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Cosmetics 27 Founder Michèle Evrard Talks Skin Care

We had the chance to spend some time with one of the most knowledgeable and inspiring Girl Bosses we know, Michèle Evrard. Michèle is the Founder of M.E. Skinlabs and creator of the cult favorite French skin care line, Cosmetics 27. We often have marathon Skype sessions with Michèle (from Paris) that cover everything from skin care to supplements to sleep patterns and everything in between! She has a singular outlook and wealth of information that we are excited to share with you.

What is Your Background?

I am a pharmacist. I studied Pharmacy in Belgium. I wanted to work in a lab on formulation & product development. I started as an intern at Max Factor in the US, only I was integrated in the marketing department. That’s how I started my career in fragrance and cosmetics. I worked at Max Factor for 2 years on product development. I learned most of the job there and owe it to the incredible women who were at the beginning of what this industry has become! I have been in this industry for over 24 years, working on product development, my passion, and marketing in companies such as L’Oréal, Christian Dior Parfums, Boucheron Parfums and Matis skin care. I decided to create my own products in 2008 and launched Baume 27 in 2009.

What Led You to Create the Cosmetics 27 Line?

My passion for product and innovation, clearly! I had worked on the concept of a unique formula for 3 years after I had discovered the virtues of Centella Asiatica. I have always been fascinated  by cellular regeneration. It was when I left my last position and set up my own consulting firm that I decided to develop that formula for myself. It was the Baume 27. That was the beginning of the Cosmetics 27 line that came out the year after.

What Differentiates Cosmetics 27 From Other Skin Care Lines?

My philosophy is not so much about selling or adding another product to the market. After all, everything, or almost everything, is already out there! I created my line with the idea that it helps taking care of the skin in a primary way. The underlying concept is homeostasis, the principle of equilibrium of any living organism. I want to help women have healthier, better skin. If it is healthy, it will look good. If you look good you feel beautiful. I didn’t want to sell claims, only results. I wanted to be authentic.

My products are all unique, in concept and formulae. It is not a conventional line, I create products that I feel are useful and that will bring something different. All our products are natural and thought to bring results, and we validate the results by extensive testing. The line is among pioneers in the field of natural cosmeceuticals .

What Skin Care Advice Can You Share With Us?

The first advice I give is: get to know your skin! You will know how to treat it and maintain it better. Too many women use and abuse products and treatments. Be good to your skin.

Adopt a simple routine, clean your skin gently, don’t abuse the sun (that’s not to say stay away from it!). Massage skin as often as you can, it is a the first step to prevent skin aging. Drink water, a lot, don’t smoke and laugh a lot!

In terms of skin care, I recommend mixing the different products you use (in your hand) before applying them. It helps achieve the right formula and texture for a specific skin. You dose the products better and will know how much you need to apply by testing and feeling different amounts. If you apply them one on top of the other, you might use too much or not get the best out of each product. This is how I use my products; you can adapt them to your needs. For example, if the Baume 27 is too rich for daytime, you can add a few drops of the Essence 27 and you will have your own preferred texture with the benefits of both products. The formulae are all thought to be complementary and not additional. It is not the skin that adapts to the products, the product can be adapted depending on the skin need and condition.

What Are You Especially Passionate About in the Field of Skin Care?

I am passionate about what will become integrative beauty. I am interested in integrative medicine, which is maybe more popular in the US than it is in our countries (Europe). In essence, integrative medicine focuses on the patient’s wellness and health rather than treating a disease. It means that the patient is at the center, and takes charge of his own health. It takes its roots in oriental medicine and therapies, including allopathy, homeopathy, osteopathy and traditional medicine. It’s medicine that treats the body and soul. Beauty will get there! I like the idea that there is not one treatment solution for all, but that we are all different. It has already started in the US with the concept of integrative spas.

Travel Beauty Tip: For those of us with dry and/or mature skin that can become even more dehydrated over the winter, mix 4 -5 drops of Huile 27 in your hands with Baume 27. It gives that added extra moisture that skin is thirsty for this time of year. Can also be used as a face, hair and cuticle oil.

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Expert Hair Care Advice From Ishi

Expert Q & A with Ishi

Travel Beauty sat down with Ishi for an exclusive interview.

TB: What do you love most about what you do?

Ishi: Seeing a smile on my client’s face once I’ve finished their hair.

TB: What is the single most important, best piece of hair care advice that you can give?

Ishi: There isn’t an overnight fix for anything. It takes continued use of good products to improve and maintain your hair’s condition.

