The Beauty of Sharing: Space NK Founder Nicky Kinnaird Reveals Her Makeup Musts


Want to know the beauty secrets of the jet-setting models and celebs? Just ask Nicky Kinnaird. This week, the founder of luxury apothecary chain Space NK will be making personal appearances at her L.A. boutiques, which means you can book a one-on-one consultation with her at Bloomingdale’s Century City on October 3 or in Brentwood on October 5 (both days from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.). Before she offers in-person recommendations based on your makeup concerns, Nicky tells us what’s in her makeup bag, why face oils are the next big thing, and what’s the number one must have product for every Angeleno.

How did Space NK begin?
Beauty retailing in the UK in 1993 was confined to either the high street chains or department stores. You had badly lit counters staffed by overly made-up associates with limited knowledge beyond the brand they represented trying to convince you that their products offered the top-to-toe solution for your every need. But people don’t shop that way. People buy the products that are best suited to them regardless of the company that made them. To me it seemed only logical to put together innovative top quality products with highly trained expert advisors, offering prescriptive, unbiased solutions for the client’s every beauty need. Couple that with a light airy space, and you have a much more appealing beauty retail proposition: Space NK apothecary. Twenty years later, we now have 83 boutiques across the UK and the US.
What qualities do you look for in a product?
We don’t have elastic shelves at Space NK, so we have to be brutal in our edit. I look for innovators that have something truly special to bring to the market, something that either hasn’t been done before or is “best in class.” I seek products that are backed by solid research and deliver on their promise. I am probably one of the world’s pickiest beauty shoppers.
What’s the next big thing in skincare?
We are seeing a real shift in consumer response to facial oils here in the U.S. There has been a long-standing misconception that oils will clog pores and lead to breakouts, but high-quality oils can actually help draw excess sebum from pores. There are also so many options to address varied skincare concerns. One of my favorites is Colbert MD’s reparative Illumino Face Oil. By Terry’s Huile de Rose is another firm favorite. It beautifully primes the skin for makeup.

What’s in your make-up bag right now?
I much prefer a natural look with a healthy, radiant complexion. Accordingly I use Kevyn Aucoin’s hydrating Sensual Skin Tinted Balm #3 as my base to even out skin tone and provide a light reflective protective veil. By Terry’s Touche Veloutee #3 highlighting concealer seamlessly covers any telltale signs of fatigue around the eyes and minimizes the appearance of pores. By Terry Hyaluronic Blush in Peach Posh adds a believable pretty flush to cheeks for a healthy glow and her incredible, “light as air” Hyaluronic Hydra Powder leaves skin velvety soft with a satin matte finish.

I always prime my eyelids with By Terry Hyaluronic Eye Primer #1 to cut any redness and keep eye make-up fresh. On weekends I often don’t even put shadow on top, as this base simply leaves eyes looking much fresher and brighter. I use Kevyn Aucoin’s Matte Eyeshadow #102 Tusk as my base color followed by Nars Eyeshadow Duo in Cordura to detail and contour. I curl my lashes with Kevyn Aucoin’s Eyelash Curler and use his Volume Mascara to make the most of my lashes. It thickens and lengthens, and never smudges, clumps, drips or flakes, so you don’t need to worry about having panda eyes later in the day.  

I use By Terry Baume de Rose on my lips before applying either Lipstick Queen Sinner in Pinky Nude (if I want to keep it very natural) or Lipstick Queen Velvet Rope in Brat Pack, a perfect true matte red when I want to emphasize my lips. Kevyn Aucoin Precision Eyebrow Pencil in Brunette is my last step to help frame the face.
What’s the one thing every Angeleno should have in her beauty cabinet?
Eve Lom’s cult Cleanser, which started the trend for balm-based formulas and remains, by far, the best out there. Paired with its specially textured muslin cloth, the cleanser removes makeup and sunscreen, cleanses, exfoliates, tones, re-texturizes and visibly brightens your skin. It’s our #1 bestseller.


A native Angeleno, Navdeep Mundi is a Leo, hates cilantro, and has studied beauty products for more than 18 years. She spends her days as a digital media branding specialist and her nights sniffing out slightly quirky yet impeccably pretty things with her German Shepherd, Le Tigre.