James Vincent has worked in every facet of the makeup industry, from film and theatre, television and celebrity work, editorial and runway and even in product development positions for such companies as MAC, Stila, Armani, YSL and Make Up For Ever. He’s the Director of Education and Artistry for the Makeup Show, which is the largest pro only beauty event in the US. He’s a working makeup artist, educator, and beauty editor for pro makeup publications such as Galore Magazine and On Makeup Magazine. In short, this guy knows what he’s talking about. We got the chance to chat with him about the ever changing beauty industry, how social media has transformed the careers of makeup artists, and how Indies are on the rise.
IM: Over the past 10-15 years, social media and the internet have changed virtually every industry on earth. How do you think that online culture has changed the makeup industry?
JV: I think the online culture has changed our makeup industry in so many ways. From the way we learn about new product, find trends and follow the people who inspire us, it has changed the way we build our kits and portfolios. Social media has changed the options available for education and has made interaction and the sharing of information so much easier. Social media has made influence a hot topic and has been able to help artists and makeup lovers from all over the world build bigger careers or find new ways to make money as makeup artists. Whether you see it as a positive or negative occurrence social media has thrust makeup and makeup artists into the spotlight and it is up to each individual to use that as an opportunity to become better at how they build and share their own makeup and career or see it as competitive to the traditional role of makeup artist.
IM: How do you think the career of a makeup artist has changed in the past decade? Has it become easier or harder to get jobs and grow professionally?
JV: I would say the career of makeup has become more difficult to some because there is much more competition in the field but with the proliferation of online media and the mere fact that women and makeup now invest so much more readily in hiring makeup artists there are more jobs available. I also think that social media has made it easier to build your portfolio and promote yourself and I think that is in invaluable. I think the world is much more aware of professional makeup and that in itself has raised the level of talent and our ability as professional artists to have careers at any level.
IM: There are so many brands releasing new products at such a rapid pace. What does a brand have to achieve to stand out today?
JV: I think authenticity and innovation are key. In an age where brand are pushing forward product after product the possibility to create something new and unexpected that captures our imagination required an understanding of what makeup enthusiasts and pros need but also requires the brand to let us know why they are giving it to us. When we see brands that are showing us something new and understand our needs and are genuine in their support it is easy to support a brand. The brands who have forgotten the pros to focus in other areas are suffering right now. We see it at every Ulta and every Sephora. The brands who are too big to adapt quickly or are developing their pitch and product with marketing departments instead of artists behind the brand are being left out while independent and original brands are breaking records.
IM: There are some amazing Indie Brands being featured at the makeup show this year, like Suva Beauty and Danessa Myricks Cosmetics. How did you select and curate these brands?
JV: Shelly Taggar, the owner or The Makeup Show and I, along with the whole team are really working to bring in more independent and artist owned beauty brands as well as brands owned by women, artists of color and from all Nations and backgrounds. We want the show to be representative and inclusive and appeal to artists at all levels of their career and from all walks of life. The independent brands need our support and they tend to support the pros more readily as well. We want to see these brands make their mark and we want to help support them and share them with our pro audience and build excitement by celebrating the newness. The Makeup Show is curated. We want to show great options for the professional artist kit with a variety of viewpoints and price points. We want the show to be truly global and accessible and that comes from building relationships with brands that are global and accessible. We have seen so many brands that are now huge or product that is now a part of everyone’s makeup routine launch first with us at The Makeup Show.
IM: As someone who is always staying on top of makeup trends from season to season, what do you think consumers are looking for today in new releases?
