Sir John talks about “Instagram skin,” why criticism is good for us, and what beauty trends we need to ditch

Sir John
Alyssa Morin/ HelloGiggles; Ramona Rosales, Lifetime/ A+E Networks; Getty Images

You can’t mention celebrity makeup artist greats without including Sir John. As a key makeup artist for none other than Beyoncé, Sir John is the creative genius behind some of Bey’s most iconic looks (like her Vogue cover for the September 2018 issue).

When the renowned makeup artist isn’t making magic (and history) with Queen Bey, he’s serving lewks with the rest of his star-studded clientele, which include Priyanka Chopra, Joan Smalls, and Serena Williams. As you can imagine, Sir John is booked and busy. Aside from creating unforgettable makeup on his clients, he’s returning on Lifetime’s Season 2 of American Beauty Star (which premiered on January 2nd). The seasoned makeup artist, whose humble beginnings started at a MAC counter, serves as a mentor on the competition show, alongside host and model Ashley Graham.

We got a chance to talk to Sir John about everything from what it’s like to be a mentor, to his unpopular opinion on beauty trends, to what he foresees being the next big thing in makeup.

HelloGiggles: What’s your favorite part of being a mentor for American Beauty Star

Sir John: Seeing all the young, talented people who are really hungry, who really want to succeed. You know, in those few weeks that I am with them, the growth shows on the camera week after week. I love to see them grow.

HG: What advice do you have for aspiring makeup artists, especially as it pertains to receiving criticism?

SJ: It doesn’t matter if you received criticism or compliments—they come from the same place and they shouldn’t move the needle emotionally inside. So if someone gives you a compliment, or something that they like, that’s nice, but if you allow compliments to go to your head and pop up your ego, you will allow criticism to take you down. It’s great to hear some criticism, because it could also give you an objective outlook. You got to believe in yourself, and your own secret sauce. Do your thing and it shouldn’t matter.

HG:What are some of your predictions for 2019 beauty trends?

SJ: I think it’s going to be heat around the eyes, warmer colors, sherbet-inspired colors, terracotta—any warm colors would be really amazing. Also, we’re going to see hybrids of shadows; a hybrid of glitter and shimmer. A hybrid of a matte and velvet. Technological advances. Also, in terms of color, I think we’re going to go into a really obsessive individuality. Color liners, color shadows, mascaras—this moment means it’s not for the faint of heart.

HG: What trends do you think we should ditch?

SJ: I think we can totally ditch cut creases. Also, too much contouring. You know, over-eccentric contouring. Something else we should ditch and leave is too much orange bronzer, not finding the right type of bronzer.

 HG: On last season of American Beauty Star you spoke a little bit about “Instagram skin.” What did you mean by that and what’s the best way to avoid it?

SJ: “Instagram skin” is basically, more coverage than anyone needs. Lacquering yourself from forehead to chin when there is not necessarily a need for it. I am a lover of full coverage at times as well. Using a sheer foundation everywhere, a sheer veil of complexion everywhere, and full coverage where you need it.

HG: As a seasoned makeup artist, has social media impacted your career in any way?

SJ: Social media has impacted my career because it’s completely democratized. The power isn’t in the hands of any beauty editor, magazine editor, or fashion director. It’s in the hands of real women who are dictating the trends and what they want to see. For me, it’s quite freeing in terms of body image, inclusivity of cultures, and also just women in general. Basically, owning your own looks.

HG: What is your beauty guilty pleasure that some people may find absolutely shocking?

SJ: My beauty guilty pleasure would happen to be—I mean this is the worst thing in the world to say—but I love the sun. I am trying to find a way to not love it as much, or stay away from the sun because it is the number one aging aggressor.

HG: What can we look forward to on this season of American Beauty Star?

SJ: I think we can look forward to even more talent, really great personalities, a couple of really funny characters, and also people who are emotionally invested in winning, emotionally invested in their craft, and emotionally invested in being a better person.

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