Fara Homidi, Makeup Artist + Founder, Fara Homidi Beauty


“My family moved to California from Afghanistan in the ‘80s, and when I was around 1 or 2, my mom opened a beauty supply salon. I worked there after school and on the weekends. We got all of the magazines like Vogue, W, Elle, and Harper’s Bazaar. At that time, there were maybe 10 makeup artists and hairstylists, like Kevyn Aucoin, Pat McGrath, Bobbi Brown, and Guido Palau, whose names you would see. That’s where it all started for me; I would study the magazines and daydream—without any idea of how to get into the business.

When I moved to Los Angeles and started working on shoots, there was a whole revolution happening in digital photography. The best way that I can describe it is that it was almost like the picture that was shot and the picture that you saw in a magazine were completely different—it was an over-the-top, perfected, unattainable type of beauty. I didn’t relate to it, and I kind of rebelled. You might look at my work and think, ‘Well, it does look perfect,’ but there’s that feeling that someone applied it and that it’s not airbrushed.

I’ve been lucky enough to come full circle as a makeup artist. I did the November 2020 British Vogue cover with Serena Williams. Last year, to celebrate Karl Lagerfeld, I did the May 2023 cover of Vogue with Annie Leibowitz, who shot ten supermodels in Paris. Gigi Hadid, Natalia Vodianova, Naomi Campbell, Devon Aoki… That was a pivotal moment in my career. Recently, I did a Vogue Italia cover with Bella Hadid that’s really important to me. Bella’s really embracing what she feels is her true self. She’s taking a step back in a way and really only taking jobs that she wants to do, and so being a part of her ‘comeback’ in the fashion world in the way that she wants to be seen was really special.

Starting my own brand, Fara Homidi Beauty, was always a dream of mine. As a makeup artist, I understand what the steps are for the best application of certain products, but I felt like no one had made a system that was both easy to understand and boundary-pushing with textures, which is important because that makes products user-friendly. I love products that you can smudge and manipulate with your fingers because they wear better and look beautiful no matter what stage they’re at. For example, a ‘24-hour wear’ lip formula will look good maybe in the first five to ten minutes, but as you eat or drink and live your life, it’ll get crackly and crusty. ‘Clean’ products are also important to me. Makeup artists will often say, ‘This is the best concealer. This is the best foundation. This is the best powder.’ They’re tried-and-true products, but usually, they’re not ‘clean.’ My products are not only ‘clean’ but best-in-class, too.

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The Dr. Barbara Sturm foaming cleanser is the only cleanser I’m using at the moment. It’s gentle but still gets all my makeup off. I’m acne-prone, and it doesn’t break me out either. That’s big. After that, I swear by the Shiseido Benefiance Wrinkle Smoothing eye cream. I’m 43 years old, and I’ve been using it since at least 2008, if not earlier. It’s super emollient. I literally douse my entire eye area with it, but it never messes with my eye makeup. And for my lips, I love the Biossance Squalane + Rose balm. It feels super nourishing, and it lasts overnight. It’s also somewhat glossy, so you could wear it on its own during the day.

I’ve been using The Cream from Augustinus Bader recently, and my skin looks smoother. It feels luxurious without feeling heavy or oily. If I don’t have The Cream around, I’ll use the Weleda Wild Rose day cream. It gives me a lot of the same qualities as the Augutinus Bader, but I don’t see as much clarity with it. It smells great though. It’s also great under makeup. I use it on set religiously, literally on every single model because it doesn’t irritate their skin. My husband has actually been using it for the last six months, and he said to me the other night, ‘This is the first time that I haven’t had a major breakout in years.’ But take it with a grain of salt: That’s not a claim of Weleda’s; I’m just telling you what my husband said.

SPF is hard, always. I haven’t found my perfect one, but I love Dr. Loretta’s Universal Glow Mineral SPF 40. It has a peach sheen to it, it’s lightweight, and it leaves you so glowy. I feel like the second I put it on my skin looks healthier. If I’m at the beach or on set in the sun all day, I like Chanel’s UV Essentiel SPF 50. It has more of a white cast than Dr. Loretta’s, but I never burn when I wear it.

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I recently went to Ställe Studios for a facial. They did this incredible lymphatic cheek massage, and by the end of it, I felt like my cheekbones were right under my eyes. The lift was crazy. Prior to that, I’d been a Bliss Spa girl. It’s no frills, but it gets the job done.

I’ve done Ultherapy, a tightening treatment, three times in my life. It’s really hardcore and painful. The last time I did it, the technician gave me Pro-Nox for the pain, but I remember she did one pass and I was dying. She was like, ‘We have 158 passes to go,’ or something like that. It was gnarly. Ultimately, I liked it—the pain was worth it.

On the other hand, I did Botox on my forehead and I really disliked it. It did something weird to my eyebrows. I’ve also gotten Botox in my massaters because I clench my jaw at night. That worked a couple of times, but I also don’t like feeling dependent on anything, so I haven’t been back. There was a time where people went nuts with Botox and fillers, and I think we’re starting to come down from that. Instead, I try my best to use devices like the NuFace. If I use it often enough, I really do see a difference with it. Actually, I like to do one side of my face first just to prove to myself that it works, and the difference is so stark.

