Celebrity makeup artist Billy B. talks to us about his new palette and the big mistake people make with contouring
Makeup artist Billy Brasfield, known as Billy B., has worked his magic on the faces of so many of our favorite celebrities. Throughout his career, Billy has given fierce looks to everyone from Lady Gaga, Cindy Crawford, Sharon Stone, Missy Elliott, Selena Gomez, Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, Gwen Stefani and many, many more. Billy has also appeared on RuPaul’s Drag Race and was also the global consulting makeup artist for L’Oréal Paris. (Phew, talk about an impressive résumé!)
Most recently, Billy B. teamed up with Gállány Cosmetics, founded by industry legend Ida Gàl-Csiszar, on a new face and eye palette available exclusively on QVC. The Essentials Face and Eye Palette includes 19 shades in matte, shimmer, neutral, and bold colors. Needless to say, this is an extremely versatile palette created by a true makeup icon. We want it in our hands, ASAP!
At the launch party for the collab, Billy talked to HelloGiggles about the inspiration for his palette and why he doesn’t believe in calling contour a trend.
HelloGiggles: How did the collaboration with Gállány come about?
Billy B.: Ida, I don’t know how old Ida is, but she’s a woman of a certain age. All I know is that she’s been in the business long enough that she worked with Max Factor himself. For me, that is cosmetic loyalty. Someone who is that passionate about cosmetics, and has been in the game that long, knows what she’s doing, and creates great products. When the invitation came about I would have been stupid not to.
HG: Were you always set on doing a palette?
Billy: It was a palette idea from the beginning because I’m old school, too, in a certain way. I’m self-taught. I taught myself how to do makeup at a cosmetic counter. Back in the day, the palettes were the big event. You’re probably not old enough to remember, but they only happened like at Christmas. The inspiration for this was something small enough that you could fit in your purse, but God forbid, if your house is on fire, you grab your kids, your spouse, your pets and your palette, and you’re good to go. And I wanted a palette that was as universal as I could make it. With as many clients as I had who are women of color, literally across the spectrum of skin tones, it’s not easy to do that. There’s a million looks that you can get — contour and highlight, some blush colors.
HG: How did you go about choosing the shades?
Billy: First of all, I just believe that the majority of the contour palettes that are out there are crap. I don’t think brown is the universal contour color. I went into McDonald’s to get a coffee on the way here, and this poor girl had two chocolate brown stripes, nothing else, no other makeup on. I just thought, “That’s not her fault.” Contour isn’t a trend. It’s something that has to be thoughtful, and the color has to be right.
This is a color that I have used on a million people, and it works on all of them, for the most part. Believe it or not, it has a little bit of a gray undertone because what you’re doing is creating the illusion of a shadow. A shadow isn’t chocolate brown, right? I just feel that there are little nuances about this palette that come from a very educated place because of how many years I’ve been doing this. Most shadows that come in a palette have a sheen. A contour color isn’t supposed to have a sheen. It’s supposed to recede, give the illusion of a contour. A sheen reflects light. And you can use the palette wet or dry.
HG: Do you think you’ll ever want to expand into a full collection?
Billy: I would love to. I was a global spokesperson for L’Oréal Paris for four years and that’s when I first started doing product development. I really have a passion for it. For me, I’ve done everything else there is to do. I’ve done almost every celebrity there is to do, and I’ve done every red carpet there is to do. I want to be challenged. I want to do other things now.
You can grab The Essentials Face and Eye Palette at QVC for $54.