Q&A with Celebrity Clean Beauty Makeup Artist Azra Red
How did you become a makeup artist? What inspired you and continues to inspire you? While I was studying fashion design and art history, I interned at a fashion magazine where one of the photographers asked me to do headshot makeup for models. I am so glad he did because I never considered that as a job or career, but I fell in love with it, and the rest is history.
My inspiration comes from everyday life - from art, film, food, and travel, there’s beauty everywhere. Everything we do can be translated into art, and I like to capture that, and use it as inspiration.
It seems like there are so many different definitions of clean beauty, how do you define clean beauty? Clean beauty, to me, uses ingredients that are good for you and good for the planet. Organic, natural ingredients that perform and when we read the ingredient list, we know exactly what they are. They don’t contain things like artificial fragrance, alcohol, petroleum, or parabens - just to name a few. I always like to follow EU standards, too. The EU law bans 1,328 chemicals from cosmetics that are known or suspected to cause cancer, genetic mutation, reproductive harm, or birth defects. In comparison, the U.S. FDA has only banned or restricted 11 chemicals from cosmetics.
What's your favorite eye-safe makeup tip? If using pencils, sharpen them as often as you can. Wash your brushes with gentle baby shampoo, let them air dry flat, and apply a quick mist of Easy On The Eyes. Always remove all your makeup with makeup remover and follow with water and face wash. Your lashes will thank you when you give them a clean slate. I also suggest applying lash serum, like Get Growing, or just simply little castor oil on your lashes.
What is the best way to help eyes look more awake / open? Start by applying a light amount of concealer, only where needed. Gently curling lashes and apply two coats of mascara. Highlighter also works like magic; use a little in the inner corner of the eye and on the middle of the lid, then blend well.
What's your favorite twenty/twenty product? Visionary Eye Shadow Sticks! The colors are beautiful and the easy, super blendable formula makes it easy for anyone to use and for makeup artists, they help keep our application fast. They provide a very natural, glowing look.
What is the most memorable job you've done? That's a hard question, but probably when I used to assist makeup artist Val Garland, as she has been a huge inspiration for me. To work with her on set was a dream come true! It was a big, 16-hour photo shoot for W magazine with Steven Meisel and 15 top models. We were working fast and during the craziness, we got the news that the makeup direction has been changed. We needed to bleach each girl's eyebrows - and we needed to do it fast! My knees got weak, and I just thought to myself, if I make one little mistake, there’s no coming back. Brows must be perfectly bleached, but they can't fall off, and by the end of the photo shoot, we had to dye their eyebrow back to the original color. All I could think was, “no big deal, they are just top models, and their lives depend on it.” I don't think I was breathing at all, but I did work fast, and somehow every girl's brow had a perfect bleached look. I don't think I remembered that I could breathe again, but I saw Val walking toward me, and she asked me to join her fashion week team. I don't think I have ever felt more "seen" than in that moment…and then, I finally took a big inhale.
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