Low Cost Make-Up: KIKO Cosmetics

•July 5, 2010 • 6 Comments

Kiko is an italian cosmetics industries’ chain. In KIKO’s shops you can find products at a very low price.

“Kiko cosmetics” was founded in Bergamo (IT) and only recently it has been developing all over Italy from lombardy. It even opened some selling points in Spain and in Colombia as well. You’ll never see any kind of TV advertising about this particular brand (like it can just happen with L’Oreàl, for example). Lack of particular advertising is one of the reasons which permit KIKO to be competitive on prices, avoiding to get them higher. Customers are ensured just by passing the word. You are usually told about KIKO cosmetics by someone who usued and liked it (often a friend) and then you are motivated to come in and buy, when you see a KIKO shop around Europe. Or you can just find your nearer shop on KIKO web-site: http://www.kikocosmetics.com/

KIKO distribution system is not very homogeneus through Italy. In many cities you still don’t have a KIKO shop unfortunately, even if recently KIKO began opening new selling points. The last one is in Milan, corso Buenos Aires, besides that one located in Milan, via Dante.

All the products are “made in Germany”. And all the prices are in the “low-medium” belt. Every month KIKO discounts one specific category of products, like the nail polish, eyeshadows, mascaras and so on. In a KIKO shop you can find a deep range of products and every kinds of cosmetics tools.

I am personally fond of KIKO 105 variants of nail polishes and strong coloured eyeshadows as well. I’d suggest you to try them really soon!


How to build an icon through make-up

•July 3, 2010 • Leave a Comment

This evening I want to introduce you two very famous characters. In both their stories we can see that they have built a character by paying a lot of attention to style, and make-up was one of the most relevant element through which they showed themselves on the stage.

The first one is David Bowie, a very famous singer, even if he has been a character before than a simple rock glam singer. Active in five decades of popular music and frequently reinventing his music and image, Bowie is widely regarded as an innovator, particularly for his work in the 1970s. He has been cited as an influence by many musicians and is known for his distinctive voice and the intellectual depth of his work. He used a lot of make-up on his face thanks to the invention of Ziggy Stardust. The Ziggy Stardust character became the basis for Bowie’s first large-scale tour beginning in 1972, where he donned his famous flaming red mullet and wild outfits, designed by Kansai Yamamoto.

The second character is Lady Gaga. She’s is an American recording artist. She began performing in the rock music scene of New York City’s Lower East Side in 2003. She soon signed with Streamline Records, an imprint of Interscope Records. During her early time at Interscope, she worked as a songwriter for fellow label artists and captured the attention of Akon, who recognized her vocal abilities, and got her signed to his own label, Kon Live Distribution. Contrary to her subsequent outré style, the New York Post described her early look as like “a refugee from Jersey Shore” with “big black hair, heavy eye make-up and tight, revealing clothes.

Both David Bowie and Lady Gaga proposed themselves to the public by creating a character of themselves. Thay both used a lot of make-up to create the character. They key-word seems to be exaggeration above all. Through excessive make-up, excessive clothes (Lady Gaga first) they imposed their own image, which you can actually recognized as an icon. David Bowie was the icon of the glam-rock of 70s through the Ziggy Stardust character and Lady Gaga is one of the most influent transforming artists on the actual music playing scene.

Make-up becomes a real obsession through without which you can’t just become the character you imposed yourself to be. None of us could recognize David Bowie or Lady Gaga if we meet them along the street wth no make-up at all. In that case, they’ll seem to be two different character. And make-up can make you blind sometimes: it can riskily become a personal reef, behind which you can entrech yourself and you can obvoiusly become a slave of that condition. On the other side, one more time make-up seems to be one of the most important mediums to define your public image. Lady Gaga and David Bowie’s case is just an extreme one, but the basic assumptions are the very same of us,  putting make-up on our face when getting ready to go out and show ourselves to everyone we can meet. It’s all about building you own image, indipendently from the fact you are Lady Gaga or not. And make-up seems to be a good medium, if well used.

The Roaring Twenties…in Make-Up!

•June 29, 2010 • Leave a Comment

During the first 20s ivory or hell colour cream was used from most women. Later, during the mid-decade, a special dust whose colour was looking like the skin’s one – brighter and more luminous – began to become popular. As regards make-up colours it has to be told that red, pink, orange and raspberry had become the very “musts” of make-up.

By mid twenties women began to wear strong and iridescent red lips, deep brown, orange and plum. Nuances had changed during the last years of the twenties’ decade. New trends were represented by raspberry red, pale pink and heller red.

