There are those who are simply good at doing makeup, and then there are true artists. We've been talking to four masters of the craft who have the honor of being called Estée Lauder Global Pro Makeup Artists. They have a literal hand in everything, from face chart how-tos to developing new products, and, of course, their work graces our most famous faces. Discover their stories and try their tips. Last—but certainly not least—in our series is Bradford Knight.
What made you want to be a makeup artist?
I had a very large imagination growing up, and I was always attracted to storytelling, particularly in TV and film. I would pay attention to the details, and even before I had a concept of what makeup really was, I knew that a woman’s makeup had to do with the story she was telling. Even in person, if I noticed a woman wearing bright blue eyeliner, I knew there was a reason—she had a purpose, she was trying to say something with that.
What does makeup mean to you? What is the power of makeup?
Makeup is choice. Everyone has products available to them, and they get to choose which ones work best. The power of makeup is being able to express yourself and tell your story with it. For example, the story of a round, voluptuous red lip is very different from what a structured and defined red lip says to the world. So even if you only have one color, you have the ability to make it your own.
You’ve worked with many brands and experienced a ton of products. What are your top 5 Estée Lauder products and why?
Perfectionist Youth-Infusing Serum Makeup SPF 25, Double Wear Stay-in-Place Eye Pencil in Coffee, Sumptuous Knockout Mascara, Bronze Goddess Powder Bronzer, and AERIN Rose Lip Conditioner. If I only had these 5 products with me, I could do any woman’s makeup in the world!
Who do you see as the Estée Lauder woman?
She is an achiever, she is smart and she is effortless.
No matter where you are in the world, everyone always wants beautiful skin.
You’ve worked all over the world. Are there any big differences you see culturally with makeup?
What I notice most is the common quest for flawless skin. No matter where you are in the world, everyone always wants beautiful skin—it’s the one thing that unites everyone. And it’s the foundation of any and every makeup look.
What is the one thing you wish every woman understood about makeup?
It does not require a lot of product to get great results. When I was starting out, one of the first things I learned working backstage at Fashion Week was the ability to achieve maximum impact with minimal product. We would have to do makeup for 36 girls at a fashion show, but each one looked different, and yet we had to use the same five products. Still, we were able to achieve beautiful looks. And you don’t have to walk the runways to achieve this—it’s just a matter of learning how to expertly apply a few key products.
Don’t feel pressure to try every trend. With anything, whether it be clothing or makeup, you should stay true to your own identity and aesthetic. The most frequent mistake I see women make is not customizing their makeup. It’s not about going for all the trends or the latest techniques as much as learning what suits your own lifestyle.