Peter Russell has been making magic not with wands but beauty brushes and palettes for over a decade. To count how many faces he has beautified is not something I would dare to do because of one reason; the numbers are over whelming. But if you insist, his clientele brags of celebrities, influencers, musicians and all those that love to dazzle. The lime-light shunning MUA is famously known in the region for all things extra-glam. As much as he loves to let his work speak for its self, Peter reluctantly accepts to talk to us. He is not in a hurry or one to be hurried. I guess this is a trait possessed by perfectionists like him, and a requirement to create his signature jaw-dropping work. He agrees to talk about himself and the trends we should anticipate in the world of beauty.
To begin the conversation, Peter gives me his honest opinion about trends. “I honestly don’t follow trends, I make them! he says convincingly. He also elaborates that what is trending in Kampala may not be trending in South Africa or Botswana, which explains his futuristic approach to the craft.
He is the kind of make up artist that will give you a Kim Kardashian lip, Naomi Campbell chick, and Ariana Grande brows. “I do a lot of research compared to my other counter parts in the industry, and it shows. Ugandans are quite slow in catching up with the world. They don’t like to break new ground and if they do, they want to do it comfortably, and I find that boring” he says. “For example, I still see people who wear heavy makeup, but that is no longer a trend. 2022 is about using shades on the warm palate and using nude tones because they don’t to offset a person’s natural skin tone.”
“We are using more shades on the nude pallet right now. Makeup artists should focus on working with warm tones in order not to step off the natural skin tone. These warm tones in contrast with someone’s skin complexion end up looking as gathered and natural as possible, as opposed to so many things that risk stepping off natural beauty.” If the client is in for a classic look, Peter thinks that is the way to go; as natural as possible because less is more if it is done well.
What beauty trends are coming.
- Soft brows
Forget the perfect edges and constructed lines, the new trend is letting your brows celebrate their natural form. Soft brows make you look effortlessly younger by being similar to your natural brows, except being slightly fuller and upwardly arched. These were not in but now there in (3 years later for Ugandans)
- Rosy cheek
According to Peter, you have to pay attention to your cheeks, and how better than considering a tint of rose to make you look fresh! This is a key component to perfecting your makeup look. Rosy cheeks is the only way to apply blush on your cheeks without looking like you drew two pink circles.
- Make up that looks young
“The people we work on want all most nothing, while looking perfect” he says. “Ugandans believe that they are very pretty so they want the least.” If some one is a beige skin tone, colors in the beige tone range will help in creating a natural looking color. Comfort here is such a trend that people here don’t want to push boundaries. If they try to push boundaries, they still do it comfortably which is boring.
- Artsy Make up
People should consider incorporating art in makeup. Its both playful, youthful and it edifies the face. Small art intended things like drawings, stones, sequins, pearls, and other materials will now lye where eye shadow used to be. Celebrities like Doja Cat have taken the trend even further by cutting off eye brows and redrawing hearts, (you don’t have to go there). This in large part is due to the current Y2K trend renaissance embraced by the younger generation
- Brows, Eyes or lips?
Should concentrate on eyes, lips, or brows? I ask him, and his answer is quite adrift but true honest. He says we should concentrate on the skin. “Make up wise, I watch a lot of videos so I am way ahead of what is happening here. People now consider skin more that anything else, personally I love eye brows but eye brows are washed, they have had their time and its gone. Right now, the not so done eyebrow is on because everyone wants to look like they don’t have anything going on. Lips, we know everyone is going for the nude lip and the nude lip is still natural. As I said, people should concentrate on skin tone, skin color and skin match. The dewy skin is in, the natural kind of glow is all over the carpet, and run ways.” he says.
New products he is enjoying
The Fabiola cream lip glosses; Fabiola Beauty dropped their new collection inspired by her favourite brown lippies in five new colours labelled Boycott, Melanin, Fiction, Icon and Bronze. It includes three brown glosses and two Brown matte lipsticks.
The MB Cosmetics; Their lippies are amazing, Their eye lash glue is amazing for people who do make up professionally and those who don’t. Adding to that he says, “I also think Ugandans should buy more of Ugandan products.” I ask him if he has any products himself and he hesitates to respond. “When I have one will you be back for an interview? he asks, to which I agree. He then assures me that very soon, he will launch his own products.
Men and makeup; Men and masculine-identifying people have adorned themselves with makeup for thousands of years. But gender binaries established during the Age of Enlightenment of the 17th and 18th centuries influenced who typically wears – and who doesn’t wear – makeup today. Looking at red carpets, cover magazines and pop stars, it seems men and make up are becoming less of enemies.
As a make up artist, I gauge Peter for his opinion on the transition. “I am all about representing yourself. We should be able to express ourselves not only in the way we dress but with our faces because I feel a face is a converse. With time, Ugandan comes on board, months ago small bags were weird but now everyone holds it and it doesn’t make news. The much more open minded we are, the much more we are going to push the envelope when it comes to standards, and I guess that will develop the country more.”
5 Minutes Prep
In today’s busy schedule, we want to look the best and do the least. I ask Peter what it comes down to in only 5 minutes and he says, “For a person who earns below average, wash your face!” but for an average girl who can afford a few essentials, she should have foundation, primer, powder, brow pencil, mascara and lip gloss. “I think lip stick is over rated,” he adds.
Step 1: Put on Primer
Step 2: Apply foundation
Step 3: Apply powder
Step 4: Apply Mascara
Step 5: Apply Lip gloss
Step 6: Use a brow pencil
Located at Thobani Center on Jinja road, the Peter Russell‘s makeup studio is open daily from 9am – 8pm. To finish our conversation, Peter allures me to the beauty of embracing style. “What ever comes around, embrace it before you judge it because you can’t judge things you don’t know, he says, adding that we should all embrace our uniqueness.
I ask him if he has any remarks, and he sure does! “Can we let the people that do what they do best do it? Clients should let the professionals do their work because usually, “our brands are on the line”, Peter says. He explains how wanting something, may not always mean that it can be done (not that it can not be done but with consideration of the clients face, features or specific circumstances).
“While you may come to me wanting one thing because you think it may look good on/for you, I think clients and makeup artists should come to a consensus of what can work. Part of embracing yourself is letting the people that have been there take you there. This is our job and your MUA wants what is best for you.” he says.
Nominated under Makeup Artists of the year in the Abryanz Style & Fashion Awards 2015, Peter Russell may not have snatched that award but he went on to win the PAFA award for Makeup Artist in 2017. The same year in which he graduated from Makerere University with a Bachelors Degree in Industrial & Fine Arts, reach out through the contacts below.
Phone Contact: +256 788 933444