If you have ever seen an Elaine Turner photo shoot or David Peck lookbook, chances are you have seen the work of Aubrie Layne. The world renowned makeup artist has evolved from the bright eyed beginner, to Global Makeup Artist for Houston based beauty giant Laura Mercier Cosmetics, to go-to girl for the female movers and shakers of Houston. Now, she can add studio owner to that list with the recent opening of Lucky Cat Beauty Studio. Layne, with co-founder, beauty business guru, and fellow Laura Mercier veteran Laura Landry, is on a mission to bringing professional level services and products to the people, especially people like me with a deep seeded fear of the makeup counter.
"In the beginning we wanted to be at Laura Mercier forever. It was like a family." says Layne. But, the pair found their careers diverging as they grew with the company. "Aubrie went the makeup artist route and I went the more corporate direction," says Landry.
After leaving Laura Mercier, the pair continued to partner on various projects, including a reunion of sorts at West Ave studio Vanity Lounge when Layne was asked to step in as lead makeup artist in 2014. But, amid the success, Landry kept assuring the reluctant Layne that a studio of her own was in the future and she had the goods to make it happen.
"We always knew we would do something together, even at Laura Mercier," says Landry, ".. I told Aubrie you can do this on your own. It was just one of those timing things."
The duo decided the time was right last year and took the plunge into a full fledged partnership. Layne brought the creative direction, Landry the business acumen, and by their powers combined created Lucky Cat Beauty. The brand launched last year with a small collection of products inspired by Layne's trademark looks and techniques, most notably, her vegan friendly lashes.
On the heels of their product launch, the partners announced a crowdfunding campaign for the studio itself, an intimate space for Layne's clients that would serve as the helm of the Lucky Cat Beauty brand.
Opening a studio was an natural progression for a company so focused on person-to-person interaction and quick hands-on servicing void of the product pushing found at major department stores. A focus on the customer was a value both learned at Laura Mercier and have brought to their new venture.
"Laura Mercier was really passionate about making real women feel special and that resonated with me. We were educating people, which is so much different than going to the counter, getting your makeup done, then spending too much money," says Layne.
In the past, women either braved the pressure to buy at the counter in order to receive the professional assistance, or were left to your own devices in the local drugstore, where pro help was non-existent.
Lucky Cat Beauty offers personalized assistance, but in a no pressure atmosphere. The studio is stocked with a well curated inventory of the latest and greatest beauty items, including the Lucky Cat line, and presents them as expertly advised options. It is your favorite beauty magazine or blog come to life and you leave looking really pretty.
Speaking of expert advice...
I subjected myself to a makeup consultation with Layne in order to glean a few tips to share (purely for research purposes of course). It was difficult to boil an hour long visit into a few bullets, but here are six tips that rocked my cosmetic world. Enjoy!
1. Foundation first, then concealer, if you need it
Most people do not need concealer. A good foundation will even out your skin and cover those little imperfections. Apply the foundation, then check to see if you need anything additional. Chances are, you won't.
2. Beware the dangers of contouring and over application
Unless you are walking around with a full lighting setup or plan on performing at the Grammy's, heavy contouring is not needed. A simple bronzer dusting is good perfect for everyday wear.
3. Don't be afraid to use your fingers (keep it clean people)
Use you fingers to apply your makeup. It's easier, fun, and saves time. One for the lazy girls like me.
4. Highlighting really works, if done right
A little swipe of a matte shade on the brow bone and a dot of shimmer in the corner of the eyes is enough. Pick a complimentary shade to your shadow and do not forget to blend.
5. Layer two types of mascara for long wear and fullness
I need waterproof mascara so it stays put, but I want fullness. Layne advises applying your plumping mascara first, then layer on waterproof to finish. Best of both worlds.
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6. You've been applying your blush wrong (or at least I have)
How many of you smile to expose your cheeks, then blush furiously? Me too! Wrong! Instead, poke your face (gently) to find your actual cheek bone and apply there. This actually made my face look thinner...yes!