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BATHROOM CHATS: WITH DOMINIC SKINNER

BATHROOM CHATS: WITH DOMINIC SKINNER

BATHROOM CHATS:

WITH DOM SKINNER

Clean lines, individuality and the end of trends: meet the hair stylist behind ‘The Party Never Stops’ Christmas 22 campaign.

Author: Joe Blogs Photographer: JANE DOE

Dominic Skinner is big business in the beauty (and now TV) industry. MAC’s Global Senior Artist and judge of BBC’s hit show Glow Up, Skinner has created beauty trends for the biggest fashion shows; had his hands on some of the most famous faces of our times; and helped mastermind some of MAC’s most iconic beauty products. Not a bad resume.

He might be humble about his success, but Skinner is best in class. And a beautiful human to boot. Funny, warm and passionate, his love of beauty is infectious. A world that he’s determined to crack open for others, through the aforementioned Glow Up, but also via his own generous approach to sharing on social media.

Over a video call, the makeup artist sat down to talk everything from his beauty beginnings to SS23’s incoming trends. Get to know Dominic Skinner.

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Where did your journey with beauty begin?

I’m a kid of the ‘80s, so we were all just plonked in front of the TV, and it was always the style and the makeup and the aesthetic that I would respond to… The biggest memory I have growing up was Daryl Hannah from Blade Runner spraying her eyes black with an airbrush paint. It’s such a flippant, nonsensical part of the movie… it’s not a storyline but there’s an underlying narrative that really expresses this strength, power and individuality that I was just so gobsmacked by it… So, anyone that I could sit down at the kitchen table, I would get my mum’s navy-blue Estée Lauder eyeshadow palette and I would cover their eyes in a band of blue – just because I wanted to create it.

My mum is a big makeup lover, so she would always wear a full face of makeup… I would watch this queen just apply makeup every day… the drama of the process, of the application, that I was very much enthralled with. The idea of taking the time to reinvent yourself, to individualise yourself through makeup, clothes and style.


Looking back on your career so far, is there a moment that feels like a game-changer for you?

Yes, working at MAC. That was the game-changer for me. I finished my college; I did a two-year course, and it was incredible – there were so many aspects to the course that weren’t just makeup. It was all about contextual studies, understanding the idea of advertising and the psychology behind it – at the time you just want to do makeup but then you realise how valuable it was.

I learnt very early that I need to do more than just the course. So, I was very busy doing freelance work, I didn’t stop working whilst at college… when I left university, I met a photographer and a stylist, and we lived in an abandoned building in Farringdon (some might say squatting) …. we decorated each room and did shoots every day, and it was brilliant. I learnt so much but I ran out of money, and I needed a job, so I got a part-time job at MAC. Someone said to me that they always felt like the black sheep of their family before they worked at MAC. And then they realised that they were surrounded by black sheep. That’s exactly how I feel; I don’t feel like I am the same as everyone else, but I feel I fit. MAC opened my eyes to so much and the opportunities of working in film, TV, theatre, fashion week. They do photo shoots, campaigns, product development – they do everything. And I was able to get involved in it.

WE’RE TAKING DOWN THE WALLS, OPENING UP THE CEILING AND LETTING EVERYONE INTO THE PARTY AND BECAUSE OF THAT I THINK THE BEAUTY INDUSTRY IS GOING TO CARRY ON BEING THE HEALTHIEST, MOST IMPORTANT INDUSTRY WE HAVE IN THIS COUNTRY…

Glow Up, fashion shows, red carpets, magazine shoots… what’s been your biggest career highlight to date?

I’ve been so fortunate to have done the four big cities for fashion week: London, New York, Milan and Paris. I’ve done menswear, couture. I’ve done my four favourite designers: Jeremey Scott, Vivienne Westwood, Jean Paul Gautier, and Alexander McQueen. I’ve worked with the best makeup artists, from Val Garland to Andrew Gallimore to Alex Box to Isamaya Ffrench. I just understand the luck (I’ve worked very hard – you’ve got to work at it), but the work has paid off and that’s the luck because there are a lot of people who work just as hard who don’t get it.

