Monday, May 14, 2012

In the Spotlight: Susan Thompson, Celebrity Makeup Artist & Founder and CEO of Susan Thompson Cosmetics (Part I of a Five-Part Series)

Part II: Pout Poppers Overview & Swatches (click here)
Part III: Creamy Lipstick Overview & Swatches (click here)
Part IV: Liquid Blush Overview & Swatches (click here)
Part V: Luxurious Double Mirror Signature Compact (reviewed here)
*Special gift with purchase exclusively for lola's secret beauty blog subscribers!

"Our face is the most fashionable accessory we have. My passion as a make up artist is to pull the beauty from within your heart and let it shine. Use your make up to say something without saying anything."-  Susan Thompson, CEO of Susan Thompson Cosmetics (photograph by Ashley Barrett)

These days I find myself far more interested in smaller niche cosmetics companies whose prevailing interests are the creation of high quality luxury products rather than the more familiar ones from the well-known makeup manufacturing giants.  These smaller companies often employ new technologies, safer ingredients, cruelty-free practices, and are uncompromising in their quest to bring phenomenal products to the marketplace (rather than making profit margins their primary focus). 

I also find that I am far more interested in what products are found in the kits of professional makeup artists than those being launched in all of the limited edition collections that we are faced with each season. It is for this reason that I find makeup artists who launch their own lines of particular interest. The genesis of the makeup artist who launches a cosmetics company is a journey often born out of professional necessity and the lack of existing products needed by that artist. Therefore the only answer is to make your own products as market gap-fillers in your kit. Once clients, friends and family start requesting these products it is clear that these hits need to be shared with the rest of us.
Susan Thompson is an extraordinarily gifted international makeup artist who began making her own cosmetics for personal and professional use, and she is the creative genius and the CEO of the eponymously named Susan Thompson Cosmetics. This is simply the best niche luxury makeup line that you may never have heard of, and that you definitely need to know about!

During college, Susan's life was headed on a very different trajectory- she studied International Relations with a concentration in Foreign Policy in the Middle East and Africa at San Francisco State University- and after graduation one would have thought that her path would have led her in a very different direction. However, as is the case in life the things that we plan for are often supplanted by other opportunities that present themselves along the way. Susan put herself through college as a self-taught makeup artist who freelanced for Chanel, and it was from her work in this capacity that she met fashion photographer Ashley Barett. Ashley soon hired Susan as the makeup artist for all of his shoots, and this creative collaboration went from San Francisco to San Diego, and then finally to Los Angeles.
Susan's considerable talents as a makeup artist were long ago noticed by the Who's Who in Hollywood: She is a regular fixture at E!, The Style Network, Paramount, NBC, Fox, Warner Brothers, MTV, BET, and AMC-- ostensibly everywhere but Nickelodeon (but I imagine she will be discovered by them as well!). She does the makeup on-set for many Hollywood A-Listers such as Andy Garcia, Tatum O'Neal, Bette Midler, Steven Adler, Gina Gershon, Aiden Quinn, Mario Van Peebles, and Snoop Dogg to name a few. Her work can be seen in many feature films, on TV, at many press events and junkets, at the Oscars, at the Emmies, at Red Carpet events too numerous to list, and at many domestic and international fashion shows. Simply put, if you have ever turned on the TV or have ever gone to the movies then you have seen Susan's work.

Having been in her makeup chair many times, I can tell you firsthand that she has a cultivated skill-set that is indeed quite rare. She handles her brushes and pigments with the deft skill of a modern day Michelangelo. She wields her brushes like little magic wands with such precision and artistry that the you that she creates is an undeniably perfected version of yourself. To say that she is deeply talented is an understatement of the highest order.

Susan, who began subscribing to Vogue at the age of nine, has always had an interest in makeup. In fact, she used to play with her mom's red lipstick and emulate the beautifully and elegantly fashioned actresses in Classic Hollywood films as well as the more outrageous stylings found in Madonna's Vogue video. She played with color, studied the ingredients on makeup and skincare labels, created homemade masques, and relished doing the makeup of her friends. She understood the transformative, expressive and communicative possibilities that one can achieve through the silent medium of makeup artistry. Little did she know that this was going to be her path.
Seven years ago she began developing her own line of makeup in earnest. She was soon approached by one of the worlds largest cosmetic companies who wanted to buy her concept, change the ingredients, add parabens, and mass market her cosmetics line around the globe. She respectfully declined, and without their endlessly deep pockets behind her- she continued the pursuit of her dream of launching her own makeup line on her own terms, and by leveraging her own resources.

