EBONY: We live in an image-obsessed world today with social media. Women everywhere want a camera-ready look, and that’s where beauty bars come in. How did Blushbaby Makeup Studio come to life?
Khadija DeShong: Everyone wants to look good, whether it’s going to the prom or business meetings. There is always an occasion to get your makeup done. I had my daughter in 2009 and my mom lived in Atlanta. I was working with celebrities, but when you have a kid, things change. I wanted more stability instead of traveling the world. I wanted my daughter close to my mom, so I moved to Atlanta in 2009.
One day I asked my best friend Michelle Beckles, who worked at MAC in Atlanta, wouldn’t it be great if we could one day open a place where women can get their makeup done and not have to deal with a busy and noisy counter? We did our own little mini focus group and asked our clients what they thought of the idea, and everyone loved it. This was October 2011, and we opened in December. We are celebrating our two-year anniversary next month.
EBONY: What differentiates your studio from the counters at large department stores?
KD: Usually artists at the counters aren’t really focused on you, the makeup is rushed, and you feel pressured to buy something. I wanted a place where women don’t have to feel forced to buy $50 worth of product that they never know how to use when they get home. You come here and the artists are with you the whole time. It’s a great, relaxing ambiance. We have music playing, and we serve wine. You don’t have to buy anything to get your makeup done.
EBONY: You’ve worked with a slew of celebs: Regina King, Jennifer Hudson, Natalie Cole and Chrisette Michelle. How is it working on normal women now?
KD: I don’t care who I work on, I just love making women look and feel beautiful. You could be having a bad day and a $15 lipstick can lift your spirit.
EBONY: What are some beauty trends we should look out for?
KD: Smoky is still very popular, but instead of a smoky black, we are seeing more smoky browns and grays. The berries, reds and wines in all different textures, like in matte or gloss, are definitely the trend for lips right now. Eyelash extensions are big now and a huge part of our Blushbaby Makeup Studio. With eyelash extensions, women don’t have to worry about putting on mascara. You can wake up and put no makeup on and still look fresh. It’s a facelift, seriously, and nobody can tell they are extension. We pick up one single hair of your eyelash and attach the extension. It takes every two to three weeks to maintain them.
EBONY: Women of color spend so much more money on beauty products because we’re constantly chasing the right essentials. What are some great tips we can use when shopping for cosmetics?
KD: Before the makeup, you have to take care of your skin. Skincare is really important. A lot of women will ask why their makeup doesn’t look a certain way, but you have to start off with a great canvas. If the canvas isn’t right, whatever you put on is not going to be right. We need to get more into a routine of using a good cleanser, moisturizer and eye cream. I’m a primer believer ’cause it will hold everything all together. I love my OCC primer. It’s great for normal combination skin. I also love Laura Mercier’s primer.
EBONY: What are some of the biggest mistakes Black women make with their makeup?
KD: Definitely one is wearing a liner that is too dark. Your lip liner should always match your lipstick! I also see a lot people who don’t blend and blending shadows are the key to a great look. Everything should just flow. You should never see where your eye shadow starts and stops when you are wearing different colors. This is why you must invest in good brushes. People try to skip the brushes because they can be expensive, but they make everything look more finished. Brushes are key! I love glowy and healthy skin. I love eyes to pop and cheek bones to have a little glow. I love makeup that enhances your natural beauty and not your representative.
Follow Khadija DeShong on Twitter @nycmakeupgurl.