After a busy weekend of Bridal clients and a Blush Pretty gig at Pravda Vodka Bar, I’m just catching up on the blog. So in this article, I’ll share my recent experience with one of my all time favorite brands.
February 27th, 2013. Make Up For Ever - A seminar with Dany Sanz.
Dany Sanz, was a trained painter and sculptor, who became a makeup artist and makeup school director. In 1984, she founded the brand which rapidly became cult among makeup artists. She opened her first boutique in Paris, in 1999. Then, she created her own Makeup Academy in 2002, which allowed her to share her passion with the next generation of students, and nurture an international network of makeup artists. Today, there are 10 Make Up For Ever Academies, worldwide. I was so excited, to meet her!
“The brand now is more serious. A lot of imrpovements…A lot of change. [But] We don’t want to change Make Up For Ever, the spirit of the brand…We opened a school in Shanghai, and in the Middle East.. Everywhere I go, I’m sure to meet somebody [students] I know..” – Dany Sanz
The Pro Seminar took place in Twist Gallery, in the trendy art gallery district of Toronto, on Queen St West. It was by invitation only to all Backstage Card members, and the $95 fee was redeemable for products, at the end of the seminar. The turn out was pretty impressive, considering the weather!
I was so happy to see Dany Sanz in person, and expected to bring home pages of notes full of makeup art tricks and tips, straight from the source. You can imagine my disappointment when I arrived at the venue after a 2 and a half hour commute (thanks to the snow storm) to hear Dany Sanz say that she wasn’t going to be teaching us how to do [makeup] as we were all “Pros” .. [Internal dialogue: Say, wha-ht?... Oh, man!]
I love learning, and this was exactly what I was looking forward to. I remember looking across to my left at all the other artists after hearing this, and noted how smiles turned into uncertain (or polite) chuckles. But some attendees remained pretty poker-faced making we wonder if they felt the same way at all. It was a 3-hour seminar. Surely she was going to show us a gem or two tricks of the trade, between her product presentations? That’s what I hoped. But the event seemed more about the story behind her brand, the new Pro Finish Foundation Powders and synthetic fiber makeup brushes, than anything else.
Sadly, neither the Pro Finish Inserts (the magnetized pans that fit into an empty palette for $29 each) nor the new brushes were even available there for us to purchase! Only the full Pro Finish compacts were there, retailing at $42 each. Them being too chunky for me to want to carry in my kit, an even with the pro discount (40% off) I would rather invest in the Pro inserts. As a fellow makeup artist noted, it felt “more like a Press and Sales event, than a Pro Seminar” (but I guess, it wasn’t titled a “workshop” either).
So, did I learn anything? Actually, yes. I would’ve loved to witness more color application, for sure. This artiste, swished and painted so swiftly with her trained hands and professional brushes, that even the few strokes she demo’d made me sit up and pay more attention! Ha!
Here’s what I did learn:
1) I learned a lot about how fantastic and versatile the new Pro Finish Multi-Use Powder Foundation is. Make Up For Ever has patented this “freedom product” because it was so difficult to create such a light weight (I think she said 40% less talc..? Talc, not being bad for your skin, but just tends to weigh the product down). Let me list the things that made it stand out for me:
- I love its flexible and buildable coverage, and the fact that
- it can be used dry or wet. Nothing new, but adding water or a wet brush or sponge to the product doesn’t result in any change to it (no bumps, lumps or graying) and
- it contains close to the pigment concentration of fluid foundation,
- it can be used before and/or after creme finishes. In fact you can use all kinds of products on top of it, as demonstrated by Dany, on the two models she had on stage: Using it dry for a matte finish on one model, and wet- as a buildable light foundation to a matte finish on the other. And it looked so natural. My kind of foundation, indeed!
- What is it good for? It’s perfect for quick touch-ups! Great for daily wear, for TV, Film fashion shows, when you have to work super fast, and even for stage makeup. Theater actors no longer like wearing so much makeup unlike before.
What skin type is it for? When asked if it was suitable for mature skin, Dany replied, “Yes! I use it”. [laughter followed] as her running joke about her age or her being “old” (her words), continued throughout the event. In fact, at the end of the seminar, the Make Up For Ever staff presented her with a Canadian themed sweater, as a gift for her recent 66th birthday! (She looks absolutely fantastic!)
She also added that she was the first to test her products out. If it doesn’t pass her standards, it doesn’t go to the market. She continued to say, she [wants and needs] less product around her eyes, but as she demonstrated, it was easy to use the sponge that it comes with or her pointed brush, dampened, to take the product down even after application. Tip: Avoid heavy application around the eye area if you don’t want to emphasize the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
2) I learned a little bit about ‘Colour Theory’ – one of the topics taught in the Make Up For Ever Academies. For example: Adding 1 drop of her ‘Chromatic Mix’ a liquid makeup pigment, in blue (- oil base to oil based foundations/water-to water based make up of course) into foundation to take down its luminosity. (What may be considered “beautiful makeup” in magazines or photos may not be the desired look for natural looks on TV/Film). It preserves the natural finish of the base colour as a foundation. This is useful when creating a more natural look for a character on film and TV. I loved that she used a painter’s mixing palette and spatula, reminiscent to her background.
