There are a lot of reasons to trek backstage at New York Fashion Week: the models, the celebrities, the nails, and the beautiful beauty looks. But perhaps the most appealing aspect is that we get access to the top-tier makeup, hair, and nail pros in the world.
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These experts fly in for one week only to make sure every model is done up to perfect. And us beauty reporters are by their side, recorders out, soaking in all of their knowledge. But we’re not greedy! So, here, we’ve rounded up all of the the genius tricks and tips we’ve overhead backstage at the New York Fashion Week Fall 2015 tents. Keep reading to learn everything from how turn your favorite shimmery lipstick into a velvety matte one to a savvy new way to create an ombre manicure.
Get Flawless Ombré Nail Art in 1 Step
You could layer multiple layers of polish to get the perfect ombré manicure, but in reality that would take forever to dry (and consequently smudge)! Instead, apply your three gradient shades of nail polish to a makeup sponge then dab it on each nails, creating the gradient pattern. Manicurist Cinnamon Bowser used a similar technique backstage at ICB with Zoya shades Taylor, Adel, and Flynn creating a subtle French manicure effect.
Apply Cream Blush With Your Fingers
Remember the ’80s when blush took over your entire cheek from lip to brow? Thank goodness trends are fleeting! Backstage at Misha Nonoo, Bobbi Brown makeup artist Marc Reagan taught us the more modern way to apply cream rouge — with your fingers. First smile and place product on the shelf of the cheek. Then, dab the color all the way back towards the hairline. Finally use a separate clean finger to blend it downwards. “[This technique] keeps the blush high on the cheek which is lifting, and it covers the right area of the cheek where you naturally flush,” he said.
Make Matte Last Longer
A matte top coat seems cute in theory, but it can reveal every uneven brush stoke and nail ridge for the DIY manicurist. The solution: paint on a regular top coat first. OPI nail lead Miss Pop used a similar layering technique backstage at Marissa Webb to seal in the linear negative space nail art. This double top coat method also adds days to the wear of your matte manicure.
Correct a Hair Oil Overload
You just wanted to add a touch of shine to your blowout, but too much oil turned your style into a flat, greasy mess. Don’t jump in the shower quite yet. First rub a towel through your strands, then apply a dry shampoo or dry texturizing spray like Redken Windblown to lift the roots again. If it’s really gone too far, use baby powder to soak up the oil slick. And a tip for next time: “When you’re using any product with shine in it or serum, spray it on your hands first,” Guido recommends. “I always recommend to use [product] slowly at first.”
Mattify Your Favorite Lipstick
Problem: you love a certain lipstick shade, but wish it were matte. Backstage at Tibi, makeup artist Cassandra Garcia pressed Bobbi Brown Pink Martini lip shade on the pout, then dusted the mouth with Porcelain Pearl blush to create an original matte hue. As with any matte lip color, make sure to let the lips marinate in lip balm first to rectify any dryness. This trick will also transition your favorite bright Summer lip hue to a more velvety, Fall-appropriate finish.
Thin Out Pigmented Polish
Your most saturated bold nail polish is so much more than a one-coat wonder! You can transform it into a sheer shade with a clear top coat — but avoid your superfast-drying standby. “Quick-dry formulas affect the pigment because it’s drying as you paint,” explained Gina Edwards.
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Do it at home by pouring equal parts of lacquer and top coat into an empty nail polish bottle and mixing up your new formula. Then, test your blend on a piece of paper. If it’s still too pigmented, add more top coat. Too sheer? Add more polish. Getting your own custom color has never been so easy.
Fake Seamless Fringe
We’ve heard dozens of fringe horror stories, but you can take the look for a test run with this easy strategy using clip-in bangs. Yes, you can make faux fringe look authentic, and Tresemme hairstylist Jeanie Syfu showed us how backstage at Marissa Webb.
First, create a deep center part. Then make a horizontal part about half an inch back from the hairline. Tease the hair at the scalp to create a grip for the clips. Next, pin back the two sections of hair on each side so you have a nice frame. Clip in the bangs, and trim them to your face. “Try to get human hair because it always looks better,” said Syfu. “If you do use synthetic try to knock out that plastic shine with dry shampoo. “
Create Perfectly Imperfect Texture
Everyone wants the cool-girl, undone look of a windswept ponytail, but achieving it at home usually results in a style that’s more messed up than mussed. Bob Recine for Moroccanoil revealed his technique to perfect imperfection backstage at Monique Lhuillier. “After creating the ponytail, I loosely go over the front pieces with a brush, picking them up a little bit.” You should use a very light hand to do this as you are only trying to pull out small, wispy sections, not large segments of hair. To make the look extra piece-y, apply a mousse to your fingertips, then gently tug at little groups of hair to create texture.
Play With Your Tools
Precise, geometric nail art isn’t just for the accurate hands of a manicurist — all you need to do is upgrade your everyday striper brush with a quick modification. Jin Soon Choi suggests cutting the tip off the brush. Instead of the standard pointed tip (like a V-shape), hold your scissor perpendicular to the brush handle and snip the tip straight across to create a flat, squared-off edge.
Turn Eye Shadow Into Highlighter
When you need to pack light, throw a creamy, shimmery neutral eye shadow in your bag. Here’s why: not only will it work as a your eye makeup color but it can become a gorgeous highlighter for your cheeks.
“Everything is being mixed in a mad scientist kind of way,” Lottie says of how she combined the gold and silver hues. Make the eye shadow cream more sheer by blending into the side of your hand. Your finger has natural warmth to melt the formula. Then, use clean fingertips to press it into the tops of your cheekbones, and voila, you have glowing skin!
Get Flawlessly Groomed Brows
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These adorable toothbrushes in makeup artist Alice Lane’s kit aren’t for dental hygiene — they’re for eyebrows! In lieu of a pricy brow gel, copy Lane’s backstage trick at Suno, and spritz a child’s toothbrush with hairspray to use as your arch tamer. Not only does the finished result look more natural than a hard tinted gel, but the little brushes give your brows a tiny massage. Stimulating your arches promotes hair growth, getting you one step closer to looking like Cara Delevingne.