2016 in Review & 2017 Goal Setting

At C. Johnson Makeup our goal is to consistently improve our skills, services, packages, & overall customer service in order to stay at the peak of our industry. At the end of each year we evaluate our strengths & weaknesses in order to take steps to improve & grow for the following year. To reach our goals for 2017 we have made the following additions & improvements.


We have learned through client feedback & reviews that the biggest area of opportunity for C. Johnson Makeup in 2016 had been our communication & responsiveness via email & telephone. To remedy this, we hired office manager Krissy Bencomo in September. Krissy is professional, upbeat, & and loves to help. She has over 10 years of experience in customer services, events, & marketing. Since adding her to the team we have reached our goal of responding to client inquiries within 24 hours (or sooner) 100% of the time! Now, when you book with C. Johnson Makeup, you can not only count on Christy to provide an excellent beauty experience, you can rest assured that Krissy has your back for all your inquiries, booking, & scheduling needs.


One of our strongest assets has always been our attention to detail when it comes to schedule & timing. We take our client’s time very seriously & we hold a very high standard for punctuality & efficiency. To keep on top of our game in this regard, we experimented with wedding day getting ready timing & have decided to include extra time for touch-up services. Now, every bridal makeup schedule includes an additional 15 minutes at the end of the process, for final makeup & hair touch ups for the entire party. We have seen that this small adjustment adds a huge boost of confidence & reassurance that your entire group’s makeup & hair will be on point as you walk down the aisle.


We now carry Aveda’s stress relief aromatherapy oil blend to use for aromatherapy, hand massage, or shoulder massage as part of our new Elite Bridal Experience Package.


In 2016, we also implemented a new dress code. Stylists and artists now arrive in matching attire & custom name badges for every appointment, making our team easily recognizable & more professional in appearance. We know you’ll be dressed to the nines on your wedding day; we should be too!


We now offer a bigger range of full size makeup products as options to be added to the Bridal Touch Up Kits. Previously, we only carried full size lipsticks & lip liners; we now have full size waterproof mascara, concealer, & oil blotting powder (in addition to all the mini’s we’ve always offered).


Throughout 2016, we noticed that a majority of our brides who booked the large group package were still adding one additional makeup & hair style as an a la carte service. To streamline the booking process & make things easier for our clients we have added one hair & makeup service to this package.


As benchmarks of our success, we love to look back on all the amazing projects we were able to be a part of & the accolades , media, & awards we received from those projects.

This year we were once again honored as winner of The Couple’s Choice Award by WeddingWire clients. Our work was featured on television, blogs, & print throughout 2016. Some of the more notable publications are; Femme Rebelle Magazine (print & online)an alternative fashion magazine based in the UK. We also made it in to print in magazines such as the New Mexico Wedding & Event Planner Magazine, Albuquerque the Magazine, The Perfect Wedding Guide, The Knot, & Rocky Mountain Bride, among others.


Real Wedding: Historic Santa Fe Hotel

Last month, C. Johnson Makeup provided makeup & hair at a gorgeous wedding in Santa Fe, NM at the Historic Hotel La Fonda on the Plaza. 

Emily Joanne Photography provided these incredible images to capture how exquisite the bride looked in this gorgeous setting.

The September weather couldn’t have been more perfect – from prep to final touches on hair & makeup this was one of our most memorable weddings & we’re so excited to share these images.


Emily Joanne Photography perfectly captured this gorgeous setting & the AMAZING dress.


We loved this perfect shot of our bridal hair & makeup.

One of the most unique & creative bridal portraits we’ve seen.


A gorgeous capture of our makeup on this stunning bride.

A gorgeous capture of our makeup on this stunning bride.


We love our real weddings & are happy to travel across New Mexico & beyond to serve our clients on their loveliest days. Please call or email for your upcoming event. (505)715-9490 or christy@cjohnsonmakeup.com. Please visit us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/cjohnsonmakeup or online at http://www.cjohnsonmakeup.com

New Full-Size Luxury Lip Products!

I have some exciting news!

We’ve been working with a NYC cosmetics manufacturer to come up with our own line of lip products for our clients. We have so many brides who request to keep the lip products we use on them for their makeup application, & we just couldn’t keep enough extra lip products on hand to fulfill every request. This also means we will now be able to offer FULL SIZE LUXURY MAKEUP products in our bridal touch up kits (instead of sample sizes or generic/drug store products). YAY! (You have no idea how thrilled I am about this.)

Our Luxury Matte Lipstick is available in 23 shades & will retail for $17.50 each.

