Five Minutes With Val Garland

For The Val Garland School of Makeup

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She’s the go-to makeup artists for the likes of Vivienne Westwood and Julien MacDonlad, has countless ad campaigns under her belt and any product ‘Val-idated’ (approved by her) is worth swiping on your face, but Val Garland’s latest venture will see her swap her signature black eyeliner for the blackboard and the online fashion and beauty school, Mastered. We caught up with her over afternoon tea at Soho House to find out everything she’s got to offer…

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How did you get into makeup?

Well, it started in Australia at a magazine called Dolly. I was a hairdresser, but I used to wear a lot a lot of make up and to cut a long story short people badgered and badgered me about doing makeup. I was already doing session work for hair and one day the makeup artist didn’t turn. The photographer, Christ Bentley, was like “you’ve got to do the make up” but I had no make up except for a red lipstick and lots of black, so from the model’s makeup bag and mine, I did her makeup and it ended up in the magazine. Later on, the stylist or editor said “shall we get the funny girl again, the one with the funny hair and makeup and do something on the beach?” And that was it.

Do you still do your own hair?

I don’t cut it myself anymore, I used to. I definitely do my own colour. I actually use the L’Oréal Paris Excellence Champagne Beige. I used to be a colourist and I don’t have patience to sit in a salon with foils.

Speaking of products you use, what do you keep in your makeup bag?

At the moment I have a Bobbi Brown tinted moisturiser, a Laura Mercier concealer, Tom Ford’s brow liner, Benefit’s Push Up eyeliner and another Stilla liner, both of which I absolutely love. I also have a grey eye shadow – the only colour I wear – a brown chubby stick from Laura Mercier, Nars Bronzer in Luna and Orgasm, MAC’s Ruby Woo lipstick (it’s always in my bag), By Terry’s tinted rose lip balm and then mascara.

Mascara is every girl’s ‘I would take it to the desert’ product. What do you use?

Okay. I’m a bit OCD about mascara because I have no eyelashes. I like Clinique, they do this wand that just looks like a stick, it goes right to the root. I also use Lancôme Hypnôse, MAC’s Haute & Naughty mascara (that’s really good for underneath) and Hourglass for separation. I wear all of them at once. There’s never just one mascara, they do different things, you become obsessive when you have crap lashes, so you end up trying everything.

What’s the best beauty trick you’ve learned?

In editorial and on the catwalk cream highlighter looks incredible and on the red carpet powder highlighter works, but in the real world cream products make you look sweaty and powder shimmer looks like too much makeup. I want to look like I have lovely bones but I don’t want you to see the placement. You know, I want it to feel like I’ve come out of the gym and I’ve naturally got those bones, so I always get moisturiser and pat it into my cheekbones after I’ve done my makeup. It gives a glow.

If you could go back in time who’s makeup would you do?

Probably Nefertiti, she liked liner. Cleopatra too, because she liked colour and liner. I’d also do Louise Brooks makeup because I loved that sort of wave with smoky film noir eyes and the red lip. Also, Neroushka, because body painting is everything and Twiggy because I’ve always loved face painting. Sixties and Seventies makeup… I’m in heaven.

So, what drew you to Mastered?

I wouldn’t normally be interested in any kind of teaching, so I though ‘ooh I don’t know’, but when I spoke to them they said it’s not a normal ‘this is how you put on foundation this is how you put on eyeliner’, it’s a course about how to be a person like Val Garland. You can go to a course and learn how to do makeup, but that doesn’t put you in front of the right people or give you the tools on how do you get shows and stuff like that. It was an opportunity to tell my story and I thought that was nice, I can tell you how to do it because I can tell you how I did it. I mean, I’m completely self-taught, I didn’t assist I didn’t do makeup courses. I wobbled along and made huge mistakes, but anything is possible.

What else can people expect from the course?

I’m going to tell them everything. So many people have secrets, for example what moisturiser do they use? I’m going to be really honest. I’ll tell them everything. How it works for me and how to interact with people you may not have been in that type of situation with before.

Finally, we have to know, when was the last time you really laughed out loud?

Well, probably at the McQueen Gala. I was sat next to the fabulous Philip Treacy and we laughed a lot, and can I tell you what we talked about? No. But it was great.

Mastered and Val Garland's School of Makeup 

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