January 21, 2014 - Hair and Beauty, Makeup

Beauty Buzz | Five Makeup Artist Tips

Print Modeling Photos Although I haven’t talked much about it on the blog, I used to regularly work as an actress and print model in Dallas.  It was a big part of my life for eight years.  In that time, I appeared in close to 40 commercials, a dozen independent and industrial films and countless print shoots and theater performances.  Most of the time the hours were long and the pay wasn’t that great (which is probably why I don’t do it anymore!).  But there were a lot of bright spots through the years.  One of which was getting to work with some highly talented stylists and makeup artists.  I honestly owe most of my style and beauty know-how to them.

Even though I never worked on any big studio productions, I was fortunate enough to have some A-list makeup artists.  They worked with a few people you may have heard of like Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock, Matthew McConaughey and Barack Obama.  A word of advice, if any of you ever get to be A-list celebrities, BE NICE to makeup artists.  Most of them love to dish dirt on the stars they’ve worked with.  Oh, the stories I could tell!  But I won’t because they’re not very nice.  🙂

I owe so much to these professionals.  They taught me how to pick the right foundation color and grow back my overly waxed eyebrows (Biotin, it works!).  They also showed me how curling lashes creates brighter and more open eyes and how to mix the right lip glosses and lip sticks to create the perfect shade.

Today, I’m going to let you in on five of my favorite tips learned from makeup artists.

Five Makeup Artist Tips…For the Rest of Us

Tip #1 – Always use a primer.

I can honestly say that this one product has gotten me countless compliments on my skin over the past few years.   Simply put, primer fakes great skin.  It hides little imperfections, smooths over lines and makes foundation application flawless. Smashbox Photo Finish Primer is my absolute fave.  They should be hiring me as their spokesperson for all the friends I’ve turned on to this stuff!  Don’t be afraid of the price, one tube lasts me about a year.

Tip #2 – Use foundation instead of concealer.

There’s no need to buy a separate product to use as a concealer.  Most of them are too cakey and the wrong color for your skin.  After applying primer, dot foundation around your nose, under eyes and on any other area that needs evened out.  Use a make-up sponge to blend it, working from the center of your face outward.  L’Oreal’s True Match Lumi Healthy Luminous Makeup has lightweight buildable coverage and three ingredients that help to improve skin clarity and tone.

Tip #3 – Blend a sparkly shadow into the corners of eyes to look more awake.

First, swipe a sparkly champagne color over lids then apply a small amount to corners of eyes.  Use a darker neutral for the crease (taupe to chocolate brown) and highlight brow bone with the champagne shade.  My favorite sparkly champagne shade is Bobbi Brown’s Champagne Quartz.  It reflects light beautifully without being too over the top.

Tip #4 – Applying contour is just as important as blush. 

Contouring with a bronzer and blush gives a natural glow and enhances facial features.  I use a blusher/bronzer duo for this step.  First, swipe the bronzer onto cheekbones, on temples and down the bridge of your nose, where sunlight would naturally hit.  Smile, then swirl a pinkish or coral blush onto apples of cheeks and blend out toward ears.  I’m in love with this $3 Contouring Blush and Bronzer Duo by ELF, the colors are amazingly natural and have a subtle sheen.

Tip #5 – Use eye shadow to line eyes. 

I use dark eye shadow from my palette for my eye liner.  It creates a softer line and is easier to control than a pencil.  Use a very thin brush or the point of an applicator.  Dampen it slightly then dip it in the eye shadow color of your choice.  Some of my favorite colors to line with include navy blue, turquoise, plum, chocolate brown and gray.  Line both upper and lower lash lines.  The darker shades in my Smashbox Master Class Palette are perfect for this.  A skinny eyeliner brush is included in the set.

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  • Your makeup is always so flawless, thank you for these tips and I do agree with being nice to makeup artist all the tricks that I already really came from one.

  • So SO fun! What a great post! Really great tips that I’m going to have to try out myself for sure. Thanks Alison!

