Maxine Leonard Is Out To Liberate the Beauty World
The makeup artist and co-founder of Beauty Papers thinks contouring is the most inappropriate trend to ever be promoted.
Biannual indie mag Beauty Papers, by Maxine Leonard and Valerie Wickes, is known for its alternative approach to all things beauty-related. It comes as no surprise that their latest issue, on newsstands now, continues that tradition, with features on industry icons like Serge Lutens, artist Andrew Logan, and even photography contributions by makeup artist Dick Page. Leonard lets us in on their subversive approach, and shares a few of her own beauty tricks, like why she swears by Shu Umeura and stands by a good red lip.
How did Beauty Papers come to be?
The idea for a new kind of beauty magazine was something I had sat with for a while. [I was] frustrated by observing the lack of diversity in the industry and the dangerous message that one ideal fits all. I felt there was a real need to voice a different approach. Valerie felt the same way, and on a train from Paris to London, the idea for Beauty Papers was born. We launched Issue Zero in June 2010.
What is its mission statement?
The idea of beauty is multidimensional and we feed our audience with imagery and knowledge from the industry’s most accomplished creators as well as emerging talent, paving the way to a diverse definition of beauty resulting from the dynamic clash of accepted and controversial ideas.
Had you and Valerie worked together before?
I had worked with Valerie as a makeup artist on a couple of advertising jobs. We didn’t really know each other but we shared some ideas and found that we felt the same passion and frustrations about the industry and how beauty itself has narrowed.
Which collaborations are you most excited about in this issue?
Meeting Mr. Serge Lutens was a big bucket list tick. I took his portrait and interviewed him in Morocco. My mother had bought me his book in my youth, so to meet my makeup hero
was an honor. Collaborating with [photographer] Ren Hang was exciting and [that] became our limited edition cover. Makeup artist Dick Page photographed a story for us. I used to assist him, so his support for our brand was big. Andrew Logan, the sculptor and artist, is another cover. He is the first male artist we have featured and we couldn’t be more overwhelmed with the results.
Ok, now the beauty questions! What’s your first beauty memory?
My grandmother applying face powder.
Who was your first beauty icon?
My mother (she still is).
What’s your favorite off-label use for a beauty product?
It’s an Ayurvedic range from India called Kama. I like their rose water.
What was your worst beauty blunder?
What beauty products are currently in your purse?
Comme des Garçons Jaisalmer perfume, Chanel Rouge Coco Baume, brow gel by MAC, La Roche-Posay BB Cream, and Shu Uemura eyelash curlers.
What’s your 5-minute morning beauty routine?
Bumble and bumble hair tonic, moisturizer, and groomed brows.
If you had an extra 10-15 minutes in your routine, how would you spend it?
A red lip using Nars Jungle Red.
What trend do you look back on with regret?
I tend to think those dreadful trends are comforting. Experimenting with our canvas is part of the journey. However, I once had a perm and since I have naturally curly hair, I ended up looking like I’d plugged my hands into a live socket.
What is your first go-to product or one you can’t live without?
I do love Caudalie Beauty Elixir, which I religiously use.
Which beauty trend do you just not get?
Which discontinued product or shade do you mourn?
Shu Uemura had an eyebrow pencil I loved. The formula changed, as did my brows.
Is there a beauty professional you can’t live without?
Asashi Yamaguchi, who cuts my hair.
What’s your beauty peeve?
Contouring. It’s the most inappropriate trend to ever be promoted in society.
What are you currently obsessed with?
Francis Bacon in Your Blood, a memoir by Michael Peppiatt.
What’s always in your kit?
My kit is a mixture of old and new. I am drawn to Japanese brands. I trained with Mr. Shu Uemura in Japan and he gave me the entire color collection of eye shadows and blushers during my training. They are on their last legs, but they still go everywhere I go.
What would you do/use to complete a look in five minutes?
Depends on the wearer, but I would tend to prep the skin, groom the brows and clamp the lashes. I like the idea of single statement makeup and I’m a big fan of a red lip.
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