We Meet Grace Fodor, Founder of Studio 10
Grace Fodor is the founder of age-perfecting makeup brand Studio 10 and is hailed as a genius by India Knight for her sensitive but no-nonsense approach to beauty for slightly older skin.
Most of us can’t help but notice the change in the makeup that works on us as we get older – eyelids in particular change so much from 25 to 35 to 45, and it makes sense that we should change the products and formulations we reach for as these changes happen. The skincare industry tends to fetishise youth, and it can be hard to relate to a new foundation or concealer when the model in the ad campaign is blatantly 20 years younger than you are – of course she looks fantastic – she’s 20! What will it do for *my* skin though?
The big brands owned by L’Oreal and LVMH don’t necessarily want to focus on a particular segment of the market though. A multi-million pound advertising campaign needs to reap rewards from women of all ages, and at that level of the industry, even though there are outstanding products for older skin available, there isn’t the budget or interest to focus an entire brand older skin, even though a woman in her 40’s can probably afford spend more money on an outstanding concealer than a woman in her 20’s, so older women – potentially the biggest spenders – can feel forgotten, or pushed to the side.
Enter Grace Fodor and her cult brand, Studio 10. Grace saw this very gap in the market, and with 13 years of brand and cosmetics product development experience, she had the address book and know-how to create the brand she knew women over 35 were looking for.
We had a chat with her to find out more about the brand, and to get some of her tips.
What inspired you to create Studio10?
Studio10 is my passion. I’d reached a point in my life where I was looking for a makeup range designed specifically for women as they age. There are many anti-ageing brands and products; skincare, treatments, gadgets – I was even reading about haircare – but not it’s not so coherent when it comes to cosmetics.
I felt there was a need for a new generation of tailor-made products specifically for maturer face and skin. A proper choice and products with more than just added anti-ageing ingredients, but that specifically disguises, covers and corrects the signs of ageing.
In producing makeup suitable for older skins, what were your considerations?
A key consideration for me was to make sure the formulations were 100% right; that the formulas, textures, finish and colours were suited specifically for maturer skins.
terms of ingredients, there were three essential areas that I wanted our products to address: firming and tightening, hydration and free radical damage. I worked with three key skincare and active ingredients;
Suberlift™, a clinically proven botanical instant tensor that improves skin suppleness and elasticity, providing lift and firming the skin.
Nyamplung Oil™, an Indonesian certified organic oil, that stimulates cell repair, and acts as a free radical scavenger limiting the oxidative stress responsible for premature ageing. It also helps to prevents DNA damage and photo ageing.
Hyaluronic Acid, a gel-like, water-holding molecule composed of microspheres that fill in deep wrinkles. It helps to plump, and soften whilst providing long-lasting hydration due to its micro-reservoir effect.
What are older women most concerned about beauty-wise?
I read some interesting research that found women start to worry about the signs of ageing at 29. Scarlett Johansson admitted that she started using anti-ageing products at 20!
I think women are most worried about the visible signs of ageing – wrinkles, sagging skin and an uneven skin tone through age spots, redness, broken capillaries and dark circles.
But there is also the emotional aspect of getting older; how you think and feel about beauty as you age, and whether there is beauty in ageing.
India Knight from the Sunday Times wrote a great article recently, and questioned this very issue. “Are women still willing to accept that the only thing that is sexy is youth, and the only way of being attractive is to look as young as possible?”
What’s the best advice you’ve been ever given?
From my dad – he always seems to have the best advice! If you really want to do it then go for it. You’ll never find out if you don’t and there is a lot of life left to wonder ‘what if…?’
What inspires you?
I almost think it’s human nature to want to make a difference and leave a legacy. I feel that too but for me, it’s also about making a difference in the every day – finding time to care, help and support others as much as I can.
What’s your morning beauty routine and how long does it take?
I’m not a morning person, spending every last minute in bed that I can. I always end up rushing, so my beauty routine is ‘fast and furious’. Shower to wake up, makeup in 5 mins and breakfast ‘on the run’. But breakfast is important for me and I make a stack of healthy breakfast bars each weekend for the week ahead!
What’s the best beauty treatment you’ve ever had?
I love Sarah Chapman’s treatments; they’re amazing!
And you most embarrassing beauty moment?
My whole teenage years – super-orange bronzer (that always ended up all over my clothes) with bright turquoise glitter eyeliner; not a good look!
What are you feelings about cosmetic surgery?
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, and surgery can be very positive. I think we should respect any woman’s choice whether she wants to have surgery, or indeed if she chooses not to.
But I do feel that surgery is not right or the answer for everyone. My only worry though is when it becomes almost extreme; goes beyond enhancing and is completely distorting.
