#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! 🙂

#MakeupWerks – Bisous Magazine Metallics Editorial

You speak, I listen. Amongst the requests I get most often for the blog is to see more of my work. As most freelancers I am all about shameless self promotion so I am happy to oblige! ;). Let’s start with a breakdown of my Bisous Magazine Metallics Editorial, currently in the Spring 2014 edition.

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© K. Szatmari / KSZPhotos
Makeup only by Tania D. Russell
Spring 2014 Bisous Magazine
click the dots for product info

This editorial is in the current (Spring 2014) edition of Bisous Magazine (click to go to the magazine). Clearly the theme for this shoot was metallics makeup. I wanted to keep the makeup looking like metal rather than going in a glittery direction so I used a lot of product in non-traditional ways. You can click around the photos for some examples of what I used and where. For the skin, I also wanted to maintain a creamy, “molten” texture. I worked primarily with liquids/creams to maintain the texture and not let the skin get matte but I also did not want the skin to fly into a shiny direction. From there Kate worked her magic by desaturating the skin/hair tones so that the focus stayed on the makeup. Hair was done by the amazing Caile Noble (represented by Jed Root). Funny Side Note: We could not book a manicurist for this shoot so guess who whipped out her trusty Black nail polish. This Girl! LOL!

Many thanks to all of the fabulous cosmetics lines I used for this shoot:

KOH GEN DO Maifanshi Moisture Foundation
KOH GEN DO Maifanshi Liquid Treatment Concealer
KOH GEN DO Maifanshi Face Powder
BECCA COSMETICS Shimmering Skin Perfector
LORAC Pro Eyeshadow Palette
ELLIS FAAS Ellis Eyes Lights
STILA COSMETICS Magnificent Metals Foil Finish Eyeshadow
URBAN DECAY Eyeshadows
NARS Eyeliner and Lipcolor
GIVENCHY Magic Kohl Eyeliner
DOLCE GABBANA Glam Liner Intense Liquid Eyeliner
– A few other “secret products” I didn’t list in the magazine. LOL
and good ol’ MAYBELLINE GREAT LASH Mascara cos that’s my favorite!

Tania D. Russell is a career media makeup artist based in Los Angeles and working throughout the West Coast. Her clients include WalMart, BCBGeneration, Toyota and Pottery Barn Teen and her work has been seen in publications such as Elle Sweden, Marie Claire UK, InStyle Magazine, TeenProm and Runner’s World. You can see her media makeup website at Makeupwerks.com , which she promises to update at some point this Millennia…

#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.)


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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 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.


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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 I Have My Eye On February 2014

Everyday I receive a zillion emails from all the various cosmetics companies regarding new product releases, new collections, and new ways to entice makeup mavens like ourselves. Periodically I like to sift through the endless piles and highlight some things that particularly catch my eye. Here is the makeup I have my eye on February 2014 (and I’ll try to do these every couple of months or so…)

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Make Up For Ever Second Skin HD Blush
– These cream blushes launched Spring 2014. The “HD” comes into play because the creams are supposed to blend into the skin, leaving the appearance of a natural flush and no visible texture.

Or they could just be another nice cream blush. We’ll see…

If you are thinking to yourself “…didn’t MUFE have an HD Blush already?”, you are correct. The liquid-cream in the pump tube was discontinued last year. If nothing else, these cream blushes in the more traditional compact should be easier to use.
(Side Note: at IMATS one of the things I missed but was interested to see was celebrated UK film artist Sian Richards presentation on HD makeup. A former student of mine went and reported that she demonstrated one half the face flawlessly for HD using “traditional” makeup and the other half all wrong using “HD” makeup. Translation: MUFE is an excellent brand and I’m sure these blushes are lovely, however “HD makeup” is on the verge of jumping the shark as a meaningless marketing term…)

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Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Plastic Passion Collection
– Another Spring 2014 launch, OCC launched a new series of LipTars and nail polishes in bold, vibrant colors. In reading the descriptions, most of the colors do not sound like they will be particularly useful to me (baby blue, lavender purple, etc) although I am interested in the new matte formula LipTars (original LipTars were pretty matte so I’m hoping for something similar). I’m a big supporter of OCC so I will at least go take a look (they hit online at occmakeup.com and sephora.com this past Saturday, February 1st. Hopefully they will land in brick-and-mortar stores soon).

THE OTHER LAUNCH from OCC which I love are the new Colour Pencils (pictured above, click here to see on website). If you were able to wade through the hoarding masses to make it to the OCC booth at IMATS, you were able to see these babies live and in person. Some colors are safe for lips and eyes, and some are just for lips but these versatile, creamy, highly pigmented pencils are a great new addition to the OCC Makeup line. I look forward to playing around with them.

makeup to go blog makeup los angeles makeup san francisco tania d russell Makeup I Have My Eye On February 2014 tarte cosmetics

Tarte Cosmetics
– Tarte is one of my favorite brands and they have a whole parcel of product releasing Spring 2014. Of particular note to me is the addition of new Cheek Stain colors (as well as new packaging for all of the Cheek Stains), and a new series of Lipsurgence pencils called “Power Pigment”. The new Cheek Stain colors are “Fearless” which is a coral-y pink color, and “Blushing Bride” which looks to be a **perfect** rose pink. “Tipsy”, a perfect peachy-pink, has long been my fave of the Tarte cheek stains so I look forward to seeing how these new colors stack up. The Power Pigment Lipsurgence pencils are “juicy”, glossy hits of lip color based on the Tarte Cheek Stains. Theres a “Tipsy” Lipsurgence. There. Is. A. “Tispy”. Lipsurgence. I’m telling y’all now – I’ll be getting all of the Power Pigments.

makeup to go blog makeup los angeles makeup san francisco tania d russell Makeup I Have My Eye On February 2014 narsissist collection

NARS Cosmetics
– So a funny thing happened a couple of weeks ago; I get a message from a friend of mine that NARS is coming out with a palette of eyeshadows called the NARSissist Collection. “NARSissist” is the handle of NARS highly popular social media feed (Twitter & Instagram) and if you are not a follower I suggest you rectify that. In any event my friend and I conclude that this palette will sell out quickly and we both order. Then the link disappeared. I went back not one week later to order one for a friend and the link was GONE. I email customer service, and I’m told the product is having a full launch in February. Last week I get an email from NARS that they are hosting NARSissist palette launches in the NARS boutiques. I couldn’t attend the LA event, I was traveling, but the event was Saturday, February 1st so I was expecting to see the palette back up on the NARS site shortly thereafter. Nope.

It’s looking like something changed and The NARSissist palette is now a Sephora exclusive, available here. OR if you are a Pro Card holder and want to buy these at your discount you can order from your local NARS boutique (as long as you are already in the database).

This is a gorgeous, gorgeous palette. I love the selection of wearable colors and the mix of matte, satin and shimmer. NARS eye shadows are beautifully formulated and are simultaneously nicely pigmented yet creamy and blend-able. To Reiterate: This is a simply gorgeous palette. In this the era of the “Neutral Eyeshadow Palette” which includes everyone from the LORAC Pro palette, to the Two-Faced chocolates palette, to the Smashbox palette, and of course the series that started them all Urban Decay’s Naked palettes, I have no doubt that the NARSissist palette will prove to be the One Palette to Rule Them All.

PS – There’s a NARSissist blush palette as well.
PPS – I did not include the Viseart neutral palette amongst those other palettes because A ) it predates those other palettes by a decade, and B ) it’s completely different and in its own category.

#MakeupMonday – The Basics – Makeup Brushes

makeup to go blog tania d russell the basics makeup brushes

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. 🙂