Expert Advice

Cosmetics’ New Counter Trends

Victoria Wurdinger | July 10, 2011 | 6:23 PM
All things natural are big in beauty—except when it comes to cosmetics. Architectural eyes, larger-than-life lashes and anti-autumn shadows are the season’s starters. But color isn’t the biggest news. High-definition television and niche marketing are separating the dabbler from the pro.

1. À la Carte is Smart
Choosing what you need from the best of several cosmetic lines is replacing one-brand-suits-all ideas. Sephora’s test, try and mix-and-match-it-up approach played a role in the new face of cosmetic retailing for both consumers and pros. M.A.C PRO membership and Lancôme’s new “We love make-up artists” campaign further highlight the professional’s need for unique tools from several sources.  
Says Michael DeVellis, founder of The Makeup Show in NYC and Miami, “Telling clients a new color story every season invalidates what they were previously doing. Now, consumers and professional artists are being told ‘what you have is great but here are two things you may want to add.’ Through supplemental product lines, artists are being empowered to use what they need most, whether or not they retail it.”

Colors are no longer discarded but incorporated into new looks. For pros, compact pallets are the thing: Not only do they simplify traveling with a make-up case; they let you snap in and out with just a few new shadow or lip shades. Salons’ challenge is the cost of adding a full line that has consumer appeal, name recognition and essential support. Private labeling provides one option, niche lines are another. New among them: Myrabelle’s Mascara Shield that keeps even “fiber” lash products off of faces, Temptu’s scaled-down airbrush kits, JAO’s upmarket hand sanitizers, Ramy’s Eye Lift Brow for firming eye-area skin and Nurturing Force’s blotting papers, which boost both professionalism and retail ops.
Want more? The Makeup Show Miami is scheduled for February 22-23, 2009. Aimed at make-up artists from salon to bridal, editorial to film, this year, it’ll include a Styling Pavilion for hairdressers who do freelance and session work—or want to.

2. High Definition Changes Everything

Even if you don’t work in television, HD will change your art forever. Today, wedding videos are standard, and they’re shot and shown in HD, which magnifies, by six, every line, crease and lipstick smear.
Explains DeVellis, who as executive director of The Powder Group, holds HD make-up classes and trained CNN artists in the craft, “HD is not a type of make-up; it’s a technology. You can work in HD with whatever you use now but you have to develop an HD eye and make adjustments, whether it’s the amount of product used or the colors.” At Rouge Makeup Studio in NYC, make-up artist, educator and co-owner Anne DeMarco says HD picks up every brush or sponge mark and that water-based airbrush make-up is her best-seller among HD make-up artists.

“For HD, I steer clear of silicones, which add shine,” she says.

However, for her “mature” make-up workshops, she does use an oil-free, silicone-based foundation because that skin needs luminosity.  Emmy Award-winning make-up artist Kevin Bennett, who develops relationships with the make-up artist community and conducts Academy seminars for NYC’s Make Up For Ever, says the company’s HD foundation was developed with camera and lighting technicians. Its trio of silicones simplifies HD work, he says, with an amino acid complex that surrounds the pigments, substituting a linear particulate edge for a spherical one. Silicone elastomer keeps things flexible, while a volatile silicone ester enhances evaporation.
“Silicones don’t absorb into the pores like make-up carrier fluids, which leave a pigment film,” Bennett adds.
Artists on TV’s So You Think you Can Dance use the line for its wearability and Bennett says neutral, not natural, long-lasting make-up is a trend among consumers, too.
“It’s not about slap-dash anymore; women who once spent five minutes on make-up are spending 10,” says Bennett. “Everyone wants products that go the distance.”

3. Getting Primed is Imperative
Women are simplifying skin and hair care routines but they’re doing more with make-up, thanks in part to new technologies. For instance, says Mary Miller, a make-up artist and co-owner of David and Mary Salon and Spa in Carmel, Illinois, as a result of HD, skin treatment cosmetics like mineral foundations are more important than ever and primers are de rigueur.
“Everything is about great coverage and luminosity,” she says. “Silicone-based primers help any make-up go on smoother. The finish shouldn’t be matte, like flat paint, but luminous—think of satin paint.”

