5 minutes with makeup artist Lisa Garner

August 11, 2009

International make-up artist Lisa Garner spills ALL her insider tips on her fave beauty products, how to cover blemishes, which celebrity’s makeup she liked doing best and how she became a makeup guru! Make sure you read the whole thing, it’s worth it!

What has been your career highlight?

“Opening the door to my hotel room at 7am to see Angelina Jolie standing
there in her bathrobe, coming to get her make-up done. That was really
the only time I have wondered, “what on earth is happening and how did I
get here?” For that reason it has to be the highlight…but honestly
the jobs I’ve loved the best have been because the actor or actress has
been really cool and fun to be around. What started off for me as a
career in creativity has really become about relationships.”

What do you find most women find hardest about doing their makeup?

“Hmmm, it’s hard for me to answer this one because it’s been many years
since I have worked with ‘real’ women and their make-up needs, but what
I used to hear the most was women not knowing how to do their eyes, most
specifically, the smoky eye. In terms of technique, what’s good for you
may not be good for me. We all have different eye shapes. Colour trends
are great in your teens and twenties but after that find what works for
you and perfect it! But don’t be afraid of the smoky eye….I think this is the one that really stumps people. A ‘smoky eye’ is a technique, but it doesn’t have to be done in black or super deep shades. Try the ‘daytime smoky’…..use softer browns, bronzes, plums or even greens (not all at once!) and once you have perfected this, and feel
confident, try the more dramatic darker shades for night. I like to mix
deep purples and blues into black smoky eyes, it creates more
complexity. And metallic shadows help lighten the look and keep it modern.”

What is the one beauty mistake most women make?

“I don’t think most women make one particular mistake. Years ago I
would’ve said the wrong colour foundation, but technology has advanced
so much in the past few years that even that is hard to muck up these
days. I can’t remember the last time I saw a woman and thought ‘wow,
she’s wearing the wrong colour’. Maybe that’s because of improved
technology, but it could also be because women are wearing it less.
Either way the tip here is, always check the colour in natural daylight.
Your face should be the same colour as your decollete, not your neck.
Necks are always paler…if you choose what blends to your neck, you
will get it wrong. If they are wearing collars or high necked tops I
always ask my clients to pull them down to show me what colour they
really are. Don’t forget, we slather SPF on our faces, but less so on
our bodies. Make sure the face matches the body!”

What are your top three favourite beauty products?

“Maybelline Great Lash Mascara – I don’t know how many others I’ve tried but I always come back to this. It’s really black, never dry, doesn’t
clog and it’s cheap! Brilliant!

Benefit Hoola Bronzing Powder – No sparkle so men can wear it too. This
is great for contouring and using as an overall bronzer. The flashes of
the cameras on the red carpet can pale people out. This really helps.

Duralash Naturals Knot-Free Flares in Medium Black – Individual lashes,
but because there are no knots they are easy to place and look great. I
never use strip lashes anymore.”

What is your best tip for covering up skin blemishes?

Use a stiff concealer especially designed for the purpose, not something
emollient like for the under eye, that won’t stay. Dab it on with a
brush, or even a fingertip if you must, and then set it with a powder,
dabbing again so you don’t remove your good work.”

What’s the one beauty tool every woman should have?

“An eyelash curler. Shu Uemura makes the best one I hear. I actually
use a teaspoon, which is old-fashioned but incredibly effective.”

What are your favourite colour lipsticks to work with?

“Most actresses I work with favor pale pinks and nudes. I like Estee
Lauder Pure Color Elizabeth Pink, MAC’s Angel, Hug Me, Fresh Brew
(nude), Scott Barnes Provocative (pale pink) and Suggestive (coral
nude). Often times they’ll just throw on some gloss they have in their
own collection though. On the odd occasion someone wants a red lip, MAC
Eager is a great one for blondes…and I do seem to work with a lot of

How can women achieve that glowy, dewy skin look?

“Start with the best skin care you can afford. I like a French brand
called Lierac. It’s not outrageously priced but my clients always
comment on how good it feels on their skin.”

When it comes to the make-up use a luminizer either underneath, or mixed
with, your foundation. MAC Strobe Cream is a good one. My favorite was
by Revlon but they stopped making it sadly. Don’t luminize your whole
face, just where you want the light to reflect off, so cheekbones,
perhaps a touch on the temples, chin, down the bridge of the
nose…..and I mean a TOUCH!”

Whose makeup have you enjoyed doing the most and why?

“Becki Newton from Ugly Betty. First of all, she’s just a great girl,
and we always have fun, but what I really love is that she really gets
into her look and every time I go to do her make-up she has thought
through how she wants to be in relation to hair, make-up, accessories,
everything. There is a feeling she wants to exude, and she knows
precisely what that is. This means she’s open to new looks depending on
where she is going and what she is wearing. I like that. Oftentimes
celebs want the same look over and over. It’s fun to do, because you
get to hang out and chat, but less creative. With Becki there is the
possibility of the new. That said we often opt for smoky eyes, because
that’s what suits her, but they are not always smoky in the same way.
And did I mention that she has the best skin ever!!!”

Do you hate doing your own makeup since you do other people’s all the
time or do you like experimenting on yourself?

“How funny that you should ask! I just had an Australian girlfriend in
town and I sent her a text saying I’d be late to dinner because I didn’t
know how to do my make-up anymore. She responded that she was just
thinking the same about herself! Because I barely wear make-up anymore
I do struggle to put it on myself I must admit.”

What are you looking forward to about coming to Australia and attending
The International Make-Up Artist Trade Show?

“Make-up as a career has become so much more popular since I went to
make-up school 12 years ago and I’m excited to learn about new schools,
new products lines and other changes in the Australian make-up industry.
Of course talking about oneself seems a bit weird but I’m really looking
forward to my speech at IMATS. It’s not very often we reflect back on
our working lives and I think it’s going to be fun to chart my journey
from the small dressing rooms of Melbourne nightclubs to where I am

How did you get to where you are today?

“My friends provided the inspiration for me to go to make-up school. Before
school was finished I had been snapped up by Estee Lauder as part
of their first ever Professional Make-up Artist team. Then there were a
few fortuitous meetings that lead to more work. I met a film producer
at a dinner, and that lead to a feature film. When I arrived in New
York with no money, no make-up, no book and no plan, I met a hairstylist
friend for coffee and he introduced me to his booker on the street.
That lead to me getting my first work in New York and eventually an
agent. And an agent makes all the difference. So I never really had a plan, over time things just fell into place. Connections really
help…but you still have to be good, and I was always very
conscientious. I suppose some people might say it’s making your own

What is your advice to young women who would like to become a makeup

“Practice, practice, practice….and on as many types of faces as
possible. Whilst most models are extraordinarily gorgeous young girls
and boys with good skin, actors come in all ages. I don’t think make-up
school is a must if you are going to concentrate on the glam side of the
business, but if you want to do film, theatre or SFX it is.”

The International Make-Up Artist Trade Show (IMATS) will bring
world-class make-up talent to Australia at the Sydney Convention and
Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour, from 12-13 September 2009.

To win tickets to the show click here.

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