We tapped Duncan Smith, one of our Beauty Stylists at Nordstrom Westside Pavilion in L.A., to help style three of our tastemakers featured on Nordstrom Beauty Spot. We followed along to capture this stylist superhero in action. Here’s what he had to share, from super-handy tips & tricks to his favorite looks for fall.
Why did you become a Beauty Stylist?
Ever since I was little, I have been into art: sketching, painting and creating things. One day, I just changed my medium to makeup. It is amazing the things that makeup can do to enhance and transform a person. Seeing the happy reactions of women as they look in the mirror is priceless.
By working with many different lines and really paying special attention to trends in makeup styling and cosmetic technologies I have gained a wealth of knowledge that I am excited to share everyday with my clients and coworkers.
What was it like working with our tastemakers, Karla, Chriselle, and Joy?
This project was so fun! It really was an honor to have the opportunity to work with these women. It was interesting to hear their stories and to begin to get to know them in the short period of time we had together. I am so glad that Nordstrom partnered with these women.
What tips did you give each of them?
Two of my favorite tricks that I shared with all three of them were how to properly make skin more luminous and how to define the eye without looking like they were wearing eyeliner.
For luminzing skin, I like to use a method that is used by Trish McEvoy creating a ‘Triangle of Light.’ Bringing the luminizing product (cream, liquid or powder) under the eye, to the top of the apple of the cheek and then up again to the top of the cheek bone. This creates a beautiful, diffused sheen that makes darkness under the eye less apparent and gives the cheek an amazing lift.
For defining the lash line, paint eyeliner under the top lashes filling in gaps between lashes making the lashes look much, much fuller. I will often use an eyeliner pencil that is safe for the waterline or Laura Mercier’s ‘Tightline’ cake eyeliner.
What did they discover during their time with you?
Karla is a makeup girl. For her, it was really about honing in and finding something new to share with her. The trick was to really give her makeup that looked uncontrived and lived in. I used mostly cream products and blended them out until edges were seamless.
On the other hand, Joy was not much of a makeup person, so using products that were nearly undetectable, yet perfected was extremely important.
Chriselle said you helped her achieve a smoky eye, which she didn’t think she could pull off. Share the wealth!
Chriselle felt that doing makeup for an Asian eye is difficult, so she only felt comfortable wearing eyeliner. I was able to show her that actually, a smoky look is the best and most flattering for her and her eye shape. Creating a soft gradation with the deepest color at the lash line and working the color up until it diffused in the crease created a natural contour that opened the eye and created more lift.
[Tip: The biggest trick for doing makeup on an eye where the ‘crease’ is not naturally defined is to stick your chin up and look down into your mirror. Magic! You can see where the crease is. By adding a color that is just a couple shades deeper than your skin tone, into the shadow that is created, you will have a perfectly contoured crease every time.]
What are the questions you always get? What do you tell people?
The number one thing that my customers ask me is, “How do I look younger?” I tell them that the trick is really to use lightweight products that create minimal texture on the skin and to use colors that are fresh and with varying levels of sheen to play tricks with light.
When a customer asks, “Can you come home with me?” I tell them that I would love to, but I am really expensive. Instead, I book them for a complimentary appointment–sometimes several–so that I can really teach them, showing them exactly why all the proper tools, techniques and products are essential to achieve their ideal look. Practicing is the key.
Favorite new things right now?
1. My Clarisonic Aria!
2. I am also loving the new ‘Always Sharp’ Eye Pencils from Smashbox. The colors are great, but the fact that you never have to sharpen your pencil makes them absolutely amazing!
3. This isn’t a new product, but I love the Dr. Gross Extra Strength Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel Pads. The trick is to wait the full 2 minutes after the first pad, then use the neutralizing pad. And yes, use the neutralizing pad because the ingredients in it are amazing for anti-aging!
Anyone in the world…who would you want in your stylist chair?
I would love to work with Ke$ha. Sounds crazy, but I think we would have so much fun…and I’m a sucker for glitter.
Looks you love right now?
For fall, I am loving the focus on brows! I use three products to create the best brow. I am obsessed with Anastasia’s Lash Genius to hold a brow in place. I use it first because it really allows for the other brow products to adhere properly to the skin and give a super sculpted look. Then with an angle brush, I use two colors of brow powders, one about two shades lighter than the brow first, and the second, the same color of the brow. This gives an extremely natural diffusion of color making the brow look more natural.
The other trend that I am in love with is a dark lip. Whether it is a deep wine stain in the center of the lip, or a perfectly defined, nearly black lip, I love it!