Beyoncé’s Makeup Artist Sir John Swears by These Five Makeup Essentials

I always say that beauty is a feeling,” notes celebrity makeup artist Sir John on his beauty philosophy. “The way we make people feel is a destination—you become a destination of energy when you can do that.” While the pro is most known for his work with Beyoncé—including her glam at the 2022 Oscars and her British Vogue cover—he has garnered quite a Rolodex of star clientele. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Serena Williams, Zendaya, and Naomi Campbell (who happened to be his first celebrity client), to name a few, have all sported his glam on endless magazine covers, music videos, and red carpets. Not to mention a slew of brand partnerships with L’Oréal, Barbie, and MAC.

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And the sought-after makeup pro doesn’t have any plans on slowing down anytime soon. “One thing I know about life, especially at this big, grown age of mine, is that the finish line continues to get pushed back,” he continues. “There’s a Roman saying: never rely on past glory. Yesterday’s win is yesterday’s win. No matter what I did yesterday, that’s cool, but I’m really obsessed about what’s next.” Following two decades of experience, he’s adding another role to his ever-evolving resume: chief creative officer of Ctzn Cosmetics—driven by his commitment to building equity and diversity in the industry.

Founded in 2019 by a trio of sisters, the brand seeks to create products inclusive to people of color, inspired by their South Asian heritage. “I loved how authentically compelling they were when it came to what [they] want to champion for people who don’t always get invited to the party,” he says of his appointment. Sir John’s decision to join a promising up-and-coming brand, to him, is a reflection of the evolving beauty landscape.

He continues to say that he’s seen so many shifts in the industry throughout his career—noting specifically the emergence of men’s makeup. “I love the fact that we live in an era of exploration, where everyone can have a vehicle to make them feel better about who they see in the mirror,” he says. So, it’s clear Sir John is eager to create safer, more inclusive spaces and share the wealth of knowledge he’s learned—from normalizing Botox and filler to dishing his best makeup tips.

I love making the eyes look like different shapes with liners,” he explains. “Liners would be my favorite thing to do if I didn’t have any other makeup on me.” He’s particularly enjoying how people are playing with colored, whimsical liners on TikTok. “Also, my ultimate hack is making sure you set concealer with loose powder—never pressed powder. It’s too heavy under the eyes and drying.” Otherwise, he has a penchant for what he dubs invisible sculpting: “I love the way I sculpt and contour; you’re not supposed to see it but rather offer structure.” To do this, he will do a cream sculpt, then buff in a taupe or cooler colored tone to create dimension on the face.

Sir John’s approach to makeup has transformed in tandem with the industry and his clients. When asked if he thinks Beyoncé’s look has evolved over time, his response is “abso-fucking-lutely.” Though he admits she certainly knows what she wants, he has learned how to not only have conviction but consistently soak in new knowledge. His biggest advice? “Have faith in your eye, in your references you’re pulling. Where do you want to take this person?

With that, Sir John gave Vogue a sneak peek into his makeup kit—including his five must-have products.

1. Uoma Beauty Double Take Contour Stick

  • Key Benefits: “These are the best for sculpting,” says Sir John. “I sculpt and bronze with everything that looks like this. I’ll take a tiny bit on the back of my hand, and I’ll start to buff wherever I want that shadow.
  • More to Know: A lychee fruit extract-infused dual-ended contour and highlight stick to illuminate and shape the face.

2. Fenty Beauty Match Stix Matte Contour Skinstick

  • Key Benefits: The Fenty Beauty Match Stix is another top pick of his for his signature sculpted contour. For a lasting lifted appearance, he sets the cream contour with a cool-toned powder to keep everything in place all day or night.
  • More to Know: A buildable cream-to-powder contour stick that delivers a matte finish.

3. REN Clean Skincare Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask

  • Key Benefits: “This is amazing,” says Sir John. “It literally resurfaces your skin immediately; even if you’re super sensitive, it’s not a problem. I’ve been using it for years.”
  • More to Know: An exfoliating mask powered by a blend of glycolic acid from pineapple extract, lactic acid from passion fruit, and papain from papaya to refine skin texture and improve radiance.

