“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.
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #83 series on my blog.
“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.
For all the follows and likes Pat McGrath generates around her make-up artistry every season (Julia Fox’s internet-breaking black eyeliner didn’t just happen), it’s the skin quality she has pioneered over the course of her storied career that is perhaps her biggest calling card. Hydrated, but not oily; smooth, but realistic, with a make-up-priming moisture quality that is “lightweight yet nourishing,” McGrath explains. Much like she developed a seven-step lipstick technique to achieve the ultimate in petal-soft pigment, McGrath has been cocktailing her own skincare formula for her entire career, layering simple creams spiked with rose water to create a quick-penetrating emulsion. And just as that signature make-up technique became Pat McGrath Labs’ best-selling MatteTrance Lipstick, her patented skin prep has finally been bottled.
Called Divine Skin Rose 001 and formulated by a Korean lab, the milky liquid that will launch on patmcgrath.com on 29 April closely resembles a blendable essence, formulated with 92 percent naturally derived ingredients; shake it up, and a ceramide-boosted oil phase combines with an antioxidant-spiked rose water phase to create McGrath’s replenished, rebalanced glow.
“The truth is I’ve been working on skin care as long as I have been working in make-up,” admits McGrath, who has tweaked her formula not in focus groups but on supermodels, including Naomi Campbell, who stars in the campaign for the rose-tinted glass bottle. “I wouldn’t use anything else,” says Campbell — which is high praise considering Campbell is serious about her skincare, specifically her hydration. “You never want your skin to look dried out. It’s not attractive. It’s unbecoming,” she says. Here, Campbell reveals how she’s been using the uniquely textured essence, and why after all these years in the business, good sleep might be the real secret to good skin.
As someone who has been on countless sets with Pat and at countless shows with Pat, what is her point of difference when it comes to skin finish?
When you work with Pat, before you she puts make-up on you, she really massages your skin — she loves glowy, dewy skin. So your make-up goes on smoother, everything just rolls. That’s her secret: that the skin still looks like skin and you see you and that’s important, I feel. That’s what I love about her; she never makes me matte. When you’re too matte you lose the whole person. Your make-up becomes like a mask. Pat’s make-up never looks like that.
As a McGrath Muse and, perhaps even more importantly, a Pat McGrath confidant, were you at all a part of tweaking early incarnations of her first skin-care product?
She’s been trying this out on me for a while now so I’ve had a bit of a head start in using it in my skin regime. We were actually using it last year when we were doing the Divine Rose make-up launch, but I couldn’t talk about it then, so I’m so excited that I can say all of this now. The cat’s outta the bag! In the beginning, she would ask me things like, “How does it feel? How long did it stay on?” But it’s really always been so easy — and it goes on the skin, but it also goes in the skin.
It just makes everything glowy and plump, which is important for me because I’m on set all the time, and I’m in front of lights, and I’m on planes, and my skin dries out and it gets really dehydrated no matter how much water I drink. Drink water, drink water. I never drink enough. My test is really traveling, though — how often do I need to reapply something on the plane so my skin feels hydrated. I usually sleep straight through flights and with this, I’d wake up and still have the shine.
It is not an exaggeration to say that your skin is, in fact, divine. Drop the routine!
It’s about clean for me. I cleanse in the morning and I cleanse at night. You’ve got to get the make-up off! And I need products that help make my skin look good without make-up, because I don’t wear make-up when I’m not working. I just put little bits where I want to cover blemishes so my skin can breathe. My next step is usually a serum, and sometimes I use the Essence first, before my serum, and sometimes I mix it with my serum and put it on together. You can top it off with a cream if you like, but in the summertime you don’t need to. The Essence is enough.
I watched anamazing clip on your YouTube channelabout some of your pre-runwaybody prep including an incredible lymphatic drainage massage. Are there any treatments that you regularly engage in for your face in tandem with good skin care?
I try to do my facials — you need to if you’re travelling, or you’re in the sun a lot. I don’t wear a lot of sunblock on my skin because I break out from sunblock. So I like people to extract because you have to clean out your pores sometimes! And I do microneedling every once in a while, too.
These days, so much of good skin care comes down to good self-care. How do you prioritise yourself with such a busy work schedule — and a newborn at home! — not just physically but mentally and spiritually?
The water thing is huge for me, and I’m always, like, how can I make water fun? Growing up I wasn’t really raised on soda so we always had cordials that we mixed with water, and that’s what I still drink. And I try to eat the right food and take the right vitamins — vitamin D, vitamin C, B, zinc, fish oils. Good skin is so much about what you eat, too. And sleep! I try to get as much sleep as possible even though I have a young one now. When I was younger I really didn’t need that much sleep, but now I like my sleep. It kickstarts things and helps me be enthusiastic about the day ahead.
