Beauty Secrets We Learned From Pati Dubroff

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As far as we know, there’s almost no such thing as effortless beauty. From facial treatments that leave your complexion dewy and luminous to the perfect winged eyeliner, experts reveal their most-trusted, insider hacks for CR’s series, Beauty Secrets.

Growing up, Pati Dubroff was obsessed with playing with her mother’s makeup. „I would spend a lot of time just painting all of my friends and anyone who let me near them,“ she tells CR. „I remember thinking, this is what I want to do when I grow up, but back then, it wasn’t a known career.“ After graduating from high school, Dubroff scored a job at a makeup counter, which then lead to her assisting makeup legend Francois Nars for several years. She did whatever she had to make it in the industry, from working on music videos with no budget for MTV to waiting tables.

Dubroff is now the go-to makeup guru for Hollywood’s biggest stars, including Margot Robbie, Priyanka Chopra, and Natalie Portman. „I love the anything goes spirit of makeup right now,“ she says. „There are girls who are absolutely so proud of their natural bare face or the opposite, where someone literally dips their face in glitter. I find it really inspiring.“

Below, she shares the biggest lesson she’s learned from Nars, her favorite red carpet looks, and her take on Face-tuning.

Favorite makeup products?
Chanel Mascara Le Volume Revolution. It’s the newest one, super black, doesn’t flake, and I love the brush. Surratt Beauty’s Perfectionniste Concealer Palette is incredible because it’s two shades with a little powder and it corresponds to the tone of the palette. I keep that in my bag for quick touch-ups. For eyeshadow, I use Viseart. They’re the highest-quality eyeshadows, whether they’re matte or shimmer. There’s nothing better for the pay-off, texture, and the blend-ability. I use this lipstick from Sunnies Face, which is based in the Philippines, called Fluffmate. It’s a huge Instagram phenomenon. When it got sent to me, I went ‚Wow, what is this?‘ I’m obsessed with these lipsticks.‘ There is one particular color called Hot Sauce that’s just the most perfect coral red. I’ve also recently discovered the Stila Convertible Color Blushes. I’m re-obsessed with them. I used to use them way back in the day and I’ve replaced all of my other cream blushes with them.“

What about your skincare routine?
„In the morning, it’s like nothing. I only cleanse at night. I basically use Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream. It’s just one and done. It has actually changed my skin. I’ve been using it for about a year and it’s incredible the difference. In the morning, it’s that cream around my eye area and around my neck, and I’m out the door. If I’m feeling a little dry, I use the Vintner’s Daughter Botanical Serum. In the evening, I focus on cleaning my skin. I use the Face Halo Modern Makeup Remover. It’s specifically formulated for taking makeup off the skin, so you don’t need a cleanser and even if I don’t wear makeup, I still use it to take out the environmental pollution. Then, I use the Weleda Gentle Cleansing Milk. I bounce around and see what exfoliating treatment I want to use. My favorites are the Joanna Vargas Exfoliating Mask that I’ll use as either a general exfoliator or I’ll keep it on a little bit longer as a mask. I’ll use the Susanne Kaufmann Enzyme Peel or the Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial. I’ll layer on the 111skin Black Diamond Retinol Oil or the 111skin Y Theorum Repair Serum. Some nights, I’ll do the Sisley Black Rose Cream Mask or the 111skin Biocellular Sheet Mask.“

What’s helped your skin the most?
„Rolling my face with rollers and the Refa ones are incredible when you stimulate, add circulation, oxygenate, and add the lifting ability. I recently worked with a client and I never pass up the opportunity to roll their face, even if someone’s young. I used the combo of Refa and ZIP, which is a nano-current and micro-current. It makes the skin look more alive, and then you don’t have to use as much foundation. Also, shaving. At the dermatologist’s office, it’s called derma-planing but the at-home version is just like mini-razor face shaving. That’s changed things a lot, because the texture becomes really smooth. I don’t have to rely on waxing or threading, because those things cause bumps and makeup looks so much better on smooth skin.“

