Daniel Sandler is one of the UK’s top make-up artists. He was chosen by Jade Goody for her wedding make-up and has many celebrity clients. Now Yorkshire haircare company ghd is bringing Daniel to the north to teach ‘real’ women how to make the best of themselves. HILARIE STELFOX reports
IN HIS New Romantic days back in the 1980s Daniel Sandler was a boy who wore make-up.
“I used to put it on my friends as well before we went out parading about town,’’ he said. “We probably looked quite ridiculous.’’
Today he’s to be found applying cosmetics to some of the world’s richest and most famous women and rarely wears it himself.
“Only if I’ve got a zit and for television,’’ he says.
Daniel’s talents are much in demand and his reputation is world-wide.
Last month he travelled to Dubai to do the wedding make-up for a princess and her family. “They flew me out first class and had the royal chauffeur waiting for me at the airport,’’ he said. “It was quite amazing.’’
Daniel was also asked to be Jade Goody’s make-up artist for her special day shortly before her tragic death from cancer.
The world of cosmetics has been kind to Daniel, who believes that he got into the business at just the right time.
“It’s much tougher now because there are so many people out there,’’ he said. “I think if I was starting now I’d still want to do it because you can succeed if you are completely committed and sure of yourself. But as a freelance you have to be thick-skinned and you have got to get up early every morning and hang out with the right people.’’
Daniel, 43 next month, was definitely in the right place at the right time.
The son of celebrated London hairdresser Leon Sandler – real name David – he mixed in fashionable circles, meeting trendsetters such as Vidal Sassoon and 1960s icon Mary Quant.
His mother was an interior designer.
“I had arty parents and we lived near the Kings Road in Chelsea,’’ he said. “I used to go up and down the Kings Road and really got into fashion.
“My dad had a salon in Knightsbridge and I used to watch him do photoshoots for magazines. He didn’t want me to go into hairdressing, he had this idea that I should work for the Foreign Office because I am good at languages. I’m almost fluent in French and German.’’
However, the teenager with a passion for fashion had other ideas and enrolled on a two-year make-up course at the London College of Fashion. The course was in television and theatre make-up.
“In those days that was the only sort of course available,’’ he said. “There were only two or three make-up artists working in London. The models and celebrities did their own make-up.
By the early 1980s there were people like Barbara Daly. but not many young ones getting into it.’’
Although the field was wide open for new, young, talent, Daniel says it was a chance meeting with Mary Quant that gave him his big break.
“My sister was working in Harrods and said Mary Quant was coming to the store to sign copies of her book, Colour By Quant. I went along to meet her and she sent me a whole lot of make-up from her range and introduced me to a few people in the business,’’ he explained.
Today the Daniel Sandler name is known around the world. He has his own Urban Retreat Make-up Studio in the most famous department store in London, Harrods, and a range of eponymous cosmetic products which is sold through a network of make-up artists. He works at major fashion shows, on television – most recently on the Gok Wan How to Look Good Naked show – and travels the globe for fashion shoots with glossy magazines.
He’s a busy man and because of that says he rarely gets time to teach the tricks of the trade – although he has made instruction videos.
However, throughout this year he’ll be travelling to Leeds to take a series of one-day courses in make-up application at the ghd Academy, headquarters of the famous Yorkshire-based brand.
“I do work for ghd at shows and fashion shoots and the courses seemed like a great idea,’’ he said. “I’m really looking forward to them.’’
The courses will be held at regular intervals from now until October.
The courses – in basic make-up, bridal and glamorous make-up and high fashion make-up – cost £175 a day. For more details call 0870 034 6300.