‘Guys, when when you have the complete look it can really turn heads!’
With her shock of long hair and great fashion sense makeup artist Alex Box always turns heads! Dubbed the Daphne Guinness of the beauty industry her extravagant designs in make-up may be outlandish but they are always beautifully executed and she continues to collaborate with fashion luminaries the world over. As creative director of Illamasqua she has overseen a highly successful cosmetics line which is as colourful as her character. Here Alex share her valuable insights on men and make up and her tips for flawless skin. Thanks Alex!
How did your career in makeup begin?
By chance! I was an installation artist who worked on a makeup counter at the weekend to fund my art work and always had elaborate makeup myself as I was super gothic. I had started to use makeup in my art work and a designer saw a show and did and thought it would work well on models for his runway show. By appropriation and other people defining my art work as makeup I became a makeup artist
How do male celebrities and models react to being ‘made up’?
I’ve always campaigned for makeup on men; in the Illamasqua campaigns I have always had a man in the pictures wearing makeup as well as the female models. I think makeup on men is still a difficult subject to broach because people lump drag or club kid or sub cultural looks together and think this is the only form of makeup which can be extreme to the man in street. This has all added to turning men off the idea of makeup , when actually understanding what makeup is and can do will only go to complete their look enhance it and make them look even better!. When I do men’s makeup I love it because they always feel more manly after I’ve finished and surprise themselves in how good they feel the transformation in confidence is astounding!
What are your top tips for getting great skin?
Exfoliate ….exfoliate! No matter how expensive your cream or serum it won’t work through layers of dead skin. The best way is to use something like a light daily scrub like Dermalogica’s Microfoliant…the best gentle skin polish. Then once a week use a good mask first a clay mask like Jurliques nurturing mask to draw out impurities and calm so your clean but not red and spotty, then a nurturing mask to moisturise and actively calm and hydrate like Dermalogicas multi vitamin power recovery mask. Drink lots of water, I know it’s an old chestnut but it is the key to clear skin. Get an oxygen facial as this plumps out lines and encourages impurities to diminish so it’s harder for spots and shaving lumps to grow. Groom in Selfridges do a great one, perfect for lunch hours, you just look glowing like you have been to play squash!
Any other skin boosting products you can share with us?
Dermalogica products are effective and active without being chemically and harsh. Microfoliant is a must; the day scrub I talked about. They do a great spot treatment called overnight clearing gel that does exactly that; it’s a miracle worker! Their multivitamin power mask, is an all in one skin management system , cleaning nourishing and restoring. Shun uemura do fantastic under eye brightening pads for instant de-puffed eyes called deep-sea moisture replenishing eye mask. And then there is the holy grail of skin care brands Natura Bisse, a totally discreet Barcelona brand. The strap line is ‘my skin my secret’. I use them religiously because the products are amazingly affective , they have an incredible anti-ageing line called ‘ diamond’ and everything in it so addictive. Their diamond ‘ice lift mask ‘is the most effective tighten and brighten mask I have ever used and I always use this on male clients because they can’t believe the surge of uplifting cold and how long the effects last, like a hike up Snowdonia!
How do you like guys to smell?
Of confidence!!! And that fresh just been for some activity and still panting sweat smell. I’m obsessed with smells and love perfume and am involved in making it so I’m one of those people who like to breathe people in and get lost in scent. I love Serge Lutens fragrances, and Commes des Garcon fantastic mixes of wood leather and tobacco , like a book lined gentleman’s club, old fashioned colognes that smell of male elegance and strength like ‘Eucris ‘ by Geo F Trumper..I could go on and on.
What do most guys always get wrong?
Bad dental hygiene is a no no. Woman always look at guys mouths and a sexy smile has to be met with clean teeth , I don’t mean Simon Cowell plastic grin; character chipped or crooked teeth can look very sexy , but just healthy fresh clean teeth and breath.
What men in the public eye inspire you in terms of their appearance?
