Known for his luxe skin and clean make-up techniques, AJ Crimson’s detailed eye and unique artistry makes him a favorite among celebrities such as Christina Milan, Amerie, and Keisha Cole. With the introduction of his debut line of lip gloss, Kissable Couture, AJ is adding entrepreneur along side his name and giving us girls another reason to keep our lips looking delectable and oh-so-sexy!
Summer: Tell us, AJ, what inspired you to become a makeup artist?
I have always been involved in creative arts. Makeup for me was an experiment or personal test, if you will. After working with a makeup artist who just could not reproduce my vision for a project I was working on.
Summer: Who are some artists and celebrities that you’ve worked with?
Hilary Duff, Keyshia Cole, Rihanna, Amerie, Keisha Whitaker.
Summer: What celebrity did you most enjoy working with? And what feature of theirs did you like to play up the most?
I have great relationships with all of my clients. On Amerie we experiment more with eyes, Hilary I actually do her hair as well so we have an opportunity to try new things that translate to a complete look, Keyshia, has amazing lips. For Essence we did a bold purple lip color from the Kissable Couture “First Kiss” Collection I created called “Tyler.”
Summer: What is your definition of “luxe” skin and how can we achieve it?
I can’t create a flawless face if I have not perfected the skin. Luxe skin is just that— smooth in texture, seemingly creamy, and soft. My clients aren’t hiding behind a mask of makeup, luxe skin is effortless and invisible. Most true luxury is understated.
Summer: You have five minutes to glam the face of a client right before they walk onto the red carpet. What products do you pull out of your bag of tricks to give them a flawless look in only minutes?
I’ll begin with curling the eyelashes with my Shu Umera eyelash curler, then fill in the inner rim of the eye with a black or brown kohl liner from Make Up For Ever. Coat the lashes with my favorite mascara in “X” from MAC. Put two applications of “Johnny” by Kissable Couture on her lips and send her off with a black case of Bobbi Brown blot papers. It’s all about the black case you can’t—use those paper on red carpet with out it!
Summer: What beauty product/treatment do you feel every woman should splurge on?
Hands down, facials and Kissable Couture!!! Facials make it possible for you to maintain radiant healthy skin and Kissable Couture is luxury for your lips . . . you can’t lose!
Summer: What are some make-up mishaps that you often see?
Taking on every trend. Yes it may be chic to have a smoky eye for the season, or a crimson lip that seems to be a staple for the last five seasons. We don’t necessarily need to do them both at the same time; know your assets and play them up. Take on one beauty trend at a time. Your makeup should be harmonious.
Summer: The Pimple from Hell . . . (When you’ve tried everything but putting a bag over your head). What is the best way to cover up a blemish?
I usually start with a shade of concealer that is brighter than your actual skin tone. Then apply your normal shade over the tone. This helps to cancel the discoloration of the blemish and blend it into your skin tone.
Summer: What are some of your best beauty tips to offer women of color?
Experiment with your makeup! It washes off. Don’t be afraid of color. Find the right shade for you . . . step outside of your comfort zone. You’ll never know what new looks will look great on you if you are committed to the same color palette you’ve been using for the last five years.
Summer: What is this fall’s palette in terms of makeup?
Gold and bronze tones, purples and bits or shimmer.
Summer: Which products do you recommend for us to keep in our Clutch?
Everything I would use in my five minute celebrity makeover.
Summer: Tell us about Kissable Couture.
Kissable Couture is amazing! I started this project two years ago and its finally here. It’s a very surreal experience. The vision I had for the brand is now tangible. I think that’s the most amazing part of it all. The “First Kiss Collection” consists of seven shades I
designed with my partner Keisha Whitaker. Each individual lipgloss comes in a little black case with a perfectly hand tied ribbon. It’s the most luxurious lip gloss you could ever give yourself . . . and this season it’s all about getting reacquainted with your “First Kiss”! each shade is named after a different boy… for example, the color “Forest” is named after Keisha’s first kiss that really mattered!
Summer: What are some of the obstacles and challenges you’ve had to face in this industry?
Staying interested! I never want to feel like its work, When it does, I’ll take a break. Often when you do celebrities you create a signature look, and once you’ve done that look for the 80th time (smiles), you want something different! So I still do test shoots with my photographer friends. I just returned from attending fashion week in Milan for a change of pace and for some inspiration. Another way I find inspiration is by visiting museums. Another form of “obstacle” is staying ahead of the pack. There is someone new entering the industry everyday, so finding new ways to stay fresh and current is always on the forefront of my mind as I advance. The phrase “your only as good as your last performance” is so true!
Summer: As a makeup artist, what void do you currently see in your industry? And how do you continue to challenge yourself?
Although I have worked with some amazing clients, I’m still growing. I have recent endeavored into formulating cosmetics. I think there is room for me there. The industry is changing. I continuously ask myself what it is that I want to achieve next. I can’t sit still, so for me I don’t think that I’ll ever be completely satisfied—so I’ll push myself for more, and there is a lot more for me to do. The challenge is trying to do it all (smiles), which I know I can’t but I’ll give it a shot!