Parisian make-up artist Violette’s top secret for how to apply foundation? Execute it without a trace. “I want people to say, ‘Oh my god, your skin looks amazing!’ not, ‘Your foundation is so great,’” she explains. And while finding the perfect formula is half the battle, once you have it, making like Houdini and ensuring it vanishes into your complexion is just as crucial. Here, three in-demand make-up artists share their fine-tuned tips for how to apply foundation and achieve that ever-elusive, second-skin finish.
Create a glowing canvas
Clean and moisturised skin is a no-brainer, but to really supercharge your glow, begin with a hydrating mask and follow it up with a lymphatic facial massage. When make-up artist Nina Park works with clients such as Zoë Kravitz and Bella Hadid, she begins with a sheet mask specifically targeted to their skin type, with ingredients such as rose to combat oiliness, aloe to treat dryness, and green tea to soothe inflammation. After masking, gently massage your moisturiser into the skin to boost circulation and reduce puffiness. “It creates a natural flush that makes the face look more awake,” says make-up artist Kira Nasrat, who helps give Jessica Alba that perpetually luminous complexion.
Prime as needed
To prime or not to prime? It’s an eternal question for amateurs and pros alike. While Violette typically skips the extra base step in the interest of using as little product as possible, when applied correctly, it can prolong foundation for all-day wear. “I use an anti-shine primer for hotspots like the forehead, hairline, sides of nose, and around the mouth, and then a sheer, illuminating one for the tops of the cheekbones,” explains Park, adding that she applies each with her fingertips.
Apply from the centre and move outward
Only apply foundation where it’s really necessary, insists Violette, who counts Estée Lauder Futurist Hydra Rescue Moisturizing Foundation with SPF 45 among her favourites. “Start in the centre of the face, on the apples of the cheeks, and slowly blend out,” she instructs, adding that another key part of the face is the area around the mouth, which is prone to yellow undertones and shadows. To ensure the foundation looks as natural as possible, Violette often skips the bridge of the nose — letting freckles show through for those who have them — and the corners of the nostrils, so the pigment doesn’t cling to dry patches.
Don’t paint, buff
No matter what tool you’re using — a foundation brush, a BeautyBlender, or your fingers — buff (or bounce, if you’re using a sponge) the foundation into your skin as opposed to “painting” it on to build coverage smoothly and avoid streakiness, says Park.
Strobe wherever the sun hits
For dimension, blend highlighter onto the high planes of the face that catch light naturally, such as the cheekbones, temples, and Cupid’s bow. “I’m not a fan of powder highlighters because it looks a bit fake to me,” says Violette. “Creamy balm textures will give you a dewiness as if you’re not wearing any products.”
Blot, then set
First, soak up excess oil with blotting papers. Then, look to a featherweight translucent powder to seal in foundation and prevent unwanted sheen. “Use a brush to apply it very lightly and only to the areas that get the most shiny,” says Nasrat, adding that the leftover lustre is what will really drive home that second-skin guise. Silky smooth and even-toned, with just the right amount of lit-from-within dewiness, that’s how you execute believably perfect skin.
For all the follows and likes Pat McGrath generates around her make-up artistry every season (Julia Fox’s internet-breaking black eyeliner didn’t just happen), it’s the skin quality she has pioneered over the course of her storied career that is perhaps her biggest calling card. Hydrated, but not oily; smooth, but realistic, with a make-up-priming moisture quality that is “lightweight yet nourishing,” McGrath explains. Much like she developed a seven-step lipstick technique to achieve the ultimate in petal-soft pigment, McGrath has been cocktailing her own skincare formula for her entire career, layering simple creams spiked with rose water to create a quick-penetrating emulsion. And just as that signature make-up technique became Pat McGrath Labs’ best-selling MatteTrance Lipstick, her patented skin prep has finally been bottled.
Called Divine Skin Rose 001 and formulated by a Korean lab, the milky liquid that will launch on patmcgrath.com on 29 April closely resembles a blendable essence, formulated with 92 percent naturally derived ingredients; shake it up, and a ceramide-boosted oil phase combines with an antioxidant-spiked rose water phase to create McGrath’s replenished, rebalanced glow.
“The truth is I’ve been working on skin care as long as I have been working in make-up,” admits McGrath, who has tweaked her formula not in focus groups but on supermodels, including Naomi Campbell, who stars in the campaign for the rose-tinted glass bottle. “I wouldn’t use anything else,” says Campbell — which is high praise considering Campbell is serious about her skincare, specifically her hydration. “You never want your skin to look dried out. It’s not attractive. It’s unbecoming,” she says. Here, Campbell reveals how she’s been using the uniquely textured essence, and why after all these years in the business, good sleep might be the real secret to good skin.
