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Ruby Hammer MBE Urban Retreat

5 Minutes With: Ruby Hammer MBE

With multiple magazine covers, numerous TV appearances and her own cosmetics line under her belt, it’s safe to say make-up artist Ruby Hammer MBE knows a thing or two about beauty.

Once reserved just for the A-list, her expertise is now available for all as Urban Retreat, on Harrods Fifth Floor, launches its masterclass series. We caught up with Ruby at The Make-Up salon about her amazing career, and what you can expect to learn at her exclusive events. Also, find details below on how to book yourself a slot at the next class.

Did you always want to become a make-up artist?
No. I grew up in Nigeria and my father was a doctor, and that’s what I always wanted to be – a doctor like him. It didn’t mean that I didn’t have an interest in make-up and beauty, but I didn’t consider it for a career option. Then when I was doing my O Levels, I realised I hated physics and chemistry, so I went into social sciences. It was only after that I fell into assisting, thinking I was going to go and do my masters, but never looked back. Twenty five years later, here I am!

What has been the defining moment of your career so far?
There’s been a few; when I did my first editorial for a known magazine, the first time I shot for British Vogue and I couldn’t sleep all night before, then Ruby and Millie, the brand I launched in 1998. So quite a few landmarks, and then in 2007 I went to the palace to get my MBE, that’s quite a hard one to beat.

Tell us a little bit more about the new Make-Up Salon at Urban Retreat.
It is an atelier, luxurious and high-end. The brands in there are brilliant and most make-up artists will have these products in their kits. There is a focus on colour and different textures. People shouldn’t be intimidated, they should come and visit. If you’ve got time there’s a designated crew there that will talk to you and help you pick things from different brands – it’s a big girl’s playground.

What can beauty fans expect from your Urban Retreat masterclasses?
There are two tiers to the service on offer: we’ve got one-to-ones that will be unique and bespoke to that person and their needs, then the masterclasses will be a group session with a particular theme. Today, I’m focusing on skin, so about base and foundation and helping you find the right colour, but next time could be about eyeliner or lips. I think a masterclass should teach people to take ownership and think for themselves, to give them the right questions to ask sales assistants.

What are the most common beauty questions your clients ask you?
How do I do a smoky eye? How do I find the right red lipstick? Is this the right foundation? Do I really need make-up brushes? It’s that and variations of, all the time.

What SS15 beauty trend will you be championing this summer?
The lit-from-within, 'no make-up' make-up look. It’s not low maintenance and you do need to know what you’re doing, it’s also underpinned by good skincare. I love this trend because it’s an educational thing, it’s a beautiful look and you can’t bluff it. Also colour and brows, those key things.

Who is your beauty muse?
Back in the day, I loved Bianca Jagger; she has those amazing brows, dark hair and great skin. She used to do a very dark stained lip and in a way, that’s never left me - it’s fantastic. But I don’t just have one beauty muse, I love someone like Cate Blanchett who never gets it wrong on the red carpet and always changes her look. Angelina is the opposite of that and always does the same look, but she also looks great.

What products are currently in your make-up bag?
I don’t wear make-up on a daily basis, but depending on the circumstance I will put on Touche Éclat, Laura Mercier concealer, a bit of translucent powder and a bit of Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge for cheeks and lips. My make-up bag holds alot of the same brands that are in my make-up kit, but these are all for me and in my shade. I also have my brushes, my tweezers, eye drops and beauty blender, lots of bits and pieces.

Ruby’s next Urban Retreat masterclass will take place on the Wednesday 10th June. Please call +44 (0)20 7893 8333 to book your slot.

Shop Ruby’s beauty edit below.

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