Beauty Secrets We Learned From Dick Page


In high fashion, there’s almost no such thing as effortless beauty. From facial treatments that leave your complexion dewy and luminous to the perfect winged eyeliner, experts reveal their most-trusted, insider hacks for CR‘s series, Beauty Secrets.

In addition to selfies with Kate Moss and throwback polaroids of Shalom Harlow, Dick Page often posts photos on Instagram of his most-loved dish of the day or a recipe he just tried out. The British makeup artist grew up in southwest England and worked in a slaughterhouse as a teenager, during which he learned some basic butchery, but only started getting very into food within the last 25 years or so. “I’m lucky enough to travel so much with my job so I am able to try all these different things, and very often, I get on a kick where I want to do a certain dish,” he says. “When I was in Japan, I was cooking a lot of Japanese food and then I got into North African Tunisian dishes. More recently, I’m into Korean food.”

Page first got into makeup during the late ’70s and ’80s. Because he could paint and draw, he thought he’d give makeup artistry a shot and decamped for London in 1987. He started working with photographers, including Corinne Day and David Sims, and it snowballed from there. He began working with Calvin Klein during the early ’90s and created the now-iconic “no makeup” makeup look on 15-year-old Moss for her first-ever magazine cover. “I didn’t have a plan B,” he says. “I thought, ‘That looks quite fun. I think I can do that’ and here I am 30 years later.” Here, CR caught up with Page on why he doesn’t believe in makeup trends and how he would like to see the beauty industry change.

Walk me through your skincare routine.
“I usually wash my face with the shampoo that’s in the shower [laughs]. I am not very skincare routine-y. I feel very spoiled because, people send me stuff. I tend to use that just to see what feels nice. I do have a bunch of Shiseido skincare, because I worked with them for a long time. The only constant is a sunblock. I like Neutrogena Sport, because it tends not to rub and slip so much for outdoors. I try everything that people send me though. The worst thing that happens is I go, ‘Oh this is great. I love it.’ Then, I go to buy it and I end up not buying it, because I am like ‘Of course it’s great. It’s 0!’”

Any holy grail items?
“Not just because I’m originally from England, but I love No7. The skincare isn’t overpacked; it’s straightforward and simple. They have a Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Serum, which is silicone-based and feels quite light. I’ve gotten less greasy as I’ve gotten older, so I’m not as concerned with blotting and oil control. I like a specific skincare routine for flying because planes are so miserable. That’s pretty much the only time when I have a strict regimen. I use Dr. Hauschka Hydrating Cream Mask. Also, sadly it might be discontinued, but Trader Joe’s had a balm called Head to Toe Moisturizing Balm. I’ve got it stockpiled. It’s really good.”

What about makeup products?
“I tend to do a lot of mixing and matching. I don’t carry tons of different items, particularly skin color-wise because it’s quite a recent development that brands have come out with so many shades, which is great for the consumer, but makeup artists have always had to create tones for different skin colors. I use two main makeup palettes: Ben Nye, which is like a theatrical brand for theater and TV makeup. The Ben Nye Matte HD Foundation palette is great and also Graftobian, which is another stage brand. The thing about commercial foundations is they’re very appealing in the bottle, but they don’t feel or look like skin on the face. Natural skin doesn’t always bright and vivid and in terms of keeping the skin looking real, I tend to gravitate towards stage makeup. I like the MAC Pro Eye Palettes. They’re cream colors that are great for mixing. MAC often has wonky, unusual colors that are bright, but have a nice edge to them that’s not overbearing. Viseart sent me some matte colors. I usually like cream colors, but I’ve just gotten back into matte shadows. I love the texture of the Pro Palette and they have some great deep shades that are super blendable. MAC also had one of those color palettes that you use for everything called the Mac Pro LipPalette in Necessary Nudes. It’s composed of six colors and it’s great for a default, nothing sort of lip.”

Do you have a favorite makeup trend?
“I don’t believe in trends. I think trends are mathematics. Trends are really for editorializing and retailers, because all it really means is you saw a lot more of one thing than another. Or, that someone important or visible has endorsed something and it becomes everyone’s favorite thing. The problem with that is that makeup, even more so than clothes, is so super personal, even though it seems like the current vogue of beauty is the race to see who can look the most like each other as possible. I think trends feed the idea that now we must all do this or that. I feel like a trend is reductive. It takes the fun out of everything, and if makeup isn’t fun, there’s no point.”

Is there anything you’d like to see change in the beauty industry?
“I think the direction is good. It’s tricky with the umbrella of inclusiveness. Inclusive, in my mind, is passive in the industry. I feel people are doing it because they feel they should, not because it’s the right thing to do. MAC was out there with all races and all genders and they’ve done that for a long time whereas other brands go where the money is. What I wish would change is perception. I’m not blaming drag, because drag is still the best way to have fun with a look because there’s humor there, but I feel drag has been co-opted and people are looking less and less like themselves. This whole thing of painting your face and re-drawing it means that anyone who doesn’t put on a giant eyelash doesn’t belong to the idea of what beauty can be. It’s difficult to make an argument for subtlety, because I don’t always like subtle things. It doesn’t have to be a total 180 where everyone is wearing no makeup, but it would be interesting to have actual individuality. Sometimes I’ll see people on the street with that kind of makeup and I think ‘Is that an honest expression of yourself? Or is it a response to external sources?’”

Favorite look you’ve ever done?
“I did a job with Richard Avedon and it was one of the times when I went into it not knowing exactly what was going to happen, but I ended up doing something that surprised even me. It turned out to be a fantastic, iconic series of pictures. It was good, because I did something I didn’t know I could do. Something about the Avedon story was just magic.”

What kind of looks do you tend to go for?
“I love the way people look when they have animation and are healthy. I think it ties into the idea of wellness, but there’s a lot of people don’t realize you can do with a little bit of color. I am not a social worker as far as makeup goes. I don’t really care what people do with their faces, but sometimes, I’ll look at people and think they would look better with a little lipstick on their cheeks. I think it’s a New York thing. Women are weirdly careful about makeup and are kind of beige. Your makeup is everything about you. Your face is how you address the world.”

Anything else?
“This is a very broad thing, not specific to beauty. [I want to] position a little awareness in terms of what we can do with our appearance. It seems crazy superficial, but it’s all we have, apart from our direct communications to people. There’s a lot of reductive conversation going on, so visuals have becoming increasingly more important and less meaningful. I don’t really recognize that much individuality. That’s something I try to do with my work, but for the most part, I am helping interpret other people’s work. What can it mean to think about how you look? Who are you pleasing? Who is it for? It’s a weird sociology 101 question. I think about this short attention span we have that we can’t enjoy the moment of the thing we love because we are waiting for the next thing. We have no patience and can’t wait for ideas to develop, we just wait for the ideas to flow out.”


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