MILAN — When it comes to social media, there are those who undergo sudden meteoric rises to fame and quiet forces building influence slowly. Millennial makeup artist Daniele Lorusso, better known as his social media handle @mrdanielmakeup, falls under the second category.
As one of Italy’s key beauty personalities on social media — in a country where beauty influencers are often overshadowed by their fashion counterparts even in the cosmetics arena — Lorusso has made a name for himself with professional makeup tutorials, simple and honest product reviews and an overall down-to-earth attitude.
While social media beauty pals such as Clio Zammatteo and Cristina Fogazzi — aka ClioMakeUp and L’Estetista Cinica, respectively — have banked on their increasing influence by launching their own beauty brands, Lorusso has always marched to the beat of his own drum, focusing on cementing his reputation with professional content and piling up assignments, working with celebrities and influencers both in Italy and abroad. His coherent approach over the last decade led him to build credibility and expand his network organically, now counting 702,000 followers on Instagram alone.
Moving from the Apulia region to Milan in 2010 at the age of 18, Lorusso attended a professional makeup course and cut his teeth working at a Kiko Milano’s store.
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“I’ve always loved fashion and design,” he said about his artistic studies in high school. “But to become a designer seemed too complex, also in terms of opportunities. I was looking for a way in between that could combine all my passions, from photography to painting, and makeup touched all the points I liked,” recalled Lorusso.
Then he discovered YouTube. “I was inspired by American accounts.…And then I thought it didn’t make any sense for me to be just a user when I could be a creator,” he said about launching his own channel in 2011, which kick-started his gradual rise as beauty darling online.
“There has never been an explosion. I didn’t have that many followers when I launched the channel, it has all been very gradual, as in my career. There’s never been a peak, and that was actually perfect for me. It gave me the motivation to keep creating,” continued Lorusso.
But even if YouTube videos propelled his career at the beginning, Lorusso is now finding it difficult to keep up the pace with such productions given his lifestyle.
“Today mini-tutorials via Reels or on TikTok are what work best,” he noted. “Overall my audience wants ideas and inspirations from me, so anything that is easy to replicate or even complex but achievable in short time resonate well and performs better than product reviews or contents on my private life. Also providing behind-the-scenes access to events such as fashion weeks and Coachella works great,” he added.
His favorite social medium is Instagram for its diary-like approach, while he finds TikTok “less intuitive and spontaneous, but I’m starting to get the value of that platform.…It’s a different language, but I realized I needed to use it when I suddenly felt cut out from the world as my audience started to ask for my opinion on trends or techniques seen there.”
Along with his skills, his special observations and direct interaction with people soon earned Lorusso the role of art director at Nabla Cosmetics, one of the first indie brands in Italy that he helped launch in 2013. At the beginning, Lorusso was in charge of the whole creative process, including going to the laboratories to develop formulations, and now he is part of a team and keeps injecting his creative inputs for the brand.
“It is a very important part of my job, as it gives me the opportunity to express my creativity directly on the product, too,” he said. Yet Lorusso’s role at the company didn’t dent his transparent approach with his followers, as he still uses and suggests different labels on social media, nor did it give him the urge to launch his own brand.
“There’s extreme saturation in the market right now, everybody is launching a beauty brand,” he said. “Of course I thought about [launching my own] but I have many goals to reach before that. I’d like to do it knowing that I achieved everything I had to and that the brand is the cherry on top of my career,” said Lorusso. He also acknowledged that such a full commitment in the project “could be a limit today” and teased that a capsule collection is in the pipeline for next year, instead.
Meanwhile, he keeps channeling all of his energies into his ultimate goal: to work with international talents hailing from the world of music or cinema and “curate their beauty look in an artistic way, communicating a message through makeup.”
Lorusso already had occasional stints with the likes of Megan Fox, along with personalities such as Charli d’Amelio, Amina Muaddi and Tina Kunakey, among others, but his bucket list is filled with pop stars such as Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez and Ariana Grande. Even if still a dream job, working with Dua Lipa might not be so out of reach as Lorusso is already in touch with her stylist Lorenzo Posocco via Italian pop sensation Elodie, who is among Posocco’s clients, too.
Elodie and Lorusso have been collaborating for a couple of years, including their tie-up at the local Sanremo Festival music contest in 2020. “I got really emotional when I saw her onstage with my makeup look and I realized this is truly what I want to do in life,” he recalled.
The ambition fits with the overall concept Lorusso has of beauty, as he has always had a penchant for “makeup that turns you into a star and takes you to the next level,” centering looks on “perfect complexion, creating the right shadows and enhancing eye lines.”
Last month, Lorusso crowned his decade-long social journey staging a sold-out masterclass in Milan, which attracted 500 people from all over Italy, each holding a 300-euro ticket to watch him work live. Incidentally, beauty masterclasses of this scale are not such a popular practice in the country, with the most prominent precedent offered by Chiara Ferragni and her personal glam artist Manuele Mameli in 2019, when two sold-out appointments drew more than 1,000 attendees. For Lorusso to achieve a comparable result in attendance — and with no sponsors — speaks volumes of the authentic engagement he has built so far.
Elodie served as model du jour but her involvement was kept under wraps as Lorusso didn’t want to leverage the artist’s popularity for the event. “Beside my YouTube channel and my work for Nabla, I have nothing tangible…so this was my way to give value to what I have built over the years and celebrate my own community,” he said, adding that he was impressed that 85 percent of the attendees were makeup artists rather than just beauty aficionados and fans. Aged between 20 and 35 on average, they posed plenty of questions while Lorusso created a red carpet beauty look.
“What stood out was people’s need to understand every single step behind this job: how I work with talents, how I relate to them, even when to set their call time. And it was interesting because I realized that this kind of information can’t be found on social media. There are beauty tutorials but not a real storytelling about the job,” said Lorusso, who is eyeing to replicate the event in other Italian cities soon.