The first rule of Dick Page's beauty philosophy is that there are no rules.
Shiseido's artistic director is not only a world-famous makeup artist (and an excellent chef!), he also advocates that makeup should be fun, not a chore. According to him, any decision you make about how you look is an active decision—even if it's that today is going to be sweatpants day. You're in complete control of how you look, so you may as well enjoy the process.
You've already gone behind the scenes with Michelle at the lunch that Dick whipped up himself for a group of beauty editors. What we didn't mention yet is that I got to meet him, too, at a different event where he created three amazing makeup looks. In each step of the process, from colour to brush choice to application, Dick broke all of the rules I thought I knew about makeup. And you know what? The looks are gorgeous (and wearable!).
Since we're all about sharing the love (and insider know-how) here at beautyeditor, here are some tips from the man himself.
1. Play with colour (like, REALLY play with it)
Dick believes in colour. I watched him contour teal eyeshadow over a frosty blue lid, and then pair it with a glossy hot pink lip. Think that sounds over the top? See for yourself how amazing—and even understated—it looks.
If this much colour won't fly at your office, Dick suggests adapting it to fit your style. For example, "try a dark blue socket line blended with something softer and more natural-looking such as beige," he recommends. You can also add colour to your everyday makeup palette with simple swaps: try fuchsia blush instead of your regular peach, or burgundy mascara instead of basic black.
If you feel like you're not chic enough to pull off turquoise waterlines and cobalt blue lashes, DP has this to say: "'I can't' usually means 'I won't.' Wear red lipstick!" Alrighty then.
2. Don't be limited by labels
“There’s no reason eyeshadow shouldn’t take a walk around other parts of the face," says Dick.
In true beauty rebel fashion, he ignored the product labels in creating these looks. For this model's gorgeous glow, he used a lavender eyeshadow as a highlight on the bridge of her nose and her chin, forehead and cupid's bow.
Lavender. Eyeshadow. If DP can do it, so can you.
Dick is also all for playing makeup developer and creating your own products if you're in need of something. To create a tinted moisturizer, he blends liquid foundation with Shiseido's Multi-Energizing Cream. New product, perfect shade match.
He also spoke of using lipstick as cream blush and eyeshadow as eyeliner. For the latter, he says to swipe a damp eyeliner brush in your eyeshadow—don't dampen the whole pan or it dries out the shadow and makes it difficult to work with. Instant makeup collection duplication!
3. Don't get caught up in a routine
As you may have guessed already, Dick rebels against routine. Waking up every day and putting on the exact same face of makeup gets boring, fast. "Think about what you're doing and why," says Dick. "Inspiration and excitement are good."
Even though some people think that caring about your appearance is superficial and shallow, makeup does create the face through which we engage with the world. How you look is a huge factor in how you're perceived by others—and therefore how you feel—so it's worth being intentional in your process. There's plenty of room to experiment, even within the limits of your job and personal taste.
For anyone who's ever woken up and felt annoyed by "having" to apply makeup, trying something new can help avoid the monotony. Get creative!
4. Rethink your brushes
Dick suggests using brushes the way they suit you, even if that's not how they were designed! He jokes that he's famous at Shiseido for "mis-using" brushes, and he's not kidding. In the three looks I observed, he used a lip brush to apply eyeliner, an eyeshadow brush to apply foundation, a concealer brush to fill in eyebrows, and another eyeshadow brush to buff in lipstick.
Here are some of DP's recos for tweaking your tools:
- Pinch a fluffy powder brush to fan it out, creating a voluminous fan brush. This gives you better control over where your brush applies products like blush or highlighter.
- Dip an eyeshadow blending brush (like the one above) into your setting powder and apply it to the centre of your face (forehead, nose, under-eyes and chin). This strategic powdering cuts oily shine while leaving your cheeks glowy.
- Brush eyebrow hairs down with a clean mascara wand before filling them in. This creates a thick, well-groomed brow that won't look overdone.
- Always reach for a clean brush to blend with, otherwise you'll muddy your colours. If you don't have one, wipe brushes off on a paper towel ("less linty," says Dick) and re-use brushes with similar colours.
5. Blend your colours for better harmony
A man after my own heart, DP is all about blending colours and making sure that no feature unintentionally stands out. But blending doesn't mean foregoing graphic, sharp lines.
Case in point: this ferociously sexy black wedge eye that he created for the Michael Kors F/W '13 show. It's more about the 'flow' of colours and how they complement the face.
After every product he applied, Dick reached for a brush to blend together the various colours and textures. Harmonizing colours doesn't require makeup shades to be in the same colour family, only that they are blended so that they don't look like they're competing for attention.
If this is confusing, think of naturally gorgeous faces. They're made up of colours that work in harmony. Whether you're a green-eyed, olive-skinned brunette or a rosy-cheeked strawberry blonde with blue eyes, it's the balance of colours between your skin undertones, eye colour and hair that makes you so visually appealing. The same technique applies in makeup. If you blend your makeup well, you can pull off any colour combination.
Note: if you wear shades that align with your undertone, your makeup will look more born-with-it natural. For standout colour, apply shades that contrast with your undertone, and it will make your features pop.
6. Give classic looks a contemporary spin
Dick is a big fan of putting a twist on the classics. One way is to create a modern look out of classic colours—which is all in the application. He suggests taking über-girly colours like Barbie pink and sky blue, and then applying them in a sharp, modern way such as the teal-and-hot-pink look here:
For this next look, Dick applied retro '70s shades (gold, copper, lavender and burgundy) in a fresh way by sheering out the colours and blending them seamlessly.
He also went for the lip of the season, a stained effect using Shiseido Perfect Rouge Tender Sheer.
Here's another example. The golden standard of cat eye and an opaque red lip combo might become a cat eye paired with a tinted red lip balm. Or, in creating a night-out smoky eye, you could swap your black shadow for a burnt purple or navy. Try mixing up your go-to look with a new liner shade or lip texture—"after all," Dick jokes, "everything washes off!"
7. Embrace who you are
"Be the best version of whoever you are," says Dick.
He speaks about women in such an empowering and admiring way, you'd swear he was a life coach in another life. He believes that makeup should allow us to maintain our own beauty and integrity. His advice to makeup artists is to use makeup to suit individual faces—not mask them.
As for the dreaded aging process, Dick put it simply: unrealistic expectations make no one happy. Aging doesn't need to mean that you become "wallpapery and beige," but it does mean gracefully accepting that certain aspects of your youth have passed. And that's great, Dick says. "Even though your time to be 20 has passed, a 20-year-old doesn't have the confidence of a 50-year-old. So be the best looking 50-year-old out there."
Sunscreen helps, too.
Do you agree with Dick's "rules"?
Have you embraced any of these ideas yourself?
What have you been doing differently lately with your makeup?