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During New York Fashion Week, we asked the industry's top hair, makeup and nail experts to tell us their best-kept backstage beauty secrets. From tried-and-true tricks that you can use forever to helpful tidbits on how to pull off next season's trends, click through for all their genius ideas.
“Don’t be afraid to layer two nail polish colors to create an entirely unique shade. A good rule of thumb is to start off with an opaque layer and then add the sheerer color on top. If you do it the other way around the lighter color won’t peek through." —Julie Kandalec for Essie at the Fall 2014 Veronica Beard show.
“If you have super fine hair, getting a wavy hairstyle is not a hopeless case. Sprinkle on hair powder so the curls have something to grip." —Janelle Chaplin, O&M Creative Director at the Fall 2014 Veronica Beard show.
"Many people sweep on their eyeshadow from one end to the other, but a great trick for a perfectly-blended smoky eye is to dab eyeshadow onto the middle of your eyelid and blend outward on each side." —Val Garland for Maybelline at the Fall 2014 BCBG Max Azria show.
"If you’re keeping your hair down and want to secure a really deep side part, make a small braid at the nape of your neck, tie it with a clear elastic and fluff the hair over the braid to conceal it." —Laurent Philippon for Bumble and Bumble at the Fall 2014 BCBG Max Azria show.

“It’s really important to have hydrated skin before applying makeup so you have a smooth canvas to work with. Drink lots of water. Moisturize. It makes blending and applying that much easier." —Romy Soleimani using Kevyn Aucoin Cosmetics for Beauty.com at the Fall 2014 Richard Chai Love show.

 

Dr. Jart+’s Water-Full Hydrogel Mask was the skin-saver all the models used before applying their makeup for the Richard Chai Love show. All it took was five minutes for the models backstage, but we recommend first sticking it in the fridge and then putting it on your face for a full half hour when you're pampering at home.
Luminous skin starts way before you even touch a makeup brush. Start your beauty routine with an antioxidant-rich moisturizer like the same NARS Luminous Skin Moisture Cream ($62, narscosmetics.com) that they used at the Creatures of the Wind show. "It'll make skin look watery and gleaming." —James Boehmer, NARS Director of Global Artistry at the Fall 2014 Creatures of the Wind show.
"Blue eyeliner on the bottom lash lines makes eyes look brighter." Plus, it's a fun way to add color to your makeup look without being too over-the-top. —James Boehmer, NARS Director of Global Artistry at the Fall 2014 Creatures of the Wind show.
"To create this cool, marbled nail look, add drops of polish to a bowl of water at room temperature—if it’s too warm, it will dry out the polish. Then quickly dip the nail in the area with the design you like best. When you're done with the nail, stick a toothpick in the water to easily remove the polish from the water and start over again." —Katie Jane Hughes, Butter LONDON Global Colour Ambassador, at the Fall 2014 Creatures of the Wind show.
"For big, volulminous curls like these, spray each section of hair with texturizing gel right before you curl to give it a lot of hold. Avoid spraying all over your hair at once—you don't want the gel to dry up and get too crunchy!" —Danilo, Pantene Celebrity Stylist and Global Ambassador, at the Fall 2014 Desigual show.
"To define the brows in a natural-looking way, brush eyeshadow through the brow to deepen and groom with a feathery look through the edges." —Lisa Houghton for MAC at the Fall 2014 Tadashi Shoji show.
"To contrast glowy skin, use a matte lipstick and press on with your finger for a softer, less painted-on look." —Lisa Houghton for MAC at the Fall 2014 Tadashi Shoji show.
"For effortless, textured waves, rub mousse on dampened hair and pin it in a low bun for 15 minutes." —Nelson Vercher of the Rita Hazan Salon using René Furterer at the Fall 2014 Costello Tagliapietra show.
"To create a no-makeup makeup lip, thoroughly moisturize lips with a balm and then dab on MAC Powder Blush in Desert Rose ($21, maccosmetics.com) with a blending brush to create a healthy pinky-beige color." —Maki Ryoke for MAC at the Fall 2014 Costello Tagliapietra show.
“People don’t think about wanting ‘skinny’ fingers but an oval nail is a really flattering shape that makes your hands long and lean—and who would complain about that?” —Miss Pop for Kiss and Broadway Nails at the Fall 2014 Erin Fetherston show.
