Whether it’s her engaging make-up tutorials on YouTube or her eponymous make-up line, you’ve definitely heard of Lisa Eldridge. The make-up artist regularly works with the best beauty brands (like Chanel and Lancome), international publications and celebrities, like Dua Lipa, Keira Knightley, Emma Roberts, Kate Winslet and many more. She is the queen of the no-make-up look, who believes in enhancing natural features over heavy contouring.
Now the beauty icon is set for a big drop with a limited edition lip kit that extends her make-up collection to lip glosses and lip liners. While you can custom create your own lip kits, you can go with the expert’s curated picks in her hero shades of reds and nude pinks too. Lisa explains, “[With the lip kits] you can do anything from putting on a touch of the Lip Treatment in the morning to bring your lips back to life, to having the velvet stain which is a soft and blurry way to wear quite strong colour. Or, you can even go really full on and do a lip pencil on top of the Velvet for a strong graphic lip. Then you can even add the gloss on top for a highly pigmented vinyl. So, it’s a way of playing in one colour with intensity, texture and finish.” She partnered with mixed media artist, Jon Jacobsen created a special artwork for the little bag that holds the kit.
Lisa Eldridge talks to ELLE about creating make-up, playing make-up mentor to people around the world and her personal journey that’s just as inspiring as her career trajectory.
Lisa Eldridge’s limited edition lip kit
ELLE: What’s your top advice to make lipstick last long?
Lisa Eldridge: The best thing to do is to apply thin layers. If you’re applying the velvets put the first layer on with a brush—if you can be bothered—then wear the second layer straight from the bullet. You’ll always have that incredible stain. These velvets really are long lasting anyway. Some of the most frequent comments I’ve had are usually from people who send me photographs after eating a meal, and the lipstick is still intact. Obviously, if you use the lip liner underneath it’ll be practically invincible. If you’re wearing a mask, just do a final blot before you put your mask on. But so far, I’ve had really good feedback from mask wearers.
ELLE: As a make-up artist what’s your process for testing make-up?
LE: Very, very thorough. An awful lot of make-up comes through the door—I get given a lot of make-up and I’m also testing my own line. But I’ve been receiving make-up from brands for over 20 years and I’m a very tough judge. Something has to really impress me, it just has to be best in class, it has to really perform. I’ll have my whole team test things out and I’ll also send it to testers, people who are novices with make-up. Even old school friends try things out for me. I make sure that I don’t just think it’s good because I’m a make-up artist and applying it really fantastically.
ELLE: How has that helped you create your own product line?
LE: It’s been really invaluable because I’ve been working with labs all over the world for over 20 years. I have the knowledge of how to talk to cosmetic scientists–I’m able to express myself with them, which helps you to get what you want. Also, as a colourist it’s really helpful to be able to say to them ‘there’s a bit too much black pigment in it’. I’m always aware as well to listen – whether I’m calling on make-up artist friends, people who work in retail or complete novices because they’ve all got their opinion. You learn so much from hearing a lot of different voices.
The new additions to the Lisa Eldridge True Velvet Lipstick collection
ELLE: You have a lovely collection of vintage make-up products. What piqued your interest in it?
LE: It started when I was about 6 years old. I found some of my mum’s old make-up in her bedroom at my grandmother’s house. Although my mother was using regular make-up at the time it didn’t fascinate me as much as her old make-up did. Probably because the sorts of items she had in her teenage make-up kit were very much 1960s crayons and tubes. It was all very childlike and interesting: gloopy textures. It was also the sense that they had belonged to her as a teenager, that fascinated me as well. There was something about the packaging that had an old fashioned or vintage-y feel. I used to use it to draw with or do face charts with. It was all old, it was not in the best condition but it was just a lot more interesting than my regular crayons and coloured pencils. So that started it really. I can remember it so clearly the crayons and the Mary Quant stuff and the Coty squeezy tubes of shimmery blue and green eye cream.
