Tres, Tres Chic & Magnifique!

Sometimes a professional makeup artist lives a glamorous life and gets to travel outside of the confines of the makeup room or trailer to a world more incredible than the one he or she has left behind.

Most individuals think that the career of a Pro MUA is nothing but a jet-setting, couture-wearing, snob-inducing lifestyle filled with indulgences and perks only “common” folk could dream of, but alas, I am here to burst that overly exaggerated and completely false image in your head and bring you back to reality.

Life inside a makeup room or trailer is fun, full of laughter and creativity, but please understand that working as a makeup artist in film, television or photography is nothing short of…WORK!  Hours and hours of work!  Early morning “call times” and late night “last looks” can leave this Pro feeling less than glamorous.

Remember, it is the model, actress or actor that receive all those “favors” from designers, makeup lines, skincare gurus and hairstyle experts.  This Pro is simply a piece of a very fine-tuned puzzle creating the smoke and mirrors that sell magazines or movie tickets!  I won’t fool you…I do reap some benefits, but not the kind that many readers may think!

Please don’t consider for a minute that this Pro is cursing the career I have chosen for the past 20 years (has it really been that long?).  It is the only job I have ever had and would never trade for all the Prada in the world, but it can be stressful, time consuming and sometimes I shoot in the most “unglamorous” locations you could ever imagine (like the State Prison)!

Recently, my MUA Fairy Godmother answered my prayers and blessed me with a very tres, tres chic makeup job, which would take me to the most fashionable and enchanting city in the world…Paris! 

Faster than sweeping Chanel Lipstick on Giselle, I was packed and on a plane bound for France with a smile on my face and plenty of Evian spritz for the 12-hour flight (not to mention many, many more skin reviving serums).

Paris is filled with women who can only be described in one word…magnifique!  They ride bikes in 4-inch Christian Louboutins, they eat baguettes, they smoke, they drink, and they always, always look incredible!  They are fabulous and their skin is amazingly flawless!  How do they do it?

Mingling amongst the people of Paris I learned a few secrets…the French live life to the fullest everyday, they worship experiences more than money and they spend their hard-earned dollars on top-notch products!  Quality over quantity is their motto!

I started to think about all of the incredible French skincare and makeup lines and thought it was time to start adapting a more Parisian lifestyle.  During my time off from the set, I wondered the streets of Paris and photographed the people and places this city has birthed.  I ventured into boutiques that carried expensive concoctions that tickled my senses and revived my tired skin!

I started with a brand called Talika, which was given to me by a very generous person who heads-up the companies PR both in the United States and Europe.  In researching this product line I discovered that this brand was created in 1948 by doctor Danielle Roches, in the ophthalmologic department of the famous Paris hospital, Hopitaux de Paris.  She began her career by developing an antibacterial cream with plant extracts that help cure individuals suffering from dramatic face and eye burns due to war casualties.

I was given several products for the eye area and nails including: Eye Detox Contour Gel, Eye Dream, Eye Therapy Patches and Nail Regenerator Serum.  The first thing I noticed about this product line is the packaging.  Parisian skincare and makeup packaging feels different when you hold it in your hands.  It is weightier, classic in design, sturdy and very appealing to the eye.  It is not “flashy” or over exaggerated.

Eye Dream was the first product I tried because my skin was more than dehydrated from the travel, lack of sleep and airplane food (even though I put a ton of care into my skin) and because I completely agree with the information found on the Talika website quoting, “sleep is often considered an underrated and ignored wellness necessity of life!” 

Also, “sleep is the body in recovery mode, during sleep the delicate skin around the eyes loses up to 50% of its moisture and is most biologically receptive to external hydration and nourishing ingredients.”  Eye Dream provides that renewal and it is a short-term eye treatment.  To quote, “Eye Dream transforms bedtime into an 8-hour long spa treatment for the eyes!”  I couldn’t rip opening the packaging fast enough!

I am still in the process of using the Eye Dream treatment (on day 10 of the recommended 28 days) but I am noticing a decrease in my deep wrinkles and the elasticity of my skin seems to be improving.  I can’t wait to also try the Eye Detox Contour Gel, which claims to fade the appearance of bags and dark circles and the Eye Therapy Patches, which is also supposed to reduce dark circles, wrinkles, puffiness and scars.

