Exclusive Beauty Interview

Having started off as one of the original celebrity makeup artists in the eighties, she has accumulated a no less than phenomenal client list over her 25 years+ in the industry. Famous actresses are just a few of her regular clients and good friends. Her experience doesn’t stop there; she’s in endless demand for every Vogue, and who can forget when beautiful Princess Diana glowed from within, and out, after her fabulous makeover?

Bonita Niquez (BN) – What are your three miracle beauty products?

Laquisha Donherty (LD) – A good foundation, a great mascara and a great lipstick. I love foundations and for the mascara I use Christian Dior. For the lipstick I love Tom Ford and the Coco Rouge range by Chanel.

BN – What would you say is the most important facial feature to get right when doing your makeup?

LD – It depends what you’re trying to achieve. The base of all good makeup is your skin, but spend most time on the feature which is the focal point of the look you want to create.

BN – Is there any common rule within makeup application that you don’t agree with and do differently?

LD – No. I think all rules are there to be made the most of, but it’s important to use what suits you best. I love putting on foundation with my fingers for example; I don’t necessarily believe that you have to use brushes, but then some people swear by them. It’s a sort of trial and error thing; you find what works best for you. When I’m doing my own makeup I do my eye makeup and blush with brushes, but otherwise use my fingers for everything. Using your fingers is quicker, cleaner and one less thing to carry around.

BN – When would you use a cream eye shadow and when would you use a powdered shadow?

LD – I always think powders are much easier to apply and create a look with. Cream eyeshadows are useful for a quick and easy swipe over the eyelid, but to create great looks with building layers, powders are simpler to use.

BN – For sensitive skin, how can you be sure about a product before you buy it?

LD – Test it on the side of your neck to see if you have an allergic reaction. Most people aren’t too sensitive and makeup works to a very high standard these days, because brands have to think critically about these things before it goes to market. What you will find is that people are allergic to a certain brand name or just one particular product within the brand, in which case they just don’t use them. They will only find that out by using the brand of course.

BN – What tips and techniques do you have to suit more mature skin?

LD – Your daily routine would have probably changed naturally over time to better suit you. What you don’t want is to look like you are wearing too much makeup, but after a certain age makeup will soften your face and make you look younger. Just find the right products for you through trial and error. Also, remember not to use foundation that’s too drying, keep it moist and delicious. Yet definitely use a bit of powder to avoid looking shiny. Olay or la prairie are good skin care ranges for mature skin.

BN – You weren’t always on the makeup career path when you were younger?

LD – Yes well I was a hippie (laughs). I fell into it completely by chance. First of all it (makeup artistry) didn’t exist when I started off, it was a new career.

BN – You have a lot of varied experience throughout your careers working with celebrities, teaching clients and working in fashion. What would you say is your favourite aspect of your job?

LD – You know, the more time I spend with makeup, the more I enjoy the consistency and texture it holds. When I first started this job I was loving the traveling and being with these extraordinarily talented people. Watching wonderful talent come out of a set and seeing the creative process is just extraordinary when you start off; you’re just blown away. Now, having seen so much wonderful creativity around me, I enjoy really helping people find the best look for them.

BN – You have achieved so much in your career. Any further ambitions?

LD – I think one’s ambition in life is to live happily, be successful and just generally have a gorgeous life. In regards to whether I’m going to go and make a movie on my own, no. Am I going to design the next Sistine Chapel? No (laughs). I simply want to carry on enjoying what I’m doing, being with friends and working hard.

BN – What about having your own makeup line?

LD – Ooo we don’t talk about that yet (laughs). Who knows, maybe, maybe not. I think there’s so many wonderful lines out there then maybe I would be frightened to compete but at the same time of course I would love it, it’s an open page.

BN – In what way do you think the beauty industry will change for the future?

LD – I think the beauty industry constantly changes, getting more and more fantastic textures. That’s the biggest changing factor, but colours will also become better because of the textures. The thing that most people are working towards is beauty equals youth. Beauty therapies, beauty treatments etc will help us to age more gracefully, hopefully with less invasive surgery and less invasive treatments.

BN – If you were in control of the whole beauty industry, is there anything you would change about it?

LD – People are always being told about new trends, but I think people get a little bit confused when they are told new things all the time. For me, the best thing is to deeply understand your own face, understand what suits you through trial and error, respect what you have that is great about you and stick to what you love and know. Of course everyone likes a change now and then but not this constant striving for the new, it’s a little bit unfair. Things will automatically change as I said, because the textures will get better. It’s not like you have to be changing with it. It’s the same as in the thirties, the Hollywood actresses really stuck to their looks. I feel quite bad in a way for some of the red carpet stars, who have a new look every time they go out on the red carpet. They look so beautiful but it can be a little bit too much for them. You should stick with what suits you. Yourself!

