Francelle Daly, NARS National Makeup Artist


“I started doing makeup when I was fifteen, at a day spa in New Orleans, where I’m from. I was kind of just winging it. So that really taught me how to do makeup. I didn’t go to school for it, I didn’t assist anyone ever—I really picked up on it learning to do real people’s makeup. And I always say this—I never see anyone in a horrible mood with a bright pink lip or a bright red lip on. Obviously since I’m with NARS, I have a lot of it, but it’s seriously the best makeup brand in the world. It’s amazing the amount of celebrity the brand has—people lined up when the Bleecker Street store opened, when we launch an exclusive product. It’s incredible to see that kind of energy for a brand. Being a beauty junkie myself, I’ve seen every brand, I’ve tried every brand, and even before I was with NARS, I’d always go back to them for that hot fuchsia lipstick or those eye shadows.

For me, for myself, when I wear makeup, there’s always a lip. I always go to the same two colors—Schiap [pink] and Heat Wave [orangey red], and since Christmas I’ve been using the ‘Bento Box,’ which is a limited edition set of hand-poured lipstick in kabuki cups—it’s a beautiful red and a hot pink. I edit the makeup that goes in my bathroom from two huge suitcases and four drawers in my office that are always filled with makeup. If I continue to bring stuff upstairs, my husband’s like, ‘Oh my God, you have seven hundred eye shadows up here,’ and I’m like, ‘I know, I know—I can’t help it.’ I love playing with eye shadow, and I have so many different tricks—like, Smith’s Rosebud Salve is amazing for mixing with eye shadow to create a cream color. I usually do Étrusque, a shimmery gold. It creates a nice balm for the eyelid, a little dewy. I do this for editorial [shoots] too, but for real life, I don’t make it too gooey and I always set it on the lid by pressing a little of the dry shadow on top. Or, I’ll wet an angled brush with water and use a bright blue eye shadow like Night Flight as a liquid liner. I love bright pops of color. For makeup, I always use my hands. I don’t have that many brushes. Even my lipsticks look really deformed because I use my fingers. I like warming up the product—I use the back of my hands as palette, like with the Rosebud Salve, it gets emollient from the heat. And I feel like with foundation, I can get into the nooks and crannies so it becomes seamless, whereas a brush leaves marks and the product kind of sits on top of the skin. And a sponge soaks up too much product. My recommendation is, if you want to use a sponge, use a dry one to kind of blend the face after you’ve applied foundation with your fingers.

So for everyday it’s usually Étrusque eye shadow, a little Cap Vert, which is a cream bronzing stick, Sciap lipstick, and Larger Than Life volumizing mascara. I’ve been using our new Laguna Body Illuminator as well—I put it on my face and my body. It’s so nice—it gives you a nice little glow. And then for my foundation I use the Sheer Glow in four different shades that I’m always mixing, because I’m addicted to sunless tanner and my color is always changing. I love an aerosol self-tanner, and L’Oreal Sublime Bronze ProPerfect Airbrush is one of my favorites. My husband uses it too; he’s the first man I’ve been with who loves the art of grooming—he has so many products. Anyway I also like St. Tropez if you want a really deep tan in one application—it’s a commitment.

When it comes to skin care, I love creams—heavy, dense creams. I’ve stuck to Crème de la Mer for years—the classic moisturizing cream and the Eye Balm Intense. My mom got me hooked on it, and she also got me hooked on something called The Green Cream, which has a really high dose of Retinol. That’s for times when I know I’m going to be off for a couple days, because it exfoliates your skin to a high-speed process and your face gets bright red. It’s kind of like a mini peel in a bottle. But I also wear the EFA Night Infusion and the Brightening Serum from NARS, and Shiseido just sent me their new cream—Future Solution—which I’ve been using, as well as their SPF for face. I love Bioderma Crealine, which is every makeup artist’s staple, for the kit and for at home. I love it because it takes your makeup off and tones everything. And for a proper cleanser I like Clé de Peau. For body, I’ll use NARS Monoi Body Glow oil which gives the body a nice sheen…sometimes I’ll add a few drops of that Laguna Body Illuminator to it, especially to my legs if I’m going out. I always want a sheen for my body, a baby oil or Kiehl’s Crème de Corps, and I also find that keeping the body moisturized holds the self-tan for longer. My face is oily though, and for that reason I believe less if more. A lot of the skincare brands give you those little spatulas, and that’s meant to show you how much product you should use—a quarter size of moisturizer is a lot; you really want to use a nickel size. I also love our Skin Smoothing Face Prep—you can use it as a primer, before makeup, but it’s also great for mattifying oily skin throughout the day, even on top of makeup. I use this product like nobody’s business; it’s my Jack of all trades.

