Tips from Avon’s Jillian Dempsey and Target’s Sonia Kashuk

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Pictured: The art of makeup: Silent Star Louise Brooks gets the beauty treatment.

Back in March I had the pleasure of attending the CEW Beauty event in Los Angeles featuring Jillian Dempsey, Global Creative Color Director, Avon and Sonia Kashuk, Creator, Sonia Kashuk Beauty for Target.  If you’re not familiar with CEW, this is the organization for Cosmetic Executive Women, and they regularly sponsor events in Los Angeles (next event is June 15th)  and New York (next event is June 23) with great speakers on how to best use beauty products.

Jillian Dempsey and Sonia Kashuk are beauty innovators creating easily accessible and affordable beauty products. It was a great session offering both beauty and business tips from these experts. The event was sponsored by Redbook Magazine and moderated by beauty and lifestyle expert, Martha McCully.

 Jillian Dempsey

Pictured: Avon’s Global Creative Color Director, Jillian Dempsey at work.

Both women started by sharing their personal make-up philosophy. Jillian loves the possibility of change with makeup. For working women, it’s an easy way to make a quick transformation using different make-up colors to go from work to going out. Sonia stressed that she likes “the gift of clean ” and she believes less is more.

Jillian talked a bit about doing Oscar makeup and makeup  for  Red Carpet events.  She stressed, “It is  important to makeup the subject to represent the event.”  But she warned that makeup artists should not be too heavy handed, even for Red Carpet events. Jillian should know, she has done make-up for Kate Winslet for Red Carpet events. I read that Kate Winslet was very pleased with the natural look that Jillian gave her.

Sonia Kashuk noted that she has been influenced by  working with models and transforming them for high-end shoots. However, she noted the difference between working with models, and everyday real woman who needs a different look. After all, part of fashion shoot is ” illusional aspiration.”

Sonia Kashuk

Pictured: Make-up Artist Sonia Kashuk bought the first affordable make-up collection to a big box retailer with her collection for Target.

Both Jillian and Sonia agreed that a make-up artist can  reach more people with a corporate sponsor. Jillian noted working with a business (like Avon) helps balance the creative with what is possible.  She would like to see more organics coming in to the makeup mixes, rather than synthetics. Following are some of the specific QAs both Jillian and Sonia answered on the CEW panel.
Q. Is it important to have a daily beauty routine?

Jillian : Yes, have a simple uncomplicated routine.  Take 5 minutes to do your makeup and touch it up as needed.

Sonia: Yes,  take 15 minutes each day. Women need education in this area and  it is something that is not taught. The online videos help but they need to be more simple.

Q.  What are some of the qualities you need to succeed?

Jillian: You need talent and perseverance,  nothing happens overnight. Magazines always wonder is it worth getting behind this person and staying behind them?

Sonia: I have been in Target now for 11 years, but it took time.  I agree, success doesn’t happen overnight.  Nothing happens without initiation. With Target, I initiated the contact, by picking up the phone and calling them.  My advice is you have to been persistent.  If you try one thing that doesn’t work, then  re-energize and hurdle again.

Q. Is there one essential product that you recommend for women?
Jillian: The Multi-Stick   
(note: this is a multi-purpose stick for eyes, cheeks, lips and body. Nars makes one called The Multiple.)
Sonia: Foundation (note: check Sonia’s Perfecting Luminous Foundation at Target)

Q. What about Social Media? Do you use it?
Jillian is not on social networks. She is mindful that networks allow everyone to give advice. Her approach is more traditional. Jillian uses magazines and interviews as her main form of  communicating. Her tips have been featured in Vanity Fair and Women’s Wear Daily (WWD).

You can find some of Jillian’s tips on the Avon website, as well as her make-up.

Sonia is on Twitter and is excited about learning more about Social Media. You can follow Sonia on Twitter @soniakashuk   She also has a  great blog on her website where she gives tips.  Click here to check it out. I like her Splurge vs. Steal tips on her blog, where she shows you the prices of various products and offers her recommendations.
At the event, I received some samples of the various makeup products discussed, and some not discussed.  Since the event I have been using them, and here are some of my favorites:

Jillian Dempsey for Avon Professional Mascara.  I really like this because it has a dual-ended tube with a small brush at one end for separating and uplifting lashes, and then a bigger brush at the other end for applying mascara across all lashes.  It’s pretty ingenious (in my humble opinion.)

Liz Earle Botanical Essence No. 1: Fragrance:  I love this light summer fragrance. The notes feature  bergamot, mandarin, bitter orange, lemon, cardamom, rose absolute, lavender, geranium, coriander, nutmeg, cedar, vetiver, tonka bean and patchouli. It is already released in the UK, but won’t be available in the US until July.  I am waiting to buy some! I read that Avon recently acquired Liz Earle, so I look forward to buying the product from

Pictured: Liz Earle Botanical Essence, a perfect light summer fragrance.

NYX Black Label Professional Make-up: This is way more makeup than I need for everyday use, but for going out on the town, it is super!  I am particularly enjoying the light summer lipsticks, like “Heiress.” They have a pleasant taste and fragrance. The application is really smooth. Check out the full selection at NYX.  The products are free of animal testing, so props to NYX on being cruelty free.

Pictured: The NYX Black Label Lipstick is a nice touch for summer color.

I’m also sampling some of the Smashbox products and enjoying them.  I like their light summer colors and natural pallette. I received a Sonia Kashuk brush, but honestly, I need some practice to learn to use it effectively.  I tend to just use the brush that comes in the container with my beauty product. (Sonia’s products have gotten good reviews on, for those who do use them.) Generally, I am too busy to reach for anything else. I’m all about the quick and easy beauty touch up, how about you readers?

If you’re looking for more great beauty products (I haven’t tried most of  these) check out the list of the CEW Beauty Awards winners.  Don’t forget your summer sunscreen! 🙂


Since 2008, Mary Hall has been the author of The Recessionista Blog, which is read by thousands of regular readers in over 160 countries. An internationally recognized expert on the art of the living the good life for less, she has been a commentator on local, national, and international radio and TV shows. Her advice has been featured in over 2,000 media outlets, including The New York Times, Reuters, Life & Style magazine, ABC News, NBC News and now The Huffington Post, among many others.

1 Comment

  1. Target-Addict

    May 31, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Love your post on Sonia! I'll link to it and give you a shout-out on my blog 🙂