10 Things I Learned From Getting My Makeup Done by a Pro.

Even though I prefer a more natural look, getting my makeup done by a pro is one of my favorite things to do. Anytime I have a big event, I’ll get my makeup done and every time someone does it for me, I learn something new! As a part of my partnership with Bluemercury (and their Perfect Your Complexion event, going on now through the 24th!) I popped into their midtown location for a thirty minute consultation with Jackie Hugg (highly recommend paying her a visit if you are based in New York or Brooklyn – she was a WEALTH of information) and am excited to share the results + what I learned. Bluemercury gave me a $250 credit to spend in store but I ended up going way over buying several products with my own money and had a few of the things she used at home.

Note: There’s an event this weekend. f you head to their event page you can find all participating stores. Be sure to call to book an appointment or pop in! I highly recommend stopping in, getting a consultation like I did, and a special gift with purchase of $125 or more!

one // The biggest lesson was that (eek) I was wearing the wrong shade of foundation.

Honestly it’s a little bit crazy how many shades you actually need – one for every season. The last time I was matched was the beginning of summer and I needed a new shade. I’m really pale (for me) right now as I haven’t been in the sun since summer. I ended up buying two foundations. For something more natural I got the new NARS Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation. This looks just like my skin but more even. It’s sheer and buildable and a little bit dewy.

My shade is “Punjab.” But as I have a lot of events and longer days where I’ll be in the city for meetings and stay for a date or dinner, I wanted something a little bit more full coverage and matte. For this, I got Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Foundation. I was already a big fan of her tinted moisturizer so it’s nice to have something a little more full coverage from her!

Two foundations feels a little bit excessive but I got over my fear of using foundation on this visit – if you have the right shade on, it doesn’t look like you’re wearing makeup.

two // The next thing I learned is the importance of primer.

two // The next thing I learned is the importance of primer.

This may be a bit JV of me but I’m not a makeup expert. Jackie RAVED about Lune & Aster’s Realglow Primer and I am obsessed with it too. It’s packed with light diffusing particles to give you that lit from within glow. Apply prior to foundation and it won’t settle into lines or large pores. (Back at home, I tried applying foundation with and without this and can tell you that it makes such a big difference.) Primer is magic and now it’s the first step anytime I am wearing foundation.

(You can also use the primer in lieu of foundation if you just want a really fresh, glowy look.)

The photo of me on the right is after Jackie had done just my skin (before eyes/lips/blush/etc.) I am obsessed with how fresh-faced my skin looks. For this, she used the primer, the Laura Mercier foundation, and this highlighter, which brings me to the third lesson.

three // Highlighter goes all the way up to the hairline.

I was stopping at my temple but she dotted it all along my cheekbone, up the temple, and to my hairline. This is such a small tip but I’ve noticed a big difference since doing this at home. She used NARS’ Super Radiant Booster (which is a limited edition product so would recommend stocking up!) I was delighted as she said it was my perfect match for a highlighter AND I already owned it. I love this product. You only need a tiny bit and the tube is pretty big (a full ounce) so this one will last a long time.

The photo on the left is my full look, bringing us to our fourth lesson!

four // Don’t be afraid to try a lip pencil.

IDK I think of bad high school makeup when I think of lip pencil. But lip liner is your friend, especially a good neutral lip pencil. On me, she used Chantecaille’s lip defining pencil in “Tone.” All the girls at Bluemercury RAVED about this one – saying that it’s their best selling lip pencil and the perfect nude. So I gave it a try. In the photo above I’m wearing it under the Chantecaille lip veil in “Honeypot.” It makes whatever you put on it more defined, and helps to anchor your lip color so that it lasts longer. You can also use just lip pencil all by itself or with a little lip balm. It’s really versatile!

five // NARS Orgasm blush will always be a classic.

This is my most favorite blush (already had it at home) and was so happy when Jackie reached for it. She reaffirmed what I already knew. It looks amazing on everyone and just makes you look perfectly glowy and happy.


six // This is not really a lesson but I got my favorite new lip color.

Everyone is all about that pigmented, matte lip right now and while I like that for special occasions, what I really wanted was a great everyday lip color that would hydrate my lips (they were so chapped the day I went in!!! Enter Chantecaille’s lip veil. These are amazing. I want to collect them all. They’re ultra hydrating and moisturizing, and Honeypot is the absolute perfect nude… they have trouble keeping it in stock! I’m wearing it in the photos above and below (without lip pencil) and in the selfie up top with the lip pencil. Ob-sessed.

seven // Lock in that perfect complexion with this literal IRL instagram filter.

