Fringe, Olivia Dunham, and The Invisible Lipstick

If you have taken my course “Lipstick Frustrations to Sensations in 5 Days”, this would be a great add-on to day  3. (if not, you can get it for free – look just to the right from here)

Makeup artists that work on TV shows are amazing!  The reason their job is so tough is because there are 100’s of characters, a shortage of time, and they have to make people look like “real life”.

I call this “invisible makeup” …
which means “when you look great…. period”

There are a couple of special techniques that really makes this… and they are easy, but often overlooked.

When you “look great… period”, your makeup might not stand up and slap everyone in the face.

Anything you do that detracts from “looking great” stands a chance to make you “look not as great”

Whenever I am instructing a young person, girls in the range from 12 to 20, there is one incredibly important point I force into their mind with the following statement.

You don’t want someone to look at you and say
“Good god!  That girl’s wearing a bunch of makeup!’
… You want to them to look at you and say
“Gee that girl sure is lovely!”

And that’s the whole point.  If anyone can look at you and say “Holy Cow!” …

… that’s not always good.

Ask yourself the following question, and be brutally honest with yourself.

Do I wear too much lipstick of a super contracting color?

If Yes, then followup question…

Does this lipstick force people to see the lipstick, and not me?

Ok now that you’re through that, let’s talk about what’s going on with Olivia Dunham.


The director of Fringe wants to portray Olivia Dunham as a no-frills, works at 2am in whatever conditions are present, driven, always wears a black pant suit with a pony tail, shape shifter hunting FBI agent.

Olivia Dunham is rarely seen doing girly things, and it almost appears as if she simply doesn’t wear makeup at all.  Who has the time when you’re busy saving two universes while beating up shape-shifters!


Aside from the obvious that they don’t use any bright colors of any sort, one of the biggest ways they accomplish this that you might NOT notice is they way they drive her lipstick.

This is best done with the proper lipstick brush, but aside from technique, here’s the basic run down of how to do this.

1) Buy a lipstick (preferably one of mine :) that exactly or almost exactly matches your lip color.  It’s ok to go slightly more pink, slightly more red, or slightly more brown.

2) Use a lipstick brush to apply a thin wash, aiming to fill the creases and crevices – think of it as a “smoothing” action.  The brush allows you to work the lipstick into the skin, where it should be.

3) Next layer another thin layer on top.

4) Blot – the proper way!  Refer to the first bonus from my course.

5) Apply one more thin layer, and blot again.

6) Allow the lipstick to match your temp (that means leave it alone for 10 minutes)

Poof, invisible lipstick.


The makeup artist doesn’t want the lipstick to stand out, but he or she still wants her lips to look full, plump, smooth, HEALTHY AND YOUTHFUL!  The lipstick matching her lip color is used to clearly and consistently define the lines of the lips, smooth the skin, provide shape, and blend in.

In this look, it never looks glossy, gloopy, gloppy or in over abundance.

In the show, Olivia has an alternate of herself in the “other” universe.  It takes talent!  The girl plays herself from another, closely related universe… so check this out…  the alternate Olivia has red hair, but she’s still the same down on the ground girl… so what’s a makeup artist to do to make her stand out a little differently?

Well you shift the lipstick slightly more red.



Now for some fun!

I am going to show you a photo of Olivia Dunham with bright red lipstick…. and after seeing photos of her in invisible lipstick…. it’s almost hard NOT to not focus down on the lipstick, you could almost miss her entirely.





  1. Soudabeh says

    Jay I tried your lipstick first time and I love everything about it !!! And no reaction:):) and your insight on how to use it is awesome just like you:):) so thank you and am looking forward to try all your product :) you have got a friend for life.
    Sincerely Soudabeh

  2. Lyn says

    Thanks for the lesson, I was wondering why I would want one that matches my lip color this clears it up. By the way I love Fringe!

  3. says

    You make a really good, valid point about obvious makeup. I would much rather be told I look great, than that my makeup looks great, because if it does, then I’ve done it all wrong. It reminds me that after I first bought Oh My Guava, I wasn’t really sure about it, but after wearing it a few times, it became one of my favorite lipsticks, and it is now one of the ones that I wear most often. Thanks for the lipstick tutorials. Those were really fun and informative, and they helped a lot. When is the mascara launch going to happen? I am really looking forward to that. I will be totally happy when that happens. Well, actually that isn’t true, but I will be closer to totally happy!

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