Party makeup

by kira nasrat

VIOLET GREY brand ambassador and makeup artist Kira Nasrat shares her beauty tips for a successful evening out.


Known for giving out her cell phone number to our Melrose Place flagship shoppers, VIOLET GREY brand ambassador and makeup artist Kira Nasrat is as beloved for her easy charm and humor as she is for her sophisticated smoky eye looks. Clients (who include Gwyneth Paltrow, Margot Robbie, and Jamie Chung) rely on the forthcoming honesty and sage beauty advice she dispenses at a moment’s notice, and most have her on speed-dial. Here, Nasrat brings that same personalized service to Beauty Hotline, her monthly column for The Violet Files. 
The weather is fair, and the invitations many. And whether you’re headed to the New York City Ballet, your best friend’s wedding, or The Met Gala, you want your (well-considered) beauty look to steal the show. Here, Kira Nasrat shares her suggestions for looking the part at an elegant affair. 

I’m hosting a five-hour-long cocktail event. How can I keep my foundation fresh throughout the night?

The first step to flawless foundation is making sure the skin underneath is exfoliated and hydrated. There’s nothing worse than applying foundation on dehydrated skin—that’s how you wind up looking scaly or flaky. I highly recommend exfoliating the night before or the morning of with the Koh Gen Do Soft Gommage, which has gel consistency that won’t be harsh on your complexion. For the best results, use it on damp skin—afterward your face will be radiant and smooth. 

Next, massage the Tata Harper Concentrated Brightening Essence into your face to start hydrating and, as the name suggests, brightening. Don’t forget your neck, because you’ll be applying foundation there, too. And even if you prefer a matte finish, you’ll still need a dedicated moisturizer. Caudalie Premier Cru is one of my favorites for this very purpose. Let it soak in for about two minutes before using your primer. If you’re impatient, you can multitask while you wait by brushing up your brows with the Troy Surratt Brow Pomade.

A word of caution: If you have really oily skin, your foundation is going to move throughout the day. Using the Laura Mercier Oil-free Primer in your T-zone and the Laura Mercier Radiance Primer on the rest of your face will minimize this.

Now that you’ve prepped your skin for success, it’s time for the main event—applying your foundation. I advise layering it on lightly with the Chanel Foundation Brush rather than slapping on five pounds of product. Finally, right before you walk out the door, spritz with the Omorovizca Mist to help set your makeup.

I’m invited to a black tie affair tomorrow night. I have the dress, but what do I do about my skin?

Never underestimate the importance of preparation, especially when it comes to your skin. You want to look rested and radiant, so the night before the big event, put an SK-II Face Mask in the fridge. When you wake the next day, shower, slip on your favorite silk robe, and apply the cooling mask to calm any puffiness or inflammation. I also like to keep the mask on for 5 to 10 minutes longer than the box recommends to let all the product really soak in. Save the extra juice in the packet to use later (more on this below). 

The eyes aren’t just the gateway to the soul, they’re also the key to looking your most luminous, so I always recommend giving them a little TLC. After you remove the SK-II, apply the Sisley Eye Contour Mask and allow it to sit for 20 minutes to de-puff and smooth the eye area. Afterward, apply the excess from your SK-II mask packet to your neck and elbows. Waste not, want not!

Now that your skin is plumped and revitalized, massage the Pai Rosehip Oil into the face, neck, and elbows for a hydratred, glowy effect. Finish off your routine by massaging Erno Laszlo’s White Marble Emulsion all over the complexion in circular motions to boost circulation. Rub any leftover lotion onto your knees and ankles—they’re important, too! This ritual will prime the canvas for a flawless makeup application come evening.

What beauty essentials should I pack in my party clutch? I need to prioritize! 

As with most things in life, it depends on the clutch! But no matter what, make sure you have a lipstick, a La Prairie Cream Blush, and Tatcha Blotting Papers on you at all times.

It’s especially important to carry the lipstick shade you are wearing for reapplying. You may want to enjoy a glass of wine (or two or three) or air-kiss your friends, and lipstick rubs off! After the first toast, sneak away to the powder room to reapply.

The La Prairie Cream Blush is another dinner clutch favorite of mine, especially because the packaging is so chic. It’s almost like another accessory, and it has a compact mirror so you can do public touch-ups with impunity! The product itself is incredibly hydrating, so if it’s similar in color to your lipstick you can even dab a little on your pout.

Last but not least: At any event worth its salt you are going to be photographed, so you will want to avoid looking shiny against those flashes as the night goes on. Tatcha’s gold leaf Blotting Papers are my secret weapon for removing excess oil to ensure you are camera-ready through last call. And if you anticipate a long night (or a long-winded dining partner), it’s never a bad idea to throw in a travel-size packet of Advil...

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VIOLET GREY’s makeup ambassador Kira Nasrat on grand entrances, first date beauty, and more.