Makeup artist, cosmetics consultant and L’Oréal Paris spokesperson Collier Strong’s trademark faces begin with skin that appears to glow from within. From super clean innocence to sexy sophistication, Collier creates a range of stunning beauty looks for his roster of A-list celebrity clients and shows millions of magazine readers and television viewers how to recreate the same gorgeous looks at home. As L’Oréal Paris Consulting Makeup Artist, Collier has been showing real women how to achieve his signature effortless-looking beauty since 1999. As part of L’Oréal Paris’ creative team, he works on the beauty company’s print and television advertising shoots as well as cosmetics product development. Collier’s talent and savvy also have led to his nine seasons (and counting) as the featured makeup artist with television show Project Runway.
Tell us a bit about your background. How did you discover that makeup was your calling?
I became obsessed with beauty at an early age when working at my sister’s beauty salon as a teenager. Severe acne delivered another lesson – the critical role that skin plays in a person’s self confidence and how gaining that self confidence can change a life. After graduating from beauty school, I set up my own salon in West Palm Beach, FL. In 1988, I packed up and moved to Los Angeles to pursue my calling as a makeup artist.
What’s typical work week like for you?
A “typical” work week could be a photo shoot with a big celebrity or a trip to India for a shampoo commercial. There’s really nothing that’s ever “typical.” It all depends!
Is there an easy-to-adopt professional secret you can share with our readers?
It’s easier than you might think to look good. Blush and lipstick or gloss are a girl’s best friend. Even if you don’t want to do your makeup, throw on these two products and you’ll not only look better, but feel better!
Please describe a key makeup look for fall/winter 2011.
For fall, there is a sophistication to the beauty looks. I’ve created a collection for L’Oréal Paris and Project Runway that epitomizes that playful sophistication. Called “Colors Take Flight,” the shades were inspired by the exotic hues of beautiful birds from around the world. The palettes are fun and interchangeable.
What are some of your tricks for finding the right foundation for your skin tone?
Foundation is the trickiest product to pick out in a drugstore, yet L’Oréal Paris has broken it down into three skin tone categories with their True Match line (warm, neutral and cool), which takes a lot of the guesswork out of picking a shade. If you’re unsure whether you are warm, neutral or cool, look at your wrist on the inside of your arm and observe what color it is. Does the color look more pink? Or yellow? Or does it fall somewhere in between? Pink is cool and yellow is warm. Somewhere in between is neutral. If you are still unsure, simply take a piece of pink and gold fabric and lay it on your arm to see which one your skin looks more like. If it’s neither, than it’s neutral.
What’s next for you? What do you hope to be doing in five years?
I plan to continue as a L’Oréal Paris consulting makeup artist. Andie MacDowell has a new TV show coming out and I’ve been busy helping her during the promotion of the show. Diane Keaton has her autobiography coming out soon and I’ll be on the road with her during her book tour. I have been doing a bunch of Personal Appearances for L’Oréal Paris. In fact, I just returned from one in Arlington, TX. It was so fun! I led the L’Oréal Paris Pro Team and we did 50 consumer makeovers at ULTA! Spread the Beauty!!!