Read the full article by Lynsey G. at Allure.com

It’s 9 a.m. on the fourth and final day of the porn industry’s AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas, and both the talent and the makeup artists in suite 911 of the Paradise Tower are exhausted. The porn performers, cam girls, and dominatrixes gathered here at the Hard Rock Hotel have been contracted to appear at the booth for erotic clip platform iWantEmpire, and they’ve been signing autographs, taking selfies with fans, and being “on” for at least eight hours a day since the event began. If the performers at the expo have been working hard, the professionals getting them ready have too. Today, they’re sharing their behind-the-scenes stories and beauty secrets with me.

“There’s a lot of artists on my end who might not be comfortable in an adult film setting,” makeup artist and hairstylist Dee Castro tells me later that morning. Dee and Rebecca are married and frequently work together, and this week they’ve both been hired by iWantEmpire through Rebecca’s company True Virtue Beauty. Dee freelances on her own, too. For her, the adult entertainment industry has clear perks: “On a typical adult set, my days are no longer than two hours, versus a TV or film set, where I’m there 12, 14, maybe 16 hours.”

She appreciates the creative freedom of working in porn, too. “On regular sets, it’s like a taupe eyelid, the ‘no makeup’ makeup. They’re not supposed to look like they’re in makeup,” she says. On adult sets, though, “You get to do dramatic eyes with a nude lip. Double lashes. Just enough glitter to be on the skin but not transfer. It’s a more avant garde look that we get to do.”

Of course, Dee points out, it’s not all lashes and eyeshadow. After all, women aren’t the only adult industry clients who need makeup. “For men, it’s a lot of standard men’s grooming: primer, foundation, a little sculpting of the face. A lot of it, though, is body sculpting,” she says. “I love sculpting. I like body painting. They say, ‘Can you give me a little bit more definition? I just ate, I feel bloated.'”

The airbrushing, sculpting, and makeup, Dee says, are all parts of a “beautiful process” her clients go through before they step in front of a camera or onto the show floor. “They just come in, get their makeup done. But the second they have transformed, their character comes to life, and that’s when they get into their role of who they are, what they’re doing,” Dee says. “The girls and guys I work with, they’re everyday people. It’s just they get to play pretend every single day. And I’m lucky to be a part of that… For me, it’s all about transformation.”

During these transformations, it’s often also the job of a makeup artist to provide support. “Our role,” Dee says, “is that we’re the therapists. We always have to have that calm demeanor and make sure that we keep them level so they can be up to par and be ‘on’ the second they’re out of our chair.”

Dee shares that part of keeping the talent calm is being personally unobtrusive. Dee always keeps gum on hand for fresh breath, but still, she says, “I hold my breath when I’m in someone’s face unless I’m talking. And I definitely pack on the deodorant and make sure I smell good, because you are in really, really close proximity to someone else, and if I’m having a funky day, that’s not good.”