With nearly 17 years in the beauty biz, pro make-up artist and native Las Vegan Natalie Davison is regularly entrusted by clients such as Entertainment Tonight, MTV and Showtime to highlight the best features of A-listers such as Barack Obama, Kelly Ripa and Justin Timberlake. Lucky for us, she often works her magic on regular folks, too. Here, she solves some common cosmetic gripes and shares the secret to a flawless nighttime look.
What’s in your tool kit for a quick fix on those painful, post-clubbing Las Vegas mornings?
There’s a MAC eye cream called Fast Response that has so much caffeine in it that, even if you’re up all night crying and fighting with your boyfriend, this stuff will instantly take down puffiness around the eyes. It’s also silicone-based, not emollient, so you can wear it under concealer without worrying about your makeup sliding off. Shiseido makes eye pads called Benefiance Pure Retinol Express that you can wear for an hour before you get ready, or before you go to bed, that are super hydrating and great for hungover eyes. You can even use regular household tea bags—anything with caffeine in it will do in a pinch.
I’m dashing straight from work to a date or an event and don’t have time to redo my whole face. What can I do to quickly jazz up my look?
Grab a dark brown or black eyeliner pencil and line the waterline of both upper and lower lids—it will instantly pop your look for the evening without you having to haul out the makeup brushes and tools. NARS Soft Touch kohl pencils are great for this. MAC makes a golden-brown version called Teddy, which is also really nice.
What’s the most common makeup complaint you hear from women in Las Vegas?
Because of the heat, a lot of women tell me their eye makeup runs constantly. If you’re having problems with your eye makeup smearing, just add a couple of coats of waterproof mascara to your lower lashes only. Just the lower lashes though; I really feel it’s too harsh for everyday use on all your lashes. I think the best mascara is Make Up For Ever’s Smoky Lash—and it’s perfect for Vegas blondes.
I’m going to be spending the day at a pool party. How can I look “finished” but still natural?
Start with sunscreen, of course. Add a pink tinted gloss for your lips, a tinted moisturizer to even the skin tone and a light touch of brow powder if you’re a blonde or have sparse brows. This is when having lash extensions really come in handy, but if you don’t have them, this is the one exception to my “no waterproof mascara” rule. If you’re going for a full-on “trashy Vegas” pool party look, add the false lashes and get out the sparkly lotion. Check the label for water-resistance so the glitter doesn’t come off in the pool.
It’s my first foray out into the sun this season. Do you have any self-tanner recommendations?
If you just got off the plane, or want an instant tan, Airbrush Legs from Sally Hansen is available at CVS and Walgreens. It’s an amazing spray-on product with a tiny bit of shimmer. It’s water-resistant, so it’ll come off with soap, but not if it just gets wet. Lotion-up well beforehand to make sure your skin is moisturized, and then spray it all over. It’s awesome, and it blends great. Even Heidi Klum wears it.
Is there a lip shade that actually exists that is universally flattering to all women?
Yes. MAC makes a lipstick shade called Crème in Your Coffee that looks great on everyone.
If I pass out drunk with all my makeup on, is it really as bad for my skin as they say?
Um, yeah. That’s just nasty. Plus, if you fall asleep with false lashes on you could wake up with an eye infection. Please, if nothing else, take the lashes off.
Ok, fine, but what if I’m in a hotel room and I don’t have all my regular makeup-removal products and skin-care products with me?
I’d take the rough hotel washcloth and some nice hot water and lightly scrub everything off—just don’t use any soap. Call it an exfoliating treatment.
Do you think women in Las Vegas wear too much makeup?
A woman can wear a lot of makeup and still look beautiful. The main problem I see around town is that there’s just not enough blending going on. Also, I’m still seeing too much dark lipliner. It’s that porn look—the chalky pink lipstick with dark liner. If you want the chalky pink lips, fine, just leave off the liner and blend it with a nude gloss.
Give us the pro dish on secret drugstore brand treasures.
For mascara, try L’Oréal—they’re owned by Lancôme. Also, the L’Oréal True Match foundation is pretty good. The main difference between drug store and department store brands is pigment—that’s where the money is. The drugstore brands just aren’t as saturated with color. Bear in mind that whatever shade you see in the pot or container is probably not going to be the shade you see when you put it on your skin.
If you had to leave the house wearing only one beauty product, what would it be?
A tinted gloss, or balm. A bit of color. A great, inexpensive version is the Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Color Stick. They’re self-sharpening, they come in a million colors and they provide great coverage. I love ’em. They’re like crayons for your lips. If you are looking for a higher-end version, Clinique Chubby Sticks are also great.
What’s the most common makeup blunder you see here in Las Vegas?
Women wearing the wrong color foundation. Every woman should have both a winter and summer foundation shade. Especially here in Vegas—one shade lighter for winter. When you’re testing shades, don’t apply it to the inside of your wrist; check the color by applying it to your jawline, as close as possible to your face.
If I use foundation with SPF, is that enough protection for my skin?
No way. Here in the desert, everyone should be applying sunscreen separately, under their makeup. I hear women say, “I don’t wear sunscreen because it makes me break out,” but that’s no excuse. Just look for a sunscreen for acne-prone skin. The SPF in foundation is just not high enough for us here in Las Vegas.
High-quality sunscreen is definitely worth the splurge. I use a product called Elta MD. It’s amazing. If you insist on buying a drugstore brand, I’d recommend Neutrogena.
What takes more of a toll: false eyelashes or extensions?
Oh definitely false lashes. You’ll see what I mean if you meet a Jubilee! dancer who’s been wearing falsies for years. They literally have no eyelashes left.