Artist Spotlight

Fall Preview: A Q&A with Makeup Artist Jules Wagener

Wagener on the new cat eye, Texas's worst makeup tendencies, and some of her favorite products.

Edited by Kerry H. August 26, 2013

Makeup artist/magician Jules Wagener has a talent for making flawed skin appear both perfect and perfectly natural, which is why she was recently invited to lay her hands on Forest Whitaker, why her work is featured in the September issue of GQ, and why she was the makeup artist Houstonia had to have for our own September fall fashion spread. While she transformed an unsuspecting model into a smooth-faced doll for a dramatic shoot in the space above Notsuoh, we learned that she's also full of suprisingly philosophical thoughts about trends and techniques. Check out more of Wagener's work at her site and in Houstonia's latest fashion spread, which is on newsstands now.

The New Cat Eye

There are fun things going on with the interpretation of a cat eye and what that means. It has loosened up a bit. I am seeing cat eyes done in fresh ways with the use of color instead of a traditional black liner. Swipes of color across the lid—china blue, burnt oranges—and the use of eye shadow instead of eyeliner. I’m seeing a lot of traditional cat eyes paired with a wash of color on the whole lid, and it’s really beautiful. 

With everything there is an early ‘80s late ‘70s type of thing with a side part and burnt orange lip or eye. The thing with the ‘70s feeling is that it’s a reinvention of the ‘20s. There has been a loosening up of what we saw with the Great Gatsby trend, and it’s a little sexier—a fresher, disco-ey version of a flapper. Something I have been thinking about is going further with it, like Michelle Pfieffer in Scarface, that beautiful hair and beautiful eye that feels soft and pretty.

Hair: No More Loopy Business

Hair is not that loopy business anymore, thank goodness. It was getting a little ridiculous. I am seeing some of the magazine and red carpet stuff starting to veer toward a late ‘70s fresh, natural look. People are going to start chopping off that length at the collarbone. Either with soft beautiful bangs, or just something fresh that isn’t so fussy, and makeup that isn’t as harsh or severe. A softened version that what we saw with the 1920s trend and the Madmen ‘60s trend. The Kardashians have brought back contouring, but I think that people are using a lighter hand.

Fresh Air

Everything is getting a big huge breath of fresh air. A nice sweep of shadow, still a tight line adding definition, but it’s not liquid and it’s not hard. It doesn’t have to be a smoky eye, it can be a wash of color in a bronzy tone. I’ve never gotten the gratuitously smoky eye. And I don’t think we are ever going back to obvious foundation. The goal is invisibility.

What to Buy

We are getting a lot of good artists behind drug store makeup lines, and the price points between those lines and department store lines are becoming within a few dollars. Pat McGrath does a wonderful job with Cover Girl. You can use those lipsticks she creates for fashion week.

It's hard as artists to rely on a specific product when we blend and create so many on a palette. A few things are ginormously important—a well-formulated moisturizer before you begin, of course with a sunscreen. Anything that’s going to plump and hydrate. For someone with acne-prone skin, you can use cerave, which is available at Walgreens. I use also Elta MD and I use Mac Strobe Cream; it's the best thing I can put on a model’s skin before I get going. I pour over cosmetic ingredients; I am a licensed aesthetician. Armani Luminous Silk Foundation is beautiful. And for concealer, Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer. Photographs beautifully. When you are being photographed try to avoid physical sunscreens; it will make you look white. I also love L'Oreal Voluminous Mascara in Carbon Black.

Regarding Foundation and the Use of

We have a different standard of beauty in Texas, and usually it’s a fabulous thing, and we look a little more put together. I think we are like the Italians of America–when I go to Italy, everybody is incredibly friendly and incredibly done. Texas has always been that for me. But at the same time, regarding foundation and the use of—people are using far too much, or using it in the wrong ways. If you have got beautiful skin I really think that you should not hide it. Foundation is meant to mimic skin that is beautiful. Foundation can’t replicate nature. There are a few occasions when people with beautiful skin cover it with foundation that doesn’t match their shade.

Against Delineation 

For the most part I would tell people to focus on discoloration in their T-zone, and then radiate out until it fades near the jawline. So that you don’t have a line of delineation. Everyone loves a pop of reflection on the cheek bone, but we don’t love a pop of reflection on the chin or forehead, so powder through that area. And if they have large pores on the cheeks, maybe there, mimic natural skin and have a little reflection on the cheek bone because we want height, we want that reflective point at the top of the cheek bone. And most people are already in that habit now. Heavy powder/foundation has been out a while but I see it all the time. I think people should move to cream blushes if they can.

Forest Whitaker's Skin

My favorite technical aspect of the job is definitely skin. People can do a smoky eye all day, but skin is challenging,  especially when you are doing men. I was doing Forest Whitaker for this high-def live press junket. I have to conceal things on this man and make him look like he is standing there without a shred of makeup on. Men cannot look like they have makeup on.  Especially if they are men like Forest Whitaker. My job was to make him look like he had nothing on. In Texas. Outside. I love that kind of challenge.  I have fun with the magic of invisibility. I think it’s fun to fool the eye.

Beauty Blogs Worth Reading

KJ Bennet.comIn My KitMakeup 411, and 

Good News

How cool is it that I get to literally get right up in somebody’s face? I love that I get to take a look at a person and have this moment where I get to find their best features and enhance them and then make them feel great. That’s what I get to do all day. I get to give people good news. 

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