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Makeup Artist and Director of 'Makeup 4 Brides' and 'M4B Pro Professional Makeup' Lisa Thomas has over 12 years experience in the makeup and wedding industries. She found that most of her knowledge and expertise was gained from testing different ways of doing things and playing with different products to see how they worked together to achieve a variety of looks. Of course this required a lot of trial and error. Along the way most makeup artists pick up tips and tricks, and have favorite products that they have tried and tested and simply love to use. Lisa is happy to share these 'Pro Tips' along with information on using the 'M4B Pro' range of products.
With the right products and brushes, and a little bit of practice, everyone can apply makeup like a 'Pro'.
PRO TIP 01: Not to prime is fine! Use it if you need it but be aware of using an oil based primer under water based foundations as they will not react well together. For a great pore refining primer try the M4B Pro Pore Perfecting Face Primer and use sparingly. Apply using either the 190 foundation brush or 191 chisel brush.
PRO TIP 02: In excessively hot or humid weather try leaving off the moisturiser altogether unless you have dry skin. Most moisturisers will attract humidity to your face which is not ideal on a very warm day. By keeping your face as dry and sweat free as possible will aid in the longevity of your foundation.
PRO TIP 03: Oily T- Zone? Not a problem. Try the M4B Pro Ultimatte Instant T-Zone Mattifer. Apply using either the 190 foundation brush or 191 chisel brush to the forehead and centre of the face, down the top and sides of the nose - wherever you are excessively oily. Use sparingly. Can be worn either alone or under foundation. Be sure to always 'set' your foundation with a setting powder to also assist in absorbing excess sweat and oil.
PRO TIP 04: Match your foundation to not only your jaw line but also the side of your neck, under your neck and your collarbone. This will ensure a proper match all over. Skin is not one single colour and so it is best to check numerous areas before deciding on the best coloured foundation for your skin. Generally skin under the chin can be lighter than areas on the face such as the forehead and cheek bones where the sun hits. When determining your foundation colour always check it in natural sunlight and ideally not under artifical lighting in a store which can distort the colour on you. If you have quite a contrast from face to neck, etc., then err on the side of slightly too light than too dark and then use a tinted setting powder to marry the colour together, adding back some colour where the sun naturally sits. This is often safer that wearing a foundation too dark or applying too much bronzer. A nice light touch of bronzer can also help to add back the 'sun kissed' look to your face.
PRO TIP 05: Foundation can be applied in a number of ways: Either using the 190 foundation brush or 191 chisel brush, latex or non-latex sponge or Pro Pod, fingertips or with an airbrush gun. Most professional makeup artists use either a foundation brush, Pro Pod or airbrush gun for the foundation application. Fingertips don't give the same even coverage and can result in a streaky or blotchy finish. After checking your foundation colour in natural sunlight (or equivalent lighting to where you will be seen wearing your makeup), start in the centre of the face and spread out all over the face being sure to cover down over the jaw line and under the neck, behind the ears (and even a light coverage over the ears if they are pink) and into the corners and crevices around the eyes and nose as well as a light application to the eyelids. For an 'aibrush-like' fine grained finish without an airbrush gun try the M4B Pro 'Pro Pod', a small non-latex sponge with a fat, rounded bottom and pointed tip. Apply the foundation using the rounded bottom all over the face and then spread using a patting or rolling action with the Pro Pod to achieve a smooth, even coverage. Use the pointed end of the Pro Pod to get right into the corners around the nose and eyes.
PRO TIP 06: To airbrush the matte liquid foundations you will need a portable compressor and airbrush gun suitable for the application of liquid cosmetics. We use and recommend the Iwata HP-C Plus airbrush guns with a 0.3mm needle as they are super fine and perfect for close up work. Liquid foundations need to be thin enough to go through the airbrush gun but not too thin that the product lacks depth when applied and is too thin for a good coverage. After testing many, many different liquid foundations suitable for airbrushing we have found the best application and ultimately the best end result has come from thinning our own liquid foundation. To thin the M4B Pro Matte Foundation is quite simple: Firstly, pour the entire contents of the M4B Pro Matte Foundation bottle into a 60ml flip-top plastic bottle (also available on the M4B Pro online store). Then fill the original M4B Pro Matte Foundation bottle to just under half with distilled or demineralised water. Shake well and then add this to the 60ml flip-top plastic bottle. This has had its first thinning and is ready for use. **Please note: a very slight change in foundation colour may occur with the dilution however this is often rarely noticeable. If the product has been sitting for some time between use - weeks or months - then an additional thinning may be required due to some slight evaporation of water from the bottle. This is quite normal. In this case add the foundation product to the airbrush gun cup and then a few sprays of distilled or demineralised water. Stir with the end of a thin makeup brush. The foundation should be the consistency of thin pouring cream - not too thin and not too thick.
