6 Invaluable Foundation and Base Makeup Tips from Blair Patterson, Estee Lauder Global Makeup Artistry Director

by Paris B on · 51 comments

in Concealer,Foundation,Loose Powder,Makeup,Tips

Last week, I had the rare and wonderful opportunity to meet with Estee Lauder’s Global Makeup Artistry Director, Blair Patterson, who had flown in from New York to talk about the Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup SPF10/PA++. This long lasting liquid foundation is a cornerstone of Estee Lauder makeup, and a few more shades will soon be available to suit Asian skin, so they can confidently say that there is a shade to suit everyone.

I’ll be telling you about the foundation soon enough, but during the mini workshop and interview afterwards, Blair <- first name basis yo! – shared loads of tips, primarily about foundation and I wanted to share them with you. Some are of course, EL-centric, but most are adaptable icon smile 6 Invaluable Foundation and Base Makeup Tips from Blair Patterson, Estee Lauder Global Makeup Artistry Director

esteelauder foundation tips 6 Invaluable Foundation and Base Makeup Tips from Blair Patterson, Estee Lauder Global Makeup Artistry Director

As the Director of Global Makeup Artistry at Estee Lauder, Blair works closely with the Creative Director Tom Pecheux, who has, to me, singlehandedly turned the brand around in the colour cosmetics department, at once modernizing the colour makeup and making it appeal to younger women. Tom Pecheux, as Blair shared, is known in the industry for perfecting the technique of applying base, so that there is minimal post production on model shoots.

Now, we know that if that can work with models and editorial shoots, just think of how wonderful that would be for us, the everyday woman who just wants to project the illusion of perfect air-brushed skin!

So, applying tenuous math and logic, since Blair works closely with Tom and since Blair shared tips on perfecting your makeup base, it would be almost as if the tips came from Tom Pecheux! Did you get that or am I over-reaching? icon razz 6 Invaluable Foundation and Base Makeup Tips from Blair Patterson, Estee Lauder Global Makeup Artistry Director While you think about it, here are the foundation tips I picked up, and which you now have access to icon smile 6 Invaluable Foundation and Base Makeup Tips from Blair Patterson, Estee Lauder Global Makeup Artistry Director

#1 – Have at least 2 foundation shades on hand to aid in contouring and to cover all possibilities

esteelauder foundation tips2 6 Invaluable Foundation and Base Makeup Tips from Blair Patterson, Estee Lauder Global Makeup Artistry Director

This is an absolutely fascinating tip. Blair suggests that every woman should have 2 shades of foundation at hand – One to match your skintone and one more 1 shade darker. If you are at the deeper end of the foundation spectrum, pick one shade to suit your skintone and one shade lighter.

The reason is that you can eschew using bronzer to contour your face. He revealed that in China, he was almost lynched by the crowd for suggesting they use bronzer, and I must admit I feel the same way. I do try to use bronzer but I don’t use it as often as I could, because I’m still afraid of the depth of colour it adds to my skin.

So, use foundation. After you have completed your base with the shade that matches your skintone, pick up a little of the foundation that is a shade darker and dab it along the hollows of your cheeks starting from the back near your ears, dabbing it forward, your temples, the sides of your noses and jawline. Make sure you blend so it looks natural.

For those with deeper skintone, 1 shade lighter will serve as a highlight, going on cheekbones, down your nose, forehead, under the brow and chin.

I asked how much deeper or lighter you should go when using this tip, and he said that 1 step up was all that was necessary. To the naked eye, this difference in the product is barely discernible, but it does make a difference on skin, and it looks incredibly natural, unlike bronzer.

I am so going to have to try this tip. Hopefully, I might be able to actually contour my face! Another reason for having 2 foundations is because you may get fairer or darker throughout the year and if you have at least 2 shades on hand, you can use either, or mix and match to get your perfect shade at any point of the year. Quite clever!

