Beauty destination: Grayson Coutts’ Hottest Home Makeup Studio

Hitherto renowned for his kitchen skills on hit TV series, New Zealand’s Hottest Home Baker, Herne Bay resident Grayson Coutts is also one hell of a clever makeup artist – and a lovely bloke to boot. I’ve had my makeup done by him several times over the years at Ponsonby’s Smashbox retail store, but now he’s launched a seriously luxe home-based makeup studio all of his own.
Super serene and very private, he tells me that it was created specifically to offer “flexibility, comfort and privacy”. “The studio allows me to offer a more comprehensive and streamlined service,” he explained further, “it’s a unique professional space, where my clients can relax and unwind during their appointment, with no interruptions.”
Fresh from working backstage at New Zealand Fashion Week for the fourth consecutive year this September, he’s gearing up for a busy summer with wedding and party appointments already in the book. He also now offers a range of makeup courses to suit all skill levels from beginner to pro, with no more than four students per class guaranteed, and many options totally private. They start with a one and a half hour Masterclass, which I’ve done with Grayson before and can highly recommend. It’s totally private and one-on-one, and involves having your chosen ‘look’ applied to one side of your face step by step, during which you repeat the process, step by step. It’s great if you love doing your own makeup but often have one element that you haven’t quite nailed – such as perfect concealer application or every woman’s old friend, the Smokey Eye.
He also offers a one day Intensive Private Course, which Grayson says “is for the beginner or already pro artist wanting to learn from the basics, refresh, or build on their already proficient makeup skills. You’ll learn two makeup applications, as well as colour matching, contouring and lash application.” All products and tools are included for use during the class, and a model is provided so you can give things a whirl with an expert looking on.
Last up, he offers a three week long course that covers everything you need to know - skin care and tools, foundation and concealing, a day look, an evening look, lash application, and some theory on makeup for photos - run over three weeks, with one three hour class per week. Numbers are restricted to no more than four students per class to ensure maximum attention can be provided to each student, and I think this would be great to do with friends.
“I’m passionate about my work and I take pride in making people feel great about themselves,” he tells me, “my courses are about having respect for the individual in the makeup chair and catering directly to their needs”
Summer make up is about keeping it light and sheer according to Grayson, but there are still ways to add a little of your own personality to your look. “My key tip to look fresh and youthful is to start with a perfectly groomed brow. Fill them in with eyeshadow or a pencil and you instantly look younger and draw more attention to your eyes.”
For a classic and casual day look, he says to try a clean winged liner – which is about as low maintenance as it gets, whilst still looking groomed. “Use a cream or gel liner to line the eyes as you normally would, thickening up the outer corners of the liner. Extend the line past where your lashes stop and thin it out to a point. The flick should more or less follow a line from your bottom lashline to the edge of your brow.” Oh and it goes without saying: pair with lashings of mascara of course!
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