An afternoon with Rita Hazan. . .

Rita Hazan, celebrity hair stylist and New York native, is considered one the all time greats when it comes to hair styles and color.  Her knowledge and expertise led her to start her own consumer line of hair care products geared specifically towards those with colored hair.  Her philosophy: “Live your life – we have the products to worry about your hair. “I was recently given the opportunity to meet Rita and attend one of her events here in Los Angeles.  I couldn’t have been more excited.  You had me at “she’s colored Beyonce’s hair.”  Upon meeting her I instantly felt at ease with her warm personality and distinct New York accent.  She told me she was in LA to work on a client, and decided to throw an event to showcase her products while she on the west coast.   I myself was quiet embarrassed at the fact that it had been some time since I had gotten my hair done and had visible gray hairs.  ::SIGH::  She immediately whipped out a can of her Root Concealer Touch Up Spray in Light Brown, sprayed it on my head  and VOILA! No more gray hairs.  It was amazing.  She went on to explain that’s the exact reason she had developed the product. Going to the salon constantly is time consuming and costly.  Many of her clients wanted a quick solution to help them get through in between salon visits. She made sure to tell me that the product itself doesn’t come out or fade.  You can sweat, swim, etc. and it will be there until your next shampoo.  SOLD.  She also let me in on a little secret: men love it too.  She went on to take me through her line of products explaining how to use each one.  When referring to her Weekly Remedy Treatment she said “This will change your life.  Trust me.  It’s amazing.” All of her products were developed not only to be effective but practical.  Let’s be real, no one wants to towel dry their hair in the shower, put a mask on, wait 20 minutes and then get back in and rinse it out.  Rita’s products are designed to put  on and immediately rinse out.  I like her style.  Maybe it’s just me, but products designed by artists are always my favorite.  Because it’s their job, their craft, they know what’s lacking in the market, what consumers want, and go on to create it themselves.  That’s exactly what Rita did with her line.  From shampoo, to gloss, to split end remedy all of her products are user friendly and achieve their purpose: to let you live your life, and not have to worry about your hair.I have been trying her products since the event, and I have to say they are as good as she claims. I’m hooked. My hair has never felt and looked better. I’ve gotten quite a few compliments, which is always a plus. And from far away, I can almost convince myself I look like Beyoncé. Almost.

Disclaimer: All products were provided to me for review purposes.  However, all opinions are my own, and honest. Duh.  

MAKEUP IS ONE SIZE FITS ALL: An Interview with Patrick Starrr

Los Angeles, CA ~ On November 9, 2017 my makeup dreams came true in the form of an interview with Patrick Starrr. If you don’t know who Patrick is, you should. He’s a makeup artist, influencer and co-host of the upcoming American Influencer Awards at LA Live in Downtown Los Angeles. Paving the way for boys in beauty with over 3.5 million followers on Instagram Patrick is here to stay. More important than his number of followers is his heart of gold. Wanna know what we talked about? Keep reading.

instagram @patrickstarrr

Biggest Influences in Beauty:

Patrick named fellow co-host Kandee Johnson as one of his biggest influences in beauty. He described her not only as a “legend” but also as a figure he has admired and looked up to for many years. He couldn’t be more excited and honored to co-host the awards with her.

Michelle Phan: The OG youtuber/influencer.

Zoella: He described her as the ultimate girl next door, and one of the sweetest people. With 11.2 million followers on Instagram alone, Patrick isn’t the only one who has fallen in love with her.

Who to Watch?

Sam Visser: Patrick recently appeared on the show Keeping up with the Kardashians, and knows the influence that the Kardashians can have in the world of beauty. He is currently the one of the Kardashian’s youngest makeup artists (17!) and has worked with the legendary Mario Dedivanovic. If you’re not following him already (@samvissermakeup), you should. He’s one to watch.

Advice for Other Artists:

Patrick’s top tip: Don’t pay attention to the numbers. Surround yourself with positive, great people and focus on your craft and love of makeup. Be active on social media, get to know people in the community, attend trade shows and create great content. Also: make sure you have clean brushes.

American Influencer Awards:

The American Influencer Awards is the first of its kind and Patrick is excited not only as a host, but a nominee. He’s ready to rock his outfits (hello, Michael Costello) and doesn’t feel any pressure. At least not yet.   Patrick has inspired so many and not just with his makeup. His positive attitude and willingness to embrace and be his true self has inspired millions. Literally. Millions. He lives by the words “Life Opens Up When You Do” and it seems that his career in makeup and life as an influencer is just beginning. I for one, can’t wait to see what’s next.

