Maurice Stein is the presiding elder guru to generations of Hollywood makeup artists. He’s also Founder of Cinema Secrets in Burbank, where professionals attend classes with the maestro, and stock their kits for the stage, studio and red carpet.
He is the godfather of the perfect pout and the smoky eye. He’s used his brushes, sponges, pencils and puffs on US Presidents, post-apocalyptic primates (he won an Academy Award for his work on the original “Planet of the Apes” film in 1969) and everything in-between, including years of working alongside legendary photographer Mario Testino on dozens of PLAYBOY magazine shoots.
Stein recounts bringing binoculars to the studio as Testino photographed the Playmates, monitoring each shutter-click in case a faux eyelash shifted under the hot lights, or a lip-line needed adjusting mid-shoot. These stories, among others, call to mind the silver-fox raconteuring of the other Most Interesting Man in the World, or at least Toluca Lake.
No wonder Stein was the first makeup artist inducted into the California Cosmetology Association Hall of Fame, and is included in the National Cosmetology Association Hall of Renown.
But Stein’s greatest secret is that he shares the secret—actually, thousands of cinema secrets– with professionals and savvy consumers.
In addition to stocking top major brands (as well as smaller, indie, cult-y brands), Stein founded his own exclusive Cinema Secrets line of cosmetics to meet needs he encountered in his own work as a makeup artist. The brand, like the family-run store which opened (originally in a smaller location, across the street from NBC) in 1985, became an instant hit among what he calls “Hollywood’s most expensive faces.”
Whether teaching or simply packaging and marketing products, Stein is generous with decades of how-to expertise.
SUPER SEALER – This product is ideal, of course, misted over a finished face to keep makeup in place, but it’s also a “sweat inhibitor” when used before makeup. Let’s say perspiration is in the forecast: job interview, wedding, long-overdue “Cheaters” confrontation with your boo. Mist on two light coats of Cinema Secrets SUPER SEALER before applying moisturizer or primer, to keep your skin looking matte under pressure.
PROFESSIONAL POWDER PUFF – Call him the original “Puff Daddy”: Stein maintains that the power of the iconic powder puff—versus the brush—has been lost on young makeup users, and needs to be restored. He says, “Nothing is better for setting makeup. A puff, versus a brush, presses the powder into the makeup, setting it for longer periods of time, needing fewer touch-ups.” The Cinema Secrets PROFESSIONAL POWDER PUFF is large enough to use on both face and body. The hand-stitched velour is stuffed with memory-foam to retain shape and softness, and is washable for up to one month, depending on use.
TACO TECHNIQUE– “Women used powder puffs as part of a compact that they kept in their handbag, well into the 1960s. But women born in the 80s don’t know how to use a puff properly,” says Stein. From the maestro: dip Cinema Secrets PROFESSIONAL POWDER PUFF into small amount of powder. Fold puff in half like a taco, and rub halves together (as if rubbing out a stain), to work powder throughout puff. Roll or pat onto foundation and press, to work the powder in. Use a soft, fluffy brush to whisk away any excess, then mist lightly with Cinema Secrets MOISTURE SPRAY to absorb any residue.
KEEP IT CLEAN – Sanitation is key, for home-use as well as in professional settings. Even if no one else ever shares or touches your makeup, it’s a nasty, dirty – ewww– world out there, and intercepting bacterial activity is how we prevent conjunctivitis and other bug-related issues. For instance, when using metal tools such as Cinema Secrets MICRO SCISSORS (safer than plucking and shaving), Stein reveals that basic rubbing alcohol from the drugstore isn’t strong enough to stand up to microbes. “If using alcohol, be sure to soak scissors in 99% alcohol, and not basic rubbing alcohol, which is only 70% and will not completely sanitize.” He also recommends Cinema Secrets BRUSH CLEANER, for maximum sanitization. And of course, never, ever use your fingers to apply makeup.
He’s opposed to oil-based skin care products, revealing that he maintains his own robust complexion with anhydrous, water-based formulas—…“except on my dry feet.”
In addition to teaching and consulting, Stein is also a philanthropist. He participates in the “Look Good, Feel Better” program, and volunteers his expertise to cancer patients and burn-survivors, offering educational services and cosmetic techniques and tips to The City of Hope, Phoenix Society, several Shriners hospitals, Johns Hopkins Burn Rehabilitation Center, and the Grossman Burn Centers.
“Hopefully, most women don’t have to deal with a cosmetic issue of this proportion,” he says. “Makeup helps create character, onscreen and in real life. We love showing women how to create and project the character they want to be, just with a little color, a little coverage, and a few tools.”
For Spring, Stein forecasts three wearable twists on classic looks:
“PURITY” – The key for this look is healthy, flawless skin, to provide the perfect canvas for sheer, subtle makeup tones. Think of this as an aspirational look—doing so may help you choose dark leafy greens and green tea, instead of fries and a cola. It also should inspire you to avoid oily, comedogenic, occlusive skin products (translation: petrochemicals, bad). And it’s the best motivation to remove every speck of makeup before bed at night, and to keep your makeup tools immaculate as well.
The “PURITY” look is created with transparent taupe and champagne tones, with glossy-clear “Pink Glow” lips lined in “Carwash”, both from Cinema Secrets. A key to this look is the especially fresh, open, natural eye, created with no highlight above the crease.
‘FRESH SQUEEZE” – An opportunity for women to wear this season’s trendy orange-tangerine tones. On eyes, “Gold” base with “Apricot” contour, and “Flesh” highlighter. On apples of cheeks, “Coral”, contoured with “Adobe” on cheekbones and temples.
This beauty writer’s stone-cold favorite for lips this Spring: Lipstick Kit #15. It’s a skinny, rectangular palette (fits in my clutch!) of five cream-pan colors– to be applied with a brush– in the sunny, “Fresh Squeeze” range: Garnet, Orange Flip, Deep Coral, Melon, Shiny Sand. Perfect for those of us who channel The Girl from Ipanema all year. Too-too fabu with bronzey skin, or even tan-in-a-can. All from Cinema Secrets.
“METAL EDGE” –Updates the classic smoky eye with green-blue tones replacing the usual charcoals and blacks. For evening drama, lids are contoured with “Midnight”, “Hollywood Lights Peacock” and a bit of “Hollywood Lights Opal” at the inner corner. Cheeks blush with “Peachy” and “Cinnamon Spice”, all from Cinema Secrets.
As always, the secret lies in the tools used for application as well as in the quality of the formula. “Creating the fashion-crease above the eye is literally one movement, when you use the right brush, in a crescent shape,” he says.
When wearing a bright lip, which he recommends as part of the season’s citrusy “Fresh Squeeze” look, Stein says, “Most women are ashamed of their lips, so they don’t wear a lot of color there.” The answer: expanding and improving the shape slightly with a pencil matched to the lipstick, and pressing translucent powder into the line to set it, using a powder puff, not a brush. Last, a dab of gloss, a frost if desired, in the center of the lower lip. Pressing lips together makes lips look full and wet, which Stein describes as “frankly, an invitation.”
An enduring love for his work and industry motivates Stein to report to his office three days a week, occasionally more. A native Angeleno who has lived in the San Fernando Valley for 40 years, he observes dryly, “Most people my age are either retired or dead.”
4400 Riverside Drive