Watch: Beauty guru Kristen Leanne gives us the nitty-gritty on her makeup collection with Urban Decay
There are few things that get us 'seen-it-tried-that' beauty people more excited than a honest-to-goodness makeup collection that's got everything: Kickass colours, cool as heck packaging, and a bonafide beauty guru bankrolled by a cult makeup brand — you know, all the works. But that's exactly what the Kristen Leanne x Urban Decay collaboration has brought into our lives when the news broke about the YouTuber and UD working together.
Fast-forward several weeks and here we are, meeting Leanne herself in the flesh as she and a team from UD HQ make the press rounds to inaugurate what might just be one of the most exciting makeup launches for 2018. Suffice to say we had our expectations, what with Leanne being the first ever influencer that had the honour to work with Urban Decay, but her well-spoken person and affable charm won us over. We were already pretty impressed with the products, of course.
Obviously, we took this chance to pick her brains on what went into the collaboration and had it on camera for posterity (click that play button if you haven't already). Yet beyond her recognised role as a beauty guru, Leanne has much more going on. Seriously, you could have an entire conversation just from her interesting tattoos or her unicorn hair. And so we asked.
On how to wear colour the #KLxUD way to her entrepreneurial effort with her own hair colour line and even as an animal rights advocate, here's what Leanne had to share:
What are some tips and tricks on wearing some of the more saturated, jewel-toned shades you've created?
If it's someone who's not used to wearing a lot of colour, or if they just want to play with it, you don't have to wear every single shade in the Kaleidoscope palette. Just pick one. I'd say my introduction to colour is to do a pop of it on your lower lashline because if you're not used to wearing a lot of colour, then blending it out is a bit uncomfortable and you don't want to put it over your whole lid. So go in with your lower lashline, and it will give you a nice little pop of metallic colour without being too intimidating. It's a lower commitment than trying to put it all over your eyes.
Besides makeup, you've also got your own hair colour label called 'Arctic Fox'. Why the name Arctic Fox, and did the concept for the brand take off because of your own ever-changing pastel hair?
Yes, it did! So we named it 'Arctic Fox Hair Colour' because the arctic fox actually changes its fur colour depending on the season. It's a transformative animal that often has different coloured fur. And also, we love animals. We donate 15 per cent of our profits to different animal charities to prevent animal abuse. Animals are really, really important to me — I like them more than people most times (laughs).
And I've always coloured my hair but had issues with certain colour lines that I was using, whether it's running down my neck if it's raining outside — which you can probably relate since you guys get rain a lot here — or it would fade out too quickly, or it left my hair feeling like straw. So my husband and I created Arctic Fox Hair Colour to fix all of those things we didn't like about other colour lines. We had a checklist and were like, "...doesn't do that, doesn't do that", and that's how it came about.
You're also known for being cruelty-free and for championing animal causes. How do you reconcile your lifestyle choices with your love for beauty, as the industry is notorious for animal testing?
I take the unique opportunity to use the platform that I have on various social media accounts to kind of educate people, and let them know other options are out there that don't harm animals. It is hard because even a lot of household products are tested on animals; brands such as Kleenex, 3M and Windex. So I just do my best to be as cruelty-free as possible, and just kind of cheer on brands that are cruelty-free and are making that move caring about animals.
As a true multi-hyphenate in today's social media age, you've grown your brand from hair and makeup to fitness and animal rights, plus you've got all these different Instagram handles and followers to show for it. How do you stay on top of it all?
Well, I do have meltdowns every now and then. It is a lot of work. But honestly, the key is doing something you love – something you truly love. Because when you do, you don't get tired of it and you enjoy the whole process. If I were doing this [YouTube] for something like... say if I worked for a bank, for instance, I could not work this hard or this much on it because I'm not passionate about it.
I think if the love is there, everything else falls into place. Also, I think staying really organised is important because if you're not, it kind of just... it'll be a total shit show, you know. It just falls apart. So I stay super organised and positive, and it just kind of comes together. I mean, I have my bad days but who doesn't?
By the way, we see your husband is here in Singapore with you. The two of you work together on Arctic Fox, but does he help you with the day-to-day when it comes to your beauty videos?
Yeah, he does all the camera stuff! He's really good with camera equipment; he even helps me choose what selfie to post and what my caption should be. I wished he knew how to edit videos though. I'm going to teach him so he can help me edit my YouTube videos (laughs). But yeah, he does all the photos and we both work hand-in-hand as a team to run Arctic Fox. I don't know what I'd do without him!
The Kristen Leanne x Urban Decay collection is available at Urban Decay stores and Sephora. Follow Kristen Leanne here.