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Makeup Artist Lena Koro Reveals Industry Secrets

An interview about day to day beauty with NARS’ Global Artistic Director.

Lena Koro isn’t just any makeup artist. Her cool-girl aura, edgy look and her phenomenal skills are just some things that set her apart. The Tokyo-born, European-bred artist has a way with transforming just about anyone she works with into a walking piece of art – her portfolio includes a long list of famous faces (such as Bella Hadid, Chloë Grace Moretz, Olivia Palermo) on magazine covers, fashion runways and ads plastered across the globe.

As Global Artistic Director of cosmetics brand NARS – known for their range of pop colours, sleek black packaging and memorable yet somewhat racy names (Orgasm, Striptease, G-Spot) – Lena shares her story with us and opens up about tips and tricks of the trade.

What would you say is your signature look?

I always wear a smoky eye. I started experimenting with this look in Junior High School – with blues and blacks – and have loved it ever since.

What is one beauty product that you can’t leave home without?

Black kohl eyeliner. I love the NARS Kohliner in Minorque.


Name a beauty trend that you’re currently in love with. And one that you can’t get on board with.

To me, beauty is not a “one size fits all approach”, but right now I’m loving a bold lip that shows a lot of texture and dimension by mixing multiple colours, mattes and glosses! I’m personally not a fan of over contouring.

How has your experience in fashion influenced your work in beauty?

I’ve had so many amazing influences working in beauty! One special influence for me when I was getting started was Jun Ropé commercials directed by Richard Avedon. The brand was huge in Japan in the 70s and featured the likes of Anjelica Huston and Lauren Hutton as the models. I’ve also always been inspired by great artists like Serge Lutens, Oribe and working with François Nars of course! The most monumental experience was when I met him while I was living in Milan. François was in town during Fashion Week and needed a local assistant. We were connected for a project and I’ve had the greatest privilege of working with him ever since.

What is some advice you have for the modern Hong Kong woman on-the-go?

For me, the NARS Multiple is a must. It’s incredibly versatile and can be used on the eyes, lips and cheeks! A truly grab-and-go product that you can just pop into your handbag and carry with you all day to use whenever you need.

Can you give our readers a tip that you live by for the eyes, lips and skin?

For the eyes, I can’t live without concealer. Not only does it help to correct any discolouration I might have under the eyes, it’s also a great product to use underneath my eyeliner and eye shadow as a base! It makes my look last all day long.

For the lips, a great trick is to use loose powder to prevent feathering or bleeding. Once you’ve applied your first layer of lip liner and lipstick, blot with a tissue, then apply loose powder over your lips, then reapply the lip liner and lipstick again to completely set your look.

For the skin, I always recommend using toner before you moisturise. This will help your complexion products to go on much more smoothly and last so much longer!

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