Beauty: D&G Makeup Artist Christian McCulloch Reveals His Luminous Tips...

Can you tell I'm obsessed with makeup and skin care? I'd say a series of deep-diving beauty posts can attest to my dedication to perfecting the art & science of beauty. Today I bring you a VERY special treat. Makeup artist to the stars Christian McCulloch was kind enough to put down his brushes long enough to answer some very detailed questions I posed to him. 

But before I share his "get glowing" tips I'd love to familiarize you with his work. Do the names Scarlett Johansson, Emma Stone, Taylor Swift, Kate Hudson, Jessica Biel, Hilary Swank, Rachel Weisz, Shakira, Kate Winslet, Naomi Watts, Cameron Diaz, Anne Hathaway, Nicole Richie, Milla Jovovich, and Rachel Zoe ring a bell? I know I had you at Taylor Swift, but the list of famous clientele is impressive. The Sydney, Australia native has worked with brand giants YSL, MAC, Oscar de la Renta, Jason Wu, Tory Burch, Donna Kara, MaxMara and many more. Let's just say when it comes to getting gorgeous, Christian has the lock on all things beauty and everyone in the industry knows it. 

Through a series of fortuitous events I was able to ask Christian a few questions about the makeup techniques & products he'll be featuring at the Spring Looks Event in Houston. Utilizing the newest products from the Summer Shine Collection as well as those Dolce Matte lipsticks everyone is dying to get their hands on, Christian will be gussying up Houston's finest on May 30th at Saks at the Galleria. Yes, you too can have this supremely talented (and incredibly fun) makeup and skin care guru bless you with the gift of his artistry. (Don't worry... full details at end of post!)

Okay... ready for my skin care & makeup questions? I pressed him for his thoughts on how to prep your lips for those richly pigmented matte lipsticks, how important moisturizing is to the final look and his thoughts on getting that natural luminosity when the mercury rises. Ready? Here we go: 

Franki Durbin: Christian, thank you for your time. I love your ability to leverage makeup to bring out the unique beauty in your clients. It is truly a gift! 

On to Dolce & Gabbana Summer Shine look… the step-by-step instructions begin with application of the luxurious 10-minute Aurealux Mask. Can you share with us the transformative properties of the mask and the qualities it lends the skin in preparation for the makeup to follow?

CM: I love the Dolce&Gabbana Aurealux Mask. It's super refreshing and hydrating and boosts the skin's overall quality and texture leaving it very silky. The Mask is a serum-based formula with a gorgeous luxurious consistency. The key ingredients are an exclusive Gold Flavo-silk complex  - with gold silk sericin, Italian olive oil extract and Vitamin B3.   The Mask perfectly primes and conditions skin beautifully before makeup application.

FD: What I love most about the finished Summer Shine Collection is the pairing of luminous skin and dramatic eyes. I’d love to hear your preferred method for applying the Luminous Foundation. Are you a brush enthusiast? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the difference in the finished look when foundation is applied with a brush versus with fingertips. 

CM: I like to use all methods for foundation, brushes, sponges, and yes, fingertips.  Tools are more helpful if the formulation is liquid and runnier as you can get a little more control. Fingers and hands can be great when used as an "instant palette" for thicker, more heavily pigmented foundations and concealers. The warmth of your hands melt and break it down so you don't apply too much. With the Dolce&Gabbana Luminous Foundation I usually apply it with a foundation brush first, starting in center of face working outwards, and then finessing with fingertips and sometimes a sponge, as I blend outwards to a seamless and sheer finish.

FD: It’s refreshing to see the Summer Shine look emphasize facial curvatures by way of highlighting rather than shading. I love this for creating a radiant summer look. Could you offer tips for giving the illusion of fuller cheekbones by placing the Dolce Illuminator in just the right spot? It’s often a challenge to nail the art of placement without going overboard. 

CM: Highlighting the face with contour and dimension is so big right now! The new Dolce&Gabbana illuminator in Luna works incredibly well in tandem with the Bronzers and Cheek Colors because it illuminates the cheekbones and makes them pop when applied over the color. It really brightens things up!  I like to sculpt with a gorgeous Bronzer such as Desert first, under the cheekbone area, lightly dust the "apples" of the cheeks (i.e where you smile) with a peach or pink blush. The Illuminator goes on the upper outer cheekbone area, just below the eye contour area. Your guide is about halfway between your outer nose and outer eye area, where the light hits. Lightly dusted over the whole area, blending, blending - blending. It's also great as a brightening base for the whole eyelid and brow area, as it functions as a finishing powder. 