As an entertainment industry insider, SAG-AFTRA actress, and professional makeup artist, Susan understands what type of makeup is needed for High Definition and Red Camera Projects from both sides of the camera.  The flawless application of makeup that plays down imperfections that can be distracting is essential onscreen for seamless continuity in film and TV.  Pores, lines and wrinkles are intentionally played down while up-playing the flawless finish that is often deemed a necessity for film, TV, digital camera work, print work, and even sometimes for iPhone photographic applications. However, as we all know from the many celebrity photos of HD makeup gone wrong- one has to be light-handed with HD makeup otherwise one can end up looking rather clownish when captured on film.

All of Susan's products are created with refined HD particles, making them a kit staple for many LA makeup artists and celebrities, but she also has the rest of us in mind. Her Liquid Blush, that is available in four glorious shades, offers the most remarkable natural flush, and the much sought-after ethereal glow from within. These blushes not only boast a beautifully buildable formula, but they are also fantastic multitasking workhorses that can also be used on the eyes and the lips.

Her Pout Poppers are gorgeous lip plumping lip glosses available in four beautiful shades of shimmering lusciousness. These are truly the best lip plumbers on the market! These beautiful gem-toned beauties really do plump the lips unlike so many on the market that do nothing at all!

Her newest launch includes six stunning Creamy Lipsticks that are creamy soft (as the name suggests), silky smooth, gorgeously pigmented, have buildable coverage, and are very long-wearing. This is a magical lipstick formula that truly rivals the best high-end luxury lipsticks on the market, and for a fraction of the price.

There is also much more on the horizon for Susan Thompson cosmetics including: foundations, primers, powders, mascaras, powder blushes, and eye shadows. Susan passionately believes in treatment-based products that are infused with vitamins and many healthy ingredients that are simultaneously gorgeously pigmented, and highly versatile. Her products are specifically made to be appropriate for Film, TV, print ads, and everyday wear. Therefore, her makeup is a dream come true for professional makeup artists and makeup enthusiasts alike.
Susan Thompson Cosmetics is an insider beauty secret, and this is one secret that everyone who loves makeup needs to be privy to. Her talents were not lost on Sunday Riley- who recognized her brilliant artistry and hired her as a Rep and Makeup Artist- which included doing makeup at the recent Vogue Show during NYFW. A talent of Susan's caliber needs to be shared with everyone, not just Hollywood and Fashion Insiders.

Susan has an unwavering commitment to creating luxury products that are available to all, not just the wealthy. She is steadfast in her belief that her products should be affordable to everyone, while remaining of superior quality with the best possible ingredients available. Susan knows the value of hard earned money as she demonstrated her entrepreneurial spirit when she began earning a paycheck at the age of 13 because her father had been out of work for a year. Susan had to help her family make ends meet, and this early life lesson in financial accountability and responsibility helped shape her worldview. Living within one's means, but without having to sacrifice all of the little pleasures in life has been a guiding principle in Susan's quest to create the best products at affordable prices for the enjoyment of the many rather than the few. All of Susan's products are made in the USA, which increases production costs, but it is of paramount importance to her that she does her part to create jobs and stimulate the economy here- no doubt a choice informed by her early experiences as a working youth who helped her parents pay bills.

Her passion for makeup artistry coupled with her love of connecting with the people lucky enough to sit in her makeup chair continually reinvigorates her passion for what she does so brilliantly.

In addition to being cruelty free, vegan, paraben free, filled with lots of great ingredients, and having a small carbon footprint, Susan's products also give back. Her philanthropic belief system and practices are embedded into the very foundation of Susan Thompson Cosmetics. 10% of her income, and 10% of the proceeds from the sale of all of her products go directly to her two favorite charities: the ASPCA and the American Red Cross, and she also volunteers her time to the Fur and Feather Sanctuary in Los Angeles.  She really does walk her talk. It is therefore unsurprising that one of her guiding principles is found in the inspirational words of Mahatma Gandhi: "Be the change you wish to see in the world."

Key Features:
High Definition Make Up
Paraben Free
No Animal Testing
Cruelty Free
Recycled packaging
10% goes to charity (The ASPCA and The American Red Cross)
Made in the USA

Her logo fittingly pays tribute to her family by depicting the coat-of-arms bearing her family crest, and she further celebrates the people and places that she loves by naming each of her products after them-- which even includes one celebrity owned rescue pooch!

