Tips for beautiful skin from a top make-up artist

Professional make-up artist Jorge Armario Palombini explains how you can prepare your “canvas”.

Make-up artists, like any artists, need a clean and clear canvas before starting to create their art. That’s why it’s crucial that the face is prepped before any type of foundation, concealer or make-up is applied to the skin.

Preparing the skin is a key step that will affect the final result. Many people don’t understand how important it is and ignore or skip it out altogether. What they don’t realise is that make-up lasts longer if applied to a clean and clear face, so failure to prepare the skin could mean lots of retouches during the day. Not having an everyday cleansing routine could also block the pores on your skin, giving you rashes or an outbreak, making it even more challenging to cover up when applying make-up.

Here are my tips for radiant, beautiful skin.

Step 1 – Cleanse

Wake up and wash your face. I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel totally awake until I wash my face in the morning. This is a must do. I normally wash my face with just fresh water; I don’t put any soaps or harsh ingredients on my face. I exfoliate my skin once or twice a week (depending on the amount of “abuse” I have exposed my skin to, like sun, late nights, pollution…) to get rid of dead skin cells. It’s not necessary to exfoliate every day – you need to give the skin time to regenerate. My favourite product for exfoliating my skin is Kiehl’s Pineapple Papaya Facial Scrub. This is a natural exfoliating scrub suitable for all skin types.

When I’m on set working on clients, models, musicians or actors I don’t the have time or the facilities to wash their faces with water and soap, so I use a cleansing cream, applied on a cotton pad. I apply a small amount of the cleansing cream on the pad, and rub away any impurities, make-up leftovers or debris on the skin. To remove stubborn waterproof mascara I use an oil-based cleanser.

Some people prefer doing this step instead of using water at all. This depends on personal preferences and what makes your skin feel best.

My favourite cleansing cream is Kiehl’s Centella Skin-Calming Facial Cleanser, a lightweight, alcohol-free facial cleanser. I absolutely love it because it works so effectively and has a beautiful, clean smell. It melts away any impurities or make-up leftovers on your skin making it feel fresh and gently moisturised.

Step 2 – Tone

The next step is to apply a toner. I apply this with a cotton pad to remove any remnants of the cleansing cream, dirt or impurities, maintaining the natural balance of the skin.

Just apply the toner to the cotton pad and rub it all over the face. With toners, I am not fussed with any particular brand, just make sure it is alcohol free.

Step 3 – Moisturise

After you have cleansed and toned, it’s time to bring back and balance the moisture on the skin by applying a nice moisturising cream.

I like to apply a small amount of moisturising cream on the skin of my clients with a foundation brush for an extra pampering feeling. It makes them feel almost like you are softly stroking their faces with feathers, while the pressure of the brush increases and promotes blood circulation giving a flawless glow. If you don’t have a foundation brush, you can use your fingers. An important tip for this step is to not over-do it with the moisturising cream. You don’t want to end up looking greasy or lathering too much on your skin, so be careful as this could make the foundation patchy afterwards.

I believe the whole face cleansing routine is a pampering experience; for some of my clients, it’s the best part of having their makeup done. So make sure you enjoy it.

I have so many favourite moisturising creams; I collect them and can never have enough. But out of all of them, the one that I tend to most often use on clients and on myself is Eau Thermale Avéne’s Hydrance Light Hydrating Emulsion. This is a lovely light cream that smells great and leaves the skin feeling soft for the whole day. Eau Thermale Avéne also do a version with SPF which I tend to use if I am doing an outside shoot.

Step 4 – Pamper

To finish the face preparation before make-up application – and for an extra pampering boost experience for my clients – I finish by spraying a light mist of rose water. This step is completely optional, but I believe the smell of roses makes my clients feel comfortable and in good hands. When I do this, they love it. This also adds a bit of extra moisture and enhances the natural skin glow.

Now the skin is ready and prepared to start creating our form of art, which I will talk about in my next few articles.

Beauty images: by Jorge Armario Palombini

Model: Maia Parry.

Jorge Armario Palombini’s 19-year career as a hair and make-up artist has taken him all over the world. He’s worked in the UK, Japan, Hong Kong, Spain and Australia across many formats including film, television, print and advertising. Jorge has worked behind the scenes on countless catwalk shows, music videos, magazine shoots and TV adverts, and recently on the hit TV show Black Mirror. He has also worked for top hair salons including Lee Stafford and Richard John. About nine years ago, having run Richard John Academy, Jorge became interested in education, and this is now his main professional focus. He teaches at Brighton and Worthing Metropolitan College, where he shares his knowledge and experience with future hair and makeup artists.