TORONTO – Canadian makeup artist and prosthetic designer Donald Mowat says he didn’t let previous film and TV adaptions of “Dune” impact his style choices in the latest version of the sci-fi epic, instead opting to make the characters his own.
The highly anticipated adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel from Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve had a world exclusive IMAX screening at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.
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The sprawling interstellar story of warring families stars Timothee Chalamet as the protagonist antihero. Oscar Isaac plays his father, who oversees a dangerous desert planet called Arrakis, which contains the most valuable resource in the universe, a drug nicknamed “spice” that gives its users heightened powers and allows navigators to guide spaceships through the universe. This makes Arrakis the target of violent battles and political treachery.
Mowat, who is known for his work on “8 Mile,” “Skyfall,” “Blade Runner 2049” and “First Man,” told CTVNews.ca that he’s only worked on films that were either based on a true story, book or play, or are some form of a remake of an original version – making his job more difficult, he says.
“I think there’s an influence, and it also makes you [feel] like you’re not creating your own looks,” Mowat explained in an interview over Zoom.
Mowat said he decided not to watch the 1984 version of “Dune” so as not to have director David Lynch’s depiction of the characters influence how he would create them.
“I had the same challenge with ‘Blade Runner’ because there was this thing, this huge epic thing that people would compare it to inevitably, and I just thought, ‘I can’t get caught up in that’,” Mowat said
Mowat said he has since looked at clips of the original film and is “really glad” he didn’t beforehand.
Swapping out characteristics of red hair and wildly overgrown eyebrows, Mowat opted for subtle yet distinct features to recognize each planet’s people, specifically the people that live on the desert planet of Arrakis, known as the Fremen.
The Fremen’s costumes – including actor Zendaya’s – were heavily influenced by Bedouin tribes and Moroccan culture, and Mowat said he wanted their hair and makeup to match that aesthetic.
Fremen who use spice have distinctive blue eyes. Mowat also opted to make their makeup look natural, using nude hues to create a “very neutral yet kind of beautiful” look. Their hair is unkempt, but not so much to the point where they “look like savages,” he said, adding that there is an “attraction” about the Fremen.
“They’re not uncivilized people,” he said. “They look like they live there, so they should look good because that’s where they belong. That’s where they live and where they thrive.”
Mowat says the makeup team also covered actors playing Fremen people in sand and dirt to match the desert environment.
Bald caps, eyebrow covers and small tattoos were also part of Mowat’s looks for the Harkonnen and Mentat people – features not seen in previous adaptations.
In addition, Mowat helped to create the prosthetics for the villainous Baron, played by Stellan Skarsgard. He says the fat suit and prosthetic makeup was a “huge elaborate build,” taking the team 16 weeks to conceptualize and create.
“My concept was a character that was based loosely using a gorilla – the size of a gorilla, the power, the viciousness and fierceness,” Mowat said. “Then some Marlon Brando in ‘Apocalypse Now” and ‘The Island of Dr. Moreau’ with that very white skin and makeup.”
Mowat said the transformation required Skarsgard to spent six to eight hours at a time in the makeup chair.
With each character’s appearance being “meticulously” thought out, Mowat said the film is a testament to the artistry of those who work behind the scenes on major movies.
“For me, it celebrates filmmaking on the big screen – great costumes, great production design, music, every type of makeup imaginable – it just encompasses every aspect of cinema that we love so much,” he said.
There is a little-known right of passage for Angelenos that caught Jennifer Aniston off guard when she first started driving in Hollywood. “I got my first car, and someone said to me, ‘So, like, what’s the name of your car?’ And I was like, ‘What? You have to name your car in California?’” Nevertheless, Aniston obliged, dubbing her black Saab 900 Lola. “I always liked the song,” she says, referring to Sarah Vaughan’s version of “Whatever Lola Wants,” which has become something of a theme song for the Friends star. “Whenever I’d show up, my friends would say, ‘Lola’s here!’”
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Aniston has since leveraged the name in myriad ways, including in 2010 when she launched her debut fragrance, before quickly changing course and going with the more straightforward Jennifer Aniston for Women, which was eventually acquired by Elizabeth Arden. There were murmurs that copyright issues inspired the switch, but it’s also entirely possible that Aniston had bigger plans for LolaVie, which she loosely translates as “Lola’s life, my life”—an illustrious existence that has included superstardom, as well as some very smart business decisions, including this one: Today, LolaVie lives again, as the name of Aniston’s debut beauty brand.
