Get to know Pat McGrath, the brilliant beauty guru and new brand founder.
The legendary makeup artist behind countless iconic runway, editorial, and advertising beauty looks has launched a new makeup brand: PAT McGRATH LABS. Here, she shares the inspiration behind her exclusive, limited-run makeup line, and gives us an inside look at how to recreate sinfully sublime skin. AMELIA KUEHN
How did you get started in makeup?
“My mother was my first and most important influence in my career. [When I was] a little girl, she would take me around shopping for pigments that were flattering on dark skintones and would mix and play until she found the perfect shade. At the time I hated being dragged around shopping, [but] it planted a seed in my mind and ultimately became my career.”
What’s been the biggest difference between being an artist and developing your product line? What’s been the biggest challenge as your product line expands?
“Developing my own product line has been a dream of mine for many, many years. At the core of creating these products is my obsession with the products themselves. I’ve always been one to break the rules and push the boundaries, and that directly translates over into my line. My biggest challenge is of course deciding what products to release—there are so many innovative products, and narrowing it down can be really difficult.”
As a makeup artist, you’re known for dramatic use of pigment. What are some of the benefits of working with pigment?
“There are countless benefits to working with pigment, including its versatility and the range of textures and colors. It is pure pigment in its truest form and can be mixed, manipulated, and combined with an endless amount of products, all resulting in different outcomes.”
Tell me about Skin Fetish 003: how can each of the three products be used?
“The magic of Skin Fetish 003 is that it’s so simple and easy to use; there are so many different ways to use the products individually or layer them, for varying effects.
The highlighter can be used alone to add creamy reflective metallic light to lift and add dimension to the bone structure. The balm can be used to add a transparent mirror shine and moisture to any part of the skin, such as the eyelids. The pigment is a multidimensional powder that, when used alone or in combination with the other products, creates a blast of iridescent shimmer. You can buff the pigment over the Shiny Stick duo—there are endless ways to use each part of the Shiny Stick highlighter and balm duo, and the pigment!”
Can you tell us about your iconic “Alien Angelic” look and walk us through the steps to recreate it? Any tips for making it more wearable for every day?
“My famous alien-gelic skin requires a series of steps to achieve and can be done in a really natural minimal way or over-the-top and theatrical. Most importantly, you must prep the skin with a good exfoliator, a rich moisturizer, and liquid or cream base to even out the skintone.
Add a generous amount of the Shiny Stick Highlighter with fingertips, with a brush, or just by painting it on the tops of cheekbones, down the bridge of the nose, Cupid’s bow, chin, eyelids, under the brow, inner corner of eye, décolletage, shoulders, and down the center of bare arms and legs. Next, using a brush, layer the Iridescent Pink 003 or Fine Gold 003 pigment on top to further enhance those areas. The last layer is the balm—add a generous layer of balm over the areas of highlight for a gorgeous, glossy top layer.”
What do you love about the incandescent pigment in Skin Fetish 003? Can you walk us through the differences between nude and golden?
“The Fine Gold 003 and the Iridescent Pink 003 pigments are some of the essential ingredients in achieving that out-of-this-world glow. There were countless shows where those pigments were the finishing touch that really brought the look to life.
The Fine Gold 003 pigment is more of a golden shade, and the Iridescent Pink 003 pigment is more opalescent, but the formulation is the same. The pigments combine the best features of baked, powder, cream, and fluid resulting in a hybrid texture and an incredibly smooth, lightweight gel-powder. The particle structure creates this perfect uniform layer that reflects and refracts light, maximizing gloss and color. The end result is natural, luminous, and divine!”
Every set is sealed in a package of sequins—so cool. What’s the story behind it?
“I am beyond obsessed with sequins and they have been a recurring element in so many of my looks, from the face masks at Givenchy to the lips and eyes at Dior. For me, they trigger a magpie effect and represent a must-have. Sequins are a real obsession for me and they’re such a crucial part of the story.”