Wendy Rowe, Makeup Artist


“I got my start when a hairdresser friend of mine moved from London to Paris and told me to move there, too. I thought, ‘Oh, well that sounds nice!’ I had just finished college, and I gave up my job in London and moved! I stayed for three months and hated it—it was so different from the dream sequence I’d had in my head. It was really hard work and I didn’t speak any French… When I went back to London, I was trying to be a makeup artist. I went around to all the model agencies, spoke to everyone, all the new models, doing some newspaper jobs, and then a big break was me getting a page in i-D. And I had to do hair as well but I’m not good at it. I can do my own hair but if it’s on someone else it gets a bit tricky. Everyone wanted to look like Madonna, who had rollers in her hair, but if you do that on someone with brown hair you take the rollers out and they look like Margaret Thatcher. [Laughs]

For a while, I did a lot of music jobs—I did a Björk video, an Annie Lennox video… My thing was to do makeup that no one could see, you’d just look better. But as an artist, you still have to know how to do everything. I assisted a lot during that part of my career, too—people like Kevyn Aucoin and Dick Page helped me learn a lot about my craft. Eventually a friend of mine introduced me to Christopher [Bailey, at Burberry]—this was 15 years ago, so Burberry was more of a casual brand. They never had a beauty line before, and when it was first created, they asked me to come in to look at it and see what I thought. There were a lot of things missing—things that I wanted to wear and use as a makeup artist—but together we've gotten it to such a great place since then. The thing is, I’m very lucky. Christopher gives me quite a lot of rein, I can develop everything I want or need for work that still fits under their umbrella and into who their woman is. One thing I have to say is that it’s really great to get the opportunity, but you need to keep it. That’s the hard thing. I didn’t want to rely on the brand to take me anywhere… I always knew I had to grow with the brand and continue to keep pace with them. You never want to be piggy-backing along with something and not contributing anything. I've always believed that doing my own thing helps me be more valuable to everyone I work with.

My job involves a lot of travel, right? So one of the things I learned to do is to drink a coconut water every time I get off of a plane. Somebody said, ‘Why don’t you do your own coconut water and juice?’ I figured why not, so I worked with this company in London to make a juice. It was coconut water-based with turmeric, aloe vera, cayenne pepper, lemon, everything I wanted in a juice. It actually got a lot of press, which was very exciting because I never asked anyone to post about it.

So after all of that, people started asking me to do a book. I mean, I couldn’t do an autobiography. I haven’t actually been around that long and people would probably be like, ‘Who does she think she is?’ So we decided to do a cookbook that also has skincare tips in it to break down everything I’ve learned in my work. It's called Eat Beautiful and it came out in England this summer. My goal was that I didn’t want to baffle anyone with jargon that they didn’t understand—I wanted it basic, in a good way. Simple recipes that explain what’s in it, what you need to buy, what does it cost, end of story and on to the next. It’s out in the US for the holiday season, and I’m just excited to hear what everyone thinks about it.

Every morning, I just wash my face with water. If I’m going to the gym I use this Joëlle Ciocco Lotion Hydrogel. It’s got aloe vera in it, it allows your skin to breathe. And then I put on a really super light moisturizer, depending on what the weather’s like outside. I use Joëlle's Protective Moisturizer, and then I put on her eye cream called Eyelisse.

After my workout, I’ll tone my face with the Joëlle Ciocco Aromatic Lotion—I actually have her whole line. And then I’ll just pick what I’m in the mood for. If I feel my skin is a bit dry, then I’ll use the Bottega Organica Morning Facial Oil. If I know I’m going to be outside, I’ll use Sarah Chapman's Dynamic Defense SPF 15. It makes my face quite dewy, which is fine. It's better for me than the Burberry Fresh Glow. Everyone loves that, but it's not for me, because I've already got quite shiny skin.

At night, if I’ve got makeup I need to take off, I use eye makeup remover first. I’ve got this Lancôme Bi-Facil Eye Makeup Remover at the moment. And then I use Bioderma for the rest of my face. When I really need to clean deeply, I like the Sarah Chapman Rapid Radiance Cleanse after I’ve already taken all my makeup off. I tone with the Joëlle Ciocco Lotion Lactée or Isabelle Bellis Rosewater for any redness I have. Then I go in with a balm—I’ve got a lot that I switch between. There are a few from Decléor that are really nice and calming. Other than that, I’ll use the Overnight Facial from Sarah Chapman or the Tracie Martyn Complexion Savior. You get really good results from those when you wake up.

If I’m going to wear makeup, then the first thing I do is curl my eyelashes, and only with the Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler. I’m still using this old Shu Uemura mascara, too. They don’t make it anymore, but I’m trying to make the most out of the tube I have. Then I’ll put on the Burberry Fresh Glow BB Cream in Medium or Dark—right now I like to go a little darker then my actual skintone because I think it makes me look better. But sometimes I do think, ‘Come on Wendy, that’s not actually matching the face.’ [Laughs] But the BB Cream just gives you a bit more coverage in a really velvety way. Then I’ll use a little Glossier Strech Concealer, which I love because of how it blends.

For more of a look, I do my contour with the Burberry Contour Stick I developed. It comes in two colors—Medium and Dark. I've been using them for years and then we finally made them for Burberry a year ago. People on shoots were always begging me for them because they're so easy to use. Sienna [Miller] actually started using them around her lips, too, for some shape. That's not how you're supposed to use them, but it's a really good trick.

On my eyes, I normally do Burberry Wet and Dry Eye Colour in Gold Pearl with Chestnut Brown for shadow, and Burberry Effortless Kohl Eyeliner also in Chestnut Brown because it doesn’t move. The lipstick I always use is Full Kisses and it’s quite moisturizing. I mix it with a Kevyn Aucoin The Flesh Tone Lip Pencil…I don’t have it in my personal makeup bag though. I keep it in my kit because I use it on everyone.

In the mornings, I’ll usually have a shower or a bath. If it’s a bath, I always do epsom salt—either the cheap stuff or the Susanne Kaufmann St. John's Worth Bath that is super nice and smells amazing. In the shower, I’ll use Joëlle Ciocco Gommage Botanique followed by the Red Flower French Lavender Body Oil Purifying Body Wash. It’s all organic and feels wonderful. Then I always moisturize my body after that. Mio Workout Wonder for my calves when I have aches and stuff. But depending on the weather is how I decide which cream to use. Right now I’m using the Darphin Nourishing Satin Oil, because you put that on wet, and then The Organic Pharmacy Neroli Body Lotion. If I want a bit of tightening, if I feel a bit saggy, then I’ll use Tracie Martyn Shakti Resculpting Body Cream. I don't know if it does anything, but it smells good.

I only use a couple products on my hair. To give some lift, I like Feed Your Roots by Yarok. It’s a mousse essentially, but I like it because it’s not sticky or chemical-y. And most importantly, I use the Wet Brush. It’s the best brush in the world because it doesn’t rip your hair out if you have tangles. And they’re so affordable. I love that. Throughout the day, I’ll use Kiehl’s Creme with Silk Groom on the ends and Byredo Hair Perfume. That’s my perfume trick actually—put it in your hair and it smells better longer. And then for hair color, I do it myself! I’ve got a bin full of products and I do it in my kitchen. That’s the whole salon right there! [Laughs]”

—as told to ITG