Health & Beauty: Chasing beauty

When celeb makeup artist Chase Aston signed on with The Body Shop to develop and launch their new line of cosmetics, he'd finally caught up with his dream. Luckily his career path was more fun than games, as he tells Georgia Jacobs.

Chase Aston

"I love this story," says internationally renowned makeup artist Chase Aston, who throws his head back and lets loose a cockney cackle as he recalls the bittersweet climb to the top of the fashion food chain. "A fashion director at a very prominent magazine told me, 'I really don't feel you have it. Have you thought about doing something else?' But the fabulous thing was as soon as all [my] Vogue and Cindy covers came out, who was on the phone to my agent?" But Aston, whose portfolio brims with an astounding 75 Cosmo covers, 56 of which ran consecutively for five years, eventually got his revenge. He had his agent book the job with the fashion director. "I had the most fabulous, joyful, vile day reminding her of that appointment," he says, although now they're best friends. But neither overly opinionated editors nor the vicious pack of stray dogs that chased him into the ocean on one shoot could convince him to find an easier job.

From his start at 15 working for free as an assistant and following his TV and movie makeup artist mom's lead, to his big break in New York with four Harper's covers flaunting supermodels with his work, Aston has lived through many such tales in the fickle world of fashion. "The moment you get that one Vogue cover suddenly you're A-list. You've not changed as a person. Your makeup is still the same, but all of a sudden you get this global recognition."

The latest for lips at The Body Shop

Covered in a kaleidoscope of smudges from his beloved new makeup line he helped develop for The Body Shop, slated to hit stores on August 30, the beaming Aston admits he's reached his apex. "When you're a makeup artist, you aim for your Vogue covers. You're the flavor of the month for a year or so. But when you have a global brand that's in 28 countries and they want you to develop a brand and shades, and promote it, that's serious acknowledgement of your career," he says.

And promote it he does. With 185 new products and the introduction of 16 natural ingredients in the totally revamped range now known as The Body Shop Makeup, the 17-year veteran has a lot to talk about. Metropolis tracked him down at the Tokyo corporate headquarters for the dish-and some free advice.


How did your relationship with The Body Shop come about?
I've been with them five and a half years. When Barbara Daily was doing Colourings, there were always shades that I really loved. I did a think tank to help them. I was working for Revlon with Cindy and touring with Claudia Schiffer when she was with Revlon. Then I went into a meeting with The Body Shop and Anita [Broderick] was there. I didn't realize I was supposed to be pitching for a contract. She asked me how I could go forward with the brand, and I said, "Well, I use it don't I?" Anita stood up and said to the legal people, "Yeah, go ahead. Do whatever you can to make this man a happy bunny." I got to write my own contract, but I love what the range stands for, it's community traded. We're giving back.


Can you identify any coming trends in the cosmetics industry?
Women have more money, less time and they are more informed. They know celebrity makeup artists' names. They know products and brands. Now they want to know if ingredients are beneficial for the skin. They don't just walk into a store now and take your word for it. It's hard to keep attention within a brand. Women want multi-use products and value for money. That what we offer with our range.


What makes The Body Shop Makeup different from thousands of other lines?
New eye shimmers

Within the marketplace, the female consumer is so swamped because there are so many technologically advanced and innovative products coming out. We're one of the first brands to have a complete range that's all based on the adaptor system. We're also launching our trends collections four times a year. When a trend comes, generally you have to wait two to three months for that color to come into the stores. What's unique now about our adaptor system is that you can take an image and you can completely create that runway look immediately with these products just by experimenting.


What's your favorite product in the line?
Obviously I have a few babies. But my three favorite must-haves are Golden Pink blusher, Liquid Lip Color Golden Coral and Eye Shimmer in indigo, especially on Asian skin, or Caucasian. It's just one of those shades that you can take a boring brown eye pencil, or black, and make it a zesty color. It's an immediate mood uplifter.


What's the hot look for summer?
You've got the boho look, but don't take it too literally. On the runway, it's more about the hair. That's just simple, rosy cheeks, a nice natural stain on the lips with a little clear lipgloss and the nice citrusy shades, like the greens and the blues and the pinks around the eye area. I recommend playing up the cheeks and the lips as opposed to the eye. Keep the eye simple, just one wash of color as opposed to too many clashing citrus shades.


How about fall?
There were two main trends. The skin was matte, polished and sophisticated skin, but not powdery or too dry looking. The key theme was café au lait. The eyes were these cream warm textured tones with lots of liquid eyeliner, lots of black eye definer pencils. The cheeks were either ultra nude, very sheer or toast blusher or blush pink. Absolutely sheer, barely there. For lips, Golden Coral was the hot color for autumn winter in the café au lait family. Lips are very nude or beige and can be matte or slightly glossy.

Then we had the China doll look. It was still matte and polished. The lips were pencil in clover pink, very lightly stained and then were highlighted with either a clear gloss or lilac lip shimmer. The cheeks were these soft baby doll pinks, no hard lines. There was lots of mascara on the baby doll. The eye colors were fresh zesty colors. It was cute. No red; the richest shade was raspberry, and that was very light. It was more about the cheeks, the China doll flush cheeks.


What are your aspirations for the future?
I've always wanted to do the perfect beauty book; it's finding the time. Eventually I'd like to go into product development and maybe open my own consultancy. I love buying crappy old houses and do[ing] them up. It's another form of creativity-although the results are not as instant as makeup.


What's the worst makeup faux pas a woman can make?
Taking a trend too literally and outlining her lips with dark pencil and filling it in with a light color.

Photos by Tama Miyake and courtesy of The Body Shop

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