Over the past 20 years, makeup artist Sam Fine has crafted an endless number of looks for the likes of Iman, Vanessa Williams and Queen Latifah, just to name a few. This year the master of the makeup brush unveiled his first cosmetics collection, Sam Fine For Fashion Fair: The Supreme Color Collection, formulated with women of color in mind. Sam sat down with me at The Makeup Show LA to chat about the ins and outs of developing a makeup collection and his red carpet beauty focus.
OK!: What was missing from the makeup world that you really wanted to achieve with your collection for Fashion Fair?
Sam Fine: Having the opportunity to actually develop these shades and put them into one cosmetics collection is really special. It’s also going into the lab and making sure the formulas are highly pigmented. When you work on a woman of color I always say, she’s a color already. Everything has to show up against her skin, this wonderful dark brown background. I wanted to make sure the lipsticks have rich pigment, to make sure the eye shadows really showed up against brown skin. I went into the labs to make sure it was highly-pigmented and make sure the lipstick was still moisturizing and make sure that the gloss went on beautifully—these are the things I feel add to the market.
OK!: What was the trickiest aspect to get just right?
SF: The balance for lipstick because if you put too much moisturizer in it you’re going to sheer out the pigment and if you put too much pigment in then you’re leaning towards mattes that drag. Finding that balance was very challenging. I tried these lipsticks on. I wanted to make sure my mom and three sisters would appreciate them, not just makeup artists who say, this color really delivers but it feels crappy on the lips after eight hours.
OK!: You've worked with some of the most gorgeous women in the world, what’s your focus when you’re creating a red carpet look?
SF: I just worked with Queen Latifah for the Oscars and as I was preparing her for the red carpet the first thing I’m thinking about is foundation. I know she’s a Cover Girl and although I work for Fashion Fair, we’ve worked together for years, so it was a fun opportunity to get her ready. The main thing I focused on is skin. I wanted something I know will last because I’m not going to be with her. She was presenting halfway through the show. Although she has tons of Cover Girl products to touch up her look I wanted to make sure I’ve laid the foundation properly, and that means using a cream foundation, setting it well with powder, contouring and highlighting naturally to make sure her features show up beautifully on the red carpet. This time we went for a really bold lip and that was a lot of fun because I think a lot of people go for nude lips, especially for women of color, nude is a great trend, but color has its place. She was wearing this wonderful white gown so I really wanted to show pink in a wonderful way. She wore a color from her collection—Powderpuff Pink from the Cover Girl Queen Collection.
OK!: Do you ever joke about your dueling cosmetics collections?
SF: No! You have to realize I work with Queen Latifah who has her own collection, I work with Iman who is the CEO of Iman Cosmetics and we share things all of the time. We share our experiences and there is no infighting. I think we complement one another in our collections. I’m learning from the best!
OK!: Did they give you any advice?
SF: Always—you cannot talk to a CEO like Iman, you cannot talk to a businesswoman like Queen Latifah without getting great advice on creating a collection. And, of course, they ask my opinion on many things because I’m the artist who’s putting on that face so they know I know the colors and the consistencies so we definitely have these great pow-wows. Having worked with the first African-American spokesperson for Cover Girl and having worked with Iman from the year she released Iman Cosmetics, 10 or 12 years ago, it’s been a wonderful relationship and I’m glad to have them on my side.
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