#2 – Dab, dab dab the foundation on your skin

We learnt this tip when I talked about my favourite foundation brush, so I was a little surprised to hear it from Blair Patterson, and to see him do it with a regular paddle shaped foundation brush! He explained that they had experimented with different methods of applying foundation, and had found that the dabbing method makes skin look air-brushed with less effort, and helps product adhere better to the skin.

Dabbing, he explains, pushes the product into your skin and you don’t have to contend with brush strokes on the skin which can make it look uneven. Light bounces off even skin which helps it look glowy and natural. When the surface is uneven, skin can look dull and base looks fake and obvious. We don’t want that.

So, even if you don’t have a flat top foundation brush, you can do it with a normal foundation brush. Just gently bounce the brush against your skin, brushing downwards as you go, and be amazed!

#3 – A primer doesn’t have to go underneath foundation

Now I have to admit that this tip threw me for a loop. Blair applied foundation and then, picked up an illuminating primer and applied it OVER the foundation!

He explains that just because it is called primer doesn’t mean it has to go under your base. You can use it over your foundation or even mixed with foundation. He just used very little, sheered out and then lightly patted it on all over and this seems to help set the foundation too. If you want your foundation to feel better against your skin, add a drop of Advanced Night Repair serum. I’ve tried this, and I love it.

#4 – Use a translucent powder and roll it on

Once you’ve got your foundation base looking perfect, you don’t want to go disturbing it with tinted loose or pressed powder, and you want to disturb your perfect air-brushed canvas even less. So how do you set it?

With translucent powder, and by rolling on the powder.

Take a fluffy powder brush and dip it into the loose powder, then tap off excess. Hold the brush close to the end of the handle and twist your wrist in a rolling motion, so the brush rolls over your face, concentrating on the parts that will oil up fastest – usually the T-zone from your forehead down your nose and chin. This ensures that you do not disturb the base, while setting it.

#5 – Pick your right foundation shade

This tip is EL-centric but one I have experienced twice thus far with fairly good results.

esteelauder foundation tips3 6 Invaluable Foundation and Base Makeup Tips from Blair Patterson, Estee Lauder Global Makeup Artistry Director

Estee Lauder has this handy tool at all their counters which they use to help you pick your shade depending on intensity and colour tone. Based on the foundation picker, I am a Light 2.0 – light with neutral tones.

You can get yourself colour matched at any counter as part of their Signature Service. Just go to the counter and tell them you want to know your foundation shade, and they will help you. If you aren’t certan if its the shade for you, they can put a stripe of the other shades against your skin to see if that would suit you better. I thought the colour Light 2.0 was a bit dark for me, but to my surprise when swatched on my skin, it worked. One step down was a tad too white.

#6 – Concealer only if you need it and as a pick me up

Blair put on concealer only after settling the base with powder. I thought that was quite interesting because I thought the  job of the powder was to set everything including concealer.

He explained that once you are done with your foundation and powder, you sometimes may not need concealer. But if you do (and I know I do!) and if your concealer is of the thicker variety, he suggests mixing it with an eye cream, so the texture is lighter and sheerer. His eye cream of choice is of course, the ANR Eye Serumwhich is excellent for this. You can even use this trick to touch up and refresh your makeup especially around the eyes.

One more tip I found terribly useful and which I’ve since put into practice with great success is when concealing the under eye area, do not dab the concealer in the middle of your under eye area and blend. Instead, dab a little on the inner and outer corners first. This is where the colour is darkest, and sometimes, just doing that can brighten your eye area immediately. It can even change your eye shape.

I tried it yesterday, and I must say it works. Just a dab of concealer on the inner and outer corner of my under eye area and blended did so much more than what I’d been doing before. Result is, I achieve results more quickly and use less product. Win!

How long will this take me?

We need to know this don’t we? Many of us do not have the luxury of time especially in the mornings, rushing off to work. So, how long, Mr. Patterson should this take us?

Answer: 5 minutes.