PRO TIP 07: ALWAYS set your foundation with a loose tranclucent setting powder. This is a must to make it last all day and to absorb sweat and oil. Best applied with the 187 stipple brush for a light coverage, the 134 or 150 powder brushes or for a very matte finish, use either a dry Pro Pod or velour powder puff and apply in a rolling action across the foundation. Use the smaller 217 brush to powder smaller areas such as under the eyes, eyelids, etc. Try the M4B Pro 'Loose Translucent Face Powders' in either 'nude' for a colourless application over perfectly matched foundation; 'neutral' which has a very slight tan tint to add a bit of warmth to the foundation, or 'sand' if needing to set darker or Asian skin tones, or where you wish to darken up the foundation in places. Also useful for taking your winter foundation tone into summer instead of changing foundations or for 'browning up' the face to match a spray tan without the shimmer of a bronzer.
PRO TIP 08: Carry an invisible blotting powder with you for a quick touch-up in exccessive heat or if you are prone to oily, shiny skin. The M4B Pro 'Invisible Blotting Powder' is an invisible powder that appears white but disappears on your skin and starts working the minute you apply it. Extremely useful for special occasions such as weddings or outdoor functions where you are exposed to the elements and your makeup is put to the test. Can be applied with the supplied small puff or 150 powder brush.
PRO TIP 09: Ever wonder why your face looks lighter in photos compared to the rest of your body? It is not necessarily your foundation being too light - it can quite often be the ingredients in your foundation 'flaring' against the camera flash. Foundations and setting powders high in titanium dioxide and iron oxide (like most mineral makeup or foundations containing sunscreens) will tend to 'flare' against the flash. This is the light/camera flash reflecting back from the ingredients. Professional makeup used for bridal and photographic work (where a flash may be used) is generaly very low in, or has none of, these ingredients. M4B Pro Matte Foundations and setting powders are suitable for all photographic work as well as everyday wear.
PRO TIP 10: Want your makeup to look its best - then scrub your skin....gently that it! Try to exfoliate your face once a week to remove dead loose skin which can dull your skin. Flaky skin often may not show up until you have your makeup on. Lips are especially prone to drying and flaking during the colder months. Try exfoliating your lips in the shower using a soft, wet tooth brush to remove the loose skin and then condition well with a good lip balm. Try Paw Paw Ointment for lips or Blistex Lip Conditioner in the small pot.
PRO TIP 11: Eyebrows - the most underrated feature on your face. Wax them! You wouldn't put a crooked frame on a beautiful painting, so why start your 'painting' with a crooked frame! Eyebrows help to frame your face and set the balance for your eye work. Well balance and well shaped brows lay the foundation for great eye design. Unless your brows are extremely dark and full they will require some sort of fill or definition. Always brush eyebrows up and out prior to filling. For a softer, less obvious solution use matte eyeshadows or specific eyebrow powders (same thing!) to fill in along the brows. Don't be tempted to go too dark - it is actually better to go a little lighter than your natural colour as this will then work with your natural hair colour to provide a soft 'fill' without it being too heavy. For some unexplained reason matte eyeshadow colours tend to appear darker once applied between the hair. Use the 266 slanted eyebrow brush for a soft finish or the 194 mini foundation brush for a more defined finish.
PRO TIP 12: Eyeshadow - before even thinking about what great eyeshadow colours you will use and the design you will create, ensure the whole eyelid area, from lashes to brows, is well powdered. This ensures that there are no damp patches of foundation where the eyeshadow will 'grab' and make it more difficult to blend. Try M4B Pro eyeshadow refill 'white' as a base for more true/brighter eyeshadow colours, or for a more natural, earthy or pink colour scheme try 'pink bisque' matte eyeshadow refill. For extra dark smokey eyes use either a dark taupe such as 'cedar' as a base or simply powder the entire area with the loose translucent setting powder. Eyelid skin is extremely thin and as such can appear slightly maroon or even blue, especially in very fair skinned people. If the eyelid is not set first with foundation and powder then this bluish or maroon tinge can reflect through the eyeshadow altering the colours. For very blue based eyelids it may pay to use a concealer pen as the base before powdering to lighten up the area first. The M4B Pro 'Illuminating Concealer Pen' with the fine brush end works perfectly for this area. Create your own eyeshadow palettes using the M4B Pro empty eyeshadow palettes and selecting your favourite colours from the M4B Pro eyeshadow refill range.
