Beauty

To The Point with RMS Beauty’s Rose-Marie Swift

RMS Beauty The Point Hudson's Bay

After a health scare, the Hollywood makeup artist created the cult-favourite line RMS Beauty.

Several years ago, after working her way up to become an in-demand makeup artist for top magazines (Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Allure among them), as well as working on famous faces like Miranda Kerr (whom she still counts as a best pal), Gisele Bundchen, Tilda Swinton, Celine Dion and more, Rose-Marie Swift was sidelined with a mystery illness. When blood test results revealed that she had toxic levels of heavy metals in her system, her doctor asked her if she worked in the cosmetics industry, marking a moment of major change for the Canadian. After taking time to recover, Swift decided to create an all-natural line of cosmetics that actually performed.

Cult and editor favourites like Eye Polish, Un Cover-Up and Lip2Cheek Stain are all now available at thebay.com, a full-circle achievement for the well-known makeup artist to the stars.

We sat down with Swift, who is known as a beauty truth-teller, to ask her about her views on the all-natural beauty industry, her creative process and more.

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You used to work at Hudson’s Bay, correct?
I worked at the Bay at Yonge and Bloor—this was in the early ’70s, I was like 16—I was YSL Opium girl. And then I worked for Clarins [at the Queen Street location].

When it comes to your line, you have staple colours and then often add special edition shades. What inspires those shades?
You’re gonna freak when I tell you this. Absolutely nothing! What I do is, I get a huge piece of plastic and I start sticking colours on, and I intuitively go from colour to colour, mixing. I don’t follow trends, because trends are great if you’re a 16-year-old model, with the right clothes on, the right lighting, the right hair and makeup. Most people can’t be walking around in trends, when it comes to makeup, because they’ll look foolish. I do the colours that I know are going to look good on women, that are healthy and the ones that inspire from when I have created on that piece of plastic.

RMS Beauty The Point Hudson's Bay

ROSE-MARIE SWIFT APPLIES MAKEUP TO AN EDITOR DURING HER RECENT APPEARANCE AT THE QUEEN STREET LOCATION.

What’s your take on the all-natural beauty trend in Canada and internationally?
I think that it’s just starting to take off now, which is great. What’s great now, is that big brands are taking the jump to bring in a green brand. They’re taking a chance too when the economy is not so fabulous for a lot of people.

Australia and Japan are miles ahead. Australia gets it. We do kick-ass great there. They get it, they are more into lifestyle, going to the beach, surfing. The Japanese government is very concerned about the health of their citizens. They hold very strict rules and regulations on both food and cosmetics. It is a big feat to pass cosmetics testing there in order to sell a beauty product. They also understand health and beauty, and the synergistic connection of the two, so they tend to be far ahead of other countries in how they treat their health and skin simultaneously. It shows because Japanese women have absolutely gorgeous skin.

Is there one product that you would like to work on in your line?
Natural mascara does not always have the holding power that I personally would like to see in a mascara. I do plan to do another one that will withstand the day a bit better, but also will improve the look of challenged eyelashes. Mascara can’t be all-natural as it needs some chemicals to really withstand the day. Chemicals will be used in the new formula, but they will be the least of the evils in the toxicity department.

Photography by David Pike.