Lisa Eldridge: Face Paint
Written by Sarah White Lisa Eldridge is one of the most experienced and respected makeup artists on the international fashion and beauty circuits. Her approach to beauty has made her indispensable to designers, photographers, art directors
Written by Sarah White
Lisa Eldridge is one of the most experienced and respected makeup artists on the international fashion and beauty circuits. Her approach to beauty has made her indispensable to designers, photographers, art directors and celebrities alike- whether she’s called upon to create her signature look, best described as fresh and flawless, or to work her makeup magic for the catwalk or editorial shoots.
Having previously lived and worked in Paris, and New York, Lisa is now based in London and works regularly with many of the world’s top fashion photographers including Mert & Marcus, Patrick Demarchelier and David Sims. While her masterful makeup artistry has appeared on the pages of virtually every fashion magazine you can dream of, such as international publications and household names- Vogue, Elle, Allure, Harper’s Bazaar and Love. The list of celebrities Lisa has made-up reads like a who’s who of the world’s most glamorous stars, including Kate Winslet, Lily Collins, Cara Delevingne, and Kendall Jenner to name a few. Whereas Lisa’s client portfolio is as peachy as her star clients- collaborating with countless top fashion houses on their advertising campaigns and fashion shows, which include- Gucci, Chloé, to Alberta Ferretti, Prada, Donna Karan and Moschino.
However, with her expertise within the makeup and beauty industry Lisa published her first book, FacePaint: The Story of Makeup, in October 2015, which quickly became a New York Times bestseller and is now published in seven languages- proving her years of experience, research and her craft really matters, makeup matters.
Having previously held creative directorships and developmental roles for leading brands including Chanel, Shiseido and British Boots No7- Lisa is currently Global Creative Director of Lancôme. Working across product development, advertising campaigns and digital strategy, thus making Lisa highly prized, and one of the most internationally recognised faces within the beauty industry.
Who are some of the people who have inspired you?
Sophia Loren is one of my favourite make-up muses and I’ve always been obsessed with her unique style. Last year I invited Huda Kattan to my London studio to be my model for a recreation of Sophia’s 1960’s look- it’s a great tutorial!! David Bowie is another makeup hero of mine. A true original and rule-breaker who’s iconic style I’ve referenced in my work so many times throughout my career.
How did you get your start in the makeup industry?
I began testing (doing shoots for free) in London and Milan to build up a good portfolio and I really got to hone my skills during that time. I was doing various other jobs to pay my rent during that time and it was hard work! It took a few years to break into the industry. It’s as much about finding like-minded people to collaborate with as anything else. My first big break was when I was booked for an Elle shoot with Cindy Crawford after which Cindy booked me for several other jobs. I followed that break with a move to Paris and a cover shoot with photographer David Sims and model Amber Valetta for iconic British style magazine ‘The Face’. Paris was a great place to be at that time and, bit-by-bit I got to work with amazing photographers like Peter Lindberg and Paolo Roversi, and began shooting regularly for British, French and Italian Vogue.
What do you love most about makeup?
To me makeup is just like drawing and painting- which are my first loves, the possibilities are endless. I used to use my mum’s old makeup to draw faces when I was a child. From a personal point of view as a woman who wears makeup myself, I also love that you can change your look and the way you feel instantly. Make up has the ability to be totally transformational but even the most subtle look can transform your mood and confidence.
What defines your signature makeup look?
Perfecting skin, so that it looks beautifully polished and flawless, but without caking or making it look as if you are wearing heavy foundation.
What is the most important beauty advice you can give to women?
Don’t try to look like anyone else. Be inspired but make it your own look, be yourself and uniquely you. My other biggest tip is to wear sunscreen!
What are the most common makeup mistakes women make?
I would say using the wrong shade of foundation – when the face and neck and/or face and body are completely different colours. It always makes me cringe, particularly when someone puts their hand up to their face and it looks like two different people! I think that finding the right shade is something that a lot of people struggle with, and it bugged me so much that I decided to create a whole week’s worth of tutorials on my site just on this subject, with a back-to-school type feel- I called it my #FoundationCourse. It’s been hugely popular with over three million views. For me, the only time makeup doesn’t work is when it’s badly executed – good application skills, buffing and blending, makes all the difference when it comes to beautiful makeup. For example, there’s a huge trend for contouring at the moment (although it’s nothing new, as theatre actors have been doing it since the beginning of the last century) – done well, contouring can be really effective, but when it’s badly applied it can look like two chocolate bars on either side of your face!
But in terms of saying something is good or bad, I don’t subscribe to that way of thinking. What I really love is that today, in many parts of the world, you have the freedom to use and wear whatever makeup you want – no makeup one day, red lips the next and smoky eyes with false.
What is your most memorable magazine editorial?
There are so many! The variety of my work means I get to meet and work with some of the best creative minds in the business, from photographers and stylists to artists and set designers. One that stands out is a shoot I did with Tim Walker for Love magazine where we shot in a house with a fully grown Lion! The finished images are still my absolute favourites.
Of all the red-carpet makeup you do, which ones are the most successful in terms of media hype, in your opinion?
Ones where the actress tries a new look, something that you are not used to seeing them in. I remember persuading Keira Knightley to wear a bright orangey red lip for a film premiere and everybody loved it!
Your book, ‘FacePaint- The Story of Makeup’ is New York Times best-seller, can you tell us how this project came to light and with its magnificent success, do you plan a second edition?
The history of makeup is one of my biggest passions – for as long as I’ve loved makeup I’ve been fascinated by its history, and keen to read and learn as much as possible about it. This escalated when I started to collect vintage makeup about twenty years ago. I wanted to find out the story behind each piece, and as my collection increased I amassed a lot of information and knowledge. I shared some of it on my website and channel from time to time, but I was never able to go into the amount of detail I wanted, so getting it all written down in one place was very satisfying – FacePaint felt like a very natural first book for me. No plans for a second history book at the moment but there was a great deal of information that was edited out of Face Paint, so the material is certainly there if I decide to.
Can you tell us about your role as Creative Director of Lancôme?
When I had my first meeting with Lancôme’s president Françoise I was thrilled because it was clear that I would be able to have a big influence on the direction the brand is going in terms of developing new products and innovation, as well as working with the PR and digital teams and modernising the look and feel across the entire brand. Every day is different sometimes I’m in the colour labs mixing colours and other times I’ll be at a PR event with editors and influences
What Lancôme products should be a woman’s makeup bag staple?
My first job at Lancôme was to create eighty-six new colours and textures to re-launch L’absolu Rouge lipstick. It took six months but I was very happy with the result. There are so many great shades to choose from depending on your style and the effect you want to create.