Dutch-born makeup artist Ellis Faas certainly has the eye of a painter, and the soul of an artist. Growing up in the Netherlands with a very artistic family, she first wanted to be a photographer but quickly grew frustrated by the technical side of photography, and more and more drawn to the magic being created on the face on the other side of the camera.
This bloomed quickly into an editorial career that within the space of a few years had her working on all the major magazines around the globe with top photographers like Mario Testino, Patrick Demarchalier, Vincent Peters, Karl Lagerfeld, Paolo Roversi, Terry Richardson and Jean-Baptiste Mondino. Her intuitive and often startling use of colour has made her highly respected in the industry, and the sumptousness of her makeup work was always distinctively hers.
She has now turned her considerable talents to her line of makeup available around the world. The Ellis Faas line is designed to make women’s hectic lives simpler, more streamlined, and yes, more beautiful. The idea is simple – to re-work the basic elements of a woman’s makeup needs into a sleek container that chicly and snuggly fits in your bag, and can be used when needed – and to be gorgeous enough to use in public.
I met Ellis in London late last year when she launched her line at Liberty’s of London, and not only is she a lovely person and a great makeup artist, her line of cosmetics is a practical and elegant solution to the age old problem of the overflowing, disorganized makeup bag. I love the colours of her line which are all based on the human body – the bruisy browns of the creamy eyeshadows are incredible, and the quality of the concealers and foundations are superb. Plus, Ellis Red lipstick really does suit everyone!
Even though they are only a young brand, they’ve already been voted Editor’s Favourites at Allure and Glamour. We are lucky enough to have an interview with the lady herself.
1) What are you working on at the moment?
At this very moment, we are preparing the launch of our new products: five eye highlighters. They are not merely highlighters, because these are liquid, but they dry upon application, and then the Lights give the illusion of having a small metallic sheet on the eyelid. It was quite a challenge to come up with the right texture and the right pigments, but I think you are going to like them!
2) Favourite makeup job ever?
That’s difficult… I tend to have best memories because of the team and what happened on the set. But if I have to choose a great team in combination with makeup that I am really proud of, that would be a beauty shoot for Numéro by Jean-Baptiste Mondino.
3) Top 5 products?
Of our own brand? Our foundation, concealer, mascara, “Creamy Eyes” eye shadow and Ellis Red lipstick.
4) If you could tell women to do one thing differently with their makeup, what would it be?
I don’t believe in giving rules of dos and don’ts, but if there is one thing that women have to keep an eye on is choosing the right shade of foundation. Apart from that, I just hope that people will experiment and will develop their own sense of beauty, without listening what people like me are “advising”.
5) How did you get started in the business?
I have always liked makeup, but initially, I wanted to become a photographer – also because I didn’t even know that makeup could be a profession. Making photos I always used a lot of makeup, and more and more I disliked the technical aspect of photography and but instead was drawn to the intuitive side of doing makeup. Both is creating an image… And actually I never stopped photographing either, but never professionally until we started our own brand for which I take all the pictures.
My international career started after photographer Mario Testino saw my portfolio and asked me to work with him. After that the ball started rolling.
6) How is it different to when you started?
For me personally? That is the travel, and the needed flexibility because you never know when you have to leave for a job.
7) Which work are you most proud of?
My own brand!
8) What made you start your own line?
I made something that I missed in my own daily life. My professional kits were always very neat and organised, but I couldn’t stand my private makeup bag: different sizes, different ways of packaging, brushes and other applicators – and all of that stuffed into a bulging makeup bag. There once was a survey that women take longer to find a product in their bag than actually applying it, and it was exactly like that for me. Many brands try to come up with portable solutions, but then for instance they make palettes of which you only use one colour. So the main thing is that I wanted to come up with a solution that was practical, looked nice and gave women 100% flexibility. And the flexibility is also in the colours that suit all skin tones, and the application of the product is very easy for non-professionals.
9) What do you love doing in your spare time?
Like building my own brand, I also like to “build” things in spare time: so I’m always working on my house, my garden…
10) What are your predictions for the coming season for makeup?
I have no idea, because I never keep track of trends. But of course I hope the whole world will fall for liquid eye highlighters as THE thing to start using. And I know just the brand where they can find that ;).
On Wednesday, June 9th, Ellis will be at Liberty’s of London, answering questions from the audience and there is a chance to meet Ellis personally. I highly recommend a play with her lovely line, as it really is like nothing else on the market. There is a booking fee, but that is redeemable against sales on the night. Please call 020 7734 1234 ext. 2506.
The Ellis Faas line is sold in Liberty’s of London, Mecca Cosmetica in Australia, and Bergdorf Goodman New York. www.ellisfaas.com