5 minutes?! Yes, he nodded. Anything more than 5 minutes is spending too much time on your foundation! I must say that’s fascinating, and largely true. You see, the secret lies in that very first step of dabbing on your foundation. Once you get that right, the rest is gloss.

interview blair patterson 6 Invaluable Foundation and Base Makeup Tips from Blair Patterson, Estee Lauder Global Makeup Artistry Director

The thing is, not all these tips are new. But when you hear it and learn it from someone who has had 14 years in makeup, 9 years in Estee Lauder and works with one of the top Creative Directors in the business, it just comes over different, and makes so much sense.

Its not everyday that you hear someone say that despite working with some of the most beautiful women and top names in modelling, it is when they make the everyday woman smile and gasp at learning a new makeup tip that might change how they do their makeup, and how they look henceforth, that makes it their while. Not bad for that 8 year old boy who knew he wanted to get into makeup from watching Star Trek icon wink 6 Invaluable Foundation and Base Makeup Tips from Blair Patterson, Estee Lauder Global Makeup Artistry Director

I hope these tips have been helpful to you, and that maybe one of them might help change the way YOU do your makeup. I think Blair Patterson would be pleased to know that it did icon smile 6 Invaluable Foundation and Base Makeup Tips from Blair Patterson, Estee Lauder Global Makeup Artistry Director Thank you for the amazing opportunity, Estee Lauder icon smile 6 Invaluable Foundation and Base Makeup Tips from Blair Patterson, Estee Lauder Global Makeup Artistry Director

Which tip caught your eye and imagination? Are you already putting any of them into practice?

For me, its the one about using foundation to contour. I will have to dig out a foundation that I initially thought was too dark for me to see if it works icon biggrin 6 Invaluable Foundation and Base Makeup Tips from Blair Patterson, Estee Lauder Global Makeup Artistry Director I was already dabbing on foundation before, and I can tell you that its pretty amazing. Give it a go! icon biggrin 6 Invaluable Foundation and Base Makeup Tips from Blair Patterson, Estee Lauder Global Makeup Artistry Director

Paris B

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[ 51 comments… read them below or join the discussion ]

LeGeeque October 16, 2012 at 8:45 am

OMG. He’s good looking! *fans self*

OK, will stop gushing now. I agree with the dabbing of foundation bit. Years ago, I would stipple on foundation with my stippling brush. It gave such airbrushed results that I stopped it because it looked so good that it was fake. Am I making sense?

I love the idea of concealer + eye cream for under eye. That’s a problem area for me and I can’t wait to try it and let you know.


Paris B October 16, 2012 at 3:11 pm

HAHA yes, that’s what I thought too >.< Couldn’t concentrate in class haha!:P

The stippling brush trick didn’t work for me the few times I tried it but I blame it on the brush I use. Maybe the bristles were too long so I got all these dots on my face that I had to blend out anyway. And yes, I totally get what you mean about looking fake, which is why, I think the suggestion to contour (and you really need blush with that kind of perfect base)


Catherine October 16, 2012 at 8:45 am

A primer on foundation- wow, I would never guess that one.
Im still surprised that his name is Blair. When I think Blair I have image of Gossip Girl character :D


Paris B October 16, 2012 at 3:12 pm

I didn’t guess that too, Catherine and in my head, I thought “Gossip Girl” when I first saw his name Haha! Power of TV eh?


Hanny Daforcena October 16, 2012 at 9:14 am

I’ve heard of primer WITH foundation not ON foundation. >.< I've tried it with foundation, but it somehow made my foundations feel REALLY OILY so I stopped it and went back to using it under foundation.

Oh and the tip of using foundation to contour… I really am mulling it over, hmmm. But can we use a powder foundation instead of a liquid? A powder for contouring seems less… risky for me. heh heh.


Paris B October 16, 2012 at 3:13 pm

I think it depends on the type of primer you use. I’ve mixed primer and foundation too but for me, it takes on a smoother texture. I like mixing illuminating primers with foundation because I think the effects are much better :) I will work with powder foundation too, I’m guessing. Logically, the concept is the same.


