#BizTalk – Nykhor Paul and the Beauty Biz

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Screencap from the Instagram of model Nykhor Paul


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

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

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

YES THERE ARE PLENTY OF MEDIOCRE MAKEUP ARTISTS OUT THERE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ATTITUDE DETERMINES ALTITUDE

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

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

SO WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE

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

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

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#MakeupMonday – In Praise of Coral Lip Colors

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Coral in soft and bold.
© Tricia Lee Pascoe
Makeup by Tania D. Russell


Coral Lip colors. Love them love them love them. Yes, that was three “love them”s in one post. Oh wait was that a fourth? Yes. That is how much I love Coral lip colors. Why? Because it’s not orange, it’s not red and it’s not pink. It incorporates all three and because of that it is a wonderfully wearable color that works with EVERY skin tone. Now admittedly, there is a red or a pink for every skin tone as well but there is not an orange for every skin tone. Orange – despite its current popularity – is a tricky color for most skin tones. And this is coming from someone who, clearly, loves straight up Orange. If you’ve been wanting to jump in on that trend but have found it hard to do so, slide on over to Coral. Likewise, sometimes you want a hit of color without a Red statement. Again, slide on over to Coral. Want something pretty and feminine but slightly less predictable than a pink? Coral is the answer. Here are some of my favorites… (Note: For purposes of classification “Soft” colors are more sheer and “Strong” colors are more pigmented.)

Soft

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CLINIQUE Chubby Stick Intense Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm – Heftiest Hibiscus
These Chubby Sticks (available for both eyes and lips) are easily the best color cosmetic product Clinique has put out in an age. The “Intense” Chubby Sticks are the perfect “in-between” formulation. Enough pigment for the color to show (the original chubby sticks are super sheer, barely there color), but still sheer enough for everyday wearability. Heftiest Hibiscus is a true Coral that can be worn by just about everyone.

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SMASHBOX Be Legendary Lipgloss – Melondrama
I have written numerous times about my love for Smashbox’s Lip Enhancing glosses and how deeply saddened I was when the color line was downsized. Well, they have now been reincarnated as the “Be Legendary” lip glosses and I could not be happier. “Melondrama” was one of my favorite of the Be Legendary lipstick colors when it came out a couple of years ago. The lipgloss version is a sheer, shimmery, peachy coral.

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THREE CUSTOM COLOR SPECIALISTS Light Brights – Danceteria
Three Custom Color Specialists has been a favorite of pro makeup artists and those “in the know” for many years now. I have mentioned my love for their lip colors in past MTG articles. The “Light Brights” collection is just what the name suggests: bold colors in lighter, more sheer formulations. These are not sheer like a lip gloss, barely there sheer. These are bold hits of color that let your own lip show through for a remarkable punch of wearable color. I LOVE these lip colors. Danceteria is a perfect True Coral color. I wear this myself often and it has flattered every model/talent I have applied it to.

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BOBBI BROWN COSMETICS Lipgloss – Tangerine
Bobbi Brown has to be the master of taking color and making it safe for the masses. In this instance I do not mean safe as a put-down. Not all jobs allow for bright color but that should not mean a woman has to settle for a no-color nude all the time. Bobbi Brown Cosmetics lipgloss in Tangerine is a pretty, peachy coral that is soft and sophisticated. Honorable Mention: I also really love her new color “Nectar” which is a more pinky coral.

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TARTE COSMETICS Power Pigment – Tipsy
Tarte cheek stain in “Tipsy” has been one of the Number One Products in my kit since forever, so when they introduced the Power Pigment lip tint pencil version I was all over it immediately. I am very pleased to say that it does not disappoint. This is the same formula of just the right amount of orange and just the right amount of pink to create just the Perfect Coral that I love about the cheek stain, in a moisturizing and shiny lip formula. The stick format also makes it easy to carry and to apply. This is the perfect “throw it in your bag” product.

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DIOR Dior Addict Fluid Sticks – Mirage
If you have never tried them before, Dior lip colors are just…delicious. They are rich in color, creamy in texture, velvety in pigmentation. Yes they are expensive but yes they are worth it. Dior actually has quite a few Coral shades throughout their lip color collection, all of which that I have ever tried are gorgeous. The Fluid Sticks are a recent addition to the Dior Addict line. They are a lip lacquer product so they are lip gloss in feel but lipstick in color payoff. Mirage is a pinky-er (word?) Coral, slightly on the cool side. Honorable Mention: those wanting bolder color might want to check out “Artifice” which is a more in-your-face, near orange Coral.