I’m very easy with hair—I always get my hair cut when I’m working on shoots, and I do my own L’Oreal ten minute color rinse in black. I have light brown hair and I’ve been dying it black since I was twenty-two.I don’t like the intensity of a permanent or semi-permanent hair color; I just like a gloss. And for my products, I love Oribe’s Signature Shampoo and the Royal Blowout Spray, and Bumble and bumble’s black hair powder. And if it’s a night out, I’ll wear it up in a bun, or blow it out with my Mason Pearson brush. I’m very easy breezy.”

—as told to ITG

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Copper Etiquette

    I love the lipstick, I am going to have to try it.

    Copper Etiquette Always Appropriate Shop Dresses

  • cclarebear

    Schiap is my favourite, I wear it all the time - and I'm desperately lusting after those NARS hand poured lipsticks after reading this....

  • HeyitsAlexp

    Really inspiring story! It's so great to hear from someone that loves their job so much. And also pretty cool that she colors her hair herself at home, although that's one tip I'm not quite brave enough to try out myself.

  • kristina@beancakes

    very inspiring, thank you for sharing. wow! you've got quite the collection there ~ awesome! ;)
    xo ~ kristina

  • Eve

    i love how in the fourth picture you have arranged the lipsticks to spell out NARS

  • Laura

    what a fabulous job!! i love Nars products... now i want more! :)

  • ATB

    Oh, she's my favourite so far! Another fan of the salve in a tube; I thought I was the only one.

    @Eve, I loved that, too!

  • iben

    Such an interesting interview! She seems like a very talentet lady!

    Love Despite color

  • Mioara Roncea

    My favorite lipstick right now is Lancome Rouge Absolu 133. It stays on the lips for hours! I also like Clarins Rouge Prodige 120 but it comes off very easy...! The shade is lovely though.
    Thank you.
    Mioara Roncea.

  • PhotoGirl

    Such an interesting interview! I'm sure I'll come back and read it again. I wish she were here to help me today. I'm having an issue with a Nars bronzing powder I just bought. Can't get it to look right. (Yes! Brown girls wear bronzer, too, lol!) As usual, it was perfect in Sephora, but now? Not so much. Oh, well.
    Love the collections displayed on her bathroom wall. All of the textures and colors are so beautiful.

    • Alexis

      Hi there,
      I'm curious since I'm a fellow Brown Girl that loves a good bronzer. Which NARS did you buy? Laguna, Casino or Irresistiblement?

      • PhotoGirl

        Hi Alexis,
        I bought Laguna. I thought Casino looked too red for my skin tone. I wish they had better lighting in my Sephora. Poor lighting in makeup stores is one of the great ironies of the cosmetics indutry. Have you used the NARS bronzer? How did it work out for you?

        • Alexis

          Hi Photogirl,
          I have used Laguna and I'm not sure how familiar you are with the MAC color system but I'm a NC42 - I have med-dark skin with yellow undertones. If you have used NARS foundation I would be a Syracuse shade (med-dark 1). I find that if you want a subtle bronze shade Laguna works - I have used it also for sculpting underneath my cheekbones. Ironically, I feel that the Laguna Illuminator is too light for me to make any difference on my face. Also check out Irresistiblement, a lovely terra cotta shade that does not have any shimmer and is pretty flattering for darker skintones. I do want to go back for Casino but I'm hesitant because I don't like my bronzers to have too much shimmer.

          If you want to put the time into experimenting, maybe try it as you would a traditional bronzer - sweep from temple to cheekbone to jawline - like a 3 on your face and then highlight with a pearl shimmer on top of your cheekbones and maybe a deeper matte bronzer under your cheekbone. This could also help Laguna pop on your face.

          If all else fails the great thing about Sephora is that they will take back products without any problems if you still have the receipt/packaging. I hope this helps!

          No, I'm not a Sephora employee, just a woman that has far too many cosemetics in her bathroom!

