A day in the life of a professional MUA can be filled working on many projects. Some artists work strictly in television, film or print and others, like me are freelance and can pick and choose which projects we want to work on, which goes well with my personality! I get bored easily, so working in television one day, film the next keeps my skills fresh and my mind active!
Last year I was asked to travel to Paris, France in the capacity of a consultant to an up-in-coming cosmetic line that was in need of expansion before hitting the mass market. It was the first time I had been asked to provide expertise on colors, formulas and packaging preferences, but I am a big believer in pushing oneself out of a comfort zone in order to learn another side of your industry. So, off I went to France, where beauty is in the eye of the beholder and where you are free to express yourself in any form you choose.
This trip was extremely educational for me because I was never interested in where or how cosmetic products were manufactured. If the brand worked for me, you would find it in my kit regardless of where I purchased it, where its packaging originated from and as long as the line did not contain common skin irritants, then I didn’t pay much attention to ingredients either. What I learned most from this trip was that the French cosmetic industry has a much higher standard than the American industry. It was obvious in their manufacturing facilities, packaging recommendations and pigmentation quality within the French color lines.
While I was in Paris, it was recommended highly that I pay a visit to a small and elegant cosmetic store called MaqPro (no affiliation to U.S. MAC Pro). This line is made exclusively in Paris, France and is only sold in two locations – France and England.
I called, made an appointment and when I arrived, I was greeted by two of the most wonderful people, Nine and Alain Brunner. Now, most French people speak English, but I wanted to respect the country and learn as much as possible about this brand, so I brought along my husband who speaks fluent French as an interpreter. It was much easier for Nine and Alain to speak freely in French instead of putting pressure on them to try and figure out the correct English words when describing a particular product.
We started with a tour of their store and lab and Alain shared with us the history behind their product line. Alain is a very famous French artist and special effects guru, who has worked on many foreign films, as well as being a teacher at their MaqPro Makeup School housed within the store.
MaqPro’s philosophy is like "old school," Hollywood, which is exactly what I love! It is all about contouring and highlighting the face and to create perfect skin! The store was packed with a variety of cream foundations, eye shadows, cheek colors and lipsticks filled with amazing pigment. It was as if I had died and gone to makeup heaven! Most of their products originate within the MaqPro lab and they are tested extensively prior to mass reproduction.
Alain was kind enough to offer his services by giving me a makeover, which provided me the opportunity to feel the quality of his product line and see the difference his cosmetics made on my skin. This was the first time I have ever had another makeup artist apply makeup on my face! Now I know what all the fuss is about (just kidding)!
He started with prepping my skin and began application using a foundation/concealer that is cream formulated and blended using a type of liquid moisturizer made exclusively for MaqPro and with the sole purpose of making the creme foundation extremely blendable. Mixing the cream foundation/concealer with the moisturizer also allowed Alain to control the amount of foundation applied to my skin. If I needed a heavier application under my eyes, less moisturizer was used on the sponge - you get the idea.
Crème eye shadows in purple, pink, taupe and bronze were applied next – taupe on lid, purple in crease, pink at brow bone and bronze under my eye as highlight. A dark chocolate kohl pencil was used to line both top and bottom of my eye. If the pigmentation was too strong, Alain would blend down the color using a taklon brush.
Crème blush in a bronze for contouring my cheekbones along with a pinky toned cheek color was added to the apples of my cheeks only and blended with finger tips.
Alain then returned to my eyes and added a few final touches to my eyebrows (after he told me that I needed to fire my esthetician because she had made by brows crooked – yikes)! He then began the blending process of the entire face of crème product by using a clean, dry sponge that he would dip into the liquid moisturizer concoction, which insured that all the product was completely blended smoothly on my skin.
He chose a very pink lipstick for me with matching liner! I was thinking, “What? Maybe I should tell Alain that I am a lover of Nude lip colors and that I never where lipstick, only gloss!” But, then I looked in the mirror and couldn’t believe how the lip color brightened up my face! It made me look younger, not older like I thought it would! This old dog just got taught a new trick! Finally, a touch of mascara on my lashes and translucent powder was added to “set” the entire makeup application and make it last throughout the day.
What surprised me most about this makeover is that I felt like Alain was using a ton of crème products on my face and as a matter of fact he was, but my final looked ended up being extremely natural without feeling heavy.
After my makeover, Alain spoke with me about the different special effects products he created and techniques he used to create injuries, wounds and bruises. I could not believe that not only did Maqpro carry a very extensive line of beauty products; they carried and manufactured an entire special effects line. Alain has even developed a formulation for stage blood that washes out of wardrobe with cold water! I have never, until now, found an effects blood that didn't stain the skin or clothing!
In conclusion, I have learned that the “French” makeup techniques are very similar to what we are taught in the U.S., but the products the French develop and manufacture are of extreme quality far above our standards. I may not look like the model on the cover of Paris, Vogue shown at the beginning of this post, but I certainly felt like I did and my husband thinks I am beautiful no matter what I wear on my face, which is what really matters!
Also, just because I have been a professional makeup artist for the past 20 years, doesn’t mean I know everything! My profession is constantly changing and makeup schools today teach more than they did back in my day as a student, so I am always learning from other artists and testing cosmetic lines in order to keep up on the latest and greatest. Often when I am working long hours and days, I fall into the trap of taking care of other's makeup needs and forgoing my own, but I am trying to change that habit and remember to use my skill on my own face and not just on famous faces!
If you are interested in more information on MaqPro or would like to purchase product, please visit their website at www.maqpro.com.
TIPS AND TRICKS:
Don’t be afraid to wander out of your comfort zone. Using all crème cosmetics is easy and can create a fresh glow on the skin. Crème eye shadows, like Benefit Cosmetics’ brand contain a creaseless formula that lasts for hours on the eyes without fading or the need of primer prior to application. Why not try something new? Lipstick instead of gloss, liquid eyeliner instead of a traditional pencil! You can always return to your “tried and true” if you find that this look doesn’t work for you. I mean, it is only makeup; you are not altering your appearance permanently!
Up next on IMPO: Jan Marini Skincare! If you suffer from dull, lifeless skin full of discolorations, acne or rosacea, then you won't want to miss our post on Jan Marini Skincare, this line is the beauty secret of some of Hollywood's A-list celebrities!