Sam Fine Talks Fashion Fair, Social Media & Concealer Woes

Rachel Adler

Celebrity makeup artist Sam Fine has been the hands behind gorgeous faces such as Jennifer Hudson, Naomi Campbell, Iman and Vanessa Williams for years, and has been teaching us a thing or two about makeup application through his book, DVD, and most recently social media. Fine is now teaming up with Fashion Fair to become the Creative Makeup Director and bring his experience to the brand, but before we see anything from their collaboration we asked Fine to bring his experience to us. Below Fine talks about his latest gig, how he thinks social media has changed the beauty business, and the biggest challenges in beauty for women of color.

Congrats on Fashion Fair! What exciting things can we expect to see from the company in the near future, and with your product line from them coming out soon?
In addition to my duties as a consultant to the brand, I’ll have two collections– one for spring and one for fall, so I think that gives me a greater opportunity to showcase color and new productions and new formulations as it pertains to eye shadows, bronzers, lipsticks and blushes I think Fashion Fair is a wonderful core brand but when you look for colorful accessories and seasonal releases they aren’t known for doing that, but I really look forward to putting my stamp on these collections.

You’re very well known for your work in educating women of color in how to properly use makeup. What would you say are some of the biggest challenges they face or come to you with questions about?
I think the greatest challenge is finding the right foundation or concealer when I’m on Twitter and Facebook those are the questions I get most. Statistically women shop around, it’s like shoes, you’re not dedicated to those brands, but when it comes to foundations, those aren’t things you usually switch up every time you go to buy them. So that means the most. Fashion Fair the brand is 38 years old, the brand has a great variation of loose powders, and to be able to satisfy the complexion needs, I think it huge. Women are still learning how to understand what their makeup personality is. A woman who has less options really has to define their makeup personality and figure out what coverage she wants. For this I mean, do you want a liquid foundation, or something that is more full coverage (a cream foundation) or just spot coverage and just go about your day. I think every magazine and online magazine talks about color and which foundation is best but I think from a makeup artist perspective what I tell my mom and sisters is really think about your makeup perspective before you go to the makeup counter and help them help you to find a formula that best speaks to your needs. Finding that right formula and understanding your needs is key.


No matter what color your skin is, we all struggle with concealing our under eyes. Do you have tips for this for both light and dark skin tones?
It’s the same across the board working with all women concealer is key. It’s one of the most key items to own, before you look at your trend products, highlighting the under eye and any discoloration. I always suggest using a creamy concealer and I’m not a fan of any liquidy concealers because I like things that can build. Especially when talking about women of color you need more coverage so the way to do that is you need something that is a bit heavier and something that can build, a cream. Choosing a color that matches or highlights will always do the job, I often suggest foundation, one shade lighter or the matching shade.

It’s so refreshing how regularly your Twitter page is updated, how do you think the growth of social media has affected the beauty industry?
I think it’s affected the beauty industry in the same way that you have affected it, you’re working with an online presence so the ability to update the industry as fast as we can; we have the ability to have a constant pulse, and update consumers immediately. I can answer consumers right away, I’m 41 and never had this access to experts I’m tweeting with Pat McGrath who I’ve never met. It’s rare that experts meet, and these are people that I constantly have conversations with on Twitter I feel very in touch with other industry professionals, and I can look it’s changing the game, and I think it’s inspiring new and up-and-coming makeup artists, and I think consumers who are following me are able to pick better products because of it.

The “natural” look has been a trend for the last few seasons and we all of course know that that look takes a bit of work. What steps do you recommend taking to get a dewy, natural glow?
Really it’s back to the basics when I sit with clients it’s funny – I was working with Gabrielle Union awhile back and her manager came and said ‘you’re not going to put a lot of makeup on her are you,’ and I said ‘why do you say that’ and he said ‘well she’s very pretty.’ I think what happens is when they’re seeing these natural looks on everyone they don’t realize what goes into it because they don’t see what goes into them without makeup they are beautiful women but the amount of layering that goes into it it’s starting with concealer and bronzer, the more you layer these products is the more natural it looks. What we’re learning today is actually it’s just an absence of color. If you’re not doing colored eyeshadow or a red lipstick, if you do a nude lip, you have to stick within your color range and blushes similar to your skin tone.

You’re constantly traveling for your job what are your must have products for on the go?
I’m real simple because I’m around beauty all the time I always have a great moisturizer because that’s always key, Evian Spray is always great because the plane can dry you out I’m big on music, nowadays you need your entire environment I need my Diptyque candle, and my iPod right now it’s Adele and Amy Winehouse and Beyonce for sure because you have to have that ‘I’m getting ready to go out and you’re about to kill it’ music.

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