Katie Jane Hughes, Makeup Artist


"Makeup kind of found me. I originally wanted to be in the music industry, I wanted to be a singer. But as a musician, you have to have a day job, so I was a nail technician for a while, and then I worked at the Space NK in London. I enjoyed it so much—I was really seeing this transformative power that women feel when they get their makeup done. It just took hold, I wanted to do more of it. After a while, I started craving the freshness that we have in an editorial world on set, but on Instagram. I started to post an eye shot here, a face shot there, and I noticed people were really responding well to it. My goal at this point is to try to make people see that there’s not one way to do makeup, especially since Instagram is often so oversaturated with a specific kind of look.

As a makeup artist, I’m not the type to say, 'Less is more,' but I think if the skin and the brows always look natural, you can wear as much of the other stuff as you want, because there’s balance in the face. That’s my kind of ethos. I feel at home in contrasting looks. Pink eye, red lip. It’s a bit weird, but it still works. I live in a world where I always encourage people to just try new things. Try a blue eyeliner if you usually only wear black. It’s makeup—it washes off if you don’t like it.

My skin was terrible when I was a kid because I was a picker. I used to get a spot and pick at it. I’m 33 now and I feel like I’m fine with lines on my forehead, and the ones around my eyes and mouth because as long as my skin looks glowy and fresh and not dry, I’m down with any of it. I do think cleansing should be the base of anyone’s skin routine—it should make you feel really neutral afterwards—not dry, not oily. I’m obsessed with oil cleansers because they get rid of all the makeup without any effort whatsoever. My favorite is from Farmacy, it’s called Green Clean Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm. It smells like heaven and gets rid of everything, no difficulty whatsoever. And I really love Glossier Milky Jelly. If I’m not wearing much makeup, I’ll use Milky Jelly, and if I am, I’ll use the other one. I always use my cleanser on dry skin, and then I take a wet muslin cloth to rinse everything away.

The skin prep is the most important thing to make your foundation look like it’s not there, and if it looks like it’s there, then, in my opinion, it’s been done wrong. So, I’ll sometimes do a glycolic pad from Dr. Dennis Gross, or Biologique Recherche P50. And I always mist my skin before putting anything on it, because skin that’s damp retains the moisture of products better. I have like seven mists. There’s this one, the Dermalogica Ultra Calming Mist for when my skin’s irritated. And I love the Glossier one—it smells like rose. And I really like this Molecular Savior Mist from Allies of Skin. After I use a mist, I love Glossier Super Bounce, and I do the Sunday Riley CEO Moisturizer. Anything that shines on application is my jam because it gives that glow-from-within look in the complexion. I like a rich moisturizer. Sometimes, I use Weleda Skin Food all over my face and really massage it in. The facial massage is so important just to stimulate bloodflow. It helps guide how your makeup should be done to look natural.

After I have my cream on, I will take my Nars Small Intensifier Brush and buff Glossier Stretch Concealer everywhere. I go around the nose, the eyes, the mouth, and then I add another concealer—usually one that’s a bit more dense, like Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage. I also really like this Wander Beauty Dualist Matte and Illuminating Concealer because it has two formulas—one is a cream and the other is a concealer stick, so it gives you more options in terms of coverage. For my brows, I’ve had them microbladed, which is nice so I don’t have to fill them in as much. Since then I’ve just used an eyebrow pen that’s like a liquid liner for brows, and I flick on a bunch of hairline strokes to mimic the microblading technique, so they look like real hairs instead of sluggy, powdered brows. Then I use Ardell Mechanical Brow Pencil in Black and Glossier Boy Brow in Clear afterwards. The best trick is to use two colors—dimension is key for brows. I go in with black first and throw on a couple shades of brown for a bit of a lift.

I really love Cloud Paint from Glossier—I like to mess with the colors a bit, which I do with this Make Up For Ever dual fiber brush. It gives you a very airbrushed, stain-y kind of finish. Today, I mixed Dusk and Haze. After my blush I’ll go on with a highlighter. I use two—I love Glossier Haloscope because it never really sets, it keeps that dewiness on the skin. I always intensify it slightly with this thing from Make Beauty called Dew Pot. It’s literal face gloss, but it’s got a pink sheen so it’s nice on collarbones, shoulders, cheeks and down the nose. I also love highlighter right in the center of the brow, actually.

To contour, I use this Surratt Beauty Artistique Blush in Grisaille. I love it because it’s really natural—very pretty and soft. I just create a little shadow from the top of my ear to the corner of my eye with a Real Techniques Setting Brush because I like the small pointiness of it. Then I tend to dust a bronzer everywhere. I really love the one from Becca called Bali Sands. I flip between that and something from MAC called Next To Nothing, which is good for very diffused skin. It makes your skin look like it’s got a filter on it in a great way. Then I use Glossier Wowder, which I just press on. For mascara, I love MAC Opulash Mascara because it gives you that Twiggy lash, really long and spidery. I love a dramatic lash. If I don’t want them quite as separated, I use Wander Beauty Unlashed Volume & Curl Mascara. Occasionally I’ll use lower lash individuals. I get them from the wig shops on Fulton Street and they just look fluffy, they add volume.

I tend to use lip liners instead of lipsticks. I just really like controllable devices, if that makes sense. I love Chantecaille Lip Definer in Nuance, which is like a real pink-y nude, and the formula is really creamy and matte. My other favorite is Greige from Lorac, which has a tiny bit of a lavender hue through it. Sometimes, on my eyelids, I’ll use straight up lip balm, or I use Kevyn Aucoin Diamond Eye Gloss which is comfortable and really sparkly. Glossier Haloscope in Moonstone is really pretty on the eyes, too. I think a glossy eye brings an effortless look to the whole makeup thing because it tends to distress and destroy itself. More people should try it, for sure.

I never heat-style my hair, but I’ll wash with anything sulfate-free that makes my hair feel smooth. I use this brand from Seattle called Seven—I really like their Armure Shampoo and Satara Refresh Conditioner. If I’m doing a slick hair look, I always use the Seven Satara Texture Cream first to slick it back, and then to hold everything in place I’ll use Kevin Murphy’s Easy Rider Anti Frizz Cream. It’s kind of like clay. When my hair is straight and I want it to have cool movement and texture, I use this Unite Tricky Lite Finishing Spray. It’s like a styling wax, texturizer, and hairspray all in one. I have a tricky relationship with my curls, and when I let my hair dry I’ll have some bits that are not curly and some that are really curly. I’ll go in with the GHD Curve Classic Wave Wand for consistency.

I’m terrible—I definitely neglect my body. But my husband is Egyptian, and there’s this store in Cairo that we go to when we’re there. They have this amazing coffee scrub—the Nefertiti Coffee & Strawberry Scrub—that I use in the shower once a week. I also love the Avène Cleanance Cleansing Gel for face and body, and I really like the Tatcha Body Mist. But my holy grail is actually kind of nasty. It’s really cheap—the Nivea Essentially Enriched body lotion. It’s an industry favorite because of the shine. I love a shiny body lotion!
I also love fragrance because I love the idea of evoking memories. That’s what fragrance does. I’m obsessed with Margiela fragrances—the Replica Lipstick On is my favorite, because it reminds me of my mum’s lipstick when I was a kid. And that’s the point! I wear that most days, but if it’s a special occasion, I’ll wear Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady. Or, I love this Lancôme Jasmins Marzipane, that’s really pretty. Or I’ll just wear the Tom Ford Oud Wood. I’m not crazy specific with fragrances. I try to keep things simple. I find that when you try too many things, it starts to get complicated."

—as told to ITG