Madeleine Feeney has become a major creative force in the beauty world. The London-based makeup artist and hair stylist’s early years were spent playing around with her look during her teens and into college, inspired by her mother’s light and glowing makeup style. Madeleine’s ongoing exploration and interest in beauty led her to see makeup as a way to show her mood and personal style, not just as a way to look good.
Feeney’s journey to becoming a professional makeup artist and hair stylist wasn’t something she planned. It happened as she let her love for beauty fill her life. Encouraged by her boyfriend, who saw how much she loved makeup, she started on a path that turned her passion into a rewarding career. A lot of Madeleine’s inspiration comes from her childhood spent looking through her mother’s huge collection of magazines. It influenced her to start creating mood boards—a practice she continues today.
The idea of femininity is at the heart of Madeleine’s makeup and hairstyle, which she describes as “super feminine.” Her work shows the many different sides and moods of being feminine, ranging from soft, gentle looks to strong, bold styles. The MUA’s own makeup routine has changed from a detailed glam approach to a simple smokey liner style, reflecting her love for natural beauty and affirming that true comfort in yourself is so much more attractive than trying to fit in with beauty trends.
Moreover, Madeleine’s views on the beauty industry in 2023 are hopeful and eager. She predicts a big change in the popular idea of female beauty, leading to the rise of new beauty icons who are different from the ones we’ve seen in the last decade. For her, and probably for many others in the industry, the impending change is very exciting, offering a new wave of creativity and personal expression in the world of beauty.
Ahead, we spoke with Madeleine Feeney about what’s in her makeup bag, how she got started as a MUA, and much more. Continue scrolling to read our conversation.
Where did your journey with makeup begin, and growing up, what influenced the way you define and view “beauty”?
I started playing with makeup like most girls in my teenage years and really started to experiment and play around when I got to college; we didn’t have to wear uniforms, so the freedom to play suddenly was endless. I changed my makeup to fit my mood. My mum definitely influenced my beauty aesthetic at that age, she’s so beautiful, and her makeup was so delicate and radiant. I remember watching her and playing with her makeup.
Out of curiosity, what made you first see being a MUA and hair stylist as a career?
I never thought of it as a career, but it was a passion that totally engulfed my life. Everything was framed around makeup, it was my boyfriend who first suggested I could pursue it as a career because he saw how much I loved it.
Your looks are incredibly detailed and highly creative. Where do you find your inspiration?
Everywhere. It’s hard to pinpoint independent inspirations, I find the world full of inspiration. All around us we have the most beautiful scenery it’s impossible not to feel inspired. I find people very inspiring, I love working with a girl, and building looks and ideas and characters around her.
For some makeup artists, they prefer a heavier makeup look, whereas others tend to lean more into a soft, natural-looking finish — where do you find yourself? How would you describe your aesthetic?
For me, my aesthetic is super feminine in every sense. I think the idea of being feminine has so many layers and moods; I love exploring that.
Reflecting on your experience, what does your own beauty routine look like?
It used to be much more extensive and glam, but it became impractical the busier I got! More often than not, I’m a smokey liner girl, I have downturned eyes, and I spent a long time fighting that, but once I started embracing it, I found a look I loved to wear. It still changes all the time!
That being said, what products will we always find in your makeup bag?
Blush, of course. I recently got some new blushes from Korea, and the shades are such sweet, delicate pinks I feel so beautiful wearing them. The NYX lip liners are always a favorite of mine. Personally, I get through so many. I love the Chanel cream bronzer, I love to look super bronzey, so it’s perfect for me all year round.
I know it may be difficult considering all of your work is so incredible, but what are some of your favorite looks that you worked on recently?
Oh gosh, that’s so hard. I don’t think I can pick a specific look. I’ve got some beautiful shoots coming out soon that are some of my favorites. Me and Lola Clark created a Barbie look recently that I loved, she is the perfect muse for a Barbie doll look.
What about the beauty industry in 2023 do you find most exciting?
I think we are about to see a big transition in beauty, I think the popular female aesthetic is changing and with that, we will start to see some new beauty idols who look very different from the women we have idolized for the last 10 years. I find that super exciting.