Giselle Garcia is a celebrated make-up artist and a much-buzzed-about beauty blogger (her site is a ‘definitive authority’ on luxury cosmetics, skincare and beauty: luxebeau.com). She works with Ford, Wilhelmina, 10MGMT and VH1, to name a few. But she doesn’t stop there.
She just opened her own image consulting business, LMPRG.com (a marketing and pr group) & LMPRStyle.com (image consultants, stylists, personal shoppers), in Chicago’s trendy River North District as well as a management company that represents beauty influencers. We got in touch with this beauty expert, entrepreneur and wise woman to bend her ear on her professional journey, inspirations and beauty secrets. She taught us some stuff! Read on to learn more about her infectious approach to beauty and life:
T’zikal: What drew you to working in the beauty industry, initially? Was it an epiphany, like lightening? Or a slow process, a hobby that turned into something more?
GG: Wow, this is a hard question because I can’t recall a time where I wasn’t enamored with beauty! I guess growing up in a Latin household, where the Miss Universe Pageant was our version of the Super Bowl, I was born into it. There hasn’t been a time where I wasn’t drawn to the beauty world. It was a hard world to break into, I must say. After High School, I wanted to study Cosmetology but my parents insisted I went to College.
Growing up in the NYC metro area, it was surprisingly difficult to find a college with a beauty major so I decided to study Fashion Merchandising & Marketing at the Fashion Institute of Technology, since it was the closest thing to the beauty world I can get to. I hated it! Although I did learn a lot, the sewing, drawing and draping wasn’t for me. F.I.T. offers a Masters in Cosmetic & Fragrance Marketing so I stuck with the Marketing & Business classes and then got my bachelors in English Communications and Business. Finally, I started F.I.T.’s Master’s Program in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing & Management, which was absolutely divine.
T’zikal: You have a successful beauty blog, LuxeBeau, what was the inspiration behind it?
GG: I love to write and really had no experience in beauty other than being a counter girl, which is basically a sales associate. I knew I needed to have something on my resume. Blogs were blowing up at that time so I decided to start sharing my knowledge with other beauty lovers. I covered all the beauty shows I attended, reviewed my favorite products and wrote about new product launches. A year or so after my blog was started I graduated college and had a very rough period of not knowing how to translate my passion for beauty into a career. Thankfully I came across my soon to be mentor, Crystal Wright, at a makeup trade show. She owned her own Agency representing makeup artists. She taught me all I needed to know about becoming a real makeup artist.
T’zikal: You also have a big following in the makeup artist community, working with great brands like Ford Modeling Agency, Wilhelmina Models and big television clients. What’s that like and what’s your typical day like?
GG: I am very blessed to be looked up to in the industry. It was actually very hard work. After 5 years of being a makeup artist, I have now moved on to work in the corporate beauty sector mainly but I still accept gigs here and there. Many of my girlfriends are models with Ford so I do their makeup for their test shoots.
Many people don’t know this but when a model is first starting out she must procure her own stylist, makeup artist and photographer. For a new model, the cost to build a portfolio can be daunting, so I offer my services for free. I find that very rewarding… plus, the image credit doesn’t hurt! Traveling on set with my kit can be very tiring as well as setting up and figuring out with the creative director what look we are going for. Thankfully, I have a wonderful assistant who is there to help me by washing my makeup brushes, handing me products and keeping an eye on the model in case she needs touch ups.
Commercial Ad Campaigns are really tough since we are given so little time to make up the talent and the producer, director and talent’s agent all usually want something different. Makeup artists are given least priority on set.
T’zikal: Who or what are your greatest influences and inspirations?
GG: My mother is my greatest inspiration. Cliché to say, but it’s true. We have had our ups and downs but I’ve never met another human being with the work ethic she has. She grew up in poverty as an immigrant in the U.S. She had no access to quality education or money to attend college but that never stopped her from learning. The unconditional love she has for me is truly a blessing. I’ve made many mistakes in my life but my mother has always been there to steer me in the right direction. She is my best friend and all the hard work I do is to be able to give her the life she never had.
T’zikal: What does beauty mean to you?
