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HEALTH & BEAUTY ISSUE: Mia Espinosa harnesses the power of makeup’s increasing online popularity to grow her business | Cover Story

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The following article was posted on January 24th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun – Volume 19, Issue 47 [ Submit a Story ]

The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] – Volume 19, Issue 47

HEALTH & BEAUTY ISSUE:
Mia Espinosa harnesses the power of makeup’s increasing online popularity to grow her business

By REBECCA ROSE


Mia Espinosa was a middle schooler when she thought she pulled off the ultimate makeup coup. 

It was school picture day and she tried wearing what she called a “natural look” for her photo. Her mother was having none of it. 

“I thought I was slick and could pull off the ‘natural look,’” she said. “My mom saw the pictures and said, ‘You’re wearing makeup!’ That’s where it all started.” 

Today Espinosa runs Love Strike Artistry, a makeup and hairstyling company she launched in 2013. Much of her life has been devoted to makeup and helping people look their best on their special day—whatever that day may happen to be.

The Santa Maria makeup artist said her love of makeup and beauty products started when she discovered what her mother’s makeup collection could do.


MAKEOVER MADNESS
Santa Maria makeup artist Mia Espinosa, owner of Love Strike Artistry, said she loves the challenge of creating looks for occasions such as weddings, birthday parties, proms, or other special events.
PHOTO COURTESY OF MIA ESPINOSA

“My mom had some makeup out, and I picked it and started to use it,” Espinosa said. “I was fascinated by how it got rid of some imperfections that I saw in myself. That was the hook.”

She explored more of what the products could do, from making her eyes appear bigger to altering the color of her lips. Like a lot of young women, she had fun playing with different products and creating looks, but for Espinosa, it quickly became about something more than just looking pretty. She saw potential for a career. 

Her parents also owned a business so the inclination to launch her own company was implanted in her at an early age. Espinosa said her parents were big believers in customer service, which is an important element in makeup artistry.

“I thought, I can do that job,” she said. “Being kind and hearing people out and trying to achieve what they want in their makeup routine. Sometimes you just have to work with them to find out what they really want in their look.”  

After an internship at a hair and makeup business, Espinosa said she fell in love with the entire process, especially being involved with brides. In 2013, she opened Love Strike Artistry.


Glow up
Love Strike Makeup Artist Mia Espinosa recommends a few basic product tips for your makeup kit at home:

Foundation: “Make sure it is your correct color. That’s the No. 1 thing people always struggle with. Not every brand is for everyone. Find yours—get color-matched, get samples, and try them on outside the store. Makeup oxides and can change color, so it’s important to try it in different lighting.”

Eyebrows: “The easiest thing to do your brows with is get an eyebrow pencil, such as the Anastasia Beverly Hills pencil. It’s really easy and has a spoolie at the end.”

Bronzer/Blush: “Those are a good staple to always have on hand.”

Eyeshadow: “A good basic look is a soft smokey eye, with a brown shadow and a shimmer over it to brighten it up.”

Lipstick: “Try a new lip color and step outside your comfort zone.”

Bridal makeup can be challenging, especially knowing that clients expect nothing but perfection on their most important day. But Espinosa said that there are ways to alleviate the stress. Trial runs that involve testing out different looks help makeup artists plan the perfect look with a bride’s approval before the big day. The way a makeup artist approaches meeting the needs of a client on such a big day—with anxiety or nervousness—also makes a difference. 

“It is pretty intimidating especially when you’re first starting out,” Espinosa said. “Those [photographs] have to last forever. The trial helps the nerves go away.”

The most popular look for the brides Espinosa works with on the Central Coast is one that emphasizes a natural look, with a soft smokey eye, pink-toned lip color, and glowing skin. 

One thing that’s helped Espinosa’s business over the past few years is the increase in popularity of online makeup tutorials and beauty bloggers. Exposure and access online can be key to growing a business.

“Social media is the new way to reach people,” she said. “Anybody that calls my business and wants to get an idea of what we do, it’s the easiest way to see. They see how everything is going together; it’s easy to see the looks.”

YouTube has proven to be an especially powerful platform for the makeup artist industry at large, launching careers of makeup artists such as Jeffree Star, Jaclyn Hill, and James Charles, to name a few. With millions of followers on Instagram, YouTube, and other social media platforms, Star and Hill are reportedly worth tens of millions of dollars each. Charles routinely hosts appearances with thousands in attendance, demonstrating the power of makeup to turn beauty bloggers and makeup-counter workers into celebrities.

