurate.

While the product photos are real, they are carefully lit and Photoshopped, which is why the lipstick that she’s smeared across a surface doesn’t look quite the same as it does on your face. Sometimes, she admits, the products used in photos aren’t the actual cosmetic products, or they’re mixed with glycerin to make them look more oily and shiny.

However, it would be illegal to do that for an ad, since using a different product or doctoring a formula would be considered false advertising, especially in countries with stricter ad standards than the United States.

Meet the Woman Who Smashes Makeup For a Living [Racked]

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