Pro Makeup Tips from Celebrity Makeup Artist Claire Hanson

Celebrity Hair & Makeup Artist of over 25 years, Claire Hanson, share some of her tips with us. She is a leading Artist who works with some of the worlds most famous luxury brands including Swarovski, Prada, Dune, stars of stage and screen and the music industry.

Great to speak to you Claire. Can you tell us a bit about your career – had you always wanted to work with makeup?

I've always had a fascination with makeup and how it has been used over the centuries, but it wasn't until I moved to London that my world opened and my makeup career began.

I met Millie Kendal (of Ruby & Millie) in 1993 who was an account holder at Shu Uemura in Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge – a brand I loved and admired. A conversation or two later and before I knew it I had started working between there and Aveda.

Within a few months, I had met with so many industry insiders, and I was part of a team assisting a well-known artist during London and Paris Fashion Week. As a result, I was later approached by a London agency that represented various makeup / hair artists and photographers. I was with them for 6 years before starting my own company.

We have now approximately a thousand artists and beauty therapists that we manage.

What have been some of your career highlights?

Back in 1996 I was asked to work with a new band called S.Club.7 and had some wonderful working years in my mid to late 20's with them – from day 1 to the very very last days of the group.

Another highlight has to be when I was asked to work with Mr Lionel Richie on his promo dates in London, as well as travelling with him across Europe. The role from Makeup and Hair then took a turn, as they needed me to assist him in day-to-day activities – a role that took me around the world several times, visiting some extraordinary places including The White House, Nelson Mandela's institute, a private evening at Christ The Redeemer in Rio and Headlining at Glastonbury. It was such a great adventure and I'll treasure these memories forever.

Travel, people, situations, schedules and troubleshooting were all a part of that role with Mr Richie, and it set me in good stead not only in areas of my own business but also for life in general.

In what ways have you seen the industry change throughout your career?

Makeup artistry when I started in 1993 was rare, and there were certainly not thousands like there are now.

The places to train were few and far between but they set standards. When you finished training you were almost guaranteed work because of demand.

Since the development of social media, from mid-2000s on, I have to say, (because I've seen it first hand having assessed over 5000 artists in 16 years for the team) that the industry has changed and is saturated. Anyone who has a camera can film a youtube video or reel, and how-tos are available at any time, day or night. Part of me truly feels that the value of what we do has diminished because now everyone feels they can do it themselves. On the other hand, this accessibility has of course launched the careers of many incredible makeup artists.

There is so much more to being an artist than the creative aspect though, especially when it's your career and a client is choosing who to book from a vast pool of choices.

Makeup products have massively developed, with the growth of organic and sustainable brands which have been a huge necessity and very welcomed in the industry. A re-education of the pure benefits of supporting and using Organic/Sustainable is vital for future generations to come.

Like yourself, we believe sustainability is fundamental to the future of the beauty industry. What do you think are the important next steps that need to be taken to achieve this?

Educate. To actually explain why it's important and what has been done for so many years with chemicals and fillers in products to create cheaper, accessible items.

If people saw how much plastic and containers are used in the beauty industry there would be a movement which I would be so delighted to be involved with where we only have refills...

How important is a good skincare routine to achieving a flawless makeup look? Do you have any pro tips/ products you recommend?

Skin prep is absolutely vital for creating the perfect flawless look. Understanding your skin type is key, too, in order to use relevant products.

For the dewy barely there look it really is a case of gently mixing a facial oil with a touch of sheer foundation for a light cover that glows. Alternatively, you can use a BB cream to the cheeks and forehead and blend it well with a kabuki brush. Swoop down whatever is left on the brush over the nose and chin so it doesn't get too cakey in the creases. The nose is often the area most noticeable where any product gathers, so usually less here the better. Tap in products too after application, this helps them settle and also feels nice to the face.

What are your top tips for a mature complexion?

It would have to be a monthly exfoliant, not too often as skin can be finer and delicate...

Using an SPF cream also adds brightness to the skin without too much shine – which a highlighter can sometimes create and that then accentuates fine lines.

A cream blush that is the same tone as the lips creates a lovely clean, fresh overall look on mature skin. Steer away from powers, unless they are fine silk-like powders.

Are there any cool makeup trends you're starting to see for autumn/winter?

Blue! Yes the Princes Diana eyeliner could well be making a return. Bold eyes in blue or a dash of all works.

Also a very soft ethereal eye with soft tones in the crease of the eye and fluttery lashes.

The barely there look will always be on trend.

What is your biggest source of inspiration?

I would have to say my mentor when I started out in this industry and who I assisted: Mary Ellen Lamb. She was amazing, charismatic and had so many eye shadows that she had to stick them down into CD covers and stack them. She could turn her hand to anything within seconds. She taught me how to do 'quick changes' in makeup. For instance, if you have a full eye of makeup, you can take a foundation brush with just a teeny touch of concealer and swipe it over the eye and you have a new look.

What is your favourite celebrity makeup look and why?

I have always adored Kate Winslets look throughout her various stages of life. Clean, sophisticated, elegant and never too 'done'.

If I can say 2 people it would be an equal too with Julia Roberts. She ages gracefully and always seems so confident in her own skin. Glowing – and it proves that by keeping smiling as she does those laughter lines form so perfectly.

For more information, visit and follow @mach_management on Instagram.

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