July 11th, 2016
It was a decidedly chilly weekday morning when we took a walk along Piccadilly to meet one the UK’s most popular make-up artists. Snuggled away from the wind and rain in the Wolseley, Warpaint got to catch up with an artist who was one of our original print title’s most ardent supporters, the ebullient Daniel Sandler.
When Warpaint first launched back in 2003, Daniel Sandler was a sought-after MUA with glossy magazine shoots and fashion weeks filling his diary, “flying around the world, with glamorous models in glamorous places,” muses Daniel. He was one of the first leading artists to become the ‘MUA face’ of a brand, working with the fashion-forward Bourjois to great effect. Daniel’s pro tips and his work were a mainstay of the popular women’s media of the time. “Back then there was no such thing as Instagram, no such thing as the internet really. It was all about the print titles, things have changed a lot over the last decade and a half.”
Changed indeed, not just the job of a fashion and editorial make-up artist, but the make-up industry as a whole. Daniel Sandler now heads up his own eponymous product line, which he single-handedly developed- with his sister later joining the company to take the reins of the commercial side of the business; “made with a make-up artist’s eye to be used by women who just want products that work, that make them look and feel better,” Daniel explains. In the wider make-up world, the rise of the make-up blogger, the InstaArtists and the shift from print to digital media has changed how make-up artists are judged and understood by the public.
“It does worry me that people with little or no training can set themselves up as make-up experts, launch themselves on YouTube and within 6 months have got hundreds of thousands of followers, hanging off their every word, when those words aren’t always as expert as you’d hope.”
But that’s not to say Daniel is anti-bloggers, far from it – bloggers and social media play an important part in the beauty industry and as a brand owner they’re vitally important in building awareness. “Their comments are based on having actually used the products and I think this is the best way of determining if a product might work for you or not. I love the ‘realness’ and unbiased opinion that bloggers and social media bring to the beauty table. I love that real women share their voice.”
Daniel sees the leap of faith he took in embarking on creating the Daniel Sandler brand as a pivotal point in his career. “I was essentially a jobbing make-up artist. I’d been working with Bourjois, and in particular their amazing head of PR Lesley Chivers, who really believed in me and encouraged me to take that first step. That changed my make-up destiny. I view the industry from both sides now, the artist and the businessman.”
As his brand has grown in depth and reputation, Daniel has found he’s now drawn to demonstration and education. “Maybe I’m just too old to be out chasing every job but I have a home, a husband, and a wonderful dog who’s now in his senior years. The long days away aren’t what I get pleasure from so much anymore. But I do love to inspire and to teach.” He had this thought in mind when he said yes to an unusual invitation from Lan Nguyen-Grealis. “I love Lan’s work, how she fuses art with make-up. She doesn’t create a look, she creates a piece of artwork.” So Daniel accepted her invitation to join her, Ruby Hammer and Phyllis Cohen in an evening of expression, where all four artists will take to the stage in front of an audience of make-up artists and show them why each of them is an expert in their own field of make-up design. The evening proved to be a huge inspirational success with Daniel’s beautiful make-up complementing the other speakers perfectly.
Staying on the subject of education our discussion turns to the newbies of the industry. Make-up artistry has become one of those career choices that has seen a stratospheric rise. “When I trained there was only a handful of places; in fact, the only real route for many was to be taken on by the BBC. Now schools are popping up on a daily basis,” Daniel explains. “I do have a concern that some of the less scrupulous are offering very short courses for a phenomenal amount of money which install in the students an attitude of entitlement to work, but with no real skillset.”
As with most make-up artists, assistants have been part of Daniel’s working life. “A good assistant is worth their weight in gold. They anticipate what you need and how to help, but also know how to not get in the way. The role of a make-up trainee, be that beauty, fashion, film, prosthetic or FX is very important in our industry. Good schools teach their students how to learn on the job, it’s not all about getting more Instagram followers.”
As we prepare to step back out into a decidedly chilly Spring day, Daniel remembers he needs to pick a copy of the Daily Mail. “I don’t do session jobs so much anymore, but for this I had to create a Kate Middleton look. A bit of a random brief, but often they’re the best.”
The Daniel Sandler Top 5 best-selling products
1. Watercolour liquid blush in Cherub (£15.50)
2. Sculpt and Slim Contouring Powder (£24.50)
3. Radiant Glow Illuminating Palette (£28.00)
4. Intense Volume Pro Mascara in Black (£18.50)
5. Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil in Aqua Velvet (£9.25)