Espinosa has also felt the impact of makeup’s moment in the spotlight. Clients will often bring her photos from Instagram, featuring looks by popular artists or celebrities whose makeup artists now claim the same fame and wealth as their clients. 

Mario Dedivanovic, Kim Kardashian’s makeup artist, is one of Espinosa’s favorites, as is Desi Perkins and Hill. But Espinosa said it takes more than seeing a beautiful photograph to help a client achieve a certain look seen online or in magazines. 

“Fist of all, when someone shows you a picture, as an artist, you have to point out what you see in the picture,” Espinosa said. “Sometimes the client might not see what you’re seeing. You want to get it right.”

For example, a client may be looking at someone like Kardashian and want to achieve the same eye or contoured cheek look, but their features may not be physically similar enough to match the look. Espinosa said it’s a makeup artist’s job to be honest with a client.

“You have to point that out,” she said. “You have to ask them, ‘What is it about this that you’re loving? Is it the eyelashes or the colors?’ Communication is key when a client brings you a celebrity makeup look. You have to tell them they don’t have these specific features, but we’re going to make it work because I know what you want to achieve.”

Espinosa said a typical makeup look can cost around $100 and require about an hour of work, but prices and time ranges depending on the makeup artist, event, or individual look. And makeup artists aren’t just for brides, she said. 

“It can be for any event,” Espinosa said. “Prom, birthdays, baby showers, photo shoots, senior pictures, wherever you want to feel beautiful. It’s a pampering experience. It could be for anything you want.” 

 

Arts and Lifestyle Writer Rebecca Rose is expertly highlighted and contoured. Contact her at rrose@santamariasun.com. 

 


 


New law allows Lompoc and Santa Barbara health care systems to collaborate

BY KASEY BUBNASH

For years staffers at Lompoc Valley Medical Center and Santa Barbara Cottage Health have worked together informally, smoothly coordinating transfers and referrals for Lompoc-based patients in need of specialized care that is only available in Santa Barbara. 

Now that collaboration is in the process of becoming official, due in part to a piece of legislation that went into effect on Jan. 1, authorizing the relationship. The law, Assembly Bill 653, was penned by Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo), who said the partnership is an effort to bring increased health care services and accessibility to residents of Lompoc. 

“This will be great for Lompoc,” Cunningham told the Sun. “That is a really underserved area.” 

While Lompoc Valley Medical Center provides a wide array of services, Cunningham said it has always struggled to recruit all kinds of medical professionals, from primary care physicians to nurses. Lompoc’s cost of living really isn’t dramatically lower than other parts of Santa Barbara County, and for most people considering living on the Central Coast, Lompoc wouldn’t be the first choice. 

Lompoc’s medical center is also at least 40 miles away from another hospital in every direction, Cunningham said, a somewhat long distance for patients who have been referred to specialized care. 


A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP
Lompoc Valley Medical Center provides 24/7 access to neurology specialists who can conduct audiovisual consultations with on-call neurologists at Cottage Health through a “virtual doctor” robot (pictured).
PHOTO COURTESY OF NORA WALLACE

The new law allows Lompoc Valley Medical Center, a public institution, to form a Joint Powers Authority with Cottage Health, a nonprofit. It’s a model that Cunningham said a number of other health care providers have used to successfully tackle similar issues of access, and he hopes it will help these local organizations do the same. 

“The ultimate goal is to get more medical professionals into the Lompoc community,” Cunningham said, “and we want to do that in a cost effective way.”

Although the organizations remain separate, unaffiliated entities, the partnership could benefit both in varying ways, according to Nora Wallace, public relations coordinator at Lompoc Valley Medical Center. 

In recent years, Lompoc Valley Medical Center and Cottage Health have developed a successful telemedicine program for neurology consults—to relay information quickly when minutes matter most—and have partnered on effective transfer protocols for newborns needing neonatal intensive care at Cottage Children’s Medical Center. Physician residents from Santa Barbara Cottage Health’s Graduate Medical Education program also rotate to Lompoc, where they learn about providing care in a rural acute care hospital setting. 

