5 Minutes with M.A.C.’s Carol Mackie

We talk sizzling summer trends, models and social media

Summer is officially here in Perth and it started with a bang two nights ago with the  Swim and Resort Series fashion show.

On Sunday night, Bather’s Beach House in Fremantle was home to a runway of sand that stretched from the beach to end of the bar. The stylish venue was filled with fashion enthusiasts, designers and bloggers, all eager to see the beautiful bikinis, glamorous resort wear and of course, smouldering summer make-up.

The genius behind the sun-kissed make-up is Carol Mackie, owner of Perth’s make-up academy Artists@Play, who sponsored the show. Carol is also M.A.C Senior Artist for Australia and has over 17 years experience in the colourful world of cosmetics. Her reputation has spread far and wide and she now flies to fashion weeks all over the world, so it’s no surprise that she’s snapped up for events whenever she’s home in Perth, including Telstra Perth Fashion Festival and Swim and Resort.

I caught up with Carol at Artists@Play a few weeks ago to get a sneak peek at the make-up for the Camilla With Love show, and get clued up on summer tips, tricks and trends…

WA swim and resort makeup

Carol Mackie makeup

WA Swim and Resort series 2015

Carol that make-up looks awesome! How would you describe the look for Camilla With Love?

Thank you! There are two looks for Camilla. It’s very much about sun kissed skin and bodies in terms of colour and fresh skin, but it also has that lovely creamy chocolatey look to the eyes, which gives it a bit of a personality. It’s not overly sophisticated, it’s more worn in. Camilla’s collection is inspired by her travels. The make up has some beautiful splashes of gold with subtle use of transparent glitter reflecting Camilla’s inspiration of fountains in the moonlight and villages sparkling in the sun. The second look is a softer warm creamy version of dessert stained colours.

How do you decide what look to go for? Does the idea just come to you? Or do you have to consult with designers or hairdressers?

You don’t usually get a brief until day before you need to do the test, which is tricky as you need time to think and plan a look. It’s definitely about the aesthetics of the designer in terms of the garments, the colouring and the inspiration behind their collections. So what’s their inspiration? Do they want their models to be pretty girls skipping though a field or have they just woken up in a tent covered in mud? You need to work along side the stylists and hairdresser too, so it’s a collaboration with everyone.

Do you ever get artist’s block like writers get writer’s block?

Totally! Especially when you get a specific brief that you think: this is probably not what I would do. I can often gate a brief that is quite busy and elaborate.  If there are a lot of elements going on, you need to think how you can hone it, please the designer and be happy with it myself. 

You’ve beatified a fair few celebrities during your career, who have been your favourite and why?

Celebrities can be a little tricky to do make up on as they’re really busy and often on their phone, which can mean you struggle to get to their face! I’ve done some amazing models many that have become celebrities, Gemma Ward, Chanel Iman, Julia Nobis. Some time ago I did Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas she was busy but fun and lovely to work with, so in terms of celebrities it would probably be her. 

In terms of models, we have some of the best coming out of Perth! I just got back from Paris and Milan and saw Jess PW and Claudia Todman, who I did make-up on just a few months before and I knew straight away they would be overseas in a flash.

It’s easy to see the stars in the making when you work on a face. I managed the MAC counter in Myer years ago and Gemma Ward came in to get her make-up done for a shoot with me when she was just 14. She was in her school uniform and I remember saying with that unique face she’s going to be so big in Perth! Ha! She’s still a fave, so grounded and lovely, fame just didn’t go to her head at all.

Who’s make-up would you love to do?

Angelina Jolie, Courtney Love and I would have loved to have done Amy Winehouse.

Would you have gotten rid of her thick eyeliner?

No, it was unique to her but I think I would of made it different.

Let’s talk trends! Nude has been huge this spring, can you tell us about some upcoming trends for summer?

It’s really all or nothing! Overseas we saw a lot of focus on skin with subtle highlighting, which brings out the natural contours of the face. Skin has been a massive focus for the past five years, but now more so than ever. 

We also saw strong colour, with primary colours are having their moment. What’s new and current is not over thinking make up and giving it a personality that fits the individual face you’re working on. It’s not about one look fits all!

This is the same with the eyes, it could just be creamy, glossy textures, which look amazing and you don’t need to do anything else, including mascara. It’s about what not to put on rather than more, more, more. 

Brows have taken a slight back seat, they’re now fluffy, brushed up and filled in naturally. This makes them look fuller with natural hair as opposed to penciled sculpted shapes.

Is there one look you can’t stand girls doing?

Heavy foundation; especially when they don’t need it! Foundation is all about making your skin look the best it can without looking like it’s there, as opposed to seeing it sitting on top of the face. I also find that sometimes it can be a bit busy if you’ve got a lash, a liner, a lip and a brow. You don’t know where to focus when you’re looking at someone, and not everyone can carry that heavy make up. 

Speaking of foundation, some have SPF15 in it to protect our skin but it makes us go white in photos. What’s a girl to do?!

I think we used to struggle with that as make-up artists, but now technology in product formulation has changed so much. I use M.A.C’s Lightful C Tinted Cream with Radiance a Booster. It controls oil and shine and has the benefit of SPF30 without looking white in photos. I use that underneath and it doesn’t really change anything I put on over the top.

When I’m shooting outside I like to put sunscreen on the model’s face and body too. I use a light spray mist over the top that doesn’t change the colour of the makeup. 

What’s the most common thing you see girls struggling with when it comes to make-up application?

There’s such a big social media trend in make-up at the moment. Girls are looking at images and want to interpret those looks onto their own face, but then struggle with the application or technique because there’s so much filtering on everything now. A look can become difficult to achieve, or they might see a technique that isn’t going to work on their skin type.

Tell me 3 beauty products you couldn’t live without…

I have to talk about my kit because there are somethings in there that are essential!

  1. A lash curler. You look instantly more awake.
  2. M.A.C Care Blend Essential Oil. It makes the skin glow and smells amazing, everyone loves it when you massage it into their skin, it’s super hydrating and as a highlighter it catches the light when shooting.
  3. M.A.C Strobe Cream. Everyone is talking about strobing now, which is hysterical because as make up artists we’ve been highlighting with Strobe Cream for years. 

 I know! Isn’t it just highlighting?

Exactly, but now it’s on social media. I think the difference is it’s more subtle and there’s a change in product technology now so it’s more about creamy, subtle highlighting. Strobe Cream is great as it has an iridescent pigment through it, so it’s luminous on the skin. 

Now that we’re in our scorching summer, do you have any tips for preventing our make-up melting off?

Pro Longwear products! MAC have pretty much everything now in a Pro Longwear range. They have a new foundation called Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation, it doesn’t move! I love it for humidity and weddings.

I also love Mineralize SkinFinish Powder, it’s super fine and makes the skin look amazing without looking powdery. Pro Longerwear Paint Pots are gel eyeshadows that dry and they don’t move, you can use them on their own or put a shadow over the top to make it really intense.


When it was time for the Camilla with Love show, the golden hour was upon us. The moment to showcase the gold-flecked cheekbones and shimmering eyes couldn’t have been a more perfect. Pair this with long tousled locks and Camilla’s dreamy bohemian designs, the result was simply spectacular…

Artists at play

swim and resort show perth

Camilla swim and resort show

swim and resort wa

camilla show resort

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