In the Hot Seat With Make Up For Ever’s Jenn Karsten


Make Up For Ever’s Jenn Karsten has 17 years of experience behind her, which she brought to the company earlier this year in the role of Director of Education and Artistry. The Missouri-born and reared Karsten, who worked for Clinique and MAC previously, has a simple motto: “I can teach anyone how to do make up, but first I must teach them how to see.”

That’s why Beauty News had to put her in the Hot Seat this month. She revealed that purposeful placement of makeup is crucial and what MUFE products she can’t live without and how to approach a face.

That’s why we’ve asked this “MacGyver of makeup” for her trips, tricks and trends.

BN: What is the one universal makeup application tip/or technique you recommend to all the artists you educate as well as the average women navigating the wide, wonderful world of makeup?
JK: The one universal tip is really to take the time to really analyze your features like face shape, eye shape, and symmetry of the face. The most effective makeup is subtly corrective and enhances the personal features and that means you don’t just randomly paint where you want; use purposeful placement

BN: What is your favorite Make Up For Ever product of all time?
JK: My all-time favorite product is Aqua Cream #2 because it creates the perfect smoky taupe eye in twp minutes! It is a stand-alone waterproof cream eye shadow that lasts all day and night. I finish it off with a swipe of Aqua Eyes pencil #0L- Black in the waterlines and two coats of Smoky Lash Mascara.

BN: What is your favorite product not made by Make Up For Ever and why?
JK: As a professional makeup artist, I do have some other favorite products in my kit. I absolutely cannot do makeup without Fresh Sugar Lip Polish. It is hard to make beautiful makeup when the lips are chapped and flaky. This has saved me many times on the job and is a healing, smoothing and great tasting way to get some real work out of a product

BN: What is your favorite drugstore find?
JK: My favorite drug store find is Andrea Eye Makeup Remover Pads because they are pre-soaked, super-gentle and fast! I also really love to shop all of the amazing nail polish formulas -especially the rapid-dry ones because I’m always in a hurry. They have wonderful color range so I can make nails a perfect accessory or trend.

BN: What is your favorite luxe/indulgence product?
JK: I indulge myself when I use great skincare. Time is a luxury so when I use my Fresh Strawberry Face Polish and Sugar Body Polish in the shower I feel very pampered and my skin is super smooth. Exfoliation is the key to glowing skin and I love natural ingredients. I indulge my clients with Dr. Gross Alpha-Beta 2-step system wipes. They are individual packets that work together to do a quick spa style peel treatment and are great to prep your skin before makeup.

BN: You were born and raised in the Midwest — has the impacted your experience with makeup at all?
JK: Being from the middle of the country has influenced me in so many ways. In my experience, the one thing that it did most powerfully was to push me to explore many other countries and cultures. It bred a dreamer. I have always been very inspired visually through art, music, movies, beauty and fashion. I can truly grasp the beauty in simplicity, however, so I think that is where my roots reveal themselves.

BN: How did you gravitate towards doing makeup?
JK: I think it was a natural outlet that came to me through my love of art, fashion and music. I loved to read magazines, tried every trend (some good and bad), and always wanted to be the first one to do the new thing or the next thing. This path found me. I didn’t know you could have a career working out-side of the movies, Vogue or the beauty shop for that matter. I was trying to be a veterinarian at one point just because I love animals!

BN: You have said you can teach anyone how to do makeup but you must first teach them to see. Can you explain how you open their eyes, and not just with white eyeliner on the waterline?!
JK: We all see through different eyes and evaluate things differently. We have to be objective about our own faces or that of a client. To see we must sometimes suspend what we want to do and do what is best suited to this face in this situation. As artists this is where I remind to rely on good technique and balance and really check your ego in favor of your know-how.

BN: Lip gloss or lipstick?
JK: Both! Lipstick for longer wear and gloss for shine and slip. I love gloss for the transparent stained glass effect and sometimes it is plumping too! I use lipstick the most because with a lot of texture varieties you can get so many looks and it is more corrective when used with a lip liner. My lips are uneven so I can get perfection from corrective lining and a lipstick fill in. Rouge Artist Intense and Aqua lip pencil are my go to combo and sometimes I add the gloss just in the center for a pop.

BN: Cream or powder shadow?
JK: If it has to be either/or then I would choose cream shadow. Cream mimics natural skin more effectively and in the case of Aqua Cream it is also waterproof so it cuts way down on products and prep time. I have my favorite powder shadows too and I use them with my creams, but I keep it simple by just adding a brow highlight or depth in the crease or lash lines.

One obsession I have is loose eye shadow like our Star Powders. These are the purest eye shadow pigments and come in beautiful chromatic colors and textures. I use these often to go day to night by popping onto the center of my lids and sometimes on my cheekbones.

BN: Favorite winter makeup product/tip/trick?
JK: Winter can dry us out quickly with wind and cold. If you keep your skin stable you won’t have to make big changes in your makeup routine. I will be bumping up my hydration and protection before makeup. My go-to will be Make Up Forever HD Elixir which is pure Hyaluronic Acid which increases water in the skin by 560% in 15 minutes and I will lock it in with UV Prime SPF 50 Face Protect. Keep your lips smooth and protected as well.

BN: What’s on the Makeup Forever docket in 2012?
JK: 2012 has us making it big in HD and smudge proof makeup. The HD collection of products continues to win awards and be an industry and consumer favorite and we will continue to show the world how Make Up For Ever does beautiful natural makeup. Summer will reveal all of our powerhouse waterproof Aqua range and some new color and formula additions that will really excite. Finally we will be focusing on lips and how to play, create, inspire and just really rock your lips with amazing techniques you can learn as well as a new lipstick formula.

BN: Why is Makeup Forever one of the go-to brands on the market today?
JK: Make Up For Ever is gaining momentum because we are a brand that truly educates. Our brand heritage with Dany Sanz and the Make Up For Ever Academy in Paris lends our brand the ability to teach anyone how to be their own personal make up artist based on Dany’s fundamental techniques. Our range is deep and truly made for professionals so if it is good for professional use then it is great for the everyday client.

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