Max May is the big cheese, the crème de la crème (Crème de La Mer?) of Australian makeup artists. He is recognised predominately for his work with super stunners like Lara Bingle, Sarah Murdoch and Abbie Cornish and in many an editorial for Grazia, Harper's Bazaar and Russh. The list goes on. Mr May's latest venture is Max Made, an exciting new beauty blog providing step-by-step tutorials and sharing Max's personal tips, tricks and some of his most trusted beauty products. I caught up with Max recently to get the lowdown and to find out a little bit more about the man behind the makeup.
B&B: You've just launched your beauty blog, Max Made. Where did the idea to start your own blog come from?
MM: It actually stemmed from Lara and I wanting to do a book for each other for our friendship. Everyone started telling us we should do a whole makeup book and it kind of got out of hand and then into the media. It got me thinking about the different types of platforms you can do in a book and it's actually a little bit limiting and then getting it international is a lot harder so I thought about doing a website. It also stemmed from me being online and seeing that there wasn't really as strong a beauty presence as there is fashion, especially being run by make up artists.
B&B: You've already posted some tutorials and product reviews on the blog. What else can we expect to see on Max Made?
MM: Obviously there'll be more of those, I think they're really important and what girls are after. It's step-by-step and there are literal product recommendations, how they work and how best to use them. I'll be doing interviews with cosmetic companies and at product launches with other makeup artists and designers, finding out their beauty inspirations. There will be more creative, so shooting my own beauty. The list goes on and obviously the ideas will grow as I'm getting a feel for what works and what girls respond to.
B&B: How did you get started in the hair and beauty industry?
MM: I started with hair. I had a bit of an eye for it when I was younger and used to cut all my mates and girlfriends' hair from early teenagehood. Then later in life I had a friend who's a hairdresser and she saw what I was doing and after a little persuasion, she talked me into assisting her. I then moved into makeup. I'm a painter. I love to paint and I love to draw.
B&B: Do you still paint and draw?
MM: I still do, yeah. I have a little book I use for myself. I'm a bit quiet and shy about my drawing and painting. I've never really been into showing it much, it's more of a personal thing for me.
B&B: Do you mind if I ask what you draw and paint?
MM: I don't really have a solid thing that I do. I do a lot of work with charcoal and a bit of watercolour. They're my two favourite things to use. I do isolations of things. Sometimes I do eyes or a hand. Sometimes flowers. I went through a big phase of doing skylines about 6 months ago. It changes with my mood and what I'm into and what I'm seeing at the time.
B&B: What are some of the essentials you carry in your makeup kit?
MM: Always an eyelash curler. It's the first thing I pack when downsizing into a particular kit. Definitely Armani Luminous Silk, I take that everywhere along with MAC Face And Body. With those two products I can create any kind of base that I want. Base for me is everything, like painting, it's a canvas. Armani and Laura Mercier bronzers, contouring powders. I'm all about contouring and it's definitely a step in creating the perfect canvas. At the moment I am obsessed with Tom Ford lipsticks, using them everyday. I love the consistency. They're the only lipsticks in my kit that are not squashed into lipstick palettes because I love the packaging - it's really cool and really beautiful. I'm also obsessed with Tom Ford eyebrow pencils as well. I'm an eyebrow sucker. I love the consistency and the way they transfer onto the eyebrow. They catch onto the hair and you can work them onto the skin. They have a really beautiful angled tip on them. I think they're really foolproof, as well.
B&B: What has been one of the biggest highlights of your career so far?
MM: Working with Daria [Werbowy] was pretty amazing. Then having her bring me back to New York to continue working with her after that. Working with Erin Wasson was pretty amazing. I get to work with really amazing people every day like Lara, Sarah Murdoch, Rose Byrne and Jessica Mauboy. Doing Vogue a little over a year and a half into my career was pretty cool. I've been pretty lucky in that sense. The great thing about my job is that every day is exciting. It's always a new adventure and I think that's why I love what I do.
B&B: If you weren't doing hair and makeup, what do you think you'd be doing?
MM: I'd definitely be doing something else thats creative that involves drawing, painting or creating. I got into art photography for a little while and I loved that. Otherwise I'd probably be back in my hometown in Byron Bay being a barber (laughs).
B&B: What will be your next hair move?
MM: For summer I'm moving more into a straight, chunkier texture. I've been working with a lot of shinier textures, still keeping that loose sexiness, which is definitely my style. I've been using different silicone and shine sprays that still hold that beachy, bed hair, sexy texture but without being so dry, so it's got more of a shine or even a slightly wet texture. A lot of my editorials will also be coming out with that for summer.
B&B: Who is one of your style icons?
MM: Jim Morrison. Now that my hair's cut, I've kinda thrown myself into a little bit of a spin. Johnny Depp is always super cool. I love what he does. As far as girls go I am a diehard fan of Chloe Sevigny. Everyone used to say she was just a weirdo and she would buy her own vintage stuff, people wouldn't even lend to her. She would definitely be a style icon.
B&B: How many tattoos do you have?
MM: 8 and I'm about to get another one on Tuesday.
B&B: What are you going to get?
MM: I'm getting a palm tree on my finger.
B&B: What is your favourite tattoo and why?
MM: All my tattoos are very symbolic, I don't really have a favourite one. Each of them represents a friend or a lover or a time in my life. I'd like to think my new palm tree is going to be my favourite because its going to be new (laughs).
B&B: What do you like to do in your downtime?
MM: I go to the gym a lot, meditate a lot. I do yoga, I draw. I like to hang out with my friends. We walk a lot. I'm just about to meet Lara and we're going to walk to Coogee.
B&B: What's something that not a lot of people know about you?
MM: I touch my ears when I'm thinking. My friends all pay me out about it. I play with the edge of it, just one. I've done it since I was a little kid. Instead of sucking my thumb, I used to do that.
B&B: What else is in the pipeline for you?
MM: Just getting the blog going, getting a following and producing content that I'm proud of. Inspire people and have a purpose and a meaning. That's my focus right now.
Images via Max Made and Front Row Suit