REAL MAKE UP FOR REAL PEOPLE
Live your look
With MILK Make-Up launching at Sephora, a new, exciting player has landed on the German beauty market. The New York brand is dedicated to vegan products, that don’t support the effort of putting on a mask but rather highlighting your personal traits.
At MILK inclusivity is celebrated, diverse models and “real” people are cast and finally men are not stigmatised for experimenting with make-up.
Creativity and authenticity are keywords for MILK – the mission is to interpret beauty in a new way. Instead of covering up, blemishes could be underlined and scars could be highlighted. Seeing your flaws and eventually yourself in a new way is key.
Georgie Greville (Co-Founder and Creative Director) and Sara Wren (Studio Artist) of MILK gave INTERVIEW insight into their world.
Taking a glimpse inside the beauty world and exploring what distinguishes MILK from other beauty brands:
Julia Deutsch Can you tell us a bit more about the slogan ’Live Your Look’?
Georgie Greville: of course – so Milk started as a photo studio in downtown New York City. That was in 1996, so it’s been round about 23 years. It also has an event and a gallery space so all part of the creative world come to Milk and you can really see cutting edge style across the board.
Julia Deutsch Which styles would that be?
It could be skater style, chic style and anybody in between. And so, when we started the brand we were thinking about: Who would come to Milk? Who would come to a Milk party? And we wanted to basically speak to everyone because that’s our community – a cultural, artistic, super expressive, alive community. We put boys and trans models and a little bit of everybody, not just models, but real people, artists, people that work at Milk even in our campaigns and as soon as that went out into the world, we said: This is who we are! It resonated with people that haven’t been spoken to in Sephora; in the beauty community before. Because they had only seen brands with a super model representing one type of beauty which was very much European, so the fact that we were just showing a range of people being themselves rather than adhering to one specific type of beauty meant we were inclusive just by being ourselves so when we think about make-up we never want to say that there is only one way to wear make-up. In fact, there are no rules at all. It’s really about what you bring, what you want to express about yourself and who you are trying to express that in the most powerful way you can even if it is different every day. So it’s like: live your look. We joke that it is kind of like our version of YOLO
Sara Wren: Which is great because it just covers everything even when you look like shit it’s like: Live your look! It’s empowering you know, “live your look” could mean sweats one day, it could mean a beated capelet the next day, so it really is all encomposing every style.
GG: It’s about being true to how you feel. It’s radical inclusivity, literally no matter what your look is: live your look. When we talk to people that work in Sephora for us, we want them to have that attitude, so that they greet everyone with positivity and open-mindedness.
Julia Deutsch What is your favorite product and why?
GG: Can we say three? Our most recent favorite is the Kush mascara because it is the best volumizing mascara and it works incredibly well. You can just wear it alone or you can glam up and wear it with a full face. And it also has a beautiful ingredient story and is really buildable but it stays soft – it’s not flaky. And then I love the sticks, our lip and cheeks sticks which are in our original line up. They are multi-use, easy, quick – all of it. And it’s kind of like make up as skincare, packed with skin-loving ingredients like avocado oil, mango butter, coconut waxes so you are always nourishing your skin when you are putting on blush. The third would be the new Flex foundation stick.
SW: Its epic! It’s in a stick so we kind of went back to our sticks for that and we wanted something that was for the client who wanted to have a medium coverage and just needed something to put in their bag and touch up on the go. It’s also great as a concealer it has a marshmallow root in it so it is the same ingredient that gives the candy the squishy ability and that makes it super bouncy and it doesn’t crease and doesn’t cake. You can wear it on the go as concealer, or wear it on the face, blend it in with a brush, or a beauty blender and get a nice natural medium finish. We also did 36 shades, so we are super proud of that, first product with 36 shades so that’s big for us.
GG: And it’s very balanced throughout the shade range there are as many medium shades as there are dark and light shades.
SW: Georgie posted this epic casting where you can see all those beautiful kids on the wall and we had 250 people come through for the casting and we were able to match every single one of them.
GG: And usually, brands that don’t have a creative community around them have to go to a modeling agency and ask “Who is cool now?” and then you see the same models everywhere because everybody has Instagram, everybody knows who are the cool people whereas we have a unique reach, we reach people because they trust Milk as a cultural institution so we have all those cool kids that have never been discovered that really just wanted to hang out with us and do things. When you see the casting downstairs, you’ll be like: “Wow, these are people I have never seen before.” And that’s also very global, fresh, international faces.
SW: We wanted it to have some life to it and fun. The shoot day was laughing and energy and fun and music. We wanted to make foundation fun!
Julia Deutsch Which role does Milk Make Up see itself playing in the beauty business?
GG: When we started the brand, we really saw a lot of holistic, natural brands and then we saw cool brands like Mac or Nars that we love and Urban Decay, Tarte – brands that we loved the products of but didn’t resonate with the ingredient story very much so on one side we loved the ingredient stories but not the color pay-off and style so we wanted to make the middle ground like a beautiful, chic, modern product but that has all the consciousness of a natural product so it’s not only genderless – everybody is welcome, they also appear like art supplies almost, very utilitarian. You can just throw them in your bag, it’s not precious, it’s not gold it’s not heavy – you know all those great things that make a truly modern product, they are easy to use, super quick and intuitive. You don’t have to have a beauty degree to apply this make up. It’s not intimidating at all but when you use it it’s more than just cool: it beautiful, light formulas easy to wear, won’ t break you out because its natural. It’s clean, so all these things together we think is what was missing in the beauty space and still is.
