Stars fear greater film clarity will reveal their beauty flaws

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The Independent Culture

The quaint notion that beauty comes from within has never troubled the image obsessed world of movie stars.

So who better to lift the veneer of A-list starlets than the unsung heroes of Hollywood, charged with ensuring a flawless finish no matter how unpromising the client.

A survey conducted among leading make-up artists reveals the reassuring news that not every actor is blessed with perfect skin, and one in three lies about his or her age.

An increasing number of stars are reliant on the powder brush to maintain their image, the survey found. While the likes of Scarlett Johansson, voted the most naturally beautiful actor for her "flawless" skin, get by on a minimum of maintenance, 15 per cent said spots, boils and blotches were as big a concern as learning their lines, the make-up artists said. And with rapid advances in visual technology, a growing number of celebrities are worried that their complexions are about to come under even closer scrutiny by audiences.

Sandra Exelby, chairman of the National Association of Screen Make-up Artists and Hairdressers (NASMAH), and a veteran with 30 years experience in the industry, said many stars already fought shy of getting too close to the camera.

"I have been told by production companies that some of the big actors coming to the UK have a 'no close-up' clause in their contracts" she said.

It is not just the women who need touching up. Male stars are regulars in the make-up chair, as few match the dermatological perfection of Orlando Bloom, star of Pirates of the Caribbean, regarded in the industry as having the best male complexion.

But the make-up artists stop short of biting the well-manicured hands that feed them.

Ms Exelby said: "People who have problems with their skin, are getting on a bit or have thinning hair may not look their best without a good make-up artist. "But I can't say who they are. That is, literally, a trade secret."

The survey, conducted by NASMAH on behalf of Telewest, rated Kate Winslet, who starred in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the second most natural beauty for her "classic English rose" looks. Third was Catherine Zeta-Jones.

The spectre of high definition television (HDTV) has sent anxiety levels soaring in the industry, it was claimed. The format, which increases lines on screen from 365 to between 750 and 1,000, has been used in the filming of nature programmes such as The Blue Planet and major sporting events such as the World Cup and the Olympics.

The result is a picture up to five times more detailed. Ms Exelby, who trained at the BBC, working on the original series of Dad's Army before switching to work on feature films, including Highlander and Bugsy Malone, said: "If make-up is too heavy, it is going to show and if a hair is out of place, it can look like barbed wire ... New people coming into the make-up industry need specific training. Make-up and hair artists will not be able to get away with less than perfect work. It will add pressure, as actors will become more particular about make-up, and the lighting."

High definition television, which has just been launched in Britain, is already established in the United States and has more than 16 million viewers.

The beautiful ones

The make-up artist's verdict, by Sandra Exelby, chairman of the National Association of Make-up Artists and Hairdressers.

* DANIEL CRAIG: "The new 007 has incredibly piercing blue eyes, which will look beautiful, as Paul Newman's eyes did."

* ANGELINA JOLIE: "She has a fabulous face, her skin is great and her lips are wonderful."

* CATHERINE ZETA-JONES: "She has wonderful dark, rich brown hair that is always shiny and really looks after her skin."

* JAKE GYLLENHAAL: "It is not quite so important for men to have a good cleansing routine for their skin, but he has very good skin for a man."

* KIERA KNIGHTLEY:

She is in the flush of youth and has got good skin, providing she keeps looking after it properly she won't have any problems."

* PIERCE BROSNAN: "He looks fabulous and will still look absolutely gorgeous on HDTV."

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