Ask a Makeup Artist

Last week we asked you to lay your toughest makeup questions on us, and then we got professional makeup artist Petra Strand to answer them. (By the way, she loved all of your questions and said they were “pretty hard and thought-revoking” — way to go.)

Petra is the creator of the makeup brand Pixi (which is available at Target), and she really knows her makeup tricks. Plus, she’s also a busy mom, which means she’s nailed that whole “look fabulous and wide awake in only a few minutes even after a night of no sleep” thing. With her busy schedule, we loved that she was cool enough to share her beauty secrets and makeup advice with us below:

Q: What foundation do you recommend for dry skin? – Joni C.

A: “Well I have very dry skin myself, and I feel what works best is a very hydrating primer to start with [try Laura Mercier Hydrating Foundation Primer, $30]. It traps the moisture in the skin and keeps it there for the whole day. And then to avoid anything oil-free and anything with powder in it. A nourishing hydrating foundation is great, I love something with a little bit of a natural oil, just to keep that radiant glow, even if you do have dry skin. And absolutely no powder on top.”

Q: I am an African-American and I have no idea which type of foundation I should use nor how to find my shade, since I have a very uneven skin tone. – Sage T.

A: “The key is to start with a primer that evens out your skin tone. You probably will need to apply a camouflage cream first to even it out. African-Americans usually have oily skin, so it’s good to have an oil-free foundation, something that’s waterproof [try Clinique Almost Makeup SPF 15, $44]. When you match your foundation, I would pick a foundation color that matches the darkest part of the skin, just so you get that evenness.”

Q:  I have combination/oily skin and I use all the facial products that are meant for my skin type and the makeup products I use are all “oil-free,” but no matter what (without fail) I get oily in my T-zone area every 2 hours. What makeup products should I be using to prevent the shine? – Sharon Y.

A: “We have a great product, it’s called Pixi Flawless & Poreless Primer, $28. It takes away the shine, and during the day it gently exfoliates the T-zone so that keeps it matte throughout the day. Use oil-free foundation on top, and a little bit of powder to set. You may need blotting paper [try Clean & Clear Oil-Absorbing Sheets, $4.67] — rather than caking on more foundation during the day, using a blotting paper should be enough.”

Q: I love wearing cream blush but it seems to fade within an hour or two, is there anything I can do to make it last longer? – Lola M.

A: “I also love cream blush and I wear it myself. Dry skin can often absorb the makeup because it’s looking for nourishment, and that’s why the cream blush fades for those with dry skin. The best tip I’ve found is if you apply a bit of water-based cheek stain first [try: Tarte Natural Cheek Stain, $30], and then the cream blush (and you can even have a little bit of foundation in between), its going to stay on much better.”

Q: What’s the best type of eyeliner to use to to tightline on the lashline? Any tips on how to tightline properly? – Lola M.

A: “I prefer crayon pencil [try: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil, $18]. I always apply it from underneath, on the root of the lash rather than the waterline. Try and get as high up as possible, and get in between every single lash. Also, its totally invisible — it just looks like you have really full lashes.”

Q: For girls with thinner and less deep set eyelids, which blending brush do you recommend? I currently have MAC’s 217 blending brush but it’s slightly too big for my eyelids and all the colors gets smudged together (in a bad way). – Stephanie S.

A: “Since you’ve already bought one, my recommendation is that you cut it. If you have some hair-cutting scissors, you can shape it to exactly the size that you need. I love when they’re tapered because you can get right into the crease [try E.L.F. Blending Eye Brush, $1]. The brush basically does all the work for you. And again, if you have a brush already, it’s very easy to taper it yourself.”

Q: I wear glasses everyday but still like to wear eye makeup to make my eyes look bigger. Any tips on how to do that without going overboard? Kristal B.

A: “If you wear glasses every day, I think the main point is to curl your eyelashes. Wear a mascara that’s lifting and curl enhancing so it really opens up your eye [try: mark Comb Out Lash Lifting Mascara, $6]. Usually it looks quite dark around the eyes when you have eyeglasses on, so the whole idea is to lighten it up. I also love to do a nice bone-colored highlighter under the brow bone [try: L’Oreal Paris HIP Illuminating Highlighter in Twinkling, $2.50]. And then use a liner under the lower waterline that is flesh colored.”