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Here Are the 9 Questions I’m Asked the Most as a Makeup Artist

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It’s an intimate thing, touching the face of another. Imagine doing it for a living.

In honesty, it’s an aspect I hadn’t really considered when I was taking my baby steps into the industry, enamoured by the idea of creating gruesome special effects work and couture-worthy fashion designs. 

Fast forward 15 years and the hats I wear daily include the negotiator between backstage and set, the agony aunt and the skincare aficionado. Alongside, of course, your makeup artist and hairstylist. I love every moment. 

Working freelance in the biz I write about has its advantages in shared skills and research opportunities. I will take my client’s confessions to the grave, but I will share the answers to some of the questions I get asked the most.

After all, there might just be something you want to know there too. 

 


1. What’s your favourite brand? 

If I had an extra pound for every time I am asked “What’s your favourite brand?”, I would be living comfortably in St Barts. Whilst it’s a hard question to answer having worked for a few different brands on counter and having such a diverse range in my kit, one of my favourite brands has to be Ciate London. 

From its roots in creative nail products developed by ex-session nail artist Charlotte Knight, it has evolved into a one-stop shop for everything makeup-related, all whilst maintaining a cruelty-free stance. Check out their eyeshadow palettes for great colour payoff and a range of textures and creative shades, and their Extraordinary Skin collection for the perfect base. 

 

Image – Ciate London

 


2. What product have you repurchased most? 

You know an artist loves a product when they come back to it time and time again.

My longest-running and most repurchased item however has to do with brows, despite not actually being a brow product originally. Collection Cosmetics, I’m open to buying shares, and if you ever discontinue Colour Lash Mascara in Clear (£2.49 from Collection Cosmetics UK), I might quit my job. 

From sweaty fitness campaigns for Nike in the Johannesburg heat to edgy fashion shoots in the English rain for Diesel, my eternal love for this product comes from its flake-free, almost waterproof, borderline indestructible formula, capable of setting even the most unruly of brows hour after hour. 

 


3. How do I stop mascara from transferring? 

Obviously, I use a thousand mascara tubes a year, but Eyeko will always be my go-to brand, their Black Magic Intense Mascara (£19 from Eyeko UK / $24 from Eyeko US) hits all the high notes: long-lasting, non-flakey, beautifully curling, inky black and wonderfully volumising too.

But more than that, this tubing mascara wraps the lashes offering great staying power for a non-waterproof formula. 

 

Image – Golubovy/Adobe

 

My clients with oily eyes always despair, as mascara is invariably likely to transfer, oil is a makeup remover after all. But, there are a few things you can do to help. 

Firstly, limit pre-makeup hydration around the eye area, if you love an eye cream, hold off until the evening. If you can’t bear going skincare-free in the eye area, use a serum patch instead for lighter, but deep-penetrating hydration. 

Choosing oil-free foundations and concealers in the eye area also helps, and a tiny bit of powder applied to the eye socket with a fluffy blending eyeshadow brush will set any residual oils before you finish your eyes. 

 


4. What’s the best way to accentuate hooded eyes? 

Knowing how to emphasise different eye shapes is a key part of the job, but my clients with hooded eyes ask most frequently for advice and struggle the most. 

Firstly, ditch the false lashes, in my experience, they often just make eyes look heavier. Instead, grab the lash curlers and lift the natural lash to open up the eye, the results are always infinitely more awakening to the eyes. 

Next, keep darker shades to the outer corners of the eyes, and brighter, highlighting shades to the inner corners. Creating a phantom crease just won’t cut it, but what will work is an ombre of colour across the width of the eye. 

My clients are always amazed too that I would only apply liners to the outer third of the eye, and right in the lash line itself, but it’s a great rule to keep to for smaller eyes, to ensure the eye shape always stays open. 

 


5. How do I create a natural glowing base? 

Equally, my teenage clients are intrigued by my light touch with powders. If you let your primer do the job of fixing your base from below, any foundation treated right can create a gorgeous real-skin glow. 

I love using cream colour products like blusher or bronzer to keep a dewy look fresh. But try a less-is-more approach with your powder to finish to keep it ultra-natural. By dusting a little just on the centre of the forehead, nose and chin, but leaving cheekbones and temples, you retain a skincare-focussed glow from your base alone. 

