Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Master Class provided courtesy of Tom Ford Beauty & Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills (Affiliate Links)

I was invited to a very special Tom Ford Beauty Master Class at Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills, and naturally I accepted such a gracious offer. This event was presided over by Todd Davidson, a renown makeup artist, and the West Coast Sales and Education Executive for Tom Ford Beauty. I have had the great pleasure of meeting many makeup artists, numerous of great acclaim, but I must say there are only a small handful that are such extraordinary talents that one realizes that they are truly in the presence of greatness. This was the case with Todd, and our connection was immediate, and being in his company was transformative.

Unsurprisingly a Tom Ford Beauty event hosted at Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills is no small affair. In fact, this catered event was replete with delectable finger sandwiches, chocolate dipped strawberries and Champagne, and would have suited any Royal accustomed to such fanfare.

We were whisked off of the main floor to a private banquet room with elegant four-top tables clad with black table cloths, stunning white rose bouquets, Tom Ford Gift Bags and chairs that evoked Philippe Starck's iconic Ghost Chairs.
Left to Right: Michelle Weinstein, Shannon and Todd Davidson

Todd began the Masterclass by describing Tom Ford's philosophy on beauty and by stating that Tom Ford's experience of studying architecture in school has informed the way that he seeks symmetry and structure in the human face, and that this philosophical system is at the foundation of Tom Ford Beauty.
This ideological system is the essence of Tom Ford's exacting designs ranging from his couture line,  his accessories, his fragrances, and his Beauty Line. All parts must be in harmony, and even the most minute details must serve the greater interest of the whole. Everything must be balanced, symmetrical and harmonious. Like the Renaissance sculptors and painters who outdid nature in the perfection of their works of art, so too does Tom Ford Beauty lend balance and symmetry to all of the faces graced with his exemplary line of cosmetics.
Todd contemplating Shannon's lovely bare face.
He now begins selecting the first products that he will use on Shannon.
Todd first prepped Shannon's skin by applying the Tom Ford Intensive Infusion Ultra Rich Moisturizer ($230). This ultra-rich cream features the Tom Ford Infusing Complex to help skin stimulate its natural repair mechanisms by prompting cells to replenish their natural energy. Luxurious hydrating agents and potent nutrients drench the skin with moisture and help achieve a smooth and vibrant appearance.

