What is Diversity in Beauty?

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some of the lovely ladies I’ve had the pleasure of doing makeup on over the years… #FSB

So I’ve been ticked off the last couple of weeks…

…But let me back up the truck first… I have been a career media makeup artist for over 15 years. I keep saying “over 15 years” because I really do not know how long its been, but quite frankly by now I’ve gotta be hovering at the 20 year mark. One notable element of my career is that while I am Black, and proudly so for sure, but I’ve never been sidelined into any particular style and/or type of work because of it. The range of work I’ve done has been diverse which is in keeping with my own outlook as a human being. I grew up in “multi-culti” Los Angeles. I grew up in a diverse neighborhood, I went to diverse schools (my brother and I were early enrollees into the Magnet program when it first first started in the Los Angeles school district), my friends and social life are diverse, and quite frankly my own family is diverse. Diversity is all I’ve known my whole life.

Cut to 2017 and the entire world seems to have lost its damn mind. Seriously. What on Earth is happening?!

I’ve mentioned a couple of times now how I have been finding it difficult to just blithely write about makeup with everything that’s happening in the world. Then I came to the point where I was fine with having makeup be a fun diversion. I now acknowledge that my artistry – what I create, how I create it, and what I use to create it – are in fact a PART of the world and that I cannot insulate it from the world or who I am as a person.

What set me off?

All three times I’m minding my business and looking at Instagram on which I – obviously – follow a lot of makeup accounts.

1) YSL –

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@YSLBeauty’s All Hours Foundation taken from their Instagram post on 8/3/17. I noticed they’ve changed the caption on the post.

YSL Beauty posted an advert for their new line of foundations, All Hours Foundation. The advert boldly proclaimed “22 shades for everyone!!!”. Sounds great! But I look at the picture and it’s literally 19 shades of beige and 3 brown colors. Well, 2 browns and one brown-ish color. And of course the deepest brown is not deep enough for someone of my (Naomi Campbell-ish) skin tone.

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If I were doing his grooming for a photoshoot, Nick *might* be able to wear that deepest shade…

Needless to say, the reception on Instagram was not what YSL Beauty hoped it would be as people chimed in – including at least one very well known high end celebrity makeup artist – to let them know that they did not find this acceptable. On the surface it would seem that the complaints were mostly by Black women and its true that we were probably one of the most forgotten groups in this foundation collection. But really – and I preface this by saying that I still need to go see these colors in person – but if these colors are really as beige/pinky beige as they appear to be in this photo, then I can say as an artist there are few people on which these would work. Going off this photo there aren’t good colors for a lot of Latinx, a lot of Pacific Islanders, East Asian, South Asian, hell even a lot of Caucasian folks. Unless you are fair and beige the vast majority of the colors would not work. And the brown colors they do have appear (again, I need to see them in person) to have a tawn-y undertone which most Brown people do not have. ??? I don’t get it. This is not a small company with limited resources.

2) Antonym Cosmetics

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@Antonymcosmetics was highly receptive to the feedback they were given and actually posted this swatch photo in response to requests from customers.

Antonym is a small company with limited resources, so their situation was more understandable. They just introduced a liquid foundation and what they have looks promising enough (again, I need to see it in person). Their problem was that they only introduced 6 colors, so that right there just isn’t enough. When asked about it, they said they were developing more colors to be released “in the future”. YSL actually said the same thing. “In the future” seems to come up a lot in response to questions of diversity of color range. What’s frustrating about Antonym specifically is that they are a vegan and organic brand. Therefore by not developing a color range to suit people of color, we are basically being kept out of this market niche. To be clear, Antonym is hardly alone. The vegan/organic cosmetics brands have by and large ignored people of color (OCC of course being an exception, but OCC was started by a makeup artist). Presumably these brands feel that we aren’t their customer but this is a “Which Came First, the Chicken or the Egg” situation. IF the necessary colors were available, maybe more POC would be customers.

