Rae Morris The Magnetic Collection – Part 2 The Interview
This is the Part 2 of the Rae Morris Magnetic Collection review.
Following to my recent contact with Rae Morris and her husband Jim, I saw the opportunity of bringing you something more than “just” a review: more details about the Magnetic Collection but also more details about both of them.
I am very happy that this was possible despite their super busy schedule and today I am very excited to share this with you. Getting a little bit more personal was the main reason of this, to know a little bit more about the Artist and the Person and I thank Rae and Jim for their availability.
After many email exchanges with Jim and Rae, we got to know each other a little bit better, Jim and Richard (Richard is my bf) have many interests in common, a passion for cars, watches, technology and a few others. Jim doesn’t know that yet but thanks to him, Richard is now more open to the makeup world -finally!!! Getting to know Jim made him more curious and even more willing to help me and support my passion, another reason for me to be very grateful to them
I hope you will enjoy reading this and that you will learn more about the Artist behind this collection!
Let’s do this:
What is the difference in the concept, design and production of your first range versus the Magnetic range?
In terms of overall concept and production it is a completely new range. The Magnetic range has a very different look and feel and we have perfected the magnetic functionality. My aim was to combine the best brush design with a storage and transport functionality that would make the range not only easier to use, but fun. In terms of design, the Magnetic range really builds upon the design of the initial range. Many of the designs from the initial range were perfect, whereas there were others that I thought we could improve, so the Magnetic range is a evolution of the initial range in terms of the actual brush. But in terms of the magnetic functionality, this range is a world first, and it has a worldwide patent pending! It’s never been done before which is why it took so long to bring together – the way the magnets enable you to work with the brushes and the balance the brushes have is just amazing.
Crown brushes are still releasing similar brushes as those originally designed by you, I understand this has brought confusion in your relation with them, is this what triggered you to go with your own production line?
We had very little control over the initial range produced by Crown – whilst I designed the range, that was about it, so it became very frustrating for us (particularly for me) when we felt that our original specifications weren’t being met. I have always had very strong professional ethics and we reached a point with Crown where it became very clear that our ethics weren’t aligned and as a result we terminated the relationship. We have been disappointed by their actions following our termination of the relationship – whilst they are producing similar looking brushes they are no where near the specifications of the brushes I designed, and this could not only be misleading, but disappointing for their customers.
How much involvement do you have in the whole creation of your new brushes ?
Everything …from start to finish! I initially created the concept in terms of the composition of the range, the design of each brush, the choice of hair, and overall functionality of the range and then we worked with a team of designers to create the look and feel and with our production team to perfect prototypes of each brush. I then tested the prototypes (with continual refinements) over 12 months until we gave the green light to production. It was a long process, but it was worth it and I absolutely love the brushes… I couldn’t do makeup without them now.
I saw you in one of your videos talking to someone in a manufacture, was this in China ? are the brushes made in China in that manufacture? I understood the brushes are flagged cruelty free, is this correct ?
Yes, the brushes are made in China. It was a long process to select a production facility that could 1) meet our standards, and 2) work with uniqueness of the magnetic functionality (something that has never been done before) which is something is really outside the standard production processes of traditional brush manufacturing.
In deciding where to manufacture we spent a lot of time in Asia over 2 years visiting facilities and meeting with various production teams – the facility we eventually decided to go with is based in China but it is Korean owned and managed. I realise that there has been a stigma associated with products manufactured in China but I truly believe this is unjustified – the facilities in China are amazing, the working conditions are as good if not better than any we saw in Japan, and the willingness of the Chinese and Korean production teams to innovate and work with us, particularly on such an innovative design, was unmatched. A friend of mine, Gok Wan, recently did a documentary on manufacturing in China (called ‘Made in China’) and it was amazing… Chinese production is first class – many of the worlds most prestigious brands including BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and most of the world’s most innovative companies manufacture in China. The days of China being a sub-standard manufacturing country are well and truly over.
But the bottom line is that we were not only trying to just to produce a revolutionary brush range, we wanted to revolutionise ‘value for money’ in makeup brushes by producing a superior product for an attainable price… I wanted a range comparable with the best in the world, with magnetic functionality, but at a MAC (brush) price (I’m not asking for much am I?!) and the reality is if we had not approached production in the way that we have the brushes would be a LOT more expensive.
