The Makeup School by Sarah Rillon

Photography by Glenn Fajota

Makeup and I have never had a strong relationship. I started wearing it in high school with a few staples: blue eyeliner, silver eye shadow and concealer that didn’t come close to matching my skin color. Thankfully, my days of wild and uncoordinated hues have ended, but I still never mastered the art of makeup. If only, I thought, there was a way I could learn about makeup from a professional without being pressured into buying loads of products. Well, now there is.

The Makeup School by Sarah Rillon in Virginia Beach near Hilltop offers makeup courses tailored to the everyday woman, as well as advanced courses in makeup artistry and even hairstyling. Founder Sarah Rillon has been a freelance makeup artist for 15 years and was a MAC Cosmetics manager for 11 years. “There isn’t anything like it in the area, and there’s a huge need for it in Hampton Roads,” Rillon says. “[The Makeup School] is a place where everyday people can come in and learn and have the opportunity to get their hair and makeup done as well.”

the makeup schoolDuring a 1-hour session titled Makeup for the Everyday Woman, we discuss what I’d like to learn from the class, the time I can allot to makeup each morning and an overview of my current makeup collection. With each step, Rillon explains what product she’s applying and why, which brushes to use and tips for getting the best coverage. It’s like getting a makeover but with knowledge that I can actually take with me and apply to my own routine.

Here are 18 valuable makeup tips that Rillon offers during our session:

1. Invest in makeup brushes. “A painter can’t create a masterpiece without the proper brushes,” she explains, advising to purchase 3–4 brushes for my new regimen. (So long, circular foundation sponges.)

2. Use moisturizing eye cream on eyelids and underneath eyes. Invest a little more money in a nighttime/preventative eye cream.

3. Even if you don’t have time for eye shadow, a shadow base can be worn on its own (or enhanced with color for a different effect). Use a shader brush to apply shadow base in midtown brown on lids and creases.

4. Choose an eye shadow that complements your eye color. Since I have brown eyes, Rillon uses a soft purple eye shadow (also applied with a shader brush.)

5. Instead of the too dramatic and difficult to master liquid black eyeliner I had in my collection, Rillon uses brown cream gel eyeliner on upper and lower lids applied with a pencil brush. It’s fool-proof and easy to smudge. “For an everyday look, brown is the way to go,” she says. “It’s really natural and not too overdone.”

6. Tint brows, put them in their place and fill them in using a brow set. Tip: Comb in the direction that the eyebrow hair grows.

brow set sarah rillon

7. Apply mascara by wiggling the wand left to right, from root to tip, rather than one stroking motion.

applying mascara tips sarah rillon

8. Replace mascara every 4–6 weeks. Tip: Don’t pump the brush in the bottle; it’ll cause it to get clumpy and thick.

9. To save time, use a cream concentrate that’s a makeup remover, moisturizer and primer all in one—now we’re talking. (Apply with either a buffer brush (full, dome-shaped) or a stippling brush (dual fibers used for applying product and blending.)

10. For foundation, use a CC (Color correcting) Cream with SPF 30 to neutralize and give clarity to the skin and minimize pores.

11. Apply concealer below the eyes to hide dark circles , matching the undertone of the concealer to your skin color.

12. Use a cream to powder blush to add color to your face and make it instantly look brighter. And don’t skimp on the blush; use a heavier hand so the color will stay longer.

13. A pressed mineral powder will soften the blush and seal everything.

powder sarah rillon the makeup school virginia beach

14. Use a lighter mineral powder to highlight certain areas of the face.

15. Spritz a finishing spray on the face to oxidize the products and bring a natural element to the skin. (Finishing spray also has calming benefits and works well to apply after a sunburn.)

finishing spray

16. Use lip primer to add light moisture, smooth and refine lips.

17. Use lip liner to keep the color on. “It’s almost like a stain for your lips,” Rillon explains.

lip liner

18. After applying a lip shade that complements your skin, apply lip gloss to the center of the lips, then blot for more coverage.

lip color

The Makeup School by Sarah Rillon is located at 620 Village Dr., Suite D, Virginia Beach. Rillon offers group classes and one-on-one sessions. Call 757-672-9300 or visit the website for details and pricing.

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