GG: Beauty, to me, is loving yourself and accepting what you think is beautiful. It’s about feeling good in your own skin. I see girls follow the crazy trends in makeup just because it’s the cool thing to do. All these crazy lip colors and extremely long false lashes are really not what beauty is about. Yes, it’s a great way to express yourself but true beauty is enhancing the beauty you already have.
I truly believe that everyone is beautiful. Sometimes you need to enhance your beauty a bit with makeup, and that’s ok! One of my favorite quotes is from Helena Rubinstein, “There are no ugly women, only lazy ones”. A little bit of effort in skincare, makeup and hair shows that you value your appearance. We are all our own walking billboards. In tandem with grooming, beauty is also reflected in the soul, eyes and smile. Nothing is more beautiful than someone who is happy, caring and well mannered.
T’zikal: Walk us through your beauty routine. You have amazing hair, how do care for it?
GG: Wow, my beauty routine is extremely tedious but totally worth it. I always put an emphasis on skincare and haircare as they are the foundations of a beautifully executed look. No amount of makeup or hair spray can make dry, damaged hair go away or pimples disappear.
I wash my hair about 2-3 times a week, as washing it daily strips all the oils from your hair. When I wash my hair I almost always use a deep conditioning hair mask or an oil infused conditioner. Oils are the key to good hair as long as you don’t go overboard. Just a dime size amount is sufficient. I always blow dry my hair at night so that I can wake up with big voluminous hair, it’s my signature look. I style my hair using either an oil mist or smoothing serum to keep fly aways at bay.
Skincare and makeup wise I use Beta Hydroxy Acid during the day to keep acne away and Alpha Hydroxy Acid in the evening to refine and resurface my skin. I always follow up with a good serum and moisturizer as well as eye cream. I also use a hydrating conditioner on my eyebrows to soften them up. I then proceed with my makeup, I wear false lashes daily. It takes me 30 seconds to apply them. I am a big lover of bronzer, a nude lip, voluminous lashes and a neutral toned eye. Oh and I always use sunscreen. Remember, preventing fine lines and wrinkles is the only way to keep them away. If you don't prevent, you can only treat not take them away.
T’zikal: What is the single most important thing you do for yourself on a daily basis?
GG: I am very spiritual and always say thanks for the blessings I have in my life and to see another day.
T’zikal: Describe your perfect morning.
GG: My perfect morning would be being able to sit in front of my vanity doing my hair and makeup with no time limit or rush. I enjoy taking my time, it’s like meditation for me. Unfortunately, with my schedule and routine, I am always late to something!
T’zikal: Do you have any beauty secrets, either DIY or otherwise, that were taught to you by your mother, grandmother or family member?
GG: My grandmother taught me the importance of oils. She came from a very poor background and couldn't afford shampoo or conditioner so she used bars of soap (don’t ever, ever do that!) to wash her hair that would obviously leave her hair very brittle. To combat the effects of the soap she would use all types of oils in her hair. She would often drench her hair in natural oils, wrap a head scarf around her head and go to sleep.
T’zikal: How do you sanctify the world around you? What do you do to give back to your community or the wider world/ environment or cause?
GG: I am blessed to have a handsome godson who has Down Syndrome. He is only 4 years old but I have learned so much from him. He is always happy, smiling and doesn’t have a bad bone in his body.
I volunteer for various Down Syndrome awareness fundraisers such as Marathons Advocate that funds public schools to accommodate children with disabilities and teach others that the most honest and reliable friend a person can have is someone with down syndrome. They truly are gifts from above.
T’zikal: How was your experience with T’zikal? Which products did you enjoy the most?
GG: I absolutely adore the packaging and smell. It instantly transformed my shower into a rainforest. I grew up in Jersey which, pretty much by default, makes me a lover of big, voluminous hair so I steer clear of hydrating shampoos. I do condition my ends intensely though, so I love the Deep Moisturizing Conditioning Cream.
I also love the Shine Rich Dry Oil Mist. I don’t apply it directly to my hair. Instead I spray it onto a fine-tooth comb and apply it to areas that have fly aways. When I want big bouncy wavy hair, I use the Curl Defining Serum, which really gives my hair body, bounce and shine.
Surprisingly, I also absolutely love the Intense Moisture Hand Balm. Now that I live in Chicago and it’s getting colder, I always have it in my purse. It has replaced my previous favorite hand cream from La Mer.