Do It Like A Pro: Makeup Tips by Smashbox

Newsflash: over-contouring and strobing is a big no-no, according to makeup pro Will Malherbe
Reading time 5 minutes


From his native South Africa to London, Paris, and Los Angeles, Will Malherbe is a bonafide globe-trotting makeup pro with more than two decades of experience to his name. As Director of International Education at Smashbox – a brand synonymous to high-definition beauty – he's not just adept at creating flawless, fuss-free Insta-worthy looks – he's the authority in that very field.

In this exclusive interview, we chat with Malherbe on all things beauty-related: tips, tricks, trends, and the all-important question: What's the one product no woman should live without?

What was your earliest memory of makeup?

I remember vividly as child, hiding underneath my mother's desk and watching her sew. Her toenails were painted in a bright orange red – the exact shade of the Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick in Fireball. To this day, I can't see the lipstick without thinking of my mother and getting a little emotional.  

Another memory that stands out for me was watching my mother put on makeup as she was getting dressed. I was always mesmerised at how makeup can play such an important role in enhancing your mood and showing the world who you are – because makeup is an extension of your personality.

When did you first notice Smashbox?

I remember walking into a Smashbox store years ago and being amazed by their selection of primers. My reaction was "Wow! They really are the authority in primers." I was very intrigued by the concept of a makeup brand tied to a photo studio. After Smashbox became part of the Estée Lauder Group, I was given the opportunity to join the brand. It has now been four and a half years with Smashbox and such an incredible journey.

If you were stuck on a deserted island, what product would you want with you?

My first response is SPF. It's so hard to choose one product that I cannot live without but I really love the Smashbox BB Water. It's a 5-in-1 multipurpose product: it's hydrating, oil-free, has SPF 30, and a little bit of primer built into it.  When working on shoots with models who have dehydrated or tired-looking skin, my foolproof trick is to press the BB Water onto their skin (to increase hydration in the skin cells) and apply foundation for extra coverage – the skin instantly looks fresher and more radiant. 

What's the one Smashbox product every woman needs? 

Definitely a primer. If you’re going do your makeup, you need to apply a primer underneath to make everything look better and last longer. It’s all about editing the skin or editing the foundation – using the right primer can influence how you want your foundation to look.

"Makeup plays such an important role in enhancing your mood and showing the world who you are – it's an extension of your personality."

What's the most common beauty mistake women make?

Putting makeup on with no primer. What is the point of putting in all that effort to look amazing, only to have your eyeshadow crease and your skin look shiny after an hour? You need to make sure the basics are locked into place. 

Another mistake is going crazy on strobing or contouring. It might look cool for an Instagram photo but just remember that you’re doing your makeup for real life. I find that a little bit of strobing and contouring is a great way to create a three-dimensional skin but at the end of the day, the goal is to have defined and highlighted features that are not super shimmery or super sculpted. 

Let's look into the crystal ball. Makeup-wise, what's going to happen in the year ahead?

The look for Spring/Summer is all about the modern-day hippie: burnt orange and terracotta tones, very diffused eye makeup – almost like eyeshadow meeting the blush on the cheek on a golden skin tone.

For next season, we're going to see lips become more feminine and playful than ever before. Lip art is the new nail art – whether it's ombré, two-toned, liquid metallics or adorning the lips with diamantés.

What is Smashbox up to for the rest of the year?

We've just collaborated with Shay Mitchell for the Smashbox Cover Shot palettes. It was an incredibly fun experience working with her on the shoot, conceptualising with her beauty team to show the seven different sides of Shay according to the seven different palettes. Smashbox has also teamed up with makeup artist Vlada Haggerty, who is known on Instagram for her lip art. As our new lipstick Editor-in-Chief, she'll work her magic on Smashbox's lip collections and next month, we'll both go on a tour, sharing lip art all over the globe.



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