Tuesday, February 28, 2012

New York Fashion Week Makeup with James Vincent

Makeup artist James Vincent recapped New York Fashion Week just as the tumultuous event was winding down. Good-natured and grounded (with a wild sense of humor), Vincent is that perfect mix of industry veteran knowledge and fresh-eyed enthusiasm. He spoke during a pro-seminar at Make Up For Ever's NYC studio with both qualities in full-swing.

The first myth Vincent blew is that fashion week makeup is all about complex, artistic looks: In NYC, the looks have gone as bare as "a little concealer." The Fall forecast is a red lip - both matte and stained - paired with matching cheeks. And little else. The models were made up to appear as if they'd "fallen in snow," with the flush spreading down the cheek. At Marc Jacobs, the red lip "went high school" by pressing the color into the lip for a sheer finish. At Michael Kors, the lip was matte and polished.

There is no one red lip. There are hundreds.

New York is all about classic, understated looks. Go to Milan or Paris, and the Fashion Week makeup gets much bolder. The makeup artist translates each region's sensibilities.

Vincent, a makeup artist for nearly two decades, has done 30 Fashion Week shows. Still, he's not above learning: He took this show as an opportunity to observe Dick Page and Linda Cantello at work and was "in awe."

When he was starting out and working at a MAC counter, he taught a woman how to use lipstick for color correction. That woman turned out to be R&B producer, Pebbles, who had just signed a girl group called TLC. She was so impressed with Vincent's approach that she had him do makeup on the group. Today, Vincent's resume includes the famous faces of Reese Witherspoon, the Black Eyes Peas, Lady Gaga, and Jane Fonda.

Vincent told the group that the best way to break into Fashion Week is to contact an agency at least a season in advance and offer your assistance. Make a professional website showing your work, and keep the wild looks to a bare minimum. Agencies will want to see that you can do clean looks first and foremost. That skill can be built upon.

"Got photos of crazy fake lashes posted? Take them down," he said sternly.

His biggest advice is to present yourself at every turn with professionalism, right down to handwritten thank-you notes. "As an assistant, you're an extension of the makeup artist. By being professional, you show you don't get caught up in drama," he said. "You will make it if people think you're already successful. (Think like) you're a brand."

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Make Up For Ever's Pro-Seminars: MUAs Jen Evans and Orlando Santiago

Jen Evans, an educator at the Make Up For Ever Academy, has worked with the brand's founder, Dany Sanz. Once Evans began working at the seminar, the influence is apparent: Her style is artistic and outside of any limitations. She is inspired by painters and artists outside of the makeup world: Without copying their work, she tries to work off the style and bring her own influence to it.

Evans is an advocate of sometimes going into a look without a plan (something she admitted she did for that day's seminar): It forces your creativity and often results in a look that's more impressive than one that was thought-out.

Her tips:

She applies powder blush to a tissue, then brushes it onto the face. This creates a more diffused, natural look on the cheeks. She wipes off the blush brush to blend so that no additional product is deposited.

She improvises with what's available: Evans used Post-Its and applied them in strategic spots across the model's face, which controlled where the glitter was deposited. Scotch tape is good for lifting fall-out, since it pulls with an adhesive when being lifted off.

When applying shadow, always blend upwards: Working down will draw the eye down, creating a sad or aged look.

Foundation is an art in itself: She is meticulous at applying foundation, using a high-definition sponge and dabbing it around the face, rather than spreading it like moisturizer. She works it into the skin until it's seamless.

She applies loose powder with a large puff, pressing it into the skin. Then she goes in with a fan brush and removes excess. Once again, the pressing motion deposits product where it's needed, and the brush removes any visible product.

Orlando Santiago is an editorial and fashion makeup artist. "It may be shallow, but it's the area I love," he said. Not only in makeup style, but also in personality, he seems to be Evans' antithesis: Despite working New York Fashion Week, he came into the room with pounding energy.

Santiago, like other educators at Make Up For Ever, applies the theory of color correction. He works on canceling out things like redness with green-based primers and products, rather than trying to cover them with concealer. The goal is to reduce the amount of concealer and foundation needed by correcting the pigmention first. "You work your way up, not down," Santiago explained.

The class overwhelmingly asked wanted Santiago to create a "dewy look" on the model. He began by applying Embryolisse moisturizer, pressing it into the model's skin. He uses this as a primer.

When models come in after a night of partying, he counteracts puffiness by mixing an eye serum with caffeine into the moisturizer. He also uses "a small amount" of Preparation H.

When contouring the face, stick to cool tones. Think in terms of natural shading, Santiago explained: It's not bronze; it's a cool brown.

A dewy look can be created on a person with oily skin. The focus becomes more on cutting down oily areas than highlighting with an illuminating product.

Makeup artists like Pat McGrath are in high-demand because they can create the look of perfect skin without any appearance of makeup. "That's money," Santiago said.