Aniston has dabbled in beauty before, of course. She has transcended the more standard “brand ambassador” title to take on C-suite positions across a range of beauty and wellness categories (her newest role, as the chief creative officer of Vital Proteins, is the latest example of Aniston putting her considerable endorsement power behind a product she simply uses every day). But her own brand, which will be broad-ranging if trademark filings are any indication, will begin where her household fame left off: with her hair.
“This just felt pretty organic to me as my hair is something that has always been one of my struggles,” reveals the onetime owner of The Rachel, who refers to her own honey blond strands as “the Greek frappé on top of my head.” Years of washing and drying and curling and straightening and coloring, both in her personal and professional life, has left Aniston uniquely positioned to talk about damage—and reparative ingredients, of which she has tried many on a long road to hair health. While working with a different hair-care brand, Aniston got “the bug” for formulating, so when the opportunity to become a founder presented itself five years ago via Elizabeth Arden veterans and current LolaVie co-founders Joel Ronkin and Amy Sachs—to create hair products with natural, plant-based ingredients that still perform—Aniston needed little convincing.
LolaVie arrives this morning with a Glossing Detangler that swaps water, a filler ingredient that typically makes up 80 percent of hair-care products, with nourishing, sustainable bamboo essence. Lemon extract imparts “extraordinary shine,” per Aniston, and vegetable ceramides replace conditioning chemicals such as silicones, which can offer immediate gratification but often cause damage over time.
A detangler isn’t necessarily the first product you’d expect from a new hair-care brand, but one of LolaVie’s core principles is to launch products based on need—a hole in the market, or something that can be improved upon—rather than conform to predetermined retail schedules. And Aniston happens to need a good detangler. “I use detanglers all the time when I get out of the shower because of the condition of my hair; it’s hard to get through,” she reveals, adding that she wanted her detangler to be like “the Swiss Army knife of products: It’s a heat protector, it brings nutrients and health back to the hair follicle, it creates shine”—and it happens to be a great sign of what’s to come.
If you’re a beauty junkie, you know that navigating the world of makeup can be a pretty overwhelming experience. Whether you’re in the market for a new concealer, translucent powder, or setting spray, there seems to be a million options for each—who has time to test them all and find the very best one? Luckily, that’s what beauty pros are for.
Vogue reached out to five noteworthy influencers and makeup artists who are all gaining large followings for their stellar makeup looks. This includes Neon MUA and Robert Welsh—both of whom create colorful eyeshadow looks like no other—and Wayne Goss, who has nearly 4 million followers on YouTube. If you’re a Lil Nas X fan, you may also recognize Anthony H. Nguyen’s work: He serves as the rapper’s makeup artist, and has created many of his memorable red carpet and video looks (like this graphic liner for the “Montero” video). Meanwhile, Shantanu Dhope—whose Instagram tagline is “Brown Boys wear makeup too”—also creates eye-catching beauty looks that incorporate his Desi culture.
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Beyond simply creating enchanting looks, these pros are also proving makeup is truly for all—whether female, male, or nonbinary. Dhope, for instance, says he proudly wears makeup because, “I feel we do not have enough brown skin representation in the beauty industry, especially brown men wearing makeup. In India, a boy wearing makeup is still a very new concept, and a lot of people consider it to be a taboo.” Goss also specifically encourages men who are new to makeup to experiment and have fun with it. “When it comes to makeup, most men tend to want to enhance their looks without anyone knowing they’re wearing any,” says Goss. His tip to achieving the perfect beginner look? “Make sure you apply ‘little’ and avoid over-application. Less is more. And never be afraid of blush—healthy skin has some color to it.”
Below, read on for these five beauty artists’s top products for everyone to try.
Call me biased, but my collection of face palettes with Midas Cosmetics is something that everyone needs in their kit. These palettes are pigmented, buttery, and most importantly, they have the range. My focus with creating this collection was to make sure that everyone can have access to effective contours and bronzers, whether you are fair and need products that don’t run orange, or if you’re deeply rich and are tired of not having access to contours and bronzers that actually show up on your complexion.
This is a recent must-have for me. I love this powder because it is truly translucent. The All Nighter collection is known for being waterproof and locking in your makeup for hours, so being able to finally have a product that helps with sweat and shine that is also a true translucent powder is a gift from the makeup gods.
