A few weeks ago, I popped down to HQHair's central London salon to have a general look around and to meet David Scheffen, international makeup artist at NARS. First and foremost, I was staggered that I'd walked so close to the salon so many times - it's situated just off Regent's Street - and had never ventured in. It's a veritable haven for beauty fanatics - products from the likes of REN, Mario Badescu, Too Faced, Urban Decay and Philosophy sit just in front of a bustling hair and manicure area, with a surprising number of treatment rooms located in the basement. Walking through the retail area, you find much of what you'd find browsing on HQHair.com - so if you prefer to get your fingers into samples before purchasing, it's probably your kind of place.
Anyway, after some initial product-related distraction, I found myself sitting in a chair in front of David himself. He's one of those people for whom makeup and colour come absolutely naturally - possibly because he likes to partake in the painting of canvases as well as faces - and I'd been sitting down for about five seconds before he decided that I was just screaming out for blue eyeshadow. Dabbing his brush into the NARS Okinawa trio, he gave me a punchy blue look which wasn't too much, and had the most gorgeous sheen.
He also surprised me by pairing the cobalt blue eyeshadow with a deep olive green liner. The overall effect brought out the green in my eyes, brightened my complexion up, and brought a big smile to my face. David then chose a lipstick so perfect, I rushed straight out to Selfridges and purchased it. More on that later.
Throughout the process, I asked David for a few tips, most notably on blush. He feels that blush is one of the most important products in our makeup arsenal - and one which is all too often overlooked. A woman can look groomed in no time, he says, with a little mascara, eyebrow colour, and a good application of blush.
He advocates using blush along the cheekbones for most women; it serves to highlight them further if they're high already, or to give some definiton if they're not. The traditional "apply blush to the apples of your cheeks" thing suits very few people, he said - although he was keen to point out that makeup is personal, and if the person wearing the look thinks it looks good, then that's all that matters. Holding up his index and middle fingers alongside my nose, he showed me the boundaries for the most flattering blush - the closer you get to the nose, the less well defined the face.
Finally, David said that he wished women wore more colour - in particular purple, which he says is flattering to all eye colours.
When I stepped out of the chair, I felt fabulous - David's one of those people who makes colour selection and makeup application look so easy, and thanks to him I've renewed my love of cobalt blue eyeshadow!