In the Hot Seat With Urban Decay’s Wende Zomnir

Urban Decay’s Wende Zomnir revolutionized the makeup world with her line. Unapologetically edgy chic defined Urban Decay when she launched the line and so it remains. Over the years, Urban Decay, with its decadent and dirty names (Oil Slick, Zero, Carney, to name a few) and its Holy Grail products (hello, can anyone live without the Eye Shadow Primer Potion, which ensures that eye shadow doesn’t migrate or move), has mixed rock ‘n’ roll with high end in a manner unrivaled. BeautyNewsNYC Beauty Editor Amy Sciarretto picked Zomnir’s beautiful brain on that famous potion and it’s origins; what has worked and what hasn’t; and how this avid snowboarded keeps her lips soft. Hint: It’s not an Urban Decay product, either!

BN: What is your favorite product you’ve ever created?
WZ: So far the product that I created and am most proud of is our Eye Shadow Primer Potion. My active lifestyle (surfing, yoga, cross-fit, being a mother of two boys) requires makeup that lasts, so I was determined to create an eye shadow primer that would last all day and all night. I can’t even count how many formulas I went through!

One morning at 8 AM while getting ready for a photo shoot, I applied the latest version the lab had cooked up. I threw our Last Call Eye shadow over it – a punchy plum that would definitely show creasing or fading. After being under hot lights for several hours, I immediately jumped on a plane to the UK. As soon as the plane landed and I went to freshen up before a big dinner meeting, I was not surprised to see my hair was a mess, but I was shocked and amazed to find that after 23 hours, my eye shadow was perfectly in place, and looked just as fresh as when I had first put in on. That was several years ago and still when I meet someone who has never heard of or tried it, I love showing them how it works! Just recently we had clinical trials done proving that our Eye Shadow Primer Potion delivers crease-free, vibrant eye shadow for 24+ hours!

BN: What is one product you wished you’d created (by another brand)?
WZ: I wish I had created Marine Summer Hair Beach Waves spray by Frederic Fekkai so that I’d have a lifetime supply of it. I love the way it makes my hair tousled and beachy without sacrificing shine or softness.

BN: Has there been a product you created that stalled to your surprise and had to be discontinued? Was there a product you thought would take off but just did not? Any theory as to why?
WZ: Makeup artists loved our Cream Shadows and begged for more! They were distraught when we discontinued them, but the average woman didn’t understand the nuances and benefits of a cream formula. So we had to discontinue them to make room for something else.

BN: What is your fave luxury product?
WZ: Coola Mineral Sport SPF 45 Sunblock. For sun block, it’s a tad pricey, but it really works, stays on in water and has an amazing luxe, creamy feel.

BN: What is your fave bargain product?
WZ: Lansinoh HPA LANOLIN. It’s actually a cracked nipple cream for nursing mothers, but I use it as an overnight lip treatment, dry-skin reliever for rough cuticles and elbows, and to prevent frost-bitten skin when I snowboard. At 10 bucks a tube, it lasts forever and it’s truly a steal.

BN: Do you have a signature scent?
WZ: I wear my own private stash of Pistol, an Urban Decay fragrance oil that I worked on with Sarah Horowitz. Maybe we’ll re-launch it one day.

BN: What is one Urban Decay product ALL women need in their makeup bag and why?
WZ: Our Insta-Glam Lashes. A little lashes go a long way, and since Insta-Glams are quarter length lashes, they are easy to throw on and they add just the right amount of drama to any look while still appearing natural.

BN: The Eye Shadow Primer Potion is a Hall of Fame product – how did you think of tinkering with the packaging?
WZ: After talking to makeup artists, listening to our customers, and viewing several YouTube tutorials on how to crack open a vial of our Eye Shadow Primer Potion, we recently switched from our award-winning iconic genie bottle packaging to a new, sleek squeezable foil tube. We did keep the genie bottle cap though!

BN: How do you feel when you retire a product or shade? Can you share some of the criteria that goes into that decision? Is it strictly sales? What inspires you to resurrect them, if at all?
WZ: It’s sad to retire any product or shade because we spend a fair amount of time perfecting each item. A product is typically retired when it doesn’t sell, but since we can’t have an ever-expanding gondola, we have to discontinue things in order to offer new, more exciting items. At times, it can be hard not to take it personally when a product doesn’t take off the way I had thought it would. However, it is also a learning experience, and things can be tweaked and with further innovation be resurrected into something even better than it was the first time around.

BN: Any Fall 2011 tips or tricks?
WZ: I love bold, shiny, high-impact lips for Fall 2011. Our amazing new Super Saturated Lip Pencils are my go-to product for the season. A great trick is to use them on your lips and on your cheeks! They are so creamy and blendable…just make a couple of dots on your cheeks and smudge it out for a quick complexion pick-me-up. Try the Crush shade for hot lips and a youthful glow.

BN: Urban Decay has always been edgy glam – has your philosophy changed? Do you think Urban WZ: Decay is a line usable by women of all ages? We do!
Though we’ve grown as a brand over the 15 years we’ve been in business, the driving force behind starting Urban Decay is the same force that continues to keep it going: passion to create beauty with an edge. Urban Decay is a line for those who enjoy high-quality, innovative beauty products that make a statement, and I think that resonates with women of all ages.

BN: Who is the quintessential Urban Decay girl?
WZ: The quintessential Urban Decay girl embodies all that is feminine, dangerous and fun.

BN: 13. In your opinion: Given the influx of lines and products at Sephora, why is Urban Decay the one line that women should flock to first?
WZ: I think women flock to Urban Decay over other lines because we are an innovative line providing high-quality luxury products that actually work. We road-test everything to make sure it’s amazing. With our huge assortment, we really have something for everyone, no matter what age or skin type.

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