Make Over Your Makeup

Sometimes, your makeup just needs a refresh. It’s easy to get caught in a routine of using the same old products, even if they’re not the best ones for you. Or you hit a life change that requires a makeup revamp (starting a new career, going back to work after baby, turning A Certain Age). So how do you start from scratch? Hit the beauty counter. We reached out to four top makeup artists that I’m honored to call friends to get their expert advice.

Carmindy
Mathew Nigara
Gaby
Blair Patterson

Our Expert Panel

  • Carmindy: The beauty pro on our What Not to Wear Glam Squad and creator of Carmindy & Co Cosmetics.
  • Mathew Nigara: Makeup artist to the stars, including my former WNTW cohost Stacy London.
  • Gaby: TV makeup artist whose credits include The Chew and What Not to Wear.
  • Blair Patterson: Estee Lauder’s Director of Global Makeup Artistry and a former partner-in-crime for Macy’s Makeover America.

Rule #1: Go in Prepared

Don’t just decide one day to hit the makeup counter. “Think about what you like and don’t like about your current look,” says Blair. Bring tears from magazines to show what you like and know your budget ahead of time, but approach the floor with an open mind and an eagerness to learn.

Rule #2: Enlist an Expert

Browse a little on your own, then find someone to work with. “Look for a seasoned pro who gives off a good energy, don’t just go with the first person that approaches you,” says Gaby. Be upfront about your budget and needs, and don’t be embarrassed to take notes! Talk to the artist and ask them to break down the steps so you can recreate the look at home, especially if you’re learning a new technique.

Rule #3: Perfect your Skin First

Perfecting your skin is the key to your beauty routine—and also the place where it’s worth splurging.“The formulas and color ranges of higher-end skin products are better than drugstore brands,” says Mathew. “There’s a reason they cost more!” Talk to the pro about foundation, concealer and powder. Try out at least three shades in daylight (step outside with a mirror if you need to). And if you have sensitive skin, wait a day to see if you have any reaction before you make a purchase.

Rule #4: Emphasize your Eyes

Use eyeliner and mascara to add definition without going over the top, and stick to neutrals when it comes to eyeshadow (ideally three in the same color family). “For blue eyes, warm, orange-based browns are lovely; for green, violet-based browns or aubergine are great; for brown eyes, hazelnuts and golds are stunning,” says Gaby. If you’re on a budget, head to the drugstore for eyeshadow.

Rule #5: Make those Lips Luscious

It’s time to upgrade from Cherry Chapstick! “Even if you just do a lip tint, you’ll look more professional,” says Carmindy. Stains and lipsticks with a creamy formula last longest during the day without drying out your lips or looking caky, but avoid glosses, since they require too much touch-up. Consider getting a bolder lipstick for days when you have a big meeting or presentation.

And a few extra gems…

“Save the big trends for the weekends! Unless you work in the beauty or fashion industry, your day look should just be the enhanced version of yourself,” says Carmindy.

“Don’t use makeup as a form of self-expression—it’s passé and tacky! Emotional wellbeing and harmony with yourself is the new beauty,” says Mathew.

“When you see an editorial in Vogue, remember that it’s haute couture and not every day—use it only as an inspiration point,” says Gaby.

“The first step of makeup is skin care—the better you take care of your skin, the less makeup you need,” says Blair.

MakeupCounter

Photo courtesy City Chemist in Brooklyn, NY.

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