#Happenings – AJ Crimson Beauté Boutique Opening

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makeup to go blog makeup artist los angeles makeup artist san francisco makeup educator AJ Crimson Beauté Boutique Opening los angeles boutique

from @ajcrimsonbeauty Instagram


One of my makeup passions

…is discovering small, independent and/or niche beauty lines that a creating high quality products with a unique point of view. From the jump I have been a supporter of celebrity makeup artist AJ Crimson’s line – AJ Crimson Beauté. The line has changed around since my first post about it, but now it seems to be settling into a groove, and AJ Crimson Beauty is growing from being in the pro stores and at cosmetics counters in various stores (including internationally in England and Nigeria), to opening up a signature “Atelier” boutique on chic La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles (right next door to the infamous Pink’s Hot Dogs).

The AJ Crimson Beauté Boutique is a little jewel of a boutique offering a curated shopping experience. The AJ Crimson line and the boutique were designed to address the beauty needs of women of color, however pretty much any skin tone can find something to enhance their fabulousness. In addition to his own line, the boutique carries makeup brushes, skincare, candles, etc. Even though the opening was well attended, the vibe was less of a bustling retail feel, and more of a relaxed, casual elegance that invites shoppers to sit a spell and stay a while.


makeup to go blog makeup artist los angeles makeup artist san francisco makeup educator AJ Crimson Beauté Boutique Opening

shot in silhouette on purpose as a few celebs were in attendance…


makeup to go blog makeup artist los angeles makeup artist san francisco makeup educator AJ Crimson Beauté Boutique Opening

makeup to go blog makeup artist los angeles makeup artist san francisco makeup educator AJ Crimson Beauté Boutique Opening champagne

makeup to go blog makeup artist los angeles makeup artist san francisco makeup educator AJ Crimson Beauté Boutique Opening aj crimson beauty line
AJ Crimson Beauté

Since last I wrote about it, the AJ Crimson Beauty line has pared down it offerings and focused on skin and lip products. On display were the Dual Skin Cream Foundations (which as I mentioned I just got one for myself) and Dual Skin Correctors, the Universal Finishing Powders, the Mattes + Metallics Gloss Lippies, and my favorite product, the S & M (Sultry and Matte) Lipsticks.

makeup to go blog makeup artist los angeles makeup artist san francisco makeup educator AJ Crimson Beauté Boutique Opening melanie mills gleam
Melanie Mills Hollywood – Gleam Body Radiance
It feels like I’ve discussed Melanie Mills Hollywood Gleam products about a zillion times, so nothing new to say here but it was nice to see the Body Radiance in the boutique. As the goal of the AJ Crimson boutique is to provide products selected to work on women of color, Gleam products do not have white cast that can make deeper complexions look cakey or ashy. That chalky/ashy effect is something to watch out for when using highlighting products on people of color.

urban skin rx makeup to go blog makeup artist los angeles makeup artist san francisco makeup educator AJ Crimson Beauté Boutique Opening
Urban Skin Rx
I’d not heard of Urban Skin Rx prior to seeing it at the store opening. Urban Skin Rx is developed by a medical esthetician and it is described as “Clinical Skincare for all Skin Types”. The line is comprised of skin care treatments designed to address a myriad of problems including the dreaded Post Inflammatory Hyper-pigmentation that plagues so many women of color.

makeup to go blog makeup artist los angeles makeup artist san francisco makeup educator AJ Crimson Beauté Boutique Opening tribal by nature candles
Tribal By Nature
The entire space was captivatingly yummy smelling thanks to these delicious candles. These are elegant candles with refined scents that subtly grace a room with fragrance. Think Diptyque rather than Yankee Doodle. Strangely enough I cannot find a website for this company. ??? But I love a good candle so I’ll likely be back to purchase one.

Speaking of purchases; I swear I did not intend to buy anything on this trip – LOL! But real talk; well wishes do not pay bills. If we want independent retailers like the AJ Crimson Beauté Boutique to survive, we gotta whip out those credit cards and get ta spending. With that in mind, I went ahead and purchased two gorgeous makeup brushes, and for doing so I was gifted a fabulous goodie bag! 😀


makeup to go blog makeup artist los angeles makeup artist san francisco makeup educator AJ Crimson Beauté Boutique Opening goodie bag

very generous goodie bag!



makeup to go blog makeup artist los angeles makeup artist san francisco makeup educator AJ Crimson Beauté Boutique Opening mustaeV brushes

makeup to go blog makeup artist los angeles makeup artist san francisco makeup educator AJ Crimson Beauté Boutique Opening mustaeV brushes

