When your job is to try all and any new makeup, it takes quite a lot to find a genuine reinvention of the wheel. Years ago, I was backstage with MAC Cosmetics at fashion week in the pink parlour of Sketch, London. The key artist, beautiful and otherworldly, looked like she belonged in the show herself; it was Isamaya French. I was fascinated with her: she gave off quite the opposite of my golden-retriever style over-familiarity, very kind to us journalists but with an air of reserved grace.
Signed to Streeters, her portfolio is full of images you would recognise. Reimaginings of Rihanna for various high fashion magazine covers, Kate Moss’ Diet Coke campaigns… remember the time Taylor Swift did British Vogue and broke the internet for looking entirely unlike we’d ever seen her before? All of these moments were Isamaya’s.
Having helped to shape the beauty offering from brands like Burberry, Byredo, Louboutin, Tom Ford and YSL, she launched her own eponymous brand just over a year ago. These are the things that have made their mark…
Sheer lipstick balm
Honestly, this is kind of a piece of art above all else. I feel like this belongs in your downstairs bathroom to surprise and delight your houseguests. A weighty, bright pink penis and ball sack, so ridiculously in-your-face, it’s just fantastic. Moisture, jelly-like pigment, glitter, comfort, extravagance… it’s all going on.
Tubing mascaras are a personal favourite of mine as they are smudge-resistant. Rubberlash falls under this umbrella, not the most volumising mascara you have ever used, but one that will elongate and separate your lashes with no spills. The finish is glossy and the applicator wand is pierced, just for the hell of it.
Wild Star Palette
Something that really strikes a chord with me about Isamaya’s palettes is that there isn’t particularly a theme to them. Yes, the colours work well together, but this isn’t a safe collection. Rather than curate a pan of browns and blacks that will suit literally anybody, she’s thrown in iridescent glitters, foil finishes and wild cards for fun and they all blend beautifully. If you want to play with colour, she makes it easy.
The jewel encrusted horse packaging that adorns the entire Wild Star collection gives nod to one of her chosen charity partners, the American Wild Horse Campaign. Other causes she has contributed to include Planned Parenthood and the Worldwide Tribe who use creative means to share personal stories from asylum seekers.
I can hear you now – you’ve tried ten a penny of these brow gels. So have I. But Brow Lacq genuinely does appear to have an edge somewhat. This tiny pot of fixing gel comes complete with a barbie-sized comb, perfect for scraping your brows into any shape you would like. For a softer look with all of the hold, switch this out for your regular spoolie. However you wear it, this will seal your brows for the day.
The crux of it is, you’re not necessarily buying these things to act as your carefree, everyday staples. Isamaya feels like a mood as well as a high-performing brand from a true visionary. It feels important to note that Julia Fox is one of the faces of her latest collection. TikTok took me down a complete and utter Julia Fox rabbit hole in recent months and I have huge admiration for her – a risk taker, someone who expresses herself, but ultimately a normal girl like you or me. I think that this is the energy that this entire brand brings to the table.
My sister saw my makeup laid out after filming with these things today. She smiled at it all, but she also said “oh right? That isn’t you at all, is it?” And I think that’s the whole point. No it isn’t, and that’s why I love it. If you want to try something new that will make you feel a little braver, a little bolder, and a little outside of yourself, I think you’ll find your makeup alter ego with Isamaya Beauty.