While it may seem that celebs simply roll out of bed and onto the red carpet, we know that intense prep work and training—to rock those unforgiving, skin-hugging gowns so sveltely—begins months in advance. And since the stars have been rolling into the city this week for the 37th annual Toronto International Film Festival, we’ve rounded up top beauty tips to get red-carpet ready—for film premieres, after-party soirées, and of course, stargazing along the King West strip.
To help with the transformation to our TIFF-ready beauty looks, we asked, Caitlin Callahan, a M.A.C. Cosmetics senior artist for her best beauty prep tips to last long after the red carpet premiere.
Red carpet beauty prep step #1: Indulge in a little face time
Readying skin for its close-up moment doesn’t have to be all juice cleanses and dermabrasions—sort of. “As most interviews during the festival are in HD, makeup can’t do much for skin texture,” says Callahan. “Primers have improved how makeup looks but dehydration or l blocked pores don’t show up nicely in HD,” she says. “I recommend a facial and exfoliation at least three days prior.“
Red carpet beauty prep step #2: Know the morning-of tricks
It’s pretty much Murphy’s Law that even well-pampered skin will break out in a zit or two on your big day: arm yourself with the proper cover-up tools. “I use a matte, long-wearing concealer over primer,” says Callahan, who suggests using M.A.C. Pro Longwear Concealer and Fast Response Eye Cream. “The texture is matte enough that I can usually get away without powder on top.”
Just keep in mind that different areas of the skin require specific treatment for optimal coverage: “These are not the concealers I use under the eye for HD—that needs to be a more sheer, luminous and a touch lighter in colour.” Try M.A.C. Prep Prime Highlighters. “I carry all three shades in my kit and they work for practically everyone,” she says.
Red carpet beauty prep step #3: Colour coordinate—or not
One of our favourite trends from last season’s runways was the matching lip and nail colours seen at Jason Wu and Zac Posen—among others. And if done well, you can boldly dress in a similar shade to your makeup for your TIFF debut: “Matching your gown is a brave choice but can easily look too ‘big’. Choosing one feature as a focus is what most women prefer,” says Callahan.
“We decide at the beginning if this is a lip, eye or skin look and then work on accentuating that feature beautifully. HD makes everything bigger— best to not try to hide your face in makeup.” Remember to recreate a beauty look that you’re most comfortable with: “It’s so personal— it’s about style. I never try to talk someone out of something when they truly felt it represents them.”
TIFF cheat sheet: Top 8 films to see this fest
For red carpet beauty prep at TIFF, read on to the next page…
Red carpet beauty prep step #4: Pack your beauty bag
Grab your beauty bag—here’s your
red carpet skin care checklist: stand out under all those flashing lights with soft, glowing concealers and gentle translucent powders, says Callahan. And of course: “Brow gel, lash curlers, lip balm, creams (blushes, bronzers, contour—powders can look a bit pasty), and
BB Cream,” she says.
Red carpet beauty prep step #5: Build a good beauty foundation
Like anything when it comes to staying power, “it’s all in the priming,” says Callahan. “In the old days of video, we would just apply more powder, more foundation, more concealer. But now, using clear products first to
achieve a flawless canvas is more modern and pleasing on camera. Plus they are uber long-wearing.” The upside to putting in the extra face time? “I don’t have to touch up as much as I used to.”
Red carpet beauty prep step #6: Make lip colour last ‘til the after-party
“Use a long-wearing lipstick—nothing too creamy or glossy, they are higher maintenance,” advises Callahan. “But even a
long-wearing lip might need a touch up.” Slip a tiny mirror in your clutch to steal a quick glance after a while of mingling and nibbling on gourmet sliders. “I’ve been known to peek into my knife at the dinner table to check my lips,” says Callahan. “Talking, eating, kissing are the fun parts of the evening. Just know you may have to touch up.” In which case…
Red carpet beauty prep step #7: Keep your best tools with you at all times
Strategically stuff your
fabulous clutch with beauty essentials that will last your through the night (phone and keys come later). And Callahan’s must-haves for a long-lasting evening (beauty-wise, at least)? “M.A.C. Prep Prime pressed powder, Blot Film, lip colour and Q-tips, for wiping anything under eye.”
For the latest in fashion, beauty and culture, sign up to receive ELLE's daily newsletter.