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Katie Jane Hughes On Her Favourite Brands, Photoshop And Staying Real

"Remember when you see images, what you see is not always what you get. "

In 2020, the beauty industry exists on Instagram and has been transformed by it. Leading the change, and standing out, is makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes. 

Whether you're obsessed with makeup or use Instagram as a source of beauty inspiration from time to time, you're bound to have come across makeup artist @katiejanehughes.

Famed for her use of wearable, bright colour, graphic cool-girl liner and skin that looks like, well, amazingly glowy-yet-real-skin, she's lending a whole new meaning to the term #InstagramFace.

KATIE ON… Diversity in beauty

Fortunately, we’re all under such a microscope now that the diversity spectrum is just getting bigger and broader and better.

When I think of diversity I think of brands like Fenty and Glossier, and an amazing brand called Uoma founded by Sharon Chuter, a Nigerian-born woman.

It’s not just about diverse shades but also making different textures for those shades too.

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KATIE ON… Instagram vs Reality

It’s not realistic to portray this overly-filtered thing. That’s why I get such a good response from not editing so much.

Remember when you see images, what you see is not always what you get. People are getting a bit savvier and they can tell when something is totally Photoshopped. It’s important to know that the editing work on a picture is sometimes as significant as the makeup work.

KATIE ON… The community

My stance on editing just helps my community of followers to trust me more. With so much sponsored content now it’s hard to find the line between being trusted and not.

That’s always my way, to be a friend to my community and to be real with them, straight up. That’s something I’ve always done naturally. I always feel like I’m just chatting with my mates.

KATIE ON… Negativity online

One rude, horrible woman recently commented on my chipped tooth. She was like, ‘I can’t believe you do what you do on Instagram and you could leave that chipped tooth like that, it’s disgusting.’ I was like, ‘Oh wow. Thanks for your lovely message.’

And I once used a face wipe and got a message saying, ‘A f*cking face wipe? Unfollowing!’ I was like, waving hand emoji – BYE!

And someone once called me a ‘sweaty mouse’ – I replied saying, ‘Aw, how cute!’ That sort of reaction reflects back on them though. Sometimes I do reply and I’ll always be kind and try to educate within the critique.

I am human, and I do have a sensitivity gauge. More often than not, I’ll get a private message apologising. Approach these things like they’re not about you! 

KATIE ON… The ‘self-taught’ concept

There’s a lot of makeup artists with ‘self-taught’ in their bios. The reality is if you’ve got a laptop or a phone, you’re watching other people’s content and learning from someone else. That irks me a bit.

You’re not self-taught, none of us is self-taught – we all learned from someone, somewhere, somehow. The self-taught movement is a little disingenuous.

KATIE ON… Over-edited beauty imagery

I generally don’t like this trend – obviously, each to their own and we should all do whatever we need to do to make ourselves happy.

But I do feel that there’s such a large flurry of celebrities and influencers that edit so much that their young, easily influenced followers might think that it’s an achievable skin type or texture to get.

KATIE ON… How to organically collaborate

The best way for collaboration to begin, I think, is when you talk about a brand that you really do love for along time, and then they cotton on to it and contact you to do some work with them.

I’m only ever going to try to create those organic relationships. My community trusts that I won’t start talking about flat tummy tea or gummy bear hair bullshit. I never would.

KATIE ON… Credibility

My credibility on Instagram comes from the fact that I’m a makeup artist – influencer is not a dirty word to me, but it’s not really how I see myself. If I was on a press trip with a bunch of influencers I think I’d stick out like a sore thumb.

KATIE ON… Brands whose ethos she admires

Even though I don’t use its stuff much, I really love what Lush is doing. It’s not using packaging and making some really cool initiatives in the beauty space as far as sustainability goes.

I’m on set with Glossier two or three times a month and I know, when there’s live editing happening with a retoucher, we’ll make sure natural skin things are left in. Like a pockmark or larger pores.

If someone’s got a bit of a breakout or skin texture, with Glossier it gets to stay. It’s so refreshing and it’s what the brand does so well.

Main image: @katiejanehughes 

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