Behind the Scenes with Kryolan

February 9th, 2021

February 9th, 2021

Paul Merchant, Kryolan’s Global Head of Makeup, invited us behind the scenes at the shoot for the Digital Complexion Campaign, which was shot by legendary photographer Felix Lammers.

PBN19 Live Stage

We grabbed the opportunity to ask Paul a few questions.

Given the amount of time we’re all spending online at the moment, the trend for flawless finish isn’t letting up.  How can the Digital Complexion range help us combat that?

I absolutely agree, I think since we’re all seeing ourselves more on camera, we’ve all become a little more conscious of how we look. The Digital Complexion range has been developed for this exact reason, to work in synergy with higher resolution technologies like 4K plus camera advances. So, every ingredient in the formula has been meticulously selected to improve the way skin appears on screen and in imagery, especially with the newest cutting-edge technologies. I absolutely love the range; I think it’s genius.


Explain the technological developments that underpin the range.

This is a great question and one that probably needs a little background information in order to explain why we chose and developed certain ingredients for the range in our labs. We needed to understand why this new age technology changed how make-up looked with our own eyes to what we see on camera.  I’ll explain a little bit of the technical side so that it highlights why we have this problem.

An HD image starts at 1920 x 1080 pixels. This gives us 2,073,600 pixels that make up that one image or frame. When we compare that to just even 4K, which starts at 3840 x 2160, we have 8,294,400 pixels. Four times the amount. This level of resolution provides greater contrasts, intensified sharpness of colour and more refined details. For example, a shimmer eye shadow would appear shiny on HD due to the level of detail conveyed in the image from the reflection of the pigment.  On 4K Plus cameras, we actually see the individual pigments of the eye shadow rather than just the reflection of them, more clarity, more texture.  So for us, whether you’re a make-up lover or make-up artist, the main difference we will experience is accentuated texture of the skin and the products we put on it. So we knew the range had to include ingredients that prevented this from happening.

The complex formulas have innovative light diffusing qualities which appear to smooth the skin’s surface on camera. Basically they contain ceramic microspheres, the shape of these spheres and the texture and sophisticated coating of them is the secret to how the products react on camera. When light hits a regular particle in make-up it usually bounces back most of the light to the camera lens directly, this is why make-up usually appears more shiny on camera than it does to our eyes. These newly designed particles have an uneven surface texture, so when light hits them light bounces back in multiple directions which gives the surface of the skin a halo type effect, it distorts the light reflection resulting in the effect a soft box has, it slightly blurs the surface, like a face tuning app would do. The tiny spheres also allow some of the light to be absorbed, so then it bounces around inside the particle causing it to glow. Now these are so tiny that they act as functional fillers on the skin. Sitting into fine lines and open pores, once they start glowing from the light they brighten these lines and pores from the bottom and it has a smoothing visual effect on the skin. The light bouncing out of them diffuses shadows and the skin appears smoother, almost like it’s been digitally enhanced.

There are other aspects such as the formulas being self-setting, so minimal powder is needed, remember that texture is a no no for 4K plus technologies, so powder can be tricky, which is why we developed a new one for this range that is compatible with the camera technology.  There are many other aspects that additionally make the range so unique and suitable for make-up artists. Plus another added benefit is that it’s packed with loads of nourishing phyto oils and the entire line is completely vegan friendly as well.


What’s your inspiration behind the imagery?

The thought process behind the imagery was to showcase exactly what the products do, it’s so hard these days to know what to believe with everything being heavily filtered and or photoshopped, we wanted to show people exactly what the make-up does without all that. That why in some of the imagery the models don’t have anything on their skin except a swatch of the product, it highlights the effect advanced technology has on skin and how the Digital Complexion range combats that. Other than that, we just wanted the campaign to feel clean and simple, with a strong focus on the beauty of skin alone. We wanted to show case as many skin types as possible, choosing models, with blemishes, pigmentation, dark circles, dry, oily, all the real natural characters and elements we all face when it comes to skin, So we did step by step applications to highlight this. It was the best way to show case the ranges versatility.

You’ve worked with photographer Felix Lammers on several campaigns.  What are your tips on getting the best out of your photographer and building a creative partnership?

Yes, Felix is absolutely amazing, we were introduced to him by Phyllis Cohen who spoke highly of his work, and if someone is good enough for Phyllis that’s good enough for me! I think when it comes to working with photographers you have to both be able to embrace each other’s styles and ideas. Firstly, you have to identify if the photographers style matches what you want to achieve with the imagery. Communication is the key thing, providing the photographer with as much visual inspiration as possible, discussing the intention for the imagery, what and where they’re going to be used for, the overall mood of the campaign, everything really. It’s important that all the creatives on set know what the end goal is and can imagine the campaign before it’s shot, I find that helps a lot.


Which is your favourite image from the campaign and why?

Oooh that’s a hard one, Can I have two? They’re for completely different reasons.

The first would be the product swatch image with the model Lulu. This was the Digital Complexion Concealer; the image shows the drying stages of the product. The spot closest to the nose is still wet and the one closest to the finger has set. You can visibly see as the product begins to set that the texture underneath on the skin is completely gone. It show cases the products effect amazingly.

The second is a shot of the model Jess with the products in composition. I’m extremely proud to have been part of the research and development team of this range and this is one of the last images we shot with Felix on the day and I had a sense of achievement that we’d done what we set out to do with Digital Complexion, and Jess just looks strong, relaxed, confident and absolutely gorgeous.


What technological developments do you predict for makeup trends in 2021?

­For a while now we as consumers and professionals have become a lot more interested about what goes into our products, are they ethically sourced, sustainable materials, natural, vegan the list goes on. Functional ingredients are huge right now. Ingredients that don’t only help to make the product perform how it should be also benefit the skin in some way. We have become thinking consumers and that’s great, we want it all. So, I think we will see a rise in the number of natural, plant-based ranges, with much better quality than the initial offerings that were out on the market. People want to not only look good but feel good and do good. I hope that mind set continues to grow and that the make-up industry changes to react to that for the better.


Kryolan Professional Make-up:
Photo – Felix Lammers,
Shoot Director – Nadine Langer;
Head of Make-up – Paul Merchant;
Make-up Artists – Gemma Horner, Leanne Simmons and Rosie Barrett


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By Sarah Dann

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