Westmore – "The First Name In Makeup Education"

Archive for August, 2008

Succeeding in the Makeup Business

by: Marvin Westmore

Last year in makeup we saw glimmer, sheen, shine, glitter, glitz and a year of extremes. Makeup looks all the way from au naturel to white and pasty; extremes in eye makeup from naked to black rimmed and sometimes smudgy; lip color from nude to vampire red and black.

Marvin Westmore

Marvin Westmore

Clients who are striving to look youthful and be more beautiful have demanded newness and innovation in their products. The cosmetic industry has created products. The cosmetic industry has created products that are multifunctional with value-added properties, utilizing fancy and exotic containers, from the raw look to high-tech to encourage us to buy, buy and buy. Then came the events of September 11, 2001, which rocked us back on our heels and made us take stock of what really matters – life itself.

It’s interesting to note that the advertising industry in general took stock of what the public was feeling and what really matters and did an immediate about-face in its marketing. As the Twin Towers crumbled, the American spirit took a momentary dip and then soared beyond expectations to meet any and all challenges.

Change in value

I’m noticing that the makeup fashions have a minimalist look-a contrived natural look- where less is more. It requires true skill to do this type of makeup because there are no superfluous movies, and every move counts. This is a fresh-faced look that is so natural the makeup almost looks like it is not there. Yes, elements of avant-garde, trendy and outlandish makeup styles, an artistic expression with no basis in reality for the consumer and our clients, will remain. These types of looks have nothing to do with enhancing a woman’s appearance, accentuating her natural beauty and making her attractive.

As a nation, many of our values have changed as a result of 9/11. It appears, based on retail sales, that the general public has decided to become more of a homebody in its habits and general purchases, as well as gravitating toward satisfying comfort food. Fashion-wise we are taking another look at what really is important and what is of a true value. Do our clients want to be beautiful and glamorous or do they really want to be attractive and desirable? As makeup artists it is time to gather our thoughts and hone our skills, and meet these new feelings and thought processes.

Comfort zones

The key to being a successful makeup artist for our clients is not in dictating our concepts of what is fashionable in makeup and then applying it as if it was the only look for them. The key is in finding out our clients’ comfort zones in style, fashion and color and then reaching a compromise between our concepts and knowledge and our clients’ personal fashion awareness. Stop and think a minute. No one, especially you, wants to be dictated to and if that is so, why would your clients accept being dictated to and remain your client? The incident of 9/11 has reawakened our individuality, our independence and the joy of being alive to breathe a breath of fresh air and enjoy a sunrise and a sunset.

The art of makeup does not come in a jar, bottle or tube, but in our hands and our knowledge of the aesthetics of line, form and balance as it relates to the face and facial features, as well as the dimensions of color and color harmonies. This knowledge allows you and me to create any makeup design, especially a contrived, natural look that is attractive, interesting and individual, It’s easy to design and create a cookie cutter makeup look-one fits all!-off the cover of Vogue or WWD, but to create and design individuality for our clients. Your skill as a professional is in creating a look that is based on the clients’ needs to be attractive and desirable; a one-of-a-kind, unique individual that has value-value to themselves and a value to those around them.


How do we find out what our clients truly want and desire? Communication! Communication has three parts to it: observing, listening and speaking.

Observing. I’ve put observing first since we seldom look at our clients except to think how much we can sell them. Instead we need to view them in such a manner as to get clues to who they are and how they feel about themselves. This includes style, type and coloring of clothes, color and style of hair and finally their makeup. What colors of lipstick, blush, eye shadow and foundation is she wearing, as well as what makeup fashion-and from what decade? Has her fashion time clock stopped, thus giving her an outdated look? Is she putting on makeup for the sake of putting makeup on, with no rhyme or reason? Does she wear no makeup because she doesn’t know what to do and doesn’t want to look like a clown, or does she have too much of everything on and looks like a clown? There are many clues to individuals’ concepts of how they see themselves using the power of observation.