What’s missing from other ranges?
I just don’t think there is a dedicated range that gives women the ability ‘to look younger’ as part of their daily makeup routine. While there are a lot products that are full of anti-ageing ingredients, it’s only part of the story. We’ve explored the aesthetics of makeup and professional tricks and techniques that give instant results.
We worked hard to choose the right texture, pigment, finish and colour, that specifically suits and works for ageing skin.
BB and CC creams are hailed as one of the best examples of anti-ageing makeup, full of active ingredients. The finish is super sheer, a light tint, so for me it doesn’t tick the box that most women want and need more coverage from their foundation.
How did you decide which products and product combinations to use?
Our starting point is always the visible signs of ageing and we worked with a dermatologist to really understand the process. Saying that I just need to look in the mirror!
From there we develop products that aesthetically cover and conceal these signs instantly. We also look for them to be quick and simple to apply, multipurpose, compact and good value.
Why do you think the big beauty brands are ignoring older women?
I think so many beauty brands, especially in cosmetics, do not truly understand the needs of older women, in order to meet them.
It’s easy to get stuck in a makeup rut, using the same products for years and applying the same colours the same way. But our skin changes as we get older, and our faces need a fresh approach to makeup. Using the same makeup in the same way as we did in our twenties can even make us appear older.
I felt that this consumer group (which includes myself!) had so far been ignored and under-served by the existing market. Which is why, in part, Studio 10 is very personal to me.
What can Studio 10, as a niche brand, do that the big brands can’t?
It gives us the opportunity to be specific and means we are able to truly meet the needs of our customers rather than working on a ‘one size fits all’ solution.As a niche brand we have the opportunity to build ‘close and personal’ relationships with our customers. We can work to suit the needs of a particular and currently this under-served group.
For women who still don’t know how to apply makeup effectively. What are the key secrets?
Not necessarily a secret, but prepping the skin is vital for applying makeup effectively. Always start with a moisturiser and it’s good to use a primer. It gives the perfect base for concealer and foundation to blend seamlessly, and keeps your makeup in place.
Colour correctors aren’t widely talked about but they can make a huge difference to evening the skin tone. Use them to correct dark circles, blemishes and discolouration in the skin and you’ll need far less coverage of concealer or foundation.
You can’t blend or buff enough! It’s the way to make sure your makeup looks ultra natural and it’s worked well into the skin. You want to avoid any visible or harsh lines, not wanting your makeup to look as though it’s sat on top as a separate layer or mask.
Often overlooked, cream products tend to be much for flattering and youthful than powder, giving the skin a dewy ‘lit from within’ appearance. They also help to avoid the heavy and ‘cakey’ effect which is so ageing.
When you have perfectly shaped brows, you look ‘put together’ even without any makeup. Groomed brows shape the face, create balance, and add definition to the eyes. They’re also a quick-fix eyelift – without any surgery!
Talk me through the ideal beauty routine. Once I’ve washed and moisturised, where do I start and where do I end?
Always begin by applying SPF. UVB and especially UVA protection is so important – 80% of hyper-pigmentation, or age spots as they’re commonly called, is caused by sun damage. Apply a primer as it creates the ‘canvas’ for your makeup and acts as a barrier between makeup and your skin. It also helps your makeup to stay put all day.
At the end of the day, once you’ve cleansed, a good night cream is essential! Sleep is a time for our skin to repair and rejuvenate itself. In fact, research shows that skin cell regeneration almost doubles at night, therefore a good night cream supports your skin’s natural repair process.
I use Cult 51 night cream, in terms of high performance anti-ageing skincare it wins hands down. It’s an all in one and has completely transformed the appearance of my skin.
Most makeup bags are a sticky morass of dried up mascaras, pots of silly coloured eyeshades, dried out lipsticks and irrelevant blushers and bronzers. Streamline me, please!
Mine too – until I developed Studio10 which is underpinned with the rationale ‘why have five products when you can have one’! Multi-purpose, multi-function became our mantra!
The first must-have are concealers and colour correctors to even the skin tone, cover blemishes and create a flawless base. You can often get away without foundation if you target and correct these areas properly.
Our Age Defy Skin Perfector has a primer for fine lines and enlarged pores, essential colour correctors to cancel redness or dark under eye circles and two concealer shades for the perfect colour match.
This leads to the next stage of adding definition, shape and structure to the face (especially as we age we lose definition). Invest in a good lip and brow pencil; defining the brows completely transforms and frames your face. Using a lipliner doesn’t just stop bleeding and make your lipstick last longer – it adds shape and fullness to the lips. And lastly, have a good contouring product to add ‘structure’ the face.
