|My new boyfriend|
Where do I start about my fun week? On Wednesday night I had tickets for my Mum, sister and I to attend an event here in Auckland, where NYC-based Estee Lauder global director of makeup design Victor Henao was going to be showing us his magic ways, and new makeup looks. I admit I was more excited about the promised goodie bag to start with, but by the end of the night I was a total Victor Fan.
He made up three models, and while he was doing that he encouraged us to throw questions at him. I have not experienced anyone more humble and down-to-earth at the same time as being so talented in a while. And funny! I think I fell a little bit in love and I know I wasn’t the only one in the room to do so.
If Victor ever does an event at your town, promise me you’ll go, you won’t regret it.
Now, about me and makeup, we definitely do get on and I love wearing makeup, but sometimes I can become lazy and complacent and just do the bare minimum to get me out the door. A beauty blogger I will never be, but after an hour watching Victor perform his skills on the models, I couldn’t wait to practice the eye makeup techniques that he’d taught us for myself.
The next morning with my new Estee Lauder eyeshadow palette (the goodie bag was amazing) I took the time to do my eye makeup remembering Victor’s words. Here are my results:
|My own efforts|
My mum is visiting from out of town at the moment and we were in the city on Thursday where we saw a big poster of Victor at the Estee Lauder counter. He was going to be doing makeup appointments the following day, so I asked if they had any bookings left. Sadly they did not, but I was encouraged to leave my name in case there were any cancellations. Half an hour later my phone rung - someone had pulled out, and the appointment was mine if I wanted it!
So yesterday I had my own personal makeup session with Victor, and he kindly allowed me to record him as he did my eyes (because when someone’s putting eyemakeup on you, you can’t see what they’re doing!) I can’t wait to watch it and practice, because eye makeup makes such a huge difference and I find it the hardest thing to master. I don’t want to look totally over-the-top and dramatic but I know that being fair in colouring and of a certain age means that having more defined eyes is definitely a good thing.
He was all finished within fifteen minutes - oh, imagine being able to create such a look in that time! – and I strolled back into work feeling quite the bombshell (my husband confirmed that yes, I was a bombshell, and referenced ‘smokey eyes’, his favourite term for its overuse on Project Runway).
|Makeup by Victor Henao (how cool to say that for one day!)|
To round off my Victor Fest, here are my favourite tips and tidbits that I picked up from the glamorous event evening and my makeup appointment yesterday:
Finish your eyes with bronzer. Once you’ve done your eye makeup, sweep a little bronzer over the lids to warm the whole look up and blend it into the rest of your makeup and put a tiny amount under your eyes over top of the eyeliner too. I tried this the next morning and loved the result.
Start your eyeshadow from the lashline. I noticed when he was doing the models’ eye makeup that he starts applying lid eyeshadow along the lash line and brushing up. This is the opposite of what I do, so I’m going to try this (I’d usually brush eyeshadow horizontally across my eyes). Starting at the lashline means the shade is concentrated along the lashes and creates a nice blended wash as it goes up towards the brow bone.
Look after yourself. He rightly stated that many women are so busy looking after everyone else that they cry ‘I don’t have time to put any makeup on/take time with my eyes/do my hair etc’. He said go to bed fifteen minutes earlier and wake up fifteen minutes earlier and put some makeup on and do your hair. When I have sufficient time to do this in the mornings I always have a better day because I feel happy with how I look.
Because he does not wear makeup himself, his way of looking after himself is to make a really good breakfast in the morning when he’s at home in NYC. He likes to make poached egg and avocado on toast, or poached egg, truffle oil and parmesan on toast. Yum!
Foundation brush or fingers? I asked two questions at the event; the first was about using a foundation brush versus fingers when you are applying liquid foundation. He said to use fingers when you want a sheer application, and a foundation brush or sponge when you want more coverage.