Todd explained that this cream is the perfect way to prep the skin because while it is thick-- it has no heavy slip, and that it serves as a perfect base for all of the following products. While he was applying it to Shannon's face everyone in the Master Class was treated to trying the cream, and it was ultra luxurious-- in fact it left my hands unbelievably soft and supple. However, for those seeking a lighter consistency, Todd suggested using the Intensive Infusion Daily Moisturizer ($190.00) instead.
Todd then patted the Intensive Infusion Eye Treatment into Shannon's delicate under eye area while explaining that the antioxidant rich formula contains optical diffusers that brighten the eyes while the luxurious formula softens the appearance of fine lines while nourishing and hydrating the delicate eye area. At this point Shannon's lovely face was already intensely luminous and glowing.
The final skincare product that Todd used on Shannon was Intensive Infusion Concentrate Extreme ($250.00) which, "nourishes skin at the deepest level and effectively revives skin's healthy look, tone and radiance, making it the integral component to creating flawless skin."
With her skin prepped, Shannon was ready to have her skin primed with Tom Ford's iconic Illuminating Primer ($74.00). This is one of the best selling Tom Ford Beauty products that achieved cult status soon after its release. There is a good reason why-- it's amazing! It contains pulverized pearl for a flawless finish while adding radiance to the skin, and in the land of Tom Ford Beauty it is an essential step not to be missed.
Traceless Perfecting Foundation SPF 15 ($80.00) is the newest foundation to launch in the line, and it's already a best-seller. Todd explained that the semi-matte natural finish is medium to full coverage, whereas the Traceless Foundation SPF 15 ($80.00) has a light to medium coverage that is more dewy. The Traceless Foundation Stick ($80.00), on the other hand, offers buildable medium to full coverage with a more dewy finish.
Todd applied the Traceless Perfecting Foundation SPF 15 with the Tom Ford Foundation Brush ($72.00) that is a traditional shaped paddle foundation brush of the most exquisite quality. All Tom Ford Brushes are handmade in Japan by Hakuhodo using time tested techniques, and producing the highest quality brushes of the most exacting standards. As a card carrying member of the Hakuhodo fan club, I have to tell you that I own nearly every single Tom Ford Brush made, and I covet each one of them. Todd exclaimed that excellent quality brushes are essential for a flawless finish, and I couldn't agree more.
Todd then took a step back and studied Shannon's skin and touched up a new spots with the Traceless Foundation Stick ($80.00). I own this foundation and am absolutely and completely in love with the velvety texture and stunning natural radiant finish. Todd once again exclaimed that the proper tools should be selected for the formulas being used, and that to get the perfect airbrushed appearance one needed to put the Traceless Stick Foundation on the Cream Foundation Brush ($72.00) rather than applying the stick directly to the skin. The difference between the two methods is rather stunning. I have tried it both ways, but once I applied it to the face from the brush I stopped applying the stick to my face!
I have also used Cream Foundation Brush to apply cream blushes, and it does a remarkable job. If I wore cream blushes on a daily basis I would definitely purchase a second Cream Foundation Brush because it gives a truly flawless finish.
Another new addition to Tom Ford Beauty is the Concealer Pen ($52.00), and it is a lovely alternative to using the Traceless Foundation Stick as an under eye concealer. The twist up packaging dispenses the perfect amount of concealer through a brilliant thick sponge applicator, of a generous size, that fits perfectly in the under eye area. Todd said that it was formulated to use anywhere on your face, and that the satin finish is perfection under the eyes. He also informed us that when paired with the Intensive Infusion Eye Treatment one will end up with the perfect finish. It is easily transported, and doubles as a foundation touch-up in you are out and about and need to reapply!
Before applying Shade & Illuminate ($77.00) to Shannon's face, Todd explained that creating structure, balance and symmetry was imperative in order to use Tom Ford products in the manner in which they were conceived. The first way to balance a face and create a more unified symmetry, since people are seldom born with perfectly symmetrical features, is to use this little treasure that creates the illusion of a perfectly balanced and chiseled visage. Where nature may have failed, Tom Ford steps in as a modern Michelangelo in his ability to create the most perfected chiaroscuro effect. His light and shadow modeling techniques are precisely what Renaissance painters employed to their two-dimensional surfaces, and that sculptors achieved as they carved in stone. My "AHA" moment was that Tom Ford brilliantly assimilated tricks known by Cinquecento painters to create the illusion of symmetry and three-dimensionality! The brilliance of Shade & Illuminate is that the dark color mimics shadows thereby creating recessions that can give people without prominent cheekbones the appearance of cheekbones, while the highlighting portion captures light where the sun would naturally fall on the face. It is, however, the combination of the two that gives the appearance of the perfectly sculpted face, and  this is pure unmitigated genius, people!

You first have to feel your bone structure, and once you locate the ledge of your jaw bone you paint the shade strip the width of the brush to where there is a cheek hollow (or where one seeks to create a cheek hollow), and voilà you have chiseled cheekbones.

