Last May, over 29 million people tuned in to watch the royal wedding between Prince Harry of Wales and Meghan Markle (the now Duchess of Sussex), and although the majority of eyes were peeled for the highly anticipated reveal of Meghan's bridal gown, news sites were quick to point out that her freckles peeked out from a light layer of foundation, and the majority of the focus was placed on her eyes. Daniel Martin's natural make-up look for the former Suits actress inadvertently became the most gazed-upon and discussed around the world (on that day, at least).
Martin, who has known the duchess for over 10 years now, says they conducted the make-up trial over text. "I was in New York and she was in London and there was no time because of my crazy schedule to be able to go there," he tell us. "I knew exactly what she wanted and the day of the wedding was just us getting together and doing her make-up like usual. I knew she just wanted to be radiant, glowy, and polished with nothing too done. There was so much structure in the dress that I believe if she had any more make-up on, you wouldn’t even look at the dress, and that wasn’t the intention. I feel like every bride, their red carpet moment is their wedding and this was more about her than the spectacle, even though the wedding was the spectacle."
Below, the make-up master shares what inspired the royal wedding look, his skincare go-tos, and his take on the infamous 'Instagram brow'.
How did you get into make-up in the first place?
"My father is French and my mother is Vietnamese. My French grandmother, who we grew up with, never left the house without make-up, so I would sit and watch her do her face, steal her Avon catalogs, and draw on the face charts because I thought it was fun. I have three sisters who all wore make-up differently and my stepmother, who is Korean, was really into the ritual, which is really fascinating growing up and watching K-beauty becoming such a thing now. It’s always been around me, I just never knew how to make money off it."
Walk us through your skincare routine
"I’m currently obsessed with the We are Wild stick cleanser. The whole line is based on sticks, which is great for me because of travel. I use this awesome Capture Youth Intense Rescue Serum from Dior. It’s this great serum that I’ll use in place of a moisturiser, but I’ll double it up as well. I’m obsessed with this Joanna Vargas Exfoliating Mask. It’s granulated so I use it as an exfoliator. The new Tatcha Dewy Skin Cream I love, because it's a gel, but also gives your skin really nice radiance. I don’t usually do much at night, I’ll usually just wash my face and then in the morning is when I’ll load up. I’m really horrible and I know I should wear SPF, but I kind of skip it, because I haven’t really found one my skin likes. There’s this K-Brand I loved that is so difficult to get once it runs out, called Lagom Sun Gel SPF 50. The texture is a gel, so you don’t get a white cast. I keep the 111 Skin Black Diamond Eye Mask in the freezer the night before and it literally wakes up the eyes when used in the morning!"
Five makeup products you've loving right now?
"I really love the Dior Forever Undercover Foundation. There’s two finishes, matte and glowy. I’ve also been loving the Honest Beauty Magic Stick Balm. It has a bit of shimmer and it's cooling. Colour-wise, there are these new Dior Addict Lip Maximizers in an expanded the shade range. It’s not just pinks and neutrals, now there’s a holographic purple. This isn’t a make-up product but I’m obsessed with the Skin Inc. Optimizer Voyage Tri-Light. They were backstage for one of my shows this season and it’s this LED light that colour adjusts to your skin needs, so if you do it over a mask or gel conductor, it brightens and lifts the face. Gemma Chan turned me on to the Benefit 24-hour Brow Setter and it really holds them place. I’ll brush and over-direct the brows to get to the root and then brush them back and it gives them a very fluffy appearance."
What made you go with a natural make-up look for the duchess?
"If you look at pictures sequentially from her riding in the car with her mother, getting to the church, to outside in the precession, her make-up looks completely different because of several different lighting situations, which is something I had to think about. I also had to think about precise pictures and it being televised. You get to a point where you have to create make-up that fits in those lighting situations without compromising one or the other. If I started heavier and she got into the church, her make-up would’ve looked a lot darker than when you see her in natural light. It was also noon, when the light is at it's highest."
What about for her second dress?
"I took it a bit darker just because it was the evening and I did more definition on the eyes, making them darker and smokier."
Favourite red carpet look you've done?
I sent Olivia Palermo with a blue lip a couple years ago. I had gotten the new Rouge Dior lipsticks and she’d found the navy one and was trying it on for fun. We realised that it just worked with her outfit and she just wore it. That was one of my favourite accidental moments I would say. Her husband wasn’t happy, but she loved it."
Favourite makeup trend?
"I love all this colour and interesting shapes we are seeing on the runways this season. I feel like because of Instagram, runway make-up has to be a lot different so just that splash of colour turns into like an accessory, like what Proenza Schouler did on the eyes, and what we are seeing in London right now. It’s like make-up as adornment and accessory instead of being just a pretty make-up look."
What about one you hate?
"I'm really over the whole Instagram brow situation, when the tail trails all the way back to your ear and then this blurred out front piece. Once you see it, you know it. It’s kind of created its own iconic shape, but it’s so illustrated that if you don’t do anything else to your make-up it looks completely fake."
Do you have a go-to brow?
"Just a big feathery, filled-in eyebrow. Follow your natural shape. There are ways of making it look full rather than illustrated. That turns it into such an iconic look. Make-up doesn’t need to be natural, but the Instagram brow is one of those things that looks so unnatural when you see it."
('You Might Also Like',)