Interview by Lindsay Leff
Lindsay Leff: How did you become interested in the beauty business?
Trish McEvoy: My grandmother owned a perfumery in Berlin. It was such a fascination for me as a little girl, seeing these women come in looking one way and walking out feeling another. Some didn’t wear makeup, some did. It’s about transformation, looking one way and feeling another.
LL: And the perfume?
Trish McEvoy: The fragrance piece is also such an influence. I can walk into a room and remember the scents of my mother or my grandmother, and it’s just a wonderful memory. Memories are so important.
LL: How did you become a professional makeup artist?
Trish McEvoy: I have always been very good at applying makeup. I taught myself by working behind a makeup counter. I went from that to doing makeup parties and home visits, to photo shoots, to the Academy Awards, and then back to people’s homes, back to makeup parties.
LL: Why start your own line?
Trish McEvoy: I was a makeup artist for 6 years before I started my brand. And I didn’t decide to be a brand, I decided to work for myself. I wanted to give clients these wonderful makeup brushes I developed. I went to an art supply store, got sable and boar brushes, and cut them. I was really looking at which textures worked with which bristles, and I was the first makeup artist in the United States who did this. The only other makeup line with brushes was Shu Uemura in Japan. What’s so wonderful is that we were fulfilling a woman’s needs. Makeup can be so amazing, but it can also be so intimidating. Using the right brushes saves the day—they make everyone able to do great makeup.
LL: What makeup brushes should every woman own?
Trish McEvoy: When choosing brushes, I always ask, “How much time do you have, and how many pieces do you use?” That goes for makeup brushes, that goes for makeup itself. You have to really look at your lifestyle. It really depends on your makeup style and how you want to dress your face.
LL: How did you develop the rest of your cosmetic line?
Trish McEvoy: After the brush line, my husband and I started one of the first mini-spas in New York City—the Dr. Ronald Sherman/Trish McEvoy Skin Care Center. That was truly revolutionary; a doctor in the same practice as a skincare specialist and makeup artist was unheard of. Then there was our fragrance and classic makeup, and last foundations.
LL: When did you start your line?
Trish McEvoy: I started my line when I was 25, and I was married when I was 29. The dermatology influence in the skincare and makeup comes from my husband. We were one of the first lines to truly combine cosmeceutical-range makeup, where you’re adding ingredients that make a difference—peptides in foundation, skin boosters in our treatment foundations. We were one of the first to put sunscreen in our products.
LL: Other innovations?
Trish McEvoy: We were the first to come out with the pocket-sized palettes—about 10 years ago. And we were also one of the first that made them refillable. People want customization, to pick and choose. We’re always thinking into the future. What was, was. But what are we doing today? Today is truly about making it much simpler for the consumer.
LL: Do you have a signature product?
Trish McEvoy: I’m known for brushes, for my makeup planner, my skincare, and fragrances. But it depends on the clients. Some only buy the skincare, some only buy the fragrance, and some only buy the color. We do have cult followings for certain items like our fragrances or planner. We have had a patent on it for 13 years now.
LL: What are your bestsellers?
Trish McEvoy: Our brushes, the Even Skin Beta Hydroxy Pads, the Beauty Booster Serum, the Deluxe Naturally Irresistible Collection Ready-To-Wear Makeup Planner, and the N° 9 Blackberry & Vanilla Musk and Sexy 9 Blackberry & Vanilla Musk fragrances. And seasonally, our holiday collections.
LL: Which products are must-haves?
Trish McEvoy: The collections that we do 2 times a year. They make a difference for that particular season. They are coveted. When they hit the stores, there’s already a waiting list for them. Everything in one set, full directions to follow, and really Trish’s picks.
LL: What’s new for the holidays?
Trish McEvoy: For the holidays, we came out with a fragrance set, rollerball fragrances, a mini-brush set, a compact travel set, and our Mobile Beauty Emergency and Beauty Emergencies Cards.
LL: What are your favorite products?
Trish McEvoy: My Eye Base Essential, my mascaras, the Classic Eye Pencil, Flawless Concealer, my cream foundations, fragrances, and of course, the brushes.
LL: What is the signature Trish McEvoy makeup look?
Trish McEvoy: Natural but enhanced. The more transparent the makeup, the wider range it covers, making it wearable for women.
LL: Who wears Trish McEvoy?
Trish McEvoy: It’s very transgenerational, very transcultural. I pinch myself every day. We were at Selfridges in London recently, and you look at my counter and you’ve got 15-year-olds and you’ve got 50-year-olds. Look at our N° 9 fragrance—there are women in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s who wear it. Most of what we make is totally transgenerational and mood-oriented.
LL: Do you still do makeup for celebrities?
Trish McEvoy: I do more red carpet than photo shoots. I love the diversity of Angelina Jolie, Judi Dench, and Vanessa Redgrave. But my favorite part about being in the makeup industry is doing classes here with women who are mystified by cosmetics. I still do one-on-ones with clients.
LL: If you weren’t doing this, what would you do?
Trish McEvoy: Even If I wasn’t paid, I would still do makeup!
LL: What is your personal makeup look for day? Night?
Trish McEvoy: It’s about dressing your face. For day, go sheerer with lighter, more casual makeup and maybe just a bit of eyeliner. For night, you can be more extreme because the lighting is more forgiving. But I never go out without makeup on.
LL: What is best and worst about makeup?
Trish McEvoy: The best part about makeup is the transformation and how it can make you feel. I don’t think there is a worst part about makeup. I love everything about it!
LL: What are your makeup tips and tricks?
Trish McEvoy: Always brighten your eyes by applying a highlighter on your upper lids. Don’t apply concealer under your eyes, apply it in shadows of the eye, spots that are darker. Always curl your lashes. Blend liner into your lipstick so it’s more natural looking, and always wear a little coverage on your skin.
LL: What’s in your makeup bag?
Trish McEvoy: Elnett, big tooth combs, a 3X and 5X magnified mirror, Stephen Knoll conditioner, Kérastase shampoo, Colgate Wisps, Velcro rollers, and Essie Nail Polish in Mademoiselle.
LL: What should every woman have in her makeup bag?
Trish McEvoy: My Eye Base Essential, eyeliner, crease shadow, brow kit, concealer, bronzer, blush, lip liner, lip color, and mascara.
LL: Describe a typical day.
Trish McEvoy: I am up at 5 a.m., conference calls at around 6:45 a.m., and then my day starts. I make a few phone calls, stop by the skincare center and our stores, visit the distribution center, and maybe do a few interviews. I have early business lunches or eat at my desk. I’ll go to London for a day sometimes, make lab visits, and spend time in the field. But in all honesty, there is no typical day for an entrepreneur.