As far as the Nail Regenerator Serum also by Talika, if you are anything like me, your nails get dry and brittle during travel and in the summer time.  This product has been a lifesaver!  It has rejuvenated and hydrated my nails and cuticles.  This Pro highly recommends this product and I will continue to use this treatment throughout the summer months.  Plus I plan on purchasing another tube during the severely dry winter season in order to ensure that my nails will stay nourished!

If you are an avid reader of IMPO then you know that this Pro carries a variety of makeup lines in my kit, but I have a few products that I use time and time again because of pigmentation, wear-ability, blend-ability and stamina.  One of those go-to lines is IL-Makiage, which is a French cosmetic company with an extensive product display specializing in every color of the rainbow!

When I need to match the colors in a peacock’s feather, the blue of the Caribbean ocean or the exact red of Santa Claus’ suit, I turn to IL-Makiage because I know that this product will provide me with amazing hues and top-of-the-line quality.

I discovered IL-Makiage during research for a photo shoot many moons ago and it has been a “staple” in my kit ever since.  Ilana Harkavi is the beauty behind this cosmetics line and it has been deemed the “makeup artist’s makeup line!”

With over 500 shades, all-in-one products to simplify application and textures that make any high-fashion photo shoot a breeze; this product line is also priced competively with other American-brands.  IL-Makiage will be celebrating their 40-year anniversary in 2012 and Ilana is known for sharing her makeup secrets with some of today’s most sought after artists, including Bobbi Brown and Dick Page.

There are many other French designed makeup lines that have this Pro’s seal of approval namely Dior, Nars and Avene.  If there is one thing I have discovered over the past 20 years as a Pro MUA, it is that I don’t need to stock my kit with tons of makeup and skincare in order to give a model, actress or actor a flawless look, but I do need product that will perform in front of the camera just as much as the person wearing it will give a quality performance!


Money is always a big issue and today it seems as if it is bigger than ever before, my tips and tricks for this particular post is to encourage our readers to spend their money wisely and purchase quality product regardless where it is manufactured.  Do your research and choose skincare and makeup that will treat and enhance your face.  Take good care of your skin and it will reward you for many years to come!


Up next on IMPO:  All the glitz and glamour that was the Los Angeles IMATS!  You won’t want to miss this post!

Fountain of Youth!

It seems as if we have summer on the brain here at IMPO considering our last two posts were all about sweat-proof and beach appropriate makeup "dos"!  Also in our last post, this Pro mentioned some makeup contentions that get under my skin and make me cranky, but I left a few peeves out thinking they would be perfect to mention here (and because I would like to think that our reader’s benefit from my misfortunes).

This Pro has worked with so many lovely individuals over the past 20 years, but I have to say that what I notice most about some of my clients (who shall remain nameless) is that they don’t treat themselves very well.

Oh sure, they have fame, fortune and everything that goes with it (isn’t that a song lyric?), but when they sit in my chair and expect me to work miracles on skin that has been exposed to excessive cigarette smoke, dehydrated from too much partying, overly spray tanned to the point that Oompa Loompa orange is now their skin tone, or they look like a two-dollar hooker because they were too tired to remove their makeup last night, it can turn this very patient MUA into Mommy Dearest (now you know why there is a wire hanger in my makeup kit – wink, wink)!

They think that their “on call” estheticians, dermatologists, plastic surgeons and makeup artists (like me) will repair the damage (and we do for a price), but wouldn’t it be better for their bank accounts if they just took good care of their skin?  Spoiled brats!

Maybe I am in the wrong business?  Maybe I should be a mapmaker!  Instead of selling “Maps of the Stars Homes," those people on the corner of Sunset and Vine could sell my maps to the “Stars” directing them to the Fountain of Youth!

