Featured Courtesy Tessa Marie Images

Award-winning makeup artist Beke Beau discusses her definition of beauty and her growth as a makeup artist and entrepreneur.

Beke Beau simply wants everyone to look their best—clean, natural, ageless. Our critics’ pick for Best Makeup Artist started her career as the assistant to beauty mogul Laura Geller. Her list of VIP clients includes Philadelphia novelist Jennifer Weiner, fashion designer Nicole Miller, tennis legend Billie Jean King and Hollywood power couple Kelly Preston and John Travolta. She performed her magic for the wedding party of Oscar-winner Catherine Zeta-Jones, and she’s enhanced the beauty of scores of brides on the Main Line.

Beke Beau

Courtesy Tessa Marie Images

MLT: What got you started in the beauty business?

BB: I was living in New York City, winding down a career as a singer/songwriter, and my late, great ex-mother-in-law asked me what I wanted to do with myself. Since I’d had very bad skin when I was younger, I knew I was good at using makeup. She, being a saint, found me my opportunity with Laura Geller.

MLT: How do you define beauty?

BB: I’ve always maintained that physical beauty is an accident, not a virtue. It might sound like I’m biting the hand that feeds me, but we have so many critical issues to attend to on this rock we call home, and I want to help women keep their sense of worth and outer beauty in perspective.

MLT: You hold makeup workshops for mature women in your studio. How does makeup help celebrate women of a certain age?

BB: At this stage, makeup is corrective, minimizing redness, hyperpigmentation, under-eye issues and so on. The next step is to use color, mostly in the lips and cheeks, to make us feel present or “seen” in a way that’s comfortable to us. The trick is understanding your coloring and what specific products are useful to you. Women come to me for lessons, almost always with a lot of makeup that’s not right for them. They leave feeling like a weight has been lifted—the weight of beauty-industry marketing.

MLT: You have a master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School. How does that play into your work?

BB: Ultimately, my degree is proof that I can think critically. Seeing each woman as an individual with unique beauty needs and aptitudes for using makeup to their advantage has earned me the trust and respect of my clients.

MLT: What’s the best part of having your own business?

BB: Being my own boss allows me to evolve without hindrance. I can concentrate on the aspects of my work that make me feel useful to others—and mentoring my staff is especially satisfying.

Visit bekebeau.com.

Related: Meet Beke Beau, Founder of the Paint School of Makeup in Manayunk