Finally the FDA Cares about what’s in our Cosmetics

Great news for all aspiring organic beauties! The FDA is FINALLY going to start monitoring the ingredients in our beauty products. A lot of us involved in the beauty, lifestyle or fashion industry find it very peculiar that this hasn’t been happening all along. Well, at least I have be wondering. Unfortunately, it is not common knowledge how little the government regulates cosmetics. Kinda disturbing when you think of how much makeup an average woman wears on the daily.


The U.S. is probably the worst country when it comes to banned beauty ingredients– having only 10 banned ingredients compared to the 1,200 in Europe. Alarming AND disturbing, right?! For years, skincare, cosmetic and beauty lines have been able to make ridiculous claims about products that were never scientifically validated– all the while adding any toxic ingredient to the products being sold regardless of their potential harm to our skin, bodies or the environment. And without any sort of accountability from the government!! Horrible, disgusting, outrageous.


The FDA has finally wised up in deciding to step in and control what’s going in products and on our skin. According to a recent article on, a big change to the beauty biz is on the horizons. The Obama administration’s fiscal 2013 budget includes a proposal for the cosmetics industry to fund enhanced monitoring. This means that the ingredients in our products will require registration with the FDA.

Since the FDA is getting a better grip on beauty products in the U.S., it could also—HOPEFULLY!– mean a huge shift in beauty advertising as well. The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus should be working on controlling the fictitious beauty ads that promise to erase wrinkles in one week or melt away cellulite with a cream. Those claims would actually need to validate with real scientific studies that support the claims. Which for us is truly an amazing thing! No more harmful ingredients, and real scientific evidence to back up the product claims in beauty advertisements. I am hopeful that the days of consumers being manipulated by false promises are finally coming to an end!


There are amazing companies like Intelligent Nutrients that are USDA food certified organic that you don’t have to worry about toxicity in their products. More people need to think like IN. For more information on this subject, visit: and and Intelligent Nutrients.

by Nkechi Njaka

Understanding your UNIQUE SKIN: Oil by Kate Johnson

How many of you love your oily skin? Or better yet, want to have oily skin? I bet you didn’t think I would ask you that, huh?

Studies show (and by this, I mean the everyday observations of  my colleagues and myself) that about 80% of women think they are combination or oily. So you’re thinking to yourself… I’m NOT thirsty so DRY ME OUT!!!!

Well, my lovelies, this blog series is for all of you– yes YOU! You beauties with skin like the Sahara that drench your skin while it cruelly begs for more are in for a treat. And so are you– who are constantly punishing your faces by using mattifiers because its just so dang shiny!!

You both are in the same situation, I promise. Now let me tell you about this pretty awesome person I know. She was an oily hot mess– always acneic, flaky, super sensitive, large pores and wrinkles….and in her twenties! Everything that she put on her face broke her out.

So, what did she do? Nothing. Yep, nothing. She just decided to do nothing cause it seemed to at least not add to the problem.  Then, a lovely lady named Sarah came into her life and said, “You should try this moisturizer called Creme Ancienne from Fresh.”


She looked at this extremely thick product that honestly reminded her of Crisco and said that Sarah was a nut job. But Sarah said that if it didn’t work, she would give her a facial the next day. That night after applying the size of a pea gently into her skin she stared in horror as she fought her every desire was to wipe her face clean but instead she went to sleep. The next day… like magic… her skin was almost perfect.

The moral of the story?  (you guessed didn’t you?)  I should have listened a lot sooner to good skin care advice. That, had I started wearing moisturizer before the age of 30, I wouldn’t have a single wrinkle. But sadly, that wasn’t the case. And I have learned that there is a reason that some skin care costs a bit more than others… because some skin care is ACTUALLY  magical. Well, maybe not but it has the right quality ingredients to do what is actually needed.

When you are Oily and over the age of– lets say— 18, there is usually a good reason. But you are usually still listening to the pimpled face child in your head that says: Strip the oil away faster faster!!!  Which, sure, when you were going through puberty was fine. You are oily for no good reason  as a child except for the fact that your hormonal. But as you get older, you must remember that your skin is an organ. And like any organ, it will do whatever it needs to do to survive. So, for your skin that means it needs to stay elastic and durable… how does it do that? IT MUST STAY HYDRATED!  So if everything that you are using on your face is for oily skin including your face wash, toners, mattifiers, moisturizers and makeup its not getting the hydration it needs. In turn, it will produce oil without your permission. And the more you strip it of oil, the faster it will over produce it. I promise you that you will not win this battle. Your pores will just continue to get larger from what I call ‘pumping exhaustion’ and those lines will appear.

Oily ladies, here’s the new plan.

