“I am very schizophrenic: I have a very strong creative side but I’m not an artist and I love the rigor and intention of science. I was a medical student in France, but for fun I went to a makeup school for four weeks over the summer. After those four weeks I was sent to do the makeup for Vogue. It was one of those moments when they send the understudy to replace the actor and the understudy becomes famous. They just had no one else to send so they sent me, and after this first shoot I became a makeup artist. I worked with Helmut Newton, my second shoot was with Guy Bourdin. It was a complete discovery of an entire world I never thought existed. If you are a biologist how can you imagine there is a whole team behind a picture? Now it seems so obvious with the internet and all those things. I loved that, so I decided to leave university. I’ve now been a makeup artist for 10 years. It was hard work but so much fun and after the shooting we were so happy and had the best dinners with the best caviar. It was a different time. Today it is so serious. We were all devoted to creating an art piece and the art piece was the picture. Nobody cared about celebrity or their name being in the magazine it was completely art.

After being a makeup artist I went to work with the amazing Yves Saint Laurent. . In 92’ I came up with this click pen, Touche Éclat and the term, ‘Éclat’ did not exist in vocabulary of the cosmetics industry, it was coverage, perfection, matte, sheer, iridescent, but not glow. I invented the word ‘glow’ in this industry. It sounds ridiculous but it’s true. I always believed even when I was a makeup artists that glow is much more interesting than perfection. My focus was to get the glow. Who wants to be perfect but completely flat.I prefer to pretend we have imperfection but with a natural face.

So after being the head of the cosmetics department, marketing, art direction, product development at Yves Saint Laurent and sharing the day to day with Yves Saint Laurent, this iconic man and artist, I could not imagine going to work anywhere else. After fifteen years with him I cannot call Yves Saint Laurent a fashion designer because he was really beyond that. He left a huge legacy by breaking all of the rules in the industry and revolutionizing it. It was like a fantasy working with him everyday. It was so natural and I did not realize how perfect it was at the time, so for me to work with another fashion designer was a nonsense, even if I have a lot of respect for Karl Lagerfeld and his progressive mind. I adored his translating but it was too far and there were also so many people working at Chanel. But that was the only house I could even imagine to transition to.

It was much deeper than just finding another contract. I had always had in my mind the concept of creating house translating the Haute couture to the Haute couleur. I wanted a bespoke house of color that was very extravagant, completely free with no limits for creativity and luxury. So I created By Terry Haute Couleur to completely reinvent my expertise in color and texture and makeup. I like when science has a huge part in glamour and femininity. It has to have a sensible science behind it, but a mascara or lipstick must always be a pleasure to use.  We have so many products ranging from skin care to makeup. I love to use the rose. You can utilize every aspect of the flower for beneficial purposes. Right now we are launching fragrances for the first time. We have produced a whole luxurious range, which is very exciting!

Today I use very few things. My theory is less is more. I’m not using a lot of products, but ones that are high in concentration and I use them every day. The repeated ritual is very good. Every season I’m not changing my products, but I’m adding something new for eight days just to refresh. It’s like a haircut. It challenges your skin a bit.

I cannot wake up or go to bed without deeply cleaning my face, but it only takes me three minutes. I start with my Douceur de Rose cleansing cream. I massage it on for one minute and that dissolves the impurities in the deep layers of my skin. Sometimes I’ll just use Grain de Rose scrub, a rosebud exfoliator, but I always finish off with Gelée de Rose moisturizer. I pat it on and rinse it off with a hot towel. Next I use Source de Rose toner, but I put it in my hand like an aftershave and not on a pad. I do this every morning and night, and my skin is in great condition.

In terms of makeup, I start off with foundation. Touche Veloutée is my concealer, and for mascara I wear Terrybly. The more you use it, the more it reconditions your lashes and stimulates their growth. Next I do my eyebrows, put on a lipstick and that’s it. I love color! So for my lipstick it can depend on the day and my mood. I usually wear a red or a nude shade.”

-As told to The Formula / Photos by Aimee Blaut in London