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Talking make-up with Beyonce’s make-up artist: Francesca Tolot

I’ve been so privileged to attend Francesca Tolot’s for the second time! Last year was in Milan and this year it was in our very own Dubai. I’m such a big fan of her work and I felt so honoured to interview her as well for the 2nd time. In my last interview with Francesca, we’ve talked more about her career and the celebrities she’s been working with – this time we’ve talked about make-up only! She shares her favourite tips, tricks and trends. You’ve probably seen her work on Beyonce in her music videos from the past 12 years, on Charlize Theron, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez and the list goes on and on….

Read my interview with Francesca from last year, here!  To see the beauty looks from her masterclass in Dubai, click here!


Some of Francesca’s work:

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Beauty products you always carry with you in your bag
For personal use, not much. I don’t really wear much make-up, in fact – I don’t even carry a makeup bag with me unless I’m travelling. Whether its make-up or skincare, I don’t really carry any products with me through out the day. Sometimes I carry a hand cream because my hands can get really dry but I even forget that sometimes.

Your personal go-to make-up look
Mascara and a bit of a smudged black eyeliner. My all time favourite mascara is the Extreme Dimensional 3D by MAC Cosmetics.

If you could choose 1 make-up product you cannot live without
Personally, probably mascara. Work wise, I really need to have it all.

Your tips on how to hydrate dry skin before make-up application
If its’ extremely dry I use Creme de La Mer and if it’s not that dry I use their lotion.


Do you mix it with foundation as well?
It depends, sometimes I only apply the moisturiser and let it sit for about 30 minutes and allow the skin to absorb it. If its still not enough, I mix it with the foundation. Sometimes I even apply the cream on dry spots on top of the foundation.

What do you use for oily skin?
Anti-shine primers that’s the only thing that saves my day. If its extremely oily I make sure that the person is not wearing any moisturiser and just apply the anti-shine primer on bare skin.

A trick on how to make lipstick last all day
There’s no need for that anymore, nowadays there are plenty of long lasting lipsticks and lip glosses available in the market. That problem has already been solved. The quality of make-up products are getting better and better and us make-up artists are running out of tricks. There are plenty of great velvety lipsticks that last all day and you can apply a nice lip balm on top without ruining the lipstick. Quit frankly, MAC wipes are the only wipes that remove long lasting, waterproof make-up. I cannot live without the MAC make-up remover wipes, its the only one that really works

Your favourite technique to prime the face
I don’t really have a signature technique to prime the face. There are definitely different techniques and you can be very creative in that. Primers can sometimes make the foundation appear a bit cakey if you apply it on bare skin. If someone has an oily skin on the T-zone area then I only apply an anti-shine primer on those areas and blend it well so that there’s isn’t much difference in texture. Its not necessary to apply primer all over the face unless you have problem areas all over the face. If you feel like the primer makes the end result of the foundation look a bit too thick or too cakey then just apply it on the problem areas.

Do you also work with airbrush?
No I don’t, I prefer to work with my hands because this way I feel like I have more control over what I’m doing. However, I would definitely like to learn how to work with an airbrush. I would probably use it for the foundation and to paint the body, but I prefer to use my hands when it comes to the eye make-up. Its great to learn another way of doing make-up but I’ve never had the time to actually explore it.

Top 3 concealers
I don’t have a favourite foundation or concealer, it really depends on the needs of the person I’m doing make-up for. Some concealers work for others and some don’t. So concealer is a very touchy subject, there isn’t 1 concealer that works for everybody.

Is it the same with foundation?
Yes, kind of. With foundation its just that you have to learn to understand that the shade needs to match your neck so that shouldn’t be too difficult. But with a concealer you’re a bit on your own trying to find the perfect shade.