Lipstick was applied confering to the lips a little heart shape, by highlighting the more coloured middle zone of lips rather than the sides. Generally for eyes was used a strong dark make-up. In order to obtain this effect it was applied a special eye-liner on the whole eyelid’s lenght, making the dark grey eyeshadow vanished on the eyelids. Besides grey, other colour tones, like for example green and turqoise were in vogue.

With some kajal-pencils (at that time there were obviously other more self-made pencils which were the exact equilavent of our kajal) the eyebrows were highlighted to enhance them a little bit more.

Lipstick became widely popular after Maurice Levy’s 1915 invention of the metal lipstick container. It was available in salve, liquid, and stick forms, and long-lasting, indelible stains were the most popular. “Natural” lipgloss was also invented, which used bromo acid to create a red effect as it reacted with the wearer’s skin. Finally, flavored lipstick was also popular, with the most popular variety being cherry.

In the 1920s, different products were also developed that showed the decade’s preoccupation with shaping the mouth. Metal lip tracers, made in various sizes to satisfy the wishes of the wearer, were developed to ensure flawless lipstick application. Helena Rubinstein created a product called “Cupid’s Bow,” that billed itself as a “self-shaping lipstick that forms a perfect cupid’s bow as you apply it.  The development of the mirrored lipstick container in the 1920s also points to the importance of shaping the lips through the application of lipstick.

During the 1920s, the messy elixir blushes of past years were replaced by creams, powders, liquids, and rouge papers. Powder blushes became more popular after the invention of spill-proof containers and the compact. Indelible blushes, like indelible lipsticks, were popular.

As regards the nails it was common to spread the nail polish only in the middle zone of the nail, keeping the lower side to be just transparent.  

The Twenties were the Charleston era as well. While it developed in African-American communities in the United States, the Charleston became a popular dance craze in the wider international community in the 1920s. Despite its origins, the Charleston is most frequently associated with white flappers and the speakeasy. Here, these young women would dance alone or together as a way of mocking the “drys,” or citizens who supported the Prohibition amendment, as the Charleston was then considered quite immoral and provocative.

Charleston was commonly danced by the so-called flappers. The term flappers in the 1920s referred to a “new breed” of young women who wore short skirts, bobbed their hair, listened to jazz, and flaunted their disdain for what was then considered acceptable behavior. Flappers were seen as brash for wearing excessive makeup, drinking, treating sex in a casual manner, smoking, driving automobiles and otherwise flouting social and sexual norms. Flappers had their origins in the period of liberalism, social and political turbulence and increased transatlantic cultural exchange that followed the end of the First World War, as well as the export of American jazz culture to Europe.

The flapper look required ‘heavy makeup’ in comparison to what had been acceptable. Flappers tended to wear ‘kiss proof’ lipstick. With the invention of the metal lipstick container as well as compact mirrors bee stung lips came into vogue. Dark eyes, especially Kohl-rimmed, were the style. Blush came into vogue now that it was no longer a messy application process.

Originally, pale skin was considered most attractive. However, tanned skin became increasingly popular after Coco Chanel donned a tan after spending too much time in the sun on holiday – it suggested a life of leisure, without the onerous need to work. Women wanted to look fit, sporty, and, above all, healthy.

Recently the Charleston era had a new revival, both under the make-up perspective and the fashion. Here below are some attempts in order to take those roaring years towards a new life, even if a little bit revisited. Actresses, fashion-designers, advertisers and make-up artists are all fascinated by smokey eyes and dark make-up!

Focus on… Traditional Indian Make-Up

•June 28, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Today I would like to tell something about indian make-up. This kind of popular tradition is extremely interesting because it tells us that make-up has been existing since ages and it is not an invention coming from the twentyfirst century.

One of the typical indian and muslim countries products is kajal,  which eas later imported by the western countries. This kajal is made from a black dust obtained from a special root and leaves belonging to a plant, which has to get dried: it should be applied with a proper stick. It’s interesting to know that it is used for both women and men, even besides children. Kajal has a beauty function but it is especially used for a favourable aim, because Indians think that kajal can keep away all the negative influecies. Everything is used in order to get favourable rites: polycrome special dusties you can find in the markets, perfumes and hair-oils as well.

Indian women like to make their skin heller and brighter and they use special face-masks made up of  white sandalwood dust  in order to get this effect. The traditional red little point, called “tika”, which many indian women wear above their forehead is another decorative element traditionally used by Indians, even if it was originatelly born in order to communicate the non-widowhood condition and it is therefore worn both by married and unmarried women. You have to draw it in the very centre of the forehead, in the region of the so-called “third eye”, according to the ancient traditions.

