Friday, August 26, 2016

Reader Questions about New Clients, Certifications and Writing

I've gotten so many messages of support and encouragement (thank you!!), as well as questions which I'll try to address here. This post will deal with the questions I've gotten the most. I'll get to all the others as fast as I can. Many will be addressed in future topical blog posts - so please check back.

1. Are you taking clients?  / Why aren't you doing pro makeup anymore?

These have the same answer, so I put them together.

I've been doing makeup professionally in one capacity or another for over 20 years. Since my Multiple Sclerosis symptoms started a couple of years ago, in terms of physical symptoms, my hands have taken the worst of it. I have reduced sensation in my fingertips, weakness and occasionally tremors (especially in the summer.)

I managed to get through a light makeup application on a friend a few weeks ago without much incident, but I was sore, shaky and tired the next two days. I was so tired by the end of the session I even forgot to take pictures of my friend! It was so much fun and I enjoyed every second of it -- but I paid for it. And I realized that if I wanted to take pro jobs, I'd have to hire an assistant just in case I wasn't able to finish the application. It's just not worth that to stay in that side of the beauty business.

If I can't finish my own makeup application (on myself), or if I press too hard because I can't judge pressure well, or if I shake too much and have to wash everything off, no one else but me is bothered by it. On a client, I just don't want to risk it.

That said, I will continue to do crazy makeup on myself and occasionally glue things to my face. :D

My effort now is in covering product launches, reviewing products that I think would work well for dancers and other performers, and putting together a guide book for makeup application in the social dance world.

2. Didn't you write for . . . ?

A cropped Polaroid picture of the last issue, in 1997, of Luxe Beauty Report. Thanks to too many moves, that might be all I have left to show for it. Thank goodness for the digital age!

A behind-the-scenes set up shot from a YSL Beauté launch in 1998.

Shockingly, a few of you remember me from the Beauty Buzz days. I was both astonished and flattered by that. :D  I became a beauty journalist in the early 90's first with my own (print) publication, Luxe Beauty Report, and then for other beauty and fashion websites like,, BeautyBuzz and I am writing for Lucire once again, and you can see my latest article - Pat McGrath SkinFestish003 Launch  

3. Are you certified?

No, unless you count Sephora's Makeup Artist training program, in which I was certified. I was also a Fragrance Foundation Certified Fragrance Specialist. But in general, I am what's called a "brand trained" or "vendor-trained" makeup artist, not a cosmetologist or aesthetician. I considered it but I would spend too much of my time learning hair and waxing and other skills that I had no intention of doing professionally, and it wasn't cost effective for me.

I was very lucky to have started in cosmetics in the late 80's when companies spent a small fortune training and retaining their people. For example, I studyied with an aesthetician when I worked for Payot Paris. Training would take months and would continue nearly constantly. I also worked in environments where cross-training was strongly encouraged.  Some brands still spend tremendous resources on training, but they are getting fewer and fewer.

Catching Up!

Good afternoon readers -  Happy Friday!

The long sabbatical from blogging was unplanned, but hopefully fruitful as I have lots of new stuff to share!

As I got back down to business looking at the new technology reaching all levels of the cosmetic industry, I realized that there were some segments I needed to re-learn. The formulas (and the potential of the products) had just changed too much. So I set about relearning the business - especially the pro/editorial/special effects side of things. Keeping up with the consumer side of the beauty business was easy, but when dealing with performing arts like dance - we have to keep an eye on the pro/theatrical lines as well. Some of that need is just practicality - products from pro lines are far more pigmented (but can have a steeper learning curve in application). But for me, a lot of it comes down to economics. My dollar goes a lot further with pro lines like Mehron, Ben Nye, RCMA etc., than with anything I can buy at Sephora. (That said, Urban Decay has an absurd amount of my money. Damn you Vice Lipsticks!)

What's the best way to see what's happening and what's new in beauty? Social media of course!

Thus began my adventures on Instagram. :D

If you haven't followed me already, please visit my account and leave some feedback - I'd love to hear from you! My account can be found here:

I was an early user of Instagram, getting my account before Facebook owned it, but neglected (forgot) to use it. Once I re-activated my account, I started reaching out to makeup artists all over the world to see what they liked and what they were excited about. I also started entering Instagram makeup challenges to not only sharpen and update my skills, but also to snoop out any gaps in my makeup kit. There's nothing more frustrating than getting halfway through your makeup application and asking yourself, why the hell don't I have yellow eye shadow???  (Answer? Because as street wear, yellow eyeshadow looks terrible on a large portion of people. Including me. That's my excuse and I'm sticking with it.)

