In New York’s Lord & Taylor, Sam Fine stood out in the endless sea of beauty at the unveil of Fashion Fair the “Truly Treasured” collection. His exuberance was captivating as he walked from small crowd to small crowd, making each person feel as if he knew them personally for years. Everyone was smitten with him, from the wide range of make up artists, down to onlookers who turned into customers. His elegant and polished mannerisms, paired with his humble approach made it clear that if even if you had no clue who he was, he was someone important. As a master make up artist to some world’s biggest, Tyra Banks, Paula Patton, Iman, and Vanessa Williams (just to name a few) he has upped the ante now wearing another hat, as Creative Make Up Director for the iconic Fashion Fair brand.
Fashion Fair over the years, has become a brand dedicated to providing beautiful ranges of make up to satisfy the needs of Black women. With the same common goals in mind Fine and Fashion Fair have become a match made in make up heaven. With new top sellers such as “First Lady,” from the “Truly Treasured” collection, Fashion Fair is able to mesmerize a clientele of all ages. EBONY caught up with makeup genius to chat breathing new life into the brand, and even how you can give yourself surgery-free nose job. Of course we can’t forget about his upcoming line “Sam Fine For Fashion Fair,” coming soon, and aimed directly at today’s young trendsetters.
EBONY: How did you transform the Fashion Fair brand?
Sam Fine: Having been the first African American spokesperson for both Revlon and Cover Girl, being a Creative Director is very different. I’m not just a talking head any more. I now really get to have input, on products and on photo shoots. So when I show up, I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing, but it really helps to enliven the brand. The fact that I’m not simply showing up to do a photo shoot and do make up on a model. I actually get to give input on color analysis and talk to them about formulas and that I think, is showing up as well. The breath of fresh air is me showing up to a cosmetic counter, and being able to talk to the people who have loved “Fashion Fair” forever combined with the people who have loved my work forever. It’s a wonderful synergy, and that was the reason I said yes to this. Fashion Fair for 40 years has never changed its mission, and that’s to satisfy the beauty needs of women of color, and you know with me having dedicated my career to beautifying women of color, I just couldn’t have imagined a better match.
EBONY: Many younger women associate Fashion Fair with their mothers and grandmothers. How do you think it’s evolving as a brand?
SF: Exactly. That’s exactly what I was going to say I think it’s evolving. Even with the collections. Even when I consult about the colors and the formulas, I still have a very classic consumer in mind. When you see the “Sam Fine For Fashion Fair” collection, I think younger consumers will be even more inspired. I think every brand, when you look at an Estee Lauder, when you look at an Elizabeth Arden, you look at brands that have been around for a long time and have a very consistent customer base you have to know that these partnerships, bringing in someone like myself to do a collection…when H&M brings in Karl Lagerfeld it’s really about an injection for the younger consumers. So I’m not trying to change Fashion Fair, that’s never been my goal, but when I have an opportunity to have my voice on my collection, I definitely think you’ll see a younger consumer respond to pigment, to color, to what’s going on today as a trend.
EBONY: Tell us the hottest products from the “Truly Treasured” collection for the summer?
SF: Well you know for me, “First Lady” is a beautiful rose-colored lipstick. It just works so easily. Having worked recently with Paula Patton for the MET, having worked with Jennifer Hudson for her Weight Watchers commercials, it gives me a chance to test and play on lipsticks. It really has become one of my favorites. Also "Rebel", "Rebel" is a very dark lipstick. We used it in our advertising for the "Truly Treasured" collection; it’s one of the last colors in the range. It’s really deep. People know, people who know my work really know that I love pale and nudes and all that’s great. But when it comes to like a really deep rich color, I think there’s no better way to say hello than something truly glamorous, than with a shade like "Rebel".
EBONY: Being that there is only one nail polish color in the "Truly Treasured" collection, did you have input on that color?
SF: Actually the funny thing is, the polish we used it in the "Siren Collection" so I felt like it was a wonderful addition to this collection because we’re seeing a lot of metallics. Instead of showcasing metallic in an eye shadow or a lipstick I thought doing a metallic nail was a really sort of offbeat compliment to the collection very classic rose shades.
EBONY: In the extreme summer heat, what are your tips for keeping your make up fresh and fabulous?
