I spent 40 minutes with Beyoncé’s makeup artist. Here are his top do's and don'ts.

By Heather Muir Maffei
Updated March 20, 2017
Heather Muir Maffei

Some people get excited to meet celebrities. As a beauty editor, I get excited to meet their makeup artists, which is why I was so over the moon to spend an hour with L’Oréal Paris celebrity makeup artist, Sir John (@sirjohnofficial), during a recent Facebook Live session (you can watch the video on Real Simple’s Facebook page). Here, seven tips I learned from the red carpet master that you can use in real life.

Makeup Lesson #1: Apply Foundation to Damp Skin.

“I like when the skin is slightly damp from either washing your face or the moisturizer,” explains Sir John. “Everything adheres better to your skin when it’s slightly damp,” he says. After you moisturize, jump right into foundation or tinted moisturizer before it dries. “It [moisturizer] acts as a great primer.” Even if you’re starting your makeup from scratch but you’re not at the sink, always have a face cream on hand to prime your skin.

Makeup Lesson #2: Never Use Pressed Powder Under Your Eyes.

When it comes to concealer creasing, the struggle is real. Sir John’s game plan to prevent this from happening: tap concealer under your eyes with your ring finger (since it’s the weakest). Body heat from your finger will help the concealer melt into your skin. Make sure there are no lines—powder locks into creases. Once you have a smooth application, set it with powder—never with a pressed powder—says Sir John. Pressed powder can look dry and heavy. Instead, use a small brush and dust a tiny bit of translucent or invisible powder to set your concealer.

Makeup Lesson #3: Apply a Little (Not a Lot of) Product, Then Layer.

When you have a zit, your gut reaction is to load concealer on it to make it go away (makes sense). The smarter method: Apply the teeniest amount of concealer, step back from the mirror and assess the spot, then go back in and layer on a little more if needed. Layering a small amount of product, looks much better than using a lot at once. And just because you have a mark to hide, doesn’t mean you need to treat the rest of your skin the same way. Use full coverage only where you need to—seeing a freckle or a pore is a good thing!

Makeup Lesson #4: Give Your Eyeshadow Longevity by Applying Eyeliner in a Matching Color Under It.

If your eye makeup tends to fade or disappear by lunch, try this trick: “If I’m going to do a purple eye, I layer a purple kohl eyeliner under the shadow to help it grab the powder,” Sir John says. Doing a bronze eye? Smudge a bronze pencil over your lids then brush on a bronze powder to lock in the look until you’re ready to take it off.

Makeup Lesson #5: Put Your Face on a Pedestal.

Sculpting is the new, much less aggressive version of contouring, says Sir John. Why do we need to do it? “It puts your face on a pedestal and adds dimension,” he explains. Using a cool, grey-based contour shade (skip the bronzer, it won’t give your features a receding effect) and a brush, dust it in a few key spots: sweep it from your ear under your cheeks, along your temples and hairline, and underneath your jaw line. Remember, contouring and sculpting shouldn’t be cookie cutter—the look should read differently on everyone since it’s based on face shape.

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Makeup Lesson #6: Use Your Night Cream as Highlighter.

Not a fan of super sparkly, disco ball highlighter? No problem. Instead of brushing on a traditional pearlescent powder highlighter, dab a rich eye cream onto your cheekbones for a subtle glow. (Sunscreens work, too!)

Makeup Lesson #7: Don’t Highlight the Tip of Your Nose.

“I always see people shine up the tip of their nose—don’t do that ever, ever, ever, ever, ever,” he begs. “That’s a huge faux pas. Keep it between your eyes, but not near or on the tip. You never want the tip of your nose to be shiny—it’s just not sexy.”