Makeup artist Mary Phillips’ technique has got so big that she started her own TikTok account to show it. We find out what #underpainting is and how to do it.

You may not be familiar with the name Mary Phillips (above, centre) but you certainly will have seen her work in action. Mary is the makeup artist that celebs such as Hailey Bieber (above left, we’re still obsessed with Hailey Bieber glazed donut nails btw), Kendall Jenner  (above right) and JLo rely on to beautify their faces even more than they already are. She’s known for her cool-girl aesthetic and for creating super clean and natural-looking skin. And when she recently shared one of her makeup tips on how she creates such gorgeous-looking complexions it absolutely exploded on TikTok.

So much so that Mary herself, who previously didn’t have a TikTok account decided she should start one simply to show everyone how she does it. Her first video demonstrating her #underpainting technique has had almost 3 million views. How's that for a social media debut.

What is underpainting?

Mary Phillips’ underpainting technique is actually quite simple and is basically reversing the order that you’re probably used to applying your makeup.

Image: TikTok @maryphillips

She applies contour, the best concealer from her kit, highlighter and then applies foundation on top. That’s right. On top. Why you may ask? She says by doing it in this way it's like your ‘laying down the bones under the skin. The bones being the contour and the highlight, and the skin being the foundation.” Fellow TikTokker @keilidhmua, who has tried the technique (see her video below) says “ it makes your makeup look more blended and not so heavy because you’re using lighter layers.” And she references the fact that this isn’t actually a new technique, lots of makeup artists do it but Mary’s version of it - and perhaps the fact she has done it on such famous faces - is the one that has caught our attention.

How to do underpainting

Handily, Mary’s second TikTok video was a step-by-step breakdown of how to underpin the products she uses. 

Is it a TikTok hit or miss?

We absolutely love this look. While it did seem a bit strange to apply products under foundation that’s only because we’re probably so pre-conditioned to think that’s how we should be using products. What this way of applying makeup does though is to prevent those awful overly obvious contour lines and blurs all the products together slightly so you’re left with an overall look that’s healthy and glowy rather than very obviously placed and segmented makeup. We can’t wait to try it ourselves but in the meantime enjoy some TikTokkers giving it a go all with their own spin on Mary Phillips makeup technique.

@keilidhmua What do you think of Underpainting? Yay or nay? #grwm #makeup #technique ♬ original sound - KeilidhMua
@kamgregory how to do the “mary phillips” makeup technique🤍 also coined by scott barnes #maryphillips #makeuptutorial #grwm #makeuproutine ♬ Elevator Music - Bohoman