From The Straits Times    |

Who better to turn to for this question than celebrity make-up artist Nick Barose. A Hollywood favourite, he has made up the faces of A-listers such as Anne Hathaway, Scarlett Johansson and Lupita Nyong’o for editorial shoots as well as the red carpet.

“Hollywood actresses hire me because I make their skin look nice on the red carpet,” says the New Yorker, who was in town last week for the launch of Skin Inc’s Get Glowin’ Brightening Mask.

“I don’t overdo their make-up and it looks good under every light, from the camera flash to the video crew’s light to natural light.”

Here are his tips:

1. Prepare your skin

Use a brightening mask every day for a week leading to the event. You cannot fake a glow with make-up if you have dull skin, especially in an environment where the cameras will be trained on you, and you cannot rely on someone to touch up all your photos digitally.

2. Less is more

Do not put on too much make-up. You do not want to look like you are wearing a mask, or look like somebody else.

Of course, you have to go the whole nine yards to look good, but you do not want to look contrived. That is never chic.

Many approach make-up like painting a wall. You just have to pay attention to what you want to show off and hide on your face.

I always start with a hydrating moisturiser with sun protection that does not turn greasy. Then make-up primer. Use a mattifying one on the T-zone and in between the brows so the skin glows without looking oily.

Choose liquid foundation to perfect your complexion. Layer and blend it to let your good skin shine through and put a little more on trouble spots. Use concealer where necessary.

Skip the loose powder, it can make you look like you have too much make-up on and highlight lines.

3. Pick the right shades and textures

Blush makes the complexion look radiant if you choose the right one.

The colour should look like it is part of your skin. If there are yellow tones in your skin, go for a warm peach. Have fair skin? Go for pinks. If you are darker, pick berry shades.

Use a powder blusher, which is easier to use in warm weather than a cream blusher. Also go for one without shimmer because when you perspire in warm weather, shimmer will make you look even sweatier. Find something that reflects light, but is not shimmery.

Always pick colours that pop in the palette or tube. Often, it will not look as intense on the skin. You get more bang for your buck when you buy something brighter because the pigments are richer. You can always blend the colour to tone it down. For example, red lipstick can be turned pink when you pat part of it off the lips.

When wearing smoky eyes, remember always to play with texture and different shades. Dark eye make-up in a single tone can make the peepers look flat and smaller.

A matte colour should be used to define the eyes, so apply it on the outer corners and in the crease. Shimmer and shine should be used on the inner corners and centre of the lids, or kept subtle on the lash lines.

4. Be yourself

In this age of “following” on social media, some people follow their idols too much. You cannot look at what other people are doing and follow it blindly.
For example, on Instagram, people are always asking, “What is that lipstick?” But that lipstick that she is wearing may not match your skin tone. And some people have a perfect nose, but they want to contour it because that is the trend and they end up making their noses look smaller.

Your thought process should be: “That colour or make-up style looks good on that person, but how can I find a version that looks good on myself?”

Make-up is about authenticity. You can use it to express yourself, or misuse it and make yourself look like everyone else.

This story was first published in The Straits Times on August 6, 2015. For similar stories, go to

For some everyday makeup tips, read 4 best makeup tips to help you be ‘chio’ not ‘wayang’ at work!