Creatively enhancing the natural you
By Aleyah Solomon
Many of us strive for that natural glow – when it comes to our daily appearance. And makeup, as well as a good skincare regimen, is what helps many of us achieve this. Knowing the tools and the proper direction is a talent that Amanda Bell picked up from a young age. She has played around with colours, practised her technique on family members and is now one of the top makeup artists in London. Being part of countless photoshoots as well as being the key makeup artist at London and Milan Fashion Weeks, and having a prime role with London-based Pixi Beauty, Here and There Magazine caught up with Amanda to talk about life in the fashion industry, special travel locations and what works and doesn’t work when it comes to the latest makeup trends on social media.
When was the moment you fell ‘in-love’ with makeup? Would you call it love?
I would absolutely call it love, bordering on a life-long obsession. I was very aware of makeup in adverts, film, and editorial music videos. It was something I poured over before I even knew being a makeup artist was actually a career. From about the age of three, I started drawing with makeup; and by the time I was 10, I was doing makeup on my cousin (who was 18) for nights out. I really started unleashing creativity and collaborating with other people on photoshoots when I was at art college.
What was it that attracted you to the lifestyle of travel/fashion?
I am a very aesthetic person and I love being part of a team – this is where the magic happens; there is a culmination of everybody’s talent. I have always loved travelling, experiencing many different cultures and working in a variety of locations. From getting to see the behind the scenes at Highclere Castle (where they shot Downton Abbey) to the beaches in Venice Beach, LA, and I can’t forget my experience in Toronto (where I first met Here & There Mag’s founder).
"There’s the old age problem of ‘too many filters’ on images – I think it can make people not appreciate their natural beauty."
Did you study your craft at school?
Yes, I originally studied 3D art and design: sculpture, architecture, furniture and products. After graduating, I continued my studies in makeup artistry whilst also working the makeup counter at Prescriptive which helped me build a kit and also to practise a lot.
You must meet some incredible people along the way! Any specifics stand out?
I have worked with some true icons and I feel very lucky, but one ‘pinch me’ moment was being the key makeup artist for fashion shows at London Fashion Week and Milan Fashion Week. To me, these are such iconic moments.
Where are some of your favourite places you have travelled to for work?
I have travelled extensively across Europe, America, Canada, Hong Kong and Japan. I love the natural beauty of California, it’s breathtaking. I also love Paris for the energy of the city, and London for being the place where I formed and honed my skills.
Do you have any favourite looks? What would you call your style?
Flawless, yet ‘barely there’ skin. Radiant and enhanced beauty is my signature look. But, I also love creating dramatic, statement looks.
Speaking of looks, favourite trends - both past and present, what do you like?
I adore that people are starting to understand the importance of skincare and prepping the skin. I look at makeup from so many eras and so many sources that I’m like a magpie. I drew inspiration from vintage Hollywood, street portraits of New Yorkers in the 50’s, or London and Paris from the 60’s, and LA in the 70’s. I’m also drawn to ad campaigns from the 80’s and 90’s. Among the magazines I use as references are vintage Vogue, i-D, The Face, and Hunger Magazine. I also look at catwalk looks mainly from Dior, Chanel, Viviene Westwood, and Alexander McQueen. There are also 60’s Motown stars like Grace Jones, Sade and 90’s supermodels that inspire me, as well as the work of Way Bandy, Kevyn Aucoin, Val Garland, Pat McGrath, and Lisa Eldridge. The list is endless. And, I do love some up-and-coming artists that I find on Instagram, as well.
Can you describe a bit of your process - from planning to seeing the model and adjusting looks based on their features and clothing.
I do love to see the model card, a moodboard and if possible what the clothes, collection, and direction of styling will be.
Take us through your role at Pixi Beauty. When did you connect with the company?
I first met Petra Strand, the founder of Pixi, 25 Years ago when she moved to London. I have watched Pixi grow from one boutique in Central London, to –23 years later– being a global and well loved brand. It makes me so proud of her tenacity and integrity and how it is still an indie brand with core values that are unwavering. I work in the capacity of being part of the PR/Education/Artistry at Pixi.
What are your top musts for your beauty/makeup routine?
Skin Care is the most important. Double Cleanse in the evening, then Tone serum, a good moisturiser and sunscreen every day, as sun damage is accumulative and you can insert the use of mists during the day to hydrate. Add in a little mask during the week and I prefer to exfoliate also once a week with a gentle Vegan lactic acid exfoliator. When it comes to makeup, for dark circles, use a peach or apricot colour corrector instead of just concealer. I love cream blushers applied a little higher rather than apples of the cheeks so that it sculpts as well as enlivens the skin.
What are your least favourite beauty trends that you have seen and what are your favourite?
Using too much product – I found it to be a little bit of a TikTok thing, where people pour excessive amounts of product on their skin. There’s the old age problem of ‘too many filters’ on images – I think it can make people not appreciate their natural beauty. Plus, generic makeup that you end up finding on everyone – switch it up, go outside of your comfort zone, experiment! If you hate it, wash it off and start again!