The Global Critic

Makeup Maestro Reneé De Wit Reveals Her Best-Kept Beauty Secrets

reneedesambento1Meet Reneé De Wit, makeup artist extraordinaire. I first came into contact with this insanely talented creature when she painted my face for my 21st birthday party. Since then, I have come to rely on Reneé for many more of those momentous occasions when faces had to be painted, perfectly.

It’s no wonder then that she holds a very special place in my Little Black Book but also in my heart. Believe me, I wouldn’t have let just anyone do my makeup on my wedding day. This self-proclaimed Bridezilla certainly held no prisoners (I still don’t know how she put up with me, one makeup trial after the next, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some mild tranquillisers were involved).

As gorgeous as she is talented (a double threat for sure), Renee’s portfolio is both vast and impressive.  Her work has been featured in several leading international magazines (including Vogue and Marie Claire UK) and she has beautified the cover girls of over 30 print publications (including Cosmopolitan and Sports Illustrated). Last but not least, her magic hands have transformed the faces of serious celebrities like Petra Nemcova, Steffi Graff, Julie Walters and Bonang Matheba, to name a few.

Here, Reneé divulges (super generously, I might add), some of the beauty industry’s best-kept secrets, her personal must-have makeup products and some really nifty tricks of the trade.

What led you to becoming a professional makeup artist?

As a child i was the youngest of four daughters and and I grew up doing my sisters’ makeup for parties and matric dances. My natural love of makeup artistry eventually developed into a career and, by the age of 21, I was spending half of my time in London and the other half in Cape Town, working on fashion editorials and catalogues.

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Makeup by Renee De Wit

Tell us about your big break?

I was 19 years old and working as a fashion assistant to the late Sue Ferrier, then fashion director of Elle magazine in South Africa. Sue encouraged me to follow my dreams and gave me the opportunity to do makeup on an Elle fashion editorial.

Who has been your makeup mentor?

I was mentored by Algria Ferreira, widely regarded as the doyenne of the South African makeup world. I first met Algria when, at age 16, I was booked as a model on a knitwear shoot. That day, Algria’s makeup made me feel more beautiful than I had ever felt! I realised then the effect that makeup can have on a woman’s confidence and my love affair with makeup grew even stronger. I am so grateful for my years in the modelling world, where I got to learn the tricks of the trade first-hand, from the best in the business.

What is your signature skill as a makeup artist?

I do a killer smokey eye. My favourite eyeshadow palette right now is Bobbi Brown’s Bobbi’s Cools Eye Shadow Palette (limited edition).

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Makeup by Renee De Wit (note the smokey eye perfection)

What is your favourite mascara?

Sensai 38 Degrees and MAC Extended Play Lash.

What is the best trick for keeping makeup on all day?

Before applying makeup, I always prime my skin with a good moisturiser (by Bioderma or Skinceuticals) containing sunblock. This prevents makeup being absorbed by dehydrated skin.

I finish with a light dusting of pressed or loose powder on my t-zone and a fixing spray like Bobbi Brown’s Face Mist.

What is the most universally flattering eye pencil for green/blue eyes?

Teddy Eye Kohl liner by MAC.

What is the most universally flattering eye pencil for brown eyes?

Either a dark grey colour like Industry Powerpoint Eye Pencil by MAC or a deep navy like Blooz Eye Kohl liner, also by MAC.

What are your favourite makeup brands of all time?

Bobbi Brown, Charlotte Tilbury, NARS and Giorgio Armani Beauty.

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A selection of best-selling products by Charlotte Tilbury. The stuff that makeup dreams are made of.

What is the quickest way to make a tired face look fresh?

Invest in a good under-eye colour corrector and concealer (try Bobbi Brown or Sensai).

What are the best lip colours for fair, medium and olive skin tones?

For fair skin tones | The iconic Charlotte Tilbury’s Lip Cheat Pillow Talk lip pencil and Penelope Pink lipstick are two of my favourites;

For medium skin tones | Viva Vlam 5 by MAC; and

For olive skin tones | Raisin Berry by Bobbi Brown.

With which red lipstick can a woman conquer the world?

Chanel Rouge Hydrabase Crème Lipstick 60 New York Red is the ultimate red!

What is the most common beauty faux pas women make?

Wearing too much makeup. It looks unnatural and ageing. I also detest the “Instagram brow” that is currently so popular.

Which are the three makeup products no girl should ever be without?

Sensai’s under-eye concealer brush, Armani’s Maestro foundation and Bobbi Brown’s Shimmerbrick bronzing compact series.

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Armani’s Maestro Foundation 

Who is your makeup icon?

Pat McGrath, she is a visionary and pushes creative boundaries like it’s nobody’s business. I just adore her newly launched makeup range.

Which famous face would you most love to paint?

Madonna!

Who is your beauty icon?

Monica Bellucci. She is a timeless beauty with perfectly proportioned features.

What is the best makeup advice you can give to women over 30?

Always curl your eyelashes and apply at least two coats of black mascara. It has an immediate lifting effect.

What is the secret beauty weapon in your makeup kit?

Lansinoh Breasfeeding Salve nipple cream – it’s amazing for chapped lips.

When you’re not waving your magic makeup brushes, which other creative outlets do you enjoy?

Baking (especially with my girls) and interior decoration.

A few years ago, you launched a mobile makeup agency called Gorgeous2Go, which has become a huge hit with the Cape Town crowd (myself included). What prompted you to start this business?

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Renee, in her element

There was a demand in the Capetonian market for a high-end makeup, hair and beauty concierge service. We thus offer clients an array of services, including makeup applications (for social events), hair styling, personalised makeup lessons, spray tans and manicures, all of which can be performed in the comfort of your own home.

The artists we represent have been hand-selected and all of their portfolios are available on our website. Our aim is to be a one-stop mobile shop for all things beauty-related. You can visit our website for more information.

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