PRO TIP 13: Can't find the right pinky eyeshadow base? Try our blusher refills....after all, they really are just oversized eyeshadows and are safe to use on the eyes.
PRO TIP 14: Finding it difficult to get your eyeshadow balanced? When applying a darker shadow in the 'socket line' (the crease at the top of where the eyeball sits) do this with your eyes open. Most people have eyes that are not identical in where they sit, droopiness of one lid, etc., and as such your finished look can change when you open your eyes if you do your entire eyeshadow with closed eyes. The 219 bullet head brush is perfect for shading the socket line. The little pointed tip sits right in the socket line giving you definition with the slightly shorter, more rounded side bristles applying a wider, slightly softer line of shadow as you move it across the socket line in an arched motion. Matte eyeshadows are best for the socket line. Often it is good to start here to get your eye shadow design shaped and then add to the eyelid and brow bone after. If you are after a soft smokey eye then add a beautiful shimmery eyeshadow to the lid. For a dark smokey eye then add dark matte or dark shimmery eyeshadows, depending on your desired look. A nice touch is adding a light shimmery, pearly colour to the brow bone, just below the eyebrow in the top outer half, way above the socket line. Then blend, blend, blend. The most important rule with eyeshadow. Play around with extending the socket line out further if you wish to create the illusion of larger eyes, and then join the end of this extended socket line with liner from underneath the eye, joining in a point near the outer edge of the eye. For an example of different eyeshadow colours and designs see the 'Looks' page of this website.
PRO TIP 14: Want to apply a heavy dark eyeshadow but afraid of eyeshadow 'fallout'? There is a couple of things you can do: firstly, tap the eyeshadow brush just after you have dipped into the eyeshadow to remove any loose excess; press the shadow onto the eyelid instead of wiping it across; and...an oldie but a goodie...sit some excess loose setting powder on the top of the cheekbones just below the eye socket to catch any falllout. This can then be brushed away without damaging your foundation base with the fan brush.
PRO TIP 15: Lining your eyes: Eyeliner can come in a variety of different forms - from eyeliner pencils to gels, cake eyeliners to liquid. It can be a very personal choice as to what type of eyeliner to use however often a makeup artist will use more than one type of eyeliner to create a final look. The long wearing 'Automatic' pencil/crayon type eyeliners are excellent for use on the 'water line' or inner rim of the eye. As the name suggests, products used here need to be waterproof to tolerate the moist environment. Even the best of long wearing eyeliner pencils will eventually fade along the water line due to the eyes natural ability to constantly cleanse itself. Gel eyeliners are a fantastic product and have tended to take over from liquid eyeliners. Gel eyeliners are used when a long lasting, liquid looking line is required with a strong depth of colour. The gel eyeliners are usually waterproof and very long lasting, and if you move quickly enough can be smudged for a softer line. Once the gel liners are dry and set they are extremely difficult to remove and last through tears and sweat. Liquid eyeliners require a very steady hand to apply and are probably the least preferred amongst makeup artists. Cake eyeliners are really just a densely pigmented matte eyeshadow. They can be applied either dry or wet, depending on the depth of colour, but are often used dry over the top of a pencil or gel liner to 'set' the product and aid in its longevity. You may also opt to use just a cake eyeliner which is easily smudged for a soft line without definition. Visit the 'eyeliner' section of this online store for our variety of eyeliner options. Gel eyeliners are best applied with either the 209 or 210 tapered eyeliner brushes. The 212 flat eyeliner brush is ideal for cake eyeliners either alone or for setting over the top of a gel or pencil eyeliner. Simply press the cake eyeliner onto the gel or pencil line.
PRO TIP 16: Want a dark smokey, lined eye but are worried it will close in your small eyes? Well don't be! You can still have the look by lining inside your eye and then balancing it up by dropping underneath the eye a third to a half of the way out and then extending this line out further past the corner of the eye. Don't feel you need to only line where your existing eye is. You can extend the upper and lower eye line way out if required to give the illusion of more elongated, larger eyes. This lower eye line can also meet up with an extended socket line if required. If you only line inside your eye the whole way along then this will close in your eyes and make them look smaller. Also try lining the full way inside with the automatic eyeliner, and then using the gel eyeliner or a matte dark eyeshadow, smudge under the eye right near the base of the lashes and instead of following this up and around to the outer corner of the eye, continue more in a straight line. Again, this will open up the eye area and make the eyes look bigger.