As someone who has been on countless sets with Pat and at countless shows with Pat, what is her point of difference when it comes to skin finish?
When you work with Pat, before you she puts make-up on you, she really massages your skin — she loves glowy, dewy skin. So your make-up goes on smoother, everything just rolls. That’s her secret: that the skin still looks like skin and you see you and that’s important, I feel. That’s what I love about her; she never makes me matte. When you’re too matte you lose the whole person. Your make-up becomes like a mask. Pat’s make-up never looks like that.
As a McGrath Muse and, perhaps even more importantly, a Pat McGrath confidant, were you at all a part of tweaking early incarnations of her first skin-care product?
She’s been trying this out on me for a while now so I’ve had a bit of a head start in using it in my skin regime. We were actually using it last year when we were doing the Divine Rose make-up launch, but I couldn’t talk about it then, so I’m so excited that I can say all of this now. The cat’s outta the bag! In the beginning, she would ask me things like, “How does it feel? How long did it stay on?” But it’s really always been so easy — and it goes on the skin, but it also goes in the skin.
It just makes everything glowy and plump, which is important for me because I’m on set all the time, and I’m in front of lights, and I’m on planes, and my skin dries out and it gets really dehydrated no matter how much water I drink. Drink water, drink water. I never drink enough. My test is really traveling, though — how often do I need to reapply something on the plane so my skin feels hydrated. I usually sleep straight through flights and with this, I’d wake up and still have the shine.
It is not an exaggeration to say that your skin is, in fact, divine. Drop the routine!
It’s about clean for me. I cleanse in the morning and I cleanse at night. You’ve got to get the make-up off! And I need products that help make my skin look good without make-up, because I don’t wear make-up when I’m not working. I just put little bits where I want to cover blemishes so my skin can breathe. My next step is usually a serum, and sometimes I use the Essence first, before my serum, and sometimes I mix it with my serum and put it on together. You can top it off with a cream if you like, but in the summertime you don’t need to. The Essence is enough.
I watched anamazing clip on your YouTube channelabout some of your pre-runwaybody prep including an incredible lymphatic drainage massage. Are there any treatments that you regularly engage in for your face in tandem with good skin care?
I try to do my facials — you need to if you’re travelling, or you’re in the sun a lot. I don’t wear a lot of sunblock on my skin because I break out from sunblock. So I like people to extract because you have to clean out your pores sometimes! And I do microneedling every once in a while, too.
These days, so much of good skin care comes down to good self-care. How do you prioritise yourself with such a busy work schedule — and a newborn at home! — not just physically but mentally and spiritually?
The water thing is huge for me, and I’m always, like, how can I make water fun? Growing up I wasn’t really raised on soda so we always had cordials that we mixed with water, and that’s what I still drink. And I try to eat the right food and take the right vitamins — vitamin D, vitamin C, B, zinc, fish oils. Good skin is so much about what you eat, too. And sleep! I try to get as much sleep as possible even though I have a young one now. When I was younger I really didn’t need that much sleep, but now I like my sleep. It kickstarts things and helps me be enthusiastic about the day ahead.
The eyes have always had it, but in the age of ongoing face mask-wearing, extra attention is being paid to the gaze. In lieu of red lips, it’s perennially classic and universally flattering cat eyeliner that’s receiving renewed focus. “Now more than ever, eyeliner is the most effective tool to instantly enhance the shape of the eyes, express our mood, and accentuate our unique individuality,” says Gina Brooke, who paints winged eyes on clients including Cate Blanchett and Sofia Boutella. From creating a flattering base to drawing on the perfect eye-elongating wing, here pro makeup artists reveal their tricks for nailing cat eyeliner.
Start by tightlining
To begin, make-up artist Emily Cheng, who works with Yara Shahidi and Laura Harrier, recommends tightlining, also known as the invisible eyeliner technique, which consists of “applying eyeliner in between the lashes” to make them appear thicker and fuller at the roots. It will create a base for a richer, longer-lasting cat-eye look.
