ELLE’s 2018 Beauty Genius Awards


From celebrity makeup artists and Instagram-famous hairstylists to the whiz behind the best eco-beauty products, ELLE’s thirteenth annual celebration of influential insiders toasts the most inspiring pros in the business.

Makeup

The Visionary: Anne Staunsager

ELLE Beauty Awards 2018

Richard Majchrzak+Studio D + courtesy of the subject

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Danish makeup artist Anne Staunsager is sought after by magazines all over the world for her ability to pair fresh-looking skin with painterly colors and textures for an ultrachic, if unusual, effect. “I like to create looks that have an unexpected twist,” she says. Case in point: a gilt-lined pout, which she devised by focusing pink pigment on the center of the mouth, layering it to build intensity, then drawing around the Cupid’s bow with a gold highlighter. The trick to making such daring makeup wearable, Staunsager says, is to keep the rest of the face as natural as possible. “I would always rather see real-life imperfections than have anyone look too polished.”

To achieve a lit-from-within effect, Staunsager massages a lightweight oil onto models’ skin, followed by Weleda Skin Food, a rich moisturizer with a subtle sheen. She then mixes a few drops of Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Liquid Highlighter, into foundation before application to ensure a supersheer, lustrous finish. To create the look, she prepped with lip balm (“Getting rid of dryness is crucial”), then swept on M.A.C Lipmix in Fuchsia with a brush.

1. Weleda Skin Food, $10; amazon.com SHOP NOW

2. M.A.C Lipmix, $17.50; maccosmetics.com SHOP NOW

3. Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Liquid Highlighter, $41; sephora.com SHOP NOW

The Face Ace: Gucci Westman

Richard Majchrzak + Studio D; courtesy of the subject

A legend for her backstage wizardry (signature trick: gifting exhausted models with an incandescent glow), Gucci Westman launched her own cosmetics line, putting the flawless skin she’s famous for at our fingertips. Westman Atelier’s minimalist collection of complexion enhancers— including portable stick formula foundation, highlighter, bronzer, and blush—is infused with clean, plant-based ingredients that deliver skin-care benefits during wear. “I wanted to offer uncompromising performance but also be supersafe,” Westman says of her decision to source natural components. To that end, she replaced silicone with hydrogenated coconut oil and incorporated a new technology that buffers synthetic pigment molecules so that they never actually come in contact with skin. “The consumer has so much knowledge now, and she wants more in terms of both transparency and efficacy,” she says. “It’s fun to be able to step up to the plate and say, ‘Okay, let’s play.’”

The buttery Westman Atelier Vital Skin Foundation Stick comes in 11 shades and is fortified with moisture-locking plant compounds and a blend of light oils. It’s “buildable and long-wearing, and helps protect against pollution, redness, and inflammation,” Westman says. The portable stick formulation “makes it easy to apply only where it’s most needed.” Westman dampens makeup sponges with Herbivore Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist to cool and refresh skin; for prep, she relies on hydrating, luminizing SK-II Facial Treatment Masks: “I’ve grown so attached to them that I feel a little lost when I have to apply makeup without using them first.”

1. Westman Atelier Vital Skin Foundation Stick, $68; barneys.com SHOP NOW

2. Herbivore Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist, $32; sephora.com SHOP NOW

3. SK-II Facial Treatment Masks, $135; sephora.com SHOP NOW

The Color Queen: Kara Yoshimoto Bua

Richard Majchrzak+Studio D; courtesy of the subject

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A-listers such as Daisy Ridley, Saoirse Ronan, and Jessica Biel keep Chanel makeup artist Kara Yoshimoto Bua on speed dial for red-carpet events. Bua approaches her work without a fixed road map, preferring to “just feel the vibe,” she says. “I tune in to the colors or shapes of a dress, or the mood the person is in.” She’s currently loving the effect of a dark statement lip with minimal eye makeup, as Ronan sported for the Critics’ Choice Awards earlier this year (“It takes cojones to skip mascara on the red carpet,” Bua says, “but that’s what we did”). She defines her style as boundary-pushing without going too crazy. In the end, “the overall balance of the look is what’s most important.”