I also learned about Dany’s passion about our craft as makeup artists- and how personal it is. She took questions from the audience and answered them extensively, speaking in her charming French accent and broken English..Her love for her brand and the makeup art craft was evident in her story-telling. Her account about how the Aqua line was born out of the demand for truly waterproof makeup that could stand the test of staying in tact while in the water for several hours, also told a story about a famous synchronized swimmer whom she knew. [I think I've told this story before when I blogged about the Aqua creme for Beating the Summer Heat Makeup, but forgot the exact name..Marielle, maybe?] Anyway, she needed beautiful makeup for her water performances. The aqua products have been tested by synchronized swimmers since (and to my recollection, even worn by the Canadian Olympics synchronized swimming team in the London Olympics!) ….A clever, yet honest way of getting the point that her products are carefully tested out on people, and in fact by Dany herself, before they are approved to go out to the market.
Make Up For Ever’s Aqua range have been best-sellers since she launched the Aqua cremes, and now she reveals that they will be adding more shades to the popular water proof lip colors, Aqua Rouge. Yay!
When asked about her take on airbrushing, again a course she also teaches in her schools, she shared at length about her preference for the good old traditional makeup:
“We are makeup artists. I am a pure makeup artist. We are not graphic artists.”- Dany Sanz
My sentiments echoed hers exactly. She went on to say that airbrush makeup was used a lot in the 70s, then it stopped..But all of a sudden, talents and studios began demanding for it all the time [when the airbrush fad reemerged to the mainstream market as the High Def technologies began to take over and the cosmetics industry's marketing teams were all over it!]… But she took the opportunity to share the fact that MUFE has a makeup thinner that can be added to her face and body or HD foundations, + the Chromatic Colours, so it can be used for airbrushing. I didn’t know this! The complete color and product collection booklet we all got to take home, along with a Pro Finish product info booklet, shows off the brands’ complete retail and pro only products. I just wish the SRP was printed in them, too.
“Sometimes I fight..Sometimes I feel sad, because we need to use our craft, our brushes, our fingers…Use a more sensitive touch. The airbrush artists [sometimes] forget how to use brushes..They forget that they’re working on skin, not on paper” -Dany Sanz
It was so endearing how careful she was to not put anyone off or how candidly she shared little tidbits about saving time and cutting corners as makeup artists… (ie. [gesturing] spraying the powder compact directly instead of wetting the sponge! -”It’s bad” she sniggers, but “we do..for to save time” or reminding us of how we could mix our own colors of lipsticks by using the microwave and the brand’s special mineral oil, and again- with a side glance towards her brand manager, she jokes “but it is not good for [her] business. Because you won’t buy [more lipsticks]” sic). Now and again she called herself “crazy” for adding even more shades and products to Make Up For Ever’s current 1500 SKUs.. She says she hates to get rid of products but sometimes it’s a necessity, to make room for new ones.
As she talked about how we should feel the skin we’re working on and have a sensitive touch, the second half of the seminar was all about her new synthetic brushes. And the importance of knowing our tools of the trade well. Speaking specifically about her pro makeup brushes due to arrive in Canada by Summer.
She described how she came to focus more on “fibers” [synthetic fibers as opposed to natural hair taken from animals] after years of seeing how animals were actually killed for their hair in the factories she had been visiting all over the world to get her brushes made. When she told the famous artist brush factory, Rafael in France, “It’s too much..We won’t kill animals anymore”- Dany says, it caused a sort of “cultural shock”.. And so, with the newer and more sophisticated technologies that create the different new fabrics we have today (in fashion), she began to make the transition: to no longer manufacture the natural brushes that she still has in the MUFE Collection, but to focus on what she referred to as brushes made of “Fiber” material. (I’m translating it to synthetic, or man-made brush hairs). She told us the story of her handcrafted pro fiber brushes. And how she would draw each brush on paper first, thinking of us (makeup artists) and how we use them. All these brushes are individually sculpted and put together by hand -except for the wooden handles and metal parts (and practically provided employment to an entire village in the island of Mauritius, when she sourced outside of France, after realizing their factory was too small to make her 76 new brushes!).
Her passion for knowing your tools of the trade, from the straight bristles to the curly ones, the stiff to the more flexible and what results in application each offers is a whole entire blog post of its own! Hearing about the work that went into each brush, she says, should help make us respect them more.
Okay, this report is getting too long..After my crazy after-the-snow-storm commute, I was hoping to get to speak to Dany in person, or at least have a photo taken with her, but I didn’t get a chance to. *Sigh* It was nice seeing some old friends in the industry there though. I’ll end this by sharing what I ended up bringing home with me after the seminar for its $95.00 fee:
1) A Pro Finish Powder Foundation for myself. (I’ll get the inserts from the Pro store – Sephora, Eaton Center) and an HD Powder which I love using for Airbrush and for setting.
2) 3x Aqua Brows – one for lighter hair, brunette, and almost black. These waterproof brow creme-gels fill and hold brow hair beautifully! Check out my friend’s Aqua Brow review to see a before and after!
3) 2x HD Creme Blushes in #3 (hot pink) and #12 (coral/peach). These things are super pigmented, and you won’t need more than a tiny drop for both cheeks!
I’ll show you a Look I created with these products another day. They’re perfect for Bridals as well as for everyday/evening looks!
Do you love Make Up For Ever, too? What are your favorite products from the brand? Let me know, and let’s talk makeupMake Up For Ever`,