Too Faced cel­e­brates two decades of good times and glit­ter.

Two decades ago, Too Faced in­jected some much-needed joy— and a whole lot of sparkle—into the cos­met­ics game.

Fashion (Canada) - - Contents - By Wendy Sch­mid

En­ter­ing the Orange County, Calif., head­quar­ters of Too Faced cos­met­ics is like ar­riv­ing at the beauty ver­sion of Oz. Gi­ant tubes of Melted, the brand’s pop­u­lar liq­uid lip­stick, greet you like beauty sen­tinels, and ev­ery turn re­veals a new sur­prise: A bunny-and-bird-dot­ted mu­ral at the el­e­va­tor bank is a clever ode to the brand’s Nat­u­ral Love eye­shadow pal­ette (and de Gour­nay wall­pa­per); an enor­mous mo­bile of smil­ing peaches hangs be­side a tree “sprout­ing” Sweet Peach pal­ettes; and uni­corn heads, flirty black lashes and Chanel-tweed-in­spired car­pet ac­cent chan­de­liered con­fer­ence rooms. The Yel­low Brick Road here? A pink and black stair­way painted with in­spi­ra­tional max­ims like “Makeup is power” and “Own your pretty.” The beauty wiz­ard be­hind all this cheeky fun? Chief cre­ative of­fi­cer Jer­rod Blandino, who co-founded Too Faced in 1998 with his hus­band, Jeremy Johnson. The duo met while work­ing be­hind the counter at Estée Lauder in Saks at the South Coast Plaza mall. “Makeup was such an in­tim­i­dat­ing process in the late ’90s,” re­calls Blandino. “You couldn’t break the rules, ev­ery­thing was brown and I just thought it should be fun.” With his un­bri­dled en­thu­si­asm and love of art, Blandino be­gan melt­ing eye­shad­ows, blushes and glosses from tester units in his free time, dream­ing up a new face of beauty punc­tu­ated by ir­rev­er­ent hu­mour and “kick-ass for­mu­las.” “I went to a lab and told them I worked for Lauder—but I didn’t say ‘at the mall,’ so they took the meet­ing!” he ex­claims. “And through that, I cre­ated the first-ever glit­ter eye­shadow and we launched our very first col­lec­tion.”

Twenty years of glit­ter and fun later, the brand is de­but­ing its lim­ited-edi­tion an­niver­sary col­lec­tion—a throw­back to the first—with sparkly up­dated ver­sions of the OG eye­shad­ows and lip­sticks (plus bonus hues) and Bet­ter Than Sex Mas­cara wrapped in a shim­mery birth­day suit tube. With de­sign de­tails like high­lighters shaped into uni­corn horns and scented pal­ettes in­spired by scratch-and-sniff stick­ers, Blandino has an un­canny abil­ity to trans­late his cre­ative whimsy into over-the-top prod­ucts that make fans feel wel­comed into the wacky world of Too Faced when­ever they open a com­pact. And fans show their ap­pre­ci­a­tion by, well, break­ing the In­ter­net. Like another fa­mous pop cul­ture “peach,” the Peaches and Cream col­lec­tion cre­ated a frenzy, crash­ing the com­pany’s web­site and selling out within min­utes. It’s among the In­sta­gram and YouTube makeup set that Too Faced has found par­tic­u­larly ex­plo­sive suc­cess, earn­ing myr­iad fans in­clud­ing star vlog­gers Jackie Aina and Kandee Johnson. “It makes me so ex­cited to be in the cos­met­ics world—it has rein­vig­o­rated our busi­ness,” says Blandino of so­cial me­dia. When Aina ex­plained that she needed to mix a num­ber of foun­da­tion colours from the brand’s Born This Way col­lec­tion to match her skin tone, Blandino even in­vited her to the of­fice to help ex­pand the shade range. “There are im­por­tant nu­ances,” he says of get­ting skin tones right. “Jackie re­ally ed­u­cated me.”

But long be­fore so­cial me­dia was a thing, Blandino was cre­at­ing in­stant clas­sics. A few brand high­lights through­out the years: the first lip­gloss ring for the pres­tige mar­ket; Lip In­jec­tion, a blood­ves­sel-di­lat­ing gloss in­spired by a late-night Vi­a­gra com­mer­cial; the Choco­late Soleil bronzer, a light-bulb mo­ment dur­ing a choco­late fa­cial in Hawaii; Hang­over Primer, a skin-lov­ing for­mula in­fused with co­conut wa­ter and pro­bi­otics; and, of course, Melted, sparked by a mishap on a hot day. Dur­ing an er­rand, Blandino’s sis­ter left her lip­stick in his car. When she went to reap­ply it, says Blandino, “it just melted all over her lips! So we played with waxes and binders and cre­ated the first lip­stick that wouldn’t so­lid­ify.” The lat­est in­car­na­tion, Melted Matte-tallics, launched in June. And in a come-full-cir­cle mo­ment, Estée Lauder rec­og­nized the tal­ent it let get away two decades ear­lier and bought Too Faced for over a bil­lion dol­lars in 2016. “I have re­sources if I want them, and I have com­plete cre­ative con­trol,” says Blandino about the sale. Lucky for us.

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