Celebrity makeup artist Kabuki talks summer looks, photo-ready beauty

British-born, New York-based makeup artist to the stars Kabuki, who has worked with celebrities including Lady Gaga and provided runway looks for the likes of Zac Posen, shares his advice with Relaxnews ahead of the upcoming IMATS makeup show, and explains why, when it comes to cosmetics, less can sometimes be more.

Relaxnews: Which makeup looks would you recommend for summer?
Kabuki: Browns, oranges and golds are nice eyeshadow colors. If you like blue liner, pick a turquoise or warm blue; it’s less jarring with a warm skin tone. I love a tan with lots of mascara and a transparent pink on the lips, like Brigitte Bardot might have done in the 60s.  Perhaps a little black liquid liner flick and a red gloss lip. Think Lauren Bacall in the 50s. (If you don’t know who these legends are, Google them!)

RN: And what are your top makeup tips to ensure looking good in photos?
K: 1. Use blotting papers. I like the ones by MAC. Even when you don’t have oily skin, most foundations will make you look shiny in flash photos. Blotting papers will control this without adding another layer. 
2. Use concealer. Blend it in by patting with your finger. It will take years off.
3. Curl your lashes. Heated lash curlers work the best and are easy to use. I like the wand-shaped kind. Your eyes will look bigger and brighter.

RN: Which stars do you think have the best beauty looks at the moment and how can we get the look?
K: Okay, I’m a little biased because I’ve worked with them recently but Kylie Minogue, Rihanna and Christina Aguilera. Even the looks for which I was not responsible -- these three have been looking great lately. Kylie -- crisp, clean glamour. Rihanna -- adventurous, cutting edge. Christina -- sexy yet restrained. I work with Myface Cosmetics and the line is designed to make experimentation as foolproof as possible. By having the basics grouped by skin tone (fair, medium, dark), you can go on to more adventurous and glamorous looks, such as Blingtones (eyeshadows) for example, with confidence.

RN: What is your opinion of the minimal makeup trend that was seen at the Fall/Winter 2012 fashion shows?
K: Let’s face it: A minimal makeup look is more realistic for most women who want to imagine themselves in those clothes. Trends have to have an ebb and flow. Though I generally don’t get very excited by minimal makeup looks, there is an art to them. Sometimes, what you leave out is as effective as what you add. I did a few ‘no mascara’ shows myself this season. When it works, you don’t mess with it.

RN: What do you think of YouTube beauty tutorials and are there any channels you would recommend?
K: I first became aware of YouTube beauty tutorials when I did Lady Gaga’s makeup for the 2010 Video Music Awards. The next day there were at least a dozen videos explaining how to do the makeup looks that I just did. I have to say I was delighted by their enthusiasm. Some were better than others, some were really good, some really bad. The rule for seeking any kind of instruction applies -- proceed with caution.

Kabuki is headlining the upcoming IMATS New York. The event runs April 14-15 and will welcome thousands of makeup artists, vendors and enthusiasts from across the globe for a host of product showcases and demonstrations. For more details see: http://www.imatsshow.com/

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