I will always love NARS foundations because they have such a wide range of shades and undertones, plus their formula is always top-tier. Out of all of the NARS foundations, this is the one that I always find myself reaching for, because it offers a nice amount of coverage without looking cakey, while also giving you the natural, healthy glow that everyone wants.
MannyMUA in my honest opinion has one of the most impressive influencer brands in beauty, because he’s not afraid to play with color and concepts. All of his palettes are truly impressive (especially his revamped Life’s A Drag Facelift palette), but if there’s one palette that I will also grab, it’s the Strawberry Dream palette. Reds and blues are some of the hardest colors to work with in terms of shadows, yet these shades are so pigmented and blend like a dream. Everyone needs this palette.
With the classic technique of soap brows becoming a more recent trend, and many brands releasing their version of brow grooming waxes, this is one of the only brow products I have found that draws smoothly and precisely over a waxy texture. After grooming brows into that fluffy look, this pen is also perfect to draw strokes of hair on the brows, without losing the overall look.
I find a lot of highlighters can look textured or obvious on the skin—either because they contain glitter, or because the shades are slightly off, with a metallic finish. This highlighter is the complete opposite. There are multiple different shades that complement skin tone, instead of the highlighter being just pink or gold for example. When applying this highlighter, you notice how it effortlessly blends, and almost becomes one with your skin. And because it’s buildable, you can start at a natural “glowing from within” to a more dramatic glow.
Beauty Bay has always been a go-to destination for me when looking to try new products and brands, as they offer everything from drugstore to high-end products. Their own brand’s eyeshadows, at drugstore prices, offer high-end quality. Every texture, matte, shimmer, and glitter are extremely pigmented and blend beautifully. They all have an almost creamy texture that is easy to build, and are a pleasure to use when creating a makeup look.
Patrick Ta Major Sculpt Crème Contour & Powder Bronzer Duo
One thing I get asked a lot is “what’s the difference between bronzer and contour?” These compacts are the perfect representation of what a bronzer and contour should be. The bronzing powder provides just the right amount of “sun-kissed” without being orange, and the cream contour shades create the perfect ‘bone structure-mimicking’ contour colour, which blends naturally into the skin. If you’ve had trouble finding your perfect contour shade before, or perhaps are intimidated by the idea of contouring, this product is the perfect place to start, and stick with.
I cannot leave my house without grooming my eyebrows. I just run this product quickly through my brows to give me a clean and fresh looking brow. It gives me the right amount of color without looking over done.
The actor Hari Nef flashed across the Instagram feed on a weekend night in June, at the close of the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival. In the photo, her lipstick gleams like a newly minted penny. Eye shadow in a shade of papaya turns up in deft, unexpected touches: tracing the inner rim of the socket and dotting the lower lash beneath the iris. There’s a feeling of archetypal elegance, but in a way that elides rule. Arresting is the word: pulling the brakes on the habitual scroll. You can tap for the credits, but the authorship is already clear to those who’ve seen Kaia Gerber, Bella Hadid, and Euphoria’s Barbie Ferreira undergo similar transformations. This new-guard makeup is the work of Sam Visser.
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The California native, named Dior’s U.S. makeup artist ambassador earlier this year, is a precocious force. In some ways he’s in step with his peers. “I feel tuned in to the fact that social media is a very present thing, that it’s a tool that we can use to our advantage,” says Visser. “I wear JNCO jeans, so I am Gen Z,” he smiles. But even that nod to the wide-leg ’90s-favorite denim brand—enjoying a second life thanks to a boost from 20-somethings—mirrors Visser’s affection for the outsize aesthetics of the past. The word that comes up repeatedly as we speak is glamour. As in: “glamour, glamour, glamour, glamour, glamour,” he stresses. “I come from a generation where the attitude is so whatever, so over it, very careless. But I want to care too much. I love everything considered.”
Born in November 1999, as the world braced for a would-be Y2K meltdown, Visser is an apt intermediary between analog exuberance and the digital age. In grade school, Visser absorbed the lo-fi makeup tutorials of early YouTube. On weekends, he escaped to the MAC counter, designing looks on paper face charts. At 12, during a visit to L.A.’s Make Up For Ever store, he excitedly spotted the makeup artist David Hernandez, who invited Visser to shadow a shoot with David LaChapelle. “That was kind of my first taste of beauty,” Visser says. “Before, it was all just on the screen of the internet and never really in real life.”
