We sat down with one of the UK's most celebrated celebrity makeup artists, Ruby Hammer MBE, to talk about her favourite products and the best skin and makeup tips she's learned along the way.
Your iconic work as a makeup artist has graced the faces of Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Tyra Banks, Elle MacPherson and Meghan Markle (to name a few), can you share any simple go-to tips that you use on your clients?
The preparation should take as much time as the makeup. Skin should be clean and hydrated, if required exfoliated too. A favourite trick for instantly waking up the face is eye drops, for getting rid of any redness. As part of skin care, layer on a thick layer of lip balm that will leave lips hydrated, prior to being removed to apply lipstick. Spending time on the prep, always creates a better result.
We love that Ruby Hammer Beauty is aiming to simplify beauty routines, which products do you think make the biggest difference? Which are the essentials?
Distilling four decades of working within the beauty industry into my eponymous range, I wanted projects that were effortlessly chic and simple to use. As a makeup artist, even I get overwhelmed walking in to a department store with
the thousands upon thousands of products on offer. Looking at the face, I split it into three domains – eyes, cheeks, and lips.
My essentials are:
Eyes: Mascara is the quickest way to add definition, making you look instantly more awake. For additional definition, I like to apply eyeliner in the upper waterline, or tightline my eyeliner for a fuller lash effect. Always brush up your brows with a spoolie or eye gel, this creates more space on the eye-lid making the eyes brighter and more awake.
Cheeks: For an instant glow, a pop of cheek colour is essential. Apply to the apples of the cheeks, working upwards and outwards towards the temple. This mimics the blood under the skin, giving a natural, healthy radiant look.
Lips: We attract with the eyes, but seal the deal with the lips. It’s important to keep them hydrated, using a balm. I launched Lip Serum Balms, as a hybrid product, a pigmented skincare – for lips that look as good as they feel.
You just launched a gorgeous collection of hydrating Cheek Colours, as we head into the holidays, which shade would you recommend for the perfect party look?
Each of the three shades have a different function. Red mimics the natural rush of blood under the cheeks, Pink adds vibrancy, and Nude is a multipurpose shimmer to subtly add on the areas where light would naturally hit your face. All shades work across all skin tones and can be built up from sheer to a vibrant pop of colour.
We know you are passionate about inclusivity in beauty, how does Ruby Hammer Beauty cater to a wide range of skin tones and concerns?
With an edited collection, we had to carefully think about each shade that was included making sure we tested it across a variety of different skin tones. The key is down to application, lighter skin tones may want to sheer out the product, whereas darker skin tones may want to build it up for a full pop of colour. There really are no rules in makeup, experiment and have fun. If you have the confidence, you can wear any shade.
There is so much innovation happening in both the skincare and makeup world, are there any recent developments or trends you are particularly excited about?
Formulations continue to improve all the time, with new ways to combine ingredients. Fusions of skincare and pigment, for colour that cares. Labs are continuing to improve sustainability and environmental impact, through responsibly sourced ingredients. Every ingredient featured in a Ruby Hammer product, is labelled and explained on our website – no fear, just facts.
What’s next for Ruby Hammer Beauty?
We’re going to continue educating, empowering and enhancing individuals, teaching people to listen to their own makeup needs. Throwing away the rules, learning to experiment and have fun. You don’t need to follow a TikTok tutorial step-by-step, instead, spend your time learning techniques that can be used to simplify and address your beauty issues. Play up the features you love and play down those you don’t.
What has been your biggest ‘wow’ moment so far in your career? Is there a particular memorable moment or achievement that stands out?
My first wow moment was getting to do the cover of Vogue, but my most significant achievement was receiving an MBE for the late Queen in 2007, for services to the cosmetics industry. It was the height of my career, having launched Ruby & Millie, the first inclusive makeup artist range in the UK, regularly appearing on TV, and working as a jobbing makeup artist.
What do you want your legacy to be?
I have been quoted as being an accidental activist, though I don’t shout loudly I do stand up for what is right in the world. Pushing boundaries for diversity and inclusivity, taking chances and getting ready to pass the baton on to the next generation. I just want to be remembered as a good person, one that does good and makes you feel good.
What do you love most about your job?
As a people person, I love getting to meet new people and visit different places. I love being able to express my creativity every day, and be able to call it a job.
What’s your favourite product from your collection?
Our Lip Serum Balm in Berry is my perfect nude.
What’s your favourite 4.5.6 product and why?
It has to be the To Be Clear Resurfacing Exfoliating Mask. Since a young girl, I’ve always stuck to the same simple skincare routine – cleanse, hydrate and protect, and I love to add in a masks as required, to keep my skin looking radiant and refreshed. To Be Clear is gentle enough to be used as an exfoliant or weekly mask, and helps to remove any dead skin cells for a smooth complexion that's perfect under makeup.