Strong

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STILA COSMETICS Color Balm Lipstick – Avery and Valentina
Color Balm lipsticks entered the cosmetics landscape within the last couple of years and became an instant “hit” due to their ease of use and wearability. They combine the best of a lipstick (full color) and the best of a lip balm (moisturizing, feels good on the lips) for a winning combo. Amongst my favorite Color Balms are Stila’s Color Balm Lipsticks. I love all of them but in keeping with our Coral theme, “Avery” and “Valentina’ fit the bill. These both fit my definition of “strong” in the sense of they are full pigment lip colors however strong does not have to mean Loud. “Avery” is a soft pinky Coral. This would be pretty on really fair skin tones where a bright Coral might be too overpowering, or if you are a darker skin tone like myself you can play with a high-contrast lip color by going with something this fair and pastel-ish. “Valentina” is for the bold. Stila describes it as “orange poppy” which to me equals Coral. It is my favorite of all of Stila’s Color Balm Lipsticks.

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REVLON Super Lustrous Lipsticks – Coralberry
“Coralberry” is an absolute classic and for less than $10 you cannot go wrong. Like “Fire and Ice” and “Cherries in the Snow” it is guaranteed at least one female relative in your family owned this back in “the day”. While it has a distinctively retro feel to it, its peachy pinky Coral-ness is modern enough to make “Coralberry” one of Revlon’s most popular selling colors to this day. (Sidenote: I have “Coralberry”, “Fire and Ice”, and “Cherries in the Snow” in my kit. Always have, always will. They are fantastic lip colors.)

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REVLON Colorburst Matte Balm – Audacious
If you haven’t guessed, it is my opinion that Revlon makes fantastic lip color products. They are easily some of the best you can buy at the drugstore level. What is awesome about Revlon is that even though they have been around forever, they are constantly introducing new products into their color line (without discontinuing the classics!). If you want to jump on the modern trend of Matte lipcolors, Revlon has you covered. “Audacious” is a matte balm, so where matte colors can tend to feel dry, this formulation feels moisturizing on the lips. As a bonus, the pencil style applicator makes applying a bold pop of color a breeze.

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OCC MAKEUP Lip Tar Matte – Grandma
FACT: As a makeup artist, “Grandma” by Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics is one of two lip colors I probably use more than any other lip colors I own (the other is “Trick”, also by OCC Makeup). I do not necessarily use it straight (sometimes but not always), like many makeup artists what I love about the OCC Makeup Lip Tars is their versatility and blend-ability with other lip colors. “Grandma” is a pastel-y pinky Coral in the same vein as Revlon’s “Coralberry”. It has that same retro type feel (hence the name). However “Grandma” is a full frontal hit of color, not at all for the faint of heart. OCC Lip Tars were amongst the first wave of highly pigmented bold, loud color lip colors that are now quite popular. Not interested in wearing it straight? If you have a pink that you want to “Coral-ize”, a red you want a little less Red or a sheer color you want to add some “umph” to, try mixing in a little “Grandma”. Honorable Mention: “Queen”. When “Grandma” first came out it was a little bit more of a bolder, orange-y reddish Coral. “Queen” is the closest you can get to that original “Grandma” color. It is great for those on whom a pastel-y color does not work, or for those who want a TADDOW! Coral color.

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HOURGLASS COSMETICS Femme Rouge Velvet Crème Lipstick – Muse
Hourglass is one of my favorite new cosmetics brands in fact look for a story on them coming soon. Their Velvet Creme Lipsticks are just that; velvety, creamy, lushly pigmented and gorgeous. “Muse” is a True Coral. What I impressed me about this product is not only is the color gorgeous but it truly feels different from a traditional lipstick. It is feather-weight and truly moisturizing. Lots of lipsticks say they are moisturizing but I still find myself reaching for that lip balm to wear underneath. This really did not feel like I was wearing lipstick, so if you are like me and hate the feel of lipstick give the Hourglass a try. And if you really, really hate lipstick, “Muse” comes in other formulations as well 😉

