#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 Leaving out how incredibly tired and outdated it is to rank “most beautiful women” at all, it is difficult to believe that if we do still insist on making such a ranking, no women of color would make the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…



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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

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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

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#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…

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

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

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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

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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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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


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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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#MakeupMonday – Anatomy of a Kit Prep

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…One thing about being a freelance makeup artist…

is that two days are rarely ever the same. If you follow my makeup artist feed on Instagram, you’ve seen many posts of my various makeup kits and set-ups. More often than not I am carrying this kit because I’m working with one of my commercial clients and my needs are smaller and I can carry a more curated kit. Every once in a while, however, I need to carry the entire kit and caboodle, so to speak. This requires some kit prep in order to be ready for my gig.

There are certain things I ALWAYS do before a job, and some things that I do that are specific to the job I’m working on.

Kit Prep I Always Do BEFORE A Job
– Wash makeup brushes
Barbicide Hair Brushes/Tools
– Wipe down palette surfaces and lotion/bottle openings with alcohol
– restock liquids and consumables (alcohol, brush cleaner, tissues, sponges, cotton swabs, etc.)

notice how all but one pertains to kit sanitation, which as I mentioned in a past post I take very seriously. I need everything to be clean, dry and ready BEFORE I show up for a job therefore I generally take care of all of these things when I get home from my previous job (i.e. – I did all of this Friday night so that come Sunday morning everything was dry and ready).

On Emmys weekend I was booked to work with the brand Gwynnie Bee on a combo photoshoot/Emmys watch party. Major influencers were there along with two major celebs so it was a high profile event. Nothing I haven’t done before, however, I’d not worked with this client before and I also wasn’t entirely sure how many talent I would ultimately end up working on. Therefore, I also had special kit prep for this specific job. This was one of those jobs where I had to a) have Top Shelf product b ) my presentation had to be on point (which it should be at all times anyway), and C ) I had to be prepared for any and everything.

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makeup to go blog tania d russell makeup artist makeup educator beauty writer los angeles makeup artist san francisco makeup artist anatomy of a kit prep LORAC pro 1 and 2 MUFE palette

LORAC PRO eyeshadow palettes 1 & 2 depotted into Make Up For Ever large empty palette
Something I’ve wanted to do for more than a minute is depot anything that’s currently in a retail palette/package into a Pro empty palette. Why? First of all, space. When you’ve gotta bring the kitchen sink you need as much product to fit into as compact a space as possible. It’s also easier to see what I have in a palette like this as opposed to 50-lebbin little individual palettes. Secondly, on the real, retail packaging was not meant for the abuse of traveling around in a pro kit and they usually end up looking like crap. Look at those LORAC palettes and then look at the Make Up For Ever palette. Which one looks better? Yeah. Presentation matters.

PRO TIP: The LORACs came out easily because the body is cardboard and foam. For products in plastic packaging you will need more finesse so as to not damage your product.

PRO TIP 2: Non-pros; make a palette out of your powders and creams (eyeshadows, blushes, bronzers, highlighters, etc) and packing your makeup for trips will be a breeze!

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NARS Blushes in NARS Small Pro Palette
Likewise, as I’ve mentioned in numerous past posts, I needed to get it together with my blush choices for deep complexions. This palette was the Belle of the Ball as many of the influencers fell into the color range and I thoroughly enjoyed showing them how to play with blush colors to get different effects. As mentioned in my SF Haul post, the powder colors are Desire, Taj Mahal, Exhibit A and Seduction. In addition I added two cream blushes; Enchanted – which I love as a subtle highlight on pretty much every skin tone, and the mighty Montenegro which is just Flat. Out. Gorgeous.

DEPRESSING NEWS: Typical NARS-ness, they seem to have discontinued their cream blushes. 🙁 If you find them on eBay or somewhere, nab them. And add Penny Lane, too.

PRO TIP: I always label my palettes. A ) so I know what’s in it, but also B ) I love everyone but I want it to be clear that this item belongs to me. This is particularly important when you’re working in close quarters with other artists.

