Most make-up artists can be categorized by their specialty–runway, editorial, celebrity, product development–and then there's Pat McGrath whose influence reigns over every corner of the fashion and beauty world.
With two decades of work, an eponymous make-up line, and 1.4 million Instagram followers, McGrath is the world's most influential make-up artist. Last night her prolific contributions were honored at the CFDA Awards.
We caught up with McGrath before her award acceptance. Here, the make-up artist talks about her favorite high street beauty products, working with Kim Kardashian, and what she really thinks of contouring...
You must get stopped constantly when you're off duty. Do people ask for make-up tips?
I'm the ultimate beauty junkie–that inspiration, obsession and addiction is one of the main reasons I founded PAT McGRATH LABS in 2015. So, when fellow beauty junkies spot me there's nothing I enjoy more than discovering what they're addicted to. It's so inspiring!
What are three products from Pat McGrath Labs that everyone needs in their kit? Let's say if limited supply wasn't as issue.
Everyone needs Skin Fetish 003 in their kit. It's the ultimate everyday essential for runway skin that looks as legendary in the office or on the street or as it does on social media. Second, any of our sold out LUST 004 Lip Kits.
I think of them as legendarily luxe lip jewellery, adding scintillating sparkle to any and every moment. Third, either of the pigments from DARKSTAR 006–the outrageous UltraViolet Blue pigment and the seductive UltraSuedeBrown are the ultimate in smokey eyed sensuality.
For extra credit, I'd also like to mention the Black Caviar Gel Liner from PHANTOM 002–I've never seen a black liner as rich and deep with a texture and slip that applies and builds with such ease. Every time I see Donatella Versace, she literally holds me hostage until I give her at least eight from my ever-dwindling stash!
What beauty trends do you love at the moment?
The 'trend' that I love the most at the moment (and I believe that it's more than a trend, it's a paradigm shift in the beauty industry), is make-up as a medium for self-expression.
From the beginning of my career I've used make-up as a vehicle to express my vision; my obsessions, inspirations and addictions. There's nothing more rewarding than seeing young people recreate some of my iconic looks. especially the Dior x Galliano ones that took us 18 hours to create in 45 minutes and then running out to the club–or the deli!
Any that you'd like to end (for now, at least)?
Anyone who knows or works with me knows I don't believe there's such a thing as a 'mistake'. With that in mind, I celebrate all aspects of make-up and find something beautiful in all 'trends'.
I remember, years ago, working on Amber Valetta and making her a beautiful, bronzed contoured look in the Versace campaigns of the late '90s. It's so fun for me to watch how that look has evolved.
You've launched countless careers. What qualifies someone as a Pat McGrath muse?
Being a #McGrathMuse is about confidence, individuality, and character. I want the people we elevate to icon-status to serve as beauty inspirations for everyone around the world.
LABS is an outspoken voice for body positivity, racial diversity, gender variance and iconoclastic individuality. Where else can you see a downtown diva like @palomija next to the incomparable Naomi Campbell alongside Violet Chacki looking Rita Hayworth in 'Gilda' level MAJOR juxtaposed with bombshell beauties like @nikkietutorials, @makeupshayla and @sonjdradeluxe?
Working with Kim Kardashian, did she share any beauty knowledge?
Kim is one of those rare girlfriends who is truly just as obsessed with make-up as I am. We can literally talk about products for hours! We share all our secrets.
You've got £50 and 1 hour to shop the make-up aisles, what are you buying?
Product-wise I'd grab Aquaphor healing ointment. I use it so many different ways. Unscented baby wipes. These staples not only remove make-up, they moisturize with no oily residue. Finally, I'd say Evian Water Spray. With all the flying I do, my skin is always getting dried out. This is a product that adds moisture and freshness in seconds.