TB: If someone can only splurge on one or two essential hair care products, which product(s) would you recommend they choose?

Ishi: In terms of hair care products, a Kent or Mason Pearson brush. They’re more expensive, but an investment for a lifetime. These brushes are made with natural boar bristles, which polish hair as you brush it.

TB: Has there been a single defining moment in your career?

Ishi: As a young hair care professional, it took me a while to understand how to “hold hair”. At first it didn’t make sense. Then, it clicked! Different procedures require hair to be held in different ways; select tensions are required for varying tasks in hairdressing. Cutting hair requires hair to be held firmly, exactly in the direction that it’s to be cut. But too much tension pulls the hair at the roots and causes it to fall unnaturally once it’s cut. Styling hair requires it to be held loosely, therefore allowing natural movement. You don’t want to crush or force hair into shapes that it can’t do naturally. I tell my clients to keep in mind the natural state of their hair when choosing a cut or style.

TB: How do you determine which hair care products are the best?

Ishi: Results! Results! Results! I try products that incorporate healthy, effective ingredients and deliver desired results. If the products deliver on a consistent basis, I include them in my practice.

Read more about Ishi.

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Hair Care Expert Ishi Explains Cutting-Edge Hair Repair Treatments

Repair your hair from the inside out while you’re coloring, relaxing or perming!

There are so many new and exciting technical developments taking place in the hair care industry aimed at improving the condition of chemically treated hair. Being a partner of Arimino, one of the largest beauty product manufacturers in Japan, has given Salon Ishi an edge. When Japanese relaxers first exploded onto the American scene, my salon had already been doing them for a while. The chemists who developed the technique were always available to keep us up to date on their latest discoveries in this area. This allowed us to relax difficult hair that others wouldn’t – even to several levels of straightness.

Cell Membrane Complex: A Leader Among Damaged Hair Repair Products

Cell Membrane Complex is the latest thing in hair relaxing technology. When we relax, color, perm, etc., we impact the integrity of the hair’s Cell Membrane Complex and the cuticle layer. Cell Membrane Complex is the liquid of protein that holds the hair’s cuticle layers together. When it is depleted, hair looks fried and dry. You can’t just apply it to hair and expect results, though. The process of adding it has to be incorporated into other procedures that open up the cortex, such as color application, relaxers or perms. It can require several additional steps, based on the condition of the hair, but the results are worth it.

Repair Color Treated Hair

Cell Membrane Complex improves the depositing of color. For example, with Cell Membrane Complex, resistant gray hair that usually required permanent color can now achieve good coverage with semi-permanent color.  This is very exciting. The condition of the hair after color application is amazing – smooth and tangle free…like nothing we’ve experienced before. As an additive to your color application, it replenishes the liquid thus making your hair more than shine…. it sparkles!

Enhancing Relaxers and Perms

The same is true of relaxers and perms. Included in these texturizing procedures it is the replenishing quality of the protein liquids that helps deposit chemicals and nourishment to the layers of the cuticle. The hair is actually left in better condition than before!

Cell Membrane Complex penetrates into the moisture layer to hydrate hair. Restoring this vital liquid is a major breakthrough. This is the first time that we are actually going to the core of the hair to replenish what is missing and needed. Stay tuned for more breakthroughs…

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Brenda Christian Interview Pt. 2: Proper Eyebrow Pencil Application

Here’s part 2 of our interview with inspiring female beauty entrepreneur, Brenda Christian. (Be sure to read part 1.) Here she shares some of her best brow tips that she’s learned in her 30+ year career.

What are the biggest mistakes people make with their eyebrow makeup?

  • Drawing on the eyebrows with soft brow pencils or brush-on brow product, trying to color in the empty space. Brow hairs should always be stroked into the brow line in tiny short strokes, working in the direction from which the brow hair would grow naturally, in order to closely simulate real hair.
  • Another mistake is starting the eyebrows too far from the center of the face. Placement of the eyebrow is the most important cosmetic decision you will make for your face. (Read Brenda’s comprehensive shaping guide below.) Sometimes this requires patience for natural hair re-growth. During this time, filling in with Universal Brow Definer® and Perfect Brow® is ideal.
  • Third is trying to lift the eyes by drawing a circular style to the brow instead of gently framing the eye itself in its natural shape.

What step should eyebrow shaping be in your makeup routine?