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Kit Organized into individual ZUCA Utility Pouches
Once I have everything streamlined and organized, it’s time to pack it up. I know some artists just put things wherever in their kits and I don’t judge (well, maybe a little….OK I do…), but I cannot work that way. It slows me down too much if I have to look for things, so I compartmentalize HARD CORE. Every category has its own bag, that way when I get to location and see where I’m going to be set up I only pull out what I need and I can leave the rest on standby. Pictured here are my foundation/concealer bag, color products bag, and my eyelashes bag which saw a LOT of action on this job! Other main compartment bags in my kit are skincare, powders, cream blushes, and pencils. And actually right after this job I ordered another ZUCA pouch so I can split up the color products (one for eyes, one for cheeks/lips).

And the final outcome…

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Lean, mean, makeup machine. Not pictured is my suitcase which I was able to put neatly under my worktable in the event I needed something that I didn’t pull out of my kit. Different jobs require different kits but one thing remains the same: A well-prepped kit = a happy makeup artist.

PRO TIP: It is INCREDIBLY important to be clean, organized and efficient on your jobs, but particularly those with high profile clients.

PRO TIP 2: MANY MANY THANKS to Make Up For Ever for providing product for me for this event!

Do you change kits depending on your jobs or does your kit remain the same? How to you prep before your jobs?

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#MaquillajeLunes – Delia’s Take PHAMExpo 2016

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Longtime readers of Makeup to Go will remember “Maquillaje Para Go”…

written by my makeup buddy and Blogstress En Español Delia Jimenez Owens. Well Delia is BACK! It took some convincing and I may have had to rough her up just a bit in a dark alley, but I got her to write a lil sumthin sumthin for us. To get the ball back rolling, here’s Delia’s Take PHAMExpo 2016. Let us hope this marks the return of regular contributions from miss Del. (scroll down to read in English)

Fue un gran fin de semana en el PHaMExpo. Una de las primeras cosas que noté fue que el show parecía un poco más pequeña de lo que recuerdo del año pasado. Aparte de eso, fue sin duda la calidad sobre la cantidad. Había unos cuantos nuevos vendedores que tuve la oportunidad de visitar, así como algunos profesionales de la industria que tenía ganas de escuchar. Lo hice a tiempo para coger la última hora de Pro ofrecido en show y no me decepcionó. Uno de los vendedores que estaba emocionada de ver eran las personas de Smith Cosméticos. Tengo su Smithfolio y necesitaba comprar unas paginas extra por ello. Si usted no sabe lo que el Smithfolio es, es básicamente una cuaderno que contiene 4 páginas o “plates”. Los plates pueden sostener brochas, brillos de labios, lápices labiales y que incluso tienen algunas paginas de malla que pueden contener materiales desechables o cualquier otros elementos sueltos. Es una joya para la organización. A pesar de que estaban fuera de la pagina que quería, me he comprado otros dos y estoy muy satisfecho con mi compra.


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Smithfolio inserts by Smith Cosmetics (click to see larger)


Un nuevo descubrimiento para mí era Dep Make-Up. Tenían una buena visualización de las pestañas y barras de labios líquidos en tonos muy agradable así que por supuesto que tenía que conseguir algunas de las barras de labios. Tengo que decir que me quedé muy impresionada. Literalmente duró para siempre. Incluso después de comer y beber y dormir con él puesto. Se me hizo un poco seqo, pero un poco de chapstick ayudó con eso.