Many of these traditions take their origin from the induist rituals practiced in the temples. Rituals and religious beliefs are very different according to the many indian regions and according to the different muslim influencies as well, like for example the tradition of putting some make-up on hands, designing and decorating your hands by using hennè. Hennè is used in traditional transformation rituals as a deep symbol of good omen. The more the hennè colour is dark, the more you’ll be lucky in your lifetime. The most famous hennè is that one coming from Rajasthan, an indian desert region.


Tom Ford’s Private Blend Lip Colour Collection

•June 27, 2010 • 1 Comment

The multi-talented Tom Ford is of course the ultimate perfectionist. So it’s only fitting that his new Private Blend Lipstick line is flawless. Perfect amount of pigment, perfect colours, even perfect packaging. To mirror the 12 scents in his Private Blend fragrance collection, there are 12 shades, ranging from the chic new Vanilla suede to the aptly named Black Orchid (a node to his best selling scent). And thanks to brazilian murumuru butter and camomilla flower oil, the lipsticks’ textures is as smooth as the man himself.

Yesterday evening I was reading the last number of “Vanity Fair” and I run into the following interview to Tom Ford by chance. He’s speaking about his new lipstick collection, available from June 2010 in the following selling points: Neiman Marcus, Sacks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman. Aready from 24th April 2010 Private Blend Lipstick is available in Tom Ford’s head milanese brand shop located in via Verri, Milan.

From Vanity Fair, 23rd June 2010:

Tom Ford brings seduction into lipstick by creating “Private Blend Lip Colour”, which is a 12 lipsticks collection endowed with strong and soft textures. The fashion designer – film director told us his new experience in the make-up world.

Where did you take inspiration for your collection?

I chose the most classical colours and I invented them again under a modern perspective. They are polish and strong, exclusively addressed to connoisseurs. I wanted a total nuance guardrobe, so that a woman could choose which to wear, as well as you do with a pair of shoes.

So all the shades should be available, shouldn’t they?

It’s normal choosing according to your own colours and the shape of your face, but you have to consider the style, too. Lips are the key-point of the look itself.


They’re at the very centre of the face’s architecture. They are endowed with a strong erotic and sexual charge as well. We’re always fascinated by them. This doesn’t mean that lips have to be always red and glossy in order to catch the attention around you. Beige and pink lipsticks, for example, are more toned down: despite this they express that lovely glossy minimalism, which I really adore. The same minimalism which char

acterizes the gold and ivory case.”


The healing Side of Make-Up

•June 11, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Body care was really important for ancient Egyptians. They used creams, ointments and perfumes in order make the skin softer and good smelling. Women used to clear their skin with a compose made from white lead, available in differnet colours, form the hellest one to the ambrest, generally used for lips.

Egyptians used to wear black or green kohl (they were extracted from goleena or malachite) in order to highlight the eyelid. Nails were made coloured, as well as feet and hands’ breadths. And sometimes also the hair with a paste based on hennè. They used mirrors, tweezers for hair removal and manicure. Perfumes were extracted by flowers, made distressed and pressed. They were used from both women and men. All the smelling essences had Shesmu as their personal god. They were producted in laboratories associated to temples and put in small pots called “faience”.

For ancient Egyptians makeup had the function to protect themselves from reverberations and irritations due to hot and dry weather and to sand as well. From ancient found papyruses it was discovered how malachite (a green smerald mineral) and galeena (dark grey, originated from lead) were applied onto the eyes to cure the tracome (eye infection), the eyesgiht reduction and congiuntivity, while the red ochre was used for lips and cheecks as modern lipsticks and phards. Recent studies revealed the chemical composition of dustes: black galeena, white cerussite, laurionite and fosgenite as well.

These last substances can’t be found in nature but they can be obtained through special chemical processes, which let man to perceive a deep knowledge in this field. Ancient texts reported all the necessary instructions about the used methods: black galeena was heated to get the lead oxidize (red colour), which was mixed with water and salt  with some salt.

All the forty following days the mixture obtained was filtered and mixed again with salt in order to get the very white dust of laurionite. Fosgenite, on the contrary, was obtained with the same process except for the supplemetary add of natron (a type of sodium carbonate available from rocks). The variety of processes of these substances (more or less thin millnesses) permitted to obtain different colours and and brightnesses so that anybody could be allowed to personalize his own makeup.

Laurionite and fosgenite, according to the particular dosage used, associated to black galeena, produced the different tones of grey. Saturated fats were furthermore added and beeswax or resines which could enhance the densities and the care property of  the products. Makeup products were considered “divine fluids” and they belonged to the mortuary equipment as well.

