If you’re a makeup devotee, you’ve heard of—and probably love—NARS. In fact, you can likely reel off a long list of the brand’s cult-status products without even thinking. (Yep, we’re talking about you, Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation, $49, Radiant Creamy Concealer, $30, and Orgasm Blush, $30.) What you might not be as familiar with, however, is the roster of senior and lead makeup artists who have helped shape NARS into the empire it is today.
We recently had a chance to sit down and chat with one such individual. Meet Jake Broullard, a makeup artist who’s been in the game for 15 years and has been with NARS for over a decade. In addition to working editorial shoots and runway shows, Broullard is responsible for creating training videos and coaching new artists. Here, he gave us the inside scoop on how NARS has stayed ahead of the curve, the ways the industry has changed, and where it’s heading next…
We’re in this shade revolution right now where brands are releasing more shades to accommodate more skin tones. How has NARS been able to stay ahead of the curve in that respect?
It’s in our DNA as a brand. François Nars, our founder and creative director, has always appreciated diversity in beauty. He has always been inspired by interesting people and faces, no matter their age, gender, or ethnicity; thus, diversity is endemic to the brand. We’re constantly updating our complexion products to ensure we offer shades and formulas that work for all different skin tones and skin types.
What’s the biggest mistake women make when it comes to foundation and concealer?
People usually use way too much product at first and then try to sheer it out with a wet sponge. Instead, try to build up the coverage using the smallest amount possible, adding more only where you think you need additional coverage. You can also use your hands to warm the formula up so it melts into skin. It’ll give the illusion that you aren’t wearing foundation or concealer. It’s all about illusion.
What makes NARS Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation and Radiant Creamy Concealer cult favorites?
They both provide coverage while still looking natural; they stay in place and never settle into fine lines. Both formulas reflect light, which provides a natural brightening and soft-focus effect. Makeup artists and novices alike can’t get enough.
We’ve heard Mr. Nars has a very skin-first approach to makeup. Can you tell us more about that philosophy?
At NARS, we believe a complexion should always mimic the look of real skin. Foundation should never look heavy, cakey, or mask the natural skin. That’s why all our complexion products look natural regardless of the level of coverage. To achieve this seamless, smooth, natural finish, we apply the product using the warmth of fingertips. No brushes or sponges are required with our products; your hands are the best tools.
If you had to choose between using foundation or concealer, which would it be?
Why would I ever have to choose? I love them both! But I guess if you’re asking, concealer wins. I could never live without Radiant Creamy Concealer. It’s just so versatile. It can be applied sparingly to only the specific areas you feel need coverage. It can be built up, blended, and sheered out. You can also use a lighter color to highlight and a deeper shade for a subtle contour.
How do you as a makeup artist make skin look natural and glowy? Does it come down to the product, the application, or both?
It comes down to skin prep, the product itself, and how you apply it. Skin should be soft, exfoliated, and moisturized without being greasy. I always start with with NARS Optimal Brightening Concentrate ($74). It instantly adds radiance to skin. It’s formulated with vitamins that help even skin tone over time with regular use. After that, I use a primer, like Radiance Primer ($36), to give skin a glowy look. It also keeps your makeup looking fresh throughout the day, smooths out texture, and protects skin with vitamins and SPF 35. For foundation, you need a product that provides a radiant finish, like Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation. Start by using one pump on the back of your hand to warm it up, and apply a small amount to the center of the face. Use your fingertips to blend the product into skin. The formula is buildable, so you can always add more if you need extra coverage.
What major changes have you seen in the industry when it comes to complexion products, and how do you think it’ll continue to evolve?
Makeup has become more dramatic, and I think that has to do with social media—particularly Instagram. It makes me happy to see other people experimenting more; however, I feel that some of the technique has been lost. Makeup can be transformative, but the trick is to create the illusion that it isn’t makeup. I think that will be big in the industry. Makeup is always evolving and changing, and artists are always learning. And for me, that’s what makes it all so exciting.
You mentioned Instagram. NARS has a huge following on it. Do you tap into the community you’ve built on the platform at all when formulating new products?
Instagram is wonderful in that it gives us direct, instant feedback and communication with the consumer. We love to know what you want. Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation was a product people were asking for, and NARS was able to create the first-ever full-coverage foundation that felt completely lightweight, looks like skin, and provides 16-hour wear. Best of all, it’s good for your skin.