This lipstick features an extreme long-wear, waterproof formula. This transfer-proof lipstick is perfect for wedding-day wear, clocking in at about 7 hours of color staying power! Unlike most other long-lasting lip colors, it is super-soft as it glides on the lips for a precise application.As always, we are committed to using gentle, safe products so, of course, it is approved by the FDA & is paraben free! Made in the USA.


To accompany our new lipsticks, we will also be offering Waterproof Gel Lip Liner. This awesome, long-wearing lip liner will be available for $16.00 each.

This Waterproof Gel Lip Liner is also extremely long-wearing. It is made with a waterproof formula that glides onto lips for transfer-proof, non-feathering color for up to 7 hours. The super soft texture allows for a precise application & then sets for a professional, all-day look.

Paraben free. Made in the USA.


Gel Lip Liner

Check back after October 1st for swatches of our new lip products!

http://www.cjohnsonmakeup.com or http://www.facebook.com/cjohnsonmakeup

Pro Beauty Haul. LORAC, TEMPTU, MUFE & more…

Haul!!!! I recently restocked some staple makeup items & also got a handful of new products to try out (I can never resist!).


Temptu Pro Foundation S/B Makeup Starter Set This is a versatile set with 12 foundation shades with what looks like a good variety of cool, warm, & neutral tones; with this amount of variety they are very easy to custom blend for the perfect shade for any client.. The bottles are only 1/4 oz. each, however when it comes to airbrush foundation, this is sufficient for many, many makeup applications.

IMG_5062     IMG_5065

Beauty Blender Sponge Cleanser (blendercleanser) This cleanser smells like lavender essential oil, however the bottle lists “fragrance” as an ingredient, so changes are it is artificial. The bottle also says that it is great for makeup brushes, however I recommend against using brush shampoo because the amount of water needed to get all of the shampoo out of the brush will inevitably cause the glue in the handle to fail & ruin your brush. (I suggest using an alcohol based spritz cleaner/sanitizer instead). This cleanser works very well & gets sponges clean almost immediately. It doesn’t suds up, so it rinses out very easily. The only drawback is that the lavender smell is noticeable even after the sponge is clean, & I worry that it may irritate some clients (although probably not many).

Dirty Beauty Blender :(  (Before blendercleanser)

Dirty Beauty Blender 😦
(Before blendercleanser)

Clean Beauty Blender!

Clean Beauty Blender!

Make Up For Ever Sponge Shampoo The bottle makes a compelling sales pitch about using natural mint oils, & even though it does contain some spearmint leaf extract, the second ingredient listed is Sodium Laureth Sulfate, so it can’t be that gentle on delicate makeup sponges. The fragrance is very light which is nice because some clients can be very sensitive to the smell of makeup products. This cleaner works exceptionally well, getting sponges looking like new very quickly. However, you do have to use A LOT of this cleanser to clean the entire sponge thoroughly. It gets moderately sudsy & is very difficult to rinse out of the sponge completely, which is concerning because Sodium Laureth Sulfate can be VERY irritating to most people’s skin. The scent is extremely light after being rinsed. In the future, I will be purchasing the Beauty Blender Sponge Cleaner instead of this product.


LORAC POREfection foundation This product is oil-free, paraben-free, & fragrance-free, which I love. I am a huge fan of their original foundation formula so I thought I’d give this one a try as well. This foundation does contain SPF 20 though, so I am concerned about ‘flash back’. I’ll keep you posted as I continue to use it. Overall, it is very smooth & easy to move around with a sponge or brush, which means that it must be set well with plenty of setting powder.


LORAC Lip Luxe 8 hour lip color. I purchased this item in the shades  “Orchid” & “True Red”. Lorac offers this lipstick in six shades total so it isn’t the most versatile line of lipsticks however these are VERY pigmented & packed with bold color. They feature an understated glossy sheen with a significant stain quality. The texture is very nice; it doesn’t harden or get sticky like a lot of other long-wearing lipsticks. This means that the glossy, high pigment lipstick quality will fade leaving behind the appearance of a stain. Chances are, this lipstick will smudge, smear, or transfer as well.