I am very passionate about human and animal rights. I would not have gone with a facility or a production process if I was not completely satisfied that every person involved in the process was treated fairly and enjoyed their involvement in the project. The proceeds of my last book book ’Timeless Makeup’ were donated to Amnesty International, so I am very conscious of human rights issues. In terms of the materials used in the manufacture of the range they are all animal cruelty free – we are passionate pet owners and animal lovers (Jim, my husband, is a qualified veterinarian) – and we would not accept anything less.
Are you planning to expand the brush range with new options ? I can see a little room for a pencil brush… any other that could join the set ?
I designed the range around the brushes I use regularly as a professional makeup artist, but makeup products are evolving and we will evolve with them, so we’re always researching and developing new concepts.
How do you design and think your brushes, do you focus on how you want them to look first or is the shape driven by the results you want to achieve ?
Before I designed the first range, I would buy brushes, but I could never find brushes that were designed just they way I wanted – I wanted them to make my job easier. So I used to buy great brushes and then modify them myself until they worked the way I wanted them to – I trimmed the hair of a shader brush at an angle (which was the basis for the Ultimate Cheek-Bone brush), I bent an eye-liner brush to make it easier to do the inner corner of the eye (which was the basis for the #15 Bent-liner). So when it came to designing a brush range, over the course of 20 years of being a professional makeup artist, I had actually already done it! Coming back to you question, I’m definitely driven by shape and texture and the results I am looking to achieve with the brush. In the case of the Magnetic Range, the magnetic functionality came next – I wanted the range to be easier for me to work with, super practical, and more hygienic (no hairs in contact with brush rolls and counter tops etc). But the magnetic cap, and the counter weight effect, also gave us the opportunity to perfectly balance the brush, so that when you’re working with them they are weighted ideally for precise work.
Last was the look – but this is the easy bit once you have the first two priorities sorted. The Magnetic cap gave us a distinct feature at the end of the handle to work with, so we matched this with black chrome on the ferrule, and then the logical choice, to highlight the metallic feature, was a beautiful deep coloured wood. I really love the new look – it’s not only beautiful it’s distinctive.
What is your opinion about the material used and how do you know you have reached the right balance between softness versus efficiency ?
Softness in a brush is great for blending, but a brush can actually be TOO soft – so it is about getting the balance right. If it’s too soft, the bristles can break when using the brush with creme or sticky liquid products – this is something brush manufacturers don’t think about as most testing is done with traditional makeup up products (powders etc).
I think I know that already… but can you share why the very pointed crease shapes ?
The reason we have pointed crease shapes – which we refer to as ‘pressured contoured’ – is because they blend for you! Square shaped eye brushes leave a hard edge that you then have to blend. With a tapered point the brush is, in effect, both left and right handed PLUS you can use variations in pressure to increase or decrease the size of the brush! With a little bit of pressure, the brush can be used for very precise/detailed work. With increased pressure, more hairs come into contact with the skin, and the brush effectively becomes bigger. With the contoured shape, you always have hairs tapering away at the sides (at least until the base of the point) so you still have effective blending. All this means you can use a single brush for a wider range of applications and dramatically reduce your blending time.. this was the most common modification I used to make to the brushes I used to buy, so I’ve been working with brushes like this my whole career and they are the secret to some of my favourite creations.
What is the original reason for the magnets on the handles?
I love organisation – I love being able to reach over and grab what I need easily. I want to focus on the makeup, not digging around in a bag or a brush roll trying to find the brush I’m looking for. So the original magnetic concept came about through trying to find better ways to organise and store my brushes. But as we have evolved the magnetic concept we have tailored it to offer a number of other benefits – hygienically it is a superior system. I may work with up to 10 models in a single day (times that by 10 if we’re doing a runway show), so I don’t want the bristles to be in contact with anything but faces, not the bench, not a brush roll (which can also bend your brushes), only faces – we achieve this with the Magnetic range because the brushes stand upright on their own. Also, I clean my brushes after every face, so to dry them I can just hang them upside down on any surface a magnet will stick to – it’s so practical! I can’t wait to see the day when I walk into a womens bathroom and see the brushes standing up on a plate, rather than lying in dried soap and left over toothpaste on the bathroom sink
I designed the plate to be the perfect size to not take up too much space (you can always have 2 plates if you have more space) and to travel with. The weight was extremely important because I didn’t want it to be too heavy, but it had to be heavy enough to not lift off the table when you grab a brush. In addition to the ‘plate’ but we also have some other really cool accessories going through design at the moment – a travel canister which is based on the magnetic functionality, and eventually a carry case designed specifically for the full set.
