4 Things Hairdressers Notice about Makeup Application

4 Things Hairdressers Notice about Makeup Application

Elle Hoppenstedt, Master Hair Stylist and Colorist at Planet Salon in West Hollywood sees what’s going on with everyone’s foundation every day of the week.

In the celebrity-drenched environs of Los Angeles, from Malibu to Echo Park, it’s a not so well kept secret that if you want to know who’s had the best plastic surgery, you should ask an upper echelon hairdresser. Why? Because they see everything up close, hear everything on the QT, and know everything from every angle. They’re walking, talking data bases of facial dos and don’ts.

So we took a step back. If hairdressers can tell us so much about plastic surgery results, it holds that they also see a lot of foundation application results too . . . from the good, to the bad, to the unblended. And it turns out they do have plenty to say on the subject.


“Having examined thousands of faces and follicles over a 16-year career, behind the chair and on set, I’ve seen all sorts of makeup trends come and go,” says Elle Hoppenstedt, coiffurista and hair colorist at Planet Salon in West Hollywood, California. “While I am all for the freedom of self-expression, breaking the rules, and loving edgy editorial makeup, on a general daily basis the best makeup I come across on a client is the kind that doesn’t even look like it’s there. When the foundation ‘disappears’, it’s the skin and face that demand the viewer’s focus rather than the makeup. And it makes life a lot easier for your hair colorist too.”


Here are Elle’s hairdresser tips guaranteed to improve your foundation application technique:

1. Rely on our eyes.

Face shape and skin tone are two critical metrics for figuring out what and how to apply your makeup. Yet despite tons of how-to’s online or tracing your face in the mirror with lipstick, most beauty civilians are just guessing. Notes Elle, “Unless you’re a model or a celebrity, you probably don’t see a professional makeup artist all that regularly to help you out here. Yet, your hairdresser–whose whole business is working with face shape and color–is someone most people visit several times a year. All you have to do is ask. We can tell you right away if your skin tone is warm or cool or can discern between an oval and a round shape in a New York minute. And even if we don’t apply makeup on you ourselves, we are certainly qualified to critique yours but only if you ask.”

2. Stay true to your tone.

“The purpose of makeup is to look like an improved version of yourself, not like you’re someone else entirely,” Elle advises. “Wearing foundation that matches your skin tone (that is, warm or cool) and pigment (that is, color) exactly matters when you go into the salon. When I’m doing hair color, heavy cake-makeup can conceal a client’s true skin tone and make it difficult to determine what the most flattering shades would be or what our options are. If you can’t make a makeup match, I’d much rather you come in with no foundation, blush or bronzer on at all.”

Mineral Air in the picture: Four-in-One Foundation comes in 7 shades (4 warm, 2 cool and 1 neutral) that can also be blended to match your complexion exactly.

3. Work your third dimension.

“The biggest difference between how a beauty professional sees your face and how you do is one of dimension,” observes Elle. “Most people stare straight into the mirror to apply their makeup as if they are working on a flat, two-dimensional piece of paper. Their foundation stops at the top of the forehead and ends at the chin which ends up looking a little mask-like strange. In beauty school, it’s constantly drilled into us that faces and bodies are continuous combinations of curves and planes involving height, width and depth. They never let us forget that a successful look has work from every angle. This holds for real life too.”

Mineral Air in the picture: The AirMist Device enables you negotiate around the jawline to blend under the chin and down onto the neck and chest with the greatest of ease. You can even lightly mist the ears (taking care not to spray into the ear) so that they actually look like they belong to you and not something you picked up at the 99¢ store.

4. Blend like you mean it.

Elle concludes, “I’ve seen a lot of unblended highlighting in my chair over the years, which does nothing to enhance the client’s features, but instead makes them look like they’re from another planet. A seamless, blended application of highlighter (on top of a seamless, blended application of foundation) or bronzer/blush can enhance cheekbones or undereye areas but only if the effect is a subtle one.”

Mineral Air in the picture: AirMist Device application is so fine that it blends flawlessly with zero demarcation or edges, no matter how many passes, layers or targeted spot areas you apply.

“I’ve seen a lot of unblended highlighting in my chair over the years, which does nothing to enhance the client’s features, but instead makes them look like they’re from another planet.”


Elle Hoppenstedt
Master Hair Stylist and Colorist
Planet Salon

W planetsalon.com
IG @dome_improvement

Mineral Air

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