The 7 Pro Beauty Hacks I’ve Learned on the Job as a Model
Main image – Courtesy of writer
Having worked as a model for the past five years, I’ve been lucky enough to collaborate with some of the world’s finest makeup artists.
On each job, I’ve learned techniques and tips (and product recommendations!) that have transformed my beauty journey. No matter how early the call time, my notes app is ready!
So… from the makeup chair, here are 7 beauty hacks I’ve learned that are worth shouting about.
1. Creating the perfect base
I’ve noticed throughout my time as a model, the majority of makeup artists will use the same skin prep steps before applying foundation.
After cleansing the face and using any toners, many makeup artists opt for a thicker lotion for moisturiser, the most popular being the classic Weleda product Skin Food Light (£14.95 from Look Fantastic UK /Weleda US) or Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentrate (£21.99 from Look Fantastic UK / $29 from Embryolisse US).
These lotions can be used on the face and body and prep a lovely glowy base that can even be seen through thick, stage light-ready foundation. They’re both super hydrating too, so I’ve found my skin still feels moisturised after several hours under heavy makeup.
But there’s only so far makeup artists can go, we all know a consistent skincare routine is the step before creating the perfect base. I spoke with dermatologist Dr. Cristina Psomadakis on how to get your skin to the best it can be to give the makeup artist the best canvas possible.
“The number one important thing for a good makeup base is getting your skin as smooth and hydrated as possible so it is an even canvas. flaky skin, large pores, textured skin, pigmentation and acne can all affect how makeup settles onto skin and reflects light.”
Dr Psomadakis reminds us that even with some ‘imperfections’, “makeup artists have a huge armoury of tricks to use makeup to adjust for differences in skin texture.”
For creating the best base Dr Psomadakis says, “as a dermatologist my main advice revolves around getting your skin to the best it can be ensuring your skin is a smooth canvas. This involves supporting your skin shedding cycle with things like occasional exfoliation“.
2. French Girl Pre Runway Tip
When I walked Paris Fashion Week I noticed all the french makeup artists were armed with this little white tube that they would apply to your lips while waiting in lineup to the runway.
This plant-based balm was developed as a skin repair cream, but has built quite the cult following in the past few years known for being a great moisturising cream.
It does the job of keeping lips moisturised and not overly glossy for the runway and those money shots!
And funnily enough, after I saw Homeoplasmine backstage in Paris, I started seeing it all over the London shows too!
3. Mascara tricks
Another tip I’ve noticed on multiple shoots is makeup artists will use fanned makeup and paint brushes to apply mascara.
Literally a small, fanned makeup brush rather than a mascara applicator, it makes sense in the case of cross contamination, as makeup artists will often use lots of different brushes and to avoid double dipping. It also saves on waste as you don’t need to use disposable spoolies.
But the main reason for the fanned brushes is they allow you to get right into the lash line, making this one of my favourite beauty hacks.
A tip to compliment this brush technique is instead of asking you to keep your eyes and mouth open, many artists will apply mascara with the fanned brush while you’re looking down or your eyes are closed, just to ensure every lash is coated.
4. Finger painting
Finger painting, as model Emily Ratajkowski quite rightly puts it in her book ‘My Body’, is another of my favourite runway hacks.
I’ve learned from some of the world’s greatest makeup artists that applying your foundation with your fingers can be a game changer.
As the foundation warms in your hands it can be smoothed on easier without any added texture from makeup sponges. You also get more out of the product as there’s less residue left than when using a sponge or brush.
5. Lip Blush for fuller lips
One of my favourite tips I’ve learned on the job is dabbing on lip stain or blush for the illusion of fuller lips. It’s a great go to if you don’t want to wear lip liner and makes your lips look plump and kissable.
Makeup artist Sapnam Gurung opts for dabbing The Body Shop Freestyle Multi Pigment (£12 from The Body Shop UK /$18 from The Body Shop US) on her lips and cheeks saying, “it’s honestly incredible in terms of pigment and affordability. Staying power is great and works as blush, lip stain or as a mixing medium.”
She also says that “the shade range is so good as well!”
6. White pencil for nails
Another trick I learned in Paris is how to get the perfect french tips!
Often backstage nails are left until last and artists have minimal time to paint a lineup of 30 models.
I noticed the nail artists have a handy white pencil that they just run under short filed nails to create a clean and sophisticated French tip with very little effort! I’ve found a handy one from KIKO (£3.99 from Kiko UK /$4.50 from Kiko US).
7. Mix and Match
When getting my makeup done by successful magazine makeup artist Emily Wood, I noticed she was using eyeshadow as lipstick and lipstick as blush.
“I’ve always been keen on treating most makeup products like multi-use pigments” she says. “Most products are just chemicals put in different forms. I’m often applying lipliner as blush, eyeshadow as lipstick etc.”
Emily says it’s also a handy way to get around a common hurdle. “A common worry for makeup artists is “have I packed all the correct products/what if I’m missing XYZ” but besides complexion products, the rest of it can be used in various ways!”
I’ve definitely taken this knowledge off the runway into my daily makeup practices. It’s really allowed me to have more fun with makeup knowing that experts are breaking a few rules everyday in favour of art and expression, so I can too!
Meet the experts
Sapnam Gurung is a London-based makeup artist who currently works as a senior lead artist for Charlotte Tilbury and freelances outside her full time job. She specialises in red carpet and bridal. Her go-to glam is ‘lived-in glowy skin with fierce eyes’.
Dr Cristina Psomadakis is a dermatologist for the NHS. She completed her registrar training at the prestigious St Johns Institute of Dermatology, Guys & St Thomas, London. She had the opportunity to work for the King’s College Hospital dermatology department for six months as well as do a six month Mohs fellowship at St John’s.
Emily Wood is a makeup artist in London. Her clients include Atmos, Blanc Magazine, Crack Magazine, DAZED, ES magazine, ELLE, Fault, Gay Times, Guardian, Glamour, Grazia, Harpers Bazaar, Hunger, Interview, The Laterals, L’Officiel Paris, PETRIe, Refinery29, Riposte, Rollacoaster, Telegraph, Time Out, Vogue UK, Vogue Turkey, Who What Wear, Wonderland, Notion