Q+A with Celebrity Makeup Artist Wendy Rowe
Wendy Rowe on her specialty of undetectable, sculpture-enhancing makeup, the advice she would've given herself at the beginning of her career, and more.
Wendy Rowe is a world-renowned celebrity makeup artist based out of the UK. Known as the "Master of Nudes", she has made her mark in the beauty space with her specialty of creating undetectable-yet-structured makeup looks using natural, neutral tones. Wendy is no stranger to working with prestigious brands, as she has worked alongside the likes of Burberry Beauty, Max Factor, and La Bouche Rouge in various roles. On top of beauty, Wendy also has expertise in wellness, and she's authored a best-selling book of recipes called "Eat Beautiful: Food and Recipes to Nourish Your Skin from the Inside Out". We were excited to sit down with Wendy to hear about her breadth of expertise; read on for the full conversation!
Q: First and foremost, how did you get into makeup?
I used to do graphics, I studied graphics at college. One of my friends at school was a session hairdresser and he moved to Paris. He told me about session hair and makeup because I didn't know about it. And he said, “Why don't you do makeup and we can go on trips?” And I thought, “That’s a good idea, I like fashion.” So I went back to college and studied how to do makeup. Really naive, but that’s my journey! I was like, that sounds fun!
Q: How would you describe your style as a makeup artist?
For years I didn't really know what my style was at all. I think it develops from your experiences that you have. I think when you're an artist you don't choose a style, it just comes from inside and just happens. So saying that, when I started, it was kind of grunge and no one really wanted any makeup. I was desperate to do makeup but no one wanted it. So I taught myself to do makeup that made people look amazing but was undetectable. Nothing like the traditional makeup that I was taught. It was a new style, and there weren't any products that did this, so I would mix products together — skincare and makeup. It just looked like beautiful glowing skin and neutral tones that were in the face already. I became really good at doing nude makeup, like a “naked” makeup with tones from the skin. I suppose my specialty is being able to do undetectable makeup and just enhancing sculpture in someone's face, making it look different, but yet them — without heaviness.
And then I was called the “Master of Nudes”. I worked with Burberry for 15 years and their palette was nudes. I created many different types of new looks. It can be taupes and greys and mauves, as well as blacks and browns. Lots of skin tones and lights and shadow.
Q: What do you love the most about your work?
I love creating an image, and I love the teamwork that goes around that. The friendships, the camaraderie, the laughs, and the energy. When it all clicks, it’s really a magical moment and a sunny place to be.
Q: From where and from whom do you find inspiration in your work?
Overall, I think I find it from everywhere — from films, to TV, to people on the street, to music, to art and interiors, nature....even the way the light hits something. Anything that’s visual, I get inspiration from.
Q: What are some essential products you always keep in your kit?
My eyelash curlers I have to have. There’s a little concealer from Japan that I have called IPSA. I have to have the Kevyn Aucoin Medium Nude Lip Pencil and the Burberry contour stick. I must have Lip Glass by MAC. I also need to have the Make Up For Ever cream palette with all the different colours in it — once you've got that you can do anything. I could go on and on!
Q: What are some skincare products that you love to use to prep the skin before creating a look?
I do love the Pai Hydrating Moisturizer. I do change moisturizers depending on where I am and what I'm doing, and right now I'm liking Augustinus Bader The Cream. That works for me at the moment. I also love eye masks by Sarah Chapman or 111SKIN. They're great before makeup. I love to use a mask on people. I also love lip balms like La Mer’s. Also, Bi-Facil by Lancôme and anything by Joëlle Ciocco.
Q: Can you share with us one of your favorite looks you've created and tell us a bit about why you love it?
OMG! I have loads, LOL! I did a really great shoot with Sienna Miller for Allure. So beautiful. Loads of our lashes, really ‘60s, but makeup was light. It was a real iconic image.
Q: If you could have given yourself one piece of advice at the beginning of your journey in the beauty industry, what would it be and why?
Don’t worry about what anyone thinks, and just do you.
Q: As we approach the height of spring and then summer, are there any trends in the beauty space you foresee being big this year, especially as we approach (hopefully) the end of COVID? And are there any you're excited to try?
I think we create trends, whether that’s in the fashion world or on the street. But I know people will want colour, well I do. Bright colour, because it has been so rubbish for the past 2 years. I feel like lipstick will be a thing because people haven't been able to wear it. Colorful eyeshadow and stuff like that will be big. I just think it's gonna be a little bit of a celebration, like a festival, like, “Hey, can you see me now?”
Rapid Fire Round
Q: Hairstylist partner in crime:
Oh no, I thought about this! I feel like I work well with quite a few different people and I also don't want to disappoint anyone. So my top 6 are Shay Ashual, Franco Gobbi, Christiaan, Neil Moodie, Earl Simms, and Ken Paves.
Q: Product you can’t leave home without:
Hydrating Booster by Sarah Chapman.
Q: Favorite drugstore or budget find:
Q: Worth the splurge:
La Bouche Rouge lipstick and case, as well as Christian Dior eye shadow.
Q: Recent discovery:
Recently I’m really interested in Typology skincare!
Q: Brand you wish more people knew about:
RMS Beauty and Mauli Rituals.
Q: Favorite lipstick:
MAC Russian Red, Armani has GREAT reds, and Victoria Beckham Beauty nudes.
Q: Latest beauty empty:
James Read Sleep Mask and Aromatherapy Associates Bath & Shower Oil. Both these products make my day feel amazing!
For more of Wendy's favorite products, check out her shop!