With a knack for brushes and charming personality that instantly reels you in, we can't help but adore celebrity makeup artist Claudio Riaz. Gracing Barneys New York in Scottsdale for a quick visit, we met up with this charismatic brush designer to uncover the secrets to looking younger with the right makeup application.
Perched on a pedestal in the middle of Barneys' beauty lounge, head Spa Girl Lisa Kasanicky was the lucky pick for a full-face makeover. With two Spa Girls in tow, plenty of wine and Claudio working his magic and charm, the scene unfolded first with a lesson in proper moisturizer application. Emphasizing that what you slap on your face before you apply makeup is just as important as the real deal, he massaged a thick cream in a circular motion to boost collagen and circulation.
"Massaging your moisturizer into skin exercises facial muscles like you exercise your body," he explained, while making sure every last bit of product was fused to Lisa's skin.
Next, Claudio tackled his biggest pet peeve, eye concealer. Even though small concealer brushes spot shelves and makeup counters, at any age they are our worst enemy. They pull, damage and age skin each time they are used and Claudio warned us to stay far, far away. To de-puff and preserve, Claudio used his Conceal Brush to pat concealer into Lisa's skin without an ounce of pull. He added a final dab of eye cream over the concealer to keep excess product from accentuating lines and dryness.
For foundation, Claudio used his Angle Foundation Brush, which is uniquely designed with firm bristles to push product into skin without the caked-on look. With a hydrated and flawless canvas, he added a pop of color to Lisa's cheeks with an illuminator followed by cream blush. Always down for a beach-day glow, we were thrilled that instead of using powder, Claudio set the blush with our top beauty must-have, bronzer. Using his favorite Instant Face Brush (and ours!), he swept on an effortless glow by drawing the number "three" on each side of her face.
In the midst of swooning over the brushes and finagling a savings plan to purchase the entire line, Claudio was on to the eyes. No two eyes are created equal, which is why Claudio designed his brushes to fit different eye shapes.
"It makes a huge difference which brushes go with different shapes of eyes," he explained as he worked his Shade Brush to dust an light color base over Lisa's entire eye. Dressing it up a little, he added a swipe of iridescent shimmer to each crease then drew a tight, thin line of charcoal gray liner on her upper lash line with the Instant Liner Brush. To transition to evening, he turned up the drama by adding a thin line to the inside of Lisa's lower lash line.
"To give the illusion of looking lifted and groomed, make sure to fill in brows by lifting while you separate and only grooming down on the very end tips," he said as he moved on to her brows. Using a light shade of powder and Brow/Comb Brush, he swept on a small dose of product working upward until completely blended. Another gem of information he divulged was that goopy, clumped mascara and lashes that stick together is one of the most aging makeup mistakes women make. With a bold, jet black shade, he held the mascara wand vertically and brushed across Lisa's upper and lower lash line, which separated without the extra clumps.
Topping off the look was a moisturizing lipstick to applied with his Lip Contouring Brush to amp up the volume. Drawing a subtle arch on each corner of Lisa's upper lip increased fullness and put the whole look together.
The results were dramatic and one fresh-faced Spa Girl and two slightly tipsy Spa Girls later, Claudio and his brushes had us completely smitten. Breaking many of the beauty rules we've honored for years, his application tips and expertly crafted brushes put a fresh spin on makeup application and deliver undeniably gorgeous results.
Claudio Riaz makeup brushes start at $35 and yes, we think they're worth the splurge. Get the collection at Barneys New York stores nationwide and at barneys.com.
Photo: Claudio Riaz Instant Face Brush, $125 at barneys.com.