Interview: Napoleon Perdis

Above: Napoleon Perdis and the Beauty Professor.

Napoleon Perdis is a beauty legend in Australia.  From famed makeup artist to creator of his eponymous line of cosmetics, his influence on the beauty industry, however, isn’t restricted to the Land Down Under.  For well over a decade,  his beauty line has been sold by major US retailers like Sephora, Ulta, Target (specifically, his SET collection) and most recently, luxury establishments including Nordstrom, Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus.  

I had the marvelous privilege of interviewing the incredibtly dynamic Napoleon during his visit to Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills and, during our time together, gleaned a clearer understanding of his inspiration, motivation and aesthetic.

Above: In the midst of the interview.

Q and A

Beauty ProfessorWho would you describe as your greatest beauty influence? 
Napoleon Perdis:  Sophia Loren (especially in Boy on a Dolphin) and my mom.

BPWhat do you want people to know about the Napoleon line? 
NP: Education is everything; I would like to think of my line as the “Harvard of makeup.”

BP: What is the earliest or first product you remember being intrigued by? 
NP: I remember being fascinated by Vaseline when I was 14…I would sleep with it on, use a toothbrush on my lips to exfoliate them and then apply the Vaseline for smooth and plump lips in the morning.

BP:  What inspired you to start the line? 
NP:  Growing up in Australia, my mom and sisters couldn’t get the right colors (especially in foundation) for their skin tone.  The range of availability was so limited that I was inspired to create a line that embraced texture and color for all skin tones.

BP:  What essential Napoleon products would you recommend to a makeup beginner? 
NP: (1)**Auto Pilot BBB (Beauty Boosting Balm) Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 30  (acts as a tinted moisturizer and primer all in one), (2) Magnifeyes Mascara, and, (3) Auto Pilot Lip Service lip balm.  The combination will create a full face in three products!
**Note from the Beauty Professor…I’ve been using the BBB while on vacation and it is simply brilliant! Full review soon. 

BP: Who is the target Napoleon consumer? 
NP:  One who believes in the glamour principle…they are trans-generational (age means nothing) and want to learn more.  The Napoleon line serves as a makeup translation house for these consumers!

BP: Outside of your line (of course), what are some products that you love and use regularly? 
NP:  1. Shiseido serums…the entire skin care line is innovative and scientifically advanced. 2. Ella Bache eye cream with lanolin 3. Gel for eyebrows…I am currently working on developing this for my own line…release to be announced! 

BP:  What places are your favorite to travel to and what do like to do in your free time? 
NP:  In terms of travel, I love Monemvasia, which is the Gibraltar of Greece.  I also enjoy Palm Springs because of its unique, mid-century modern vibe. In my free time, I like watching documentaries and a few I watched recently include The Island President and In Vogue: The Editor’s Eye which is about the inner-workings of Vogue magazine.

BP:  Where do you hope to see the line in 5 years? 
NP:  I hope to continue to have my line sold in luxurious, high-end retailers…places where people who can afford the innovation of effective ingredients go to shop.

BP:  What is your favorite beauty technique? 
NP:  Mascara first.  It provides the road map for the face and will likely keep you from applying unnecessary cosmetics!

BP:  What designers are your favorite right now? 
NP:  I really like Clover Canyon, which is LA based…the line does amazing things with patterns.  Also, Dion Lee, who is destined to be a future Chanel or Celine.  Finally, Alex Perry (an Australia-based designer).

BP:  What is one beauty trend you wish you women would avoid? 
NP:  Over-injection.  I am not saying that Botox or fillers are bad, however.  I just thing that people who do go that route should have limits and be timely in their approach (avoid “too much, too soon!)

BP: What is your favorite food? 
NP:  (Smiling) I haven’t been asked that question before!  I love a real Greek salad…this includes fresh feta, tomato, red onion, olive oil, lemon and Kalamata olives…so many restaurants add lettuce but a real Greek salad doesn’t contain any!

BP:  What is your favorite TV show?
NP:  Magic City.

BP:  What do you want people to think of when they hear the word Napoleon?
NP:  Effortless…the line should make embracing beauty easy for women.

Interviewing Napoleon Perdis was an utterly enjoyable moment in my blogging career…his warm personality, genuine likability and love for what he does emanated through every answer!  Upon noting that we share a mutual affinity for our iPhones, he generously shared a new app he’s been loving called BeFunky…we both agreed, it’s like Photoshop on steroids ; )

Above: iPhone bonding.  