The American Influencer Awards are live in Los Angeles on November 18, 2017. Tickets are available for purchase at aiaawards.com

**Note: An edited version of this post was originally published on November 16, 2017 on beautylaunchpad.com.  This is the original, less boring version. ;)**

A Hot Pink Tree In A Forest Of Green: An Interview with Kandee Johnson

Los Angeles, CA ~ On November 1, 2017 I had the pleasure of chatting with beauty influencer extraordinaire, Kandee Johnson. Kandee, a makeup artist by trade, has captured the hearts of her fans worldwide with her bubbly personality and unique style. She currently has over 1.5 million followers on Instagram and almost 4 million subscribers on her YouTube channel. She is co-host (along with Patrick Starr) of the upcoming American Influencer Awards at LA Live in Downtown Los Angeles. Little ole me got the chance to chat with her. So exciting. Here’s what she had to say:

instagram @kandeejohnson

Biggest Influences in Beauty:

When asked about her biggest influences in beauty, Kandee immediately mentioned iconic makeup artist Kevyn Aucoin. Discovering his book Making Faces was when first fell in love with makeup and it’s transformative capabilities. Beyond his amazing artistry skills, what inspired Kandee the most was his relationships with people and his ability to make them feel beautiful.

Priscilla Ono. It was really inspiring to hear Kandee a talk about her friend and fellow makeup artist. Kandee remembered a time not that long ago in which she was chatting with Priscilla about their career and life goals. Priscilla’s dream: do Rihanna’s makeup. Kandee: Gwen Stefani’s. Fast forward to today: Priscilla is now a makeup artist for Fenty Beauty (Rihnanna’s makeup line) and Kandee and Gwen, they’re basically besties. She didn’t’ say that. I did. But it’s true.

Kandee’s inspiration comes not only from the way makeup makes people look, but how it makes them feel. Makeup, unlike anything else, has the power to make people feel beautiful and glamorous, in ways they wouldn’t have felt otherwise.

Who to Watch?

I asked Kandee who she loves to follow on social media, and he was inspired by in the ever growing beauty community.

She emphasized that her favorite artists (regardless of how many followers) are people who really let their creativity and artistry shine.

Mimi Choi (@mimles) a Vancouver based makeup artist. One look at her instagram feed and you’ll see why she’s one of Kandee’s faves. All I have to say is: WHOA. So talented.

Linda Halberg (@lindahallberg) a Swedish makeup artist and beauty blogger. When it comes to makeup, she’s got some skills. It doesn’t hurt that she’s insanely beautiful. #goals

Matt Conrad (@mattyconrad) A barber. Wait, what? For Kandee inspiration comes in all forms, even if it’s men’s grooming. Check out Matty. He has a pretty cool message: “Fall in love with the process.”

Fun fact: Kandee originally went to beauty school for hair, not makeup. Her grandmother was a hairdresser. It’s in her blood.

Advice for Other Artists:

“Be a hot pink tree in a forest of green. Let yourself shine through. Be different. You don’t have to be like anyone else. Don’t copy anyone. Pave your own unique path.” Kandee went on to say that the most important thing in a world that can be competitive, is to be true to yourself. Don’t’ be afraid to stand out.

American Influencer Awards:

The upcoming awards show is dedicated solely to honoring beauty’s greatest influencers in social media. And Kandee couldn’t be more excited about it. According to Kandee, she feels like she is hosting the Oscars of beauty. The night is about celebrating the beauty community, for which Kandee Johnson is the heart and soul. She herself is not just a makeup artist or an influencer. She is truly an inspiration for all artists. Her final words: Be yourself. Be creative. Follow your heart and what ignites you to feel beautiful, whatever that may be. Kandee, I couldn’t agree with you more.

The American Influencer Awards are live in Los Angeles on November 18, 2017. Tickets are available for purchase at aiaawards.com

**Note: An edited version of this post was originally published on November 16, 2017 on beautylaunchpad.com.  This is the original, less boring version. ;)**

#getsnatched

Los Angeles, California ~ On August 13, 2017 Morphe Brushes celebrated it’s latest collaboration with makeup artist Brittany Bear aka BrittanyBearMakeup.  Brittany, the self proclaimed “queen of contouring” collaborated with Morphe to create the 360 Nose Contouring Kit.  The launch party, which took place at the WaterMarke Tower in downtown Los Angeles, was attended by over 100 guests including professional wrestler and model Natalie Eva Marie, and other prominent influencers like Angel Merino aka macdaddy the creative director and CEO of Artist Couture.  The venue was beautiful  and the views were breathtaking.  There was music, courtesy of DJ Lezlee, food (hello, mini baked potatoes) and tons of desserts.  Brittany herself was the ultimate host, wearing several beautiful gowns throughout the evening and of course and posed for picture after picture with all the guests. (#instagram #duh)

All in all, a SUPER fun party. The theme of the night was #getsnatched.  No idea what that means, but it has to something to do with makeup.  I think.  Okay, so what about these brushes?  Her brush kit consists of 3 brushes, whose sole purpose is, you guessed, it contouring.  Contouring your nose.  My first reaction? Wait, what?  Okay, let’s back up.

