Q&A with David Horne of JKMS

By  September 29, 2009

Earlier this summer I hopped the pond for a little R&R in London, but I managed to squeeze in a little work as well. I spent two full days learning top makeup tips and tricks from one of the industry’s finest, David Horne, who serves as Director of Education at the esteemed Jemma Kidd Makeup School. I had a brief moment to chat candidly with the makeup maestro; read on to see what he had to say about bad foundation, makeup essentials, and Gwen Stefani.




GlamBlush: What are the three essentials that every woman should have in her makeup bag?
David Horne: Mascara because it defines the eyelashes and it gives you definition. I think a really good neutral lip pencil, because it gives you structure and it can be a good thing to empower yourself to feel more dressy… with just a clear gloss or balm—it doesn’t have to be a color. And a mattifying powder just to make sure that they don’t look sweaty or greasy because it minimizes pores and it makes your complexion look better if it’s not shiny. So just even the case study today— I saw a woman on the tube today and the first thing I noticed, maybe because I’m a makeup artist, was that her complexion was very, very oily. And I just wanted to walk across and say “I know a great product, you know, let’s go find it and get it for you because I know it will make a big difference in actually how you feel about your complexion!” That lack of being able to find the right product is what the school really encompasses because we are poly-branded, not just Jemma Kidd products. That allows you to come here knowing that we’re not selling [to] you, we’re telling you the best information of what the problem solving product is and who makes it, and that’s the most important thing in the school.


GB: What do you see about makeup that kind of annoys you? When you’re walking on the street, what common mistakes do you see?
DH: As a makeup artist, to me it’s about the balance—knowing which feature to accentuate.  And there’s a lot of overplay; maybe people decide to do their eyes and then they start fighting with that by doing the lips as well and maybe their color is too contrasting. And generally on the street, I think a lot of people get the balance wrong. Too much on one area or not the other or too much conflicting balance. Or maybe just things that fight on the face and not allowing one feature to be expressive, so a person trying to digest that visually doesn’t really know what to look at. It’s amazing, also, foundation is still wrong. Whether it’s a darker skinned woman with an ashy foundation or pale skin with an orange foundation, getting the color wrong is still prevalent. And I think both Jemma and I share the view that it’s amazing how many women use makeup everyday but they still don’t know how to do it. It’s amazing that even with education and information on the web plus [makeup] schools, people are scared of makeup and getting it wrong. Or they are trusting what they’re already doing rather than seeking outside [for] new advice.

GB: Anything in particular you think you’ll see in makeup in coming years?
DH: I actually think when I look ahead, in two, three years, people are going to be less and less interested in makeup for makeup’s sake. The thing they’re chasing is perfect skin. I think perfect skin will always override all trends and I think if we can find product that delivers treating the skin and making it look flawless and giving coverage and actually being a beneficial thing—I think that’s where the boom will be. It will be an actual treatment cosmetic skin care. It will have all of those wrapped into one. I think that’s what we’re looking for. I think a lot of the time, we reach for makeup to give us perfect skin because our skin care or genetics haven’t done it.


GB: You travel quite a lot and you’re very observant. What are the makeup trends in London vs. Paris vs. New York?
DH: I think it comes down to the heritage, irrespective of trends. I mean, trends will be psychic—you’ll see those every 6 months. Traveling a lot has made a difference in my makeup observations. Texas was immediately like “go big or go home”…  and the women there taught me that. It’s like they don’t have any place for natural; they don’t have any place for spending time to spend hours putting shadows on students. If they’re going to make the investment in time, they want impact, so for me that was interesting. And to see impact on humidity—dealing with the environment and then dealing with keeping your makeup on. In London, it’s eclectic. I think that’s been picked up by the generations of being street-culture-expressive and a little bit more playful and thrifty. So because the economy is quite difficult, people are more resourceful to mix and match and they will go to drugstores and high-end, mixing it up. If you compare that to Paris, there’s a split level. You have the eccentric scene and the Bourgeois scene and the heritage of fashion in Paris is very much luxury—Chanel-based. So you’ve got that heritage of very under-spoken, very understated, very classical makeup. And it doesn’t embrace anything outside of that. It stays stuck to that. Spain—very similar. The strong eye, the strong lip, the strong tone on the skin, and blush is heritage to what that nationality is going to feel comfortable in. The ideals of beauty are very different city by city, and I think in New York, because of the whole economy situation, you find that it’s a very conservative chic where it’s going to make a statement. So it’s underplayed particularly with Manhattan. I find that when I look there, the products have to be instant delivery, instant gratification, “if it doesn’t work in 5 minutes I’m out of here,” and so they’re very savvy. Because America has really lead the industry in terms of product development, they really are clued up and aware of everything that’s available and the mass availability in drugstores, I mean you can get very high end products now in drugstores. So as we are in Target, Target represents availability of that really good quality product at a very affordable price.