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LIMECRIME Velvetines – Suedeberry
Like the original OCC Lip Tars, Lime Crime built its name on over-the-top, bold, pigmented lipsticks in unusual colors. As the line has expanded, more wearable but still boldly pigmented colors and formulations have been added into the mix. One of the best additions to the line, in my opinion, are the Velvetines which go on liquid and dry to a completely matte finish. “Suedeberry” is one of my favorite of the Velvetines. It is a bold True Coral in a matte finish. When you are dealing with bold color, not only is matte more modern but it is also a bit more flattering (exception being if you have a lot of dry lines around the mouth area, but there are ways to work around that…). Once set, these do not move or transfer and they are long-wearing. Perfect for a night out when demure is not the goal. Special Note: I absolutely ADORE this color on African American skin tones.

#MakeupMonday – Makeup for Breakout Prone Skin

Confession time: I have breakout-prone skin.

By breakouts, I mean acne.* I have battled with it my entire life right up to this current moment. It is overall much better now but my skin can still go from fabulously perfect and radiant to woefully broken out in seemingly a moment’s notice. Whether you are suffering from teenage acne or if you are like me and you are having “adult” acne, it sucks. That said, with proper care, product and makeup technique you really can lessen the impact of acne. Here then are some tips on skincare and makeup for breakout prone skin.

1 ) (Mostly) Everything You’ve Heard Is True
All the basics you have heard over the years about NOT PICKING at acne breakouts, keeping your skin clean, keep your hands off of your face, changing pillow cases, etc. are true. Additionally – and you should do this whether you have acne-prone skin or not – keep your makeup tools clean. Also, eating well and adequate hydration is always the basis of good skin care, acne or no. (Science says that it is a myth that certain foods cause acne. I’m not a doctor so I will not go there, but suffice to say my skin begs to differ.)

2 ) Cleanse Well but Do Not Over Do It
One thing people with acne prone skin often tend to do is go overboard trying to “dry” their skin out. As a makeup artist it is very common for me to see skin that is both oily and dehydrated. You need something that thoroughly cleanses, but does not strip the skin.

When Not Broken Out –
When I’m in maintenance mode, I like a non medicated cleanser like Alba Botanica’s Good and Clean Daily Detox Foaming Cleanser. Clears away excess sebum (oil), lessens redness and irritation but leaves the skin feeling refreshed and not overly tight. Good for sensitive skin as well (which my skin also can be).

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#MakeupMonday – The Basics – Makeup Brushes

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a selection of brushes from one of my many brush rolls…


Returning to our series The Basics, I decided to write about makeup brushes.

I would say in my private lessons/teaching this is the item I’m asked about third/fourth most often (behind mascara, foundation and concealer). For makeup artists, however, this is the A-#1 priority. Bottom line while, yes, some products are obviously better than others, with the right tools pretty much any makeup can be applied seamlessly and flawlessly. I love my brushes. LOVE my brushes. In fact I wrote an ode to one of them when I lost it. That is how attached artists become to their brushes. Once you get used to using them and see how the right tool can change your makeup life, you too will be come attached. For this installment, I will be discussing purchasing brushes. Then in a future installment, I will talk about using them. Here then are The Basics Makeup Brushes.

What To look For

When considering a new brush I look at

– type of hair/fiber used
– shape
– density
– ferrule and handle

The type of hair and/or fiber used helps to determine how to use the brush, as does the shape and density of the hairs/fibers. The last two things I mentioned – the ferrule and the handle – have to do with the construction of the brush and how long it will last. The ferrule is the metal part between the hairs and the handle. High quality brushes have hairs that go all the way down the ferrule and are both glued and clamped into place, hence much less shedding. I was taught that you should be able to take a brush and pull at the hairs and if none come out you know you have a good brush.

Everyone on the Planet makes a cosmetics brush these days. Some are amazing, some are very good and some are turrble. Here are some Pros and Cons of some popular brands I have tried, both “pro” and retail.

