#MakeupMonday – Makeup Short Notes April 2016

Hello hello! As I’m getting back busy, I’m getting back to doing more exploration of new products. Here’s what has caught my eye of late in the Makeup Short Notes April 2016.

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1. Glossier

Glossier is a brand founded by the folks of the Into the Gloss blog. I’ve been slow to try it just because you have to order it online (to my knowledge. If there’s a stockist in LA, someone let me know please…), but I have been intrigued by it since it’s inception because of their tagline “skin care as makeup”. And you know how I love my skin care. Thus far I am digging their kind of combo skincare items more so than the color items. The main reason for that being that the color items are extremely limited. For example while the perfecting skin tint goes from “Light” to “Rich”, as they are named, there are only five of them. And I think it’s safe to say that there are more than five skintones in the world. Particularly with people of color, that type of range makes it very difficult to actually find a match without doing some serious mixing wizardry. But the “Balm Dotcom” (and the new “Coconut Balm Dotcom”) really is great as one of those type of Rosebud Salve/8 Hour Cream items that can be used for a bunch of different makeup tricks. I also really liked the “Generation G” lip color. There are only four shades but they’re all pretty universal including “Jam” which is gorgeous on deeper skintones. It has a soft matte finish and it feels good on the lips πŸ™‚

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2. Fiona Stiles Beauty

Famed celebrity makeup artist Fiona Stiles introduced her cosmetics line this year. I’ll be doing a full story on the whole line in a future article but I tried it out this weekend and I really liked it. It’s one of those brands that’s obvious it was started by a makeup artist in terms of the pigmentation and the textures. What’s really nice about it is that it is available at Ulta and the price points are not crazy. As always I tried some of the foundations, some of the eye colors and some of the lip products. Right now I do have to say the standout for me were the “Radiant Aqua Eye Veil” cream eyeshadows. Most consumers are terrified of cream eyeshadows, so it’ll be interesting to see how that goes in the marketplace. However most makeup artists I know love them, myself included. The cream eyeshadows in the Fiona Stiles Beauty collection are super pigmented with color and have a creamy/velvety texture. I will be purchasing all of those I’ll just tell you that right now.

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3. Erborian Skincare

I also hit Sephora to see what’s new and happening out there and makeup world. Not a whole lot was happening makeup-wise in Sephora (same old, same old brands, etc.) however there were some very interesting skin care items. Number one of which is a Korean/French fusion skincare brand by the name of “Erborian”.

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Erborian liquid moisture bar


The premise of Erborian is highly intriguing; using Korean principles/inspiration/ingredients in Western formulations. I am getting sucked more and more into the layered skin care approach made famous by Korean women, but I’m honestly weary of the use of some of the more unusual (unusual to me) ingredients in true Korean skincare (like “snail essence”). Therefore this line could be just the ticket. In addition to the four items pictured, the brand has several cleansers including a skin-cleansing balm that is not petroleum based, several masks and moisture emulsions, and a BB Cream. I did end up purchasing a couple of items so look forward to that in a future article after I’ve had time to try them out.

4. Melanated Beauty

Lastly it’s time to look for a new foundation for myself. I’ve mentioned numerous times I have been using Bare Minerals Matte powder foundation. I have a different brand of powder foundation I want to try but in general I think I want to move away from so called mineral foundations. First of all using the powder formula doesn’t seem to do anything regarding my hyper oily skin, and using mattifier underneath, over, sideways etc. doesn’t seem to make a difference. Secondly as I mentioned in my last short notes, what the Bare Minerals Matte foundation did to me in my drivers license photograph was just wrong; Massive TD reaction, I looked aged and a completely different color. A few other recent photos also showed hints of the dreaded TD reaction. I looked at old photographs of myself and it did not do that, so I’m wondering if there’s been a change of formulation. Further my skin is just in different condition now and it really does not need that much coverage and nor does it need to be covered all over, just in a few key places. I want to go back to either a stick formulation or a good quality liquid that I can use in spots.

