Eileen Kastner-Delago: Your FACE is the first thing people see

Award winning international make-up artist Eileen Kastner-Delago has done make-up for hundreds of international film stars, theatre actors, models and worked with directors like Steven Spielberg, Tim Burton, James Cameron, Roman Polanski, and Sofia Coppola. She has worked on films The Italian Job, Terminator, Cliffhanger, Jurassic Park, Batman and Thor. After creating illusions for the big screen and the beauty industry for many years, Eileen now build on her 30-year award winning Hollywood experience by putting her realistic know-how towards empowering women to make their own well informed decisions about their skincare and make-up product choices through a cutting edge signature approach called EKD Face Wardrobe.

How did you get to where you are now? Have you always wanted to be a make-up artist?

As a little 8 year old girl, I was part of the children’s Opera ballet in Graz, Austria and the first decisive influence towards make-up came during the production of “The Merry Widows of Windsor” where I was introduced to the power of make-up in the form of the character “Falstaff”. At the first dress rehearsal he was “made-up” to look actually old, with a wig, beard, a big nose, wrinkles and a fat-suit. I was totally “hooked” after finding out that all that was done by make-up and costume. That moment I decided what my profession would be when I grew up … a fact that was not taken seriously by anybody in my family and friends at that stage. By the time I was 15, I saw the original “Planet of the Apes” with Charlton Heston and that only confirmed my desire to become a make-up artist who would transform people and take the audience / observer to a place where even though I knew that they knew that it was not real, in those 2 hrs of i.e.: a film, they would believe me and what I had created.

My family was quite concerned and confused about my choice of career as they had no idea what this profession really looked like and where you cld learn that. Back then, in Austria, it was not really evident that SFX make-up was a serious profession to pursue. Today of course, nearly every child knows what special effects are and often even how they work. I went to study in London first where I trained in all aspects of make-up but also scetching / drawing and sculpting. After that I went to Los Angeles in 1988 and had the great opportunity to be taken under the wing of Stan Winston, the guru in SFX Creature & Make-Up Effects. My experiences at the Stan Winston Studio set my path to where I am now in my career.

You regularly work with some of the most beautiful women in the world. How does that shape your definition of beauty? What’s your beauty philosophy?

To me beauty is very subjective – it is what touches you and inspires you individually. I don’t believe in a universal beauty ideal that we should want to strive for. The Beauty and Film Industry as well as the Media is influencing our judgement of what beauty means to each one of us. The impression that we have on others is often different to how we see ourselves. There are people that one might not notice at first but then suddenly can’t stop staring at because they encompass something that makes a person magical and that lifts us above the loud and attention seeking crowds. It is an inner glow that reflects on the outside as a calm, powerful confidence – that to me is true beauty. Each one of us has this magic inside of us and we should embrace it happily and not hide it under other people’s opinion of how you should show yourself to the world.

Why did you get into personal skincare?

I did not get into personal skincare as such with product creations etc. I am just very passionate about skin which if taken care of properly can truly influence your state of mind. Skin is your biggest organ and SKINCARE has very specific rules when it comes to having healthy and perfect skin. It is as important as following a good diet. There is not one single ingredient or substance that will cover all basis and “solve” skin issues like no single food substance alone will take care of your body’s nutritional needs. Focusing on the claims for a product, on suspicious before-and-after photos, or on fictional marketing about a new miracle ingredient or miracle product can truly hurt your skin and waste your money time after time.

What I have seen and learned in my career is that women are getting more sceptical and demanding about their Skincare products and Make-Up Techniques and rightly so. We are bombarded with so much information that it is hard to separate the promise from the truth. This inspired me to combine my experiences and expertise with unbiased, reliable global Medical & Scientific research to bring facts & clarity into the field of Skincare and Make-up by taking out all the marketing hype and “here say” so you can truly be in control of what you put on your face and feel safe about it.

What is FaceWardrobe and how it works? How exactly do you help women create their own personal skincare & make-up wardrobe?

A Face Wardrobe is an extension of who you are and who you present to the outside world through your personal style. While most people feel that their personal style begins and ends with their clothing wardrobe, I believe there is more to your personal wardrobe and it starts with your face. Your face is what people see first when engaging with you and it is an intrinsic part of your essence and your individuality. How you “wear” your face should instinctively resonate with how you want your clothes to express your individual style. In all the years I have been in the make-up business and having worked with people from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds I have never met a woman or have heard of any woman for that matter who didn’t want to look fresh, rested, vibrant with a healthy glow, no matter if she cares about wrinkles, anti-ageing procedures or make-up, as such in itself.

Make-up and skincare in fact are very powerful tools and if used and applied correctly can strengthen a woman’s confidence which in itself will result in empowering her to succeed.

How I help women create their own personal skincare & make-up wardrobe is by providing unbiased and brand independent advice based on the latest global medical and scientific research so women can make well informed decisions about their most appropriate Skincare and Make-up Product choices as well as the corresponding correct application techniques.

How does it work?

In individual sessions I review and assesses each client’s current skincare, make-up products and practices. I then map these against their personality and beauty goals, and demonstrates the possibilities in practice, creating a “Skincare & Make-Up Wardrobe”. Part of the sessions are Video & Sound recorded to prepare an edited film reference for my clients to refer back to. Finally, my clients receive a private password to access their personal, digital Face Wardrobe via an online portal on the EKD FaceWardrobe™ website, filled with detailed, individual instructions, tips and product suggestions specifically for their own skin plus the video and pictures of themselves to be able to refer back to all the information given. With this digital source of information based on their individual reference, they are not only able to start their journey to truly healthy & perfect skin but at the same time they can copy and further explore new make-up looks by themselves or with my guidance and in that way further build up their own, unique Skincare and Make-Up Wardrobe.