4. MAC Fluidline Eye Liner Gel

  • Key Benefits: “I love this because it doesn’t move, it doesn’t go anywhere,” says Sir John. He recounts etching a perfect cat eye while on Beyonce’s On The Run tour using this pot and MAC’s liner in Graphblack. “[The liner] didn’t move through two hours of cardio. They’re worth their weight in gold.”
  • More to Know: A waterproof, smudge-resistant gel pigment formulated for up to 16-hour wear.

5. NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer

  • Key Benefits: Sir John counts this NARS concealer as one of his favorites, along with its matte pot formula. Pro tip: just make sure the under-eye is properly hydrated before applying.
  • More to Know: A creamy concealer infused with balancing and light-diffusing powders, along with magnolia bark extract, grape seed extract, and vitamin E to hydrate, brighten, and correct.

VOGUE

Ciara Is Launching A Skincare Line OAM: ‘Meet My Secret Sauce’

On Monday, Ciara announced she’s leveling up and jumping into the beauty game by launching her own skincare line.

Called OAM — which stands for “On a Mission” — the beauty brand drops online September 15.

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You’ve been asking… and here it is. Meet my secret sauce,” the “One, Two Step” songstress wrote on Instagram, calling the line “years in the making.

The Instagram Reel shows comments fans have left over the years asking the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover model, 36, to drop her skincare routine.

It’s the flawless skin for me,” one reads. “Baby them pores was no where [sic] to be found!” another gushes. 

In the comments, one fan asked, “Now can we get the workout plan?” and a follower added, “She got that business head.”

Ciara worked with a team of dermatologists to clinically test the products on 96 women.

Ciara’s line is launching with five “clinical-level” products, which she worked with a team of board-certified dermatologists to perfect, testing her potions on 96 women with different skin tones. 

OAM is rolling out a Vitamin C Hydrating Cleanser, Vitamin C Brightening Pads, 20% Vitamin C Brightening Serum (which she calls “liquid gold for your skin”), Vitamin C Eye Revitalizer and Vitamin C Radiance Moisturizer, with prices ranging between $28 and $62.

OAM was tested on women of every skin tone on the Fitzpatrick scale, which classifies skin type based on pigment and sun reaction.

I would say this is truly a missing piece in skin care today,” the “Like a Boy” hitmaker told Allure. “These products are for all skin types, so that’s why we wanted to do [the clinical testing] with every skin tone.” 

Ciara joins a long list of celebrities with their own beauty brands and skincare lines, including Selena Gomez, Hailey Bieber, Ariana Grande, Kim Kardashian, Halsey, Jennifer Lopez and Rihanna.

PAGE SIX

Lil Nas X Enters the Beauty Space in Full Force With New YSL Partnership

Lil Nas X is the newest U.S. ambassador for YSL Beauty. “I’m happy to be a part of something so unique and groundbreaking,” he shared.

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The “Old Town Road” rapper has already cemented himself as a style icon with his gender bending looks in daring prints, patterns and silhouettes. So, it only makes sense that he’d tap into the beauty space with a bold new partnership. 

On Aug. 26, Lil Nas X announced that he’s YSL Beauty’s latest U.S. ambassador.

The 23-year-old is the face of The Bold campaign which introduces the new Rouge Pur Couture: Bold collection. It’s a line of 12 high-pigment lipsticks that YSL Beauty described were “for those who aren’t shy.”

I’m happy to be a part of something so unique and groundbreaking in the beauty world,” Lil Nas X stated in a press release shared with E! News. “Shout out to YSL for embracing me and my campness and for inspiring change for the next generation of beauty.”

The “Industry Baby” rapper explained how his new beauty gig is another way for him to showcase his creative expression.

Building my brand is an ongoing process as I continue to try new things,” he told Complex, “but I’m all about having fun, standing out and making a statement, and creating great music.

He continued, “Everything I do is an extension of that, and I’m always looking for ways to break the mold.”

No matter the route Lil Nas X takes, he said when he’s driven by something he’ll “completely dive in and indulge myself in it, to the point where I’m doing things that I haven’t done before.”

E ONLINE

Victoria Beckham Reveals Her Secret To Brighter Eyes

Whether as a remedy for Mondays or the morning after the night before, one of life’s greatest lessons is learning how to make a tired face look brighter, fresher and, well, healthier. Victoria Beckham just shared her own quick daily hack for well-rested eyes, using the Instant Brightening Waterline Pencil from her beauty line, Victoria Beckham Beauty.

