Danielle Lauder may be the scion of an illustrious beauty empire, but it’s not like she played with eyeshadow palettes in her childhood bedroom.
“Although I grew up around beauty, my dad didn’t bring his work home with him,” said Danielle, daughter of The Estée Lauder Cos. Executive Chairman, William P Lauder, and great-granddaughter of Estée Lauder.
Now however, Danielle, 26, is entering the beauty arena having just launched Act IV, a seven-SKU makeup range that officially debuted January 9 at the Los Angeles headquarters of luxe beauty e-tailer, Violet Grey.
Danielle, wearing a blush-colored leather jumpsuit, introduced the offering over champagne and macarons, pointing out hero products, such as the Party Puff Starlucent Filtered Powder, which comes with a luxurious little puff.
“It comes on translucent with a glow that makes you look like you just took a brisk walk down the block,” she said. “Because it’s every makeup artist’s nightmare to see powder on your face when the camera lights flash.”
Danielle, who now lives in Los Angeles, said it wasn’t until she was studying theater and film at Northeastern University that she really began to investigate beauty.
“I was doing a lot of self-audition tapes and I was in a dorm room and didn’t have professional lighting or a ton of makeup,” she said. “I wanted to learn how to use products to my advantage, to get that ‘on cam glam’ look without it being overdone or having to do an 80-step makeup regimen. So I studied and taught myself how to use products that capture the light on camera.”
Once she decided to create Act IV – the name is a reference to her being an actress as well as her status as a fourth-generation Lauder – she did a deep dive into her great-grandmother’s archives to understand how the makeup pioneer created beauty products.
“Her ability to connect with women is so evident,” said Danielle. “I heard about every little attention to detail, and how she would never give up.”
Danielle brought a similar drive for perfection to her line, which forgoes harder-to-match products, such as foundations and concealers, and instead is focused on products that would work on any skin tone; the Cinemattic Complexion Liquid goes on under makeup to minimize pores and fine lines; the Best Picture Multi-Look Palette features a quartet of blendable colors – coral, lavender, ivory charcoal – for cheeks and eyes. The Luxe Lip Creme, in two colors, can be layered on for extra depth or slicked on for a quick glisten.
The collection, priced between $44 to $85, bowed on esteelauder.com in early January and will be featured in a pop-up at the Melrose Place boutique of Violet Grey until January 11.
“It’s always a little bit of a challenge when you’re born privileged, and people assume that you don’t work hard because you don’t need to,” said Cassandra Grey, founder of Violet Grey. “This could easily have been a PR kind of thing, and it’s not. Danielle is very involved in all the details, and really wants it.”
And while Cassandra and Danielle’s grandfather, Leonard Lauder, Chairman Emeritus of The Estee Lauder Cos. are friends, Cassandra reserved judgment on Act IV until she met the young woman behind it.“I can’t get behind people who aren’t really serious about what they do,” she said. “And I love that old-guard glamour that Danielle has. She’s a real glamour girl, and she’s got a lot of big ideas and dreams.”