Ellis Faas made her name as a makeup artist with Mario Testino in the late 90s; and she knows a thing or two about makeup. You’ve probably already sampled her work; she’s advised brands like: Clinique, Lancôme, MAC and L’Oréal, and her eponymous makeup line is available at Slapp. We love her work, so we caught up with her in Amsterdam to find out what inspired her to launch her brand, and how she finds life as a female founder.
What inspired you to become a make-up artist?
First, I wanted to be a photographer, so I did a photography course when I was 16 and the subject was narcissism. We had to make self-portraits and I kept on changing myself with make up. I loved the instant nature of make up, the instant transformation. At the time, I didn't even realise that makeup could be a profession, but my mother noticed an Ad for a makeup school in Amsterdam, so that was the first "official" makeup education I enjoyed.
When did you launch your company and what gave you the idea?
We started 7 years ago. The starting point for the brand was that I wanted to create something compact, something that was ideal for women on the move - whether they are travelling, going to the office or otherwise moving about. Makeup bags traditionally are one big mess in which you can never find what you need, so I created something that organises it but still gives the 100% flexibility of which products someone wants to carry at a specific moment, and which products are left at home. Practically all products come in similarly shaped pens that can be fitted into a Holder that has room for a total of 8 products (including foundation and powder).
What do you love most about makeup?
Playing with colours and textures and the idea that it is flexible and changeable.
What sets Ellis Faas apart from other makeup brands out there?
The packaging concept described above; and the fact that most of the products are fluid, which helps them to become one with the skin instead of lying on top of it; plus the shades are inspired by colours that by nature are part of the human body, and therefore suit any age, style or skin tone.
Also our way of communicating with our consumers is different: we refuse to give rules and also shy away from trends, because we believe that the only judge should be the person looking at herself in the mirror.
What advice would you give to other women wanting to launch their own business?
Only launch a business with a product you are passionate about. Not so much because this would bring more success but because you have to brace yourself for a fight. Fighting for something you believe in is the only way to stay happy.
What would you say is your favourite product in your range?
At the moment concealer because of my bags. But it changes from day to day.
What’s your skincare regime like?
I am not a great example, not very consistent in products or methods. Moisturiser can be organic coconut oil or something mainstream. The only holy grail would be my Eve Lom cleanser. And I have recently started dry-skin brushing, face and body; I like it! The skin is softer and more even. Check out the internet for how to’s.
How do you stay healthy (body and mind)?
Yin yoga, the occasional hypnotherapy session, drinking lots of water, eating mainly organic food and drinking a fair amount of grass vodka.
What are your experiences of diversity in the industry?
I know that sometimes people think that cosmetic brands do not produce enough darker shades of foundations. I know for a fact that they do, but that it’s the stores who are reluctant to stock them. That is why from the start we have forced retailers who want to sell ELLIS FAAS to include all shades. Even one of our biggest clients didn’t want our two darkest shades, we convinced them and since then they have kept replenishing these shades every month!
Would you share an early beauty memory with us?
My grandparents had a chic hair and beauty salon in Amsterdam. In the leftover stock were these brightly coloured Guerlain lipsticks. They were so long lasting and pigmented that I now wonder which poisonous ingredients they contained. My mother sometimes put it on my lips when I was a toddler and soon I discovered the stash myself
Do you have a beauty muse?
Not really in terms of looks. There are people I admire but more for their abilities than for their looks.
What is beautiful to you?
When the personality and the appearance are in sync with each other.
If you could only Slapp on one beauty product, what would it be?
Foundation in all colours; In your skintone to create an even glow, a darker shade to simulate an eyeshadow or use as a lip stain, a lighter colour as a highlighter.
Get your Ellis Faas fix at Slapp.