Makeup Lesson: Tips to Achieve Your Best Look

Tonya Riner is a professional makeup artist and a Principal Partner at Beauty For Real. Her long list of celebrity clients includes Heidi Klum, Erin Wasson, Julie Anderson, Rachel Hunter, Chandra North, and Lauren Bush. Her work has been featured in Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, and she was included in Allure Magazine’s Directory, as one of the best makeup artists in the United States.

The question I get most often: Do you always eat chocolate the entire time you’re doing someone’s makeup? To which I answer, “Yes.”

The second question I get most often:  How do I do a smoky eye? My answer: Buckle up and hold on for the ride, you may need a shift in thinking.

Glorious things come to women with smoky eyes, and, of course, we believe those things will come our way if we just get our smoky eyes right. After all, it works for the cover girls.

Before I talk about the art of the smoky eye, first things first. Your favorite cover girl wears those lovely, smoky eyes so well because a makeup artist smoothes and perfects her skin before applying the color. Pairing smoky eyes with dark circles and a dull skin tone won’t get you the look you’re after. The best makeup strategy is to get enough rest and adopt healthy habits. You’ll find the more rested you look, the less makeup you’ll need. But you can enhance your look and define your features if you follow these steps:

How to Apply Makeup 101

Prep: Improve your skin texture by exfoliating 2-3 times per week.  I start every makeup application with Aveda’s Botanical Kinetics liquid exfoliant. You need a cotton ball and less than a minute to remove surface cells.  Stay hydrated and protect your skin with a moisturizer that includes SPF. Organics Pomegranate Protection Shade boosting moisturizer is one of my favorites.

Cover: Start with dime-sized drops of foundation on your forehead, the tips and sides of your nose, and your chin. Blend the liquid toward the perimeter of your face, making the coverage sheer as you get to your hairline and jaw, smoothing any harsh lines. Use a foundation brush or your fingers. If areas of redness or blotchiness remain, use extra foundation over just those areas by patting it on. Patting builds coverage.

Conceal: After your foundation, use a slight patting motion with your ring finger to blend concealer under your eyes. Use only on the inner corners near your nose where you still see darkness. Your goal is to make the product imperceptible, and patting it in with the pad of your finger will help you accomplish this. Less really is more. Don’t add product where it isn’t needed—excess product will draw attention to your makeup, and not in a good way. For blemishes, use a fine-tipped brush to dot concealer right on top of the blemish. Then diffuse the edges with feather strokes. The tiny tip of the brush is key, distributing the product only where you need it. Focus on making the product invisible to the casual eye.For a muti-tasker, Stila’s Stay All Day is a foundation with a concealer in the lid. I love the formula, and they’ve made it so easy by combining the products and including a mirror and brush.

Powder: Use a large, fluffy brush and dust powder only where you tend to get shiny. New technology takes away all of the drawbacks that powders had in the past. Nars Light Reflecting Powder gives a beautiful finish and keeps makeup fresh all day.

Blush: You’re blushing! Keep this in mind while applying. Blush tones should only be used where you naturally blush. Smile and add to the apples of your cheeks. Cream blushes are best applied by – you guessed it – patting them into the skin with your fingertips. Powder blushes are best applied in a circular motion with a blush brush. Tarte makes beautiful powder blushes that work on all skin types. Their blush color that I use endlessly is Blissful.

Highlighting and Contouring: This is a big one. Little effort yields big results. Bronzers go on the areas of your face where the sun hits. Blend them around your hairline, the bridge of your nose, your cheekbones, and chin. If you want a bit of contour, push the bronzer under your cheekbone for a chiseled look.  Use a cream or powder highlighter in the inner corners of your eyes, your brow bone, and your Cupid’s bow. Nothing looks as youthful as healthy skin. Bronzers add a sun-kissed glow and highlighters illuminate. I can’t live without Beauty For Real’s Get Glowing. Multi-tasking products are always at the top of my list, and this one has blush, bronzer with complimenting highlighters together in one package. The creamy formula of this product is a skin perfecter, giving your skin and look an immediate boost.

Hope you enjoyed the ride and reap the benefits of looking rested and ready. I promise we’ll play with eyeshadow and the smoky eye soon. Stay tuned. Wait! I almost forgot my most important recommendation of all: Godiva Chocolates Solid Dark Chocolate Bar will surely make you happy. Happiness gives a very natural glow. Trust me on that one!


About Tonya Riner

Tonya Riner started doing makeup as a teenager in her two-stoplight hometown in Kansas. From there, she declared herself a professional, and has spent the last twenty-five years on fashion shoots and shows, on both coasts, and in Europe. Tonya's work has been featured in Harper's Bazaar and Vogue. She was included in Allure Magazine’s Directory as one of the best makeup artists in the United States. Her long list of celebrity clientele includes Heidi Klum, Erin Wasson, Julie Anderson, Rachel Hunter, Chandra North, and Lauren Bush. Backstage, she has worked alongside Frederic Fekkai and Ted Gibson. She was a member of the beauty team for Beyonce’s Blow video. For Tonya, one of the most rewarding parts of her job is spending time, one-on-one, with models and clients. She finds that ordinary barriers fall away within minutes of the start of a makeup session, leaving space for instant intimacy and the shared pursuit of beauty. Connecting with extraordinary people from all walks of life fuels her passion for her work. As a consultant, Tonya works with creative teams to devise strategies for beauty brand product development, most recently for the company, Beauty for Real. She enjoys working with products from both the manufacturing and marketing ends. Moving forward, she would like to be instrumental in the development of the kinds of beauty products she, herself, would want to use.