What do you think of the ‘’baking’’ trend?
It makes no sense to me. Every year there’s a new make-up trend, they just give it a name and it becomes huge. Its just something new to talk about on the internet. Highlighting has been popular for at least 10 years and now it has a name ‘’Strobing’’ and everyone is going crazy about it. Its also exactly the same thing with people using red lipstick as a colour corrector under the eyes. Its very unnecessary because at the end she’s going to apply a concealer or foundation on top of it anyway, so the red lipstick was useless in the first place. It became a hug sensation and I saw interviews on major tv stations of some of these girls that started the trend.

Have you seen the ‘’clown contouring’’ trend?
No I don’t think so.


*Explaining what clown contouring is…
Okay, and then she blends it out and looks amazing! (very sarcastic, lol!).

Wow! that’s very funny and creative. I would like to see an unedited version of the video from the beginning until the end… So this is the girl that started the trend? That’s great and very creative but then again, I would like to see the unedited video. Because in the end, after blending everything you realise that there is no purpose of it or using certain colours.

This is a good publicity stunt for the make-up sponges because in all of those viral make-up videos, the sponges are being used, which I don’t use personally because I don’t like working with it.

Do you use brushes only?
No, I use several kind of tools and sponges. Its just that the egg shape and texture doesn’t really work for me.

Favourite era when it comes to make-up trends?
Well, the most creative one – definitely the 60’s and 70’s. With the spidery, twiggy lashes and make-up was – whatever you come up with and just do it. They didn’t necessarily looked beautiful, but it was interesting. So make-up wise definitely 60’s and early 70’s.

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Beauty wise, I love the 20’s. I find it so sultry and mysterious with the smokey eyes and thin eyebrows. But I think every era has their beauty, I love the softness of the 40’s and the boldness of the 50’s with the strong eyeliner and red lips. Every era was so different from each other but still each era was beautiful. The 90’s are my least favourite.

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LOL! The 90’s is my favourite era, because I love the brown lips and over lined dark lipliner.
Really? But it was less fun from a make-up perspective. From a make-up artists point of view it was very natural to me.

What is your favourite make-up trend from the past 2 years?
Well, I can tell you my least favourite which is the contouring. I’m also not a big fan of the big strong drawn eyebrows either.

My favourite trend at the moment is probably the matte lips, also the dewy skin but that’s been going on for at least 10 years. I love the fact that lipstick is coming back, colourful and matte – I like that!

If you’d ever retire, what would you be doing?
I don’t know, I haven’t thought about that yet. I have no idea but I’m pretty sure that I won’t be able to sit back and not do anything. I’m so used to having a tight, busy schedule, running around and not being able to schedule my life. If I get to retire and suddenly not do anything, at one point I would get bored so I’ll definitely try to keep myself busy. However, I don’t know yet with what.

Would you ever launch your own make-up line?
If the opportunity comes up, I’m not saying no – but it has to be the right opportunity. Its not necessarily my goal or my dream. I would probably prefer to design the products for another brand or to be the creative director of an existing make-up line. I think that is more what I’ve been wanting to do. Nowadays there are so many make-up lines and competition, although I do believe that there is always space for new things. I think its difficult to start a business without being business oriented and being able to understand how certain things work. If I would be in that situation I would of course learn, but at the moment I have no interest into the business part of it – only the creative part of it. If I could be locked in a laboratory with different pigments and mixing & blending, I’d be happy there more than anything else.

Let’s say, you would have to design your first product, what product would it be?
It used to be foundation because for me that was the biggest challenge to achieve a natural looking skin colour and texture. This has already been achieved by many make-up brands so its there already. It’s the same with eyeshadows, you can find any eyeshadow colour and texture that you can possibly imagine. At this point I would probably design brushes. Until this day when I find my favourite brushes they get discontinued and I can’t find anything similar to that one. At this moment that would be the product to satisfy myself and fulfil my needs.

Do you have any other future plans or goals?
I’m just going with the flow. I’m letting the universe throw it at me.


Francesca and I at the new MAC store in Mall of the Emirates





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