Beach babe or siren starlet, the Californian girl sizzles with sexy style.
A mix of high-tech and casual cool typifies California and its extensive beauty industry. The look this lends itself to is an easy mix of clever functionality with enough glamour to keep the cameras popping.
Unlike the screen stars of old - all arched eyebrows and cupid's bow lips - the modern pin-up girl favours an uncontrived beauty. Eye makeup may be a little smudgy and hair mussed up rather than too "done", but all the tricks of the trade ensure this easy, edgy look pulls together. From technologically advanced makeup formulas to cunning application techniques, it is no surprise California is a hothouse of cosmetic creativity given its century-long history of movie make-believe.
The look we show on this page today comes from Los Angeles-based Smashbox Cosmetics, one of those very Californian companies at the forefront of modern makeup magic.
Founded by the great grandsons of Max Factor - the Hollywood makeup artist man who brought pancake makeup to the movies then to the masses - Smashbox is a hothouse of fashion, film and cosmetic developments.
The entrepreneurial brothers, Dean with an MBA and Davis a leading celebrity photographer, set up Smashbox Studios in 1990 and six years later founded their makeup line to meet the demands of studio photography. Primers, foundation, and powders developed to withstand the scrutiny of high-definition cameras are among the brand's specialities as is illuminating and shading. The studios, which were home to Los Angeles Fashion Week for five years, are still used for shoots and film and music events. Smashbox global lead artist and fashion show veteran Lori Taylor developed the Shades of Fame collection for summer 2012. (See sidebar for tips on how to achieve this high-wattage look). Spoken like a true Californian, she says she can't stand it when people say beauty is superficial. "Makeup has a healing element. There's something about making people feel great that's more emotional than material."
This mantra would ring true for lovers of mineral makeup, much touted for ease and naturalness. The minerals trend, greatly boosted by the use of mineral powders in the television industry, owes much to Bare Minerals. The pioneering San-Francisco-based company has a global following. Its products disappeared from New Zealand shelves for awhile, after a buy-out by Shiseido, but they are now back again. Youngblood is a newer name in mineral makeup to look out for in beauty salons. With an emphasis on colour as much as face base, Youngblood, like Bare Minerals, has moved to sell more compact powders along with the traditional messier loose powders.
Outside of a few big players in the nail and hair industry (names such as O.P.I, Orly and Creative Nails are all LA-based as is KMS), the city seems to do innovative, niche brands best. Stila and Hourglass are two of note, both have a devoted following among makeup junkies.
Here's a sampling of what makes the West Coast look so good.
1. Orly Nail Lacquer in Orange Punch $24.99
Get ahead of the neon trend for summer by injecting some colour into your winter look the easy way.
2. Go Smile On the Go Teeth Whitening Pen $46
For that all-American smile, white teeth are an essential. Go Smile makes a host of home whitening products, from complete kits to toothpastes, and this portable little brush-on pen for compulsive perfectors.
3. Kate Somerville 360° Face Self Tanning Pads $68
If you want to look like an LA local then you can't be pasty white, so get your glow on the safe way with these clever colour-infused towelettes. Each is individually wrapped and there's also a box for use on the body. Kate Somerville made her name as a facialist to the stars and now sells her own range of skincare, including her hero product, the catchily named Exfolikate.
4. Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation $102
Carisa Janes graduated from the creative team at Urban Decay to several makeup start-ups before founding Hourglass eight years ago to blend skincare and high-performance "wearable" makeup. The primers are a standout. This foundation is especially suited to those with oily or combination skins who still hanker after that flawless finish.
5. Bare Minerals Touch Up Veil $38
Bare Minerals is back on New Zealand shelves and with far more competitive prices than a few years back. Its original loose powder foundation is $45 and for anyone looking to explore minerals the eight-piece Get Started Kit at $110 is a winner, with three quality brushes. This compact, available with translucent and tinted powder, helps reduce shine and has a SPF15 rating.
6. Stila Smudge Pot in Kitten $42
The fashion-forward colours, cute packaging and easy application of Stila products have won them a firm following in the States. Kitten is a signature shimmering pink champagne shade, available for eyes and lips and in shimmer powder. Longwear lip and eye pencils are also worth a look.
7. Smashbox Shades of Fame eye palette $73
Smashbox does big seasonal palettes particularly well and has a range colour-coded to match different eye shades. By using heavy cardboard rather than plastic for packaging the weight and price is kept in check, but there is nothing cheap about the finely milled shadows chosen to mix and match. The Shades of Fame selection will also last well thanks to the accompanying Lid Primer and application tips. The box also contains a brush and two cream liners in gold and bronze.
We have a set of Smashbox limited edition Shades of Fame products to give away to one lucky reader. The prize comprises the eye palette used to create the model look (as seen in the above pic) along with the five high-shine mini lip glosses it is pictured with.
With their versatile shade mix, the two boxed sets are a great value buy, with the eye palette of nine shadows, two liners, a brush and a mini lid primer costing $75 and the Shades of Fame Lip Gloss Set costing $43.
Go to nzherald.co.nz/vivagiveaways and enter the keyword Smashbox on the VIP Viva page along with your details for a chance to win. Entries close at 11.59pm on Sunday, August 12, 2012. For terms and conditions see the website.
For an everyday approach to flawless celebrity style, try these tips from Neisha Henry, who has worked as a Smashbox makeup artist and is now the general manager of sales and marketing of Micromode, the company that looks after the brand in New Zealand. She describes the model shot (above) as an ultra-modern look defined by a completely wearable eye. "We're using elegant matte textures, lips and cheeks are swept with bright pops of candy colour." Here's how:
* Flatter your eyes with subtle makeup, but still contour and build depth with eyeshadows rather than eyeliner and false lashes.
* Finish the eyes by curling your lashes, then apply two coats of black mascara.
* Cheeks: summer bronze just looks fake, so make sure it is apparent your colour boost comes from product rather than the sun. Highlighting is essential (try the Smashbox Halo Hydrating Wand).
* Most cream formulas have a sheen finish, so choose a powder blush, which layers beautifully over matte skin. With an angled brush, apply the colour right along your cheekbone. Build-up colour slowly.
* Finish with a bite to the lips. Try peaches or luscious fuchsia pinks.
Stockists: Orly from selected salons, Farmers and pharmacies, stockists ph 0800 883434. Kate Somerville, Go Smile, Stila, Hourglass and Bare Minerals exclusive to Mecca Cosmetica stores and online. Smashbox from selected Life pharmacies, spas and the Ponsonby Rd concept store or online.