Editorial makeup isn't forgiving: If an artist makes a mistake that a retoucher needs to fix, the artist won't get hired again. As camera angles become more varied, mistakes can be caught more easily.

He just scored a Revlon ad campaign. Santiago was giddy with excitement when he told the class.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

What's In My Travel Makeup Bag

I realize the video loops in one section. I'll have this fixed in a couple days. By the time of the upload, it was almost midnight, so I didn't have the energy to fix it right away.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Why I Don't #FF

FF - originally a hashtag for Friday Follow on Twitter - has morphed and is on many social networking sites. I never got into FF on Twitter, but there are a few people I follow - Daniel Sandler, James Vincent - who do Follow Fridays with a purpose: They will promote people that they think will benefit people with their interests. I take their advice the way I do when a reputable reviewer gives a product a nod: More often than not, the recommendation turns out to be rewarding, interesting, etc.

Why I don't like Follow Friday: Many use it now to promote their friends, creating a sense of an online clique. I never liked cliques in high school, and I still don't. The most interesting, talented people I found independently and by using my own mind. I trust most people can do the same. If I promote someone, it's often someone I don't know personally, but who is talented and hasn't been discovered by many yet. People's time is at a premium: I don't waste it promoting products I don't really like. That sensibility extends to other areas.

My ultimate philosophy is cream rises to the top: People who offer something of substance to a wide variety of people will gain a following by themselves. Youtube beauty reviewer Emily Eddington marvels in her earliest videos that she has 1,000 subscribers. She now has over 200,000.  A large following may not happen instantly, but the laws of attraction and talent eventually even the scales.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Facebook: Social Networking Site/Publicly Traded Company worth $4 Billion

Facebook is in the earlier stages of becoming a publicly traded company on the NYSE. What this means is the investor pool is about to swell and go from private investors to anyone who wants a piece of that pie, including you or me. This also means the founder and president, Mark Zuckerberg, who is in his late 20s, is about to become a much richer man than he already was.

Reportedly, Facebook's private investor count had reached its legal limit of 500, which forces a company to open its books and become public. Would I invest in Facebook? People continue to point to the abandoned Myspace as an example of a social networking site's short lifespan. People are fickle, and popular sites can quickly go out of favor. Other questions: What will the price/share be? How big is the overall investor pie? Investors get their return in dividends, which are payouts based on their share of investments and the companies' profits. This isn't a simple or straightforward formula: Oil companies make an ungodly amount of money, but their investors get small returns.

Potentially, this could make Facebook a better place to kill time or promote your business, whatever you do here. As an investor, you are technically a partial owner of the company. We could have more say in their privacy policy (which is arguably none or hard to decipher), their constant changes and updates to the site, and what new applications are launched here.

Things that were once unknown, like how much money the company makes per year, will need to be transparent and reported regularly. The company we invest so much - or maybe so little - of our time in might return some of that investment.


Trends in Makeup That Aren't Positive

Lately, I've hit a wall with some of the beauty bloggers and vloggers I once really enjoyed. This blog is not to criticize or knock anybody: It's simply to say that in all we love about makeup, there is a downside for some of us. This is, of course, simply my opinion, and I respect others' fully.

Makeup hauling and favorites of the month: I'm feeling more and more disconnected to beauty reviewers, some very young, who promote Chanel makeup and other very high-end brands almost exclusively. Granted, they may be in a position where buying a $45 foundation every other month or creams that are close to $100 is their normal. For many of their viewers, who are in the late teens-early 20s range, this is not. In college, I was eating ramen and scrambling to stockpile coupons so I could stick to my $40/month food budget. My father refused to let me get a credit card, because he knew of the college students who got themselves in trouble. Makeup, while I wore it, was a rare splurge and even then I stuck exclusively to affordable drugstore items.

The Hunger Game: One thing that is a negative in makeup is that hunger to always want to collect more, to want to know what's new and if it's better than what they already have. Our brains our wired to want new experiences: They're wired to adapt to a novelty, a new product,  a new environment, a mind-altering substance. This is the chemistry of our brains. The problem is, this hunger in the context of makeup tends to become an expensive beast to feed. If you cannot shut this wiring down yourself, shut of the triggers that make you crave more constantly. If you need to, seek help to deal with compulsive spending. It is categorized as a legitimate addiction in the medical field.

Makeup brands and certain beauty bloggers and vloggers will be happy to feed our desire to consume: This is their bread and butter. But the reality is, feeling out of control about your spending or getting yourself in deeper than you can afford is never a wise choice. I love makeup, as much as anyone does. I have fallen prey myself to the mindset that the more I have, the better; the newer I have, the better. I've had to take responsibility for more choices and turn the spicket off. If you're struggling with this and want to slow down, I want to remind you: You can too.