The Last Days of Summer… Maja Elmstrom

It’s still scorching hot in LA but the last days of summer are upon us. However, before I break out the Fall color collections, I wanted to do at least one more carefree summer look. No foundation, no mascara, no fuss, just Maja’s gorgeous face with some minimal enhancement. To create the warm glow on her eyelids and cheeks, I used the Bite Beauty Multistick in Creme Caramel. Love a multi-tasker!

Note: Maja is from Stockholm and aside from being genetically gifted with stunning looks (That skin! The hair! The eyes!, The lips!), she has a down to earth cool girl vibe. We talked endlessly about Stockholm (which I have fond memories of) and she pretty much convinced me to move there. Ha!

MODEL // Maja Elmstrom
MAKEUP // Robin Black

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Paint it black… Ella Flood

Afternoons in the studio with Ella are always inspiring. In part because it’s hard to take a bad photo of her (Ella’s mom is gorgeous model Jenny Brunt, which seems like an unfair genetic advantage.) but also because she is an incredibly talented fine artist.  Her work has a level of sophistication that is well beyond her years and don’t even get me started on her excellent taste in music.

On this particular day, Ella had just finished packing to leave for a prestigious art school. Very exciting but also quite sad since it meant leaving behind Gabe (click here to see their prom look), her family and of course, her ridiculously cute dog Buns. Her mood reminded me of what it feels like to be young and have the whole world stretch out in front of you with limitless possibilities.

Note: The glitter is one of LemonheadLA’s Spacepaste shades. If you haven’t tried Spacepaste yet, it’s worth an order!  It’s a vegan jelly-like substance filled with high quality cosmetic glitter that stays put with zero fall out, totally addictive!

MODEL // Ella Flood
MAKEUP // Robin Black

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SISTER ACT… Isabelle & Crystal van Commenee

You may recognize Crystal, she was featured in our past collaborations with Marc Jacobs Beauty and Sephora. Plus she is hard to forget with that flowing red hair, perfect complexion, stunning blue eyes and full brows. To top it off, Crystal is smart, funny, kind and a gifted baker. During one of our previous shoots, she not only brought along some delicious vegan muffins (seriously the best!) but also her younger sister, Isabelle.

As soon as I saw Isabelle, I knew we should do a shoot with the two of them! Isabelle is two years younger with a mane of coppery red hair (to her waist!), a flawless complexion, gorgeous green eyes and similar full brows. She is not a model (yet) but rather focuses her free time on kickboxing – which has to be one of the coolest things a 16yr old girl has ever said to me.

Note: All that shiny red hair got me thinking of Guy Bourdin’s images so hence the late 70’s / early 80’s makeup vibe.

MODEL // Isabelle van Commenee, Crystal van Commenee
MAKEUP // Robin Black

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Summer Heat… Kristin Hoppe

What better for the scorching days of August than a traffic stopping look inspired by the heat! Kristen went platinum blonde a few days before our shoot so I wanted to play with the incredible contrast between her icy hair and fiery makeup shades. For her eyes, I used the new Marc Jacobs Beauty Eye-Conic Palette in Scandalust – which appears less intense in the product photos on their site but has a ton of color payoff. To add balance but not compete with the strong eye look, I did sheer washes of monochromatic colors on her cheeks and lips.

MODEL // Kristin Hoppe
MAKEUP // Robin Black

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CREATIVE things to do with liquid lipstick.. Meng Meng

Suggestions for off label use of your favorite liquid lipstick…

1: Why not wear your lipstick completely off center like in the image above? Similar concepts were used for kabuki and greek theatre masks to convey multiple personalities or sometimes a character’s “double” face. Plus Comme des Garcons sent models down their Fall 2004 runway show in this exact style and since Rei can do no wrong, it’s at least worth a try.

2: Liquid lipstick makes for a great eyelid stain. Choose the color wisely and start by dabbing on a tiny amount and blending quickly. Nudes, pinks and reds work best for this experiment, purples tend to wind up looking like a bruise.

3: Rouge your nipples! Throughout the 1600’s – 1800’s, extremely low bodices were all the rage in Europe. So low that nipples were often exposed and to make sure that they were properly appreciated, women would apply rouge to them. This trend started among high born ladies but quickly spread to prostitutes since it helped highlight their wares.

4: Create the chicest personal stationary by applying a matte liquid lipstick and gently kissing blank note cards. Once the lipstick is dry, mist over it lightly with an acrylic setting spray (check your local art store) to set it.

Note: I used the new NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment in the image above.  It’s ideal for the more creative uses listed above and also for creating a perfectly lovely matte lip. 🙂

MODEL // Meng Meng
MAKEUP // Robin Black

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The Perfect Red-Orange… Amber Jones

I have been crazy for red-orange lipsticks ever since I tried on my first, NARS Heatwave. It’s been well over a decade since I bought that first tube and the Heatwave is still one of my summer staples. In my quest for the perfect red-orange or perhaps orange-red, I discovered Tom Ford Lip Color in Flame. In certain lights it looks like a bright red but add a camera flash or sunlight and the gorgeous orange undertone shines through. It’s a true statement color so you don’t need much else with it.

For this look I paired Flame with glowing skin, lightly groomed brows and thick faux lashes. It’s the perfect look for a summer night out – striking and simple but with a nod to old Hollywood glamour.

Note: Amber’s skin is ridiculously perfect. I barely touched it because I wanted her charming freckles to shine so I just used a tiny bit of Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Foundation mixed with Sisley’s fabulous new Black Rose Skin Infusion Cream (if you haven’t tried this, do so immediately!).

Note: I layered two sets of the Velour lashes to create some fluffy drama, then coated them with mascara.

MODEL // Amber Lauren Jones
MAKEUP // Robin Black

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Summer Colors… Sammie Yochelson

This face! Sammie reminds me of the emotional looking actresses of the 1920’s and 1930’s, a modern version of young Bette Davis with just a touch of Clara Bow. It was tempting to do a vintage makeup look on her but with all the gorgeous summer colors in the studio, I decided to stay in this decade.

Note: The bright pink lip is by @thelipsticklobby. The Lipstick Lobby represents a social justice movement for change, progress and equality with 100% of their net profits going to Planned Parenthood!

MODEL // Sammie Yochelson
MAKEUP // Robin Black

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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

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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