What a trip! I’m back at home in the Bay now, back to bustling (not) Novato, California. I thought I might get a sneaky-peaky at the Too Faced offices on my overnight excursion down to Southern California last night, but the construction gods had other plans. The Too Faced offices are/were under construction, but that didn’t stop me from having a good time.
Instead of an office tour, the company hosted a tea party for bloggers at the lavish Queen’s Bakery in Costa Mesa to celebrate the new Too Faced Love Sweet Love holiday collection with cucumber sandwiches, cookies and cupcakes.
Before full-on food coma dulled my brain, I sat down with Too Faced Cosmetics Co-Founder and Creative Director Jerrod Blandino for a few minutes to talk about Jerrod’s creative process, the company’s upcoming plans and their delectable holiday release.
Jerrod’s a trip! He’s a BIG personality who talks fast, laughs often and waves his hands in the air when he speaks. While we talked, I couldn’t keep my eyes off the bling on his finger (a sparkly diamond ring) or the bright red loafers on his feet.
The following is an interview with Jerrod Blandino, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Too Faced Cosmetics.
I’ve heard you take a very hands-on approach to developing your seasonal collections. What’s your favorite part of the whole creative process?
I can’t even imagine living without being able to express my creativity. It’s such a part of who I am and what I do. Every moment, I’m always, always, always, feeling inspired, like, “How can I do that?” or â€œHow can I translate this into a product?” or “How can I make a product better?” I’ve been doing it for almost 15 years now, and it’s just a part of who I am.
[He looks around the room and the coffee table in front of us] From drinking a cup of tea and seeing a reflection in the porcelain tea pot here and thinking, “That would make a beautiful compact,” or, “How clever that they hung that little thing there,” and “What could I do like that? — maybe hang something like that from a lipstick?”
I’m just always thinking things like that.
So I’m very in tune with the creative process. And even with formulations, you know, skin care or serums that I use and love and rely on, Iâ€™m like, “Why isn’t this in a foundation?” or, “Why isn’t this in a powder?” or, â€œWhy isnâ€™t this new sun block in a bronzer?”
I’m always trying to improve things and raise the bar every single season.
What inspired you to create the new Love Sweet Love holiday collection?
A trip to Paris. I was walking through the Champs-Elysees at Christmastime one year and Santa Claus, you know, on a wire, is like flying overhead with his mechanical reindeer, and these young couples were arm in arm, and these older couples were hand in hand, and I just looked around and there were hundreds of these different booths serving different things, like mulled wine and gingerbread, and it was this really neat holiday experience.
And I just thought, you know, life is never more delicious than when you’re in love.
Whether you’re 15 or 85 or anywhere in between, it’s so beautiful, and it’s such a lovely, romantic notion. Love is really it. It just makes everything look and feel more yummy and delicious and full.
That’s really where the idea came from — looking around and seeing so many cakes and macaroons and yum-yums, and goodies everywhere, but then feeling that sense of love and romance.
So if you look at Christmas and the holiday collection, there’s a nod to, of course, candy and pastries and French fun, but it also feels sweet and romantic. I love mixing those two ideas.
What was the most difficult part of producing the collection?
You know, the toughest part, always, and especially during holidays, is because we never change our formulas. A lot of companies will go to China or to different manufacturers to lower their costs to make bigger money. We don’t do that. Everything is authentic. It’s 100 percent the same formulas that we use every other day of the year.
The toughest part is just trying to make it work using the best, most amazing formulas, and putting as much as I can into it, like the beautiful tins, and surrounding them with our best formulas and eyeshadows…
I want you to feel proud when you give one of our items to somebody you love for Christmas, you know what I mean? I want you to feel proud and feel like you got a lot of bang for your buck. I want that person to have the best experience she can have with it all year long.
So I feel that sense of responsibility. If you’re gonna buy this and give it to somebody, it better be great. I feel that kind of pressure to make it work for every skin tone, every age, and still make it very cool and fashionable.
Would you characterize the colors in the holiday collection as universally flattering?
If you look at the entire collection, that’s what they are. We try them all on the palest to the darkest skin. We don’t want anything to go ashy; we don’t want something to make pale skin look ruddy.
There’s lots of warmth in everything, because everyone looks better with a little bit of warmth…
You naturally have that, that golden undertone that I wish I had [Me: Aww, shucks!].
We all want that, so youâ€™ll see it a lot in these colors, that they have more warmth to them, because thatâ€™s universally a more flattering way to wear cosmetics.
Having done this for 15 years, how do you stay inspired? Do you ever feel like you’ve been to the rodeo, like you’ve seen it all?
You know, I’ve always been afraid of feeling that way, but I never have.
There’s always something else around the corner, some other amazing ingredient coming down the pipeline, a new way of pressing a shadow, a new way to package. There’s never a lack of innovation or technology.
That’s always my biggest fear, but it’s never happened. I’m always inspired.
The world around us is so inspiring, and it’s just kind of living and opening your eyes and your ears and just going through life and trying to have as much fun as you can. Just soak it up.
And you canâ€™t give in to the fear because if you do, you kind of close up. Just live and have fun, and let it all rush in.
One last question — your skin looks kind of amazing. It’s really beautiful. What do you use?
I love skin care, but I’ll tell you, the only thing I actually have on right now is a new product that hasnâ€™t launched yet.
It has these illuminating heart beads that have skin care in them that gives a beautiful inner glow.
[Me: Okay, I'm trying to picture it...]
They look like little puffy hearts in different colors and come in a little container, and they’re loaded and packed with skin care ingredients.
It’s like you swallowed a light bulb! It’s anti-dullness. It’s radiance, inner light and glow, and it comes out next summer.
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,
P.S. Thanks for the tea and cupcakes, Jerrod! I’m looking forward to seeing those illuminating heart beads next summer. I can always use a little (okay, a lot of) help with that whole lit-from-within thing.