LONDON — Lisa Eldridge has many faces — creative director at Lâncome, makeup artist, author and YouTube legend, with 1.8 million subscribers. In May, she launched a sell-out line of rings made with semiprecious stones, similar to the ones she wears herself. Now, she’s embarking on her first solo project in color cosmetics with a limited-edition collection of lipsticks that launches on Nov. 19.
Eldridge has 20 years of beauty expertise, having consulted for Shiseido and No7 and collaborated on campaigns with brands including Prada, Chloé and Gucci. She started creating her beauty tutorials on YouTube eight years ago, offering makeup and skin-care advice to women of a variety of ages and ethnicities, and has 966,000 followers on Instagram.
Eldridge could have harnessed her fame and her social media influence long ago to create a full cosmetics line, but the makeup artist said she preferred to do things organically, and in her own time. “Often, I’m unconsciously doing the exact opposite of what people expect,” she said. “I definitely had that with my book as most people expected a ‘how-to’ format but instead, it was a history book.”
She took a similar approach to creating the lipsticks. “I hadn’t planned to create a lipstick, but I had a dream a few years ago about a lipstick with a velvet fabric bullet. It was on a shoot where I stuck actual red velvet onto a model’s lips and while it was fun, it wasn’t comfortable for the model,” she said.
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The formulation, Eldridge argued, is the first of its kind. “The surface texture is a huge innovation, as this type of delicate finishing effect with lipstick has never been attempted before mainly because lipstick is a very thick substance,” she said, adding that she developed a mold that allowed her to create the look of authentic, velvet fabric on the bullet.
She’s offering three shades of red: Velvet Morning, which is orangey; Velvet Jazz, which has brick tones, and Velvet Ribbon, a neutral with blue in it. The lipsticks retail at 26 pounds each, or at 75 pounds for the trio. They will be sold internationally on Eldridge’s web site, lisaeldridge.com.
Choosing red for the trio was natural for Eldridge, who wrote extensively about the color in the first chapter of her book, Face Paint. “It’s the original makeup color, symbolizing everything from power and strength to health, sex and vitality and it works on all skin tones,” she said, adding that everyone deserves to have a red lipstick.
The finish, according to Eldridge, is full coverage and has a subtle light-reflective sheen “that actually looks like real velvet fabric,” and a long-lasting formula.
The makeup artist said she has no plans to stop creating. She has just introduced earrings into her line of semiprecious rings and also hinted at a range of skin-care products. “I have more things coming, but with more of a skin focus,” she said. She will continue filming videos for her YouTube channel.
Asked about Lâncome’s reaction to her launching color cosmetics, Eldridge said they were unusually supportive and understanding. “No big brand would have ever allowed me to pursue something as whimsical and ambitious as this lipstick. That’s the beauty of doing something yourself without a big corporation behind you, you can have fun, take risks and push things much further in an unexpected way.”