Brow clean-up, such as major tweezing or waxing, should be done prior to applying any makeup, so you are working on clean skin. For your daily routine, eyebrows should be applied in the middle, after the application of skin treatment, foundation, concealers, and eye primer. Brush the brows upward, clean-up any stray hairs with a good pair of tweezers, sharpen and apply Universal Brow Definer® and set by pressing on Perfect Brow Gel®.

What are your tips for achieving the best brow shape?

It always concerns me when I see a professional makeup artist tell someone that there is an absolute rule for applying eyebrows, because the truth is there is not. There are so many variables which must be taken into account, such as ethnicity, natural and/or enhanced hair color, size of the eyes, both horizontally and vertically, amount of lid above the eye and skin in the brow bone area, width of the nose and the nostrils and overall bone structure of the client.

Framing The Eyes

The two most important considerations are balancing the face and framing the eyes. The eyebrow is like a frame on a fine painting in your living room. One must take into account the color of the wall, the amount of space around the frame and the size of the piece of art. The overall goal is to add beauty to the room by framing the art. A beautiful room (the face) is the primary objective, and the art (the eyes) should enhance the room. If the wall is large and the art is small and a heavy, ornate frame is chosen, then the focus becomes the frame…not the room, not the art. So it is with eyebrow design.

The goal is to create the most beautiful face, drawing attention to the eyes by softly and specifically framing them, keeping in mind the balance of the face so that a brow appears to be almost non-existent, youthful, and above all, natural. This isn’t to say that fashion trends do not play a part in the eyebrow design dynamic. Today’s brow is fuller, soft in relation to the hair color of the client, and carefully stroked with a precision wedge or point simulating real eyebrow hairs.

Always work with a very sharp pencil, never a soft, crayon like pencil. The texture of the pencil is very important because it must allow you to create the width of an actual hair. Apply the Universal Brow Definer® in short, firm strokes, always in the direction the hair would grow naturally. This automatically gives a wider look to the root area of the brow stroke, narrowing toward the end of the hair, just as natural eyebrow hairs appear. The natural texture of the brow is achieved by applying Perfect Brow Gel® in short, pressing strokes, releasing a matte gel over the pencil strokes to set and enhance the brow application.

Brow Color

As far as color is concerned, very rarely should eyebrow hair be darker than a client’s natural hair. Even if a blond has dramatically lightened her hair, the natural hair color will be a deeper, ash or golden blond color and that color eyebrow will appear most natural. Likewise, a red head will rarely have a bright red eyebrow. Look at the eyebrows on a naturally auburn haired child and you will see a reddened softened brown or blonde brow, rarely a bright red tone. A brunette should apply the tone of brown or black closest to his or her natural hair color but a slight shade lighter and then layer the strokes of the hairs to increase density for a more natural look, never appearing hard. On most people, the Universal Brow Definer® and Perfect Brow Gel® will provide the most natural eyebrow appearance possible.

Sometimes, I will variegate in a distinct color like an auburn red, or deep black very, very sparingly to enhance the tone of the Universal Brow Definer® application, but this is the exception and not the rule.

Step-by-Step Eyebrow Shaping Guide

brenda-christian-brenda-christian-cosmeticsAs far as shaping is concerned, the most general guidance I can suggest is that the brow should begin above the inner tear duct and arch above the outer iris, then gently taper outward at about a 15-20 degree downward angle to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch outside the outer eye including the eyelash extension length. Be careful not to dip down on the edges of the eyebrow causing a semi-circular clown like appearance.

Don’t use the nose as a guide, because nose widths vary both between the eyes and at the nostrils, so to use the nose can throw the entire eyebrow shaping out of proper alignment with the eye.

An important tool is a good magnification mirror, but a full-sized mirror should be used to check shaping during the process so that the overall appearance is natural.

As far as the density and width of the brow are concerned, that is where the amount of eyelid above the eye comes into play, as well as the overall facial bone structure, whether it is small, medium, or large. This is where artistry comes into play.

Expert Brow Advice

My best advice is to consult a professional makeup artist with a specialty in eyebrow design and enjoy a professional design that you can maintain on your own.

Personally, one of my greatest joys is a private eyebrow consultation. My fee is $125.00 per client and includes a take-home brow kit to continue the look, a very worthwhile investment in your personal style.

If you are in the Jacksonville Beach, Florida area, please feel free to schedule an appointment. Please email: info@brendachristian.com

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Brenda Christian Interview Pt. 1: The Universal Brow Definer

Interview with Brenda Christian, President and CEO, Brenda Christian Cosmetics, Inc. 