Swipe on a natural eyeshadow
After pro Tasha Reiko Brown (who works with Alicia Keys and Tracee Ellis Ross) tightlines, she adds a sheer swipe of a light, natural eyeshadow on the lids for a clean backdrop to add contrast. “Use a domed eyeshadow brush to apply a warm natural brown in the crease,” instructs Brown. To double down on brightening the eye area, Brooke recommends adding a neutral, flesh-toned liner at the inner corners of the eye, as well as to the lower inner perimeter to instantly open the eyes and ultimately create the illusion of larger eyes. “Using a gradation for colour and smudging the liner away from the upper and lower lash lash line will widen the eyes and provide a fresh, wide-eyed appearance,” she says.
Find the right texture
While there’s power in choice, sometimes it can be overwhelming to decide what type of eyeliner — easy-to-apply pencil, precise felt-tip liquid, or creamy gel with a brush — will be best for your desired cat-eye result. “The right tools and texture can make all the difference,” confirms Brooke, who prefers to use a soft angled nylon fiber lip brush with gel eyeliner for application.
Often, Cheng will take a hybrid approach. “I’ll start a wing with liquid liner and blend up and out with a black shadow,” she explains. “This will also contribute to making the eyes looking larger without the eyeliner looking like one large block.” Brown has a similar dual-minded approach, laying the groundwork with a kohl pencil before adding a layer of liquid liner, concentrating it at the base of the lashes for “sharply defined liner with a diffused edge.”
No matter what, though, it’s about finding the right balance between what’s easiest to apply for you and your desired result.
Choose your shade
“The most flattering shades are the ones you feel most confident in,” insists Brown. That being said, universally you can’t go wrong with warm, rich, deep browns to bring warmth around the eye. “It defines the eye without pulling focus and has more of a subtlety than black,” she says. For a similarly soft effect, Cheng recommends deep maroon as an alternative for a striking pop. But for the most part, she tends to stick to the ultimate classic, a highly-pigmented black liner, for a “sharp and clean” effect.
Strategise shape and lift
The intention of winged liner is to elongate the eye. To do so with optimal results, “Start with liner at the innermost corner and drag out slightly past the end of eye,” instructs Brown. “The line should be ultra-thin at the inner eye and gradually become slightly thicker as you move outwards.” One point that Brown drives home is that the tail end of liner doesn’t necessarily have to flick upwards in a cat eye motion.
“The tail end should angle slightly upwards and out for elongated eyes with a gentle lift,” says Brown. Before actually drawing on the flick or wing, really think about what kind of “lifted” look you want to achieve in the end. “Following rules of thumb for certain eye shapes won’t necessarily work in your favour as each face is a unique creation and other facial factors come into play,” she explains. “Really take a moment to analyse your face and your desired results and plan your technique from there.”
Add the flick or wing
To keep steady and trace on your ideal shape, Cheng recommends keeping your eye open and looking into the mirror with a relaxed face before attempting to sculpt the shape. “Following the curve of your bottom waterline and sweeping upward is a good place to start in finding the angle of your eyeliner,” explains Cheng. “This way you’ll avoid going too straight or too angled upwards, unless that is the look you are going for. I find following the waterline to be the most natural and flattering.”
Another thing to consider is if you want a crisp or diffused edge — the latter, which Cheng calls a “soft baby wing” delivers a softer, sheerer finish. “It instantly defines your eyes and it’s an easy way to create shape,” she says.
Clean it up and refine
No matter what your desired effect is, a tapered point Q-tip will be your best friend to clean up errors, as well as sharpen lines and shapes. “When I have a liner that has gotten too thick or to correct any mistakes, I’ll take a pointed make-up Q-tip dampened with micellar water and refine the line,” says Brown, cautioning that you should be wary of using traditional Q-tips as the fibers can get caught in mascara on lashes and travel into the eye.
Additionally, eschew make-up remover, which can disturb the surrounding make-up around the line too much and leave an oily residue (stick to micellar water instead). Another tried-and-true technique is harnessing the correcting and contrast-creating power of concealer. “Finishing with concealer underneath will also accentuate the liner,” says Cheng.
Finish with mascara
The final touch is mascara. After liner has dried, curl the lashes if desired, then wiggle it on. “The end result will give you depth and definition around the eye, and lashes that standout against brightened lids,” says Brown. For an eye-widening, wing-accenting curve, Cheng suggests “concentrating mascara on the outer corner, which will help elongate,” she says.
Beauty trends tend to be cyclical. Everything has its moment, and what’s on-trend eventually falls out of style until enough time passes — then it’s back. Now, the latest trend to re-emerge from the vault is the grunge aesthetic.
Yes, the kohl-rimmed eyes, brick-colored lipstick, and matte complexions that were popular in the ’90s have returned, and they’re all over runways, Instagram, and red carpet events.