But even a kid rooted in the online world found some of his most lasting influences in books: Makeup Your Mind (2002) by François Nars and Kevyn Aucoin’s iconic Making Faces (1997). Dubbed the first celebrity makeup artist for his camaraderie with the supers (immortalized in behind-the-scenes Polaroids and candid videos), Aucoin had a way of quilting together references and techniques, from silent-film brows to drag-influenced sculpting. By the time Visser was 16, he had taken Aucoin’s lessons in hand, with clients like Tish Cyrus; that year, Kris Jenner hired Visser to do her daily makeup (he finished high school by independent study). The Kardashians steeped him in another sort of dialed-up aesthetic—the Gesamtkunstwerk of the always-on reality TV persona. “They are the modern version of what the Hollywood stars were,” Visser says, “because they get ready every single day for hours.”
Time has a way of folding in on itself, with unlikely rhymes across decades. As Visser has shifted his track—to editorial makeup, art projects, and experimental looks that he often shoots himself—the Aucoin allusions have followed. (It helps that Visser’s circle includes a new cast of supers, Cindy Crawford’s daughter included.) What feels fresh with Visser’s crowd is the interplay of artist and muse, with collaborators appearing on both sides of the lens: photographer Nadia Lee Cohen wearing a molten gold lip in a portrait series from lockdown, or Bryce Anderson (above) in shades of metallic seafoam and peach.
Anderson, a 20-year-old photographer and model, met Visser on set a couple of years ago. Now dating, the two share a worldview along with a “crazy archive at our house of special things that we’ve purchased,” says Anderson. He cites a Francesco Scavullo book that inspired an upcoming zine of portraits for Behind the Blinds, with Visser lending makeup in the spirit of ’70s legend Way Bandy. Neither sees their work as nostalgic. Instead they want to create worlds that transcend time and TikTok attention spans and even fashionable notions of gender fluidity. “For Sam, he always says, ‘Makeup is just makeup,’ ” Anderson tells me. “It’s not like, ‘Ooh, you’re making me a woman.’ It’s, ‘You’re just making me beautiful,’ and that’s always been our philosophy.”
The current thirst for circa-2000 style feeds into that pool of references. Visser looks back on the time of his birth as having a reflection of the ’60s—“but instead of going to the moon, we were going into the internet,” he says. “All the makeup ads became very metallic, and everything was shiny and sparkly.” In this look on Anderson, there’s a hint of cyber-pop: a Paris Hilton frosted lip, pastel shadow on Britney Spears. But it’s more a present-tense proposition: out of the internet and into a stylized dream reality. Visser sees his work as “almost punk,” in a way—a rogue departure from the barefaced beauty aesthetic that we’ve lately come to expect. In another 20 years, that’s what he hopes people look back on: “that glamour is an act of rebellion.”
Made to Last
In Visser’s world, vintage photography and beauty books might inspire the makeup for a zine, Y2K-era aesthetics get a softer spin, and smart formulas enable full-face transformations.
The beauty industry has a bad habit of labeling actual change—eliminating harmful ingredients or including actual representation in imagery—as trends. Clean beauty has become a casualty of this phenomenon, which is only emphasized when brands use vague terms and greenwash their products, despite a lack of commitment to true sustainability. Hopefully, this “fad” is here to stay, with consumers continuing to demand higher quality and more eco-friendly beauty products. However, as “green beauty” is being hailed as the new cool thing, Jessica Alba and the Honest Company were one the first brands to pave the way for innovation in the space.
“No one had even heard of the word ‘non-toxic’,” Jessica Alba told ELLE.com, as she discussed the founding of her brand.Started in 2011, The Honest Company–and its later brand, Honest Beauty, which launched in 2015–were emphasizing healthy ingredients and sustainable packaging before these were common PR-manufactured buzzwords.
“Back in the day, when I wanted everything to be in packaging that’s super sustainable, it just didn’t exist,” says Alba. Prior to new innovations in the field, options for a beauty line that also cared for the environment and health of its consumers were incredibly limited. Looking back at where the state of clean beauty was just a few years ago, Alba remarks, “How is this both expensive and terrible?”
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Luckily, the market has come a long way, and Alba’s company has been at the forefront. Now, cartons that house Honest Beauty products are 100% recyclable or compostable, and completely tree-free. “There are no trees that are harmed,” quipped Alba. Aluminum tubes, tin compacts, and refillable jars are being implemented for customer favorite products, and all orders from Honest.com are now carbon-neutral. And that’s just a snapshot of the changes the brand is implementing, now that more options are available.
