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Beauty Trends

Backstage tips the pros don’t want you to know

Verity Douglas
Writer and expert7 years ago
View Verity Douglas's profile

There's no better place to find make up tips like how to master a smoky eye or get immaculate beach waves in a matter of minutes than by going backstage. Few things cause heart palpitations for beauty lovers as much as inhaling the frenetic behind-the-scenes air during fashion week. It's where you're likely to spot hairstylists sprinting up and down the rows of models - can of hairspray in one hand, teaser comb in the other - while make up artists wield their brushes like ninjas, getting jet-lagged models' faces looking luminous at breakneck speed.

Not only is it worth going backstage for the experience alone, but it's also where the best pieces of beauty wisdom can be sought, plus you'll get to see which products the pros can't live without. With that in mind, we've assembled a few of our favourite tips and product picks from 'the front line of beauty'...

{Pro tip}: “For 'invisibly defined' eyes, switch black for bronze-brown liner and apply along the upper, inner rim of your eyelids - right at the roots of the lashes - for a sexy, smoky haze that adds (undetectable) depth and intensifies your most important assets. It looks particularly beautiful on blue or green-eyed girls” - Charlotte Tilbury backstage at ETRO.

{Try it yourself}: ZOEVA's {Graphic Eyes+} in shade 'Glance' is a beautiful, shimmering brown shade, or try Charlotte's best-loved {Rock 'n' Kohl} in 'Barbarella Brown' to enhance and 'awaken' without looking obvious - both are perfect for disguising tell-tale signs of tiredness.

{Pro tip}: “Using skin care [as highlighter] gives the most natural and healthy effect, especially tapping oil or moisture in a C shape around the sides of the eyes. It enhances bone structure and makes for a dewy 'athletic' complexion” Val Garland speaking to Harper’s BAZAAR backstage at Ungaro.

{Try it yourself}: We love MV Organic Skincare's {Pure Jojoba} - a few drops are a fast-track to radiant, bare-faced beauty à la {Alicia Keys}. Or use an opalescent balm - Kevyn Aucoin's {The Exotique Diamond Eye Gloss} has a glossy finish and a whisper of sophisticated shimmer for a sexy, sporty look.

{Pro Tip}: A great shade for summer, pink lipstick instantly brightens your face and helps offset your holiday glow. A tricky shade to pull off, make up artist Lloyd Simmons insists that it's all about finding the perfect texture: "make it matte and blur the edges - a velvet finish automatically makes hot pink more sophisticated."

{Try it yourself}: Charlotte Tilbury's {Hot Lips} in 'Electric Poppy' is the perfect shade of fuchsia - with a creamy (but non-glossy) finish, its great for those who love a more 'traditional' lip formula. While those who've already embrace the matte side should try Huda's {Liquid Matte} in 'Video Star' - a vibrant, colour-pop shade that demands attention. Use your fingertips to blur before it dries for modern, just-caught-kissing vibes.

{Pro tip}: "Sometimes I'll put make up on, then I'll apply {Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentre} afterwards with my fingers. It gives a beautiful finish when you're going for dewy skin." Make up Artist Diane Kendal.

{Try it yourself}: As well as its glow-giving prowess, this iconic skin cream makes a great moisturising primer for dry skin. You can even leave a thicker layer on for several minutes as a hydrating mask (the French ladies have been doing this for years...). With calming ingredients including shea butter, aloe vera, and beeswax, it's also great for angry or reactive complexions - Val Garland swears by this for soothing models' stressed-out skin and swiftly counteracting redness while bestowing a plumped, fresh-faced finish.

{Pro tip}: Many contouring products are too pigmented and make the skin look tanned," said make up artist Lisa Butler backstage at Isabel Marant. " Becca's {Lowlight Sculpting Perfector}, is so sheer that it doesn't make the skin look coloured and instead creates a realistic shadow."

{Try it yourself}: A cool-toned contouring cream, BECCA’s Lowlight Sculpting Perfector works to exaggerate existing shadows – enhancing cheekbones, defining jawlines and streamlining larger-than-you’d-like noses. Buttery, buildable and blendable, you can layer to achieve the desired effect – applying to bare skin, or on top of foundation to enhance the ‘3D’ nature of your face.

{Pro tip}: Make up artist Sam Bryant advocates approaching BB Cream as you would normal moisturiser. Ditch brushes and instead, dispense a generous 'blob' between your fingertips and 'warm' before applying all over face, neck and décolleté. "It gives the skin an evenness and lovely dewy texture" - you'll look naturally luminous (not 'made up').

{Try it yourself}: When it comes to light, summer-weight bases, you can't go wrong with Jouer's best-loved Luminizing Moisture Tint. Jam-packed with skin-beneficial ingredients, free radical-fighting antioxidants and SPF 20, this melts into your visage for an enviable 'your skin, but better' effect.


Verity Douglas
Writer and expert
View Verity Douglas's profile
Cult Beauty’s Content Editor and a Cult Beauty OG, Verity loves nothing more than the marriage of language and lip balm. A quintessential Libran, she’s a self-professed magpie for luxury ‘must-haves' and always pursuing the new and the niche — from the boujee-est skin care to cutting-edge tech. Balancing an urge to stop the clock with her desire to embrace the ageing process (and set a positive example for her daughter), Verity's a retinol obsessive and will gladly share her thoughts about the time-defying gadgets, masks and treatments worth the splurge...