Regencycore swept the nation almost a year ago as Bridgerton hit our screens. By “us” I mean the collective as I’ve grown to see. We worshipped at the altar of corsets, feathered headbands and empire-length gowns, and developed an intense love of the smouldering Duke of Hastings—and we were not alone. The Mother of makeup—and British Vogue’s beauty editor-at-large—Dame Pat McGrath, was right with us too, and conjuring up ideas for her next makeup collaboration as she watched.
Yep, the new Bridgerton X Pat McGrath Labs collection is everything you want it to be and more. Comprising a next-level eyeshadow palette (named Diamond of the First Water, in homage to the very first episode of the hit show), blush palette (Love at First Blush), and a duo of highlighters (Sublime Skin Highlighter) to gild the face, all three deliver the beautifully blendable, butter-soft gel-cream formulas that McGrath does so well. And they make achieving fresh, Regency-esque skin (with a modern twist) a breeze.
For McGrath, the Bridgerton look is all about eye blusher: “Blushing isn’t just for rosy cheeks anymore,” she tells Vogue. “And I suspect that Bridgerton made the eyes of its 63 million-strong viewership blush. Every shade in the MTHRSHP Eye Palette, Diamond of the First Water, is designed to accomplish just that. These shades were created to drape the cheeks and eyes in divine warmth and illuminate the eyes.” Her top tip is to apply shades “Art of the Swoon” and “Love Match” as a wash of color across the eyes for a gentle flush.
In fact, eye blusher is the trend to try for skin that radiates subtle health. A method which can be built up for high-impact glamour or used as a subtle hint of colour, it draws attention to the eyes and harmonizes the face. “It is perfect for creating the effect of emotion coming from within the skin,” McGrath adds. Of course, she has been doing it for years, and name-checks Dior’s 2004 and 2005 couture shows for some past examples.
Fronting the campaign for the launch are McGrath’s muses, Ava Philippe (who is Reese Witherspoon’s daughter, and her doppelgänger), and model Vinetria Chubbs, both of whom embody the spirit of the collection, according to McGrath. “Can you imagine the sheer pleasure of being on set with such a captivating group of intelligent, confident future legends? So much about this collection is about the idea of making your debut and celebrating what makes you special—it was wonderful to work with such a brilliant mix of talent on a modern take on Regency era beauty, while reveling in their iconic individuality.” In true Bridgerton spirit, she calls the pair a “divinely diverse range of dynamic #DowntownDebutantes”—and we are here for it.
Available to buy from December 26 on Patmcgrath.com, the new range is limited-edition, so get in there fast. Mother, for one, is excited: “It’s such an honor to collaborate with Shondaland and Netflix on the Pat McGrath Labs X Bridgerton Collection,” she tells Vogue. “Shonda’s commitment to diversity, inclusion and disruptive thinking aligns with my own brand, as outspoken voices for body positivity, racial diversity, gender variance and iconoclastic individuality. She passionately invites people to see the past, present and future through a new lens.” Regencycore beauty? It’s a yes from me.
The holidays are practically synonymous with soft glam, and no look is complete without a shimmery palette. (Not to mention they make great gifts.) London-based makeup artist Ammy Drammeh, whose work has been seen on faces like Michaela Coel, Harry Styles, and Adut Akech, favors the Dior Backstage Eye palette. “It’s become a staple in my kit. They are high pigment, have matte and shimmery finish and their shades are neutral. Perfect for a laidback or glamorous look.”
Other palettes worth adding to your rotation? Milani’s Gilded Nude Palette and the Curated 5-Pan Palette from Hourglass in shade Desert Earth.
For Supercharged Color
Michael Anthony (who’s worked with stars like Ariana Grande and Paris Hilton), says he loves the NikkiTutorials x Beauty Bay palette because “the colors are super charged with pigment and the unique duo chrome shades have a lot going for them: they twinkle like a refined glitter and go on like a silky cream to powder formula!” Anthony notes the multifunctional appeal of this palette as well: “I’ve used these to highlight the cheekbones and brow bones and I love that they are semi-transparent which makes them really fun for layering,” he says. “I love that they are not exclusively for the eye.”
If you believe in going bold or staying home, then it wouldn’t hurt to add ABH’s Norvina Pro Pigment Palette and Juvia’s Place The Zulu Eyeshadow Palette to your collection as well.