To their credit, when approached about it online Antonym was very receptive and appreciative for the feedback they were being given. Whereas YSL Beauty seemed to be giving fairly route answers, Antonym seemed to really be listening. I would not be surprised at all if Antonym releases their new color options before YSL does. YSL said they’d release deeper shades in a year or so. Why a year from now? Who knows. #Future.

As far as Antonym goes, I have very much liked what I’ve tried from them thus far and I respect the way they handled their situation. Therefore I feel good about continuing to support their brand.

On the flipside, there’s Beautylish.

3) BeautyLish –

… where to even start. Beautylish is off the list for me until further notice, period. It’s one thing to not come up with a broad color range that reflects the population. That’s a correctable mistake. It’s QUITE another to actively support and promote someone with known bigoted, hateful views. The issue? Jeffree Starr… I know he’s super popular in the Instagram/YouTube makeup set. I will be real that I’d not heard of him until one of my students told me about him a year or so ago, so to be honest I didn’t have any feelings about him one way or another. Then however I found out that he is an overt hateful bigot. In case you aren’t aware… In fact I won’t embed the video, but here’s a link if you want to go see. Those statements are not mistakes or accidents, nor are they confusing in their intent.

Beautylish apparently has some type of relationship with Mr. Starr and thusly they have willfully buried their heads in the sand on the issue. His image featured prominently in their booth at IMATS LA 2017 as they were selling his products exclusively, and when I went onto Instagram the other day, they’d posted an image of him regarding his new palette that he apparently has going with Jouer. Needless to say Jouer is now off the list as well which sucks because they make one of my holy grail lipglosses. I won’t defile my blog by posting the Instagram photo here, but if you want to see it you can go to Beautylish’s Instagram (@Beautylish). As I was reading through the post, Nils – one of the owners of Beautylish – stated “what a difficult positon Beautylish is in”, which they aren’t, they chose to work with Mr. Starr, and Nils asked that people not go off in the comments but email him directly instead. I sent him an email which – to date – they have yet to reply. I shared my email on my Facebook page and several of my friends in turn shared my post and emailed them. Beautylish DID, respond to a friend of mine we speculate because they identified her as a customer who recently spent a lot with them. I, too, am actually a Beautylish customer and I have actually spent a lot with them HOWEVER I generally do so at the trade shows. My friend and fellow makeup artist is also a person of color and we were both irate with Beautylish’s response. Not only did they double down on “what a difficult position they’re in” (again, they aren’t…they’re making a CHOICE), but they said – and this is a quote from the email – “I hope you can understand our position and can separate the joy of shopping at Beautylish from your concerns with Jeffree…”

Um no. No I can’t. Nor can I express in words how tragic a reply that is. First of all, at no time that I’ve seen have they elaborated on what this so-called difficulty is. Secondly that email is basically saying “we are going to continue to monetarily support and benefit from this known racist, but we hope you’ll keep giving us money anyway”.

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image courtesy of potential past via Flickr

I’m sure they’ll say “they didn’t mean it that way” but what a terrible statement to make with regards to an entire population of your potential customers.

Here’s the thing: diversty is not a product or a technique or what-have-you; it’s a mindset. If people wanted to be diverse they’d be diverse. If it were as much of a priority to have a full range of colors, brands would do so. If racial bigotry/homophobia/fat phobia/age phobia/whatever were really unacceptable to people, they would stop making excuses for it. It is frustrating to see how slow the beauty industry is to real change. By continuing with these kinds of – and I use this term in generosity – faux pas, companies are saying Very Clearly and Out Loud to their minority customers of all kinds that you and your business do not matter to us. They may not want to say that, they may not intend to say that, but that’s what they’re saying.

So how do we move forward?

