Lyne Desnoyers is constantly creating mood boards or developing new ideas for make-up. Having been with MAC since 1995 and working in her role as executive director of make-up artistry since 2011, she divides her time between working with industry people and developing make-up looks for the various Fashion Weeks, as well as being a media spokesperson for the brand. She’s extremely knowledgeable and not prone to hyperbole – her goal with beauty is simple: “Making people look beautiful and making the whole process as enjoyable as possible.”It was a joy to speak with Desnoyers, who during our interview couldn’t stop herself from playing with the products, and mixing and matching colours and formulas to create new looks. Her favourite: combining the brand’s Prep + Prime Skin and a pearlescent Strobe Cream, then using it as a base to give the face – what she calls “the canvas” – a soft, luminous glow.
It’s a subject that I’m very fascinated with – and I’ve been observing trends for many years. But one of the things that I’m seeing that’s happening in make-up nowadays is how much it’s inspired by real life. I know you’re going to say, “Oh, how boring!” But actually, no, being inspired by reality means make-up that doesn’t want to transform a person – it’s there to reveal the beauty. This year’s make-up has a lot of personality. It’s not something you put on and you become a completely different person, or you can’t move because your make-up only looks good from one angle. I find that the types of textures that we see now are products that allow the skin to breathe. Eye make-up that’s long-wearing, but feels like it isn’t there.
I think we’ve seen a lot of different things in terms of coverage, but the most important will be dimension and luminosity. There’s a big return of different levels of pearlescent. We have this new pearly make-up called Strobe Cream – and it’s something you put underneath. Sometimes you use it as a highlight. This is something that just really gives you plump, healthy skin. We have it in pink or silver undertones. There’s also a big return for a soft sparkle – a soft element of glitter that can be used by itself, only in touches. If you start working with luminosity, you want to have a balance. You don’t want to sparkle everywhere. You want to have strobing here, sparkle there, and a gloss.
I was telling you how the skin and eye make-up evolved, but the canvas needs to be beautiful. One of the things I find super, super-important is to really prepare the skin. Here in Asia, it’s nothing new because people here prepare their skin with moisturisers and serums. It’s a preoccupation! Another super-key ingredient is moisturiser infusion, simply because it’s a primer with a lot of hyaluronic acid in it and it plumps the skin. Having luminous skin is a global obsession.
Let’s talk about lips.
Two things – I don’t want to call them extremes, but in a way they are. Matte is extremely popular, with loads of reds in different shades, from a really pure red to an orangey red, and to a rustier red. Then there’s another texture, which is a little bit more stain-like, with a little more of a shine to it. But it’s still the same type of family in colour – always in red.
What I really like right now is that you start with your canvas, then you choose what your element will be. A touch of colour, either on the lips or eyes – that’s it. There’s this idea of working with colour that is done in an almost spontaneous way – very sheer, or very strong, but either just at the bottom of the lash or on the lid by itself. That’s already a statement. But if that’s not your thing, then lips. Lips can also be a big colour statement.
Eyeliner, funnily enough, is making a massive comeback. You might say, “It’s never disappeared.” That’s true, it never disappeared. Like red lipstick, black eyeliner will never go out of fashion. But when you’re working your black eyeliner, the eyebrows will be very important. Your statement will be on the lines. If you’re thinking of doing a beautiful eyeliner with strong brows and lashes, then the rest of your face should be kept simple. It should be very soft, like a delicate flush or a lip balm. I think that’s probably one of the newest trends, in a way. Little by little, we’re letting go of having everything look absolutely perfect. What I mean by that is, it’s not because you’re wearing eyeliner; you have to have the contour and the blush and the lipstick. You can let the other details go. That, to me, is where it gets closer to real life. It feels a bit dated to have just everything super-done.
We’re living in a society that’s obsessed with health and youth, and that has influenced beauty in a way as well. Why are we all obsessed with luminosity? It’s because there’s nothing more healthy-looking and youthful-looking than plump, radiant skin. There’s a value shift, but I want to add to that there are no rules anymore in make-up – no one to say what’s in and what’s out. There’s a spectrum of looks. Women now have access to a portfolio, almost like a wardrobe of options. They can pick and choose. And women are so smart now with social media, with YouTube, with all the tutorials; they have a lot more information. What I can show you is what we’ve tried and done backstage, but the reality is that women will say, “Oh, okay, I’m going to try this glitter she spoke about. But you know, I’m going to try and do it with something different.” I think that’s nice – it just personalises everything.
We are doing a collaboration with Patrick Starr. With influencers, it’s very interesting because they’re make-up lovers, period. Like, passionate. And we love make-up lovers. And I think that in a way, they epitomise what we talked about earlier – the ultimate reappropriation of product, building something that’s completely unique. It adds personality and character, and I think that’s one part of why they’re so followed, so listened to and so admired – because they create something uniquely theirs. I think that’s incredibly aspirational. I also think as make-up junkies, they know the products inside-out. They also really play with it and mix it. That’s why they’re so interesting to talk to and to collaborate with, because they have their own sets of hacks. Influencers really changed the game in a lot of places, for women to know more about make-up.
I don’t think I’m too far from reality to say the liquid lip was first and foremost an online phenomenon. It was an Insta-phenomenon and now everyone is doing it. But you see, it’s a good product. It works! And I love that. Before, you know, everything we were doing backstage, it was always a bit of a secret. There are no secrets anymore. Everybody has access. And when it works, it works.
For us, make-up has always been a means of self-expression. And I think it’s true that we believe in that freedom, in playing around. There are no mistakes because you can remove it. I think that’s still true today. That’s why, when you come into our stores, we always encourage you to try it on. We dip our lipsticks in alcohol and tell you to try it on and see how you feel. In the end, for me, make-up isn’t too far from emotions. How does it make you feel? I always say that’s the best make-up tip. If you feel good, then it’s good. Being bold is just a part of being fun. There’s no specific aesthetic that really defines us. We have a range of colours; there’s something for everyone. And we encourage that here at MAC. We’re renowned for that, it’s true. But don’t forget we started in the mid-’80s, and I think it was a loud decade.
I don’t think they’re shy with it at all. We’ve always had men come to our stores, whether it’s professionals or people who need to be on camera. In terms of the male influencers we’re seeing, the fact that they are having so much success means an evolution. To have the choice and freedom to do it, I think it’s become a lot more accepted. It’s something that’s not strange anymore.