My Makeup Idols

In my world, the true celebrities are the makeup artists whose talent and creativity inspires me. They create looks that are beautiful, or interesting, or iconic (sometimes all three). I appreciate that kind of talent in many different artistic fields, but of course the work done by other makeup artists is easiest for me to relate to.

Below is a list of the makeup artists I love:

Samantha Chapman & Nicola Haste, aka the Pixiwoos. Sam and Nic are two sisters from England, and besides working as freelance makeup artists, they do makeup tutorials on YouTube (on the Pixiwoo and Pixiwoo Madness channels), and teach classes. Sam also has a makeup brush line, Real Techniques, (the brushes are awesome). I have watched every single one of their Pixiwoo and Pixiwoo Madness videos and I consider them to be my makeup instructors. I have learned more from them than I did in any of my formal makeup training. I think they Pixiwoos tutorials are an excellent resource for makeup artists, but also for makeup “civilians.” Their tutorials are clear, easy to follow and full of great product recommendations. Several of the products in my kit are products I first heard of from Sam or Nic. Both of the sisters are immensely talented, and after watching 500+ videos, I feel like I know them! I don’t have television, so I consider their videos my education and my entertainment 🙂 I am thrilled that they have had so much success over the past few years and I look forward to watching and learning from their next 500 videos.

Lisa Eldridge is another British makeup artist I watch on YouTube. She is well known in the industry, and has been doing runway and editorial looks since the 80s. She makes makeup artistry look effortless, and her poise and humble personality makes her shine. Lisa creates gorgeous looks and recommends products in all different price ranges. She is a true professional, and I have gotten many helpful tips from her.

Charlotte Tilbury is from–guess where?–England. I heard of her a while back and have always loved her work and when she did a tutorial on Lisa Eldridge’s channel, I got to see how she does it. Charlotte has her own channel now too, which makes me happy. She does makeup quite differently than I do, which I love, because watching her inspires me to try different methods. Every brush stroke, every color choice, every shadow placement works perfectly. She has so much talent and experience, that it almost seems like she is winging it, but it always looks amazing! She’s not pretentious, which makes her even easier to learn from.

Kevyn Aucoin was one of the best. You can’t be a makeup artist and not be familiar with his work. He truly knew how to transform a face, and if you have ever looked at any of his gorgeous makeup books, you know what I mean. Although he could transform people so that you wouldn’t recognize them (Google “Lisa Marie Presley as Marilyn Monroe”), he was also a huge proponent of bringing out a woman’s natural beauty. You can clearly see that in his work with non-celebrities/models. He had an eye for seeing which features would look best enhanced, and he brought that out in a way that no one else could. His death in 2002 was a huge loss for the beauty industry.

Billy B is the only one of my makeup idols who I have seen in person. I took a class with him several years ago at a Powder Group event in New York. It was not a demo or hands-on workshop, it was a lecture–although it felt like more of talk from a friend. Billy told us about how he started, gave some valuable insider tips and answered questions. He was extremely inspiring, and especially at the start of my career, that was what I needed. I emailed him on Facebook after the class to thank him, and he sent me a very nice response (I was starstruck!). He seems like a genuine person and his work speaks for itself. Love him.

Pat McGrath was one of the first makeup artists I paid attention to. I don’t remember how or when I “discovered” Pat, but before her, the only MUA name I knew was Kevyn Aucoin. Once I knew who Pat was, I started seeing her work everywhere. She does runway and editorial and as far as I am concerned, she kills it every time. Pat is from England-another one!–and had no formal makeup training, like many of the successful artists in the industry. She seems very down to the earth, which a quality I admire in people. For years, I had a quote taped up on my wall from a magazine article Pat was interviewed for. “I believe in black in clothes, color in makeup.” I agree!

Alex Box is the creative director of cosmetics company, Illamasqua. She is insanely talented and her work is beyond unique. She went to school to study Fine Art, and I think that every look she creates is a masterpiece. Alex does not create your typical makeup looks. Everything is so different, so strangely beautiful and so inspiring. She is a makeup genius, and of course, is from England. I might as well just move there.

Dany Sanz is the founder of Make Up For Ever, one of my favorite cosmetic companies. She got her start in the 1970s, as a painter for film sets. She made the transition into makeup and used her skills to transform cabaret performers, drag queens and eventually, the cast of Cirque Du Soleil. Dany created Make Up For Ever because the products she was using were not meeting her needs. As I see it, MUFE is an extension of Dany’s artistry. There are products that can create the looks that Dany is known for–dramatic, colorful, bold–but there are many products that work for the everyday woman. Because Dany has been in the industry for so long–as an artist, instructor and founder of MUFE–her work and her products reflect the fact that she really knows what she is doing.

There are other artists whose work I admire–even people I know and work with personally–and I look forward to discovering more artists as I continue my career in makeup artistry. I love that there are so many different ways of approaching makeup and creating looks, and I don’t think I will ever get bored learning about them.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Pixiwoo ♥

I did a post about the Pixiwoos about a year and a half ago, but they’re so great that they deserve another.

