The power of beauty - Interview with makeup artist Sarolta Tombor

Feb 8, 2022

Good makeup is in harmony with the character, according to Sarolta Tombor. The characters of a film or commercial film - although most often imagined - have their own personalities, and they become "real people" if every little detail of them fits into their story. An important part of this wordless depiction is makeup, which in film production works closely with costume and hair.

Although she wanted to be an actress as a child, this dream was replaced by a passion for makeup in her adolescence. As she developed in a self-taught way, her style became much more unique, but the learning process was longer and often more difficult because there was no master at her side to correct her mistakes. At the beginning of his career, the concept of fashion makeup did not exist in Hungary, so there were no schools where this profession could be studied. "Working with my brother, Zoltan Tombor, was a great help. His insight, analytical mind and accurate observations have had a strong impact on my work and development” - she recalls.

She first became a beautician to achieve a career as a make-up artist. In the 90s' skincare and makeup belonging together was thought to be self-evident. Today, these two professions can live separately, but Sarolta uses her skincare experience every day doing makeup. "If the skin is nice, works well, is well nourished and moisturized, then we can achieve beautiful results with very little makeup. Therefore, in my work, I often give my models, actors or private guests skincare and nutrition advice” - she says.

Invisible makeup

In her field, she is known as the master of no-makeup makeup. She believes in natural, almost invisible face painting. "I like it when the actors or models that come out of my hands are as beautiful as possible, but I try to achieve this with almost translucent makeup. I stay away from "heavy makeup". Social media platforms, especially Instagram, overwhelm our visual world tremendously. Sometimes I feel like my head is littered with vivid images. This is my resentment that I am not really present on these platforms. I can't show my professional credo and aesthetic sense on them. Fortunately, in other places, such as personal training and counselling, I create the medium in which I can pass on a lot of new and useful information.”

Sarolta has been working with Lancôme since 1990. She was a beautician for their downtown salon for five years and has been the brand's National Makeup Artist ever since. "This title is a great honour and, in addition to the obligations, it brings a lot of advantages. I take part in the annual training where international stars of the profession, such as Lisa Eldridge, Fred Farruggia or Gucci Westman, personally tell us their secrets. We can learn French chic, Hollywood glamour and, of course, the tricks of having a good social media presence from them.”

"I think if you reach a certain standard and you can teach, you have to pass that knowledge on to the next generation. I consider this a very important mission. Since 2008, in cooperation with KREA Design school, I have been working continuously to make our students become outstanding professionals. From each of my 12 departments so far, many colleagues have come out who are constantly working on the Hungarian and international markets. '' In KREA, students can learn the basics of the fashion makeup profession within the traditional school framework in two semesters. "I give all my secrets and tricks to my students during the one year course. They meet me on Saturdays, and we spend six hours together. This is quite a long time to thoroughly explore a topic.”

Work-life balance

In addition to filming and teaching, Sarolta is a mother of three. "The support of my family makes my job very easy. The shooting days are long, they often take weekends and nights. My youngest child is nine years old, and they are the hardest to adapt to this work schedule. Fortunately, my husband takes over the daily tasks, and all I get is meals together and honey-scented kisses. Of course, when the shoot is over, I'm happy to go back to mother mode, and then all my attention will go to the kids.”

Sarolta just finished her first Hollywood film. As she says, it was a wonderful experience professionally but very stressful physically. "For the past nine years, the focus has been on my family. Raising a small child and the many things that come with it have taken all my energy. During the pandemic, I spent very little time in a creative community. Due to this professional hunger, I said yes to the position of Key Makeup Artist in a film shot by Universal Pictures in Budapest for six weeks. It was extremely uplifting to be part of a machine of this size. My colleagues were extremely supportive, for which I will always be grateful. Without them, I would not have succeeded” - she noted.

Sarolta can also use her fashion makeup experience very well in filming. She says that it almost doesn't matter whether the camera captures a still or moving image. The intimacy and proximity of the person in the picture are the same, so the makeup must be as alive and real as possible.