COLOR FORMS: “Use your mascara brush as a weapon — and go directly into the roots!” said Baltasar Gonzalez Pinel, MAC’s director of makeup artistry for the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Speaking with the gusto of a guerrilla leader minutes before battle, Gonzalez also promoted the powers of gel eyeliner and told his audience how to turn short lashes into luscious sculptures. He joined fellow MAC directors Terry Barber, Lyne Desnoyers, James Molloy and Gordon Espinet at Selfridges on Friday evening for a wide-ranging discussion about color, texture and application strategies, as part of the store’s six-week long Beauty Project. Speaking to a packed room, the artists discussed topics including how to correct dark and olive skin tones — orange works best — and the various virtues of primer. “It’s just like good underwear,” said Barber.

Espinet warned of the minefield that is false eyelash application. “Nine out of 10 women do falsies wrong,” said Espinet, adding that he witnesses disasters — blobs of dried black glue around the eyes, uneven application, and lashes of uniform size — every morning as he makes his way downtown on the subway from Harlem. “I look at these women on the train, and think ‘I need to fix your eyelashes!’ There should be a blend of black and brown hairs, use transparent glue, and apply mascara before you put the lashes on. The look should be false — not fake,” he said.

MAC has been playing a big role at Selfridges during the Beauty Project, which runs until June 12. Earlier this month the brand unveiled a series of three lipstick kiosks shaped like giant MAC lipstick cases, each of which stocks nudes, pinks or reds. “Lipstick is MAC’s number one selling product,” said James Gager, senior vice-president, creative director at MAC, adding that the brand wanted the kiosks to be about “fun, shop-ability and putting a smile on someone’s face. MAC has been experimenting with many different retail formats…In the future you will continue to see other retail innovations on an ongoing basis.”

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