Riku Campo, one of the greatest beauty experts of our time, has worked with some of the most beautiful and recognized faces in the world, such as Cindy Crawford, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Anne Hathaway. His new book " I am Beauty " is the first makeup guide to celebrate and support women 40 and over. I Am Beauty is Riku Campo’s labor of love that honors women we don’t always see in magazines —women like his mother, whose beauty shines from within.
In this exclusive interview, Riku Campo shares with IRK Magazine everything you need to know about skincare, makeup and inner beauty. We promise once you read it you will want to moisturize.
IRK: How did your career begin in makeup?
Riku Campo: I was a child actor in Finland at the local theatre and I always loved the makeups and wigs behind the stage: the smell of the powder and the transformations with makeups and wigs. So when I was 18 years old I decided to go to a Makeup School in Helsinki Finland. I left after 3 months because I didn’t like the old school 80s teaching methods and the next day I got hired by a French skincare and makeup line Stendhal. For the next 2 years I did makeup at department stores around Finland and that was my real makeup school and education!
IRK: What was your “big break” moment?
Riku Campo: In USA starting to shoot Guess campaigns with photographer Yu Tsai in 2006-2009. After that I got so much recognition and many new clients and some of them are still working with me today!
IRK: You have mentioned that your mother’s beauty is everlasting, how are some ways she has inspired you within you work?
Riku Campo: She taught me everything about the skincare and the importance of a proper skincare routine and using a sunblock .
IRK: Do you have any products that have become staples and you can’t part with? Favorite Mascara? Favorite Lipstick? Moisturizer?
Riku Campo: Yes, many. Elizabeth Arden’s 8h Cream, Maybelline Great Lash Mascara, Vitalumiere Aqua foundation by Chanel, MAC lipstick Russian Red, Guerlain Super Aqua Serum, Dr.Yonka Face Toners.
IRK: What are some of the significant differences between younger skincare needs and mature skincare needs?
Riku Campo: We all need to wear sunblock minimum 30 Spf with UVA and UVB protections from early life on to protect our skin. That is the most important for any age to prevent skin cancer.
Another one is to use eye area cream that many people skip in their skincare routine because they don’t really think it does anything. Well, it does. So take it part of your skincare early on.
Younger and mature skins need both a good face serum and a moisturizer. All ages need to wash their faces in the mornings and evenings. Also wear lip balm. 0.1% Retinol night cream for a mature skin is recommended. But if your skin gets irritated, use it only 1-2 times a week. Vitamin C-serums (min.15% Vitamin C) is great for mature skin to brighten up the skin and it also lightens the sun spots and helps rebooting collagen production. A great, richer face moisturizer for mature skin is always recommended with ceramides that lock the moisture inside the skin. And if you add a hyaluronic acid under you get the maximum moisture inside the skin. Niacinamide serum is great for mature skin for refining the pore sizes. And you should never forget using a face toner. It balances the PH on your skin after a shower and shrinks the pores.
IRK: Out of all the most recognized faces you have worked with, who inspired you with the most wisdom about beauty?
Riku Campo: Oh, so many women and some men! And not always recognizable faces. But one woman who really has touched my heart and soul with her incredible beauty inside out is model and artist Yazameenah Rossi. I could sit down with her for hours and talk about anything. She really is an inspirational beauty for women 60+ and knows how to keep herself healthy, fit and happy.
IRK: How was the well-known Riku Facial Massage you give to all your clients created? Has it changed at all throughout your career in any way?
Riku Campo: I created that facial massage years back when I received face massages from different estheticians: Guerlain Spa in Helsinki and Paris, Ole Henriksen Spa in West Hollywood and many others. They showed and told me the benefits of them and I really saw what they did to my face. I studied the face muscles and face yoga and started to massage my clients face for 5-10 minutes and they all loved it so much that now it is part of my skincare routine before the makeup application to all my models and clients. I massage all the skincare products on their skins and it really wakes up the skin and they get that Hollywood glow that everyone always wants!
IRK: When looking at your amazing list of beauty clients, who stands out for their work with models with all different skin types and skin tones?
Riku Campo: As I mentioned earlier Yazameenah Rossi. The other one is Tatjana Patitz whose beauty is beyond. Her eyes can tell one thousand stories. She is one of the most beautiful models in the fashion business ever and she is incredibly humble and kind.
IRK: When writing and planning your book, what do you hope readers will gain emotionally from the contents?
