Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Posted by on Jun 30, 2009 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Interview: Renee Rouleau, Celebrity Esthetician 7/6 @ 6pmC

Renee Rouleau, celebrity esthetician, skin care expert and founder of her namesake beauty line & spas (voted #1 by Allure Magazine readers), joins in for a half hour segment discussing maintaining a luxury line, the current state of the spa industry, and her unique 9 skin types approach to skincare. She spent a portion of her childhood in Wisconsin, so we’re claiming her as a homegirl.

Read More

Posted by on Jun 30, 2009 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Review: Purely Cosmetics Mineral Makeup

Robyn Bloom’s first foray into mineral makeup came at a Los Angeles mall. Succumbing to a makeover for her daughter, she soon found herself paying $60 for mineral foundation, with a brush added for free. The results were so nice on her daughter, she decided to make the hour and a half long drive back to get one for herself. This time it was still $60, but no brush. When it came time to reorder, she tried to save herself a trip and pick it up online – and found it was priced at $85. That’s when she took a look at the ingredient list and decided she would tackle the mineral market on her own.

Her company, Purely Cosmetics, celebrates its second anniversary this August, and Bloom couldn’t be more pleased. She has focused on a line that incorporates the key ingredients that make mineral makeup such a hit, while leaving out micronized and inexpensive fillers. Why is that important? Mineral makeup is often referred to as healthy makeup due to lack of parabens or other preservatives. Micronized titanium dioxide is a recent, common additive in beauty blends, providing sunscreen and adhesion. However, tests have proven that micronized materials break the blood barrier and can pool in the brain. Scans have shown pockets of titanium dioxide in the brain of participants. While the long term effects aren’t known, the presence of makeup on the mind seems far from healthy.

Bloom was also able to tackle the markup issues on the makeup. Purely Cosmetics foundation runs well below the $60 price she once paid. There are a multitude of shades to select from, with a reasonably priced custom blend. It doesn’t end at foundation. There is a beautiful array of eye shadows, versatile powders, blushes, makeup brushes and other accessories.

Shipping world wide (read site carefully for details), Bloom sells via her website at

Personal Experience:

I try to avoid micronized ingredients, so I was very happy to find Bloom does not use it in any of the products offered.

During pregnancy, I had melasma (skin darkening/reddening) which is quite common. However, it didn’t completely go away after giving birth. Because of this I wanted to stay with foundations that provided stronger coverage, and wasn’t convinced mineral makeup could provide what I needed.

It took a few tries to get the application to my satisfaction, but here is what I found:

  • The product is buildable, so you can increase coverage with additional layers
  • A silk & pearl primer is also available, which increases staying power
  • You can build this on top of liquid foundation, if needed
  • This product stops the dreaded sheen
  • There is no mottled meltdown, a problem with any other type of foundation
  • The line is very affordable

The shadow colors I tried are very pretty, somewhat sheer. I played with a combination of two colors that reminded me of one of my favorite nail polishes, OPI’s Hollywood Blonde

  • Rose Beige (base)
  • Champagne (overlay)

I’m also fond of the burnished copper, cappuccino. Blue violet is a spectacular color that reminds me of a favorite creme eyeliner Max Factor used to make.

One of the best things offered in the accesories department?

These slip right over the bristles protecting them from damage. I’ve never seen these before and they are invaluable for protecting your investments!


Bloom is offering an exclusive 10% discount on minimum $10 orders for any item on the site, including the new Diamond Finish, through July 15, 2009. Use code sol at checkout (lowercase, case sensitive).

Read More

Posted by on Jun 28, 2009 in Uncategorized | 4 comments

Interview: Makeup Artist Victoria Stiles

What is it like to live your dream as a makeup artist? Victoria Stiles shares the touching story of how she started, where she is today, and where she hopes to be in the future. We laughed, we cried. Read on:

Following is the transcript for the BlogTalkRadio interview with Makeup Artist Victoria Stiles.

At the end is a Bonus section, with three questions answered off-air.

Welcome to Solessence’s Fashion by the Lake on BlogTalkRadio. I’m your host Hillary Fry. Today we’re going to interview Makeup Artist Victoria Stiles. She has been involved in makeup artistry for events, celebrities, print, editorial, fashion, television and film since 1997, she’s pretty much covered it all. In addition she’s an editor at Beyond Beauty Basics, covering major events and launches. Let’s get her on the line.