FD: Matte red lips done well are a sensual statement on a woman. What professional advice can you give to us on achieving a flawless finished lip when daring to use such a richly pigmented lipstick as Dolce Matte? 

CM: Dolce&Gabbana Dolce Matte Lipsticks rock! They are the most amazing rich velvet lipsticks, packed with color.  The application is very smooth, especially for intense color with such a matte finish. I tend to apply it to the bottom lip first. That's easiest and the fullest area so you get an immediate sense of the color. Then I lightly rub the lips together to transfer the color straight up to the top lip.  This gives a great natural shape to the lips. Then I use a brush to finesse the edges, making the outside line more precise. Then if I want to really go for long wear, or super precise shape, I'll use a Dolce&Gabbana Precision Lip Liner Pencil in the corresponding shade to make the lip edges flawless. The resulting look can be very dramatic; without the pencil the delivered look is that of a softer edge. Depends on the occasion! You can always blot the lips with a tissue and reapply the lipstick to make sure it's really not going anywhere! 


So allow me to talk about a few of these items. I just tried the Aurealux Mask and could not believe the instant plumping it delivered. My skin absolutely glowed for a few days after use and somehow, magically, my makeup seems to glide over the skin now when applying. Hydration is definitely key, and even more so as your skin adjusts to changing seasons. 

I loved getting his thoughts on brushes versus fingertips for foundation application. I've learned the value of a brush, but I admit to being a creature of habit and LOVING my fingertips for immediate (albeit messy) application. Tools definitely keep the hands clean, and the result is a very different finished look.

For D&G's Luminous Foundation I would suggest that either method delivers a stunning look. The product comes in whipped cream or liquid formulas, so you can choose the one that best suits your preference. But, ladies... do consider sitting with a pro at the counter and discussing brushes. I'm leaning towards their use more and more for that airbrushed look we all crave.

And about those red lips - as you know I'm a nude lip girl. But... his insights on a "softer" version of this look were eye opening. I've actually never heard the suggestion to apply on bottom lip and let the pigment from that lip color the top. The result would certainly be softer and more natural. This is a look I might actually be willing to try! What a  brilliant suggestion for those of us looking for a less dramatic result. 

For highlighting I am smitten with the Luna Illuminator. Just enough shimmer, not glittery at all. It is absolutely stunning and, as the name implies, is as subtle as moonlight on your beautiful face. If you're looking for a believable glow on the peaks of your cheekbones, this gorgeous illuminating powder is the one you seek. It's a keeper!!! 

Now... about that event. Mark your calendars and get ready to get gorgeous. Christian will be here in Texas making everyone who sits in his chair more beautiful. It's a great opportunity to sit with a pro and try out a new look. He's sure to teach you quite a few new techniques and arm you with a new (or at least expertly improved) approach to warm weather beauty. 

Need more inspiration? Here's the D&G behind-the-scenes video exploring the skin-celebrating look: 


Dolce&Gabbana Make Up Hosts Spring Looks Event with Christian McCulloch in Houston


Dolce&Gabbana National Makeup Artist, Christian McCulloch
Christian is known for his keen eye in designing chic and sophisticated beauty looks for top celebrities and major publications.  He has recently worked with: Kate Hudson, Camila Alves, Scarlett Johansson, Kate Bosworth, Emma Stone, Michelle Williams, Katie Holmes, Christina Hendricks, Olivia Wilde and major publications such as: Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Marie Claire.  


Christian McCulloch and top Dolce&Gabbana make up artists will be on-hand to introduce the Dolce Matte Lipstick Collection and Dolce&Gabbana Summer Shine Collection and will be creating custom makeup applications inspired by Spring beauty trends.  

Customers are invited to make an appointment with Christian and the team as he reveals his insider makeup tips and demonstrates the newest Dolce&Gabbana trends and application techniques. 


May 30th, 2015; 11:00 – 7:00pm
Saks Fifth Avenue, The Galleria
5115 Westheimer Road
Houston, TX 77056

For appointments please call: (713) 627 – 0500 EXT. 5102

*Editor's Note: this is not a paid post, but the team at D&G Beauty were kind enough to send me a few samples to try. All opinions are authentic and unbiased and you can rest assured I do not author content or make product suggestions unless I'm personally impressed by the products and a fan of the brand.  See my FAQs for more on this and other topics.