When yours truly first started watching the makeover show, What Not to Wear, some 10 years ago, it was a revelation how much impact a structured jacket can have on an outfit. The other revelation was the five minutes, near the end of the show, when makeup artist Carmindy would help the contributors pull together their brand-new look with just a light touch of makeup, designed to make their natural beauty show through. Though the show concluded its long and successful run last fall, the women of America still have the opportunity to be ‘Carmindized’ through Carmindy’s new eponymous makeup line. We caught up with her in advance of her recent trip to St. Louis, celebrating Carmindy & Co.’s launch at Soft Surroundings.

Tell us about your line.

I’ve been a makeup artist for 25 years, and 10 of those were on What Not to Wear. Every woman I spoke to said it’s so overwhelming to walk into a Sephora or into a department store or a drug store. Where do you begin? In magazines, you’ll see all these tips from celebrities, but regular women have a busy life and they don’t want to look like Beyoncé—they want to look like themselves.

When I worked with our contributors, I was picking a product from this line and that line, and I thought there needed to be a streamlined, high-quality collection that made it easy for women. So I took a long time gathering a team of incredible people and creating Carmindy & Co. It’s about empowering women through enhancing their natural beauty; not changing them, but celebrating their uniqueness.

Why is your trademark ‘5-Minute Face’ important to you?

Whether I was working with women on What Not to Wear or with a model who just wants to look polished, all you need to look your very best is in five steps: Carmindize, line your eyes, sweep, swirl and swipe. Carmindize is highlighting the face to get that all-over glow that makes your skin look fresh. Then, you line your eyes with a waterproof pencil, you sweep mascara on your lashes, you swirl on some blush and swipe on your lipstick. If you do this, it’s like you’re not wearing makeup at all: Just take 5 minutes and polish your look, and you’ll start the day feeling more confident.

How often should you ‘touch up’ your makeup throughout the day?

If you do it correctly, the only touchup you’ll need is just a little powder for shine and your lips. In the morning, always start using a primer. I do my primer first, followed by my Game Changer foundation, then dust on a little translucent powder, do the 5-minute face and you’re done. But it all starts with the correct application the first time. If you don’t do those steps, that’s when everything starts to slip and go away.

You’ve seen a lot of beauty don’ts through the years. What are the most common mistakes?

There are two top ones: The first is over-plucking the eyebrows. I call it the little square with the tail: They create width on the inner edge and then it’s a tiny little tail, which ages you, and a lot of times it doesn’t grow back. A healthier brow helps create a more youthful-looking face. So put down the tweezers!

The other big mistake women make is trying to change a feature. We need to embrace our natural beauty. If you try to change something, it’s a negative thing you’re doing to yourself. I would never say your face is too round, use contouring to shave it down. Your round face is a beautiful face! It’s your face! There’s no set standard of beauty, and we’re all unique. The magic in What Not to Wear is that they were never overly made-up; what you’re seeing is the power of inner confidence.

What’s the most rewarding thing about your work?

Re-instilling lost confidence, that’s the biggest and most beautiful and magical thing I can do. Women are becoming more powerful, but we’re also becoming more insecure. Why is that? We can’t blame society, because we are society. It’s up to us to make that change.

When you have negative feelings about your looks, ask Why do you feel this way about yourself? Who did this to you and why do you hold on to that? I want to teach women to focus on the beauty they have: a thick lash line or killer cheekbones or a sweet smile, and play with makeup to really showcase that. At the end of the day, it’s not about any makeup products at all, it’s about confidence.

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