A Make-Up Artist Answers Her Most Asked Beauty Questions

In this series, we ask top industry insiders to answer the questions they’re asked most often. From how to wake up tired eyes to the easiest way to softly sculpt and define your features, make-up artist Cat Parnell shares her insights…
By Rebecca Hull /

All products on this page have been selected by our editorial team, however we may make commission on some products.

@CATPARNELL

Can You Use Make-Up To Wake Up Tired Eyes?

“Yes. First and foremost, you want to create lightness, so using a colour corrector is an important step – I love Beauty Pie’s Superluminous Under Eye. Make sure you use an eye cream too if you’re struggling with dullness or puffiness. It may not erase dark circles altogether but it will flood the area with moisture, giving it a dewy, more hydrated look. When you use a concealer under your eyes, choose one that is creamy in texture and blend it as much as possible. I recommend using your finger to warm it up as you pat it in. Finish with a little powder to ensure nothing creases – Laura Mercier’s Secret Brightening Powder is my favourite. Finally, use a flesh-toned pencil in the waterline to minimise redness. I love Chantecaille’s Brightening Eye Kajal for this.”

What Is The ‘Douyin’ Blush Trend All About?

“This is the practice of applying blusher to multiple areas – not just your cheeks. I do this quite often to bring out depth and colour in my complexion. Sweep a small amount of blush across the nose and a tiny bit onto the chin and temples – in short, wherever the sun would naturally hit your face. It’s a good idea to do this after you’ve applied foundation as it draws colour back into your skin. It’s also a great way of making you look healthier.”

USE AN EYE CREAM IF YOU’RE STRUGGLING WITH DULLNESS OR PUFFINESS. It may not erase dark circles but it will flood the area with moisture, giving it a DEWY, MORE HYDRATED LOOK.

Any Tips For Covering Spots With Make-Up?

“The most important thing is not to layer on too much foundation. It is much better to apply a little concealer first, or a tinted moisturiser. If the blemishes are quite red, you can use a colour corrector first – try a green shade to neutralise the red – then layer concealer over this. Once you’ve followed these steps, set everything with a tiny amount of powder. This way you’re not using thick textures all over your face – just in the areas that need it most.”

What’s The Best Way To Enhance Your Brows?

“Start with a good brow gel to manipulate the brows into a fuller shape. Don’t be afraid to run a brush against the natural growth of the hair and then back the other way again. You want to ensure you’ve coated the brow hairs fully. Once I’ve done this, I’ll then press down on the brow hair with either my finger or the end of a small spatula to set them in place. Finally, go in with your desired brow product – be it pencil, gel or pen. One tip I swear by is to use two different shades. This ensures a more natural application and best mimics the actual colour of your hair. If you think about it, our hair is multi-tonal, so just using one shade can look quite flat.”

@CATPARNELL

Is There A Correct Way To Clean Brushes & Sponges?

“Use a gentle shampoo on your brushes and be careful when you clean them. You can get great silicone cleansing pads now which you swirl your brush over to remove the dirt, make-up and bacteria. Once you’ve finished, leave your brushes to dry on a clean towel – do this when the water runs clear. If you wish, you can also use a sanitising spray afterwards – just make sure you let them dry fully before using them.”

Any Advice For Subtly Sculpting & Defining Your Features?

“Cream products are key for this – mainly because they blend seamlessly compared to powder products. Try using a cream bronzer or contour cream with an angled brush – like Beauty Pie’s Pro Angled Brush. I apply a bit of product onto the brush then sweep the excess onto the back of my hand to ensure I don’t deposit too much on the skin – you can always build it up. When using the product to sculpt your cheeks, always sweep up towards the temples. This gives your face a more lifted look. You can also add a small amount of setting powder directly under your cheekbones to really chisel in that shape.”

Name The Five Products Every Woman Needs In Their Make-Up Bag

“I would start with Chanel’s Les Beiges Bronzing Cream. It’s a classic and is the most beautiful multi-use bronzer I’ve ever tried. I use it all over the face and as an eyeshadow. It has an amazing consistency and looks so natural. Next would be the NARS Creamy Concealer. There’s a reason it’s so popular – it conceals everything. I love Decléor’s Green Mandarin Glow Serum Oil too; everyone should try this – the glow it gives is unrivalled and it preps skin for foundation so well. Speaking of foundation, the one I always recommend is Giorgio Armani’s Luminous Silk. It gives impressive luminosity but covers uneven tone so well. Finally, I swear by the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushers. They contain subtle flecks of highlighting powder and give the skin that soft-focus effect I love.” 

How Can You Stop Your Mascara Clumping?

“Make sure you really brush through your lashes as you sweep each layer on. Sometimes I like to carry extra spoolies with me so I can evenly distribute the formula evenly. Don’t pump your mascara, either – this just traps air inside and makes it dry out faster.”

Any Tips For Applying False Lashes?

“Make sure you let the glue go a little tacky before placing the falsies band onto your lashes. If you don’t do this, they won’t stick properly. I find using a corner lash easier as you can then build the rest of your lash line up with individuals. Plus, it will be lighter on your lashes and less likely to fall off.”

What Are Your Go-To Tips For Creating A Soft, Smokey Eye?

“Opt for a cream shadow stick in a medium cocoa brown. Apply it all over your lids then blend it out with a brush. Go over this with a shadow of a similar tone, then apply a liner of your choosing onto your lash line – though you may find you don’t need this. To amp it up further, go over everything with a dark brown shadow to soften the focus and buff it out with a brush. Finally, layer up with lots of mascara.”

CREAM PRODUCTS ARE KEY FOR SOFTLY SCULPTING YOUR SKIN. Always sweep upwards on your cheeks towards the temples to create a more lifted look.

What Brands Do You Recommend For Affordable Make-Up Brushes?

“I love M·A·C, Bobbi Brown, My Kit Co, Mehliza and Zoeva – I can’t recommend these brands enough.”

How Can You Create A Healthy Make-Up Look That’s Not OTT?

“Cream and liquid products are your best friend. Any powder-based products will dry up and take away any natural dewiness you have. Make sure you prep your skin well – double cleanse, use an eye cream, serum, moisturiser and SPF. This alone will give you greater radiance. Let these products absorb and then play with a cream blush, bronzer and silky eyeshadows. These textures will keep your overall look fresh and healthy.”

Finally, How Can You Create ‘Fluffy’ Brows Without Lamination?

“I’ve had lamination done and getting ready each morning is now that bit easier. However, you can create the same effect with a very strong brow gel – I recommend the Got2Be Brow Gel or HD Brows. Make sure you brush the hairs all the way up – don’t worry if it looks odd at first, but you need to do this for the fluffy finish. Once you’ve done this, sweep the brows back into the arched shape you want. Leave the front section pointing upwards. I always do eyebrows first. It allows you to clean up any excess gel with a cotton bud and micellar water. Once you’ve finished, go in with a pencil or pen to fill in any sparseness.”

Follow @CatParnell for more beauty advice & tutorials.

@CATPARNELL

SHOP CAT'S FAVOURITE PRODUCTS

DISCLAIMER: We endeavour to always credit the correct original source of every image we use. If you think a credit may be incorrect, please contact us at info@sheerluxe.com.

Fashion. Beauty. Culture. Life. Home
Delivered to your inbox, daily