4. I scrape their lips to slough off dead skin cells.
Many girls have severely chapped and cracked lips that we artists are responsible for rectifying on the spot. (This is especially common in the winter, but often a big issue in the summer due to air conditioning.)
One of the most effective methods I’ve found is to remove the top layer of dryness first with makeup remover. Then I apply a thick coat of lip balm. After letting that soak in for a bit, I have the model scrape her lips (rather aggressively) with a clean mascara wand. Then I use more makeup remover to remove the debris and follow with another layer of lip balm. Yes, sometimes they bleed, but we try to avoid that.
5. I layer on multiple foundations and concealers.
It’s so hard for me to answer women when they ask what my one favorite makeup is, is because there is not just one shade or texture which will create the effect of seamless skin on every single woman. I dabble in palettes of cream, layers of thin liquids, and dry heavy pigments, smoothing it all out with various brushes, sponges and fingers to make it look like the model just has perfect skin.
Believe me, these models come in with bags under their eyes after weeks of grueling work. I use color-correcting and light-reflecting concealers under the eyes to effectively mask the late nights and exhaustion. The end result, if done right, will be a seamless, totally rested look that blends in without looking heavy or cakey.
6. I remove eye goop with precision.
Fingers are a huge no-no! After all that perfect, multi-step concealing, it’s a big liability for me to entrust a model with the task of removing any offending eye gunk without also disturbing any of the makeup around it. So I take care of it with a cotton swab and exacting precision.
7. I monitor nose-blowing. (Seriously!)
Inevitably colds get passed around during Fashion Week and somewhere between Milan and Paris it seems just about everyone is sick. So whenever a girl goes to blow her nose, I offer cautionary instructions on how to best accomplish the task without ruining her foundation. This is by sticking one’s fingers covered in tissue directly up the nostrils and blowing lightly with absolutely no wiping at the end. I continue to track my model prior to the show to cover up any telltale redness.
8. I slather various parts of the face in lip balm.
No, you didn’t read that title wrong. So many woman leave comments on the photos I post to my social media accounts, begging me to share what I used to make the models’ skin glow. I hope you’re ready for the answer: mostly it’s greasy, shiny, lip balm. Yep. We’ll often put it all over the eyelids, cheekbones, bridge of the nose and the top of the lips. Sometimes it goes on the lips, too, but not always.
9. I cover their body in makeup and lotion.
Once the models are dressed, there are just a few short moments before they go onto the runway, during which time a troop of makeup artists descend, narrowly navigating the overcrowded backstage area. You’ll see us crawling on our hands and knees with giant palettes of camouflage to make any body parts that are slightly red, brown, ashy or blue, look as even-toned as a Barbie doll. (Here’s a picture of me, on my knees, applying cover-up to a model’s legs.)
10. The touch-ups are un-ending.
There is never a time when makeup stops before the models go out on the runway. We have bags loaded with supplies and are constantly retouching, adding to, and taking away so that just seconds before every girl walks onto the catwalk (for all of 120 seconds), she is a vision of perfection.