Celebrity Makeup Artist Spills Her Secrets

Northbrook native Kelly LaBanco has brushed makeup on musician Kelly Clarkson, comedian Jon Stewart, actresses Elaine Hendrix and Megan Mullally, as well as celebrities at the Grammys for eight years. She knows a thing or two about getting gorgeous – and she spilled her secrets for us.

“My goal with cosmetics is to enhance the natural glow that starts from within and create a no-makeup makeup look,” LaBanco says.

1. Prime Your Face With a Good Base

Like a good nail polish base, you need a primer before you apply foundation. Massage a small amount from the center of your face across your cheekbones, the bridge of your nose, forehead and chin to lift your complexion. “Priming skin with this invisible layer before makeup minimizes imperfections,” LaBanco says. “It also boosts the longevity of your look.”

Recommended product: Laura Mercier Foundation Primer – Radiance, $20-34


2. Try Tinted Moisturizer if You’re a Gal on the Go

Looking for a light-wear foundation? Tinted moisturizer is your pal. Dot the forehead, cheeks and chin and then use a sponge to work it from the center of the face outward. “Most discoloration or redness will be around the eyes, nose or mouth,” LaBanco says. “You don’t really need coverage all the way to your hairline.”

Recommended product: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, $44

3. Cover What Concealer Reveals With a Color Corrector

Concealer covers what foundation doesn’t. Have darkness under your eyes that you want to hide? Add a color corrector to your routine. Apply corrector before concealer. The two should be lightly married, one right over the other. “Fair skin tones should select a pink,” LaBanco says. “Warmer skin tones should choose orange.”

Recommended product: Armani Master Corrector, $39

4. Enhance Cheekbones by Contouring and Highlighting

Three steps with 3 brushes + 3 blushes = beautifully defined cheekbones.

  • Apply sculpting powder or bronzer with a sculpting brush to the areas you want to define: hollows of cheeks, temples, jaw line, sides and tip of nose. “Blend upward into your cheekbones and down toward your neck to ensure a flawless finish,” LaBanco says.
  • With a stippling brush, pat a shimmer highlight across the tops of your cheekbones, center of nose, lip’s cupid bow and the brow bone. “It will give an illuminated, dreamy finish to the skin,” LaBanco says.
  • Swish blusher along your cheekbones with a blush brush, and bravo, you’re done!

Recommended product: Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder, $44

5. Create a Velvety Finish With Setting Powder

For a soft focus (almost airbrushed) look, use a little setting powder in the T-zone. “The unique light-reflecting, micro-refined spherical silica powders diminish the look of fine lines and imperfections while visibly smoothing skin,” LaBanco says.

Product recommendation: Laura Mercier Invisible Loose Setting Powder, $37


6Tight Line for a Dense Lash Line

To help your eyes look bigger, brighter and more awake, try this lash defining trick. Apply eyeliner directly to your lash line from the underside. “This is a miracle move,” LaBanco says. “It takes such miniscule effort, but makes a tremendous difference in your look.”

Recommended product: Laura Mercier Crème Eye Liner, $25


7. Make Eyes Sizzle With Soft, Blurred Lines

Apply liner along the waterline, and then smudge with fingertip for a soft halo effect. “The intensity of eye color should always be darkest at the lash line,” LaBanco says. “Diffuse as you work upward on the eye lid.”

Recommended product: Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Colour, Smoke, $28

8. Use a Spoon for Perfect Mascara Application

Place your mascara wand at the base of the lash line and wiggle through to tips for a smooth, even effect. To accentuate lower lashes, use the tip of the wand to comb through. Worried about getting mascara under your eyes? “Place a spoon under your bottom lashes,” LaBanco says. “It helps you accomplish a much thicker coat without getting mascara on the skin.”

Recommended product: NARS Audacious Mascara, $26

9. Line Lips With Concealer to Keep Edges Clean

Line the very outside of lips with concealer, especially when wearing dark or very bright colors. It will help prevent lipstick from bleeding.

Recommended product: NYX Wonder Pencil, $5

10. Try Sugar for Soft, Smooth Lips

No one wants a rough, dry pout; exfoliate with sugar for a supple smacker. Then, feel confident gliding on the matte and velvet lipsticks that are hot this fall.

Recommended product: Fresh Sugar Lip Polish, $23

Have an upcoming wedding, Bat Mitzvah, or simply want to update your look? LaBanco does in-home consultations as well as in-store appointments across the Chicago area. Her outgoing personality (she’s a stand up comedian by night) and artistic talent make her fun to work with. For questions or a personal consultation, contact Kelly at [email protected].

Kelly LaBanco

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