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Moonlighting as a beauty blogger, Beckham posted an Instagram video showing the nude eyeliner – which is new to her collection – in full force on one of her brown eyes. Applied along the waterline, the other eye was left naked to show the difference the product can make. Scroll back through her Instagram account, and you’ll notice how often she uses the simple technique.

Nude eyeliner is always the first step Beckham takes when doing her eye make-up: “I love using this product first because what it does is take any redness away,” she explains. “It opens up my eye; it makes the white part of my eye look actually whiter.” A make-up artist’s trick to create the illusion of wide-awake peepers, a nude liner applied to the waterline can really open up the face, lift and add luminosity, with very little effort.

Victoria Beckham Beauty Instant Brightening Waterline Pencil

The Victoria Beckham Beauty eyeliner is buttery soft and glides onto the eyes, which makes it a super easy and flattering formula to use if you’ve not tried the technique yet. After that, “apply the rest!”, says VB.

VOGUE

From Halo Eyes To Cognac Lips, Beyoncé’s Make-Up Artist Sir John Shares His Secrets

At this point, the allure of Queen B is boundless. From her musical oeuvre to that Sasha Fierce sass, British Vogue’s July cover star has the whole world falling hook, line and sinker for all things Bey. But behind every icon is a team to help her look and feel her best. One longtime member of her glam team is Sir John, a make-up star in his own right, who has worked with the singer for more than a decade after being introduced to her by Charlotte Tilbury (then his boss), backstage at Tom Ford’s first womenswear show.

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I’m blessed to be able to work around really strong women – Beyoncé being one of them,” he tells Vogue over video call. “She beams from within, almost like the sun, and you can’t help but just be heated – and raised – up. My inspiration literally comes from whenever we see each other, I’ve known her for such a long time. It’s really cool to see how she continues as an artist to grow and push herself. It pushes [me] to ask new questions, investigate and be curious, and I think the more curious we are as creatives, the more we have to add to the world.

Calm and gracious, you can see why B would choose Sir John as her go-to make-up artist – after all, actually creating a beauty look is only half of his task, the other half is (even if subliminally) helping her get into the zone. He is a big proponent of “dopamine glam” – the act of putting on make-up to boost your mood. 

On the July cover shoot, he worked with his great friend, the hairstylist Jawara, on creating Beyoncé’s glam. “I remember going in and seeing all of these beautiful hair references, but when it came to make-up, there weren’t any,” he explains. “So I started out with fresh skin to make sure she looked effortless, and then I knew if I got approval [from Edward Enninful and the team] I could keep pushing the look.” As you can see, that’s exactly what he did, from the punchy vinyl lips to molten gold “halo” eyes – not to mention skin to die for.

I’m confident that she loved how she looked that day,” he says. “Oftentimes, she’ll be like ‘Hey, listen, can we take this down [a notch]?’ She’s very vocal and doesn’t bite her tongue!” he laughs. “I wanted her to feel like she really did wake up like this in terms of ease and manoeuvrability. There are no lashes, minimal mascara, but I just wanted her to feel elevated. One thing I will say is that when you see someone who’s killing it on the red carpet or on a cover, there’s harmony in that dressing room.”

Below, Sir John shares the tips, tricks and techniques he employed on the day. 

Structure not contour

I love creating a lot of architectural structure on the face – I don’t like contouring so much, but sculpting instead. On Beyoncé [in British Vogue], you’ll notice that there’s sculpting to the eyes, temples and there’s a really beautiful halo effect on her eyelids. I predominantly used cream formulas and manipulated them in a way that made her look really pulled together. It’s all about giving yourself the shadows that your face naturally has, and magnifying them, to create a supernatural glam.”

The halo eye

On her eyelids, I created a halo effect. The halo eye is lighter [in colour] in the centre of the eye, and deeper on either side. It creates a very 1930s or ’40s – think Marlene Dietrich or Jean Harlow – effect and vertically elongates the eyes. I wanted to open up this area as much as possible. It’s all about juxtaposition – take a little fluffy brush and sculpt the interior of the eye in the inner and outer corners. The halo eye creates a soft glow effect on the face, but doesn’t look literal or intentional, just like she fell into good light.”

