Makeup Artist Ellis Faas Doesn’t Believe in Marketing

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Photo: Courtsy of Ellis Faas

She's worked with photographers like Mario Testino, designers like Karl Lagerfeld, and magazines like Vogue Paris, but yet, Ellis Faas still remains somewhat below the mainstream. The Dutch makeup artist quietly debuted her self-titled makeup line at Bergdorf Goodman (first counter in the United States) and is banking on striking a chord with the city's beauty mavens. Her line of what she calls, "Human Colors" is inspired by "colors that by nature, exist in every human body." That translates into diverse shades of foundation that look natural and practically absorb into the skin, three textures of lipsticks in 27 shades, and the sexiest shadows. We chatted over tea and coffee about what it was like to work with industry heavyweights right out of the gate and why photo shoots shouldn't take sixteen hours.

What was it like to work with Karl Lagerfeld?
He's a very sharing person. He always wants to show you a new book or piece of art. He's very nice and trusted me. I remember the first show I ever did was Fendi. It was like, 60 girls, but my naïveté made it not scary. The press was scary. They kept asking me all these questions, and I was giving one-word answers.

Oh, God. You were pretty much our worst nightmare, then!
[Laughs] Yes, but now I know you have to create a story.

Insiders know of you and your work, but not the general public. With a collection hitting Bergdorf, do you feel like you've arrived?
Never. You're still growing. Plus, I don't want to be a star. Our company is very small. My brother has been my agent for years. There is no marketing, there are no tricks.

What do you think is more intense, runway work or editorial?
Well, it depends on the photographer! I like the old photographers — the ones that have been around for a long time and know what they're doing. I'm fast and I don't fiddle because I feel like the makeup loses its poetry. I feel the same way with pictures. Either you get it or you don't.

What products are essential in any makeup case?
I feel if the skin looks good, then the rest looks good. You should always have foundation and concealer. Lash curlers are handy, too.

What beauty products do you use?
I use Eve Lom cleansing cream. I'm not very loyal when it comes to moisturizers.

Where do you shop for beauty products?
In Europe, there are all these niche stores. They have really nice stuff.

What makeup trends do you hate?
I hate people telling other people what to do. As a makeup artist, I don't even know what makeup artists are saying. They're trying to create mystery when there is no mystery. You can do anything as long as the technique is good.

What was the first designer item you bought?
Yves Saint Laurent lipstick. It was fuchsia. I got it for my birthday because I liked the look of the container.