Merry everything! Party season is in full swing, and there’s no one we trust more on matters of glamour than hair and makeup artist to the stars Bruce Dean. Bruce is back at Bare Necessities this week as our very special guest blogger to answer your most of-the-moment holiday style questions (thanks for sharing them with us on Instagram and Facebook).
We’re bringing you Bruce’s best expert advice on mastering the smoky eye, perfecting your New Year’s Eve hairstyle and helping your makeup last until the ball drops (or you do, whichever comes first). Because with a bit of deftly applied mascara, a swipe of red lipstick and some stealthy, smoothing shapewear, 2018 will be off to a beautiful start.
Q: Are there any easy, cool updos you can recommend?
Bruce: Step out of your comfort zone to start the new year. Party hair should be fun! I fully endorse an easygoing updo, like a simple chignon. You don’t want it to look perfect, but simple and deconstructed and more modern—you don’t want to look like a 1960s prom queen. Ask around before you book an appointment. Some hairdressers are experts in cuts, some are color experts; the same goes for updos. Bring a photo to help show exactly what you want.
Q: Teach me how to do a smoky eye without looking like a raccoon.
Bruce: Don’t use black! Use a coffee bean-brown or a dark taupe eyeshadow. You only need two colors to pull off a good smoky eye. First, use something light that’s very close to your natural skin tone, and apply it to the eyelid by pressing it on with a flat paddle brush. Then use the darker shade on the lid, blending it out to the crease with a brush so you don’t use too much. Because you’re using neutrals, it doesn’t matter what your eye color is; this look works on everyone.
To avoid the raccoon look, I also recommend eyelash primer (try MAC or Benefit Cosmetics). Curl lashes using a curler with a rubber strip, not foam—that could cause breakage. Sonia Kashuk makes a great one, as do MAC and Shiseido. Hold it as long as you need to in order to get a curl that stays—it depends on your lashes.
Q: What’s the deal with face contouring? How do I try it?
Bruce: Today, you see such strong contouring, which I wouldn’t recommend. When done right, you can’t see any contouring at all. If you decide to try this technique, use a light hand, the right tools—a matte powder or cream—and the right colors—one that’s two shades lighter than your usual foundation, and one that’s two shades darker. Use the lighter shade under your eyes, on your forehead, the bridge of your nose, the top of your lip and on your chin. Use the darker shade just under your cheekbones for that slightly chiseled look. For a beginner, a good place to start is at the sides of your nose or on the tip, the chin and under your jawline. Blend, blend, blend!
Q: What are your secrets for getting a salon-quality blow-out at home?
Bruce: You need a good, strong blowdryer, a round, preferably boar-bristle brush and a good product: I apply either Bumble + Bumble Styling Lotion or Aquage Thickening Spray Gel to wet hair. Then use four large plastic clips—never metal—to divide the hair into quadrants. After you blow out each section using heat, make sure to use a blast of cool air while the brush is still in, to help set the sleekness. You can always finish it off with a straightener. I love the BabylissPro Prima3000 because it can be used as a straightening or curling iron.
Q: How do you use a curling iron to get natural-looking curls?
Bruce: Again, I use the Babyliss, then a duckbill clip to pin the curls. Let them set and cool while you do your makeup. Otherwise, the curls will stretch and fall. I believe this is called an Italian set, so ideally you should have a cocktail in your hand while you’re prepping. Then, after styling, use a finishing spray like the classic Elnett, but here’s a common mistake: You have to hold the can a full arm’s length away, or it puts more moisture into your hair. It’s like applying two totally different products depending on the way you do it.
Q: Any tricks for making lipstick last? Between the kissing, eating and drinking, I feel like my red lips don’t stand a chance.
Bruce: The ones that really stay the best are long-wear formulas; they usually come with two tubes of products. One side contains polymers that help the color stay on, and the other makes it feel less dry. If you don’t love the way long-wear lipstick feels, choose a matte or creamy opaque lipstick. A full-coverage texture will last longer than something sheer, just like with foundation, without making lips feel parched.
Q: How do I keep my makeup from melting and hair smooth in a hot room full of people?
Bruce: Makeup moves and melts because of facial perspiration, and there’s not much you can do to stop that. Start with a primer from Laura Mercier or Eve Pearl, apply your makeup and then spray on a fixative like Make Up For Ever Mist & Fix or Sephora Beauty Amplifier. Using that combination should extend your wear. I also suggest bringing out with you a nice powder puff to blot between touch-ups; be sure to use a stippling motion or you’ll wipe the makeup off.
Luckily, there’s a product for everything. When it comes to combatting hair humidity—such a common problem—I’d use CHI Infra Texture Hair Spray or Oribe Impermeable Anti-Humidity Spray. You may already have dry shampoo at home—it’s not just for dirty hair, but humidity, as well, because the powder in it absorbs moisture. Aquage makes a good one.
Q: I could really use some insight into how to make my brows look thicker.
Bruce: The best thing you can do for your brows is find a licensed cosmetologist or aesthetician. You can ask around at your favorite cosmetics counter. For brows that are in good shape, you may just want a colored brow gel like the MAC Pro Longwear Waterproof Brow Set. For more filling-in as well as staying in place, I like Benefit Brow Zings. There are Benefit Brow Bars opening across the country, too.
Microblading is extraordinary—it’s basically very delicate, feathered tattoos that can do a great job of mimicking your natural eyebrow hairs—but do your homework before you let someone come near your beautiful face.
Read Bruce’s stylist confessions.
Brooke is the editor of this here blog. In a previous life, she was an editor at Good Housekeeping and O, The Oprah Magazine. Brooke has written for Glamour, Travel+Leisure, New York Magazine and more. She’s into concerts, travel and her exceptionally adorable daughter and husband.