** I was amazed at how little choices there were for my skintone in retail makeup brands in 2016.**

Again, this was NOT a case of the store not carrying it. I was in Emeryville which is a diverse city in the very diverse San Francisco Bay area. This was a case of trying the deepest color available in a given line, and that deepest color being nowhere near deep enough. Too many lines still have an inadequate color range, period. I’ve heard makeup artists complaining about lack of color choices and that always struck me as bizarre because there are plenty of color choices in the pro brands from creams to liquids to BB creams etc. However if you are an artist in a market where you are largely doing your shopping from retail stores or if you are the average non-pro makeup artist beauty consumer who just wants to hit the store and get something right quick, I can see where the frustration lies. This is a picture of my hand with swatches from several brands in their darkest color (click on photo for specific foundation names).

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my hand testing foundations. Click on image to see who’s what…


As you can see most of those are highly incorrect. There are a couple on there that could work for me but would be too red for a lot of people, and then most of them are too light and too yellow for me. Being a pro makeup artist who works on every type/shade/age/etc. of person there is, I’ve never felt the need to orient this blog towards women of color specifically. However AS a woman of color and seeing now that the cosmetic situation is still highly problematic to say the least, I am going to start doing more reviews specific for women of color. Because that was crazy! Suffice to say I did not end up buying anything for myself. 😐

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#MakeupMonday – The Makeup Show Los Angeles 2015 Wrap Up

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It is time for my The Makeup Show Los Angeles 2015 Wrap Up post. Gosh… where to even start? I had a fabtabulous time (yes, fabtabulous is a word πŸ˜‰ ). But seriously I had an amazing time. Every time the Trade Shows roll around I am asked which one is “better”. Every time I tend to answer the same: they are both well produced, they both have good speakers and exhibitors, the vibe and the focus are just different so it depends on what you’re looking for, etc. etc. This is all true. But I’m going to go ahead and just say this: I like IMATS and I always enjoy it when I go, but I feel at home at the Makeup Show. I do not know that I can articulate what exactly the difference is. Well… real talk: It counts for a lot that at least here in Los Angeles, the Makeup Show is not open to the general public. You have to be at least somewhat qualified in the beauty biz (media makeup artist, bridal makeup artist, salon, student, something) in order to attend. Therefore while the Makeup Show is busy, it’s not crazy the way IMATS has become (other than on Pro night). Secondly… I don’t know…. the folks speak my language. I am not an FX artist, I will never be an FX artist, I do not like FX (I don’t like gore/monsters/zombies, etc.), I do not watch films or TV shows that involve a lot of FX (Tania D. Russell will never watch “Walking Dead”), that’s not my scene. IMATS was started by Union makeup artists and actually when it first started (I know cos I was there!) there was almost no focus on Beauty makeup whatsoever. So while IMATS has become more inclusive to Beauty for sure, FX/Character/Film & TV makeup are still very much its core. The Makeup Show is exactly the opposite. It was founded by beauty makeup artists and people involved with cosmetics brands on the corporate level. When it first started it had no FX, although in recent years they’ve added a little FX stage (which I did not even see this year. I remember seeing it a couple of years back…), and the type of artists **I** grew up admiring – the ones in the magazines doing gorgeous editorials or the ones creating bold and inventive designs for music videos – are center stage. I have been doing makeup full time professionally for a goodly amount of time now (I’d say around 16 years of people paying me for makeup full time), and I STILL get excited to be around that energy, which is awesome. πŸ˜€ (Note: this post is long, but it is largely pictures πŸ˜‰ )

The Keynotes and Seminars

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Celebrity makeup artist Fiona Stiles


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Finished red carpet look by Fiona Stiles


