Tom Pecheux, Makeup Artist


"I didn’t always want to be a makeup artist; I started as a pastry chef. I went to school for it for three years. I love cooking. I was the second child in my family—my older brother was basically my dad’s boy and I was basically my mom’s boy. I was always in the kitchen with her. I grew up on a farm in Burgundy, France, where my dad was a farmer and winemaker, so all I knew until I was 14 was gardening, pulling the vegetables and flowers—I loved that.

After school, I came to Paris to start working as a pastry chef assistant at a big hotel. All of the guy cooks were super straight, talking about motorbikes, football, and girls. I didn’t mind, but there wasn’t much of a connection with the guests, and cooking for people was, at times, pretty unpleasant. I partied every night at the Palazzo—the Studio 54 of Paris—and I tried pretty much everything. Eventually, that landed me in the hospital for a few days, and I realized I wasn’t doing what was right for me. I met a girl shortly after who said she was in makeup school. I didn’t even realize people needed makeup artists—I just thought everyone did their own makeup. I was partying when I met this woman, but that idea stuck with me. So I checked out her school, Christian Chauveau L'Ecole Technique Privée de Maquillage Artistique, picked up some information, and told my parents the good news—I’m gay, I’m going to quit my job, and I’m going to be a makeup artist. [Laughs]

When you have a dream, you have to go for it. I mean, I never dreamed I’d be where I am today. I never dreamed to work with these incredibly talented people, and that’s what I love the most: sharing with a designer, with a photographer, with a model, with talented people. It’s such a delicious opportunity every day. I’ve been doing makeup for 29 years and I’ll never give up on it. I still love this job because every day I come home and look at myself in the mirror and I don’t feel ashamed of myself.

I don’t wear makeup myself—only sometimes if I have a big pimple. I don’t cover bags under my eyes or anything, I just take good care of my skin. The best way to clean your face is with Biologique Recherche Lait VIP 02 Cleansing Milk, which is basically a makeup remover. While I’m waiting for the shower to warm up, I rub it on my face and let it sit. In the shower, I use Biologique Recherche Lotion P50, and follow it with Biologique Recherche L'Eauxygenante Spray. Their products smell like science. I found them because when you travel first class on Air France, you get a free 30 minute treatment with Biologique Recherche. The food is excellent and the treatment is divine. Once a week, I exfoliate with Sisley Buff and Wash Facial Gel. I'd say I’m treating my skin for...everything and nothing. [Laughs] For getting rid of puffy eyes or laugh lines, Biologique Recherche Serum Yall O2 is amazing. After a few minutes, it softens the lines completely. Then, to moisturize, when my skin is very dry, I use Estée Lauder Re-Nutriv. I very rarely put oil on my own face because it makes your skin slippery, but I use it on models all of the time under their makeup because it's the only way to give the skin a nice transparency.

For treatments, the best place in the world for an amazing facial treatment and an incredible feast of scents is Terri Lawton in LA—she’s unbelievable. I wish could go to LA more often. [Laughs] Well, also, because the Chateau Marmont has the best Kiehl's bath products...Usually the soap or shampoo I’m using is a leftover of whatever I start using in the hotel. I like the body lotion at the Four Seasons in Milan, and it sounds snobbish, but the product that I fell in love with while traveling was this sage soap they have at the Amangiri Hotel on the border of Utah and Arizona. It’s the best hotel in the world, and I still keep that soap around.

When I’m not using that soap, I wash with Harem des Sens Voluptueux Exfoliating Balm, which I’ve only been able to find in France. I moisturize with a dry oil. The trick is to put it on after the shower, and give it 15 or 20 minutes to soak in before getting dressed. Then you won’t feel sticky or sweaty.

For my hair, I style it with Prejume Wax 7. Prejume makes different numbers, which correlate to the wax’s strength. I found this at the little Japanese salon on West 12th Street [in New York] where I used to go to get my hair cut. I like it because it’s not too thin.

And for fragrance, I like YSL Opium and Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan. I mix them. I’m still a smoker, but people keep on telling me that I smell good, which is bizarre. I’ve quit smoking a few times, and when I do and I smell other people smoking cigarettes, I think they stink, so I guess the perfume must be working. [Laughs]

Otherwise, I love to get manicures and pedicures from Jin Soon. She does the perfect nail that lasts forever, which is why everyone uses her—Chanel, Hermès. She does manicures like nobody else in the world."

—as told to ITG

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Tom's interview: The Professional.

Tom Pecheux photographed by Emily Weiss in Paris, France on September 30, 2013.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Vicki

    LOVE this interview. Tom has such a great sense of humor! I also love that while he works for Estee Lauder he wasn't pushing their products!

  • sharon


  • sarah

    Biologique Recherche products are AMAZING, I'm surprised they're on so few Top Shelves

  • nicolecontrol

    Amazing! I am obsessed with Biologique Recherche products, but have never tried the serum. I think I will have to now....

  • Marleen

    I love his work with Estee Lauder (and other brands) and backstage at fashion shows. His looks are inspiring!

  • murt

    Though I am not a fan of Biologique Recherche products (the toner Pecheux uses left my skin an irritated, flakey mess), I loved this interview. And I love what Pecheux has done with Estee Lauder makeup since he took over - the eyeshadow palettes he designed are so beautiful. I especially love the Blue Dahlia collection from 2010.

  • Sarah

    I too enjoyed reading this interview. Beside loving the story, I also like his apartment very much, especially the paintings and the photographs.

  • Leetoki

    This is probably one of the best interviews I've read on here - A bit of real talk, a really lovely insight into how his lifestyle (travelling and hotels) made him discover his favorite products.. the entire thing was charming. And no hardcore Estee Lauder spriuk. Perfect.

    • Beatriz

      ...unless of course Estée Lauder bought Biologique Recherche

  • Sofia Coelho

    Sick! Want to know everything Olsen make up related!

  • Janine

    Great interview! Thank you, ITG! I cannot wait for Part2.

  • Maggi

    I want to join in on the love...great interview. I love his very masculine, yet indulgent approach to skin care.

  • Silvia

    I would love to know more about the painting on Photo #9 !

  • Melody Ann Jones

    Hes so fancy, I love him.

  • Anna Maria V Turcato

    I love this guy!!! Such a good sense of humor :)


    Love his work!

  • joan

    When I saw your post, I was like woow.b'cos its a decision I have being battling with because my family doesn't seem to understand.because they think its not a rofession but am in love with it and any time I see people making up others I feel so glad n passionate with it.i wish I was in that person's position.i don't know what to do.


Sisley Buff & Wash Facial Gel
Estée Lauder
Estee Lauder ReNutriv Replenishing Comfort Creme
Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent New Opium Eau de Parfum Spray
Serge Lutens
Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan
Prejume Styling Wax 7
Biologique Recherche
Biologique Recherche Serum Yall 02
Biologique Recherche
Biologique Recherche L’Eauxygenante
Biologique Recherche
Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 W
Biologique Recherche
Biologique Recherche Lait VIP O2