Backstage Pass

A celeb makeup artist’s top tips

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Make Up For Ever face and body liquid foundation

When “it” girls need that fresh, flawless look, they get a hold of makeup artist Robbie Piñera. The gifted makeup pro is well-known for giving celebs an undeniable radiance that transforms daily drab into “Oh my God” in a few brushstrokes. We asked this BFF to A-listers to dish which beauty items he counts on for red-carpet looks.

Be it against flashes of a camera or the floodlights of a movie set, Robbie knows how to keep A-list celebrities shining brightly. He beautifies a bevy of young celebs on- and off-screen, including Anne Curtis, Georgina Wilson and Sam Pinto. Naturally, I was hyped when he agreed to talk about his personal style, as well as a few tips for getting the look yourself. Get your cosmetics case ready, because it’s about to experience a serious makeover.

My most challenging job was… the L’Oreal TV commercial shoot with Anne Curtis. The fact that I was working with the most demanding and sought-after professional team intimidated me a lot. The team comprised a Paris-based director (who had worked on several L’Oreal international TVC campaigns with celebs like Penelope Cuz, Cheryl Cole and international top models), a Singaporean lighting director, a Thai hairstylist who has been in the business for many years, and me, the only newbie in the main team!

Everyone was checking up on the makeup (foundation, lashes, lip color, contouring, etc.); the experience was exciting and thrilling at the same time. I had to be technical about the makeup I applied, the tones, texture and effect on camera—not just the average “make-me-pretty” makeup, but makeup that appears seamless, clean and radiant throughout the entire shoot.

Because we were using a high-definition camera, every detail and flaw would be very visible. It was a life-changing experience for me as a makeup artist. After that, more than getting paid, I gained the experience of working with such a great team and getting to be part of an amazing campaign for a great brand that is renowned all over the world.

Celebs I always work with and love are… Anne Curtis, Georgina Wilson, Carmina Villaroel, Lovi Poe, Jasmin Curtis, Ruffa Gutierrez, Sam Pinto, Angel Locsin, Judy Ann Santos and many more.

Makeup products I’m currently crazy about are… lipsticks. I love lipsticks! I have a huge collection of lipsticks in all shades, textures and brands (Mac, Illamasqua, Make Up For Ever, Top Shop, Nyx, Tom Ford, etc.). Also blushers and bronzers, I just love using them and they are very visible in the way I put makeup. It may be in powders, creams, gels… I love them all!

I’m in constant search of… good quality foundations. It’s a must for me! I keep searching for the newest, most versatile foundations that create perfect texture and tones for my clientele. I’ve tried almost everything, but nowadays I’m still crazy about Make Up For Ever face and body liquid foundation, RMK liquid and gel cream foundation, RCMA cream foundation and Illamasqua skin base foundation. They have worked for me ever since.

I splurge on… brushes. I make it a point to have the best and perfect tools. For me, every makeup artist should invest in a set. If they are always kept well and cleaned properly, they can be a lifetime partner.

The countries where work has taken me to are… I had the privilege of working and shooting in Paris (Anne’s Rogue cover), London (fashion editorial with Pam Quiñones and Mark Nicdao), Bangkok (TV commercial shoots with Anne and the FHM cover of Lovi Poe), Tokyo (Angel Locsin’s Rogue cover where I did her hair and Lala Flores did her makeup), Macau and the Island of Palau (Cosmo’s fashion editorials).

I invest good money in… body oils such as Caudalie Divine Oil. It’s a dry oil that makes the skin so soft yet not too greasy. Anne gave this to me from her trip to the US. I also use this to add subtle radiance to the skin for my shoots. Body creams like Laura Mercier’s Creme Brulée—you will smell so yummy the whole day with this rich cream. Skin Serum like La Mer concentrate and Lancôme Vissionaire—they help my skin recover from lack of sleep or minimal rest due to long hours of commercial shoots and exposure to sun and studio lights.

I can’t get enough of… perfumes. I love searching for new and old brands and collecting them when I travel, like Penaligons, Tom Ford, Jo Malone, Frederic Malle, etc.

And a few years ago, during my trip to Paris, a friend of mine introduced me to this exclusive parfumerie called Galimard, wherein you can customize your very own signature scent.

A French perfume artisan will provide you with 40 organ notes/fragrances, and will ask you to pick a few of your favorite scents that will consist of the head note, the base note and the heart note, and will mix them until you get the perfect scent that is exclusively for you. It was a very personal and great experience, and whenever you wear that special concoction, you know that you’re the only one who carries that scent.

I have an obsession for… coffee-table books about makeup, fashion, interiors and photography. I have a collection of books from the great makeup artists Kevin Aucoin and Laura Mercier, and younger makeup artists such as Scott Barnes and Rae Morris. Fashion books like Balenciaga, Dior, McQueen, Versace, etc. Interiors like Shabby Chic, Parisian Interiors, Pottery Barn, etc.; and photography books from Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton, Mario Testino, etc. I just love them all! And my collection is still growing and I don’t think I will ever stop.

In makeup, I am most particular about my base. An artist should have a clean canvas to work on. Everything else will depend on the look or peg you want to achieve.

Robbie’s choice products come from Rustan’s department store: La Mer Concentrate 30 ml, P17,400; Laura Mercier soufflé body cremes, P2,450; Lancome Vissionaire Serum.

Top tip: Robbie keeps his stars looking fresh and modern by keeping up with current makeup trends. His advice: “A makeup tip you can do to update your look is to try out new tones/shades and textures of lip color. Your lips can make a statement on how your mood or feeling is at the moment. Plus, if you don’t like it or you messed up, it’s the quickest thing you can change.”

Try Clinique’s newest lippies, the Chubby stick, P920. It’s a nourishing lip balm and color stain, leaving lips with a natural blush of color and sheen. Available in 16 mouthwatering shades, ranging from nudes to pretty pinks and deep purples. Found in all Rustan’s department store and Clinique boutiques.

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