Priority #1 for all the folks in my crew was to NOT MISS celebrity makeup artist Fiona Stiles. I loved her talk and demo, not only because her work is amazing – which I already knew that – but because she was so down to earth and just very real about being an artist, working, and surviving and thriving in this industry. And it wasn’t just in my head, several of my students who attended the show said that there were a lot of similarities between things I’ve said in class and things she said on the stage. That always makes me feel good. Not only because I like to think I know somewhat what I’m talking about, but it’s also nice to know that even for artists at the highest echelons of success certain elements of working and the biz remain true. More on that later… Anyway, Fiona demoed a Runway look based on a look she’d recently created for actress Gabrielle Union. People were, of course, asking her what product she used (and she jokingly kept referring to herself as a “product slut” meaning she’s not loyal to any one brand and she’ll use anything from drugstore to the highest end as long as it works), but I really learned a lot from watching her and observing her technique. As with a lot of masters, she did not use a lot of product and it didn’t necessarily look like she did a whole lot (she did), but the finished application was flawless. You can see her work at her website, Fiona Stiles Makeup (click to go to her site). And you can follow her on all social media @fionastiles.

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Ellis Faas keynote. Nice picture, eh? I had a seat behind a pillar so I couldn’t see the stage except for on TV :\


Of course I wanted to see Ellis Faas speak. I was actually hoping she would also demo, but she did not. *** D’OH! Apparently I missed her demo. See comments below. Dagnabit!!! *** While she did discuss her path and her process as an artist, etc., much of her Keynote was actually focused on her eponymous cosmetics line. That proved to be interesting in its own way as well. Anyone interested in developing a line would have learned a lot from this Keynote. From packaging, to thinking about a brand both from a consumer viewpoint and an artistic viewpoint, to marketing, etc. It was fascinating because my earlier Ellis Faas encounter at the pre-party at Nigel’s earlier in the week was focused almost entirely on her artistry. But like most really successful folks, Ms. Faas is not on some “Oh I’m such an artist I cannot think about that other stuff…”, she really put a lot of thought behind every choice she made for her brand. To see her work and her cosmetics brand, visit Ellis Faas Cosmetics (click to visit site).

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Ellis Faas Icon Gallery

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Ellis Faas Icon Gallery


And then of course there was the “Icon Gallery” of her work. I bought her book and had it signed so I have all of these images, but basically the book – which all of the images in the Icon Gallery are from – is a compilation of the work she created to promote her cosmetics line, with the stories behind their creation. It is a very inspiring book.

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Artist / Illustrator Donald Robertson and Lori Taylor discussing their collaborations

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Art by Donald Robertson

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Art by Donald Robertson


Like I said in my preview post, this was a WildCard lecture for me, but I am glad I followed my gut and sat in on it. Donald Robertson is not a makeup artist, he is a visual artist and illustrator and the Creative Director of Special Projects for Estee Lauder. As such he collaborates with the lines within that brand, including Smashbox Cosmetics. This Keynote was co-moderated by James Vincent (Director of Education for The Makeup Show), and Lori Taylor, International Artist for Smashbox. Many folks reading this may well be visual artists (painters, sculptors, illustrators, etc.) and as such you are aware of the similarities in the creative process with that of a makeup artist. If you are not a visual artist in any other medium – which I am not – I encourage you to pay more attention to the visual arts world. It will give you a new perspective into your own artistry. In addition to his own journey and process he also gave a lot of practical business advice on being your own brand, utilizing social media, and the like. He got his “big break” bringing his art to a wider audience via Instagram, and that aspect of his business has been a major part of his success (click here to read a NYPost article about his success). I had the pleasure of briefly meeting Donald after his talk and he seems like a warm and friendly Southern Gentleman. You can join everyone else in following him on Instagram at @drawbertson

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Art by Donald Robertson


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MUFE rep Turner Floyd, Melanie Inglessis, William Lemon III and The Makeup Show Director of Education, James Vincent

Last but not least, on Sunday I caught artists Melanie Inglessis and William Lemon, III in conversation with Make Up For Ever’s Director of the Professional Business Division, Turner Floyd and the ubiquitous James Vincent. This lecture came about because not only is Make Up For Ever the Diamond Sponsor of The Makeup Show, but Melanie and William were both amongst the 30 artists with whom MUFE collaborated for their Artist 30/30 project. Melanie is a high-end celebrity/red-carpet artist (click to see her work), while William is known for his cutting edge work with largely music clients including (but not limited to) body painting and “skin printing” (click to see his work). Again, they both spoke primarily about their journey and their artistic process. While they both have backgrounds in visual art, it was very interesting to see how differently that background manifested into their careers. Another thing that is inspiring about coming to these trade shows to hear these artists speak is realizing that there is no one certain way to be an artist in this business. Except for being talented and skilled – which all of these successful artists have in common – there is no one way to get started, no one way to look, no one way to act, etc. This is not a cookie cutter industry with one pre-defined way of being a “real artist” (despite what you might see and hear online).

