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Who is Way Bandy?

October 6, 2018

Described by celebrity photographer, Francesco Scavullo as "one of the great makeup artists of our time,” Way Bandy was more than a makeup artist -- he was the father of contouring and custom blend makeup.

 

When fashion photography first became a thing in the '70s, models mostly did their own hair and makeup. It wasn’t until the industry developed and beauty professionals collaborated and started working in the studios, that the making of glamorous images became a true art form. This is where Way Bandy came in.

 

CUSTOM BLEND
Trained originally as a portrait painter, Way Bandy knew that the only way to create the perfect color for a unique canvas, was to mix shades together. So it came as no surprise that his makeup kit included vials and jars of color fluids with simple names like “transparent red-colored fluid”. He would mix and match these fluids in the same way he would approach oil painting. This is how he was able to come up with custom shades like “beige” to create softer, more natural looks in a time when foundation shades were artificial looking and pinker than real skin.  

Way Bandy’s custom blend makeup really didn’t take off until he had to transform Martha Beall Mitchell, the wife of United States Attorney General John N. Mitchell, during a photo session with Francesco Scavullo and hairstylist Maury Hopson. During the transformation, Bandy placed a lot of emphasis on maintaining the natural appearance of her skin tone as well as the health and structure of it. Healthy skin was a passion that he had embraced during his time as a skin care specialists and “derma specialist” at Chrisine Valmy Beauty School. With Martha's skin being the primary focus, he was able to mix shades with a little moisturizer or toner to get colors and textures right for her. This was incredibly innovative at a time when commercially available makeup was crudely formulated, limited in shade range and extremely harsh on the skin.  

DRAPE AND CONTOUR
Bandy believed that makeup should be applied to enhance one’s own beauty, not to copy someone else. He broke makeup down to its simplest terms: a few colors and the planes of the face and inspired artists to work with unique features, not a stereotyped face shape, which was a revolutionary concept at the time. For example, he would recommend a silver-beige-toned brow pencil (rather than a traditional neutral) for those who were ageing and going grey or to mix shades together to create a natural lift to the face.

 

Another concept he pioneered was bringing out the natural “drape” of the face. This draping technique typically uses a few shades of blush to contour instead of today's dark shades. It creates a more chiseled cheekbone and “glow within” effect to the skin, which became extremely popular in the '80s.

 

BEST SELLING AUTHOR
In 1977, he was one of the first makeup masters to release a beauty book, "Designing Your Face". It was a best seller not just for his evocative writing style and revolutionary concepts, but for inspiring readers to become a mixing master like himself. Instead of listing brands or specific products for readers to use, Bandy urged them to move away from pre-made products and look for specific shades and textures to custom blend on the spot for clients. He knew that custom blend added a more personalized service, which if mastered properly would set brilliant artists apart from other artists. Even today the art of custom blending and matching shades has become a catalyst for future innovations in beauty.

 

He also wrote ''Styling Your Face'' which is a complete guide on beauty and style. It features fifteen timeless face designs for men and women and provides step by step illustrations on how to create each look. His tutorials on tightlining, lip lining, cheek and eye contouring techniques are amazing and so ahead of his time.

Bandy made up some of the world's most celebrated women. Among the faces he ''designed,'' as he put it, were those of Elizabeth Taylor, Raquel Welch, Catherine Deneuve, Lauren Hutton, Farrah Fawcett, Barbra Streisand, Gloria Vanderbilt, Lee Radziwill, Cher, Sigourney Weaver, Rene Russo and Cheryl Tiegs.
 

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