As I’ve aged, I’ve realized that less is more when it comes to makeup. When you’re younger, it doesn’t matter how much makeup you put on because you still look fresh. But the more strategic I am about concealing and highlighting as I get older, the fresher I look. That’s always the goal. I always start off with my Essential Face Compact. I use Ochre in the winter and Midi in the summer.In some ways, it’s a customizable complexion product that hasn’t really existed until now. Essentially, the Smooth Veil Soft Matte, which is the complexion part of the compact, acts as a foundation and concealer in one. You can wear it almost like a tinted moisturizer, if you want, but then it’s buildable, so you can get full coverage with it, too, so you can pick and choose different areas where you want to build coverage or where you want to keep it sheer. The other half is the Shine Baume, which is this champagne, sheen-like product. If you’re on the drier side, you can lay that down first on the areas that you’re going to put the Smooth Veil Soft Matte over to give you a little more cushion and oomph. If you are on the oilier side and don’t want shine all over your face—like me—you can use it to highlight small areas.

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I plucked my eyebrows into oblivion in the ‘90s. I mostly embrace them now, but I still pencil them in a little bit with the L’Oréal Paris Brow Stylist Definer in Dark Brunette. It’s just waxy and powdery enough, and I love the spoolie on the other end of the pencil. It’s very thin and grippy, so it really moves the product through my brows as I blend them out. I love the Anastasia Beverly Hills clear brow gel because it gives you structure without any crispiness. The best part is that you can keep putting it on throughout the day. Let’s say your brows move because you’ve been working, you can go back hours later and reapply it again and again without any flakes. Then I really love the Lancôme Le 8 Hypnôse mascara. It’s really soft and buildable, and it gives you a nice kitten lash. I like to top it off with the Chanel Le Volume Révolution mascara for more volume. It also separates my lashes and kind of seals everything.

Generally, I like to sketch out my eyeliner with a pencil first. Victoria Beckham’s Satin Kajal liner in Black is great. It’s not liquid, but it’s quite wet, so you don’t need a lot. You can use a brush to manipulate the shape that you want. Then I like to go in with the Surratt Auto-Graphique liner. It’s the best liquid liner in the business. It almost has a thin hair applicator, which is really easy to use, and it has a veil-like finish. It’s perfect. I use Chat Noir. I often start with a brown liner because it has a beautiful smokiness and subtleness to it, and if I do, I like Dior’s On Stage waterproof liner in Brown. It’s a little bit drier, but it doesn’t bleed throughout the night, and I think the black and brown combo is more striking than black on black most of the time.

I really love all of the shades of my Smudge & Contour lip pencils, but Red 1 and Nude 2 are my Essential Lip Compact favorites. Red 1 is such a special color. It has an orange undertone, but it’s also pomegranate-y. It really brightens your face. Every time I put it on, I’m like, ‘Whoa.’ Nude 2 is so delicious. It’s a cooler ‘90s brown with blue-pink undertones. You can wear it on its own, or you can mix it with the balm and you look so put together. You can build it up so it’s more full-bodied if you’re going out to have drinks with the girls or something. You can also wear it on your cheeks or your eyes. It’s pretty universal.

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I have a lot of hair, but it’s very fine. I started dyeing it blonde in 2012. I just wanted a change, and I didn’t think I was going to keep it. But I really loved it, and at a certain point, it became a signature and I was kind of locked into it because that’s how people recognized me; when you’re doing something like makeup, I think signatures are important because they really embody who you are. Eva Scrivo paints my hair. She’s such an artist, and I think, the only one who can do it without frying it because my hair is a nightmare. It pulls very red, so you have to have the expertise of knowing how long to keep the bleach on without killing it but also make sure you get past that red phase. It's a whole thing. Ideally, I’d go to her every two months, but I actually probably see her every four. Meanwhile, David Zughbaba, also at Eva Scrivo, cuts my hair. It’s always very basic, just a straight chop at the bottom with some layers in the front to frame my face.

I used to think that shampoos and conditioners were all kind of the same, but I noticed that I have the best hair days when I use the RŌZ Foundation shampoo and conditioner. It got to the point where I was rationing the products. I’d say to myself, ‘Is today an important day? If it’s not, I’m not going to use my RŌZ.’ The shampoo lathers up really well and it doesn’t strip my scalp. The conditioner feels super lush—but not oily or waxy—and it washes out really nicely.

I’ve been using the Shu Uemura Essence Absolue hair oil for 20 billion years. I add it to the ends when it’s damp, and it makes my hair baby soft. In February, my friend, hairstylist James Pecis, launched his own hair care brand called Blu and Green. I need a little bit of weight in my hair so I can tame it, but I don’t like products that make it crunchy. The Blu and Green Solid Oil gives me that weight and control but keeps my hair soft. I also use his Weekly Repair Mask, well, weekly. Since I bleach my hair, it needs all of the help it can get, and I really do feel like my locks are beautiful and bouncy after I use the mask.

I love the Bumble and Bumble Tonic Lotion on day two, when my hair is kind of OK but needs a little refresh. I spray it all over and blow dry it again to get my sheen back. It smells so good, like tea tree. I keep the Brilliantine styling cream around, too. It gives you this slept-in vibe. And then I use the Klorane Oat Milk dry shampoo religiously. It’s a loose powder, not an aerosol. I feel like aerosol dry shampoos make my hair gunky. It’s gross. After I blow dry my hair, I spray a little of it on my roots for volume.

You know the philosophy, ‘It doesn’t matter so much what you wear, as long as you have nice shoes and a nice bag?’ They’re talking about accessories, and if I think about it as a human, my ‘accessories’ are my hair and nails. For nails I go to Jin Soon, and I get shellac on my hands and regular polish on my toes, which remain red, always and forever.”

—As told to Daise Bedolla

Photographed by Alexandra Genova in New York on May 1, 2024