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I credit having two older sisters with my falling in love with EVERYTHING BEAUTY. Watching two fashionistas while growing up turned out to be a seduction of my interests. I was quite the tomboy until 8th grade  then it began. As a teen, I began to devour every beauty editorial in all of the top fashion magazines: Vogue©, Elle©, Essence©, Cosmopolitan©, Harpers Bazaar© and Seventeen. I could not get enough. I was ever-willing to spend my last $10 on an eyebrow pencil and two fashion rags. I would spend hours at the nearest store to browse the make-up lines and become familiar with every tool there was. I learned to sew at a very young age (Mommy made sure), so this was the time I started designing and sewing my own outfits to wear to school. So of course I had to have nails and eye shadow to match. If my blouse had black and white stripes or a checkered pattern, then so did my nails and eyes. Eventually becoming a NAIL TECHNICIAN & MAKE-UP ARTIST was a natural progression.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Sanitation is garbage pick-up. SANITIZATION IS CRUCIAL!!! Some make-up basics.

Prepare your tools & work-station:
  • Wipe down area with 91% or 99% alcohol, then lay fresh paper towel for a crisp clean work surface.
  • Sanitize spatula, mixing palette, scissor, tweezer & other metal tools by thoroughly wiping down with alcohol soaked cotton ball. (after they have been thoroughly washed with warm soapy water and rinsed)
  • Use an alcohol moistened cotton swab to completely clean pencil sharpener by swabbing BOTH sides of sharpener blade. Remove any/all debris.
  • Of course begin with your freshly shampooed & adequately protected brush collection. (See blog link below, *Brush Cleaning)

Prep products for a sanitized work session:
  • With plain facial tissue, lightly & gently wipe the surfaces of dry products like compact powders, eye shadows, blushes & bronzers removing the top layer of product. Then lightly spritz w/ 91% alcohol.
  • Dip tips of traditional pencils into alcohol, sharpen then dip again. Take EXTRA CARE to wipe away excess alcohol with a facial tissue. Allow remaining alcohol to evaporate BEFORE using. Re-sanitize sharpener between pencils.
  • Automatic/retractable pencils should be dipped into alcohol then wiped with a tissue. Be sure to remove the top layer of actual pencil product to effectively sanitize. Tip: always hold product end downward as to not flood mechanism with alcohol.
  • Use previous method the effectively sanitize lipstick tubes.
  • ALWAYS sample creamy products from jars/pots by skimming or scooping out with a sanitized spatula, then work directly from there or from mixing palette.


_ NEVER double-dip disposable applicators (lip, mascara wands) into ANY product. Fresh disposable applicator EVERY time. Otherwise = instant contamination!
_ Keep work-station neat by having a small trash receptacle nearby for quick, easy disposal of used applicators, cotton swabs, sponges, tissues, sharpener shavings...
_ Use hand sanitizer or optimally WASH HANDS BETWEEN CLIENTS.
_ Brushes are properly maintained by regular shampooing & conditioning which facilitates their sanitization.
_ Thorough, gentle wiping of clients skin, eyes & lips w/ a moist facial cleansing cloth will contribute to your maintenance of a clean kit consistently.

I know, I know...complicated (microbiology aspects) yet simple (follow some basic rules) things like sanitization are very important to practice in your everyday routine. Health & safety 1st!

Related blogs:

*"Brush Cleaning -  MAKE THEM LAST FOREVER!"
"I love working at ________!" OH DO YOU?! REALLY?! REALLY?!

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

~ EYEBROWS!!! .Precision ✔ .Symmetry ✔ .Proportion? Uh - not so much!

Precision ✔
Symmetry ✔
Proportion? Uh - not so much!

I have recently seen a lot of advice being thrown around about brows. I am always in agreement about the brow's exceeding importance to the over-all look.  BRAVO! to those who are executing precision & symmetry. My focus right now is on PROPORTION!

When teaching other MUAs, or giving a lesson to a client - I consistently stress symmetry, obey facial anatomy & strive for precision. It is my goal to teach someone what the tools are (makeup, visual skill & knowledge of facial anatomy) & how to use them to execute a great brow.

