‘American Idol’ makeup guru Mezhgan Hussainy tells all

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“I love the big transformations,” gushed “American Idol” makeup guru Mezhgan Hussainy in a phone interview last week. Every season, as we watch country cuties like Carrie Underwood morph into full-blown superstars, Mezhgan is the woman behind the blush brush. This year, Mezhgan was most impressed by Syesha Mercado’s transformation from bohemian queen to old-Hollywood glamorpuss.

But it’s not just the ladies who benefit from Mezhgan’s artistry. The gentlemen clock some serious time in her makeup chair as well. Mezhgan disguises their perpetual exhaustion with primer, foundation, and a little bit of bronzer. But the “Idol” men weren’t always as bronzer-friendly as they are today. Season 2’s Ruben Studdard, for instance, wasn’t having it. “I remember when I said, ‘I’m ready for you in makeup,” laughed Mezhgan. “He was like, ‘Uh, what are you talking ‘bout?’”


But this season’s men aren’t just accepting, they’re enthusiastic. David Archuleta, for instance, once asked Mezhgan if she thought he needed a dusting of bronzer on his neck. Mezhgan inspected Archie and decided he was right. “Good call!” Mezhgan exclaimed, and “put a little bronzer around his collar.”

And don’t be fooled be his dreadlocks and lazy demeanor; Jason Castro embraced Mezhgan’s makeup case as well. According to Mezhgan, he fell hard for the eyelash curler, which made his blue eyes “pop,” without the use of mascara. “Now he insists on it,” said Mezhgan. “There’s no way we can forget about it.”

For the women, eyelashes are a tricky subject. Mascara and false lashes must be able to survive torrential downpours. “If they cry, the mascara’s gonna be running,” sighed Mezhgan. Plus, the women wear false eyelashes, and Mezhgan has to “make sure their eyelashes aren’t falling off up there.” When you look back at all of the sobbing ladies we’ve seen over the last seven seasons of “Idol,” it’s a wonder we’ve never watched a wayward false lash flutter to the floor.

False lashes and eyelash curlers aside, however, Mezhgan’s favorite beauty tip is of a simpler variety. “Drink a lot of water, she instructs. “Water, water, water!” Without water, “Your skin looks dull,” explains Mezhgan. “It looks tired.” When water isn’t enough to camouflage the contestants’ mounting exhaustion, however, Mezhgan turns to products from her makeup line to bring out the best in the contestants.

On the men, she keeps it relatively simple, employing eyeliner, foundation, powder, concealer and bronzer from her makeup line, Me by {Me}zhgan. Since most bronzers have shimmer, Mezhgan created a shimmerless bronzer that she can use on Ryan, Simon, and the male contestants. “It warms up your skin without looking like they’re wearing bronzer,” says Mezhgan. “I wear makeup every day to make myself feel better and look better,” confessed Mezhgan. “We have a lot of help and I think it’s unfair for guys not to do that.’

Her makeup is female-friendly too, and refreshingly simple in a world where the depth and breadth of most makeup counters is daunting to a cosmetics newbie. Me by {Me}zhgan sticks to the essentials, and it’s better for it. ‘This line has taken me since 2003,’ Mezhgan said. ‘I didn’t want to take any shortcuts. I didn’t want to cut corners.’

-- Stephanie Lysaght