For the Minimalist at Heart
Remi Odunsi, who has done makeup for Raveena and Ziwe, is a self-described minimalist. Accordingly, she explains, “my criteria for a good palette is anything with both matte and shimmery shades that also bring some pops of color.” The Amrezzy palette is her favorite thanks to its warm-toned variety, wet or dry. “Best to put this one on before makeup or to use a kleenex on your face to avoid fallout,” she advises.
Ultra minimal and sleek, Glossier’s new Monochromes Trio will cover your matte and shimmer needs in a case that’s perfect for on-the-go touchups, while the Mineralist Sunlit Palette from BareMinerals comes with the only shadows you’ll need to create natural-looking depth to your eye.
For Earth Tones That Pop
Sheriff appreciates the Juvia’s Place palette’s range of vibrant and rich earth tones. Plus, she notes, “it won’t break the bank, as they’re each under $20 bucks!” Other palettes worth considering in this category are Ilia’s The Necessary Palette and Chanel’s Les 4 Ombres Quadra Eyeshadow in Blurry Green.
For a Touch of Luxury
“What I love is how easily the shadows glide on with a makeup brush. This can be seen in the pigmentation of the eyeshadow which allows for the eye to pop! This is also true when combining colors, whether a smoky eye or building on three or more vivid colors,” says Erika La Pearl, who can’t get enough of Mthrshp Mega: Celestial Divinity Palette. “Pat McGrath has a variety of palettes with amazing shades which complement and enhance. Also, the packaging and quality is what draws and catches your attention. You feel like doing your very best and also making the client look ‘glamorous.’”
Makeup artist Yolonda Frederick, who works with Ciara, seconds these sentiments. “I’m a huge fan of reflective shadows. And Pat McGrath Labs’ Mthrship Mega: Celestial Divinity palette is a stunning collection of shimmery shadows with two or three contrasting matte colors. These luminescent shadows are richly pigmented with a buttery texture for a silky smooth application. This is hands down one of my favorite, most versatile palettes.”
For the All-In-One
Bob Scott, who works with designer Aurora James and Padma Lakshmi, among others, loves the Viseart palettes because “they come in all sorts of color combinations, from neutral to bright to pastel colors, with 16 shades in each compact. The color payoff is great and the formula is easy to blend.”
The Nars Climax Extreme Palette is another recent favorite for Scott due to its versatility. “Its selection of shades can work on anyone for daytime, nighttime, natural or deep and smoky.” Other palettes that will cover every eye look you can imagine: Beauty Bay’s Bright 42 Colour Palette and Morphe’s 35M Boss Mood Artistry Palette.
For the Perfect Smoky Eye
Anthony says the Lorac Pro Palette Noir, along with the brand’s Pro Palette Soleil, are two of his favorites. “They are mesmerizing palettes that encompass a full spectrum of cool and warm neutral tones as well as matte and glittery foiled finishes, so they have been a sure bet for my kit. I really admire the amount of shades they have worked into such a compact and chic palette,” he says. “These are an excellent choice when you want some range—whether you’re daytime business Zooming with a neutral wash of color or making an appearance at a your favorite Zoom Party session in a clubbed out smoky eye, you have everything you need in the palm of your hand!” Also consider Fenty Beauty’s Snap Shadows Palette in Smoky and Chanel’s Les 4 Ombres Eyeshadow in Modern Glamour.
For Precious Jewel Tones
“I’m in love with [Huda Beauty’s] Naughty Palette which came out for the holiday,” Sheriff says. “It is filled with a wonderful range of mattes, shimmers and glittery shadows in wonderful jewel and earth tones.” Too Faced’s That’s My Jam Palette and Milani’s Gilded Jewel Palette can also add a wonderfully decadent effect to any makeup look.
For the Avant-Garde
Makeup artist Marcelo Gutierrez, the go-to makeup artist for Christopher John Rogers’ shows, says the Pat McGrath Labs Mothership III is his most-used palette. “I love all of the Pat McGrath eye shadow palettes. They really are worth the investment! The colors are so unique, rich in pigment, easy to use and she has some of the most unique finishes that have now become so signature to the brand.”
For another palette that features a unique selection of vibrant hues, check out Byredo’s 5 Colours Palette in Syren.
For Day-to-Night Wear
Delina Medhin, who has worked with Issa Rae, says she loves the Stupid Love Eyeshadow by Haus Laboratories because “it has colors in there for both everyday and fun so you can have fun with it but also do everyday glam.” Other options for a bit of everyday sparkle are the Voyageur Eyeshadow Palette from Nars and Urban Decay’s Naked2 Basics.