Riku Campo: To be more visible. And enjoy your life! Life is here and now. We only have this moment and tomorrow. Try new ways to enhance your own beauty. Try a new lipstick color or get a good quality face moisturizer. It is all an uplifting experience.
IRK: It’s fun to hear some of the models’ “at-home” secret skin care tricks. What are your own that you’re willing to share?
Riku Campo: I take Japanese style hot baths every single morning. It is a ritual and almost a mediation in my bathtub. I use Epsom salt and some oils in my bath water. There I also double wash my face every morning and evening and I massage the product (Raya Glycolic Mud Face Cleanser) on my skin and wash off with cold water. I use the NuFace Facial Toning machine every day and it really works (not in my bath ...lol). I always apply all my skincare products also on my neck and around my ears. And I never leave the house without a 50 sunblock! Rain or shine.
IRK: On your instagram you posted that matte lipstick formulas work well while wearing a mask, are there any other products that work great when paired with a facial covering? Tips for mask breakouts?
Riku Campo: You can spray a setting spray on top of your base: foundation and powder. You need to powder your face if you want to use the foundation under your face mask, otherwise it will be a big mess. Always wash your face the minute you come home and if you have breakouts, use 2% BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid that helps always on clogged pores.
IRK: Are there any skin care products you recommend for people who have to wear face masks for extended periods of time?
Riku Campo: Carry a hydrating face mist with you for example, Dr.Yonka face mist so you can refresh your skin during the day. It’s almost like a mini shower! So refreshing.
IRK: What is your favorite part of working with a new model or celebrity?
Riku Campo: To know about her: her skin, what she likes in beauty and what she doesn’t. And always represent and show some new fresh ideas.
IRK: You have worked with so many iconic celebrities, are there any fond memories with any of them that stand out in your mind?
Riku Campo: Oh so many. A funny one was when I was working with actress Anna Kendrick years back for her movie Up In The Air PR photoshoot and while I was waiting for Anna’s hair to be done, George Clooney arrived to the studio and walked towards me and started to talk to me like he knew me from somewhere in the past. I was just laughing and when he finally noticed I wasn’t the person we both laughed. Very funny man. Another one; I have always loved the singer Dido and when I did her makeup for her music video “No Freedom,” it was a dream come true. I just love her music! Oh and she is the sweetest of them all.
IRK: What is the most important beauty advice you give?
Riku Campo: Be kind. Kindness reveals beauty. I have met so many famous people and even though they are beautiful, sometimes it is a surprise how someone’s ugly behavior makes them look less beautiful.
IRK: Do all people look better with makeup on?
Riku Campo: Not at all. You don’t need full makeup! Some women love makeup and they love to apply it every day but some women don’t. Women are all different. My mother feels the most beautiful without any makeup on her face. Just a good quality face moisturizer and that’s it for her!
IRK: Who are the artists who have influenced your career?
Finnish painter Helene Schjerbeck, Italian singer Alice, French Makeup Artist Stephane Marais, Fashion designers Karl Lagerfeld, Yohji Yamamoto, Matsuda, Ann Demeulemeester, Madame Gres and all decades of Yves Saint Laurent , especially the 70’s collections.Finnish designer Alvar Aalto. Also lots of movies: from the silent ones to the current ones. The list is long!
IRK: What has been the biggest challenge?
To find an agent and agency who really understand my talent as an artist.
IRK: What is your favorite thing about makeup?
Skin. And the whole creative process around the photoshoots!Working with incredibly talented photographers, fashion stylists and hair stylists, and some of the biggest models in this crazy industry. It is fabulous, you can’t deny it.
IRK: If you could share one unique thing about yourself, what would it be?
I love laughing and being positive. I believe in kindness and that the grass is always greener on the kinder side!
IRK: What advice do you give emerging makeup artists?
There are so many different fields you can work in this industry: theatre/stage, film, TV, ads, catalogue, fashion, beauty, demonstration makeup artist at the department stores for a beauty brand, celebrity makeup artist. Go to the best makeup school you can afford in London or Paris. Start assisting the artists you look up to and learn from the best.
Read art and fashion history books! Very important. You need to know all styles in all decades. No excuses. Practice makeup all the time. You are never a ready makeup artist. I am still learning, and I love it! Never be late. A professional makeup artist is always fifteen minutes early to work to set up the makeup on the table. Keep your tools, makeup and bags super clean. Be super hygienic.