VS: Thank you for having me

Just wanted to jump right into it and ask you: When you first got the makeup artistry bug, how did that go about? Did it seem like an attainable dream?

VS:When I was growing up in high school, I would always do my friend’s makeup. Robin, who is one of my very best friends, and who is still one of my very best friends, would always let me play on her face, and test out different products, and all that type of stuff. She would basically be my real life doll. Her mother sadly passed about 8 years ago. (Pause, clearing throat) I’m actually cracking up because (clearing throat) this was actually a very sad time for us. Her mother passed about 8 years ago from breast cancer, and she encouraged me to pursue a career in makeup. If it wasn’t for her, I really would never have thought to pursue the career.

So until someone mentioned it to you, it wasn’t even a job opportunity. It was just something you enjoyed doing.

VS: Yes. It was always something I enjoyed doing, and she just really encouraged me throughout the process, just said, “This is your craft. You know what you are doing, and people need to know.” (clearing throat) – could we take a break for one moment? I’m sorry…

Sure, of course. While you are gathering your thoughts, I just wanted to mention, going from that point and jumping ahead, you’ve received glowing reports on a shoot you did at the Pentagon with (actor) Gary Sinese. One thing that was mentioned was your integrity, your professionalism. You were working in 90 degreee heat which, with makeup in that kind of weather, is pretty challenging. It has been mentioned on that high of a level your work and your craftsmanship, and it’s beautiful to hear that it started with a friend, that she saw that in you.

VS:Yes, yes. Thank you, I’m a little bit more stable now. I just haven’t talked about that in a very long time, and just talking about that brought back a lot of warm feelings. I just remember her words of encouragement, and they’ve just stuck with me throughout all these years. Honestly, if it wasn’t for my friend’s mother, like I said, I would never have thought to pursue a career, and I’m very thankful to have those words in me. And yes, working with Gary Sinise at the Pentagon was very amazing. He is such a gracious actor, I mean, just what he’s done for the military. He’s got the band called Lt. Dan Band, and he will go overseas and perform and just really get the troops up and together, give them a spirit and everything. He’s a beautiful person.

You had this opportunity to work with him, and it started with someone mentioning that this is what you should do, but how did you actually turn that into reality? Did you know places to start schooling? Are you self-taught? Did you already know someone in the industry?

VS: I would say I am definitely more self-taught. I did not go to a professional school. Growing up, besides working with my friend’s makeup, I would get tips from fashion publications. I think I was the only kid in high school that had an actual subscription to publications like Vogue. I would sit on my bathroom floor and open the magazine and play with my makeup, whatever makeup I had, be it Covergirl, Wet n’ Wild. I would just go to town on my face and practice, practice, practice, and then I started practicing on my friend Robin’s face. So it was just studying the techniques handed down by pros that were printed in the publications, to actually studying the pictures, to taking that and practicing on my face. It was really the very first layer, the basis, to my makeup technique. From there I actually started work with MAC cosmetics and I was with them for about five years

Was this job at a mall?

VS: I worked at one of the freestanding stores (Tysons Galleria in Virginia) and I worked there for about five years. That was really a priceless opportunity, because working with the general public you work with all skin types, all skin tones, all ages, and it’s a great experience. You learn what products work for what skin types, what looks well on this skin tone, that skin tone, what works for this eye shape, that eye shape and that really helped to hone my skills. Through MAC they actually gave us some opportunities to work on larger productions, and I had an opportunity to work on a Cher production that was here at MCI center in D.C., as well as Missy Elliott. So they gave us some opportunities to branch out beyond selling products to consumers

When was the moment that you made the leap, you know, the point where you said, “I’m actually a bona fide makeup artist.”

VS:Well, when I worked with MAC, I had that experience under my belt, and I started doing freelance makeup in 2004, mainly for weddings. It was a couple of years of work with weddings, working on my own, that I started to branch a little bit more out to do more of fashion and beauty and commercial shots and stuff like that. I guess I thought, I came to the realization that this is my career and this is my profession, when I started working with some agencies who booked me out for jobs. I felt like a real, bona fide makeup artist, professional makeup artist, and I could handle just about anything.

