Natural Charm: Tina Turnbow

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Published November 24, 2009

Tina Turnbow has been a New York makeup artist for eleven years, ever since she started as an assistant to Pat McGrath during the “Calvin Klein-Christy Turlington-Kate Moss era” when “no makeup” was the desired makeup aesthetic. We talked to her about some of her favorite looks, as well as her collaboration with eco-friendly beauty line Tarte. (PHOTO: TINA TURNBOW)

SARAH HOWARD: Who are some of your most memorable clients?

TINA TURNBOW: Glenn Close and Joan Allen both have incredible bone structure. Vera Farmiga probably has the most striking eye that I’ve ever encountered. Amanda Peet is another one with incredible eyes. Also, Jessica Szohr, Claire Danes and Ellen Page.

HOWARD: Some of your favorite looks?

TURNBOW: The Whip It premiere at the Toronto Film Festival with Ellen Page–hot pink lips. Jessica Szohr CW Upfronts with navy eyelids. I did a winged golden eye with a soft peach lip on on Vera Farmiga for the “Up in the Air Toronto premiere. I love all of the looks I do on her. Her face is such a great canvas.

HOWARD: You like using color, I take it.

TURNBOW: Yes, I do! I studied painting and textile design in Chicago. Hairdressers are like sculptors and makeup artists are like painters. My father was a hairdresser and he painted at home as a hobby. So I guess you take in what you grow up with.

HOWARD: You like to live green. How do you incorporate that into your work?

TURNBOW: By turning my clients onto stuff. I just turned Vera onto [organic skin care line] Suki and now she’s obsessed with it…This is partly why I partnered with Tarte. It’s sometimes hard to find pigments in natural lines, and now I can choose some cool colors. And I’m into lashes. Both of Tarte’s mascaras are natural. I like Origins mascara, too.

HOWARD: Any clues on what we can expect with your Tarte collaboration?

TURNBOW: This is for spring. The collection is called Flower Child and the inspiration is things starting to blossom, the weather changing, things starting to shimmer…The cheek color is flush like the sun just hitting your face. Lips will be a moist stain. I took colors that I’ve always been inspired by–colors that are positive and spirit-lifting–ranging from nude to rich red. The stains have a lot of pigment. I don’t like stains without payoff.

HOWARD: Must-have product in your range?

TURNBOW: The eye shadow palette. It includes ten colors, a double-ended pencil that has a color on one side and a neutral on the other side. The palette also includes a double sided brush with one side for smudging and the other which is fluffy. I love attention on the eyes, and this is the perfect palette for incorporating daytime and nighttime looks. It’s less glittery than prior Tarte palettes, less muted, softer, but still pigmented. I was thinking “vintagey” when taking these colors from flowers and nature.

HOWARD: When your range comes out, you’ll have to teach us some blending tricks.

TURNBOW: Yes! These are meant to be layered on top of each other. Sheer brown and green. I know it sounds weird, but they work really well together.

Sarah Howard is the editor of Beauty Banter.