icholas Caridi, international makeup artist, travels throughout North America, Mexico and Europe creating "fashion for the face". His makeup looks have been featured in national publications including Bazaar, The New Yorker, Women's Wear Daily and Jet Magazine. His work is also shown on the runways in New York and Miami fashion shows for Calvin Klein and Bill Blass, and he has done makeup for film and theater. Some of Hollywood's leading actresses including Geena Davis and Morgan Fairchild have consulted with him.
In his travels, Caridi has collected skincare and beauty tips from a variety of sources. “I have picked up techniques for skin care and makeup from many different cultures,” he says. “Different nationalities use makeup for different reasons: religious ceremonies, to attract the opposite sex, to build confidence, indicate status or feed vanity. They have developed their techniques over hundreds of years.” Caridi offers ten of these tips from around the world.
“When I worked in Mexico City I saw girls using an espresso spoon that they pressed to the base of their lashes to make them curl. Not only did it work, it was also safe; it doesn’t break the lashes or pinch the skin like an eyelash curler can. I saw the same technique used in Israel, as well.”
Caridi says women can take the espresso spoon and place it, inward or outward, on top of the lashes. With the thumb press upward from underneath at the base of the lashes, placing the lashes between the end of the spoon and the thumb. Press and hold. The technique works well either before or after mascara is applied, he adds. “This takes a little practice, but effective makes the eyelashes curl and appear longer.”
From both South America and the Middle East, this effective technique for a body and facial scrub has been around for a long, long time. They mix salt (for oily skin) or sugar (for dry skin) with a cleanser, a soap or an oil. They use the mixture to smooth, exfoliate and condition the skin. “Sugar is a natural hydrator that adds moisture to your skin,” Nick says, adding that some culture use corn starch or corn flour as a scrub, especially in the Caribbean.
Caridi particularly respects and admires the culture of the women of India. “They’ve been using makeup for beauty and religious ceremonies for hundreds of years, and I must say they do a great job at it,” he adds, “from henna, which is used for hair coloring and also for wedding decorations on the skin to natural coal, which they use to line and define their beautiful eyes.”
He notes that the women in India use a stick instead of a brush to apply their eyeliner. “They either pull it across the lid or press it against the lash line to get a perfect line. This technique is a little tricky and takes practice, so he offers his own technique for lining the eye with liquid eyeliner. “Instead of trying to use the applicators that come with most liquid liners, try a flat nylon brush, a half inch or a quarter inch, or a flat lip brush. Load the brush with liquid liner or rub the pencil against the brush, then press along the lash line. “Don’t worry if the line isn’t straight every time,” he suggests; “You can always go over it with eye shadow.”
“When it comes to European treatments, Caridi says the three steps of skin care - cleansing, toning and moisturizing - all have to do with massage. “It sounds funny,” he adds, “but I paid $95 to get a facial and what they were actually doing was massaging my face. First, they applied the cleanser and massaged in a circular motion, then rinsed and/or wiped, then sprayed or splashed toner and continued to massage my skin with a moisturizer.
“This makes sense because you are actually stimulating the circulation and toning the muscles, delivering blood and oxygen to the skin and giving it that youthful look and glow. It’s almost like a facial workout. There are so many different massage techniques; check with your facialist or aesthetician.”
Choosing a foundation can be a little tricky in certain parts of the world. Caridi says the Asian market likes to be a little lighter than the natural skin tone, with the lighter tone representing upper class and wealth. The Europeans like to be a little darker than their true skin shade, also to indicate upper class and wealth.
Both groups try to achieve their effects by choosing a lighter or darker foundation. This technique doesn’t always work, Caridi says, because one should choose a foundation closest to the true skin tone so that there is no line of demarcation where the makeup ends. In addition, most women don’t wear foundation all over the face any more, just where it is needed.
To achieve the desired effect, he advises using a lighter or darker powder or bronzer over the natural shade of foundation instead of changing the foundation shade.
A technique he learned from a Hungarian makeup artist in New Jersey has been very useful to Caridi, particularly in preparing models for the runway, a situation where speed and great results are equally important.
He remembers an early experience. “We were told that we had to be able to produce very quickly or we were useless, and at first we said this was impossible because we were artists,” he says. “But with unemployment staring us in the face we went out and worked out how we could do it as fast as they needed it done and still do it very well.”
The Hungarian artist first put the mascara on the top lashes in a downward movement, then she coated them from underneath in an upward motion; finally she went across the lashes back and forth. There is a little saying based on New York geography Caridi tells clients to remind them: uptown, downtown and crosstown, then you’re home.
The word shampoo comes from a Hindu word that means to massage, Caridi explains, adding that today’s shampoo has some unorthodox functions. “If you’re in a pinch and leave your eye makeup at home, take this tip from a model in England,” he suggests. “She used baby shampoo to remove her face and eye makeup – gentle and safe for eyes. I also use it to wash my makeup brushes.”
A Russian client of Caridi’s came up with this one when she moved to Miami – she put all of her cosmetics in the refrigerator. She was tired of replacing the melted ones. He says this is also a good technique when cosmetic companies discontinue your favorite lipstick or other makeup product. “Buy in bulk and store it in the fridge,” he advises.
Another helpful chilling idea is placing eye and lip pencils in the refrigerator for a half hour before sharpening them. “It will become a lot easier to get a good point,” Caridi says.
French and Japanese women love face powder, which they have been using for hundreds of years, he notes. In Japan they use rice powder, which is much finer than most powders. In America, women with dry skin hated the way powder looked on them because of the way it was made, but he says powder is the key to good makeup.
“Powder blends eye shadows, softens blush, makes lipstick stay on longer and sets and finishes the foundation,” he says.
Today’s powder is micro-milled and the moisture rich powders are much easier to work with and don’t have that cakey look, according to Caridi.
He describes two different techniques.
“The French and Japanese women take a powder brush or puff and press powder into their skin in sections; then they dust the excess off with a brush. American women like to dust their powder all over using a big brush. Both techniques work,” he says.
Caridi describes a technique the French use to give a finished look to their makeup. They use a baby brush to go over their foundation and makeup at the end of application. The bristles are made of very soft and fine synthetic hair, more hygienic than human hair, and the brush is used over the entire face.
Above all, Caridi says, the key to makeup is to have fun and an open mind.
Today Nick Caridi generally creates makeup in New York City, Long Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania or Connecticut. If you want to arrange to book his services as a makeup artist call him at (516) 330-2666 or email him at NCARI9@aol.com.