“Less is more” in action: discover the stuff that the professionals often snub

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If you’re struggling to get to grips with a particular product, or frankly don’t see the need for another stage in your makeup routine, you’re not alone: even the pros get makeup fatigue. Here are some of the products and makeup steps that even the world’s most illustrious makeup artists lay by the wayside, either now and again or on a more permanent basis. Ready yourself for some ruthless revelations...


This was the most common one for makeup artists to avoid. Bobbi Brown was pretty frank about this one in at interview with  Into The Gloss :

“I don’t use primer. I don’t like how they feel.”

Lou Dartford  identifies with Bobbi’s primer dodging:

“I very rarely use a primer- I feel that if you do a lot of work with skincare and then apply your base products well, you don't need one.”

Eye primer

In a similar vein, eye primers got a bit of a bashing too. Justine Jenkins  chips in:

“I never use eyeshadow base products. I find that they make the skin on the lids look and feel too dry and crepey. I prefer to use a tiny amount of foundation and finishing powder if I need a base for eye colour.”

The same applies to lashes in Trish McEvoy ’s books:

“'I miss out lash primers because the mascara I use almost always has enough thickness built in, so you really don’t need a primer."


The nation’s most loved makeup product is a biggie to shirk, but Lou reckons that an all-over base is rarely essential:

“I skip foundation a lot of time- I'll prep skin well and then use a concealer to give coverage just where needed. This is a great way to keep skin looking really fresh and natural. I often see people applying foundation all over the face and it really isn't necessary a lot of the time. Even problematic skin can look great with lighter coverage- heavy coverage allover can often make skin look worse.”

BB/ CC creams

Head Makeup Artist for Benefit Lisa Potter-Dixon  will be leaving BB creams on the shelf for the foreseeable...

“I’m not a huge fan of either BB or CC creams. I find that BB creams are too light (I prefer a tinted moisturiser for a super-light base). As for CC creams, you usually need another product over the top of them because the undertone colour rarely matches a skin tone. They’re good if you need to colour correct your skin or if you want a very light base, but personally I’d use a tinted moisturiser for these occasions.”


Put the puff down if you’re in the vicinity of Nars UK Makeup Artist Ambassador Andrew Gallimore :

“As a general rule, I don’t use powder. It’s so easy to create a soft focus, matte finish with base and foundation now (try the Nars Velvet Matte Skin Tint , £30, or keep your eyes peeled for NARS Velvet Matte Foundation Stick launching on 1st September). With powder you run the risk of skin looking cakey.”

Lisa seconds Andrew in certain powder departments:

“I’m not crazy about full foundation powders because I find that they can cake throughout the day. They can also age you as they tend to sit in fine lines and pores. If you have dry skin, avoid them at all cost. If you have oily skin, don’t think that they are your only option. Try an oil-free liquid foundation with a dusting of translucent powder over your t-zone to target the problem area.”


We love our lotions as much as the next beauty nut, but applying them by default isn’t always de rigueur, as Andrew explains:

“I won’t use a moisturiser unless a model I’m working with really needs it. Normally, particularly when prepping the skin, the fewer products used the better. I assess each canvas on a case by case basis- sometimes breaking the “rules” gets a better result and makes skin look more real.”


A staple for some, superfluous for others. European Makeup Artist for YSL Beauty  Fred Letailleur thinks that product technology has come along enough that a lipliner is no longer a must:

“Only by personal preference, I would rarely use lip pencils to outline the lips and achieve a perfect shape, as the highly pigmented YSL lipsticks I often work with provide sufficient lip definition when applied with a brush and a little Touche Éclat , £25, as a first layer to outline the cupid’s bow before application.”


In fact, lip product full stop isn’t a makeup prerequisite if you don’t fancy it. Bobbi Brown regularly gives lipstick the slip:

“I usually don’t put anything on my lips. Instead of doing a lip if I'm going to an event, I'll do a smokey eye with lots of sparkle—not shimmer. The difference is they’re bigger particles that are flat cut, and so they just look so cool.”

It’s not often that a makeup artist condones glitter over lip colour, but then again Bobbi’s known for thinking outside the box, plus, sounds fun.

Eye makeup

BareMinerals  International Makeup Artist SJ Froom  on the other hand will leave out eye makeup to keep a striking day look modern, or simply to save time:

“If I’m in a rush or simply want to create an impactful look that’s not too “done”, I’ll focus on skin, brows and lips, then team them with chic dark glasses. You can’t lose with this look.”


Brushes can help you to create makeup masterpieces , but if Fred’s without his tools, it’s no biggie, and you could even achieve better things in the eye department:

“Sometimes, using fingers is superior for eyeshadow blending than using brushes as brush application can give a more structured and “blocky” result, but it depends on the look you’re aiming for.”

Face wipes

Generally lambasted in skincare circles, while face wipes are often a makeup artist necessity for quick backstage changeovers, Lisa Potter-Dixon passes them up where she can:

“I avoid face wipes unless it’s an absolute beauty emergency (i.e, in a muddy field at a festival with no access to running water) as they dry out your skin and basically, well, do nothing!”

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