Five minutes with: Phoenix Renata

At just 21 years of age, entrepreneur Phoenix Renata created her own cosmetics range following two-and-a-half years of extensive research and overseas travel. Four years on she now owns two boutique stores in Auckland that house her cosmetic range as well as providing her customers with makeovers, makeup lessons, bridal makeup, ladies’ nights, eyebrow treatments and lash extensions.

How long did it take you to develop Phoenix Cosmetics?

Two-and-a-half years. It took that long because I was teaching full time as a makeup tutor and I did my product research in the evenings. I also wanted to find manufacturing factories that did not test, nor used ingredients that had been tested on animals. That process took a while but I got there in the end.

What hurdles did you face in the beginning?

I think the first year in business is always hard no matter what you do – I faced lots of different hurdles, some worse than others. But if you really love what you do and you believe in it, you can face anything.

Have you always been interested in makeup?

Yes, since I was really young. I really enjoyed at art class at school, I can remember having so much fun mixing paint to see what colours I could create. I recently found a scrap book that I made in primary school – and on many pages there are cut outs of lipsticks from glossy magazines.

What is the collection’s point of difference from other makeup brands on the market? 

We differ from other brands because we stock the range in boutiques – we offer the range complete with a service. When you buy Phoenix Cosmetics you are buying into the experience. We staff makeup artists who teach women how to use their makeup – to make sure they are getting useful products that will be used.  

We call ourselves the “Romantic Makeup Brand” because we produce glamorous vintage beauty products in a way that is simple and easy to use for modern women.

What do the Phoenix Cosmetic boutiques offer customers?

We offer a pampering experience. The store is inviting and not intimidating like makeup counters and department stores can be. We give a great services and offer quality advice from trained and experienced professionals.

We stock Phoenix Cosmetics – the full range including custom blend foundations as well as brow shaping, eyelash extensions and makeup lessons.

Do you plan to take Phoenix Cosmetics global?

Absolutely – our first step would be Australia and then into Europe. We already have enquiries into franchising in Sydney and Melbourne.

And any future plans to extend your business?

So many plans. I feel that I am only at the very beginning. I plan for Phoenix Cosmetics to be in all of the major cities and bigger towns throughout New Zealand, and then we will go international. I also have plans for a makeup school, and I am currently working on my “tell all” makeup book.

You have been dubbed the “eyebrow queen”. How would you define the perfect brow? 

The perfect brow is one that is not neglected. Clean, tidy and free from stray hairs is a great start. A perfect shape is one that defines the eye yet looks natural at the same time. I can’t stand a brow that isn’t coloured with makeup or tint – brows should definitely match your hair colour at all times.  

What are your three top beauty tips for women?

1 Get your brows professionally shaped, by a makeup artist. Artists look at the face differently – we are trained to create great brow shapes – not just remove the stray hairs. You will instantly notice a huge difference when your brows are professionally done.

2 Drink two litres of water every day – great makeup starts with great skin.

3 Foundation is crucial for flawless looking skin. Make sure you get the right shade, and try custom blend foundation that is blended to your unique skin tone. Always moisturise before applying makeup so that your foundation glides on effortlessly.

What do you never leave the house without?

Phoenix Invisible Powder – I can apply this plenty of times throughout the day and it doesn’t look like powder – its invisible. I love it.

I would never leave the house without my brows being softly drawn in with colour, and I always wear mascara and blush.

Chanel make-up notes


At the brief three weeks before the show, Karl told us that the dominant colours of the collection would be black punctuated with white, jade green and pink. There would be high collars, hats, and the hair, let down. For the make-up, Karl’s wish was that the models’ faces stand out, highlighting their beauty as they would be “framed” by the hats and high collars.

I therefore created a make-up look that is fresh but that also catches the eye. I needed to work with the hats’ shadows, create a contrast and provide intensity to the face, with an added graphic element for the eyes. I then thought of asking the Maison Lesage (with whom I often work on my editorial projects), to create embroideries to place under the eye and intensify the models’ expressions. I wanted something that would be luxurious, fragile and graphic.


These embroideries, composed of black, white and crystalline peals and sequins, simulate fake eye-lashes with a ’60s look. Working with the Maison Lesage is always a dream.

The eyes are done up with Platinum and Ebony Ombre Essentielle, the interior is underlined by Crayon Khôl Blanc and Ligne Extrême Encre Noire Onyx eyeliner just at the root of the lower eyelashes. An abundant amount of mascara Exceptionnel de Chanel Smoky Noir is applied to the top and bottom eyelashes.


The complexions were prepared with the Hydramax+ Active Cream and then with Pro Lumière foundation which is incomparable when it comes to smoothing, and evening out the skin. On the cheeks Joues Contraste Fresque echoes the collection’s touch of pink.


The lips are natural, using Rouge Allure Mythic to produce a transparent beige effect.


For the nails, Karl wanted a green tint which would resonate with the jade coloured notes of the collection. I therefore worked with our laboratories to develop a palette of 10 different shades of green. We chose the colour which was closest to a green tweed suit in the collection.