Then in the early 90s, I went to Portobello Road and I saw all this Biba make-up. Someone was selling a box of it for only £5. It had gone bust in 1983 so it was only 7 years after it had been discontinued. I remember thinking this is fascinating. It’s a bit of history: I should buy this. I couldn’t do anything with it then because it was already old make-up, I couldn’t start wearing it necessarily. But I felt it should be preserved and from then on I’d look in old markets or bric a brac shops. They’ve inflated all the prices now. Back then and even in the 2000s I could pick up really iconic 1920s make-up for a pound. Now it’s all very expensive. It was the pleasure of it, but also the knowledge that somebody should save these now.
ELLE: As a make-up artist you follow the philosophy to enhance one’s natural features. But for someone who does their own make-up, looking in a mirror can make one self-critical. What’s your make-up advice for them?
LE: I think the problem with looking at yourself in a static way, is that you are honing in on what you see as faults, whether its pore size, or whatever. And it’s usually when you’re looking in a magnifying mirror. When people meet you, your eyes are sparkling, your mouth is moving, you’re turning from left to right; your angles are all there. It’s a lot different from staring at yourself in a mirror and fixating on one little thing, which, when your face is moving, is not really an issue. You’re a person that’s interesting, that’s got passion whether that’s looking after your children or working or you’re out with friends—so that little bump on the side of your nose that you’ve been fixating on is not even an issue, there are so many other things that are going on. I’m not saying just accept yourself as you are, but do remember not to blow things out of proportion.
Of course, make-up is a great tool for helping ourselves with these issues. If you do have something—spots or blemishes you want to cover up or the shape of a feature you want to change—then become your own make-up artist. Become an expert on doing that one thing. That’s why make-up is so incredible: you can really master things which are an issue.
It was the same with me when I was in my twenties. I had acne and that’s the reason I’m so good at complexion now, I’m sure of it. It was at a time when no one wore make-up in the 90s, so I didn’t want to wear thick make-up to cover the acne. I became so good at it in a way people couldn’t really tell. I remember working with actresses around that time and them saying ‘God, you’ve covered all my spots I can’t even see them’ and I’d be like, ‘Yes I’m really f***ing good at it!’. I had the same issue myself, so you can become your own expert if there is something that’s bothering you.
ELLE: How has your personal beauty routine evolved over the years?
LE: It hasn’t evolved that much. I’ve got different concerns now. Spots and blemishes were my main concerns, but I think I’m a little bit more focused on eyes and lips now because I don’t have the same issues with my skin anymore. I like to even out my skin tone with a little bit of foundation, but I don’t necessarily use it all over my face. I will definitely curl my eyelashes and put mascara on–that’s a no brainer. And then I would definitely use lip liner to enhance my lips, so I always make my lower lip look bigger. And then I absolutely love highlighter, like a sheer or crème highlighter, it changes your whole face. I love to use a little bit of highlighter on the cheekbones, there’s a Becca one I like in particular. I’m still crazy for blush, that’s one thing that’s so invigorating and so enlivening to the skin. I use powders, creams, liquids in very natural looking colours. I do use quite a bit of the Chanel powder blushers.
ELLE: So what are the top 5 products in your beauty kit?
LE: Chanel blushers. Eyelash curlers by Kevyn Aucoin or Troy Surratt. Foundation; I use quite a few different ones depending on the effect I want—Make Up For Ever HD is a favourite. Mascara; the Lancôme ones. My velvet lipsticks. I’m also really loving the Living Proof Ultimate Repair Hair masks—they’re silicone-free.
ELLE: Your YouTube tutorials are such a joy to watch. Firstly, because you are an experienced professional make-up artist. And secondly, you don’t turn up your nose at department store buys and DIY hacks. What have been some of your best accidental discoveries?
LE: During lockdown I took all the make-up I had at home back to the studio. So, when I did a video from home and I didn’t have any powder, I ended up using some corn starch from the kitchen cupboard! Things like that. If you haven’t got much make-up and you find a clear drugstore lipgloss in your house you can put it on top of your cheekbones, and you can put a little bit in the centre of your eyelids as well as your lips.
ELLE: What can we expect next in your make-up line?
LE: Next year I’m moving on from lips to a totally different category – one that I’m very at home with! That’s all I’ll say for now.
Photographs courtesy: Lisa Eldridge