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
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? While you think about it, here are the foundation tips I picked up, and which you now have access to
#1 – Have at least 2 foundation shades on hand to aid in contouring and to cover all possibilities
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.
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.
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
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 Thank you for the amazing opportunity, Estee Lauder
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 I was already dabbing on foundation before, and I can tell you that its pretty amazing. Give it a go!