How to Apply Oscar-Worthy Makeup


Photos by Fatima Olive

I was invited to a red carpet pre-Oscars cocktail party this weekend. It’s not a black tie event but I do love to dress up. After all, getting ready is the best part! I am lucky that I do makeup because there is never a lack of friends who want a little help or a quick touch up pre party, and for me that makes it even more fun.

Often it’s the small details that make the most difference in beauty. Using the right product, having the right tool for application, or even taking a few extra minutes to blend the makeup. These small things make for Oscar-worthy beauty.

Having prepared women known and unknown for special events, I learned and developed a strategy for beautiful makeup that’s lasts all day and photographs flawlessly. Whether or not you’re attending the Oscars these tips will come in handy the next time you walk the red carpet.

Flawless skin

Flawless skin is the hallmark of a beautiful application. To achieve this, begin with clean skin that has been moisturized. I even do a little massage to increase the circulation, which gives the skin a healthy glow. Take note of the natural flush of the cheeks and choose a blush shade in this range.


Start the application with a primer appropriate for your skin (i.e. oily, dry, etc.) this will make the foundation go on smother and look fresh longer. Then apply concealer as needed to even out skin tone and diminish imperfections.

I often rely on Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation or Makeup Forever HD Foundation formulas for these types of occasions. Both of these foundations create the illusion of perfect skin without looking mask-like. I apply with a foundation brush and then use a beauty blender sponge to create the perfect canvas. Once the skin looks flawless apply a cream blush on the apples of the cheeks.

Highlighting and Contouring

In order to give the face a more sculpted appearance, especially in photos or on screen, makeup artists use highlighting and contouring usually with different shades of foundation. This is a more advanced technique and there is a fine line between subtle and conspicuous.

An easy way to get the same effect is to lightly apply a highlighter such Stila All Over Shimmer Liquid Luminizer along the top of the cheekbones, at the brow bone, and on the philtrum (the midline groove in the upper lip that runs from the nose to the top of the lip). Blend well and be careful not to apply the highlighter under the eyes area.

In order to transition from cream products to powders, I use a loose translucent powder (Sonia Kashuk’s Barely There loose powder in Naked is my favorite). Use a brush to lightly dust the face then use a powder puff to press the powder along the T-zone.

Cheeks and Eyes

Next, layer a powder blush over the cream for a longer wearing more natural flush on the skin. To contour, use a bronzer such as Nars in Laguna just below the cheekbones and at the temples. Make sure this is all done subtly and is very well blended.

Finish the face with a classic smoky eye complimented by a neutral lip or bright red lips paired with a neutral eye either way you are sure to make a grand entrance.

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