I know a lot of stylish men who go about their own unique looks with care and attention and just look perfectly themselves , not too fussed just effortlessly stylish and I love to see them in the world . Like my friend David Mason, an incredibly stylish tailor and owner of Anthony Sinclear, great hair great accessories and a killer smile. In the public eye I’d have to say David Gandy, he’s always well-heeled and effortlessly handsome. Ekow Eshum is cool, classic and sharp. David Burn of Talking Heads always has his take on the outsider chic. Nick Cave is another doyenne of outsider chic a heady mix of old glamour gothic drape and ice cold male cool. And I have to say David Beckham, I’m not always into what he looks like but he has done a lot to move peoples public perception to what is considered acceptable to the every man.
Do trends also exist in male grooming ?
Yes currently facial hair and the art of it ,or lack of it , is making a statement . Whether it’s a full on tash, a slick Hoxton wisp to a squeaky clean Joey Essex sheen the facial hairs are being triumphed . Also the return to the ‘nice boy’ hair, the short back and quiff, a little bit Great Gatsby a little bit preppy 50s. I see so many men looking more and more groomed in an ‘old fashioned’ dapper Dan way. It’s a commitment that pays off because when you have the complete look it really turns heads.
You’re known for the dramatic looks you create with makeup on others, do you spend time creating dynamic looks on yourself?
I used to never leave home without. three sets of lashes and full gothic chic, now I’m down to one set! My own look is a mix of old Hollywood glamour and my nuances that I have built over the years. I do unleash some looks when I feel like it, but I spend more of that creative output on other people now than I did years ago experimenting wildly with myself
What 3 products should every guy have in their wash bag?
Microfoliant by Dermalogica is the best daily scrub and Lucas Paw Paw Ointment is perfect for everything from shave rash, cuts, chapped lips or spots and an electric toothbrush with Crest Whitening toothpaste.
Throughout your carer which project is your most memorable and why?
I’m always onto the next project and put my thoughts well into the future I don’t look back! On review I’d say the book project with Rankin, a beautiful book that has become a worldwide best seller ‘Alex Box by Rankin’ was the result of a 2 year project where Rankin captured my creative flow week by week large gloss images of my creations mixed with my art work, I’m immensely proud of it. Illamasqua the cult beauty brand that I’m creative director of has been, and is proving to be a continuously memorable venture, we have grown so quickly and with such a fantastic response it a pleasure to be involved with such an exciting brand! Finally working with Gareth Pugh, he is the best innovative designer around in my eyes, I’ve been there from the start with Gareth and our visual language and friendship has grown in equal velocity.
What are your current projects?
I’m under a few NDA ‘s so can’t disclose much but I have some extremely innovative exciting technological projects I’m working on with the digital visionary Philip Delamore .
What products do you use the most when on a shoot?
Lucas Paw Paw cream, the best all round cream for chapped skin, or if or someone gets bitten or stung. It also looks fantastic as a lip gloss check or eye gloss, and mixed with lipstick makes a perfect sheer tint. Illamasqua skin base is the best foundation I have ever used. It has weight and coverage but can be as sheer and light as bb cream , it just looks like flawless skin. I always use a touch of this on men as it evens out the skin tone and covers razor burn perfectly .
What is the best piece of grooming advice you have ever been given (and from whom?)
Good question and I’d have to say the advice I received as a little girl from my aunt Ann. She told me, as I watched she’d her put her face cream on, always with firm upward strokes never down. It pulls the skin and over time will cause the muscles to droop slightly. I have never forgotten that, no droops to this day!
Interview by Charlotte Clarke
1. Geo. F. Trumper Eucris Eau de Toilette £40.00 for 100ml at www.trumpers.com
2. Nick Cave
3. Lucas Paw Paw Lip Cream £4.75 for 25g at www.pawpawshop.co.uk
4. Illamasqua Skinbase Foundation (various shades) £25.00 for 30ml at Debenhams
5. Illamasqua Products
6. David Gandy
7. David Burn
8. Dermalogica Daily Micro Exfoliant about £30.00 for 75g at www.lookfantastic.co.uk
9. Makeup by Alex Box
10. Makeup by Alex Box
11. Alex Box By Rankin
12. Crest Whitening Toothpaste from all good pharmacies
13. Natura Bisse Diamond Ice Lift Mask £100.50 fro 100ml at www.spacenk.co.uk
15. Groom at Selfridges
16. David Byrne