Just as his name implies, Sir John is not only one of the most sought-after makeup artists in the world, he's beauty industry royalty.
His artistry appears regularly on the covers of top publications including Vogue, Vanity Fair and Harper's Bazaar. He's a L'Oréal brand ambassador and creative consultant for their new products. And he's a producer and mentor on Lifetime TV's American Beauty Star competition, which has just been picked up for a second season. And did we mention he's the personal makeup artist for all of Beyoncé's albums, tours and red carpet events?
Sir John is in Charlotte this weekend for one of the most anticipated beauty events of the year: a Master Class he'll teach at Levine Museum of the New South from 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Feb. 4. Tickets are $200 and include makeup demonstrations, a Q&A about beauty concerns, guidelines for achieving success in the beauty industry and gift bags valued at $400 that are filled with products from top beauty brands. To register, click here.
As kind as he is talented, Sir John has spent the days leading up to his Master Class making TV appearances and speaking to students at local cosmetology schools including Empire and Paul Mitchell. During an interview with The O Report, he shared his phenomenal beauty wisdom for women 50 and up along with his concerns about social media and the proper way to introduce your young children or grandchildren to makeup.
Why is it so important to you to talk with students?
"They’re in the same place I was 15 years ago. Knowledge is to be shared and so many people in our industry don’t want to share how they got to where they are. I talk to them about more than just makeup.
A lot of our young people feel polarized and isolated because of social media. Social media can be great for inspiration and as an amazing tool for promoting your brand. It's a gift in our industry because you don't have to have a big company behind you to succeed anymore. But it can also make them feel bad about themselves. It's important for them to hear that they need to unplug from it at times. And that they shouldn't follow people that make them feel bad about themselves.
Social media does give you a chance to see the best of the best. But what you don't see is when things don't work out for that person in their life or when they're having a really bad day. It's a dream, fantasy world that can make our younger generation feel anxious and depressed. If it makes you feel bad about your station in life, then stop following that person and close your phone. Everyone else is telling them the opposite."
You have this great quote, "Beauty doesn't just start and stop on the face. I want to increase the vibration women send out in the world." Can you elaborate on that thought?
"It's about anything that is going to give you more confidence when you walk through that door or that threshold. Lipstick has the power to change how you feel. If you look back in history during the Depression or World War II, women were still buying lipstick. Just that one small purchase could change their sense of self. I've met women who have gone through chemo and lost their brows. When you teach them how to draw on their brows it means so much to them that sometimes they cry. What I'm saying is that in our fast-paced lives, you must stop and spend a little extra time on yourself."
What are your best beauty tips for women 50 and up?
"My mom is my best friend and she's in her 50s. What I've noticed in our society is that the hot ticket in marketing is to engage those in the 18-35 demographic. But the women who have the deep pockets are mature women.
In the beauty world, I hate the term anti-aging. If you think about it, anti-aging means death. I feel that we should embrace becoming more mature. It's such an American thing to not embrace aging. I travel a lot in France and Italy and they really appreciate a woman with more experience. This is the best time in your life because you have the experience and you know what works and doesn't work.
I was talking with a friend recently and she started complaining about the lines around her eyes. I told her that was a champagne problem. That those lines just meant that she had a great life and smiled a lot.
Beauty is really all about your diet and increasing your circulation. If your skin has become lackluster or you see dark circles, that's because of a sluggish circulation. Try to get your heart rate up for 30 minutes a day and sweat. I'm 35 and I already have problems with my knees, but if you can jump rope. It's one of the best things you can do for your face. It makes it firmer, and it doesn't require going to a gym. The Beta-Carotene in carrots is incredible for your skin because it increases cell turnover. And kale juice is great because it has so much vitamin K that increases blood flow. Don't go out and buy carrot juice or kale juice. Just keep carrots and kale in the fridge and juice those babies every morning. I have a Vitamix blender and that's what I do every morning."
What about makeup tips?
"Don't be afraid of color. It's all about a statement lip and the power of blush, but keep your eye makeup minimal. Tinted eyeliner and mascara are a must - but still keep it colorful. I love it when at a distance an eyeliner or mascara looks black but when you talk to the person up close you see that it's blue or purple. It doesn't scream look at me, but it keeps you in the game. It's also a great look for those who wear glasses because you don't have to sacrifice style. You want to increase the glow factor so make sure you find a foundation that isn't too dry."
What should women be teaching their young daughters and granddaughters about makeup?
"Little girls now really love makeup. They watch tutorials online and so they know a lot because of the Internet. I see that with my nieces. If they express an interest, don't push them away from it. Make it a bonding experience. Young girls and young women see you wear makeup and they love its transformative power. I used to love to see my mother put on mascara. I thought she was beautiful before, but she would come out of the bathroom and it was magical. You want to get them in the game but insist that the products they use are clear. A little clear mascara or clear brow gel. Let them play with makeup in the house, but insist that outside they can only wear a tinted lip balm. When it comes to teaching them to cleanse their face, make sure the products are very gentle and mild. Cetaphil is a good one."
Did you do Beyoncé's makeup for the recent Grammy Awards?
"I did all three of her looks for the awards: The pre-Grammy's brunch where she wore a pleated dress with her hair in a ponytail - I went back to her house and slept - then Clive Davis' pre-Grammy Awards gala that night where she wore the beret, and then the Grammy Awards the next day. She's a sweetheart. Because she's so shy people don't really get a chance to see her true personality. She's very Southern and warm and a little bit goofy. I've been working with her for seven years now. I love her as a sister."