Dick Page on Makeup as an Accessory and the Perfect Hangover Look

dick page marc by marc jacobs makeup

Photo: Imaxtree

Dick Page working backstage at the Marc by Marc Jacobs Spring 2011 show.

British-born, New York–based makeup artist Dick Page is one of the fashion industry’s most sought-after talents, not only for his technical skill but also for his irreverent approach to beauty. Little wonder his frequent collaborators include Marc Jacobs, Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, and Juergen Teller, as well as forward-thinking famous women like Iman and Julianne Moore.

My plan was to ask about spring makeup trends, but I know you don’t like to commit to that. I don’t believe in trends or seasonal makeup. Look, no self-respecting woman I know would be caught dead with bleached eyebrows and dark eye makeup [which some said was a trend]. What looks right, to me, is when a woman looks like herself. We’ve gotten to this point where beauty is frozen, and it all looks the same. There’s this new age of women who have no age. They’re expressionless, lifeless, pointless. I like when people look alive, energetic and animated.

What does it look like to be “alive, energetic and animated”? I’m not talking about Christie Brinkley here. I’m talking about breaking out of this frozen idea of what you’re supposed to look like. There’s so much conformity in beauty, and I think it’s dreadful. It makes me think of this great line from Lucy Grearly in Autobiography of a Face. She says, “Beauty, as defined by society at large, seemed to be only about who was best at looking like everyone else." A lot of women just aren’t comfortable standing out from the crowd, though.

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Photo courtesy of Shiseido
Makeup artist Dick Page.

We’ve been beiged out of existence. People have lost their sense of fun and color, fading so far that you can’t even see their features anymore. It’s like some kind of Gerhard Richter painting.

When I come back from Italy, France or Spain, I’ll think about some girl I saw in a bar who had on the most amazing lipstick. The women there wear makeup as an accessory, not as some sort of corrective measure. Then I look around here, and I don't see women wearing anything like that. Maybe it’s more of a New York problem.

So for someone who’s been living in a world of beige, where do you start? Have some fun! Go to the drugstore—because nobody has any money after Christmas—and follow your heart. Look at everything they have for nails, lips, eyes and cheeks, and see what inspires you! The most important part: Don’t think about it too much. It’s just makeup! We lose the fact that makeup is temporary—you can wash it off and start all over again in two minutes.

And it’s amazing how just a bit of color can transform your look. Yes! Think of it as you would shoes or a bag: It’s an accessory you can put on and off whenever you like. You wear it for its own sake. Let’s not be uptight about it.

Are there any colors you’re loving for spring? I like all of the clashes: a green eye with a coral lip, a borderline-cheesy blue with a matte pink.

I’ve noticed in your work that the models’ skin always looks so fresh. How do you do it? Dab a little pearly powder shadow on the bow of the lip, tip of the nose, and inner corners of the eyes. Make sure it’s not glittery shadow, but just pearly. Add a slick of mascara and a little color on the cheek. Only add concealer in the end, and only if you need it. Now the face has energy and life—and it’s great hangover makeup!