When contacted by Le Metier de Beaute to see if I would like to do an interview with their Director of Makeup and Education Mikey Castillo, tailored to the fair-skinned beauty community, I jumped at the opportunity. I was both excited to have some of our concerns addressed by such an expert as Mikey Castillo and incredibly nervous at the prospect of doing my first interview. I'm actually quite the phone phobe so this was a bit terrifying. Well I needn't have worried. Mikey is the most delightful man to speak with and his passion for his career and true devotion to making women feel beautiful immediately set me at ease.
If you are not familiar with Mikey Castillo here is a little excerpt from his bio:
As Director of Makeup, Mikey Castillo brings twenty years of experience to Le Métier de Beauté. His ability to bring out the best in women, combined with his endless energy and passion for beauty, makes him a force to be reckoned with and invaluable to his clients.
With a career that started in illustration, Mikey easily transitioned from a two- to three-dimensional surface. He believes that complexion products create the perfect canvas for his work and should be undetectable on the skin. With his flawless finish in place, Mikey approaches the eye as an artist would approach painting, creating illusions of depth and color. His overall look is soft, feminine, youthful and modern.
With a passion for makeovers, Mikey focuses on educating his customers. His philosophy: the most lasting makeovers are less about the makeup and more about highlighting a woman’s best features. He brings out the best in his customers, teaching them to do the same, whether they’re looking for a smoky eye, or a five-minute face. His work with such iconic beauties as Isabella Rossellini, Uma Thermon, Charlize Theron, Sharon Stone and Nicole Kidman, illustrates this and affords him the credibility to understand what truly makes women beautiful.
Mikey has been featured in numerous media outlets for his expertise and makeup tips, including InStyle, Elle, Redbook, LXTV and others. His prior expertise includes leading education and training efforts at Nars Cosmetics, Sue Devitt, Shiseido and Laura Mercier.
Now tell me you wouldn't be nervous speaking to such a legend!
Now on to the interview. I do apologize for the length of this but Mikey had so much incredible information to share with me during our 45 minute (oops was supposed to be 30 minute) conversation. I didn't want to leave anything out!
When asked for some of the most important tips he would like to share with my readers it was all about complexion and the perfect canvas:
The Peau Vierge Fluid Tinted Complex does provide slightly more than a just a tint of coverage, but it is not considered anywhere near a "full-coverage". Because of this, I use it as a cosmetic primer to fill in lines, provide natural sun protection (level 20), and create a supple and radiant canvas before applying a fuller coverage. However, plenty of women use the Peau Vierge as their actual makeup, just by itself. When I'm getting a woman ready for the Oscars, the Red Carpet, or simply a personal event, the client always asks for a "Natural Look". What I've learned over the last 22 years as a professional makeup artist is to not take that particular request literally. To a makeup artist, "natural" means a sheer veil of pigment through which the skin(and any flaws) will still be visible. To a client, "natural" means they are Completely Flawless, but it looks like they have utterly no makeup on! Cut to using Peau Vierge as a dewy and radiant, line-filling primer with a cooling and anti-inflammatory effect on skin, while providing non-chemical sun protection (referred to by dermatologists as a "physical block"). On an aside, it also contains a dosage of .05 retinol to perfect skin while you wear it (low enough to test zero for sensitivity and high enough to see a visceral difference in skin texture in about a week).
This is pretty alone, but when I need to blow my client's socks off, I then add the Le Metier de Beaute Classic Finish Flawless Foundation over the Peau Vierge Tinted Fluid. The foundation contains no large plastic molecules to reveal itself on the skin, instead, it uses hyaluronic acid, which is typically never found in makeup, only nicer skin care, baby products, and of course, in our own skin. Because of this, the formula delivers only the fantasy of Full Coverage, while looking like real skin. Super Models are not on the covers of Fashion Magazines anymore, and looking like a walking art-installation is no longer chic. Film Stars look different from runway models, they're beautiful and feminine, but not theatrical looking. Tastes and aesthetics have evolved over the last decade, and women all over the world want to look exciting, not boring, but natural at the same time. There are a lot of contrasting elements involved. Natural to many women, and certainly many artists, tends to translate to beige, pale pink, and brown eyeshadows, all in matte texture, which inevitably appear outdated, aging, and muddy. These flat colors diminish femininity and reduce the contrast of the wearer's eye color.
