Lagoon Blue… Jessi M’Bengue

Back in the studio today with the lovely Jessi M’Bengue! Jessi is a model but also a songwriter / spoken word artist. She is currently working on her first singer songwriter project with composer Andrew Hale (from Sade). I asked her a few questions about makeup (I always ask because it’s interesting to hear different views on beauty, favorite products, etc) and she mentioned that makeup artists rarely use bright colors on her. That immediately made me want to play with color because Jessi’s complexion is an ideal canvas for a whole rainbow of shades.

I am still playing with new Shu Uemura and the perfect lagoon blue on her eyelids is from their limited edition collection with Ambush. It’s a liquid eye foil that you can smudge on with your fingers, the wand applicator or in this case, a brush. I layered several coats to get the intense color. I kept the rest of her face natural with just a touch of blush (the new NARS liquid formula!) and a pinky nude lip.

Note: Jessi, who has a charming French accent with just a touch of proper Londoner, told me the sweetest story about her parents. Her Algerian mother and Ivorian-Senegalese father met while breakdancing in Paris!

Note: You can see / hear some of Jessi’s music here:
Behind the scenes
Jessi x Andy Madeleine
Purpose

MODEL // Jessi M’Bengue
MAKEUP // Robin Black

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Silver Brows… Brooke Candy

The never boring, always entertaining Brooke Candy has become a regular co-conspirator in my beauty madness. She is always down to try new products, crazy looks and brings her own unique style to the studio. In a happy coincidence, the new Ambush x Shu Uemura collection arrived the same day as Brooke stopped by to show me some of her tour costumes. The first product that caught my eye in the collection was the Eyebrow Manicure in Crush Silver. It’s formula is similar in texture to a brow grooming gel but it’s silver… really really silver! So I started with a silver brow and built the rest of the look around it.

Note: Brooke is currently on tour, check her Facebook page for dates.

Note: I didn’t list the cool lashes because they are not available in the US. In fact, I haven’t even been able to find them online. I get them at this tiny beauty shop in Little Tokyo, LA.

MODEL // Brooke Candy
MAKEUP // Robin Black

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Something Different… Brooke Candy

Just a casual look with the notorious Brooke Candy … OK so it’s not that casual but this is what happens when Ryan (genius!) shows up with craft store copper foil and suggests that it might be fun to add it to Brooke’s hair. Then the next thing you know, I am inexplicably reaching for a midnight blue pencil because obviously blue brows are the first thing that jumps to mind when the hair is covered in copper foil.  The blue brows were followed by shimmering deep blue shadow and the most perfect copper lip thanks to Smashbox’s Be Legendary Liquid Lip in Haterade. Moments later, I was digging into my drawer of metallic powders (yes, I have an actual drawer just for metallic powders), mixing up this gorgeous copper goop and liberally pouring it all over Brooke.

It’s really rather impossible to explain the creative thought process that went into this look because it was more of a flow of inspiration. And that is the amazing thing about working with Brooke. She is not only a strong creative collaborator but is also willing to try anything – even when it involves copper foil stuck to her hair and metallic liquid dripping down her torso.

Note: Sadly the Tom Ford Cream and Powder Eye Color used for this look was part of a limited edition collection several seasons ago and is no longer available for sale.  However he has new shades available for this season!

Note: If you haven’t already discovered it, Brooke’s tumblr is definitely worth a visit. She captures personal images of her adventures with a 35mm film camera and updates the page frequently. Click here!

MODEL // Brooke Candy
MAKEUP // Robin Black
HAIR // Ryan Tanaguchi

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Urban Decay X Beauty Is Boring, Jean-Michel Basquiat Collection Look #4

Basquiat’s work always has a graphic line quality to it and I wanted to reference that with this look. The bright blue color is also one of his favorite shades, appearing in numerous paintings. I kept the rest of Demi’s face very raw with just a touch of blush, a mix of moisturizer and foundation plus the tiniest bit of nude lipstick made sheer by applying directly over lip balm.

Note: If you would like to learn more about Jean-Michel Basquiat, his estate has created a website with tons of great resources. Click here to view it!

MODEL // Demi
MAKEUP // Robin Black
HAIR // Ryan Tanaguchi

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Urban Decay X Beauty Is Boring, Jean-Michel Basquiat Collection Look #3

Did you know that Basquiat and Madonna were briefly an item? While researching this project, I came across some great Polaroids of Madonna taken by Basquiat at his studio in 1983. In the images she is wearing bronze eyeshadow from her lashline up over her brows and an reddish orange lip. The look above is a tribute to her early 80’s Basquiat period.

Note: If you would like to learn more about Jean-Michel Basquiat, his estate has created a website with tons of great resources. Click here to view it!

MODEL // Demi
MAKEUP // Robin Black
HAIR // Ryan Tanaguchi

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Urban Decay X Beauty Is Boring, Jean-Michel Basquiat Collection Look #2

For the next look from our Urban Decay collaboration, I was inspired by the scene at the Mudd Club. The Mudd Club was the New York spot for counterculture, art and underground music in the late 70’s and early eighties. Pretty much every interesting NYC based artist of the time frequented it including Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Makeup at the Mudd Club was definitely on the creative side with excessive amounts of blush and an avant-garde blend of punk and disco styles. Taking cues from that mash up, I went blush crazy and monochromatic with the bright cool pinks from the Jean-Michel Basquiat Collection.

