The exact makeup products that were used to transform the A-list cast of 'Feud: Capote vs The Swans'

A glimpse inside makeup artist Jackie Risotto's makeup kit

Beauty Crew Beauty Editor / February 12 2024

FX’s Feud: Capote Vs. The Swans has one of the most star-studded casts on television right now. 

The series follows the true story of Truman Capote (played by Tom Hollander) and his bitter feud with his ex best friends and mid-century New York socialites Babe Paley (Naomi Watts), Slim Keith (Diane Lane), CZ Guest (Chloe Sevigny), Lee Radziwill (Calista Flockhart), Joanne Carlson (Molly Ringwald) and Ann Woodward (Demi Moore). 

The series chronicles actual events from the '50s, '60s and '70s and lead makeup artist, Jackie Risotto, was tasked with effectively transforming the A-list cast into historically accurate vanguards of glamour. To prepare for filming, Risotto compiled two thick binders of research and mood boards depicting the lapsing of time and style for each character.

"I started researching these women, the characters that the actors were going to portray," she told The Zoe Report. "I had another binder that was dedicated to different period makeup... [with] extensive research all around, including facial hair and nail polish, length of nails, everything. It was a ton of research, but it was so fascinating and so much fun. Then we put together mood boards for our additional [actors] that would come and work with us. These are high-end wealthy individuals, and we wanted to make sure that everybody looks the part."

Risotto is a seasoned pro when it comes to using prosthetics, but she used them sparingly in lieu of subtle freckling and makeup techniques using Pat McGrath Labs makeup to depict the characters age on screen.

"We used all smoke and mirrors," she admitted. "We definitely relied on the Skin Fetish foundation ($120 at Sephora) and concealer ($55 at Sephora); they just create that flawless, beautiful skin that we were going for. These women in their time were just perfect, you know, and that help us give that perfect glow."

Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Foundation

Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Concealer

"Eyeliner was important at certain times with certain women depending on their looks," she continued. "We really leaned in to that classic glamour."

"We had hundreds of background [actors for Capote's black and white ball]" she said. "You'll see bottom lashes, very cut crease eyes, just the colours, everything. We really really wanted to nail that party."

The makeup artist used Pat McGrath Labs PermaGel eyeliner ($51 at Pat McGrath Labs) in combination with the brand's MatteTrance lipstick in 'Elson' ($68 at Pat McGrath Labs) to execute the retro '60s looks on-screen, while the orangey-red MattTrance lipstick in 'Elson 2' ($68 at Pat McGrath Labs) and lighter eye makeup was used for scenes set in the '50s.

PermaGel Ultra Glide Eye Pencil

MatteTrance™ Lipstick in 'Elson'

MatteTrance™ Lipstick in 'Elson 2'

"We did take into the account that these women still got up every day and put a face on, you know, so their colours might change ever so slightly to go with the times, but they still had their signature looks [in the '70s]," Risotto explained.

The makeup artist and her team simply softened each of the character's makeup ever so slightly to respect historical accuracy. 

Not all on-screen makeup requires two binders worth of research. There were just 3 drugstore products responsible for the Saltburn cast's "hot, sweaty and flushed" faces.

Main image credit: @feudfx

Briar Clark got her start in the media industry in 2017, as an intern for Marie Claire and InStyle. Since then, her keen interest in fashion and beauty has landed her gigs as a Digital Content Producer and Beauty Editor with titles like Girlfriend, Refinery29, BEAUTYcrew and beautyheaven. She loves the way seemingly innocuous topics like skin care and style have the ability to put a smile on people’s faces or make them think about themselves a little differently. A big believer in self love and experimentation, Briar has made a point of becoming the Australian beauty industry’s unofficial guinea pig for unusual treatments and daring hair trends. When she’s not testing out the latest beauty launches, Briar is big on broadening her horizons, mostly in the form of food but she’s also partial to travelling to new destinations both near and far (and of course, allocating an extra bag to bring their best beauty offerings home with her).