New York Fashion Week: Makeup Must-Haves Tuesday 07 February, 2012

The makeup items I’ll be turning to as I run from backstage to backstage during Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week have two things in common: They must withstand sweat and heat, and they have to make me look awesome. Smashbox, Rain Cosmetics, Make Up For Ever, Maybelline and NARS Cosmetics all make the cut.

The countdown to the first day of Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week started two weeks ago, when the first round of backstage invites started making their way into my email inbox. Now, with only two more days to spare before I start zipping like a mad woman between the far reaches of the West Side and Lincoln Center, I’ve mapped out my wardrobe, which is pretty much planned and set—barring any last-minute snafus. But my makeup? It’s not so set in stone because I’d like to try and adopt something I see each day backstage for the following day. That’s my goal, my plan, my raison d’être (for Fashion Week, anyway): Try out the trends as soon as humanly possible. But, of course, I’ll be wearing some beauty staples that simply won’t be changed no matter what I witness backstage; they’re both tried-and-true besties I’ve had in my makeup bag for awhile, and some newer fare that I recently tested and decided to welcome into the fold.

These staples—to now be known as my backstage beauty crutches—will keep me looking pristine and put-together, and not at all harried, as I often am. Because, let me tell you: Backstage is a sweat-fest, packed to the gills with bodies and hot from tons of blow-drying and curling irons, and your makeup must withstand this inferno. Plus, you really are running in heels (or, if you decide to pack flats in your bag—which is the smartest thing to do, bar none—you’ll be running in comfy flats…but you’ll still be running) from backstage to backstage, usually clad in a jacket because it is still winter, which just adds to the turmoil of your inner thermometer. For all the glamour of Fashion Week, if you don’t have a personal driver taxiing you around, it’s easy to become a mess…

…Which is why I’ll be wearing the following backstage beauty crutches—and if (well, not “if,” but rather “when”) I do break a sweat, I won’t be worrying about it sweeping away my makeup in its wake.

 Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer Light
Backstage Beauty Crutch #1: Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer Light


I can’t tell you how many makeup artists I’ve talked to who list their No. 1 makeup need as primer. As editorial makeup artist Burke Daniel told me, “Primers create an invisible layer of protection that stands between your moisturizer and your foundation; they’re an important secret weapon.” This “invisible layer” prevents your makeup from sliding, shifting and moving like it is wont to do, and is exactly what I need when I’m moving, shifting and sliding from location to location. Because I am the shiniest person this side of the sun (and I’m not talking about my sparkling personality), I need a primer that is oil-free. The original Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer held a happy place in my heart; it always imparted a velvety smooth layer on my skin that paved the way for seamless foundation application. But then when the Light version of Photo Finish came out, I was hooked. It’s not only oil-free, but also 60% water-based—an optimal formula for someone with acne-prone skin (me!). It also sops up grease, lending a matte finish, yet still works to diffuse light so that you look like a soft-focus babe in all of your pictures. And with the amount of flash bulbs going off backstage, it’s always nice not to be the blinding light in the background of some model’s picture (the “blinding light” being my forehead).

 Rain Cosmetics Conceal Reveal Flawless Foundation SPF 15
Backstage Beauty Crutch #2: Rain Cosmetics Conceal Reveal Flawless Foundation SPF 15


As I told, I need a budge-proof foundation for bulletproof backstage protection, and heretofore, I crowned that position to Make Up For Ever HD Invisible Cover Foundation. I’ll probably still tap that bottle, but I also just discovered another foundation that has me “whipped”: Rain Cosmetics Conceal…Reveal Flawless Foundation SPF 15. Why the adoration: The consistency of the formula is like a soufflé; it’s whipped and velvety and light-as-air. When you apply it, it spreads evenly—which is exactly what you want from a foundation. The fact that it’s oil-free and offers SPF 15 score it some major bonus points. Also: It’s buildable, so you can apply it sheer or double-up your coverage without looking like a spackled showgirl. I’m not sure how it will perform under the stress of hot lights and close, squished quarters, but I’m banking on a victory. Only time—and sweat—will see.

 NARS Illuminator Super Orgasm
Backstage Beauty Crutch #3: NARS Cosmetics Illuminator in Super Orgasm


I am a highlighter fanatic. I like it as a cream stick, as a powder, as a liquid. I mean, really, why wouldn’t you fall head over heels for something that makes you glow—even when you feel faded and flat? So when NARS packaged it’s ultra-amazing Super Orgasm blush hue as an Illuminator, I jumped on it. The formulation is a hybrid of NARS’ best-selling The Multiple and Body Glow, so it’s creamy without being too heavy, and imparts a nice, even layer of skin-warming, golden-peach goodness. A few pats of it along the tops of my cheeks and on my occipital bone lend the perfect “she slept a lot…and then slept some more” incandescence—just what I’ll be needing, ahem, during Fashion Week.

 Make Up For Ever Waterproof Aqua Liner
Backstage Beauty Crutch #4: Make Up For Ever High Precision Waterproof Eyeliner Aqua Liner in Mat Black


I am attached at the lid to winged liner. I mean, I simply can’t put a makeup look together without that little (or, in my case, large) flick at the outer edge of my eye. I prefer crafting my cat eye with liquid eyeliner because its intensity is unrivaled, but its inability to withstand perspiration gives me pause. That is, until I discovered Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner. This waterproof eyeliner does. Not. Budge. Period. So much so, that it may just leave a little bit of a stain behind when you remove it (not something to worry about if you know you’ll be repeatedly lining your eyes day in and day out). The stiff, pointed felt-tip applicator also makes precision lining a breeze, but also permits you to fatten your line if you so wish by dragging the side of the applicator (not the tip) along the lash line (this takes a little perfecting). Though I’ll most likely be wearing Mat Black, I might whip out the big guns: Diamond Turquoise Blue and Diamond Green Lagoon—both fearlessly bold hues that tend to turn heads wherever I go.

 Maybelline Great Lash Lots of Lashes
Backstage Beauty Crutch #5: Maybelline New York Great Lash Lots of Lashes


As any devoted makeup junkie will confess, mascara is an absolute must-have. Just a few swipes can completely transform your face from “meh” to “oh yeah!” So, naturally, I’ll be sporting mascara backstage, but my love of the lash-enhancing stuff has a storied past. See, I paid serious allegiance to the original Maybelline Great Lash; I just couldn’t be drawn away from its absolute domination of my eyelashes. Truthfully, the affair was a little unfair; other mascaras that rolled across my desk were always given a small cruise around the block, but they never truly made it past that. And then I decided to test-drive Maybelline’s newest incarnation of Great Lash, Lots of Lashes, which promptly became my go-to for serious batters. As I told, the name says it all: It magnifies my lashes in ways I didn’t think possible, thanks to a heart-shaped wand that not only separates each and every lash seamlessly for a doll-like effect, but also lavishes bottom lashes with just enough color in one stroke. The small precision tip of the applicator also allows you to be deft at reaching even the tiniest lashes in the inner corners of the eye (integral to opening-up peepers). I’m partial to the “Washable” formula (meaning, you can easily remove it with soap and water, but it won’t smear or budge by way of sweat or tears) in Blackest Black; it really doesn’t clump, unless you’re determined to apply four or five lashings (but who needs that?).

So there you have it: These are my backstage beauty crutches for Fall 2012 Fashion Week. I can’t wait to tell you what other products mosey on into the picture as the week progresses!

Karie L. Frost Signature


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