Crown Brush – Crown is a manufacturer of brushes who offers professional makeup brushes online and at the trade shows. PROS: Crown Brushes are very cost-friendly. If you are a ‘baller on a budget’ Crown is a pretty good option. Also because they are very inexpensive price-wise, you can try a lot of different styles of brushes (different kinds of eye brushes, different kinds of foundation brushes, different kinds of powder brushes, etc.) and see what you prefer *before* making a larger financial commitment. CONS: I have had Crown brushes completely fall apart on me and/or shed like crazy. The hairs are short and glued in place so you have to be very careful as to how you wash them. If any water seeps up the ferrule and loosens that glue, it’s a goner. To their credit, when I tweeted that 5 Crown foundation brushes I purchased had all fallen apart in less than a month, someone emailed me and offered to replace them so they do have good customer service and stand by their products.

crown brush dual sided ac011makeup to go blog tania d russell the basics makeup brushes
Best Pick: AC011 Deluxe Double Sided Blender – a dual ended synthetic fiber foundation / concealer brush.

Smashbox Cosmetics – A lot of women know Smashbox from QVC but they’ve actually been in the Pro landscape for a number of years. Smashbox is a popular consumer-friendly brand and for good reason: they offer pro-driven, pro quality cosmetics at good prices. I have noticed that they’ve changed a bit and become a bit more consumer oriented since being bought by Estée Lauder, but so far the quality of the cosmetics themselves has not changed. As much as I love the brand, sad to say I do not love their brushes, as I have mentioned before. PROS: the Fan brush is great for cleaning away eyeshadow fallout, and has lasted well for several years. CONS: every other brush in the set I was given fell apart. That was a few years back so I do not know if anything has changed, but quality brushes will last you a lifetime. Let’s hope they have re-designed their brush line.

smashbox cosmetics fan #22 makeup to go blog tania d russell the basics makeup brushes
Best Pick: Fan Brush #22

Royal and Langnickel – Like Crown, Royal and Langnickel manufactures brushes (both fine art and cosmetic) and offers professional makeup brushes online, at the trade shows and at various Pro makeup shops if you happen to live near any of those.PROS: The SILK Pro collection line offers very good quality at a very good price. All of my R&L SILK Pro line brushes hold their shape well after multiple uses/cleanings, they all still feel good after multiple uses/cleanings, and I am experiencing very minimal/occasional shedding. They are also one of the few places I can get a tapered, natural-hair lip brush (my preference, gives me much more control over my application than most synthetic lip brushes do). CONS: Not all of Royal and Langnickel’s brushes are on the same level. As I said above I recommend the SILK Pro line of brushes. Last year, R & L introduced the Revolution™ brush line to their collection. Sad to say, but I’m not a fan. The Revolution™ brushes are a synthetic fiber brush line, presumably to capture the growing vegan brush market, but in my opinion, there are much better vegan options available. The couple of Revolution™ brushes I have felt odd to the touch initially, before I even used them, and then really changed texture after I washed them. I would definitely suggest trying a brush or two before committing to an entire set.

royal langnickel powder makeup to go blog tania d russell the basics makeup brushes
Best Pick: C100 Natural Hair Powder & C655 Pointed Natural Hair Lip

Stila Cosmetics – Another popular brand that started in the Pro sphere (Stila was founded by artist Jeanine Lobell) and has become popular amongst consumers via QVC, Stila has long been known for making very good brushes. PROS: Good construction and overall quality materials used. Made to last. CONS: I, personally, am not a fan of the retractable brushes. I would stick to the original, long-handled brushes.

stila cosmetics #9 makeup to go blog tania d russell the basics makeup brushes
Best Pick: #9 All Over Blend Brush Stila’s legendary crease/lid blending brush.

Esum Brushes – Esum as far as I am aware is a relatively new entrant in the brush world but I have to say I LOVE them. They are the brush line of Muse Beauty Pro which is a beauty store & education resource out of San Francisco (my NYC makeup artist friend Margina Dennis had to point out to me that Esum is Muse spelled backwards. D’Oh!).PROS: Quality construction and materials and the brushes are also – in my opinion – very lux in appearance. They also feel good in-hand. CONS: Decided price increase from the previous brands I have mentioned. Yes my friends, really good brushes are quite pricey.

W35 Large Round-Angle eye contour makeup to go blog tania d russell the basics makeup brushes
Best Pick: W35 Large Round-Angle eye contour brush – can be used for crease or all over the lid.