SF: Well I mean it starts with before you put on makeup, using a primer. Primer always helps to keep you looking matte a lot longer. Also I don’t think you have to sacrifice coverage because it’s summer. I think you have to manipulate your products a little bit better. So if you’re used to using crème foundation, make sure you take a two-ply tissue, separating it and blotting. That blotting is going to remove a little bit of the oil that’s in the make up but not going to sacrifice any of the coverage. Make sense? Almost like a piece of pizza, it tastes the same you’re just blotting it. You take out some of the oil, and that helps foundation to stay on a lot longer. Also powder is your friend; if you’re afraid of being too overly powdered because it’s summer time and you know that powder alleviates the shine, simply powder the T-zone, the center of the face. allowing the outer perimeter to glow, you know also using bronzers so that they bake in beautifully. So you’re controlling the glow a bit. So when it happens it looks intentional. So you don’t go from I was matte, now I’m oily. You go from subtle glow, to a little shine but it’s still right.
EBONY: That’s a great tip, sometimes women forgo make up completely when they feel it’s just too hot.
SF: Right. But you can use bronzers, and still if you’re using foundation maybe you can use it strategically where you need it most. There is no need to have to give it up, just because it’s hot.
EBONY: What’s your secret for contouring?
SF: There is no secret! I’m an art student; I came from being an illustrator so when people talk about my contouring and highlighting… you know it’s me. Fortunately I teach a lot of classes, and to be able to teach someone how to use a darker foundation that’s two shades deeper than their complexion. If you use a foundation two shades deeper than your complexion along the sides of your nose, or along the sides of your cheeks or underneath your jaw line, it’s always going to accentuate the features. To anyone who talks about contouring like well I heard that can be harsh, that’s all that eye shadow is: you’re contouring the eye, you’re shaping it. You’re contouring the eyebrow when you fill it in. So I look at contouring the nose, or cheeks, or jaw line as simply a part of make up. Also highlighting is just the opposite, using a foundation that’s two shades lighter. Underneath the eyes, down the bridge of the nose, in the center of the face. So a lot of times what you see on Vanessa Williams, and Tyra, and Iman are hours of work, and you have to spend a bit more time when you’re mixing and playing with these highlighting and contouring colors. It’s not something that everyone is trained in, but what my suggestion in sort of a more lamens version is, using a darker powder. Using a darker bronzer, so you don’t feel like you have to be a pro. Using it from the hairline and bringing it softly into the face, so you’re not depositing most of the product in the center. So it’s a very gentle way of doing it. Knowing that it all washes off at the end of the day, practice makes perfect. Take your time.
EBONY: What do you find to work best as a foundation applicator, a brush or sponge?
SF: You know I love our foundation brush. The brush helps foundation to glide across the skin, and also they don’t absorb the product like sponges. Even though I love sponges, sometimes I’ll switch up and use a foundation brush, because I know that it’ll glide across the skin if I’m going for something like a summer look and if I want to see more skin than I’ll use that. And I’ll use a sponge with my foundation in more areas where I need more coverage, where it deposits more foundation.
EBONY: So a sponge is better for deeper coverage?
SF: I think sponges build better. Almost like when you’re painting a wall the roller really goes in when you do it a few times over. A brush kind of glides it across, so for me, a sponge definitely holds on to more product, but a foundation brush helps you to get more of a second skin effect.
EBONY: What are the three Fashion Fair Products you think every woman should own?
SF: No woman should leave her house without her Fashion Fair pressed powder. I mean the range of their pressed powders and loose powders are incomparable. You need the oil control, great colors. That’s one thing I would never leave the house without: "Vantex" and "True Tone", they’re both similar products, they’re fade creams. Even before the make up goes on those are two of my favorite products. "True Tone" is a version of a fade cream with all natural ingredients, yeah that’s one of my favorites. And then actually I have to say there is a brown lip liner and a brown eye brown pencil that are two of my favorites. I just think everyone has fun glosses and we truly have our lip teasers which are great, but those are just the products I always go to, those are the products I’m always raving about.
EBONY: What makes the "Truly Treasured " collection unique?
SF: I think the most unique thing is that many collections don’t have a range that speaks to the range of women of color, from a Vanessa Williams to an Iman. When you approach many collections one color might or may speak to your complexion but this line is special because it has you in mind.