The Incredible Nuance of Porn Makeup
Beauty

The Incredible Nuance of Porn Makeup

by Rose Dommu

When I think of beauty in the context of porn, I think of the '70s and '80s. Big hair, dark smokey eyes, red lips. The over-the-top, high glam look is perfect for the studio porn of days gone by, which were all about fantasy. But it's not necessarily a look that holds up today, when porn has become more farm-to-table and egalitarian than ever.

The internet age brought on the advent of amateur porn, which as of 2019 was still the most searched term on Pornhub. And the rise of subscription services like OnlyFans and JustForFans have proven just how hungry people are for a more realistic version of porn.

And that more amateur style of porn doesn't really hold space for the ultra glamorous aesthetic of vintage porn. Today, you're more likely to see female porn stars with a Kardashian beat than a drag queen one (although those two things are much closer than you would think).

Kendra Sunderland, a newly announced Brazzers exclusive model, prefers a light base of foundation and soft peachy colors on her eyes when she's shooting a scene, whether studio work or for her OnlyFans channel. "That's what the fans want to see," she says. "I think that it makes me look more like myself, makes me look more natural."

Kendra's brand is "girl next door," so the more colorful looks she favors when attending music festivals don't make sense for when she needs to be on camera. "My fans like to see me when I'm just looking natural instead of how they used to do it back in the day, making you look like a bombshell."

Makeup artist Slater Stanley, who has worked on films for Spanish production company Erica Lust, agrees that keeping things light and natural is key when it comes to porn makeup, though he looks at it from a more technical perspective.

"Lighter coverage is super, super important for porn makeup because it's going to be coming off," Stanley says. "If you do too heavy or too much at the beginning you're just going to have to keep touching up throughout the entire day because it's just going to keep getting fucked off."

Through trial and error, Stanley learned to stay away from bold lip and eye colors "because it's going to go everywhere." Instead, he'll dab on a liquid-to-matte lipstick to stain the lips with color and then cover them with gloss. "If that's smears, it won't create a ring on your lips." He says avoiding heavy foundation is key, because if your scene partner has a beard, "it's just going to scrape it all off." But as he learned coming up as a drag queen, plenty of powder can help lock any look in place, no matter how covered in sweat — or other fluids — someone may get. "It's very nuanced."

Stanley applies the same consideration to performers' bodies as he does their faces. "That's one of the main differences between porn makeup and more editorial makeup," he says. "You're not only considering the body but also what's under the clothes, because they're going to be coming off." Stanley is careful about checking in with his performers before working on their body, "because my responsibility is to make sure that they look flawless on camera, and even if they don't notice something about their own body, it's my responsibility to check in about it. So maybe they actually don't want that birthmark covered because it's a part of who they are. But maybe there's some blemishes on their breasts or something and I say, 'Hey, can I touch your breasts to cover these up?' And maybe they don't want them covered up."

Sunderland, a makeup enthusiast, always brings her own kit to set in case there's an issue with a makeup artist — something that's only happened once with someone who wasn't used to working on a porn set. "I felt like I looked a little crazy, I felt awkward, but personally, I didn't like the way that I looked. And I learned that I bring my makeup with me everywhere so just in case, I can fix something."

While most female performers are sticking with a natural look, others have made glamour their signature. Rebecca More, one half of viral superstars the Cock Destroyers, isn't interested in a toned-down aesthetic. "I love full on super glam, fake lashes, red lip... and black eyeliner," she says. "The whorier the better." She's also not interested in light coverage or constant touch ups to keep her face looking flawless.

"I never want my makeup to last," More insists. " if I don't look ruined by the end, was it even a porn shoot?"

Welcome to "You've Been Served," Rose Dommu's alternately irreverent and incisive look at beauty, ranging from the deeply personal to pop cultural — essays, product guides, interviews with artists/influencers/specialists and deep dives into the beauty industry's impact on internet culture.

Photo via Instagram

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