I mentioned earlier that certain themes of being a working artist kept coming up over and over. What were they? Well first of all on the practical level, they all talked about Social Media and good usage practices. So for those of you living on Planet X thinking that you do not need to engage with social media and that it’s for bloggers only, etc. Think again. Secondly, every single artist I saw (and some I did not, according to what my students said to me), mentioned being kind, being of service to your client, being a chill fun person to work with that people like. This is still a people business and nothing – not even talent – will move you along faster than being someone that people like to be around PARTICULARLY when you are first starting/on the come up in your career. So be nice, stay humble and work hard folks! Do not fall for the false prophecy of Internet Superstardom!

The Exhibition/Shopping Floor

My experience this year basically came down to attending lectures on Saturday, and wandering and shopping on Sunday. Walking the floor is always fun, I always run into a zillion of my friends in the biz and some of my current and former students (yay!), I get to see my vendor friends, I’ll take a look at what’s new (nothing new really grabbed me this year, honestly), and then if I actually need anything I’ll pick that up as well.

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I am interested in Smashbox’s new Photo Finish Primer Water but they were out when I got to their booth…

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the highly coveted original classic

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Makeup artist Valerie Hernandez assisted by MTG Fam, makeup artist Liza Macawilli Ramos in demonstration for Youngblood Cosmetics

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MTG fam, makeup artist Jennifer Naideth werking it out at the Ellis Faas booth…

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Melanie Mills, makeup artist and founder of Gleam Cosmetics at raffle time! (I did not win πŸ™ )

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The Haul

Many thanks to The Makeup Show for always bringing in such fabulous vendors and thank you to these vendors for these fab products. I had to really dig deep and NOT buy other fabulously that I just really do not need. I have such a grip-ton backlog of makeup as it is! Anyway, I love new product as much as the next artist, so can’t wait to dig into these purchases!

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Dose of Colors Matte Liquid Lipstick in “Kiss of Fire”. Different artist friends kept talking to me about this line so I decided to try it out. A word of warning; this is strong stuff. Just trying it on my hand stained my hands and fingers for a bit.

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Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Cream Color Concentrates. I actually purchased this at the pre-party at Nigel’s Beauty Emporium that I attended. Good thing, because the OCC booth was hella crowded both days of the show. Colors purchased are “Pleasure Model”(pink) and “Beholder” (teal).

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Youngblood Sampler. Many thanks to the Youngblood crew for always sharing samples of some of their new items with me. What I need to go back to the website and get is the new TSA compliant 3-pack of their fab Minerals in the Mist sprays.

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Dante Disposables brush cleaner: A true quick dry, disinfecting spray with NO SCENT.

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Crown Brush “Syntho” line foundation and concealer brushes. Normally, I’m not a fan of the less-expensive brushes but the Crown Syntho line is quite good and that round duo-ended Foundation/Concealer brush is a nice “homage” brush of a Stila foundation brush which this Crown brush just happens to looks exactly like πŸ˜‰

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Bioderma Sebium H2O. The Bioderma Sensibio H2O for sensitive skin has been a kit staple for most makeup artists since forever. The Sebium is a micelle cleanser and makeup remover for oilier skin. I go this one for me! πŸ™‚

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Straight Pin Studio Mini Essentials Kit. Since I also do hair for my commercial clients, this is something I’ve been meaning to get for a while. I have had the pleasure of working with Straight Pin Studios co-founder, Lucie Doughty, who is an award-winning session stylist and Editorial Director for Paul Mitchell. As you can see this is not just another little organizer doo-dad for your hair pins/ties/etc. This is a filled KIT of pins, ties, etc. Each compartment closes separately so you do not have to worry about product flying all over the place, its compact and organized and perfect for a makeup/hair kit.

