Putting on a pretty face

A friend of mine was once getting her face done at a makeup counter. Amidst general chit chat about makeup and how to apply it, she asked the makeup person whether he could disguise the bags under her eyes, to which the exasperated reply came in a broad Glaswegian accent, “It’s brushes ‘av got hen, nae a scalpel!” Nevertheless we do expect a lot from makeup and it usually delivers, as anyone who has laughed with glee over “stars with out makeup,” photos can testify. Makeup can disguise our not so good features and enhance our better ones. On the other hand, it can also date you as makeup is closely attuned to fashion trends and if you do not innovate you can end up stuck in a time warp.

The new makeup collections usually start appearing in the spring with a defined look from each cosmetic house. Makeup artist Victor Saper from Christian Dior was at Kirk Freeport’s La Parfumerie II recently to introduce the new Christian Dior collection and give makeovers using the cosmetics. Saper has been with Christain Dior for over 29 years and has seen many changes in makeup over the years. “When I started with Christian Dior there was just lipstick, nail varnish and perfume,” he recalls. Demand was so huge for these products that Dior started producing more and more lines and now their products are some of the most sought after make up lines. Saper says that makeup is constantly evolving, with science being used to constantly improve and refine products. The argument is sometimes made with skin products that cheap is as good as expensive, but this is certainly not the case as far as makeup is concerned. Saper says most people will notice the difference immediately when they use better quality makeup: the main difference is texture, it is lighter, can be applied more easily and gives better coverage.

When choosing makeup he says you have to evaluate the texture and pigmentation of your skin and remember what is good for one country is not for another. Here in Cayman, Saper explains, “We have to protect the skin from the sun. Cayman also has a lot of salt in the air that makes the pores bigger so you need to clean the skin carefully.”

Foundation is the key to the all over look with heavy foundation being quite inappropriate here a with the strong sunlight and humidity. “The look here should be almost nude and matte,” Saper advises. The Christian Dior foundation he was using on a client, Diorskin Nude Fresh Glow Hydrating Makeup, is particularly suitable to this climate – it is very light and matte and does not crease. The new eye shadow palette was based around beautiful greys and whites to create smoky eyes. “When I started it was smoky eyes; now we’re back to smoky eyes,” he reminisces. This was very evident at the Oscars in February, where lots of the stars were sporting smoky eyes. Oscar winner Natalie Portman, who is also the face of Christian Dior’s Cherie range, was made up with Dior products. “For day time it should be classic and transparent, then for night more dramatic and sexy,” instructs Saper.

When applying makeup, Saper uses some concealer for dark shadows under the eyes then foundation was applied with a brush. “Always a brush,the brush can go everywhere fingertips can’t,” he says. One rather cute innovation he used was a spiral mascara brush that rolls itself, so allowing perfect coverage of eyelashes and prevents you poking yourself in your eye or getting clumps.

Of the two makeovers he did, the look was amazingly bright and fresh, the foundation and blusher giving a dewy effect.

As befits someone who has lived in Paris for over 30 years, he has strict rules about women retaining their glamour. “You do not drink, eat or kiss after make up is applied. If your boyfriend wants to kiss you, you tell him only below the neck!” He tells me that “air kissing was invented by the French because they did not want to spoil their makeup.” On general skin care advice Saper talks about protecting the skin from the sun and drinking lots of water. Try and prevent damage happening. Just keep yourself groomed and wear makeup that is subtle and moves with the times. And for all the older women out there he has another great Gallic saying. “At 20, women are beautiful and stupid, at 30, beautiful and sexy, 40 and up, beautiful, sexy and dangerous because they know what they want!” So make sure one of these things is good makeup!