Nikki and Luke Stronger Together
Now here’s a creative collab that we think you’ll love hearing more about. Find out how top celeb makeup artist Nikki Wolff and our creative director Luke Pluckrose come together to make magical hair and makeup for the camera every time.
At the top of their game, these two share a passion for creating beautiful looks – be it stellar celeb-styling and editorial shoots, or Nikki’s *so good* Sunday Tutorials and Glamour columns and Luke creating big Saks campaigns and mentoring our stylists. Get the goss and a whole loada amazing advice for those interested in the bright lights of hair and beauty.
Luke, tell us *again* how you got into hairdressing?
Luke: Late actually! Around 22, 23 I was an air conditioning engineer before. But I always had an interest in hair.
And Nikki – why makeup?
Nikki: Always a passion since I was a little girl. When I was 5 or 6 I remember my mum putting a touch of mascara on for a party and from that moment I was fascinated at this thing that you could do to enhance your beauty and the way that you felt. So I was just obsessed even before I knew what being a makeup artist was and it was certainly very different back then. I’m very lucky that I was able to live my dream.
What brought the two of you together?
Nikki: We were working on a mutual client; a friend of mine, and I remember turning up to the job and my friend introduced him by saying ‘this is Luke and he is a genius’ and I was like, err alright then, these words get bandied about too easily. And then after he created The Hair I remember thinking hmm that’s pretty good! And I liked the vibe and the energy because I think we are both quite laid back. So I said to him, I record tutorials, do you fancy doing the hair for one and yeah, that was it.
Luke: Nikk loves doing makeup, I love doing hair and for the tutorials we can be very creative. Meeting Nikki was probably one of the best things that’s happened to me career-wise. It opened up things that perhaps would never have opened up before. A point I always say when asked is to meet people, work with them, build relationships – you never know where it’s going.
Nikki: So true.
Luke: We’ve been loads of places working together. Who would have known that at the start when we bumped into one another on a job.
Nikki: Exactly. He’s now my work husband, I even know how he has is tea.
What’s your creative process?
Luke: We’ve spoken a lot about this. It’s very organic. We get together. There’s a model. Nikki will generally go like I’m going to do a 90s look and we go off that. There’s not a lot of planning, we crack on. Well you might plan more than that Nikki, but I turn up and take it from there with a 90s look or a 70s look…
Nikki: Yes totally that. And I think when I create a look, what I take inspiration from it is often the person’s face that I am working on. Which is why I start by creating a makeup look and then Luke follows that on by literally creating any hair that we’ve discussed, that’s just going to complement the look.
Luke: It works for us.
Nikki how do you keep mixing it up?
Nikki: It’s tricky because I’ve been doing these tutorials for a long time and I’ve lost count of the faces I’ve done. It’s easy to look around you – especially with social media – and find inspirations via those mediums, but I actually to try and create things that are unique. I find the best way to do that is to take inspiration from the face. Everyone’s different and I’ll always be able to look and think OK I would really like to enhance that feature or that person looks great in a lip. Whatever it is then I base the looks that I create around that mostly.
Luke: For me, even on bolder looks you still make it beautiful and you know I like beautiful hair so we are on the same page. It’s got to look beautiful.
Nikki: Absolutely. I am a big one for saying that makeup should be worn by a person it shouldn’t be wearing the person. So I always want whatever I create for that person to look like their most beautiful self, and Luke does the same with the hair.
What would be your your tips to other hair and makeup artists?
Luke: For hair I’d say know your history, as in eras because if you don’t you will be sticking to the same thing. Also, work with good people all the time and good things happen.
Nikki: To find your place in this industry it really is about perseverance – don’t feel disheartened – how I felt at the beginning. So that’s number one, then number two is I think there are times in the past where people have relied on retouching or on photographers to fix things, whereas I am a perfectionist and Luke is definitely the same, his eye for detail is next to none and actually putting that much effort and patience into what you create is really going to show through. And when you are creating videos there’s nowhere to hide, so it’s definitely about having enough love for what you do, to take the time to try and create a masterpiece every time.
Luke: we always talk about this. We love doing what we do. So the attention to detail comes naturally.
Adapted from interview with Mollie King at Stronger Together, L’Oréal Professionnel.
1 Jayden Fa, Sarah Brown, Desiree Mattson
2 Jayden Fa, Sarah Brown
3 Jayden Fa, Karis Kennedy, Sarah Brown
4 Desiree Mattson