Well, here’s The Other Thing: With regards specifically to the needs of people of color, brands aren’t going to be able to run and hide for much longer anyway. To site but one resource of many, the Pew Research Center released a paper last year on the changing demographic of America. America no longer looks the same and that’s only going to increase, not decrease. When I was a kid people often postulated about an American future wherein everyone is of mixed ethnicity. Well guess what…the future is here.

For my part, I want to be – and I want Makeup to Go to be – a part of the solution. I feel that we at Makeup to Go are uniquely poised to make a contribution in the online beauty-sphere. Myself along with the other artists who contribute to the blog are all media makeup artists who’ve looked at beauty from all sides (now). And many of us are people of color ourselves. We understand the situation both as professionals and as cosmetics users. Part of the reason the blog has been on radio silence is because I am preparing to launch a significant change in how Makeup to Go is going to operate going forward. More details to come, but my vision has become more clear than it’s ever been for where I want Makeup to Go…to go. lol. My hope is to empower consumers, artists and ultimately brands through knowledge and to help create a community in which diversity in beauty is celebrated. And to have fun and celebrate each other in the process.

I hope you’ll join me.

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#MakeupMonday – Lifesavers

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Tresemme Perfectly Undone brushable hold hairspray. Lifesaver.

Whether pro or consumer or somewhere in between we’ve all been there…

You’re away from home and you realize you’re missing a needed product.

This has happened to me both personally and professionally more times than I care to even remember. Because this has happened to me a ga-zillion times, however, I’ve discovered a whole arsenal of GREAT “Lifesavers”; products that I can buy anywhere and that perform without missing a step.

Tresemme Perfectly UnDone Hairspray (pictured above)
I recently worked up in San Francisco and at the time I left LA, I was booked to do one commercial job and then also teach (I am a recurring specialty instructor at the Blush School of Makeup in SF). Neither of those jobs required me to do hair so I decided not to pack my hair kit. This was a mistake. While in the Bay I got booked for another commercial job, and this one required both makeup AND hair. UGH! I was able to borrow hair tools from the school (THANK YOU!) but I needed to get product, obviously, and Friday night the day before the shoot does not leave one with many options (particularly outside of NYC or LA). I knew I’d have to drugstore it and I KNEW I was getting Tresemme. Tresemme makes excellent pro-quality products and I can *always* find something to fit the bill. When I’m shooting I prefer brushable hairspray because I often need to change styles and I want a hairspray I can also use as a for thermal styling. Normally I use either Bumble and Bumble Does it All Spray or good ole Elnett and I will say that the Tresemme Perfectly Undone Hairspray can take the “Pepsi Challenge®” with either of those two products.

PRO TIP: Not packing any sort of a hair kit was a poor decision on my part. If you market yourself as makeup AND hair, always have a hair kit on you.

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Jane Carter Solution – Curl Defining Cream
Again on the hair tip, but this one is personal not professional. I wear my hair in its natural, afro textured state. Thusly my main hair concerns are to a) keep my hair moisturized and b) keep my hair moisturized at all times. Speaking only for myself I do not particularly worry about curl definition and I’ve been natural for well over 20 years so I am incredibly hair lazy. Therefore I don’t really use styling products unless they are also moisturizing so I can get some 2-for-1 action. Finding quality haircare (no petroleum, ‘cone-free, no crazy fragrances, etc.) for natural hair has been drama until recently but now several good brands are available in Target and other such mass-retailers. One of my faves is the Jane Carter Solution brand, which is naturally derived, features many Vegan items including the Curl Cream, and all of her products are focused on moisturizing and nourishing the hair. The Jane Carter Solution brand is in Target, Ulta, and even Whole Foods Market so it is pretty easy to find no matter where I am. The line is not just for natural coily/curly heads either, Jane Carter Solution has products for all hair types so check it. Honorable Mention: Oyin Handmade Shine and Define cream. I love Oyin Handmade and I actually started using the line well before discovering JCS BUT while Oyin is now in Target, it is not yet quite as widely distributed and Target does not yet carry the entire product line.

