Tricks of the trade from Hassan Benabid

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When he describes how to apply make-up, Hassan Benabid explains that the face to a cosmetics artist is like a painter’s canvas to which colour, light and shade are added. “The trick is not to create a mask,” he says. “The object is to make women feel good, to accentuate their femininity.”

Benabid recommends using a shaped foundation brush to apply foundation rather than fingers or a sponge. Before that he applies a base using a fluid silicone primer which lasts for up to 12 hours and keeps make-up looking fresh. He always sets foundation with a dusting of powder. Concealer goes on top of foundation, not underneath.

It might sound like a lot, but the layers are light and don’t look or feel heavy. The Armani foundation he uses – semimat Designer Lift – comes in neutral shades to match the wearer’s skin tone. The product has become highly popular with professional make-up artists for its ability to cover imperfections, while leaving skin looking natural. Never test foundation colour on the back of the hand, says Benabid; the best place is the skin just above the eyebrow. If there’s no difference between that and skin tone, then it is the right colour. Strong colour is used only to accentuate the wearer’s best feature.

Make-up brushes are an expensive item, but can last ten years if they’re properly looked after, according to Benabid. “Wash them regularly in cold water using shampoo,” he advises. “Hot water melts the glue and the hairs fall out.”

Benabid goes for false eyelashes when lighting is likely to be harsh. “Strong light on the eyelashes makes them look smaller, whereas false eyelashes make the eyes look bigger and normal, and that’s better than a lot of mascara.”

A Belgian national, born in Holland of Moroccan- Spanish parents, and with a background in interior design, Benabid was approached by Giorgio Armani himself to join the company. “Make-up always fascinated me,” he says. “I am a very creative person, and I think I have found the perfect marriage between me and the brand.” Obliged to stay up-to-date with whatever is the current look, he says: “We create something new each season to match the fashion with the perfect make-up look.”