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Beauty Burberry Beauty Global Beauty Director Isamaya Ffrench on the Impact of Covid-19 on Beauty

Burberry Beauty Global Beauty Director Isamaya Ffrench on the Impact of Covid-19 on Beauty

Burberry Beauty Global Beauty Director Isamaya Ffrench on the Impact of Covid-19 on Beauty
By Chloe Pek
September 20, 2020
Newly-minted in May, Burberry Beauty global beauty director and creative director of Dazed Beauty Isamaya Ffrench is known for her boundary-pushing approach to facial art. We catch up with the British make-up artist on what is to come for the brand, her artistic inspirations, and smudge-proof makeup tips

One is a beauty brand that embodies the quintessentially British, while the other is an artist known for her bold interpretations of facial art. Earlier in May, Burberry Beauty announced British make-up artist Isamaya Ffrench as its new global beauty director, and we can’t wait to see what her unique approach to beauty will bring to the brand.

“I've always admired Riccardo and his creative point of view so to guided by someone like that feels very exciting,” Ffrench said.

“I love Burberry's modern, edgy vibe. It has become an incredibly sexy, contemporary brand and I love that there is a duality of chic, simplicity and maximalism that balance each other. It manages to fall on the cusp of edgy and chic perfectly—and I would like to do that with the beauty side of Burberry.”

(Related: Is Blue Light Causing Your Skin to Age? Beauty Experts Share How to Combat Its Effects)

Describing herself as falling in to her line of work in the past, Ffrench comes from an interesting background of dance, performance, and industrial design.

It wasn’t until she was 22 when the artist began face-painting for children, and eventually adults, paving the way for her role as the brand ambassador and creative director for Dazed Beauty, and now the global beauty director of Burberry Beauty. Famous faces she has worked on include Björk, Rihanna, as well as Kendall and Kylie Jenner.

We catch up with Ffrench to find out what lies ahead, the impact of Covid-19 on beauty and tips for smudge-proof makeup under your mask.

Burberry Beauty’s philosophy is “British, effortless, and runway-inspired”. What is your interpretation of it?

Isamaya Ffrench (IF) I think it is all about the state of mind. Its modern, classic and powerful all at the same time! It's about great, natural skin, confidence and perhaps a bold lip or eye.

Will we be expecting any changes to Burberry Beauty under your lead?

IF The new normal is constantly evolving... Burberry is about timeless, classic and high-performance products that will ultimately stand the test of time and equally satisfy what we need right now.

How has the lockdown been for you and what have you been up to?

IF I've been making music, exercising and cooking! I am a very curious person and like to try new sports.

Despite the weirdness of having to stay at home, it has actually helped me take a lot of time for myself and think about what I want to achieve in the future.

Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base – Nude Radiance No.01 (Image: Burberry Beauty)
Burberry Cashmere Concealer (Image: Burberry Beauty)
Complete Eye Palette – Smokey Brown No.00 (Image: Burberry Beauty)
Burberry Cat Lashes (Image: Burberry Beauty)

Face masks are likely to become a new normal. Do you have any advice for smudge-proof makeup looks to wear with masks?

IF You don’t need to apply a lot of make-up. Apply Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base in Nude Radiance No.01 all over the face as a primer. It will illuminate the skin and achieve the Burberry glow. Then, I use the Burberry Cashmere Concealer under my eyes that I apply with the fingertips. Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, let’s focus on an everyday easy classic eye look.


I like to keep it simple and I will use the Complete Eye Palette in Smokey Brown No.00. I always recommend using the lighter shade first and applying it in the center of the lid. It creates a nice shimmery base. Then, mix the middle two shades and apply in the external corner to elongate your eye shape. Apply the dark colour at the bottom of the lashes and finish up with a light touch of Cat Lashes mascara on the top lashes.

(Related: Try These Smudge-Proof Makeup Looks To Wear Under Your Face Mask Post-Circuit Breaker)

What impact do you think the Covid-19 pandemic movement will have on the beauty industry?

IF I think people are not socialising as much so skincare and subtle enhancements will supersede complicated makeup looks... for now. However, there has been more experimental makeup on social media.

With filters, everyone expects to look exactly like their digital projection, and it seems that people are more daring with make-up, which is exciting. The younger generation is definitely a source of inspiration as they are more willing to try on new products.

What subjects inspire you the most?

IF Travel, conversations, and experiences—being outdoors is definitely when I am most creative. I practice a lot of different sports and my favourites are definitely snorkelling, hiking, cycling.

What is your creative process when creating new looks?

IF It depends on the project really... first a concept, then perhaps a mood board and finally a bit of experimentation.

I always study the face that I am going to apply make-up on and study the features to come up with the most suitable looks. Of course, when I conceptualise for a show, it is different. The creative lead gives me the intention and tells me the story that I should convey. It can take a few hours or up to days to come up with a look I am fully satisfied with.


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