There are two key criteria for successful makeup when you’re under the glare of the A-list spotlight: it has to be naturally flattering and it has to last until the after-party. Vogue speaks to Sir John, the superstar makeup artist who Beyoncé and Joan Smalls have on speed dial, and Mary Greenwell, who works with the likes of Cate Blanchett and Jessica Chastain, for their expert advice on how to create red carpet-worthy looks.
1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
“I like the last thing I put on before the foundation to be moisturiser, a super-hydrating day moisturiser,” says Greenwell. “Especially when it comes to the red carpet.” Quenching the skin before applying makeup helps to boost brightness: “I’d use something like the 111 Skin Rose Brightening Facial Treatment Mask, leave it on for 20 minutes, then a light serum instead of a primer,” she tells Vogue.
2. Glow up
The holy grail when it comes beauty these days is ‘lit from within’ skin. And this particularly applies in summer, when heavy makeup is out and natural radiance comes into its own. Sir John confirms that the look his clients ask for most is: “Glowing skin, statement eyes and/or lips.” That VIP glow sets the tone for the whole aesthetic.
3. Play with textures
For makeup that really lasts, Sir John says: “Duality is key. Make sure you finish each cream application with powder – for example, pencil in the brows and then set with a shadow. This double-application technique creates a Teflon face.” The same rule applies for your base, foundation, blush or highlighter – set all cream-based products with a finishing powder for long-lasting velvety skin.
4. Lead with the eyes
The order in which makeup is applied often divides the experts, but according to Sir John, “this is how it goes: moisturiser, brows, eyes (clean up any fall-out shadow with cotton bud and water-based makeup remover), stipple on foundation or skin tint with a wet beauty blender, concealer, then set concealer with a loose powder, sculpt or contour, then apply highlighter, blush, and top it all off with two coats of mascara and the lip.” Et, voilà!