Todd noted that Shade & Illuminate comes in two different intensities: 1 & 2. It is very easy to choose which one is best suited to your skin tone because Shade 1 is intended for people with golden or yellow undertones, whereas Shade 2 is best for people with pink or red undertones.
Todd explained that the Shade & Illuminate Brush ($72.00) is the perfect tool for the job because it is designed with the perfect width for the job.
The next part of the face that needs to be tacked to create unity and frame the face are the eyebrows, and Brow Sculptor ($44.00) tackles this project with ease whether you have full or barely-there brows. The wax consistency has tremendous staying power, and the spooley brush on the opposite end tames unruly brows. Hidden beneath the spooley brush is a sharpener so that you never have a dull tip.
Todd explained that if you were in a rush to get out of the door in a flash that all you needed to do is add some lipstick and Ultra Length Mascara in Raven ($44.00) and you would be ready to go. He added that Ultra Length Mascara boasts a cutting edge formula that adds tremendous volume and ultra rich color with its über black pigment.
If, however, your aim is a gorgeous smoky eye then Todd suggests applying the Eye Primer Duo ($45.00). He first applied the cream part housed below and then set it with the powder seen above. The latter sets the former to perfection, and when you apply your shadow it will be budge proof all day.
Todd reiterated the importance of the highest quality brushes as he happily wielded the lust-worthy paddle shaped Eye Shadow Brush ($56.00) like a magic wand. This is one of my very favorite eyeshadow brushes, and frankly I don't think that it's an overstatement to suggest that it actually is a magic wand.
Todd decided to use two of the most beloved Tom Ford Eye Color Quads that are neutral and easy-to-wear-- so naturally he reached for Coco Mirage and Cognac Sable.  Todd extolled the virtues of these glorious quads and recounted that each was hand-pressed in a factory in Italy. That would certainly account for their heavenly textures that are ultra finely milled and their stupendous pigmentation. He explained that he was patting the eyeshadow onto Shannon's eyelids by utilizing the flat edge of the Eye Shadow Brush because it places the pigment perfectly and precisely on her lids. For a gorgeous smokey eye, he smudged the darker colors into her lashline.

