11 Beauty Tips From A Celebrity Make-Up Artist
11 Beauty Tips From A Celebrity Make-Up Artist

11 Beauty Tips From A Celebrity Make-Up Artist

Harold James is the make-up artist A-listers like Naomi Watts, Laura Harrier and Jessica Alba have on speed dial. Self-taught, he’s mastered endless skills and techniques, and now has a wealth of insider knowledge. Here, he shares his best tips – from the importance of ice and never skipping exfoliation to why your brow shape should match that of your eyes.
By Rebecca Hull

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Always Assess Your Face

“Everyone should look at their face in the mirror for at least five minutes. That may sound like a scarily long time, but it’s the only way to observe what features you want to enhance and what doesn’t necessarily need ‘correcting’. Most of us look at Instagram and TikTok now and try to replicate the looks we see there. I’m all for using these platforms as inspiration, but you can’t mimic things without knowing your own face shape, eye shape, nose shape – all of it. Trust me, you can’t go wrong with make-up if you understand your own features.”


Make The Most Of Concealer

“Concealer can do so much more than hide dark circles. If you find one with a nice, creamy texture, you can use it to softly enhance and warm up your features. Always start with your foundation, then go in with your concealer. The shade you use should never be too bright – this will just draw attention to things you’re trying to conceal. Instead, if you have a medium or darker skin tone, opt for quite a warm tone and if you’re lighter in skin tone, keep the shade cool, but not icy. I prefer cream and liquid-based concealers to powders as you can see the latter too much – you want to avoid this when putting colour and tone back into your skin. It should look seamless.”


De-Puff With Ice

“It’s an old-school tip, but I often ask my clients to fill a bowl with ice cubes and plunge their faces into it before I start their make-up. Why? It really minimises bloat and puffiness. The cold temperatures shrink the blood vessels and in turn minimise swelling. Immediately skin looks tighter, more lifted and more luminous. Make-up adheres better and you get a natural glow coming through. Try it – you won’t look back.”



Don’t Skip Exfoliation

“Exfoliation is the one step you can’t miss if you want your make-up to look good. I recommend exfoliating the night before an event. Your skin regenerates while you sleep, so you give your cells time to renew overnight, meaning fresher, healthier-looking skin come morning. I can always tell if someone has or hasn’t exfoliated – make-up glides on so smoothly and it layers nicely with zero pilling – plus, the formulas last far longer as they can stick to your skin properly. If you can, follow up with a thick layer of moisturiser at night. The former is still more important, but the latter will boost your glow.”


Aim High When You Sculpt Skin

“Placement is key for enhancing your features – especially on your cheekbones. Don’t go too low when you apply your products as this will make your face look sad. The higher you go, the more lifted you look. Look in the mirror and assess where your pupil is. Work downward from that point until you hit the bone, then ensure your blush, highlighter or bronzer sweeps upwards from here towards your temples. This opens your face up and gives you a youthful look. Similarly, try to avoid placement on the centre of your cheeks – this will close your face off.”


Use Your Bronzer First

“I recommend using your bronzer before blusher, then finish with highlighter. This is the best order for adding dimension to your face gradually. It also means you can buff away any dominant marks as you go, so you’re left with the lightest tones from your highlight. One of my top tips is to put bronzer on your hand, then use a brush to pick the colour up before placing it onto your skin. If you apply it directly to your skin, it can be quite heavy-handed. Whereas if you take the time and layer up, you get a seamless, soft look that can be built upon when needed. Cheekbones are a given for bronzer application, but don’t forget to run it along your forehead and across the bridge of your nose too.”



Keep Highlighter To A Minimum

“When it comes to highlighter, less is definitely more. Too much ‘sheen’ can make your face look bigger. This isn’t always a bad thing – perhaps that’s what you’re after – but often people want highlighter to have the opposite effect. After you’ve applied bronzer and blusher, look at your face and see which areas you’d like to open up. Typically, they’re the highest points of your face – think tops of the cheekbones, cupid’s bow, tip of your nose and the inner corners of your eyes. These are the areas you want to apply highlighter. It pays to be specific with placement.”


Take Care Of Your Brow Shape

“Brows are the most important feature on your face. They can transform your entire look. Your brow shape should mimic your eyes. For instance, if your eyes are almond shaped, your brows should be too and elongated the same way. It helps open your eyes, but also your entire face – everything looks more awake. If you’re unsure, ask a brow therapist to help you nail your shape, then you can maintain it afterwards. In terms of product, everyone should own Glossier’s Boy Brow. It’s so easy to use and offers instant volume. When you do apply it, always follow the shape of your brow and again, work upwards. I prefer gels and liquids to pencils and powders – the latter can be quite harsh and, if you’re not a professional, tricky to master.”



Create The Illusion Of Fuller Lips

“Lip liner is having a resurgence – especially in shades that are deeper than the lipstick you’re wearing. This can help achieve the illusion of fuller looks, but just be careful not to over line your lips. Don’t go too high above your natural lip line. Edge it out slightly, but always blend a few times so you get a diffused, soft edge. Top it off with a gloss, matte lipstick or a tint – personally I love the latter for a natural finish.”


Know That Setting Spray Isn’t Essential

“I used to love setting spray and use it after every layer of make-up, but nowadays I prefer to switch up the consistency of the base products I use to achieve the same effect. Skincare-foundation hybrids prime skin while providing coverage – in other words, you naturally get longevity from these formulas. Try serum-based foundations or skin tints that come with several hydrating benefits. All you really need is a tiny amount of setting powder or a few blotting papers. I love keeping the latter nearby for all my clients as it smooths make-up just enough, without taking anything away. Too much powder or setting spray can make skin look ashy. You want to see the skin and a little natural texture where possible.”


Try This Lash Curler Hack

“Most of us have a lash curler but you need to know how to use it. My tip is to spend a good 20 seconds pressing them down onto your lashes – be gentle, it doesn’t need to be a hefty motion. Then as soon as you release the lashes, apply your mascara immediately – don’t hang around or they’ll drop. Layer up, and you’ll see the curl set and the lashes lengthen. It sounds simple, but it works so well.”

For more beauty inspiration & tips follow @Harold_James on Instagram.


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