I Do My Own Makeup For Every Major Hollywood Award Show

My boyfriend is a critically acclaimed actor. I’m not. Here’s how I get my face ready to be seen on the red carpet among celebrities who have makeup artists.

The red carpet is like my personal Olympics. It’s very competitive, and I like to win, even though I’m not up for any awards. As someone who isn’t a recognizable face in Hollywood, I feel I must up my game if I’m going to be within a few feet movie stars, supermodels and TV divas who have teams of pros to make them even more photogenic than they already are.

In the case of the recent SAG awards, the red carpet commences at 3:15 pm and ends at 5 pm. We have to be there early in order to get facetime with the media before it turns into a shimmering clusterflock of fame. That means I need to start my prettifying mere minutes after I wake up.

Here’s how it went down.


The alarm goes off at 10 am, and although I’m still a bit… um… “rough” from the Entertainment Weekly pre-SAG party the night before, I’m up and in the shower. I wash my hair and make sure there aren’t any camera-unfriendly hairs that haven’t been waxed, shaved, or plucked.

Twenty minutes later, three sets of hot rollers are warming up, and I, in my Pikachu slippers, run downstairs to the other bathroom, where I always set up my hair station.

After moussing and blow-drying, it’s time to run back upstairs to put scalding hot rollers in my hair to get it ready for the updo I also do all by myself like a big girl. (That’s another article!) Every inch of the bathroom is used for my red carpet process. Poor Jared has to really dance around me to get ready. BIG HAIR, DON’T CARE.

I always set my hair before doing my makeup, so it can really cool off for maximum curlage. Then, for both greater effect and comedy value, I encapsulate my head in the adorable shower cap that Jared got me for Christmas two years ago.


The car will be coming for us at 2 pm, so my goal is to be ready at 1:30 because we’ve been invited to our neighbor’s house for pre-event champagne. Panic begins to set in. I clear out my hair stuff, place a clean towel down, and unceremoniously dump my makeup bag on it. Then, I create order by separating everything into proper groups. As I go along, I return items to my makeup bag, so I can simultaneously clean up and see how much I’ve accomplished.

I don’t like to wear too much makeup, because HD picks up everything. Luckily, I work hard to have nice skin, so I just use moisturizer, concealer, and pressed powder—no heavy primer/foundation/whatever. You run the risk of looking like a clown.

Ever since I was a little girl, my mother has always used Oil of Olay—just the smell of it reminds me of her. We’ll be outside for the carpet gauntlet, so I use Olay Complete All Day UV Moisturizer. I put a good amount on my face, neck (front and back, because of the updo), ears and décolletage.


Concealer is next, and I use a whopping four different types. I don’t know if it’s my Indian or Italian side (I've ruled out the Polish side) that makes me prone to under-eye darkness (perhaps the champagne from the EW party?), but anyway, they’re there.

People often make the mistake of using just one product to battle this problem. I was in the lighting business for 17 years, so I understand that human skin is not all one color. We must blend various colors to look natural. (In lighting, it’s called “color correction.”) I blend a light, medium, and dark concealer under my eyes to achieve an even tone.

MAC makes an awesome concealer brush, which I lightly dab it into the lightest of my concealers, RMS Beauty “Un” Cover-Up, and dab lots of little points in my darkest areas.

Then, use your ring finger to blend. DO NOT RUB! Just lightly pat under your eyes to mute the hard lines of the dots.

I follow with the medium concealer, MAC Select Moisturecover, and repeat the same process. The center of your face is generally lighter than the outskirts, so I try to even them out.

Lighting is everything. Check your makeup in the sun!

Happy with my sun test, it’s time for the last of the concealers. I dab a light highlighting concealer, this time Revlon PhotoReady Concealer, on my brow, around my lips, and in the inner corner of the eye, blending as I go. All of these are focus points that draw others’ eyes.


For powder, I use MAC Studio Fix. Because of my naturally Oompa-Loompa-esque skin, I’ve found it difficult to find products to match my coloring, but MAC has saved my life. Plus, their products have ingredients that really pop when in front of flash bulbs.

First, I use a soft brush to add powder to all that concealing action. I find using a soft brush to dab the powder on these areas not only sets it beautifully, but it also ensures complete coverage. I thoroughly coat the brush, and dab the loose powder under and over my eyes and around my mouth.

Then, I use the round sponge that comes in the compact to do my forehead, cheeks, nose, chin… and ears! Your ears should match your face!

Your neck and décolletage should match your face, too. I use a large soft-bristled brush for this. Coat it with your pressed powder, and apply it in a sweeping, circular motion.

Once all your powder is applied, clean your eyebrows off. They become coated with powder in the last step, and before you move on to your eyes, you should dust them off. I moisten my eyebrow brush with water, dap off the excess, and de-powder my brows.


