Celebrity MUA Laurel Charleston launches a technicolour dream palette

Congratulations on the palette! How did the project come about?

Laurel Charleston: Mehron and I have had a working relationship together for the past three or four years. Even before my career really jump-started they would support me and send me products just because they believed in me and they liked what I was doing. When I couldn’t afford good or nice make-up, they would support me. Then they came to me around five months ago – this has been a very quick process – and they said, ‘Hey, we would love to make a product with you’. It was a no brainer and it’s just been a match made in heaven.

Had you been thinking of doing a product already or was it just when the opportunity came up?

Laurel Charleston: I’ve always thought in the back of my head, ‘What would I make? What would it look like?’ I knew it had to be something extremely creative, vibrant, accessible and have a high impact. So knowing Mehron, knowing how vibrant, colourful, saturated and universal their products are, it was just a dream come true from the jump. And I already knew exactly what product I wanted to work on with them. I knew I wanted to work with their Edge paint formula, which is a formula of theirs that is known by industry professionals but hasn’t been known to the general public. In my opinion, the Mehron water-activated paints are the best in the industry, so I wanted to introduce them to people.

You custom-created eight shades for this palette and had complete creative freedom – did it feel overwhelming to think ‘I can make any colour I want in the world’? Or was it just an amazing opportunity?

Laurel Charleston: Yes! [Laughs]. Yes to both of those things. As a creative, I love having restrictions and working within them. Sometimes when I have such a wide open brief, it can be a little overwhelming. What helped focus me in on my colour choices was that I have been looking for very specific shades and custom-mixing them by myself with pre-existing colours over the last two years, especially on this journey with Melanie Martinez. I do all this graphic liner work on her mask and her face, and there are so many shades that I would custom mix. So when it came time for this palette, I thought this is an opportunity to create the shades that I dream of having and that I never really see, as well as shades that I just use so frequently on my day to day as a professional make-up artist. So this is really my dream palette.

How do you imagine this palette being used? 

Laurel Charleston: This palette isn’t just for the eye area, these are paints. You could colour your eyebrows for a statement look, you could block your eyebrows and draw a really skinny pink eyebrow. Or you could just fill in your brow with a pink or green to match your outfit. Or you could do something bigger across the face or even on the lips if you wanted to. These colours obviously aren’t nudes, they’re not naturals, they’re not taupes. These colours are meant for bold and vivid expression. And I really hope that this palette can push people to be more creative and visually expressive in their day-to-day. 

You work with some amazing people who are so playful and creative with their beauty – Melanie, Doja, Dylan – how have your clients influenced or inspired the palette?

Laurel Charleston: The work that I’ve been able to do on my clients for the past two or three years has 1,000 per cent inspired it. When I painted Dojo Cat with the white look all over her bald head that was Mehron’s Edge paint. Then when I painted her arms like a black glove with circles cut out, that was Mehron’s black paint and when I painted her face with the black line cutting through her face, that was Mehron’s black edge paint. It’s what I’ve been using to create my boldest, most dramatic, but also my most precise work over the last two years.

How was it to shoot the campaign?

Laurel Charleston: That was also a dream because that was another example of Mehron giving me full creative control. I created a deck of my dream make-up artist and my dream models and my dream hairstylist and my dream photographer. And I said, this is what I want to do, this is the mood board and these are the queer and trans people I want behind it. And they said yes to everything. The best part of the campaign is I got all the talent paid by the end of the day. So everyone, all the models, the make-up artist and hair artist walked away from that shoot paid, which for me as a trans person, means the world to me. I will never hire or book other queer and trans people if they cannot be paid in a timely fashion. 

It’s so ingrained in people to use make-up to make ourselves more ‘conventionally attractive’ – cover blemishes, contour our faces, and so on. How can we start to change our mindsets around how we approach beauty?

Laurel Charleston: I think that it all starts with approaching make-up from a place of expression instead of assimilation. A lot of us, myself included, often feel bound by society’s norms and how the majority of people around us present. But when you wake up in the morning, sit down to do make-up and focus on how you feel. What are you feeling and how can you use your make-up routine that day to express that? We can start to use make-up from a new, inherently more authentic place when we do that. 

You are so free and unbound by convention in the way you do make-up. Do you have tips for people who want to get more experimental and playful with beauty? 

Laurel Charleston: Find inspiration for make-up and beauty outside of the beauty world! Find a cool pattern from a piece of clothing you own, find an artwork in a museum that inspires you, or an animal or landscape in nature that interests you and find ways to use it as your own beauty inspiration. When we find new, different ways to bring in patterns, textures and colours from outside the beauty world into our own make-up, real magic can happen.

What are you excited about in the beauty space right now? 

Laurel Charleston: I am most excited about smaller creators and how they’re breaking so many boundaries in the beauty space. Now more than ever we’re seeing so many artists, particularly younger ones, experimenting and taking creative makeup to whole new levels. It’s not too rare that I’ll be walking down the street in NYC and pass by someone in a colorful brow, abstract eye makeup or even a full face paint. That’s the magic that most excites me, watching our younger generations gain access to all the tools we now have at our disposal to be as creative and visually expressive as ever.

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  • Source of information and images “dazeddigital

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