Favorite look you’ve done on Robbie?
„I loved the yellow eyeshadow for Margot and I feel like it was a very surprising red carpet look. At that moment, yellow eyeshadow wasn’t all over the place and I feel like that started the momentum. In the dress, there were these very delicate little flowers, and the yellow was almost imperceptible. I picked it out because it was completely unexpected. Another look that I love a lot is for the London premiere of Mary Queen of Scots. Margot was wearing a Rodarte gown and I did a red lip and a red eye that had a glitter in it. It was very monochromatic, it was right before the holidays, and people got really excited about it being the ultimate holiday makeup look. I love the monochromatic aspect of it and red eye shadow is tricky. You throw some red glitter on it, and it’s even trickier. It just proves that it can be quite wearable and striking.“

Monochromatic makeup has been trending recently.
„Monochromatic is something I always tend to fall back on, because I find it super flattering and complimentary. I very much like when I look at someone and there’s a harmony between what’s going on on the face and what’s going on in the clothes.“

What about for Chopra?
„The look that she had at the Met Gala, the Ralph Lauren with the really intricate gold hooded cape. I did a gold eye and a very deep red mouth. That was a favorite. Also, when she attended the royal wedding in the spring, where she’s wearing the lavender Vivienne Westwood. I did an orchid pink, monochromatic vibe. That was a huge favorite because it felt so spring. It felt like a breath of fresh air, with the scent of flowers. It was so vibrant and pretty and feminine.“

Makeup trend you’re not a fan of?
„I’ve been pretty vocal about my dislike about the abuse of retouching, Facetune-ing, and filtering images, and passing it off as real makeup. That’s a makeup trend that mortifies me. The people who interact with me on social media are really grateful for the fact that I don’t go to that place of changing someone’s face. I wish that there was like a pre-requisite where you have to say, ‚This photo was edited like this.‘ It’s doing such a disservice to women and girls who are seeing these images and not understanding why their skin isn’t looking like that flawless butter and why their cheekbones don’t look so high. The manipulations that are going on are pretty extreme. It’s not just in photoshop, it’s like using fillers and things like that. You can’t control what someone should do, but you can control how you choose to manipulate an image that you’ve created.“

Is that common among makeup artists?
„Oh yeah. Thank god for the sites that are calling it out, where they’re showing you how things have been manipulated. With the tools out there, it’s happening more and more. I’m also quick to say I do use Facetune if my client has a zit or some texture that didn’t cover with the concealer, I might gently blur it out a little bit, but I’m not going to change the shape of their face. I’m not going to lift their eyebrow, or lift their cheekbone. That’s the kind of stuff that’s really upsetting to me.“

Most important thing you learned from Nars?
„The biggest thing I learned from Francois is that he taught me to do makeup in natural light, because if you do it in natural light, it’s gonna look good in any lighting environment. He was always like, get out of the bathroom, get out of the makeup room where the light’s not great. Get to the window, if you can. I really learned about light from him. Another great lesson I learned is being quick, flexible, and not requiring a lot of product for simplicity. Now I’m pretty obsessed and I carry multiple lights with me, because you never know if you’re gonna get stuck in a little dark corner to do makeup. I carry handheld lights, makeup lights, so when I’m touching someone up on our way to an event in the car, I have a light with me.“

What’s your makeup aesthetic?
„I’ve always been really obsessed with skin. I believe in at least attempting to re-create that baby skin on my client and myself: skin that has incredible bounce and sheen that doesn’t look fake. It’s really lit from within because of the purity of the being. I’m not going to say, ‚less is more‘ is my aesthetic but I definitely don’t have a very heavy hand. When someone wants something that goes to that heavier place, that’s not my thing. I like little surprises of color, too, even if it’s hidden and I’m the only one who knows it’s there or if someone has to zoom in really close on an image to see that there’s chartreuse eyeliner very close to the lash line. We did that on Portman for an event. I snuck it in there, but it made me feel happy because it tied everything in.“

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