Tell us a little about the different types of jobs you’ve had. How does it differ when moving from print to celebrity, or working with an agency?

VS: Being based in Washington DC there is a lot of commercial jobs. I’ve worked on anything from a Wal-Mart print ad, that type of commercial job, to visiting national publications like O Magazine, Glamour Magazine, who were doing basic lifestyle shots of people for articles. Then also television stations, both local and national. I’ve worked with ESPN, who was here for one of the games, and worked with Emmitt Smith and all of the newscasters for the actual segment of the show. There are also a lot of visiting celebrities, especially now with Obama in office – there are all types of events going on. It’s like we are now going to get a name, the Washington D.C, area. We’re now coming into our own and yes, we’re here and we can be hip and trendy too, we seriously can! So there are a lot of celebrity events here now and I get to work on a lot of those as well. (Editor’s note: Stiles was also selected as makeup artist for Deborah Norville for the Inauguration Day events)

Do you have a preference for the type of makeup you do?

VS: I love beauty makeup, and I love doing beautiful makeup with pops of color, so I’d say I like to do the fashion editorials, that genre of makeup. I don’t get to book that a lot here in DC. I find I have to travel to New York, which is fine. That would be my preference, but I enjoy doing the clean, pretty makeup for commercial. It gets a little more glammy for red carpet, it’s great. I like the more creative makeup, but don’t get to do that a lot here.

Do you have line favorites or do you mix it all up?

VS: I do have my favorites, my go-tos. I definitely mix it all up. I found a great resource to be able to mix it all up: The Make Up Show in New York. You get to see so many brands and talk to all of these vendors and play with makeup. I think I came back from that show with makeup swatches up to my elbows. The main brands I use, I love Face Atelier foundation. It’s beautiful, especially for print or beauty – that type of photography. It gives a nice skin look and a nice healthy glow. If I need more of a matte look, I obviously would go with something that sets with more of a matte finish, so I use Graftobian as well. Colors, I love pops of color like I was saying. Yaby Cosmetics, which is great ( It’s based in Toronto. She has some new hues (the creator) and she’s also a makeup artist so she understands color. Also with drugstore brands, I love Max Factor Vivid Impact Lipcolor, that is one of my favorite lipsticks right now.

Max Factor?

VS: Max Factor Impact Lipcolor. I love!

But they’re leaving.

VS: That’s what I heard, what’s up with that?

They’ve actually been slowly pulling out of the market (read initial post here). I first realized it a while ago when I went into a store and they didn’t have the product and I thought, “What store doesn’t carry Max Factor?” The sales have slowly eroded. They are doing really well overseas; the founder was originally from Poland. It’s doing really well there but they figured they needed to cut their losses and just pull out of the US. But it’s incredible because Max Factor essentially founded Hollywood makeup as we know it, so to lose them is a big loss to (US entertainment and cosmetic) history.

VS: I definitely agree.

Stock up lady.

VS: (laughs) I plan on it.

Now, this is pretty exciting. There is something you’ve got out that shows your great use of color. You’ve got a fantastic book out. How did you get that started?

VS: Well, it’s a funny story Hillary. I just wanted a professional book to send to my clients, some of my ad clients and even my wedding clients, planners; just something they could have that they could put out on their coffee table, that my name would be on it, that it would be fresh on their mind. So I created a book on a self-publishing site called, and it’s a hardback book, and it displays all of the poppy colors. I created this book and sent it out to some of my clients and actually ended up putting up as one of their Staff Picks. I thought that was great. From there, a couple of makeup artists got together with me and said, “This is such a great book, we want to promote it.” They happened to be bloggers, started promoting it on their site, and its definitely grown. I didn’t even mean it to go in that direction. It was just a self-published book that I created for my clients and now people are buying it from

It’s really nice because 1) it’s showcase your work, 2) it gives people an idea, a way to study your techniques, and 3) it’s just a beautiful book to have out on a coffee table.

VS: Yeah, the cover itself is one of my most striking shots. It’s the one I use the most for icons – I’ve been relating that shot to brand myself. The shot was taken by a very talented fashion photographer in New York, Jaime Nelson, and a lot of her work is, again, poppy stuff.