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AJ Crimson Beauty Lipcheeque and S & M (sultry and matte) Lipstick. The AJ Crimson line – which I’ve written about before – is a line catering towards products for women of color. So if you are wondering where to get products for deeper complexions, check AJ Crimson Beauty out. He is now starting to roll out his color products (he started with skin; foundation, BB cream & powder) and they are GORG! I got one each of both the Lipcheeque (lip/cheek color pan) and the S & M (sultry and matte) Lipstick. The Lipcheeque color is “Say Whet?!” a bright, but wearable purple that can go from sheer to intense, and the Lipstick color is “No Explanation”, a deep berry/brown color. Yum! (we’ll see if “No Explanation” makes it to my kit)

That was my Makeup Show Los Angeles experience. Leave a comment below and tell me yours! πŸ™‚

#MakeupMonday – Makeup Short Notes March 2015

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Burberry Lip Glow Balm


Howdy folks. Here’s my Makeup Short Notes March 2015

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1 ) Marc Jacobs Beauty – Remedy Concealer Pen

This past January I had the pleasure of working with fab Seattle/Bay Area makeup artist Alyx Bisler. One of the most fun aspects of working with another artist is seeing what he/she carries in his or her kit. Alyx introduced me to many fab things, but the fabbest by far was this Marc Jacobs Beauty concealer pen. Like YSL’s Touche Eclat and Givenchy’s Mister Light Instant Light Pen, the Remedy Pen brightens as well as conceals. The skincare friendly formula also hydrates for a gorgeous, never cakey, skin-finish. I just wrote in my last post about how much I love Givenchy’s Mister Light pen – and I do – but the Remedy Pen is a definite contender. So far I have #3 Up All Night and #7 Past Curfew, and I plan to add more.

SIDENOTE: In addition to being an amazing makeup artist, Alyx is a ridiculous illustrator specializing in face charts. His face charts have to be seen to be believed, so visit him on Instagram @fiftylashes

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2 ) Tarte Cosmetics – Colored Clay Tinted Brow Gel
A litte while ago I mentioned that I had the good fortunte to be able to attend an event hosted by Tarte Cosmetics to introduce some new products. It’s taken me a minute, but I have finally started using the Clay Tinted Brow Gel and I love it. If you are NOT the kind of woman who wants super filled in/manicured brows and would prefer instead a more natural brow that’s just well groomed, this is the product for you. This gives hold and subtle fill/definition, and that’s it. For the pro makeup artist this is great for kids/men’s grooming, lifestyle, or anywhere you want the brow to look groomed but natural. Not everyone wants, nor is it always the time for, “brows on fleek”. (I like this product for myself as well)

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3 ) Camera Ready Cosmetics – Camera Ready Eye Primer
This past IMATS LA I had the pleasure of running into miss Mary Erickson – Founder of Camera Ready Cosmetics – herself. Normally she’s so busy she’s not usually at her booth, but this time she was and she shared with me her new Camera Ready Eye Primer. It’s great. As you know, I’m not a fan of the really aggressive eye primers on the market. They do work, but they dry out the eyelids something fierce which I’d rather avoid. The CRC eye primer holds the product in place and extends the wear WITHOUT causing dry-ness which is important for folks with dry skin, mature skin folks, etc. The Bonus? It’s less expensive than either of the two eye primers I currently use. So if you are looking for a cost effective alternative to the “big name” primers out there, look no further.

makeup to go blog makeup short notes March 2015 Burberry lip glow balm
4 ) Burberry Beauty – Lip Glow Balm

Quietly, under the radar while you weren’t looking, Burberry – the longtime British clothing company – has developed a BOMB cosmetics line. I love it. Love. It. I particularly love their lippy products and in a world of seemingly non-stop opaque, matte lip colors, the Lip Glow Balm is a refreshing (literally) change. Unlike their drying matte cousins, these are fabulously hydrating and moisturizing while providing a fresh pop of sheer yet buildable color. Quite frankly, I think these types of formulations are what more women – myself included – want to wear most of the time. All of the colors are Gorg, but you know me and my Coral fixation so I’m partial to Orange-Poppy 1.

