Whether it's town-and-country tawny eyes for fall/winter '13 or Hollywood-siren-inspired bright lips for spring '13, the British makeup artist and consultant for Burberry Beauty creates the stunning looks that make their way down Christopher Bailey's runway. Jetting back and forth between London and New York City, Rowe also works with Bailey on developing the products for the Burberry Beauty colour cosmetics range, including our latest obsession, the new Lip Mists.
Naturally, the makeup guru has a lot to say about the state of British beauty and the season's upcoming trends. We quizzed Rowe about her rise to international cosmetics superstar and got the skinny on everything from the perfect way to prep the skin, to scoring Cara's covetable brows, to nixing all those beauty products you don't need. Prepare to get schooled.
How did you first get involved in the beauty industry?
"I had a lot of friends who were in bands, so I always did the makeup for their photoshoots. Also, my friend was a hairdresser and I ended up going to Paris with him and working there."
What does your average day entail?
"I wake up around 6 a.m. and exercise, whether that's going to the gym or the latest sporting activity I'm into. I then go through my blog with my assistant and get up to date with what's been happening on Twitter. Depending on whether I'm in London or NYC, I'll then catch up with my agent in the other city before going to work for the day. Work could be anything from a photoshoot, having PR meetings, working on Burberry product development, etc. After dinner, I chat to friends and watch the latest TV shows. I'm currently loving Mr Selfridge."
How you prep skin before applying makeup? Are there any skincare products or tricks of the trade that you absolutely swear by?
"Skin prep is so important — you can make skin look great before even starting with makeup. Skin needs to be clean and nourished. I always massage Estée Lauder Take it Away cleanser into skin, using lymphatic drainage massage techniques to give the face structure and get the skin glowing. As you work the cleanser you can feel it gently exfoliate the surface and remove any dry or dead skin cells, so you have a smoother surface. I refresh the face with Shu Uemura Depsea Water, and moisturise with Crème de la Mer The Moisturising Lotion — this works on all skin types and gets skin looking great quickly. It's a much lighter version of the cream, so it works well under makeup too."
What's the one beauty trend we should adopt for winter '13?
"Smokey eyes are always a favourite, but this season, the trend is all about mulberry hues, which are much softer than the traditional blacks and greys. They're easier to wear too and work well in the colder weather and dim winter daylight."
What's your least favourite beauty trend?
"Beauty trends that experiment with super-bright colours on eyes can look great, but they are not so wearable and are difficult for everyone to pull off in everyday life."
What's the most common makeup mistake women make?
"Women tend to apply too much makeup, which only makes you look older. And I see women always getting their brows wrong — wrong shape, wrong colour — and this makes a massive difference to your face."
Any tips for brightening up pale, pasty winter skin?
"Use a tinted moisturiser in a slightly darker colour to give a sunkissed look that is not overdone. For those with dull winter skin, use Burberry Fresh Glow either under foundation or mixed in with foundation, or Omorovicza Sunkiss for a slightly tanned glow. Both of these products make skin look radiant and glowing, yet are so subtle they are undetectable."
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Photo: Courtesy of WendyRowe.com
"It's important to make sure you have a great shape that works for you — you still need it to look natural, so work with your natural brows. Fill brows in with fine brush strokes, using a brush to mimic your natural eyebrow hairs and working in the same direction. Don't make the colour solid or blocked, as this will look unnatural. I love using more cream-textured products for brows and applying with a fine angle brush, like Laura Mercier's brow pots."
You showed a really powerful lip for spring '13. Any tips for keeping lipstick put?
"For extra staying power when wearing a strong lip, sweep a little foundation over the lips before applying directly. You can also prep the lip with lip liner by filling in the entire lip (don't use foundation underneath if doing this). And for intense staying power, choose a long-lasting lipstick formula. I like the Burberry Lip Velvets as they are super long-lasting yet hydrating, so they feel great on the lips, too."
If a woman only has five minutes to get ready before she runs out the door, what should she focus on?
"Even the complexion quickly with a tinted moisturiser. Curl lashes and use mascara. Apply a tinted lip balm — like the Burberry Lip Mist — and even blend a little into cheeks for a healthy look."
Who is your beauty icon?
"Jane Birkin, as she always looks cool and effortless."
What celebrity would you love to work with?
"I'd like to work with Charlize Theron. She is not only beautiful and an amazing actress, but I think she'd be a really interesting person, too."
What three beauty products can you absolutely not live without?
"Dr Sebagh Eye Expert, as it really targetings fine lines and the light texture works well under makeup. Alpha H Essential Hydrating Cream really hydrates without feeling heavy, which makes it work in all environments. It's light enough to use in warmer climates, yet rich enough for winter too. It also heals and protects skin. And Joëlle Ciocco Cleansing Milk is great for sensitive skin and cleans it thoroughly. It really works incredibly well, and I always notice my skin is not as good when I don't use it."
How important is it to have a selection of makeup brushes for every single product (blush, concealer, foundation, lip, eyes, etc.)?
"You don't need brushes for every single product, however, I would recommend you do invest in three eye brushes (one for liner, one for applying a base shadow all over, and one blender for contouring the socket eye), a blush brush, and a powder brush."
What does British beauty mean to you?
"Effortless style that is not overly considered. British women never seem to try too hard, which gives it a much cooler feel."
Photo: Courtesy of Burberry