Which is why then having a platform like Glow Up, it’s important to then be able to bring people into that world. I would constantly get asked by people: ‘How do I get where you are?’ I can’t tell you. It’s like sliding doors. I chose what was right and I’ve ended up here, but your road is going to be very different. All I have to say is you have to say yes to everything. But working on Glow Up has allowed us to open up those doors and allow people in so that they can see what it’s like backstage at fashion week; they can see what it’s like working behind a curtain at a theatre or a photoshoot… we are opening up this very small, closed room. We’re taking down the walls, opening up the ceiling and letting everyone into the party and because of that I think the beauty industry is going to carry on being the healthiest, most important industry we have in this country…



What does beauty mean to you now?

That’s a really good question because there are so many different meanings for everyone. I know the definition of beauty is incredible misogynistic if you were to ever look it up in the dictionary – oh we need to change that so badly.

For me, beauty is about the confidence someone has about being themselves – that’s the beauty. How you achieve that is then down to that individual and that individual’s idea of identity and decoration. How do you feel beautiful? What is the aesthetic that is going to mean that when you walk out of that door you feel like you can take on anything that will come at you. The world is a daunting place, and we need to have that confidence sometimes to open up that door and take a step outside, whatever it takes. Is it the biggest, boldest red lip you can find? Or is it a perfume? A pair of shoes? Whatever it is, it’s decoration and it’s the decoration to empower you to be on your absolute best – that’s what beauty means to me.

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WHATEVER IT IS, IT’S DECORATION AND IT’S THE DECORATION TO EMPOWER YOU TO BE YOUR ABSOLUTE BEST - THAT’S WHAT BEAUTY MEANS TO ME.

MAC is home to some iconic products. Which ones really stand out to you and which ones are a must-have?

There are a few things that I think everyone should own that no one has ever heard of and then there are the iconic ones. Every person in the UK, just as a way of making them feel better, should be given a Ruby Woo. It was my first MAC product I ever bought, and it is the most iconic, baddest red you can ever find… But there are a couple of others. Two lipsticks, one is called Modesty. Think of it as how foundation perfects your skin tone, Modesty perfects your lips and just makes them look filtered and photoshopped, like perfect. And then there’s another colour called Crème In Your Coffee, which is Modesty but after a three-week holiday. So, it’s just that slightly deeper, browner, beige - it’s just stunning. Every time I show people, they think they’re amazing. That would be my three favourite lipsticks. Then for blush, if you haven’t fallen in love with Warm Soul Blusher, you haven’t tried blushers because it is the most perfect shade of blush you can find. Oh, and MACStack is a game-changing mascara. I’m quite a cynic when new things come out, I do put them through their paces, but that mascara fell into my hands, and it’s never left. I love it – I absolutely love it. Any time I do a job now I have to go with a fresh mascara, and I always have new ones because I know I’ll have to give it because the person is like ‘what do I have on my eyes’, and I say ‘have it’ – it gets stolen out of my kit every time.


You’ve made up some of the biggest faces in the world but is there anyone you’re still desperate to get your hands on?


You know what, I really like people who just want to have a good time and I’m also quite fuss-free, I don’t like a big old routine. So, I like people who actually just want to have a bit of a natter, have a cup of tea, you do their makeup, really simple, effortless bits that just make people feel amazing about themselves. I don’t like a whole – you need cranes and bungee cords – it’s too much faff. I don’t like faffy makeup. So, who would I like to do makeup on? I’d love to do French and Saunders. They’re my dream, I’ve always loved them. Who else? Yes, would I like to do Beyonce? Probably. Would I want to put myself through that stress? No. To be honest with you.


What beauty trends are you looking forward to seeing in 2023?

During fashion week for SS23 we were seeing a lot of gloss but used in unpredictable ways: eyelids, cheeks. So, I would be looking at products you can use to glaze the eyes. It doesn’t mean it has to be sticky – we were using lip balm on the eyes to give them a wet look. We were using lip gloss with a bit of sparkle in it to make it look extra wet. We were using lip gloss as well but very sheerly so get that icing texture. It’s one of those things that as soon as you do it, it turns an everyday look to a fashion-forward look. It’s good and weirdly it’s very good for people with hooded eyes. Because with hooded eyes that little bit of skin you can see between the hood and the lash line is not very big but as soon as you put any gloss, or something metallic, or high shine on that little bit of skin, it instantly makes the skin look twice as big, so for anyone with hooded eyes a little bit of lip-gloss in the centre of the eye is going to make a difference.


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