Here is what it would say…proceed straight into your bathroom and hang a right (or a left) till you reach your sink; stop, look both ways to make sure it is safe and reach across the vanity until you can grab your cleanser or face wash and scrub that makeup off your face!  Washing your face twice a day everyday, moisturizing, eating right, drinking water and most importantly, using sunscreen will ensure that your skin stays baby soft, tight and smooth!  I would even provide a compass rose in the bottom corner for authenticity purposes!

Doesn’t this seem easy?  Then tell me why I see women (and men) on the daily with wrinkled, leathery, chapped, flaky and burned skin begging for my help!  I am a makeup artist, not a magician and if I were their mother, I would spank their tushie and put them in the corner!

Sunscreen is crucial to having younger looking skin!  You must apply sunscreen everyday to your face and body regardless of whether or not you think your skin is being exposed to the sun.  Just driving in your car to work, the light is reflected and hitting the skin on your face, neck, chest and hands aging them in the process.

For this post, I have consulted with a dear friend and dermatologist and she tells me that in the past 20 years, the number of skin cancers and melanoma has doubled, with many victims under the age of 40!  Even if it is cloudy, overcast or it is the middle of winter, your skin needs protection.

She says, "here is how you can be sure you are using enough sunscreen this summer; if your sunscreen bottle is 120-ml, which is enough full-body daily protection for 2 months and you have half a bottle left at the end of summer…you have not used enough!"  Make sense?  You need more than you think!

If you stay out of the sun between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., you can get away with using an SPF of 15, but if you are going to the beach, golfing, hiking, waterskiing or engaging in any type of outdoor activity between those hours, you should use an SPF of 30 or higher.

I know, I know…you are going to ask, “what about getting a golden tan?”  Notice how no one ever asks, “what about being all wrinkled and splotchy and having surgery to remove skin cancer?”   It’s your life!  I am just passing along some very sound advice!

Here are the facts about sunscreen (aka sunblock); is a lotion, spray or gel that absorbs or reflects some of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation on the skin exposed to sunlight and thus helps protect against sunburn – Wikipedia.

According to the American Cancer Society, the use of sunscreen prevents the squamous cell carcinoma and the basal cell carcinoma however, the use of sunscreens is controversial because many do not block UVA radiation, which does not cause sunburn, but can increase the rate of melanoma.  So, you should be looking for sunscreen with UVB and UVA protection.

Here is a list of this Pro’s sunscreen must haves;

SkinCeuticals – Daily Sun Defense SPF 30 – UVA/UVB sunscreen with transparent titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.  Use on body and face.

SkinCeuticals – Sport UV Defense SPF 45 – UVA/UVB sunscreen with transparent zinc oxide, water and sweat resistant for face and body.

Shiseido Suncare Ultimate Sun Protection Cream SPF 55 – nourishing sunscreen for the face that provides the ultimate protection from UVA and UVB rays.  Also protects against sun-induced premature signs of aging.  For use on face and body.

Cosmedicine – Global Health Face UVA/UVB SPF 30 Sunscreen – delivers broad spectrum protection with no irritation, resists sweat and humidity.  Won’t run or drip into the eye area. For use on face.

Jan Marini Antioxidant Daily Face Protectant - Waterproof formula with powerful antioxidants and hydrating complexes.  Does not feel greasy and absorbs into skin easily. For use on face.

Aveeno – Continuous Protection Sunblock SPF 50 – long lasting, waterproof and lightweight in convenient, one-touch spray.  This Pro’s kids wear this all summer long.  It is so easy for them to apply and protect those hard to reach areas.  Since we go through so much sunscreen during the year, this is also economical!  For use on body only. Great for sensitive skin.

Pro Tip: don't forget to apply sunscreen to your ears, tops of your feet and to your scalp if you are not wearing a hat. These areas can be very painful if sunburned!

Speciality sun protection products:

ColoreScience – Sunforgettable SPF 30 Brush – quick and easy application – best for use on face and neck.  Refillable, recyclable and reusable.  Matte or sparkle texture.  Available colors: clear, perfectly clear, almost clear.  This Pro uses the matte formula for on-set touch up.  Only negative is that you cannot clean the brush!  Component is such that cleaning or disinfecting the brush will cause cleanser to leak into the sunscreen powder, which means that each actor must have their own individual product to avoid contamination.

