Meet Our Expert: Lauren Luke

Her rise from making how-to videos at home to YouTube super star

Lauren Luke is the single mom of an 11-year-old boy whose makeup how-to videos on YouTube have gotten over 77 million views. She has Supermodel Makeover by Lauren Luke on Nintendo DS (which finally convinced her son that she really was famous). Her makeup line By Lauren Luke (a plethora of pretty palettes) is sold at Sephora, and her book Lauren Luke Looks: 25 Celebrity and Everyday Makeup Tutorials just came out in the spring. It's packed with step-by-step recreations of the makeup looks of the celebrities that her fans love (Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Katy Perry). Her unpretentious, anyone-can-do-it videos really caught on when she duplicated Leona Lewis' makeup from her Bleeding Love video.

Makeup is what made her, and she believes it can work for anyone. "It's empowerment," she says. "The emails I get are from an 11-year-old just starting to talk about makeup with her mom. And then women 80 and up contact me. Just because they're at the other end doesn't mean they don't want to look good." She muses, "I absolutely love makeup, but you don't really think anything will come from that, do you? If somebody had told me it was going to happen, I'd never have believed them."

"I love makeup because it can transform you," she says. It's certainly transformed Luke's life. The charismatic, vivacious young woman wants to stay true to her beliefs. "The only thing I really want to do is keep the voice and get the message out there, to let everyone know they're special," she says.

Some hands-on makeup tips and beauty answers from our new expert:

Q: What's your one major beauty secret?
A: I don't really have secrets because when I learn a new trick or tip, my aim is to share it with everyone! But here is a good one: Instead of using a white or flesh colored eye pencil along the inner lash line to make eyes look brighter, use a pale blue pencil instead. It will have an even greater effect.

Q: Name three makeup products that you hope never get discontinued and why...
A: MAC Plush Lash Mascara: It never fails. Maybelline New York Watershine Lipgloss: There are so many lip gloss varieties out there today, but I am fond of these and would be lost without them. Paula Dorf 2 + 1 for Brows: It works better on my brows than every other pencil I have tried.

Q: What's the most interesting (or crazy) video request you've gotten?
A: The Kylie Minogue "In My Arms" look. It's not one I would have chosen to do myself. It just seems like it wouldn’t work on anyone other than Kylie, but people requested it so much I gave it a go. It's had well over a million views, so I guess people know what they want.

Q: If you could only have one product on a desert island, say, what would it be and why?
A: It would have to be mascara. It's the one product you can wear on its own and still not need any other. Without mascara you never look finished.

Q: I know you're all about the makeup, but I bet you love hair products, too. What's your go-to hair product and how do you use it?
A: Kiehl's is my brand of choice. It's a little pricey compared to some, but I really love their Sunflower Color Preserving Deep Recovery Pak. I use this instead of typical conditioners and get amazing results.

Q: What's a really great tip you've learned since you went pro?
A: If you are going to be wearing foundation in hot conditions, apply a roll on antiperspirant around the hairline, upper lip and chin before applying your foundation. It stops the foundation from running. A makeup artist at CBS in the USA told me this, because they are used to making people up before they work under hot studio lights.

Q: What's the first beauty product you bought?
A: I can't remember the first product, but I do remember using a little Avon trio eye shadow when I was young. I still have it, I keep it even though it is really old and far too disgusting to actually use anymore. Ah, memories!

Q: Is there something you're dying to try (an ingredient, new color...)?
A: Yes, there is and I am very excited about new colors and ingredients and how they perform on the skin. Unfortunately, I have to be a spoilsport and not tell you what they are because I am developing these for my own line.

Q: Do you have any multi-tasking products you like? How do you use them?
A: Nars' The Multiple Stick. You can use this in so many ways; it's just pure genius. You can use it to highlight your eyebrow area, your cheeks or nose. Use it as a cream eye shadow and I've even used it on my lips. It comes in a range of colors so you can choose where to put each one.

Q: Who's an actress/model/performer whose look you are working on doing a makeover of now?
A: It's funny because I don't work that way. Sometimes I am inspired by a pattern or something I see and decide I must create an inspired look, these tend not to be celebrity looks. For the most part I allow my audience to choose the celebrity looks, and as soon as I see a lot of requests coming in for a particular look I get to it. There isn't much planning or time involved between request and the actual look.

Currently people are asking for Selena Gomez and Kim Kardashian. I've already recreated some of Kim's looks, but she is still very popular and people want more.

Q: Is there someone whose makeup you'd like to do (on them)?
A: In the beauty industry, there is a trend for makeup artists to apply their skills only on perfect-looking models. I would like to work more with everyday women rather than the everyday exceptions. It reflects what I do much more accurately. I like to show people what is achievable for the mass majority of people and not the minority.

Q: What do you think of the whole "cult" of the makeover in our society? It's fun, but are there any words of warning you'd put out there for younger girls?
A: We live in a celebrity-obsessed society. People obsess about the famous and obsess about being famous. There is no harm in looking to these people for inspiration, they are trendsetters, after all, but I do see a danger that people will lose their sense of individual identity or feel that if they don’t look like someone else they are at fault.

I worry that the fun of make up has been lost slightly. We can take it too seriously at times. It is no use looking immaculate if you are not happy or being true to yourself.

I like to encourage people to experiment with makeup, try new things, break out of ruts and overall just have fun -- at the end of the day you can just wipe it off.

Looking good on the outside is great -- we all like to do this -- but don't forget about the inside.

If I were to say one thing to young girls, it would be to work on the personality more than the makeup. Makeup is for fun; personality is for life.

Lauren Luke is a celebrity makeup guru and YouTube sensation. Her makeup how-to videos struck a chord with women and have received over 77 million views!

• More from Lauren Luke
• Give yourself a virtual makeover

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