And lastly a complexion pick me up! An injection of colour instantly lifts and brightens the the skin for a youthful glow. In the summer I use bronzer with a little shimmer for that sun kissed glow but in the winter months I change this for a peach based blush.
Eyes or lips? Which should women focus on?
Both; eyes and lips show the tell-tale signs of ageing! So you need to definition in both areas – and that includes brows! I recommend mascara and a little eyeliner, but avoid black is it’s too heavy and harsh, and on lips, I like to re-shape with a lipliner.
I love our perfecting lip pencil as it’s uniquely ‘lip coloured’ so it doesn’t look like you’re wearing any makeup, and has a ‘flesh’ colour liner on the the other end to highlight the cupid’s bow for a plumping, full lip effect.
How can I really successfully look less tired than I do?
When we are tired it’s our skin that suffers the most becoming dull and lifeless. Using an illuminator adds radiance to the skin and gives the features an instant lift. For a more natural and flattering finish on the skin, avoid highlighters that are too white or silver based, and go for a highlighter with a gold undertone, as it’s warmer. And avoid products that have too much glitter, instead sticking to a soft pearl or shimmer finish.
What’s an instant skin brightening, pick me up tip?
A peach blush, with a warm gold undertone, is my absolute must-have for brightening and warming up the complexion.
Stick to a liquid/water based formula for a dewy, natural-skin finish. My pro-trick is not to just use it on cheeks, but also add a light wash to the centre of the nose, chin, forehead and eyelids. Peach is a girl’s best friend!
And brushes – what do we need for what?
You don’t need tons of brushes; the essentials are a foundation brush for a flawless complexion, a concealer brush to hide imperfections and a cheek brush to add colour to the face. When doing your eyes you tend to need more than one brush but keeping it simple, a shadow brush for all over colour then a defining brush to add shape and depth.
We have five double-ended brushes that are everything you need, and don’t clog up your makeup bag!How do I achieve that ‘no makeup makeup look’?
The idea is to wear makeup that is undetectable; so that people are complimenting you on how well you look or how gorgeous your skin is, rather than how well you’ve done your makeup!Add structure, definition and warmth without adding obvious colour. Rather than wearing a full face of foundation, try target imperfections with concealer and colour correctors as this keeps the skin looking natural. Wear a crème blush that is, as close to the colour you would naturally flush and apply sparingly. It’s important to still add definition to the eyes, lips and brows but stick to neutral shades.
Which makeup myths can you shoot down with a well-sharpened eyebrow pencil?
The myth that the best natural finish is created with brow powder! You can achieve full natural looking brows with a good brow pencil. Make sure you get the correct colour – look for dull ashy tones, as they tend to work best on the brow.
If there are three products you should save if your makeup bag is burning, what are they?
Concealer – is a ‘makeup must-have’ it is a quick fix for hiding dark circles, blemishes or discolouration.
Brow pencil – brows can be the missing piece of a puzzle. They frame your entire face, add definition and can completely transform any look.
Lip & cheek stain – as we age we lose pigment in our skin, so using a lip and cheek stain will give a healthy, youthful flush.
To colour or not to colour? Is it time to ditch pop colours past 40?
No, not at all – colour can be gorgeous at any age. It great for over 40s but it’s more about using a pop colour as an ‘accent’ whether it be on the eyes or lips. Deep, rich bold pigments rather than neon!
Makeup artists are always banging on about contouring – what is it and how easy is it to do?
Contouring is about creating light and shadow to accentuate features, define and remodel the face and features. The basic theory is to use a darker shade on areas you want to recede and absorb light, and a highlighter to lift and bring features forward.My biggest tip is not to use a bronzer – so many women try contouring with a bronzer and it doesn’t look natural. Bronzers add warmth to the face whereas natural shadows are dull and ashy toned in comparison.
Use a matte contouring powder and follow your facial architecture, effectively you’re creating natural shadows on the skin – underneath the cheekbones, jawline and the sides of the forehead.
You need to be precise, but the key is to follow the natural bone structure and blend really well as you don’t want to leave any harsh lines.
Add highlighter to where your face catches the light – the top of the cheekbones, forehead, bridge of the nose, chin and cupid’s bow. Avoid glitter or high shimmer products, as they can be ‘strobey’ and a gold undertone is warmer, and flattering.
Then use the same principles to contour the nose, eyes, brows, lips and neck. where needed. You can even contour the legs too!
Always finish off with a touch of blusher. I like to use a fresh pink tone to add a youthful flush. Apply to the apple of the cheeks and blend a little along the cheekbones.