We all know the feeling—the sheer panic of waking up and realizing A) we slept through our alarm, and B) we now have exactly seven minutes to brush our teeth, get dressed, slap on some makeup, and pray today’s traffic situation doesn’t have a personal vendetta against our fast-approaching 9 a.m. meeting. Stressful, right? Now, multiply that chaos by, oh, about a million. Then maybe, just maybe, you’ll understand the pressure and excited frenzy of celebrity makeup artist Bruce Grayson’s job. He’s been the head makeup artist at the Oscars for 17 years running, and this year, he’ll also lead the beauty department at this Sunday’s Grammy Awards.
Having had the privilege last year of meeting Grayson in person (and learning 10 really cool backstage beauty secrets), I know what a phenomenal talent Grayson is when it comes to A+ makeup application while remaining calm, cool, and collected during a hectic award show. As the head makeup artist, he leads a 20-to-40-person team each year that’s collectively in charge of managing the makeup looks and potential beauty mayhem (tears, sweat, the like) of performers, presenters, and anyone else gracing the stage that evening. It’s a big job, but if anyone is qualified, it’s Grayson.
Having practically grown up backstage in Hollywood while his legendary makeup artist father, Dave Grayson, tended to the iconic likes of John Wayne, Rita Hayworth, Lauren Bacall, and more, Hollywood glamour is woven into Grayson’s DNA—a blessing considering the amazing amount of know-how it takes to prep, repair, and ready celebrities to flawlessness in record-breaking time. In an effort to familiarize ourselves with the Grayson’s process, his favorite go-to products, and his last-second under-five-minute makeup application tips, we decided to pick his mind. Ahead, the time-saving makeup items Grayson swears by during award season, how he uses them, plus more interesting tips we learned from the man behind the dazzle of the shows. Keep reading!