For those of you that don’t know – nose contouring is a thing.  In a nutshell, it’s using your skills as a makeup artist to achieve the look of a smaller, slimmer nose.  Basically, a nose job without going under the knife.  Seems simple, right?  Not so fast.  If not done right, nose contouring can become a nightmare and leave you with a less than desirable result.  However, with the right tools, anything is possible.  Here’s where the brushes come in.  The brush kit was developed by Brittany and Morphe to help users “master the art of transformation.”  There is a brush to slim and and shorten the nose, (the M3) a brush to help create a button-like nose (the M6) and a brush to highlight, buff and blend it all together (the M0).  I was lucky enough to try the brushes out for myself.  The brushes are an elegant rose gold and extremely soft.  While I personally don’t feel like I need a nose job on the daily, I can appreciate the look of a smaller slimmer nose.  Used in conjunction with the right makeup, these brushes really can help achieve that look. The packaging is beautiful, with detailed instructions on how to achieve an Instagram worthy nose.  If you’re looking for a set of inexpensive, quality brushes, with a specific purpose, look no further.  For $18, you too can snatch your nose.   Still have no idea what the means, but the brushes are really awesome. The 360 Nose Contour Kit is available online at morphebrushes.com and at the Morphe store in Burbank, California.

**Note: This post was originally published on August 28, 2017 on beautylaunchpad.com**

Smashbox: Makeup Born in L.A.

Venice, California ~ Smashbox Cosmetics was first introduced in 1996, the brainchild of Davis Factor, great grandson of the iconic makeup artist, Max Factor.   July 13, 2017 marked the grand opening of their first ever brick and mortar location: The Smashbox Studio Store.  Having a flagship location on trendy Abbott Kinney in Venice seems the logical choice for a brand that was born in Los Angeles with a focus on creativity, collaboration and community.  In opening their doors, Smashbox wanted to create a “photo inspired makeup experience” where people can come to “play, create, put on makeup, take pictures and have FUN.”  I think they succeeded.

The evening began with cocktails (hello, ROSÉ!) and treats, including GLITTER donuts.  You had me at donuts. The store itself is a beautiful, colorful space, showcasing Smashboxs iconic products (primer, anyone?) and newest launches.  The environment is a seamless blend of creativity and technology. The intentional studio lighting and various backdrops provide the perfect combo for that Instagram worthy selfie.  The mix of digital screens and social media feeds insure that you’re always up to date and tuned into the world of Smashbox.  In keeping with the social media theme, several influencers were part of the festivities including Nicol Concilio, Christen Dominique and Braylen Brooks. The personal highlight of the evening was the custom Gloss Bar where you can mix your custom lip shade, and the 3D printer.  The printer prints lipstick.  LIPSTICK.  So. Cool.  The party continued into the night at the restaurant Butcher’s Daughter just down the street.  More amazing food, and of course, more ROSÉ. I’m not complaining.

I am lucky enough to have had the opportunity to attend various beauty industry events.  I can honestly say that this was one of my favorites. The drinks, handsome waiters and goodies aside, every person I met that night, (including the store manager) was just so. . .awesome.  There was a genuine feeling of excitement in the air – excitement for the continued success of the Smashbox brand, and an excitement for an entirely new generation of makeup store.  The Smashbox Studio Store is not just a place where you buy makeup, it’s a makeup lover’s paradise.  It is a place to experience makeup and beauty on a whole different level.  I for one, CAN’T wait to go back and play. #smashboxveniceftw
Is it payday yet?

**Note: This post was originally published on July 18, 2017 on beautylaunchpad.com**

PHAME ~ Professional Hair and Makeup Expo, not just for professionals. . .

Pasadena, CA ~ June 10th and 11th, 2017 marked the 4th annual Professional Hair and Makeup Expo, also known as PHAME.  It is the self-proclaimed “. . . ultimate event for those that want to connect with the world’s most innovative brands and influencers in the beauty industry today.”  It took place in the Pasadena Convention Center (a BIG venue) and was filled with booths by LOTS of exhibitors including NYX, Morphe Brushes, MakeupGeek, and DOSE of Colors to name a few.  If you wanted the opportunity to meet  some of beauty’s top influencers like Kandee Johnson, Angel Merino and Ourfa Zinali, this was the place to do it.

