Red my mind: M.A.C x Lee Hi for the Future Forward collection
It's been said that once you score a beauty campaign, you've got the golden ticket to the A-List leagues. We've certainly got a litany of names off the top of our heads that riffed off that whole 'a face that launched a thousand ships' axiom and became breakout stars overnight. In a similar spirit, M.A.C is catapulting up and coming names with the Future Forward makeup series to showcase their talents to the world, collaborating with a trio of unique personalities who are already buzzing something fierce on social media.
With the collection counting megastar Halsey as one of its alums, it's not hard to see these young bloods applying their creativity to makeup. And first up to bat is Lee Hi, South Korea's singing ingénue who won over the nation on the reality TV show K-pop Star, where she duked it out with several contestants before clinching a record deal despite coming in as the runnerup. Though we reckon her name isn't unfamiliar with K-pop fanatics, this collab with M.A.C can only push her ever higher on an international stage as she brings a gorgeous dark red matte lipstick to the table for fans and fellow makeup lovers alike. But how exactly do you go about maximising this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? We snagged Lee Hi for a Q&A where she enthuses about her music and all things makeup:
You've had several hair and makeup transformations since your debut. Which look was your favourite and why?
I really enjoyed trying new makeup and hairstyles for the debut. It is always fun to mix the makeup looks with the wardrobe concept.
If I had to pick just one in particular, I would go with the style of 'My Star' or 'Break', which highlights the lashes. Shading the nose and between the eyes with purple and pink eyeshadows and adding a pearl element to the look. We then coloured my lip with a very light purple tone lipstick which completed the appearance in the perfect way.
Were you inspired by any elements from your latest album, Seoullite, when you were coming up with the lipstick shade for M.A.C's Future Forward collaboration?
When I come up with the lipstick shade for M.A.C, I wanted to include my album concept and to make it personal in speaking to my image. I'm used to wearing red lipstick, so I wanted to develop a colour that would look good on all Asian skin tones and could be a permanent shade in my lipstick arsenal.
When crafting to suit your lips perfectly, the shade looks very elegant. If you smudge it or apply lightly, it has a very lovely payoff. Then with the packaging, I wanted it to kind of resemble the opposite of what the lipstick is made to do, like a reversal. I want women to feel this reversal attraction — provocative, yet very feminine and girly.
Are there any particular looks from your music videos that you would love to pull off for everyday?
I've loved M.A.C Brow Set in Clear since I had my first photo shoot years ago. M.A.C Lipstick in Peachstock means a lot to me as I used it in my debut music video, '126.96.36.199'. I can't leave out the eyeshadow in Soba, which is a product my makeup artist always uses when she's creating a look on me. It's truly a must-have.
What are some of your must-have products that gives your makeup the staying power you need when you're performing on stage?
I get to work with some really amazing makeup artists and hairstylists because of my career. To me, stage makeup and photo-shoot makeup is completely different. For example, stage makeup is much stronger and glamorous on the lip, eye and cheek — really pronounced and playing up my features. When I'm at a photo-shoot, it is usually more natural and unique.
On both occasions, there is one thing in common and that is moisturising which is key. Putting on a rich lip balm prior to lipstick is essential. I love the M.A.C Lip Conditioner for this purpose or M.A.C Prep + Prime Lip.
What's your one-and-done makeup routine when you're off duty from being a K-pop idol?
When it comes to makeup, I prefer more moisturised textures, even in a matte finish, when I select the base products. But I really collect and respect every shade of lipstick, but there is something just so classic and vibrant about red.
I find you can alter your makeup look by differentiating the way you apply your blush. I realised that if you brush very softly with a light colour on your forehead or chin, it brightens the face in the most natural way. Filling in with a darker shade and a heavier hand, can promise a more distinct look. I would also fill in the inner corner of the eye with liner. It creates a longer, deeper effect, like a cat eye.
Koreans are known for setting beauty trends. What do you think will be the next big K-beauty trend or what would you personally like to see?
Korean women really enjoy a look that centers around moisturised skin, pointed lips, very sophisticated shading, straight and arch type brows — all elements are very natural. As far as the next big K-Beauty trend, I would love to see the matte look accompanied by rose-coloured lips and blushes. I personally prefer a toned-down red colour on Korean women's skin tone, so I truly hope this becomes a more noticed trend.
I have forever been a huge fan of M.A.C and lipstick has always been my favourite beauty product to experiment with.
How did the collaboration with M.A.C come about and how did you choose your shade, that was a deep matte red?
I am very interested in beauty and enjoy collecting all products and cosmetic tools. M.A.C is constantly launching new collections and announcing new collaborations, so to be included as one of these is really amazing. Their classic trademark bullets are my favourite, so solidifying a lipstick as my product made it all more worthwhile.
Why do you think this colour and texture represents you?
Lipstick is definitely my favourite beauty product and I love collecting unique colours. When the idea for a collaboration with M.A.C came about, I instantly knew my first product choice would be to create a lipstick.
I'm really mostly drawn to red colour lipsticks. I see the red colour range as very diverse — you can go orange-red, coral-red, pink red — there are endless possibilities. I also love red lips topped with gloss just as much as I like matte lipstick. Combining all my ideas with M.A.C's expertise, we landed on the perfect matte red shade, which perfectly represents my image.