How to get make-up to last

People always ask how I get her make-up to last for hours when she’s on stage at Coachella, or whatever, and it’s really about duality. It’s using a cream or liquid foundation and then slightly buffing a powder into it. If I use a cream blush, I’ll buff a powder into that too. When it comes to sculpting eye products, it’s about setting them with a shadow. All of these are dual moments. Even with brow pencil – it’s waxy so by the time you get to lunch, brows will look shiny. Set them with a little brown powder or eyeshadow. The duality will make your face make-up last forever, even if it’s a super fresh, no make-up make-up look.”

The top make-up rule for mature skin

As we get more mature, the areas we add shine or highlight our face have to be more strategic. When you’re a baby you can put highlighter everywhere, but as we become more mature, make sure that you only find shine at the side of the face, the areas that span outwards from your pupils. From pupils inwards – so in the centre of the face – you should have not have anything sculpting or shimmery. That’s key because if you look at the photos of Beyoncé, you’ll notice she’s glowy everywhere but when you look at her directly onwards, the little heart in the middle of her face is always matte.”

Contrast it up

I love contrast and texture. Contrast creates something that is really compelling to look at – it’s visually arresting. That’s why when we see diamonds on matte velvet, or matte skin and shiny lips, it’s attractive. When it came to creating the different lip looks for the cover shoot, I wanted to give her lips something to sit on, like a pedestal. What you don’t want is for skin to be oily or balmy and then go in with super glossy lips, so I made sure there was some kind of strategy with how I applied her make-up.”

Vinyl lips

On her lips, we started out with red, and did some natural, balmy looks – and then I just kept pushing it. I started really simple and kept sculpting, drawing out and blowing the look up. One of my favourite lips from the shoot was almost like a cognac colour – soft brown, very ’90s in a sense but glossy. I applied the lipstick, then I mixed it with a clear gloss to create a lacquer, and then applied a clear gloss on top of that. Those three layers created a vinyl, patent leather situation.”

VOGUE

Caroline Hirons Breaks Into Beauty Tech With Skin Care App Launch

Caroline Hirons, the British aesthetician and influencer, has launched her new skin care app on 13th of July.

The free Skin Rocks app will provide curated information and advice on the type of skin users have, and will then match products best suited for the individual.

A soft launch was held on 28 June, when it was offered to the 120,000 members of Hiron’s Skincare Freaks Facebook group for testing.

The beta launch made it to number four on the top free apps in the Apple chart within 12 hours, according to Hirons.

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We have been blown away by the response and cannot wait to share the fully loaded Skin Rocks App with our industry peers at our official launch event on the 13 July,” said Hirons.

The app has been launched as a part of the Skin Rocks Limited business, which creates skin care kits featuring products hand picked by Hirons.

Dubbed the ‘queen of skin care‘, Hirons has over 37 years of experience in retail, including 25 years working as a consultant in the skin care industry.

She launched a book in 2020 titled Skincare: The ultimate no-nonsense guide, which won the British Book Awards Non-Fiction Lifestyle Book of the Year in 2021.

COSMETICS BUSINESS

Makeup Entrepreneur Bobbi Brown Has Launched a New Beauty Brand

Bobbi Brown, the makeup mogul who pioneered the “no makeup makeup” look in the early 90s, is back at it with a new venture. 

Based on the belief that the world “doesn’t need more beauty products, it just needs better beauty products,” her new brand, Jones Road, which she launchred during the pandemic, offers a relatively small range of “clean” products, formulated to eliminate potentially harmful ingredients such as parabens, phthalates and sulfates. And, in keeping with her less-is-more approach, many items in her new range are multifunctional — such as a balm that can be applied to cheeks, lips and eyelids. 

Jones Road comes decades after Brown sold her namesake label and years after she exited the company.

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Building a brand

Brown first entered the beauty world in the 1980s as a makeup artist when the overly made-up look was in vogue. “It was Studio 54, Liza Minnelli, Jerry Hall,” recalled Brown during an interview with CNN. “I tried to do that and it didn’t work. So I thought, ‘let me make people look more natural,'” she said. 

Bucking the trend, she bid on consumers wanting a more natural look and launched Bobbi Brown in 1991, building a business that was so successful that Estée Lauder came knocking on her door just a few years later. According to Brown, the then CEO Leonard Lauder called to tell her she was beating the cosmetics giant in all the major department stores. He invited Brown and her husband over for dinner and asked if he could buy the brand. “We aren’t for sale,” she told him at the time, but eventually Lauder made an offer she couldn’t refuse. 

