As far as we know, there’s almost no such thing as effortless beauty. From facial treatments that leave your complexion dewy and luminous to the perfect winged eyeliner, experts reveal their most-trusted, insider hacks for CR’s series, Beauty Secrets.
“Doing someone’s makeup, you’re in such an intimate space together, so I think it often boils down to more than just the artistry,” Michael Ashton tells CR. While at home in Los Angeles with work on hold due to the coronavirus, the makeup artist has had time to reflect on his career and what drove him to the beauty industry in the first place. “Part of the reason why I got into this business is the personal connection and relationship you build with clients over time,” Ashton says. “I love it when you can start working with someone when they’re young and can grow together and evolve their beauty look.”
The New Zealand-born artist first trained in his home country where many makeup professionals also learned hairdressing because it was common in the early days of his career for both roles to be filled by one person. After working in a salon doing hair, Ashton decided to refocus his energy on his original love for makeup and eventually moved to London. Although makeup was his primary passion, it would be his shearing skills that would bring him to Adele, who he has worked with for the past 12 years. The singer, who had not yet released her debut album 19 at the time, needed her bangs trimmed, so Ashton went and ended up doing her eyeliner as well. Of course, the winged liner stuck and has become the Grammy Award-winning artist’s signature look. The makeup artist’s varied skills have come in handy over the years, working with the likes of Bianca Jagger, Elle Macpherson, Penélope Cruz, and Lea Michelle, as well as doing grooming for a number of male celebrities.
Here, Ashton speaks to CR about mastering Adele’s eyeliner, how to achieve cashmere foundation, and what aspects of grooming men often overlook.
When you first met Adele, what inspired the look you did?
“Her beauty look has become as synonymous with her as her voice now, and that very first time I ever worked with her and put eyeliner on her, I don’t think we ever would have thought it would have become so iconic. I think particularly the winged liner is just a look that suits her face so incredibly well because she has these big, beautiful almond shaped eyes that she can really carry that off. I think the other reason it’s stood the test of time is that it’s a very classic beauty look.”
Do you have a tips for achieving the perfect winged liner?
“My biggest trick for people at home is to start on the outer corner of your eye and draw inward. It helps you create a straighter line when you’re doing that shape on the liner. I find if you start from the outside in, it gives the shape more of a downward turn, which you don’t want. So I recommend starting from the outer corner of the lash line, going in a straight line to the middle, then you can blend your inner corner to the middle of the eye, and I always recommend doing that last final sweep at the wing at the end. As far as the general angle, you want a 45 degree angle heading up towards the temple area. For products, I always pair two together. I’m a huge fan of the pot gel liner or a gel liner pencil as your base to give you that initial shape and then to really get that flick at the end I like to use a dip long last eyeliner–the Mac Liquidlast is one of my favorites for getting that really precise flick.”
A lot of your work also focuses on flawless skin. What are some tips for creating that soft, smooth finish?
“Flawless cashmere finish skin is something I’ve tried to perfect over the years. For me, eyes are always the focal point, but getting that complexion perfection down really gives me the perfect canvas and backdrop to make the eye makeup shine. Getting that flawless finish to the skin all starts with the skin prep. A lot of people tend to go straight in with complexion products like foundation or concealer, whereas I think the initial stages of the skin prep are really key. It’s all about the exfoliation when needed, hydration is really key, I love to work with facial oil. I’ve been a huge fan of Decléor for years, they have a really beautiful one. There’s also a lovely clean facial oil by Mara Beauty. If you prep the skin the right way, you can then take a less is more approach as far as the complexion products and the foundation. I like to build coverage where I need it and then blend so it gives you that perfect finish but it still looks like real skin.”
What makeup products do you recommend for the face?
“The first product I love is the Tom Ford Traceless Foundation Stick. It’s really easy for me to carry around, so I can have six to eight shades that I can blend together to give the perfect tone and depth that I need for my clients. I’m also a huge fan of the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer. That’s a product I first discovered when I was in New York, probably 18 years ago working on a show, and to this day it’s still one of the most incredible formulas. It’s very high coverage but you can sheer it down to make it look like it’s a tinted moisturizer. Obviously, the cult classic Armani Luminous Silk is still one of the most iconic foundation formulas on the market. For new complexion products, I’m really excited about the Kosas Tinted Face Oil because it gives light coverage as far as the formula, but it makes the skin look super radiant.”
You’ve also done grooming for Joaquin Phoenix, Zac Efron, Chris Pratt, and male clients. Since there isn’t as much focus on men’s grooming in the industry, is there anything you think men often overlook?
“When you’re doing grooming on male clients or talent, they need to look like themselves but just a slightly more polished version. A lot of that has to do with hair styling, but I think the key is also making sure they look as fresh and awake as they possibly can. It’s about maintenance and prevention. To your question about what often gets overlooked, I think starting early with keeping the skin texture looking as good as it can. It doesn’t have to be a complicated routine. There are some really amazing men’s grooming products out there that are very simple to use, that help maintain the skin’s texture and improve it. There are also some very cool brands around now–like Harry’s, Manscaped, there’s a really cool men’s wellness line called Asystem–that are making men’s grooming easy. I think that’s one thing, it seems too complicated for [men]. They just want something that works, that’s efficacious and simple.”
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createdAt:Wed, 29 Apr 2020 20:35:47 +0000