IMG_5131  IMG_5123

Morphe Blush Palette 10B & Morphe Blush/Bronzer Palette 10D. They both have that unfortunate “cheap makeup” smell when you first open the package which I personally find off-putting, but I think I paid $11 each, so I really can’t complain that much. The colors are vibrant & well pigmented, however they seem to fade easily & will require a makeup setting spray or good primer to stay on for a full day. My other complaint is that is appears that many of the shades are duplicated throughout the palette & there isn’t as much variety as I would have expected from a 10 shade palette (particularly when talking about the blush palette- 10B). There is a variety of matte/shimmer options, however there seems to be no rhyme or reason to this… some are shimmery, some are not. The bronzers are pretty, however I am  afraid many of them may be too “orangey”. Overall, I think there are only 3 or 4 shades between the two palettes that I might use regularly. I’d recommend these to anyone just starting out with makeup & not wanting to invest too much money, but I wouldn’t recommend them for professionals.


LA FRESH Travel Lite makeup remover wipes. I used this to wipe off all of the makeup I swatched all over my arms for this post & they work well. They leave a soft feeling, but no greasy feeling or residue. They aren’t very moisturizing, but they also aren’t drying. They contain mineral oil, but also Isobutylparaben which kind of negate each other as far as moisturizing/drying & unfortunately it is in the paraben family which are known to be potentially unhealthy, disruptive to human hormone levels, & skin irritants. The wipes do smell a bit like baby changing wipes, which I find unappealing, but I know most people don’t really mind. They only makeup the wipe didn’t easily remove was the LORAC Lip Luxe 8 Hour  Lip Color, it left only a minor remnant of the stain, so that’s pretty darn good. The single wipe packets are very convenient & easy to stash in the car, purse, backpack, pocket, wallet… where ever.


Ardell Invisiband Wispies, Ardell Natural #110 : I am a fan of Ardell lashes & have been for quite some time; the band is flexible, so they fit snugly against the lash-line no matter how curved the eyelid is (just bend them a while before application). These lashes (particularly the #110’s) look nice & natural, not shiny or plasticy. I personally find them easy to wear (however some people find them to be too heavy & distracting. This is usually an issue with strip lashes in general, though, not this brand specifically). The Wispies are some of the more dramatic lashes I use regularly & are great for clients who are looking for a more ‘glam’ look, but not too over the top.


Ardell #110



KISS EVER-EZ Lash #11, KISS EVER-EZ Lash #03, KISS EVER-EZ Trio Lashes: I’m not as familiar with this brand as I am Ardell, however, so far, I’m happy with these. In general, I would say they’re very similar to the Ardell lashes. The #11’s are similar to the Ardell Wispies, but are very dramatic & will probably only work on clients with large eyes. The #03’s are very similar to the Ardell 110’s & are going to work on just about everyone for a natural eyelash definition. Finally, the Trio Lashes are nice for clients who have a hard time wearing full strip lashes. I haven’t had anyone mention any kind of discomfort with them yet. On a side note – I generally stick to using individual lashes because it completely avoids the issue of discomfort & they can be customized for as natural or dramatic a look as the client wants.


Trio Lashes


Kiss #03

Have you tried any of these items? Am I missing out on any awesome products? Disagree with my comments? Let me know!

An Explanation for the Question: Why is Makeup so ‘Expensive’?

Hi All!

I just wanted to take a moment to clarify how professional makeup services are priced. I’ve read many posts on various forums & heard comments from clients expressing confusion about pricing. It seems that many people just don’t know about all of the reasons makeup services are priced the way they are. For special occasions, getting your hair & makeup done helps take the stress of getting ready off of your shoulders. With a skilled & competent makeup artist you will feel relieved to know that someone is taking care of you on your most important days, & you will feel pampered. Your hair & makeup experience should be enjoyable, relaxing, & confidence boosting, with you looking & feeling amazing when all is said & done. Professional makeup services also ensure that you are not going to get pink eye, or some other infection from a novice who hasn’t been educated in the proper sanitization procedures. Professional makeup artists also understand how makeup reacts with different skin types & can make sure that your skin isn’t negatively impacted by low quality or harsh products. Finally, a good makeup artist understands how makeup & photography work together & can ensure that you get the absolute best results from professional photography. Of course, there are different types of makeup & hair services & a variety of venues you can use, all at different price points & levels of quality.

Department Store Makeup Counters or Stand Alone Cosmetics Stores:

Getting your makeup done at a makeup counter in a department store or at a cosmetics store (MAC, Estee Lauder, Origins, Sephora, Merle Norman etc…) may cost in the range of $50 to $75. The fee can be paid outright or in some cases, you are required to purchase a certain amount of product to receive your service for free. This fee is set to account for the time that the artist is spending away from the floor with you instead of making sales with walk-in customers. After all, it is a retail location where makeup applications are considered a courtesy. In the state of New Mexico, it is not required that these individuals are licensed & are likely trained on the job. I do not recommend that you take a chance with someone at a makeup counter or stand-alone store for your important events unless you have worked with them in the past & are happy with their results. Additionally, these locations generally do not offer hair styling services so you will likely have to go from location to location to get all of your beauty needs met before your special event.