#04 is AJ’s personal favorite


MustaeV
First my purchase; MustaeV (which I now know is pronounced like “Must Have”). This was the first time I’d seen their brushes and it was love at first sight. These are from the Kowonhye* Collection which appears to be their high end line, so these were not cheap. Quality brushes, however, are never cheap. I was immediately interested in #3 ($44.50) as I’ve been contemplating getting a good buffing brush for a while now. THEN, however, both one of AJ’s artists and AJ Crimson himself told me that I had to get brush #4 ($51.00) as well. #4 is listed as a blush brush but AJ says he loves it to apply cream foundations. I love true artistry brushes that can be used multiple ways. What else could I do?! I had to get them both!
(*Kowonhye is a well known international fashion/celebrity makeup artist),

makeup to go blog makeup artist los angeles makeup artist san francisco makeup educator AJ Crimson Beauté Boutique Opening coloured raine cosmetics liquid lipcolor

purples look fab on deeper skintones… Coloured Raine Cosmetics liquid lip in “Roulette”


Coloured Raine
Never heard of this line, but the color is gorgeous. I like liquid lipsticks for certain types of photographic work, and I know lots of folks like to wear them as a long lasting lip color option. I’ll give this a whirl and report on it soon.

makeup to go blog makeup artist los angeles makeup artist san francisco makeup educator AJ Crimson Beauté Boutique Opening glogirl

I love a bright, poppy red. GloGirl Cosmetics lipstick in “Uno Love”


GloGirl
I’ve heard lots of good things about the GloGirl Cosmetics brand so I’m stoked to finally have an item to play with. And I’m glad this tube is not Blue or the like… (but GloGirl has really pigmented versions of all of those edgy colors if you are so inclined…)

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gorgeous nude that will work with numerous skintones – AJ Crimson Beauté lipstick in “Nude”


AJ Crimson Beauty
My fave AJ Crimson Beauty products are the lipcolors, full stop. Not surprisingly this color stays sold out. This is a very universal nude color that’s neither too warm nor too cool, not too light or too deep, and not too brown or too pink. I imagine I’ll be using this one a lot.

I don’t think it needs to be said that the Holidays are upon us. In addition to the products carried, the AJ Crimson Beauté Boutique offers education and events, makeup application services, gift cards, and more. If you are in LA or coming for a visit, stop by the boutique as part of your holiday shopping extravaganza.

(Nope, this is not a sponsored post. I purchased items as described and neither AJ Crimson nor AJ Crimson Beauté know about this post until I tell them… 🙂 )
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#MakeupMonday – Black Girl Beautiful Inaugural Event

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The Black Girl Beautiful inaugural event took place this past Saturday (10/15/16) at the Siren Studios Orange in Los Angeles.

So let’s get the elephant out of the room…

Why is an event like “Black Girl Beautiful” even necessary? Well, I can think of a few reasons. First of all, the stated Vision for the event:

    “Black Girl Beautiful is an empowering, shopping and beauty event for women of color that want more. More products, knowledge and conversations with like minded women, and beauty experts focused on beauty for black skin.”

Sounds fair enough, no? As I mentioned in a recent post, I was kinda shocked that so many mainstream makeup brands still do not have deeper foundation colors. And I’ve been to many a consumer shopping event (so not including the pro shows like IMATS, the Makeup Show, etc.) where there were NO beauty products that would work for women of color. Likewise haircare products that work for the highly textured hair that most Black women have are generally not represented.

The other reason I can think of is that in 2016 we are still having “scientific studies” to explain why women of color are not considered amongst the most beautiful faces (in the full article that breaks women down by feature, Rihanna did slip in there a couple of times, as did Selena Gomez). Leaving out how incredibly tired and outdated it is to rank “most beautiful women” at all, it is difficult to believe that if we do still insist on making such a ranking, no women of color would make the cut. “Science” or no, that just seems ridiculous to me.

ALL women possess beauty and ALL women deserve a space to feel uplifted, and pampered and to have their beauty celebrated. That’s what the Black Girl Beautiful event was all about.


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Black Girl Beautiful founder Nikia Phoenix conducting one of the raffles…I did not win…



makeup to go blog makeup artist los angeles makeup artist san francisco makeup educator black girl beautiful inaugural event main floor

It was a warm, sunny day in LA and the open space and white walls of the Siren Studios space gave the event a relaxed, spa-like feel. So since everything was out in the open I just started at one booth and made and shopped my way around…


mtgbgbtandpin

makeup to go blog makeup artist los angeles makeup artist san francisco makeup educator black girl beautiful inaugural event

werking the Black Girl Beauty booth…


I started, of course, with the official Black Girl Beautiful booth to pick up a tee and a pin. Super cute!