In terms of what is coming up ahead for people, what is trending in makeup?

VS: One thing that I noticed this February at (New York) Fashion Week for Fall 2009. You automatically think Fall/Winter you think really heavy makeup. It is actually opposite this upcoming season. It was very clean, very pretty, minimal makeup. I actually worked on two shows this past February, Alexandre Herchcovitch and Rad Hourani. Both shows were just clean makeup. Alexandre Herchcovitch did incorporate a little bit of color, just very light color on both the cheeks and the lips. More like a coral, a natural flushed hue. Rad Hourani, on the other hand, was just a very plain face, completely perfect. So the skin was perfected, emphasis on skin, nude colors. It’s an interesting look going into fall. Like I said, a lot of times when you go into fall you do smoky eyes you do vino lip shades and that sort of thing, but it’s definitely more clean this year. So that’s coming up.

So the coral is extending past summer into fall.

VS: It is. It is almost like coral is meshing into fall. I don’t know that it’s like rumors related to the “recession look”, you know, minimalist. I don’t think so. I think it’s just pretty, a pretty look.

Do you touch on skincare at all? You talk about the perfect face. It starts with skin. If your skin isn’t really up to speed, your makeup isn’t going to look that great. Do you have any recommendations?

VS: Yes. Although I’m not a dermatologist, I always encourage my clients to visit with a dermatologist to get a skincare regimen down. A basic skincare regimen would be cleanser, toner, and moisturizer. I love eye cream. I think every woman starting at the age of 19, 20 at the latest, should be using an eye cream. However, I don’t like using eye cream with alpha hydroxy in it – that pulls skin. I like more of a moisturizing eye cream. So, I encourage my clients to visit with a skincare professional, because you are exactly right. If the skin isn’t really smoothed out or the tone of the skin isn’t good, you put on more makeup. And the more makeup the heavier the look. It’s nice to start off with a fresh palette for optimal results with your makeup.

I wanted to ask about the alpha hydroxy. Does that mean you are against chemical peels?

VS: Not against chemical peels, just the alpha hydroxy in moisturizer. They are meant to pull the skin tighter, and I just think, just in my experience with it, it pulls the skin and then the skin will gently release over time. So you are constantly pulling and releasing, which makes the skin loose over time. So I’d rather just have a daily moisturizer when using skin care products, just a moisturizer without the alpha hydroxy around the eye area. Chemical peels are okay. I would say once every few months or so.

For people who are looking to become makeup artist, do you recommend involvement in professional organizations? If somebody is in Kansas, what are they supposed to do?

VS: Well, I really enjoy Michael DeVellis’ The Powder Group. They have Makeup Artist Summits all over the US. Maybe not Kansas, but they are a great resource for artists. They offer pro-to-pro, hands on, workshops. I actually took a workshop last October through the Powder Group at the Makeup Summit. I took James Vincent’s editorial beauty workshop, and going into it I thought, “Editorial Beauty! We’re going to learn all of these creative looks!” Y^ou know, more pops of color, maybe really dramatic eyeliner. He actually focused his editorial on clean makeup. Totally opposite of what I was thinking. But he incorporated some great products to highlight and bring forward the natural beauty of the face, and the end result, it was amazing. And he used very little makeup for it. I think I learned a lot through that, and I think any other artist interested in pursuing a career will learn through these artists, through these presenters through the Powder Group function. It’s a fantastic resource.

I think that’s a great recommendation. In speaking with Billy B, he’s done a lot of work with (Powder Group), speaking tours, and we were speaking about clean makeup. He said “Everyone wants to learn the crazy stuff, but clean makeup is sometimes the hardest thing to do. To really look like you have no makeup on takes a good hand.”

VS: It really does. It takes great precision. Some artists even use a magnifying glass to go over the face.

In terms of personal projects, what do you have coming up?