Listening. Based on the simple question. “What can I do for you?” we can learn a lot. We need to just stop talking and listen-listen to our clients’ needs and desires. Listen to the responses of the questions we propose, in a guided conversation. Listen and take mental notes.

Speaking. Speaking, not as in the constant chatter of the typical spa reception area, but in guided conversation. A guided conversation should consist of a series of questions that will tell us our client’s fashion awareness, her lifestyle, whether she is single or married and if married does she have children? Is she an indoor or outdoor person? Is she involved in the community of socially?

We also need to determine her color profile and her color awareness. To what colors does she gravitate? What colors does she buy? What colors does she avoid and what colors does she avoid like the plague? All this information will help determine where to go in your makeup color selection.

Communicating with our clients helps us develop a client profile. We can take this information, coupled with our fashion knowledge and skills, and develop a makeup look that suits our client inside and out; a makeup application that will satisfy and uplift her psyche and self-worth while at the same time create a look of irresistible attractiveness and desirability.

In my opinion, in the real world, trying to recapture one’s youth and to look breathlessly beautiful can’t begin to hold a candle to being attractive and desirable, no matter what your age!

Communication is a skill that you can learn.  It’s like riding a bicycle or typing.  If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life.― Brian Tracy

Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit.― Albert Camus

Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.” ― Mother Teresa


Creating A Basic Makeup Kit

by: Marvin Westmore
Marvin Westmore

Marvin Westmore

I have been asked repeatedly over the years: “What should I have in my Makeup Kit?”

Below are some suggestions on what you might want to include when starting to build a makeup kit.

It always will be evolving, just as you are as a makeup artist.

Essential Prep Items:

  1. Paper towels/tissues
  2. Small trash bag
  3. Disposables, mascara wands, lip applicators, makeup wedges, cotton swabs, face-cleansing cloths
  4. Makeup cape
  5. Hair clips
  6. Comb
  7. Emery board
  8. Nail polish remover


  1. Eyelash curler
  2. Tweezers
  3. Small scissors
  4. Ceramic Tile for mixing cream-based foundations and concealers
  5. Metal palette knife


  1. Concealers- creamy opaque shades to cover a wide range of skin tones from ivory to ebony.
  2. No-color loose setting powder; yellow-orange based for darker skin tones.
  3. Cream foundations- 6-10 global shades ranging from ivory to ebony.
  4. Oil-free foundations- 6-10 global shades ranging from ivory to ebony.
  5. Eyebrow color- 6-8 pencils and powders of basic shades including auburn, blond, gray and brown.
  6. Eye liner pencils and/or cream- 6-10 colors including black, brown, navy, plum and neutral tones.
  7. Lip liners- 6-8 colors including neutral tones, red coral, rose and plum.
  8. Matte and shimmer eye shadows- 8-10 colors of neutral tones; 8 bright vibrant colors.
  9. Lipsticks- 8-12 tones of rose, reds, pinks, corals and neutral browns. You do not need to have an abundance of lipsticks. Mix and create your own color.
  10. Lip gloss- High shine, clear, soft neutral colors. Beige always is nice to tone down a too-bright color.
  11. Cream and powder blushes- 8-12 shades of soft pink, rose, coral and neutral tones.
  12. False eyelashes- full and individual- in black and brown.
  13. Eyelash adhesive.

Optional Itemes:

  1. Shimmer body lotion
  2. Assorted glitters
  3. Assorted metallic powders
  4. Face glosses
  5. Portable lighting
  6. Instant Image or digital camera
  7. Facial groomer, a battery-operated clipper for facial detail work
  8. Folding director’s chair

Eye on Brows

by: Marvin Westmore

Today, the field of esthetics is growing by leaps and bounds with the proliferation of day spas in women’s gyms, specialty salons, dental spas and even facilities that exclusively offer eyebrow services.

Marvin Westmore

Marvin Westmore

The growth is phenomenal – but, from a business perspective it is just the tip of the iceberg.