Are you considering creating some of them without magnets for those who cannot work with magnetized brushes ? Some of us will not be able to keep them standing on the plates because of cats happily playing with them, do you think you could also do some options without the magnetized ends?
I work with the Magnetic range everyday, I just couldn’t work with ordinary brushes anymore… So at this stage there are no plans for brushes without magnets, I just love them too much. Even without the plate you can just treat them like normal brushes – the magnet is so small, but it balances the weight of the entire brush – it has been designed that way so that even when you’re not using the magnetic functionality, the magnet still contributes to not only the look, but the overall balance and precision of the brush.
I saw there is something else coming, the baby and also your makeup range? Congratulations!
Can you tell us a little bit more of what’s going to be in the collection ? what type of products and the type of customers you are targeting ?
Yes, we are working on a makeup range – it’s still a little way off, but we have made a lot of progress and we’re looking at a staged launch in the new future (no dates yet). I’ll only launch a product if I’m 100% happy with it, so it does take a while to first get the formation right and then work on the colour palette. I’m not into having every colour of the rainbow – there are universal colours that work for everyone and then there are colours that work for some and not for others – so the range will be as much about education as it is about the products themselves. It’s about introducing women to formulations that really work for them and colours that they are meant to wear (as opposed to colours the trend of the day tells them to wear).
It’s REALLY exciting! I’ve been testing some of my products for about 6 months now and using them in a lot of the looks for my next book and they are fantastic – I can’t wait to get them out there!
When I was in the UK a few years back browsing the book shelves, from all the beauty books available I picked up your book “Beautiful Eyes” without even knowing you at the time, I found it so clear and so useful that it clearly stood up amongst all the others. What are you going to publish in your upcoming book ?
Thank you …the next book (which we are currently calling ‘Makeup 2.0, the Ultimate Guide’) is my fourth complete book (‘Beautiful Eyes’ and ‘Quick Looks’ were extracts). In my first book, Makeup the Ultimtate Guide, I told everybody everything I knew… then. Since then I’ve written a few more books, Express Makeup & Timeless Makeup, which were for specific applications – fast tips, and over 30’s techniques respectively – but this next book takes all of that and adds on everything I’ve learnt since, and I’ve learnt a lot! …not just about applying makeup and the latest trends and techniques, but about the tools you need and what makeup really works for you – not only formula, but also colour, and we’re all different.
I’m also tackling eye shapes – it’s easy to teach someone how to do a smokey eye, but I want to help women understand their eye shape so that they can adjust their technique to suit! Eye shapes are so important and I think this is where a lot of women struggle the most, especially with smaller hooded eyes… but I have some wicked tricks up my sleeve that I can’t wait to share. I’m also going to be focusing on Asian eyes, which are one of my favourite eye shapes.
With this book we’re going to initially release it as an e-book – this opens up a whole new world of information, so throughout the e-book there will exclusive video footage of me actually explaining the tips and tricks that I find easier to demonstrate than to put into words. We’ve also included links to my website where we can keep you to date with the latest information. Seriously, how good is technology? Next thing I’ll be a hologram in your makeup room… now there’s a scary thought!
I am using your brushes on a daily basis, I enjoy them a lot. Sometimes I would like to know what products you use with them, I will just ask for a few brushes, the 8.5 crème shadow shader, the Radiance and the 21 mineral buffer, I’d love to know a bit more about what you use with them.
The #8.5 is for all creme based products (think Ellis Fass, MAC paint pots) – I was so frustrated with natural hair not being able to pick these products up, and I hate using my finger, so this is how my creme brush came to be.
The Radiance, there are simply not enough words to explain how much this brush can do – this is the brush I use the most, and I use it with every kind of foundation possible (liquid, creme and powder)! I also use it on the body if I have to even out the skin or fix blotchy fake tan marks. The Radiance was also recently used back stage by Guido and his hair team at the Alexander McQueen show – they used the Radiance with light hair spray to tame fly away hairs. I have so many hairdressers that tell me it’s the best way to smooth out a slick ponytail. They also use the Brow Brush (#18) in a similar way – it’s perfect for combing back those annoying sideburn hairs that tend to stick out.
Now the Mineral Buffer (#21) – I love this for all the powder based foundations, like the mineral ranges. It’s also great for those people who love matte skin (yes, a powder brush will do the job), but buffing it in with this brush just gives that extra polish. It’s a great brush to use with mineral foundation around the décolletage area – this is where women age quite badly and it’s one of my favourite places to use mineral foundation as it contains sunscreen and hardly rubs off on clothes.
