Apply Mascara First, and More Backwards Makeup Tricks That Really Work

Wendy Rodewald
Makeup artist Napoleon Perdis works on Miranda Kerr backstage at Fashion Week Australia.

Makeup artist Napoleon Perdis works on Miranda Kerr backstage at Fashion Week Australia.
Photo: Getty Images

While there’s no real wrong way to apply makeup (have fun! It comes off!), every makeup artist has his or her own method for creating the ultimate effect. Ask five pros whether they apply concealer or foundation first, and you’re bound to get five different answers. But one major makeup artist swears by switching up the order of almost every product that goes on your face, and when we first heard his tips, they kind of blew our minds. Napoleon Perdis, the Australian makeup artist whose namesake cosmetics line is sold at the likes of Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom, and whose NP Set line is a Target favorite, shared his best makeup tips with us. Prepare to be amazed.

Apply mascara first.
“I’ve always been a big believer in applying mascara first—and last. After you’ve primed your skin, apply a coat of mascara to open your eyes, create that important definition, and map the rest of your makeup look. Once you’ve finished your eye makeup, then apply a second coat of mascara. When you’re completely finished, do one final assessment to see if you need another coat for a finishing touch.”

Line your lips after applying lipstick.
“When it comes to lipstick, I always advise lining the lips last to help contain the color and perfect the shape of the lips without creating a harsh, unnatural line.”

Fill in brows from the outside in.
“When filling in the brows, I recommend working from the outside in to create the most natural shape. Brows typically need more definition on the ends so by using this method you’re applying stronger color where you really need it. When you’re finished working your way in, brush the brows back into place for a natural finish.”

Napoleon Perdis Cinderella Collection

The Napoleon Perdis Cinderella Limited Edition Collection — a collaboration with the Australian Ballet — is available now at Bergdorf Goodman.

Use concealer before foundation.
“Before applying your base, use concealer to cover any areas of discoloration (e.g. under the eyes, around the nose and mouth, and any blemishes). Then apply foundation only where you really need it and blend it out to nothing for the most natural look.”

Line your eyes starting at the outer corner.
“To create the perfect angle for your eyeliner, line the outer corner of the lower lash line first and extend slightly beyond the corner of the eye. Then come back in toward the upper lash line. Using this line as your guide will give you a beautiful line that enhances the natural shape of your eyes.”

Read more: 6 Tricks for Flawless Foundation