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the fab artist who matched my foundation at AJ Crimson Beauty

makeup to go blog makeup artist los angeles makeup artist san francisco makeup educator black girl beautiful inaugural event aj crimson beauty foundation compact closed

makeup to go blog makeup artist los angeles makeup artist san francisco makeup educator black girl beautiful inaugural event aj crimson beauty foundation compact open

#7 – a rich, red brown


One of my main goals was to look at a foundation for myself. I was matched by one of the AJ Crimson artists with AJSkin Duo Cream #7. It is oil based – which is a concern with my oily skin – but the initial color match was excellent. As the day went on, the foundation wore well and would have been fine if I’d had some powder on me. What I did notice when I took one last snapshot of myself before hitting the bed was that it had turned quite yellow on me. Now; I’m super red and notoriously difficult to match. But I do think this is more of a case of oxidation as the product sat on my skin. So that will be something to watch for as I try this product again. On the super plus side, the weight and texture of this product is outstanding and I never got the “GET THIS OFF OF MY FACE!!!” feeling that I normally do by the end of the day with foundations.

I’d go more in-depth about the AJ Crimson line, except I already have before. I do need to do an update (and I will be because something big is coming soon), but in the meantime keep AJ Crimson Beauty in mind. His line is one of the better brands for Black women currently on the market.


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fab makeup artist Renee Loiz about to work her magic…

makeup to go blog makeup artist los angeles makeup artist san francisco makeup educator black girl beautiful inaugural event

ladies who booked a makeover with Renee received a lovely goodie bag…

makeup to go blog makeup artist los angeles makeup artist san francisco makeup educator black girl beautiful inaugural event

makeup pron: isn’t Renee’s setup gorgeous?

makeup to go blog makeup artist los angeles makeup artist san francisco makeup educator black girl beautiful inaugural event

I could not have been more proud of my makeup kin Renee Loiz who was in attendance providing makeup/skin consultations and performing mini-makeovers. Her booth set up was absolutely gorgeous and she was turning out those faces! She was too busy for me to even chat with her, which was great!


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Free Your Mane Conditioning Pomade and Reviving Spray

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Free Your Mane samples: Yuzu Body Wash, Restorative Hair Oil, and Hydrating Shampoo

makeup to go blog makeup artist los angeles makeup artist san francisco makeup educator black girl beautiful inaugural event

the gorg ladies of Free Your Mane


Again, the other big category of need for Black women at beauty shopping events is hair product. The Free Your Mane brand is new to me, but they’ve already been racking up accolades and have been written about in major mags like Allure. One important thing to know about natural Black hair: No two heads are alike. So FOR ME there were a lot of problmatic ingredients in the FYM products, namely ‘cones (various forms of silicone which is often used to smooth and de-frizz curly hair textures) and oils. My baby fine hair can’t deal. That said, a lot of women LOVE ‘cones and oils in their hair. So if that’s you, it is worthwhile to give Free Your Mane a looksee. The oils are high quality (their main one being organic Baobab seed oil), and their products are paraben, phthalate and sulfate-free. AND they are naturally scented and smell delish! (important with hair products!)

I picked up the Perky Curls Reviving Spray – which does have oils but it’s in a water base – for myself, and the Conditioning Pomade probably for my kit. Texture-wise, the Conditioning Pomade looks very much like Suavecito pomade, which I love. It’s more of a gel pomade as opposed to a heavy oil pomade. Gel pomades thin down nicely and are more usable on more varied kinds of hair, IMO.


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Leaders Skincare oily-head combo: Pore-Scaling Mask and Pore Minimizing Mask

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her eyeliner game is strong and if her skin is any indication, the face masks work a treat!


Leaders Cosmetics was on hand with their Korean-style face masks (they are a Korean skincare brand, and the primary seller of the now infamous Sheet Masks). They had several different kinds on-hand but I chose these to try as I have hellaciously oily skin (STILL!!!), but at 40+ years old, using products to try to “dry up” the oil is not what’s hot in the streets. It’s all about balancing the skin so it can be at its best. Because while having oily skin may be annoying, not having lines or wrinkles is not annoying. 🙂 The Pore-Scaling mask is a charcoal based powder mask designed to draw impurities and excess oil. The Himalayan Camellia Pore Minimizing Mask refines pores and soothes irritated skin. Camellia oil is the oil from the green tea seed (not to be confused with Tea Tree Oil, which comes from an entirely different plant) and it is a power-house beauty ingredient. It is emollient, anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, you-name-it. And the mask itself – instead of being a regular paper sheet mask – is a Coconut Bio Cellulose Mask for extra hydration. I cannot wait to use these back-to-back and watch my skin glow!


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I’m a new Onyx Box member!

