In the Hot Seat – Alison Raffaele


With the spring relaunch of makeup artist Alison Raffaele’s signature line of cosmetics, we at BN could think of no better time to sit down and talk shop.

BN: When did you begin your career as a makeup artist? How did you get your start?
AR: My obsession with makeup started at age 10 when my 4th Grade teacher told me I had dark circles. By age 16 I was working behind cosmetic counters, and that was my part time job all through high school and college. When I graduated college I became Bobbi Brown’s 1st assistant, tagging along with her on all of her photo shoots…and things basically snowballed from there.

BN: Is there a signature Alison Raffaele face? Can you describe it for us?
AR: Yes. It always begins with perfected, natural looking skin. Then I simply enhance the woman’s natural coloring and bone structure to bring out her individual beauty. So it’s not a “look” per se; rather, my signature style is to make each woman look like her very best self. I also make sure to always make sure that the makeup I do also matches the woman’s individual personality and lifestyle. I don’t believe in imposing my personal taste on clients – it is all about them.

BN: Can you tell us a little bit about why you decided to launch your own makeup line?
AR: (Laughing) Starting my career at Bobbi Brown, I was NEVER bored, as I wore a lot of hats. Some days I was assisting on Bobbi’s photo shoots or fashion shows, some days I was doing my own. Other days I was traveling for her company to “meet and greet” customers or training new makeup artists – and sometimes I was sent across town and others, across the planet – literally! I also went to the lab to help with product development, wrote tip sheets and training manuals – you name it! So…when I left to pursue my own editorial career and was just doing photo shoots everyday…well, I really missed ALL the other things I used to do with Bobbi. So, since I couldn’t find another job like the one I had with Bobbi, I simply created the job for myself by starting my own company.

BN: What changes have you made to Alison Raffaele Cosmetics for Spring 2008?
AR: The tag line for the “naturally evolved” Alison Raffaele brand is “Naturally inspired beauty.” What this means is that we took out any ingredients that were questionable – parabens, talc, mineral oil, fragrance, and glutens, added in our proprietary “Frutta di Vita” complex, which is a blend of pomegranate, Goji berry, and resveratrol extracts to fight free radical damage (I call it our “environmental shield”), created an entirely new look for the brand and made sure our new packaging was biodegradable, recycled, or recyclable whenever possible.

BN: What do these product changes mean to you on a personal level?
AR: The eco-friendly direction is something I REALLY feel good about doing and I hope women feel good about purchasing. I believe it is everyone’s responsibility to do their part.

BN: Is there one key product in the line that you think every woman should try? What makes it so special?
AR: True Concealer – because most women don’t have a great concealer and it is AMAZING the difference one can make!!

BN: Do you have a favorite makeup trend for spring from the runways?
AR: Gorgeous, glowing skin, of course!

BN: Are there any products from other lines that you’re hooked on? Why?
AR: Caudalie Sauvignon Scrub…this is supposed to be for the body, but I use it on my face. I have thick skin, so I am an exfoliating junkie! Plus, it smells divine.

BN: What inspires you?
AR: Envisioning something, and then making it happen. I live for a challenge and ALL the possibilities that are out there!

Alison Raffaele Cosmetics are available at the James Corbett Studio, 32 Union Square East, 212-388-1296 or via

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


By becoming a member, you'll receive special, members-only offers and discounts. You'll also receive our newsletter, filled with colorful insider info, delivered straight to your inbox. 

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x