How to dazzle in 10 minutes without a makeup artist

Opt for a fresh and natural makeup look. Unless you are skilled in the makeup department, it’s best to leave the more ambitious looks in the hands of the makeup artist (MUA). A clean and fresh look is timeless and super versatile. It can be adapted to any type of shoot and is a simple but classic look that any model should master.

Model & Makeup Artist: Kerosene Deluxe; Photographer: Rudi Mentaer

Serum and moisturizer

Start off with a serum and moisturizer suitable for your skin type. Allow the moisturizer to absorb into your skin for about 10 minutes. This will prevent any blotchy makeup drama. Use an eye cream for the eye contour area.


Apply an oil-free primer, such as Smashbox Photo Finish, all over the face. This will help your foundation go on more smoothly and evenly. (If you have oily skin, opt for the Smashbox Photo Finish Light. The Light version of this primer is designed to prevent pigment change in foundation, which is common with oilier skin types.)


Apply your foundation using either a foundation brush or a sponge. Start from the center and blend outwards. (Don’t forget the ears!) Stay clear from foundations containing titanium dioxide, as it can change color when the photo flash hits it. Some popular foundation choices include Make Up For Ever HD foundation, Armani Luminous Silk, Bobbi Brown, Cover FX (which has a great range of pigments and different textures, from heavy duty cream foundation to light liquids) and RCMA (professional brand).


Apply concealer on the deeper creases under the eyes (and on blemishes, around the nostrils, and on the eyelids to act as an eye shadow base), using a concealer brush. Then use a dry and clean fluffy crease brush in circular motions to blend the concealer in gently. Doing so after applying the concealer with a concealer brush helps to achieve a perfect airbrushed and blended look. If you have dark circles, opt for a peach-toned corrector to balance out the blue hues of the dark circles. I highly recommend the Corrector Wheel by Ben Nye, as it has all the shades you need to correct and conceal. Use the yellow shade to cover up redness and blemishes. It’s a myth that using a concealer a shade lighter than your foundation will hide circles. By adding a lighter shade on them, you will only highlight the dark circles.


Set with a translucent powder. Use a powder brush for a light finish or a powder puff for a more matte finish. For a dewy look, powder only your T-zone (chin, nose, and forehead). Cinema Secrets makes an excellent translucent (colorless) powder, as does Ben Nye (inexpensive too!).

Additional Tip: If you love that dewy look on the skin, mix a couple of drops of High Beam (liquid highlighter) by Benefit into your foundation and then lightly powder your T-zone only.

Contouring and highlighting

The next step is contouring and highlighting your face, which is a lot less scary than it sounds. It’s a great way to make your features stand out, not to mention make your face appear slimmer. Make Up For Ever’s Sculpting Kit, which contains both a bronzer and highlighter, is an excellent choice. The easiest way to apply the bronzer and contour is to imagine a 3 shape on each side of your face (the hairline, hollow part of the cheeks, and jawline) and apply with an angled powder or blush brush. You may also contour the sides of your nose, but do so with care and use a light coloured bronzer to avoid making it look unnatural.

Then my favorite part: highlighting! This is a sure way to make your cheekbones pop and showcase your features. I personally like to use a fan brush to apply highlighter on my cheekbones, above my brows, on my brow bone (the arched part just under the eyebrow), and in a quick sweep along my nose. Highlighting the upper part of your face will give it a lifted effect. You can choose between a liquid and a powder highlighter. I prefer a powder, as it’s easier to blend. (I love Shimmer by Smashbox and highlighting blush powder in Luminous Glow by Nars.) Do take your skin tone into consideration; warm skin tones will look better with a gold-toned highlighter, and cool skin tones will look great with pinky tones.


Finish with a peachy-toned blush (such as Orgasm by Nars).

Tip: Contrary to popular belief, you should avoid applying blush right on the apples of your cheeks, as doing so can make your face look chubby. Instead, apply from the center of your cheeks, lightly blending towards your temples.


Then for the eyes, which will be kept pretty simple using earthy shades such as browns and beiges. Apply a light base eye shadow (such as Champagne by Smashbox) all over the eyelids.

Then apply a light beige shadow (like Birch from Bobbi Brown) all over your eyelid into your crease, using a crease eye shadow brush.

The next step is applying the darkest shade of eye shadow. Choose between a cool or warm brown shade (warm like Chocolate by Make Up For Ever or cool like Mahogany by Bobbi Brown) and apply it on the outer corner of your eyelid. Then take an angled eye shadow brush and gentle blend the colour towards the centre of your lid and into the crease. The result should be a gradual fading effect from darker on the outer corners to lighter towards the inner corners—sort of like a smokey eye but with soft natural shades.

Apply the beige tone on the lower lash line as well and finish by blending everything, using a clean and dry eye shadow blending brush. This will soften any harsh lines. The key here is blend, blend, blend!

For extra depth, you can take an eye pencil in a brown color and rim your lash line. Gently smudge with an eye definer brush (or a Q-tip if you don’t have one). Take some of the highlighter you’ve used on your cheekbones and apply a little bit on the inner corners.

Finish by curling your eyelashes (I swear by the Shu Uemura eyelash curler) and finish with two coats of your favorite black mascara (mine is Hypnose by Lancome).

Now we are only two steps away from being done. Told you it would be quick!


Now for your (hopefully groomed) brows. Depending on the fullness and shape of your brows, you may or may not wish to fill them in. If your brows are already full and have a nice shape, all you’ll have to do is brush them through with a brow brush and a little bit of eyebrow wax (such as Brow Tech Wax by Smashbox) or clear mascara (like Maybelline Great Lash Clear Mascara). If you do have thin brows, fill them in stroke by stroke, using either an angled eye definer brush and brow powder (I like Brow Tech eyebrow powders by Smashbox a lot) or a brow pencil (Clinique’s Superfine Brow Pencil is great, as it’s super thin). A brow powder will give you a softer and more natural finish than a pencil. Opt for a shade that is one shade lighter than your natural hair colour to avoid a harsh look.


We are now at the final step, lips! This doesn’t need a lot of explanation (you are probably tired of reading by now anyway, correct?). Apply a peachy or pinkish sheer gloss or nude lipstick (whichever you prefer) and VOILÀ! You are now ready for your close up.

Kerosene Deluxe

Kerosene Deluxe is an alternative model and makeup artist with 10 years of experience. She lives in Vancouver, Canada.

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