Charlotte Tilbury is perhaps the most recognised make-up artist in the world. The British born artist who counts Kate Moss, Kim Kardashian and Amal Clooney amongst her friends, has gone from strength to strength in the last five years since launching her own name make-up brand.
Starting out as a make-up artist over 25 years ago Charlotte built her business from nothing as she gained a name for herself thanks to her homemade skincare products and unique approach to applying make-up.
Charlotte has created beauty looks for the likes of Tom Ford, Roberto Cavalli, Stella McCartney, Michael Kors, the list goes on. When she launched her make-up line in 2013 it received instant hype. With Kate Moss as the face of the brand Charlotte promised to bring something unique to the beauty industry and she just did that. Five years on, and the make-up artist has already achieved global status.
With stores in the UK, US and The Middle East, she has just opened a Beauty Wonderland boutique in Dubai Mall. Ahead of the opening, A&E got to talk to Charlotte about her plans for the future and why she loves Arab women.
How excited are you to finally open a store in Dubai?
I am so excited to launch my brand in Dubai and open my first Beauty Wonderland in the incredible Dubai Mall. I knew I could create a Beauty Wonderland that would make everyone’s beauty dreams come true and become a go-to for ALL beauty editors, bloggers, celebrities, royalty, models, mums, grandmothers, sisters, daughters – I knew it could be a beauty playground from 18-80! The Dubai Mall is one of the most incredible, MAGICAL MALLS in the world and I think it’s the perfect setting for my brand to take the next momentous step. Many of my amazing fans from Dubai have already discovered my Beauty Wonderlands in Kuwait, Doha and back in London at Covent Garden and Westfield, and now they can have the same immersive experience at home. I want my Beauty Wonderlands to feel like you are literally stepping in to my world – from the winding red carpets of Hollywood, to the backstage buzz of fashion week and my 25-years of experience as a makeup artist which I have poured in to my easy-to-use, easy-to-choose makeup range with zones and spaces inside for every beauty whim.”
Can we expect to see more of you in the UAE now you have a store here?
Absolutely darling!! I cannot wait to come in the Autumn!
What do you love about this region?
I love the Middle East, and Arab women really understand the power of makeup. The women here are just so passionate about makeup and they also share my passion for the BEST! They really embrace beauty and are always wanting to re-create the latest beauty trends – from mesmerising smokey eyes to fabulous bold colours on the lips. I have met so many beautiful women whilst visiting Dubai and each of them have incredible makeup skills – their looks are just so fabulous.
How does it feel to see your brand being successful globally?
It is all a dream come true for me. From launching my own brand nearly five years ago, to opening my first Beauty Wonderland in Covent Garden and now there are two in London, two in the Middle East and soon to be a third with Dubai Mall. I am so proud of how far the brand has come in the last five years, my products are now available in 67 countries worldwide, we have won over 155 awards globally and we have so much more still to come.
What will you do next?
Next for the Charlotte Tilbury empire is to continue to totally revolutionise and disrupt the beauty industry… I am determined to be a disrupter in the industry and I want my company to be known for ground-breaking innovation across all that we do. I want to make sure we sustain and build on the momentum we have with further expansions in the UK and launching even further afield. I also have some incredibly exciting new products still to come this year and beyond, I can’t reveal anything just yet – but I know you will LOVE what’s to come. I couldn’t be more excited about what’s happening next at Charlotte Tilbury – stay tuned darlings!
Who is your ultimate muse?
From a young age, I had posters on my wall and bought loads of reference books of silver screen sirens e.g. Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Sofia Loren, Brigitte Bardot, Marlene Dietrich etc. I was fascinated by their faces – I used to spend hours studying them and thinking: ‘How can I steal a bit of their DNA? and bottle it?’. Today, my entire collection is centred around past and present icons who inspire me, that’s where the idea for my 10 looks wardrobe came about. From Kate Moss and Brigitte Bardot for The Rock Chick to Penelope Cruz and Sophia Loren for The Dolce Vita, they are iconic because they are trend leaders who know what works for them – they have a signature style that people want to emulate –but they can also embody several looks.
If you could only have three beauty products for the rest of your life what would they be?
My Charlotte’s Magic Cream, I never ever go anywhere without my award-winning, miracle working magic cream. It was how this brand came to life and it’s my secret weapon for dream skin! It contains Camelia oil, Rosehip oil, Bio-Nymph Peptides and Hyaluronic acid – instantly flooding the skin with moisture. I never apply makeup without it; it gives me the perfect glowing base.
For a glowing, radiant complexion everyone in Dubai needs to try my Instant Magic Facial Dry Sheet Mask, I carry one with me everywhere I go – it really is like having an expert facial on the go. The genius ingredients –including vitamin B3, crocus bulb extract, peptides, oils and butters penetrate deep into the skin using a unique bio mimetic vector delivery system, providing nutrients where the skin needs it most. It is the ultimate skin pick-me-up.
My NEW! Collagen Lip Bath is the perfect 18-80’s lip bath to put the moisture back in the lips, reduces the appearance of fine lines and gives you a healthy-looking and most sumptuous pout during the summer months. It nourishes, refreshes and bathes your lips in lustrous marine collagen while you wear – like a facial for your lips.
