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Elle’s World

Boss Babes

BOSS BABE: MAX MAY

Max May is one of Australia’s leading hair and makeup artists – working alongside notable celebrity clients whilst working on the covers and pages of fashion bibles Harper’s Bazaar Australia, Singapore and China; RUSSH Magazine; ELLE Japan, GRAZIA Australia, UK and Italy; and TEN Magazine.


Starting off as a Hair Stylist, Max soon moved into makeup due to his long-term love affair with drawing & painting. Taking cues from the techniques used in visual arts, along with the combination of colour palettes, Max soon moved up the ranks in the Beauty & Fashion Industry as the one to watch. 

We're thrilled to have our dear friend here for our next edition of Elle Effect's Boss Babes.

You’re now in your 14th year of being a professional hair and makeup artist, how did it all begin for you?
My career started with hair. I guess I had a natural eye for it and kind of got talked into assisting and doing my apprenticeship. I loved drawing and painting, and through assisting became obsessed with watching makeup artists work on set. I love the relationship of creating a hair and makeup look that works together.

I started assisting makeup artist with some serious persuasion, who then started quickly reaching me about products. I could draw and I understood colour so the application came easy for me. I quickly saw I had a talent and the passion was definitely there, so it seemed only natural I gave it a crack. I literally just jumped in the deep end and convinced myself I could do anything anyone asked me. I was young and fearless AF!

Was there a defining moment where you knew your skill set could become your profession?
I always knew hair and makeup could be a profession. I grew up around hairdressers and people in fashion and the arts. For me it was more... is this really what I was going to do? The talent of doing hair came kind of came naturally for me in the way that it chose me before I had even really thought through if this was what I was going to do/be?

I had seen myself as being so many other things prior to this happening. That said it was a great surprise and I quickly took too it like a duck to water. I guess you’d say it was meant to be?

Did you always dream of being your own boss? How did Max Made come to be?
Not really... I mean there wasn’t that emphasis around BEING A BOSS when I was starting out. The emphasis for me was doing some that I loved - something that was creative and that I could pay my bills with.

My career started with working for others whether that be my celebrity clients, advertising agencies, magazines or cosmetic companies. What changed was the digital movement with social media. I saw the interest that came from the general public when my celebrity-clientele spruked my work and their love for it.

I was always contributing my knowledge to beauty editor friends and telling them my secrets on how I did certain looks on my celebrity clients and on shoots alike so I put that, and the interest girls were starting to show me on social media, and launched Maxmade.com.au.

For me it was about having a voice - showing my work and being able to share my knowledge. While most people in my industry were fighting the social media movement, it actually showed me I had more worth than just being a hair and makeup artist. It was and continues to be an amazing learning experience. I now get the best of both worlds. I get to collaborate on shoots with other creatives, celebrities and clients bringing together an idea that represents their brand, and doing my own thing that represents my brand!!

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learnt along the way?
Not to be afraid of making a mistake. I used to be scared of making mistakes as I thought it would cause something that would take this all away from me. Now I realise it’s what has made me and continues to make me. I’m not saying I’m fearless. I definitely have my days but I continue to take risks and push my limits, broaden my horizons with what I do and no matter what anyone says about those decisions, I’m continuously surprised at what my limits are AND what I am capable of doing. That courage whether it went wrong or right makes me happy at the end of the day. No regrets

The modern world is a busy one! What is your version of self-care?
It, like me is complicated, lol... I do it all!! I’m an all or nothing kinda guy. Regular facials, hair treatments, massages, meditating, training, painting. If it’s what I feel like, I’ll make time for it.

You’re a master at creating Elle’s signature beach waves! Can you share with us the products you use?
Elle and I definitely share a love for dry shampoo and texture sprays. I love using the Bondi Boost Dry Shampoo and Texture Powder Spray in the roots and mid-lengths to create volume and texture while it ensuring it still feels soft and touchable.

I think we all agree when it comes to creating waves or curls that move with you, they are created with a barrel tong. When it comes to Elle’s style of waves, it's the GHD Soft Curl Tong all the way!

I’m old school when it comes to using something to create hold or setting and use Elnet Hair Spray! There are a bunch of different strengths and holds but ultimately what I love is that I can brush the hair out at any moment and change the shape with no fear of the curl/wave falling out or the hair breaking as Elnet is not sticky or heavy.

What are three beauty products every woman should have in their beauty bag?
Eyelash curlers - they make eyes wider and draw attention to the eyes.

Blush - it’s the unsung hero of makeup. The right shade can make you look younger, brighten skin, and more importantly, under eye bags. It’s also one of the easiest things to apply.

Highlighting concealer - they brighten and lightly cover all the spots that need a little lift minus the heaviness or cakiness, making skin just glow!!

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t let your practicality get it the way of a dream.

If you could have any five women sitting around a dinner table with you, who would they be?
Queen Elizabeth, Stevie Nicks, Dolly Parton & Aretha Franklin oh... and my mum.

What's the last song you listened to?
Pretty Please, Dua Lipa.

Parting words of advice for being a #bossbabe in work and life?
Surround your self with people that lift you up.