Applying "Red Carpet Makeup:" A Seminar at Make Up For Ever

We've all seen the paparazzi shots of celebrities with botched makeup jobs (Nicole Kidman's bad concealer makeup is the most famous): the white undereye powder that wasn't blended away, the bleeding lipstick on the teeth, the mismatched face and neck due to the wrong foundation color. These photos capture more than an embarrassing moment: They can break a celebrity makeup artist's career.

As celebrities are photographed more than ever, the pressure on a celebrity makeup artist to do work that survives all camera angles and flashes is increasing. Fabiola is one of those makeup artists: She preps celebrity clients for red carpet and television appearances. Her clientele includes actresses Amanda Seyfried, Lea Michelle, January Jones, Maggie Q, Minka Kelly, and Michelle Trachtenberg. Men in Hollywood also wear makeup, not just on film, but also during appearances. Her clients include Ben Stiller, Jimmy Fallon, and Ryan Gosling.

Fabiola gave a presentation and highlighted some of her main techniques at Make Up For Ever's studio in NYC during their Pro-Seminar week. She is unfailingly patient and polite, no matter how many questions she's peppered with, and is great at explaining makeup techniques and why the extra steps are taken.

As a celebrity makeup artist who prepares clients for appearances, she's responsible not just for the face but also the body makeup. She typically gives herself about 45 minutes for the face, then 15 minutes for the rest of the body: She hides things like bruises and veins with a body foundation. She also ensures that the body and face match.

When she's first assigned a new client, she goes on the Internet and looks at images to get an idea of looks that suit him or her the most. Many celebrities today want contouring makeup, but she approaches this carefully: She doesn't do things like contour a nose unless specifically asked by the client. The last thing one wants to do is insult a client by implying a feature needs "fixing."

She also brings a camera with her and takes flash photography images when she's done: The camera can pick up flaws the naked eye didn't catch, and flash images do things to makeup, such as wash it out. For this reason, Fabiola typically uses a slightly deeper foundation shade than the client's natural color, and she always blends the makeup down onto the neck.

A few additional tips from Fabiola:

1. She uses the Beauty Blender sponge to apply foundation: She finds it's the fastest at applying product. She uses a stippling motion during application.

2. She emphasizes how crucial it is to prep the skin: For older clients with very dry skin, she actually uses a a moisturizing oil and lets it sink in before applying makeup. Otherwise the makeup looks cakey and settles into wrinkles and fine lines.

3. She doesn't like airbrush foundation application: The problem she finds is the product sets and hardens quickly, making it difficult to work with.

Fabiola addresses makeup artists and aspiring makeup artists at Make Up For Ever's studio during a seminar this month.

The first look is very daytime-appropriate and almost ethereal.

After doing a simpler look, Fabiola ups the glamour factor by adding smokey eye makeup.


  1. Good article, very nice informative picture gallery, gives more details about the story. Thanks… makeup artist sydney


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