Starting the year in good order…with Nigel Stanislaus

RescuMe Academy’s resident Makeup Artist Expert, Nigel Stanislaus, joins esprit Magazine Australia for 2019 to share his expertise. Each issue throughout the year, and on line, Nigel will pick an on-trend topic targeting YOU, the Beauty Assistants working on the shopfloor in community pharmacies, department stores and specialty beauty retailers. As a globally working makeup artist with 20 years’ experience with real, live faces and by no means all of them young models, the tips, tricks and advice Nigel can share are savvy, relevant and help build that all-important relationship of trust…along with a nice slice of WOW! factor.

Let’s start with you & your customer then look at getting organised.

When a customer asks you for a fresh look what are the questions you need to ask them?

It’s an easy 1, 2, 3 steps whether they are a customer or a celebrity client. Ask them:

1: “What kind of a makeup girl are you? An experimenter or full-out glamour?” Look at her face. If she has six layers of foundation and concealer on, or if she’s wearing just a lip balm or a scarlet red lipstick, you’ll get an understanding of the style you’re dealing with.

2: “What would you like me to help you with today?” She might just want a refresh or she might be hoping to replicate a Charlize Theron look but doesn’t know how to get there.

3: “What’s the occasion?” You can teach them how to do their hair and makeup ready for a candlelit dinner where the light is forgiving. Or it might be a weekend on a yacht with sun, sea and water”.

Rules of thumb are: The warmer the season, the less layers to wear, and paint for the occasion.

What do these questions establish?

Their answers tell you who they are and where they are going. Whether photos are being taken or not. Imagine yourself like a doctor and a total stranger comes into your consultation room. You’re asking questions to create a solution. If I paint a Mona Lisa on the outside while inside they are more of a sleek kinda girl, I’ve failed. It’s an intimate situation: 50% trust and 50% technique and colour matching.

How can you help customers learn how to use their makeup better?

I ask them questions about what they want to achieve. A good one is to ask: “What would you like to do and not know how to?” If they say: “Glam” then a red lip is a great place to start. So many ask for the Smokey Eye. It’s like a Little Black Dress. It’s very forgiving: it can improve the look of a hooded lid or a lazy eye…it never not looks good. It’s a Go-To like the LBD.

How do you help customers try new trends and generally update their makeup look?

First up, asses where they are. Is their makeup painted on like a Degas or is it more subtle. Discuss their foundation formula with them. If they are older go for a dewy skin look – suggest they try a cream blusher rather than a cakey powder blush. Suggest they adapt trends as they are ageing. If a matt lip is in fashion, instead of following the trend, she can tweak it to her style. Encourage your customers and clients to get more confident to evolve their style. If they’ve always worn a bright red lip, maybe it’s time to press it on for a more subtle, forgiving, stain effect. Don’t jump on the Style Wagon for the sake of fashion.

We’ve probably all bought palettes or been gifted beauty items and are now feeling a bit overloaded. How do you sort out what stays and what goes?

Go through your makeup kit or bag and choose a brand you love. I’ve got multiples of each makeup type: 12 shades of nude lip, 12 shades of brow powder. Make your choices and give the rest away. Curating and organising my kit is hard but it’s very meditative once you’ve made your selection and can clean the chosen items that are staying. It’s like chopping onions for my sofrito sauce for my pasta – therapeutic and productive. Buy a big bag of wet wipes and sanitise every compact. I have so many makeup brushes – I wash them all and lay them out to dry and then relabel them all. I know it’s a blusher brush but when I have an assistant and I ask for it, they might not be able to read the old, dirty label. When everything is clean and clearly labelled, you don’t have to think about it. Sso when I’m busy I don’t get flustered.

What are the practicalities of a smart, working artist’s kit?

Buy some clear makeup pouches. Have a look at Scotty’s Makeup Supplies on line. I am obsessed with mine. You can see what’s inside and you can categorise them: I’ve got three dozen! Bag No.1 – Skincare. Bag No.2 – Concealer…it also serves to lay out the steps for you. So the last bag is Lips! Another makeup bag designer is Kitology – by a friend of mine, Penny Antuar. They’re soft and there’s ‘user pleasure’ in them.

Packing and preparation is vital. Always have your liquids – nail polish, micellar water – in Ziploc bags. Have a bag for dirty brushes which you wash later – don’t use alcoholic sprays, they’re no good for the wear of your tools. Give your brushes a spa treatment once in a while – the better you treat them the better they will work for you. I have some Surrat brushes (Troy Surrat was an alumni at Maybelline) – I am giggling at how beautiful they are; the elegance of French aesthetic and the technology of Japanese, along with Troy’s working experience especially in New York. Have a look around: Hakuhodu is a beautiful brand; NARS brushes are really nice and affordable; ZOEVA is a great entry level professional brush brand; Real Techniques are such a joy to work with and accessibly priced.

Can you inspire our Beauty Assistant readers to set some makeup goals for the new year?

Upskill. Definitely.

Dress the brand – have your nails perfectly manicured and polished. Your hair is on point, not fluffy.

Look at what you’re selling. Learn how to ‘do’ the brand well. And then make your judgement on using the products to fit with the face you’re making up.

If you’re on target to sell a certain lipstick, then wear it. You can always advise to their colouring, but it attracts them in the first place.

Inspire your customers to look like you. This means knowing how to do your makeup well. It helps you to upsell.

Be relatable – I say things like: “silly old me”. That’s worked for me as my magic. I was always invited back because I’m friendly to work with. Use the human factor.

What new looks are you currently playing with?

I’m looking at a new version of the Smokey Eye using four to five layers…purple over metallic grey. It’s creating an urban, mangosteen, gypsy look!

Spikey lashes – a little bit ‘80s.

A strong lip – an ‘80s inspiration, and a powdery blue eye to go with it.

Learn more…

You can learn everything you need to know about beauty and makeup from Nigel via his course at and check out his online Be Your Own Makeup Artist course.

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