I noticed that the little square kabuki, you say we can use it with cream products too, is that because it’s more durable ?
Yes, because the hairs are shorter – shorter means stronger and therefore you can use it with liquid or creme based foundations. It’s awesome when you want to build up foundation in a particular area – I also use it when I need to contour small areas for example, the hairline when someone has a low forehead. My new favourite thing about this brush is that it’s the best nose contour brush I have ever used! Because it’s such a square brush it helps keep the contour line straight/precise – with a normal brush this can be difficult because you need a really steady hand – just try it and you’ll see
How do you wash them ?
Because I am so paranoid about hygiene (I have to be) I always use a hospital grade brush cleaner (alcohol based) – this not only sterilises, but it means the brushes dry REALLY quickly. I only wash the hair, and to dry the brush I wipe it on a clean towel (cloth or paper) using the same action I would if I were using it on a face. To dry them, with the Magnetic range, I hang them upside down so that there is absolutely no chance of anything seeping into the ferrule where the hairs are attached – it’s not essential, but it is a good idea. I don’t use water or brush conditioners at all. Remember shampoo cleans them, but it doesn’t sterilise, and conditioners just leave an oily film which drives me crazy!
Don’t worry about brush cleaner drying the hair – Most brushes have that waxy henna coating that makes them so shiny when you buy them, but within just a few washes they’ll look like a dry mop! There is no coating on my brushes, so what you see is what you get, and I clean my brushes sometimes 10-20 times per day, and they’ve never dried out.
How is the current feedback on your brushes so far ?
Literally amazing… we have not had one single negative comment, but instead we have had so many people take the time to personally email us and tell us how much they love the new range! This amazes me because even when I love something, it would be rare for me to take the time to sit down and write an email to the company to let them know. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate the feedback – this range is the culmination of so much hard work and it really means the world to me.
What is the most regular question you receive about them?
Probably how to wash them – so in addition to my answer to your question, we’ll be putting up a video demonstration on the website very soon. Probably the next most common question is the difference between the two Radiance brushes (#26 and #27), and the answer is not much. They are identical in terms of application – the main different is the look and the handle size with the #26 Radiance having a smaller handle which some people (with smaller hands) will find easier to use.
Can you share a funny moment/question or reaction ?
As my name is Rae, which is also a boys name in a lot of countries (Ray), so when I’m at an event I often get young artists coming up to me and asking ‘How can I meet Rae? HE’S amazing!’ …they think I’m there to assist HIM, and often they think Jim is Rae! Sometimes, for fun, I just go with it, pretending ‘Rae’ hasn’t shown up and that I’ll have to stand in for him
If you had to pick any other brushes not from your range, what brushes would you pick?
I love art brushes, the randomness and creativeness of this style of brush is awesome and it gives me a lot of inspiration. I also love vintage brushes, so one of my favourite things to do when in Paris is comb through art shops.
Ageing skin… do you have any tips and tricks you love to use particularly on more mature models?
Best tip ever – even out your skin tone… it will literally take 10 years off your apparent age instantly. I had the privilege of recently speaking on a panel at the ASAP (Australasian Plastic Surgeons…) and with all the advances in cosmetic surgery, nothing has the impact of evening out skin tone, not wrinkle reduction, not even a full facelift. So get your foundation right, use an amazing foundation brush and you are on your way. Next best tip is don’t draw attention to the areas that show signs of ageing – by not drawing attention I mean don’t use bright or shimmery colours, anything that has sparkles or shimmer enhances/highlights wrinkles! So go matte matte matte, it will literally take years off.
Any piece of advice you could give to those of us who start to realize the ageing process and is feeling a bit depressed about it… ?
This was the entire reason I wrote my third book ‘Timeless Makeup’ – I’d just turned 40, and I found that it really changes your perspective about how you want to look and what it says about who you are… so I wrote a book that dealt with the ageing process and focused on classic, ageless, timeless beauty – something to embrace. What worked for us at 18 will simply not work for us at 40, and you’ll just look silly if you try. So as we get older we need to modify our approach and techniques to minimise the signs of ageing – It will not only make a difference to how you look, but also how you feel – it’s not just about trying to hide lines and look like you did when you were 18 – don’t try to erase your life. I enjoy working on older models, the character in their faces is amazing and should be celebrated.