When Leonard said to me, ‘what if I can promise you that we can grow your business and you could do what you love’ — and this got to me — ‘you keep doing all of the creative, we do everything else and you can be a really good mom and have your family and not spend your life traveling,’ I said OK. He was the right partner at the right time,” Brown said.

She stayed on at the brand for more than two decades after the reported $74.5 million sale but eventually came to regret a non-compete agreement she had signed, which would bar her from launching any new beauty brands for 25 years. “I’ve always only put my name on things I believe in. It is one of the reasons I left the last brand,” she said. “At the end of my tenure I was forced into approving things that I never had a chance to approve. I refused. I never put my name on something that I don’t believe in.” 

But there were still four years left on the non-compete agreement and she finally had the luxury of time to figure out what she wanted to do next.

‘Empowering people’

In her second act, Brown went back to school to get certified as a health coach. “I didn’t go back to school with a purpose. I went because it was the first time in my life I had time to think of what I wanted to do,” she said. “I’ve always been a health nut and a foodie so going back to school I figured out healthier ways to eat food that I love.” During that time she said she started wearing even less make up. 

Honestly, I sort of stopped wearing it after I left the brand. I was getting healthier, I was less stressed, and I looked better,” she said. 

Brown said she could see what was happening on social media with the many direct-to-consumer beauty brands emerging but saw a gap in the market for the company she was quietly starting to envision which was “somewhere between old Celine, when Phoebe Philo was there, and Supreme.”

She launched the brand on October 26, 2020, the day her non-compete was up.

Brown joined Tiktok in January this year, posting videos with straight-talking advice, including tips for people who are over 50. In one video she makes a case against contouring — a makeup technique used to define and shape certain facial features — asking, “why would you want to contour your nose?” while explaining how she learned to embrace her natural features.

Brown has also used the platform to address critics. One of the brand’s foundations had received some negative feedback from users online — some didn’t like that the oil-based foundation separated in its container, others felt the coverage wasn’t enough. She responded with a series of videos defending the product and explaining how to mix it properly and how to apply it. 

A lot has changed since Brown launched her first brand, but she appears to be embracing the opportunity to talk directly to consumers and share positive beauty messages. 

I believe in life, you have to use what you have and stop fighting who you are,” she said, “I really believe in empowering people to be the best versions of themselves.”

Bobbi’s Top 5 Beauty Tips:

1. Smile a lot, you just look so much better when you do!

2. Hydrate yourself, I don’t care if it’s water or herbal tea — it makes such a difference in how you feel.

3. How you feel is tied to how you look, so instead of running to get work done, ask yourself “why don’t I feel good?” and make some changes to your lifestyle.

4. Wear sunscreen and wear a seatbelt.

5. Streamline your regime: Find a few beauty products that take you just a few minutes to apply that make you feel good no matter what, where and when.

CNN

How Isamaya Ffrench Created The Glossy Skin For Vogue’s August Pride Cover

When the August issue of British Vogue is a big celebration of Pride, representation, individuality and activism, how does one approach the make-up? For Isamaya Ffrench – a make-up artist who is always pushing the boundaries of what it means to transform via colour, texture and prosthetics – it was about honouring the unique character and beauty of each LGBTQ+ cover star. “We wanted everyone to look and feel amazing, to celebrate individuality and beauty, so that each person’s make-up complemented their personality,” she tells Vogue.

From Cara Delevingne and Ariana DeBose to Cynthia Erivo, Munroe Bergdorf and Jordan Barrett – just five of the 12 change-makers depicted in the story – there were an array of luminous faces for Ffrench to paint. “We had conversations with each cover star about how they liked to make themselves up and the message they wanted to convey and took it from there,” she says.

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They landed on fresh-faced make-up looks, which enhanced each individual’s unique features, whether DeBose’s arresting brown eyes (subtly defined with liner) or Aweng Chuol’s vinyl lips, which were captured smiling widely.

Glossy skin, with varying degrees of shine, was a common thread throughout the shoot: “We celebrated glowing skin and took time to perfect everyone’s skin using a mix of skincare and make-up products,” explains Ffrench, who used products from Jones Road, Johnson & Johnson, and the SkinLacq Glow Serum from her newly launched beauty line, Isamaya. Glass skin in a bottle, the serum is infused with hyaluronic acid to hydrate and plump, while emollients create a healthy sheen across skin – it will be available to buy soon.

