When one of my favorite natural makeup brands, Alima Pure, asked me to be their first-ever guest makeup artist to design a color collection for them, I was utterly honored.
It was important to me that this collection, Me Encanta, meant something more than just picking pretty colors. I wanted to speak to the inherent power and beauty of women. Makeup is a way for a woman to decorate herself by bringing out the features and qualities she most wishes to communicate in the moment.
Of all places, I found inspiration from flamenco. The more I learned about the history and practice of this dance, the more I realized THIS was the woman I wanted to showcase. The beauty of her dance is not about perfection; it’s about her story.
The power of the dance
This summer I went to Spain for a friend’s wedding. The night before the big day, she hosted a magnificent dinner party including a show by an authentic troupe of flamenco performers.
The female dancers were not the half-naked, twerking pop stars that modern culture has glorified. In long layers of clothing, they moved their bodies with exceptional force, stomping their heels down in a flurry as their arms whipped wildly, and sometimes delicately, through motions. They seemed to be possessed by emotion expressed in form, telling an intricate story to the hurried sounds of the guitar and wailing masculine voices. They were pure feminine power being expressed through improvisational dance – I was awestruck.
The older the woman, the more beautiful the dance
In traditional flamenco, young people are not considered to have the emotional maturity to adequately convey the duende (soul) of the genre. Therefore unlike other dance forms, where dancers turn professional early to take advantage of youth and strength, many flamenco dancers do not hit their peak until their thirties and will continue to perform into their fifties and beyond. [source]
Creating colors to match the mood
In flamenco, just as in our own lives, there are textures, curves, flair, deep emotion, passion, movement and drama. There are juxtapositions of strength and delicacy, mystery and expression, color and darkness.
Check out my flamenco Pinterest board for some fabulous inspiration.
It’s one thing to have a great theme, and another to create makeup that embodies it with wearable colors flattering to most women.
As a makeup artist, I think you should be able to use only a few shades to create a variety of makeup looks. So I designed a simple collection of just four Alima Pure mineral colors (plus natural mascara) to be worn as boldly or as softly as seems fitting depending on your mood.
To make sure the colors were just right, I did rounds of swatch testing on various parts of my body and on a few other folks.
Through all of that effort, and always with you in mind, I believe I managed to create a combination of colors that are wearable, simple to navigate, and can adapt from a stronger to softer look depending on how you wish to express yourself in the moment (without ruining your curtains!).
Introducing the Colors
Flamenco Limited Edition Eyeshadow
Flamenco is the star of the collection and makes every eye color pop! It’s a deep navy eyeshadow, with sophisticated glimmer that adds just enough cobalt blue to keep it from looking too harsh. Just like a woman, it’s bold, yet soft –shimmer that catches the light contrasts against the darkness to create texture and interest.
Sombra Contour Powder
This is an incredibly versatile shade to bring out natural contours to shape the face, and create definition. I’ve been using it on almost every photo shoot as of late because it works on skin tones from light to medium dark. “Sombra” means “shadow” in Spanish, and that’s exactly what this was meant to be. Build the color up layer by layer; it goes on quite pigmented so don’t be deceived by its appearance.
Pink Satin Matte Blush
This blush is soft with just enough color to suggest the petals of a fragrant flower, or the flush of cheeks that are pink from exuberant dancing. It works on skin tones from light to medium dark.
Baila Nourishing Lip Tint
“Baila” means “dance,” and this hue, with a hint of Spanish Rose red, subtly underscores the drama of the dance. Anyone can look amazing wearing this.
Now that I’ve got you all excited about these fabulous shades, let’s talk about how to use them! To prove the variety these four shades can offer, I created two totally different looks with them and videos to guide you. The first and most subtle one is called “Chic”. It’s the elegant, delicate, and softly defined way to use the collection.
When you are feeling like a lighter touch is just enough, this is the perfect way to enhance your features. As you’ll see in the video tutorial, it’s not a lot of work to create a beautiful result.
Quick recap of the steps shown for the Chic Look:
- Use Flamenco Eyeshadow with Brush #31 to create a tight line just along the top lashes.
- Apply Sombra Contour Powder with #37 Eye Blending Brush starting in the center of the eyelid crease and fanning back and forth (without dragging downward).
- Define the cheekbones using Sombra and the Half Moon Brush in the hollows of the cheeks.
- Softly sweep Pink Satin Matte Blush using the #17 Blush Brush in a large, circular motion across the apples of the cheeks.
- Coat the lashes with Black Natural Definition Mascara. Start at root and sweep upwards to open the eye.
- Finally, slick on the Baila Nourishing Lip Tint, and you are done!
Now it’s time to reveal how to pull off the stunning “Sultry” look with bold expression that shows a woman who is seductive, mysterious, intriguing and really owns herself.
Quick recap of the steps shown for the Sultry Look:
- Mix a drop or two of water with some Flamenco Eyeshadow to create a paste. Go directly to the lid with the shadow on your finger and press it on. This shade is amazing because it works to enhance any and every eye color!
- Rim the upper and lower lashes using Brush #31 wet and dip it into the Flamenco eyeshadow.
Note: do not add water directly to the container of eyeshadow. Use the lid of the container as a mixing palette or another smooth surface like a dish.
- Put a small amount of eyeshadow on the #37 Eye Blending Brush and buff out the edges of where you applied the Flamenco in the crease of the eye; softly diffusing any hard lines. Don’t over work the brush over the color or it will lift off too much.
- Define the cheekbones using Sombra Contour Powder and the Half Moon Brush in the hollows of the cheeks. The color gets more intense with each layer, so build slowly
- Add just a touch of Pink Satin Matte Blush using the #17 Blush Brush on the apples of the cheeks. Don’t go overboard with this or you’ll look garish. It’s just to add a touch of color to balance the contour and navy on the face, but should be barely perceptible.
- Coat the lashes with Black Natural Definition Mascara. Start at root and sweep upwards to open the eye. Then repeat, repeat, repeat. This is no time to have skimpy lashes!
- As the last step, do a few swipes of Baila Nourishing Lip Tint on your mouth and you are ready to go claim the night!
The end of the year and the start of a new one is a great time to remind us to celebrate the past and embrace the future. To create a new dance and remember that it’s not perfection which has given meaning to our year or our lives, but that we lived moving with each experience fully, expressing it all and knowing that ‘our dance’ only gets better as the years progress.
From now until January, you can purchase the Me Encanta Limited Edition Collection, which also includes a Black Natural Definition Mascara!
How will you choose to express your beautiful self?