By Kate Harvie

Of all the constellations, Orion is one of the most spectacular. The hunter is comprised of some of the cosmos’s brightest stars. It’s fitting, then, that Orion Willis would choose this name as his professional moniker (he keeps his given name a closely-guarded secret). He came to New York from a small town in Florida and is fast building a most impressive resume and portfolio. He’s worked with everyone from Rebecca Holliday (the winning model from “Project Runway, Season 2“) to Jamie Lyn Sigler.

Orion Wills, Makeup Artistry’s Rising Star

Orion is all about color, glamour, and work ethic. He did makeup for no fewer than three fall shows during our recent Fashion Week: Luca Luca, Monique Lhuillier, and Valentino. He works constantly and juggles private clients, press bookings, and events. Most recently, he was a featured makeup artist at the recent event for the New York Girls Style & Beauty Campaign, held on June 28 at Nikki Beach Club. This sought-after event brings the latest trends in makeup and fashion to the public with up-and-coming artists and stylists.

During a recent conversation, we discussed trends, tips, and tools. Be on the lookout for this artist and trendsetter.

What can every woman do, regardless of age, income level, skin tone, and skin condition, to look her best?

* Go through magazines and look for a photo of someone with features similar to yours. Sit down and evaluate what looks will work – focus on what’s possible for you beyond the trends. Be realistic about what works and flatters you. And do this with a professional.

* Use brushes – you wouldn’t paint a house with your hands…why would you do that to your face?

* Adopt and stay faithful to a skincare regimen; the skin needs to be at its best to look great with color.

What are your top five favorite products?

* Nars Blush in Orgasm (Available at

* Armani Foundation (Available at

* Christian Dior DiorShow Mascara (Available at

* MAC Eyeshadows (Available at

* Shiseido Benefiance Pure Retinol Instant Treatment Eye Mask – under-eye transdermal delivery patches that deliver retinol to the skin, improving fine lines, crows feet, and skin texture (Available at

What are your top five favorite tools?

* She Uemura Eyelash Curler (Available at

* A brush belt (Available at beauty supply stores)

* MAC Brushes (Available at

* Kevyn Aucoin Brushes (Available at

* Multiple pencil sharpeners – you wouldn’t want to sharpen your nude lip pencil with the same sharpener you use for your black kohl eyeliner

* Most importantly…Clean your brushes!

What are some of the best “hero” ingredients currently featured in products today?

* Highly moisturizing emollients such as jojoba and glycerin enhance products’ textures and help to hydrate the skin

With summer upon us, what can women do to extend the wear of their complexion product in the intense heat and humidity?

* Two words: translucent powder – for touch ups, nothing beats it.

* For those who want a dewy finish in the summer, use tinted moisturizer in lieu of cream foundation

* For those who want full coverage, try a full coverage concealer and then apply a tinted moisturizer on top

What were some dominant trends on the runways for Fall 2006?

* Strongly defined brows – think full with a strong shape – which are achieved best with powder and stencils

* Matte red lips

Every woman needs a great red lipstick – what’s your pick for the best red and why?

* Brown-based reds are more universally flattering than blue-based reds

* MAC Dubonnet is a great option – it’s a claret shade that works with both brown and burgundy pencils.

Originally published August 2006
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