Below are some of the results of makeup applications I did for makeup challenges, reader requests and in one case, one reader's daughter's request. :D  It's been huge fun and I'm so grateful to the makeup artists who reached out to me with recommendations and suggestions.

Assorted characters from paintings, myths and even video games.

Animals  raawwwr!
LunaPic project - first set. A series recreating's digital filters with makeup.

LunaPic project series 2.

Yes, those are all me (and there are so many more!) And with the exception of digital contact lenses (because I hate wearing real contact lenses), that is all makeup.

Now it's time to get to work on the recommendations that speak more directly to dancers, both social and professional. I'll be getting those tutorials and reviews up shortly, as well as news on consumer and pro beauty launches. So watch this space my beauties - more is coming soon!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Review: smashbox INSTA-MATTE

smashbox INSTA-MATTE  -- Redeemer of meh GWP lipsticks!

I wanted to hate this. It seemed so frivolous. But now I can't stop trying it out with every single lipstick in my kit that I had given up on. Below, see pictures of two prime examples - GWP Estee Lauder lip colors that have been in the bottom of my makeup bag. Rubelite (a frosted medium pink) and Pinkberry Creme (nude cream). Both of the colors came in the last GWP, and they were just "okay". I didn't throw them away because I thought I could use them in my kit.

What better place to start the experimenting?

These two lipsticks, with the addition of smashbox INSTA-MATTE, are now colors I actually want to wear!

The Rubelite shimmer, because it is a frost, retains some of its shimmer and goes a bit lighter than the other lip colors I tried with INSTA-MATTE. All of my lip colors transformed a tiny bit lighter, but anything with a frost was much more noticeable. Even so, I like the color.

But the color transformation isn't even the best part - keep reading for more details.

The frost in this lipstick makes the INSTA-MATTE transform a fair amount lighter than the others. Still - I find myself reaching for the color when I want a "pick-me-up".

With the creme lipstick, the transformation isn't that much lighter - but I adore the color. It's feels and looks like a velvet nude. After INSTA-MATTE, I have the perfect "my lips but better" nude.

Another lipstick I had given up on was Makeup Revolution's "Looking Ahead" - not because I didn't like the color, but because it arrived from the UK broken. I liked the color, but didn't like it enough to fish it out and use a lip brush. Now I like the color enough to smash it in to a palette and wear it more often.

But the best use I have found for smashbox INSTA-MATTE is actuall with stains! The biggest problem I have with stains, other than that they feel so dry, is that they look a bit flat on the lip. Pigment grabs onto dry patches of the lip, makeing the color uneven - especially over time.

When I add the layer of INSTA-MATTE, my lips feel better longer and look more even, more full, more . . . plush. That really describes the feeling on my lips. Again, the color goes a little bit lighter, but well worth it to get the effect.

As I said, I wanted to dismiss this product - but it has redeemed several lip colors in my kit that I thought I'd never enjoy using. If you have a pile of lipsticks you don't want to throw away, but find yourself passing over - give smashbox INSTA-MATTE a try and see if you can find some hidden gems.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Launch: New Clé de Peau Eye Shadows for Summer!

New silky-soft pastel eye shadows from Cle de Peau Beaute

A silky soft long-lasting eye shadow that comes in three luxurious textures: shimmery, semi-matte and matte, for beautifully accentuated eyes that dazzle with magical color. $45.

  • Formulated with Hydro-Wrap Complex EX and Premium Argan Tree Oil for a moisturizing effect.
  • Exquisite color and a subtle texture wear flawlessly.
  • Provides exact color reproduction.
  • Long-lasting.
201 - Whimsical Smoky Green

203 - Seductive Deep Purple

204 - Elegant Soft Gold

205 - Fresh Sage Green

208 - Vibrant Lemon Yellow

209 - Clear Sky Blue

210 - Graceful Dark Brown
Ingredients: Talc, Mica, Iron Oxides (Ci 77499), Iron Oxides (Ci 77491), Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Diatomaceous Earth (Solum Diatomeae), Petrolatum, Triethylhexanoin, Dimethicone, Zinc Myristate, Iron Oxides (Ci 77492), Boron Nitride, Sorbitan Sesquiisostearate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Diisostearyl Malate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Fragrance (Parfum), Polysilicone-2, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Peg/Ppg-36/41 Dimethyl Ether, Polyacrylate-4, Sodium Magnesium Silicate, Glycerin, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate.

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