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my 1st Onyx Box filled with goodies from Cargo Cosmetics, Cantu, Made Beautiful, Uncle Funky’s Daughter, and Linne Skincare

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the lovely ladies of OnxyBox


I’ve had my eye on Onyx Box as a beauty box subscription service I’d wanted to try for a while. Since they were in attendance at the show, I had to give it a whirl. At the show, I was able to pick out 6 products to create my first Box. And then of course in future boxes they will curate the contents and I’ll get a beauty surprise in the mail every month 🙂 As you can see, these are no skimpy little envelope samples that you could have gotten yourself at the beauty counter. And they aren’t a bunch of perfumes or “who’s that??” brands, either. These are 3 deluxe size samples and 3 full sized products of known, Premium brands, my friends. Now I’m not saying every box is half full sized product (I don’t know, I just joined) but I am saying that Onyx Box gives you product sizes you can actually use.

PRO TIP: If you are a beauty pro who does not happen to be Black yourself, but you want to learn about makeup and HAIR products that will work on your Black clientele, wouldn’t it make sense to join a service like Onyx Box? Do it! And if you do, please tell them Tania Russell / Makeup to Go sent ya!


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DevaCurl Inspiration Wall…

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makeup to go blog makeup artist los angeles makeup artist san francisco makeup educator black girl beautiful inaugural event

makeup to go blog makeup artist los angeles makeup artist san francisco makeup educator black girl beautiful inaugural event

Last but not least I had to visit the Deva (pronounced Diva) Curl mini-salon. DevaCurl is not a Black hair salon. Many (I would even say most) Black hair salons specialize in hair straightening treatments, weaves, etc. Black women who wear their hair in it’s natural state – as I do – need a different skill set in a salon. Enter DevaCurl which specializes in Curly hair of all kinds, including highly textured natural Black hair. I don’t know if they were the first salon of its kind or if Ouidad was the first. Both are great salons. Ankywhoo, DevaCurl revolutionized Curly haircare in terms of both products and the infamous DevaCut™. So I’m not going to say explicitly why ya girl needed to swing by the mini salon to talk to a stylist, I’m just saying that I needed to swing by the mini salon to talk to a stylist… 😉

Honorable mention goes to;


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makeup to go blog makeup artist los angeles makeup artist san francisco makeup educator black girl beautiful inaugural event


makeup to go blog makeup artist los angeles makeup artist san francisco makeup educator black girl beautiful inaugural event

Nicolet Beauty and Body Culinaire, both of whom I visited although I did not purchase anything. Yet.

Nicolet Beauty – as you can see – is another member of the highly pigmented matte lips in “unusual” colors tribe. They also had very pigmented eyeshadows. The colors looked very good and were very true (so – for example – the purple goes on PURPLE, not magenta as some purple lipsticks do). I have to be honest – I personally do not care for how the matte formuations feel, nor am I into these colors for myself. So as a woman I’m like eh… HOWEVER as an artist I recognize that I need to incorporate some of these types of lips into my kit and the Nicolet Beauty lippies were some of the better ones I’ve seen of the type, with great colors for deep skintones.

Body Culinaire was a custom body scrub bar consisting of yummy skin loving all natural scrub ingredients (coffee, brown sugar, etc.) and luscious natural oils with which to make custom body scrub blends. The booth looked and smelled scrumptious! I loved EVERYthing about it, but my reality is I never use body scrubs on myself LOL! I will visit her site soon, however, because I do like things like this as gifts, and gift season cometh soon!

In addition to the shopping, there was a speaker series with various thought leaders in the Beauty industry weighing in on topics pertaining to Black Women and Beauty. Sadly, this is where my inexperience as a photographer failed me and I did not get any good photos because I had the wrong kind of lens with me 🙁 But I sat in on the “Cultural Appropriation” panel and the “Iconic Beauty” panel. The Iconic Beauty panel – in particular – was right on target for Makeup to Go with AJ Crimson, celebrity natural hairstylist Felicia Leatherwood, The Real head hairstylist and wig maestro Robbi Rogers, Lori Taylor Davis of Smashbox, and celebrity artist extraordinaire Autumn Moultrie as speakers. The topic of discussion ranged from influences, to what constitutes an iconic Look, to how do they create iconic looks for their clients. THIS was the diversity in the industry panel the pro shows were looking for.

To say I enjoyed the Black Girl Beautiful inaugural event doesn’t really say it. I practically floated back to my car and I’ve thought about what I saw and heard (as long as this post is, I left stuff OUT) all day today. In addition to who/what was there, the event itself was very well done. Everything about it was high-end, high quality #Excellence. This event was created to fill a need in the beauty/shopping experience market and indeed it did. I look forward to attending the event again in the future and I’m hopeful it will continue for many years to come!

(Nope, not a sponsored post. I purchased my entrance ticket and all products mentioned 🙂 )

Do you use any of these products? Did you attend the event? Tell me in Comments 🙂

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#BizTalk – Nykhor Paul and the Beauty Biz

makeup to go blog nykhor paul instagram

Screencap from the Instagram of model Nykhor Paul


If you read beauty/fashion articles and blogs, by now you’ve no doubt read about model Nykhor Paul putting the entire fashion/beauty industry on blast on Instagram. If you haven’t, you can check it here (be forewarned- she pulls no punches in expressing her feelings).