Make Up Forever – SPF 50 primer - my friend and fellow Pro MUA, Victoria Stiles, turned me on to this amazing primer.  It minimizes pores and fine lines while protecting the skin from UVA/UVB rays.  Victoria suggests wearing this under a foundation that does not contain an SPF to prevent "white out" during flash photography.  Click here to read more!

Kate Somerville – Protect SPF 55 Serum Sunscreen – a quick absorbing, oil free formula that delivers powerful sun protection and a rich dose of antioxidants for further protection against damage and premature aging.  No white residue.  Apply after washing face and before moisturizer.

Shiseido – Sun Protection Lip Treatment SPF 36 – nourishing lip balm that defends against UVA/UVB rays and also provides moisture to reverse dryness.

the Balm – BalmShelter SPF 17 Tinted Gloss – this Pro is totally in love with this lip gloss and wears it all summer long!  It is long-wearing and protects against those UV rays.  Favorite colors:  Daddy’s Girl, Uptown Girl, Dream Girl and Girl Scout. 

After sun products:

jeune d’age organics – after sun exposure and proper cleansing of the face to remove toxins, use this serum to help replenish your skin's moisture.  It is great for dry skin and will absorb quickly without a greasy feel.  This product is housed in individual packets so that each application will be fresh and less oxidized.  Great for travel.  All natural/organic skin care.

Avene – After-Sun Care Lotion - light weight, non greasy lotion that restores skin's barrier and prevents moisture loss. Soothes, calms and cools the skin after sun exposure.


Don’t exfoliate before going out into the sun because that can increase your risk for sunburn and do not exfoliate after a sunburn!  Wait until the redness is gone before resuming exfoliation.  If you have recently had any form of chemical peel you should avoid all sun exposure until your doctor determines your skin has fully healed.  Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids can increase the severity of sunburns so they are not recommended after sun exposure. You can use various products containing Aloe, Tea Tree Oil or Chamomile to help heal and soothe sunburn pain and itchiness from peeling skin.


Up next on IMPO - we are on hiatus for about a week!  During our short break this Pro will be filming in Paris, France and the other Pro will be attending the upcoming IMATs Convention in Pasadena, California.  Make sure you follow us on Twitter because this Pro will be "twittering" live from the set in Paris or fan us on Facebook and keep in touch through our status updates (both buttons are located on the IMPO sidebar)!  We will be back soon!

Beach Babes!

As a professional makeup artist I have seen my share of “makeup don’ts”!  The kind of silly or careless mistakes that make me want to go all cave man and drag a woman by the hair to the nearest restroom and scrub off the crazy cosmetics she has applied to her face! 

This Pro has many cosmetic pet peeves too: applying makeup while driving, too much glitter (at any age), streaked makeup from no blending, dark lip liner combined with very light lipstick, massively overdrawn lips, young girls with too much makeup on, unkempt eyebrows, clumped mascara, foundation build-up around the nose and chin, touching up makeup at the dinner table and most of all…beach babes that have on pounds of cosmetics!

It makes me laugh and want to ask them, “did Tyra crown you the next top Victoria’s Secret model when I wasn’t looking?” or “Are we doing a secret photo shoot and the professional photographer is pretending to be the Life Guard?”  I don’t see lights, reflectors, Miss J or even a little plastic snappy camera, so that leads me to believe that the girl or women is just so vain that they can’t wear less or heaven forbid, no makeup to the beach!

It really does look ridiculous when your face is made up for a night on the town, but your body is sporting athletic apparel!  Plus, you are at the beach, in the heat, in the sand, in the wind, in the water…that is not a good combo! 

Heavy makeup + heat is like sticking a clay pot into a kiln ready to fire!  Eventually your perfectly applied foundation, concealer, powder, bronzer, contour, highlighter, blusher, 3 shades eye shadow, eyeliner, (pause for a deep breath) mascara, lip liner, lipstick and lip gloss are going to crack, run and clog your pores!  Awesome dude!

