Makeup Bag: Liz Goldwyn
“I didn’t try makeup until I was well into my teenage years. I wasn’t allowed to wear it. I had a very feminist mother who was shocked that her daughter was into pink, corsets, and all the things I was into. I would use my allowance and buy Clinique’s Black Honey, because I love lipstick. Once I was in a Guess fashion show when I was 11, and they put makeup on me and I was very excited about that. I also watched my Mom apply her makeup and she had a really natural beauty routine. From an early age, I started using sunscreen. I started with Oil of Olay Sensitive Skin Foaming Face Wash from the drugstore and Oil of Olay SPF 25 Moisturizer. I have six nieces and I always tell them that once they’re old enough they should spend their allowance at the drugstore on their sunscreen routine. There’s no excuse, it’s $3… at least it was back then.
I grew up between LA and London and went to boarding school on the east coast. Growing up in LA, I was always into 1940s vintage clothes, so there was definitely a retro look going on. For me, it was always about my clothes, not the makeup, even though everyone around me wore cat-eye liners, red lips, and rolled hair. My best friend’s mother growing up was a hairdresser, so there was a lot of hair experimentation. I dyed my hair every single color. I haven’t dyed my hair since I was 18 or 19 but when I was younger, my hair was black, blue streaks, platinum… it was everything under the sun.
I’ve always had a connection to beauty, especially natural skincare. When I was 19, I was working at Sotheby’s where I helped to found the fashion department. I tried to get this 1890s Shiseido poster for our auction and they wouldn’t let it go. I literally started stalking the CEO of Shiseido because I was obsessed with their creative direction and the history of their company. The fact that during the 1940s, they made lipstick that was manufactured out of wood tubes because at that time, they didn’t have the same access as the western world did to early forms of plastics. I somehow came across the CEO of Shiseido’s travel schedule, found out when he was going to be in New York and went to a cocktail party that he was slated to attend. I went up to him and started talking about the history of the company and why he should let me have this poster for sale. He was with his Vice President and they were really surprised that a 19 year old girl knew so much about the history of their company.
The next day I get a call at my office saying that he wanted to meet with me. I went to dinner with him and the VP at the time, and they asked me to work for them so I went. While at Shiseido, I founded a program that was very similar to the CFDA Vogue Fund that we have now. This was, of course, before the CFDA Vogue Fund, but essentially we granted awards to two designers and two artists every year. It was a philanthropic program at Shiseido and we would fund the production of their collection, their fashion show, help them get a press team together, produce their show invitation, pay for their samples, and all of that kind of stuff. For the shows, Shiseido would do the makeup and we would also do collaborations with each of these designers. This was New York in the late 90s. I also worked with Shiseido, advising and consulting which brands to buy. I was the global consultant to the CEO. I had worked in the beauty industry for awhile with them and I was totally fascinated by Japanese culture, kabuki makeup, and makeup of geisha. I was also the New York Editor for French Vogue under Carine Roitfeld at the time and wrote historical essays for the magazine including one on poisonous beauty. I was very interested in beauty and history and how both of those things changed culturally.
There’s a face cleanser that geisha use that’s made from nightingale droppings that I became obsessed with. It’s a little grainy, like rice powder, but there’s no scent to it. Based in Kyoto, there’s one very old Japanese company in New York called Chidoriya, and they sell amazing beauty products that geisha still use. A lot of the incredible reds that were available in Japan, were not approved by the FDA but those were the reds the geisha used to paint their lips with.
Red lipstick was always a staple of mine, starting at 18 or 19, and nothing else. No foundation, no concealer, I would have to be told to brush my hair, which I still don’t do very much. I only started curling my eyelashes and wearing mascara in the last two years. I was pretty low maintenance with my makeup but fastidious about skincare, specially using sunscreen, moisturizing, eating healthy, and drinking enough water. I have four brothers and I loved swimming in the ocean with my Dad but no one was as crazy about the sun as I was. I don’t know where it came from but I’ve always been like that. I heard that my grandmother was like that too, although I didn’t know her. We would be outside at the pool or by the ocean in the summer and I would be the one with the giant hat or sitting in the shade until it was 4:30PM. I was very upset that my parents didn’t put enough sunscreen on me until I was old enough to take over for myself. When I started working with Shiseido, I was still pretty young and when you go to Japan, they have these machines that show the results of sun damage, and they’re shocking — even if you take really good care of your skin. That’s when I started using SPF 60 everyday!