#MakeupMonday – Awards Tour Arsenal

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My clients Bethany Gaeber (writer) and Janelle Gaeber (producer) at the Academy Awards. (not sure who the fab gentleman is…)


This past weekend – specifically the Academy Awards – marked the conclusion of what is known as Awards Season.

There will be other shows that come up here and there throughout the year, but the back-to-back nonstop crazy is done for 2015. Over the years – while I am not a celebrity artist per se – I have become increasingly involved with the Awards Show scene. There are lots of women (and men) who have to attend these events besides just the celebrities. Most of my clients are producers, writers, etc. many of whom have been nominees and a few of whom have been winners. So while they may not be household names to the home awards show viewer they are known in their profession, they attend all of the events, and they get their photos taken. Hence they, too, need to look their absolute best!

My primary concern when doing makeup for events such as these is not only do they need to look beautiful, but their makeup needs to go the distance. I’ve previously written on event makeup techniques and what products I use but times change and so do I. Here were my MVPs (Most Valuable Products, of course πŸ˜‰ ) in my 2015 Awards Tour arsenal.

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Embryolisse – Lait Creme ConcentrΓ© / Skindinavia – Makeup Finishing Spray / Face Atelier – Ultra Matte

I am grouping these three together because they are such absolute kit essentials and I have mentioned them many times before. Embryolisse (or an equivalent, solid moisturizer) is VITAL for a successful makeup application and – even though this may go against conventional wisdom – VITAL when I want makeup to last a long time. Why? Dry skin eats makeup. Before applying any makeup the skin must be hydrated, and hydrated well.

The Skindinavia Finishing Spray and Face Atelier Ultra Matte sprays are applied at the end of the makeup to add another layer of defense to help the makeup application last for as long as possible. While they each work differently to address different issues (hence I have and use both), both leave the skin with a natural finish (not too matte and not tight/hairspray-ish) and keep the makeup looking even and flawless. I tend to use the Ultra Matte more on men than on women, but it works well on anyone with oiler skin (I use it on myself).


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Hourglass Cosmetics – Veil Mineral Primer

This awards season, I had to replace the fabulous NARS Pro-Prime Smoothing Face Prep primer which I used to love but which NARS discontinued. πŸ™ Most primers on the market are concerned with keeping the skin matte and lengthening the wear of your makeup application. In addition to that a really good primer creates an overall smooth skin surface on which to apply makeup, hence it should also be able to also deal with fine lines and minor discolorations. I am also partial to hydrating primers that mattify without drying the skin, as most of my clients for these affairs are not 19-year old models. Everything you’ve heard about the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer is true and then some. It creates a beautiful finish, lengthens the life of any makeup application, has a light SPF (but it’s never caused a TD reaction for me thus far), and it even repels water (no perspiration ruined makeup!). It is pricey, but this is a superlative product.


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Anastasia Beverly Hills Lash Genius Waterproof Top Coat

I am pretty sure I’ve mentioned this product before, but I’m mentioning it again. Events such as these – much like Bridal – can be emotional for the attendees. No woman wants the camera to catch them with raccoon eyes from tearing up – much less on a national (and International) broadcast – however, I do not generally care for waterproof mascaras. They tend to be gloopy but then dry weird and flake and just cause me problems I’d rather not deal with, particularly in a circumstance where I am not present to do touch ups. Therefore I LOVE this Lash Genius Waterproof Top Coat which I apply over any mascara I like to create a waterproof shield.


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Dedra Beauty Creme Foundation Stick

Dedra Beauty’s Creme Foundation Stick is fast becoming my favorite cream foundation, there I said it. It is so versatile, has a fabulous range of colors (the most recent formula update brought back the colors for deeper complexions – YAY!), gives such good coverage and has such a wonderful finish that I find myself reaching for it time and time again. What’s more is I love having a pro-quality foundation that I can recommend to clients for their own use. Most pro brands are too complicated to explain and too difficult for the non-pro to purchase and use. With Dedra Beauty I can just tell my client what color I used and send them to the website. Perfection!