1- Wash. Try Murad Time Release Acne Cleanser– It has Salicylic Acid to kill bacteria and Hyluronic Acid to maintain hydration levels.

2- … We will come back to step 2 later.

3- Moisturize.  At night use something fuller… You’re going to be sleeping, so who cares what you look like??? Try Fresh Umbrian Clay Face Lotion.  It regulates your oil  production after a couple weeks use.

During the day:  Use my favorite product Super +  ( by Perricone) Hyper Hydrator . This amazingly light coconut water based moisturizer balances out your skin in a way you have only imagined. The website says the  “MCT’s (Medium Chain Triglycerides) and Tocotrienols to nourish and protect skin while reducing redness and relieving dryness.”   They aren’t lying, ladies! Believe me. I have bought it out in almost every store I have found it in. And now its an online only product ( I think they just realized I was going to clear them out so why waste the space).  It soaks in and leaves your skin velvety and balanced- so, ready for your makeup application.

Are you wondering what step 2 was? It’s all about exfoliation … why would you hydrate dead skin? But throw away the drug store rough products that do nothing but tear away at your delicate friend. Remember if it has to heal itself whats it going to do?…That’s right! Produce more oil!!  See where I’m going?

So stay tuned because in this skin series, we will be talking about the right way to exfoliate and regain that “Bestie” status with your skin.

Questions or comments? Please comment below or visit my artistry page on Facebook. Or! Find me on Twitter at @KJohnArtistry

Other peeps I like: Dr. Perricone / Twitter @DrPerricone or @PerriconeMD & Dr. Murad.

{Photos 12 & 3}

by Kate Johnson of Kate Johnson Artistry

Understanding your Unique SKIN by Kate Johnson

When I meet a new client, the first question I always ask is: ” If there was one thing you could change about your skin, texture or color, what would it be?”

As you read this blog, I’m sure that your answer popped up immediately in your head. In fact, I don’t know anyone who honestly looks in the mirror first thing in the mornings and says… “Yes! I’m perfect!” If that is you ….. Honey, tell me where that fountain of youth is!

I think that we all look at celebrities, see how beautiful and perfect they look and wonder what is it they use! If it works for them, it will work for us.

And of course, then, there are the covers of the “rag mags” where they show how “horrifying” celebrities look without makeup. My goodness! To be honest, when I see those, I usually think… ugh… that’s what  my white blonde eyebrows and I look like in the mornings, too. I mean come on, cut a girl some slack!!

But we are used to seeing these perfected beings, and we are told to look up to and idolize. Yes they are  (mostly) talented and, yes,  they are lucky (always) but I think that in reality, they have people on staff to tell them what to do every day….

Dont have that? Well, that’s why we are here to make you your own expert. The secret for us regular, non-celebrity beauties is knowing your skin and its habits. And I mean REALLY knowing your skin. So over the next few blogs I’ve decided to focus on skin types. Not only what we think we are but what we really are. I promise you that often these are quite different.

We will review the following types:

  • Dry skin / Dehydrated Skin
  • Oily Skin/ Acneic Skin Combination
  • Thin skin ( Rice Paper)
After that bit of education, you will know which skin type group you fit in and some of the best products that will have your skin loving you. After all, you should be in charge of your skin not your skin in charge of your life right?

So let’s explore this and take our beauty by the reigns! Because you can’t rock that fabulous red lipstick for your next event if your skin is looking less that fabulous.

 {Photos 1, 2 & 3}

by Kate Johnson of Kate Johnson Artistry
For more expert advice –
Add Kate on Twitter:!/KJohnArtistry  

BB – WHATS IN A NAME by Kate Johnson

BB Creme…. Unless you have been in a beauty-starved cave for the last couple months, you have probably heard of, seen and hopefully played with some BB Creme.  There are so many out there and most aren’t sure what it ACTUALLY is…..But I will tell you this– it’s AMAZING!
BB Creme was originally developed for post plastic surgery and  burn victims to rapidly repair and regenerate the skin. The high intensity of anti-oxidents that are not found in any other products on the market and the incredibly rapid way that they absorb into the skin have made BB Cremes a huge success for years in Asia. For whatever reason, the American market only in the last 2 years has jumped on board with this phenomenon.
While up until December, it was only skin care lines that had come out with BB Cremes  but now a couple makeup lines have come out with them. I wear the Smashbox one because it actually has a color range of shades (where most are one) and gives quite a bit of covereage without making me look shiny or opalescent, which I find some of the others do. As I have oily skin, I need the hydration it provides (water) to balance me out but want a more natural matte finish. Technically,  a primer is built in so this is an all in one product for that person who is on the go. And with an SPF ranging from 25-50, it also quite effectively takes care of sun protection needs while giving you that natural glow you often get from a tinted moisturizer. It gives light to medium coverage depending on the brand, protects with anti oxidants and SPF, hydrates your skin and most importantly controls oil.
So how do you wear BB Creme? 
  • As an all in one product? YES
  • As a PRIMER under foundation for complete coverage of redness or hyper pigmentation? YES
  • As a FOUNDATION over primer if you need instant visual results on oil-absorption or fine lines ( This is me)? YES
  • As a CONCEALER in any of the above situations? YES ( it will lift and firm the under eye area)
Now all you need is a little tiny bit and have someone show you how to apply this… this is not your basic foundation. You do not need to move this in circles. Fan this out with your fingers from the center of your face outward. Always going in one direction. As an example, just go down on your nose and out on your cheeks and under eyes. Take the face in sections. This will help with the pigment placement to look amazing still at the end of the day. The BB sets quickly and you will have your face done in less than 30 seconds after the first time.
So at the end of the day YES just wear it. Like your favorite pair of jeans that you can dress up or down, that go with everything and make you look your most amazing. Its the perfect summer foundation that will have your skin and wallet thanking you when Fall comes around.
by Kate Johnson, of Kate Johnson Artistry