Know the “pretty filter” on Snapchat? If that could be distilled into a beauty product; it would be Chantecaille’s HD Perfecting Loose Powder (which comes in it’s own brush). Swipe this everywhere after foundation/blush/bronzer/etc. to set your makeup and add a real life filter of sorts. This stuff is magic and the neat-freak in me loves that it’s all self contained as powders can be so messy.

eight // This is more of a discovery than a lesson BUT guys. Serum pads are a thing, and a very smart thing at that!

eight // This is more of a discovery than a lesson BUT guys.

Serum pads are a thing, and a very smart thing at that! I’d already tried and loved m-61’s PowerGlow peel pads (perfect for when you need a little glow and you need it fast) but they’ve also got serum pads! These are so genius for travel, for after the gym, for anything. Prior to primer, she ran one all over my face for extra hydration and I thought it was just such a clever invention.

nine // The Chantecaille Mascara is worth the hype.

Admittedly, I’ve featured a LOT of Chantecaille products here and it’s because I’d never tried any of their products. Yep, not a single one. I told Jackie this and she showed me all of her favorites. The mascara was at the top of her list. Two of my girlfriends swear by it and I’ve gotten a few DM’s asking me if I’ve tried it and if it’s worth the money. It’s the most expensive mascara I’ve ever tried but I can confirm: it’s the best mascara I’ve ever tried. It lengthens and thickens without any clumping AND the peptide technology helps your lashes to grow longer. I can’t make any claims about my lashes growing as I’ve only been using it for a week, but I love how it makes my lashes look.

ten // Not a lesson but a fun treat:

If you go to Bluemercury now (or order online) and spend $125, they’ve got a great gift for you! (pictured above right). The five piece gift contains all sorts of goodness including a travel size version of that amazing primer! It contains 5 free deluxe samples including a REN Evercalm Ultra Comforting Rescue Mask, Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream, Lune+Aster RealGlow Primer, Laura Mercier Flawless Lumiere Foundation or Nars Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation, and a Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer. So if you’re looking to refresh your makeup for spring or need advice on what foundation shade is best for you I highly recommend that you go to a Bluemercury store this weekend to get a consultation from one of their experts. Head to their event page to find a store nearest you

A big thank you to Bluemercury for partnering on this post. Photos at home by Carter Fish; photos from the store by me!

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment


  1. I feel like I knew nothing about makeup after reading these tips! Thanks for sharing, Grace! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    2.22.19 Reply
  2. I love Blue Mercury! I even interviewed Marla once! Just popped in the other day to replace some makeup 🙂

    2.22.19 Reply
  3. I stopped using primer a few years ago and you’ve convinced me I need to rethink that! Thanks for all the excellent tips, I’m looking forward to trying some Chantecaille products – I’ve never used them either.
    Have a great weekend!

    2.22.19 Reply
    • Definitely give it another try; I did the same (makeup minimalist!) but LOVE! The primer and the Chantecaille powder were the two products I’m most obsessed with. (Okay and the mascara too!)

      2.22.19 Reply
  4. Brianna Rooney:

    Grace – this is SO helpful! I am SO bad with makeup but I have six wedding this year and know I need to step up my game so this is a great start. I am sure once I find things that actually work too I’ll be more motivated.


    2.22.19 Reply
  5. Jessica:

    Just added so many things to my shopping wishlist! ‍♀️ Question though, I use a tinted moisturizer so a primer wouldn’t work under that, right? Thanks!

    2.22.19 Reply
    • Ordinarily I would say no. Primer helps foundation glide on the way that tinted moisturizer does.
      But this one is amazing because of it’s luminizing properties. So I think it would actually look really good under tinted moisturizer. You don’t need it, but I think it will make you extra glowy!

      2.22.19 Reply
      • Jessica:

        Thank you!

        2.22.19 Reply
        • Just a little follow up! Today is a tinted moisturizer (I used Beautycounter Dew Skin) day so I tried the Lune & Aster primer before and highly recommend it. I just look a bit glowier than usual. So you can definitely do primer + tinted moisturizer. You don’t “need” it the way you do with foundation but I love the glow from this one.

          2.22.19 Reply
  6. Amazing tips, I learned a lot. I used to be very skeptical about primer but now I can’t live without it. I only have one question, won’t the highlighter up to the hairline make the forehead look bigger? I don’t think my forehead is big but I definitely wouldn’t want it to look bigger, you know what I mean?

    2.22.19 Reply
    • I don’t think so! In this case you’re going from your temples to your hairline so it’s really like that hairline above your ears, not your forehead!

