How Peter Philips Perfected No-Makeup Makeup


There was a lot to learn at the Dior Sauvage show up in the Santa Monica Mountains last week. The most important being how to steal a golf cart without the welcome staff of handsome male models noticing. But a close second (and third, and fourth, and fifth...) comes from Peter Philips, Dior's creative and image director behind its very, very, very good makeup line and the beauty look at the show. The faces were made to look "very raw, very natural" according to the makeup artist ('sauvage' does mean 'wild' after all), pulling inspiration from Georgia O'Keeffe and the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve where we watched the sunset behind branded Dior Sauvage hot air balloons. If anything, it was a master class in that no-makeup makeup look we've all been reading about for centuries—and for good reason. Does anyone not want to look like this? I certainly do. And Peter has some of the easiest tips imaginable for achieving it. Surprisingly no new Diorshow Pump 'N' Volume required!

Lipstick is everything—even blush and eye shadow

Peter knows this is not a new technique ("My grandmother used to do this," he said), but in the hands of a master—and now you—it can feel original again. After a brief skin prep (micellar water, Hydra Life Deep Hydration Sorbet Water Essence, and foundation), he used only Rouge Dior in Ready basically all over. "It’s like a cream blush almost, but it has some pearlescence in it, so it blends in nicely with the foundation and you get this glow. And I placed it not as a contour and not on the apples of the cheeks, but lower as a flush. I put the lipstick on the side of my thumb and you go under your cheekbone and draw it down diagonally toward the back of the jawbone. It looks almost masculine—excited without being seductive. More athletic. Then you take the leftover on the bridge of the nose and on the eyelids and on the bottom of the chin. That’s what brings the warmth into the skin—and the fact that it’s lipstick keeps it shiny."

Never leave home without lip scrub

There was no actual lipstick on the lips, of course. That would be too obvious. But with the invention of lip scrub in a tube (like Prince Albert in a can but without the phone prank potential), there are no more excuses for chap. Peter brushed up girls with the Dior Addict Lip Sugar Scrub and moisturized with good, old-fashioned Lip Glow. It gives lips just the teensiest amount of tint—a little bit more alive, but nothing too conspicuous.

No-mascara mascara is possible

Raw, natural women never wear mascara it seems. But what if you're one of those people who can't bear to leave home without a bit of lash (myself included)? Well, Peter has a trick. You can take a brown mascara, wipe the excess off the brush, and just zig-zag it into the roots of the lashes. And you can take a lash comb and work through that. The ends of the lashes won’t be done, but it dresses the eye a little. Another alternative is if you take a flat brush and take a brown powder and push it into the roots of the lashes so all the skin between the lashes gets filled in. It makes the lashes look much fuller, sans mascara.

Highlighting is easier than correcting

Despite Dior’s quad of color correctors on every makeup station, Peter didn’t mention them when referencing how to make all the models look so bright and awake. “It’s as simple as applying a highlighter in this zone [he gestured to the inverted triangle below the eye that beauty bloggers often block out with concealer or other heavy products]. It reflects the light instead of covering up anything." But wait, there's more! Maybe because the jet lag was getting to me, but I couldn't get off the "how do you look awake" beat. "Always curl the lashes—even if you’re not wearing mascara," Peter responded. "It’ll open up your eye. That always helps. I’ll sometimes add a beige liner to the waterline. White can be too graphic, and black is more made up. But beige below the eye and on the inner corner can make the bottom lashes disappear a little bit and open up the eye. That helps a lot.”

Push your powder in

I know powder doesn't always seem chic given today's penchant for dewy, glowy skin. But we were at a fashion show in May in what looked like a desert—and all the models were matte enough to look like they traveled there with their own personal A/C units. The only answer was an imperceptible layer of powder—but how? "Pressed in with a puff," Peter said. "First I actually take the excess oil off with a Kleenex, and then I push the powder in. Brushing it onto skin that doesn’t already have that much powder on it doesn’t tend to stay very well. It’ll stay better and look less obvious when it’s gently patted on.” And just like that, the secret to summer makeup was revealed.

Photographed by the author.