PRO TIP: I also keep some of the Curl Defining Cream in my kit. It’s a great styler for any sort of curly/coily/multi-cultural hair.

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Simple – Cleansing Micellar Water
To date I’ve fortunately never been so out of it that I forgot my makeup kit, but I have had times where I’ve needed some quick skincare items. Micellar waters have become all the rage and makeup artists have, in fact, been using them for years because they do work (NO they do not replace washing your face, but in a pinch they effectively remove makeup and cleanse the face without needing to rinse afterward). Everyone by now has heard of the legendary Bioderma Crealine which artists used to have to bring back with them from travels abroad, and even now you can only get it in the States online at Beautylish. The Simple brand’s Cleansing Micellar Water is vitamin-enriched and made with triple filtered water and leaves the skin refreshed and hydrated. The Simple brand micellar water is also much more affordably priced should you decide you want to incorporate micellar into your regular skincare routine.

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Alba Botanica Oil-Free Moisturizer Aloe & Green Tea
Finding an oil free moisturizer that does not contain a bunch of actives but that also actually does anything is challenging.

Finding a moisturizer that uses naturally derived ingredients but does not use an oil base is very challenging.

Joy came to my life in the form of Alba Botanica Aloe & Green Tea Oil-Free Moisturizer. When you first apply it, the texture may seem odd because it’s a kind of gel-like and slippery. Initially it may seem like it didn’t do anything but after a minute or so you will bask in how soft and supple your face feels. I also like this moisturizer because it plays nicely with Sunscreen (I don’t like moisturizers with Sunscreen in them, I’d rather layer two separate products for maximum effectiveness). This has actually become a staple item for me since first discovering it in a state of desperation.

makeup to go blog lifesavers Nuxe-Huile Prodigieuse® Multi-Purpose Dry Oil Shimmer
Nuxe – Huile Prodigieuse® Multi-Purpose Dry Oil Shimmer
I. Was. So. Stoked when I discovered that Target was now carrying select items from the Nuxe brand. Nuxe is another one of those “makeup artists love it” brands that was – not as ridiculous as Bioderma – but a little challenging to get as it started as a small brand generally available in specialty stores (like Space NK), but now Nuxe is all grown up and widely available. Like everyone else in the know, I absolutely adore the Nuxe-Huile Prodigieuse® Multi-Purpose Dry Oil Shimmer. Nuxe is known for their famous dry oil, Huile Prodigieuse for Face, Body and Hair. This is that same amazing oil base with shimmer added to it. I can do so much with this product anytime I want to add a pop of sheen (or change product texture) on body, hair and face. I first bought this on the road when I got booked to do a red carpet client and I needed to add a little bit of highlight to her face and some color and sheen to her legs. Worked a treat.

makeup to go blog lifesavers dr. bronners  18 in 1 hemp lavender pure castile liquid soap
Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap
Maaaan… listen. This stuff has saved my life more times and in more situations than I can even count. It can literally be used from head to toe for bathing, it can be used for laundry, it can wash makeup and hair brushes, it can even be used to brush your teeth (yes I’ve done it, and it’s actually fine just don’t use more than a couple of drops). This product is the definition of a lifesaver AND you can get it practically anywhere now, from Target to Trader Joe’s, and even some mainstream grocery stores. And it’s organic and comes in an array of yummy scents. 🙂 (I personally prefer the liquid version. Liquid soaps are more hygenic and more versatile IMO, but Dr. Bronner’s is available as a bar soap if that’s what you like better…)

makeup to go blog lifesavers virgin organic coconut oil
Coconut Oil
’nuff said. (I will say that I prefer organic virgin coconut oil if I can get it and considering you can even get it at WalMart these days… it’s pretty easy to get.)

Obviously, we would all prefer to have our standby, “Holy Grail” products with us at all times but let’s face it; life happens. It is good to know, however, that when for whatever reason do not have one of my tried and true regulars, there are a lot of quality products which I turn to in pinch.

