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Before makeup artists got their careers on the internet, influencing and tutoring, they used to have to get actual jobs at stores touching actual people’s faces. Beyoncé‘s go-to MUA, Sir John worked at MAC counters and did makeup in strip clubs before hitting it big. And because he’s worked in different facets of the industry, he’s mastered not only how to apply a perfect face but also knows what products last and last.

Refinery29 spoke to the L’Oréal Paris Makeup ambassador, and the beauty expert was more than willing to share his pearls of wisdom. Turns out, if you want to get prettied up, the products don’t have to be pricey. In fact, Sir John’s simple, affordable tips will keep your beautiful face on all day long.

Apply foundation on moisturized skin

Once you’ve put on your moisturizer, have your foundation at the ready. “I prefer to apply foundation on wet [freshly moisturized] skin because once your moisturizer dries, the foundation adheres to your skin in a really organic way,” advised Sir John, who likes L’Oréal’s Paris Hydra Genius Hyaluronic Acid and Aloe Liquid Moisturizer. “Also, don’t be afraid to give your face a little bit of a massage to increase circulation. Blood flow is what you need for great skin.” If you don’t have a jade roller, now’s the time to get one.

 

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Foundation brushes are unnecessary

Sir John prefers using a “wet BeautyBlender,” as well as a “big, fluffy brush brush” rather than one designed for foundation because with a foundation brush, the “application doesn’t look as seamless.”
He adds: “The goal is not to be lacquered from forehead to chin. It’s okay to see an area that isn’t covered in product. I like seeing dark circles and veins on eyelids — that’s sexy to me. It’s 2019, and it’s cool to see texture, especially freckles.”

 

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Layers = long-lasting

“I use a cream blush and then I use a powder blush,” he explains. “I use a cream foundation and then I buff a powder foundation on top of it. This duality creates a Teflon face. Even if you’re using brow pencils, they’re oily and waxy and will become shiny by lunchtime, so always set that product with powder.” Sounds simple enough.

Use the correct amount of concealer

Concealer might be a go-to product for covering up blemishes and pigmentation, but make sure you’re using the right product.

“There are two kinds of concealer you should have,” he explains. “One concealer for blemishes, which should be spot-on to your complexion, then one for brightening and elevating your bone structure.”

Sir John opts for a flat blush when applying concealer, then an eyeshadow blush, like the MAC 224 Synthetic Tapered Blending Brush, to finish it off.

 

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There are two ways to hold your brushes: right and wrong

If you thought there wasn’t a proper way to hold your makeup brushes, think again. According to Sir John, if you hold your brush with your fingers too close to the bristles, your makeup could look streaky. Gasp!

“Always get into a habit of holding the brush as far away from the top as you can, and application will be super easy and light,” he says, adding that if you need to use your fingers, go for it. “Body heat changes the texture of makeup, warming everything up and making it look organic. Use your ring finger to tap makeup into the skin — your index finger is too aggressive. Your ring finger is the weakest and picks up the least amount of product for a soft look.”

When in doubt, glue it out

Forget the brow gel; Sir John uses a good old-fashioned glue stick. “It’s the best brow gel in the world,” he gushes. “After you put your brows on take a little bit of glue on a brush and brush the brow. It won’t clog your pores and it won’t take your hair off.”

While he acknowledges that, yes, it is glue, it’s totally worth it. “It’s going to keep them there all day, even if you sweat. It also allows you to draw hair on top of it. When it dries, it creates a base for actual hair-like strokes.”

Take it easy with the highlighter

While it used to be the more, the merrier, that no longer is the case. Now it’s all about strategic placement for the most flattering results — and stopping at the centre of the eye for a subtle effect.

“If you bring it down the cheek too much, it’ll appear as though your foundation is greasy, and that looks unflattering, especially in photos,” advises Sir John. “Keep your glowy products more on the outside because it’ll change the whole dynamic of your face.”

He adds that brow highlights are “so played out,” and to leave the skin up there alone, keep it “sexy and modern.”

As for products, the beauty expert loves a “luminous, creamy highlighter, nothing with a large particle,” like L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Glow Amour Glow Boosting Drops. Your SPF, however, can work in a pinch.”That glycerin effect on top of your foundation is flattering. You can also use night cream for the same effect.”

 

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