To celebrate the launch of the best of USA boxes, I went behind the scenes with my notebook, pen, and iPhone (are you following us on Snapchat?) for an exclusive look at the shoot. Besides the treasure trove of beauty products on display – I picked up some amazing tips from our visiting beauty experts, on everything from hair-styling to skin-prepping.
Makeup artist Lou and hairstylist Josh transformed our gorgeous model Louise twice over whilst our photographers snapped away to showcase the looks from our two Best of USA beauty boxes. We took a lot of pictures – thousands in fact – for the shoot, and hours of footage (which you can watch here).
Inspired by a city of blue skies and golden sunsets, where summer lasts all year and each day blends seamlessly into the next – in LA, it’s all about a fresh golden radiance. We gave the bronzed look an update by adding a peachy golden glow to the cheekbones, defined lips, and a soft warmth to the eyes with a collection of products designed to create dreamy, illuminated and sun-kissed summer skin.
This is Josh’s signature beachy look, created with Sachajuan Ocean Mist and Babyliss Pro Titanium Expression Curling Tongs. “This isn’t an unnatural high-fashion hair look, it’s for a fun, carefree LA girl who heads straight from the beach to the party” he says. “I’ve modernised it by waving random sections of hair in alternate directions, so really you get two textures, the loose curls and then the soft, natural wave, which gives it a more casual feel.”
“I always start with a good canvas on the skin” says Lou, who massaged in Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre after a sweep of Resultime Micellar Water to wick away surface grime and residue, “the texture of the Embryolisse cream is perfect because it’s thick enough to nourish dry skin, but also sheers out and sinks in really fast.” Louise had a really natural glow so there was no need for an extensive skincare routine – instead Lou spent just a few moments rapidly massaging Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Acid Eye Cream into her eye area for an instant lifting effect.
Since Louise has great skin, Lou wanted to keep the base fresh and light, without concealing her natural glow. She used Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Fluid Foundation and then Stila Perfecting Concealer for additional coverage around the nose and under the eyes.
Lou started with Make Up Geek Contour Powder in Bad Habit. “I applied this to the hollowed areas of the face, just below the cheekbones to create a sculpted effect” she says. Next, she used Make Up Geek Blush in Romance on the apples of the cheeks to give them a subtle flush before highlighting with Anastasia Beverly Hills Illuminator in Peach Nectar. “This final step gives skin its glow.”
Her eyebrows were lightly filled with Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz. Lou curled her lashes with Kevyn Aucoin Eyelash Curler before coating them in Eye of Horus Goddess Mascara, concentrating on the root of the lash, and applied one coat of mascara to the bottom lashes. Wanting to keep her eyes clean and eyecatching, she opted for a single eyeshadow – Make Up Geek Eyeshadow in Cocoa Bear – and instead used the contour and highlight products, softly blended into her crease and patted onto her lid for extra definition.
Lou used Kevyn Aucoin Flesh Tone Lip Pencil in Medium to shape and define her lips, before trialling the two lip products. She started with LA Splash Lip Couture Waterproof Matte Lipstick in Latte Confession, a rich, dusky red. “I layered the product twice to intensify the colour,” says Lou. For a more neutral look, Lou used Coloured Raine Matte Liquid Paint in Mars. Finally, she misted Gerard Slay All Day Setting Spray over Louise’s face to set her makeup in a veil of refreshing peach scent.
Taking inspiration from a city of blinding lights and palm trees, where beach life and party life collide in an eclectic display of colour and culture, the Miami look was all about providing a versatile take on glamour – sleek, glossy, and groomed, the chosen products effortlessly result in an iconic evening look.
Although the Miami look is a party look, it didn’t make sense to do anything bold with hair, since it was all about the makeup, which is pretty strong on its own. The slicked back look is essentially two key products – Matrix Style Link Volume Booster, which Josh backcombed through the roots, and then Ouidad Texture Smoothing Frizz & Flyaway Fighter Spray to keep it sleek and smooth. “We wanted to have body even though the hair was pulled back,” says Josh “the result is smart but casual, an important one to have in your arsenal.”
After sweeping away the previously applied makeup (an effortless feat thanks to Resultime Micellar Cleansing Water), Lou once again prepped Louise’s skin with Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentre and EOS Lip Balm – two staples in any makeup artist’s kit – “they work well on everyone because they’re both super hydrating and gentle.”
“I didn’t want the base to get too complicated, but the Miami face calls for flawless coverage,” Lou says of this Miami nights-inspired look. Surprisingly, she used just two products, Kevyn Aucoin’s Sensual Skin Enhancer and Natasha Denona’s Eye Light Highlighting Concealer to create a smooth, flawless canvas on the skin.
“A strong contour and highlight is non-negotiable in Miami” says Lou, “but I like it to look as natural as possible – dramatic but real.” She used Make Up Geek Contour Powder in Break Up to define Louise’s cheekbones and Make Up Geek Blush in Spell Bound to colour her cheeks, before highlighting her cheekbones with Anastasia Beverly Hills Illuminator in Riviera.
Once again Lou used Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz to define Louise’s brows and Kevyn Aucoin Eyelash Curlers to prep her lashes. Using Zoeva’s Soft Definer Brush to apply Make Up Geek Eyeshadow in Crème Brulee all over the lid and enhance eye colour, she also applied Make Up Geek Contour Powder in Break Up under the eye with a smudge brush. To make the eyes stand out more, she added brightness with the Anastasia Beverly Hills Illuminator patted onto the centre of the lid and browbone. Lou finished off the look with a slick of Jane Iredale Jelly Gel Eyeliner and plenty of black mascara, saying “it’s dramatic, but it’s very Miami appropriate – and it’s the best way to define your eyes for a party look.”
When it came to lips, we once again had two options to play around with. “Louise’s lips are fantastic already,” says Lou “but lining them with Kevyn Aucoin The Flesh Tone Lip Pencil in Medium helps to prevent colour from bleeding.” First she applied LA Splash Forbidden Kiss Velvet Matte Liquid Lipstick in Latte (a cool, mocha-nude) and then Coloured Raine Matte Liquid Paint in Mars (a dusky rose). Once again Gerard Slay All Day Setting Spray was used to set the look, this time in Jasmine for a calming hit of floral.