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The skin prep is absolutely the most important part for me. It ends up making everything look so much better when the skin looks real and fresh and light. I think it's also the most therapeutic part.
Katie Jane Hughes, editorial and celebrity makeup artist, recently brought Eighteen B to New York Fashion Week, using Firm + Replenish Serum to prep the models for her signature glow. We talked to Katie, our newest Eighteen B Woman, about skincare, beauty, and staying authentic in a world of over-editing.
Instagram is not known for its likeness to reality. Our feeds are filled with carefully curated photos, filtered to a state of perfection that feels far our of reach in real life. Thankfully, our eye gets a break every once in a while courtesy of editorial and celebrity makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes.
To be clear, her photos are pretty perfect. Her Instagram feed features close-up shots of makeup looks on herself and her celebrity clients like Ashley Graham and Kate Bosworth. Scroll through and you’ll find expertly winged eyeliner, glossy lids, pops of color, full brows, and her signature glowy skin. Katie’s looks are always gorgeous, but they’re refreshingly human. Rather than airbrushed into oblivion, skin looks like skin. And to top it off, it all looks like a lot of fun.
Many of Katie’s followers – the Eighteen B team included – came to know and love her through her Instagram Stories. Katie takes us behind the scenes as she gets ready each morning, showing how she crafts her looks from the very beginning. And, as far as Katie is concerned, the beginning means starting with the skin.
“The skin prep is absolutely the most important part for me. It ends up making everything look so much better when the skin looks real and fresh and light. I think it’s also the most therapeutic part,” she told us.
Katie sits before two towering shelves of makeup – or at a dressing table when she’s on the road – and chats, teaches, and sometimes sings while she does her makeup. She is generous with her techniques, showing us the right way to use brushes, where to apply moisturizer, and how to use powder to keep the glow in all the right places. Her videos feel authentic because they are. “I’m doing it anyway, so why don’t I share it?”
She saves her best stories to her Instagram Highlights so followers can go back and recreate the looks. “Instagram Highlights is my version of YouTube.”
While the makeup always feels fresh and exciting, some parts of the process are essential. “The first, most important step is to gently exfoliate, because that moisturizer isn’t even going to sink in if there’s dead skin on the face. If you start putting moisturizer on and it starts to roll, then that foundation is going to go on horribly.”
Before moisturizer comes serum. Katie used our Firm + Replenish Serum on the models at the Susan Alexandra show at New York Fashion Week. Susan Alexandra’s bat mitzvah-themed show featured comedians, writers, and Instagram celebrities as models, some with her candy-colored bags beaded bags pinned to their wigs. The show was fun, fresh, and bursting with color, which means it was perfect for Katie Jane Hughes.
“I love serum that has a tightening effect on the skin. If it’s an oil I want it to be glowy, and if it’s not an oil I want it to tighten everything up. That’s what Firm + Replenish Serum did for us on show day. It made everyone’s skin look great.”
The next step is to moisturize. “The thing I consider first about skincare is the texture. I’m like, ‘is this dewy or whipped enough to have the consistency I need it to have?’”
“With Hydrate + Restore Rich Cream, I think that kind of product should go in specific areas first. The high points of the face, or the areas where you want all that glow and radiance – that’s where you should concentrate the product. Then with the little bit of sheen that’s left on your fingers, that should go in the places where you’re feeling tight and dry.”
Once the skin is prepped, she begins building the makeup. When asked for her makeup philosophy, she asked if she could give us a statement instead. “If you feel attracted to something, then you should try it. If you don’t end up liking it then you can wash it off. It’s makeup! It’s beauty! It’s not that serious.”
“I’m a big believer that people should embrace what they’ve got and enhance it with makeup instead of trying to change it with makeup. I think that’s key.”
But Katie is noticing a trend in the opposite direction. “There’s a movement of over-editing photographs for Instagram. ‘What would I look like if my nose was smaller? What if my lips were fuller or my eyes were a bit more upturned?'” It’s fun, Katie admits, but “people get immune to this editing style. Then they edit more and more and they just start to become inhuman.”
“I feel like it’s creating more insecurities that we don’t need. And we can do all of that with makeup. You can trick these shapes with makeup.”
While Katie is quick to say there’s nothing wrong with caking on the makeup, she hopes to see the trend move towards fresher skin. “What I really want to see happening is makeup looks with bare, bare skin – just concealer around the nose and the mouth. That’s why I love: Letting the freckles peek through, letting the skin texture be visible, and letting it shine.”
Do you have questions? Comments? Topics you want us to cover? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.