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Abbott Elementary Hair and Makeup Secrets From Set


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In an era where short-form video content is king and traditional sitcoms are practically nonexistent, “Abbott Elementary” offers a refreshing reprieve. The series, which is in its third season and comes in weekly installments, follows a group of educators in the Philadelphia public school system as they navigate their personal lives while balancing budget cuts, academic red tape, and so much more.

As the show has grown, so have the creative forces who keep it running behind the scenes — particularly, the hair and makeup department. “Every season, but for this one in particular, my vision for the characters is elevation and evolution,” Moira Frazier, “Abbott Elementary”‘s hair department lead, tells PS. “So it was fun creating that narrative for this season.”

Ahead, Frazier and makeup department head Constance Foe explain everything that went into creating the beauty looks for season three of the show. From adjusting for the shift to 8K high-resolution cameras to how they crafted Janine’s new, more mature aesthetic now that she’s working at the district, keep reading for all the beauty secrets from “Abbot Elementary” season three.

HOw Janine Reinvented Herself Through Beauty For Season 3

For the show’s main character, Janine Teagues, season three was about stepping into her power. “Not only is she now working at the district, but she also had that slight little hiccup with Gregeory, and now she’s reinventing herself,” Foe says. “To embody that energy, I used a lot of jewel-toned eyeliner because it’s dark enough to look black or brown and remain professional, but once the light hits it, it dazzles in emerald, sapphire, amber, and a host of other colors. This kept the makeup minimal and looking like Janine, but it was still a new, upgraded version of herself.”

Frazier followed this same line of thinking when it came to Janine’s signature hairstyle for season three. “When going through breakups, the first thing that women tend to do is cut their hair,” she says. “But Janine didn’t have any money for a salon visit; she was still a public school teacher at the time.” As a result, Frazier and Quinta Brunson, creator of the show and the actor who plays Janine, came up with the idea for the character to look like she styled her hair herself. “It’s something about a middle part that commands attention, so with Janine’s hairstyle this season,” Frazier says. “It was all about her tapping into her more feminine and confident side.”

The Importance of Using Hair to Create Relatability

One other main character who had a subtle hair change this season was Jacob, and it underscored how important — and sometimes culturally relevant — hair can be.

“We did a fade on Jacob last season, but on the newer episodes, it’s much sharper and fresh, and the kids are noticing,” Frazier says. “This has been able to help him connect with these students a lot more, and you’ll notice throughout the season that kids are coming up to him and dapping him up almost more as a peer rather than an authority figure,” Frazier says. “This was intentional. Any teacher understands how important it is to be relatable to the kids that they teach, especially in Philadelphia or any inner-city.”

How the Hair and Makeup Techniques Changed For Higher-Resolution Cameras

One of the biggest challenges that the duo had to navigate was season three of the show being filmed in 8K resolution, which was much sharper and more detailed than the 4K cameras that they were working with in the past. “I had to make sure that no part of those wigs could be detected,” Frazier says. To do so, she couldn’t use just any regular HD lace. “I use what’s called film lace, and I get that flown over from London,” she says. “It is the thinnest lace on the market right now.” With this, plus her brand’s Fingaz Beauty Lace Lock Melting Spray ($10, originally $30), viewers were none the wiser to the fact that almost the entire cast was wearing a wig or headpiece of some sort.

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As for makeup, skin care was key. “We make sure to tailor each skin-care routine to each actor’s specific concerns,” Foe says. “We didn’t want to use items that would cause any reactions because at the end of the day, the makeup can be changed to suit each character’s story but the skin underneath needs to be in tip-top shape.” This skin regimen includes weekly facials for the cast, with some of them exclusively using products from brands like Tatacha to promote ethereal, glass-like skin. “We want people to see our work but it needs to be flawless. The cameras pick up everything,” Foe says.

Hair and Makeup Products Used on “Abbott Elementary”

One of Foe’s holy-grail products was the Dior Backstage Face & Body Foundation ($43), but she has a genius trick for using it. “For all talent, I put a drop of Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Serum ($85) into their foundations,” she says. “Because of the way it dries, we don’t have to powder the skin and it still looks flawless.” A few other must-haves include the Sephora Collection Lip Gloss Balm ($11) in Cinnamon Toast, which she says is Brunson’s favorite gloss to use, the Lip Bar’s Bawse Lady ($14), a staple for Barbara Howard, and the Huda Beauty Lip Contour ($21) in Rich Brown.

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Frazier’s staple for hair was the Lace Lock Melting Spray from her brand, which she says is a nonnegotiable on set. A few other stand-out items in her kit included the The Doux Big Poppa Gel ($16), the Nairobi Wrapp It Shine Foaming Lotion ($23), and the Color Wow Dream Coat ($28).

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Though the looks on the show appear flawless, both Frazier and Foe want people to know that a lot of work goes on behind the scenes to bring the shows that you know and love to life. “We’re always working in the future,” Frazier says. “It’s such a fast-paced show but it’s a blessing to work in our elements and to be able to meet any challenges head-on.”

Ariel Baker is the associate editor for PS Beauty. Her areas of expertise include celebrity news, beauty trends, and product reviews. She has additional bylines with Essence and Forbes Vetted.


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