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DEP Makeup lashes (click to see larger)


Después de un poco de compras en el primer día, hice tiempo para sentarme en la conferencia de un artista muy conocido en la industria, Patti Dubroff. La he escuchado hablar un par de veces en diferentes eventos y nunca decepciona. Ella es abierta y honesta acerca de la industria y no se contiene. Ella nos llevó a través de las diversas etapas de su carrera y lo que la llevó a llegar a donde está hoy. A pesar de que ella no era espisifica, hablo acerca maquillaje y los medios sociales. Eso pareció abrir una lata de gusanos por que varias preguntas acerca de su opinión sobre “artista de maquillaje” en las redes sociales. La única cosa que puedo decir acerca de esto es que ella básicamente dijo lo que cada artista de maquillaje profesional (y por el profesional, me refiero a los que se ganan la vida haciendo el maquillaje) ha pensado: Hacer maquillaje en sí mismo, no necesariamente quiere decir que es un artista de maquillaje profesional.


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Termine el día con una visita a la cabina de fotos NYX donde Tania y yo nos tomamos esta imagen fabulosa. También dejamos con su nuevo rimel Doubel Stacked Mascara.


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El segundo día estaba a punto de reunirme con viejos amigos y conocer otros nuevos. Por supuesto que me detuvo en el stand de Embyrolisse y consegui crema hidratante. También compré su tratamiento radiante de ojos. He oído muchas cosas acerca de este y no puede esperar para probarlo.


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goodies from Embryolisse (click to see larger)


Una parada se hizo también en el stand de Gleam by Melanie Mills, donde me encontré con mi amigo y compañero artista de maquillaje Melanie Ramírez. Mel nos mostró una demostración de cómo los polvos GMM y cómo se puede utilizar como ilumindadores de todo el cuerpo.


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fab artist Melanie Ramirez working the Gleam by Melanie Mills booth


Uno de los vendedores que estaba feliz de ver era China Glaze. He estado esperando para añadir a mi colección de laca de uñas y este era el momento perfecto. Tenían un surtido de colores y tratamientos de uñas y sus precios eran más que razonable. Véase más abajo para una foto de mi recorrido China Glaze.


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PHAME has nail vendors, too. China Glaze polishes (click to see larger)


La última parada estaba sentada en la conferencia de Melanie Inglessis. Ella habló acerca las agencias y ser asistente y cómo ha llegado a donde está ahora siendo una de las superior maquillistas en Los Angeles. Una cosa que menciono que realmente se me hizo impact, era como ella fue asistente por casi 14 años antes de que ella se fue por su cuenta. Realmente perfecciono su arte y ayudó a muchos artistas superior para llegar a donde está hoy. Ella ofreció sugerencias sobre cómo ayudar a los artistas de la agencia (comuniquese con la agencia) y las expectativas de ser asistente. Siempre me gusta escuchar lo que Melanie tiene que decir porque ella es tan generosa en compartir sus conocimientos sobre la industria .

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celebrity makeup artist Melanie Inglessis

En general, disfruté de mi experiencia en PHaME este año. Tengo la sensación que este programa sólo va a mejorar con el tiempo. Espero para el próximo año para ver que tienen en sus paneles y que nuevos vendedores van a tener.

Delia Jiménez Owens es una artista de maquillaje y pelo disponible, en los angeles y las vegas. Puede seguidor en Twitter en @ DeliaJOwens

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It was a great weekend at the PHamExpo. One of the first things I noticed was that the show seemed somewhat smaller than I remember from years past. That aside, it was definitely quality over quantity. There were a few new vendors that I was able to visit as well as some top industry professionals that I was looking forward to listening to. I made it in time to catch the last Pro hour offered on the show room floor and I was not disappointed.

One of the vendors I was excited to see were the folks from Smith Cosmetics. I have their Smithfolio and needed to buy a few extra plates for it. If you don’t know what the Smithfolio is, it’s basically a zipper folder that holds 4 pages or “plates”. The plates can hold brushes, lip glosses, lip pencils and they even have some mesh plates that can hold disposables or any other loose items. It’s a gem for organization. Although they were sold out of the plate I wanted, I bought two others and am very satisfied with my purchase.


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Smithfolio inserts by Smith Cosmetics (click to see larger)


A new find for me was Dep Make-Up. They had a nice display of lashes and liquid lipsticks in really nice shades so of course I had to get a few of the lipsticks. I have to say, I was very impressed. It literally lasted forever. Even after eating and drinking and sleeping with it on. It did dry out a little on me, but a little chapstick helped with that.


