Most of my life has been spent without make-up. My eyes tear, a lot, my skin is sensitive and prone to hivey-ness from brushes and men’s bristly beards and frankly I’ve liked my look, au natural. My mother is of the Mad Men generation; she grew up in the fifties and sixties where makeup and hairdos and crinolines were part of the norm. Old school but young at heart, she is always coiffed, nails done, lipstick on and fully accessorized in the hottest latest trends. All Saints is her latest obsession. However, she also has sensitive, allergic skin and is careful about what make-up she uses.
Like most little girls, I learned how to put on make-up from my mother. And when it came to brands, she was my tester; that is, if a make-up brand worked for her, most likely it would work for me. Over the years, I stuck to Almay mainly (but not without an occasional allergic incident) and Cover Girl for sensitive skin. I had tried more expensive brands but often they were irritating. Chanel Lipgloss works and my mother’s mother wore Chanel lipstick and it makes me think of her.
But then something happened about five years ago. I needed a photo for my blog. I asked my colleague and friend Kenneth Chen to take the picture but I knew I needed make-up professionally done for the shot (it’s also became the cover of my book, Allergic Girl). I asked my colleague Michael Palladino (who is also my stylist) whom he recommended and he said Paula Dorf. I knew they had done the make-up for the Sex and the City series but that was about it.
Paula Dorf did my make-up for the shoot and they gave me a look that was natural, very me, and best of all not one allergic reaction. No tearing, dripping, itching nor hives. Since that time, Paula Dorf has done my make-up for every TV appearance, every photo shoot without allergic issue.
The only time I had a problem was not with the make-up but with the brushes. Ivan of Paula Dorf did my make-up for The Cooking Channel shoot and the brushes he used were of a cheaper line. I instantly broke out in painful and severe hives around my eyes, just before we started shooting! We had to wait for my eyes to clear up, which they did since it was a contact hive situation and not an allergic reaction to the make-up itself. But it was an excellent reminder to always communicate my allergic needs to a make-up artist and to use better quality brushes.
Since then I use Paula Dorf brushes and make-up exclusively. It works for me. Even if you have sensitive skin, I bet you can find a make-up that is right for you by following my basic steps.
Understand your allergic issues.
Know what you can and cannot use.
Read labels, call and talk with the manufactures.
Communicate your needs clearly to those around you, like when you talk with a make-up artist.
Always do an arm test first!
Then, start to play!
Here's a video of Ivan and me playing make-up:
Thank you Paula Dorf for all that you do!