Basically she is upset that as a professional model working at the highest levels, she is not being accommodated in the same way her fairer complexioned peers are with regards to her makeup.

I am not quite as ebony as Nykhor – who is that gorgeous Sudanese true blue black – but as African-American skintones go I am on the deeper end of the scale. Therefore my initial, visceral reaction to her post was a fist pump in the air, Black Power fist Afro-pick in hair, HELLZ YEAH! But as I thought about her post, I realized this issue does not all lie at the feet of makeup artists.

YES THERE ARE PLENTY OF MEDIOCRE MAKEUP ARTISTS OUT THERE

One sure fire thing that never fails to wrankle my feathers is going into an online makeup group and seeing someone ask “How do I do makeup on dark skin?” Or “Where do I find makeup for dark skin?”. Really? In America in 2015? Let’s just say an artist lives in an area where there really is not a lot of diversity and so they’ve never worked on African American skin. I thought you said you were a professional artist? Use your Color Theory skills and get to work. I fail to have sympathy for anyone who uses this tired, lame excuse of an excuse. And as for “Where do I find makeup for dark skin?”

YES LOTS OF BRANDS DO NOT HAVE THOSE COLORS BUT A LOT OF BRANDS DO

There are brands that make and have always made colors for deeper complexions (MUFE, NARS, etc) and the pro/theatrical brands (Graftobian, Ben Nye, William Tuttle, etc.) have always had deep colors. Heck, Bobbi Brown started her brand in part because when she did Naomi Campbell for the first time for the cover of Vogue magazine, she accidentally made Naomi gray because she did not have the right color selection. And Lupita Nyong’o is the current spokesmodel for Lancôme. Therefore, it’s not true to say that these colors simply do not exist, and it is silly for people to try to use the excuse that they do not know where to find them. Hello? Bobbi Brown and Lancôme. Not too hard to find.

All this said, however, by-and-large the mass-market cosmetic brands of the world have been shockingly slow about adding full color range.

SO THEN AN ARTIST SHOULD JUST USE THOSE BRANDS THAT HAVE THOSE COLORS, RIGHT?

Yes BUT here comes the rub: Ms. Paul was referring to her experiences backstage at various Fashion Week shows. Well, Fashion Week shows are overwhelmingly sponsored backstage by various cosmetics companies. When a show is sponsored, the artists are expected to use ONLY that cosmetics brand. Thus, if a Show is sponsored by a brand that does not have a full color range, because many brands still do not make a full color range, and yet the artists are expected to use only that line…

Many artists likely use this as their reasoning as to why they do not have certain colors, and that’s probably what Ms. Paul was referring to; the artist should at least try. I know a number of diligent artists who try to work around this problem by bringing in other product and taping over the name, but some sponsors do not really like that either. Sometimes an artist has to literally sneak product out of their bag right quick and then quickly put it back. Whose fault is that? Why aren’t these cosmetics companies making a full color range in 2015? And if Fashion Week is a trade show – which it is – why are they having shows sponsored by consumer lines that do not provide the artists with adequate product to complete the job?

ATTITUDE DETERMINES ALTITUDE

Something about this definitely speaks to an attitude regarding Beauty and what is beautiful. Models of color – and not just Black models – are still too often left out of the party, even when there is a definite “ethnic” theme to the Show. And when models of color are cast, there are often only one or two in a Show. There seems to still be a novelty element to casting models of color. Throughout the industry as a whole, there still seems to be a lingering afterthought attitude. White models are still “the norm”, and models of color are still an afterthought. If we don’t have colors for some of the models, eh, we’ll work something out…

Contrast this to a video I saw a number of years back about a Kenyan news reporter who moved to and was working in China. The story was not about her makeup but they happened to video her while she was getting her makeup done. I remember noticing and remarking to myself that the Chinese makeup artist had absolutely zero problem whatsoever doing her makeup. He had the product and the skill to service his client and he did his job, end of story. I think it’s safe to say that we have more Black people here in America than they do over in China. But yet…

SO WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE

Concerned parties – artists, models, and consumers – need to be more vocal with the cosmetics brands about adding these colors. Corporate sponsors in fashion is not going anywhere, so the sponsoring brands just need to stop playing and carry a full and diverse array of colors. As a pro artist I would NEVER put a cosmetics brand on negative public blast because we are partners with cosmetics lines and we need to maintain positive relationships. However some gentle nudging never hurt anyone ;). As I mentioned in my last post, I recently told one of my fave lines that they needed to keep their foundations for people of color and I was informed that those colors are in fact returning. This likely means that they got a lot of feedback regarding the popularity of those colors. Cosmetics companies do listen, particularly in the form of positive reinforcement such as “Hey I really love your brand, I’d love it if you added XYZ”. Trust me: the Lancôme of the Lupita Nyong’o era is not at all the same Lancôme of my youth. Cosmetics companies can and will change, its just a matter of getting them to hurry up.

