Dan Read: Interview with a Cosmetic Rock Star

     Dan Read is a rock star.  Yes, he is the creator and owner of Dan Read Cosmetics, one of my all-time favorite cosmetics lines – but he is also a rock star.  For real.

      Dan was born to very creative, talented parents.  His mother was a portrait artist who also designed artwork for album covers in the seventies.  She created album cover art for stars like Eddie Arnolds, Buck Owens, and Elvis.  Speaking of Elvis, Dan’s mom had a real soft spot for him – so she married a man who looked and sounded just like Elvis.  Dan’s father, Ronnie White, had the very first Elvis tribute show.  He so closely resembled Elvis his act eventually opened for superstars like Tina Turner.  At age 16, Dan found himself playing drums onstage with his dad in Las Vegas.  That was only the beginning of a long career in show business.

Ronnie White, Dan's father, as Elvis

Ronnie White during an Elvis Tribute show

Dan went on to become a double bass hard hitting drummer in 1980’s big hair bands in Hollywood.  He was in the band Kingdom Come, and then moved to Bust’er Chops, managed by Eddie Van Halen.

Bust'er Chops - Dan Read is far right

Dan breaking some sticks in Bust'er Chops

Bust’er Chops was getting ready to go on tour, opening for the Stone Temple Pilots in the Monsters of Rock Tour, when the group decided Dan was too pretty. 

Early 80's Dan Read

So Dan was out, and a guy with a less perfect visage was in.  Dan thought he had missed his chance – and then he met up with a former band mate after the tour.  After a short conversation, Dan realized that the bands actually didn’t make a lot of money even with a huge tour (as Dan says, it was ‘rags to recognition’, not ‘rags to riches’).  He decided it was time to create Plan B.

     Dan answered a newspaper ad in the Los Angeles Times for a job cleaning beakers.  The man who placed that ad was none other than makeup legend Joe Blasco, who at that time was just starting his makeup line Joe Blasco Cosmetics.  Dan’s first job was on the Three Stooges lot in Hollywood, CA.  While he started out cleaning toilets, beakers, and sweeping, he was mesmerized by all the cool cosmetics – monster heads, arms, body parts, all the special effects.  Dan quickly graduated to learning how to create compound makeup, and he helped bring the Blasco line to the forefront with the marketing skills learned from playing in the bands.  Dan’s goal was to  promote the Joe Blasco line the way they promote a rock band.

     By 1988 the Blasco line went international.  Dan became the VP of Education, Joe Blasco Makeup Centers Hollywood, creating with makeup during the day, and still drumming in his rock band at night.  Dan worked as the Joe Blasco VP for over 12 years, eventually quitting his band to go to Orlando, Florida to work with Joe opening the Makeup Center East Corporation Headquarters.  Dan put together the very first makeup department for Universal Studios in Florida in 1992. 

Dan Read

     In 1997, Dan launched his own cosmetics line focused on what he knew was coming in 2000 – HD television.  For the past 13 years Dan has been doing his own HD-ready line, he really is the Father of HD makeup.  Dan’s philosophy is glamor makeup that looks natural, not overdone. 

     I asked Dan what he thought was the best part about being a makeup artist. His immediate answer?  “Making people cry.”  Of course he meant cry with happiness!  He loves making port wine stains, lupidermis, vitiglio, rosacea, or any skin condition that causes low self esteem disappear.  He lives to help people feel good about themselves, to be a part of that moment when someone really realizes how just how beautiful they are.   

     Dan has worked with tons of celebrities, including quite a few beauty icons. 

     He did Lauren Bacall’s makeup for the 61st academy awards.  He’s worked with supermodels like Kathy Ireland, with country music stars like Brooks & Dunn and Lori Morgan, and he even did makeup for Elizabeth Taylor.

     Dan has been in the business a long time, but he often feels like David versus Goliath.  He says, “There are far too many celebrity experts in this business who don’t know squat.  People listen to these quack experts and are frustrated when the products don’t work.  My products are based on logic, and they work.”  His DRC line features the famous HD-ready Silver Screen Series Foundation.  This foundation is revolutionary technology in Full Coverage, Clarifying, Comfort Foundation made with almost all powdered ingredients instead of oils and waxes.  It is highly pigmented, so it works as both a foundation and a concealer.  What makes it a truly amazing foundation is that it provides superior, long lasting coverage without powder, yet it’s sheer enough to look completely natural.  It’s also one of the very first foundations to use an organic preservative with no parabens. With Dan Read Cosmetics you will achieve the perfect match for your skin undertones.

Dan Read Silver Screen Series Foundation

      For women with visible wrinkles, Dan recommends using his foundation as both the concealer and the foundation.  The foundation clarifies the skin, it doesn’t settle into lines and it lets the skin breathe.  His foundation perfects the skin and de-emphasizes wrinkles.  When used in conjunction with his fine micro-milled setting powder it minimizes large pores.  To pick the correct shade, there is a great questionnaire on his DRC website.  Shades are based on ancestral background, so you should be able to find your match quickly – and if you can’t, just pick up the phone and give Dan, or one of his highly trained staff, a call. 

    Here’s a big secret for you – Dan is holding a huge celebrity party in Hollywood next month.  It’s by invitation only, and the guest list includes a wonderfully eclectic mix of celebrities like Loni Anderson, Billy Idol, Tommy Lee (of Motley Crue fame), and even George Clooney.  That’s an invitation list I would pay to be on!

     These days Dan is known as the ‘Modern day Max Factor’, and is one of the  most sought after makeup artists in film and television.  He’s continued his career in music too, he just finished his latest CD album with Russell and Hop.

Russell and Hop. Dan Read is pictured far left.

Dan Read is still a rock star, in every sense of the phrase.   – Lisa

Dan Read, still breaking sticks.