Do you have some Lifesavers products I didn’t mention? Tell me in comments 🙂
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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! 🙂

#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 😉

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 🙁 )

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! 😉

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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 🙂 ). 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.

Beautylish Beauty Social Event

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We here at Makeup to Go! try to make as many beauty events as possible.

When we cannot make one, however, its likely one of our friends did attend. Such was the case with the Beautylish Beauty Social Event (sponsored by CoverFX) which took place October 22-23, 2011 in Santa Monica, CA. Friend, colleague and professional makeup artist Rebecca Liceaga – President and Founder of Bridal Makeup Artists.com – was able to attend on the second day and was so kind as to write about it the event for us. Rebecca, take it away…

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to attend Beautylish’s first ever Beauty Social Event at the Loews Beach Hotel in Santa Monica, CA. It was a chance for beauty lovers, online beauty bloggers, and dare I say a few celebrities to chat, visit and learn more about some amazing brands as well as get to know each other. In addition to some amazing panels with notables such as celebrity makeup artists Billy B, Jeffrey Paul, and Nyeesa Green, noted beauty bloggers such as Kandee Johnson and AfroBella but also brand creators Carol Shaw of LORAC Cosmetics, Jerrod Blandino of Too Faced Cosmetics, Jenny Frankel of Cover FX and Marissa Shipman from TheBalm Cosmetics. With two days chock full of presentations and panels, there was enough information, advice, tips and tricks given to last the entire year.

What was great was the fact that many of the speakers opened up the floor to questions from the audience, and were extremely candid with how the industry works, what products they love and hate and how much one has to “hustle” in this day and age. It was truly refreshing to hear this very “real” point of view.

In the lobby, Benefit cosmetics sponsored a bar with complimentary water, juice, and fun non-alcoholic drinks with cute names. Starbucks also had two coffee stations with all the fixings to make sure one could have the perfect cup of coffee. A “pink carpet” photo area was also curtained off where panelists and celebrities posed for pictures.

In the main ballroom where all the action took place, nine different booths were set up featuring some of the industry’s best-known brands that displayed new products and color collections for the Holidays as well as offering some sort of service or beauty “pick me up”. Stand outs included Urban Decay who was giving complimentary glitter tattoos with their new glitter art kit, CND offering Shellac manicures which boasts a two week no-chip formula, Cover FX giving complexion makeovers with their fabulous line of foundations and mineral powders, as well as Benefit cosmetics offering free brow waxes with their brow gurus. Talk about a beauty bonanza!

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The uber-girly ballroom was decorated with fuchsia colored backdrops dotted with silver disc designs while white couches adorned with matching fuchsia pillows were staged throughout the room. This not only made for a trendy lounge feel, but allowed bloggers and beauty enthusiasts alike to sit, chat and swap information. When not networking, attendee’s stopped by the Temptu booth for airbrushing advice and demos, Fresh for sugar lip treatments, and Sugarpill cosmetics for a serious color makeover.

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After all was said and done and the event wound down, everyone with a ticket was presented with a goody bag with tons of full size product from brands such as Cover FX, Murad, Goody, Liz Earle, Urban Decay, Beyonce’s new perfume “Pulse” as well as many, many more.

All in all, I had a great time meeting makeup artists I admire, bloggers whose reviews I enjoy, as taking in all the information and advice I acquired. I sincerely look forward to next year’s event and can’t wait to see who they have lined up!

Rebecca Liceaga is a professional makeup artist based in Los Angeles and the President and Founder of Bridal Makeup Artists .com which was voted by Fox 11’s Hot List as one of the best bridal beauty businesses in Los Angeles. She has also been featured on the TNT show “Wedding Day” and writes the beauty column for Pash Weddings. You can follow Rebecca on Twitter, @RebeccaLiceaga .