For Those Who Favor a Cult Fave
Odunsi calls the Lorac Pro Palette an “oldie but goodie,” adding that the brand’s selection is “great because they go on smooth, have great pigment and don’t leave a lot of fall out. The Original Pro Palette (#1) is a nice cool-toned eye palette, especially if your vibe is chill and you like more muted colors. This one has shimmer, matte and muted color variety. Solid for a nice chill slay!” A couple of additional cult-faves you’ve likely seen in tutorials: the iconic Urban Decay Naked Palette (now Reloaded) and Charlotte Tilbury’s Starry Eyes To Hypnotise Palette.
Liquid liner and bold lip color may be tried and true staples of “going out” makeup, but allow us to offer up an inspired alternative, courtesy of makeup artist Pat McGrath: blush — and lots of it.
For Anna Sui’s Spring 2022 runway show, the backstage legend dreamed up a blush-on-blush look, sweeping pink pigment (Pat McGrath Labs Divine Blush in Electric Bloom and Lovestruck, to be specific) over models’ cheeks as well as their eyelids, blending it out into a hazy but vibrant halo. To liven things up (and to add her signature luminosity), McGrath dabbed metallic silver eye shadow (the “Sterling” shade from the Pat McGrath Labs Mothership IV: Decadence Palette) on the lids, keeping it concentrated at the very centers to exaggerate and highlight the eyes. She also placed a strategic “stamp” of silver at the inner corners, over the tear ducts, for more impact.
“[It’s about] transporting us to somewhere, not necessarily specific, but going to a place where we all want to be,” said McGrath in an interview backstage. “It’s really like an adorned face, but it’s still so soft and very pretty.”
While the ample use of pink, as well as the technique of pulling it up toward the temples, is certainly reminiscent of the “blush draping” trend we saw way back on the Spring 2017 runways, here it feels reimagined in a way that’s fresh, rather than ’80s or retro. Seeing it in person backstage — the way the silver pigment, cheekbone highlight and accompanying glimmery lip gloss caught the lights and dazzled in front of the cameras — this look is positively begging to be worn out for a night on the town. I couldn’t help but think to myself: Pat McGrath just created the Going Out Top of makeup. It’s trendy, it’s fun, it looks good on everyone and it’s one thing you can put on to let the world know you’re ready for a party.
Pink and red eye shadows are notoriously tricky to pull off, but leave it to Mother McGrath to come up with a technique that makes it wearable for any skin tone: “I think if the pink was [on the eyes] alone, it would look a lot more drawn, a little more pale. It’s adding that kiss of color [to the cheeks as well] that gives it that beautiful effect,” she explained, adding, “I really do think wearing the silver and the gilted colors on the eyes makes it more fun.”
When McGrath debuted her powder blush last spring, it was with this exact holistic approach in mind. “That’s how we launched blush, using it around the eyes and making it a whole statement of blush — blush isn’t just that thing that you add for a glow; it [can also be] an eye statement,” she said.
What links Audrey Hepburn, Adele, Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga, Cleopatra and Angelina Jolie? Liquid eyeliner of course. While make-up trends come and go, the feline flick is a timeless classic and suits every aesthetic. From the ultra glamorous to the insouciantly rock’n’roll, it can be dressed up or down. The trick is to work out the right look for your face and chosen aesthetic, and stick with it.
How to successfully apply a liquid liner
Heed Vogue contributing beauty editor Pat McGrath’s advice, and draw the wing first. It’s easy to place the wing too low or high once you’ve already sketched a line along your lashes, especially considering that the natural curve of the eye slopes downwards at the outer corner. Instead, look straight ahead in the mirror, place a small dot where you want the line to end, draw your flick, then line along your lashes.
How do I choose an eyeliner?
Start by considering what effect you want from your eyeliner; while liquids offer a more precise finish and achieve that striking Hepburn-esque wing, gel and kohl liners tend to be more forgiving and can be blended and buffed in for a softer, more diffused effect. It might sound obvious but those who want a product just for the waterline should opt for a pencil or gel formula, as a liquid won’t stay put.
What is the best eyeliner for beginners?
The perfect eyeliner for you will also depend on your familiarity with the product. To beginners and those not au fait with applying it regularly, a liquid liner might seem intimidating as it requires a steadier hand. In this case, it can be wise to start with a pencil, whether gel or kohl, or for a pen-style liquid if that’s the effect you want. Beginner or not, the trick is just to go for it – liquid eyeliner can smell your fear. One of McGrath’s biggest tips, whatever your liner abilities, is to finish by tidying up with a cotton bud – even the pros get it wrong sometimes.
