Practice is the best teacher, or so goes the old adage. So when it comes to the makeup learnings we trust, it is natural to turn to celebrity makeup artists whose mastery over their craft can be credited to the countless hours they have spent perfecting their techniques on the most-watched faces of showbiz in their makeup chairs. From Kareena Kapoor Khan and Deepika Padukone to the younger guard of Janhvi Kapoor and Sara Ali Khan, these are the makeup artists trusted by the best in the biz. Here, we share the best secrets they’ve discovered after all their years on the job.
1. Don’t skip moisturisation for oily skin
“If you think oily skin gives you a free pass when it comes to moisturising, you’re wrong,” declares celebrity-favourite Daniel Bauer. As the man behind some of the most iconic celebrity looks of the past few years, he knows a thing (or 20) about working with diverse skin types. For ensuring that makeup sits in place on oily skin through long hours of interviews and red carpet ceremonies, he has a nifty trick in place: simply reverse the order of the setting spray in your lineup. “I find that for oilier skin, applying a setting spray before the base helps the foundation sit in place much longer. This also hydrates your face and removes any excess oils,” he revealed to us.
2. When shopping for foundations, what you see is not what you get
If you’ve ever picked the perfect foundation shade in a store but it looked all wrong when you got back home, celebrity makeup artist Tanvi Chemburkar knows your pain. Fluorescent lighting can often deceive the eyes when swatching foundation shades at the store counter, which is why she devised her own process. “When picking a foundation, it is ideal to step out and click a few pictures in natural daylight as well as other lighting conditions before you finalise your shade. This will offer you complete assurance that the shade you’ve finally picked will work for you under any kind of lighting,” she told us.
3. Sheer makeup doesn’t mean no makeup at all
Attempting a no-makeup makeup look is a delicate art that can take years to perfect, but celebrity makeup artist Mitali Vakil believes that keeping things light is key. Having worked her brushes on the faces of Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, Malaika Arora and more, she has developed a few hacks of her own over the years. Her best-kept secret? “One of the things that I like to do is adding a touch of Vaseline to my base for a sheer, natural finish. It gives me the power to blend in the makeup till it disappears into the skin,” she shares.
4. Think cream before concealer
Melanin-rich skin is known to be more prone to dark circles and pigmentation, but makeup mogul Namrata Soni believes that the right formulas can be key for concealing the area. But before you delve into textures and coverage, she would like you to pay attention to your eye cream. “The most important thing [to do] before using any concealer on your face is to make sure your skin is prepped correctly. Use a good eye creamt hat will allow your concealer to stay in place without creasing,” she advises. Once you have applied both, she likes to seal in the concealer with loose translucent powder. “Use a puff [to apply] the powder. Not a brush! When you use a brush, it doesn’t set the creamy consistency of the concealer correctly. That’s why you need to press it in very gently with a powder puff,” she adds.
5. Say farewell to concealer creases with a makeup sponge
The wonders of a makeup sponge are many and varied, and Chemburkar relies on them to get access to tight, hard-to-reach corners of the face. If you’re looking to smooth on concealer without any telltale streaks, she recommends using the tip of a traditional egg-shaped sponge, to get into the tighter corners of the inner eye area. “I find it helpful to pat on concealer with my finger to warm the product and let it sink in. Then, I use a sponge to tap and press it in, so it settles without creasing or fingermarks,” she says.
6. Wing it right
Whether you are a novice attempting to balance both wings or a pro trying your hand at exaggerated shapes, getting the winged eye right can be tricky on the best of days. Which is why Sandhya Shekar, the bridal makeup artist for Deepika Padukone, has developed a few hacks of her own. She revealed to us, “An easy trick I use with a lot of the celebrities I work with is to keep the eyes open, staring straight ahead into the mirror. First draw the angular wing on both sides, and then shut one of the eyes to connect the wings to the lash line, before repeating the same on the other side.”
7. Layer your liner
Wondering how your favourite celebrities manage to nail the high-impact smoky eye on the red carpet? Shekar’s secret lies in inviting more than one eyeliner into her makeup kit. She advises, “If you’re looking to intensify the effect of your eyeliner, it helps to use a kohl pencil first and then top that with a liquid or cream eyeliner. Since the tip of the pencil is chubbier, it tends to glide very easily, cover a lot of area and allows you to go very close to the lash line, as opposed to liquid which makes it harder to get that perfect finish if you’re not doing it every day. Anytime I want to do an intense look for the red carpet, I start by applying a pencil, smudging it with my fingers and then finishing off with a cream or liquid liner for maximum impact.”
8. Good riddance to glitter fallout
With the festive season looming on the horizon, the time is right to start practicing your high-impact party makeup looks in the mirror. But if you’ve been shying away from glitter eyeshadows to avoid having to deal with the fallout, allow celebrity makeup pro Marianna Mukuchyan to set your mind at ease. “Glitter eyes are trending right now, but it can be a tricky texture to work with. Apply an eyeshadow base before applying the eyeshadow so that the glitter sets better. Also, glitter flecks meant for the eyes can often fall on the cheeks and spoil the entire look. It helps to use some tape to remove the errant glitter particles that fly on the cheeks,” she shared with us.
9. Go bold or go home
In the holy grail of makeup, the rule of not pairing bold eyes with bold lips is engraved in stone. However, Alia Bhatt and Anushka Sharma’s go-to makeup artist Puneet Saini believes that there’s no reason to not nudge the rules every now and then. For those looking to have the best of both worlds, she advises, “You can always use bright colors in a monochromatic theme. Using complementary hues looks stunning as well, like a green eyeshadow with a pink or red mouth. As long as you don’t overdo your entire face and keep things clean and fresh, this could look quite lovely.”
10. Dewy or die
Among Korea’s many exports to the world is the appreciation for dewy fresh skin, but the unpredictable Indian weather can often put a damper on things. “The key principle to keep in mind is that the dewy look is difficult to maintain for long periods of time, given our weather,” explains Vardan Nayak, the makeup artist tasked with the looks for Janhvi Kapoor’s debut movie promotions. “To make it work for you, use a radiant-finish foundation mixed with a highlighter that matches your skin’s undertones—whether it’s warm or cool—as your base. Top this layer up with a thin veil of transparent setting powder,” he adds.
11. Contour placement is everything
If you can’t wake up with cheekbones like Kareena Kapoor Khan, the next best thing is to cop her makeup artist’s contour strategy. Her go-to makeup artist Pompy Hans believes that the key lies in the placement of the contour. “It’s absolutely essential that you apply your contour cream or powder right below your cheekbone and on your jawline. Pull your cheeks in and apply the product in a line right below your cheekbones, where the hollow is, and on your jawbone that separates your face from your neck. Blend in the dark contour hue and dab highlighter on your cheekbones for a sharp look,” he told us.
12. Think pink for fuller lips
If you’re looking for a visibly fuller pout but don’t have the time for lip-plumping tools, Soni recommends playing with the saturation of pinks and reds in your lipstick kit instead. “Apply a lip pencil all over your lips in a pinkish or reddish tone. Then, use a slightly darker lipstick just in the center, below the cupid’s bow, and blend it outwards with your fingertips, making sure the darker part of your lips remains in the center. This gives an illusion of darker and fuller lips,” she advises.