In Beverly Hills, California, there are several spas – such as Damone Roberts, Brow Boot Camp, Valeries and Anastasia – that specialize in eyebrow shaping. Their clientele includes actresses, singers, TV personalities and socialites. The top spas charge $55 for the initial consultation, design and service, and $45 for follow-up maintenance visits. Just recently, a fashion magazine noted that many spas in New York have followed suit. These same spas provide esthetic skin care services, as well as retail skin care and makeup products. However, the most popular menu item is eyebrow shaping.

Why eyebrows?

Brows are to the eyes what a frame is to a painting. The frame focuses the viewer’s attention by distinguishing the art from its environment, in addition to providing a harmonious and defining setting for the picture. Eyebrows direct this same defining focus to the eyes. Brows are a key element in facial nonverbal communication because they convey attitudes, feelings and sentiments. They also add an emphasis to spoken communication. In essence, eyebrows reflect our outward signs of beauty, as well as the inward indications of our emotions.

Historically in Western cultures, eyebrows have taken many shapes and designs—from the bushy Neanderthal brow to the denuded, fully plucked 15th-century brow to false brows made of mouse skin in 18th-century England. In early theater, eyebrows were fashioned in an exaggerated form to convey the characters’ emotional state to the audience at the far back of the house. Since its inception in the 1920s, the world of motion pictures has continued to influence fashionable eyebrow trends.

The esthetic world

Balanced and symmetrical eyebrows consist of a natural, yet fashionable, shape that opens the eyes and helps to create a vision of beauty. The classic eyebrow shape transcends fads, trends and momentary fashion because it enhances all of a woman’s facial features. When creating this type of brow, there are three basic elements to consider: balance and symmetry, design and shape, and color and maintenance.

Balance and symmetry. The face and its features—including the mouth, eyes and eyebrows—never are balanced symmetrically. While attempting to achieve a beautiful brow, it is important to bring all of the features into balance with each other in order to produce a proportioned look. The eyebrows are the most visible facial feature in which imbalance and asymmetry are apparent. Because we draw attention to our brows repeatedly by using them to add emphasis in conversation or for expression, it is important that they remain as realistically symmetrical as possible, providing maximum facial beauty and nonverbal communication capabilities.

In achieving balance and symmetry for the eyebrows, you should follow these basic rules.

1. Starting point. Where should the brows start? Are they too close together or too far apart? If the eyebrows are too far apart, the end of the nose appears pinched. If the brows are too close together, it creates a masculine look and a slight frown, and the end of the nose appears larger than it is.

2. Arching. Where should the brows arch? Should each brow arch toward the inside of the eye, or should they arch exactly over the center of the eye? If the height of the arches is too close to the nose, it gives the appearance of a sad, dissatisfied or angry look. With the height of the arches exactly over the center of the eyes, it gives a tight or pinched look to the middle of the face.

3. Ending point. Where should the brows end? Should the brows end just after the arches, or should they end exactly over the eyes, straight out? Should they come down and end by the outside corner of the eyes? If the brows end just after the arches, they will be too short and give the eye area an unfinished look. When brows extend straight out, the eye area appears expressionless, artificial and a bit sinister. If the brows end downward and too close to the eyes, it will close down the eye area, minimizing the area available for glamorizing and also creating a sad look.

To determine where the brows should end, draw a line from the outside corner of the nose to the outer corner of the eye, extending past the brow area. This gives you a finishing point for the brow, which will be in direct proportion, balance and relationship to the nose, eyes and brows.

4. High and low. How high or how low should the brows be? Should the brows be high on the forehead? If they are too high, it will create a look of surprise or astonishment and give the illusion that the eyes are smaller. If the brows are too low, it will create the appearance of contempt or mistrust and also cause the eyes to appear larger in proportion to the face.

Determining the proper height of the eyebrow is based on line, form and balance in the relationship to the facial anatomy.