JV: I think in an age where we see so many selfies and photos or ourselves and each other consumers are looking for a few things. Skincare and complexion are more important than ever and makeup buyers want options and available product that suit that skill set. Skincare is using better Ingredients and more technologies as brands like TwinMedix and Dr. Perricone marry the two. More organic and natural ingredients that now are beneficial to the skin are being seen in independent skin care brands like B3 Balm and Rebels and Outlaws. Complexion has become more inclusive as brands introduce more shades, companies like Danessa Myricks Beauty and Smashbox are looking at shades of foundation but also ease of usage. Trend has consumers also looking to stand out. Color, texture and reflection are all very exciting for makeup right now because makeup has become so homogeneous the last few seasons. Bright liners from brands like MAKE UP FOR EVER and NYX, glitter product from Kryolan and Lemonhead and bold color palettes from brands like Crown Brush, Stilazzi and Too Faced come in such a wide range of price points and choices they allow any makeup wearer to express themselves as an individual
IM: What are your favorite independently owned beauty brands?
JV: For skincare TwinMedix and B3 Balm are must haves. They are not only in my kit but in my own bathroom as well. Their product delivers and leaves skin prepared and protected and ready for makeup or just looking gorgeous on their own. Danessa Myricks Beauty and Cozette are two of my favorite options for complexion and color. Both brands have artists behind them and the level of pigmentation and brand product innovation is at another level. For brushes Crown Brush is a great affordable option for pros and Smith Cosmetics and Stilazzi have a wide range of brushes that are built for pros but even the least skilled user would be able to master makeup with them. Rebels and Outlaws brings together wellness and beauty with candles and product finished with crystals and essential oils. The Rebels and Outlaws Brush Cleaner is designed to get rid of past energy and pigment with ingredients like rose and sea salt but also clear Quartz. I’m also excited about brands that are doing something completely different. CHRŌM TOOTH POLISH creates color for the teeth. I’m obsessed with the gold and silver options for creating custom grills, but even their white polish helps the greyest teeth shine bright.
IM: Do you have any indie products that have earned a spot in your kit?
JV: So many. I love to support and show indie products love. Some of the indie products that have found a home with me are:
TwinMedix Resurface – this nongranual exfoliant removes dead skin and stimulates circulation allowing the skin to glow.
Rebels and Outlaws Lips Like Sugar Lip Scrub – with just four organic ingredients this scrub gently gets rid of flakes and moisturizes leaving lips perfect.
B3 Matte Lip Balm – when I have a lip that needs moisture but not shine this is my go to
Danessa Myricks Beauty Vision Cream – for color correction, concealer or any foundation coverage desired this is all I need to make skin look gorgeous
Kett Set Powder – this invisible powder removes shine and makes any skin photo perfect
Stilazzi Blush Palettes – gorgeous rich color that applies like your natural flush
And so many others I could go on and on
IM: What were your goals with this year’s The Makeup Show NYC? Did anything change from recent years?
JV: This year we wanted to reimagine The Makeup Show. Our goal has always been to provide education, inspiration and access to brands and artists for our attendees. We see the traditional trade show format struggling and we see so many of our classic brands struggling so this year we wanted to create a beauty experience that was more inclusive, more interactive and more immersive than past shows. We are introducing more education with our Momentum program that allows intimate watch and learn experiences. We have three new demo stages for attendees to see work ranging from FX to body paint to bridal beauty. We are introducing The International Stage sponsored by Danessa Myricks Beauty which has twelve artists from 6 continents sharing their makeup and career advice. We have a gallery of photos from the brilliant Matthew Jordan Smith. We have artists brunches and cocktail parties for attendees to mingle with their favorite makeup pros. We have really worked to bring in brands that have a modern and inclusive voice. I think overall this show is a Celebration of not just what makeup is but what it can be. We’re looking at the future and we want every artist that comes to our show to be able to thrive and if we focus in helping them find mentors, find community, find inspiration and education and build a better kit and career we feel like we are doing what we set out to.
More about the Makeup Show: As the biggest show in the US for pro MUA’s, students, and industry professionals, the Makeup Show is a wonderful place to learn and grow as an artist. With over 150 exhibiting brands, artists can fill up their kits at a discounted rate. There are 8 different stages, including an international stage, with dozens of incredible speakers and presenters on everything from bridal to editorial makeup. Some special guests this year include Danessa Myricks and Natasha Denona.