Elizabeth Street Meets Jillian Dempsey
Celeb makeup artist—and mom of three—shares her beauty must-haves, skincare secrets, and how she amps it up for date night
As if raising three kids weren’t enough, Hollywood makeup artist Jillian Dempsey has a thriving career beautifying such famous moms as Maggie Gylenhaal, Kate Winslet, and Sofia Coppola for red carpet events. All the while, she still makes time for date nights with her husband, who just so happens to be McDreamy himself—Patrick Dempsey. Here, Dempsey's strategies on how to look good even when sippy cups and good night stories take top priority. —Melissa Schweiger
How did your beauty routine change when you became a mom?
The biggest change was trying to squeeze my beauty routine into 10 minutes. Before I had my first child, I could spend time fine-tuning my makeup. But once you’re a mother, you have to deal with the demands of little people. Sippy cups and bathtime take precedence over well-groomed eyebrows. I learned how to hit the hot spots of my face with makeup essentials like concealer.
What does your shortened routine entail?
I start with Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer and then apply concealer under my eyes and around my nose to even out my skin tone. Another go-to product is dark brown eyeliner—Jillian Dempsey for Avon Professional Kohl Eyeliner. I apply the kohl liner to my upper lash line and then lightly trace beneath my lower lashes. The key is to use a smudger or small nylon brush to blend so you end up with soft lines, which are more flattering around the eyes. I'll also sweep a stone- or taupe-colored shadow on my eyelids for a neutral base. Blush makes a big difference, too, and it’s an important part of pulling together any look. I opt for cream blush, which is easy to blend with my fingers—Stila Convertible Color is so pretty. I usually wear a peachy-nude lip gloss (Nars in Giza) because it looks more natural and I can reapply on the go.
What’s your favorite moisturizer?
The In Fiore line smells delicious and I’m really into their Crème de Fleur moisturizer. It’s full of antioxidants and supposedly boosts cell rejuvenation.
What sunscreen do you use on yourself and on your kids?
My sister introduced me to The Honest Company sunscreen, and I’ve been using that on my kids. It has edible-grade organic ingredients so I feel good about lathering it all over their faces and bodies. I tend to use water-resistant sports sunscreen, like Peter Thomas Roth with SPF 50, on myself because I like to exercise outside.
What's your beauty advice for moms who barely have time to swipe on lip gloss?
Take care of your skin. If your skin looks good, you can get away with a swipe of lip gloss and sunglasses! Juicing helps with your complexion, too.
What’s your date night beauty look?
I follow my daytime ritual but I spend a lot more time playing up my eyes. I like to wear shimmering bronzes and burgundies for a twist on the traditional smoky eye. I coat my lashes with lots of Clinique High Definition mascara and add individual lashes to my upper lash line for fuller lashes. I top off my look with highlights by applying sheer iridescent powder to the upper cheek area—it’s really flattering and can give you a soft focus look for date night.
What’s the best beauty trick every mom should know?
Keep an eyelash curler handy. Curling your lashes makes you look more awake!