What I have seen a lot of lately (even from some people doling out advice) is that scale & proportion are being ignored. So to define them both:

Scale - noun, .A point of reference for balance. synonyms> equalize, balance
Proportion - .Harmonious relation of parts to each other or to the whole. synonyms>balance, symmetry

The 1st diagram shows how NOT to apply proper proportions to brow shaping/grooming - BROWS ARE WAY TOO CLOSE TOGETHER and oversized! (see  NO)

The 2nd diagram shows correct brow proportions that obey facial anatomy with regard to the face as a whole; taking into consideration spacing between eyes, amount of space between outer nostril area, width of lips...seeing the WHOLE picture. (see YES)

In conclusion...the face already has any instructions a MUA needs for great brow shaping. Once there is an understanding of & an obedience to those instructions - everyone should be showing off great brows. That is what I hope becomes the rule vs the exception, as it stands now. UGH!

Sincerely & sternly,
[ARCH]-itect EyeBROWoPhile™ - Jennifer James Beauty

Link Love:
1 on 1 Beauty Sessions via SKYPE!
"The Perfect Brow"
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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"I love working at _____!" OH DO YOU? REALLY? REALLY?!

The makeup counter experience from the retail makeup artist's perspective is very interesting. Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to have seen this from behind the counters of several industry powerhouse makeup lines. I have a few observations to share;  many of which you may be able to identify with.

A little background...I happen to be the quintessential, epitomical, text book definition of loner/people person. Don't do cliques, yet very social. Treasure me time, but can work a room. Enjoys silence & is often THEE loudest person in the room. These two sides of me have been very conducive to my career choices & my philosophy concerning commitment to my craft. Glad to have been able to strike a little balance...ok enough about me.

Social media has become an experiment of sorts for me. Having connected with soooooo many people from so many places & at different stations in life - I can't help but notice that I have become a magnet for young makeup artists. Some of them hungry, some lazy (want the hook-up, don't want to test, don't realize their skills need major honing) & some are truly talented with lofty ambitions. I am seeing everything with my 'magnetism'. I believe they can detect that I am s sucker for answering makeup & makeup industry questions. AND I AM! Hopeless information sharer. It's all I know...ok moving along.

Then there are those newbie makeup artists who are responsible for inspiring this blog entry: "I LOVE MY JOB! I LOVE MAKEUP! I LOVE WORKING AT _____!"

...so I challenge them to truthfully testify, again profess undying adoration for the position they have been so blessed to be in - with my snarky, sarcastic (admittedly almost snide & condescending) --- OH DO YOU? REALLY? REALLY?!
Why do I ask this?  I ask because some people do makeup (doing the verb) & some people are Make Up Artists - they personify BE THE NOUN!!!

It's what I have seen. Many of my counter colleagues used those words without bringing the work ethic with them. Glad to report they have been in the minority for my personal experience. When I think about the culprits, UGH! I will never understand it. Seems some show up everyday JUST to collect a check; no real interest in advancing their artistry, excelling in customer service, getting their 'chops' so that they are ready for what's next in the industry for a makeup artist that wants to go somewhere beyond management in the retail environment.

MUAs who use words like passion, love, my life, what I want to do...we have heard it all!
So I say...if  it means that much to you, don't just do the verb - BE THE NOUN!!!

 ~ Exceed expectations. Command industry language & terminology. Push your product knowledge beyond the employee handbook. Greet each day as another opportunity to shine. Regard every customer as the next celebrity. Know the production details for every company campaign. Be able to quote industry history. Study makeup artistry & challenge yourself to execute industry aesthetics - without fail. BELIEVE & PROVE TO YOURSELF THAT THE ARTIST IN YOU CAN CREATE SOMETHING YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN! BE THE NOUN!!!

These are things I had pressed myself to do over the years as a retail artist & freelancer. I know that I am better, exceedingly prepared, & absolutely more qualified for my current full-time career as a Make Up Artist. So my charge is this: You say this is your passion, then pursue every aspect of it as such. MUAs, you can do this...BE THE NOUN!!!

--> Jennifer James currently works as a full-time MAKE-UP ARTIST & part-time Educator who splits the year between hometown Detroit, New York City and whereever else beauty takes her.

related blogs:
Cosmetology School. Yea or Nay? NAY!
RANT: Best Face Forward? by Nepenthe aka Beauty Thesis

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