Celebrity makeup artists Patrick Ta and Rob Scheppy were also there, giving live glam demonstrations in the main ballroom. Makeup mogul and CEO of MakeupGeek Marlena Stell was there sharing tips on how to build your personal brand into an empire.  If you know me, you know I’m a beauty junkie who love love loves these kind of events.  I’m all about anything beauty, influencers and the occasional selfie. (#guilty)  However, the one thing that struck me about PHAME this year, was how much the event was geared toward influencers and not professional makeup artists.  That’s not a bad thing at ALL, it just has the word “Professional” in the title, so don’t let that confuse you.   If you’re a professional makeup artist looking to stock up on supplies for your kit (brushes, etc.) you’re much better off heading to your local store and using your PRO discount (i.e., Naimie’s or MAC Pro) or just shopping online.  It just seems silly to spend $50 for a ticket ($70 at the door!) stand in line, and fight the crowds to buy stuff that you probably would get a discount on anyway. Also, that $50 is only an entrance fee.  No gift bag.  NADA.  However, if you’re just an average everyday makeup obsessed influencer lover (is that a thing?!), who isn’t normally able to get products at a discounted price, and REALLY wanted to meet their fave Instagram star, the entrance fee just might be worth it to you.

Overall, I had a great time at PHAME.  I spent a good part of the day walking around, visiting booths and buying some MORE makeup that I definitely didn’t need (sshh!) I will say, it is really fun and helpful to swatch and play with products that are normally only available online.   All the makeup quickly made me forget about my initial irritation of not being able to get into the building:  “Ma’am you can’t come in the building without a badge.” Me: “How am I supposed to get a badge if you don’t let me in the building?” I. Could. Not. Deal.  But I digress. I made it into the event, bought my makeup, met some fellow makeup junkies, and all was well.  Not a bad way to spend a Saturday. 🙂

**I know, I know, this is old news.  I wrote this and it never got posted anywhere, so here it is. Better late than never.** 😉

#macxinfluencers

On April 20, 2017 MAC cosmetics launched their newest collaboration
with 10 beauty influencers from around the world. The group is
composed of a unique mix of bloggers, makeup artists and beauty gurus
who have come together to create their own unique shade of MAC
lipstick. The list includes: Blogger Gabriel Zamora, Vlogger Laura
Lee, Blogger Fleur De Force,  Glamour Beauty Editor Alessandra
Steinhgrr, Makeup Artist Samantha Ravndahl, Blogger Vic Ceridono,
Blogger Fouz Al Fahad, Vlogger Enjoy Phoenix, Blogger Caroline Daur,
and Blogger Nikkia Joy.

Vlogger Laura Lee and Blogger Gabriel Zamora are the two influencers
chosen from the United States.  Laura Lee = a southern sweetheart
turned LA girl with a goofy personality you can’t help but like.
Gabriel Zamora reflects the cosmic shift in the beauty world that
makeup is for everyone, including boys.  I was lucky enough to receive
their collaborations from MAC before they launched (#yaaaasss). Here
are my thoughts. Get.  Excited.

#macxlaralee

Her lipstick is a beautiful matte pinky nude that will look good on
most people.  Looking for a new nude lipstick? You know, the whole,
“your lips but better” thing, then I would check this one out. Is it
super unique? Nope. But if love nude matte MAC lipsticks, this may be
one to add to the collection.

#macxgabrielzamora


Described as a malty warm brown, his lipstick is a darker nude that
would be extremely flattering on deeper skin tones.  In the classic
MAC Satin formula, is has a bit more shine and is creamier than
Laura’s matte lipstick.  If you’re in the market for that classic 90’s
brown/nude lipstick, this one’s for you.

#macxsocialmedia

With the rise of social media I have seen firsthand the struggle of
the industry and companies like MAC, to adapt to the times.
Everywhere you turn a beauty influencer is opening yet another box of
free swag to advertise the various products on their social media
platforms to their millions (yes, millions) of followers.  Here’s the
thing: it totally works. And companies know it. Collaborations with
influencers have been known to sell out within minutes and crash
websites on a regular basis.  I myself have a (not so) mild obsession
with makeup and all thing beauty.  I LOVE following vloggers,
bloggers, or anything remotely related to makeup on social media. It’s
fascinating.   Unboxing videos? YES PLEASE.  Snap tutorials? UM. Duh.
I could watch all day long and dream about what it would be like to
get all that FREE MAKEUP.  And it makes me want to buy it.  It makes
me want to buy it ALL. 9 times out of 10 when I have a wish list, it’s
compiled of products I’ve seen from the various people I follow on
social media.  Laura Lee’s list of monthly favorites? Get in my
shopping cart.  Jaclyn Hill’s highlighter? Yep.  I need it.  The list
goes on and on.  Overall, it’s fascinating to see the influence of one
person and the power social media has on our society, myself included.
Whether we like it or not, influence marketing is here to stay. I for
one, can’t say I’m too mad about it. Now, pass me my nude lipstick.

