Give face cosmetics have been a staple product in any drag fans makeup bag, their wide range of vegan, animal cruelty-free products are incredibly popular. Here at dragadventures, we swear by the glitter pots to add that touch of sparkle for drag shows, the long-wearing products are perfect for all occasions. The recent Face Race in partnership with All Drag Updates has seen an influx of fans of all ages trying outlooks for the first time.
Everyone of all ages is finding the confidence to enjoy playing with makeup. We grabbed a chat with the fantastic John, CEO of Give Face and a Drag queen.
Dragadventures: How did the business begin and what inspired to create such a fantastic range of products?
Give Face: Give Face Cosmetics naturally evolved from my studio Outside the Box Photography where I created portfolio imagery for designers and artists. We trained in theatrical make up so we didn’t need to rely on hiring make up artists. One thing I was always frustrated with was the quality of some makeup brands, they were either too weak in pigment to pick up in photography or contained additives which caused allergies. I found some of the better products too expensive because of their branding and packaging. I began to research their ingredients and contacted manufacturers for more information.
I began to find amazing pigments and ingredients and I added them to my kit, models, and artists wanted to buy the products from me and before I knew it – word was spreading. I had a customer base before I had the business. I began to produce additional products like highlighters, blushes, face powders and lip colours purposefully made for artistry. I made a decision from day one never to invest in lavish packaging or making the brand a star, packaging can be irresponsible and I wanted my customers to get real value for money and not pay for an ego.
DA: Give Face is a little over two years old, what gave you the courage to launch a brand new business?
GF: It was more a need for the brand. I needed to source good products for myself and my photography clients, the demand was just instantly there. I was surprised by how many people suffered similar allergies and being let down with products not delivering what they expected. Originally the idea was to bring a small range of pigments under the photography business for our studio customers, but as word spread a huge customer base was waiting for the cosmetics to go into bigger production.
Initially, I tried to balance the two businesses, but I became heavily invested in helping artists get access to great products and manufacturers were inviting me to produce more. The decision was made shortly after to close the photography studio to give me the flexibility of dedicating my time to Give Face but work on shoots as and when I desired on a commission basis.
DA: What is the most popular product customers buy?
GF: Everything is fairly even in popularity. Brilliant White Highlight and Beard Blocker Crèmes are high demand essential products which regularly sell out. Our current trending range is the neon pigments, almost every order has the neon pigments in. The product which we know will be wildly popular is our lash range which should arrive anytime now, we are absolutely amazed by the amount of messages about them and we are slightly worried we will sell out quicker than the manufacturer can produce the next batch!
DA: What are the favourite glitters you’ve produced?
GF: My absolute favourite glitter is ultra fine Wish, I use it to disguise the texture of my blocked brows, on my eyes and occasionally I highlight with it too. I also love Kendoll and the Glitter stars in Orion. Another glitter I am amazed by is our black iridescent Beetlewing (Scarab in Theatrical) it is incredible on dark makeup looks, I can sit and look it for ages. In the Bio range, Fae is just amazing, all of our professional artists want buckets of it, it creates amazing foil effects and is so fine I use it as a highlighter when I want extra sparkle!
GF: For delicate skin areas and brows Give Face Cosmetics glitter gel is for me, I simply use my finger to lightly dab a little gel then quickly use the same finger to pick up the glitter to press on, it stops the glitter going everywhere. For brows and beard, you need a cosmetic glue, we stock Grimas water based cosmetic adhesive. For facial hair, we recommend theatrical glitter as it reflects light much more effectively. Most bearded artists mix ultra fine and theatrical for full coverage.
Lips need a creamy or oily base lip colour, then dab on micro fine glitter so the base colour holds it. You can use ultra fine glitter for lips, but it will feel grainy and can look patchy or flaky around creases. I would also like to take this opportunity to think about the environment when removing glitter – washing it off directly into water is not good, please do not remove glitter in water. Trying to wash off with soap and water will also spread glitter all over your skin and then it’s harder to remove. I use a good sticky tape on the glittered area and rub to loosen the glitter for the tape to grab, then gently peel away and dispose of in the waste bin. Using a makeup remover or moisturiser on a cotton wool pad to collect the excess will stop spreading the glitter.
DA: The face race has been a phenomenal success on social media, how did it come about and how do you decide the themes?