Celebrity makeup artist and founder of KIMIKO, Dani Kimiko Vincent, says this grunge aesthetic is all about “a bold, gritty, and imperfect makeup look that eschews popular culture with defiance.”
For her, the key characteristics of the look are messy, smoked-out eyeliner, “Like you’ve been partying all night,” she says, and a deep lipstick in a dark burgundy tone. “This is not a precisely-applied lip complete with liner; it looks more like it was reapplied at 2 am in the dark bathroom of a bar.”
For celebrity makeup artist and Haus Labs global artistry director, Sarah Tanno, grunge makeup is less about the individual elements and more about the collective energy it radiates. “Grunge makeup has a ‘lived in’ vibe — it allows for more freedom in the sense that there are no rules to follow and gives off an ‘IDGAF’ attitude.”
Ahead, eight grunge-inspired makeup looks to inspire your inner angst.
Smudged-Out Smoky Eye
During the most recent New York Fashion Week, models at the Nicole Miller show wore eyeliner looks that were as bold as they were imperfect. They also wore matte foundation and matte lip colors. It was the perfect makeup look to complement the brand’s grunge-inspired clothing collection.
Models in the Alice + Olivia’s FW22 NYFW show wore glam black eyeshadow which was complemented by velvety-matte foundation makeup and a simple neutral-pink lip. “2022 is all about drawing attention to the eyes with a bold eye makeup, and grunge fits right into that with a strong, dark eye,” says Tanno.
Brick Red Lips
Shay Mitchell’s take on grunge makeup involves some of the most classic elements — that is, smoky eyeshadow and a brick red lipstick. When it comes to the latter, Tanno’s favorite product to use is the Haus Labs Le Monster Matte Lip Crayon. Try the shade ‘Wine Mouth,’ a warm mahogany brown that screams glam grunge.
The grunge makeup trend is also Versace-approved. At the most recent Milan Fashion Week show, Gigi Hadid walked the runway wearing a bold swipe of charcoal eyeshadow with a nude matte lip. The look was kicked up a notch with bleached brows.
Dark Red Lips
With smoked-out eyes and a dark lip, this look is classic grunge. “A lot of people try to update grunge makeup by making it more precise with a tidy smoky eye and a well-lined lip, but to me, this loses the rebellious essence of the look,” Vincent says. “For an updated version that still maintains the essence of grunge makeup, choose a blendable eyeliner in black or deep brown and smudge it slightly with fingers or a brush. You can even add a little gloss over the lids for an undone eye. Finish with a black volumizing mascara — and don’t worry about perfect application because the look is meant to be a bit messy.” Accentuate the look with a dark wine-colored lip color, a fresh no-makeup makeup complexion, and defined brows.
Julia Fox took the grunge makeup trend and put an editorial spin on it, opting for a thick winged liner look that was rounded and upturned at her temples. True to theme, she kept her complexion and lips matte, choosing a powdery berry color for the latter.
Sydney Sweeney chose a grunge-inspired look for a recent karaoke night. Look closely, and you’ll see smokey, kohl-rimmed eyes and a velvet matte complexion. To achieve this look for yourself, all you need is a good eyeliner pencil. Tanno recommends the Haus Labs Eye-Dentify Gel Kohl Eyeliner, and recommends applying it all along the eyelids before blending it out with a brush. “This liner has a nice slip and blendability, making it perfect to create this look and it lasts all day,” she says.
Kourtney Kardashian has been channeling a punk-grunge look for a while now, and this is a glamorous version of that aesthetic. Notice her smokey eyeshadow, defined brows, and matte complexion. Her fluttery lashes and glossy neutral-brown lip are what elevate the look and give it a modern feel.
For a similar brown-neutral lip color, makeup artist Christine Cherbonnier recommends the MAC Cosmetics Lip Pencil in Cork. “It’s a must-have for that neutral brown lip or a base to create a red or brown undertone for many skin tones,” she says. “Every ’90s fan or makeup artist needs this color in their kit. It’s classic and timeless.“
If there’s one make-up product that can inject life into your skin in seconds, it’s blusher. Finding the best blush for your skin tone and type is easier than you might think, and while it has taken a backseat in many of our make-up bags over the years, it’s actually one of the easiest ways to look radiant and healthy.
In fact, there is science to back that up. We naturally flush when we’re excited or aroused, and it was our friends in the Georgian period who first noticed that applying some faux “rouge” was a rather nifty way to suggest robust health. Studies have since shown that a little flush on the cheeks indeed indicates our wellbeing to others.