Along with the patient transfer and referral process, Wallace said those programs could likely become more efficient through this official partnership. Still, she said nothing has been decided, and the organizations are working out the best ways to meet the health care needs of the Central Coast. 

A representative of Cottage Health, Maria Zate, made similar statements. 

“The agreement between Cottage Health and Lompoc Valley Medical Center allows the organizations to explore options in how we can work together to add to the services available for Lompoc residents,” Zate wrote in a statement to the Sun. “We look forward to meeting with Lompoc Valley Medical Center’s new CEO to continue our discussions on partnership opportunities.” 

 

Staff Writer Kasey Bubnash can be reached at kbubnash@santamariasun.com.

 


 


Eliminate the chemicals in everyday makeup and skin care with natural and CBD products

BY KAREN GARCIA

Jessica Blanco, the owner of Central Coast Beauties, vividly remembers her abuelita (grandmother) creating homemade ointments and salves for the family with organic ingredients. 

“If you got a cut or a burn she would go get a fresh aloe leaf from the backyard for you,” Blanco said of the woman who raised her in the Bay Area.

She also remembers a rub that her abuelita would use to relieve her body of aches when she had a fever—it was a mixture of alcohol infused cannabis. 

“I realize now that cannabis was going to end up in my future regardless, because she used to rub our bodies where we felt discomfort with this secret remedy, and it helped,” she said. 

Blanco’s abuelita has since passed away, but constantly using herbs and home remedies during her upbringing gave Blanco an appreciation for an organic and holistic approach to caring for the body. But this ideology wouldn’t really become Blanco’s career focus until she took a deeper look into the products she used on her face after she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. 

Fine print

Fresh out of beauty school, Blanco started her career as a makeup artist at MAC cosmetics. She learned a lot through that experience, but she said she started noticing that some clients would come in with inflammation, acne, or irritation on their face because of the products they were using. 


WHOLE BODY
Jessica Blanco focuses on natural products, her client’s diet, and their everyday routine to fully care for their skin.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ASIA CROSON PHOTOGRAPHY

Other than the laundry list of ingredients in one product, what stood out to her the most were the chemicals found in a typical moisturizer, blush, or concealer.

Blanco said a typical beauty product could contain sodium lauryl sulfate, polyethylene, or parabens. These chemicals can be found in makeup, face wash, scrubs, and exfoliates. She also said that federal law does not require companies to list the chemicals used in their fragrance mixture on product labels. 

It got her to thinking about what she was applying to her face, and it was enough for her to start over with makeup and skin products.

 

“You really have to take the time and do your own research to find clean and natural products, because it could say organic on the label but you have to read the ingredients,” she said. 

As Blanco discovered natural products that were less harmful to her skin, she also started experiencing body aches and pain. She was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that was making it difficult for her to work. Abuelita’s remedy came to mind and Blanco started looking into CBD products to manage the pain. 


RELAXATION
Aside from her all-natural and CBD products, Blanco uses a jade roller and Gua Sha tools to further enhance the oils and creams applied to the face.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ASIA CROSON PHOTOGRAPHY

In her research, she discovered Cannabliss, an organic cannabis infused skincare line. It has products such as a cleanser, moisturizer, and body oil. The benefits of having cannabis in skincare products, she learned, is that it can work as an anti-inflammatory component. The plus, for Blanco, was the fact that most products from the company contained fewer than 10 ingredients. 

“My biggest rule is it should have less than 10 ingredients, at least, and if I can’t pronounce it, I don’t want it,” she said. 

She tried the Cannabliss products as part of her skin care routine and facials. Blanco instantly knew that this was a product she could get behind for herself and others. 

With all of these tools in her pocket, the next step for Blanco was to share her information about CBD and local organic makeup and skin care products with other women. She joined the Mission Community Services Corporation Women’s Business Center to learn about creating her own business—a studio where she could not only showcase a few of her preferred products but offer makeup and organic facial services.

Home away from home

It’s hard to miss Blanco’s studio, Central Coast Beauties, on Grand Avenue in Grover Beach. The studio is part of a plaza with a few other businesses, but the gold palm tree leaves on the window give the studio away.


Pure relaxation
Visit Jessica Blanco in Grover Beach for an all-natural holistic facial and/or makeup. She’s offering the most refreshing vibes around at Central Coast Beauties. Check out centralcoastbeauties.com for more information.

