In Products I dig

Like many artists, I’m skeptical of mineral makeup, especially for photography. When many of us hear “mineral makeup,” we think mainstream consumer brands like Bare Essentuals. And we also think about photoreflectivity, which equals shiny, washed-out faces. Buffing sparkly powder into your face may look flattering in person, but it’s a nightmare on camera. And as a dry-skinned person, I’m just not a big powder makeup fan. I’ve tried wearing loose powders before and I felt positively parched, and the extreme matte finish was very aging on my skin. Healthy skin is supposed to appear supple and satin-y, but a dead giveaway that someone’s wearing a lot of makeup is a dry, powdery face.

So, long story short, I’ve never been a fan. But like anything else in the makeup world, mineral powders have their uses – you just have to pick the right ones for the job. My friend Karrie Welch has studied the industry and product formulations exhaustively in order to create her own line of camera-ready mineral makeup. And, I must admit, she’s made a believer out of me. So much so that I routinely wear a bit of her mineral powder foundation myself (it has great coverage and, over a good moisturizer, doesn’t dry me out at all), and I’m starting to incorporate more of her cosmetics into my kit.

Karrie is much better than I am at describing the differences between the products she uses and what is commonly thought of as mineral makeup, but the bottom line is: the foundation powder isn’t sparkly, and it looks like skin – both on and off camera. She manages to retain the pros of mineral makeup and discard the cons. And she has developed an extensive line of colors to suit almost any skin tone (unlike the mainstream companies that expect you to fall into three or four vague categories that end looking especially ashy and horrible on women of color). I strongly urge you to check out her website to view the line.

I had the opportunity to join Karrie one evening recently to see how her makeup is made. Look out, consumer brands – Karrie’s attitude is “why buy it when I can make it myself?” She has successfully reverse-engineered Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics’ popular pigmented liquid lipsticks (Lip Tars) AND made them dye-free. Just for fun, I got to make a few colors with her, watching her painstakingly mix emollients with pigments until the texture and opacity was just right. It was fun to walk away with a sneak peek, and I finally have a bright summery orange shade in my kit. I loved it so much that I used on a recent photoshoot with Carly Marciano (aka Miss Boston 2009):

Photo by Sean Peragine

Isn’t that a hot shade? You’d be amazed how hard it is to find a color like that with a nice texture. I love it, and can’t wait to see what else Karrie comes up with!

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