For a dramatic lip, Bua taps the “beautiful brick maroon” eye shadow shade from the Chanel Palette Essentielle in Beige Médium on top of a dark lip liner (“That way, the color isn’t going to bleed, and it’s going to stay on forever”), then cleans up the edges with a concealer brush dabbed in Chanel Vitalumière Aqua Foundation: “It adds definition, and you can make last-minute corrections if the shape is asymmetrical.” To calm jumpy celebs, she massages frankincense essential oil, like Aura Cacia’s, into their pulse points. “It’s grounding and uplifting, and gets them set to go out in front of millions of people.”

1. Chanel Palette Essentielle, $60; chanel.com SHOP NOW

2. Aura Cacia Essential Oil, Meditative Frankincense, $19; amazon.com SHOP NOW

3. Chanel Vitalumière Aqua Foundation, $50; chanel.com SHOP NOW

Genius Philanthropic Campaign

Richard Majchrzak + Studio D

Women’s-rights pioneer Elizabeth Arden famously distributed crimson lipsticks to marching suffragettes in 1912. The brand now celebrates that legacy with a limited-edition March On red bullet, signed by the company’s storyteller-in-chief, Reese Witherspoon. One hundred percent of proceeds goes to UN Women to advance gender equality worldwide.

Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Color Moisturizing Lipstick in Red Door Red, $26.50; elizabetharden.com SHOP NOW


Skin

The Mix Master: Mimi Lu

Courtsey + Studio D

Over the past decade, California-based Juice Beauty has done more to shift perspectives about the efficacy of green cosmetics than perhaps any other company. Its luxe, high-tech formulations—and a partnership with Goop—have set the bar for results-driven, sustainable self-care. As product development director, Mimi Lu (who cut her teeth helping to formulate everything from mascara to hair dye at L’Oréal) has spearheaded more than 100 launches over the past seven years. Her proudest moment? Creating Juice Beauty’s epigenetics- inspired Signal Peptides Firming Serum, which boasts a patent-pending blend of powerful, clinically proven rice peptides and a unique, fast-absorbing microemulsion technology that took three and a half years to perfect. “We have such a strict list of no-no ingredients, and having to formulate to 70 percent organic is definitely challenging,” Lu says. “But that makes it even more exciting when you figure it out.”

Juice Beauty Singal Peptides Firming Serum, $110; neimanmarcus.com SHOP NOW

The Microcurrent Maestro: Melanie Simon

ELLE Beauty Genius Awards 2018

Courtsey + Studio D

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Gimme gimme shock treatment: Electrical aesthetician Melanie Simon is the Nikola Tesla of facialists, using a professional microcurrent device to mix and match combinations of carefully calibrated wavelengths. The “electrical cocktails,” as she calls them, lift, sculpt, and depuff according to a client’s needs. For those who can’t make it onto the waiting list at her L.A. or Jackson Hole, Wyoming, offices, she developed the ZIIP, a palm-size nano- and microcurrent home device. When synced with an iPhone, it delivers quick firming, revitalizing, pigmentation- fighting, and acne-busting treatments. “The electricity is at such a low level that you don’t feel it,” she says, “but it increases circulation and helps drain the lymphatic fluid that can build up around the eyes and on the jawline.” While the instant results are impressive, Simon claims the long-term benefits are even better: “Regular use will kick-start your body into doing what it’s supposed to do, like making more collagen and elastin.”

Simon begins every session by swiping skin with facialist favorite Biologique Recherche Lotion P50, which “tones, balances the pH in skin, and helps shrink pores.” She recommends using the ZIIP one to three times a week, making sure to “begin at the base of the neck and work your way upward” for maximum lifting. (Pro tip: The eye treatment can also be used to plump lips.) To boost brightness, Simon slathers on the AHA-rich Tatcha Violet-C Radiance Mask.

1. Tatcha Violet-C Radiance Mask, $68; sephora.com SHOP NOW

2. ZIIP Beauty Device & Golden Conductive Gel, $495; neimanmarcus.com SHOP NOW

3. Biologique Recherche Lotion P50, $101; shoprescuespa.com SHOP NOW


Hair

The Cutting Edge: Kristen Shaw

courtesy of the subject + Richard Majchrzak Studio D

Ever since her first pop-up salon (also a concept shop selling rare books) appeared in downtown L.A. four years ago, Kristen Shaw has been the cool-girl stylist to watch. Now clients such as Rosario Dawson, Olivia Munn, Shailene Woodley, Tessa Thompson, and Chloë Sevigny flock to her boutique studio, Cabin, in Venice, California, for the prettily unfussy but supremely silky looks that have become her signature. Shaw credits her art-school training for the sculptural geometry detectable in even her most tousled creations. Like a surgeon, she selectively carves into the hair with a combination of scissors and BaBylissPRO clippers. “The way I cut is based on the shape of your head, your neck length, the width of your shoulders, and the way you carry yourself,” she says. “I like to establish really nice lines, then build shape and texture by moving around weight in the hair.”