As we have interested clients in various countries across the world, we are also providing  access to part of the service via an online program as well as offering specific dates in  selected cities where I spend a dedicated time with clients in one-on-one seesions.

How can anyone get beautiful, glowing skin?

The most important point to start with is to focus on finding out your own individual skin type and skin concerns. There is more to consider than just the usual 4 skin types that we are all assigned to. Further, the ONLY way to have beautiful skin – and keep it that way – is to start  (and never stray from ) applying a state-of-the-art skincare routine based on what unbiased, scientific research shows works for your skin! There really is no other possible way. Just following product claims in articles and marketing campaigns or your favourite celebrity endorsement can potentially truly hurt your skin in the long run. As with your nutritional food choices, you wont see the effect right away with a specific skincare routine. It takes a while to see the benefits or the damage that result from the specific products choices you made. Therefore it is so important to come from a place where you can make your own very well informed decision on what to put on your face.

What are the steps you recommend taking when caring for your skin?

Follow a consistent routine. For best results, a skin-care routine should be done regularly. Some products you’ll use once or twice daily, others every other day, or once a week. It is also important to use products in the right order. For example, sunscreen should be the last skin-care product you apply before makeup.

Are there any specific ingredients you always go to to make your skin glow and feel your best?

The truth is there is no single magic ingredient (or miracle product) for skin. Just like our bodies need a wide variety of nutritional foods to stay healthy, our skin also needs a balanced “diet” of state-of-the-art beneficial ingredients supplied through a consistent skin-care routine. Searching for a miracle ingredient cheats your skin of the benefits you’ll get from using brilliant products with a variety of good ingredients.

What about different face masks and face oils, does that work and if so, how often should we use them?

While face masks can be beneficial, it is important to remember that what we do on a daily basis to our skin is much more relevant to managing skin concerns. However, facial masks can be helpful when used as part of a well-formulated skincare routine!

Oils are seeing an increase in popularity and not just as additions in other products. The face oil skincare category is booming, with a big increase in oils on the market meant to be used on their own or as a booster to other skincare products. So are face oils necessary to your skincare routine? Not exactly, but well-formulated ones can make great additions to any skincare regimen, including for those with oily or acne-prone skin. It’s important to note that face oils should not be the sole component of a skincare routine, since skin needs much more than a single ingredient to remain healthy!

You might be wondering if there is one face oil that’s better than the rest; the short answer is “no.” All non-fragrant plant oils contain antioxidants and some contain fatty acids that are great for helping to restore skin’s barrier. The decision of which face oil is best for you is largely a matter of the aesthetics you prefer. As to how often you should use these products will depend on your individual skin type and skin concerns as well as the climate and environment you live in. 

With such a variety of makeup on the market today, how should women select the best makeup for their skin types?

My advice is again to start first with getting a clear understanding as to what your skin type and skin concerns are as well as considering the environment and climate you live in. An oily skin type in a humid climate will have different results in terms of make-up products than a person living in a dry climate. Oily skin is not just oily skin everywhere and so just following a general product suggestion by a brand or marketing campaign for oily skin will not guarantee you the best results you want. Knowing your skin in depth and how it acts under what circumstances will help you to narrow down the selection of available make-up products to you.

The women you work with are busy ladies. What are your secrets for gorgeous skin in minutes?

Even though we all look for that instant fix, gorgeous skin does not happen in minutes. It is a longterm commitment but one that holds so many rewards which will strengthen your confidence and cut down time to create your favourite make-up look of the moment. There are of course some tricks that help boost your skin to a heightened beautiful state. When I have to get my celebrity clients ready for an event I do have a skincare routine that I apply specifically at that time. It consists of a mixture of treatments and products ahead of starting their make-up.

I start with a deep cleansing and treatment program including a cosmetic device. After that I apply a face mask and separate eye treatment that covers the whole eye area. Depending on the current state of my clients skin, the climate we are in at that time and the circumstances around the event I mix up my own cocktail with a selection of beneficial ingredients that deals with the current requirements of my client’s skin. After that I am truly ready for my make-up with a now deeply cleansed, moisture and beneficial ingredients infused skin.

What’s a common myth that you’re always trying to dispel?

Dry skin? Drink more water!

The truth: This is one of those beauty myths that refuses to go away, but here are the facts: Although drinking eight glasses of water a day is good idea for your body, it can’t get rid of dry skin. If that’s all it took, very few of us would have dry skin. The causes and solutions of dry skin are far more complex than just drinking water. What your skin needs are ingredients to help maintain ideal moisture content in skin which means choosing products loaded with skin-replenishing ingredients, antioxidants, and skin-drenching hydrators.

What is one thing that anyone can do to be their most beautiful selves?

Although we all have our beauty ideals, the one thing anyone can do to be truly beautiful is to be honest to oneself. Accept yourself for who you are and dont try to copy another person. That would dilute beauty as beauty to me is individual and unique. We all have that “magic” inside but it will not be able to show itself if you are searching to look like somebody else. True beauty comes from the confidence within yourself about who you are. Show this confidence in a healthy way and you might find that people are starting to want to copy you, no matter how you look.


Photos: EKD FaceWardrobe

By Barbora

Slovakia-born, Toronto-dwelling fashion lover. A fashion consultant, freelance writer, red carpet reporter and the creator behind ChiChi.