Beauty Secrets From Celebrity Makeup Artist (And My Favorite Gossip Bud) Leslie Ann Thompson

Including why a black cat eye should always start out with a white pencil.
Publish date:
October 17, 2013
eyeliners, mac, How-To, smoky eye, interviews, cat-eye, kohl, Grimes

Two years ago, back when I was working as a model agent, I made friends with the amazing make up artist named Leslie Ann Thomson.

She has worked with pretty much every big Montreal name you can think of: Arcade Fire, Grimes, Melissa Auf Der Maur, Jay Baruchel, Irina Lazareanu, etc. She has also worked on fashion campaigns for Canadian beauty brands Marcelle and Annabelle. Her work has been showcased in a ton of magazines: Elle Québec/Canada, Rolling Stone, Billboard, The Guardian, New York Times Style, Madame Figaro, Nylon... When I say she's talented, you better believe it!

Leslie was one of my favourite people to interact with during my long hours spent at the agency. We used to gossip, talk about pop stars, and even debate over which songs were the best for karaoke.

In a sea of often cold or snobby fashion people, LA was simply the best person to be around! Also, she used to bring brownies to the model agency. Of course, anyone would appreciate any kind of distraction, especially if edible and absolutely delicious... but bringing brownies in a model agency made everyone go bananas! Good times.

I've been wanting to interview Leslie since I started writing for xoVain, because she will give us the insider scoop about how to wear makeup like a professional. Plus, she did my makeup, and I tried to observe her as much as I could.

Let's see what we can learn from a master!

MARIE: I want to know tips that only you would know! What is your best-kept beauty secret?

LESLIE ANN: After I finish makeup, I like to spray the skin with mist to make it mesh with the base on the face, or even pat it lightly with a moisturizer. This gives a much more natural and real look.

Is there one mistake that you see a lot of women making when it comes to makeup?

There are two ways that I like to think about makeup: for enhancing features and make you look like a better version of yourself, or as a tool to express yourself. I like to see the beauty in "makeup mistakes." I am often inspired by what others would consider to be mistakes.

What's your favourite eye makeup for a night out?

I love a smoky eye that's a bit smudgy. Something slightly imperfect. I do it with a pencil liner (kohl), and then I use a round brush or even my fingers to smudge. I also love a cat eye for a night out. Honestly, I think that you could do a makeup in five minutes and it'll still look cool if you do it well.

I love a classic cat eye! But it seems like I'm always trying to perfect my technique. What is your take on liquid eyeliner?

Liquid eyeliner is not for everybody, and takes a while to master. Gel liner with a brush is sometimes easier. For people who have difficulty with smudging, this would also be a better option. You can start by the outer part of your eyelid, and then go inward.

If you really can't get the right flick at the end, I recommend lightly tracing the shape with a white pencil, or putting a rectangular sponge under the eye to guide you. I always put liner as close to the lash line as possible--it makes it sharper.

The white pencil trick is genius! So, I know you like pop culture. Right now, which celebrity do you think has the best beauty style?

I really like Rihanna's makeup style. She experiments, but she consistently looks beautiful and polished.

And you, my rockstar friend, what's your beauty routine? Any tips?

My beauty routine is fairly simple. I really tend to think that for daily makeup, less is more. I've been using the same face cleanser since I was 15. And of course, I moisturize every day. I also often change up moisturizers. I feel like after a while, my skin just get used to it, so change is good.

If I had to give one piece of advice, I would tell people to stay out of the sun, and always wear sunglasses to avoid lines around the eyes.

Do you have one particularly awesome memory of a work-related experience? The best experience you've had so far as a makeup artist?

There are so many! I can't really think of one in particular. I often find myself working with very inspiring people, and am so happy to be working in this field!

After taking these pictures, we realized that neither of us had brought makeup remover. I had to take a trip to the drugstore to buy some. With one smokey eye and one cat eye, I looked like I had been punched in the face... But I didn't care. At least, the makeup I was wearing was perfect!