behind the look

James Molloy

Makeup Artist

Talks us through his Hapers Bazaar editorial!

This month we are delighted to take you Behind the Look of James Molloy’s recent Harper’s Bazaar cover, a striking barely-there look with an emphasis on a killer contour and boyish brows. A far cry from last month’s bright, bold and beautiful Glass Magazine cover by Kim Brown, this look proves that colour is not always necessary to be so alluring!

It’s a truth known in the beauty industry that barely-there skin or no-makeup-makeup often takes the most time or makeup to perfect, and James of course agrees: “People often think it will be quite easy or quite simple, a bit of moisturizer and foundation and you’re done; but actually for me as a makeup artist, it’s all about those invisible layers and the casting of the beautiful skin.”

Really great make-up starts with a really great base and the attention of detail required by James to pull of this pared-back beautiful look was instilled into him by backstage legends Val Garland and Charlotte Tilbury during his tenure backstage at fashion weeks. Make-up would be under a microscope in those environments and so would need to be impeccable!

Nov 2017

I love how instantly enriching it is, even on the most chapped lips. You put it on and its effects are instant; the lips look fuller and more plump and you don’t have to wait a long time for it to sink in. It’s almost a look in itself.

Nov 2017

James’ tips for creating the look? “Everything from great lip balm, to grooming the lashes and taming the brows are part of making that natural beauty look really natural.” Luckily we know just the thing!

Val Garland and Charlotte Tilbury are just a few of the big names that James has worked with – he was trained by the brilliant Terry Barber at MAC Cosmetics, who taught him the greatest piece of advice him his career, something he still uses today: “You need to step back and you need to look at a face from a distance, not look as one feature but as a whole story. It stuck with me ever since – I’m constantly thinking about who the girl is or what the look is, rather than individual things.”

Our own advice is often much harder to take, but if James could give his younger self a piece of advice it would be to be a bit braver and to spread his wings a bit sooner – probably something all our younger selves could have done with hearing, James!

Aside from creating beautiful bases, James’ signature look has become graphic features (pictured) such as bold stripe of colour or vivid lines. He cites his time in Asia, where he lived for five years, as inspiration for these looks, as well as for his makeup tool and accessory line MyKitCo. He emphasizes on his inspiration of comic books and the cutesy not-too-serious Japanese aesthetic.

When he isn’t drawing inspiration from Asia, he looks to eras gone by, especially the 1970s; “I think that’s when women became really ‘looks’ and beautiful; if you think about Jerry Hall or Bianca Jagger, they wore makeup really well and they were strong women who looked beautiful. It’s definitely my favourite era.”


Nov 2017
Nov 2017

With a career packed full of incredible covers, such as the challenging cover of ELLE Taiwan where a model laid for ten hours covered head to toe in gems and jewels; celebrity faces, (a favourite being Liv Tyler for being “beautiful inside and out”) and amazing backstage opportunities such as the chance to work a few seasons at Alexander McQueen, which James describes as “like a piece of art, it felt like a movie, like a theatre production”, what’s next for James? He’d love his brand MyKitCo, which was born out of a need for make-up tools, bags and brushes to all be available in one place, to take over the world for a start! A small ask James! And having been recently appointed Rimmel London’s Global Makeup Artist, he’d love to continue to grow the legacy for such an amaaazing brand.

When he isn’t planning world domination, his dogs keep him busy, as does his passion outside of the beauty world, travel. Do send us a postcard, won’t you James!?