 

Image – Lightfieldstudios/Adobe

 


6. How do I create a highlight without shimmer? 

My all-time favourite looks to create involve glossy lids and glassy skin. Editorially it’s beautiful and timeless, but day to day, it’s hard work to carry off.

My go-to product for a little glow without using a glittering formula is Dr Lipp’s Original Nipple Balm (£12 from Look Fantastic UK / $7.70 from Dr Lipp US). A little of their lanolin-based balm creates a lasting glow that won’t slip or disrupt the makeup below, pat just a tiny slick onto cheekbones and brow bones, and the lips of course. 

 


7. How’s best to control shine throughout the day? 

One model I worked with on a stunningly hot day in London was thrilled by how I looked after her oil-prone skin after I shared one of my biggest tips; that there is more to mattifying than just powder.

If you’re trying a glowy look and want to maintain optimal dewiness, are naturally oily, or like a naturally matte finish, keep the oil-blotting papers to hand. 

Regardless of your skin type, reaching for the powder last keeps your makeup light, fresh and radiant. Removing oil physically before mattifying with powder is the way to go, so much so that you might not need the powder after all. 

 

Image – Cavanimages/Adobe

 


8. How do I fix my foundation once it’s broken? 

One of makeup’s greatest frustrations is to fix a foundation once it’s broken, but again, we have ways to make it work. If I’m on set and can’t sneak in time for a total re-do after heat, sweat or multiple outfit changes have done me dirty, what can I do in a snap? 

Where a foundation has lifted and separated, it’s most likely caused by the breakthrough of oil. I’m looking at you, noses, chins and foreheads. And, simply applying more foundation won’t work, especially if you’ve already tried to blot oil with powder. 

Using a cotton pad with oil-free micellar water, carefully remove the makeup in the area that has broken, and dry it with a clean cotton pad, blending the edges by blotting.

Re-prep the base by carefully applying a tiny bit of primer if you used one, patting it with your finger (overlapping your foundation a touch is fine) or hydrating the remaining area base with a little misting spray, to allow the meeting products to blend. 

Once you’re back to the start, using a brush apply a small drop of foundation – the key here is to use minimal product with a gentle touch to not disturb any more of the base. Finish with a smidge of powder and you’re good to go! 

 


9. How can I cover my wrinkles? 

Another question that would land me in a Malibu beach house if I got a quid each time I was asked.

I hate to burst the bubble but there is no magic product in makeup for wrinkles, however, there are things to do and avoid, with your skincare and base. 

Top of my list for clients with fine lines and wrinkles is hydration. Use a hyaluronic serum applied over a mist and build extra moisture in small layers, taking the time for each product to sink into the skin before makeup. Fine lines are easily minimised by pumping up the skin’s surface water levels.

For deeper set wrinkles, a little bit of a silicone-based primer is great, smoothing over texture and creating a smoother base for your foundation. This also helps to prevent makeup from slipping into lines. Elf’s Liquid Poreless Putty (£10, from Boots UK, $10, from Ulta US) is a great bargain product to dip a toe into the water. 

Lastly, and the thing that all of my more mature clients are astounded by, avoid foundation. Terrifying, I know, but hear me out.

I’m not saying avoid a base, just change what you’re using. Formulas like tinted serums, moisturisers or CC creams actively hydrate throughout the day, meaning that dehydration lines are reduced, and as a bonus, a lighter formula is less likely to settle into lines. 

 


The takeaway 

Yes, these tips and tricks are all things I’ve learned along the way of a 15-year career, but I will still always maintain that makeup can be accessible to everyone, and bent to your will. 

Genuinely, the greatest question I’m asked is, “So, less really is more?”. 

With every product, and every look, yes. Build up your coverage lightly, your colour slowly, and your mascara gently. You really will be astounded at the results of a light hand and a regularly cleaned makeup brush.

 

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Naomi qualified as a Makeup Artist almost 15 years ago, starting her career working on counter and events teams for MAC, Bobbi Brown, Smashbox and Shu Uemura. Since, she has gone on to work solely as a freelance Makeup Artist and Hairstylist across the UK, and internationally.  She is also a published writer, sharing knowledge and experience across beauty, wellness and travel, for The Review Magazine, Liz Earle Wellbeing, Shape Magazine and Pro Beauty.

Expertise: Makeup, skincare
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