Is gel liner better than pencil?
Not necessarily – it all depends on the effect you want. Gel liners bridge the gap between liquid and pencil liner, as they impart much of the impact and precision of a liquid, but with more of the malleability and softness of a pencil. They’re an excellent option for those who like a soft, smudgy finish, if you’re creating more impactful eyeshadow looks (many make-up artists use them as a base for shadows), or if you like to apply haphazardly and buff and blend your line into place. Gel liner is also a great option if you like your liner to stay put once it’s set. Meanwhile, pencil adds intensity to the waterline and can offer a more exact effect.
From long-wearing gel liners to easy-to-use felt tips, find your perfect fit within Vogue’s edit, and get yourself in front of the mirror for practice. Shop the 15 best eyeliners below.
Best Gel Eyeliner: Victoria Beckham Beauty Beauty Satin Kajal Liner
Few liner formulas match up to this creamy, ultra-blendable number which, once set, stays put for hours. As versatile as they come, you can smoke it up with the built-in smudger or keep it to a minimal line. A must try.
Best Eyeliner For The Waterline: Charlotte Tilbury Rock ’N’ Kohl Black Eyeliner Pencil
Queen of a serious sultry stare, it is only right that Charlotte Tilbury has an eyeliner that creates the look in seconds. Brilliant for all parts of the eye, this one is particularly good in the waterline – expect it to roll on and stay put for hours.
Best Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner: Too Faced Better Than Sex Easy Glide Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner
Whether you’re diving into a pool or a hot steamy encounter (as the name might suggest), Too Faced’s Better Than Sex waterproof liner is a product you can rely on. It promises to stay put up to 24 hours without smudging, budging or fading.
Best Brown Liquid Eyeliner: Byredo Eyeliner in Practical Brown
It might be under-the-radar but Byredo’s liquid eyeliner is beloved by any and all who try it. This brown hue is particularly flattering and lends a gentle shimmer to eyes for a soft, sultry effect. Plus, it’s vegan too.
Best Smudge Proof Eyeliner: Gucci Stylo Contour Des Yeux Eyeliner
As well as looking extra chic in your make-up bag, Gucci’s eyeliner is waterproof, offers pigmented colour and truly stays put for hours. You can use it for flicks, in the waterline or even buffed in as an eyeshadow, plus there are lots of different colours to try.
Best Eyeliner For Sensitive Eyes: La Bouche Rouge Le Kôhl Noir
Developed without microplastics and with 98 per cent natural origin ingredients, this is a good bet for those who have sensitive eyes. It delivers impactful colour in both the waterline and around eyes.
Best Coloured Eyeliner: Dior Diorshow On Stage Liner
From pink to green, Dior’s coloured eyeliners are the best in the business. The brand’s make-up artist, Peter Philips, regularly uses them backstage for the iconic looks he creates for the shows, plus the flexible felt tip is super easy to use.
Best White Eyeliner: Shiseido Kajal InkArtist Shadow, Liner, Brow – Kabuki White
From an eyeshadow to an eyeliner, this Shiseido number is an excellent multi-tasker. White eyeliner is brilliant for making the eyes look more awake, so roll its Kabuki White shade in your waterline and expect to look infinitely more rested.
While you might not know her name, if you follow fashion, you will certainly be familiar with the work of makeup artist Raisa Flowers. She’s the mastermind behind poet and activist Amanda Gorman’s dewy, fresh-faced look on the cover of American Vogue’s May 2021 issue and is quite possibly the reason why you’ve considered adding colourful contact lenses to your go-to beauty look. You might even recognize her from a slew of recent runway appearances, from Gypsy Sport to Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty, or even on the side of a bus modelling for Calvin Klein.
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #53 series on my blog.
Born and bred in Mount Vernon, New York, Flowers has built a name for herself thanks to her unapologetic use of colour and alien-esque aesthetic, regularly using her own face as a canvas on which to experiment. That said, she wants to reassure the industry that, yes, she can in fact do the natural look, too. “I’ve assisted Pat McGrath during fashion week, I know how to do this,” she quips over Zoom. While we’re on the subject, she has another message for the industry: “I want people to know that I’m here and I’m a badass.”
When did you first become interested in make-up?