PRO TIP 17: General rule with all things 'makeup' - dark pushes in and light brings out. If you want to create curves or emphasise more rounded features then use darker and lighter colours. Eyes and cheeks are great examples of where to use this rule.
PRO TIP 18: Superwear 24 hour Mascara - simply the best mascara on the market. Long lasting, waterproof, tearproof, smudgeproof, budgeproof....this product just doesn't want to come off...in fact, although we don't recommend it, this product is known to last for 24 hours (we highly recommend ALWAYS removing makeup prior to going to bed). On top of that it is hypo-allergenic, suitable for contact lens wearers, does not flake or clump and has a fantastic tapered brush allowing you to get right into the inner corners of the eye picking up every available eyelash. Large mascara brushes may look great but they are quite difficult to use on a client and are really not that practical. As an added addition this amazing mascara can also double as an eyeliner by using either the 209 or 210 eyeliner brushes and applying the mascara product like an eyeliner! Two products in one! But be warned: This product doesn't come off easily. Use the special 'Superwear eye makeup remover' or other long lasting eye makeup remover to ensure it is removed thoroughly.
PRO TIP 19: Blushers - use a combination of a few different blusher colours including a highlighting colour on the cheekbone to achieve a beautiful rounded cheek and youthful face. Many people have a personal preference for where they like to wear their blusher - many choose the more popular section just under the cheekbone with a touch on the 'apples' of the cheeks. Some may prefer to leave it only on the 'apples' and none elsewhere. A makeup artist may decide this depending on the shape of the clients face and what look they are trying to achieve. Generally you can feel where the cheek bone is through the skin by placing your finger flat along this section. this is a good place to start for blusher, blending it up towards the top of the ear but being careful not to bring it to far towards the centre of the face. Depending on the skin tone either blushers or bronzers can be used in this area. Remembering the rule of 'dark pushes in and light brings out', use different blusher colours to emphasise the contour of the cheek bone. By placing a light shimmery blusher colour or one of the shimmery M4B Pro Colour Tides on top of the cheek bone, this will add a beautiful light shimmer to face allowing the light to gently catch on this area illuminating it and adding a pretty soft glow. Be careful not to overuse shimmers on the face or you will end up looking shiny. Be sure to blend the darker and lighter blusher shades lightly to avoid the traditional 'GT stripes'. Create your own blusher palette with the M4B Pro empty blusher palette and blusher refills, or for an all-in-one solution the M4B Pro Blusher and Bronzer Mosaics are fantastic and very easy to use. The individual squares of the mosaics can also be used as eyeshadows.
PRO TIP 20: Remember....with bronzers....less is more! Go easy on them to avoid looking 'muddy' as they are usually highly pigmented so a little goes a long way. Also keep in mind that they do contain some shimmer as well so not only will they add the bronze colour, they will also add some shimmery shine. Bronzers are best applied with a large powder brush such as the 187 stipple brush for a light application or the 134 or 150 powder brushes. It's a good idea to dab onto your hand or a tissue prior to putting the brush to the face to check the amount of product about to be applied. If using the M4B Pro Bronzer Mosaic press the brush in once, then turn the brush 180 degrees and press it again to ensure a good mix of the variety of colours from the mosaic.
PRO TIP 21: ALWAYS line your lips prior to applying lipstick. The reason: you get a true idea of where the lip line is and, in many cases, need to create the lip line if the lips are very pale and the natural lip line is not quite visible. Lip liners in general also aid in containing lipsticks and help to avoid lipstick bleeding into fine lines around the mouth, especially on the top lip. Lip liner can also be used to fill the entire lip area when a long lasting, totally matte finish is required....or as a base for applying lip gloss only over the top. The M4B Pro Automatic Lip Liners are soft and long lasting, and glide on easily for a precise line. You don't necessarily need a different coloured lip liner with each different lipstick. Stick with a nude or taupe colour which will suit most everyday colours. The create a true 'cupid's bow' lip line, find the centre of the lips, top and bottom, and draw a line straight down. Then find the peaks on either side of the centre line on the top lip and draw a line straight down from there, only on the top lip. This allows you to balance the lips and create the points of the top of the 'bow'. Match up these two 'point' lines on the bottom lip. Draw a straightish line across the bottom of the 3 lines in the bottom lip and then continue to line up the side of each lip to the corners of the mouth. Then from each 'point' on the top lip, follow the lip line down to the corners of the mouth on each side and also to the centre line. This should give you a perfectly shaped lip line with the balanced 'cupid's bow' in the middle of the lips. Fill with lipstick.