5. Thickness and thinness. How thick or how thin should the brows be? If the brows are too thick or heavy for the face, it will appear slightly masculine. A thick brow will limit the expression of nonverbal communication and close down the eye area, minimizing the space available for eye makeup, contouring and decoration. If the brows are too thin, they will look hard, cold, artificial and faddish. Thin brows make the face appear fatter or larger proportionally, while diminishing the facial expression of nonverbal communication.

The width of the brow is determined by the makeup artist’s perception of her client’s entire body image, bone structure, body size and, especially, the proportions of the facial features.

6. Eyebrow hair. What if eyebrow hair is too long and unruly? Excessively long hair in the brows makes it difficult to manage balance and symmetry. It can make them look unkempt and bulky. If brow hair is too long in the height of the arches, it can create a sinister or demonic look. There are two methods used for correcting this problem. See Maintaining Brow Hair Length.

Design and shape. Eyebrows play a powerful role in creating facial expressions. Every time our mood alters, the position of our eyebrows changes. These changes are manifested in distinct shapes that are understood universally. Consider the marked contrast between arched brows of greeting or pleasant surprise and the oblique eyebrows of distress.

Brows also are used as contrived signals, being raised or lowered to express an emotion consciously and deliberately. Even when in a relaxed state, eyebrows communicate—their shape determines the message or emotion that we want to send and indicates how we want to be responded to socially. Whether the shape is natural, yet fashionable and friendly—inviting people to communicate with us, or hard and artificial—giving the impression that we are cold, indifferent and unapproachable, it determines how we are perceived. See also Facial Expressions.

Depending on the shape of the brows, certain emotions are conveyed, including the following.

• Flat and uninteresting

• Round and quizzical

• Frowning and angry

• Downward-turning and sad

Color and maintenance. The coloring of the eyebrows is accomplished by using a brow shade that is similar to the color of the head hair, creating a contrast in values between the eyebrows and the complexion. One approach maintains that the color of a person’s brows must match their hair. However, this may not always be the best choice.

1. For platinum and light blondes, the brows would disappear.

2. For redheads, the brows would look too understated.

3. For fair-skinned brunettes, black-colored brows against their light skin tone would appear harsh and artificial-looking.

Because this theory doesn’t work for everyone, there are a number of different methods for enhancing eyebrow color.

• Wooden eyebrow pencils

• Plastic or metal mechanical pencils with thin to thick leads

• Self-sharpening pencils

• Brush-on compressed powder

• Brow and lash dye

• Bleach for excessively dark brows

• Tattooing or permanent makeup for sparse or nonexistent brows

My preference is a 7-inch wooden brow pencil, sharpened with a single-edge razor blade or a multipurpose snap-off blade cutter. This enables me to make thin, natural hairlike strokes in the direction in which the brow grows. My second preference is a fine-line mechanical pencil that also creates dimensional hairlike strokes. Some eyebrow pencil leads are firm, while others are soft. The soft ones have a tendency to wear down fast and to smudge easily.

Brush-on brow powder colors the skin and does not leave natural-looking hairlike strokes. Lash and eyebrow dye only affects the existing brow hair and does nothing for the sparse areas. As a result, once the brow hair is the desired color, a pencil still will be needed to fill in and enhance. Tattooing and permanent cosmetics may lead to an unnatural shape and a solid coloring that produces an extremely artificial look.

Capitalize on eyebrows

You can develop a lucrative specialty service with eyebrow shaping and designing. These techniques will set you and your business apart in the field of personalized makeup artistry in today’s fast-paced and competitive economy. When you develop the knowledge and skills for this much-needed service, you also will develop a loyal and growing clientele.

