Beauty Decoder

Beyoncé's Beauty BFF on How to Nail Special Occasion Makeup

Celeb beauty pro Sir John filled us in on what's best for those real life red carpet moments. If Queen Bey trusts him, you should too

Sir John at the InStyle Awards last October (Photo: REX/Shutterstock)

Sir John at the InStyle Awards last October (Photo: REX/Shutterstock)

British makeup artist and L’Oréal ambassador Sir John has an insane resume. He works with the likes of Karlie Kloss, Jourdan Dunn and, of course, Queen Bey. Shocked by how flawless her makeup stays through a three-hour show? Sir John can take full credit for that, as well as pretty much every other iconic beauty look she’s sported. To celebrate the launch of L’Oréal‘s new super-pigmented Infallible collection, we chatted with the pro (and regulation hottie) about red carpet beauty, making glam looks work for your special occasions, and the only time he’ll condone skipping SPF.

What makeup trends make for red carpet fails?
When I think red carpet, I don’t just think the Golden Globes or the Oscars. I think of weddings, I think of proms, I think of date nights. Usually, red carpets happen in the evening, so you can do a little more. But if your event is in the daytime, keep your makeup soft and stay away from a heavy eye look. Winging out your eyeliner is great, but no smokey eyes because they can cast shadows. A statement lip is always flattering. At night, I would stay away from over-contouring. Instead, try invisible contouring. Take a wet sponge and soften your makeup to dial your contour back a bit. If you do chrome or gold on eyelids at night, when a flash hits your face, your eyes will appear flat. Definitely try halo eyes [using a darker shadow on the outer and inner corners of your lash line], and a lighter one in between) and matte lips, because they’ll absorb light and bring attention to glowing skin. Try contrasting finishes with your makeup, like glowing skin with matte lips or glossy eyes with matte foundation, those contrasting elements create visual interest.

What do you think we’re going to see a lot of during awards season?
Monochromatic makeup. At the Golden Globes, I did Olivia Culpo’s makeup and I matched her eye colour to her lip colour. You can do that monochromatic look in so many ways, with a rosy-brown eye and a rosy-brown lip, or even a greyish-mauve. But if you don’t want to do an eye, and you still want to get on the mono train, match your lips and your cheeks. Another trend I think we’ll see is magenta lips, or saturated, dense versions of any colour. If you’re going to go for a lip colour, go big. It should be a statement lip that offers a sense of punctuation to an otherwise mundane makeup look.

Olivia Culpo at the Golden Globes wearing a monochromatic makeup look created by Sir John

Olivia Culpo at the Golden Globes wearing a monochromatic makeup look created by Sir John (Photo: REX/Shutterstock)

Do you have any tricks to avoid flash flub?
That is all the titanium dioxide in your sunscreen, moisturizer or foundation. If you are going somewhere important, like your wedding, skip the SPF in your routine that day. That’s the only time I’ll tell women not to use SPF. You’re going to be photographed not just by your photographer’s camera, but from multiple cameras, and you don’t want to be tagged in a photo looking like ET.

What are some common mistakes you see with colour makeup on the red carpet? The mistakes I see aren’t with colour. The mistakes I see are with skin and foundation, concealer and contouring. We all know what contouring looks like, we all know what illuminators are. The best tip is to know your undertones. You shouldn’t be too pink, and you want your cheeks and your chin and your forehead to look the same as your décolletage and your neck. A lot of women don’t think to do that and that’s not a good thing. That would be my biggest faux pas, along with seeing glue on false eyelashes.

How do you get someone red carpet ready if they’re not into a super glam look? That’s so many women. Make sure your skin is beautiful and take a bit more time to moisturize, do a mask or increase circulation by giving yourself a massage. Then highlight and illuminate along the sides of your face, because illuminator in the center of your face might look greasy in photos. Keep the illuminating to your cheekbones and brow bones. Contour just little bit on the cheekbones as well, but don’t go contour crazy. Just hearing the word sculpt makes you feel less like you’re breaking out a huge jackhammer to get it on. Once the skin is immaculate, a lip would be the quickest way to give a woman an elevated presence, and I love eyes, so mascara is key as well.

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