“Real” probably isn’t the first word that comes to mind when you think of makeup—but it’s the calling card for makeup pro Gita Bass. Her signature skin-forward approach to makeup and unguarded down-to-earthness have made her beloved by A-list celebrity clients like our brand activist Laura Dern…and pretty much everyone she comes in contact with. She opened up to us about why glowing skin is the ultimate foundation, how a serious health crisis made over her makeup kit and her life, and why getting real is more important than ever.
I was diagnosed with Lyme disease about four years ago, and on this very long road to healing, I changed a lot—cutting out gluten, dairy, sugar, and you know, trying to minimize stress, get more exercise, that sort of thing. But I felt there was a missing piece to the puzzle. After going to see lots of different doctors, I found an alternative doctor that really changed my life. She tested my blood and found a lot of toxins, including heavy metals, arsenic, and formaldehyde. When your body is overloaded like that, it makes it very hard to heal. My doctor said I needed to minimize my exposures, and an important place to start was beauty products. We don’t have total control over eliminating our exposure to toxins, but we do have some control. That’s why it’s really important to take control of what we can, like skincare and makeup.
After the conventional Lyme test, which is often inaccurate, came back negative, I was told by my primary care doctor, “I think you just need some psychiatric help,” which is so dangerous. I knew these symptoms weren’t in my head. So, I just kept researching and seeing doctors. You really have to listen to your own body and advocate for your own health. I think we see each other on Instagram and all of our lives look so amazing, but we’re all going through struggles. It’s important to talk about them and support each other—that’s why I’m empowered to share my story now. And I feel grateful to have found products that have really supported my health and healing.
Clear Pure Radiance Oil is the greatest thing that I’ve ever discovered. And it’s become quite comical when I use it on my clients because it’s really hard, generally, to get people to sit in the chair and relax. Getting your makeup done is quite a lengthy and intimate process, and people are often restless. But as soon as I take that oil out, everyone always has the same reaction: As soon as I put it on, people just take a deep breath. Then, they either look at me and say, “My God, I love this oil,” or they say, “My God, what is that oil?” So it’s a favorite for me and for my clients.
Using the oil with the gua sha stone. I’ve used a lot of vibrating tools and all sorts of devices for my face, but there is just something about the gua sha and the oil that feels kind of primal, you know what I mean? I look forward to doing it every night, and often in the morning if I have time. I love using it along my neck and especially the jaw, because I clench my teeth and build so much tension there. It feels amazing. And it’s made such a difference in my skin. I don’t do anything as far injectables, so I really rely on my skincare to do all the heavy lifting.
Makeup should enhance the beauty you have that comes from your health.
If your skin looks healthy, then your makeup is pretty much done. I don’t like to hide behind makeup— I’m not that sort of makeup artist. I like to use it to enhance what’s already there. Skin should always shine through. Also, you need a smooth surface for makeup to glide over. No makeup is going to look good over a surface that is uneven or dry. So, prepping your skin and having the right texture is crucial for having your makeup look good. The great thing about the oil is that it hydrates the skin and it gives it a really nice glow without leaving any grease or any residue on the skin.
I’ve noticed that I’m using less foundation and I’m switching to lighter formulas like tinted moisturizers. I also find that I need to use less powder, which really allows for the skin to shine through. That, to me, is key—I hate using powder and obviously I have to do it for TV and red carpets, but I’ll use the minimum amount. There are clients that insist on using these heavy moisturizers, but the waxiness of the moisturizer will sit on the skin and then I’ll need to blot with more powder, which just sits in the lines, makes skin look older, and gets rid of the glow.
When it comes to the products I use, I’ve become much more mindful and more informed. And my health journey really just underscored my philosophy that makeup should enhance the beauty you have that comes from your health. Makeup should never rob you of your health—it’s counterproductive.
Humidity. My skin loves it when I’m in Australia and it’s warm and it’s humid and there’s the sea breeze. That combination of ocean and humidity for me is a sweet spot when it comes to my skin, because it feels so hydrated. I grew up on Bondi Beach, and I’m such a water baby. The salt air sort of purifies and the humidity hydrates, and that to me is my favorite. That’s my skin’s happy place.