What was it like working on a shoot celebrating these LGBTQ+ stars? “It was such great energy!” she asserts. “There’s nothing better than celebrating each other.”

VOGUE

Pat McGrath On Why Diversity And Inclusivity Have Been Crucial To Her Brand From Its Launch

“I’m doing so well with swatching right now,” joked legendary makeup artist Pat McGrath during a morning event to celebrate the launch of her eponymous brand’s forthcoming Mothership V: Bronze Seduction palette — a 10-pan offering of matte, shimmer and glitter jewel-toned shadows. “This normally takes a lot of nerve to live-swatch.” McGrath, whose two-year-old makeup company was recently valued at a staggering $1 billion dollars, borrowed a team member’s arm and got busy swiping the pigments on in the now-ubiquitous diagonal swatches we’ve become so accustomed to seeing across every cosmetics brand and beauty influencer’s Instagram feed.

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Now you believe my swatches online, right? They’re not fake! I know you all think it’s all computer-generated because you know I love a tech-y moment, but this is real,” said McGrath to a room of captivated editors. But truth be told, swatching has been a controversial topic lately, with multiple brands coming under fire for botched attempts at getting it right. 

In January, YSL was called out for an image that featured a dark-skinned model’s arm swatched with six shades of its All Hours Concealer — every single one laughably too light for her. In August, Becca Cosmetics drew criticism when an image promoting its Skin Love foundation range featured what essentially equated to a blackface arm (a light-skinned model had been made up to look darker), and subsequently issued an apology. As breadth of shade range has become more of a priority to makeup brands — shout-out once again to reverberations of the Fenty Effect — the marketing has failed to catch up in many regards, often beginning with egregious oversights in model casting.

Meanwhile, as a Black woman herself, there was never a question that inclusivity and diversity would be an integral pillar of McGrath’s brand from the outset. Not only has she paid careful attention to ensure that the pigmentation and quality of every product under her eponymous umbrella would work on any skin tone, but she also proves that to be true by showing every product on every skin tone as much as possible. On McGrath’s Instagram, in the Pat McGrath Labs campaigns and on the brand’s website, there is no product that’s shown simply on one skin tone. 

At McGrath’s press events, there are always at least three models on hand with a variety of complexions so that editors can get a full understanding of the products’ capabilities, too. And for McGrath, this dedication to inclusivity is personal. “I just remember as almost a child shopping in department stores and seeing all of these beautiful colors and then they never worked on my skin, or they were too bruise-y on pale skin,” she recalled, adding that when it comes to creating the products in her own line, “there’s so much study that goes into every formula, scientifically” to make sure products won’t be exclusionary for anyone based on the shade of their skin. 

It’s about the colors working on every skin tone. It’s so important to know that you’re not left out, that there’s not any skin tone, or any of us, really, who are like, ‘Oh my goodness, only three colors in this palette work for me,’” she said. McGrath has always communicated to her entire team that diversity isn’t optional — and that it starts with model casting. “Working with girls of every skin tone is so important, because if you don’t show the looks on all sorts of skin tones, how do you even know what you can buy, what suits you, what’s right for you?” she said, specifically citing Duckie Thot and Paloma Elsesser as two models of color the brand has worked with from its early days.  

FASHIONISTA

An Exclusive Look at Isamaya Ffrench’s Debut Make-Up Collection

Isamaya Ffrench is sitting at an outside table at London’s The Maine, a stone throw’s from Vogue’s HQ. It’s a particularly sunny Spring day and everyone is full of cheer, which makes what she’s about to unveil that much more subversive. Taking its cues from the visual lexicon of BDSM culture – the lids of two serums and a mascara come skewered with wearable hard metal piercings, while a bound rubbery figure emerges from a 14 pan eyeshadow palette – Isamaya’s first make-up collection (the Industrial collection), for her brand new beauty brand, Isamaya, and its accompanying Steven Klein-lensed campaign, is as much a statement about the beauty industry as it is about beauty. Because Isamaya isn’t your typical beauty brand: it’s not selling you some repackaged notion of beauty in the traditional sense, nor is it relying on tired millennial tropes to appeal to a younger audience. It’s simply about providing the tools for people to express themselves in a way that’s incredibly freeing. “Everyone’s always banging on about make-up to transform yourself,” says Ffrench. “I’ve done the transformation thing, and I get it. But actually, I think make-up is a tool to return to who you are. And I think this collection could speak to people that can be more of their authentic self with this style of make-up, as opposed to like, a pretty girly blusher or something else.

