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 – 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 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?

#MakeupMonday Special Edition – Notes from the NYC Makeup Show 2011

TheMakeupShowNYC the NYC Makeup Show 2011

the Makeup Show NYC/ © Kim Weber

If you follow my blog for my creative industries clients where I talk about the jobs I’m currently doing, you ‘ll note that I’ve been working like a maniac of late. As such, I did not get to go back east to hit the NYC edition of Metropolitan Events The Makeup Show. Have no fear, however, because friends of Makeup to Go exist in all parts of the globe.

Our friend and comrade NYC Makeup Artist Kim Weber was there front and center for the NYC Makeup Show 2011. While she was only able to attend one day due to her own busy work schedule, that one day was chocked full of Makeup Goodness that we thought you might be interested in. Kim was so kind as to let us repost part of her blog post for our Makeup to Go readers. Kim, take it away!…

The Haul...
I knew that I would only be able to spend one day at The Makeup Show as I had booked a job for Monday. I had gone through my kit and wrote down a list of the must haves that I needed to replenish and what new products I wanted to see and check out. So, basically, I came with a plan of attack.
I had already reunited with ALOT of my makeup artist friends that I had not seen in a while the night before and if it was anything like in years past, I knew that it was going to get packed, hot and crowded fairly quickly.

On my list I had:

1. lip brushes from Hakuhodo
2. an artist pack of Beauty Blender Sponges
3. 2 shade refills of my Graftobian HD foundation
4. Elegant Faces brush shampoo
5. Goe Oil
6. Embryolisse (I hoard it so I never run out…)
7. replenish 4 shades of Kevyn Aucoin foundation
8. Kevyn Aucion lash curlers

I had wanted to check out:

1. NARS even though I usually get supplied via their online service and they opened a store here in NY on Bleecker, I still wanted to see if they had anything new, fun & exciting debuting at the show

2. YSL. Nothing else needs to be said. It’s YSL, I’ve been a long time fan and devotee of several items in this line and for reasons aformentioned in number 1, I wanted to see what the deal was there

3. Anything else that caught my eye that I deemed as necessary. Being a seasoned artist, I’m quite specific about what it is that I’m looking for, hence having a plan of attack to make a beeline for exactly what I needed…

I managed to get through and conquer everything on that list with the exception of No.2 as all of the artist packs were sold out by the time I got to a booth that was selling them and No.4 as the vendor wasn’t at the show. It’s been out of stock since forever so it brings me to wonder if they are even making this product anymore as its my favorite organic shampoo soap block with which to wash my brushes…

Let’s now go through the rest of that list in order, shall we?

-Number one: Hakuhodo
Check. I even picked up some other brushes from them. I’ve been using Hakuhodo brushes for MANY years and I’m happy that I can count on them being there. Honestly, they are one of the main reasons that I even bother to go to the show. Since I’m based in NY, I have access to nearly all of the other brands at this show except for them so thats why they are my number one draw. I really only needed to get some newer lipbrushes, (as I wanted some with covers) but I ended up buying about 5 new eyeshadow brushes in varying shapes and sizes as well. Seemingly, I can never leave that booth without spending less than a few hundred dollars. The staff and I are on a first name basis so we both get happy each time we see each other.

-Number two: Beauty Blender Sponge
…sadly was already addressed so I will have to get in contact with the Beauty Blender people and rectify that situation STAT. I don’t always use sponges, but when I do, 90% of the time, its a beauty blender.

-Number three: Graftobian HD Glamour Creme Foundations
I didn’t end up getting the HD refill as I forgot to write down which shade I needed; I mistakenly just wrote down the palette. However upon perusal of their booth, I was delighted to come across their new Super Palettes…

Let’s discuss for a moment why these make me happy. Firstly I love the Graftobian High Def Glamour Creme foundations. I found them when I initially started upon the journey to find something that closely approximated the old Shu Uemura Nobara foundaion. It’s no secret that I love cream foundation and tend to use it a majority of the time. I like their coverage, their performance and their color selection is thorough and its perfect for hi-def. I also like the fact that they make one of the best dark skin foundation palettes that I’ve seen in a looong time. I’m also a big palette fan as ANY time I can condense something to take up less space in my kit, than I do so. I like how they have 18 shades in each of the palettes as they used to only be available in the 5 well palette. Yay for having every color you could possibly need and for having it in such a portable handy dandy, at-the-ready thin palette (with a mirror). Since the booth was sharing the aisle with Make Up For Ever, it was pretty mobbed and I was only able to get a snapshot of 2 of the 3 foundation palettes. Shown above is the Super cool palette on the left and the Super palette warm on the right. It’s also available in a third option: Super palette neutral. I’ll be picking up one of each of these to put into my other makeup kit…

-Number four: Elegant Faces Brush Shampoo
Bueller? Bueller? Frye??….Frye? If anyone has seen this can you please let me know. I feel like its becoming one of those Where’s Waldo moments as I’ve been searching for it for at least a year. Please see the aforementioned intro paragraph if your conused to what I’m referring to here…

-Number five: Goe Oil
Check…I discovered Goe Oil last year when I went to replenish my hand refresher. (Yes, that Jao, the amazing hand refresher people) In addition to the products, I love the principal and the philosophy behind the entire Jao Brands line: (small, family owned & operated, passion and research are put into each product, they smell delicious etc…) I also get a ton of compliments any time someone gets a whiff of my hands when I’m doing their makeup. Couple that with the fact that I love the smell of lavender and well, you have what initially made me fall in love with Jao’s hand refresher about 9 years ago but I’m sidetracking. I apologize. I have a thing for body sheens, balms, creams, highligthers, lotions, oils, potions, gleams and the etcetera. I’ll try anything on my quest to find the perfect body product. Goe Oil was the personification of my ‘unicorn’. It’s super moisturizing (it delivers the moisture of a body butter or a balm but its not heavy) and last longer than just a regular lotion. It’s packaged in a tube so that should give you an idea of its consistency. Sometimes on the body, when I’m not using it as a basic moisturizer I use it as I would a highlighter; just on the ‘high’ spots, down the center of the shin, on the shoulders (you get the idea). It imparts a well moisturized and lightly oiled or sheened look without the mess of say, baby oil (stylists won’t kill you) and its not in the least bit greasy. it leaves your skin super soft plus it smells like heaven. AND you can use it in your hair, or on your cuticles, it’s not just for faces but also can be used on spare places (sorry, I was getting all Dr. Seuss-y)….

….. want to read the rest? We know you do! It’s a great article so catch it in full at Beauty Beauty by Kim Weber
Beauty Beauty by Kim Weber