I don’t often get my makeup professionally done, but when I do it makes me feel glamorous and polished. It also makes me aware of how a quick beauty fix can make a huge impact. Makeup artist Rebecca Perkins and her business partner, actress Stephanie March of Law & Order: SVU, sought to make professional makeup application accessible to all women by opening their one-stop makeup shop, Rouge New York, a little over a year ago. Think a blowout bar for makeup application, where you can get a simple touch up to a bold new look in very little time.
Perkins has been infatuated with makeup ever since she was a little girl (she did her sister’s prom makeup at just 11 years old) and loves to play with color and technique. Here, I chat with her on the makeup and skin care she can’t live without, upcoming getaway plans and how she loves to help clients plan a night out on the town.
1. How did Rouge come about?
As Stephanie’s makeup artist on the set of Law & Order: SVU, we were able to bond and have a wonderful relationship because my job was to help make her look and feel like her character. I wasn’t trying to sell her anything or push any sort of hidden agenda. We realized that while that model had a service aspect in the real world with a nail salon or blowout bar on every corner, women looking to be served in the makeup model had MAC or the department store counter. We wanted to help make the woman on the street feel like her most together, attractive, powerful self and felt Rouge was a great way to do so.
2. What do you love about working at Rouge?
I work only with women and we are a pretty fascinating bunch. There is always something common or shared to discover and I love unearthing whatever that is. Our client base is so varied in age and occasion that there is always something to learn and discover. Plus, I have never worked in fashion so I am not used to models. I love introducing real women to how makeup can make them feel their best.
3. If you were not a makeup artist, what would you be?
I would be a travel planner or concierge. I am so nosy and love knowing where people are coming from or going to and if I can help with a recommendation I am really happy. I get to do a lot of it at Rouge because so often women come in and then go “well now I have to go somewhere,” so I help them pick a spot.
4. What are some of your makeup pet peeves?
It really gets under my skin when a woman comes in and says “you have your work cut out for you” or “fix me” or “I could never wear X.” That is not in line with my personal philosophy—makeup shouldn’t be mean, punitive or fearful.
5. You get to experiment with a lot of makeup. Can you share some of your top favorites?
I like things that work well. I love the different L’Oreal Voluminous Mascaras (I think there are like 20 on the market). I was bowled over by this line of eyebrow pencils called Kimiko that I never would have discovered had it not been for its owner wandering into my shop. They are just the best pencils ever—mechanical, perfect colors and you only need three to serve pretty much anyone who sat in your chair.
6. Can you share some of your favorite skin care products?
I can’t live without my Daily Healing Serum. I invented it because my skin was literally tearing after the birth of my son and squalane, which is the main ingredient, fixed it. So that’s essential, along with a good sunscreen. Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Pads changed my life this winter. They help get rid of dead flaky skin and surface oil so they are great for any skin type. Plus they make makeup last longer!
7. Where are your favorite places to travel?
Anywhere in Southeast Asia. It is a schlep to get there, but once you are there you can live like a queen while exploring such vastly different places with amazing food. Also, pretty much anywhere in Spain.
8. Are there any must-have beauty products you travel with?
I always bring a lip balm, moisturizer and one of my 2 oz travel mists for the plane, which keeps skin hydrated on long flights. Once I land, I want things fast: a tinted sunscreen and mascara. Dry shampoo helps get out the door faster. And over the past four years I have become quite a lipstick aficionado. If I have four different bright lipsticks it becomes super-easy to jazz up an outfit in 30 seconds flat.
9. Any upcoming trips planned this year?
I just got back from Israel where I was visiting my sister. It was my second trip there in a year. Then my husband and I will take a babymoon to Singapore and Langkawi, which I am dying with excitement over.
10. What is next for Rouge?
Rouge 2 coming within the next six to nine months—fingers crossed!
Photos by Vix Walker