Makeup artist Amy Forsythe revealed the secret behind the bold makeup look that didn't smudge on Cara Buono after her dip in the pool

By Jen Juneau
July 08, 2019 10:34 AM

Warning: Spoilers for Stranger Things Season 3 

While binge-watching season 3 of Stranger Things, many questions like — how does Mrs. Wheeler aka Cara Buono‘s perfectly bold, 80’s eye makeup stay put after a dip in the pool — might arise.

Amy Forsythe, the series’ makeup artist, revealed that she created the colorful look on Buono’s character, Karen Wheeler, for her poolside flirt scene with lifeguard-turned-Mind Flayer-host, Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery). The look had viewers’ heads turning when it barely budged after she went underwater during a scene in the first episode.

One secret, Forsythe told Vulture, was leveraging the use of setting sprays and primers in multiple layers, as well as waterproof mascara because she “didn’t want [Cara] looking messy.”

“If the eye shadow went down a notch from going under, I was okay with that, since we could always put more on between takes. But the rest of the face had to be intact,” she said.

Cara Buono in Stranger Things
Netflix
Dacre Montgomery (L) and Cara Buono in Stranger Things
Netflix
Cara Buono in Stranger Things
Netflix

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For the actual eye shadow — a blend of bright colors perfect for the aesthetic that embodied the summer of 1985 — Forsythe and other makeup artists used mostly MAC palettes and relied on that fact that Buono “barely goes under the water” for her pool scene.

“We wanted to see what would organically happen as far as how the makeup stays,” she said — and luckily, her team’s wish was granted.

“It’s not as fake as it looks!” Forsythe said of the makeup in the dripping scene where Karen and Billy share a flirty exchange about setting up a rendezvous that never comes to fruition. “The colors that we used are very vibrant, but to make it look that high-pigmented, we had to pack it on a little bit thicker than what we’re used to.”

“You do see a little bit of water going through her cheeks. I love that!” she raved to Vulture. “You see a layer there that she puts on.”

Dacre Montgomery (L) and Cara Buono in Stranger Things
Netflix

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Forsythe said she “wanted Cara to have the most color” of the women she sat poolside with, who all got gussied up on the daily just to wait for the moment a shirtless Billy would walk out from the locker rooms to take up his post at the lifeguard stand.

“We have a ton of research that we pull before the show starts. We had TV Guides and cosmetic ads and movie posters and magazine clippings,” she said explaining the inspiration behind Karen’s look.

Luckily, that specific bit of makeup magic only had to last a short amount of time in the episode.

The makeup guru concluded, “The great thing with Cara’s character is we got to do something cool with her because it was a temporary moment, not something we have to carry through the whole show.”

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