Dany For Ever

MUFEblushIconic professional brand Make Up For Ever is finally coming to the UK. Its legendary founder tells a very excited Lauren Oakey what we can expect.


I first heard of Make Up For Ever when I started my make up training – products of theirs kept popping up in YouTube tutorials, makeup artists always seemed to be singing its praises. As soon as I heard MUFE had created a custom red lipstick shade (as part of their Aqua range) for Madonna’s MDNA tour, that was me sold. I tracked them down in professional stores and pretty soon I was hooked on their HD foundation and Smoky Lash Intense (I still can’t find a mascara that beats it).

MUFE’s founders Dany Sanz and her husband Jacques Waneph started Make Up For Ever in 1986 in Paris and she created most of their products in a studio known as the ‘cellar’, which forms part of the first ever store on Rue la Boetie, Paris. Above stairs, they sell rubber noses and huge vats of fake blood, and row upon row of neon glitters and brushes (the range is vast – 1600 products in all). It’s a total one-stop-shop for any make up nerd, but you need no longer get on Eurostar to get a piece of the action. MUFE are about to launch their first make up counters for non-professionals at Debenhams in the UK in May, and if that didn’t make me giddy enough, they invited me to Paris to talk to Dany about the launch. This is what she had to say.


MUFEDanyWhat made you decide to launch in the UK now?

We have no offices or connections in London but we felt it would do well there. It’s exciting for many reasons but it’s a challenge and I like to start and finish a thing when there’s an good idea at the core of it. We’ve had a good response from Britain with social media so it’s very interesting to see what happens.


Tell me about your experiences as a makeup artist in the 80s.

You should really have been around – it was great for someone who is really artistic! I learned everything about make up then. We were all queens and we still are. There was a brilliant community and we were different – we thought differently and acted differently and there were a lot of strange and brilliant people around.


MUFElippencilDid you work in London much?

No, because not as many people travelled as they do now. A lot of stuff was happening here and a lot of couture was done by the French and the atmosphere became similar to London, sharing similar culture and similar fashions. It was like a laboratory of very odd creations and exuberance between us. It was more difficult to travel at that time so we received people from London and with it a lot of inspiration, especially from TV as there was no internet or social media. So we got a lot also from newspapers and magazines and were exposed to the best of the culture of that country. London has been one of the first countries to be this exciting. The English in Paris with the French atmosphere became a real inspiration.


Have you had any moments where you’ve been overwhelmed with everything that’s happened since launching your own brand?

Yes, I wasn’t expecting any of this. I think the best moment was when we first opened the shop and the first customer bought lots of products – I couldn’t believe that. A woman came in and filled her basket and – at the time my husband was the cashier – we were shocked and thrilled. We’re still like that now. I was so proud that people came to buy my products – it’s really emotional. Whenever I’m in any shop I like to see what a woman is buying, so when they buy my products I want to kiss them. That’s my biggest surprise and I think it will be like that my whole life.


MUFELinerWhat’s the one product you can’t live without?

Black kohl pencil. I wake in the morning, shower and have coffee, then when I have my black pencil on I feel finished and ready to start my day. With MUFE I’m a perfectionist and I design some core products for me in my colours. Minimalism is very important for me. People always ask if we have a new smoky black pencil because that’s really important here in Paris!


What was your first experience of make up when you were younger?

I had very little because we were really poor, but I loved seeing makeup on the stage. But it was more about the dress, the expression – I was creating theatre in my house and inviting my grandfather to watch. Playing a role was a big thing for me. My mother is 99 years old now and she still always wears make up and looks beautiful. I remember after the war when I was in school, she used to try and find cheap brands, to be able to wear make up, because she loved it so much. I think that’s where I got my passion. It was the stage, the people, the style – it was the sophistication and preparation that I liked.


MUFEMascaraIs it really important to you to teach women how to use make up?

Teaching is really special to me. It was important at the beginning as our products were new and it helped to sell them, but I think it’s important for women to feel empowered through make up. I travelled the world with my students and taught them, and our customers, along the way to be strong technically and I’ve encouraged the use of new products.


Are you still learning?

Always. I worked in China with the Chinese Opera and even though the language barrier was quite difficult to deal with, they managed to teach me all about the products they used and how they applied them – there were no make up artists there and the performers did everything themselves. We were advised to open a store in China but I was quite cautious because I felt there wasn’t enough money or interest there, but along the way we realised that Chinese women love make up and it’s a really important part of life for them. I love stories and adventure so I’m glad we decided to do it.


MUFEpouchWhere would you like to be in ten years time?

Since the beginning I’ve never expected the things that have happened to me. I don’t really plan, and the things that have happened have been brilliant – I’m now 68 and my life is still a real adventure. I made one decision at the beginning and I did it well. I like to start something and I like to finish it. My obsession is work. I hope to still run my makeup schools, and that I don’t lose my mind and keep working, because I can’t ever stop. I hope to be in the middle of my tribe with old and new ones surrounding me.


Make Up For Ever launches on Monday at selected Debenhams stores nationwide, with prices from £9.90.

Related - Features
Related - Features + see all

SALI LOVES: Lisa Macario’s slogan sweatshirts

Any words you want, hand-stitched on a flattering sweatshirt? Sali Hughes is spoilt for choice

Sacred Brows

Comedy writer Sarah Morgan gets microbladed and finally sees what all the fuss is about

Meet The Experts: Nicola Addison

Fitness expert Nicola Addison tells Debra Brock how we can all easily improve our wellbeing

Mother’s Day Beauty Gift Ideas

Debra Brock trawls the aisles for the best gift ideas