JAMM AQUINIO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Model Courtney Arndt, left, shows off Shu Uemura's pink and deep purple feather eyelashes. Unfortunately, they won't be available to retail outlets until fall.
Uemura artist says skin health is the key
You've seen her, the young starlet with face aglow, smooth and radiant. Maybe she's born with it.
Not according to Gina Brooke, Shu Uemura's artistic director and celebrity makeup artist, who says no one should feel inadequate for failing to measure up to celebrity skin.
"The public has no idea. They see ad campaigns that look so beautiful without realizing how much makeup had to be used to achieve that 'natural' face.
"You don't have to apply makeup to look like makeup. It can be used to define and enhance and make a person look natural."
Gotta have it
For sheer fun, party girls must try Shu Uemura's shimmery white or blue Eye Jelly. Swirl finger -- you've never felt makeup like this! -- or brush on the spongy, moist, nonsticky surface to pick up a sheer layer of color to accent your brow bone or to use as a shadow.
A little dab over another color or over your cheekbones will give it a dewy sheen and subtle sparkle.
The jellies sell for $22.
Brooke should know, having worked with Madonna, Eva Longoria and countless celebrities and models on the covers of W, Vogue, French Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and Elle magazines, among others. She was in town at Neiman Marcus last weekend to show Shu Uemura's new spring colors and share a few tips on skin care.
"Someone like Madonna, her skin is under harsh lights and she wears lots of makeup onstage, much more than real life. Celebrities are subjected to conditions that the average person never has to deal with, so it's really important for them to care for their skin."
Brooke was working with the megastar before signing with Shu Uemura last fall, and said she was happy to introduce the material girl to Uemura's products, even before she started working with the company.
"When I first started as a makeup artist, I asked others in the field which cosmetics were best, and they always mentioned Shu Uemura."
After trying the products, she never looked back.
"I always thought that if I could choose one company to work at, it would be Shu Uemura. I don't know if I could work for another line and feel as passionate about it. So many makeup artists work for companies, and the reality is, they don't use the line.
"If I'm going to sell something, I want to believe in it. Otherwise, what's the point?"
It's clear that she loves the products as she stops to play with feather eyelashes that she'll be using in a choreographed makeup show later in the day.
"Do you think I can use these purple and pink ones together?" she asks as she imagines them together.
JAMM AQUINIO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Gina Brooke, Uemura's artistic director preps models' faces before a makeup event at Neiman Marcus.
Uemura is known for his lashes, and his Tokyo Lash Bar at NM draws many who want to "try on" different styles and colors from pale pink to midnight blue via the magic of lashes set in clear Lucite blocks that can be held against the lash line.
Brooke designed a pair of $10,000 mink lashes set with diamonds for Madonna after hearing about a fox fur pair worn by Jennifer Lopez.
"Of course, I'm not going to put Madonna in those. She has to have her own, something never done before."
Those without $10K to spare can get the look with a $25 pair of faux fur and crystal-studded version of the lashes, dubbed "Dazzling Diamante."
With a row of vibrant lemon- and tangerine-colored lip gloss tubes, and eye shadows in soft pinks and sky blues from Uemura's "Sweet Mode 2006" collection inspired by pastries and patisseries, you'd think Brooke would be talking color, color, color, which, in spite of their Day-Glo appearance, go on sheer and perkily pretty.
"My philosophy is the same as Shu's, in that any makeup routine starts with fresh, beautiful skin."
Although it will take many women much convincing to ditch creamy or soapy cleansers, cleanliness at Shu Uemura starts with oil.
"The truth is, the only thing that cuts oil is oil," Brooke said. "At first, people find it hard to comprehend, but once they use it, they never go back."
Uemura realized this in the 1950s when he developed his High-Performance Cleansing Oil and used it on his own celebrity clients, including Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra.
"From Marilyn Monroe to Madonna, that says it all," said Brooke, whose skin does look amazing, even after getting off a plane.
Her secret is hydration. With home bases in both L.A. and New York, she said she might be on an airplane every two days. In the air she goes light on her makeup routine, wearing no more than mascara, lip gloss and Shu eyelashes. She'll also spritz her face every five minutes with Uemura's Depsea Water ($22), a mineral mist with a touch of light aromatherapy fragrance, and sometimes lean back in her seat with a hydrating mask on her face, drawing stares from other passengers and questions from flight attendants.
"People who fly understand because their skin gets so dry on a plane. I give them all masks because it leaves skin so hydrated. It's a major treat."