This week I went to the very first NARS Studio Master Class Session with their Global Lead Artist Jane Richardson, not only to see their new collections, but to learn the very best way to use and apply their products. The thought of sitting in a room with 15 other ladies sans makeup (we were made to take it all off and do it all ourselves step-by-step and following Jane's instruction) isn't my idea of a normal Wednesday night, but I came away with some knowledge I wanted to share. Here are the top five things I learned at NARS...
1. Tinted moisturiser isn't to cover
So many people presume that a tinted moisturiser still acts the way a foundation does - in fact its main function is to create a natural, dewy look on skin and not to cover imperfections. Although this is perfect for summery months, many of us may still feel we need concealer to cover any blemishes. That's absolutely fine. You shouldn't use a tinted moisturiser and a foundation (so many people asked this when I tweeted) but one or the other. However, a tinted moisturiser won't give you a thorough injection of moisture so it's still better to apply over the top of serum or cream.
2. Powder should be pressed into the skin
I've always been a powder girl, preferring a matte look over a dewy one, so I've spent the last 20 years dusting powder over my complexion. Recently I've given it a miss to let my natural glow shine through, but the top tip from NARS was to apply only to the t-zone (leaving cheeks and the sides of your face still dewy and natural) with a velour puff, pressing into the skin rather than dusting with a brush. By pressing the powder into the skin quite hard, the powder joins with the tinted moisturiser and stops going cakey or looking too heavy. The powder will help set makeup and keep you looking fresh all day.
3. Applying blusher in a '3' shape works wonders
Following the cheek bone has been a natural way to apply blush since my Nan was little. However, this can look a little 'overdone' and not very natural. The best way to apply is in two '3' shapes to the face, starting in the centre of the forehead, moving out and down through the cheeks, out again and down to the chin. By doing this on both sides you'll naturally hit where the sun would kiss you, as well as achieving a much more natural and complete colour. You can build this up if you wish by dusting a little high on the cheekbones, ensuring to pat the blush into the brush head-on rather than dusting over the top - the aim is to get the product deep into the brush bristles.
4. Using a flat brush perfectly lines the eye
Who would've thought you could create a flawless smokey eye with a flat and pointy brush like this Push Eyeliner brush. My natural reaction was always to reach for the blending brush, but by delicately dabbing this head-on into pigment, dusting off excess and pushing directly into the base of the lashes you can create a really strong line. To create a smokey look, simply hold the brush on top of your lashes (with the bristles facing directly down) and push the colour up slightly for a subtle glow. I'm totally doing this every day now because the bonus is you don't get eyeshadow dust everywhere!
5. Makeup is all about blending
Blend, blend, blend. In the words of Jane 'makeup is all about blending.' Blend your powder into your skin, blend your blush into your powder, blend your eyeshadow into your socket, blend your highlighter into your cheekbones. If you make a mistake, simply take your powder and blend over it. If you follow this simple mantra you can't go wrong and you'll be creating flawless looks in no time at all.
What I came away with from this fantastic session is that makeup shouldn't be scary, but fun. It's ok to experiment, go wrong and learn new things. The NARS products are so easy to use, the blend brilliantly and offer so many fabulous colours that there's somewhere for everyone to start and build from. They ensure that whatever they release is the best it can be, so whether you're a makeup artists behind the scenes at London Fashion Week or a 15 year old girl just playing around in her bedroom, you can create whatever your heart desires.