I’m of the firm belief that you can tell a makeup artist’s level of professionalism from the moment you see their work station. Are the products they use sanitized? Are their brushes clean? Does their layout make sense, or does it look like a random collection of items?
It’s the same thing with a makeup brand. The packaging, marketing, and variety available offer you a glimpse into the company’s DNA before you ever swatch anything. It also sends messages to clients who see what you are using, and any makeup artist should leverage that to their advantage.
MAKE UP FOR EVER is one such brand that exudes professionalism in everything they do, and clients love to see their products in your kit. Cohesive black, white and silver containers with see-through windows represent most of their packaging. Superbly painted models of all skin tones and shades decorate their ads, showing off the creativity possible with their professional-grade products. You can find absolutely everything you need for a project in their range, from foundation to multi-sized glitters to fake blood. Most importantly, their makeup products are probably the most universally effective I know of.
MAKE UP FOR EVER was started in 1984 as a line for artists by artists. Today they are known for their Ultra HD foundations (naturally invisible on camera), the Aqua line of waterproof products, and best kept secrets like the tried and true Sens’Eyes and Mist & Fix. They arrived in Sephora in 1996, and when Sephora came to Canada in 2004 it brought MUFE with it as a national focus brand.
The brand opened their first ProLoft in Toronto earlier this spring. The store caters to Toronto’s booming movie and theatre industry, freelance makeup artists, makeup artistry students, industry partners, as well as clients who seek their high level pro quality products. I visited the ProLoft a couple weeks ago to learn more about who they are, what they do, and how they’re changing the game one artist at a time.
The ProLoft is located in a heritage townhouse in the new revitalized section of the Yonge Street Corridor. The side facing the street has all the makeup (and I mean all the makeup), but in the back there’s a hygiene station, a TV screen playing new product videos, and a cash-wrap that looks like a bar. More than once during my time there an intern popped in out of nowhere to show Jacquie Jeffery, the Pro Business Manager, what they were working on.
Jacquie is wearing all black, the tell tale sign of someone who works in makeup (she started with the company as a retail makeup artist 16 years ago and now helps to oversees the Pro department for Canada). Her assistant Bianca, who is the ProLoft Coordinator, is wearing a flowing black garment that makes her vibrant red hair pop. A couple clients show up at the ProLoft while I am there. One is restocking her kit, the other one is picking up an order for a production. They are treated like old friends.
I’m told the clients who shop at the ProLoft focus on not only product but knowledge. You are gently guided through the extensive range to find the perfect items for any industry or technology: photography, performance, bridal or film. Artistry and “mixology” are encouraged.
Despite the relaxed atmosphere, top-notch products and professional discounts (20% for industry partners and students, 40% for those who do make up for a living), MAKE UP FOR EVER faces stiff competition. There are multiple other brands competing for the same pool of professionals, who tend to zero in on one brand to build their kits. They include NARS, Laura Mercier, Sephora Collection, and a platoon of Estée Lauder brands including Bobbi Brown and MAC. How is a budding artist to choose? Without a smidge of arrogance Jacquie tells me, “They figure it out eventually.” Somehow, I don’t doubt her. When you see how pigmented, easily blended, buildable and varied the products are you will understand.
To work at the ProLoft “you need a certain spirit,” I’m told. It means being willing to give and take, having a craving to learn and a passion for art and color. I’m too afraid to ask if I would fit in, but let’s assume I would anyways. They’re not exactly looking to expand just yet, although the demand is certainly there.
I can’t leave without playing with the makeup, so Jacquie takes me on a quick tour. There is so much to look at, you could spend days trying everything out. You’ll find the whole brand selection, plus a lot more. There are basic industry tools – spatulas, palettes, and brushes, skincare that gets the job done and foundation in jumbo bottles. For eyes you have palettes, shadows, liners in every shade including the new Aqua XL and pigments for any imaginable combination. Pro Backstage Members have access to Pro Product Previews, including the anticipated Water Blend foundation in 20 shades plus a variety of Pro events and seminars.
Pro card or not, you are welcome to visit the ProLoft Toronto at 12 St-Joseph Street, Suite 102, Monday to Friday, 10:00am-6:00pm. Before I leave I make sure to pick up the hyped Flash Cream Color Palette in Artistic ($110*), and a loose glitter in N12 Pink Multicolored (obsessed!) – expect to see them on my social media around Halloween. I’d like to thank Jacquie and Bianca for taking the time to showing me the best that MAKE UP FOR EVER has to offer. If I retain one thing from the tour, it’s that I’m going to be visiting this place a lot in the future!
Editor’s note: this article was proofed by representatives from MAKE UP FOR EVER. All attempts have been made to keep the content as honest and transparent as possible.
*Prices true at time of writing.
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