Monday, September 6, 2010

Beauty Stylist: James Webb-Murphy (Nordstrom, Fashion Valley, San Diego)

Hello, everyone!  Happy Labor Day!  What have you got lined up for this last day of summer? We're finishing up our closet installation and clean-up (I now know without a shadow of a doubt that I do not need any more clothing.  Want? Maybe. Need? No.  Keep me honest, readers, keep me honest...)

I thought I'd introduce you to someone I met recently at Nordstrom, Fashion Valley - their resident beauty stylist, (who knew?) James Webb-Murphy.  Much like the Personal Stylists, a Beauty Stylist can help you shop a variety of brands, and James works in the cosmetics and beauty department, but with no affiliation to any particular counter.  This is especially useful because he's trained in all the different lines Nordstrom carries and can help you select what you need best from across the entire department!  It's amazing - like being at Sephora, only, nicer, because I don't have to wander around and wonder what I should try.  There's someone there, to tell me what my options are and what might work best for my situation!

In my case, I wanted some lip color - at first I thought maybe red? - to go with my new bob and short-bang 'do.  James quickly assessed what was going on by taking a look at me and my typical low-level make-up application (some very natural eyeshadow, eyeliner, no mascara - I'd recently run out, and needed to get some more - and a little eyebrow powder).  After realizing that what I really wanted (despite what I was saying) was an everyday lip color, he suggested I start with a shade that gave me some color, without actually being red, while reassuring me that should I decide I still want red, after trying something less, then of course I could have it.  I immediately recognized the sense in this (red lipstick is a commitment after all), and soon, he'd introduced me to this Laura Mercier Hydratint - a super pretty, low-commitment lip color that's moisturizing and has SPF 15.  It's as easy and good for my lips as a lip balm! And, if I want a little more oomph, James told me to just apply lip liner first. I got the berry tint.  Love!

Now, the next thing he noticed, was that (as previously mentioned) I wasn't wearing any mascara.  He asked me if I'd mind if he applied one for me, at which point,  I felt compelled to tell him that mascara is always a problem item for me.  On the one hand, I need it, because my lashes are fairly sparse and close to invisible without mascara.  On the other hand, the shape of my eyes and the fact that I have practically no lower lash line, means that my top lashes are constantly brushing against the skin beneath my eyes, leaving dark smudges under my eyes all day (which I'm constantly rubbing away - annoying).  My last mascara, Bobbi Brown No Smudge Mascara was pretty good compared to other mascaras I'd tried in the past (mostly drugstore brands and Lancome), but I'm always open to the possibility for improvement.  James chose Chanel's Inimitable Multi-Dimensional Mascara in Noir for me, which is supposed to provide volume, length, curl, and separation all in one - and goodness knows my lashes could benefit from all of that.  It's also conveniently water-resistant and smudge-resistant (there's an actual waterproof version for you brides out there...).  The applicator wand is particularly cool, as it has a rubber-like bristle, rather than the more traditional wrapped fibers.  It's supposed to help prevent clumping and make it easier to apply mascara evenly to each lash.  Also, James told me because of the design of the brush, you can use less mascara - just one dip into the tube should suffice to cover the lashes of both eyes.  Bonus!

I am a "look natural" type of eye make-up girl.  I don't really want people to notice my eye make-up, but I appreciate the finished look that shadow, liner, and mascara can give you - especially when your lashes are as naturally sparse and short as mine.  Also, if you're going to carry off a short haircut and glasses like me, I think the make-up is key to keeping you from looking too boyish or androgynous (I learned this from my very good friend Loretta).  However, the easier it is to apply, the better for me, so when James suggested I try the Chanel Ombre D'eau Fluid Iridescent Eyeshadow in Sand, and told me it'd be the only shadow I needed (no darker shades in my crease or eyelid, etc) I was game.  I love it!  It gives me a little bit more shimmer than my former look (created with Bobbi Brown Longwear Cream Shadow and Bobbi Brown Eye Shadow) but only takes one step, rather than two!  And I don't have to worry about the powder shadow distributing itself weirdly over the cream shadow (which happened sometimes). I just use a flat concealer brush to apply it from my lash line, up over my eyelid, and it naturally distributes itself from a heavy to light color.  So cool, easy, and pretty!  Yay!

While I was checking out with my new beauty finds, James also let me know that there's an upcoming Laura Mercier make-up event (September 17th-19th?) featuring one of  their National Artists, who will be doing make-up applications and consultations.  So, if you've been feeling like your face could use some freshening up and you live in San Diego, give James a call (619.295.4441, ext. 1095), and ask him for an appointment.  Beauty Stylist services are free of charge (whoo!) and while I've only worked with James once, I found him to be really nice, full of good, non-pushy advice (he answered all my questions, and let me tell you, I can ask a lot of questions), a good listener, and cute as a button (oh, he was just impeccably dressed!  Loved it!).

This photo was taken about an 1.5 hours after James applied eye makeup and the lip color.  The lip color had faded a little, but I remember my lips feeling moist and comfy still.  Eyes still smudge free! Yay!


  1. A beauty stylist sounds like just the thing I need! I'm helpless at makeup application and would love to have someone provide me some direction re: colors, etc. While your makeup looks very natural, you look like there is a little extra oomph and that's exactly what I need! I'll have to check this out and see if there is someone in the chicago area! Thanks for the Nordie's tip!!

  2. I'm am *so* glad to hear that such a service exists! I am so clueless about makeup. I'd love a new foundation but don't even know where to start. I hate the idea of going to one particular counter b/c of course they are going to sell you one of theirs, they'd never tell you to look elsewhere. I need to see if my local Nordstrom has one of these beauty stylists. Thank you so much for posting this!!

  3. You look so fresh and perfect after James did your makeup, Carol! Great to know about the stylist service and about his recommendations! That Laura Mercier tint is very interesting to me - I often find myself browsing for a red lipstick too, but you're so right when you say it takes a commitment (I really wear it once in a blue moon!). :)

  4. You look like a doll - how fun to have products picked just for you, you look perfect!