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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Why I Adore Chanel’s Iconic Foundations

S161436_XLARGEFor dry or mature skin, there is – quite simply – no other foundation quite like the iconic Chanel Vitalumiere: it’s light-weight and looks completely natural, yet provides just enough moisture and coverage to give you an instantly radiant complexion. It’s got the whole ‘dewy skin’ thing down pat and revives tired skin in a second. (If your skin tends to be oily or prone to breaking out, this product will be too rich for you.)

For combination to oily skin, you’ll do well to invest in the high-coverage and mattifying version called Perfection Lumiere. Its long-wearing semi-matte finish hides all kinds of skin sins without that dreaded caked-on effect.

Lastly, if you’re one of those lucky B’s who happen to have perfect skin, you probably won’t need anything heavier than the Vitalumiere Aqua.

Note This best-selling foundation range doesn’t come cheap, with prices ranging from about USD55. Make sure you buy the right version for your skin type (oily, dry or combination) and the right colour shade (there are over 20 to choose from). Take a friend with you, get the store assistant to put some tester product on your face and walk outside to check the shade in the sunlight. In-store lighting will not give you an accurate reflection.

Stockists

Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban Edgars

London Selfridges Beauty Department

New York Macy’s Beauty Department

World’s Best Affordable Eye-Makeup Remover

vichy makeup remover topThis is just a quick post to share a recently discovered little gem with you all, especially those girls who (like me) enjoy a smokey eye and struggle to get through the day without a good dose of mascara.

I recently ran out of my usual eye make-up remover and, since it’s not yet available in South Africa, a trip to my local pharmacy was urgently called for. (My eyes weren’t loving me last week when I tried hopelessly, night after night, to remove every trace of my eye makeup with my facial cleanser.)

I must confess, my hopes were slim that I would find a pharmacy-brand eye makeup remover that would do the job, properly and throughly, without irritating my eyes or taking ages. Oh, but how I was mistaken… The lovely assistant on duty recommended I try their pharmacy’s best-sellng Vichy Purete Thermale Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover For Sensitive Eyes: what a dream discovery it turned out to be.

With a quick and gentle swipe of a lightly soaked cotton-pad, this stuff removed every last trace of black mascara (I’m partial to the heavy-duty-waterproof kind) without my eyes batting a lid (pun intended). The best part of all: it’s free of nasty parabens. (Trust the French.) The worst part? If you have to ask, the packaging could probably do with a redesign.

Stockists

SA Bantry Bay Pharmacy, Victoria Road, Cape Town, and all other Vichy-stocking pharmacies.

International Visit www.vichy.com or www.vichy.co.uk for stockist information and online purchasing.

World’s Best Pore-Minimizer

Throughout my travels, I have found certain beauty products to consistently appear in the personal makeup bags of professional makeup artists. Why? Probably because these products deliver.64b5b4bfa069435e3e5bf46b1d476805

If you’ve been looking for a primer that truly, really and sincerely works when it comes to minimizing the appearance of large pores, you can stop looking and invest in Benefit’s best-selling The Porefessional. You’ll soon wonder how you ever lived without it. And you’ll see why makeup artists choose not to.

How did I discover this miracle balm? I’d read about it one too many times in one too many beauty magazines and I could no longer ignore the possibility that it might actually work! To my astonishment, I watched  – with my first application – as my pores went from in your face (no pun intended) to barely there. While this primer does not eradicate pores completely (what does?), it’s as good as I believe it’s going to get. And, for those evenings when you want to look your absolute best, you won’t want to do without it.

Application Apply a small amount of this silky, lightweight balm alone, under or over makeup. Pat onto problem areas and blend gently with fingertips. The translucent, oil-free formula complements all skin tones and also helps makeup stay put for longer.

Benefit-pore-minimizerStockists Leading department stores across the globe, including Selfridges in London, Benefit Cosmetics Online (UK) or Benefit Cosmetics Online (USA).