For a great cat eye like this one at the Erin Fetherston show, keep your eyes open while creating the look. Then, try drawing the cat eye by starting from the outside and working your way in so that each eyeliner flick is even on both sides.
Sometimes all it takes is high-shine hair to make a big impact. Eight of the models at the Erin Fetherston got their hair glossed with Clairol Natural Instincts ($8.99, clariol.com) a few days before the show, and you can definitely tell the difference in how healthy their hair looked.
“Teasing hair with a traditional rattail comb creates a super-dense style. For a more airy, lighter feel, try using a round Mason Pearson flat brush ($170, neimanmarcus.com) and backbrush the hair." —Jeanie Syfu for TRESemmé at the Fall 2014 Marissa Webb show.
“For the most natural-looking curls, alternate between different-sized curling irons widths. For this style, I used a 1¼” iron as well as a 1” curling iron.” —Jeanie Syfu for TRESemmé at the Fall 2014 Marissa Webb show.
One of the eyeliner trends of the season is a straight-across style. “It requires a really precise line, so use a pointy Q-tip to clean up any imperfections.” —Gucci Westman for Revlon at the Fall 2014 Rag & Bone show.
Change up your hair curling game by wrapping hair horizontally—not vertically—around a curling iron. “You end up with these irregular, but cool curls.” —Jeanie Syfu for TRESemmé at the Fall 2014 Marissa Webb show.
"To cover blemishes, apply concealer with a brush that has a pointy tip. Then use your finger to pat the area gently for maximum coverage." —Uzo, NARS International Lead Makeup Stylist at the Fall 2014 Tanya Taylor show.
"To give eyes an instant lift, apply a light concealer to the outer corners of eyes and on the upper part of your cheekbones." —Alice Lane for Maybelline at the Fall 2014 Suno show.
A great rule of thumb that works at any age: "Don't use makeup to alter your appearance, use it to enhance and highlight your natural features." —Alice Lane for Maybelline at the Fall 2014 Suno show.
To avoid streaky application when using a sheer nail polish, apply Essie’s Ridge Filling Base Coat ($18, nordstrom.com) first, like they did behind the scenes at Jill Stuart.
"Maybelline’s Baby Lips are not just for your lips. You can use it on cheeks for a dewy look." —Aaron De Mey for Maybelline at the Fall 2014 Jill Stuart Show.
Smudged eyeliner? No problem, as long as it's in the right color. "Eyeliner in a deep coffee shade looks much better when it runs or smudges than black." —Alice Lane for Maybelline at the Fall 2014 Mara Hoffman show.
"For crinkly waves, braid hair from the nape of the neck through the ends and use a blowdryer diffuser on low heat to set. Then remove the braid." —Nick Irwin, Catwalk by TIGI Global Creative Director, at the Fall 2014 Mara Hoffman show.
To find the perfect pink nail polish for your skintone, try "Essie's Mademoiselle for fair skin because the color neutralizes pink undertones, while Sugar Daddy is best for darker skin because it brings out the pink." —Michelle Saunders for Essie at the Fall 2014 Diane von Furstenberg show.
"To define your jawline and give your face an instant lift, contour along the jawline with MAC Conceal and Correct Palette ($40, maccosmetics.com). Then use the palette to shade through the temples, down the nose and under the cheekbones." —James Kaliardos for MAC at the Fall 2014 Diane Von Furstenberg show.
Messed up your just-applied nail polish? Instead of using a Q-tip and nail polish remover, just run a clear top coat over the nail to easily smooth out the surface.
"To make your blush look like it’s coming from underneath your skin, pat a thin layer of concealer on top of your blush." —Aaron de Mey, Sephora Artistry Ambassador, at the Fall 2014 Opening Ceremony show.
"To recreate this asymmetrical 'floating' nail art, use scotch tape for a really precise, straight line." —Naomi Yasuda for Essie at the Fall 2014 Opening Ceremony show.
“You don’t need a ton of products to get that perfect second-day-hair look. Bumble & Bumble’s new City Swept Spray (out late February 2014) is like a combination of a dry shampoo, hairspray and wax that gives your hair amazing texture.” —Jimmy Paul for Bumble and Bumble at the 2014 Vera Wang show. 
