Behind every flawless red carpet look or Instagram selfie is a talented makeup artist. And if you are looking at the faces of Margot Robbie, Priyanka Chopra, Gwyneth Paltrow, or Rosie Huntington-Whitely, that makeup artist is Pati Dubroff, who is responsible for some of the most iconic red carpet looks of the past two decades. In the past few weeks alone, she's wielded the makeup brush for Zazie Beetz, and Gigi Hadid, giving her the chance to try out all of fall's biggest beauty trends. Here, the makeup guru breaks it all down, from the best skincare products to buy to the unexpected tricks you would never expect.
Where do you see the latest makeup trends heading into fall?
I’ve noticed that there’s no specific box or any definitive dictate in terms of makeup trends this fall. I like that makeup currently embodies a free spiritedness. There’s no mandate. You can wear your black lipstick at the end of summer. If you want a bronze look in the fall, it’s perfectly acceptable. There is room for free expression. Embellishing makeup with jewels, pearls, glitter liner, and even stones is something beautiful that I have seen as of late. That said, I think clean is always timeless and never a trend. I love seeing beauty amplified in that natural way.
What are the new skincare products you are in love with right now?
In the realm of skincare and improving skin texture, I am obsessed with these two facial massage tools from the Japanese company ReFa. The Caxa Ray and the Carat Face are two amazing devices. Not only do they help re-contour the face, but they help skin oxygenate, move fluids around, and reduce puffiness. There is a light panel on the device that takes in available light and converts it into the slightest microcurrent charge without the zing.
I’m also loving the skincare moisturizers from Dr. Augustinus Bader. He’s a world-renowned German professor who has created skincare rooted in stem cell rejuvenation. He created a complex that communicates with your own stem cells to get to work. There are two, the Cream and the Rich Cream. I use the Rich Cream. It brings back your skin without any needles!
What basics do you always start with on clients?
When I start with someone, almost always I do a sheet mask and tailor it to their needs. More often than not, it’s usually a 111Skin Mask. I also massage the face with the ReFa tools, which makes a big difference.
What are your favorite foundations that have withstood the test of time for you?
I am very loyal to SUQQU foundations. This is a Japanese brand only sold in Asia and the U.K. Another foundation I love is Cle de Peau. In terms of loose powder, I have yet to find one better than Kanebo Sensai. I use it on every skin tone and have never had a problem with it. Also, the Surratt eyelash curler is a favorite to use. I love Clarins Instant Smooth primer, it helps smooth out the lines and pores.
Is face contouring still a relevant look, or can we kiss it goodbye?
Well, contouring has always been relevant, but to what extreme? You have to ask when applying contour, what is the goal? Gentle contouring is good for areas that can be “problematic,” if you look at it that way. Personally, I have never been one to look at someone’s face and say, "I need to change it." Overdoing it gives a bad name to makeup. When it’s overdone, it’s sad because everyone starts to look the same. Especially if someone has a narrow face and the contouring is not blended, it makes the face look skeletal. Kevn Aucoin was contouring over 30 years ago, but was giving the face an alternative dimension in an incredibly theatrically way; super beautiful for photography and purposed where the light was agreeable. YouTubers control the environments they are face contouring in. We’re not seeing them out on the real world, with real light. It looks very different in real light versus the controlled.
What is the most unexpected product you use?
If I don’t have my incredible face massage roller, I’ll get a couple teaspoons and put them in a cup of ice to use for the eye area. It’s easy and a free way to de-puff.
What is your personal daily skincare routine?
I get up in the morning and I do oil pulling, always. No matter where I am, I swish in my mouth for 20 minutes, and while I have oil in my mouth I’ll slather on a creamy face mask, eye patches, or 111 Skin Mask. If I wear makeup that day, I take it off the second I can to be hydrated. I don’t want it lingering on my face. It dries me out; I use cleansers only at night. Twice a month, I shave my face with a “lady razor” to get rid of dead skin on the surface.
For facials, I like Joanna Vargas. I get the Ultrasound Skin Tightening treatment. When in London, I go to Nichola Joss. What she does is magic. Also, I’ve been using in-home light therapy devices from CELLUMA. It helps with anti-aging, improving skin tone, acne, and even muscle pain. The devices have a light panel that has flexibility, so you can use it on different body parts for relief. It’s the only FDA-cleared light on the market for pain management. I can use it on my neck and shoulders when they get sore.
What products are a constant in your personal makeup rotation?
I wear nothing, unless I have to look decent. If I was to do a little something, I’ll do some concealer. I’ll use a Surratt eyelash curler and fill in my brows. I will also use a little creamy blush. Instead of makeup, I prefer to slather myself with a serum like Vintner’s Daughter. I always have Chanel le Rouge Crayon in my makeup bag.
When creating a great red carpet look, what factors do you take into consideration?
The first things are the who, the where, and the what. There is so much to take into consideration. How do they look best? What is the event, the shoot, the publication? Is it a morning show? Is it a press day? Is it the Grammys? Depending on the environment, I need to know what they are wearing. What is the vibe? Is there a mood board? Sometimes, we create the mood board off of what they are wearing.
What is the best beauty advice anyone ever gave you?
Years ago, when I first started as Francois Nars’s assistant, he said ,when you do your makeup, do it in natural light. Even your skincare, might I add, is better when applied in natural light. When you pay attention to yourself, do it in natural light (when possible), because it is going to always look flattering in whatever room you walk into. Makeup when it is done in an unfortunate lighting situation usually looks terrible.
What is it about makeup that inspired you to be a makeup artist?
When someone looks in the mirror and feels that spark and they are the most incredible version of themselves, that inspires me. The second driving factor for me is helping people look their most healthy, radiant version of themselves. I feel strongly that you don’t have to fall into that norm or that trap of society to be beautiful. You should be the best version of yourself and feel good.