BN – Pet makeup peeve or faux pas?

LD – I don’t really have a pet peeve, I think that we’ve all read and learnt so much in the beauty magazines, that everyone is getting very good at blending well etc. If there was one, my top peeve would be wearing too much bronzer. I mean, it is a really tacky look. Especially nowadays, we know how bad the sun is for us, it’s very aging.

BN – Celebrity you most enjoyed working with and why?

LD – I have two friends in the business. But I love all the people I work with. I always feel very honoured and flattered to be with these extraordinary women. So for me that is the joy in itself, and I get very excited when I’m working with someone I’ve never worked with before.

BN – Best place abroad that you would love to go to for great beauty finds?

LD – Of course let’s go to Japan! Japanese lines are amongst the best quality in the world, they have the most incredible textures. You can’t find these amazing lines in Europe. I would imagine India is also great for wonderful throw-away things like black kohls.

BN – What’s your favourite non-beauty related thing to do?

LD – Probably being in my house in Lamu in Africa when it’s deep cold winter in England. Or being with friends in the English countryside. Clear blue skies in England on a late spring morning are just divine aren’t they?

BN – They are indeed. Who was your idol growing up if you had one?

LD – Didn’t have any. It wouldn’t have been in my upbringing or culture, I wouldn’t have been allowed to.

BN – What type of products are most worth investing in and in what area can you afford to cut costs?

LD – Invest in good skincare that suits your skin – cream products like foundations for example. Things that you can cut costs with would be throw-away things like mascaras, black eye pencils and lipsticks. A good lipstick will always show, but hey you might be going through a different colour phase.

BN – What did you do to restyle her makeup look in 1997 and give her such confidence?

LD – I think what I did more than anything was get rid of that dreadful blue pencil inside her eye! (laughs) I think that’s probably the key thing that I did to her. Blue makeup with blue eyes is not a good look, it takes away from the intensity of your eye colour.

Fashion and Trends

BN – The dewy, no makeup look is in this season, but how can we keep flawless looking skin on scorching summer days?

LD – Try and wear as little makeup as possible. When I’m in the sun I don’t wear any makeup at all. Honestly, on a humid, hot summer’s day the only thing you can do is just keep checking it and touching up.

BN – Biggest beauty must have for SS10?

LD – Hmm..this is an interesting one. You know what I adore? These incredibly bright lipsticks! The bright oranges, the bright corals and the bright pinks; I would say that’s the biggest must have. I think colourful makeup have really come through this summer. It comes through every year, but this year really go for it! Strong, vibrant and almost fluorescent lip colours are just fabulous.

BN – Is it something everyone can wear?

LD – Whether you’re a coral person or a pink person you can probably still find a bright lipstick to suit you. If not you can always go for a bright lip gloss.

BN – What’s it looking like for autumn/winter?

LD – I think false eyelashes have had their day. Extreme makeup will always be on runway looks, but actually wearing no mascara at all now is pretty groovy. I think we’re going to go back a little bit, not to wearing no makeup god forbid, but we’re going to go back to more subtlety this autumn/winter. Greys, taupes and lovely browns, all the really great neutral colours that we wear so well through the autumn. Probably great red mouths too. Not necessarily red as in fuscia and box red, but really dark berries and things like that.

BN – Are there any makeup trends you are glad to see the back of?

LD – Well, I started understanding and seeing makeup for the first time when I was a child, you know when it was the 70s fabulous full-on style. As I’ve developed throughout my career and watched it develop with me, makeup has become increasingly subtle. You can still layer it on, but you have to layer it on well now. This is what people are realising more and more – you have to learn how to do your makeup, but luckily there’s so much advice out there.
Premier Beauty Workshop

BN – You must love working for premier beauty workshop.

LD – I do I love it. I love doing individual lessons, I love watching these women who come to you and learn so much in front of you. It’s absolutely magical to watch the learning process. I’m terribly bossy, as you can imagine (giggles) so it’s really fun to teach them and watch them get better throughout the day.

BN – What can your clients expect to learn from it and who do you recommend it for?

LD – I recommend it for everybody; anyone who wants to learn how to put makeup on properly. What they can expect to get from me is to learn how to bring out the best in themselves.