Schooled by the Pros - by Cathi Singh

We at IMPO like to cover events such as The Makeup Show from all angles - just like a great Cinematographer!  So this year, Cathi, Aileen, Heather and this Pro attended the 2-day event in Los Angeles in order to bring you different perspectives and class information.  The following post is a recap by IMPO's Contributing Writer Pro; Cathi Singh! Enjoy!


What better way to jump into Spring than to attend one of the most sought after makeup events, The Makeup Show in Los Angeles. Hosted by The Powder Group, and spearheaded by creator Michael DeVellis, The Makeup Show (TMS) brought bi-coastal makeup artists together for two days of teaching, demonstrations, and product launches.

Celebrity makeup artists such as James Vincent, Orlando Santiago, Jon Hennessey, Joanna Schlip, Victoria Stiles, Kat Aragon and Lori Taylor were in attendance to share their expertise, experience, and even some industry advice about working in LA. TV mogul Eve Pearl was also teaching and selling her fabulous products, including her famed Salmon Concealer, which I was lucky enough to win in a drawing!

I started off my morning with a brisk walk through the vendors and made my way to Kat Aragon’s Master Class teaching Red Carpet Beauty. After hearing and seeing so many wonderful things about Kat and her work, I was excited to meet her in person. She is a fabulous teacher, down to earth, and has a very grounded approach to her work. Being a visual learner, as most makeup artists are, I soaked up her application tips and noted her tricks of creating a stay-put look that you can be confident with when your client is walking down a red carpet.

She started off with Embryolisse Moisturizer, and then used silicone liquid foundation and HD powder by Make Up For Ever and concealer by YABY Cosmetics. I love the MUFE Hi-Def Powder, but she had some unique uses for it straight from the lips of MUFE artist guru, Kevin-James Bennett!

USEFUL TIP: If the skin has too much texture or is a combination of oily and dry, try brushing a small amount of MUFE Hi-Def Powder onto the textured areas before applying foundation to even out the skin to a smooth finish!

Kat worked out a red carpet ready smokey eye using a subtle gold loose pigment and Yaby burgundy eye shadow. She also smudged Stila Smudgepot waterproof black liner into the lash line and worked it into the crease with her finger to provide lasting power for the smoldering look.

I noticed that Kat worked all aspects of the model’s face as opposed to focusing on eyes, then cheeks, then lips, etc. By working in light layers, she was able to get the “big picture” and thus, control where she wanted more emphasis on color. She mentioned that by building layers of color and highlight, the camera flash is more forgiving and the light will catch the applied highlight more naturally.

Popular items in her kit: MUFE Flash Palette, HD Liquid Foundations, HD Powder, FaceAtelier Ultra Sheer #2, Rosebud Salve, and her custom color Yaby shadow palette.

After her class, I made my way over to Yaby to see what all the pigment panic was about! I had been looking for a bright color palette to use for editorial print work and Yaby had it! The Something Bright Palette has every pastel and primary color you could ask for, in matte and sheen. 

The little pods of color might seem small, but they are heavily pigmented and pressed. While this particular palette is packed with eccentric colors, I would use it mainly for print and fashion work. For a wide selection of matte neutrals and shimmer cream paint colors, try the Best of Both Worlds Palette. The neutral colors are ideal for contour and correction, as well as for TV and film work.

The next forum I attended was the TV Forum, which focused on working in reality TV. I am a non-union artist, and to learn that artists are working in that genre as both union and non-union members was extremely helpful. Forum Host James Vincent said, “The Union allows you to work, it does not give you work,” so never rest on your laurels!

Makeup Department Head for “So You Think You Can Dance”, Amy Strozzi, was an absolute delight to listen to and truly honest about how things work behind the scenes. After hearing about the 2 minute and 37 second makeup change they are given to work with, I am even more astounded at how quickly they are able to change dramatic looks and how beautiful the end result always is!

Each guest in the forum was informative and gave insight about the Union, the fast pace of reality television, and some of their favorite products that have passed the scrutiny of Hi-Definition cameras. As James Vincent said, “Hi-Definition is a technology, not a product.” The panel listed FaceAtelier, Make Up For Ever, and Smashbox among their favorite lines.

I was eager to attend the class on the application and coloring of tattoo stencils, taught by sensational Temptu artist, Jenai Chin.  Fellow MUA Jennifer Bernhardt was also in the class and we tatted up each other! This was a black outline transfer that I applied and then filled in with color using the Temptu Dura Pro Palette in Trauma with a fine nylon brush.

After watching how quickly Julie was able to color and shade each tattoo transfer, it became even more apparent how valuable that airbrush machine really is. It has officially been added to my gotta-have-it list!

One area in which I wanted to expand my kit was skin care. And with Embryolisse and Dermalogica at my fingertips, I stocked up for both my kit and myself! The Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant is one of my favorite products, and gives my skin that instant glow, even if I’ve been sleep deprived!

I had to make a stop by Smashbox to say hello to Lori Taylor. I also picked up the new Halo Bronzer, and trust me; this pale California girl wants to bathe in this bronzer! It has anti-aging benefits, vitamins and antioxidants a plenty, is mess-free, and doesn’t turn Oompa Loompa Orange on me! I’ll take two!

The last panel of the day was titled, "Working In LA." James Vincent, Koren Zander, Bryin Smoot, Lori Taylor and Sarah Lucero are all working artists in either LA, New York, or both.

With an insightful Q&A session with the audience, the panel emphasized the importance of networking, and that every job you do sets you up for the next one so behave accordingly! Lori Taylor said it best, “check your ego at the door, and don’t even bring it in the car with you.”

The artists also reiterated what Victoria Stiles taught during the weekend about having a thriving online presence (website, Facebook, Twitter, etc) to be relevant and get work. I found it interesting to learn that several of the artists on the panel had never attended a formal makeup school (they truly have a natural talent).

When I began my career towards becoming a MUA, this was a huge debate for me as to whether formal school was the right path for me. I am a hands on learner, so apprenticeship ended up being the best way for me to learn and apply technique. With that said, there are some outstanding schools out there and the great thing about this industry is that you are always learning- there is always something new on the horizon and some way to better your art. So, I have taken concentrated classes and will attend more in the future!

Now that you have all the inside and behind the scenes info about The Makeup Show Los Angeles, make sure to attend the upcoming show in NYC - click "here" to purchase your tickets!  Hope to see you there!

 *Pictures courtesy: Cathi Singh, Melissa Street and The Los Angeles Times

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