NYFW is a notoriously glam time of year, in no small part due to the infantry of industry pros working their well-dressed butts off behind the scenes.

One of our faves – celebrity makeup artist and green beauty guru, Katey Denno – is no stranger to the madness, including the challenge of getting runway makeup to play nice under pressure and on a variety of skin types. We asked Katey to spill some of her top secrets for getting just the right amount of glow, rocking a bold eye without looking like a (sexy) raccoon, and keeping it all in place…

Although it’s been a few years since I worked New York Fashion Week, I remember vividly those times backstage when the atmosphere felt like a mix between an emergency room, a carnival and a mad artist’s studio.

The energy is palpable and – with anywhere from 14-26 hairstylists and makeup artists each trying to wrangle models into chairs, carry out the art direction as it came from the lead makeup or hair artist, and maintain some level of a calm and upbeat attitude – it’s one of those experiences that feels more like a dream than an actuality.

I learned a number of tricks-of-the-trade during my years working NYFW, from other artists and from the depths of my imagination, because, sometimes when you’re in the trenches, inspiration strikes in the form of lipstick.

glow vs. Shine| When you want to glow in just the right places, but you’ve messed up and put too much face oil on that just isn’t absorbing, take one ply of a tissue, or a sheet of oil-blotting paper, wrap it around the pointy side of the beauty blender and target specific areas to remove that crazy excess shine from just the right places (and to be clear, those areas would be the middle of your forehead, your nose, the space on either side of the bottom of your nose, and center of your chin).

Falsies refresh | If your strip eyelash starts to buckle when you blink or peel off at one end and you don’t have time to pull it off and fuss with reapplication, reapply the glue, wait for it to dry down a bit, grab a toothpick (not a cotton swab) to dip into lash glue, and then expertly wiggle the tiny droplet of glue where its needed, smearing it along the base of the false lash, without disturbing your amazing eye makeup creation.

tweeze Your Lashes? | When you’ve just opened a new mascara and applied one too many coats only to find that the formula is different than what you’re used to using and it’s super gloppy and causing your lashes to clump together, there is hope. Before lashes have dried, use a Tweezerman lash comb to instantly separate lashes, starting at the root and combing through. It’ll remove excess clumps and help to fan ‘em out all pretty-like. I didn’t think this was so much of a pro-tip, but I’ve recently been surprised by how many people don’t have one of these amazing tools in their makeup kit!

mix your Mascara | When the lashes of the model sitting in your chair aren’t as thick (read: they’re super pale, short and sparse) as the models sitting on either side of you, but the look is ‘model’s own lashes –no fake lashes,’ there is an old makeup artist’s trick that’ll help. Apply one coat of mascara from root to tip, on curled lashes (if they’re long enough to curl, that is). Then apply your eyeshadow, making sure to be a little messy in your application, so that some loose shadow falls onto the lashes, thus clinging to the one coat of mascara, and acting as a thickener. Once you finish the eye makeup, apply two more coats of mascara to the coated lashes, and you’ll see an obvious difference.

Amp-Up Eyeshadow | Sometimes you buy a powder eyeshadow for the boldness of color or pieces of gold or blue sparkle in it, only to find out when you apply it, it barely shows up on your skin – regardless of your skin tone. One pretty sure fire way to fix this in a flash is to fill a tiny container, or your palm, with a few drops of water, dip your brush into the water, drag it onto your shadow, and then press what you’ve picked up onto your lid. It’ll intensify the color payoff and help the shimmer particles to adhere.

Liner as Lips | When you can’t find lipstick that matches your favorite lip liner, use your liner to line and color-in your lips, and then go back and do it again; coat with a layer or two of your favorite lip balm, and you’re good to go (plus it’ll probably last longer than if you’d just used the lipstick)!

gel your Brows | When your eyebrows are wild and each hair has a mind of its own and you need them to cooperate and all lie down facing the same way, together, having a fancy eyebrow gel on hand isn’t a must. Grab any hairspray you have on hand, or any balm (think: non-petroleum version of Vaseline) and apply sparingly, with your finger, or – even better, an eyebrow spoolie – to tame your brows in a flash.

Soften Your Smudge | If you favor that ‘morning after’ messy, smudgy, sexy, black eyeliner look, but have found it difficult to recreate because you’re too much of a perfectionist, you’re not alone. Makeup artists have struggled with this forever. One of my favorite tricks is to use a soft, creamy dark-black liner, have the model scrunch her eye closed, get that pencil inside the scrunch, and gently drag it from corner to corner. Blink a number of times before the liner ’sets,’ to messily transfer product from top to bottom, and back again, and then use your finger to smudge it, (removing some with your finger is generally a good idea) a bit into a shape that’s slightly upturned on the outer corner (an upturn is generally the most flattering shape on all eyes). It’ll look a mess, but once you coat your lashes with mascara and step back from the mirror, you’ll see just how ‘morning after’ it really looks. Keep a cotton swab on hand in case you need to remove any more.

smile white | One question I’m asked all the time is: Why do some people always have lipstick on their teeth, while others never do. The answer is: I don’t know. However, I do know how to help those who always have it on their teeth: Apply your lipstick, take a cotton swab, held perpendicularly to your mouth, and insert between your lips. Drag it from side to side, removing all that excess lipstick that’s coating the part of your lips that touch your teeth. Do that a few times, and then flip the cotton swab to the clean side, and do it again. A more eco-friendly option: Use your pointer finger in place of the cotton swab.

Get more tips and tricks from green beauty guru, Katey Denno, here!

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