The Edit

Illafam Interview: Helen Roche

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

As Head of Professional Development I educate students around the UK about Illamasqua, our values & products. As the new generation of make-up artists, I help hone their skills and develop their creative minds. I’m also a part of the Illamasqua Art Collective, which means I produce campaign imagery for exciting new collections & campaigns whilst working with our Product Development Team on new innovative products. Two days a week I also teach at Illamasqua’s School of Make-up Art in our London flagship store on Beak Street.

Why Illamasqua?

The Illamasqua tagline is ‘You Are Beauty’; as a company we are all about celebrating individuality regardless of gender, race or religion. We aren’t just for those with an alternative style; we see beauty in everything and everyone.

We also partner with the Sophie Lancaster Foundation to stamp out hatred, prejudice and intolerance everywhere; we are more than just make-up and voice our opinions proudly & confidently.

How did you work your way up to the position you are in now?

Illamasqua launched with a small team, which I was lucky to be a part of.

We were all very different artists creatively and were encouraged to push boundaries with our artistry, which taught me to make bold choices with make-up.

Who is a competitive brand for Illamasqua?

At the beginning, Illamasqua was compared to MAC due to our launch as a colour brand. I think other brands have realised the importance of colour and have now expanded on their range of products.

I walked into Boots the other day and saw a grey lipstick, which I thought I’d never see in a high-street store! Now, I’d say we compare mostly to brands such as Kat Von D Beauty and NYX so we are working hard to bring out new unique and innovative products.

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Who is a competitive brand for Illamasqua?

At the beginning, Illamasqua was compared to MAC due to our launch as a colour brand. I think other brands have realised the importance of colour and have now expanded on their range of products. I walked into Boots the other day and saw a grey lipstick, which I thought I’d never see in a high-street store! Now, I’d say we compare mostly to brands such as Kat Von D Beauty and NYX so we are working hard to bring out new unique and innovative products.
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Is there a makeup technique that you have ever struggled with?

I sometimes struggle with what I’m creating if I’m not in the right mind-set. I’m quite emotionally attached to my work so if I don’t really feel what I’ve created it just won’t work! Anybody who says they have never struggled with anything or that they find everything easy is not being truthful.

What do you envision to be the next big beauty trend?

Social media is moving at a million miles an hour, so trends are evolving constantly. In addition, the quality of imagery has increased tenfold in the last few years. I can’t wait to see where this leads as people are always pushing boundaries and getting creative. I can envision SFX and fashion merging together and I find this quite exciting.

What beauty secrets can you impart to our readers?

I love coffee, so I whenever I get a cup in the morning I take some of the brown sugar sachets and pop them in my kit. If you ever get a model with dry chapped lips, mix a little sugar with some lip balm to quickly create a lip exfoliator.

Is there an Era or subculture that resonates with you the most?

Old Hollywood glamour, especially Lauren Bacall, Betty Davis, Audrey Hepburn, all of them rolled into one would make a lovely glamourous concoction.

What is your opinion on Instagram trends?

I think everyone must understand that having a voice on social media holds a weight of responsibility; anything being put out should be coming from a place of education. We need to be aware of the impact on young impressionable people and make sure this is a nurturing and creative environment. Some don’t realise their impact on the beauty community, especially those who are younger. However, there are some people who are doing amazing work, and social media is a great platform for them to present their creativity.

As Head of Professional Development I educate students around the UK about Illamasqua, our values & products. As the new generation of make-up artists, I help hone their skills and develop their creative minds. I’m also a part of the Illamasqua Art Collective, which means I produce campaign imagery for exciting new collections & campaigns whilst working with our Product Development Team on new innovative products. Two days a week I also teach at Illamasqua’s School of Make-up Art in our London flagship store on Beak Street.

Whether you’re a qualified artist, or simply a make-up enthusiast, Illamasqua’s School of Make-up Art in London can help you master a diverse array of professional techniques, with a range of courses designed to suit all skill levels and interests.
Throughout April and May, our School of Make-Up Art is coming to Leeds! Courses will take place in our Leeds Victoria Quarter store. Places are limited socall us directly on 0203 432 3277 (London), or click here to book online.



Nadine Bourne

Nadine Bourne

Writer and expert