NARS Cosmetics – If you read Makeup to Go with any regularity, you know I could go on about All Things Nars. PROS: Generally speaking, Nars tools are excellent. The three stand-outs are the three Japanese brushes NARS has; the Ita Kabuki, the Yachiyo Kabuki, and the Botan kabuki brushes. These all have very unique shapes designed to various fulfill specific purposes. CONS: The travel brush set retails for $75, the individual brushes range from $21-$75. They are excellent brushes, so if you can afford them, get them. However, they are a financial commitment and some of the designs are not the most consumer-friendly in terms of “How do I use this?”.

nars yachiyo kabuki makeup to go blog tania d russell the basics makeup brushes
Best Pick: Yachiyo Kabuki Brush #27 – It will change the way you apply blush (if memory serves, Shu Uemura had a brush like this at one time, and see note below about Hakuhodo).

Shu Uemura – the first time I walked into a Shu store early in my career as a makeup artist, it changed my life. The entire perimeter of the store was filled with rows and rows and rows of the most amazing and gorgeous brushes I’d ever seen. Changed. My. Life. PROS: You will never encounter a brush more exquisite than a Shu Uemura brush, period. CONS: When Shu Uemura USA was bought out by L’Oreal, they closed all the Shu Stores leaving only the website behind to buy product in the US, and they radically changed the product line such that many of Shu’s best are no longer available here. Quel dommage!!

shu uemura natural hair powder makeup to go blog tania d russell the basics makeup brushes
Best Pick: 20h Natural Brush – an angled powder brush for highlighting, contouring and shading.

Hakuhodo – I am sure it has not escaped your attention that the last few brushes I have mentioned have all been Japanese brushes/brands. This is because the Japanese are well known for the quality of their brushes and their innovative brush designs. I was hipped up to Hakuhodo a few years back by my friend, NYC makeup artist Kim Weber. Hakuhodo manufactures their brushes and in fact, if rumor is to be believed, back before Estee Lauder when MAC brushes were really really good… well… you get my drift. I own brushes from the S100 and J series so those are all I can speak to. PROS: Along with Shu Uemura, these are some of the most exquisite brushes on the planet. All of the Hakuhodo brushes I have are of excellent design, quality and construction and they are beautiful to look at. The primary difference between the various series Hakuhodo offers seems to be in the handle and in the brush hairs used. CONS: They have several different “series” of brushes so can be a bit confusing/daunting to discern the difference and select from the myriad of brushes they have available. Also, it is undeniable that Hakuhodo is a very expensive brush line overall, even their more “basic” brush series are still pricey. Hakuhodo brushes are all the rage right now in the online makeup world. I do not disagree that they are of amazing quality. I do disagree that everyone needs to invest in getting them. I only use them for certain applications (celeb & editorial), and in controlled environments. I cannot lose or damage a set of brushes that cost me SEVERAL hundred dollars to collect. These brushes are investment pieces. For the consumer, I really do not know why a non-pro would buy brushes this expensive. However, if you are a total makeup maven and buying product is how you treat yourself, go for it and have a good time. 🙂

hakuhodo pointed powder makeup to go blog tania d russell the basics makeup brushes
Best Pick: S103 Pointed Powder Blush brush, J104 Round Powder brush. NOTE: Hakuhodo also has traditional Japanese brushes which means they have Yashiyo & Ita design brushes like NARS, and Hakuhodo has them in different sizes.

Vegan Options
Vegan brushes are becoming increasingly popular. I do not mind admitting this is an area of internal turmoil for me because I am a vegetarian. So the veg in me would like to switch to an entirely cruelty free brush roll someday. The makeup artist in me, however, needs brushes to perform the way I need them to perform and thus far, natural hair is still the winner, in my opinion. That said, there are more and more good alternatives coming out regularly.

obsessive compulsive cosmetics powder makeup to go blog tania d russell the basics makeup brushes
Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics – David Klasfeld, the founder of OCC Makeup is vegan but also a makeup artist so he knows how brushes need to perform, and it shows in his brush line. These are by far the most hair-like vegan brushes I’ve tried so far, and the brushes apply makeup pretty darn close to the way natural hair brushes do across the board. Kudos to OCC Makeup for this great brush line. PROS: Very close to the performance of natural hair brushes, I particularly like the lip brush. CONS: n/a – I think it’s the best of it’s kind.

