10 Genius Beauty Hacks We Learned Backstage at NYFW

Updated 09/25/19

Access to the backstage area before a fashion show is chaotic, to say the least. There are models, hairstylists, manicurists, makeup artists, editors, photographers, designers, assistants, and the like running around trying to get everything done and prepped ahead of the runway. It can feel overwhelming and exciting all at the same time, as you're fully immersed and surrounded by the best in the business—if you just take the time to ask them questions. 

So ask them questions we did as we trekked from show to show and tiny, sweaty backstage area to even tinier backstage area. There, we pulled out our voice recorders and asked every makeup artist and hairstylist for their tricks and tips. Below, find the most useful ones they offered up.  

To Create More Natural-Looking Waves

Ghd Curve 1
Ghd Curve 1" Classic Curl Iron $199
Shop

Celebrity hairstylist Justine Marjan headed up the hair backstage ahead of Alice+Olivia's show. To keep the waves looking as natural as possible, Marjan created two different curls on each of the models. Not only does it add dimension and look more true-to-life, but also the variations in the curls create more movement and texture. First, she'd grab a one-inch section of hair and wrap around the barrel, tapping the clamp, as usual. Then, directly next to that curl, she'd wrap the hair and drag the barrel down, unraveling with each motion. 

To Keep Your Foundation From Caking

BareMinerals Fresh Faced Made-2-Fit Foundation
BareMinerals Fresh Faced Made-2-Fit Foundation $49
Shop

In the midst of New York Fashion Week, I got to spend a few minutes with Hailey Baldwin. It wasn't backstage, but it was behind the scenes of her event with BareMinerals. She told me the best makeup trick she ever learned was to apply foundation to your fingertips and rub your palms together. This allows the heat from your hands to warm the foundation, allowing it to practically melt into your skin. Then, the makeup artists apply it by tapping their hands along the models' skin—pressing it in with each movement. It's the perfect way to apply just the right amount of product and keep it looking natural instead of cakey.

To Best Fill in Your Brows

Maybelline Tattoo Brow Waterproof Eyebrow Gel
Maybelline Tattoo Brow Waterproof Eyebrow Gel $13
Shop

Backstage before the Staud runway show, celebrity makeup artist Nigel Stanislaus demonstrated the easiest, most efficient way to fill in your brows. First, using the spoolie end of Maybelline’s Brow Precise Micro Eyebrow Pencil ($8), Stanislaus brushed up each models’ brow hairs and filled in the shape. Then, he blotted the tip of the Tattoostudio Waterproof Eyebrow Gel ($13) on a tissue to remove excess product and used the formula to set arches in place.

For "Just-Kissed" Lips

Maybelline SuperStay Matte Ink Lip Color in Lover
Maybelline SuperStay Matte Ink Lip Color in Lover $7
Shop

At the same show, Stanislaus prepped the models' lips with Baby Lips in Quenched for hydration and blended SuperStay Matte Ink in Love and Amazonian together. The trick, though, lies in the fact that he began buffing the bespoke color onto each models' lips with an eye shadow brush for a "just-been-kissed" finish.

To Achieve "Half-Wet" Texture

Tresemmé Compressed Micro-Mist Hair Spray Hold Level 1: Texture
Tresemmé Compressed Micro-Mist Hair Spray Hold Level 1: Texture $11
Shop

Justine Marjan created "half-wet" hair texture backstage ahead of the Hellessy show. She suggests washing your hair, and, once it's dry, "separate your hair into six-inch sections (depending on hair density) and create a loose braid per each section. Spray Tresemmé's Compressed Micro-Mist Hair Spray Hold Level 1: Texture ($11) on each braid to prep the look. Then, flat-iron each braid and let it cool for a few seconds before gently unbraiding. Use GHD's Classic 1" Inch Styler ($149) to detail waves around your face. Spray sugar water throughout, scrunching pieces to enhance the waves. For naturally curly hair, apply the Botanique Nourish & Replenish Hydrating Mask ($10) to your hair and "wrap strands around a pencil or makeup brush and diffuse using GHD's Air Professional Performance Hairdryer ($199) to enhance them.

To Keep Your Skin Looking Bright and Flawless

Lancome Rénergie Multi-Glow Rosy Tone Moisturizer Cream
Lancôme Rénergie Multi-Glow Rosy Tone Moisturizer Cream $99
Shop

Lisa Eldridge, Lancôme's global makeup creative director, created the makeup look for Proenza Schouler, saying, "It is a minimalist look that focuses on the quality of the skin and bringing out the natural beauty and character of every face." The most important tip? Prep your face with really great skincare before applying any makeup. She used Lancôme's Advanced Génifique Youth Activating Serum ($105), Advanced Génifique Yeux Light-Pearl Eye Illuminator Youth Activating Concentrate ($69), and Rénergie Multi-Glow Rosy Tone Moisturizer Cream ($99) to keep each model's skin prepped, nourished, and glowing. 

To Keep Your Bun Super Sleek

Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer
Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer $399
Shop

Hairstylist Yusef Williams said his inspiration for Savage x Fenty was "dreamy and whimsical for the dancers and sleek and sexy for the models." Every model’s look was meant to be unique to them. Some hair was smooth with a little bit of glitter while others had long braids and exaggerated baby hairs. For Bella Hadid's slicked-back look, start by brushing all sides of the hair up, and use Dyson's Supersonic Hair Dryer ($399) to smooth out the hair with the Professional Nozzle. Then, use Oribe’s Superfine Hairspray ($22) to set it all in place.

Make Your Bottom Lashes More Visible

Maybelline Eyestudio Lasting Drama Waterproof Gel Pencil
Maybelline Eyestudio Lasting Drama Waterproof Gel Pencil $9
Shop

To define models’ eyes, makeup artist Gato tightlined the upper and lower waterlines with Maybelline's Eyestudio Lasting Drama Waterproof Gel Pencil ($9) and applied mascara to just the top lashes. Then, he removed the black liner from the lower waterline with a Q-tip. "This technique makes the bottom lashes look more dramatic and visible," he says.

For a More Natural Highlight

Maybelline Baby Lips Moisturizing Lip Balm in Quenched
Maybelline Baby Lips Moisturizing Lip Balm in Quenched $3
Shop

Celebrity makeup artist Laura Parsons used Maybelline's Baby Lips Moisturizing Lip Balm in Quenched ($3) to highlight the tops of the models' cheekbones, brow bones, and inner corners of eyes at Carolina Herrera. "Unlike shimmery powders," she says, "this allows skin to shine through. For models with fair complexions, she layered on Baby Lips Glow Balm in My Pink ($3), and those with darker skin tones used Color Sensational Shine Compulsion Lipstick ($8) in Chocolate Lust, Spicy Sangria, or Taupe Seduction.

To Create the Perfect Soft Flush

Maybelline Color Sensational Shine Compulsion Lipstick
Maybelline Color Sensational Shine Compulsion Lipstick $8
Shop

"For a soft flush," makeup artist Bimpe Onakoya says, "apply Color Sensational Shine Compulsion Lipstick in Scarlet ($8) to the apples of the cheeks and blend."

Related Stories