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Professional Cosmetics Go High Def

By: Leslie Benson
Posted: December 1, 2008, from the December 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.

According to Michael Benjamin, president and CEO of Temptu—a professional, U.S.-based airbrush makeup and body art business that’s launching a new consumer line in 2009—people’s lives are ever-evolving in the digital realm.

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“It is important to create the right skin tone by blending colors and gliding the brush over a face, which is a lot like being an artist,” Cruz continues. “We study the face and human body and then work with the actors and camera people to come up with the right look that will work under the arc lights.”

However, for Kett Cosmetics, which was used by makeup artist Ve Neill on Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter in the film Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, as well as in four Cirque du Soleil productions, the high-def camera itself serves as the best “microscope” under which to find the right look.

“Testing all our prototypes on camera enabled us to create Hydro Foundation, our first liquid makeup that is versatile enough to be applied with an airbrush or traditionally,” Kett’s founder, McKenna, says. “Knowing that color and texture would be dramatically enhanced, we eliminated the need for unnecessary reflectors and mattifiers in our quest to create a finish that mimics the skin.”

Consumer Lines

Although professional color cosmetics differ from consumer products where pigment load and packaging are concerned, companies like Kett have already prepared for the transition. “We started targeting professional makeup artists because of their access to a wide range of clients from television to film and from bridal to the consumer,” McKenna says. “Our target market has since broadened with the development of Fixx Creme Makeup. It started as an alternative to airbrushing for the on-air talent in the television industry, but because of its user-friendly benefits, it has crossed over to the general consumer. We now have plans to expand and target the prestige market.” According to McKenna, “Consumers love using what the pros use.” To pursue the new client demographic, her line is sold not only at professional makeup supply stores and to makeup schools, but also in spas and salons. Since the brand was founded in 2004, Kett Cosmetics is available in 15 countries and expanding its airbrush awareness—specifically in India and Japan—by training its distributors with advanced airbrush makeup techniques. Similarly, airbrush experts from Temptu work with everyone from Hollywood makeup artists to salon clients. Recently, Temptu collaborated with designer Liz McClean to create limited-edition, temporary peace sign tattoo transfers for her Spring Collection runway show. “With airbrushing, there are no brush strokes, and the skin looks real,” says Temptu president and CEO Benjamin.

Temptu is currently working on patent-pending, high-tech airbrushing techniques that, according to the company, have never before been used, as well as a division expansion in 2009 to a consumer line based on its palette of professional colors. Soon, versions of the silicone-based makeup Temptu artists used for the porcelain skin effect on Nicole Kidman in The Stepford Wives could be available to mass consumers. In addition, Benjamin says the popularity of airbrushed makeup techniques will flourish in the new high-def environment.