“Blush is like an accessory,” says make-up artist Gucci Westman, whose Baby Stick Blush is an excellent melt-into-skin formula. “My advice is to match it to your mood and the statement you want to make that day – how much colour do you want to see?”
There isn’t one single place to wear it. While many of us buff a cream or powder formula onto the apples of our cheeks, that’s just the classic method. Others prefer to wear higher on the cheeks for a lifting effect, and some even apply on the bridge of the nose to recreate a sun-kissed feel (especially good in the summer months). The modern way is to consider how your skin naturally flushes – whether around the temples or below your apples – and applying to those areas, buffing and blending in for a seamless, natural finish.
Be it a bold coral, soft pink or warm peach, a bit of colour can make you look healthier and brighter with minimal effort. Here, Vogue rounds up some of the very best blush products on the market, from classics like Glossier’s Cloud Paint to new and exciting formulas like the Nars Air Matte Blush. From powders to creams, shop the very best blushers below.
Best Blush For Oily Skin: IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Blush
Within this oily-skin-friendly blush are blurring pigments which help soften the appearance of pores and blemishes, while brightening your complexion.
Best Blush Palette: Anastasia Beverly Hills Blush Trio
One palette with three blush shades? Yes please. Use each colour alone or layer them up for a hue totally bespoke to you and a blush that will look totally natural.
Best Blush For Dry Skin: Clinique Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balm
Those with dry skin should look out for creamy blushers, like this one, which is oil-free but contains ingredients like squalane to hydrate.
Best Blush For Olive Skin: Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour Stick Blush – No21
A formula that quickly melts into skin, this Chanel blush stick is an excellent one to keep in your handbag at all times and creates a healthy, dewy finish.
Best Long-Lasting Blush: Benetint
A lip and cheek stain famous for its staying power, Benetint is also a brilliant blusher for those who like a rosy flush. It’s cult for a reason.
Best Blush For Medium Skin: Charlotte Tilbury Cheek To Chic Blusher
Charlotte Tilbury’s Cheek To Chic blush compact features two shades, with the outer one designed to be swirled over the cheeks and the core shade there to provide a pop of colour at the apples. Love is the Drug is a Vogue office favourite.
Best Blush For Holiday Skin: Tom Ford Sheer Cheek Duo
This blush duo is the perfect partnership. Both shades offer a light-reflective finish for a little shimmer and shine come nightfall – and are especially good set against healthy, holiday skin. Mix them together, wear alone or apply as eyeshadow.
Best Matte Blush: MAC Powder Blush
For a truly phenomenal shade range, look to MAC’s much-loved Powder Blush, which has hues for every skin tone. For a classic pink, try Pink Swoon.
Best Powder Blush: Vieve Sunset Blush
If you know influencer and make-up artist Jamie Genevieve, you’ll know of her ability to create the most flawless beauty looks around – and this blusher is just one of the products from her brand, Vieve, that she uses often. Imparting a soft, matte finish, it delivers brilliant colour that can be built up or blended in depending on your preference.
Best Blush For Fair Skin: Glossier Cloud Paint
A creamy, blendable cheek colour that instantly melts into the skin, Glossier’s Cloud Paint is inspired by New York sunsets. The Dusk shade is universally flattering and works particularly well on paler skins.
Best Blush For A Dewy Finish: Chantecaille Cheek Gelée
With its unique, gel-like texture, Chantecaille’s Cheek Gelée in Happy blends easily into the apples of the cheeks for a seamless wash of healthy-looking colour.
Best Blush Stick: Westman Atelier Baby Cheeks Blush Stick
A swoosh-on-and-go cream stick, this blush works beautifully on all skin tones. Made by Gucci Westman, who has worked on countless supermodels’ faces over the years, it’s formulated with gentle ingredients and Ayurvedic oils to keep skin clear and healthy.
Best Cream Blush: Nars Air Matte Blush
Super easy to blend, this new Nars blush is soft-focus make-up in a pot and makes a natural flush a breeze. It might even rival the brand’s iconic Orgasm blush…
Best Drugstore Blush: E.L.F. Primer Infused Blush Always Rosy
Infused with primer, this blush won’t budge and it offers great colour pay-off, particularly for the price.
Best Blush For Dark Skin: Dior Couture Long-Wear Powder Blush – 999
Darker skin tones will love this pigmented Dior blush, which imparts a beautiful flush while staying put all day.