I bought myself an inexpensive foundation brush a few months ago and from day one I was hooked. I did notice it was easy to put too much foundation on though, so I have been trying to put less and less on each day as I get used to the brush.
The gorgeous lady Julia who did my foundation yesterday before Victor did my eyes used a foundation brush and used hardly any product, but just kept blending and blending. Victor said to put fine layers on and build up where necessary rather than one thick coat. My first attempts at the foundation brush were definitely one thick coat but I’m getting better!
What not to do? My second question I asked him if there was anything he saw on women that he wanted to go up to them and say ‘don’t do that!’ when it came to makeup. Victor exclaimed that he would never tell a woman not to do anything with her makeup because he believes that we should all feel free to express ourselves in the way we want. So I rephrased my question and asked if there was anything he would say that a woman could improve upon.
His answer was the word ‘research’. He encouraged us all to research new products, new techniques and new looks. At the start of each season it’s a great idea to have an appointment with a makeup counter and see what’s new. And not just with makeup either, but with clothing and fashion (see what’s new in the shops and in magazines).
You might not necessarily buy a new wardrobe each season (I certainly don’t) or replace makeup colours unless they are used up, but by looking around and updating incrementally you won’t find yourself stuck in a makeup rut. As I mentioned before, my rut is probably laziness rather than being stuck in the past.
Eye makeup for mature ladies? Another lady asked Victor what he would recommend for women who were not eighteen-year-old models and whose eyes weren’t so youthful. His belief is that makeup is not age-related, that you can wear anything at any age. The more important factor was confidence – he said the more confident you are with eye makeup, the further away you can go from your eyes, and the more conservative eye makeup stays closer to your eyes, which makes total sense.
Apply eyeliner on the inside. My other favourite technique which looks so different to how I was doing it is to apply eyeliner on the inside of your eyelashes. I’d always drawn on the top of my eyelid very close to the lashline but it still looked thickly drawn (so I’d smudge it away with eyeshadow on a cotton bud/q-tip). To apply it under the lashes you almost close your eye and run the pencil along the underside of your lashes – it’s actually easier to do this than the inferior way! There is hardly any pencil on your eyelid but you can see how defined your eyes look. Genius. I’d heard this before but never got the hang of it and it’s actually really easy.
Writing this post it occurred to me that I love having each morning as another opportunity to refine my makeup skills. Like those pads at the beauty counter where a face is printed on the page and the consultant shades in the colours you have used (it’s like a glamourous colouring book), we get the chance to tear that page off each day and start again with a new look and a more polished skill the more we do it.
A pesky thought that came to me though, is that makeup is frivolous and unnecessary and that we should have more altruistic and cerebral things on our mind. That did actually come to me as I was writing and feeling excited about putting colour on my face. Those thought gremlins are really annoying aren't they? My response to myself was to list all the benefits of makeup:
Putting makeup on is an artistic expression.
It’s taking time for yourself and showing yourself that you are worth doing that.
Applied well, it can make such a huge difference to the way you look.
It’s a fun part of life.
It doesn’t really cost that much for the boost you receive.
You can practice and get better at it every day.
It’s proven in studies that people who look better are treated better (whether we like those study results or not, they are true) so why not look as good as we can.
You don’t have to go all out – but you can if you want to: ie. 'le no makeup look; is just as valid as 'smokey eyes bombshell'.
You can create a different feeling for a different day.
I’m sure it must be good for your health, because being mindful and focusing on doing a beautiful job whether it takes five minutes or twenty-five minutes forces you to slow down and be present with what you’re doing.
When you know you look good you feel good.
You are showing respect for those around you, whether it’s family, co-workers or people who serve you at the bank or the supermarket, by being as well-turned out as you can be – this is the French point of view. You are showing that respect yourself as well.
Can you tell I'm in love with makeup again? Not that I wasn't before, I just think I was maybe taking it a bit for granted. Thank you so much Victor, for being a fab person and generous with your lovely energy. Your enthusiasm for makeup is contagious!