The Surreal and Experimental World of Make-Up Artist Alex Box

This article appears in Volume 25: The Pioneer Issue.

Alex Box is a make-up artist and the former creative director of Illamasqua. She has created iconic looks for designers including Karl Lagerfeld, Alexander McQueen, Gareth Pugh and Vivienne Westwood, and is renowned for her experimental and often surreal looks, which chart the correlation between art, science, nature and the magical.

I have always seen beauty as an evolving paradigm. As a word it may fall in and out of favour, but it forever remains reflective of the times. I view myself as an artist looking in on the industry, exploring and challenging constructs of beauty to pioneer new ways of seeing. Intelligence, integrity and spirituality are the most under-used words in beauty, so that's what I strive to bring. My manifesto is to generate creative freedom, push boundaries and inspire others to do the same.

My style has evolved through fearlessness and being open to the moment, the cosmos and the muse. I've always talked about beauty being a journey of the soul and a spiritual swim in the understanding of one's uniqueness. The individual is the future - we hold everything we need to empower ourselves. We don't need to be told what is beautiful. I'm currently building a retreat to explore this concept of mindfulness within beauty.

My edit may not be what you'd expect, as I do not view beauty (or anything else) in a conventional way. My ritual more often involves chanting a yoga mantra or bathing in the feminine energy and healing power of the moon than indulging in the latest trend. These products allow me to keep challenging the status quo.

Fushi, Triphala Capsules and Turmeric C3 & Bioperine Extract, £8 and £20

I couldn't choose between these two powerhouses of wellbeing. I was an early adopter of Ayurvedic remedies in the Nineties so have been taking them for a long time. The balance of the doshas has helped me to understand both minor and serious ailments.

Shu Uemura, High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil Advanced Formula, £52

This much-copied, never-beaten maverick product has been on my shelf for over 20 years. When I first left art college I worked for Shu Uemura. He was humble and full of excitement about the possibility of make-up. His vision was extraordinary.

Vijayshree, Golden Nag Champa Incense Sticks, £7.30

I have many different types of incense varying in rarity and purpose, but this beautiful incantation of scent and spirit is the one I always return to. It's so full and nourishing.

The Mineral Warehouse, Rose Quartz, £17

I've always carried crystals and have several for different purposes, but rose quartz is the mother. Calm, caring and clearing, it's the stone of love and protection.

Le Labo, Tonka 25 100ml, £180

I absolutely love Le Labo's fragrances, aesthetic and ethos. Every time I go into one of their boutiques they have a new and surprising twist on an old classic.

Orveda, Visibly Brightening & Skin Perfecting Masque, £250

This range was recommended to me by the beauty expert Edwina Ings-Chambers. She knows I'm a little obsessed with skincare and this product blew my mind. When something works this well, it feels like a requiem.

Illamasqua, Gel Sculpt, £25

I left a proud legacy of Illamasqua products during my time there, of which this cult classic is one. It's the result of a brainwave I had to create a transparent contouring gel with a tint that would mimic the natural flush of a cheek.

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