Despite having a head start on the conversation surrounding sustainability in the beauty industry, it can still feel like an uphill battle. Along with pricey product stability testing, figuring out the best way to streamline production, and making sure the consumer had the best experience with the products, another major obstacle was raising the bar of manufacturing partners, who create the components for the brand. “They even had to implement new machinery that they didn’t have before, in order to fill our products in the more sustainable packaging,” says Alba. The goal, besides making products for Honest Beauty, was to create an infrastructure “so that they can offer it at more accessible prices to more companies, including us.”
Along with new packaging and sustainability goals, Honest Beauty is continuing to create new products that combine efficacy with its planet-centered goals. Their new Daily Defense Collection, which launched on July 19th, features a waterless cleanser, purifying toner, and setting spray, and was created to be integrated into anyone’s daily routine. And like the rest of their line, all these products were created with a focus on sustainability.
While the goal may be to become one hundred percent green, there is still so much work ahead. Continuing to invest time and money into creating and innovating clean alternatives–and make them available to as many brands as possible–isn’t a goal that can be checked off easily. And yet, it’s essential to keep working towards it, even when small changes may feel feeble. As Alba puts it, “This is just common sense. You should just care about your planet, the ocean, people’s health.”
And as more beauty brands feel the pressure to address their consumers’ demands for cleaner, more sustainable beauty, the more it’s apparent that Alba and Honest Beauty were ahead of their time.
“We’ve always cared about this stuff,” says Alba. “It’s just, the marketplace has finally caught up to us.”
“Dark brown – nearly black – slightly downturned, and defined by the shape of their lids,” journalist Monica Kim wrote in a piece for Vogue back in June. “There is no wrinkle, no crease, no skin that falls back into the socket. Just a wide, flat plane that sits unmoving below my brows.” Kim was talking about her monolids, an eye shape possessed by many of East Asian descent, and one she shares with British Vogue’s luminous September cover star, Gemma Chan.
The web is awash with how-to videos and instructional articles on how to create the “ultimate” eye look, but unfortunately the techniques often ignore monolids. Here, Hiromi Ueda, the makeup artist behind Chan’s look, shares her top tips for achieving show-stopping eyes for monolids.
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“I think the order you apply your makeup in is very important,” says Ueda. “It’s better to apply eyeshadow before you attempt a feline flick. And it’s wise to keep your eyes shut while the eyeliner is drying, to avoid reprinting the liner on top of your eyelid.”
Go bold and bright
With the onus being on accentuating the shape of the eye along the lash line, eyeshadow is a monolid’s best friend. Seek out bold and bright colours, and know that you can easily wear just one shade (instead of three, as those with double lids often do) across your lids. “I recommend choosing colour that’s impactful and which contrasts against a feline flick,” Ueda says. “I always check what my client is going to wear (and its key colours), so I can complement them in the makeup.”
Ueda is a fan of Mac’s Pigment Pots for the extensive shade range. Monolids can also pull off some colour below the eye, so if that takes your fancy, experiment with blending your chosen shade underneath, too.
How to create a feline flick
When drawing a feline flick, seek to extend the line outwards, rather than up towards the end tip of the brow – it will help to enhance the shape of your eyes. “Ensure the line looks straight when you open your eyes, so mark some points on the eye with an eye pencil or pen and then draw the defined line,” advises Ueda. You can further define and make eyes look wider by using a tightlining technique on the upper lash line – work your eyeliner into the waterline and areas between your eyelashes, for a subtle but impactful effect. Long-wear and waterproof eyeliners are best to ensure there’s less transfer onto surrounding skin.
For fluttery lashes
The trick to making eyelashes stand out if you have monolids is to curl them beforehand, says Ueda. “My biggest advice is also to replace your mascara regularly to avoid any clumpy bits, as they won’t create a perfect finish.” False eyelashes can also work really well.
Go for gloss
Many eye shapes struggle with eye gloss because it tends to crease and slide all over the face, impacting the overall eye makeup finish. Monolids, on the other hand, don’t have that problem, up the ante on your eye look with a little shine. “Apply alone or add some gloss on top of eyeshadow, as it can make colours stand out more,” says Ueda.
The tanned skin, the freckles, the sandy nude lip, the wispy golden bangs framing azure-blue eyes… Margot Robbie on British Vogue’s August cover is the perfect example of what every single one of us wants to look like when the sun hits. The Australian star is, to put it simply, the definition of summer beauty goals.
