Hello from the Project Vanity team! Thanks for dropping by.

Five things that you can do to improve your makeup now

There is only so much you can learn from YouTube and beauty blogs. It's better to stand in front of a true artist and see how he does his fabulous tricks up close! That's why I always try to attend events where brands bring their own international makeup artists. There's always a new technique to see, a new style to absorb. I may not have formal training but I'm fortunate enough to be invited to witness these masters at work.

Last Saturday, I did just that. Gregory Arlt, the Director of Makeup Artistry for MAC Cosmetics, came to visit the Philippines to demonstrate new techniques and products. Gregory does the makeup of Dita Von Teese, Gwen Stefani, and Katy Perry to name a few. He's done covers, campaigns, and shows. I loved watching him since he was so eloquent and entertaining!

He showed us a simple, everyday look and a more glamorous yet understated evening look. You may have heard much of the advice if you already know the basics of makeup, but he also imparted a few lesser-known gems that I think would help all of us improve our daily makeup routine. Here they are!

Tip #1: Moisturize, prime, and spritz. What you wear under your makeup is just as important as what’s on top. Remember to use a brightening moisturizer, a smoothing primer, and a lip conditioner before you put on anything else. Spritz something like the MAC Fix+ to liven up your skin and plump it up. Your moisturizer and primer will seal that water in for better hydration throughout the day.

Tip #2: Use a flat foundation brush to apply heavy coverage powder foundation. You think you can only use THAT for liquid foundation? Think again! If you use powder foundation like the MAC Studio Fix, apply it with a paddle brush to get a finer, more precise coverage. We tend to slather it on with sponges and dense powder brushes, I know, which gets us a mask-like finish. Build it up patiently with a synthetic flat brush, like what Gregory did here.

I tried this at home with a loose foundation and it works!

Tip #3: Contour underneath the eye using a tan shade. This frames your eyes better, and reduces the appearance of puffiness. It might sound counterproductive to darken whatever eye bags you already have, but as you can see, this looks great on the model. Just remember to use a concealer to remove the natural darkness and to set it with powder before applying the eyeshadow.

Gregory is using my favorite eye contour shade here, which is MAC Wedge. If you can only get two MAC eyeshadows, I recommend MAC Wedge and then All That Glitters (which is what our celeb makeup artist here used on the model's lids). ;)

Heavy-lidded, smoldering eyes are now within our reach!

Tip #4: Raise your eyebrows a little bit by enhancing the upper line. Some brows look brooding and sagging, so slightly drag 'em up by shading a little up their natural line. To create a softer look, use a brown eyeshadow like MAC Espresso to even out - but not darken - the eyebrows. You can also dot a metallic white or beige right at the highest point of your browbone to raise it even more.

Tip #5: A nudish-brown, glittery lip makes all the difference on morena skin. We love bright lipstick here in the Philippines, because it does look gorgeous on our tan complexion. However, there's one color that we tend to aviod: nudish browns. We feel that it darkens us even more, I think! But that's not the case. Something like the MAC Lip Liner in Oak topped with a glittery Dazzle Glass (forgot the exact name!) can make us look gorgeous and timeless!

Tell me that's not a to-die-for combination!

Extra tips for taking your look from day to night

Going to an evening or red-carpet event? The trend, Gregory says, is to look as pretty as possible. Don't go all experimental when it comes to important occasions. Just wear a light winged liner with the MAC Blacktrack, falsies, and metallic shadow across your lids to make the eyes look more alive. This is how Gregory does celebrities on awards nights.

So there you go. :) Hope you found this helpful! I feel so inspired after watching Gregory! You may follow him on his social media pages if you're interested in getting to know him more. Oh, don't forget to visit your fave MAC counter to get the key products I mentioned here. I have most of them and I tell you, they are the most reliable ones in my kit!

Laura Mercier Week: Weightless Lip Colour in Play

Laura Mercier Week: Foundation Primer in Radiance