Brenda Christian founded her eponymous cosmetics line in 1982 to offer women unparalleled solutions to their skin care and makeup needs. The company develops products based upon voids in the cosmetics industry that Christian identifies through client interactions. We talked to this inspiring female entrepreneur about her journey, creating her own line of products and much more!

What inspired you to develop your cosmetic products?

B.C.: Though my business is now 32 years old, it seems like yesterday that I made the decision to become a professional makeup artist. I was young and energetic, and within a few months was booked solid, traveling and doing fashion show work. Still, my greatest love was teaching a woman, one on one, how to apply her makeup…everything from how to hold a makeup brush correctly to selecting shades she could wear to achieve her best look. When I began developing products, I did so out of necessity.

Regarding my brow products, that is quite a story!

Early on I became the go-to person for brow shaping in Houston. I adored working with my clients, but felt weak in adding to eyebrows to fill voids, or even more terrifying, creating an eyebrow where absolutely no hair existed. I could not find a product that worked well, and felt insecure about my work.

About that time, I enrolled in a three day course for experienced makeup artists offered by Maurice Stein, a well-known Hollywood makeup artist. The first day of the course, he tested each student. After the practical testing, Maurice pulled me away from the rest of the class and asked me why I was working in Houston and not California!  I explained that my goal was not to become a television and cinema makeup artist, but to develop products formulated to work in extreme climatic conditions, like the heat and humidity of Houston. I told him I was working on a product to create eyebrows on women that had none.

For three days, Maurice worked with me, teaching me separately from the rest of the class, how to create beautiful eyebrows on women that had none. At the end of the class, Maurice asked me if I would show the products that I had been working on to Harry Blake, Director of Makeup for NBC Studios. I was happy to do so! Both men were excited about the potential of the new wax I had developed and encouraged me to share the products with them upon completion. Today, I am honored that Maurice sells my eyebrow products in his Cinema Secrets store in California, and I have always been grateful for his artistic training.

Your Universal Brow Definer is legendary. How is one brow pencil shade really universal?


B.C.:
As I worked with my clients without brow hairs – due to genetics, a bad tweezing or waxing experience, or loss of hair through aging – and as a perfectionist, I would attempt to create an eyebrow that looked just as natural as real hair. I tried working with pencils and brush-on brow products, but couldn’t accomplish a natural looking brow. I began to work with different types of materials; oils, gels, clays, pastes, etc., trying to develop a “three dimensional eyebrow”.

I worked with literally hundreds of clients trying to create an eyebrow “hair” that could not be distinguished from the adjacent actual eyebrow hairs. As I tested different materials, I noticed that one material in one color would actually change color depending upon whether my client had very dry skin or oily skin around the brows. I mention this because the wax would not change color anywhere else on the body.

brenda-christian-brenda-christian-cosmeticsMost natural blondes have finer hair and drier skin and most redheads have even drier skin. This affected the color of the Universal Brow Definer wax as I applied it to the skin. Clients with oilier skin would cause the wax to become very dark. It had very little to do with how much pressure was placed on the eyebrow. It had to do with the reaction of the formula itself, creating a specific color base on almost every eyebrow. This material was a tinted wax, and when applied on a blond, it would literally turn golden blond or ash blond to mimic the client’s actual hair color. The same color would turn a reddened tan shade when applied to a redhead, and amazingly on myself, with very deep brown hair, it would turn dark when it touched my skin. The wax was actually reacting to the pH of the skin’s surface.

This in itself was fabulous, but the strokes – whether I poured the wax into a pencil and applied it or used it with a brush – were flat, and I wanted a three dimensional appearance. In order to accomplish that, I had to thicken the wax base of the colorant (now Universal Brow Definer Pencil®) and apply it in extremely thin strokes, which meant I needed to design a special blade to provide an angled edge on the pencil. Knowing that some of the best knives came from Germany, I visited with a sharpener company and they developed a special blade to provide that very specific edge to the pencil. Next, I needed to provide the three dimensional texture that would have each stroke look like a brow hair. To do that, I needed to work with light to catch facets of the strokes. I developed a demi-matte gel which, when applied, intensified the color of the wax base of the pencil but absorbed and refracted light and simulated a circular appearance in the brow hair stroke. Because it refracted light, it also reflected the actual hair color that the client had on her head, causing the eyebrows to be truly perfected. Thus, the first eyebrow gel was born; I called it Perfect Brow®.

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