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Robbie is a golden girl by nature, but it was make-up artist Pati Dubroff (who works with the actor often), who amped things up with a touch of the ’70s for the pages of Vogue. “Invoking the ’70s was a big part of the inspiration for the look,” she tells Vogue over the phone from Los Angeles. “Margot had recently cut her bangs and only really shown them [in public] once before, at the Oscars, so it was really fun for us to take that new hair and mould her character [for the shoot] through that.”
The star’s new fringe is reminiscent of a certain French icon, Jane Birkin, whose hair – specifically the bangs – has spawned countless imitations over the decades. The chanteuse’s oft-emulated ’70s look was a key reference on the moodboard. “Margot is an incredible chameleon and has an openness to play,” Dubroff says, explaining how the duo approach the different looks they create. “Her basic day-to-day look is clean and fresh, with a slight wash of a tone on the eye or lip. She’s such a natural beauty that it’s about not overcomplicating or taking that away. But she does love to transform. This time: into a ’70s beach babe.”
From how Dubroff applied Robbie’s bronzer, to the technique she used to create realistic-looking freckles, here the A-list makeup artist shares exactly how she created the sun-kissed ’70s look.
“Margot had a tan at the time so I just really amped it up. I used cream bronzer and buffed and buffed it in until it laid seamlessly on the skin. To recreate the look it’s really about blending and not relying on powdery products – instead, use cream matte products. I also think that using a flat buffing brush is key. Also, look out for bronzing face products that come out as a gel but deliver a matte finish – they’re great too.”
Chanel Health Glow Bronzing Cream, £38.70, available at Boots.com.
“I added a lot of freckles to Margot’s skin. I actually went on YouTube and learned how to create them in the days before the shoot. I watched a whole bunch of videos featuring different people who were doing their own freckle techniques… it’s a perfect lesson that you’re never too old or experienced to learn something new. The technique that best resonated with me was to use a bobby pin and dip it into a brow product. I used a palette that had both creams and powders in it, and first put the tip of the bobby pin into a cream medium-brown shade and applied to her skin. Then I put it into the brow powder and topped each freckle with that. To finish I gently swirled a clean brush over the skin to take off the top layer of residue. Brow products – but in a different way!”
“As a nod to the early ’70s, it was all about mascara on the upper and lower lashes, not too perfect and a little bit clumpy. When you see pictures of Jane Birkin in that period, her lashes are clumpy on the top and bottom, so we did both. We wanted to create a feeling that she’d done it herself and had had her mascara on for a couple of days. I didn’t purposefully squeeze them together or anything, but just let the layers of mascara do that naturally. If you’re trying it at home, I’d recommend building your mascara up and not being afraid to put more on the bottom lashes.”
“After a good coating of mascara, I paled out her lip to fit with the ’70s theme. It was a time when make-up was all about matte textures – not full-on matte or flat – but things weren’t too shimmery. That happened later in the ’80s. So I incorporated lots of matte formulas into the look in general.”
Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet Luminous Matte Lip Colour – Nuance, £27.90, available at Boots.com.
This brand made waves throughout the beauty community when they introduced their extremely inclusive shade range of 25 bronzers, distinguished by neutral, red, warm, neutral warm, and olive undertones.
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Straight from the source:
“We are a queer run cosmetics company that wants to encompass all walks of life under our brand. What does that even mean you ask? Well, let me tell you a story.
My name is Christian Coll, hence the name CXC, and I was once a working makeup artist doing what all makeup artists love…MAKEUP! However, I kept running into issues. I could never seem to get the makeup that I needed all in one place, especially shade ranges. I would spend THOUSANDS on high end products because I believe great makeup begins with great products. It turns out, however, that just because the products were “high end” didn’t mean they were the best quality. My next problem was finding products that worked for multiple skin tones. Being a Puerto Rican born individual myself, I found that there was VERY LITTLE diversity when it came to skin tone range in the majority of companies. Not only that, but there was such little representation in the market, very little people of color, multiple genders, people of different sizes, etc. Something needed to change.
In 2019, I decided I had enough. I was going to create my own brand, a brand that works for everybody, regardless of race or gender or any difference in an individual that you can imagine. I was going to create LUXURY products at an affordable price. That is where my partner in business and life, Anthony, comes in. Fortunately, he has several degrees, one of which happens to be in chemistry. Together, we sold everything we had, downsized our life and started purchasing lab equipment and ingredients, and began building CXC Beauty.