bdellium tools pink bambu series makeup to go blog tania d russell the basics makeup brushes
Bdellium Tools – I haven’t gotten to play with this line as much as I’d like yet, but so far everything I’ve tried has been quite good and they have a moderate price-point (about the same as Royal & Langnickel) so they are affordable. They make both traditional and Vegan brushes, and I have – and like – some of both. PROS: Speaking specifically of the Vegan brushes- the Bambu series as they are called – they do not feel quite as hair like as the OCC brushes, however they do pick up and distribute product well. The handles are also made of sustainable Bamboo, which feels good in-hand and which is great for the environment. And as with all of the Bdellium Tools I’ve tried thus far they are well constructed. CONS: And this is a big one for me: Why are all the fibers colored???? There are 3 different Bambu series; Green, Yellow and Pink. Why is this necessary? I don’t mind if the handles are colored but having the fibers in different colors is an extreme turn off to me.

Old Reliables I Did Not Previously Mention
As I said at the start, this lists a selection of what’s hot on the e-streets and my own personal choices. That said there a couple of brush brands, in particular, that have served legions of women for many years, and those are Bobbi Brown Cosmetics brushes, and Trish McEvoy brushes. Both lines have been around since forever, and were amongst the first to bring professional quality brushes to the masses. I do not have either brand in my kit, but I know artists who do and have done so for years. Both brands are a bit pricey, Trish McEvoy particularly so, but they are the kind of brushes you buy ONCE and then you’re set for makeup life. I recommend both to my private clients frequently. They are both great for the client who wants to buy one, complete, easy-to-use set of brushes and never think have to about brushes again.

As I said, in a future installment I plan to discuss how I use brushes and decide which brushes are the best for which jobs. In the meantime if you want to learn more, Beautylish had a great feature on brushes not too long ago, written by The Powder Group Director of Artistry and Education, James Vincent. Click Here to check that article out

Yep, it’s Tuesday. Something has been going on with my web host’s servers so we have been having some tech problems here in MTG-land. Better late than never… hope you enjoyed. 🙂

#MakeupMonday – Makeup Roundup 2012/2013

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OK. Back to the fun stuff; talking about product!

For our makeup roundup 2012/2013, we are taking a slightly different approach. We here at Makeup to Go, like most other makeup artists, meet new makeup products all the time. Many products become acquaintances, few become friends, and even fewer still be come Lovers (Kit Must Haves). For Makeup to Go’s inaugural “Best of” list, we’re talking only about the products that really stuck as “Lovers”. Therefore, some products may not be “according to Hoyle” brand new, but instead they are the products that cemented themselves into our kits in 2012. As a bonus, we are projecting which products we’d like to get to know better for 2013.

Delia’s Picks

Best of 2012

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Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics LipTar in Anime
A powerful punch of pink (nice alliteration, huh?) that is also pretty universally flattering. I love this one, too.

makeup to go blog makeup los angeles makeup san francisco LOreal Voluminous Smoldering eyliner makeup roundup 2012 2013
L’Oreal Voluminous Smoldering Liner in Black
Big, fat, juicy and smooth eyeliner that is truly BLACK. Reminiscent of Benefit Cosmetic’s “BadGal” eyeliner.

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LORAC Pro Palette
Delia and I decided that this palette of neutral colors in both matte and shimmer formulations is not only the business, it is the Entire Corporation.

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Inglot Cream Blushes 87 & 82
Inglot has been formulating for other brands for years so when they started selling their own cosmetics line buzz grew immediately, and thus far all products tried have lived up to the hype.

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Bdellium Tools Contour brush
Rapidly growing in popularity amongst professional artists, Bdellium Tools have become synonymous with affordable excellence.

Looking Forward in 2013

Sam Fine Supreme Color Collection for Fashion Fair Cosmetics
See description below in “Tania’s Picks”

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Tom Ford Beauty Eye Color Quads
It is easy to become fixated on the hefty price tag, but so far everything in the Tom Ford collection of cosmetics delivers.

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Prtty Peaushun Skin Tight Body Lotion
I love collaborating on my blog with other artists because I, too, get to learn about new things. I’ve never heard of this product before, but I am highly intrigued to try it now.

Tania’s Picks

Best of 2012

LORAC Pro Palette
See description above in “Delia’s Picks”. LOVE!

