In celebration of Pat McGrath Labs launching in Europe, we take a look back at McGrath’s path to the queen of beauty status she holds today. Lovingly known as Mother in the makeup community, Pat McGrath creates beauty looks for 80+ runway shows a year, works with magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar and celebrities like Rihanna and Kim K, but above all she is a self-proclaimed makeup addict.
The mother of makeup got it from her mama. McGrath was raised in Northampton by a mother obsessed with everything fashion and beauty. The two would analyze the makeup of Old Hollywood film stars, and McGrath’s mother encouraged her to be creative with makeup. It was difficult if not impossible to come across makeup for women of color in the ’80s, so McGrath and her mother were on a constant search for products that worked for them.
In the ’80s and ’90s McGrath’s bold use of color stood out against the downplayed matte and grunge makeup of the era. As she made a name for herself, McGrath’s creative and influential collaborations would start here with I-D’s Edward Enninful. She’s now amassed collaborative endeavors with every major fashion house, celebrity, and model you can name.
McGrath completely embraces social media, which has tremendously aided in her modern success (she has 1.4MM followers on Instagram). Instead of being negative about the upswing in self-proclaimed makeup artists and beauty lovers, she supports the new talent, reposts their images, and encourages them to join her team. McGrath fully embraces the power of the online beauty geek, mainly because she is one herself. She believes beauty is high art and taps into that mentality, knowing those are the fans who will sell out her products. Her first release, Gold 001, was advertised solely through McGrath’s social media, and sold out completely in only six minutes.
McGrath understands that the number of beauty obsessives is vast, knowledgeable, and constantly seeking individuality. Her maternal nature shows when talking about her clients, muses, and inspiration. She, herself, is the queen of inspiration, her Instagram and website both acting as a dreamy mood board for all beauty lovers. She continues to outdo herself in the beauty industry because not only does she obsessively study film, art, and photography, but finds inspo for her beauty looks and makeup line from her fans and fellow beauty lovers.
Read all about how Pat McGrath became the world’s most influential makeup artist here.