Michela Boniardi’s job experience

•May 29, 2010 • Leave a Comment

A few posts ago I spoke about make-up artists’ magazines. This time I’d like to tell something more about the very job. How to became a good make-up artist? What are the right suggestions to follow?

Last week I went to corso di Porta Ticinese’s Killah store with my friend Linda and I personally interviewed a real make-up artist, who was there to give people useful suggestions about the manner which they should follow to enhance their face through make-up. Which better occasion to catch all the secrets about it?

The make-up artist’s name is Michela Boniardi. This is her own site, even if it is still under construction: http://www.michelaboniardi.com/

I asked her some questions, while my friend Linda took advantage of the special occasion by allowing her putting some make-up on her face. 😉

Here is the very interview. Let’s get it started, while Linda is ready to approach to makeup…

– How rose the idea of becoming a professional make-up artist?

I’ve always been fascinated by beauty and in particular everything about cosmetics stimulated my curiosity more and more often during the high school years. I approached this particular world step by step, in a very natural way, getting aware of different products in a very long period. At the time I just liked beauty but I didn’t realized I could have built my whole professional career on it yet. I just like it, you know. Besides this I dod not have many questions about my next future.

 – What kind of professional schools did you attend to became a make-up artist?

Well… It’s curious, because my high school had just nothing in common with being a make-up artist. I attended a chemical surveyor high school, which had really nothing in common with beauty and cosmetics. I’ve just been hating it for all the five years! Once graduated I thought about which job career could I get involved in. I looked into my future and I couldn’t get something clear to follow. Then I found out a specialization school in Milan, the Beauty Center of Milan (BCM), which is a beauty professional education school. I think it’s one of the best available in Italy. I attended a course mainly centered on make-up and manicure, which is more and more often matched with make-up.


 – Once gradutaed at the BCM what has been you first experiences in the job market?

I first had some experience training as an assistant in a chemist’s shop, where cosmetics products are available but they’re not so many actually. I went on training like this for a couple of years, then I started setting me as free lance make-up artist. Everyone need a make-up artist, you know. I started making many bride photo sets and that was my very turning point. By the chemist’s I dodn’t earn much money, on the contrary photo sets gave me the oppotunity to specialize on a focalized customer target and consequently I started to earn more money as well.

 – What subjects did you particularly study at BCM?

I strated studying many basic subjects like for example chromatic matching and face design. There were differents courses at the BCM. I chose corrective make-up and photographic make-up to start. Then I also attended more specialized courses, like for example chromatic and semi-permanent make-up and a lttle of airbrush and body art, too. I immediately learned how to treat face’s features in order to make them better. For example if you have a circle face I’ll have to apply some foundation and mascara from the external side to the internal one to make it seeming more slim and less looking like a very circle. That’s only an example, but we can actually re-design our own face with make-up suggestions as well. You have to be aware of different shapes in order to make them more looking like something else. It’s all a colours’ and lines’ work, you know. If you get involved in it, you can’t do without it then! It’s a necessity and you can’t help it.

 – Which are the colours and the textures you like the most?

In my makeups there’s always a black eye sorrouding, which can often be enlarged to cover the whole eyelid. I think black is really a basic colour, which can give deepness and brightness to the eye. It is never out of fashion and it is useful even if there is a very small eye. It’s like a red lipstick, which is never out of fashion as well. A red lipstick is a little bit more demanding to wear, even if it always makes a feminine just a woman. It always gives sensuality and femininity. Surely you have to pay attention to match very black eyes with strong red lips.

 – How do you see the makeup artists’ job market? What are the main developments going on?

I think that everyone need a make-up artist. We usually think that makeup artists are only for celebrities or VIPs, you know. That’s definitely not true. In the very manner we can’t do without makeup, we need a makeup artist. And it doesn’t matter if we are used to put some make up on us by ourselves. In that case we are our personal make-up artists. We can’t go outside without mascara at least. I don’t really understand those people who go outside with only a little eyeshadow wothout even mascara. It’s just horrible, not possible! You have to pay attention to your appearance, some makeup falures are simply incredible to see! By the way, makeup art’s job market is in a continous development and there’s place for everybody. And needing a makeup artist even if you are not a celebrity from Hollywood, that’s actually why there’s place for everybody! The job market is stretching out and new positions are opening little by little. Working as a makeup artist or as a makeup consultant in a chemis’s shop was unbelievable up to a few years ago: now it’s simply one of the many possible positions available. Evrything needs appearance, everybody can be made better by some useful suggestions, you have only to understand where is the starting point, you know.

Thank you very much for sharing your experience with us!

…and special thanks to Linda as well, who was the “victim” chosen in order to allow me to ask some question to Michela. 🙂