The Pixiwoos channel on YouTube has hundreds of makeup (and sometimes hair) tutorials on every look you can think of. From celebrity to trend to creative, pro makeup artist sisters Sam and Nic cover it all. I’d like to think I’m a decent writer, but I still can’t explain in words how much I love and appreciate these tutorials. I graduated from Esthetics school, but I think I should be refunded at least 50% of my tuition so that I can write a check to the Pixiwoos. I learned a little bit about makeup in school, but the “instructors” I’ve learned the most from are Sam and Nic.

Whether I want to ensure that I accurately re-create makeup looks from beauty icons of the past (my obsession), or try some different techniques for bridal makeup applications (so I don’t get stuck in a rut), I turn to the Pixiwoos channel. When makeup artists who are starting out ask me for advice, I say my piece then direct them to Sam and Nic. I meet dozens of people each month who tell me that they want to learn to do their own makeup, but don’t know where to start. I offer makeup lessons–one of my favorite parts of my job!–but recommend watching Pixiwoo tutorials as well.

I subscribe to the channel and have seen every video at least once. For me, the Pixiwoos channel is a continuing education resource (for free!), a break from paperwork (that comes with the business side of being an entrepreneur makeup artist), and my entertainment (I don’t have a tv, so I watch makeup tutorials and read for fun). Besides showing me how to do different techniques and sparking new ideas, I love watching Sam and Nic because they seem like people I’d be friends with. Their personalities really come through on the Pixiwoo channel (as well as their Pixiwoo Madness channel, which includes 10 minute makeup looks, their shopping finds and some personal updates), and I think they’re easy to relate to and learn from.

Sam and Nic also do makeup tutorials for the The Daily Mirror (U.K.), and Sam does tutorials for Real Techniques, the makeup brush line she co-created. And while looking for a beehive hair tutorial recently, I stumbled across some videos they did for Channel 4.

I think that even as a professional makeup artist, there are always things I can learn from other pros. Even if you don’t do makeup for a living, watching others can help you with your own makeup routine. If you have any interest in makeup, either professionally or personally, I really really really recommend checking out Sam and Nic’s tutorials. But watch out, you might get hooked and spend hours watching…

Have a beautiful day 🙂

The Waterline Liner Quest: Avon Super Shock Gel Liner

I am ashamed. It has been a ridiculously long time since I last blogged, and I apologize. The only thing I can say is that I’ve been so busy that I thought my head was actually going to spin off. Then I’d be the first person to stay alive without a head, solely because I didn’t put “die a strange death” on my To Do list.

A mountain of products have piled up on my desk over the past couple of months, waiting to be reviewed. Because I got a request for this one, we’ll start with the Avon Super Shock Gel Liner in black. I bought this eyeliner because I have an Indian bride who needs a waterline liner that will stay put during a part of the ceremony where everyone cries. I trust MAC Fluidline (a gel liner in a pot) to stay put on the lashline, but I tried putting it on my waterline once and it didn’t work out. (Or maybe I just don’t like the look of the whites of my eyeballs being flecked with black streaks.) I use MAC Kohl liners for the waterline, but wasn’t confident that that liner would stay on as well as I wanted for a crying session.

I am obsessed with the Pixiwoo tutorials on YouTube and since sisters Sam and Nic always use the Super Shock and say that it’s the best waterline liner, I had to get it. They said it was only available in the U.K., but I thought That’s only for people who don’t know how to shop for makeup. Apparently I’m one of those people because I couldn’t find it anywhere–small stores, Ebay, Amazon, obscure beauty websites. So I ordered it from England and watched my money change from dollars to pounds.

I tried the liner about 30 seconds after I received the package. It went on smoothly (although not as smoothly as a MAC Kohl) and was very black, which I love. It lasted…in spots. After a full day, sections of it were still holding on strong, but it the overall look had faded. Faded into where, though? Not under my eyes or into my tear ducts. So good, no smudging. And it didn’t flake into my eyes like other liners have (ahem, Arbonne).

In one of my crazy lady frenzies, I left the cap off and went to use it a week later. The tip of the pencil (it is a pencil gel liner) had shrunk so I sharpened it. Nothing came out. So I sharpened again…and again, then drew it on my hand until I had revived the pigment. It has never returned to its original blackest black shade–which is my own dumbass fault–but it’s close.

This liner didn’t quite meet my expectations, but I think its staying power is good and it must just evaporate, because it doesn’t smudge or run. I’m going to try layering it with a MAC Kohl to see if that’s the magic combination.

Will try to blog again soon!

Have a beautiful day 🙂

The Pixiwoos

As a makeup artist, I’m always learning. Some things I learn through trial and error and some through reading beauty publications, but my favorite way to learn is to watch other makeup artists work. I don’t get to do that often in person, because if I’m in the same room as another makeup artist, chances are we’re both working on clients or models. What I can do though is watch makeup tutorials online.

My absolute favorite tutorials are those done by Sam and Nic, two makeup artist sisters who live in England. They are insanely talented and their tutorials are clear and easy to follow. I have watched every tutorial on their site and I’ve learned so much from them. They have covered every look you can think of, from Sophia Loren to Beyonce to Helena Bonham Carter.

Even if you’re not a makeup artist, I think you’ll find these tutorials very helpful. (You may also find them addictive, so fair warning.) If you have some free time and are sick of the shit on TV, try checking out the Pixiwoos channel on YouTube. 

Have a beautiful day 🙂