The Perfect Palette

October 15th, 2013

October 15th, 2013

Palette is a very broad term when it comes to make-up.  Lips, eyes, brows and combos are available in every price range, for every brief, High Street or pro.  Some palettes are simply a collection of vaguely matching shadows or testers of an entire lip collection, but when Warpaint was introduced to the Skin Illustrator On Set and Signature palettes from PPI Inc, the concept of the perfect palette took on a whole new meaning.


With collaborations that include an exclusive MUA signature collection from some of the best in the business, specific palettes from some of the biggest movies and TV shows as well as specialist teeth, hair, flesh and scalp sets, PPI Inc and Skin Illustrator takes customising to a whole new level.

Skin Illustrator was developed by award winning film mua Kenny Myers when an increasing pressure to have premixed colour available at a moment’s notice became critical.  Thus, out of necessity came invention.

In 2000, Skin Illustrator and PPI, PremiereProducts Inc. joined in collaboration to make Skin Illustrator available world wide.  PPI is an FDA licensed, cruelty-free cosmetic manufacture and as such manufactures and distributes under strict FDA regulation.  Skin Illustrator is the only like material that has been human tested by the California Skin Research Institute.

Kenny and his wife Karen expanded the Skin Illustrator line to fill in colour voids in the system by meeting the artistic needs and wishes of other leading make up artists and hairstylists.

The list on MUAs with their names on the signature palettes is a who’s who of leading Creatives.  These collaborations came about through mutual respect and friendship through the years, as PPI and Skin Illustrator became the industry standard.  The quality, performance and consistency of the products were unmatched and artists wanted to have palettes personalised to fit their specific needs while working on films.

What makes the Skin Illustrator palettes so popular with pros is their safety, performance and consistency in the ingredients used.  The product can be used on hair, skin and teeth. The Skin Illustrator Activator used with each palette, is a proprietary blend of SDA 40 ethanol and high grade isopropyl alcohol.  This creates a much more pure mixture than regular 99% alcohol.  It is easier on the eyes and face and is definitely recommended for use around any areas of sensitivity.  Alternatively Slow Activator has a longer drying time for when working under extreme temperatures and humid locations.

Ve Neill working on Johnny Depp

Ve Neill working on Johnny Depp

The first custom palette, Pirate, was created for Ve Neill and made for her for the first Pirates of the Caribbean film.  Since then, the company has made dozens of custom palettes, including: All four Pirates films for both Ve Neill and Joel Harlow, Terminator T4 palette for Mike Smithson and Lost palette for Steve LaPorte.  Additional custom movie palettes include: Apocalypto palette, Dawn of the Dead (Zombie palette), Guardians of the Galaxy palette, 12 years a Slave palette in name but a few.

The On Set Signature series went a step further by personally offering the make-up artist a selection of their most commonly used colours in one convenient palette.  The Signature Series Artists are an exclusive group that includes Joel Harlow, Greg Cannom, Louis Burwell, Mark Coulier, Trefor Proud, Mike Smithson and Krystian Mallett with three more award-winning make-up artists joining the club who will have their own Signature Palette very shortly.

Greg Cannom

Greg Cannom

Greg Cannom palette

As Greg Cannom, SFX for the latest Natalie Portman movie Jane Got a Gun explains, “These are the colours I use for the type of make-up I am doing.  Having them all in one palette makes life so much easier.”

Trefor Proud, MU head for Jack Reacher, agrees, “The colours I chose from my own signature palette are the ones I use most, especially Rice Paper, Blood Tone and Black.  I can literally do any touch up with my palette.”

Trefor Proud

Trefor Proud

Trefor Proud palette

Skin Illustrator palettes are indeed extensive, with palettes such as Necromania that promises to be great for all things dead – Morgue dead; frozen dead, decaying dead, undead and almost dead, in fact everything you’d need to create a post-mortem persona. The rise in popularity of zombies, vampires and general supernatural characters in film and on TV has certainly seen a demand for realistic and effective products like this rise. The demand has increased but not just because of the current popular genres.


Norbert Heinly, PPI’s founder and president, is convinced that the safety (cruelty-free), performance and consistency of the products available is a key factor to the success of Skin Illustrator.  “MUA’s have also realised how incredibly flexible the product line is.  Skin Illustrator is not just for zombies and vampires.  It can (and is regularly) used on non character/monster and straight make-ups,” he explains.

“These products cover up tattoos, scars and blemishes; they create freckles, sunburns and other subtle dermal inconsistencies.  They are used on soap operas, reality TV, Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, news broadcasts, Broadway, Vegas and The Old Globe.  The product is also used to colour and treat clothes, costumes and wardrobes for a wide variety of productions,” Norbert goes on.

“The industry is now more concerned about safety then they were even five years ago.  An increasingly frequent question asked is, ‘Are you cruelty-free?’ PPI is an FDA licensed, cruelty-free cosmetic manufacturer.  We are the only such company in the make-up FX industry.  As budgets for film productions get smaller, the pinch is felt throughout, and many manufacturers are cutting costs and corners to maintain.  More and more stories have surfaced about actors getting burned or irritated by certain make-up products or adhesives and the talent has been sending an overwhelming message to the industry that they will only want safe, cruelty-free and affective products on their skin.”

PPI has been manufacturing products for over 30 years to the medical, home health care and hair replacement industries.  We are members of the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC), The American Chemical Society, The Independent Cosmetic Manufacturers and Distributors, The American Anaplastology Association and the Society of Cosmetic Chemists (SCC) which is dedicated to the advancement of cosmetic science.

Skin Illustrator palettes are available from, PS Composites, PAM, Guru Makeup Emporium and Screenface.



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By Warpaint Magazine

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