“My mum loves make-up, so I got into it because of her. She wears it every day, even on the days where she’s going to the laundromat. I started doing make-up pretty young, around 13 years old. I would experiment on my aunties, my granny and my friends – I was doing weddings and school proms at 16. So, I was doing it for a long time. I didn’t want to be a make-up artist, I loved it for fun, but when I started doing it more and more, it got me super inspired. I was into fashion – that’s where my love of make-up came from; seeing the show make-up and all these different types of looks got me into it.”
You’re known as much for your own looks as you are your editorials. Do they require the same sort of approach or do they occupy different levels of creativity?
“When I’m doing editorial, it’s based on the vibe of the shoot and the creative. People have a specific vision of how they want it to look and it can become super linear unless they actually want to spend time on it and collaborate. Normally, they want the clothes to shine instead of letting the make-up be a whole vibe.
“My own make-up is based on a vibe. I will be chilling and then I just let my hands play. Either I will dream it on myself or I will see myself in a certain way. And if it doesn’t come out how I envisioned it, I’ll try something else. I’m down to be open and play with it. Sometimes I have no direction of where I’m going with it and I just like to let it flow and create something beautiful. Some of my best looks have been the fastest looks. I’ve done the ones that I hated the most in the moment of doing them, and then they just came out great.”
How would you describe your relationship with make-up?
“I love make-up, it makes me happy. I love being able to pick a colour palette and play with different textures and make someone feel super beautiful, especially on a day where they weren’t feeling beautiful. Having a model sit in my chair and being inspired by their face is something that’s important to me; it gives me an adrenaline rush. When I do something really good, it makes me feel how food makes me feel: satisfied.”
What’s been your biggest highlight so far?
“Working with Rihanna, doing her make-up and being in the Savage x Fenty show was big. We share the same Caribbean heritage. We’re both Bajan and Guyanese, which is a big thing, so just being able to share the moments I have with her, and connect with her on these types of levels, is very important to me and my career because it shows me that I’m going in the right direction.”
What was it like to have your first AmericanVoguecover with Amanda Gorman?
“I was so excited to be part of that important cultural moment. A Vogue cover was definitely on my bucket list for sure. Check.”
Which direction would you like your career to go in?
“My goals in the industry are just being myself and doing the level of work that I’m doing. I want to bring back makeup again. I feel like shoots are boring because people care so much about the clothing. When you see work from the ’80s, they have such big concepts and it revolves around the make-up, the hair, the styling, everything. Now, it’s so minimal – it’s just like, ‘Let’s do some skin,’ and throw it out and that’s it. I would love to bring back the type of feeling of creating a mood.”
You’re constantly challenging traditional notions of beauty in your work. Why is this so important to you? What are you hoping to communicate?
“For a long time, people wouldn’t hire me because my looks were too dramatic. Then all of a sudden, there are these shoots with contacts. I would love for the industry to be more open to trying new things. I’m one of the only few Black women in the industry doing make-up on my level, other than Pat McGrath, but she’s gigantic. I want to make my mark and put these high-level, tasteful looks into the world.
“A lot of Black people have been shunned by the industry or put to one side just because people think they can’t do the same work that their counterparts can do. I have piercings. I have tattoos. I look different, my art is different. When I’m on set, I’m the only Black person 90 to 95 per cent of the time. A lot of girls say to me that they feel comforted when they see me, especially Black talent or any person of colour. I have a different complexion and they feel comfortable knowing that I’m there because I might make their skin better or make them look better. This is an experience I want to give people.”
What would be your advice to aspiring make-up artists looking to get into the industry?
“Stay true to yourself and the things you are most passionate about. That is what resonates the most. If you don’t think there is space for you, create your own.”
What does make-up mean to you?
“It gives you the freedom to express yourself in any way that you want. It’s so freeing to throw some colours on my eyes, pop a contact in, throw a lash on – it allows you to be your true self. I feel like a lot of people would love to wear make-up but they judge it because they think it’s too much. People should experiment with it more. I love beauty, it’s a performance and it helps you to be your true self. So, I hope we’ll get more into it.”
What would you advise younger generations who don’t feel beautiful or free enough to express themselves?
“What is beauty anyway? Real beauty is internal. Love yourself first and real beauty will radiate out.”
Purchasing an eyeliner can feel like a gamble. You walk into your nearest Sephora, money in hand, on a mission to find a formula that doesn’t pull, tug, skip or drag. After perusing the shelves, you’ll settle on one in hopes that it won’t smudge before lunch.
The truth is, you never really know if you’ll get a return on your investment until you take it home and try it for yourself. By then, it could be too late. To make the entire experience feel less risky, experts who know a thing or two about eyeliners weigh in. Ahead, shop the 10 best eyeliners, from pencils to liquids, according to professional makeup artists. They’ll make you feel like you won the jackpot every time.