And to you lazy artists out there who are still employing various excuses of why you cannot do, or do not have appropriate makeup for, clients of color, please do us all a favor and either step ya game up or step out the game.

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#MakeupMonday – Fashion Fair Supreme Color Collection by Sam Fine

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Behold! The first in Makeup to Go’s version of “swatches”…

As you can see, our idea of swatches is a bit different. As a makeup fan, I understand that seeing the actual product on an actual person is a more accurate way to see a color/texture/etc. of a product. As a professional makeup artist, I also want to know how it wears, how it looks in different lights, and how it photographs. Therefore – about every month or so – I hope to pick a product line or a theme or the like and USE them in a professional photoshoot and see how they perform. First up to bat I am featuring the Fashion Fair Supreme Color Collection by Sam Fine.

For those who are not familiar, Fashion Fair was founded in 1973 by the late John H. Johnson and his wife, the late Eunice W. Johnso. The goal was to address the lack of cosmetics available for women of color, particularly African America women. You can click here to read the full story but basically put; long before there was MAC or before it was expected for a mainstream brand to have colors for “ethnic” skintones, Fashion Fair was there to fulfill the need. Like many a brown girl of a certain age, I grew up watching my grandmother, mother and all of the women around me using Fashion Fair. The pink packaging with gold leaf writing brings back strong memories. Over time, however, Fashion Fair began to recede in popularity as the mainstream brands did start to (finally!) address the needs of women of color. That coupled with dated color palettes and formulations (and some would say the packaging was dated as well), and Fashion Fair began to slip a bit in the competitive cosmetics marketplace. Enter master makeup artist Sam Fine. In August 2011 it was announced that he would be joining Fashion Fair as the Creative Makeup Director and begin designing signature Trend lines for the brand. His first collection came out in 2012 and was an instant success, bringing a much needed breath of fresh air and vitality to the brand.

In this story, I am working with his latest collection, The Supreme Color collection. I am focusing on one eyeshadow palette in particular, the Amalfi Coast quad. I chose to work with the eyeshadows because eyeshadow is one of the areas where rank-and-file consumer cosmetics often do not work for women of color because they lack adequate pigmentation. I have even found this to be the case with some of the better brands. On the other hand, a woman wants a palette of wearable colors and not necessarily the extremes of brands such as Sugarpill or LimeCrime. Overall, I was very impressed with this palette. The shadows are wonderfully pigmented and have a creamy texture with good color payoff. Unlike a lot (most) higher pigmentation eyeshadows, they are creamy instead of powdery, which means they are easily blendable and have less fallout. All that said, let’s see the products in action.

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Fashion Fair Supreme Color Collection eyeshadow quad in “Amalfi Coast”


…and here are swatches of the colors on my model’s hands both dry and damp (most eyeshadows that can be applied dry can be applied damp to increase the pigmentation and staying power).

makeup to go blog makeup los angeles makeup san francisco tania d russell fashion fair supreme color collection amalfi eyeshadow swatches

left – dry, right – damp


As you can see, the Amalfi Coast quad is a more “neutral” palette, although Mr. Fine modernized by Quad by adding a pop of color in the form of this year’s trend color of Emerald Green. It is smart touches like that which make this Collection on trend without being overboard trendy. (The other quad in the collection, Tunisian Nights, is a jewel-tone blue & purple palette).I also used some of the lip colors from the collection in my shoots. Here is a swatch of all of the lip colors in the collection. As you can see, the color palette is fresh and contemporary with a few classics mixed in. The lip colors are also nicely pigmented while still creamy and blendable, and the pigment lays very evenly. Also used throughout the shoot, although not pictured, is the Canary Diamond gloss which is a nude-y/gold shimmer. I liked it, but I wouldn’t say it was remarkable.

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Swatches shown on my own hand. Yes, some pre-photo lotion would have been nice…


OK so for look #1 I of course started out with a clean beauty/daytime look using only the burgundy/bronze shimmer (lower left corner) and the light gold shimmer (upper left corner). I used the shadows dry. (all makeup below by Tania D. Russell, photography by Gorgeous Digital. These images are NOT STOCK and unauthorized usage is prohibited.)

