Star beauty expert Lisa Eldridge is brought to book
With decades of industry experience and millions of YouTube fans, Lisa Eldridge is at the top of her game, and now she's added another string to her bow by publishing a history of make-up. Katie Wright meets her.
Online beauty tutorials are a big business these days, generating billions of views and turning amateurs and teens into celebrities (on the internet at least).
But in YouTube's upper echelons, there's one notable exception: Lisa Eldridge was anything but an amateur when she started uploading how-to clips back in 2009.
By that stage, the make-up artist, who grew up in Liverpool, had already racked up more than 15 years' experience in the industry, adorning the faces of celebrities and supermodels for red carpets and cover shoots.
Her staggering client list includes everyone from Kate Moss to Kim Kardashian West (she's currently responsible for Kate Winslet's looks while promoting the new Steve Jobs film) and Eldridge has held numerous Creative Director roles at major brands, including her current post at Lancome.
As if her schedules weren't jam-packed enough, Eldridge has just published her first book - but it's not just a rehash of her most viewed videos.
"Everyone expected me to do a how-to book, so I didn't want to do that," she laughs, perched in the haberdashery department of Liberty, as a queue of young fans snakes down a stairwell nearby, eagerly awaiting Eldridge's appearance for a Q&A and book signing session. "The history of make-up has always been a passion and I wanted to scratch that itch."
Face Paint: The Story Of Makeup chronicles cosmetics throughout the ages, from the earliest uses of red ochre in prehistoric times, through to the latest high-tech innovations.
"My dream is that anyone who reads it, the next morning when they pick up their make-up bag, they'll look at it in a whole new light," Eldridge says, revealing that writing the book gave her a whole new appreciation for the freedom we have today, compared to times when make-up was seen as sinful.
"Look at this time we're living through," she says, gesturing animatedly around the room.
"All these women have got whatever make-up they want on today and no one's criticising them."
It's clear to the 41-year-old that being a feminist and owning a dozen red lipsticks is not a contradiction.
And with her YouTube videos, Eldridge is able to engage with a huge audience (she has more than 1.2 million subscribers) to find out what women really want to know about make-up.
So what's the burning question she gets asked most often?
"There are a couple. They're usually about skin make-up because people often struggle with foundation. Either they can't find the right shade to fit their skin tone, or they're not really sure how to use it with concealer if they want to cover their spots."
Well, Eldridge clearly has the answer, because she claims to have four spots when we speak, but all I can see is flawless skin. And her blemish-banishing video is her most popular of all time, heading for three million views. What you won't find on this pro's YouTube channel are the shopping "haul" videos so beloved of teen vloggers, detailing their latest pharmacy finds.
"Because I've been involved in new product development for years, when I go shopping here, I tend to know which factory it's from, or which formulation," she explains, "so it has to be different, it has to be a colour that I haven't seen before, that's the sort of thing that will really stand out to me."
And to make it into her mammoth make-up kit is even harder.
"I'm quite scathing," Eldridge admits. "I don't want to get caught out doing someone's make-up on the red carpet and it doesn't look good, so I really test new products out before they go in the kit."
So what are her tried-and-true treasures?
The beauty guru spills the beans on her can't-live-without cosmetics.
DESERT ISLAND PICKS
If Eldridge had to choose three desert island essentials they would be:
Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage, £26.50, John Lewis (www.johnlewis.com)
"Because if I do have a massive spot, I'd like to be able to cover them please. I like Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage."
Avene Hydrance Optimale UV Light SPF 20, £10.90, FeelUnique.com
"I'd want SPF of some description, because I don't want to end up all pigmented and patchy."
Lancome Hypnose Volume-a-porter Mascara, £22.50, House of Fraser (www.houseoffraser.co.uk)
"Definitely, I would have some mascara. At the moment I'm using Lancome's Volume-a-Porter, which is an everyday mascara that's good at separating the lashes and easy to put on."
These are the classics that have remained in her kit for years.
Chanel Natural Finish Loose Powder, £36, Boots (www.boots.com)
"There are certain things I've had in my kit forever, like Chanel powder."
MAC Studio Face and Body Foundation, £22 (www.maccosmetics.co.uk)
"I've been using the MAC Face and Body Make-up since it launched."
Kryolan Viva Colour Palette 5 Colours in Spice, £22 (www.kryolan.com)
"I always used to go to Screenface (the professional make-up shop) and buy the Kryolan palettes with all the different cream eyeshadow colours in."
Following a trip to Asia, Eldridge's new obsession is make-up that delivers the product via a "cushion" sponge.
Lancome Miracle Cushion Fluid Foundation, £29.50, House of Fraser (www.houseoffraser.co.uk)
"I went to Korea on a fact-finding trip for Lancome and I came back with all of this cushion technology, and now we've actually done a foundation for Lancome."
Etude House Precious Mineral Magic Any Cushion in Mint, £16, Lunatu.com
"I've got all these Korean products in my kit now, they're amazing colours. I bought two new suitcases out there and came back with a lot of make-up."