Shaw strategizes her cuts to grow in beautifully over time, but she asks clients to stop in for conditioning and detoxifying treatments once a month. She recommends using Davines Minu Hair Mask, which “helps seal the cuticle” between cuts. For “a piecey texture that doesn’t feel greasy,” she mixes Ritual Hair Oil from natural brand Playa (for which she is an ambassador) with dry shampoo, then works the combo into strands with her hands. Her “secret weapon” for red-carpet styles? CoverGirl Professional Natural Lash. “Using a clear mascara on little baby flyaways makes hair look nice and finished without being too done.”

1. CoverGirl Professional Natural Lash Mascara, $6; ulta.com SHOP NOW

2. Playa Beauty Ritual Hair Oil, $38; net-a-porter.com SHOP NOW

3. Davines Minu Hair Mask, $34; amazon.com SHOP NOW

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The Strand Savant: Lacy Redway

ELLE Beauty Genius Awards 2018

Richard Majchrzak/Studio D+ Richard Majchrzak+ courtesy

Lacy Redway’s superpower lies not just in the speed with which she’s able to craft her deeply researched looks (she’ll study how certain tribal braids originated before adapting them), but in the breadth of glam she’s able to bestow on her clientele, as in Tessa Thompson’s elegant cornrows and Christina Hendricks’s 1960s-inspired ponytail at the Golden Globes. Since running an ad hoc salon out of her apartment building as a teen, Redway has honed her knack for immaculate execution under a time crunch. But it was backstage at an Alexander Wang show where her artistry truly crystallized. “I hadn’t realized that my braiding was different from anyone else’s. But I drew a crowd, and it was then that I saw I have something special,” she says. Now working with the likes of Alicia Keys and Ashley Graham, Redway rejects the idea of specializing: “I want to have the freedom to practice my talents on more than one hair type or hairstyle.”

“I work on so many different hair textures,” Redway says, “so I need products that are truly universal, like Ouai Hair Oil, which I just love.” To catch any rogue wisps before an event, Redway sprays Nexxus Comb Thru Volume Finishing Mist onto a blush brush and dusts the hair down, cutting the risk of stiff residue when it’s time to restyle for an afterparty. For “cool, downtown girl” texture that will last, she recommends spritzing volumizing Bed Head Superstar Queen for a Day Thickening Spray through strands for added oomph and a little lived-in grit.

1. Ouai Hair Oil, $28; sephora.com SHOP NOW

2. Nexxus Comb Thru Volume Finishing Mist, $13.75; amazon.com SHOP NOW

3. Bed Head Superstar Queen for a Day Thickening Spray. $18; amazon.com SHOP NOW


InstantGRATIFICATION

ELLE Beauty Awards 2018

Instagram +STUDIO D

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The Classicist: Rachael Gibson

If you seek hair inspo that dates back further than the early aughts, the Hair Historian, curated by UK-based beauty editor Rachael Gibson, should be your new obsession. From the flowing waves of Botticelli to the “ghostly, Gothic hair” of Lucas Cranach the Elder, Gibson posts strand-centric art. “It makes you realize that trends are cyclical,” she says. “People have always been coloring their hair and trying weird bangs. I saw horn-shaped buns in a medieval painting that I saw again at Moschino. Someone was doing this in the 1400s, and now it’s on the runways. I like finding that correlation.”

Follow @thehairhistorian.

The Health Fanatic: Takisha Sturdivant-Drew

Besides the bevy of awards collected among them, what unites the stars of Mudbound, Orange Is the New Black, and Scandal? Takisha Sturdivant-Drew, whose account features her red-carpet looks for Mary J. Blige, Uzo Aduba, and longtime muse and client Kerry Washington. “I’m very light on products,” Sturdivant-Drew says. “They weigh down the hair.” To maintain health, she relies on Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask. “Most of my clients are natural. Even if I’m not doing your hair, you can use this mask—put it on, and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes under some heat.”