I am a mascara obsessive and for the ultimate volume mascara, my NEW Legendary Lashes Volume 2 is my most miraculous mascara yet! It gives 507% more volume and is long-wear, smudge-proof and humidity resistant – perfect for those hot sunny days – so the Hollywood flutter can last all day.
When you do your own make-up what do you usually wear?
My Dolce Vita look with Matte Revolution Pillow Talk lipstick The Dolce Vita is my signature look. I love the decadent molten bronze-y golds and rich chocolate shades in the Luxury Palette, they really make my green eyes pop and give me that gorgeous come-hither gaze!! I wear it every day with a feline flick to elongate and enlarge the appearance of my eyes and lashings and lashings of my NEW Legendary Lashes Volume 2 mascara. To finish, I’ll wear my Pillowtalk Lip Cheat and lipstick for a perfect pillow-y pout.”
How do we wear make-up every day but make sure your skin stays clear and fresh?
Skincare is so important. From the very beginning of my career I was known for amazing skin before amazing makeup. I always say you can’t have a beautiful painting without a beautiful canvas. I believe that the key to magic skin is all about looking after and maintaining the best skin of your life. Every day I follow the same skincare routine, the first thing I do in the morning to get my instant glow is to cleanse with my Multi-Miracle Glow Balm. Enriched with vitamins and floral extracts, this cleanser gives the complexion a youth-boost. I then multi-mask with my Goddess Skin Clay Mask, followed by my Instant Magic Facial Dry Sheet Mask. The glow-giving, lifting effects last for up to eight hours.
I always prep my skin with Magic Cream, a little pot of the magic dew of youth and luminosity for the perfect glowing base. It also has SPF15 perfect for summer skin protection. I then tap in my Magic Eye Rescue underneath the eyes, smoothing the appearance of the skin. To finish I’ll apply I’ll apply either my ‘Gisele-in-a-jar’ Wonderglow, it has a fluorescent core technology which means it soft-focuses lines and pores and re-emits natural light from your skin giving you a natural, lit-from-within radiance or my Brightening Youth Glow, a magic brightening skin solution which colour-corrects and instantly blurs, brightens and smooths the appearance of the skin giving me a gorgeous glowing, dewy-looking complexion.
You’ve worked with so many celebrities but who is your favourite person’s face to be creative with?
Throughout my career I have been lucky enough to work with countless beautiful women that are gorgeous in so many different ways. From working with Kate Moss when I was starting out in the industry at 19, to kick-starting my career during the amazing supermodel era of the 80s and 90s and working with all the biggest names Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford and Linda Evangelista it was such a DREAM! Since then, I’ve worked with so many iconic actresses, models, and powerhouses – from Amal Clooney, who I worked with most recently at the Royal Wedding, Salma Hayek, Kim Kardashian-West, Sienna Miller, Penelope Cruz, Gigi Hadid – the list is endless. I am incredibly proud of my Hot Lips lipstick collection which is inspired by some of the world’s most mesmerising women and during the launch it helped support the amazing charity Women for Women International. The charity and each of the incredible celebrities involved inspire me in so many ways! It’s the ultimate all female collaboration with 12 incredible women and I really admire each of these women. With them I want to spread the powerful feel-good factor a gorgeous new lipstick shade gives. I have extracted their beauty DNA, mixing colours that really embody their style and personality, encapsulated it and am now giving it to everyone!
What inspires you?
I wake up on a mission every day, that I will make my dreams come true. I always think limitlessly and live my life by my positive mantras like ‘dare to dream it, dare to believe it, dare to do it’. I want to empower all women around the world to be the most beautiful versions of themselves, every day and because of this my mantra ‘Give a woman the right makeup and she can conquer the world’ was created… because it’s true! I always get inspired by need – necessity is the mother of all invention [Plato] and I am always thinking within the remit of how do I find a solution to problems. Whether it is to do with concealing imperfections or re-directing light to more flattering angles of the face, making an eye palette easy to use through control pressing the powders or sculpting celebrity limbs without going to the gym. I am constantly looking for ways to make the lives of all women that little bit easier.
What would be your business advice to others?
My one piece of advice to anyone wanting to become a makeup artist or trying to build their own brand is to never give up and always have self-belief! It’s so important to have a single-minded focus, visualize success, dream big and dare to make your dreams your reality! I believe in the power of visualization. Visualize what you want and don’t give up until you get it… You need to be professional, dedicated and hard-working to make it in the industry, but most of all you need to have fun – to be successful you need to love what you do. When I was starting out, I received a note from a Beauty Editor saying “Knock it to them, Charlotte. I know you’ll be a star”. It encouraged me to keep following my dream during tough times and really gave me motivation when I was cold calling for jobs and struggling, it made me realise that I just had to believe in myself. Because of this you will find a hand drawn star all over my brand and on the packaging.
Where are you going for your summer holiday?
I am going to Ibiza in August. It’s where I grew up and my parents still live there, it feels like home to me. It’s where I go to relax, unwind and it recharges my batteries. Family, friends, music, parties and dancing ‘til late, it’s my magic fuel!