Over the years, I’ve observed and interviewed some of the world’s top make-up artists. I’ve been backstage at Paris Fashion Week, I’ve chatted cat’s-eye eyeliner with Adele’s make-up maestro, and I’ve interviewed Beyonce’s make-up artist in LA (albeit over the phone, whilst in my PJs). And, although I’m no expert at applying make-up, I’ve managed to pick up a few tricks along the way. Here are seven hacks everyone can try.
1. The Subtle Blush Trick
Apply your favourite blush to your cheek bones before (yes, that’s right) you apply your foundation. I watched a make-up artist do this on a beauty shoot with Miranda Kerr a few years ago (I thought she wasn’t concentrating!!) but it delivered a warm lit-from-within glow. I loved it so much that I adopted the technique myself. A word of warning though: cream blush works best.
2. The Brow Trick
Gels and hairsprays might be designed for the hair on your head, but they can be effective in keeping your makeup in place, too. Backstage in Paris I saw make-up artists taming some very Brooke Shield-esque brows by spraying hairspray onto a spoolie brush and combing it through the brows to help keep them in place. This is often a more natural-looking approach than brow wax and powder.
3. The Bright (Long-Lasting) Lipstick Trick
I love bright lips (especially a classic red). Done right, they can pull together a whole look. But they are also very high maintenance. So I was intrigued to discover this failsafe tip from Tony Baumann, (the head of artistry at MECCA, who starts by colouring the entire surface of the lip with lipliner (we love this NARS lip liner). This is followed by lipstick, which he then blots so the lips are left with a natural stain “the perfect base to build upon.”
Next – and this is the clever bit – load up a cotton pad with loose powder, and press it firmly over the entire lips before dusting off the excess. “Finally, reapply the lipstick, including touching up the corners of the lip with a liner, and your lips are all-day-ready!” For the remaining day/wedding/event you can just touch up as you need, knowing that if the lipstick fades you have a bulletproof base.
4. The DIY Lipstick Trick
Finding your favourite red too vampy? Try mixing some concealer with your favourite lip colour to create a tinted version. This is an old make-up artist’s trick – and one that you’ll see everywhere from backstage to on set. Either mix the lipstick and concealer together on the back of your hand before applying with a brush or save time by applying your concealer to your lips first, then layering lipstick over the top and mix the two by pressing your lips together. This lightens the shade and creates a matt effect.
5. The Concealer Trick
Forgot to pack concealer? Don’t worry. Twist off the cap of your foundation and use the bits of foundation that have settled inside the cap. The residue is still perfectly good to use and is often thicker and similar consistency to concealer.
6. The Glowy-Foundation Trick
When I first started as a beauty editor, make-up was all about camouflaging and concealing. Now, it’s about letting your real skin show through for a glowy finish. That’s why Estee Lauder’s national education manager Nica Marcello suggests applying foundation to the middle of your face first first “and then blending outwards to ensure a… more flawless, even and natural [finish]”. For an even dewier finish, add a few drops of your favourite moisturiser, serum (we love Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair) or oil to your foundation.
7. The Million-Dollar Skin Trick
Thought masks were an indulgence reserved for rare pampering time? Not so. Healthy, hydrated skin is the best base for any make-up, and these days, when it’s common to see as many skincare products as beauty products on a make-up artist’s work bench, plenty of experts are doubling down on masks. “Getting smooth skin that’s prepped properly makes all the rest of the products in your makeup routine work better,” explains Marianna Hewitt, one half of the instafamous skincare line SUMMER FRIDAYS. She likes to ‘multi-mask’ before shoots by applying two masks consecutively (SUMMER FRIDAYS Overtime Mask followed by the SUMMER FRIDAYS Jet Lag Mask). Meanwhile, co-founder Lauren Gores-Ireland uses the same Jet Lag Mask under her make-up as a hydrating primer.