BEST GEL LINER – AMC Eyeliner Gel
“When I’m creating a bold eye, Inglot AMC Eyeliner Gel is my go-to eyeliner, as it’s available in a variety of rich high-pigmented shades,” says makeup artist Millie Morales (also a Garnier celebrity hairstylist). “The creamy formula glides on with ease, but most importantly, it boasts long-lasting wear.”
BEST SMUDGE-PROOF LIQUID – Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner
“When it comes to precision, I like to use a marker-like tip, as it gives me the freedom and flexibility to create an elegant wing or a thick dramatic look,” says Morales. “Stila’s Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner dries fast, won’t smudge and only comes off when you take it off!”
If you’re looking to try a colored eyeliner, look no further than Urban Decay’s 24/7 Eye Pencils. Makeup artist Steve Kassajikian says, “these shades are bright, pigmented, creamy, easy to blend, and glide on like a gel.” As if that’s not enough to get you on board, Kassajikian adds, “they set in 60 seconds and don’t budge throughout the day. Plus, they’re specifically made for wet surfaces like the waterline.”
Celebrity makeup artist Claudia Betancur, a L’Oréal Paris brand ambassador, is a fan of the brand’s new Flash Cat Eye Liquid Eyeliner because it “has the perfect tip to create a precise wing, and glides on super smooth. The cap has a wing stencil attached to help create the perfect cat eye,” she says.
“This micro-fine gel pencil has next level staying power,” says makeup artist and artistic director of Glamsquad, Kelli J. Bartlett. “I originally tested the Hourglass 1.5 MM Mechanical Gel Eyeliner on my hand, and it lasted through a workout and a shower, so you know it means business. I love to use it on the inner rim of the upper lash line to create a lush look as it holds up to watery eyes.”
BEST LONG-LASTING PENCIL – BADgal BANG! 24 Hour Eyeliner Pencil
Celebrity makeup artist Lisa Potter-Dixon says this liner “is a hard worker. It works wonders on the waterline and stays put due to its waterproof formula.” She adds, “it also works beautifully as a lash liner, plus the blending tool on the end means you can even use it to create a simple smokey eye.”
Makeup artist and co-founder of Shespoke Makeup, Rebecca Perkins, says it doesn’t get better than Pat McGrath Labs’ liquid liner. She says, “the pen tip is so fine, you can do super subtle details. Mother does not mess around, and her products always do what they say.”
BEST TRUE BLACK – Infallible 16HR Never-Fail Eyeliner
Finding a true black formula can be difficult. Luckily, Perkins assures that her pick is “tried and true.” She says, “L’Oréal’s carbon black shade comes in a gel pot (perfect for when I am doing someone else’s makeup) or the mechanical pencil (for when I’m doing my own makeup).” Finally, she adds, “it’s not fancy, but it works every time.”
Dell Ashley, YSL Beauté Director of Makeup Artistry, knows a thing or two about luxury beauty, but there’s one drugstore favorite he keeps in his kit. He says the NYX Matte Liquid Liner is “a great budget-friendly eyeliner because it offers rich color and has a nice, long wear.” And at $8 a pop, you can keep your makeup bag stocked with it too.
BEST VERSATILE FORMULA – TattooStudio Sharpenable Gel Pencil in Brown
Vincent Oquendo, the artist behind Hollywood’s most beautiful faces (Lily Collins, Gabrielle Union, Nina Dobrev), recommends you pick up this other drugstore option. “I use it to create my shape before I perfect it with a black liner and for subtle definition in the waterline when I’m creating a sultry look,” he says. “The combination of black and brown liners create a more natural makeup look when smudged at the lash line.”
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #47 series on my blog.
This past week on Instagram, a few muses welcomed spring with colorful eyeshadows. Model Pooja Mor glistened under the sunlight, wearing turquoise eye shadow and a big smile, while model Chloe Yu had her lids saturated in blue and pink, thanks to makeup artist Michael Anthony (and the Pat McGrath Labs Subversive palette!). Then, embracing aquatic shades, “Versace Hottie” Precious Lee reported “for duty” in a cobalt blue shadow and Barbie Ferreira sported a blue smoky eye courtesy of Sam Visser.
More standout eye makeup came by way of Aweng Ade-Chuol, who graced feeds with artfully drawn black winged liner, full lashes, and bronzed cheeks, as well as Tracee Ellis Ross, who had thick, sooty swipes of eyeliner frame her upper and lower lash lines, with soft curls grazing her forehead.