Lily October 16, 2012 at 9:18 am

I went to an EL counter and they used #5 on me, to choose my foundation shade. Unfortunately, it didn’t work and then they found out they had to match the colour to my neck. My face is 1 shade darker / redder than the rest of my body, you see -__-”
Tip #6 is new to me! ANREye with concealer and only on inner and outer corners of the eyes. I will definitely give that a try!
Thanks for sharing!! :-)


Paris B October 16, 2012 at 3:14 pm

haha! Good point, Lily, the foundation picker won’t work if your neck and face aren’t the same shade :) Do try the eye concealer trick. It really did work for me but its not just on the inner and outer corners, you can blend it to the middle too, especially if you have dark circles underneath


Sukie October 16, 2012 at 9:18 am

Having been afraid of contouring myself, I think it’s high time I put my darker foundations to good use! These tips are so different from the ones I’m used to hearing about and it sounds like it works a treat! Thank you for sharing this with us, Paris! :)


Paris B October 16, 2012 at 3:15 pm

You’re most welcome, Sukie and its fun trying out new tips right? Good to know you have some darker foundations at hand to give it a try! ;)


Applegal October 16, 2012 at 9:33 am

I have to echo what LeGeeque said! What a dapper looking man! I wouldn’t mind at all if he did my make up! Great tips! I used pressed powder to set my foundation though, do I really need translucent powder?


Paris B October 16, 2012 at 3:16 pm

You know, I wish I had the chance for him to do my makeup too but then, I don’t think I’d pay enough attention ;) Translucent powder is just colourless powder so if your pressed powder is translucent, then it’ll do :) What he meant was that if your foundation is a good match and perfect and dewy and glowy, you don’t really want to cover all that up with a tinted powder :)


Esther Neo October 16, 2012 at 9:36 am

I would love to try the concealer tip. Less is always good for the delicate eye area. And what he said makes perfect sense.


Paris B October 16, 2012 at 3:17 pm

I thought so too! Hope it works for you Esther!


Nikki October 16, 2012 at 10:11 am

Ah, I can never get enough of foundation tips! I love the tip on Primer doesn’t always have to be applied before foundation application! I’ve seen a makeup artist use a primer on top of a foundation! I was shocked at first but it worked!


Paris B October 16, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Its such a mindblowing trick isn’t it Nikki? I loved it because it was different LOL!


yilian October 16, 2012 at 11:27 am

cool! thanks for sharing about the foundation tips. recently i started to use a sponge to apply my bb cream using dabbing method and it works perfectly fine, just a nice sheer natural layer and i love it. :) maybe i should try out 2 diff colours for contour next time.


Paris B October 16, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Glad to know it helps you Yilian :) I don’t usually use a sponge because it can absorb too much product (wastage) and when applied on skin can be spotty in coverage. But that said, use whatever you feel most comfortable using. I tend to end up using fingers on most days! :D


yilian October 17, 2012 at 7:23 pm

yup, i did noticed about the wastage problem also, that is the disadvantage, but I like the sheer layer outcome. Anyway, I have never try using a foundation brush before. I watched tutorial videos by Jung Sae Mool on youtube, most of the time, she uses foundation brush too and the coverage effect is really good. Any tips on how to choose a foundation brush? like what type of material? thanks! ^^


Paris B October 20, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Foundation brushes depends on the sort of product you use. If its liquid, synthetic brushes are better (also easier to clean) and if its powder then natural hair brushes work better at picking up product. I like the Shiseido Perfect Foundation Brush or the Dior Full Coverage foundation brush. I find the round flat top shape works better for me than paddle shaped brushes.


Chandrika October 16, 2012 at 11:30 am

Hi Paris,

I am a new kid in the block. I recently found your blog and find it super useful and interesting. I would like to appreciate your efforts and enthusiasm. :)

I’m new to all the tips from this review except the dabbing the foundation. Thanks to your review on the Shisedo perfect foundation, I just picked it up yesterday. I’ll give a try and the let you how it worked for me. :)


Paris B October 16, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Hello, Chandrika! Thank you so much for your input and I hope you continue to enjoy your visits here :D I hope you like the Shiseido brush. It applies foundation like a dream, and you will find that you may actually end up using less because you can take it so much further! :D Hope to see you around again soon!