      2.22.19 Reply
  7. Rachel:

    Would have loved to see a ‘before’ pic with no makeup, and a close up of your lashes with the mascara since you are raving about it!

    2.22.19 Reply
    • Thanks for the feedback!

      2.22.19 Reply
    • Hey Rachel! Just FYI – I posted more about the mascara to my story just now. I’ll save it to beauty highlights as well.

      2.22.19 Reply
      • Rachel:

        Awesome, thanks! I am in the hunt for a new mascara !

        2.22.19 Reply
  8. So glad you discovered Chantecaille (one of my favourite brands for makeup, and next time you come to London you need to book in for one of their facials). Next you need to try the mermaid eyeshadow pots (sort of a cross between a mousse and a powder but they are so subtle and wear so beautifully) and the blush. And I love that every year they team up with a conservation charity to help a different endangered species (and then do a whole collection to celebrate that).

    Briony xx

    2.22.19 Reply
    • Oh my gosh I need to!!!!
      She used the eyeshadow pot on me and I didn’t buy it simply bc I have SO MUCH EYESHADOW but I loved how easily it glided on!
      Thanks B – need to get across the pond to see you (and get a facial ha) soon!

      2.22.19 Reply
      • YES PLEASE!! And I know what you mean about eyeshadow; it takes me about 2 years to get through one so I am *very* fussy about what I’ll introduce into my rotation (I will say that now I only use the Charlotte Tilbury ‘Pillow Talk’ quad, two of the Chantecaille Mermaid pots (a neutral champagne colour and a bronze taupe) and a bronze Bobbi Brown sparkle stick. They are all the best!

        Briony xox

        3.1.19 Reply
  9. Dana:

    Just bought Tone lip liner ! I have been using Chanel forever and needed to change it up. Great post!

    2.22.19 Reply
  10. Rachel:

    Thanks for the tips! I’ve been trying to figure out how to best apply highlighter and I know that I under-utilize it, especially with your lesson from above!

    Rachel | http://www.rachelstriving.com

    2.22.19 Reply
  11. Shana:

    I learned so much from this post and I’m going to check out that mascara – thank you! The number one thing I learned is that there are Bluemercury locations in Houston! I will definitely pop in 🙂

    2.22.19 Reply
  12. Lip pencil is a must in my makeup routine! It really is such a huge game changer!

    2.22.19 Reply
  13. Jill:

    I loooooooove Chantecaille lipsticks. They are so pretty and hydrating! I discovered them years ago at Barney’s when one of the sales girls insisted on doing my make-up and the Lip Chic in Camelia has been my go-to ever since.

    2.22.19 Reply
  14. Annette:

    I think your makeup always looks great, however whenever you have your makeup done I notice that your eyes really pop. I’m not sure what colors or techniques they are using, but it looks amazing.

    2.22.19 Reply
  15. Molly Haren:

    I just bought that primer from Liz’s post (I was influenced!) and it adds a nice little glow! I have been trying to only purchase new makeup that is “cleanish” and was wondering what, if any, approach you take? I invest in clean skin care and feel like I should try to do the same with my makeup (even though Im definitely not a stickler about it).

    2.23.19 Reply
    • Ugh it’s SO good!
      I don’t really have any approach. I probably should, but I don’t… just being honest. Most days I don’t wear makeup so I guess I’m a little more lax!

      I didn’t even know that Chantecaille is clean, so finding that out made me so happy!

      2.23.19 Reply
  16. I have always heard that primer is essential, but I still can’t help to think that it is unecessary. I will definitely have to try out the one you linked! Great post.


    2.23.19 Reply
  17. Allie:

    Hi Grace,

    Thanks for this! What do you think of the primer vs the Charlotte Tilbury highlighter you’ve featured before? I’m all about glowy skin, so wondering if you’d use together with foundation or for separate occasions.


    2.25.19 Reply
    • Hi Allie,
      Great question! They’re totally different! One is a highlighter and one is a primer.

      The primer is very sheer and not skin colored; one shade works for everyone – it’s almost like applying an illuminating moisturizer. It helps your foundation to last longer and go on more evenly, but the light reflecting particles shine through.

      The Charlotte Tilbury, I use as a replacement for foundation or as a highlighter. Lately have been doing both. Start with the primer, apply tinted moisturizer or foundation all over and then dot on the highlighter where I want a little glow. (If two products were going to be compared it would be the Charlotte Tilbury and the NARS highlighter – those are similar but the NARS one is more potent!)

      2.25.19 Reply
  18. Stephanie R:

    Thanks for sharing! I’m excited and I just started wearing makeup!

    5.1.19 Reply