Meeting the arrival of warm weather, Erykah Badu leaned into her light with a swipe of terra-cotta lipstick and the VanJess sisters were feeling peachy keen with blushy cheeks and pink manicures. Activist, writer, and cultural organizer Raquel Willis donned a red lip and sleek waves, and gave us all a much-needed reminder to let “the sunshine in.” As for Carly Cushnie? She ushered in International Women’s Day by celebrating the strong women around her. “I couldn’t be prouder to be a mother to my girls and [am] so grateful for everything they have taught and continue to teach me,” she wrote in a caption. “Thank you to all you incredible women out there. What an honor to be a woman.”
The five shades of these liquid eye toppers offer a glimmering texture of color and duo-chrome finish and dry down to a stay-put formula. You can tap them on top of another eye shadow for an even more multidimensional effect or wear alone for enough sparkle to spot from a mile away — they’re some of the shiniest eye shadows you can find at the drugstore.
These glimmering powder eye shadows are legends of makeup swatching. Just one swipe across the pan with your finger picks up the dazzling opaquely-pigmented powder, delivering a foil-finish, jewel-toned shade in one fell swoop. Available in 20 shades, these are so popular, Dose of Colors’ website has put a two-per-customer limit on purchasing. (If you’re in a golden mood, this one is called Heart of Gold.)
These pots contain what appears to be tiny metallic foil flakes that when pressed with your finger onto your skin leave a mirror-like finish. Not kidding — it’s like someone shattered a disco ball and somehow made it safe to smear on your eyelids. Not gonna ask questions, just going to keep shining.
Bobbi Brown’s eye shadow sticks are already some of the most long-lasting in the game, and now with these limited-edition sparkly versions, your lids can glimmer all day into all night (and dawn, depending on how the night goes).
Huda Beauty Rose Gold Remastered Eyeshadow Palette
Huda Beauty gave its already popular rose gold eye shadow palette an upgrade with the Remastered version, which keeps its most glittery shadows in a row at the top. They’re the most unbelievably buttery foil-like metallics that feel like silk but look like molten metal when you sweep them across your lids. Honestly, it’s just a really stunning formula.
Dab one of these four chrome liquid shadows on your lids for long-lasting shine. At first, they’re wet, but once they dry down, they won’t budge no matter how much you sweat (or cry). Extremely smudge-proof.
L’Oréal Paris Infallible Paints Metallics Eye Shadow
When this formula won a Best of Beauty award, Allure’s editorial assistant, Jesa Marie Calaor, called it her “desert island beauty product.” Its pigmented enough to live up to its metallic name upon first swipe, but it can easily be sheered out for a subtle glow. I love the rose gold shade called Rose Chrome.
Previewed on the runway at the BCBG Max Azria spring/summer 2018 show, Stila’s latest liquid eyeshadow is a glitter-free version of the popular (and often sold-out) Glitter & Glow formula. Blend it on the center of your lids to create a halo effect.
Too Faced added another edition of its popular collection of chocolate-scented palettes. This time around, the palette is all about razzle-dazzle with shades like Drippin’ Diamonds (the silver) and Money Bags (the emerald).
Why limit yourself to one metallic hue when you can shop a palette that covers basically every shade of the rainbow and then some? All 12 of the powder shadows in the Kevyn Aucoin Electropop Pro Eyeshadow Palette are packed with shimmer, and a couple even have color-shifting pigments.
Make Up For Ever just launched a whopping 121-shade range of shadows, but this pretty-in-pink one has to be one of my favourites. In the pan, ME-840 appears to be a plum. However, when brushed on, it transforms into a bright watermelon pink with a warm purple base.
Meet the cashmere of eye shadows. These pans are filled with the softest powders you’ll ever dip your fingers into. They aren’t so soft that they disappear once they are on your face, though. Instead, the pigment looks exactly as it does in the palette as it does on lids.
Pat McGrath Labs Mothership II Eyeshadow Palette – Sublime
Pat McGrath’s limited edition metallic makeup blew off digital shelves so often that she decided to put together three permanent palettes. You can guarantee they will forever be in stock, and they’ll give your eyes that mesmerizingly shiny finish that everyone double taps on the makeup artist’s Instagram (to see -> Instagram).
Just like the vampires in Twilight: New Moon, Chanel’s New Moon shadow will make your lids sparkle in the sunlight. Nostalgic reference aside, this cream shadow blends seamlessly onto lids with just with a couple windshield wiper motions across them.