I almost missed Michael the first time I walked into the cafe. Tucked away in a corner and deep in animated conversation, I had mistaken the table for a luncheon between old friends. Although, that turned out to be exactly what the intimate sharing felt like. In our cosy afternoon get together with Michael Brown, the Southeast Asia Regional Artistry Ambassador for Marc Jacobs Beauty, we indulged in an insider look at the brand’s Fall 2019 Lust & Stardust Collection and their latest Highliner Liquid-Gel Eyeliners (we got first dibs on it!).
Having spent over two decades in the beauty industry, Michael has worked his magic on some of Australia’s — and the world’s — most famous faces including Kate Waterhouse and Miranda Kerr. Michael’s ease around makeup was riveting, as he spoiled us with a barrage of personal tips and techniques. After a fantastic sharing that felt too short, we managed to catch Michael for another quick, exclusive interview where he got candid about his makeup journey, honest ride-or-die products, beauty tips for Singapore’s weather and the truth about his favourite celebrity projects.
1. Can you tell me more about yourself and your professional background? How did you get into makeup?
Growing up I did dancing as a child, I was dancing from when I was 4 years old till I was 25 and that consisted of ballet, lots of jazz, ballroom dancing and tap dancing. In that time I learned how to do stage makeup, especially for ballet where you do character roles, [the roles] really allowed me to experiment with makeup! Obviously I was a guy, but the girls always asked me to help them and that was how I fell in love with makeup because I could see how much the girls loved it and how much fun makeup was. It is really creative! That’s how I started doing a makeup course and started working as a makeup artist from a young age. I’ve been doing makeup now for 18 years.
2. Why Marc Jacobs Beauty?
Over the years I’ve had many roles with big, large cosmetic companies. I’ve worked for Lancome, Estée Lauder, Clinique, Shiseido…all of which were really department store focused. My background is actually in retail cosmetics, I worked on the sales floor for a long time. Then I worked in the education teams for these big brands, travelling around the world training and doing the education side of things.
I think I’ve been a freelance celebrity makeup artist now for 7 years. I love it, don’t get me wrong, but I kinda missed the education of a brand. So when Marc Jacobs approached me to work for them I was like you know what, I think I’m ready to go back into education and share my techniques/tips with people.
3. It’s incredibly hot and humid in Singapore, do you have any makeup tips for our tropical climate?
Well, we have a very humid climate in Queensland and Sydney is a little bit humid too, but obviously not as humid as here. So I am used to a little bit [of humidity] and I think it really comes down to your prep. Your moisturiser needs to be quite lightweight, more water-based; keep your rich and dense creams as well as serums for night time, and use something light in the day.
One of the products I love is Marc Jacobs Beauty’s Under(cover) Blurring Coconut Face Primer because it blurs out your pores and blurs out your skin shine as well. Powders control shine but can look dry on the skin — this blurring primer blurs, controls shine but you still look fresh and glowy. Then choose the correct foundation, I would go for a more mattifying, creamy foundation that’s not too liquid. The more liquid [your foundation] is, the easier it will shine up.
4. What’s one makeup product you can’t live without yourself?
The Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara from Marc Jacobs Beauty! That’s actually how I started working with the brand. So Hung Vanngo who is a very big celebrity makeup artist, everyone knows Hung Vanngo, I sat next to him at a dinner in Sydney and he asked me if I used the product, I said no and he said you need to use it. And now that’s my favourite mascara, it gives such voluminous lashes but doesn’t look clumpy.
5. You’ve worked with so many huge names throughout your career, who has been the most memorable?
I’ve worked with so many people that are very well known in Australia, whether they are TV presenters, models or just in the social VIP scene. But in terms of international celebrities, I think Miranda Kerr was the first ‘big name’ I worked on. She had just won a modelling competition in Australia and became the face of one of our biggest department stores, David Jones. I worked with her for a couple of years, her face is so pretty that you can put anything on her and it just looks good.
One person I also worked on in 2008 was Gisele Bündchen. At the time she was the highest-paid supermodel in the world. Her bone structure is incredible and she was so fierce that I was in love with her. I was like wow, you are so statuesque!
6. Is there anyone you’d like to work with but haven’t had the chance to yet?
I haven’t worked with the Hadid sisters. I love Gigi and Bella, they’re kind of the it girls now, like the now supermodels…and think Gigi’s face is so beautiful! She has that kind of roundness but yet still has high cheekbones and also a really large eye area to put makeup on, which would be so fun to play with!
7. Finally, if you could pick one item from the Fall 2019 Collection as a must-have, which would it be?
That’s a hard one, there are so many good things! I think the new Elec-Trik Eye-Conic Eyeshadow Palette, because you can do so many different looks since there are so many eyeshadows in there. The Elec-Trik Eye-Conic palette has matte shades, satin shades and also metallic ones. So you can go from a really sculpted neutral eye to something a bit more fun, to a full glam in one palette.
A Glow To Covet: The Fall 2019 Lust & Stardust Collection & Highliner Collection by Marc Jacobs Beauty
Seriously, just swatch these glittery gems under your phone’s flashlight (as we did during the sharing with Michael) and be prepared for some spellbinding glitz! Featuring a line-up of dazzling showstoppers in sensational shades, Marc Jacobs Beauty’s festive drop might be just about everything you need to glam up for the year-end parties.
- See-Quins Glam Glitter Eyeshadow, $38. Intense, bold and versatile pigment in four stunning shades. Michael’s tip: The pigments work excellently with fingers, layer with your fingertips for a vivid sparkle!
- Enamoured Dazzling Lip Lacquer Lipgloss, $42. For long-lasting wear and a divine shine, available in four shades. Michael’s tip: Pop these on in the centre of your lips for instantly glossy, plumped and shaped lips!
- O!mega Glaze All-Over Foil Luminizer, $69. Micro-fine for a super seamless glow, available in two radiant shades. Michael’s tip: This super-sized luminiser performs like a dream on both the face and body, use it to highlight your décolletage and twinkle all night!
Eye-Conic Multi-Finish Eyeshadow Palette in Elec-Trik, $70. From velvety mattes to sparkling shades and even metallics, this high-impact palette will take you from day to night. Michael’s tip: Silver eyeshadow does not give much depth on its own. Instead, using an eyeshadow brush, load up your lid with a deeper contour shade (e.g. a brown) then put the silver on top for a strong, solid metallic finish.
Highliner Liquid-Gel Eyeliner, $40. Inspired by the cult favourite and Marc Jacobs Beauty’s best-selling Highliner Gel Eye Crayon, this hybrid liquid-gel formula is the first of its kind. For flawless precision, extreme long-wear and a lustrous high-shine finish, available in seven bold shades.
Michael’s tip: (Here’s the ultimate trick for a bombing winged cat-eye!) Instead of lining your eyes from the inner to outer corners, map out the wing tip first with your eyes opened. Then, draw from the end of your eye to the inner corners. Also, use the double line technique by lining a bold shade on top of black for a pop of colour! Lastly, remember to let the inkwell formula set for thirty seconds for a truly transfer-proof, smudge-proof and ultra-durable finish.
For an enviable glow this festive season, discover the Marc Jacobs Beauty Fall 2019 Lust & Stardust Collection as well as Highliner Liquid-Gel Eyeliners on sephora.sg and in Sephora stores islandwide.