In addition to being the artist tapped for Meghan Markle’s royal wedding makeup, celebrity makeup artist Daniel Martin just happens to be one of the nicest people in the beauty industry. He’s candid and creative and smart. He’s currently thinking about how to use products more sustainably and paying attention to ingredients in the products he selects to prep his clients’ faces. He wants makeup to complement a client, not overshadow them.
To do this, skin prep is essential, he says. His new partnership with Mediheal, one of Korea’s biggest and bestselling brands (which recently made its U.S. debut) is helping him get some of Hollywood’s hottest stars, including Jessica Biel, Michelle Yeoh, and Elizabeth Moss, in perfect condition pre-makeup application. And, luckily for all of us, we got Martin’s tips for creating the perfect canvas. Keep scrolling to learn his tricks.
How do you prepare skin for makeup?
I need skin products that are going to magnetize the makeup I put on top without breaking up hours later. A lot of times, primers don’t do that. If your primer isn’t compatible with your foundation, then three hours in, you start seeing that it separates. My girls are on the red carpet — they need that sh*t to last! So I’ve learned that since I can’t control them, primers aren’t always good for my work.
That’s why I love using the Mediheal N.M.F collection under makeup. It’s all water-based, and I use a lot of water-based makeup products. If you think about it, water and oil separate. Whereas, if you use a water-based moisturizer and a water-based foundation, they’re compatible and will perform better together.
So what’s your go-to skin routine?
When I work with an actress, we’re doing hair and makeup at the same time. I tend to pop the Mediheal N.M.F Sheet Mask on them before I get started, while their hair is still wet. I can’t get started on the face until they’re almost done with the hair anyway, so I’d rather them just sit with a mask — whether it’s an eye mask or a face mask.
Okay, so Urban Decay has an eye shadow primer that I use on pimples. You know those really inflamed ones, the ones that are underneath the skin and nothing works on top to cover them? Well, this eye shadow primer really works! It creates a smoother canvas, but also provides something that’s going to bind. I’ll apply foundation on top of that, see if it grabs, and then add concealer on top of that. Sometimes, depending on if the pimple is a bit open, I’ll use cortisone gel first to create a barrier before applying the eye shadow primer.
Once skin is prepped, what’s your makeup mantra?
Less is more. I think it’s about finding that one thing about you that you love and just enhancing it. So much of my work is about bringing out someone’s own beauty. That’s why skin is really important to me, because I don’t like to see the foundation. Like, I want to see the makeup, but I want to see the makeup in a way that I see you first and not the makeup.
What were your favorite beauty launches this year?
Oh. That’s a good one! There are just so many color brands out there — it’s so saturated. So, for me, a brand needs to be innovative with color to strike an interest. As for a product launch…oh, actually Jessica [editor’s note: that would be Jessica Alba] launched liquid lipsticks with no isododecane in them, which is great because that ingredient is typically what makes matte lipsticks dry down — and that’s also what can make them crack. So, I love the Honest Beauty Liquid Lipstick because it’s longwear and pigmented, but you don’t get that cracky-peely thing.
Obviously you try a lot of products — do you ever “hit pan” on anything?
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