Note: Click here to see images from the Mudd Club!

Note: If you would like to learn more about Jean-Michel Basquiat, his estate has created a website with tons of great resources. Click here to view it!

MODEL // Demi
MAKEUP // Robin Black
HAIR // Ryan Tanaguchi

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Urban Decay X Beauty Is Boring, Jean-Michel Basquiat Collection Look #1

It’s time for another Urban Decay collaboration, this time featuring their new Jean-Michel Basquiat Collection! I am a fan of Basquiat’s art so this was a particularly inspiring collection to work with. If you are not familiar with Jean-Michel Basquiat, his estate has created a website with tons of great resources. Click here to view it!

There are a bunch of new colors in this collection so I created four looks, each showcasing different shades as well as inspired by different aspects of his art and life.  The first look (shown above) was inspired by Basquiat’s use of color. I didn’t want Demi’s other features to distract from the eyes so I kept her brows, skin and lips subtle. The lip color is actually a mix of the lovely nude shade in the Basquiat Collection called Abstract and a bit of lip balm to sheer it out.

MODEL // Demi
MAKEUP // Robin Black
HAIR // Ryan Tanaguchi

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Prom Night… Ella & Gabe

I don’t do much event makeup these days but I just couldn’t resist Ella Flood’s Prom. Ella is a model and high school senior who I shot last year for Beauty Is Boring along with her mother Jenny Brunt (also a model). A few weeks ago, Ella reached out for some beauty advice for her upcoming prom but rather than give advice, I offered/insisted on doing her makeup.

Ella’s boyfriend Gabe Le Neveu joined us in the studio and also played DJ with a brilliant selection of 80’s/90’s music. They showed up with matching nail polish, a vampy, almost black shade and both did their own hair. I loved that Ella just flipped her head upside down, spritzed on some hairspray and then threw it all up in a pony tail… they are basically the coolest kids ever.

Ella wore a gorgeous vintage Vivienne Westwood gown in a neutral metallic shade that she found at a thrift shop so we were inspired to do something with a touch of punk. I started with a nude shimmering eyeshadow swept from her lashline to just under her brow, a touch of pale golden bronze under her cheekbones and a peachy base shade (using lip liner) with a sparkling golden gloss on top for a “more exciting than nude” lip. Our tribute to Vivienne’s punk spirit came in the form of an exaggerated black cat eye and loads of black clumpy mascara.

Gabe was one of the best dressed prom dates I’ve ever seen in a slim, black Top Man suit and a vintage Versace shirt. The saturated leopard print Versace (genius!) actually belonged to Ella’s dad, well known photographer Don Flood. The silver and lapis earrings were a sweet gift from Ella. Young love… sigh. As far as grooming, Gabe is already incredibly handsome so all that was needed was a touch of concealer, lip balm and some tinted brow gel.

Note: Congratulations to Ella for being accepted into a prestigious art college! You can see some of her amazing paintings and illustrations on her Instagram.

Note: You can view Ella’s previous Beauty Is Boring posts by clicking here and here.

MODELS // Ella Flood, Gabe Le Neveu
MAKEUP // Robin Black

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Nude… Brooke Candy

It’s always tempting to go mad with makeup when Brooke Candy visits the studio.  She has the kind of face that I can paint a thousand different ways and she will still look stunning.  However, on this particular day, we decided to go for simple washes of earthy nude shades and a groomed brow.

Note: I will be posting a MUCH wilder look in a few days so stay tuned for the exact opposite of this one. Ha!

MODEL // Brooke Candy
MAKEUP // Robin Black
HAIR // Ryan Tanaguchi

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Glowing in Chanel… Gana Bayarsaikhan

When Sheridan Ward (a frequent collaborator and brilliant hairstylist) sent over a snapshot of his friend Gana Bayarsaikhan (taken casually on an LA hike but looking like a magazine cover) and suggested I shoot her, I couldn’t stop staring at her amazing bone structure. Of course I immediately replied “YES!”. When she showed up at the studio a few days later, I felt like I had seen her before. Turns out, she is incredibly humble and aside from being a model, Gana has recently begun to act. She was in ExMachina (as one of the ridiculously gorgeous AI’s) and has recently finished a foreign action film – I got to see some fun clips of her looking deadly with a bow and arrow!

She is truly beautiful in an other worldly sort of way so I wanted to keep the makeup minimal to emphasize that. Glowing skin, flushed cheeks and lips, a bit of brow gel and just the tiniest smudge of soft brown liner under the eyes.

Note:Gana naturally has lots of baby hairs around her temples and I absolutely love what Sheridan did with them!  Plus the sleek texture and low ponytail adds a modern edge to the slightly romantic minimalism of the makeup.

MODEL // Gana Bayarsaikhan
MAKEUP // Robin Black
HAIR // Sheridan Ward

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