Q&A: Madeline Poole, Global Colour Ambassador for Sally Hansen

Madeline Poole

The manicure master answers our Proustian beauty Qs

As a fine-art student in Baltimore, Maryland, Madeline Poole never could have guessed that manis would become her medium. “I was never really interested in beauty,” recalls Poole, now 30. The daughter of a painter and a carpenter, intricate detailing was always her strong suit, but she never applied the skill off canvas. It wasn’t until she was assisting a stylist in Los Angeles—and glimpsed her first editorial manicure on-set—that she considered majoring in nails. “I thought to myself, I could probably do that—and probably do it better.” So she dropped everything to enrol in beauty school, and before classes were over she was booking shoots and working on her first book, Nails, Nails, Nails! 25 Creative DIY Nail Art Projects.

When Poole moved from L.A. to New York with the goal of taking her career to the next level, Sally Hansen came knocking. “The brand was looking at artists that beauty editors were working with and found interesting,” recalls Poole, who signed on as the company’s global colour ambassador in 2014. Now, she travels the globe shooting glossy campaigns and creating fashion-week manis. When the nail-art trendsetter stopped by Toronto to reveal Sally Hansen’s spring shades, we tapped her for her beauty wisdom.

What is your idea of perfect beauty? “No makeup, just natural.”

How do you look when you feel most like yourself? “A bit dishevelled, usually in a lot of colour and mismatched patterns.”

If you could create a fragrance that encapsulated your personality, what would it smell like? “A herbal scent, maybe mixed with a little Sharpie marker or tempera paint.”

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received at a beauty counter? “To take a sample to see if you like it. Get a sample of a colour, and the two colours on either side of the spectrum, and try them outside in the daylight.”

What is your biggest beauty extravagance? “Giorgio Armani foundation.”


Madeline Poole’s Beauty Picks

Which one of your signature techniques should every woman know? “[To erase mani mistakes] use a clean-up brush with polish remover. It’s so easy and really helps if you’re in a rush or painting with your non-dominant hand.”

Who do you admire as a living icon in the beauty world? “Erykah Badu. I think she is just so cool and natural. I like her style and she has an amazing face. I once saw her in metallic lavender lipstick, and I was like, That looks cool.”

What is your greatest beauty regret? “As a kid, I bleached my eyebrows, then trimmed and plucked them to be really skinny. I looked so bad.”

What is your anti-aging motto? “Don’t stress. When I have a stressful day, I look so old, I can see it in my face.”

What do you deem a beauty crime? “Fake eyelashes. I can’t stand them.”

What do you consider an underrated skincare commandment? “Really removing your makeup. A lot of people wash their face, and I do that, too, but when I use a toner, I see there’s still a lot left behind. If you wear makeup you have to wash your face well.”

If you could change anything about the beauty industry, what would it be? “I would have more women CEOs—more women in charge of companies that are for women. I think it’s obscene how many men are in charge of beauty companies. It drives me crazy.”


This article was originally published in the Summer 2016 issue of Cosmetics magazine. For more, download our iPad edition.