Color Consultation

Spending time in the chair of MAC Cosmetics’ makeup guru

mac_WEBGregory Arlt, MAC Cosmetics’ director of makeup artistry, was in Las Vegas April 2-4 for the MAC Is Beauty launch event at Miracle Mile Shops in Planet Hollywood. The MIB collection is inspired by the glamorous notion of the beauty shop. Blogger Claire Wigglesworth ( spoke with Arlt about how to stay on trend with minimal effort, why you should consider going neutral this season and where he goes for creative inspiration.

When did you know you wanted to become a makeup artist?

I’ve always been fascinated with makeup and beauty. I grew up with two older sisters, plus my mother, and my father was an artist. Seeing my mother come home with a “makeover” when I was 7 years old made me realize the transformational power of makeup. My father also showed me the book Women by famed photographer Francesco Scavullo with all of the before and after shots of the famous models of the time, and I was hooked.

I began working for MAC in 1993 after a three-year stint at Fred Segal in Santa Monica doing makeup and designing fragrances. MAC was the ultimate crayon box: color galore and a philosophy that I was dying to be a part of.

What’s been your most memorable achievement?

There have been so many, but being asked to design Cher’s makeup for her last three tours was pretty epic.

What palettes are hot for spring/summer?

I am loving the Eye Shadow x 15: Warm Neutral palette. With 15 neutral shades, you really have something for every skin tone and personality. Also the Eye Shadow x 9: Amber Times Nine palette—all of my favorite warm shades in one easy palette.

I’m less than adventurous with makeup but still want to be on trend. Any advice for a simple routine to keep things fresh?

I’d say less is more. Focus on perfecting skin with a BB Beauty Balm or foundation of choice. Swipe a sheer wash of something shimmery and golden on the lids, add some mascara and finish with a little blush. Easy, neutral and quick. To make it more trend-oriented, finish with a bright pop of color on the lips! Pinks, corals and sheer berry are huge this season.

How do you keep a creative edge year after year?

I am fascinated with fashion magazines and sourcing images online for inspiration. I also love going to museums, which really gets my creative juices flowing.

What products are always in your pouch?

I can’t live without Prep + Prime Fix +, which is a vitamin mist that really makes the skin look and feel plump and amazing. I also never leave home without my PRO Lip Palette in Editorial Reds, which has six of my favorite red lipstick shades that my clients love.