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But to focus on the visuals and underlying message alone would be to undermine what she’s managed to do in terms of the products. Because this is where the true ingenuity lies. A five-piece drop comprising a mascara, eyeshadow palette, glow serum, lip lacquer and brow laminator, Isamaya has worked tirelessly with her lab to create innovative textures and boundary-pushing formulas; a mascara that doesn’t just give you the effect of fuller lashes, but actually nourishes them to promote growth; an eyeshadow putty that melts with your body temperature to make it more blendable; a glow serum that doesn’t just contain pearlescent particles for a superficial dewiness, but also active ingredients that stimulate collagen production, creating a much deeper, more intense radiance. After years of lending her prowess to brands including Tom Ford, Christian Louboutin, Burberry – where she remains global beauty director – and Byredo, Isamaya is executing her unique vision of beauty on her own terms, and without any commercial shackles. The result is a lesson in unrestrained creativity that feels truly Isamaya. “I look at these products and I think, ‘That’s just so much more me than any other products I’ve ever seen in my life,’” she muses. “Maybe other people will be able to connect to it as well.”

Below, Vogue takes a closer look at the collection.

Industrial Skinlacq Triple Hyaluronic Glow Serum

A pearlescent lacquer for the face, but without any added sparkle, the Industrial Skinlacq Triple Hyaluronic Glow Serum is ideal for creating that glass skin look. Using a triple hyaluronic acid complex, along with cell-energising peptides, it also works to nourish and reinvigorate the skin, which was key for Isamaya. “I didn’t just want a glowy serum that doesn’t do anything else,” she says. “If I’m going to use this on my face every day, as the perfect base for my make-up, I wanted that first point of contact to be moisturising and moisture-locking.” Bottled up beautifully in a glass orb, replete with a pipette and hard metal piercing, it will bring an edge to any bathroom cabinet.

Industrial Rubberlash Latex Lift Mascara

A true example of make-up artistry and invention, the Industrial Rubberlash Latex Lift Mascara doesn’t just make your lashes look fuller and longer, it actually curls them too. “The lab created this mesh-like texture to encapsulate the lash,” Ffrench says. “It has this kind of elastic property that pulls the lashes back so you don’t need to curl your lashes.” Using three separate pigments, two black and one blue, to create an ultra black lash, it gives that coveted false lash impression, while conditioning oils nourish to encourage growth.

Industrial Liplacq Maximising Lip Serum

Described as a veil for the lips, the Industrial Liplacq Maximising Lip Serum uses a blend of coffee and ginger root oil to create a plumping effect, while its deep berry hue and almost inky texture add a sense of depth. This isn’t your average lip offering. “I wanted to create something that makes your lips a couple of shades darker because I think it’s quite sexy, quite goth,” she says. “I don’t want it to look like you’re wearing any product, though, it just deepens your natural tone with a kind of greyish, veiny tint.

Industrial Browlacq Brow Laminator

A multi-use brow lacquer, apply one lick of this hard-wearing, hard-working gel to your brows and it will hold them in place from day to night and right through to the morning after. Perfect for styling or giving that laminating effect, it contains glycerin and humectants to nourish the hairs as well. “For all the drag queens out there, you can use this to stick your brows down and then cover with foundation, and then you have no brows,” she adds. It’s also good for kiss curls.

Industrial Colour Pigments Eyeshadow Palette

Taking inspiration from industrial hues – oil slick greys and chrome silvers – but with the odd flash of acidic colour, the 14 pan palette is a mix of special effect pearls, mattes, and press putties – demi-wet textures that activate at body temperature so they blend more easily. They look just as exquisite together as they do individually. There’s a particularly arresting violet that looks almost holographic on the skin. Isamaya recommends it for cooling down your highlights, while a silver pressed metallic gives a foil-like effect. “It’s all about the textures,” she says. “They look really interesting in different lights, and photograph really beautifully.

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