At these locations, artists are paid either a flat hourly rate or by commission. Most often, they do not get a bonus or added perk for taking your appointment. Tipping is generally accepted & appreciated by these artists, & contributes greatly to how most of them make their living. If you were satisfied with the service & your artist, then you should tip. 15% to 20% is standard, just like you would tip your server at a restaurant. However, if your service was inferior or your artist was unprofessional, you should never feel obligated to tip.

Hair Salons:

Many hair salons also offer makeup services which is convenient for clients getting ready for a special event. Makeup applications at these establishments generally range in price from $40 to $85, possibly more if it is a very high end salon. Please keep in mind, however, that a higher price does not automatically mean you will get better results & makeup is usually not a priority for these establishments because the majority of their income comes from hair cutting & coloring. It is important that you research your artist to make sure they understand your personal style, have good interpersonal skills, experience applying makeup, & that he or she is willing to listen to you.

Keep in mind that only a portion of the amount you pay is going to go to these artists directly. Artists who work in salons typically pay a fee to rent out their chair or, a certain percentage of what they make is automatically deducted from each service.  Once again, tipping is accepted & appreciated for these artists.

Freelance Makeup Artists:

Freelance makeup artists face the most confusion in regard to pricing; however they offer the most flexibility, customization, personalization, & the most hassle-free experience. Freelance makeup artists work for themselves & come to you, on location for all of your special events. When hiring a freelance makeup artist, pricing will depend on a number of things. I will expand on this below but they include: your location & travel required, the type of event & services required, & the size of your group.

Location: In every region there is a market standard rate for makeup artists, hairstylists, photographers, etc… Higher cost of living will always equate to a higher cost for services. The overall cost of starting & maintaining a business sets a standard rate for artists & if an artist quotes prices drastically lower than industry standard then they would be undercutting fellow artists & making it harder for all artists in the area to earn a living in their profession.

Travel: The main cost associated with freelance makeup artists is travel. Travel is a luxury service provided to help ensure you experience a stress-free day. The benefit of working with an artist who will come to you is that you are able to get ready with your entire group in one location, eliminating scheduling issues, individuals getting lost or being late, etc… For this type of tailored service prices are adjusted to compensate for travel time to & from your venue, kit preparations, gas, parking, tolls, valet, etc…

In addition, travel is extremely hard on a makeup artist’s makeup kit. When travelling, makeup items take a lot more abuse – items break or might melt in the heat; they can get lost, or even risk being stolen.  Because of this, freelance makeup artists generally have a higher insurance rate which is also factored in to price.

Type of Service: There is a difference in pricing for brides, bridesmaids, prom applications, personal photo shoots, etc… Makeup for brides typically costs more than makeup for prom or bridesmaids because brides require more time & special attention. Leading up to the wedding, brides usually require many hours of preparation & correspondence. Keep in mind that for every email you send, your makeup artist is working to reply quickly, get answers, & work on scheduling. These tasks add up to many hours working for you, behind the scenes. On the wedding day, brides are the focus of the day, & the main concern for makeup & hair. A good artist will ensure that you feel pampered, your makeup looks lovely, & that it will last all day, through photos, the ceremony, dancing, & tears of happiness. Additionally, the artist will spend a substantial amount of time with a bride compared to the bridesmaids or any other type of service. They will typically take their time, & possibly take a few extra steps to complete bridal makeup. Bridal makeup applications usually include additional services that are not included for other types of makeup applications. Pricing for personal photo shoots tend to be higher, closer to rates of bridal makeup, because certain steps & product are required for the makeup to photograph wonderfully & for you to look your best on film. These steps add a little bit of time onto the service & the products used to achieve the looks are an added cost to the artist to keep stocked in their kit. 

Group Size: For a wedding party, some artists offer wedding packages for larger parties. It helps the party save a little bit of money & guarantees the artist a certain income. Some artists also have luxury packages available where he or she will spend all day on site to touch up the bride & wedding party throughout the day, truly guaranteeing you flawless makeup from start to finish. With this type of service, you will definitely get what you pay for & part of the value is that it ensures one less worry for you. The fee accounts for the hours that the makeup artist is spending on site. 

