Maven to Know: Danelle French

The Indy makeup artist shares her favorite products, the biggest beauty mistake women keep making, and trends to look for in 2020.
Danelle French - Indy Maven - Maven to Know

Danelle french, makeup artist

Danelle French is one of Indy’s go-to makeup artists for everything from editorial work and runway shows to commercial shoots, weddings, and proms—and she’s got the gorgeous portfolio to prove it. While she’s been licensed for 14 years, she originally studied communications at IU. “Both of my grandmothers were hairstylists,” French said. “I did theater in high school and college and started learning stage makeup. It just sort of happened organically.” 

The 40-year-old lives in SoBro with her husband Henry and their very old, rescued pit/boxer mix, Ruby. 

As a former beauty editor, I was excited to chat with her about everything from her local faves to the big beauty trends we should be on the lookout for in 2020.

Maven superpower: Is bossiness a superpower? On a serious note I would say empathy. It’s what drives most of what I do.

Favorite local spots? 

In our neighborhood, my husband and I love Delicia and La Mulita. Delicia opened right around the time we bought our house and it’s become our special occasion place. We probably get take out from La Mulita  at least twice a month—they have my favorite tacos in the city. My favorite spot in all of Indy is Garfield Park. I love the conservatory and the gardens. We got married there so it holds a special place in my heart.

How has the beauty scene changed in Indy over the course of your career? 

It can be hard not to be competitive in this industry so I love seeing us championing one another and celebrating each other’s work. The fashion community has really grown thanks to organizations like Pattern, which has created lots of great opportunities for beauty professionals. 

Where do you get inspiration for your work?

Anywhere and everywhere. Music is a big one. Sometimes it’s from looking at old album covers. Scrolling through Instagram. Artists like Marie Laurencin, I love her use of pastels. I was in the Netherlands over the summer and I’m still dreaming of the colors of the sunset over the North Sea. It was breathtaking.

“Don’t be afraid to experiment. There’s no need to get stuck it in a rut. And of course always wash your face before bed. Always.” 
What’s the best piece of beauty advice you ever received? 

Do your makeup for yourself, not for anyone else. Have fun with it. If it doesn’t make you feel confident and beautiful don’t wear it. 

And what’s your go-to piece of advice that you like to give? 

One of the best things about makeup is it washes off. Don’t be afraid to experiment. There’s no need to get stuck in a rut. And of course, wash your face before bed. Always. 

What makeup trends should we be excited about in 2020?

Color! On eyes, cheeks, lips, even mascara. Bold colors, matte pastels, pops of neons. I’m also seeing lots of graphic liner. Playful, fun makeup is having a moment. 

What’s the biggest beauty mistake you’ve seen women and clients make over and over again? 

Not correctly matching their foundation. I would suggest having a professional match you and help you choose the best finish for your skin. Blending is another big one. I always apply with one brush and blend with another or make sure I have any excess product wiped off the brush. 

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three beauty items would you take with you?

Sunscreen and two different lipsticks! 

What staples should be in every makeup bag? 

A good set of brushes. You need the right tools to apply makeup properly. 

What are your all-time favorite beauty products?

Glo Skin Beauty foundations. They are lightweight with great coverage and photograph beautifully. Tarte blushes, Pat McGrath lipsticks, and L’Oreal Telescopic mascara in Carbon Black. 

What are you excited about professionally as you look toward 2020?

I’ve got something I’m pretty excited about in the works, but I can’t announce it yet so stay tuned! 

Follow Danelle on Instagram @DanelleFrench.

Abby Gardner is Indy Maven’s Executive Editor who can’t live without sunscreen, a bold lip, and a good retinol cream.

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