At the Vanity Table with… Pat McGrath

Beauty tips from up top.
pat mcgrath interview 2024

At the Vanity Table With… is a series that dives into a personality’s beauty tips, tricks, non-negotiables, and more. In this edition, we’ve got our first-ever international candidate for the series: Dame Pat McGrath, the grande dame of the beauty scene both artistically and commercially. Keep reading for the full Pat McGrath interview.

If there’s ever a person who does not need an introduction, British makeup artist Dame Patricia Ann McGrath, widely known as Pat McGrath, would top that list. Her eponymous brand has continued on its skywards trajectory, showing greater promise with every passing launch and beauty exploit she takes on. 

Earlier this year, she shook the fashion and beauty industry to the core with her grand showcase of excellence at the Maison Margiela Artisanal Spring/Summer 2024 show. Bestowing her imperial touch to the models, she put glass skin back on the map—while also putting a whole new meaning to it. 

But her prowess has existed long before that. She started her makeup artist journey in the early 90s, and ever since her first beauty drop (a pressed gold pigment packed in a mailer filled with shiny sequins), things have never been quite the same. From debuting in 2015—which includes a crashed website and a sold-out roster—to becoming a billion-dollar company in 2019, it’s safe to say that this Dame can reach for the stars without breaking a sweat. 

Ahead, Pat McGrath graces our At the Vanity Table series with her presence and shares her personal take on beauty, and her invaluable makeup tips.

Confess a beauty crime that you have committed before

pat mcgrath interview 2024, interview with pat mcgrath

When I was a teenager, I often dared to use my lipstick as both blush and eyeshadow. It was a bold move at the time, but it sparked my love for multi-functional, boundary-pushing makeup, eventually inspiring the creation of versatile products like our MatteTrance Lipsticks, which double beautifully as a creamy blush, our Divine Blush: Legendary Glow Colour Balm, which can be used on lids and lips as well as cheeks, and our Chromaluxe Artistry Pigments, which I developed to be used wet or dry and on any area of the face.

A beauty item you would immediately replace if it’s lost

Without a second thought, it would be the Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Foundation. It’s the cornerstone of any look, creating a flawless canvas that’s both wearable and transformative. I not only use it on myself, but I also bring all 36 shades in my kit for every runway show, photoshoot or red carpet event I am doing the makeup for.

Three items that are on your beauty wish list right now

For someone as makeup-obsessed as me, choosing just three is tricky. I mean, I travel with 67 suitcases of makeup every fashion week! But right now I’d say I’m most excited about all the incredible newness from Pat McGrath Labs. There’s the Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Blurring Under-Eye Powder in a new Baby Pink shade that not only blurs and smooths under the eyes but also brightens dark circles in one sweep. There’s our new, limited-edition MatteTrance Lipstick in Honey Haze—part of the Heart’s Desire Collection—which Miley Cyrus wore to the 2024 Grammy Awards. And lastly, our Divine Cream Blush: Legendary Glow Colour Balms. They’re creamy, easy to use, and they look good on everyone.

A person you have the biggest beauty crush on, and why?

Oh, so many people! At the moment, I’m absolutely obsessed with McGrath Muse Taylor Swift, whose makeup looks I created for her ‘Bejeweled’ music video. I also can’t stop thinking about Miley Cyrus, who rocked the 2024 Grammys in Skin Fetish: Divine Bronzer in Nude Honey Sublime Skin Highlighter in Nude Opal and MatteTrance Lipstick in Honey Haze. Her fearless approach to beauty and style, breaking norms and setting trends, continues to inspire my vision of fearless beauty. Then you have all the incredible icons who I haven’t worked with but who are beyond inspiring. These are legends like David Bowie, Diana Ross and Grace Jones whose passion, creativity and fearlessness make them every makeup artist’s dream.

Something you’re gatekeeping right now. Spill.

No gatekeeping here, my dear! I recently shared my secret behind the internet-breaking Glass Skin technique that we developed for John Galliano’s Maison Margiela Artisanal SS24 show. The masterclass, which aired on both Instagram and TikTok, was attended by over 300,000 people! It was major! What I can spill is I’m currently developing—at lightning speed —a product to help beauty lovers recreate the viral look at home. And that’s not it. We have so many exciting launches coming this year from Pat McGrath Labs, across several categories, so make sure you stay tuned!

A trend that needs to die

Everything has its time and place and I always want to encourage people to not be afraid to play and experiment with all types of makeup looks. My motto is always “use without caution.”

A makeup step you will never skip before you head out the door

pat mcgrath interview 2024
Pat McGrath, Naomi Campbell, and Donatella Versace circa 1998-1999. (Photo by Yann Gamblin/Paris Match via Getty Images)

For myself, I prefer very simple beauty, but I will always apply my Dark Star Mascara before walking out the door—layers of it, actually! It’s probably the product I go through the most as it instantly transforms your look—pushing up, sculpting, and fanning out your lashes to panoramic proportions.

The skincare item that completely transformed your skin for the better

Our Divine Skin: Rose 001 The Essence, which is a bi-phase formula that combines calming rose water with nourishing botanical extracts. It hydrates, soothes, and plumps the skin, making it the perfect base for any makeup application. You see the results instantly after patting it into your skin. I’m also obsessed with beauty tech, and the NuFace Trinity+ is a game changer for its ability to sculpt, lift and smooth the face. It’s become a transformative part of my beauty routine.

Your trick to achieve the best hair day

I have two: a silk pillowcase, which is my secret to keeping my hair smooth and shiny from the moment I wake up, while the Tangle Teezer detangling brush is my must-have for on-the-go styling. I always carry one in my bag wherever I go.

An unexpected beauty hack you always incorporate into your routine

pat mcgrath interview 2024
Model Shalom Harlow (L) and makeup artist Pat McGrath backstage at Dior’s spring 2007 haute couture runway show at the Polo de Paris. (Photo by Delphine Achard/WWD/Penske Media via Getty Images)

I apply my Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Foundation with my fingers, pressing it onto the skin like a moisturiser. It’s a technique I’ve always used as I find that the warmth of your hands helps the formula really melt into your skin. Then, if I need more coverage in certain areas, I’ll add another layer with our Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Foundation Brush.

An underrated perfume you think everyone should give a chance to

Every scent I wear I achieve by mixing and matching different perfumes and essential oils to create a bespoke fragrance for myself that reflects my surroundings or mood for the day. So I would encourage people to do the same and dabble in a little fragrance alchemy, whether that’s layering perfumes that they already own or discovering new scents to combine with old favourites.

The last beauty indulgence you had done

It was a full day at the spa treating myself to a facial and my favourite body treatments, like a lymphatic drainage massage and acupuncture. I don’t often get time off but when I do, this is how I treat myself to some much-needed rest and relaxation.

A song that will always get you in the mood to get ready

I love music, so I have tons of songs that I love to listen to when getting ready. Diana Ross’s “The Boss” is a favourite as is Missy Elliot’s “The Rain.” My current obsession, however, is “Water” by Tyla—who wears all Pat McGrath Labs for her new “Truth or Dare” music video. We also worked with her makeup artist, Mathew Fishman, for the 2024 Grammys. The song is instantly timeless, and always puts me in the right frame of mind to create something beautiful—and have a great time while doing it.

Brands that check all the boxes for you

Pat McGrath Labs, of course! It embodies innovation, luxury, and artistry.

A mantra that you live by

“Use without caution”—this has been my message from the start. I have never believed that there are any rules as to what makes something, or someone, beautiful. Rather, makeup is a form of self-expression that should make you feel empowered and joyful and your most authentic self!