Makeup basics from a makeup artist: 5 ways to prep for fall

Guest post by Tania D. Russell

Non-pro, aspiring pro, makeup journeyman, makeup novice, etc.:
We are starting a new series of posts from Tania of Makeup To Go — a makeup artist for the entertainment industries, and friend of the Empire. These posts are all about makeup: the basics, advice, and products. I, for one, am super excited, because I know NOTHING about makeup. So think of these as “Megan simple makeup” posts for folks like, well, me.
-Megan, Offbeat Home editor

fall makeup

While most people are mourning the end of summer, I am singing hallelujah for the start of fall! Autumn is my favorite season of the year. Admittedly this probably comes from having been born and raised in Southern California where I get all the sunny beautiful days without all the heat of summer. Makeup-wise, fall is a time of transition between the easy breezy days of summer and the deeper tones of winter. It’s also likely that you’ll need to start tweaking your skincare routine a bit.

The tendency for fall makeup is to jump to dark and dramatic colors. While dark lip colors are on the menu, a softer, more subtle overall palette has been the fall trend for a while now. Soft eyes (even when “smokey”), soft lips, a soft blush, and a soft matte finish are more wearable and more flattering for the day-to-day.

Here are a few things I’m loving going into fall…

Pangea Organics Facial Scrub
Pangea Organics Facial Scrub

Time to resume exfoliating

If you haven’t been doing so already, it’s time to get back in the habit of exfoliating. Indoor heating + outdoor brisk air = dry and flakey skin.

Using cranberry seed enzymes and ground adzuki beans, Pangea Organics Facial Scrub is a gentle and effective exfoliator that won’t leave your face feeling as though you washed it with a scouring pad.

Dermalogica's skin hydrating booster
Dermalogica’s skin hydrating booster

As always, you’ll want to start with well-moisturized skin

If your favorite moisturizer needs a little bit more “oomph,” but you’re not ready to switch to an altogether new moisturizer, try one of Dermalogica’s Concentrated Boosters. Available in Extra Firming, Gentle Soothing, Skin Hydrating (my favorite), and Skin Renewal, the boosters are often just what your product needs to make the seasonal transition.

Note: Skin Renewal is a hydroxy-acid exfoliating treatment, so use with caution if you are already using an exfoliating product.

Boots Expert Shine Control Instant Matte
Boots Expert Shine Control Instant Matte

Matte it down

I know “strobing” is all the rage right now, but that works much better when most folks have a bit of color in their skin. When the skin pales back out, a soft matte is a better option. For the record we are not talking about the hard, cakey, ’80s matte. We are talking about a soft, even-toned glow.

For most skin types, a foundation with a more matte formula combined with a bit of powder will achieve the look. If you have oily skin like myself, you might also want to look into a skin mattifier, like Boots Expert Shine Control Instant Matte, to keep your skin at a soft glow instead of a gleaming beacon.

Yaby Cosmetics Dramatically Neutral Pallette
Yaby Cosmetics Dramatically Neutral Pallette

Neutral does not have to mean boring

A modern neutral palette includes everything from pinks to greens to blues. It’s all just a matter of hue and intensity. Urban Decay’s Naked Palettes blew up the makeup world ever since its debut. The newest edition — Naked Palette Smokey — is a mix of some of the shimmers and lighter colors from past palettes, along with nine new “smokey” colors. My only complaint with this palette is that it doesn’t register well on deeper skin tones. But for medium to fairer skin tones, this is a nice set.

As a pro, however, I need pigment that will work on everyone. One of my favorite palettes in life is Yaby’s Dramatically Neutral palette which is a combination of mattes, frosts, and Yaby’s well-known Pearl Paints in a range of colors which can never be called dull!

Nars Sheer Lipstick in Pago Pago
Nars Sheer Lipstick in Pago Pago

A bold lip is never really out of fashion

If you’re color-shy, play around with a bold color in a sheer formulation that won’t overwhelm your face, like Clinique’s Chubby Stick™ Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm. These are lip gloss/lip balms in an easy-to-use chubby pencil style, ranging in color from bold pink to deep purple. The sheer glossy texture is pretty without being shocking.

If, however, you’re like me and you LIKE wearing really strong lips, there’s no shortage of options. The newest entrant in the super-pigmented, matte lipstick trend is GloGirl Cosmetics. They have everything from bright pinks, bold reds to rich purples and even a green lipstick aptly named “Weirdo.”

Frame your face

Like any beautiful painting, your face needs a great frame and that means great brows and bone structure. I’m a HUGE fan of Sonia Kashuk’s Arch Alert Brow Kit.

Smashbox Cosmetics Brow Tech To Go
Smashbox Cosmetics Brow Tech To Go

In other brow news, however, Smashbox has an entire array of brow products. The coolest is the Brow Tech To Go, which consists of a pencil version of their well-known Brow Tech and a brow gel for hold, all in a smart pen-like design. Both products will help you achieve the look and texture of a fuller brow.

Smashbox Cosmetics Step by Step Contour Kit
Smashbox Cosmetics Step by Step Contour Kit

Smashbox also makes the art of contouring and highlighting a little bit easier with their Step by Step Contour Kit which has two contour shades, one highlight shade, and an angled brush for application. What’s nice about the Smashbox kit from the makeup artist perspective is that it’s not too dark and it’s not too warm. This enables you to achieve subtle and believable results.

Pixi Beauty Sheer Cheek Gel
Pixi Beauty Sheer Cheek Gel

Don’t forget the cheeks!

A pop of color keeps things fresh. Blush brings life to the face particularly as the days grow a bit cooler. I know a lot of people are afraid of cream/liquid blushes, but if you want soft color without accidentally going Raggedy Ann, creams/liquids work better because they allow the skin to show through.

Pixi Beauty Sheer Cheek Gel comes in four universally flattering colors. They’re available at Target and other such mass retailers, and I’m pretty sure the entire line is vegan/cruelty-free.

Those are my professional tips for prepping for fall. What are your fall makeup rituals?

Comments on Makeup basics from a makeup artist: 5 ways to prep for fall

  1. Oh my god, the Clinique Chubby Sticks are amazing. I have seven at last count. There is one in basically every bag I own and I can’t remember the last time I used “real” lipstick because the Chubby Sticks are so good.

    I am restraining myself here. They’re SO GOOD.

  2. Most of this post was a bit above my makeup skill level . . . contouring? strobing? fall-appropriate colors? Those Chubby Sticks do sound good though. I’ll have to check them out. 😉

  3. Well this is over whelming. Contouring? I feel like that needs a post of it’s own! And also what about a post about what you need to start out? Like say, all your make up disappeared as well as your money, so what are the basics you need to start out with? What can you buy cheap vs what do you actually need to invest in? How on earth do you use eye shadow? Not to mention eye brow sculpting?

    On a more positive note, thank you for reminding me that I need to start moisturizing more!! My skin does get so dry in the winter, especially my lips. I need to remember to do my lip scrub more often now that the weather is changing.

  4. This is excellent! are there Spring and Summer versions for those of us going into Spring? I’m off to search for them, if there aren’t could someone consider doing them?

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