Because I worked in the beauty industry, I met a lot of people and John Demsey and MAC supported my first film, my burlesque documentary, Pretty Things. MAC did all of the makeup for the finale number, in which I dance in. Since then, John and I remained friends and when in LA a few years ago during Oscar season, it just happened that at the time, I was looking for a really great cosmetic bag, but vintage, something from the 1950s. I always used to buy the Henri Bendel brown and white striped ones and I never really liked the ones you find at the drugstore, so when we saw each other at an Oscar party, I had literally just come from being online looking at stuff and I said, “You need to start doing good cosmetic bags.” Because I also thought, you don’t want to spend a lot of money on something like that and MAC should do it, because they’re at a pretty reasonable price point. John responded, “Why don’t you do it?” and that’s how the collaboration came about, very organic.
We spent quite a long time in product development and they decided it would be a holiday collection. I’m really specific about production as well. They once told that they’d never had a collaborator request Pantone books! I also designed my own label, which was super cool. The whole collection was based on a hanging cosmetic bag, because that was the item I was looking for. I travel all the time and I like to have a hanging cosmetic bag that I can see the products through. Another thing that was important to me, because I do have six nieces and six nephews plus the work that I do outside design deals a lot with sexuality, I wanted a condom pocket. It’s really important for young women to be prepared for that, so on the hanging cosmetic bag, there’s a condom pocket on the outside.
I knew from the beginning that I wanted the interior to look like my underwear drawer — very feminine and full of lace — so I referenced my own collection of lingerie from the 50s and 60s. I wanted a pastel color palette on the outside and I knew I wanted leopard — leopard and lace, a good girl / bad girl theme. I wanted something that would remind me a little of the 1950s but also be durable, modern, and coated in plastic, so you can wash it.
I use all of my own makeup bags and a couple of brush bags from the MAC collection.
I’m really into the Dior Skin Flash and my color is 2. I love it, I’m obsessed with it.
I love ARCONA. I’m very sensitive and careful with what I wash and put on my face because I only use natural products, so there are a few brands that I really like. One of them is ARCONA and I use Sensations Mineral Makeup. In comes in a brush, has SPF in it, and has a little more coverage than powder. I have a couple different colors, but the one I’m using right now is Almond.
I like to have a bunch of different mascaras at a time. I love Guerlain and their mascara. I don’t really use it but I love the packaging. Sometimes I buy things just for the packaging. It’s a little square and when you open it, there’s a little mirror inside. For everyday I like DiorShow, MAC False Lashes, and MAC Haute and Naughty Lash. I don’t have a technique when applying mascara, I just put it on, but I do wear it on my lower lashes.
I have these great Chanel eye pencils, Le Crayon Khol in Black Jade, which is a dark green. Sometimes I like to line my lower lashes, outside my water line. A little rock ‘n’ roll. I have another Chanel pencil called Le Crayon Levres in Vegas Gold. It’s a lip pencil but I use it on my eyes. I wear this the same way, underneath my eye. I think it looks really pretty.
I definitely like to experiment with makeup, like if I wear shadow, I’ll do a bright blue or a bright purple or green, from my lash line to my brow — very strong. What I have a lot of, are the discontinued eyeshadows from Dick Page’s brand, Inoui, for Shiseido. I have some MAC shadows and I love Chanel shadows, I have a lot of those. I like Dior as well. I tend to use whatever someone sends me until it’s gone. From Chanel, I love Ombre Essentielle in Khaki and another called Amethyst. I have the whole range in that collection.