The #macxlaralee and #macxgabrielzamora lipsticks are $17 limited
edition and available at maccosmetics.com

~Tara Palty is an LA based lawyer, self proclaimed cat lady, writer
and freelance makeup artist for MAC Cosmetics. 🙂

**Note: This post was originally published on April 28, 2017 on beautylaunchpad.com**

Beauty, Cruelty-Free and BOYS


Los Angeles, CA – This weekend, hundreds of girls (and boys!) along
with the world’s top beauty gurus and influencers, flocked to downtown
Los Angeles to attend Generation Beauty.  What is Generation Beauty?
“Gen Beauty” as it’s referred to, is a beauty convention hosted by
Ipsy, the world’s largest online beauty community.  Ipsy was founded
by Michelle Phan, a beauty guru in her own right, who has over 1.2
BILLION (yes, BILLION) views on Youtube.  Gen Beauty is essentially a
forum for everyone who shares a common love of makeup and all things
beauty to come together as a community.  Think: GIANT makeup party.
There was music, a lounge area, and most importantly, WIFI.
Exhibitors included many of the top makeup brands like Clinique,
Tarte, Smashbox, Make Up Forever, NYX, Benefit Cosmetics, Colourpop
and many (many many) more.  Each brand hosted giveaways (free stuff!)
and meet and greets with influencers like NikkieTutorials, Tati
Westbrook (GlamLifeGuru), Patrick Starr, and Laura Lee to name a few.

After checking in, waiting in a large line (which to their credit, did
go quickly given the amount of people), and going through security,
each attendee was given a goodie bag FILLED (and I mean filled) with
products from each of the brands who had a presence at Gen Beauty.
Each person was also given a tear off sheet with tickets to encourage
a visit to each booth and to score more free swag.

At this year’s Gen Beauty, it was clear that there was an emphasis on
environmentally conscious and responsible products.  Brands like Artic
Fox, whose company features vegan and cruelty free hair color, were
present.  I had the opportunity to meet with Kristen Leanne, the
Founder and Creative Director.  We chatted about the rise in
popularity of colored hair (hello, purple) and how important it was to
her and her husband (and co-founder) that their products were vegan
and not tested on animals.  She was understandably excited about their
brand’s rising success.  She also the best blue hair I saw that day.
Pacifica, another brand that features 100% vegan and cruelty free
products, also had a presence and like most brands, a long line
outside their booth.

Another important theme this year, was the obvious sense of
inclusiveness.  One thing was clear:  makeup is not just for girls.
With Maybelline and Cover Girl recently announcing their first male
ambassadors, Manny Gutierrez and James Charles, many other brands are
quickly jumping on board.  Benefit Cosmetics featured the hashtag
“#beneboys.” Patrick Starr was the prominent face of NYX Cosmetics and
had a meet and greet at the Clinique booth.  Attendees included men
and boys of all ages, with and without makeup.

As a fellow makeup and beauty lover (let’s be real, I’m OBSESSED), Gen
Beauty was the event of my dreams.  Who doesn’t want to be around
people with a common passion AND bring home tons of products?  The
event was extremely organized and everything seemed to go smoothly.
While there were long lines, it never felt out of control or chaotic.
There was just SO much to see.  I definitely understand why it is a
two day event.  If you share a love for social media, wanted chance to
meet your favorite beauty influencers, and receive hundreds of
dollars’ worth of makeup, then this was definitely the event for you.
Ultimately, my favorite part was the underlying message.  According to
their website, Ipsy comes from the Latin word ipse, which means “sense
of self.”  The purpose of the weekend, was to celebrate beauty,
whatever that means to you.  #nojudgment

Generation Beauty represents so much more than makeup.   It gave
people an opportunity to come together, acknowledge that beauty isn’t
just about what you look like, and comes in all forms, shapes, sizes
and genders.  Now that’s something to celebrate.

**Note: This article was originally published on February 1, 2017 on beautylaunchpad.com**