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DEP Makeup lashes (click to see larger)


After a little shopping on the first day, I made time to sit in on celebrity artist, Patti Dubroff’s lecture on the industry. I have listened to her speak a few times at different events and she never disappoints. She is up front and honest about what the industry and doesn’t hold back. She took us through the various stages of her career and what it took her to get where she is today. Although she didn’t get specific with it, she did touch on make-up and social media. That seemed to open up a can of worms as various questions were asked about her opinion on ” make-up artist” on social media. The only thing I can say about this is that she basically said what every professional make-up artist (and by professional, I mean those that make their living doing make-up) has been thinking: Doing make-up on yourself, doesn’t necessarily make you a professional make-up artist.


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I wrapped up the day with a visit to NYX photo booth where the Tania and I took this fab picture. We also left with their new NYX Double Stacked Mascara.


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Day two was about meeting up with old friends and meeting new ones. Of course I stopped at the Embyrolisse booth and stocked up on moisturizer. I also purchased their Radiant Eye treatment stick. I’ve heard many great things about this and cant’ wait to try it out.


makeup to go blog makeup los angeles makeup san francisco phamexpo 2016 delia jimenez owens maquillaje para go Delia's Take PHAMExpo 2016 embryolisse

goodies from Embryolisse (click to see larger)


A stop was also made at Gleam by Melanie Mills booth where I ran into my friend and fellow make-up artist Melanie Ramirez. Mel showed us a demo of how the GMM powders and how it can be used as highlighters all over the body.


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fab artist Melanie Ramirez working the Gleam by Melanie Mills booth


One of the vendors I was happy to see there was China Glaze. I’ve been wanting to add to my nailpolish collection and this was the perfect time. They had an assortment of colors and nail treatments and their prices were more than fair. See below for a snap shot of my China Glaze haul.


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PHAME has nail vendors, too. China Glaze polishes (click to see larger)


Last stop was sitting in on Melanie Inglessis lecture. She spoke about agencies and assisting and how she got to where she is now being one of the top celebrity make-up artist in Los Angeles. One thing she mentioned that really stood out to me, was how she assisted for almost 14 years before she went off on her own. She put time in to really perfect her craft and assisted many top artist to get where she is today. She offered suggestions as to how assist agency artists (contact agency) as well as went over assistant expectations. I always enjoy listening to what Melanie has to say because she is so generous in sharing her knowledge on the industry.


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celebrity makeup artist Melanie Inglessis


Overall, I really enjoyed my experience at PHaME this year. I have a feeling this show is only going to get better with time. I look forward to next year to see who they will have on their educational panels and which new vendors join the fun!

Delia Jimenez Owens is a makeup and hair artist available in both Los Angeles and Las Vegas. You can follow her on Twitter @DeliaJOwens.

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Baby Remember My Name – PHAMExpo 2016

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it was busy this year…remember PHAMExpo is open to the public and all makeup-istas are welcome 🙂


PHAMExpo is creating a niche

…and staking its claim amongst the Titans of the makeup tradeshows….Last weekend, June 5 & 6, PHAMExpo 2016 marked my return to the PHAMExpo. I missed last year due to technical difficulties but I hear it was the best yet so I was eager to reconnect. The fine folks at PHAMExpo were so kind as to provide passes to myself and my blogstress En Español, Delia, so away we went for both days.

Overall impressions are the PHAMExpo is distinguishing itself not only by including hair and nails but also by bridging together the increasingly disparate aspects of the beauty biz; the Influencers and the Artists. That’s a tall order as the two sides – while we utilize the same medium (makeup) – don’t really speak the same language and there were times when that really showed.

