Thou shalt exfoliate.
Makeup sitting on flaky skin flakes off. Use a gentle microbead scrub, or even just a washcloth, to buff away any dead cells on the surface of your skin.
Thou shalt not overmoisturize.
Beautiful skin is hydrated skin, but rich moisturizer will make your makeup fade fast. The solution? Use a moisturizing mask (like Origins Drink Up 10 Minute Mask to Quench Skin’s Thirst, $23; Origins.com). Rinse it off and then apply a light moisturizer, avoiding the T-zone areas that tend to get oily. Chanel celebrity makeup artist Rachel Goodwin—who’s prepped Jodie Foster and January Jones for the red carpet this season—lets the moisturizer soak in for at least 15 minutes before applying makeup. (The same principle holds for lip balm: Allow it to penetrate for several minutes and then blot away the excess with a one-ply tissue before applying lipcolor.)
Thou shalt take the time to prime.
Applying a primer is an extra step that’s incredibly worthwhile when you have a long day—or night—ahead. Primers are packed with silicone, which prevents the oil on your skin from breaking down your makeup. Silicone also smooths over pores and fine lines so foundation doesn’t settle into them and look uneven over time, says celebrity makeup artist Pati Dubroff, who worked with Naomi Watts and Charlize Theron at the 2013 Oscars®. Before you apply any other makeup, smooth a primer all over your face, including your eyelids. (You can find primers created specifically for the lids, but a face primer, used sparingly, will also do the trick.)
Thou shalt believe that less is more.
Every makeup artist we spoke with for this story preached restraint. “The more makeup you apply, the more there is to slide, smudge or smear,” Goodwin says. This is especially true of foundation. Goodwin always applies foundation with a synthetic brush, which deposits a thinner layer than your fingers. She then gently presses a damp nonlatex makeup sponge into the skin to remove any excess. What you’re left with is perfect coverage that won’t pull a disappearing act.
Thou shalt conceal—sparingly.
After foundation, apply a densely pigmented (not runny) concealer (like Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Enhancer, $45; Barneys.com), targeting any remaining dark spots or blemishes. Goodwin applies concealer so sparingly that she uses a pointed eyeliner brush to make sure she’s not covering any unnecessary areas.
Honor both cream and powder formulas.
On the eyes and cheeks, use a cream color first; then dust a powder in the same shade on top. “The two formulas make a beautiful team—the cream holds the powder in place, and the powder keeps the cream from fading,” Dubroff says.
Thou shalt covet waterproof eye pencils.
The most long-lasting eyeliner option: a waterproof pencil, like Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof Long-Lasting Eyeliner ($30, Chanel.com). Even on the inner rim of the lower lashes, these pencils deliver pigment that won’t slip away. “Waterproof pencils used to be chalky and difficult to apply, but now they’re just as easy to use as regular formulas,” Goodwin says.
Thou shalt shun glosses.
When you need your makeup to last, you have no use for lip gloss, which disappears quickly. Instead, Dior celebrity makeup artist Ricky Wilson—who has gotten Emmy Rossum and Alison Brie ready for the red carpet this season—fills in the entire lip with a long-wearing lip pencil (like Make Up For Ever Aqua Lip Waterproof Lipliner Pencil, $18; Sephora.com) and then pats a thin layer of lipstick over it with his finger (once again, less is more).
Thou shalt use translucent powder.
Every makeup artist we spoke with uses a sheer, colorless loose powder as the final step to indestructible makeup. Too much powder, though, will create a chalky finish. Goodwin applies it with a soft, fluffy eyeshadow brush so she hits only the nose, chin and the center of the forehead, where makeup tends to disappear.
Thou shalt leave the house prepared.
This is what celebrities carry in those tiny clutches:
1. A retractable lip brush. “I make sure there’s enough lipstick on the brush for several touch-ups,” Wilson says. “It takes up less room in your bag than a full lipstick and allows for more precise touch-ups.”
2. Blotting tissues. “They let you remove shine without caking on powder,” Dubroff says.
3. A tiny pot of concealer with a couple of Q-tips. “It’s the best way to erase eye makeup that falls underneath the eyes, or redness around the nose,” Goodwin says.