KJ's Essential Techniques
KJ's Essential Techniques
Photo by Deverill Weekes
Kevin James Bennett conducting a class at the 2010 IMATS Los Angeles.

By Kevin James Bennett

This is my first regular beauty blog for Makeup411.com, so I thought, "What better way to begin than with the basics?" I know that all artists have their own ways of doing things, but after years of trial and error, I discovered a pretty foolproof process that will work in any format: film, video, print, etcetera. These 10 basic steps will assure a clean, long-lasting beauty make-up every time.
1. Prepping with proper skincare is THE most important step. You can address lots of skin- texture challenges that could cause problems with your make-up application. Always start with clean skin, then apply appropriate moisturizer for the type of skin you are working on, plus eye cream and lip balm. Wait about five minutes for absorption, then gently blot the skin with tissue to remove any excess product that has remained on the surface. Never start your make-up application on a moist or ‘dewy’ skin surface. Unabsorbed eye cream or moisturizer might cause make-up to shift or streak during application and it will definitely compromise the longevity.

2. ALWAYS (yes, I said always) use a make-up and eye-shadow primer. Artists don’t start painting without priming a canvas, because the paint doesn’t apply or hold correctly without a coat of primer. Make-up is no different. Make-up artists need to prime their "canvases," or faces, for superior make-up application. The finished work will look better and remain stable much longer. You can substitute concealer for eye-shadow primer, but you MUST set it with loose powder before you start eye make-up application. I actually prefer using concealer to prime the eyelid. It neutralizes any discoloration that might alter or change an eye-shadow color.
(RIGHT: Korres Silicone Free 99% Natural Face Primer)

3. There's always been a big debate about whether to do the eyes or the face first, but I stand firmly by my recommendation to DO THE EYE MAKE-UP FIRST. It’s a waste of time to do beautiful complexion work and set it, only to remove it after you've had to clean up after the eye make-up (and the complexion always looks patched when you do it that way). If you do eye make-up first, your finished complexion make-up will be much more precise, stable and clean.

4. Do not apply concealing or extreme cover products over foundation. The denser product will not grip properly or stay in place over foundation. The concealer's heavier pigment weight will either slide off the foundation or mix with it and cause separation and/or creasing. For a far more stable make-up application, don't layer multiple complexion coverage products. Apply each product (foundation or concealer) where needed on primed skin and blend where the edges meet.  Trust me, I spent years at the mercy of creasing concealer (cursing under my breath) until someone explained this to me. If you need to add additional coverage to blemishes or 'challenged' areas, make sure the layer beneath is set lightly with powder first. (RIGHT: Cover FX Conceal FX)

5. I like to use cream colors to blush, bronze, highlight or contour before I set with loose powder. It will give your finished make-up a more natural, three-dimensional look and last much longer. You can always punch it up with powdered color later. With today's focus on HD-compliant make-up, you have to be careful when you add powder color on top of set make-up, because it creates additional texture which is visible on camera.

6. Blush colors with rose/mauve undertones create the most natural look. Colors with this base tone simulate the violet color of blood rushing to the surface of the skin (note: blood doesn't turn red until it's exposed to oxygen). Save the peach, pink and orange blush for special looks and effects.

7. Always set your completed complexion with a loose powder (this is the only way to keep it in place). I always use color-free powder for this step. There's nothing more aggravating than achieving a perfect foundation match, only to have a tinted "translucent" powder change the color. If you want a dewy or un-powdered look after you've set the make-up, blot the skin with a slightly (repeat after me: SLIGHTLY) damp make-up sponge. This will remove excess powder and bring back the dewy finish. (RIGHT: e.l.f. High Definition Powder)

8. Rub a tiny bit of foundation into lips, blot and powder lightly. Apply a nude lip pencil (think natural lip color with a soft brown undertone) to define and shape the lips. Now powder lightly again and brush off any excess. This will create a very stable neutral base so your lipstick will come up a truer color and last much longer without bleeding. (RIGHT: Nars Cosmetics Lipliner Pencil)

9. When you're doing continued touchups during a long shoot day, use blotting tissues stretched over a make-up wedge. You can get into oily corners and crevasses more easily, and you'll prevent make-up from changing color or getting thick and muddy looking from continued powder application.

10. Use a make-up sponge instead of a velour puff for actual powder touchups. This will smooth the necessary amount of powder onto the skin instead of pressing on a layer.