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I'm Kiley Smith, an experienced makeup artist with over 18 years in the industry, based in Fairfax City, Virginia. 
My passion lies in creating natural, radiant makeup looks that enhance your beauty, ensuring you feel confident and stunning with a flawless finish. 

I'm Kiley smith


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Professional Makeup Artist Answers Your Top Questions


May 21, 2024

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A professional makeup artist applies makeup to a clients face with a makeup brush

As a professional makeup artist, I often receive various questions about makeup and skincare. This week I asked some of my followers on social media to provide me with some questions they have about skincare and makeup. Today, I’m excited to address some of their questions. Let’s dive in!

Q: Can I use a product that has SPF already in it? Why or why not?

A: Yes, you can absolutely use a product that has SPF in it. In fact, it’s a great way to simplify your routine and ensure you’re getting some sun protection. However, relying solely on makeup with SPF does not provide sufficient protection if you’re spending extended time outdoors. I recommend using a dedicated sunscreen under your makeup to ensure full coverage. Look for broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher for the best protection.

Q: Why should I be exfoliating? Does it really make a difference?

A: Exfoliating is key to maintaining healthy, glowing skin. It removes dead skin cells, helps prevent clogged pores, and allows your skincare products to penetrate more effectively. Regular exfoliation can improve skin texture, even out skin tone, and give your complexion a radiant boost. Just be sure to choose an exfoliant that suits your skin type and avoid over-exfoliating, which can lead to irritation.

Q: What is the difference between cool colors and warm colors?

A: Cool colors typically have blue, green, or purple undertones, while warm colors have yellow, orange, or red undertones. Knowing your undertone can help you choose the most flattering makeup shades. For example, if you have a cool undertone, you might look best in shades like pink, blue, or cool-toned reds. If you have a warm undertone, you might suit shades like peach, orange, or warm-toned browns. Neutral undertones can usually wear both cool and warm colors well. Please reach out to a professional makeup artist who can assist you in determining the best colors for you and your skin tone.

Q: Every time I go into a makeup store, employees pressure me into buying things I don’t want or need. What is your advice?

A: It can be overwhelming when you feel pressured to buy products you’re not sure about. My advice is to go in with a clear list of what you need and stick to it. Don’t hesitate to ask for samples or try products in-store before committing to a purchase. Remember, you have the right to say no. Take your time to research and choose products that truly work for you.

Also, be aware that many in-store employees are makeup enthusiasts who may not have the proper training to choose the best products for you. They are often making commission on how much product you are purchasing. This is why I recommend meeting with a professional makeup artist who has the skills and education to assist you effectively.

Feeling overwhelmed when you go shopping in-store? Believe me, you’re not the only one! I work with hundreds of clients per year and 99% of them feel this way!

Q: Do you like or use makeup primers? Why or why not?

A: If the skin is prepped properly, I typically don’t need a primer. However, if a client has large pores, I will use a pore-filling primer to create a smoother surface for the makeup. Proper skin preparation often negates the need for a primer, but in cases where pore minimization is necessary, a good primer can be very helpful.

Q: I have small eyes. How can I make my eyes appear bigger?

A: Follow these tips to make your eyes appear larger…

-Apply false lashes or individual lashes to the outer corners of your eyes. This will lift your eyes and make them look bigger.

-Apply a light, neutral eyeshadow over your entire eyelid. Light colors can help open up your eyes.

Applying a light, shimmery eyeshadow or highlighter to the inner corners of your eyes reflects light and gives the illusion of larger eyes.

-Use a nude or white eyeliner on your waterline (the inner rim of your lower eyelid). This helps to open up your eyes and make them appear larger.

-Curling your lashes lifts them up and makes your eyes look wider. Follow up with a few coats of mascara, focusing on the center lashes to enhance the open-eye effect.

-Apply a light, shimmery eyeshadow or highlighter just below your brow bone. This draws attention upward and makes your eyes look more open.

When in doubt, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local makeup artist. They can help you find the best colors for your skin tone, backed by their skills and expertise.

Q: What should I do to prepare my skin before applying makeup?

A: As a professional makeup artist skin prep is something that is ESSENTIAL for a flawless finish. Let me repeat that… SKIN PREP IS ESSENTIAL FOR A flawless finish. The type of skin prep depends on your skin type, but here are some general steps everyone should follow:

Cleanse: Start with a clean canvas by washing your face with a gentle cleanser to remove any dirt, oil, or leftover makeup. This ensures that your makeup adheres properly and looks fresh.

Exfoliate: Gently exfoliate your skin to slough off dead skin cells and create a smooth surface. This step is particularly important if you have dry or flaky skin, as it helps prevent patchy makeup application.

Tone: Use a toner to balance your skin’s pH and tighten pores. This can also help remove any residual dirt or oil that your cleanser may have missed.

Moisturize: Apply a suitable moisturizer for your skin type to keep your skin hydrated. Well-moisturized skin helps your makeup glide on smoothly and stay put throughout the day.

Prime (Optional): If you have large pores, a pore-filling primer can create a smoother surface for foundation, but if your skin is properly prepped, you might not need one.

Sun Protection: If you’re going to be exposed to sunlight, don’t forget to apply sunscreen. Many foundations have SPF, but using a separate sunscreen can ensure you get adequate protection.

Tailor these steps to fit your skin type, whether it’s oily, dry, combination, or sensitive, and you’ll find that your makeup looks better and lasts longer.

Q: How can I get my makeup to last all day?

A: To make your makeup last all day…

Prep your skin, use professional products, apply in thin layers, set with setting Spray and powder

-Here’s a great trick to lock in your makeup:

-After applying your foundation and concealer, lightly mist your face with a setting spray. This helps to lock in your base makeup.

-Once the setting spray is dry, lightly dust your face with a setting powder. Focus on areas that tend to get oily or where makeup tends to crease.

-Continue applying your makeup (blush, bronzer, eyeshadow, etc.) and lightly set each layer with setting powder. Mist with setting spray intermittently to sandwich the layers.

-Finish your entire makeup look with a final mist of setting spray to seal everything in place.

Carry blotting papers and a small compact of setting powder with you for touch-ups throughout the day. Blot any excess oil first, then lightly reapply powder to keep your makeup looking fresh. Remember powder + oil= cake, so it is important to remove all oil before using powder!

Avoid touching your face throughout the day, as this can transfer oils and cause your makeup to wear off faster.

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I'm Kiley Smith, an experienced makeup artist with over 18 years in the industry, based in Fairfax City, Virginia. 
My passion lies in creating natural, radiant makeup looks that enhance your beauty, ensuring you feel confident and stunning with a flawless finish. 

I'm Kiley smith