I think Ellis Faas is one of the best makeup brands, and it is definitely in my top 5. And Ellis herself is definitely one of my favourite make-up artists, her creativity knows no boundaries, the images she creates are mind-blowing.
I have actually interviewed Ellis some time ago, but never featured the interview itself, so here it is!
1. Can you please tell us something about yourself? How did you discover your love for beauty and makeup?
Initially I wanted to be a photographer, so when I was still in high-school, I did a professional makeup course. A lot of the time I was my own model, and in order to look different each time, I used makeup. I had always liked makeup, so when the photography became to technical, my love for makeup took over. So then I did a makeup course in Amsterdam and a “real” study in Paris.
2. What was your career breakthrough and highlights?
My big international break came when Mario Testino came to Amsterdam to do a shoot for l’Uomo Vogue. He wanted something extra, saw all the books and seeing my special effects portfolio, he picked me. We hit it off and then he started to take me all over the world. There are many highlights, so many great photographers, stylists, models, hair stylists – impossible to choose… But especially all “firsts” made an impression: my first show (Fendi with Karl Lagerfeld), my first big campaign (Gucci with Mario), my first shoot for Vogue Italia (with Paolo Roversi).
3. What advice would you give to those who want to be a part of a beauty/makeup industry? What are the basics they should know?
The biggest thing is that there is no mystery. People in the industry always try to make things seem so complicated, but it is not. There is technique and personal taste – the first you can learn, the second you have to be self-confident enough for not to give up for the sake of whatever. There is not one single “right” way to create a certain image, a style, a mood, and the only way you will create something interesting if you do not let go of your own intuition.
4. How did you get the idea to start your own makeup brand? How would you describe it to someone new to it?
The starting point was that I wanted to create something compact, something that was ideal for women on the move – whether they are travelling, going to the office or otherwise moving about. Makeup bags traditionally are one big mess in which you can never find what you need, so I created something that organises it but still gives the 100% flexibility of which products someone wants to carry at a specific moment, and which products are left at home. Practically all products come in similarly shaped pens that can be fitted into a Holder that has room for a total of 8 products (including foundation and powder). For smaller trips, such as a visit to a restaurant or discotheque, we now also have Clips with which you can connect as few or as many products as you like.
5. What ELLIS FAAS products every woman should try? What are the brand’s best-sellers? What about your personal favourites?
Of course I love all my products, but there are several “heroes”: something I can’t live without is foundation and concealer – and I created them in pairs, so we have as many shades concealer as we have foundation, so they work together extremely well; then our mascara (my review) is fabulous – no bullshit story, simply great for subtle lashes to big fat lashes; I am really proud of our Creamy Eyes (my review) texture which is so wonderful – people just have to get over the fear of using liquid eye shadow; and to start discovering the line with, the Lips are very suitable of course.
6. What is your favourite beauty and makeup trick?
Whenever you brush your teeth, also brush your lips: this exfoliates them and also get the bloodflow going, so it’s really good to keep your lips in shape.
7. Do you believe in timeless beauty looks? If so, can you describe them? Do you have a beauty icon?
Well, something like a brown smokey eye, load of mascara and stained blood-red lips, is always a favourite of mine. But in doing makeup I tend to be more intuitive and of-the-moment. Every mood is different, every face is different and every character is different, so there are unlimited ways to do a “perfect look”. And what I think is a perfect look is only my taste, and I don’t want to force that onto anyone. As a makeup artist, my beauty icon was Serge Lutens who made so many iconic beauty images (that are not for daily use by the way). As a women, I love Cate Blanchett – even though I don’t think she’s too much into makeup (but she is a fan of my Ellis Red!).
8. Do you believe everyone can pull off any colour? Do you have any recommendations on how women can pick up the right shades for themselves?
Again: this is mostly a matter of taste. But the safest way to go is to go with a colour that doesn’t clash with your face like for instance too primary or too cold colour do. The shades in my brand are inspired by colours that are already present in the human body (which is why I call them Human Colours), and therefore you will never look ridiculous. Of course a fuchsia is difficult to find in the human body, but then it’s a warm, non-synthetic fuchsia, and if you like fuchsia, for me that’s the best way to go.
9. Can you tell us your source of inspiration? What do you like doing in your free time?
I love creating: doing something to make my house nicer, work in the garden, cook. And coincidentally all of these thing share a passion for colour and design.