If you choose to wear cosmetics that are not a waterproof formula and you venture out into the ocean, your makeup will resemble that of a sea hag instead of the gorgeous mermaid!  But, isn’t this elementary my Dear Watson?   This Pro wants to believe that women already understand basic Makeup 101, but I keep seeing it happening this time of year, so I must wrong!

Here is another thought: you’re all made up and you’re looking hot, but according to your internal sundial, it is time to reapply sunscreen.  Uh oh!  Do you apply it to your face over your cosmetic?  Hmmm…how well do you think that sunscreen is going to work to protect your skin from sun damage if you have a thick layer of makeup on? 

Also, if you didn’t apply sunscreen prior to putting all that "stuff" on your face because you thought that your cosmetic had plenty of SPF in it, guess what?  Cosmetic formulas do not have enough sun protection in them and the sun is strong enough to penetrate through your cosmetic.  Now, it is 2 hours later, your face feels warm and your skin tone is pink (but really it is red under the makeup) and you need to add more sunscreen! 

Your lovely face that you worked so hard on is going to be nothing more than a hot mess when you slather on the sunscreen and begin to rub it in and as a bonus, your skin is damaged because it is sunburned!  How pretty are you now?

Ladies…it is much easier on your skin if you cleanse, moisturize, treat and protect your face instead of spending senseless time in the mirror primping prior to sunbathing!  It is much better to throw an oversized helping of self-esteem into your beach bag along with other sea and sand accoutrement and rock that no makeup look with confidence.

Understandably, there are times when a little cosmetic can be appropriate for the beach.  Especially, if you are attending some type of event, party or maybe just attempting to capture the eye of that surfer guy.  I get it!  So, here is this Pro’s approved list of beach babe makeup…

Jan Marini Antioxidant Daily Face Protectant Sunscreen – oil-free matte finish, does not feel heavy or greasy on the skin, beige in color (not white) so you don't need to "rub" into the skin to absorb.

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer – oil-free, hydrating formula.  Provides extra protection from UVB rays and harmful effects of the environment with an SPF 20.  Apply after skin care and sunscreen, use for spot concealing only (dark circles, broken capillaries around nasal labial folds, break outs).  Do not cover entire face!

Becca Beach Tint – waterproof tint adds a hint of color to cheeks and lips.  Oil free, streak free, contains antioxidant vitamin E and is paraben-free.  Use after skin care, sunscreen and tinted moisturizer.  Available in two shades Watermelon and Peach.

fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15 - lips are sensitive and with increased sun exposure they can burn just as easily as the rest of your body.  Apply Sugar Lip Treatment before Becca Beach Tint for extra sun protection.

Shu Uemura Waterproof Cream Eye Shadow – if you must wear an eye shadow, then choose one color in a waterproof, cream formula that is a neutral, matte shade.  Shu Uemura eye shadow will not crease or fade under extreme conditions.  Recommended colors: beige, pink or brown (lightest hue). Apply all over eye area with fingertip or brush and blend.

tarte cosmetic's lights, camera, splashes, 4-in-1 natural water proof mascara – apply one coat to the top lashes only for natural, longer looking lashes.  It's great for the beach and will not give you that "overdone" look!

Pass on the face powder (everyone will have the “dewy” look so you will fit right in) and skip everything else you usually put on your face!  Think of it this way, you get a chance to go on vacation from work so, give your face a little cosmetic break too!

Now that you have protected, hidden the sins of the skin and added a little tint to the face using waterproof cosmetics, you can feel free to frolic with Puff the Magic Dragon down by the sea and you can reapply your sunscreen when needed without feeling like you will mess up your makeup!  How liberating!!!!


Throw the tinted moisturizer into your beach bag and touch up a break out inconspicuously – Laura Mercier’s tube looks like a sunscreen component so you won’t draw attention if you happen to whip it out!  This Pro highly recommends investing in a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher because you want to keep your skin looking gorgeous (and young) for years to come.  Since the LM Tinted Moisturizer is only an SPF 20, you will need to apply sunscreen prior to applying and/or reapplying this product in order to ensure maximum sun protection!


Up next on IMPO:  In keeping with our summer theme, IMPO's next blog post will be all about sunscreen.  The best brands for your face and body!