A purple-based blush gives cheeks an edgy flush that flatters most skin tones because of its blue undertones.
"For this cool braided scarf style, use double-sided tape to keep the scarf in place on top of your head." It totally works to temporarily hold your hairstyle together for a night out. —James Pecis using PHYTO and T3 Tools for Beauty.com at the Fall 2014 Honor show.
"For the best straight-across eyeliner trick, look straight ahead with your eyes open! This makes sure you get the right amount of thickness, plus an even line." —Romy Soleimani for Beauty.com using Kevyn Aucoin Cosmetics at the Fall 2014 Honor show.
“Just because your product is meant for lips it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stick with the directions. For this makeup look, the peachy cheeks are actually from a pink lipstick.” —Romy Soleimani for Beauty.com using Kevyn Aucoin Cosmetics at the Fall 2014 Honor show.
When preparing your nails for a manicure, it's important to moisturize. "People concentrate lotion on their hands, but it’s great to add extra attention to your nails and cuticles when applying a lotion—especially in the wintertime." —Jin Soon Choi at the Fall 2014 Vera Wang show.
Twist hair into tight, twirly strands while blowdrying to give it a more natural-looking bend than a curling iron does. If you have finer hair, use smaller sections.
With a glitter nail polish, if you want full coverage (like the way the glitter looks in the bottle), the magic number is three. “Three layers will get you the most complete coverage.” —Tracylee for Sally Hansen at the Fall 2014 Tracy Reese show.
"For a subtle wave that feels like you didn’t try too hard, first bend open a bobby pin. Take a random, thin section of hair and wrap it in a figure eight motion around the bobby pin and set it with an iron." —Morgan Willhite, Ouidad Creative Director, at the Fall 2014 Tracy Reese show.
Bold, big brows are here to stay—and the latest trick is to fill them in with a color that's two shades darker than the rest of your hair to make an even bigger statement.
For a truly expedited mani, use two coats of a light nail polish color. “You can skip the base coat and top coat in that case, but for darker colors, you always need a base coat!” —Jin Soon Choi at the Fall 2014 Theory show.
At DKNY, the makeup artists dabbed a little bit of Maybelline highlighter on the cupid's bow to accentuate the lips.
"Massage skin with a face oil to prep and smooth it before applying makeup. Do you need to do it everyday? Maybe not, but it’s winter so oil is great on rough, stressed skin that’s prone to dry spots during this time of year." —Tom Pecheux for Estée Lauder at the Fall 2014 Derek Lam show.
No time to file your nails? "Nude polishes give you the freedom to wear any type of nail shape." —Jin Soon Choi at the Fall 2014 Derek Lam show.
“To get a dark lip look to stay put, peel a facial tissue so that it’s single-ply, then blot your lips onto it. Afterwards, add a dusting of loose powder to your lips and that’ll prevent lipstick from smearing or getting on your teeth.” —Sil Bruinsma for MAC at the Fall 2014 Rebecca Taylor show.
Get creative with tools that you can find around your house. "This ombré nail look was created using cut-up sponges." —Keri B. for MAC at the Fall 2014 Rebecca Taylor show.
“I like to use a side beard groomer to brush the eyebrows upward.” You get almost the entire brow in one swish! —Diane Kendel for MAC at the Fall 2014 Prabal Gurung show.
“Use a white eyeliner pencil on the lower lash line to open up the eye.” —Diane Kendel for MAC at the Fall 2014 Prabal Gurung show.
Apply Vaseline ($4.49, drugstore.com) on your nails before you start your manicure so it’s easier to remove polish that gets on your cuticles.
Usually people swipe on their blush from the apples of their cheeks to their temples. For a more seamless finish that artists learn in makeup school, start near the temples and swirl the blush brush like an imaginary infinity sign (or sideways figure eight) downwards towards your cheeks and back up again.
Don't stress over finding a lip liner that perfectly matches your lipstick. Use a creamy liner like MAC's Cremestick in Red Enriched ($15, maccosmetics.com), which is the perfect size and consistency for not only lining your lips, but for filling them in as well.
“For the most natural look when using hair extensions, try two layers instead of one.” —Nick Irwin, Catwalk by TIGI Global Creative Director, at the Fall 2014 Ruffian show.