Susan makes remarkable high-end luxury niche products that are available at mid-range department store prices, and trust me when I tell you that they are worth every last cent.  Her Pout Poppers lip plumping lip glosses are $18.00 each; her Creamy Lipsticks are $20.00 each; her Liquid Blushes are $20.00 each; and her luxurious Double Mirror Signature Compacts are $25.00 each. These prices include tax, shipping, and handling in the US. Customers outside of the US pay for shipping.

*Susan Thompson Cosmetics is offering a special exclusively for lola's secret beauty blog subscribers! If you spend $100.00 or more you will receive a free full-sized Creamy Lipstick in True Love (a gorgeous soft pink with nude tones).  At checkout use CODE: Lola's VIP in the shipping request box.

All products are available online at Susan Thompson Cosmetics. To see some of her work click here.

In the spirit of full disclosure, Susan is my friend and she gave all of these items to me as a gift. It is because I love these products so much that I decided to review them, and had I not loved them I simply would have avoided reviewing them because of our friendship. As is the case with all of my reviews, I am not being paid, and as always the opinions that I express are 100% my own. I wildly love all of her products, and therefore wanted to let you in on this beauty & entertainment industry insider secret because I think these products are too good to remain so exclusive.


  1. Ooooh... Just read through the posts and these look SCRUMPTIOUS. I'm so happy to see another new professionally-created brand that's cruelty-free. I know I'm going to want some of those lipsticks and quite possibly ALL the blushes! Thanks for making me aware of this!

    1. Absolutely my pleasure, Kate! It really is a lovely line, and the quality is exceptional. The Liquid Blushes are extraordinary! I love all of them, but I have been wearing Mim's the Word (the pink one) and am just over the moon by the natural glow and finish. The Creamy lipsticks are simply divine- I need to stop wearing Cleo for a few days so that I can really enjoy the others. The Pout Plumpers are amazing as well, but anyone who does not like, or cannot tolerate lip plumping products will probably want to pass on these little precious gems.

      I could not agree with you more about being so happy about professionally-created products that are cruelty- free. It is especially refreshing since so many of the bigger companies have reverted back to animal-testing practices.

      I hope that you really enjoy what you get-- keep me posted! xo, L

  2. I would echo everything you said in this excellent article, except then I would be a plagiarist. ;) I do love niche brands, which is why I wore Julie Hewett makeup for such a long time. Sadly, the gorgeous Noir lippies are too drying, and when she reformulated her eyeshadows, something bad happened to the texture—much like Stila eyeshadows.

    I had never heard of her brand before, so I assume it is slowly picking up momentum, much the way Bésame Cosmetics did, but which has remained very small and narrow in its offerings. I like how Susan was "discovered" by a photographer, much the way Ellis Faas was. Susan's credentials are impressive, and her makeup looks gorgeous. Those liquid blushes are beautiful.

    1. Thank you, Zu! :-) I think that niche brands are the way to go whenever possible. I do agree about the shifting quality in niche brands when they get gobbled up by huge companies-- as was the case with Stila. I'm surprised that JH's quality shifted-- isn't it still owned by her?

      Suzi's credentials are impressive, and her artistry is astounding! She's a very gifted person and yet remains completely humble about her many talents! The liquid blushes are simply amazing. THey give you that glorious sought after glow from within, and they have a true second skin quality. I'm head over heels about Mim's the Word-- it is the perfect cool pink flush. I'm going to review it soon and show how it sheers out. I am reaching for it over Gaiety these days!

  3. You know you have me eager to buy Susan Thompson now. I sent your series to my friend since she loves this kind of niche brand too. Mim's the Word will be mine soon. Can't wait for the specific review.

    1. I LOVE HER MAKEUP LINE!!!!!!!! It is awesome. You and I have very similar taste-- Mim's the Word is the one that has me losing my mind. I haven't been able to stop wearing it since I got it. I will review that one first for you!! I wore it on my cheeks and lips today, and then put a little Cleo lipstick on top of it and it looked stunning. I want to see if I can get Suzi to make a lipstick and lipgloss similar to in color to Mim's the Word. What really blows me away about it is how it really appears to be a second skin-- it does not scream makeup at all. It is truly remarkable and unexpected. I have a few cream blushes, but have always preferred powder blushes by a long shot, but now I find myself reaching for this blush more than anything else in my stash (including NARS Gaiety, any of the Sunday Riley blushes, and any of my Chanel JC blushes)!! I hope that your friend likes this too!


I love reading all of your comments and interacting with you- so please do not hesitate to share your thoughts, and to ask questions. Remember that what you have to say is of interest to all of us! Always feel free to email me directly as well. SPAM and advertising links will not be published.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...