Cost of Maintaining a Kit: A makeup artist who owns their own business literally builds it from the ground up. They supply their own business cards, pay for & often design their own websites & social media, pay for their own advertising, business insurance, etc… The products that makeup artists use to makeover their clients can be very expensive. Quality products do not come cheap, often have to be ordered in bulk, & are not always found locally. A professional makeup artist, providing excellent results, cannot simply stock their kit from the makeup section of a drugstore & call it a day. One makeup brush can cost upwards of $50 & I have at least 30 brushes in my belt. A simple, basic, beginners’ makeup kit costs thousands of dollars & then must constantly be maintained. Therefore, when we set our prices, we need to keep in mind that a certain amount of our fees is going right back into our kit. 

Travel: Travel includes cost of gas, car payments, maintenance to account for the added wear & tear of using our vehicles for work, & cost of insurance. Our car is how we get your event & most fees are set to account for a certain portion of travel. If we are travelling over a certain distance or we have to take a flight to the location, we must require that cost to be covered by our clients. Otherwise, we’d essentially be paying to go to work, & would end up in a deficit.

Now, the biggest question comes to tipping. For a personal service (bridal, prom, personal photo shoots, etc…), unless gratuity is included into their pricing, tipping is accepted & very much appreciated if you feel that their services were satisfactory. How much you should tip is really dependent on the cost of the service & how satisfied you are. Word of mouth & a recommendation for future work is perhaps the greatest tip of all. That is how we stay in business & keep food on the table. Freelance makeup artists have no job security & really make their own opportunities so guaranteed income from future clients makes us very happy! 

We look forward to working with you & understand that weddings can be very expensive. We want to provide you with the most beautiful hair & makeup services that you’ve been dreaming of for a price that you can manage & we are always willing to work with you to get you the best possible value for your special event. Visit http://www.cjohnsonmakeup.com for more information.

Engagement Photo Session: Hair & Makeup.

We absolutely loved working with this naturally beautiful bride. In preparation for her wedding day, we provided her with a hair & makeup trial on the day of her engagement photo shoot. Any good photographer will tell you that a professional makeup application is critical for excellent photos, even if the desired look is very natural. A good photo-ready makeup application should obscure any dark shadows, highlight the cheekbones, and emphasize the eyes. We always lightly fill in the eyebrows & add some color to the cheeks because bright lighting & camera flash can cause the natural color in our faces to become washed out. We wanted this gorgeous girl’s natural beauty to shine through & we made sure to highlight all of her best features (Hello BOMBSHELL EYELASHES!).

Bridal makeup and hair. C. Johnson Makeup

Bridal makeup and hair. C. Johnson Makeup

Bridal and engagement makeup. C. Johnson Makeup. Albuquerque, NM.

Bridal and engagement makeup. C. Johnson Makeup. Albuquerque, NM.

The happy couple. Albuquerque, NM.

The happy couple. Albuquerque, NM. Hair by C. Johnson Makeup.

Hair & Makeup by C. Johnson Makeup. Old Town, Albuquerque, NM. Photo by Blue Rose Photography.

Hair & Makeup by C. Johnson Makeup. Old Town, Albuquerque, NM. Photo by Blue Rose Photography.

Bride, Groom, & Daughter/Flower Girl at their Engagement Photo Session. Albuquerque, NM. C. Johnson Makeup.

Bride, Groom, & Daughter/Flower Girl at their Engagement Photo Session. Albuquerque, NM. C. Johnson Makeup. Bride’s hair & makeup & Flower Girl’s hair by C. Johnson Makeup.


Isn’t this a gorgeous family? We are so excited to see them get married & to be part of their wedding day.


C. Johnson Makeup is located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We offer on-location bridal hair & makeup for the entire bridal party, including the mother of the bride, mother of the groom, Jr. bridesmaids, and flower girls. We specialize in all-natural options for clients who have sensitive skin, & also offer airbrush & traditional makeup options.

C. Johnson Makeup has been Featured on EvokingYou.com

We have wonderful news!

Christy from C. Johnson Makeup was recently featured on EvokingYou as a guest writer.

Check out our article Professional Makeup Tips for Photography to learn the best techniques for highlighting your natural beauty for a photograph.


Photo by S. Strine Photography


Here’s a before & after sneak peek image from the article:


Photo by S. Strine Photography


Click here to read the full article.

Thank you to the wonderfully talented Stephanie of S. Strine Photography for the accompanying photos.

Makeup  & hairstyling by Christy of C. Johnson Makeup.