I asked Mikey what a good "eye-brightening" look was for us fair-skinned gals. I have found that the popular technique of using a light, shimmery shadow to brighten the eyes did nothing for me, because on fair skin it just disappears as there was no contrast. He was pleased I'd hit the nail on the head by acknowledging that lack of contrast was the culprit. This is what he recommends:
The only thing I have ever heard consistently from clients since the beginning of my career is: "Can you bring out my eyes? Please bring out my eyes. "The only way to bring anything outward from an amorphous blur is to CREATE CONTRAST. It's a principle aspect of color theory in art: Black against a wall of black fades away, white against black springs forward. If you have green eyes and wear a flat green eyeshadow, the green of the eye diminishes and appears brown. There must be a contrasting element, perhaps green shadow layered over a jewel toned shade like sapphire, or amethyst. The contrasting hues appear to increase the depth and intensity of the wearer's eye color.
The maximum way to create exciting, but natural-looking intensity in the eye is with straight-up, liquid eyeliner in basic black. Obviously this brightens the white of the eye and frames the eye color to full effect. However, there is a proprietary technique that I teach clients in order to make something as intense as black liquid eyeliner, look beautiful and natural. There can be NO drawing or pulling on the eye! The point of the LMDB Precision pen must be laid on the eyelashes using the comfortable FLAT side of (not the point) of the applicator. Then the pigment is simply tucked and deposited discreetly into the base ridge of the eyelid, where the lashes grow from the skin, instead of an artificial line drawn on the visible eyelid. When a person draws on the eyelid, typically the line appears wide, crooked, or too theatrical. Taking drawing out of equation is key. Only dabbing and connecting the dots across the natural eyelash line blackens the base without any visible lines of demarcation. A step further is to blacken out the upper water line as well, by also using the comfortable flat side of the pen, gently touching the visible water line until it looks like a rich forest of black lashes. The look is a real crowd pleaser. The veritable coup d'tat!
Try this technique especially if you are currently drawing preposterous winged eyeliner in order to elongate seemingly smaller, closed together or narrow eyes. Winged eyeliner doesn't expand the eye more than it makes you look like you're conspicuously trying to elongate your eyes. Simply by creating contrast, the eyes will appear more stunning, but in non-obvious manner. Remember, what you want to always hear is: "Wow, you look really great?" Not: "Oh, what interesting eye makeup you have on!"
Mikey was quick to decide on what must have item he would like to recommend for us pale complected gals out there. (Can you believe I don’t own this yet?!):
The "Sunkissed" Bronzer is the key color item that a fair skinned woman should employ. It was made specifically for women who have difficulty wearing blush and bronzer without looking like they're developing rosacea. The red or orange undertone in a lot of blushes only increase the natural flush it inevitably comes through on very fair skin, and too many bronzers look patchy brown, muddy or orange as well. I use the Sunkissed on this skin type because it contains no red or orange undertone, but rather a pale blonde-beige bronzer. I use it as blush, high on the apple of the cheek, as the neutral undertone keeps a fair woman's natural flush at bay. On a more olive skin, this bronzer would be too light and dull to be worn as blush, but on the translucency of pale skin, the Sunkissed bronzer appears to be a natural blush on the surface. Also, I use it on the rest of the face to add subtle, natural warmth, without ever looking too brown or patchy.
I asked Mikey if there were any products or looks he felt those with fair skin may naturally shy away from but that he felt we should take a chance on. He recommended Uma Paro Sheer Brilliance Lip Gloss. This just happens to be one of my favourite lip glosses. I reviewed it here.
Some other great tips I learned from Mikey during our conversation:
For fair skin intensify the eye. Go for a softer lip with no lip liner, preferably a gloss.
A great alternative to red is Fraise Lip Creme. It is a red with gold and pink that is easy and safe. It satisfies the fantasy of red without being too intense and theatrical. (This has been on my wishlist forever!)
The new modern, younger look is less theatrical, no lines of demarcation, nor hard lines. Don't define the crease, especially with hooded eyes when there isn't one to begin with.
Even with dark brunette or black hair do not fill in brows with dark brown or black. Always use lighter shades like blonde and fawn on fair skin, otherwise it looks to harsh.
Mikey and I also discussed the issue of foundation shades for fair skin. He was actually comedically astounded at the fact that Shade 1 in both the Peau Vierge and Classic Flawless Finish foundation were a bit too dark for me. He said that adding new shades to product lines is an expensive endeavor. There is a misconception out there (at least I believe it's a misconception) that there is not a large market for very light shades. It is up to us, the consumer, to send in letters, emails, phone calls, whatever you can do to make companies aware that there is a market for it. You! Us! There has been talk about an expansion of the shade ranges of their complexion products and feedback from customers like us can be what it takes to turn talk into action.
I hope you enjoyed this interview. I know I have taken so much valuable information away from my conversation with the brilliant Mikey Castillo. I hope you have as well.