Building a brand from scratch was one of the hardest challenges I have ever faced, yet it was absolutely so rewarding. We began by creating our own eyeshadows and then slowly started to diversify. After a solid year of trying so hard to just get noticed, we finally gained traction, and in doing so, we were able to lease an office space and a lab. It was just the thing we needed in order to take our brand to the next level.
Today, we create a large array of products, from color cosmetics to skincare. Each of our products are created in house, in our own lab, with the utmost safety and care. Everything we create is cruelty free as we only purchase ingredients that are certified fair-trade and cruelty free. Most of our products are also vegan. The only non vegan ingredient we use is carmine, which is only in a very few select products. Regardless of the product however, they are each created with absolute love!
The future of CXC Beauty is absolutely a bright one. It will contain the widest range of products for ALL skin tones that there is. Our models will include an absolute diverse range of individuals. Not only that, but it will include skincare for all skin types, hair care for all hair types, and everything in between. CXC Beauty is a brand that promotes acceptance and love, regardless of who you are.
We hope you join us on our journey in to the future of the cosmetic industry, where the bar will be set higher than it has ever been!
Whether you’re about to jet off to a green-list tropical island or settle into a staycation, it’s time to make sure your summer skincare routine is at its tip-top shape. From dehydrating heat and pore-blocking humidity to those extra strong and damaging UV rays, sunny climes can have myriad effects on our skin.
So, what can we do to protect it? To find out more, VOGUE asked some of the industry’s leading K-beauty and skincare experts for their tried-and-tested tips.
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1. Sarah Oh, founder of skincare and K-beauty blog, Oh My Gloss
“Heat and humidity make our pores produce more sweat and oil, so skin can feel grimier and dirtier than usual [in the summer]. However, it’s important to keep our skincare routine gentle, even when washing our skin. People tend to over-wash and use harsher face cleansers around this time — these strip the skin, causing dryness and sometimes prompting the skin to produce more oil.”
“Using a low-pH cleanser is a gentle yet effective way to wash away daily impurities while keeping the skin healthy. In K-beauty, cleansing is the most important step, so doing this properly will set your summer routine for success in motion. Technique tip: work on sections of the face for up to a minute, make small rolling motions with your fingertips.”
“My husband and I love using the 107 Chaga Jelly Low pH Cleanser. It washes off clean, doesn’t leave behind a film, and the crushed green tea leaf powder and the aged vinegar in the formulation give your skin a mild exfoliation.”
2. Elisa Lee, founder of K-beauty product website,Dot Dot Skin
“Sunscreen is a must, every single day, even if you stay indoors or you go out for a few minutes. I like Cosrx Aloe Soothing Sun Cream as it doesn’t leave a white cast, it’s not sticky and it looks great under make-up. Reapplying sunscreen throughout the day is also needed. I recommend putting it on your neck and hands too, and using a lip balm with SPF — these are the areas that people forget, but they’re so important. Also, wear caps or hats to protect your face from the sun.”
“During the summer, I love using cooling products — I suggest storing sheet masks and eye patches in the fridge for an extra cooling effect. I love using skincare tools and I put those in the fridge as well, such as Fraîcheur Paris Ice Globes. My favourite tool is the icing roller that I massage over my sheet mask.”
“My biggest skincare tip for summer is a three-part mantra, but honestly it’s a bit of a no-brainer. Keep it cool, keep it simple and keep it calm! First of all, for me, everything that comes after cleansers lives in the fridge during summer. There’s nothing more refreshing than a chilled sheet mask or a gel eye patch. When my skin is hot, it’s also red and angry, so cooled-down products help soothe it. I’m obsessed with sprays, but since I have dry skin, I want my mists to be more than just water. The Farm Stay It’s Real Collagen Gel Mist is like a moisturizer in a spray, and I love it.”
“Warmer months aren’t the time to use chemical exfoliants. A good philosophy is that summer is for maintenance, winter is for treatments. Sunscreen is always key, but it’s of utmost importance when we’re spending more time outdoors.”
“My skin gets a lot of heat, and that’s one of the areas that the aestheticians at Shangpree Spa in Seoul helped me understand how to treat. Ms Joo-Eun Kim, the spa director, explained that when my skin is hot, I should only use my hands to apply skincare as cotton pads and other tools can cause further heat friction. She also made me aware that red, dry skin makes moisture leave much more quickly, so it’s important to rehydrate with toners and cooling sheet masks.”
