Beyoncé's beauty guru on the makeup mistakes everybody makes

22 November 2017 - 11:20
By Nokubonga Thusi
Sir John in action at SA Fashion Week.
Image: Supplied Sir John in action at SA Fashion Week.

Beyoncé, Kim and Khloe Kardashian, Chrissy Teigen, Margot Robbie ... these are some of the names on celebrity makeup artist Sir John's stellar client list.

The A-list beauty guru jetted into the country recently for SA Fashion Week. We caught up with him to chat about the common makeup mistakes most people make — and how to fix them.


"Brows can change your face!" declares Sir John. Look at pictures of yourself before you turned 15, then ask yourself why you looked so young. Your brows were bigger, they were fuller, he adds.

He explains that as we age, we lose density in our brows and they thin out, which is why it's important to add some definition. "For natural-looking brows, you should use a brow pencil that is lighter than your brow colour as you want to just fill in the gaps, not add a weight to the brow.”


"[Today, makeup] is all about making sure that your skin looks healthy because healthy skin has a glow, it has a lustre," says Sir John. "Matte skin conveys polish and looks perfect, which is great, but it does not always convey health. You sort of want to dibble and dabble in-between [matte and dewy looks], you want to do both.”

Sir John's beauty hack

No highlighter in your makeup bag? You can use sunscreen or a rich night cream instead.

He recommends tapping a highlighter on top of your foundation because it softens your coverage and breaks up that powdery look.

That said, the placement of the highlighter is key. "You never want to have any kind of shine in front of the cheeks; it always makes your foundation look like you've had it on for 30 hours," he says. "So mattify the T-Zone, shine up the sides, shine up the cheek bones and maybe the top of the lip before you put on your lipstick.”


It's inevitable that while you're doing a smokey eye some of the shadow will fall down onto your cheeks and you'll have to do a bit of a clean up. That's why Sir John recommends doing your eyes first, then the rest of your makeup. 

Here's his formula for doing the ultimate smokey eye:

"Start with an eye kohl first. Smudge it all over the lid and under the bottom and smoke it out. Blend, blend, blend with a brush that has no product on it, so you're blending into invisible nothingness. This will give you the most beautiful fade job, which you can't always get with powder.

"Then tap your powder on to give you the most beautiful gradation of colour.

"After you're done with that, take a cotton bud soaked with a bit of water-based makeup remover and take away anything that fell down. 

"Lastly, go in with concealer and foundation."


"Nowadays we want to see freckles and we want to see pores – that’s kind of cool and sexy," says Sir John. "[So] give yourself coverage where you need and sheer it out everywhere else."

He reckons we should all brush up on our skincare knowledge because, for instance, by taking a holistic approach to your diet, you'll have much better skin. This will give you the confidence to "use less foundation and to embrace the translucent or luminising properties in your makeup".

The Edit/Fashion & Beauty
A-list beauty tips from Beyoncé's makeup artist
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He cites drinking the right vegetable juices as an example. "Those dark circles under the eyes [are due to] poor circulation; kale has vitamin K and that increases circulation. Carrot juice has beta-carotene [which] increases cell turnover. All these things have nothing to do with makeup at all, but have an impact on your complexion as a whole."


The secret to A-list makeup perfection? “I would do one of two things; it would be a statement lip with a serious lip colour or a chunky lash with four to five coats of mascara because you want a piece of punctuation," says Sir John. "Punctuation in makeup means that red lip, that brow, a lash – it’s that one thing that you can do really well."