How a Celebrity Makeup Artist Preps His Clients’ Skin for the Oscars

For more than two decades, makeup artist Daniel Martin has worked on some of the most recognizable names in the industry: Michelle Yeoh, Dakota Johnson, and Gemma Chan are all on his client list. As a result of his skincare-first approach to applying a fierce makeup look, he has earned the admiration of editors, designers, politicians, and Hollywood folk alike—rendering him one of the go-to artists of the industry. (He also works with Tatcha as its global director of artistry and education.) Of course, awards season is his main event—and the Oscars are his Super Bowl. With the big day coming up this weekend, Martin shares some of his go-to tips for achieving flawless skin and creating a makeup look built to withstand a bustling red carpet.

Why is it imperative to have a smooth, clean-skin canvas prior to makeup application?

It’s important to smooth the skin because over time, makeup naturally oxidizes, and water-based products dissipate. Having a great skin canvas helps slow down that process because what’s left on top of the skin is pigment sticking to the skin’s surface.

What’s your full, step-by-step, pre-makeup-application process? What products do you rely on to get there?

In addition to smooth skin, I need smooth lips. The lip canvas will hold and profile a lip color best when it’s properly exfoliated. So to start, I always apply Tatcha’s Kissu Lip Mask to restore lips to their full lushness while I prep the face. From there, I use The Matcha Cleanse to cleanse and purify the face, while also smoothing skin texture and reducing excess oil and shine for better-looking makeup all day. Then, I use the The Texture Tonic to gently exfoliate and remove any dirt, debris, and flaky skin.

To draw down hydration and support moisturizer, I use The Essence, and then depending on my client’s skin type, I like to use either The Water Cream or The Dewy Skin Cream to add even more hydration and give my clients a smooth, clarified complexion. Then to prime the skin and ensure the makeup stays in place, The Liquid Silk Canvas is my go-to. To cancel out any shine after makeup application, I use the Aburatorigami Blotting Papers to remove unwanted moisture before adding any additional powder. To finish, I go over the highlighter with Tatcha’s Serum Stick to add a more subtle radiance that doesn’t interfere with the makeup and adds more glow to areas of the face with more controlled placement.

The Oscars can often become a 12-hour event for your celebrity clients—even when they’re leaving after parties at 2 AM. How do you create a makeup look that stays put for that long?

The best way to lock down your makeup for the evening is to use a makeup primer that acts as a magnet for whatever you use on top of it. My favorite is the Tatcha Liquid Silk Canvas because it is water-based and is compatible with so many foundations out right now.

If you’re more on the oily side and need more lockdown, use a setting spray to finish the makeup. One of my favorites is the Beauty Blender Boost 4-1 Setting Spray. This combination of locking from underneath and then on top with a setting spray is a win-win for red carpet. The only other touch-up product you may need is using the Tatcha Blot Papers to pick up moisture!

I notice that blush is usually the first makeup to fade from a look. What trick or tip do you use to keep it in place, and which blush are you loving these days?

I actually do a hack where I’ll use a cream blush first on the cheeks before foundation—I do this because I want to see the color come through the skin, so when I lay foundation on top of it, I can still see it but it looks painted from within. Afterward, lock it down using a powder blush (similar in color) on top of it. Right now, I’m obsessed with these cream cheek and lip colors from Chanel. They’re beautifully pigmented and easy to apply with your fingers.

Some people do not like fake lashes or just can’t wear them. Which mascara do you love that delivers?

My favorite new mascara right now is Victoria Beckham’s Vast Lash. The brush and formula are incredible, especially for long, thin lashes that need volume. And Dior’s Diorshow Iconic Waterproof Mascara is a must for those potentially emotional winning moments.

Which other products do you use on clients during awards season—especially for makeup that delivers a clean and lasting look?

Chanel’s Les Beiges Bronzing Cream is a makeup artist kit staple; it gives warmth to the skin when awards season is happening in the dead of winter. I also love Tinted Hueglow Drops in Golden Hour—it’s the perfect highlighter for that all-over glow on the body. Hourglass Concealer gives you coverage and staying power in slim packaging, which is perfect to send off with a client in their clutch. Phytosurgence Skin Spark Blush Balms are beautiful potted cream colors from Canada that I love to use on the eyes, lips, and cheeks, and to create a beautiful base for the face.

What’s a quirky makeup tip you give to clients before they head down the red carpet or start an interview?

A send-off of mine is giving my clients these Japanese individually wrapped q-tips that are pre-soaked in micellar water and can fit the smallest clutch for touch-ups or makeup smudges. I also give them the Tatcha Serum Stick to touch up any foundation fallout, to rehydrate the lips, fix around the eyes, or give a boost to a cheek highlight.

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