Efrain October 16, 2012 at 12:00 pm

There a lot of goods tips, the problem is for example when you can’t afford to pay two foundations (but I think what I’m going to do, if it works I’ll tell you).

But I’m also thinking in meteorites, so Teint Doré is shinier? Because I thought it would fit me better, because of my tan skin.


Paris B October 16, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Yep, I know what you mean – 2 bottles of foundation can be pricey! I plan to try it first with an older one that doesn’t suit me anymore and see how it goes ;) Based on my recollection, Teint Dore is more shimmery but the colour too is deeper. I think it best to give it a go at the counter. Meteorites don’t necessarily impart colour so even if tanned, Teint Beige might do it too, to just diffuse skin and give it a glow :)


Hanim October 16, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Good tips! Funny, I was leaving this youtube video to load while I read your blog post. Guess what this video is about? Highlighting and contouring your face using foundation! What a coincidence. :D



Paris B October 16, 2012 at 3:23 pm

LOL!! That is a coincidence indeed, Hanim! Thanks for sharing!


KS October 16, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Hi PB,

Do you know if EL will be introducing the Invisible Makeup in SE Asia? I was told by EL Singapore that it would be launched in May, but nothing till now, and now they are repromoting EL DW, which makes me think that it will never come to this side of the world. Anything you heard on your end? I’ve heard so much good stuff about EL Invisible so I really wanna try it first hand!



Paris B October 16, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Hi KS, I’m not sure about that, not having heard about it before but I’ll try and find out. They will be promoting the Double Wear here too because of the new shades and upgraded formula so it looks like in the near future, it will be Double Wear we’ll be looking at


rudi October 16, 2012 at 1:19 pm

What a great workshop.

I’ve hung on to a foundation that’s a tad too dark for me for ages – too thrifty to throw it out n can’t stand the color on my face. At last there’s a solution for this dilemna. Sounds so logical too – gives me a ” why didnt i think of that???” moment.

Thanks for sharing the tips.


Paris B October 16, 2012 at 3:25 pm

I know right? Initially I thought “What? Why would I want to buy a foundation that’s darker than my skintone?!” but it did make sense in the end – hope the tip works for you!


Sze Ling October 16, 2012 at 2:25 pm

He’s so cute! :D -girly squeal-

I’m so used to using a bronzer already that tip #1 totally opened my eye. And it made so much sense. I’m getting fairer these days, so now I know I don’t have to throw away my now-slightly-too-dark foundation. And having two shades around allows customization. Brilliant! :D

And I’ve been mixing my concealer with my day eye cream (MAC Fast Response Eye cream) for the past 2 years. Never fails.


Paris B October 16, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Ah Sze Ling, I think everyone in the room thought the same thing ;) Like you, I was blown away by the 2 foundation tip too. So brilliant right?!


Jyoan October 16, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Oh I like the tip on dabbing concealer from outwards in! No wonder! I keep finding that when I start from center, I need to dip another drop of concealer for the outer corners, and that makes it look carry. Now I know.


Paris B October 16, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Yes! I never realised it, but starting from the middle means I end up using more product because I’d have to dab 3 dots. Now I only need 2 ;)


Tracy October 16, 2012 at 3:44 pm

LOVE this post Paris! I love how he’s a fellow Trekker!
I dab because I use a Beauty Blender-brushes just kick up dry skin for me. And I use the Burberry Glow Primer on top of my foundation as well! I’ve heard of contouring with darker foundation, but have never tried it. SO going to now though!


Paris B October 16, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Tracy, when he said Star Trek, my heart skipped a beat! :D Who knew Star Trek could inspire makeup artistry!