GB: All Targets across the states?
DH: Yes, every Target. And I think that’s what the consumer is looking for. So even down to when we develop products, thinking of all of those inspirations and women across the world, and practicality. It really comes down to just time efficiency. People will only do makeup if it works: instant gratification and if it survives the environment. I’m not going to pick a pencil if it comes off because I’d rather not put it on than have it half falling off, then it’s about maintenance. And I think makeup being high maintenance is something that women don’t want to attach[themselves] to. Nobody wants high maintenance makeup that has to survive an environment where you have to keep retouching it all day. I think we have become so dependent on being fast and moving forward and instant gratification. Pretty much from the turning point probably of shampoos and conditioners becoming one— I think after that benchmark everything’s going to become one. You know, that’s what developers are trying to do. To use primers and foundation, fuse cosmetics and skincare. So the two-in-one—I don’t see that trend changing; that will continue and get more and more important as we fuse skincare and make up. The cosmetic and the cosmeceutical is going to become so evidently skinceutical. We’ll expect our skincare to look like makeup, and our makeup to treat like skincare. And I embrace that, I think that’s exciting. It saves us time and it’s more intelligent.

GB: Do you think the ‘retro glam’ look is going to catch on?
DH: I think it’s really important right now to use culture for aspirational figures. There aren’t very many starlet icons leading the way. If you think a few years back, the Gwen Stefani look was really inspirational for a lot of young girls. And that came down to that forties … kind of pin-up and I think she worked that image … particularly well for her star-making. If you look at Katy Perry and you look at Dita Von Teese, they’re the same mold of that genre and that generation and I think many women have been inspired by the decades of Hollywood or the imagery of Hollywood iconography. And that means they’re tapping back into that, and the red carpet is a great forum in the music industry. So I think girls do pick up on that. I think that’s naturally the street trend because it’s in the glamour package and it works on most people’s faces and they can identify with it. This isn’t something new, this forties retrospect of glamour has been surviving through all the trends. We see it on the red carpet— it’s the same thing we see it on the cat walks. If you look at London, if you look at Dolce & Gabbana, if you look at Dior, if you look at all of them it continually repeats. I think particularly in climates where the situations are harsh, that return to glamour— I think is important. I do think we’ll see a return to lipstick. I think it will be a lipstick that’s got to be much less high maintenance. It’s the glamour of application of lipstick, but not the actual maintenance of it. You know, what we’re doing today you can see that’s only makeup artistry friendly. You know that among precision on a woman— who’s going to do that? No one’s going to take a half an hour to get their lips perfect in the Von Teese way. Makeup artists would love you to believe that. But one other thing the school represents is trying to bring that inspiration from [the] catwalk and the reality of makeup artistry into a few tips and tricks. Always put it in the tips and tricks section because it’s essentially what you really want to know, isn’t it? In a nutshell, really fast things that make a difference. That makes such a big difference to women to know where to stop eye shadow or where to stop the right point to get the eyeliner to look upwards or downwards and simple little tricks like that. I think the makeup school is a great place to pick that up because that’s environmental— what we’re exploring day by day— and also something like this is great because it’s the non-professional mixing with the professional, so in a situation or day when both classes are running you’ve got an environment that’s learning. And it’s great for developing products because you’ve got real women telling you what the issues are.



Does JKMS certify makeup artists?
We’re not certifying them, we’re just giving them further continuous developing skills. So we find that we have a lot of repeat makeup artists that have trained and lost their confidence or are trying to find a non-biased voice. I think they select us because they know I’ve been in the industry a long time, they know Jemma’s reputation, and they have a respectable level of confidence and trust with makeup artists that this is a place where we’re going to teach them how to do makeup, not to convince them to come buy stuff. And I think for real women, as well, that’s in turn repeat business. The fact we’re poly-brand is extremely important as a directing integrity market— to say where else can you actually get all of that on hand without selling things. I think that’s the luxury of the experience— the fact it gives you that non-biased opinion with the luxury of the buyer to look and choose from without being forc

ed to buy something to get the whole look; a straw hat, you know, thrown in if you buy another three things. I think overwhelmingly I’m surprised by how many people are still intimidated by makeup halls and by those counter consultants that really just put the fear of God in them, and they really pretty much steal women away from wearing makeup. And over the years, that’s really the root of where most people have been scared of makeup. Everybody that I encounter at this school talks of their drawer of makeup. So this phantom drawer always seems to be in the psychology of their lack of confidence. They bought so many things and spent so much money! This is something where ‘I don’t do makeup, it’s costing me personally and costing me financially’ and that’s an important point, isn’t it—if you keep finding things wrong they’re not going to make those mistakes again and they’re not going to embrace change, so it’s a cycle of that really.

Does Jemma ever teach any of the classes?

Yeah, given time she comes through here. She has private clients as well as, and actually interacts in the longer course durations— during the 6 week courses [is when] you’re more likely to see her through the school. She hand-signs all of the cosmetic products and develops them still by hand so the product development is her and in association with myself so we have a joint opinion on it. And again, that’s important because it’s not one opinion. We’re very different people, we have different sign-offs. She ultimately gets the final decision— it’s her name on the brand. But I think it makes it easier to have two opinions, and to walk away and say “he was wrong” or “he was right but don’t tell him.” But you know, I think it’s important we have a very good relationship and we trust each other’s judgment. What’s interesting is the fact that since we’ve collaborated, I’ve become much more soft in the approach and she’s strict enough to become more convicted. So we’ve almost opposite polarized, which is interesting, so we’ve grown individually as well.

What is one key thing that everyone comes to learn?
I think the key thing is finding what your comfort level is with makeup. I think every woman’s got a natural psychological comfort level and trying to express that is the journey; trying to find the right balance. So if somebody feels self confident when they leave here through the makeup choices they’ve found, then our job is done.


Visit www.JemmaKidd.com for classes and more information.