“I went to art school in Finland and wanted a job where I could travel. So I decided to pick up hair and makeup. Working with hair is like sculpting and doing makeup is like painting. I moved to Stockholm and applied to work with Björn Axén, probably the best salon in Sweden. Björn said that I could take five models and film my styling then come in for an interview. So here I am this little girl from Finland walking around Kungsträdgården trying to find some models, I didn’t know anybody in Stockholm (laughs). So I dragged some girls down and did my video. The next day I went to see Björn and I got the job and got into his creative team. It’s been great fun we did all the shows in New York and I was working with the royal family.
In 1989 Björn and I were in Paris for the couture shows and I met Kim Robinson who was an Australian running salons in Hong Kong. We had dinner and he invited me to come work with him. I thought about it for a while and eventually called Kim and decided to go. First it was hard but after one year it got a lot better. In Scandinavia you demand respect but in Asia you have to earn your respect so that was a very interesting journey. I worked with a team in Hong Kong for hair and set up my own makeup practice. Eventually I left Le Salon and Kim Robinson and worked a lot with the magazines. I eventually opened my own which I later sold to Elle Hong Kong when I moved back to Sweden.
I teach makeup to people and I teach in a different way. A lot of brands have a very scheduled process of how to wash the brushes and do things from light to dark; then I come in and am like ‘okay we are going to break all these rules! Anyone who went to a classic school is going to hate me but people who want to try something else, enjoy the ride!’ I do a lot of patchwork and work mainly with my fingers when I can. I work the best when it’s hands on and I can touch and feel things. I have so many products for work, but I use so little on myself. I like to use organic products. When I wake up, I use Luxsit Balance Body Wash and Salviderm Naturligt Vis Facial Cleanser and Shampoo. I also love the Luxsit Enrich Magic Moisturizing Facial Mask. That mask is as amazing as a Cinderella cream when you travel.
Lancôme Effacernes Longue Tenue Long-Lasting Softening Concealer has been my favorite one all of these years. It goes on very light, which I prefer. When it comes to concealers, I find that the blue under the eye is very difficult to remove unless you use a very strong pigment. I actually mix this long-lasting concealer with an orange pigment; that’s the only thing that works for me. I like Armani’s foundations. Maestro, its latest one, is so thin it’s almost like a liquid. I also love my Shu Uemura UV Underbase Mousse SPF 30. I discovered it on a job in China. It bleaches the skin a little and goes on very light. It’s great because it evens out the skin and the pores softly. When you apply foundation over it, you get a nice, even tone without having to use too much foundation—and it lasts all day. Since I don’t wear much makeup if I want to do something dramatic I’ll wear red lipstick. So from time to time I throw on a red lip and put on my Tom Ford glasses.
For fragrance, I wear Etro’s Heliotrope. I was in Italy and went into the Etro shop and just fell in love with it. Since then I haven’t been able to use anything else—and that was ten years ago. I couldn’t find it in Stockholm, which was a bit frustrating. But then a shop in town started carrying it so I am very happy about that!”
-As told to The Formula / Photos by:Aimee Blaut in Stockholm