Upon entering, Blanco is ready to greet you with a hug, something that’s pretty instinctual for her. She’s prepared to not only speak passionately with clients about their skin, but connect and learn more about them. It’s not just about what goes on the skin, Blanco said, it’s also about diet, illnesses people have, and stress, among other things. 

“I just want people to walk in and instantly feel warm and welcomed,” she said. “I’m hoping it feels cozy and like a getaway.”

With more than 10 years of experience in the beauty industry, Blanco opened her studio in March of last year. Her services include organic facials (with or without CBD products), body treatments, event makeup, and makeup consultations. 

Each client starts with a questionnaire so Blanco can understand where the skin on your face might need a little more attention. 

On her massage table—the lights are dim and your choice of music floats in the background—she begins with a gentle steam. Each facial is different, as it’s customized to the client and their needs. Blanco makes sure to tell you the product she’s going to apply and why it’s beneficial to your specific skin. 

Between the sweet aromas, the electric fireplace, and soothing products, Blanco has created a space for more than just a facial. It’s a place for her to share her love of clean beauty products and services with others—although she’s not opposed to meeting with clients in their homes. It’s also a place for her to support other local businesses and female business owners. 

 

Staff Writer Karen Garcia from New Times can be reached at kgarcia@newtimesslo.com.

 


 


Local nutritionists and dieticians prescribe food for health

CHRIS MCGUINESS

When it comes to the tools of the trade in medical care, most people think of stethoscopes, scalpels, or X-ray and MRI machines.

But what about a knife and fork?

 

More and more, a dedicated group of individuals is helping people inside and outside of hospitals to prevent, treat, or even help heal what ails them through nutrition. Dieticians and nutritionists specialize in helping people make the connection between what they eat and how it affects their body, applying their knowledge to a wide range of organizations, from hospitals and school districts to their own private practices.

“I think our society and diet culture can put a negative light on food, encouraging restriction and starvation,” said Kelsey McCourt, a registered dietician for Marian Regional Medical Center and Mission Hope Cancer Center. “Food not only nourishes our bodies, but it can help fight disease, help you recover, and also brings people together in a very special way.” 


YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
Registered dietitians work at a range of organizations and businesses, including hospitals, helping people better understand how food affects their bodies and health.
PHOTO COURTESY OF MARIAN REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER

As a dietician, McCourt said she helps provide patients with nutrition counseling, develops individualized nutrition therapy plans, and even teaches nutrition classes in English and Spanish. 

“Nutrition is an essential part of a patient’s care plan,” she said. “Cancer patients in particular are a population where meeting their nutrition needs is especially important. It can help optimize and increase their chances for recovery.”

McCourt’s decision to become a dietician began close to home. 

“My father was a doctor, so I grew up around someone who worked in health care,” she said. “Through my own journey, I developed a passion for food and exercises, so nutrition was a perfect match to bring both of those aspects together.”

The journey to helping others through nutrition also began in a personal way for Fiona McKiernan. McKiernan, a registered dietician and functional nutritionist, owns Zero to Hero Nutrition in Santa Maria. After a combination of medical conditions left her bedridden, McKiernan said she began to learn about the intersection of food and health in order to help herself get healthy and recover.

“Nutrition became the cornerstone of me getting my health back,” she said. “For me to get better, I had to take a much deeper dive into [the subject].”

Today, McKiernan helps her clients, many of whom suffer from conditons ranging from celiac disease and fibromyalgia to irritable bowel syndrome, develop individualized plans based on their needs.

“For me, it’s a holistic approach that includes nutrition, movement or excercise, sleep, and reducing stress,” she said. “But their diet really is the cornerstone for their health.”

Currently, McKiernan says she has also taken an interest in nutrigenomics, or the study of the intersection between genetic science with nutrition. Such technology could, for example, test a patient’s genes to discover food allergies, nutritional deficiencies, or find out how certain nutrients may impact their health.

“It is really exciting,” McKiernan said. “It’s really the next level of nutrition science.” 

While not everyone will decide to dedicate their lives and careers to the study of nutrition, McKiernan noted that everyone can still be aware of the benefits of learning more about how what you consume affects your body.

“I think people tend to underestimate the power of food, and the impact food can have on their health,” she said. 

 

Staff Writer Chris McGuinness can be reached at cmcguiness@newtimesslo.com

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