"For the perfect amount of polish, wipe off only one side of the nail polish applicator when pulling it out of the bottle. This makes sure you have enough left over to cover the entire nail bed without having to dip the brush back in." —Rebecca Isa, Zoya Color Developer
You can brush your hair while it’s still wet from the shower—as long as you have the right type of brush. These detangling brushes are made with specific bristles that are gentle enough for wet hair.
If you have oily skin but love the look of a creamy blush, just avoid getting too close to the nose area (where skin gets the most oily) and stick to the apples of your cheeks.
“To highlight and illuminate the lip, add a reflective, light pink powder eyeshadow to the bow.” —Dick Page for Shiseido at the Fall 2014 Narciso Rodriguez show.
We might not go through as many manis a day as the models do during fashion week, but our nails might still get stained from nail polish over time—especially with darker colors. To treat discolored nails at the Narciso Rodriguez show, Deborah Lippmann used her Turn Back Time base coat, which uses light-diffusing powder to reduce the appearance of yellowing and staining.
“To anchor a faux bob, French braid a small section of hair underneath the length, loop it around the base of the head and pin it into place.” —Akemi Tamaribuchi, Kérastase Artistic Director, at the Fall 2014 Libertine show.
You don’t need nail glue to create a cool 3-D nail art look like this one at Libertine. “While the nails are still wet from a top coat, apply holographic, diamond-shaped glitter to the tip of the nails.” —Katie Jane Hughes, Butter LONDON Global Colour Ambassador, at the Fall 2014 Libertine show.
If you want to secure your hairstyle while you do your makeup, but don’t want an obvious indentation from a metal hair clip, use clips with a thin foam padding.
“To groom eyebrows, use a dab of moisturizer on a mascara wand and brush upward.” —Katie Jane Hughes, Butter LONDON Global Colour Ambassador, at the Fall 2014 Libertine show.
"When creating a cat eye, the quicker you draw it, the better. When you go too slowly, your hands will get shaky and the line doesn’t look as precise." —Adrien Pinault for Birchbox at the Fall 2014 Cynthia Rowley show.
Avoid smearing your mascara on the bottom lashes by placing a thin piece of cardboard or paper underneath your eye while you apply it. Even an old business card works.
"To brighten and define eyes without looking like you’re wearing makeup, apply a nude liner on the lower waterline and a black or brown liner through the upper lash line." —Lyne Desnoyers for MAC at the Fall 2014 Kate Spade New York presentation.
“Mix and match products to find shades that better suit you. For example, mix red lipstick with a bit of brown eyeliner to create a gorgeous maroon.” —Sarah Lucero, Global Executive Director of Creative Artistry of Stila Cosmetics, at the Fall 2014 Betsey Johnson show.
For easy half-moon nail art, use reinforcement rings that you can find in the art supply section at the drugstore.
“Tone down a really smoky eyeshadow by rubbing in a little moisturizer with a Q-tip on top of the eye makeup. It’ll take away a layer of color, but still leave behind a dewy pigment.” —Diane Kendel for MAC at the Fall 2014 Proenza Schouler show.
“I spray hairspray onto Swissco’s natural bristle toothbrushes to reach those little flyaways and baby hairs. For even more of a grip, I use a mascara wand.” —Mark Townsend, Dove celebrity hairstylist, at the Fall 2014 Elizabeth and James show.
Especially with darker colors, paint your nails starting from the middle and then work your way to each side with complete strokes from base to tip. This way, it won't look streaky.
If you start your mani at the pinky and end with the opposite thumb, it gives you the perfect amount of drying time before going on to your next coat of polish. If you don’t leave enough time for each coat to dry, the nail polish will get those annoying little air bubbles.
“To get a really tight braid, rub a hair cream in your hands instead of directly in your hair. This way the product gets deposited down along the braid to tame flyaways as you work your hands through. Also, make sure to start off with damp hair if your hair is layered. It’ll help keep all the strands tucked in.” —Mark Hampton, TONI&GUY Hair Meet Wardrobe's Global Brand Ambassador, at the Fall 2014 Marchesa show.
Quite possibly our all-time favorite tip: When asked for the best beauty advice he could offer, makeup artist James Boehmer replied, "Wear what makes you feel confident!"