GF: We have been working with All Drag Updates quite a lot and it was their idea to create the Face Race. We decided to do it as it gives artists of all experience a chance to show their skills and to push their creativity with set themes. We really enjoy it because we spot new talents who we can feature and give them credit for creating new looks which could inspire others.
Right from the outset, we agreed to participate provided it didn’t become a judgmental contest where people are critiqued and there was no such thing as an “elimination” because makeup artistry is so diverse and so personal. I believe everyone should do what they want to do and I don’t agree with ruling something as not good just because it doesn’t fit into someone else’s spectrum. The themes are usually thought up by the All Drag Updates team who are extremely creative and we will add in additional ideas, such as narrowing down the inspiration theme to UK based queens to acknowledge our countries, artists.
DA: Will we get to see Give Face cosmetics appear at Dragworld UK this year?
GF: I cannot believe how many people want us at Dragworld. The most straightforward answer is unfortunately no. The more complex answer is, if I can get time off I will be attending as a guest to meet friends and decide if it is a space we should look at formally attending as a business next year. At the start of this year, I thought I would have some time to relax and plod along nicely… but manufacturers had other plans! I cannot even guess how many manufacturers reached to collaborate or produce new products for us in January.
In the pile, there were some amazing offers and contacts which I simply knew I could not pass. So the new year I rolled my sleeves up and got to work on a whole collection of vegan brushes, cosmetic pencils, pearls, crystals and obviously I got the amazing contract for the 301 lash and her sisters to fall under our brand as the UK supplier. So that’s the main reason I have not reached out to Dragworld to avoid wasting their time and disappointing their guests. I simply would not have enough time to pull together an amazing stall and our customers know I will not half bake a cake. I have promised customers that I will speak with Dragworld to potentially look at being present next year. When I started the business I swore to myself that I would never invest in excessive marketing and that will be the deciding factor if we do attend in the future… so ask me again 2019.
DA: What would the dream collaboration be in the future? Be it with a drag queen or makeup artist/brand?
GF: I am fortunate to currently be right in the middle of the collaboration I have always wanted to be in! I am currently working with my best friend Andi (and drag sister Busti Barb). Andi dedicated himself to a career in hair and like me when he does something he puts his heart and soul into it. I was super proud of him snatching the highly respected NHF hairdresser of the year award presented by Lee Stafford and I wanted an opportunity to work with him to be recognised in the drag community.
Customers have always asked me about my own wigs, everyone seems to have difficulty in finding good quality performance and realistic wigs which last. I spoke with Andi a couple of months ago as we have always customised good base wigs for ourselves and never really explored online wig shopping so I wanted to see if it might be something he would be interested in working on. I was delighted that he was instantly excited about researching and helping me design good quality wigs for Give Face customers. We ordered wigs from different online platforms mentioned by our customers and we could instantly see where we could bring something different in regards to style, structure, and colour.
We have had so much fun putting together the perfect wig base and designing colours, and we are now in the final stages of approving materials so they should hopefully go into production very soon. This project should have been the most tricky and time consuming to tackle, but the collaboration has made it effortless! Our skills, knowledge and work ethic have harmonised perfectly to create something really special that we are so excited about and will be extremely proud of.
DA: For you as a drag artist yourself, what’s your favourite part about the whole make-up process?
GF: I love the illusion of makeup and the magic it creates for people who view it, admire it or dislike it. It’s amazing what colour and tones can do to the structure of the face, for me it challenges the boundaries of gender, it opens up interesting discussions with strangers and challenges the traditional views of makeup and wardrobe having a gender. The specific part I like is the use of colour, I love bold colours, sparkly glitters and deep blacks.
Sometimes I will get so carried away with colouring and glittering eyes I look back and think “Okay, I look like I am wearing a superhero mask”, but I love colour, textures and the reaction to it. Makeup and drag is a complete escape for me, I can forget about problems, I can put “normal” worries away for a few hours to socialise and have a great time. I hope my customers get the same enjoyment that I do from makeup and I hope I continue to keep bringing them great products to help them continue producing outstanding art.
Head to https://www.givefacecosmetics.co.uk/ and shop their fantastic range of products, and Give Face have been kind to offer all our lovely readers a 20% discount code! In the checkout just type in code ‘dragadventures‘ to receive your discount, happy shopping!