I’ve heard so much about the Beautyblender but I haven’t used it. I tried the dupe by Sonia Kashuk a few years ago, but it didn’t quite do it for me. Reckon I should give it another go? p/s I think I want to try the Burberry Primer :D


Claire October 16, 2012 at 8:49 pm

I totally agree on the highlighter, I use my RBR highlighter as primer and on top + mixing with foundation. I think if the product is not too shimmery it works for almost everything (ok, how nice it would be if it would work for headache?eh? ok, not for everything). I have to say, I tried the concealer thing: appy after powder and it never worked for me for some reason. The tiny powder bits roll up and mix with the concealer making it clumpy and uneven on the surface/once it sets. The post was fun to read and very interesting, I am always up for learning something new and/or read ‘reminders’.


Paris B October 20, 2012 at 11:01 am

Psst Claire, I wasn’t keen on using concealer over powder either. I prefer to treat the powder as a setting agent so I use it last of all ;) It was interesting to know that some people would do it differently though – maybe it works for an editorial makeover?


xin October 16, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Primer over foundation is definitely new and it somehow makes sense! i think it can help to add some glow to matte foundation too :D


Paris B October 20, 2012 at 11:01 am

Especially if its an illuminating primer!


Ting October 16, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Primer after setting foundation. This is really weird/new. Doesn’t one have to set the concealer as well? By the way, I haven’t tried the mascara before eye makeup trick. I always remembered AfTeR I put on eye shadow… Old habits die hard!! Grrrrr


Paris B October 20, 2012 at 11:02 am

Actually, if you think about it, not really coz if the concealer goes over the foundation, it acts as the base for the concealer to go on right? Sorta like a sandwich LOL! :D


B October 17, 2012 at 8:14 am

My favorite base style is using traditional foundation brush too, after applied just dap dap over your face will work wonder.

If you love beauty tips like this, I suggest watching Lisa Eldridge (for Western style) or Jung Saem Mool (for Asian Korean style).They’re a very famous celebrity makeup artists, I already try their tips and it works very well. Just google them.


Paris B October 20, 2012 at 11:04 am

Thanks for the suggestions, B. I have watched some Lisa Eldridge videos and she is very impressive!


Kel October 17, 2012 at 6:03 pm

I’ve been using the Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup SPF10/PA++ for the last decade & i Love it..its a staple in my cosmetic bag.
Recently i started using the DOuble wear stay in place concealer + mascara & i tell you…those 2 are also keepers!!!!! hehe…


Paris B October 20, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Hmm… looks like I really have to check these out then? Thanks for the recs, Kel!


Chia Callie October 19, 2012 at 7:42 pm

This has nothing to do with the tips that you’ve mentioned here. Like always, I read your blog on a daily basis. Yes, I’m a fan like that. Heh heh… *so full of myself* I finish reading with nothing to contribute. Days passed and I began to think of what I can write about. I’ve thought of one.
I wonder why he didn’t choose someone from the audience, a person like you and me and any ordinary woman out there. A woman who has problems with her face. Perhaps even a woman who has a rounder face so he’ll really show his skills in contouring. Every one time, models ended up well, just models. People with not many problems with their face to begin with, people with sculptured face. Wouldn’t it be a lot more convincing had a woman been picked up from the audience? Oh well… just a thought.


Paris B October 20, 2012 at 5:18 pm

LOL Thank you so much for reading even if you don’t comment – it means a lot to me :) As for the choice of person, I guess its because it was a presentation to a small group of press editors, and getting volunteers can be like pulling teeth LOL! He did say in passing that its so different working with models, because they already have perfect skin/contours. Would have been nice if he did ask for volunteers – I’d have volunteered in a heartbeat LOL! :D


Joanne October 21, 2012 at 4:23 pm

I am relatively new to your blog, so far am loving what I read.

This post is fantastic, I think I need to read it a few times to digest all the tips.

Keep up the good work.


Paris B October 21, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Hi Joanne, thank you for visiting and for your words of encouragement. They mean a lot to me! Hope to see you around the comment box again :)


Sam November 4, 2012 at 11:57 am

I’m excited to try the primer tip! I’m really getting back into EL, they have some great products at the moment.


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