Ahead of the launch of his Masterclass Summer Series, in Las Vegas, at LOOK Style Society, on June 29th (where he will be demonstrating how you can use MAC Cosmetics’ newly-launched MAC X Aaliyah Collection to achieve the iconic brows and signature glossy lip for which the late artist was known), celebrity makeup artist, Eric Scott Ferrell – who, in addition to creating Aaliyah’s maquillage (commencing when she was 16), as well as the looks seen in the high-impact MAC Cosmetics and i-D Magazine short-film, A to Z of Aaliyah; has painted the likes of such fabulous, empowered women as Beyoncé, Solange, Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams, Chaka Khan, Queen Latifah, and Vanessa Williams – speaks to me about the MAC X Aaliyah Collection (that’s been in the works for five years), building your brand, and how to avoid some common makeup missteps.

What is the most misunderstood thing about makeup? Z OF AALIYAHand influence us today

People get stuck on what it is called; because lipstick is eyeshadow is blush is whatever you want it to be.  I tell people, "Think of it as paint."

Like the way some ladies will dab a bit of shimmery gloss on their cheeks?

Yes! Always!  I say, "Think of it as paint, and paint can go wherever you want it to go. So your eyeshadow can go on your lips, your lipstick can go on your eyes." A blush on one person, could be a highlighter on somebody else. Don't get stuck on what it's called: Just because they say that's where it goes, doesn't mean that's where it has to go. You can put it wherever you want!

Oh, I like that. What is the biggest difference in doing makeup for women-of-color?

I'm going to explain something, that I've always said, that a lot of people don't know. Now, this is not a hard and fast rule; but in general, people-of-color come in about 85 different shades. That's not just African-American; I mean anyone of color, period. And, in general, it's about 85 different shades; so, if you hit any of those shades closely enough, you'll be okay. Caucasian skin comes in about 15 shades; so if you don't get it quite right, you can kind of fudge it, it's not so bad – but if you put the wrong base, on a woman-of-color; as soon as she walks in the room, everybody knows it, and people’s reactions are like, "Oh, that looks different..."

And then also you've got to do the mix-and-atch thing, sometimes; so I was always of the thought that there is no magic color. I always suggest that my girls get three; they get one light, one medium, one dark. The medium is the one you're going to use the most. Your light is going to be your highlighter, and can even double as your concealer. And your dark is going to be your contour and your bronzer.

Then, as the seasons change, and you get tanner (because there's more sun), you're going to use a little bit more of your middle and your dark mixed together, to get your color.  And as we go into fall and winter, you're going to use your medium and your light to do your color. And so you've got to have three colors. You simply have to. There is no magic bullet. You've got to learn how to mix a little bit.

What are the most common mistakes women tend to make in applying their makeup?

Using too much; because, I mean, if you have pretty skin and you have a few freckles, let the freckles show: It makes you look young!  Everyone wants to obliterate everything, they want to completely blank their whole face out and start all over again. Don't do that!

Always go for fresh.

Yeah, fresh is always best, in my opinion.

Any advice for men who are dipping a toe in the makeup pond?

Again, don't do too much. And really, get the right colors; because I know some men, even in the corporate world, wear a Brooks Brothers suit, dabble in it a little bit – and it's usually just what I call, "spot-checking," (where you put a little bit of concealer under your eyes, if you had a long night; or you've got a blemish that is now healing, and you got a little dark spot and you want to cover that up). But you've got to get the concealer color right; because as soon as you get into daylight or under fluorescent light, it'll stick out like a sore thumb, and you'll be really embarrassed. So, as little as possible, and get that color right.

Dollar for dollar, what's the best mascara on the market?

M*A*C’s new Extended Play Lash Mascara is fantastic; and for some reason, even though they didn't formulate it to curl, it curls (which I love). Most ladies hate the eyelash curler; and I'm not a big fan of it, myself. I’ll use it out of necessity, but I don't enjoy going at somebody's eye with that apparatus (I don't like it, at all).

And then as far as a drugstore brand, my two favorites are L’Oreal Voluminous (tried and true, never fails me), and good old-fashion Maybelline Great Lash, in that green and pink tube. The pink-and-green... That pink-and-green will never do you wrong; ever.

I know more makeup artists with cases of Chanel and Shu Uemura and—

And it sits there.

Yes!  And then they whip-out that pink-and-green—

That pink-and-green!! They ain't changed that formula, I think, ever. And it never fails you. 

Continued in Part 2…

Eric Scott Ferrell | Masterclass Summer Series
LOOK Style Society
Friday, June 29th | Noon-3pm
Click HERE for info and tickets

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