Eye Color Quad in Coco Mirage ($79.00) is the perfect easy-to-wear daily palette of neutrals, and three out of the four shades are mattes. I never thought that I would see mattes done as well as those from Rouge Bunny Rouge, but Tom Ford has done it!
Eye Color Quad in Cognac Sable ($79.00) is such a luscious warm palette, and Todd mixed it with Coco Mirage to give Shannon the most sumptuous smoky eye! While he used brushes for most of his eyeshadow application, he exclaimed that the best tool to apply the celestial shades (in Tom Ford speak these are the more glittery shadows) was one's finger. He then demonstrated this by dipping his finger into the warm rust shade in Cognac Sable and applying the pigment to the center of Shannon's eye lid. The results: in a word, breathtaking!
Todd used the Eye Shadow Contour Brush ($56.00) to add color into Shannon eye socket because it is designed to perfectly accommodate the shape of the socket, and it lays down the pigment perfectly. The tightly packet bristles coupled with the angularity of the brush head makes this brush a must-have for structure work. This is a wonderful brush, and I use mine all of the time. You can use it for a nicely sculpted cat eye as well.
Eye Defining Pencil in Metallic Mink ($36.00), according to Todd, is a waterline safe liner that is about as gorgeous as it gets. He smudged it into Shannon's lower lashline to elevate her smoky eye to a whole new level of smoldering perfection!
Todd is applying Metallic Mink to Shannon's eyes
Eye Defining Pen ($55.00) is a brilliant dual ended liquid eye liner pen with a very thin point on one end for very fine detailed work, and a thicker point on the other end for a more traditional thick cat eye. Todd utilized both ends in order to give Shannon the perfect beautifully defined cat eye to accompany her stunning smoky eye. This is a very black liquid liner that Todd said adds great dramatic charge to the look. It really does!
Ultra Length Mascara in Raven ($44.00) boasts a cutting-edge formula that gives lashes tremendous volume and rich color. Raven is the only shade available, and it is one of the richest black pigments that I have seen. I really really want to try this!
Lip Color in Twist of Fate (LE $50.00), one of the two shades from the Fall Color Collection, is a stunning warm peachy pink coral lipstick. Todd contemplated using it, but instead decided to use Negligee on Shannon instead.
Lip Color in Negligee (LE $50.00), is similar to Casablanca, but a bit lighter. It was the perfect rosy shade to accompany Shannon's warm smoky eye.
Contouring Cheek Duo in Stroked (LE $77.00), a stunning palette combining a blush/contour shade with a highlighter, is part of the Fall Color Collection. Tom Ford sought inspiration from his Shade & Illuminate palettes, and one can only hope that he will expand this range and make it part of the permanent collection! Stroked contains a gorgeous peachy blush and a divine warm illuminator.
Todd used the Tom Ford Cheek Brush ($78.00) to apply the blush shade to Shannon's cheekbones, and then used his finger tips to apply the illuminator shade to the parts of her face that would naturally be accentuated by the sun. I kid you not, I use this blush brush every single day!
Todd applied the Translucent Finishing Powder ($77.00) to set Shannon's makeup, and used the iconic Bronzer Brush as his tool. This combination of powder and brush resulted in what can only be described as the ultimate complexion perfection!
The Bronzer Brush ($115.00), made to use with the colossal Tom Ford Bronzer, is the perfect tool for dusting a setting powder all over the face. This is a seriously big and luxurious brush that is so glorious that you will never have buyers remorse. IT. IS. AMAZING!
Todd studied his work and then used the Illuminating Highlighting Pen ($52.00) to cancel out any shadows in Shannon's under eye area, and then he was done.
When Todd finished the makeover, this is how Shannon looked!
Utterly and completely take your breath away gorgeous (yes, I mean to add emphasis to every single word!)
Once Todd's extraordinarily informative Master Class came to an end we were escorted back downstairs to the Tom Ford Beauty Counter where a whole host of Tom Ford Makeup Artists were giving beautiful makeovers to the Master Class participants. 
The stunning centerpiece at each table was a very elegant addition to a glamorous affair filled with hors d'oeuvres and Champagne. 
Tom Ford Makeup Artistry
The gorgeous displays
Lips & Nails
Cheeks & Eyes
Finishing Products
For Him
Left to Right: Michelle and Lilit
The Gift Bag and contents: Grey Vetiver Eau de Parfum, Neroli Portofino Body Moisturizer, Lip Color in Indian Rose and Illuminating Primer. This is the cutest mini lipstick that I have seen to date, and it's a color that I love and own!
My Purchase
 The one and only, much hyped about (and rightly so), Nude Dip Eye Color Quad
Overall Assessment: I think that it is rather obvious that this was an amazing event, and that Todd is one of the most gifted artists that I have ever encountered. I had a wonderful day, and have added even more things to my must-have list of Tom Ford Beauty products! A very special thank you to Michelle Weinstein, Todd Davidson, Tom Ford Beauty and Neiman Marcus. I am grateful to you for inviting me to this extraordinary event.

If ever you have the opportunity to attend a Tom Ford Beauty Master Class-- I highly recommend it! The cost of this class was a mere $50.00 and it was redeemable in Tom Ford products-- I would say that this is money very well spent!

Master Class provided courtesy of Tom Ford Beauty and Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills.
All views expressed are categorically my own (Affiliate Links).
Copyright © 2014 All Rights Reserved.


  1. uuuuuuuuuuuuuh, AMAZING, Helen! Tom ford is like the King Midas of beauty.
    How is that illuminating base? I bought the Nars photo primer and it literally sucks after 2 hours. It just makes your foundation drip down in a non-Pollock way but a phanton of the opera kind of mess if I make any sense. Bad thing. I do adore illuminating bases since my skin is just dull and well, not pretty I guess I cannot use adjectives to hide the obvious :(
    Many hugs to you, gorgeous!

    1. He really is the King Midas of beauty! Such an extraordinary line! So far I am really loving the illuminating Primer, and if my love continues all the way through this sample then I will be destined to buy it. Well, it definitely sounds as though the NARS photo primer has been a big miss for you! This one might be a good option for you, and the two primers from Hourglass are also lovely. If there's a way to get samples to try-- I would recommend it! It should be easy to get samples of the Hourglass primers from Sephora. Is there a Tom Ford counter anywhere in your area? If so, I would definitely request a sample! xoxox

    2. I am a big TF fan and have tried getting samples from Chicago Neiman Marcus and they say no. "Tom Ford doesn't do samples."