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Next I wanted to do something a bit more “glam”, so I used a lot of the light gold shimmer on the center lid to create highlight and added the matte brown (lower right corner) to the outer corners of the eyes to add depth. The burgundy/bronze and light gold shimmer shadows blended like a dream dry or dampened. I found that when damp, the matte brown grabbed a bit which is something matte shadows can do. I was able to blend it out by using a bit more of the same brown with a dry brush. The lipcolor is Whispering Rose, also from the Supreme Color collection.

fashion fair supreme color collection beauty makeup by tania d russell makeup artist

Next I wanted to ramp it up to a full smokey eye. This is where I was wishing for a Quint instead of a Quad, because I was really wishing I had a black eyeshadow to work with (there is a matte black color in the Tunisian Nights quad). As it was, I was able to achieve more depth by using the matte brown color all over the lid, blending out into the burgundy/bronze, and rimming the eyes with black eyeliner. The lipcolor is a mix of Cognac and Deep Suede, topped with a touch of the Canary Diamond lipgloss, all from the Supreme Color collection.

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Finally, I got to do my favorite which is a simple but strong wash of the Emerald Green color blended out into the crease. For the lip color I believe I just used the Canary Diamond lipgloss.

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And there you have it. Four distinct looks from one eyeshadow quad. I was definitely impressed and I would recommend it to anyone considering this for themselves or their kit. Speaking of “for your kit”, Fashion Fair is apparently hosting a booth at the upcoming Makep Show trade show, and the Sam Fine Supreme Color Collection will be available (no idea if discounted).

Many thanks to Gorgeous Digital for their fabulous photographic & retouching work and our lovely model Ja’Veonna for making this article possible. ALSO – if you’re wondering about the fabulous jewelry worn in this shoot, we had the pleasure of shooting this story in the store, Made In Earth located in Venice CA on Abbot Kinney. Proprietor/Creative Director and master Deisgner Bunny Bedi hones raw gems/earth stones and even meteorites (!) into one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces. Due to the nature of honed stone, no two pieces are exactly alike. We were honored to be able to use his gorgeous creations in our photo-shoot. I became an instantaneous fan! (and yes, that is a “sand rug” on the floor of his store).

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Made In Earth store, Venice CA / Tiger Iron pendant by Made in Earth


Fabulous Photography: Gorgeous Digital
Makeup: Tania D. Russell
Fabulous Model: Ja’Veonna
Fabulous Location: Made in Earth

Disclosure: I was given the Tiger Iron pendant pictured in exchange for work on a shoot we did for Made in Earth. (yay me!) All cosmetics used were PURCHASED by me for this story.

#MakeupMonday – The Basics: Cheek Color

Nars Orgasm Blush cheek color

The Classic - Nars Orgasm Blush


Needless to say, all of the products I’ve mentioned thus far in this “The Basics” series are my completely subjective recommendations. I recommend them based on my usage and generally long-term satisfaction with a product. If another makeup artist were writing these articles, they might recommend entirely different products. That said, things are about to become even more subjective as we move away from skin/foundation products and into the vastly huge world of color products. We begin our look with Cheek color.

I am starting with cheek color because I find that when it comes to makeup most women focus on their eyes, some of us focus on our lips and then cheeks are generally ignored. This is unfortunate because few things will make a woman look fresher and YOUNGER faster than a well applied cheek color. In no particular order, here are some cheek color products that I love and use on the regular… (for cheek colors specific to women of color, revisit my previous article “Beauty Noir: Best Blushes for Darker Toned Beauties”)

1 ) Nars Powder Blush in Orgasm (Pictured Above) –
Nothing else need be said about this color therefore I’m listing it first. Unrivaled classic and with good reason. Note: On darker complexioned ladies, while it will not function as a blush it does make a very pretty cheek highlight. And for the record, as much as I love me some Nars I am not a big fan of the newer Super Orgasm color – it is too sparkly for my taste. Do not let that deter you from trying, however, as you might love Super Orgasm.

Tarte Cheek Tint in Flush cheek color

Tarte Cheek Tint in Flush


2 ) Tarte Cheekstains –
Again – I am just listing the obvious products first; This is an amazing product. The colors I use most often by far are Tipsy and for darker complexions, Flush. Although they may appear intense in the tube, these colors are sheer color washes but what really sets this product apart is the amazing texture. These cheek stains are as close to that smooth sheen-y glow of a child’s skin as most of us grown folks will ever come.

3 ) La Femme Blush On Rouge in Golden Sunset
Folks often complain that I only recommend higher-end/expensive products. Well, how’s a product that generally costs between $3-$5 suit you? La Femme is an old-timey makeup line. Most of the products in the line are okay, but a few things are amazing and this blush is one of those amazing products. Golden Sunset is a rich pinky peachy color with just the right amount of shimmer (not sparkle). It is a truly beautiful color that works well on a wide array of skin tones. Truth be told I like a lot of the La Femme Blush On Rouge colors and the formulation is nicely pigmented and long lasting. It is a very good product overall, particularly at that price point. Note: For whatever reason, La Femme also has an eyeshadow by the name of “Golden Sunset” which is an entirely different color so make sure you are getting the Blush On Rouge “Golden Sunset”.