Follow @takishahair.

Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Hair Mask, $6; amazon.com SHOP NOW

The Insider: Mara Roszak

Celebrity hairstylist Mara Roszak’s tightly edited feed offers behind-the-scenes access to clients such as Emma Stone, as well as take-it-to-the-salon inspiration: from deep, foiled parts on Brie Larson to pretty, stenciled, improvised symbols on Cara Delevingne’s peach fuzz. Accompanying Roszak’s knack for flawless glam is a real soft spot for crops. “I think women feel more liberated with short hair,” says the Mare Salon co-owner. “But you don’t want to overstyle. I love Sachajuan Ocean Mist. It won’t weigh down fine hair or make it crunchy.”

Follow @mararoszak.

Sachajuan Ocean Mist, $31; dermstore.com SHOP NOW

The Transformer: Nikki Lee

Nikki Lee—who’s part of the dream team that turned Selena Gomez “Nirvana blond” over the course of nine hours—provides a sunbeam view of the kind of California you thought only existed in sitcoms. Starlets like Nina Dobrev and Julianne Hough laugh through styling sessions, and hugs abound. “People hang out and chat all day,” Lee says. “We’re all really friends.” For one-and-done multitasking, Lee relies on R+Co High Dive. “I use it as a blow-out balm, and on damp hair before air-drying for a natural wave. I’ll also smooth it on a sleek pony for added hydration.”

Follow @nikkilee901.

R+Co High Dive, $29; amazon.com SHOP NOW

ELLE Beauty Awards 2018

Instagram + STUDIO D

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The Technicolor Dream: Bea Sweet

“I love color,” says British makeup artist Bea Sweet. “You have to be clever about placement and texture,” she adds. “I look at parrots and their insane combinations for inspiration.” Don’t know where to begin? Let one hue be the focus: “Start small, with a colored eyeliner or mascara just on the bottom lashes.” For pigment that won’t quit, Sweet suggests Nyx In Your Element Shadow Palette in Fire. “The shadows need so little work to get the payoff,” she says. “And it has a great red. Red eyelids are so hot right now.”

Follow @beasweetbeauty.

1. Nyx In Your Element Shadow Palette, $24; nyxcosmetics.com SHOP NOW

The Advocate: Giselle Ali

London-based makeup artist Giselle Ali is devoted to publicizing the need for a spectrum of shades for women of color. “In 2018, people are still making black models look ashy or gray, or they don’t have the right products in their kit. That’s not right,” she says. Ali creates glowing looks on models—and herself—using products she believes in, RiRi’s collection being one of them. “The Fenty campaign came and got it right out of the gate. Rihanna really thought about range and formulation. The Match Stix are great: They’re really creamy and go on amazingly, and the color is perfect.”

Follow @giselle_makeup.

2. Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Match Stix Shimmer Skinstix, $25; sephora.com SHOP NOW

The Romantic: Fiona Stiles

Ethereal starlets like Lily Collins turn to L.A.-based makeup artist Fiona Stiles, aka the queen of gleam, to deliver a transcendent luminosity, even when the elements aren’t in their favor. “Doing red carpet is always a crapshoot,” she says. “If it’s daytime, you will have a washed-out red undertone to everything. I prefer night, when there’s a nice flash.” To replicate the best-lit skin, Stiles recommends Tata Harper Illuminating Moisturizer. “It gives a really pretty glow without being over the top, so you can build it underneath foundation. Do arms, legs, décolletage—everything.”

Follow @fionastiles.

3. Tata Harper Illuminating Moisturizer, $85; tataharperskincare.com SHOP NOW

The Crossover: Jessica Washick

Talk about a cool side hustle. Jessica Washick, Nike color designer and self-taught nail artist, crafts whimsical and funny scenes across her digits, sometimes incorporating a Nike-themed logo or lace. For those who wish to start simpler, Washick recommends a favorite hack: “I always carry Essie’s Inside Scoop,” she says. “It’s so easy to apply. Just one coat, and it will get you through the day. It makes your nails look really healthy because it’s a pinkish blue, as opposed to a peachy pink. Use a color with purple or blue undertones to camouflage yellowed nails.”

Follow @jessicawashick.

4. Essie Gel Couture Nail Polish, $11.50; amazon.com SHOP NOW


This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue of ELLE.

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