Friday Feature: Kate Johnson, Makeup Artist & Educator

When we were in Chicago for our fashion show, we had the lovely pleasure of meeting Kate, a true artist and makeup genius. We were blown away by her ridiculous wealth of knowledge and the education we received in just minutes of talking with her.  Meet, Kate Johnson– a fabulous woman in the industry who really knows her craft.

 AS: What is the story behind your company and how you found yourself in design?

KJ: When I was in college at Cal State Fullerton, I was in a program to get my BFA in MusicalTheatre. A required class was Theatre Makeup and Hair design and I fell in love. The second semester I was the assistant teacher and learned I think more that year helping others do it than even doing it myself. After shattering my foot in a dance performance I had to change majors, so naturally I chose Special Effects Makeup and Hair Design. After doing so part time I became an Artistry Trainer for Smashbox Cosmetics and started my own company Kate Johnson Artistry. Between the two businesses I am able to fulfill my love of artistry and education. It has also blessed me to have amazing experiences in avenues I wouldn’t normally be able to do like teach inner city children art and be published.
AS: How would you describe your personal style? Design aesthetic? 
KJ: I don’t know that I can. I love the 50’s era and am obsessed with Mad Men. But I as much as I love it I don’t own much that would let anyone know. My style is what Im comfortable wearing and makes me feel feminine.

AS: What is your creative process like?
KJ:  It’s a system… I brainstorm, pull pictures off of Google Images to get the juices flowing… then when I’m totally at a block, I forget about it for a couple days and it just comes to me in any random second. I’ve tried to have a better way but this seems to be it.
AS: What projects are you currently working on?
KJ: I am a part of the Lakrem Producing team that did Battle of the Blush– some things are coming with that. The Goca “ Elegance of Maturity” show, and I have just started teaching an amazing group of children how to express themselves through art instead of violence.
AS: How would you describe your client?
KJ: My clients are a wide range of women and men. I love to hear their inspiration and how I can help develop it visually.
AS: Best part of your job? Worst part of your job?
KJ: The best and worst part of my job is that the creation walks away and I start something new every day.
AS: What advice do you have for aspiring artists? 
KJ: Know your products– not just what is advertised but WHY they do what they do.
AS: Where can we see your work?
KJ: You can see my work at either my Facebook Page or my website. I am always available to be contacted for bookings via Facebook or email at:

Behind the Scenes: ArielSimone Holiday Soirée

This past Friday I had the pleasure of modeling for the lovely ladies of ArielSimone. I hope that many of you were able to make it– it was a super fun event. But it you weren’t, there have been previous blog posts about it here, and here is another!

As a model, one of the most fun parts of walking in shows or doing photo shoots is the hair and makeup you get to wear. It’s all part of the fantasy to be dolled up and wear glamorous clothing. Here are some backstage shots of us models getting ready at the salon:

Me getting my hair done! Naomi at Taj Salon and Spa in Minneapolis did an amazing job on my hair! Loved it.

Here is a shot of me in finished hair and makeup. The stylists at the salon kept saying that I looked like a doll. What do you think?

{L–>R: Abbie, Sarah, Me}

Here is a picture of two other models and myself, blowing kisses to Taj after having the final touches put on our looks. Thank you!

The event was a smashing success; we got to wear swimwear, which was a blast! Check out this suit, love!

{Photo Credit: Kevin C. Walker}

Swimwear is fast becoming my favorite type of modeling. Maybe it’s my dream of being a Victoria’s Secret Model, or maybe it’s just that these ArielSimone S/S 2012 suits are so cute!! Definitely check them out when they are released! Check out my blog for more photos!

by Lucie Jane