How You Should Really Be Applying Your Makeup

Charlize Theron’s makeup artist schools us in proper product layering.

By: Naomi Nachmani
Photography: Jake Rosenberg

Okay, so it’s safe to say we have a bit of a soft spot for the beauty biz. We mean, come fashion week we spend more time Insta-oggling backstage beauty snaps and models’ avant-garde eyeliner than we do our SOs to be. Our own day-to-day makeup on the other hand? Well, let’s just say it’s less Kardashi-klan countouring and more how-to-look-alive-in-as-little-time-as-possible. All hail under-eye concealer.
 
With that goal in mind, we tend to throw any systematic application to the wind, opting for a first product we see, first product we use strategy. Mascara, eyebrow gel, blush? Why not. Well, kids, we’re wrong. That is apparently not the way to get properly gussied up. So in an attempt to streamline our glossy process, both in light of efficiency and making it through the day sans a makeup Hoodini situation, we turned to Pati Dubroff, the brains behind the blush of Kate Bosworth, Charlize Theron and Dakota Johnson, to break down the makeup layering basics, from primers to powders.

 


 

1.

Face First

“I like the skin to look finished before doing eyes and lips, but I do wait to use powder until after the eyes are done in case of any slips. [To start, I apply] moisturizer around the ‘high bones’—I tend to gravitate towards La Mer. Then lip balm, also La Mer, and a primer along the T-zone. Lancôme is my choice. It's best not to apply a huge amount of moisturizer before makeup, but a touch in strategic places helps the foundation slide and adds a glow to the skin. I like to be generous with moisturizer after makeup [is removed].”

 


 

2.

Foundation

“I then apply the first shade of foundation through the center of the face, [starting with a] lighter shade that matches the neck. Next is the second shade of foundation along the cheeks and forehead, blending into the first shade.”

 


 

3.

Concealor

“Next is a spot concealer where needed, [my favorite being] Clé de Peau. Then the under eye concealer—the Chantecaille brush type.”

 


 

4.

Highlight, Contouring and Blush

 

“Next up is a cream contour—I’m in love with the Lancôme Le Duo Contour & Highlighter Stick. Then I use a highlight cream and then a cream blush.”

 


 

5.

Lids

“I usually do brows first and then focus on the eyes. I use a matte cream shadow or pencil to create the base and shape of the eye and any pencils to line the eyes, finally setting with a small amount of eyeshadow.”

 


 

6.

Lashes

“Next I curl the lashes and apply mascara, and after the mascara is for sure dry, I will add liner to inner rim of eyes. As the last step I might add a dash of a shimmering cream shadow to the center of lid.”

 


 

7.

Powders

“After the eyes are done, I then blot with a blotting paper and apply a light dusting of loose powder. If using powder blush and powder contour, I would now apply those after the loose powder.”

 


 

8.

Lips

“My lip order is to press in a first coat of lipstick, then a touch of lip liner, and next another press in of lipstick. It's pretty rare I use gloss these days, but if I do, I add a touch to the center of the lip as a last step.”

 

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