My chat with Blair Patterson, Estée Lauder's Director of Global Makeup Artistry

Press Event

Every once in a while, an opportunity comes along that you just can't pass up. This past Wednesday was one of those opportunities. I mean, it's not every day that you're given the opportunity to not only chat with such a talented makeup artist, but get your makeup done by him too? Heaven.

Hit the jump to read more!

A little background...

Blair Patterson is the Director of Global Makeup Artistry for Estée Lauder. He educates and works with beauty advisors and lucky women globally to share new products, techniques, and trends. You have probably seen his work gracing the covers of well-known publications like Vogue, Harper's Bazaar & Vanity Fair, and he beautifies starlets of all ages, including Kendall Jenner, Liu Wen, and Joan Smalls, who was the first Latina model to represent Estée Lauder.

I have to admit, I was nervous. (Can you believe I've never had my makeup done by a pro?) I'm super awkward and tend to ramble, so I wanted to make sure I kept a good rein on my overactive mouth and it's lack of babble filter. However, all my nervousness melted away when I met Blair (much like their Advanced Night Micro Cleansing Balm! haha). From his all black attire to his Commes des Garçons All-Stars, I knew I was in solid hands. We chatted about tons of things from Vegas slots to products and trends, the lack of Ginger f**king emojis and Ginger brow products that aren't ORANGE...even politics!

When he asked what kind of look I wanted to try, I decided to let him go for it– what better person to trust my look with? I told him my lazy girl routine, that I tend to keep my eye looks simple with a winged liner, and how I sport a bold lip on the regular. He grabbed his tools and started speeding me out of my comfort zone into what I know now was Smoky eye territory. Where all of my attempts have failed miserably, he (obviously – duh, he's a pro!) nailed it. It was smoky, and shimmery, and everything that I never quite accomplished, not to mention, there wasn't a winged liner in sight. WHAT?!  I loved it.

After several snaps with Stephanie (of, professional shots in front of the special Harper's Bazaar/Sak's/Estée Lauder backdrop, and staring in the mirror for a good while, I got the chance to ask Blair a few questions...

TDN: What are your favorite tips and tricks for someone who might not be super comfortable with makeup that just wants to achieve a great everyday look?

BP:  Get a handheld mirror, get a small, pretty box, put your makeup in it and put it on your coffee table and practice your makeup at night in front of your TV when you're not going anywhere. If you mess it up, you wash your face and you go to bed! The worst time to try anything new is in the morning. 

TDN: Because you're always in a rush...

BP: And you don't really want to ... if you've never done a winged liner, and you're trying it for the first time before work, it's just going to stress you.

TDN: I'm guilty of that, 'Oh, I'm going to try a new look today... shit, I'm 45 minutes late for work!

TDN: So I personally love dewy makeup, but have a hard time accomplishing it, because, like I told you, I'm a face toucher, and it doesn't last very long. What are some tips to getting that gorgeous dewy look that everyone loves. I know matte is kind of becoming the trend again, but I love a dewy look, I think it just looks so fresh and young.

BP: If I think about a celebrity, like red carpet makeup, I always go to that, a dewy look, so I do too, it's one of my favorite things. The Advanced Night Repair, the serum... Hyaluronic Acid doesn't disturb foundation, so I use it on the cheekbones, because it gives you a super dewy glow without looking oily. If you don't touch it, it will last all night!

TDN:  What are your favorite trends that you see happening for Spring/Summer?

BP:  I think that trends are cool to look at, trends are cool to research if you just want to be in the know and have something to talk about, trends are cool to try, but adapt them to you. I find trends to be very rigid. It's just like fashion, there's trends that come out every season, and you don't necessarily run to the store and purchase the leopard print just because it's out. 

Trends are trends, fun to look up, fun to do, but make them your own! Whatever the trend is, that's definitely a couch, nighttime trial.

TDN: If you could only use 5 products for the rest of your life, what would they be?

1. Red lip with a blue undertone, not orange
2. Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme black mascara
3. Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair
4. Bronzer, so I can contour, tan, and use as an eyeshadow
5. A highlighting powder; a really iridescent highlighting eyeshadow in a neutral blonde tone, to be able to use it anywhere

TDN: How did you get started, and what made you decide that you wanted to be a makeup artist?

BP: Well, I actually wanted to be a special effects makeup artist when I was a kid, and I remember I figured that out when I was about 12. I started with some special effects stuff, but pretty quickly realized that special effects vs. beauty was easy. Beauty is much harder, because there is no room for mistakes. Human beings are conditioned to be able to spot something on a human face that is wrong, whereas special effects, it's easier to hide mistakes. It just really fascinated me, the perfectionism of it. I started working with Estee Lauder when I was 22, and the rest is history.

TDN: What is your favorite thing about being a makeup artist?

BP: I think the educational aspect of it; to work with and train all of the beauty advisors globally is pretty cool. That's one of my favorite parts. 

Traveling is really cool, being able to understand and learn firsthand and know not global trends, but geographical preferences is really... I don't think you could go to school for that if you wanted to. Every single country has a preference, and there is certain things that you can't do, or that you do, and they're taboo. I lean on my global makeup team a lot when I'm in their markets, because I've screwed up. I've made a lot of mistakes, just because you don't know... like in Asia especially, they're very systematic about how they approach makeup and they have steps...a dance that they have that the women are used to and models are used to. Coming as an American working in Asia for the first time 10 years ago, I was a rough and tumble makeup artist, and they're graceful. 

The last thing would be seeing your ad campaigns come out, when you walk into an airport or you're on Google, and you get targeted by your own ad, and it looks stunning and you're happy, you're proud of it and show it off to people, and it's captured forever...that's pretty cool. The first cover for a magazine I ever got was TIME OUT New York, and I remember walking into Duane Reed, because they would shoot it months and months and months out. I think I was like 20 years old, and right there by the register was my TIME OUT cover, and it was a guy dancing in a club, but it's my guy dancing in a club, that's my man makeup! It's global. you forget that when you're working on the campaign... you're so focused. I mean, there's so much work that goes into the makeup, and there are so many approvals. You don't just walk in there and do anything you want, you know what the star product is, and you submit looks on paper, and you talk about every aspect and element. You bring products to be shot, because they have a behind-the-scenes photographer on set usually. You have two sets of products, the one that you're using and messing up, and the one that's out and perfect. There is just so much that goes into it that you forget what the end result is going to be, and then you see the end result 6 months later, and you're like 'Oh my god, that's it', it's just kind of a weird feeling. 

And, because I can't resist...

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