Sunday, June 19, 2011

Ace of Base

I am obsessed with good foundation and have spent many years & countless hours trying to get it right. Luckily, I now have 2 clever friends who are in the know & my go-to advisers – stylist, photographer and makeup artist Owen Allison is currently Estee Lauder’s National Makeup artist, and Fox is a freelance makeup artist who has worked with MAC and Estee Lauder, and has also been spotted at the Playboy Mansion. Here are their top tips.
Owen works his magic on gorgeous Antonia
* Make sure you have a great moisturizer and exfoliate twice a week. Moisturize with a hydrating and protective day cream e.g Estee Lauder’s Time Zone.
* If your nose is prone to oiliness during the day, avoid adding moisture in this area as we want the aura of the face to glow only.
* The dewy look is most flattering. Skin looks brighter and dewier with the dead skin cells sloughed off.
Owen Allison
* Never skimp on the basics. Always cleanse, tone/soften and moisturize day and night. Nothing will age your skin faster than not removing daily grime and/or makeup.
* Base can often smooth and fill in fine lines plus gives better longevity. Most prestige brands have a product available that will work in harmony with their other products. Ask your favourite artist at your preferred counter.
* Get a professional to match your skin tone. You will be a cool, warm or neutral tone, and they can also advise on the coverage intensity to suit your skin type
* Update your foundation each season - skins change from Summer to Winter. You can also custom mix foundations to suit.
* The colour of your skin may change through the seasons, depending on lifestyle and weather. I recommend you get two foundations, one darker (for Summery months) & one lighter (the Winter months) and combine to suit. Always check with your artist and make sure you get them to apply it for you while at the counter - they have valuable tricks and tips for application, and it's great to get some one on one face time to quiz them.
* Every brand has different terminology for warm & cool, yellow base or pink base. Don't let marketing and terminology confuse you. Always ask the professionals if you are unsure about what anything means.
* Go to a counter to wear and feel first. Different products can feel different on your skin.
Fox, Owen and I are huge advocates of Estee Lauder's Double Wear foundation - as the original ads said, it will stay on in jungle terrain! It is great for work, when you need stickability in muggy weather, or after an all-night dance party or Atlantic travel. I have oily skin so I need something that will stay put all day at work. Now new Double Wear Light is out, for a slightly more sheer finish than the original. It also stays on all day! I also love MAC's Studio Fix for good stickability and for a cheaper option, L’Oreal True Match is good, and goes out quite easily. For a great exfoliant, I like Dermalogica's Daily Micofoliant and Antipodes Facial Exfoliator.

Owen Allison
* Brushes work better for blending. Sponges soak up too much product.
* Apply foundation from the middle of the face then, outward. Often only the nose, chin and forehead need foundation.
* If you feel you need more coverage, stick to more sheer foundations and use a concealer for areas that need extra cover (like scars, sun-spots etc). This avoids looking too mask-like. Avoid opaque, pancake makeup unless you are on TV or on stage - it will age you.
* Take your time to get your foundation blended right – don’t just slap makeup on, take an active part in it. Try getting up 5 minutes earlier in the mornings to take the time to get it right. Take time to get it right and it will last all day with minimal touch-ups - only powder where you need it.
* Apply only where you need it. Remember that faces are not flat - we all have great curves and angles. BLEND BLEND BLEND!
* Do not use your fingers to apply a whole face, usually we have just moisturized with our fingers and with oily digits - this has a tendency to just smear the foundation right off. Use a brush to work the foundation into the skin. You need a good base - if foundation isn't right everything else will look average.
* Brushes are great as they give you more control and you can feather/press the product and build it and put it where you need it.
* Always check your application in the mirror, especially neck and sides of your face, to make sure you are blended properly. If you have the correct colour and apply only where it's needed, this should never be a problem.
* Mix a dot of eye cream (e.g. Advanced Night Repair Eye Gel by Estee Lauder) and a concealer (e.g. Double Wear Stay in Place Concealer by Estee Lauder) together and paint out any dark areas of the face paying attention to the inner bridge of the nose and under-eye areas
* A touch of the concealer around the lip area makes your apricot/beige or caramel lip gloss look much clearer.
* Apply a minimal amount of a dewy foundation with a Kabuki style brush (e.g. Resilience Lift Extreme, a radiant lifting make up by Estee Lauder).
Big, fat Kabuki-style brush
* Another great trick here is add a drop of a repair serum (Advanced Night Repair by Estee Lauder) into your liquid foundation and buff this rich glowy formulation into the skin, starting from the nose and blending outwards
* You can apply concealer either before or after applying foundation. Applying after can allow you to see where it's needed. Remember there is no right or wrong way to apply.

I worked for Clarins and YSL at Harrods and learned a few wee tricks there. To combat those hungover black bags under the eyes under a night on the tiles in Soho, I cannot recommend Estee Lauder's Smoothing Cream Concealer Disappear and YSL's magic Touche Éclat enough! We sold Touche Éclat hand over fist - one sells every 20 seconds, worldwide! Geri Halliwell used to buy hers from my mate at Harvey Nicks (she used to pop in with Elton John's hubby, David Furnish). I love the new Touche Éclat campaign (above) featuring Ginta Lapina, shot by Terry Richardson. The Disappear gets rid of that grey hue, and Touche Éclat provides brightening to liven up the matte skin. My main tip - Touche Éclat works extra well on top of an eye gel. Disappear lasts forever, it is quite thick so you only need a wee dab. Just be careful and dab around the eyes - the skin is very delicate and paper thin here!
* A good trick to brighten up skin is to buff with a big powder brush after you have applied foundation. There's no need for any powder or product - the brush simply polishes the foundation.
* Apply a touch of your eye cream pressed into any areas of your makeup you want that extra glow such as top of the cheek, middle of the forehead, above the brows - try and avoid too much highlighter on the nose as this can be mistaken for oily skin rather than a dewy look.
* For oily skin, tissue off any excess oil during the day, then lightly add a small amount of powder to the nose, chin and forehead to help absorb any excess oil.
* After a light dusting of powder (if required), spritz with MAC Fix to calm and set your skin.
* Stop touching your face during the day. Consciously make the effort to keep your hands off your face!
* Get in touch with the fun of makeup! The whole point of makeup is that it's an evolution - there are no hard and fast rules.
Check out Owen's website here for advertising, editorial, weddings and portrait photography.

Ace your Base

Powder Foundation Brush 3
$42 -

Estee Lauder Foundation Brush
$32 -

MAC Fix+
$19 -

Shiseido Oil-Control Blotting Paper
$18 -


  1. Very nice review. Looking forward to the rest of the Burberry Beauty brush line to come out. Would you recommend this over the Edward Bess brush if you can only choose one? I'm looking for a slightly more dense application with the ability to blend well. Thanks.
    makeup artist in Sydney

  2. Thank you! Email Owen, he recommends the EL Kabuki - he is the brush guru and has loads of great advice :-)


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