          • PhotoGirl

            Thanks so much for all of the helpful tips! That's really very nice of you. We have a similar skin tone I'm an NC42 or 43 and have even used NC45 back when I was stupid about sunscreen. (Those days are over.)
            I thought the Laguna was too light, too, but the first time I wore it my boyfriend asked me if I'd been outside without sunscreen! Go figure...
            I agree with you about bronzers and shimmer, but I'm going back to have another look at both the Casino and Irresistiblement, just to make sure. I love the product itself, and if I can get the color issues worked out I think I'll be very happy with it. Thanks for taking the time to reply!

  • Alexis

    Thank you so much for featuring someone who has no fear of wearing makeup (bright colors) on her face. I am also a NARS hoarder. I attend many beauty events when the NARS National Artist come to visit. I would love Francelle to do my makeup at an event - I would pay top dollar for that experience, next to Nars himself.

    Thanks for this entry!

  • The Procrastinator

    Schiap is my go-to bright since I can't wear colour. I use MAC Pro Love Forever if I want it sliiiiightly more muted =)

    • Alexis

      Hey Procrastinator,
      I still want this shade as well!

  • L.A. Dubois

    This was so interesting. I really enjoy your blog!

  • Marcela

    I love her, and I agree with what she says about using the hands and not the brush or the sponge.
    Really nice top shelf.

  • anita

    Talking about Nars heaven : ) I use my fingertips too!

  • zarla

    i love all of her heavy moisturizing cream and body oil recommendations.

  • Ploy

    Nars has the best shades in vibrant lip color, the pigmentation is arguably one of the best. Wish the price was a little closer to MAC's.

    • Alexis

      Agreed to both of your points! Next to my MAC collection - my NARS is becoming increasingly larger!

  • Rebecca

    Oooh, the interview I have been dreaming of....a wealth of inspiration she is. Love the pictures. Heatwave is my favorite bright.
    Thanks for your blog, I truly enjoy it andlook forwars to every post!

  • Stephanie

    Great article. NARS is one of my favorite brands. Love its sleek packaging and colors.

  • mimi

    i love that she uses her fingers for makeup. makeup brushes intimidate me, there's too many and i dont know how to use them!

  • chic noir

    Well well well girls, we have a woman who loves her makeup. I wonder why her Chanel containers are.

    Maybe I should add a few Chanel products since they seem to be so popular with so many people.

    Kiehl's Creme de Corps body lotionis the best.

    I also love Kiehl's Ultimate Strength Hand Salve. I wash my hands a million times per day. This keeps my hands so soft/

  • Zuzanna

    Can you please please please do an Olivia Palermo and Rose Byrne Top Shelf?! Especially hair products, they have the mos amazing manes!!!

  • Priscilla Francine Makeup

    fun article, i adore nars!!!!

  • Leslie

    I love Nars too, especially Schiap and Heat Wave. She seems very cool!

  • Miss. Y

    Yeah... Olivia Palermo is a very very good suggestion! I'd love to know which make-up and skin care products she uses and what her beauty routine is! She always looks so neat and perfect and pretty, yet never overdone, wonder how she does it!

  • Amber

    Ahh yes, bright lips my favorite! My complexion is a VERY deep tan (think Kimora Lee Simmons at her darkest) and it pops against my skin. I've always wanted to try NARS but it's so out of my budget! Here is me wearing a gorgeous orange lip color that I wear to death esp now that it is summer <3

  • Clairvoyantrain55

    i love this post, it's wonderfully inspiring, glamorous and real - She is awesome, sharing her beauty secrets and passion for it!


Smith's Rosebud Salve
NARS Single Eyeshadow
NARS Single Eyeshadow Night Flight
NARS The Multiple Stick
NARS 'Larger Than Life' Volumizing Mascara Black
NARS Sheer Glow Foundation
L'Oreal Sublime
L'Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze ProPerfect Salon Airbrush Deep Tan
St. Tropez Tanning Essentials
St. Tropez Tanning Essentials Self Tan Bronzing Gel
La Mer
Creme de la Mer
La Mer
La Mer ‘The Eye Balm Intense’
NARS Brightening Serum
Shiseido Future Solution LX Total Regenerating Cream
Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream
Bioderma Créaline
NARS Body Glow
NARS 'Pro Prime' Skin Smoothing Face Prep
L'oreal Excellence Creme To Go Natural Black
Oribe Signature Shampoo
Oribe Signature Royal Blowout
Bumble and bumble
Bumble and bumble Black Hair Powder