At David and Mary, even clients who got a cut or the salon’s “environmentally ready facial” get a make-up touch-up. Miller says salons must recognize they are competing with stores like Sephora, that carry cutting-edge products and offer appealing, sanitary counter displays. She relies in part on Your Name Professional Brands, she adds, which offers primers and the new Mineral Photo Touch Foundation, tested in high-definition studios. To offer the newest conditioning mascaras and fiber lash enhancers, Miller, like many today, relies on a supplementary line, Talika.
“Many clients can’t afford $160 for lash conditioners; ours is $38,” she says.
4. Lashes Are Where It’s At
This season, it’s all about the lashes, and in addition to conditioning mascaras (50 percent of Miller’s clients buy them) she offers lash extensions, relying on an expert to apply them for an initial $325, with fill-ins ranging from $75 to $125. About 25 percent of her clients choose the extensions because they love the convenience factor.

“Lash builders, used regularly for three to six weeks, lengthen lashes; if extensions are used on a continual basis, they can result in lash loss,” says Charles Douglas, co-owner of Rogue Makeup Studio. “We recommend taking a break every two or three months; clients get addicted to them.”

DeMarco says using a growth-promoting mascara (very black for fall) is the most important thing a woman can do because it lifts the eye. By extension, there’s also a new focus on well-groomed brows that are no longer on the skinny side.
For more on lash extensions, see this technical step-by-step here.  

5. Color is Distinctly Different
Gray is the new black, eyes are ’60s inspired, skin is eggshell finished and the mouth tells both sides of the neutral/classic storyline. Reporting on the fall runway shows, Bennett says cosmetic trends are taking a rest from the expected smokey eye, favoring precision eyelining as opposed to smudging. (Think Amy Winehouse’s liquid liner in black.) Sizzling shadow shades included gold, silver, bronze when you want warmth and, notably, soft gray.
“Skin at the fall runways shows was flawless, even and pretty but not matte,” reports Bennett. “Cheeks used a bit of bronzer left over from summer with a touch of clear pink that was mauve rose, not salmon.”

Lips go one of two directions: near nude or neutral touched with pink, or intense red.
“When lips were red, they were burgundy or scarlet,” says Bennett. “The look is very intense, dark and rich, with a 1940s glam feel. The reason is that fashion is more classic and structured, with tailoring, suit dressing and textured fabrics, not patterned ones.”

Train On
Much of what makes modern make-up sexy is artful application. Salons with a strong bridal business will need extra HD training. In lieu of it, video your own work, using an HD recorder and playing it back on an HD screen until you’ve achieved perfection. Extreme artistry aside, even stylists should be trained in doing touch-ups, says DeVellis. With cosmetic competition cascading into every distribution channel, hairdressers can supplement your retail business with the newest items that consumers want right now.

The Powder Group and Educational Seminars
The Powder Group is a one-stop make-up/beauty concierge service and resource for professionals and consumers who are passionate about the art of make-up. It offers intelligence in all aspects of the art of maquillage, from artist services and events to program development. Founded in 2003 by Michael DeVellis—also the founder of The Makeup Show—The Powder Group comprises professional and celebrity make-up and beauty talent from around the globe with backgrounds in fashion, editorial, television, film and special effects. In addition to its shows and seminars, The Powder Group offers on-site education by prearrangement. For more information, visit

More from Expert Advice

Expert Advice Sponsored by Salon Centric

Hashtag Secrets of a Top Beauty Influencer

October 17, 2018

With 108,000 Instagram followers, styling and top beauty influencer Shelley Gregory (@shelleygregoryhair) knows her way around social media, including the hashtag component. Here’s how she maximizes her hashtag game.

Expert Advice
Expert Advice

2018 MODERN SALON 100: Hai Tran @hai.stylist

Jamie Newman | August 1, 2018

You've probably seen Hai Tran (@hai.stylist)'s viral-on-Instagram post about the color journey from black to blonde, which maps out the time, cost, and sessions it takes to a client to get from a box-dye black to a pale silver. But, the rest of his page is just as well-organized and beautifully organized. Learn more about Tran here.

Expert Advice Sponsored by Sexy Hair

3 Upstyling Tricks That Will Change Your Life

June 14, 2018

Stylists who excel in the art of the updo often develop clever little tricks for creating outstanding work. Here are three go-to techniques, created by Sexy Hair artists, used to create the three looks in their latest collections.

Load More