Celebrities including Jessica Chastain, Elizabeth Banks, Jennifer Garner and Gabrielle Union have relied on veteran make-up artist Fiona Stiles to get them ready for prime time. With this spring’s launch of Fiona Stiles Beauty—an assortment of 120 eye, lip and face products in a range of colors—Stiles is now sharing her expertise with consumers. The line will be sold at select Ulta Beauty stores nationwide and on ulta.com. We asked Stiles to tell us more.
Q. What prompted you to start a make-up line?
A. Ulta Beauty was looking for a make-up artist interested in the education aspect of a cosmetic line and reached out to me. This is something I believe deeply in, so I was thrilled!
Q. How long was it in the making?
A. We worked on this line for about a year.
Q. What was the process like?
A. Creating the line was a really exciting experience. I really loved being thrown into something and learning all of the ins and outs of developing a make-up line. It was intensive and very interesting, like learning a new language very quickly.
Q. What were the challenges of doing this?
A. As a make-up artist, I look at color in a very specific, subjective way. When you talk to a chemist, they see color very differently. While creating the line, I had to learn how to look at a color and verbalize what I was looking for, which can be an occasional challenge.
Q. What did you learn along the way?
A. I learned so much! I really enjoyed being in the lab with the chemists and tweaking everything until it was just right. I learned that patience and perseverance pay off!
Q. What do you feel this line offers that others don’t?
A. This line is about “mistake-free make-up” and about products not being intimidating. I talk to a lot of women who are still intimidated by make-up, which I find surprising. By having certain products be sheer, like the Sheer Sculpting Palette, and other products having incredible payoff, like the Artist Eye Shadow Quad and the Radiant Aqua Eye Veils, people can create looks more easily and effortlessly. We have sheer lipsticks that still have a great color vibrancy, and then matte lip colors that are incredible, so there’s a little something for everyone. If you’re just dipping your toe into color or embrace it wholeheartedly, there’s a product for you.
Q. What are your favorite products in it?
A. I am crazy about the Radiant Aqua Eye Veils ($22, ulta.com). They’re a really modern texture and formulation, and the payoff and wearability is amazing. They’re a staple in my kit. I also love the Sheer Sculpting Palettes ($28, ulta.com) and the Light Illusion Prism Palette ($28, ulta.com). They are both subtle and effective, making the contour and highlights really look believable. I wanted these products to really make it look like you look amazing, not your make-up. I want the compliments for people to be “You look so beautiful,” not “Your make-up looks so beautiful.” That was very important to me.
Q. Any plans to expand the product range or expand where it is offered, or is Ulta an exclusive?
A. It’s exclusive to Ulta Beauty, but is also available online at ulta.com.
Q. What advice would you give other make-up artists who were planning to start their own make-up lines?
A. Know your stuff! I am a product nerd, so it really helped when it came to knowing textures. For decades, I have visited the make-up counters to see what’s new. I love to see what is out there, so it felt very natural when it came to experimenting with textures, colors and formulations.