For this show I had three objectives; hit the shopping floor and see as many of the new brands as I could, visit with my regular vendors who were in attendance, and see 3 of the Keynote Speakers who stood out to me. I was successful with all tasks! If you don’t care about all my wordiness 😉 , please skip ahead as my “Haul” pictures come at the end of the article. But first, the speakers. I must apologize to the folks I saw on Day One, I forgot to bring my real camera so I had to iPhone it :\ …


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Roshar and his completed demo creation (he made the headpiece, too)


I’ve known Roshar for quite some time (he even shouted me out during his demo!), and it’s been fantastic to see how his career has blossomed. Hard work pays off!


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Pati Dubroff was inspiring as always…


Pati “Prema” Dubroff is one of my personal favorite artists and has been for quite some time so I always enjoy her whenever I hear her speak. Another big benefit of PHAMExpo – at least for right now – is that since it is a smaller show the Keynotes are more intimate, there is more time for Q and A, and people actually have time to speak to the presenters after they’ve finished. One of the things Pati spoke of that really touched me personally was how this industry is filled with highs and lows and part of being a working artist is just getting through it and pushing forward. Boy is it ever, and I really needed to hear that. Thanks Ms. Dubroff!


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Melanie Inglessis keeping it all the way real


The last speaker I really wanted to make sure I caught was Melanie Inglessis. A fixture in the celebrity makeup scene, she tends to A-listers attending everything from the Academy Awards to the Met Ball. Like Pati Dubroff, she was just very real and honest. One of the things she was most honest about is working with celebrities and how you do not always get to work the way you want to or do what you want to do. In yielding to make a celeb comfortable, you may have to compromise your work (i.e. – they’re constantly looking down at their cellphone and you just have to work around it or risk not being booked again). The other thing she mentioned is something I repeat like a mantra when I’m teaching; In order to really grow a career you need to NUTURE a specific path – Melanie Inglessis @ PHAMExpo . You can switch streams if you want, but you cannot grow a career doing a “little bit of this” and a “little bit of that”.

NOW – An example of how the Influencers and the Artists worlds do not always align;

Pati spoke on Saturday and Melanie spoke on Sunday and yet during both Keynotes, one of the vendors on the floor (a very popular brand) was throwing items out into the crowd waiting in line and there were VERY loud bursts of screaming. So loud that even though the main stage was on the opposite side of the convention hall, you could not hear the Keynote speakers during these outbursts and in fact both ladies were distracted by it. The crowd that wants to stand in line while someone throws out product is not the same crowd that wants to hear two premiere artists speak about their careers. Something to think about going forward.

OK – soapbox over, on to the Haul 😉 One of the things I really enjoy about PHAMExpo is that since they are a slightly smaller show (for now), they still have room for smaller, indie brands that the Big Guys don’t.


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FABULOUS brushes from Smith Cosmetics


One of my main goals was to visit the Smith Cosmetics booth after hearing so much about their brushes and the Smithfolio. I have no use for a Smithfolio, but y’all know I’m a brush fanatic. I LOVE the way these feel in hand. The handles are uniquely shaped to sit perfectly in hand and they are just weighted enough to have gusto without being heavy. I cannot WAIT to use these and I will give a report when I do…

(click on image for color names)

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#lipstickgoals…click for color names


My other goal was to FINALLY get the Glossigirl Cosmetics lipsticks! They were at a great show price so I did not miss my chance (for whatever reason I didn’t strike when they were at IMATS). These lipsticks are creamy, rich, highly pigmented sticks of vegan yumminess. And the colors are amaze and the mixing possibilities are endless. Again, I cannot WAIT to try these on a job soonT!


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SERIOUS liquid lipcolors from Aboni cosmetics


Let me say right now that I am a lipcolor fiend, and I realized after the show that almost everything I looked at and bought was a lipcolor of some kind. LOL! Anyway, Aboni Cosmetics was a new line at the show. When I went back to purchase the color I had my eye on, they were sold out 🙁 But let me tell you; these colors do NOT come off.