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Givenchy Mister Light Instant Light Corrector Pen

After I use whatever regular corrective concealer I’m using in the under-eye area, I always like to go over with a bit of an illuminating concealer for a bit of pop. I know many love YSL’s Touche Eclat, but I’ve always been partial to Givenchy’s Mister Light. I find it gives a bit more actual coverage while still providing that perfect touch of luminosity.


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Glam Kitti

This is a brand-new entry into my Award Tour arsenal, and boy did I LOVE having it. One of the chores for both makeup artists and clients alike is figuring out how the client going to touch up her makeup once she’s at the event. Over the years makeup artists have utilized various clumsy methods (little jars, miniature products, etc.) but now at last we can make our clients a little chic compact of exactly what we used. Glam Kitty has space for up to 6 cream products, a little area for powder with powder puff, and blotting tissues. All in a chic little mirrored compact. When your client is done with it, it’s disposable (and actually I think it would be recyclable). This made the lives of myself and my clients so much easier I can’t even say. I plan to order a bunch more for the various private clients I do throughout the year. And needless to say I will stock up for Awards Tour 2016!

#MakeupMonday – IMATS Los Angeles 2015

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Once again I had the pleasure of attending a makeup artist trade show. This time around was the International Makeup Artist Trade Show aka IMATS Los Angeles 2015.

This year was a bit different for me because I was (and still am) actually working up in San Francisco and had to fly down for the show. But armed with inexpensive airfare (thanks JetBlue!), I was able to make it down to see makeup artist friends, stay in contact with vendors, see fabulous lectures/demonstrations, and yes, do a little bit of shopping.

If you’re an old-timer like me, it’s difficult not to take note of how much IMATS has changed over the years, in ways that are both good and bad for the professional artist. When it was the only show of its kind, it was pretty darn hardcore. Nowadays..??? I was not able to make it to Pro Night on Friday because I was working, but I could feel the change in subtle ways all throughout the show: From having to constantly ask for my receipts from purchases made, to pricing definitely being higher than standard pro pricing on some things, to going to amazing lectures where the audience was half empty. The focus of the show from the standpoint of the majority of attendees was squarely on shopping and in particular all of the lines that are popular in the online makeup world such as Sigma, OCC, Anastasia, and Morphe Brushes for example. Those are all great brands, but it just says a lot about the attendance of a show when those brands literally have long, winding lines but longtime pro staples such as Reel Creations were comparatively empty. Sad to say most of my students seemed to be mostly interested in shopping as well. I guess the shopping frenzy bug is something that slows down over time…

I got like 5 things and that was way more shopping than I thought I would be doing. My Saturday partner in crime – Fab makeup artist Renee Loiz – had some things she needed to get and suffice to say she was a bad influence πŸ˜‰

Since I was doing the back-and-forth shuffle, I left my bag go goodies at home in LA without remembering to take a photo of my haul first. :|. Anyway, here’s a breakdown of what I got.

Parian Spirit
For once I did not get Parian Spirit, HA! I have plenty for the moment. I’ll see them in March at the Makeup Show.

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me along side my recently graduated student Ava, and miss Deb Bondar, founder of Face Atelier Cosmetics. No I don’t have something on my face, that’s a lighting thing…



Face Atelier
I have a few colors I need to restock in the fabulous Ultra Foundation, but I did not get them. Why you may ask? Because instead I bought a couple of the newly introduced Ultra Skin foundation. The Ultra Skin is a lighter weight formulation but I would not call it a tinted moisturizer. It’s almost like a balm. It felt hydrating and smooth on the skin, gave true coverage and a beautiful finish. I cannot wait to try it on a shoot soon! (sadly it is not up on the Face Atelier website just yet so no photo πŸ™ )