And also, we need to stop comparing. I know what goes on in our industry and most of the images that you see in fashion magazines are retouched (sometimes heavily) – how can anyone compare to that!? My suggestion is to fund an actress that is your age, with the same hair, eye and skin colour and follow her lead. For example, if you’re Jane Fonda’s or Helen Mirren’s age (with similar hair, eye and skin colour), look at what they wear and the (matte) makeup colours they use, and this will help guide you – they have a team of professionals putting their looks together for them, so use this as your benchmark. And last thing, ignore makeup trends – even though I have to immerse myself in them, if it doesn’t suit you, or if it doesn’t make you look younger, don’t follow it.
I am very curious and always wonder what professionals love to use on themselves, could you please pick your very top favorite products ?
I love Clinique “Even Better Skin Foundation’. With most foundations I have so many skin breakouts, but this one seems to calm everything down. I love DMK Skin Care and Skin Ceuticals. I also love NARS lip gloss. L’Oreal Telescopic Mascara is a favourite of mine and I’m in love with Benefit Eyebrow Mascara. I also use mainly Kohl Eye pencils around my eye and just smudge them.
Your Youtube video “Smokey Eyes” is loaded with so many tips that it feels like an entire book, you really are very generous sharing all this precious information with us, do you enjoy every part of your work or is there something you’d rather do differently ?
My theory is to tell everybody everything I know, because it forces me to go out and learn new tricks! That’s why I love writing books. The only think I wish I could change is the amount of makeup I have to travel with – I’d kill for carry on luggage (only) just once in my life!
I understood you started your working life as a hairdresser, do you ever feel under pressure ?
A lot of my work is performed under a lot of pressure – but I love it. I think you do your best with you know everyone is depending on you, and you can’t hide bad makeup, so you need to put pressure on yourself everyday to stay in the game.
Sometimes celebrities look a bit rude and surreal… did you ever wish to take revenge with their makeup application ?
Only in my imagination… but seriously, no not at all. I have a lot of empathy for celebrities – it’s a very different world and they are often under a lot of pressure, thinking about the television or red carpet appearance they are about to make – you have to remember that every single thing about their appearance is harshly judged, so I understand how important a lip colour choice, or how they do their hair is – and makeup is just part of their preparation process. I see my role as making them look as amazing as possible, with as little fuss as possible. Makeup just needs to be one less thing for them to think about… that’s my job.
Are there any days where you wish makeup did not exist at all? My bf does wish that… Is Jim coping ok ?
No! What would I do? Jim is amazing, his world is so non-makeup and he’s not at all starstruck by celebrities, so when I get home we have a very normal life. You would be very surprised by how easily I can switch off – I’m also a bit of a tomboy so we have a lot in common – we love cars and animals, we travel a lot, so there are a lot of distractions.
How did you meet Jim ?
I was waiting for some friends in the foyer of a restaurant in Sydney when Jim came in and sat near me – we both put our car keys (both with Audi key rings at the time – we both love cars) on the same coffee table, so we started chatting about cars, then about Apple computers, then about everything… we didn’t notice that the people both of us where there to meet hadn’t showed up! …from there we caught up quite a bit over the next 3 or so months, just getting to know each other, and then to scare him with the fashion/celebrity world I invited him down to Melbourne Fashion Week which I was directing at the time – it didn’t affect him at all, and we have been best friends ever since.
Jim is very successful amongst my friends and he is highly appreciated, his professionalism and customer service skills are truly amazing, what is his role in your Company?
Jim’s background and strength is business (he hates me telling people this, but he was a veterinarian (specialising in exotic species), a professional car racing driver and has a Masters in Business Administration (MBA)), so he runs the company, but as your friends have seen he is very ‘hands on’ when it comes to customer service. As a new company, we think it is extremely important that we understand and listen to our customers so that we are on top of all the issues as we grow and develop our systems. So Jim reads and responds to every email and uses that information to fine tune everything we do.
I’m so lucky, Jim insists that I preserve my ‘creative integrity and flair’ as he puts it, I get to be an artist, be creative, invent things, test them, and be an overly demanding perfectionist… it’s wonderful!
I know you love cars.. if you could drive the most amazing vehicle, what would you drive ? and where would you go?
At the moment I’m going through a McLaren phase – so I’d go with a McLaren MP4-12C, and I love Italy, so I’d drive it down the Amalfi coast.
Your perfect day… how do you picture it?
Sleeping in (with Jim for a change as he always gets up early, even on weekends! …it drives me nuts!)… then a relaxed day with no plans, I hate plans.. awesome food (we like to cook), and then a movie on the couch.
I thank you very much for answering all these questions, I wish I can meet you in the near future and wish you all the very best to both of you and the baby!