Seven Lessons From Seven Amazing Makeup Artists

Most of us were taught by our mothers (or rarely fathers) how to highlight and contour our faces, yet some simply watched YouTube tutorials for that flawless beauty look. The fashion industry has many creatives who specialize in accentuating natural features. To these individuals we are about to highlight, there is no better canvas than the one we all were born with – our natural face. However, to any make up artist our natural faces are like invitations to experiment and be creative.

Here are seven techniques from the seven most inspiring, creative, and iconic  makeup artists today:

1.    Pat McGrath’s “Fingers”  

Having been deemed the most visible fashion’s makeup artist by the Business of Fashion, it should come as no surprise that Pat McGrath is at the top of FSD list. The extremely high demand for her artistry comes directly from her impeccable skill and unique techniques. She is known for using her fingers to apply product instead of makeup brushes. “I use my fingers to blend. When you put on foundation with a brush, it’s a heavy finish—but if you use a brush and then blend, it looks more like a moisturizer, and much prettier,” McGrath told in one of the recent interviews. The simplest lesson from the most covered beauty artist in the world. Something interesting to note about McGrath is that she had no formal training, but grew, with perseverance and ambition, to work with top brands and photographers such as Christian Dior and Steven Meisel.

2Charlotte Tilbury’s “Feline Flick”

If you’ve never heard of the famous Feline Flick, just know that you may have already applied it on yourself. Charlotte Tilbury’s cat eye, nicknamed the “Feline Flick”, has appeared on Cara Delevigne, Megan Fox and Kim Kardashian, to name just a few.  She started her own beauty brand, Charlotte Tilbury Beauty, offering customers a direct experience with product that she uses. Her strategy for the perfect cat eye starts with the right tools. “The most important thing is to make sure you have a sharp eyeliner pencil,” Tilbury told “Start by filling and drawing a ‘V’ shape in the inner corner of your eye then drag your pencil along the top of the lash line three quarters of the way along.” You can purchase Tilbury’s very own Feline Flick Pen here.

3. Val Garland’s “Water Trick” 

Val Garland’s work has sparked a new conversation on the idea of beauty. Much of her work is done with MAC Cosmetics and quite often with designers such as Vivienne Westwood and Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen. Garland may be known for her otherworldly makeup artistry, but her technique for hydrating skin is very simple. “…if she’s got red skin I’ll take Evian water spray and I’ll spray her face every 15 minutes,” she told Vogue. “Water just plumps and diffuses the inflammation – it really does work, everyone should try it.”

4. Gucci Westman’s “Natural Mix”

Gucci Westman, Jennifer Aniston’s best friend and makeup artist, reigns in the natural makeup look. I mean, just look at Jennifer Aniston on any red carpet. Westman has also worked with Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Lawrence, Drew Barrymore and several designers, including Oscar De La Renta. Here’s her easily adaptable foundation technique: “I love to mix Revlon ColorStay Foundation with a bit of moisturizer – it creates a brilliant modern formula, long-lasting but luminous,” she told Cosmopolitan.

5. Peter Philips’ “Baking Method”

Currently the creative and image director of Christian Dior makeup, Peter Philips is a feminine beauty leader. When he highlights the face, he applies concealer where necessary blends it with a sponge and then places setting powder under the eyes. This is called “baking”.  “I just let it sit for five to ten minutes and gently brush it off,” he revealed in a Dior makeup tutorial. “It is a matte finish which is so intense that it becomes luminous.”

6. Tom Pecheux’s “Smoky Eye”

Two words: Chanel runways. The clothes, the setting, the music, the models and, of course, the beauty. Tom Pecheux is the brains behind several of the dramatic looks seen in countless fashion weeks—one area of specialization for him is the smoky eye. “You can do it in black, but if you’re a color freak you can mix the color with black, use a soft brush and make it very transparent, or use a stronger brush and make it more opaque and more dramatic,” Pecheux told Harper’s Bazaar.

7. Dick Page’s “Versatility” 

The great thing about makeup is its ability to transform a person again and again, however, most people don’t usually try anything outside of their normal routine. Makeup legend Dick Page encourages this outspoken endeavor. He has painted the faces of almost every ‘90s supermodel, Victoria’s Secret angel and a host of A-list actresses. This constant exercise only evokes more creativity for Page. “Think about what you’re doing and why,” Dick told “Inspiration and excitement are good.” Noted.

As fall approaches, so does a change in our wardrobe and, ultimately, our beauty routines. The next time you apply makeup or go shopping for tools, keep these seven tips in mind.

 Stay beautiful, friends!

Text: Dairia Kymber, MA Fashion Journalism student at Academy of Art University