Lately I’ve been into a strong, 40s brow. I’m using an Inoui brown quad color, in powder. I use my MAC brow brush to apply. I’m still learning a lot of the basic makeup techniques and tricks, because on a normal day, I might wear a little under eye, but not really everyday. When I go out, I’ll wear a little more makeup but day-to-day, I’m low maintenance with my makeup routine.
I’ve also been into cat eyes lately. I use a MAC pot of black [Blacktrack] but it’s really flaky. On set the other day, the makeup artist was using a new product that apparently they’re only carrying at the pro store, called Cream Sheen. I want to get that because the consistency is much better. I try to emulate women like Sophia Loren and Rita Hayworth. I’m in between wanting to look like myself and with eyeshadow, I feel more like a character.
For skincare, I really like specific products from ARCONA. I just received a sample from them for their foundation with sunscreen, Free Zone. I usually just use Dior SkinFlash all over, but I’m open to trying new stuff. I also really like this honey lavender cleanser from 100% Pure and they’re actually owned by Louis Vuitton. Eminence is hands down my new favorite organic skincare line, including their Calendula Oil, which is great for dry climates or when traveling. Living in LA where we have a dry climate, moisturizer tends to sit on your face, so this oil is really great for hydrating your skin. They also have this coconut cream that has natural collagen in it, that I’m addicted to.
My everyday blush is MAC Melba Matte. It’s an earthy, light brick color. I brush a little on the apples of my cheeks.
And lipstick, of course. In my bag at all times is an Estee Lauder collectible compact, which I have a huge collection of. I’m constantly applying my lipstick and I like the act of it but I think it should look good when you’re pulling out a compact, so I have a lot of jeweled compacts. I never have less than three lipsticks in my bag, unless I’m going out at night and I have a small bag, then I try to contain it. Right now in my bag I have a Chanel Rouge Coco Gabrielle, which is a dark blue-red. I like to mix, I never usually wear just one color at the same time. I also have a Berlin Red from Estee Lauder. It’s a limited edition lipstick they did for the Neue Galerie in New York for the Otto Dix Show. I’m a sucker for really nice lipstick packaging and this one looks like a bullet or a tiny gold vibrator. I love, love, love Dior Addict. It’s super beautiful and they kept the packaging from the 50s. I wear a lot of Rouge Dolce Vita from Dior, which is orange-red. If I’m mixing orange-reds, I’ll mix the Dior Dolce Vita with MAC So Chaud and Lady Danger. These are all reds, it’s pretty much the only color I wear. Sometimes I’ll wear a purple and I love Tom Ford lipsticks in hot pink and corals. I wear Ginger Fawn, which is pretty orangey, all the time in the summer and Pure Pink. What’s great about his colors are that they look different on everyone. I don’t ever do a nude lip. MAC Vegas Volt is also great for a lighter color, which is a pinky color.
I’m obsessed with Amber Absolute Perfume, I buy it in bulk. I like men’s scents, musky scents. I’ve been wearing it for a couple years now but I think he’s discontinuing it, so I need to get on it and buy the rest of them. I also mix a lot of essential oils as well, like sandalwood, rose, and lavender.
I’ve worked with some amazing makeup artists over the years on shoots and while working in the beauty industry. There’s nothing like Tom Pechaux giving you a scalp massage or doing your makeup… it’s highly erotic, it’s amazing but the techniques I’ve picked up are so simple. Like how to do your brows, I just learned from Gregory Arlt, who is a MAC makeup artist. Kate Lee is another amazing makeup artist I work with a lot, who works with Chanel. There are certain tricks that I’ve learned from them but they’re very minimal because my style is minimal. I always, always, always do my nails and toes in red. Right now I’m really into gels because I hate when nails chips, so I do gels on my hands and on my toes I’ll mix it around. I like Deborah Lippmann, I like Dior’s Red Royalty, which I’m wearing right now, and Masai Red is nice in the winter. Sometimes I’ll wear gold, like Chanel’s Gold Fingers, that’s really nice and they have another greenish-gold color called Peridot, which I like. I really just like a simple, classic, 50s, apple red.” — Artist and Filmmaker, Liz Goldwyn