(click on image for color/brand names)

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These did NOT want to come off!…click to see whose who…


They do Not. Come. Off. This was my hand after several washings (as I’m sure you can tell). Eventually two of the colors wore down (not all the way off) but two of them (the dark maroon and the bright teal) I had to use coconut oil to take off before I went to bed. So if you need lipcolor that goes on and on and onon and on and it don’t stop ’till the break of dawn…

(click on image for color names)

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I feel in love with Dep Makeup’s liquid lipcolors and their booth was super cute too. These are probably not going into my kit…we’ll see… 😉 Click to see color names…


The other brand that did not come off in the hand swatch above was DEP Makeup. I was drawn in by their overall presentation. The booth was well laid out, the packaging is pretty, they had a DJ, a guy was doing the My Boo Running Man, it was just a great booth. And then the colors of the liquid lippie were fab AND as you can see, they last. Nice find.


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Stilazzi brushes, exclusive to Frends Beauty


Brushes and lips, lips and brushes. lol. I was more intrigued by the brush shape of these Stilazzi brushes than the fiber (feels like some type of synthetic or possibly a synthetic mix). I do like the weight and shape of the handles, although white handles in a Pro kit – dunno about the upkeep on these. We shall see. Anyway, Stilazzi brand is exclusive to Frends Beauty and I like supporting my homies at Frends so that’s groovy… Speaking of homies there were a lot of my fab people in attendance working the various booths, or just in attendance supporting the show. Always fab to run into folks…


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@sameetatu, @cristallewellynmua, @purelycosmetics & @yvelissamunoz looking fab at PHAMExpo


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Fab ladies, fab artists (Sharon Gault and another artist who is familiar to me but I don’t know her name 🙁 )

Bonblissity was another booth that drew me in with it’s fabulousness. I usually completely ignore non-makeup booths but the setup was so nice AND the product REALLY works. I didn’t even need lotion after he finished with the scrub on my hands. (and yes they had a fully functional sink in their booth!)


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cute and functional skin scrubs from Bonblissity


Towards the end of Day 2 when I could no longer think I ran into the Stefania Organics booth which drew me in with it’s intoxicating aroma. There were two new brush cleaner brands on site at the show and if my brain had been turned on, this is the one I would have purchased (I noticed that most of my makeup artist friends chose the other one which was very nice as well). Even if I didn’t like it as a brush cleaner it also works as a hand sanitizer and all 4 of the scents were A M A Z I N G. All natural, essential oil based, none of that synthetic scent garbage. Why I didn’t just buy this at the time is BEYOND ME because I’ve been regretting it ever since. That Lemongrass based Queen of Hearts scent was a Tania magnet. In fact let me go place an order after I post this article… Delia got a sample in her gift bag so she’ll write about it I’m sure in her PHAMExpo post which will go live on Monday


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the team of Stefania Organics brush cleaner and hand sanitizer in one!


I told you I bought lips and brushes and brushes and lips. LA Girl – of the famed “Pro” HD Concealer – was on hand. While I do like the concealer as a highlighter on women of color (I don’t actually think its great as a concealer), I was more interested in their lip colors. The Glazed Lip Paints come in great nudes and bright poppy colors and at the show they were too inexpensive not to try. They are similar in texture and finish to OCC Lip Tars, but I need to read if these are vegan like OCC.

(click on image for color names)

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fun colors from LA Girl cosmetics…click to see color names


All in all I definitely had a great weekend! While there were little tweaks I would make to the show to suit my perfect world ;), I definitely think PHAMExpo is a show well worth attending for pros and consumers alike. I look forward to doing so again next year.

(NOPE – this isn’t a sponsored post. The fine folks at PHAMExpo provided passes but otherwise they did not know if I’d go, if I’d shop and/or if so what I’d purchase, nor did they do not know whether or not I’d do a post on the show. As a pro artist, I try to cover all of the makeup trade shows.)

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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 😉 ). 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. 😀 (Note: this post is long, but it is largely pictures 😉 )

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 🙁 )

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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 😉

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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! 🙂

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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! 🙂