Beauty Makeup

MUA Erin Williams On Gossip, Green Makeup and Getting Gorgeous

By Arwa Lodhi

Gregarious redhead Erin Williams is the woman behind Erin’s Faces – the PETA Certified, cruelty-free, clean beauty brand.

As a Texan, she grew up surrounded by big haired, high spirited glamour gals: her mum wore lippy to the carpool, and her gran  had her hair set every week at the beauty parlour. In short, she learned the  importance of making time for yourself, no matter what – and makeup rituals are a good example of how some women do just that. After all, isn’t it true that we put on makeup not to please men, but ourselves?

But the thing is: most makeup brands were formulated by men, for women – and we’re just learning how highly toxic they are! From Max Factor and Revlon to L’Oreal and Dior, mainstream cosmetics are, frankly, full of crap. As a makeup artist, Erin was fully aware of this fact and decided to take matters into her own hands and create a makeup line that was healthy, beautiful, and cruelty free.

Here, we talk to Erin about green makeup, her favourite products, the makeup trick she most fears, which beauty trends she sees on the horizon, and much more.

What’s the most common mistake that you see women making with their makeup?

Not extending their eyeliner on the top lid all the way into the tear duct – it drives me nuts!  I have to actively focus on my conversation with them because all I want to do is take them into the bathroom and extend the line.  To me it looks like someone tapped them on the shoulder when they were putting your eyeliner and said “hey, we have to go” and the person got up, mid liner, and said “okay, I don’t need to finish.” Please finish!

What makeup trends do you see coming up in popularity?

I see three main trends, really – metallics, inky smoky eyes and burgundy lips.  I think a copper shimmer/glimmer shadow is an easy way to incorporate the metallic trend, while a thicker charcoal or indigo eyeliner is an easy way to dip a toe into the smoky eye trend.  Burgundy lips can achieved with a sheer berry stain or you can go full throttle with a merlot lipstick.

Erin Williams

Which products do you find yourself using most, both on yourself and clients?

For skincare, I would say serums – especially those with a high content of hyaluronic acid which gives a plumping effect to the skin and an incredible dose of hydration which makes their skin (and mine!) look its best.  It also creates a lovely playing field, if you will, for the makeup.

I’m also sucker for eye primers: they cancel darkness or veins on the eyelid, help eyeshadow colours read as true and, most importantly for me, don’t let your eyeshadow crease.  It generally stays on until you wash your face.

What’s your own personal daily makeup routine like?

If I’m in the office I wear our Lip Balm and that’s it. If I’m meeting with clients or teaching a Green Beauty Workshop, I generally go full tilt with an eye primer, followed by 2-3 shades of mineral eyeshadow. I mainly use my own products, but I also love Lily Lolo’s Mascara. I normally wear Erin’s Faces Mineral Foundation in Linen all over the face, my own Mineral Concealer in Light under the eyes, either side of the brow, cupid’s bow and chin. I set it all with a setting powder.

What about for a big night out?

I’ll do the same that I just said, but would also do some contouring with a mineral bronzer, and a bit of highlighting with my Fairy Dust (or Magic Dust if I’m feeling particularly fancy). I’d also pop some blusher onto the apples of the cheek, and fill in my brows in a bit. Depending on the occasion, I may add some lip gloss or lipstick.

What do you think separates a good makeup artist from a great one?

Two main things, in my opinion. The first is listening.  I think that good makeup artists want to make their client feel beautiful as opposed to paint them the way the artist sees fit. To me it’s a collaboration.

Secondly, gentleness.  You’re dealing with someone’s face so you literally need to be gentle and you’re dealing with someone’s concept of beauty, too,  so you need to be very thoughtful and aware of that.  I can’t tell you the number of women who have cried in the middle of our time together, not because they were unhappy with the application, but because getting your makeup done can be very vulnerable and someone is touching your face – it’s all very intimate and people just spill the beans on what’s emotionally going on for them a lot. Honoring that is important to me.

I think a lot of people can paint a face really well but, to me, it’s how the person looks and feels when they get out of your chair that matters.

Which makeup techniques were most difficult for you to master?

Winged eyeliner – that was the hardest for me because I never really do it on myself.  I had my trial by fire moment at a  Tracy Reese show during NYC’s Fashion Week. It cured me of my hesitation, as we had to do these major turquoise and green winged eyeliners and you just had to nail and it and get it perfect.  Even though I’m totally comfy with it now, to this day I say a little prayer when someone asks for a winged eyeliner!

If you weren’t a makeup artist/entrepreneur, what would you be doing?

I went to school for musical theatre and spent many years doing theatre in NYC, so I’d be singing songs and telling stories on a stage somewhere. Cue jazz hands, right?

Finally, which moments of your career are you most proud of so far?

Meeting clients is always the top of the list for me – the way I built Erin’s Faces was by going around the country and teaching Green Beauty Workshops.  For the first four years, I basically asked any friend or family member to host a group in their home for me as a favour, and it would be a hustle for me to put them together – reaching out to folks in an effort to make it financially worth making the trip.  Last fall, we did a week and half of the workshops in Texas, and I didn’t know any of the hostesses personally – people just volunteered to do it!  One had been to a Green Beauty Workshop before but otherwise the other 8 were strangers.  They volunteered to host because they had found Erin’s Faces online, bought product, liked it and wanted to share it with their friends.

It meant so much to me and was emotionally overwhelming in an awesome way – to have support from people you’ve never met – it’s amazing.



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