Glam Kitti
Glam Kitti is the brainchild of celebrity makeup artist Monifa Mortis, and an idea whose time actually came a while ago so I’m glad someone’s actually created it. For those of you who do bridal, private clients, red carpet, or work in any scenario where you have to give your client some cosmetics so they can keep their touched up, you know that doing so has been a chore. The best we as artists have been able to offer to date are those little jars and some spatulas in a plastic baggie. Not cute. Ms. Mortis has created a recyclable mirrored compact consisting of a lip brush, applicator, spatula, & powder puff, wells for 6 cream products, a little well for powder, and 6 blotting powder sheets! All in a little compact that fits in the smallest of palms. How genius is this??? The benefit to this for makeup artists is obvious, but this should do well in the consumer market as well. I bought a couple, one specifically for myself for traveling. No TSA confiscation of my cosmetics, thank you… (click here to check out the cute little infomercial for the Glam Kitti )

Dante Brush Cleaner
One of my fab makeup gals told me about them a while ago, and I’ve been looking forward to trying ever since. Unlike Parian – which uses citrus oils as its primary cleaning agent so the smell is very strong and it takes a while for the oils to evaporate – Dante is more of an innocuous liquid. No color, no scent and non oily. So obviously it is not an all natural product as I generally prefer, but I am hoping this will be good on set when I need to clean and reuse brushes quickly.

Bioderma Sensibo (Crealine) H2O Cleanser
This is when I knew that even for non FX artists, most of the attendees were non pros. This booth should have been swamped. Artists have been coveting the Bioderma Crealine (Sensibio) H2o Ultra-mild Non-rinse Face and Eyes Cleanser for years. For American artists it’s meant waiting until you or a friend went to Europe, or over paying on European websites or Amazon. It’s that good. Now, however, BeautyLish will be carrying the product for the American market. Hazzah! And while I’m sure their prices will be good, the prices at the show were crazy good. I bought a grip. If you didn’t, ya missed it! πŸ˜‰

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Ben Nye Banana Yellow powder
I am so annoyed with myself on this one. I braved the ridiculously long line at Naimie’s booth SPECIFICALLY to buy a jar of Banana Yellow powder to bring back with me to my class I was teaching in SF. Guess what did NOT make the trip back up to SF? 😐 And I overpaid, that price was definitely full retail. #LeSigh. I guess I’ll bring it next time I teach this class. On the positive side, Naimie’s line was crazy, but they were very efficient and the line moved quickly. (In fact, I paid MORE than what is currently listed on their website. Great 😐 )

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On the Lectures tip, I only got to attend 2 but they were both amazing. First was Stephen Dimmick who is a high-end beauty/fashion and celebrity artist. His work is stunning, but yet again his lecture was more than half empty. What an opportunity missed! Stephen gave those of us in attendance a wonderful retrospective of himself as an artist and how he grew his career as well as his thoughts on the state of the industry today. He was warm, real, candid, and completely on point.

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Stephen Dimmick



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makeup by Stephen Dimmick


The second lecture I attended was Francesca Tolot. Her lecture was well attended although a lot of people heard like the first 10 minutes and then left. SIGH. Anyway, for those who stayed, she shared stories of the creation of her book One Woman 100 Faces(disclosure: affiliate link to help keep Makeup to Go! going πŸ™‚ ). What I was impressed by and I really hope a lot of young artists heard was how collaborative the project was, and how much she honored and regarded her collaborators. I’ve already personally come across a few unfortunate incidents of “ME ME ME” since I’ve been teaching and its… yeah. Humility and gratitude for those who help to lift you up is so much of being an artist, and to see someone at the absolute highest level show such respect for her team was truly refreshing. And then of course her work is just Bananas. She had three live models come out in looks featured in the book. All were amazing, one I do not even know how she did it. Unfortunately they were moving so my photos aren’t great, but you get the point. Amazing.

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Francesca Tolot, being interviewed by IMATS founder Michael Key



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makeup by Francesca Tolot



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makeup by Francesca Tolot



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incredible body makeup by Francesca Tolot


Once again, I left a trade show inspired and excited to be a makeup artist.