VS: I have a couple of personal projects coming up for editorial submission. I have shoots at Millbrook Farms. It’s a fashion shoot by a fantastic stylist that was handpicked by a photographer that I’ve worked with. This photographer I actually worked with in Paris last fall. I also have a lot of plans aside from makeup. I just have a love for blogging, and I really want to develop my blog, I started doing an insider’s look at beauty and trends, basically through my eyes, what I’m seeing behind the scenes. I’d really like to focus on developing more blog posts that give inspiring makeup artists a look at the industry, how to get into it, and more information on the actual process of everything.

That will be another great resource, and interesting to follow you on your trails too.

VS: It’s a fun and exciting roller coaster ride, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Can you project what you’d like to be doing, say, 10 years from now? Do you have anything specific?

VS: I would say, further down the line, I am based in D.C. and I would like to travel a bit more with makeup. I got a taste of it last fall working in Paris and I absolutely loved it and would like to travel more, experience more. I found that East Coast makeup is very different from West Coast makeup.

How so?

Victoria Stiles with Olivia Thirlby, “Juno”
VS: Just different trends with each. West Coast is high gloss and very sharp photography. East Coast, in New York it’s just this very clean, airy, pretty makeup, very romantic almost. So I’d love to travel a little more, learn a little more on techniques worldwide.

How would people go about booking you for a job?

VS: They can go through my website at , and I recently acquired . Either way they can reach me through my website. I have a contact form they can fill out as well as a direct email address.

Director’s Cut: Three Questions Answered Off Air

How did your opportunity come about for the Paris shoot?

A photographer I mainly work with,, was hired
for the job to work with Melody Gardot. He suggested me to her and her label, Universal/Verve Music Group. I guess they liked what they saw, called me on the last day of NYFW SS09 and asked if I could get on a plane the next day.

Melody Gardot’s cd cover – Ad in London Tube

What is your personal skin and makeup routine?

VS:Minimal on both. I use a basic Cleanser, Toner, Moisturizer SPF 15, and Eye Cream — all from one of my favorite indulgences The Body Shop. Makeup, when I actually wear makeup myself, I use Face Atelier foundation, Graftobian cream blush, Liquid liner, Bad Gal Lash Mascara, and MAC Ruby Woo Lipstick.

Barring the new fall trends, if you could only highlight one, is it lips or eyes?

VS: Classic lipstick shades in true reds, burgundy, and coral.


Victoria Stiles is giving away one of her books, “Makeup Artist”. For a chance to be randomly selected, please enter your name, using a valid email address, in the comment box below. Selection will be made July 1st, 2009.

Read More

Posted by on Jun 25, 2009 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Michael Jackson: RIP ?

UPDATE: Going with TMZ that Michael Jackson died of cardiac arrest today. Sadly, the brilliant talent that he was, he will forever be remembered for his love of PYTs.

Starting to lose too many from the 70s and 80s folks!


What a week! For the last hour or so we’ve been waiting on confirmation of Michael Jackson’s status. Some sources are confirming he died at home and couldn’t be revived, others are saying he died at the hospital, others that efforts are still being made to revive him.

Read More

Posted by on Jun 25, 2009 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Farrah Fawcett: 1947 – 2009

Farrah Fawcett has passed away.

Fawcett, suffering from cancer that was detected in 2006, was the ultimate beauty icon for many years.

The poster that changed her life.
She played Jill Monroe, one of the key characters in hit TV show Charlie’s Angels. Originally developed as a vehicle for Kate Jackson (Sabrina Duncan), Fawcett catapulted to fame but left after only one year.

There was a bumpy road ahead, both personal and professional. Rumors of a controlling husband were rampant, and Fawcett soon divorced her husband Lee Majors, lead actor of the “The Six Million Dollar Man” series. Actor Ryan O’Neal was to became the love of her life, staying by her side and proposing again the last week of her life. Professionally, she gained critical acclaim in “The Burning Bed” and later tried to tie her love in for art with a provocative video for Playboy. She never quite achieved stardom for her work, but the world continues to be fascinated by her beauty.
Farrah, commonly praised for her “California” good looks, hailed from Texas.
This swimsuit poster, a style commonly shot and sold during the 70s, was one of the fastest selling in the world. The beautiful smile, hair and lack of nipple pads made men of all ages flock to get a copy on their wall. Fawcett went on to represent beauty products and had a necklace created in her name. How I’d love to have one of these!

Rest in Peace, angel.

Read More