I love my eyes and try to draw as much attention to them as possible, so nine times out of ten, I do a smoky eye. First, a frosty white for the browbone and inner corner—any shimmering white will do. Be generous, because at the end, when you blend it all together, you’ll thank me.

Next, I dot black Prestige Classic Kohl Eyeliner from the outer edge of my lower lid to the middle, and draw a relaxed cat eye on my upper lid. Neither of these lines go further inward than the middle of the eye. Then I blend, using the smudged liner as a foundation for eyeshadow.

I love Stila Eye Shadow in Pewter for my upper and lower lids. I apply it over the smudged liner with an angled eyeliner brush on my lower lid, and with my fingers (of all things!) on my upper lids. Then, for the lower lid, I begin at the outer corner and finish at the center of the eye. It should be a thicker line on the corner, and thinner in the middle.

I use my middle finger for my upper lid because I’m punk rock. I swirl my fingers on the pressed eyeshadow and start out on the outer corners and swirl inward, toward the inner corners. Then, I smudge the lower lid shadow line with my pinky finger, because I’m also a lady.

I firmly dab an angled brush in the contour shadow, L’Oreal HiP High Intensity Pigments Concentrated Shadow Duo in Dynamic. It’s brown, with olive and gold undertones (yes, in addition to the shimmery white and sparkly pewter—I promise, it’ll all work out). Contour your eye from the outer crease towards the inner corner, then flare up onto your lower browbone from out to in.

Next, I sweep (without adding more shadow) from my lower corner out and up to my eyebrow. I use the same brush to blend everything on my upper lid. Then, I use my pinky fingers to blend my upper lids even further, gently sweeping them from inner corner to outer eyebrow edge. This serves to soften the contour and blend the highlight.

Finally, I use the outer edges of my hands to sweep up along my cheeks to my temples, to wipe away any weirdness, and use my pressed powder to clean up any errant eyeshadow.

This would be a good time to wet your eyebrow brush and de-powder your brows again.


Cheeks are next—MAC Powder Blush in Mocha. I simply smash my brush into it just once and swirl it on the apple of one cheek, gradually up my cheekbone, and dab some onto my temple. Repeat with the other side.

Then, I don’t add any more blush, but use the remainder on the brush to contour under my chin, down the sides of my neck, and above my bosom.


I urge you to take your eyeliner seriously. This is the frame of your eyes, people. I use four (again, count ‘em, four) for my whole process, and they are all jet-black. We've already used one, involved in the eyeshadow process. Now, I’ll use a waterproof pencil for both my lower and upper waterlines. (Non-waterproof liner melts off, gets cried off, or smudges away.) I love Dior Crayon waterproof liner.

I do not one coat, but two. Be very careful, as your eyes are extremely delicate and are the things you see out of. The first layer won’t seem like much, hence two coats. After the first, I like to let it sit for a minute, so in the meantime…


I never do a red carpet without a shimmery moisturizer. It helps even your skin tone and defines your muscles. Also, when the flashbulbs go off, the shimmer reflects, and all manner of sins (veins, sun spots, weird tan lines, scars, etc.) disappear, and all they see is luminosity. My favorite: Burt’s Bees Radiance Body Lotion.

I’m wearing a wonderful Jovani dress that has a plunging back, so I focus on my arms, back and upper-chest areas. Wash your hands when you’re done, as you don’t want to get shimmer all over your face while you finish your makeup.


Do a second coat of your waterproof liner on your upper and lower waterlines. Then, liquid liner. (I like Prestige Liquid Eyeliner.)

You’ll want to use a mirror you can get really close to—like, uncomfortably, look-at-all-that-nose-hair close. Take your time, and don’t panic. Start in the middle of your eye and make a cat eye towards the outer edge. Thinner in the center, thicker on the outside. This is what’s known as a “corrective line,” and it makes my round eyes look more feline.

When you are done with your liquid liner, use your fingertips to gently pull the trapped liner on your lashes. Otherwise, they’ll have liquid liner gunked all up in them.

Next, I use L’Oreal Extra-Intense Liquid Pencil Eyeliner—best of both worlds!—to line over the waterproof liner to set it.


Since I’ve done a smoky eye, I’m going to do a neutral lip. I want it to be pink, to pick up on the pink highlight stones in my gorgeous Erica Courtney jadeite earrings. Bobbi Brown invented neutral lip gloss, so we’ll stick with one of her classics, Petal. Also, her glosses are thick, so they really last on the red carpet.

It was at this very moment that my camera died. So, while it was charging, I applied two coats of black Diorshow Mascara, took all those curlers out, and created an updo consisting of merely 12 pins! (As I said before, that’s a whole ‘nother article.) Then I put my dress on, and headed out for some champage and carpet posing.

I’m pretty pleased with the result! I’d love to hear if you try this makeup regimen for your next big event, so tweet some pictures at me.

Also, check out this cool new thing that let's you get all the stuff I used in one click! Whaaaaaat?