Aussie Makeup Artist Napoleon Perdis Is Conquering America One Makeup Tip at a Time

Makeup guru Napoleon Perdis may not yet be a household name here in the US the way he is in his native Australia, but that's okay with him--and trust us, he soon will be. He's just launched at Bergdorf Goodman and we caught up with him for a phone chat in advance of the launch. Since this is the guy who runs a makeup academy Down Under (he calls it the "Harvard of makeup) we figured some tips were in order. Read on to find out why Perdis thinks you should put on mascara first, and never use lip liner.
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Makeup guru Napoleon Perdis may not yet be a household name here in the US the way he is in his native Australia, but that's okay with him--and trust us, he soon will be. He's just launched at Bergdorf Goodman and we caught up with him for a phone chat in advance of the launch. Since this is the guy who runs a makeup academy Down Under (he calls it the "Harvard of makeup) we figured some tips were in order. Read on to find out why Perdis thinks you should put on mascara first, and never use lip liner.
Photo: Getty

Photo: Getty

Makeup guru Napoleon Perdis may not yet be a household name here in the US the way he is in his native Australia, but that's okay with him--and trust us, he soon will be.

Perdis, who has the number one beauty brand in Australia and is a fixture backstage at Sydney Fashion Week, is still finding his way here in the States. He's been in the biz for 18 years--and in the US market for about four. His products are currently carried in Dillard's, Nordstrom, and Neiman Marcus and he has a lower priced line called NP Set which is carried at Target. But last week he hit the big-time, launching his luxe cosmetics line at Bergdorf Goodman.

"I’m not coming into America wanting to be a big personality in makeup," Perdis told us. "The makeup artist is a conduit to assist, they’re service providers."

Perdis is passionate about education, and teaching both his artists and customers alike is a priority. He runs a makeup academy which over 23,000 people have attended--he fondly calls it the "Harvard of makeup."

So with that kind of mentality, we figured Perdis would have some amazing makeup tips, and we were not disappointed. We caught up with the super-opinionated makeup guru for his best makeup advice, and we guarantee some of it will surprise you. Read on.

When to apply mascara: Apply your mascara first, instead of last. (This one blew my mind, because I consider mascara the icing on the cake.) Mascara can have such a dramatic effect, that if you do your blush and lips first, it might actually look too overdone once you apply mascara. "Always do mascara first," Perdis said. "It opens up the eyes, then you may say, ‘Oh I just need a little bit of gloss and concealer and I’m done.’"

Testing foundation: When asked what the hardest technique was for women to master (our money was on liquid eye liner), Perdis said he sees the most mistakes with foundation. First mistake: Don't test it on your hand, chin, or jaw line. "I test foundation around the nose area and blend out into the cheek. If you have a beautiful finish there it should blend out to nothing," Perdis said. Meaning you should have no foundation towards the edges of your face--and he hates it on the forehead. "That way there’s no demarcated line and it’s just really fresh skin."

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Yes, you CAN wear strong eye colors: Blue eye makeup was the biggest trend to come from the spring 2013 runways. Terrified? Don't be. Perdis, who just released a blue palette for the Chinese New Year said, "When you’re trying a new color shade, do it sheer--do 20 percent intensity. Build to a point your feel comfortable. Twenty percent suits everyone if you don’t want to do too much of a statement."

Don't even think about skipping primer: "Not to prime is a crime" is Perdis's mantra, and it's no surprise that Auto Pilot primer is his best seller. Even if you don't wear makeup over it, primers can give you a bit of hydration and make your skin look more evenly toned and smoother.

And don't even get him started about lip liner: "My thing about lipstick is that I don’t do lip liner--I hate lip liner," Perdis said. "If you want to do lip liner do it last as a sort of 'photoshop' technique--otherwise it changes the color of the lipstick."