    3. This is the first time that I have gotten makeup samples-- I don't think that they stock them regularly. I know a few people who have received them at special events, but I don't think that they make lots of them to hand out at the counters-- or at least if they do I have never seen them! Perfume samples, on the other hand seem to be pre-made and available at the counters more often, and when they are out they have always made samples for me.

  2. Cinquecento! Chiaroscuro! The perfect adjectives to describe the cosmetic approach by the perfect Renaissance Man--Tom Ford. His background in architecture, his perfectionism, and his love of symmetry combine with his unique artistic genius to yield creations all kinds that glorify Woman and celebrate her allure, beauty, and mystique. Tom Ford is one of the few designers today that thoroughly understands the power of elegant clean lines when coupled with smoldering sensuality. Genius! Even when he sends edgier, more exaggerated looks down the runway, he never indulges in the freak shows which some designers resort to in order to gain attention.

    Some women might be put off by the time and effort expended on creating the perfect face and then enhancing it with color, but then TF's cosmetic line was never intended for the makeup minimalist or for the woman who embraces the proverbial 5 minute face. His approach is better suited to the woman who regards applying her makeup as a ritual; an artistic exercise in self-expression. I think it is safe to say TF regards it as an exercise in indulgence that's meant to make a woman feel more powerful in her femininity.

    Great post, Helen! Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to be there with you if only vicariously.

    1. Thank you, Eileen! I'm so glad that you liked this post and that you thought that my Cinquecento and Chiaroscuro references were apt! Sometimes my career and my blog intersect, and when they do it makes me happy!

      Your assessment of Tom Ford's talents is absolutely and positively brilliant, and I completely agree! As always, thank you so much for your thoroughly enjoyable and thought-provoking comment! Since you don't live far from me-- the next time your enjoyment should be actual, rather than virtual and vicarious! :-)

  3. I have been waiting to read about this event you attended. Curious: how long did it take him to create his masterpiece?

    1. Hi cpl100, That's a really good question, but not one easily answered. The class itself seems to have lasted about an hour or so, but Todd wasn't doing Shannon's makeup the entire time. He would stop and explain things, and many of the products that were being used got passed around the room so that we could feel then to better understand firsthand what he was talking about. People also asked questions throughout the process-- so it was really more of a class format. It was just amazing to watch his technique and her transformation.

  4. I noticed lots of people getting made up afterwards. Did you? If so, how did you like the result and was there any product you felt compelled to immediately purchase?

    1. It looked as though everyone in the class did have their makeup done. They offered to do mine, but I actually ended up in a really long conversation with Todd instead. I only wanted to buy the Nude Dip quad that day, and doubt that getting a makeover would have swayed me to make more purchases since Nude Dip was the only thing that I wanted from the Fall Color Collection. I thought the whole collection was beautiful, but neither of the blush/highlighter duos were flattering on my skin tone, and Negligee lipstick is too close to Casablanca which I already have. Everything else that I want is from the permanent collection so I didn't feel pressure to buy those things for fear of missing out. I'm also saving my pennies for several of the LE lipsticks that are upcoming for the holiday collection. They are gorgeous mattes in beautiful pinks from light to bright to vampy berry shades. :-)

  5. it's interesting that the serum comes after the moisturizer. did he explain why the abnormal order?

    1. Todd didn't explain why he used the serum after the moisturizer, but the texture of the serum and the illuminating primer worked very nicely together and formed a really amazing surface upon which to apply the new foundation. I suspect that it is simply a person preference on his part (or it may be an artist's trick up his sleeve to pull the most out of the products that he was using to prep the skin for makeup), but the two textures really worked nicely together (I tried them both on my hand during the product demonstrations).


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