Rae Morris, Makeup Artist

Rae Morris is an Australian makeup legend who brims over with a contagious passion for what she does. She has penned three makeup books, was spokesperson for L’Oreal for ten years and launched her eponymous range of makeup brushes to sell out success. All this from someone who didn’t want to be a makeup artist…

We caught up with the gorgeous Rae in her home and drooled over her incredible makeup kit. 

Rae with her dog, Duffer, a Maltese Cross

Rae with her dog, Duffer, a Maltese Cross

“I never thought I was that good at makeup.

I was a complete tomboy. We lived on a farm with goats and ducks and horses. I thought I wanted to be a vet because I always played with animals and dolls that had lots of fluffy hair. Every doll mum bought me I would shave it’s head, or cut or bleach it’s hair. I gave one doll a flat top. Hairdressing was what I fell into first. I started hairdressing at 14. Mum was in the fitness industry, competing as a body builder. I used to come home when I was little and sit on her back when she did push ups because she needed extra weight! My dad was a builder. How I ended up in this industry I have no idea! I loved hairdressing but I had bad carpal tunnels in my wrist and I couldn’t hold a hairdryer so I managed the salon and started helping hairdressers and photographers on shoots. I would help with hair and then hang out in the makeup area and I thought I would love to do this, I’m not very good at it but I’ll give it a go.

The real twist of fate was Naomi Campbell...

I was doing hair for a modelling pageant in Istanbul and she was one of the judges. She had a makeup artist there, of course, but they had stormed out. Naomi asked for lip gloss and all I did was put lip gloss on her lips. It was two seconds of her life, she’ll never remember, but it changed mine because I got a snapshot of me putting lip gloss on Naomi Campbell and I was now this International makeup artist and I came back to Brisbane and I was in the press and doing interviews and I sort lied myself through it and taught myself on the job. I was 20. I lived with a drag queen back in Brisbane and he would teach me this and that. Then I ended up training with Richard Sharah – he was David Bowie’s makeup artist. He said, ‘Right, you’re moving to Sydney!’ and I assisted him, then I went on to do fashion week and magazine jobs and L’Oreal after that. Every time I used to buy makeup brushes I would soften them with bleach and shave with a razor them into a fine point because I never loved the shape. A brush company approached me and said, 'Do you want to do some brushes?' I went, ‘No, I don’t, but I would like you to make them specifically for me.’

Rae's new makeup brushes have magnets in their base so they can stand up by themselves

Rae's new makeup brushes have magnets in their base so they can stand up by themselves

I never wanted to have a brand or be that person.

I was too busy doing makeup. When I started to get those brushes made, it was honestly demand. Every time I touched a models face, I remember Victoria Baron picking one up and I remember Jennifer Hawkins when I used the big radiance brush she said, ‘I want this where can I buy one?’ and the rest is history. We’ve got a new magnetic thing and you pick up fifty brushes and you put them on a table and they stand up instantly. To be honest they were only made for me – the fact that they sell... I’m not about sales. But for me, personally, I can’t do makeup without them. If they sell, that’s a bonus. I mean that, and the response! I’ve had Dita Von Teese want them… Pink, Kelly Rowland, Sarah Jessica Parker order them. It’s been amazing.

I break out really badly from makeup.

My skin goes crap. I use Clinique Even Better Skin. I’ve also fallen in love with DMK Cream based foundation – it’s medical, it’s really sheer, you can’t see it but it stops bacteria on contact and calms acne down. I use it as a concealer. I put on one or two drops Giorgio Armani Number 2 Luminiser, it’s great for pale skin. Sometimes I’ll use L’Oreal nude Magique as an alternative to foundation, I mix it up. Also Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage concealer. I use a cream blush by Stila or Nars. I love Lancôme Juicy Tube Lipgloss, it’s a taste thing. And I love L’Oreal Telescopic Mascara. YSL Lipstick Rouge Pur Couture. I use a smudgy kohl pencil – I love the Nars or Bobbi Brown gel pencils – you’ve got time to smudge them and then they don’t move. I also like Diorshow mascara but the wand is too big so I use my little metal comb to apply it to get it right into the lashes. 

Skincare essentials: Cetaphil cleanser, Bioderma Crealine makeup remover, The Clarisonic and L'Oreal Nude Magique

Skincare essentials: Cetaphil cleanser, Bioderma Crealine makeup remover, The Clarisonic and L'Oreal Nude Magique

For skin I use Cetaphil cleanser, a bit of Crealine. I use the Clarisonic once a week. I love Ultraceuticals as well. I love their brightening serum, it’s one of my favourite things.

DMK has cleaned my skin like nothing ever before.

The deep pore cleanser and the spot cream is the best I’ve ever used in my life. I have this powdered Vitamin C mask in sachets – it’s like having an omnilux light – the next day I’ve never seen my skin look that different. Because I’m trying to get natural, I rarely put anything on my body. I’m so white you never see my legs or arms anyway. Sometimes I use QV and I do love putting the Goe Oil on elbows or knees.

I like my hair undone.

If I blowdry it I look like a news reporter. I have to wash it every day so I go to bed with it wet. If I wash it in the morning I use a couple of pumps of Kerastase oil, the gold Redken one or Moroccanoil. My hair is the driest hair in the world. I don’t blowdry, tong or straighten it,it matts so badly. I hated my hair growing up. I wanted Farrah Fawcett flicks or dead straight hair. Even during my late twenties I used to straighten the hell out of it. It wasn’t until when I was working heavily in the fashion industry and I started to see models would come in with hair like that and I thought you know, ‘I’m just going to look how I look,’ and then people would comment about my hair and I thought, 'Okay I’m going to keep with it.’ 

Growing up, I hated being so fair.

I was the one that was fully dressed, hat on. When I got burnt it blistered. It wasn’t fun. Even now when people say, ‘Let’s go to the beach’, I can not do ‘beach’. Five minutes and I’m red. When I’m on a shoot, I will put sunscreen on every two hours religiously. I use Invisible Zinc and I love La Roche Posay 50+. I discovered that in Paris. Even the Bioderma 50+, anything with zinc. And I wear hats, long sleeve shirts, the collar, long loose pants.

Rae wears dress by Alexander McQueen

Rae wears dress by Alexander McQueen

My style is minimal and androgynous,

I don’t want to be too girly, but I do like to wear black. I like men’s fragrance. I wear Tom Ford Black Orchid fragrance and Francis Kurkdjian Lumiere Noire - that’s my favourite all the time. Gok Wan gave me this Mad et Lien candle, it smells amazing.

I love not knowing what I’ll do tomorrow. Every days a different place if you don’t like someone you don’t have to ever work with them again. I also love that when I go to work every single other person in that room is the best at what they do. It’s a seamstress, or an actor or a photographer or a hairdresser. I’m around extraordinary talent every day of my life. I failed art at school. I had no patience. I wasn’t methodical I used to shortcut everything.

I’m dyslexic and I write books...

and when I do makeup seminars I say, if I can do this, anyone can do this. No arts degree, failed school, dyslexic, whatever, can’t even draw. And here I am! I’ve done three books, about to do my fourth in January. I love it.”


Words by Sigourney; Photography by Jake Terrey; Hair by Paloma Rose-Garcia; Makeup by Rae Morris.

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