EDIT: Did I manage to leave off my #1 product discovery of 2012? Yep! Sure Did!

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Dedra (Formerly Simple Beaute by Dedra)
Clearly I was really sleepy when I was writing this article. I cannot believe I left this off! But anyway, yes, as I have previously mentioned (waxed rhapsodic over), the foundations are absolutely fantastic for both photographic use and street wear. Dedra was founded by celebrity makeup artist Dedra Whitt, and the newly renamed line also has 6 new products coming out very soon. Look for a full feature + interview on “Dedra” shortly.(photo is of the original foundation stick)

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Tarte Cosmetics Amazonian Clay Waterproof Cream Eyeshadow
For years pepole have been rightfully afraid of cream eyeshadow because of their tendency to fade and slip. Modern formulations of cream shadows have corrected these issues. Not only do these Tarte Amazonian Clay cream eyeshadows not cause makeup to fade away faster, I often use them as a base to make eyeshadow last longer and eliminate creasing. AND unlike a lot of shadow primers, these eyeshadows are moisturizing instead of drying on delicate eyelids.

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Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter
I always love products like these, I have previously professed my love for the Korres Lip Butters. Like the Korres butters, I use them for natural beauty shoots, lifestyle shoots, kids grooming shoots AND on myself. These feel fantastic and give a nice pop of color. Revlon’s ColorBurst Lip Butters are yet another item in Revlon’s long line of excellent lip color products.

makeup to go blog makeup los angeles makeup san francisco ROUGE PUR COUTURE Vernis À Lèvres Glossy Stain makeup roundup 2012 2013
Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Vernis À Lèvres Glossy Stain
Like most women, I experience a disconnect between the hope and the reality of most lip stains. The hope is that the lipcolor will be comfortable and long-lasting. The reality is either or; either it is creamy enough to feel good at which point it does not last long, or it is long lasting but it is drying and feels weird. I discovered the YSL lipstains last year and haven’t looked back. The Rouge Pur Couture Vernis À Lèvres fulfills in both hope and reality with a nice glossy finish to boot!

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NARS Larger Than Life Longwear Eyeliner
I do not remember when exactly these came out (I think maybe late 2011) but they became a kit staple in 2012. Like lip-stains, long wear eyeliners often present a dilemma. You want eyeliner that lasts, but you need eyeliner to be smooth and glide on easily and smudge when desired. Nars’ Larger Than Life Longwear Eyeliner is smooth and creamy, easily blend-able and stays put once set. And it comes in fantastic colors.

Looking Forward in 2013

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Sam Fine Supreme Color Collection for Fashion Fair Cosmetics
Sam Fine has been working with Fashion Fair on updating the line for a few years now. His latest collection features a brilliant array of colors geared towards the needs of African American – and other deeper complexioned – women. Not familiar with Fashion Fair? I’ll be featuring a full review of this collection, and giving a history on the line soon!

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Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Colours
I’m a little late to the game on these, but they are fab. The formulation is luxurious, the texture is creamy and smooth and the colors are rich and radient. And for the “home user” the roll up stick makes application a breeze. The late Nixie Cosmetics had a product similar to this back in the day. This is the ultimate upgrade.

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NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer
I was in the NARS store in LA yesterday and these were on display although not yet available for sale. They aren’t even on the Nars site yet, hence no link. But these are a liqui-cream concealer in a tube and they were amazing when I played with them. You can read more about them on the Temptalia blog, and I’m sure I’ll talk about them more when I get my hands on them.

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Bobbi Brown Skin Perfecting Retouching Powder
Makeup artists have long known the power of colored powders. Not colors to “match your skintone” which, depending on your skintone, can often be a very bad idea – but colors to enhance, correct and finish your makeup applications. Theatrical brands (Ben Nye, Mehron, Kryolan, etc) have long had these powders available, but now Bobbi Brown is bringing them to the mass market. It will likely take a moment to get used to using these powders, but the payoff is worth it.

and not a product but…

NARS & TOPSHOP STORES OPEN IN LOS ANGELES – WOOHOOOOO!
Nars opened a boutique on Melrose in October 2012 and TopShop opened in the Grove in February 2013. YES YES YES!!!!

Now you tell us: What new products or brands are you looking most forward to so far in 2013?