My career started later than others. Although I was fascinated by beauty and fashion magazines from a young age, I didn’t enrol on a make-up course until I was 29. I had no idea how to enter the industry, so I studied languages at university. However, I quickly realised all my spare time was spent poring over magazines, and all my hard-earned cash from working in a pub was spent on cosmetics at Boots. Fortunately, my degree led me to work in a swimwear shop in Ibiza where I served some of the OG supermodels: Linda Evangelista, Karen Mulder and Naomi Campbell, to name a few. It was these contacts that eventually led me to assist Charlotte Tilbury. I then completed a course at Glauca Rossi and the rest is history.
The first look I learnt to do was sultry eyes. When I was assisting Charlotte, she was working with Kate Moss and I loved the 60s cat eye she often wore. It was created using espresso brown eyeliner and layers of black mascara. It’s still a favourite look of mine and it will always be chic – plus, it’s seriously easy to do.
Sharon Stone gave me some of the best advice. She told me to ‘be brave and put on a happy face’. We were on set and I had just finished assisting. I play those words in my head whenever I feel nervous with new clients – which still happens, by the way.
I find my inspiration in so many people. Isamaya French is a genius and has so many strings to her bow. I adore her Byredo make-up collection – it’s pure artistry, with products that truly live up to the hype. Another person I look up to is Sandy Linter – follow her on Instagram if you can. She was working on all the faces I grew up admiring and she was a permanent fixture at Studio 54. She is truly the doyenne of make-up artistry and my spirit animal – though I’ve never told her this.
The one skincare tip I’d pass on is simple. Always remove the day at night and let your skin repair and restore itself as you sleep. Sometimes I have to bribe myself to do it or time myself as a reminder, but it only takes three minutes and it’s the easiest way to reap the glowing, radiant benefits.
My clients mean a lot to me. Seeing as I embarked on my career later in life, I am truly grateful for the experiences I’ve had – from my first rodeo at the Met Ball with Alexa Chung and Poppy Delevingne, to a week-long cruise from Vancouver to Alaska with Vogue, it’s been incredible. I’ve recently began work with new clients, too, like Jodie Comer, Emma Corrin and Ellie Bamber – all of whom came to me after lockdown, when my work had dried up entirely, so I continue to feel honoured and flattered when these brilliant, strong and intelligent women book me.
There are a few new faces I’d like to paint. I already have my dream clients, but there are several names on my wish list who I’d like to do make-up for, including Anya Taylor-Joy, Jennifer Lawrence, Lea Seydoux and Snoop Dog.
Liberty remains my favourite place to shop for beauty. I still get a rush of joy going there. It’s where I discovered Surratt Beauty for the first time. I am always complimented on how soft my brushes are and my work is so much more beautiful because of them.
Kindness is an essential quality at work. In life, generally this is true, but especially if you want to be a make-up artist. You need to be kind to everyone and give your best every single day. We’re very lucky to do what we love. Remember to clean up after yourself, too.
My advice to aspiring make-up artists is to listen. This is so important, especially when working with team members so you can all achieve the same end goal. Take inspiration from those who you admire and try to draw out your own style. You can go in with your own ideas, but be malleable and always push to adapt your initial thoughts. Finally, turn up well presented, with an open mind and make sure your brushes are always clean.
There are five products I’ll never be without. Lip balm is my numero uno – currently I’m using Augustinus Bader’s which plumps while coating lips with hydration. I then use a little lip liner, like the NARS one in Morocco. Kevyn Aucoin’s eyelash curlers are also an essential in my kit as they have a flatter curve and open much further than others. Surratt’s Noir Lash Tint is a firm favourite of mine, too. It has an innovative metal screw-like wand which quite literally deepens the lash into a jet-black colour, while separating them and giving a fluffier effect. Finally, my favourite one-stop-shop palette is Hourglass’ Ambient Lighting one. It has six shades which are finely milled and blend into the skin like a cream would.
There’s one foundation I swear by. Tom Ford’s Traceless Soft Matte Foundation gives a velvety, flawless finish that I love. It completely elevates the skin while also allowing it to breathe. This is in both my work kit and my personal make-up bag, too.
Skincare is more important than make-up. And as a make-up artist, that’s a bold statement to make – but it’s true. It is the foundation of your make-up and it has a huge bearing on the outcome of your look. I will always spend time prepping the skin – be it with cream, balms or eye serums – as it makes it easier to apply other formulas after.
I would be lost without brown eyeliner. Code8’s Liner in Mocha is my favourite – I am genuinely never without it. It’s quick to apply and the easiest way to elevate your look.
Finding your own balance is key. My life motto is from Winston Churchill: ‘Everything in moderation, especially moderation along with a little excess.’ I am a big believer in looking after myself, but we all need a little fun, too. While I love burning the candle at both ends, I ease up my rollercoaster schedule by taking monthly visits to my brilliant kinesiologist, Francesa Topolski, as I believe beauty comes from within. I also practice yoga at Yoga Point and try to meditate via the Calm app. I swear by a weekly blast with my beloved Light Salon Boost LED Mask, too.
Follow Florrie on Instagram for more advice, tips & tricks.