The man behind Meghan Markle’s luminous wedding makeup gives us a peek inside his kit.
From assisting makeup icon Pat McGrath to Italian Vogue’s historic 2008 all-Black issue to now regularly beautifying the face of long-time client, friend and royal, Meghan Markle, Daniel Martin has many career-defining milestones under his makeup belt. This week, the New York-based makeup maestro, who also counts Elisabeth Moss, Nina Dobrev and Jessica Alba as regular clients, added one more: the first-ever global director of artistry and education for beloved Japanese-inspired beauty line Tatcha.
It’s a brand partnership that seems like the perfect fit, seeing as how Martin has been a fan of the brand since its inception, and has a close friendship with brand founder Vicky Tsai. “I met Vicky 10 and a half years ago when she had just started her brand out of her house making her Japanese blotting papers,” says Martin. “I then started using them backstage at New York Fashion Week, and a Vogue editor at the time, who was reporting on one of my looks, asked me what the papers were. Everything snowballed from there and Vicky and I wound up creating this incredible friendship.”
In celebration of Daniel Martin’s new gig and the 10-year anniversary of Tatcha’s signature Aburatorigami Japanese Beauty Papers, we asked him to dish on his skillful way of always creating luminous skin on clients and the go-to products in his makeup kit.
On his personal go-to Tatcha products:
“The Indigo line is my go-to because I have mild eczema. During stressful periods it flares up, and this line is the only one that’s been able to keep it at bay. I’m also a huge fan of the Tatcha Water Gel cream moisturizer because it’s so gentle on the skin and does what it needs to do in terms of hydration. It’s a water-based product that I’ll use in the summer. Also, I find that water-based moisturizers work well underneath makeup in terms of longevity. I try to stay away from anything that has too much oil in it, or anything that has a lot of silicone, because over time, your skin heats up throughout the day and those types of products can break up your makeup. Separation can happen between your foundation and your moisturizer.”
On his favourite glow-boosting hero:
“Tatcha’s Serum Stick. I like to keep it in my fridge and apply it all over on my face while it’s nice and cold. It gives me a nice pick-me-up in the morning. I also use it on clients to sculpt the face because I like to add more light instead of dark contour. It’s more forgiving. And I like to use it as a highlighter rather than shimmer-based products, because I find shimmer can almost look too metallic in photos. I’d rather create that dimension using an emollient product rather than makeup.”
On the makeup question he’s asked most frequently:
“It’s always around foundation, and how to make foundation not look like foundation.
Like, ‘How do you do skin so that it doesn’t look like makeup?’ So much of it is understanding good skincare practices. If you take the time to take care of your skin, then the makeup is so much easier to lie on top of it, especially when it comes to foundation. Also, I tend to do foundation before concealer, and I usually apply foundation using a buffing brush starting in the center of the face and work my way outward. This enables me to see how much coverage I actually need to add with concealer. Concealers tend to be a lot thicker, and when you’re doing all of this heavy marking and etching before foundation, you wind up putting on too much concealer, you’re building all this unnecessary texture, which foundation just ends up sitting on top of.”
On the most-used product in his kit:
“Tatcha’s Dewy Mist. I’ll spray it before makeup and use it afterwards, too. I like to use it after makeup when I’ve applied too much powder on and the skin looks too matte or looks like makeup. It helps cut the powdery cast on the face. I’ll spray it on and work it into the skin with a powder puff, which melts the powder a bit.”
On going MacGyver:
“A glue stick to lay down eyebrows. If I have a client who has really thick, unruly brows, I’ll use a glue stick and literally mold out the shape and let it dry down completely. The glue stick really helps me lay down brows without canceling them out. It just really tames the hairs. The one in my kit goes on purple on dries clear. Drag queens have been using it forever. It really works!”
On his longest celeb client relationship:
“Model Veronica Webb. We met back in 2006 or 2007 through Lancôme, and from there we just became great, supportive friends. She has such a history in fashion and beauty: She was the first Black model to ever get a major cosmetic contract, which was with Revlon. She was also part of the 2008 all-Black issue of Italian Vogue, and she fought for me to do her makeup for her shoot. And because I had assisted Pat McGrath, and was familiar with the magazine’s team, they were like, ‘Yeah, of course.’ It wasn’t until that editorial that I was able to get noticed by my agency The Wall Group, and I’ve been with them now for 13 years. Veronica lives, like, 10 blocks from me in the Upper West Side, so we see each other and talk all the time!”
On a celebrity his dying to work with next:
“Tilda Swinton. There’s just something about her look. She’s cool and so confident and I just love everything that she wears. I usually don’t geek out over celebrities, but I think if I were to meet her, I wouldn’t know what to say!”