Insider Interviews: Aimee Connolly: Makeup Artist & Brand Founder

The makeup artist and founder of one of our favourite brands, Sculpted By Aimee, shares her career trajectory and her ultimate makeup application tips.

by Amy Wilson Wyles
  • Aimee Connolly has already accomplished a considerable amount at a young age. After landing her first beauty job at 16, she went on to launch her own brand, Sculpted by Aimee, aged just 23, parlaying years of working as one of Ireland’s top makeup artists into an award-winning line of products. Here, Aimee shares her path to success so far, her must-have beauty products and her top tips for applying makeup that looks flawless yet natural.

  • The Resume

  • Job Title: CEO & Founder of Sculpted by Aimee

  • Location: Dublin, Ireland

  • Famous For: Painting famous faces and her best-selling makeup line 

  • Clients/Fans Include: Vogue Williams, Tess Daly, Holly Willoughby, Roz Purcell, Irish TV presenters 

  • Years in the Industry: 13

The Backstory

When I was 16, I started working part-time on counter for Urban Decay whilst still in school and loved it. I adored meeting customers, getting to know product and having my own independence. That ultimately led me to founding my own Makeup Academy where I could teach and then my brand Sculpted by Aimee where I could create.

It sounds strange but I didn’t even consider doing anything else besides starting my own brand. For me it was always the road to having my own business. When I founded Sculpted by Aimee at 23 years of age, I had completed a four year degree in Commerce & French and had spent seven years working in the makeup industry getting the most amazing experience across all areas. I felt I had gained so much that I wanted to go that one step further into product. It took roughly 15 months between the initial factory meetings and stock arriving on shelf.

One of the key lessons my career has taught me is that issues or problems will always arise and the secret is all in how you react and manage them. I have learnt to be very solution-focused and that teaches you resilience as well as to back yourself more.

I feel like my journey has been a series of small breaks which all lead to the next opportunity. I feel very fortunate that I am really only starting my journey now as I take Sculpted by Aimee internationally. One upcoming break is our launch in-store in the UK which will help in terms of our ‘big break’ across the country.

I have a different personal story really for all of my products but if I were to pick right now the product I am most proud of, I would say our Second Skin Dewy or Matte Mineral Foundation. I launched Second Skin three years into the brand starting and was told that I was crazy by so many people, as foundations are too much of a loyalty product so people won’t switch to mine and it will fail. I persevered, really trusting my formula and colours, and now it’s our best-selling product consistently month on month and one that has been added to hundreds of thousands of makeup bags around the world – and for that I am extremely proud.

The Advice

My golden rules for applying makeup:

  1. Layer products slowly: think of it like building a cake.
  2. Lip liner should not be feared: it’s one of the best tools in your makeup bag.
  3. A spoolie is the most essential brow product of all – who knew!
  4. When you’ve finished applying mascara, run your ring finger very delicately over the ends of your lashes to capture any excess that might fall and give you panda eyes.
  5. Blush is the best youth injecting ingredient, so don’t forget it.

The Kit

Skincare routine: Skingredients PreProbiotic Cleanser, Obagi Gentle Cleanser and Sculpted by Aimee HydraGlo Serum. These give my skin a really clean feel as well as much-needed hydration. They’re gentle enough for when it’s super sensitive particularly at times when I am tired or stressed.

Foundation: Sculpted by Aimee Second Skin Foundation. I developed this lightweight mineral foundation nearly four years ago and it has been my go-to every day since. It’s medium coverage and super weightless in feel, just the perfect day-to-day look.

Concealer: Sculpted by Aimee Brighten Up Concealer: it’s lightweight but gives just enough coverage and doesn’t dry into lines!

Lipstick: The new Sculpted by Aimee Hydralip in the shade Blush. I was never a huge tinted balm fan until we started creating these and now I can’t be without it. It has SPF 25 and hyaluronic acid for hydration and provides the perfect wash of colour.

Mascara: Sculpted by Aimee MyMascara: it was the hardest product I have ever created and our biggest sell out to date. Love, love it.

Secret weapon: Fake tan: I am naturally quite red-skinned with freckles and never take a tan nor do I try to, so a good fake tan – like my Body Base Matte Instant Tan or Shimmer Instant Tanmakes me feel amazing on holidays.

Favourite product: Sculpted by Aimee Bronze Base Facial Tan. I can’t describe how brilliant this makes me feel on tired mornings when the skin needs a lift or when I’m going makeup free.

Can’t leave home without: My phone: it’s like a limb at this stage, I’m addicted! In beauty terms, Sculpted by Aimee Beauty Balm. You’ll find this multi-purpose skin and lip salve in my car, in my travel bag or on my desk at work.

Biggest indulgence: La Mer The Eye Concentrate. It’s extortionately expensive but feels so luxe on.

Best budget buy: The eye pencil sharpener from Primark: really good and really good value.

Best beauty advice: Less is more. It sounds cliché and it’s not to say that you can’t wear a lot, but the lighter you go the easier it is to layer as you see fit.

Signature scent: Jo Malone Wood Sage and Sea Salt, I’ve adored this for years. True story: one Christmas a few years ago I was gifted seven bottles from seven different people as they all knew it was my favourite!

Red-carpet transformer: Sculpted by Aimee Velvet Veil Skin Blurring Powder to set the skin and create an airbrushed finish that won’t dry it out.

The Experts

Hairdresser: Joanne Kelly, a gorgeous freelance Irish hairdresser, who creates the most beautiful looks.

Hair colourist: Aimee Rogers at Total Haircare. They have been colouring my hair since the get-go and are always brilliant.

Facialist: Agnes Gajewska: an amazing facial sculptor who literally has magic hands to plump and sculpt the face.

Skin expert: Jennifer Rock the Skin Nerd, a friend and skin genius!

Workout Spot/Exercise Class: F45, I love the circuit classes. I am actually terrified of a normal gym so I never go!

Eyelash/brows: Kim O’Sullivan at The Dublin Makeup Academy, a super talented human on all things brows.

Favourite Spa Destination: Monart hotel & spa in Wexford, Ireland.

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