World’s Best Highlighting Powder

Bobbi-Brown-Shimmer-Bricks-OpenerIf you go out and buy one fabulous new beauty product for your summer kit, make it the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick Compact in Bronze. I have to say, I was reluctant about including this post in my blog, quite simply because it’s one of those Secret Beauty Weapons I usually only share with (truly, sincerely, loyally) good friends! I must confess, I did not discover this gem of a makeup product by myself. I was introduced to it by makeup artist extraordinaire Algria and it’s been in my makeup kit ever since. This shimmering, brush-on powder creates a deep, bronzy glow that reflects light in just the right way that your cheekbones will love you for it (without looking like a sheeny shiny glittery teenager.) You simply have to try this one for yourself to see why I love it so much and will never give it up. Application Sweep your bronzer brush through all five shades and dust lightly on cheekbones. Focus on applying shimmer on the top of cheekbones – where light naturally hits the face – for the most flattering look. To add a highlight to eyes, apply the lightest shade in the compact just under browbone. Awards Martha Stewart Weddings Big-Day Beauty Awards 2012.

World’s Best Gel Eyeliner

qvc_bobbi_brownOver the years, I have tried many (and I mean MANY) eye liners in the hopes that one of them would stay in place all day. A few years ago, I met and fell in love with Bobbi Brown’s award-winning Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner (in black).  This is the best eye liner I have ever come across for lining the top lash lid (right by your lashes) to give you that eyes-wide-open lash-enhanced look. (I personally don’t use this product on the lower lash lid. It can look quite harsh there as it dries quickly so is not really suitable for a smudged effect.) It’s the perfect product for those days when you don’t feel like drowning your face in war paint, but need just a single stroke of understated definition, quickly applied in the morning. This easy-to-apply quick-drying liner lasts all (freaking) day and does not start smudging around 4pm.

Application Dip the tip of Bobbi Brown’s Ultra Fine Eyeliner Brush (coat both sides of brush head) into the pot. Wipe off any excess before applying to eyes. Work quickly as the product becomes transfer-resistant once dry. Awards Best of Beauty by Allure Magazine (2012). Winner of 50 Best Beauty Products 2013 by Siempre Mujer. Selected as a Best Beauty Buy by In Style (May 2013).

World’s Best Smokey Eyeliner

images-2 I don’t know about everyone, but I often find beauty & fashion mags so jam-packed with adverts, advertorials, editorials & plugs, that I never know whether to trust what Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle or Vogue recommends when it comes to the so-called BEST makeup products. The sheer confusion I experience from the information overload is enough to kill me! Being a die-hard perfectionist, however, I have over the years – through my contacts with international (think Vanity Fair & Sports Illustrated international;) and top-notch makeup artists as well as my own trial-and-error processes, discovered that, which – in my humble opinion – qualifies as the (real) BEST in certain beauty categories.

6a00d8341c5dea53ef017c3685cad2970b-800wiIf you have been searching for an eye liner that is dewy, soft and sexy, but stays in place all day and makes you look sultry (not slutty!) after a long day’s running around, you cannot go wrong with Laura Mercier’s Caviar Stick Eye Colour. It is marketed as a long-wearing, creamy shadow (which it works great as) but I use it as a thin eyeliner which I smudge just enough upon application, before it sets. It can also be applied directly onto the inner bottom and upper lash lids. Use a thin MAC slanted eye liner brush to get the line just right and keep it subtle and blend or smudge with a softer round-tip brush. Unfortunately this item is not available everywhere (which elevates it on my Lust List, just because I like having things not everyone else has!). Next time you have a friend in the UK or the USA, put this baby on your wish list! I brought one back for my makeup guru, Daleen Stewart, who fell in love at first…application and now keeps begging me for a refill every time I go to London! PS My personal favourite colour is Smoke (looks great on brunettes).

Note: this stuff is not the easiest to get off due to its long-wearing formula (but Kiehl’s Supremely Gentle Eye Makeup Remover does the trick for me and is as gentle on my eyes as it proclaims to be).