Color Theory in the World of Makeup

By: Marvin Westmore

Every day you are surrounded by a world of color. Since infancy, it has influenced your thoughts, actions, emotions and reactions. Color can say “stop,” it can say “go,” it can say “slow down.” It can be bright or dull, cold or romantic, eye-catching or mind-numbing—and it has many names and forms. According to Joy Turner Luke, artist and art lecturer, “Even though color seems intuitive and simple, it is not. It involves some of the most complicated things on Earth—light and the human eye and brain.”1

Marvin Westmore

Marvin Westmore

“Working successfully with color requires both emotion and knowledge,” says Luke.1 And though one aspect is not necessarily more significant than the other, having a more extensive knowledge of color and how it works allows for better appreciation of the complexity and importance of the color you work with every day.

Elements of a theory
When first learning about color theory, there are several elements to understand before getting into the aspect of makeup. First, there is the element of pigment; second, the three dimensions of a color; third, color harmonies; and fourth, color reflectiveness. Understanding all these elements is important, as they come into play in makeup color trends.

Pigment. All forms of makeup, be they water-based, oil in water, wax-based, cream, stick, cake or mineral, fall under the first element of color: the theory of color in pigment, which is what gives color its color. No matter what the pigment’s source, natural, chemical or mineral, the same color theory holds true.

The three dimensions. The second element of color theory to understand involves the three dimensions of a color.2 These dimensions help to more accurately describe color and include:

Hue—The name of the color, such as red, orange, yellow or green.
Chroma/intensity—The brightness or dullness of a color, or the measure of a color’s strength or purity; its saturation.
Value—How light or how dark a color is, corresponding with its position on a scale that runs from black to white with all shades of gray in between.

All colors have a gray value, as if seeing the same makeup or picture on a black and white television. The value of a color gives depth and dimension to what you see. It provides contrast, light against dark. In makeup, colors must be selected carefully so they don’t all have the same gray value, as that would result in the client’s face being uninteresting, washed out and lacking in definition and nonverbal communication.

Hue, chroma and value can all be measured separately and must be taken into account when designing a makeup or mixing product. When each of these dimensions is recognizable, it is easier to distinguish the relationships between colors.

Color harmonies. Color harmonies are the next important element in understanding color theory. The word harmony refers to a collection of parts that are aesthetically pleasing to the senses of sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. In the world of color, color harmonies are a collection of colors that are pleasing to the eye and emotions. Color harmonies can inspire many emotions and be placid or exciting, cool and refreshing, warm and exhilarating, tantalizing and sensual.

There are five basic color harmonies used: analogous, complementary, monochromatic, achromatic and triadic. The following color harmonies are a guideline for selecting makeup colors for eye shadow, blusher and lip color.

Analogous—any hue on the color wheel with two colors to the left or two colors to the right of the hue; generally used for daytime and business looks

Monochromatic—variations in value and intensity of a single color; for a chic or elegant look

Complementary—colors opposite each other on the color wheel; often used for a sexy or sensuous look

Triadic—any three hues of an equidistant triangle on the color wheel; used for a fun look, with multiple colors in the wardrobe

Achromatic—a colorless scheme of black, white and gray, which could also refer to any neutral color going from its lightest value to its darkest value; for an elegant or a sophisticated look

Color reflectiveness. The final element of color theory is color reflectiveness. There are six common types of reflectiveness to be aware of:

Matte—no shine, can be opaque or translucent
Shiny—a gloss look
Metallic—highly reflective, bright, not see-through
Opaque—not see-through
Translucent—lightly fogged, barely see-through
Transparent—see-through, such as glass

The color theory
When designing a makeup, color selections for decorative makeup—eye shadow, blusher, lipstick—should be based on a color harmony that relates to women’s clothing or wardrobe.

This method is often contradictory to the methods and systems taught in cosmetology and esthetic schools. Their system is about coordinating the decorative colors with the client’s hair color, eye color and the supposed undertones of her skin color. That method evolved from an era when there were only blue, green, lavender and brown eye shadows, and the lipsticks were blue/red, yellow/red or the orange-y Tangee,* lipstick worn in the ’40s that changed its color to match a woman’s particular skin type.