5. Sarah Lee, co-CEO and co-founder of beauty brand Glow Recipe
“Growing up in Korea, we would always observe our mothers and grandmothers perform their beauty rituals. It was a common practice for them to rub cold watermelon rinds on our backs in the hot summer months. It would instantly soothe and heal our heat rash, so this superfruit became the inspiration behind our first product — the Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask — and has since become a Glow Recipe signature to achieving natural, glowy skin. Watermelon is rich in water content, vitamins, amino acids and anti-inflammatory minerals, which is why it works as a skin hydrator and soother.”
“This mask is a great calming treatment after a day out in the sun — you can use it as the last step of your bedtime routine as an overnight mask, or as a 10-minute wash-off treatment for instantly soothed and plump skin. As well as watermelon, it has hyaluronic acid and AHAs to gently exfoliate and hydrate the skin, which makes it ideal for all skin types. I love putting it in the fridge at least 30 minutes before application for an extra cooling experience. Our early beauty memories have driven the innovations that we bring to Glow Recipe and they remind us of the efficacy of natural ingredients.”
“Another tip to beat summer skin buildup is treating yourself to a clay-infused facial treatment. Traditionally, clay masks can be too harsh for all skin types, especially sensitive or dry complexions — which is why we recently launched the Watermelon Glow Hyaluronic Clay Pore-Tight Facial. Our hyaluronic-acid-infused whipped clay frees skin of cell buildup and draws out impurities, while chemical exfoliants, watermelon enzymes, BHA and PHA help clear congested pores. Combined with gentle, exfoliating blueberry-seed powder, this five-minute facial encourages softer, brighter, and clearer-looking skin.”
6. Christine Chang, co-CEO and co-founder of beauty brandGlow Recipe
“Watermelon is a soothing and calming ingredient that blends beautifully with a range of active elements. We love formulating products that intend to hydrate, smooth and balance the skin with watermelon extract, leveraging its calming and soothing properties.”
Much has been written about the return of FOMO as restaurants—and borders—reopen, and the luckiest among us begin revisiting our once thriving (and debatably overscheduled) social and professional commitments in a world tiptoeing back to some form of pre-pandemic normalcy. This week’s haute couture shows, many of which are being held in person, have presented the biggest post-lockdown FOMO opportunity for the fashion faithful, and there was perhaps no bigger moment to miss out on than Demna Gvasalia’s couture debut for Balenciaga.
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #57 series on my blog.
Those lucky enough to be present have reported audible gasps as Gvasalia evolved his street sensibility with what Vogue’s Sarah Mower called “confidence, grandeur, and ease” and the brand returned to the couture calendar for the first time since Cristóbal Balenciaga shuttered his house 53 years ago. In a particularly impressive feat, the collection—with its mix of structured tailoring, voluminous gowns, and extravagant embroideries—nodded to the past while still respecting the modern aesthetic that has earned Gvasalia legions of millennial fans. The hair and makeup did a similar dance, riffing on classic techniques with idiosyncratic treatments.
“It felt like a gesture that was just always there,” makeup artist Inge Grognard says of the purposeful, gender-neutral slashes of black eyeliner that she applied to a selection of models, both men and women. The reference to more recognizable couture makeup—the thin, black cat-eye flicks that were once a fixture of the Paris salons of the ’50s and ’60s—wasn’t lost on Grognard, who made handy work of avoiding anything too retro. “This had to be a modern version,” she says of the graphic statement, a layering effort of Kiko Milano’s gel eyeliner to anchor a coating of Maybelline’s liquid eyeliner pen for “a shiny thing” on top. Grognard estimates she tried 30 different eyeliners before arriving at this specific combination, which appeared against almost starkly bare skin—no blush, no mascara, no painted brows.
Hairstylist Holli Smith’s sleek, individualized hair looks furthered Gvasalia’s rebuke of more standardized forms of beauty. “Wet was the key word for a lot of the looks,” says Smith, who used the utilitarian French pomade Pento to get a noticeable sheen without the stiffness of gel. Smith’s razor-sharp parts with angled ends, occasional bursts of texture, and even a few refined chignons offered a similar update to more familiar couture shapes while providing the perfect base for a series of instantly iconic Philip Treacy hats.
Both Grognard and Smith confirmed the collective suspicion gripping those of us who watched as these runway photos came in online this morning: that the show was really something to behold in person. “There was a lot of emotion,” Grognard reveals of the mood today at 10 Avenue Georges V, which had been retrofitted to resemble Cristobal’s original atelier and where call time was a bright and early 5:00 a.m. Adds Smith, “It’s very special to be a part of.”