Fashion and celebrity make up artist Suzy Gerstein is one of our favorite beauty experts. Not only because she's an extremely talented artist, a loving mother, wife and a happy soul, she's also a green beauty advocate. Gerstein shares with us her favorite beauty product destinations.
AGB: Can you tell us how you got started as a make up artist?
SG: I went to a liberal arts university where I was an English and Spanish literature double major. They didn’t really know what to do with me when career resource day rolled around and I said ‘I want to be a makeup artist.’ But I always knew. It wasn’t a direct path to where I am today- is it ever? I got started as a volunteer makeup artist at Dress for Success, a non-profit organization where I got to play with Bobbi Brown makeup on a myriad of skin tones and meet some pretty incredible women. I think I was the first who held that position there thanks to a clever volunteer coordinator, now my good friend Catherine, who watched me obsessing over the makeup and encouraged me to apply it on the clients. That led to a meeting with Bobbi herself and a stint at a Madison Avenue salon. But I really got started in fashion when I met my mentor, Chris Colbeck, after cold-calling his agency and assisting him for several years on shoots. Chris was very generous with his knowledge and time. I also assisted Dick Page, Lisa Butler, Val Garland and several other industry luminaries on shoots and at shows.
AGB: When did you begin to get interested in healthier make up choices?
SG: I have always been curious about more sustainable, non-toxic, green alternative beauty products, but I began to become more interested in really doing my research about healthier makeup choices when I was pregnant with my son, Harvey. The more I read the more I learned that many of these companies had such beautiful stories and really care about giving back to the world around them.
Excerpt from suzy's interview in issue No.6.
Milie Bobby Brown. Christy Turlington. Devika Bhise.
BEAUTY SHOPPING GUIDE
I have cousins out west so visiting them is all the excuse I need to pop into AILLEA, Denver's beautifully curated clean beauty boutique. Owner, Kathryn Dickinson, a former NYC fashion exec, opened the two beautiful Colorado-based brick and mortars and an online shop that stocks some of my favorite brands such as: RMS Beauty, Kjaer Weis, ILIA, Kypris, Indie Lee, Josh Rosebrook, Rahua, Osmia, CV Skinlabs, Vintner’s Daughter, Vapour, Battington Lashes, Maya Chia.
Some of my favorites from her store include Vintner's Daughter Active Botanical Serum (smells incredible, calms even the most sensitive of skin types and makes a perfect makeup primer). ILIA lipsticks in Neon Angel (great vibrant pink) and Nobody's Baby (perfect neutral) and Kjaer Weis cream blushes in Sun Touched (ultra flattering peach) and Desired Glow (soft toasted pink).
In New York City I always pop into NEW LONDON PHARMACY. The manager, Wesley is incredibly lovely and knowledgeable about products. And the products they stock are the best from all around the world- Wesley and the store owner, Abby actually consult with us makeup artists to find out about and stock things like the niche vegan brand created in Tuscany by an herbalist using her grandmother's recipes Radiće. I also love buying my RMS beauty Lip2Cheek and Living Luminizer there as well as beloved green lines like Tata Harper, John Masters Organics shampoos and conditioners and my trusty Kevyn Aucoin lash curler.
I love shopping online at my friend and talented celebrity makeup artist Fiona Stiles' lovingly curated beauty shop SHOPREEDCLARKE.COM. Fiona stocks favorites like Koh Gen Do Moisture Foundation and Jouer shadow sticks, she takes the guesswork out of the editing process (that's one of her specialties). Check out the Rituel de Fille Ash and Ember Eye Soot in a shade Fiona designed with the company called Half-Light- it's a lovely taupe perfect on its own or as a base to a great smoky eye. I buy my Jouer Mineral Bronzer there- that warms up any skin tone in the most believable, natural way. The site is also great for gifts like gold plated hair pins, cashmere travel scarves and incense.
(AGB note: Jouer has a 3 score on EWG-Skindeep)
I love a good WHOLE FOODS store, and WHOLE BODY is starting to stock some of my favorite green lines like W3LL people; they do a beautiful liquid concealer. Dr, Hauschka; they do a glorious Moor Lavender Bath Oil. They also have good old standbys for everything for scalp, body, eyes, lip and face.They also have Mineral Fusion concealers and pencils. The Eye Pencil in Rough, a taupe shade, is one of my favorite go-to's for a subtle smoky eye. Smaller local brands vary depending on shop location. Shopping usually makes me hungry so I love that you can head right around the aisle for a snack break to regroup.
CAP BEAUTY is a West Village gem that stocks nearly everything I want in the world of wellness and self care. They also do treatments and host frequent events with illustrious guest speakers from the health, wellness and beauty industries. Some of my favorite things: Zoe Organics Baby Oil- I use it on my son every night and even mix it with straight up body lotion for my clients to give it the most soothing scent of lavender mixed with chamomile. May Lindstrom Honey Mud- most decadent mask, restores moisture to the skin. Sun Potion Shea Butter- I love this on its own or mixed with pure botanical oils to create the perfect customized moisturizer. Kjaer Weis eyeshadows - blend super smoothly and come in a beautiful array of tones.
BERGAMOT Is a Portland-based shop that stocks the best in green beauty. Owner, Salwa searches high and low to find the best luxury eco beauty companies. Favorites include Gressa masks, lip balms and lid tints, Kypris Antioxidant Dew, Lina Hanson Global Treasures Balm and the addictive coconut and palo santo infused Nucifera The Balm.
For bookings contact Honey Artists.