The general clothing colors, designed primarily for the Western Caucasian community, were generally conservative and bland when makeup became available to consumers in the late ’20s, and on through the ’30s, ’40s and into the ’50s. Today, however, there is a great cross section of exciting, fashionable colors in both wardrobe and makeup.

Living in only the world of Western culture is a thing of the past; the world has gotten smaller through modern electronic devices, fashion, motion pictures, music videos, television and transportation methods. The word beautiful means something different to every culture, ethnicity and society and varies from region to region and continent to continent. The one underlying psychological element evident throughout time and in every culture is that beautiful really means to be more alluring to the opposite sex—to be attractive—for being attractive makes sure the species will continue.

Today’s eye shadows, blushers and lip colors come in a rainbow of colors that are pearlized, opalescent, metallicized, shimmery, glittery, matte, shiny, opaque, translucent, sheer and glossy. Try to visualize a young female client who has pearlized skin, opalescent hair, glossy eye color or transparent lips. It would be very difficult to select products to design her makeup.

The second part of the decorative color approach of having one color scheme on the face and a different one in the wardrobe is contradictory to proper and fashionable taste and aesthetic color harmony. Women’s clothing fashions, no matter what economic level, culture or ethnicity, are color-correlated and -coordinated—just check the pages of Cosmopolitan, Vibe, Allure, W and Town and Country magazines.

Every spring/summer and fall/winter, makeup companies exhibit their new lines of products and colors in eye shadows, blushers, lipsticks, and pearlized dusts and sparkles. Those who are truly interested in being world-class makeup artists and want to be in touch with all cosmetic product colors and trends will not only check out standard fashion magazines, but also the Asian, Hispanic and black communities’ fashion magazines, as well as read up on the subject of color. (See Recommended Reading.) To be up-to-date, coordinate makeup colors with the current fashion trends.

Color trends for the numerous fashion and makeup colors are evaluated and proposed two years in advance by various color forecasting boards, one of which is The Color Association of the United States (CAUS). These committees choose a palette of hues for the seasons ahead. A major concern for The Color Association is to distinguish between colors about to be uncovered and those already reaching consumer acceptance. Makeup artists must keep in mind that while a few colors may consistently be in demand, consumer color preference is always changing. Selections may also depend on markets and class of trade, as well as on status, income and subjective taste.

Each new season’s color trends involves a harmonious palette ranging from diverse natural landscapes to emphatically dark, sophisticated hues and is dependent on the ever-changing acceptance of the consumer.
From theory to reality Knowing how color works in the mind, as well as on the face and body, is one of the key aspects of understanding how makeup works as well.

Color can inspire emotions and memories, send signals and convey information—it can be quite a powerful force. Learning about the elements of color theory, as well as the theory itself, helps you harness this power and direct it in the best way possible.

1. JT Luke, The Munsell Color System: A Language for Color, Fairchild Publications, New York (1996)
2. AH Munsell, A Color Notation: Introduction by RB Farnum, Munsell Color Company, New Windsor, NY (1905, 1946, 1971)

Recommended Reading
For a more comprehensive look at the world of color, its principles, psychology and the human response, the following texts are recommended.

The artist’s color wheel, available for purchase at any art store

  • The Color Compendium by Augustine Hope and Margaret Walch, published by Van Nostrand Reinhold
  • Color & Human Response by Faber Birren, published by John Wiley and Sons, Inc.
  • Color Power by Carlton Wagner, published by Color Communications Inc.
  • Color Psychology and Color Therapy by Faber Birren, published by McGraw-Hill
  • Color Response Report by Carlton Wagner, published by Color Communications Inc.
  • The New Munsell Student Color Set by Jim Long and Joy Turner Luke, published by Fairchild Books and Visuals
  • Principles of Color by Faber Birren, published by Van Nostrand Reinhold
  • Women’s Color Forecast from The Color Association of the United States


Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.― Ralph Waldo Emerson


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