SW: It’s like taking a step back from this really formulaic “first you do primer then you do foundation, then you do concealer and then you set” – like the way I wore make up as a make-up artist 15 years ago. So now it’s if you want to wear one of those thickening mascaras – cool. If you want to wear star-stamps all over and blue eyeshadow – cool. There is no real pattern to it, we are kind of here to just help any of our client. To guide their way to how they want to express themselves without being like: “first step: hydrating primer, next step…” you can piecemeal it and have it be what you want and what you feel comfortable with.
GG: Everybody is welcome at Milk. If you like full glam and two pairs of lashes – come on over, we have a lipstick for you or try our star stamps we have that for you. We won’t check your passport, our borders are open. Live your look – our borders are open.
JD Where does Milk Make Up draw inspiration from for new products?
SW: First, around the office. I mean that’s huge. We have this cooling water eye-patches and the first prototype of them Diana, who is our product developer and one of our co-founders, she had them in a jar. You know how these wet and slimey ones just roll down your neck and you can’t travel with them. It’s just a nightmare. So I was like in passing “they should be individually wrapped in a thing and have a print on them” and she wrote it down. And then three weeks later she says: “We are making those that way.”. It can happen as easy as that, if somebody is walking by the finance department being like: “I saw this color” or “I saw this formular, I saw this texture”. We are all make-up-heads, and all have bags full of huge skincare, like skincare-junkies. We all have big bags full of stuff and coming in after the weekend being like: “Look what I have, look at this toner I got, look at this eyeliner I got”. So inspiration first and foremost is really internal.
GG: Everybody that works at MILK-Make-up is really creative and we think everybody in the world is creative, so all ideas are kind of welcome. And we do a lot of open sourcing stuff and then of course Sara has a lot of it, great ideas, because she is in the field, working as a studio artist, also working with clients at SEPHORA and doing a lot of our social media where she interacts with what people want in our world and what our fans like. Diana and I both are moms, so we really care about good ingredients, we’re really into superfoods and we’re really inspired by a lot of cool new vegan food trends and we always just trying to eat better. I know for sure Diana is very inspired by nutrition and how can we make our make-up more nutritious. Because your skin does absorb what you put on it. We are thinking about ingredients that way, that’s why we created the “Matcha toner”, seeing how matcha was this antioxidant-rich superfood how can we put that into make-up, this is supercool, right?
SW: And then getting away from using it like a secondary thing, the matcha toner is the world’s first solid toner, so you won’t have to use cotton-pads anymore, it’s eco-friendly. Before this toner I was using so many cotton pads and now I’m not using them anymore which is a small way to be a little bit more impactful and a little bit more thoughtful in the way you are using our products.
GG: And also 100% vegan, cruelty free. It’s being conscious in culturally context and aware of what the world needs, just being tapped in and intuitive on how we can fit things that will keep us passionate about these products and make us feel like we’re on the right side of history, in terms of being more of the solution. Always trying to modernize the products and make them a little bit more efficient and a little bit more beneficial in every way. For the planet but also for the skin.
Julia Deutsch Does Milk Make Up also learn from the community and fan base?
GG: Of course!
SW: I work a lot with our social team. Look at the lightning bolt tattoo stamp! We are constantly taking the feedback that we get on social media. Our DMs are filled with things like: “Can you make this in this color, can you come to this country” And I’m answering constantly: “Okay, yes alright I’m making notes, we’re trying”. So that’s huge our community asks for more new shades and foundation with the new launch, so we’re able to do more shades. We’re very active, our social director Scott and our social Team is 24h in the DM’s getting that feedback and then taking that back to Diana. Our community is the reason why we are successful, plus the support from SEPHORA and the love from our clients. We’re constantly taking that feedback in like color suggestions, and people want a brown mascara. That’s what I’m searching for. It makes total sense. I mean brown Kush mascara.
Julia Deutsch Which beauty look should we embrace this season?
GG: We been talking a lot about “one pop” so either a big lip or just brows or just eye.
SW: I love that! So like a really deep lip and then fluffy brows and then maybe like sooo many mascara. Or doing one of our new holographic eyepencils, smudging it in and then tattoo stamps and a lip balm. That kind of look: picking one focus and go really hard on it – that’s my style, anyway.
GG: And then of course we started to see so many more boys wearing make-up, not just in a make-up-influencer kind of way, more in a “no make-up”-make-up look for boys. You know seeing a lot of that, which is great. What else? Glossy skin, I mean super glossy skin.
SW: We love glossy skin. Also fake freckles with our browpencil. I think really kind of big looks are imperfect too. Just being weird. We’ve been talking about these looks and how they’re so big and bold but then they’re a little messy, it’s like a real person did it. So it’s not like super perfective thing and that makes it more interesting and shows your character a little bit more instead of that perfect cut crease with a concealer. Like a big look but something that’s a little bit more lived in and a little bit more imperfect.
GG: And I think it’s also a reaction to the poses on Instagram that we see and how it just doesn’t feel like real life. People are just yearning for more connection and more authenticity out of people so it’s really nice to get away from tons and tons of make-up and more like weirder looks that are all over the place and very like: “This is exactly who I feel like today”. Challenging what aesthetics are. Not everybody has to look “Kardashian”.
Interview JULIA DEUTSCH