PRO TIP 22: ALWAYS apply your lipstick with a lip brush. This helps the lipstick get into the grooves of the lips, making the lipstick last longer, look better and giving you a much better line. As the lips are made up of very fine vertical lines, it is a good idea to apply the brush not only horizontally but also vertically along the lips to get a great coverage. For a long lasting finish, split a tissue into 1 ply, use one piece to blot the lipstick to remove any excess lipstick. Then place the other single ply tissue over the lips and lightly powder with a translucent setting powder. This helps to set the first layer of lipstick before you apply a second layer. Blot again gentle with a tissue between the lips to remove any excess lipstick and avoid it going onto the teeth. The 316 lip brush is ideal - it also comes with its own metal lid to keep the brushes clean between uses.
PRO TIP 23: Consider wearing two different lipsticks to achieve a fuller pout. Place a lighter shimmery lipstick in the centre of the lips, top and bottom, where the light will catch giving the illusion of more rounded lips.
PRO TIP 24: Lip glosses look beautiful but can be time consuming to maintain. If you want a fuss free look but still with the look of a gloss, consider a creamy, shimmery satin lipstick which will give you the longevity of a lipstick but with the shimmer of a lip gloss. Both boxes ticked! As a general rule - the more gloss, the least lasting - the more matte, the longer lasting. Consider your look and how much you want to fuss over your lips and then choose your lip products accordingly. The M4B Pro Liquid Lustre lip glosses provide intense shine with a long lasting shimmery base. The brush tip applicator allows you to apply it with precision.
PRO TIP 25: Brush the M4B Pro Colour Tides over the collar bones for a lovely soft shimmer when wearing a strapless dress.
PRO TIP 26: Where do you apply your makeup? Hopefully not in your poorly lit bathroom under a 60 watt light. Ideally makeup should be applied in natural daylight to give you a true indication of how you will be seen when you walk outside, or under similar lighting to where you will be seen when wearing your makeup (especially if heading out for the night). Poor lighting can distort colours and create shadows. It is also very easy to overdo your makeup when the lighting is poor...and no-one will tell you that your blusher looks like Aunt Dorothy until you check it out in the car mirror on the way home from work! Also, use a second mirror to view your makeup from the side to ensure you have blended your foundation and blushers well without dreaded 'tide lines'. Need we say more?
PRO TIP 27: How easy is it to write well with a 1 1/2 inch pencil? Not real easy! So why try to apply your makeup with those tiny little free eyeshadow sponge tip applicators? You invest a lot of money over the years in good makeup - do yourself a favour and get the right brushes for the job. You will be amazed at how much better you can apply makeup with the right tools. Check out the M4B Pro Professional brush set or individual brushes.
PRO TIP 27: Want to streamlline your makeup application - keep different brushes specifically for different products and only use them for that. Keep a few different eyeshadow brushes - one for light colours, one for medium and one for dark. That way, when you are between brush cleans, you won't be using a brush with dark powder still imbedded from a previous application that will mess up your look.
PRO TIP 28: To keep products and brushes clean and sanitised, spray with anti-bacterial 'Isocol' rubbing alcohol. All products, including powdered eyeshadows and blushers can have a light spray over them to kill any bacteria. Do this to powdered products only when they can be left out to dry for a few minutes. Fill a small pump spray bottle with Isocol and take on location to ensure brushes are kept sanitised between clients. Isocol can also be sprayed onto mascara wands if using the wand straight from the tube. Be sure to spray after each eye and before placing the wand back into the tube. See 'tools' on this site for small plastic spray bottles. Isocol can be purchased from most supermarkets and chemists.
PRO TIP 29: Hygiene and makeup go hand-in-hand. Any professional makeup artist knows how important hygiene is with their day-to-day work and the same applies for the home user as well. Your products will last longer and perform better if kept clean and hygienic. Be sure to always apply makeup with clean hands. On location makeup artists often choose to use the gel hand sanitisers between clients to prevent any cross contamination from one client to the next.
PRO TIP 30: Finally, never be afraid to experiment. Copy those photos in the magazines and try to duplicate the makeup looks that you see. Experiment with different shades and colours and don't be stuck in a rut with the same 'look' that you have been doing for years. Professional makeup artists are very fortunate to be able to work on different faces all the time but there is nothing from stopping you trying out different looks on the same old face either.
We hope that these tips have helped in some way. Feel free to email through your comments or questions to email@example.com