  • Allison!! These were some fun great tips. I just got some primer in my Birchbox this month and I’ve fallen in love!! It makes a HUGE difference!! Gonna have to try these other tips!!

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  • I have never used a make up primer before. I will have to try that! Thanks for the make up tips!

  • Thank you for these great tips. You always look so flawless and beautiful!!!


  • Love seeing some of your modeling work! What a great experience to work with professional makeup artists 🙂 love the new tips! I’ll be trying the eyeshadow one!

  • Fun to see some of your previous work!


  • I love using dark brown shadow to line my eyes!

  • Some awesome beauty tips Alison. I especially live by the sparkly eye shadow near the corners of the eyes..adds a glow.. 🙂

  • Beautiful Alison – thank you for the tips! I have found that when I contour my face (which is not every day) I usually get compliments! It really does make a difference.


  • How cool that you worked as a print model and actress! I would be so happy to see my face in a campaign or magazine haha 🙂 You look so great in all the photos! And thank you for the make-up recommodations, I am going to try the Smashbox! xox

  • Darcy

    Great tips! I just got into using primer within the last few months. I don’t use if every day for work but I use it on the weekends when I’m gone all day! It really helps! I also picked up that shimmer in the inner corner tips way back from What Not To Wear!! I swear by it!

  • Kim Kauffman

    I love all these tips! I love makeup and could spend way too much money at Sephora 🙂 I’ve been loving my new Urban Decay Naked 3 palette. I often use the darker shades as liner but never thought about dampening the brush first. Will have to try that. I really should get some primer because when I did use it in the past I could really tell a difference!

  • Thank you for this!! This is so helpful. I grew up with six older sisters, yet NO ONE has ever taught me about make up, and I am therefore still clueless about it. I am definitely going to check out that primer. Have you posted at all about skincare routines? That’s something else I’d be interested in learning about…

  • Primer is essential, I absolutely agree. Smashbox makes a great one! 🙂 Happy Tuesday!


  • Great tips…but really I don’t need concealer????

    • Yep! It looks cakey in HD so they always used a lightweight buildable or airbrush foundation instead. I liked the looks of it so much better that I threw my concealer away and use only foundation now.

  • I still haven’t found a concealer I like, and I have tried all the popular “holy grail” ones. So happy to hear foundation only might be the solution! Thanks!


  • Great tips
    I haven’t tried the foundation as a concealer though
    Love the lumi foundation

  • Great tips, very helpful! I didn’t know some of them!


  • Great article…i’ve just started using a primer for my photo shoots. I have the smash box HD primer, but I’ve heard great things about the regular one. 🙂

  • Wow, great tips! Primer is something I never had and I will definitely try! Thanks you!

    MRS JACK OF ALL TRADES (a fashion and life-style blog)

  • Great tips! I loved seeing a glimpse at some of your past work… beautiful!

  • ADA

    These are all fantastic Makeup Tips Alison that I will keep in mind, though I am low-maintenance when it comes to makeup. I didn’t know about the Primer and the Shimmery Shadow. Nice to know. Pleasure linking up with all of you ladies, today.

    Have a Great Wednesday!! Ada. =)

  • mcarswell

    Great tips & thanks for sharing. I was wondering if you use an eye cream and what brand(s) you use for day and night? Thanks again!

  • Great tips today Alison and I discovered a couple of new bloggers! I would love to try those Butter products!! I have not tried any of them yet! Thanks! Susan

  • These are great tips – I don’t own any bronzer… I don’t really know why… But picking up that ELF bronzer/blush duo would be super affordable, so that looks like a good “starter” bronzer for me 😉 I love how inexpensive ELF is!

  • Totally agree with you on the primer tip, especially. Whenever I try to skip it, it never looks good.


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  • Oh go on!! Dish the dirt! 😉 Great tips here & I am going to be trying some of them out! I’ve become far too lazy with my make up! Ax

  • Rachael

    how do you go about picking a foundation color especially in a drugstore where you can’t try it on?

    • Hi Rachael! I usually hold them up to my hand to see which one matches most closely. Most of the time it works out just fine!