Q&A: Bollywood Legend, Makeup Artist Mickey Contractor

Touted for his expert hand at the 'no-makeup' look, Mickey Contractor is a Bollywood legend. The makeup artists gave us a few tips on what the West can learn from the East and how to perfect the smoky eye.

Mickey Contractor/MAC Beauty
(Image credit: archive)

He's a very positive energy to be around," Indian actress Aishwarya Rai says about Mickey Contractor, her favorite makeup man. Touted for his expert hand at the 'no-makeup' look, there's hardly a shortage of praise in Bollywood for the magic Contractor has been creating with his makeup brushes for over 30 years.

Contractor recently came out with a limited-edition collection for M.A.C. that serves the needs of most medium-to-dark skin tones, which has been temporarily re-issued just in time for the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards in Toronto this past weekend. In between doing the faces of stars like Priyanka Chopra, he sat down with Marie Claire for a quick interview.

With your M.A.C. collection, you've reached a whole new level of fame as a makeup artist. How has the response been?

It was an overwhelming response. It sold out much faster than I thought. I've been reading a lot of blogs and everyone seems to have loved it and want more. What I saw in India particularly when I was in-store promoting it, was that every single customer that I have met said 'Oh I have found my concealer," or "I found my foundation," or "This is my lip color!" It's unfortunate that it's limited edition, but hopefully because it's done that well, maybe M.A.C. might consider making a few products part of its permanent collection.

What can the west borrow from Bollywood in terms of makeup?

I would say more accent on the eyes, and a few of our techniques for smoky eyes. The effect is more or less the same, it's just that we Indians are extremely dramatic. Therefore, compared to a smoky eye that my counterpart would do, I think my smoky eye would be much deeper. Makeup is a lot of give and take though. For the last 6 years I've been with M.A.C., we've always been borrowing from each other and learning from each other. It's been a great experience.

You've pretty much perfected the smoky eye look that's so big in Bollywood. What are your essentials to create that look?

First, and most importantly, is M.A.C. Fluidline in Blacktrack. Then Carbon and Folie eyeshadows, Zoom lash mascara, and a nice highlighter. That's all you really need.

What makeup faux pas makes you cringe?

The wrong color of foundation. Especially in our country [India], where everyone wants to look fairer for some odd reason.