Nars Creme Blush in Penny Lane cheek color

Nars Creme Blush in Penny Lane


4 ) Nars Cream Blush in Penny Lane
Back to the expensive brands ;). Penny Lane is the type of soft pink color when you want a soft wash of color to balance the face (say if you are wearing a dark eye and/or lip) but you don’t want a lot of color color in the cheeks. I have successfully used this pretty pink shade on clients up to a J-Lo / Halle Berry complexion and the result is a subtle, pretty “there but not there” blush effect. And it is incredibly long lasting to boot. Note: On darker skin tones I have achieved a similar effect with Nars Creme Blush in “Constantinople”.

Stila Convertible Color Petunia cheek color

Stila Convertible Color in Petunia


5 ) Stila Convertible Colors
Stila bills these versatile colors as one stop shopping for cheeks and lips. I like them on lips, I lurve them on cheeks. The constant mainstay colors in my life are Petunia, Peony and Poppy. Soft, blend-able and buildable, the Convertibles are everything I want in a cream blush.

Becca Cosmetics Beach Tint Raspberry cheek color

Becca Cosmetics Beach Tint in Raspberry


6 ) Becca Beach Tint Blushes
Somewhere in between a creme blush and a cheekstain lies Becca cosmetics Beach Tint blushes. These have the creamy blend-ability of a cream with the “stick to it”-ness of a stain combined with the richness of color of a cream combined with the sheer texture of a stain. I LOVE this product. My favorite colors are Watermelon, Raspberry, Strawberry and Fig.

Youngblood Cosmetics Blush cheek color

Youngblood Cosmetics Pressed Mineral Blush in Cabernet


7 ) Youngblood Cosmetics Pressed Mineral Blush
I have been a fan of Youngblood ever since I attended an event featuring their product line, and as I suspected I would, I have been using the artist palettes on jobs regularly. The blush colors in the palette are different from the colors sold separately. Of the individual blush colors my favorites are Tangier, Bashful, Sugar Plum and Cabernet. The colors are smooth and velvety in texture, sheer but nicely pigmented, and wear well.

Yves St. Laurent Beauty Blush Radiance cheek color

Yves St. Laurent Beauty Blush Radiance - No. 1


8 ) Yves St. Laurent Beaute Blush Radiance –
Like any of the very high end brands, YSL Beauty’s products are exceptionally creamy and blendable and offer excellent wearability. I love the YSL quads because you can mix and match the colors to find your perfect shade. These are particularly great if you are the complexion type that can vary greatly between the sun and non-sun seasons. My quads of choice are No. 1, No. 2 and No. 5

Face Stockholm Blush cheek color

Face Stockholm Blush in Splendid


9 ) Face Stockholm Powder Blush –
Face Stockholm is a low-profile department store/professional brand who have been around for some time and who I realize I have not spoken enough about on Makeup to Go! Confession Time: I have more Face Stockholm brand blushes in my pro-kit blush palette than any other brand. Reason being that like all the good brands they have good pigment, blend-able, wear well, etc. but unlike more consumer oriented brands Face Stockholm has a lot of matte blushes in their collection. In photography you cannot always use shimmery products. I actually have too many favorites to list so I suggest hitting a Face Stockholm counter and familiarizing yourself with this fantastic line (I’ll do a full article on Face Stockholm soon!).

Sonia Kashuk Cosmetics Liquid Blush cheek color

Sonia Kashuk Cosmetics Liquid Blush in Poppy


10 ) Sonia Kashuk Super Sheer Liquid Tint Blush
If you read the Makeup to Go! blog often, then you knew this one was coming. How can I not recommend a great product that costs less than $10?!? As the name suggests, these liquid blushes give a sheer wash of color on the cheek. I find these are particularly good for layering color – i.e. use these first and then use a powder blush over them – which is a makeup artist trick for getting color to last a long time. All three of the original colors are fantastic and there is also a recently added shimmery bronze color.

Gone but not forgotten:

MAC Harmony Blush cheek color

MAC Powder Blush in Harmony


MAC “Harmony” – Well this color is not gone gone, but last time I looked at it (which was admittedly a while ago) the color had changed. When MAC was bought out by Estee Lauder, several “old” MAC colors were either changed or dropped. I still have an original MAC Harmony in my blush palette and when it almost crumbled recently let me tell you I nearly flipped! What makes Harmony so special? It was (is?) a perfect pink-y brown-y, not too warm not too cool color that looked good on nearly every skin tone and it could actually be used as either a blush or as a contour. Original Harmony was a wonder color. It would be worth going to a MAC counter to check out the current formulation.

There are my picks. If I left out one of your favorites, please do not write to tell me I’m lame – haha! 😀 – but if you have colors to suggest by all means please share.