All in all, Napoleon’s desire to beautify the world in a classic, effortless manner resonates with my personal aesthetic and I look forward to continuing to follow his prolific global career.

Above: A glimpse of the bountiful Napoleon Perdis cosmetics line. 

I also had the chance to experience some of the latest releases from the Napoleon line, including his Auto Pilot BBB Cream and products from the runway-friendly Nude Bar Phase II Collection (a collection with the word “nude” in it?  I’m smitten, indeed).  Full details will be live on the blog this week! 

I extend an open thanks to Napoleon for being such a marvelous interviewee…it was a joy.


–The Beauty Professor

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Comments (12)

  • BeautyByKrystal Reply

    Very interesting interview, I thoroughly enjoyed this! I have seen and heard of NP products before, like in Target stores, but I have never ever felt the urge to try them. Now I might pick something up and see if the products reflect this amazing individual 🙂

    August 12, 2013 at 7:16 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Thank you, Krystal!! I am so happy to hear it ; ) The Napoleon lines (Napoleon SET at Target and Napoleon Perdis everywhere else I mentioned) are just lovely. I can't wait to hear your thoughts when you try his products!

      xoxo and talk soon,

      –The Beauty Professor

      August 12, 2013 at 10:51 pm
  • Lynn127 Reply

    Hi B.P what a delightful interview. I love all the questions you asked! You were far above informative and he sounds like he truly cares about us getting the education along with the products. Can't wait to read your review on his BBB cream.

    August 12, 2013 at 9:12 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Many thanks, Lynn! I had such a delightful time with the process! I always appreciate your positive feedback and am glad you found the interview interesting.

      BBB cream review coming up very soon!!


      –The Beauty Professor

      August 12, 2013 at 10:54 pm
  • Kainita Reply

    Hi Rachel, What a great interview! Napoleon sounds truly inspirational and a perfect example of how to utilize one's passion in life! I love the fact that he is interested in helping women of all ages to be their most beautiful self!

    Cheers, Karen!

    August 13, 2013 at 12:24 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Hello Karen,

      Thank you ever so much!! Napoleon is extremely inspiring and his ageless approach is so refreshing, indeed. I am so glad you enjoyed the interview and truly appreciate the positive feedback!


      –The Beauty Professor

      August 14, 2013 at 6:02 am
  • Kainita Reply

    PS: I know that you have reviewed the Tom Ford Traceless Foundation Stick, but I am wondering what your thoughts are on the Traceless Liquid Foundation? I am thinking about purchasing it and maybe mixing it with the sensual Skin Enhancer as I am currently using the Chantecaille anti-smog foundation, however this is slightly thicker in consistency. Your advice and recommendation would be very appreciated and thanks so much for your time:)

    Have an awesome day, Karen

    August 13, 2013 at 1:57 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Yes, I love the TF Traceless Foundation Stick…I haven't reviewed the TF Liquid Foundation because, upon sampling it, I found it to be extremely sheer and I prefer more medium coverage. That being said, combining it with the Kevyn Aucoin SSE is a brilliant idea…in that case, the sheerness of the TF Liquid would be an asset to offset the opacity of the SSE!

      I hope that helps…xoxo and keep me posted on what you decide ; )

      –The Beauty Professor

      August 14, 2013 at 6:05 am
  • Huda Reply

    That is so amazing you got to meet him! Great interview! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    August 17, 2013 at 5:57 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      It was a joy, Huda!! Thanks for your kind feedback!

      Enjoy the weekend,

      –The Beauty Professor

      August 17, 2013 at 11:47 pm
  • Unknown Reply

    Loved the interview Rachel! Great questions! So, did you just approach him for an interview, or was it arranged? I've never given this line a 2nd look- but now, I just might have to! Take care!


    August 19, 2013 at 6:09 pm
    • The Beauty Professor Reply

      Thank you, Arleen!! In response to your question, I was approached by his PR to do the interview so we arranged a date and time when he would be in town…in turn, it was planned well in advance! He was so gracious and simply a delight to speak with. His line has some pretty fantastic products…the BBB cream and Overcoat gloss have found a comfortable home in my handbag as of late ; )

      xoxo and talk soon!

      –The Beauty Professor

      August 19, 2013 at 9:57 pm

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