Living in Mariah's World comes with its perks. As we know from watching the E! show, Mariah is never far from her witty, mega-talented makeup artist Kristofer Buckle. So, yes, she always looks that good.
"When you work with an iconic woman, my approach is not to reinvent her," Kristofer told The Lookbook. "Part of what makes these women iconic is that they always have a continuity with the way they look. I've worked with Mariah for 20 years. We steer in one direction or the other, but I always keep the theme the same. My thing is, I want Mariah Carey to walk in the door, and I want you to get a photograph of Mariah Carey."
It's not only iconic divas who should maintain a signature look. Social-media influencers fill our feeds with ever wilder trends, but Kristofer's focus is to simply make his clients look their best. "There's such an overload of information available to women that at this point, it's a disservice," he said. "It's like every season you're supposed to somehow revamp, but women need to concentrate on what makes them look best in a classic way. If the Instagram God had its way, everyone would look like a belly dancer."
But in last year's sea of new product launches, did Kristofer at least respond to Mariah's collection for MAC? "The packaging, the whole presentation is really on point," he said of the glittering line. "I love the blushes a lot. I see women shy away from blush, but people need it! I see a lot of beige faces walking around."
His makeup kit's not all fabulous powders and pretty pink blushes, though. Kristofer cites Elmer's glue as one of the most unexpected items he totes around with him. "Sometimes I need to force a brow up and I wet my brush and dip it into a dot of Elmer's, then I paint it through. It gives you a shiny, very lifted eyebrow," he revealed. "And, I always have a Spanish hand fan. I'm known for keeping my work safe from perspiration."
Kristofer's kit is also filled with goods he whips up in his kitchen. He makes everything from concealers to body products, and is getting ready to launch his own collection on January 26. "I can't say very much. But, it's going to be very available, and it's based on tools that I have," he teased. "I've cultivated techniques throughout the years of my own, but I've also cultivated the secrets of some of the most iconic women in show business. Now, I'm interpreting this knowledge down into products so that every woman can benefit from these tricks."
What kind of tricks? "There's just simple little things. Like, Stockard Channing had a certain way of doing her lip, and it's to counter-balance that her mouth turns down. She cultivated it herself and showed me, so now I have that in my book of tricks." Though he wasn't able to reveal much more, Kristofer did say to expect a "different take on a highlighter," which he dreamed up while being on set with clients including Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, Madonna, and (of course) Mariah.
That's quite the client list, and Kristofer has always been attracted to boundary-pushing women (and men!) "Growing up, I was obsessed with all things Donna Summer and I loved Nina Hagen and Boy George. I like extreme. But to me, even Marlene Dietrich was extreme, with shaved-off brows and overdrawn lips. If it sparkled, and if it was extreme, I was in."
Though he's worked with nearly every beauty muse on his list at this point, Kristofer would still love to work with Boy George. "I never did Boy George's makeup, but I was in one of his videos," he shared. "I painted my face at a very young age—I was a punk, and that's how I learned to do makeup."
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