Maybe Taylor Swift’s adorably humble yet impressively savvy image is more than just a media concoction. Despite the team of professionals she’s surrounded by, the gal frequently does her own makeup. According to celebrity makeup artist Jake Bailey, that perfect, dramatic cat eye--a staple hammered into her looks as heavily as her army of pale, full-skirted frocks--is often Taylor's own handiwork. “I’m amazed at the speed and precision with which she does her own cat eye,” Bailey gushed over dinner at NYC’s 5 Ninth last night, rendering even the most adept beauty editors at the table a little jealous. Noting that many women have slightly different shaped eyes, Bailey cited "practice, practice, practice" as his main advice for mastering the look, since there's no uniform trick to account for individual, asymmetrical nuances.
Thankfully, there are tons of quick fixes for other makeup dilemmas-- like how to remove stubborn glitter in 2 seconds flat. A few of our favorites tips from Bailey, who works with Mariah Carey, Cameron Diaz, and Katy Perry (which seems like a creative makeup artist's dream, no?): Business cards are amazing tools for eye makeup application. Bailey holds a card between the lashes and the brow line as he applies mascara, stressing the importance of putting the bulk of the product at the very base of the lash line (instead of at the tips, as most women inevitably do). Not only does the barrier prevent accidental mascara on the brow, it guarantees better results by encouraging a direct, upwards sweep of mascara to really curl the lashes, rather than a motion that's more horizontal (again, what most women inevitably do, as they try to avoid getting the product everywhere). Makeup Primer IS necessary. While Bailey sympathizes with how many steps and products women need in their beauty routines, he asserts that primer's not one to skip, especially for foundations and powder eyeshadows, which will crease without an even base to rest on. As a result, he's "a big fan of products that simplify"-- like CoverGirl's Intense Shadow Blasts, which combine primer and pigment rich eyeshadow into one convenient wand. Scotch tape can be makeup remover. Well, sometimes. When filming the "California Girls" video, Katy Perry wore different colored glitter eyeshadow in every scene—a nightmare for quick wardrobe and makeup changes. To switch up the eye makeup easily, Bailey used a strip of Scotch tape, lifting the makeup off quickly, gently, and neatly. (A handy trick should we take to trying fall's glittery makeup looks, a la Vena Cava.) But perhaps our favorite tidbit we learned from Bailey wasn’t even makeup related. To get his start in the industry, Bailey walked up to 90s makeup legend Kevyn Aucion at NYC's Bowery Bar, saying "I want to work for you and I'll do it for free; I just want to learn", snagging him an internship under one of the most famous makeup artists ever. Elle’s Joe Zee did the same thing with stylist great Polly Mellen, proving that sometimes all you need to get the started is a bit of brazenness to seize an opportunity in front of you. And then, in no time, you'll be smearing Katy Perry's eyelids blue for the Smurf premiere. "It was either blue eyeshadow or blue skin," Bailey joked. But hey, we wouldn't be that surprised by the latter, actually.