Trish Alkaitis met with celebrity makeup artist, hair stylist and image consultant, Alejandra. She has been using Dr. Alkaitis Organics since day one, and her fascinating career has taken her from high fashion around the world to the South of France where she lives close to nature and specializes in bridal makeup for luxury weddings. This conversation is filled with pearls of wisdom and pro-tips from Alejandra, a true expert in her field. Enjoy! (Please scroll to the end for information on how to contact Alejandra for bridal makeup or personal image consultations.)
Trish: Alejandra, I am so excited to have you with us here today!
You and I go ‘way back’ to Miami days, and then later to NYC. You found us right at the start of our company and have worked with our brand ever since. You are one of the reasons why I started this section on the blog.
Many people do not know that our products have had a strong presence in the creative industries over the years. Dr. Alkaitis Organics is used by professionals in the movie and fashion industries, and they are the go-to products for makeup artists from both sides of the pond.
We are in the digital age and everyone seems to be an ‘expert’ or an influencer, but to me, you are not only the ultimate true expert in your field, but your knowledge of nutrition, health and wellness puts you in a completely different league! I am excited to hear all about your new adventures in France and to share your wisdom with our readers.
Alejandra, I want to jump right in and get to the skin & makeup questions that I think all women over 45 want to know. For example, what kind of makeup do you think brings out the natural beauty of a woman? We seem to have so many more challenges. For instance, I know ‘less is more,’ but if it’s too light, I don’t feel like my face has presence.
Makeup After 45
Trish: Can you give us your top 3 things we can easily do every day as we age, and your top 3 things to let go of?
Alejandra: Hi Trish, Thank you for the kind introduction. We do go ‘way’ back and ever since I found Alkaitis Skincare it’s always been number one on my list. I guess you could say I’m a diehard fan.
Let’s jump right in and start with makeup for women over 45. I know we’ve all heard the ‘less is more’ speech but the thing is that’s it’s really true. I’ve noticed many times that as we age we try to “cover up” what we think doesn’t look good with ample amounts of makeup when in fact you are just making everything stand out even more.
There are a few things we can do to make it feel like we made a difference in our appearance but also not get carried away by adding too much.
For example: the first step to starting our daily routine when applying makeup to look natural is skin preparation. There are many reasons why it is important to prepare your skin, and I can't stress this enough:
- Prepping your skin before makeup will hydrate it.
- Protect it from the makeup you will have on all day.
- Give it illumination through the foundation which can otherwise have a mattifying effect.
As we age our skin loses its natural ability to retain moisture unlike when we were 20 years old.
Therefore we don’t want a matte look on the skin as we age, we want the skin to appear hydrated and dewy.
- Try using a semi-sheer foundation instead of a highly pigmented foundation. This will give a more natural look but still have some coverage.
- Use a pop of color on your lips to make that the focal point. You don’t have to be going to a fancy event or dinner to wear lipstick in the morning or afternoon.
- If you’re not into using eyeliner or eye shadow, mascara is the secret weapon to making your eyes pop without too much fuss.
- Let go of frosty eyeshadow, sparkly lipstick, and the abundance of dusty old makeup that sits in our makeup drawers and hasn't been used in years. I know, when we were younger we loved changing our makeup style and colors all the time, but as we age it’s better to keep it simple and refine our makeup to a few things we should use daily that can also be versatile for an evening look.
Alejandra's Skin Journey
Trish: You and I met when you were having some skin challenges of your own. Actually now that I think about it we both were! I would love for you to tell us a little about your path and what you did that helped you get your skin back into balance?
Alejandra: This story is a rather long story that I will shorten for you. I will start it off where it all began which was me working as a hairstylist 26 years ago. Ten years into working as a salon hairstylist I was introduced to the freelance fashion world of hair and makeup and I knew this was what I had wanted to pursue as a career. Working like a maniac to building my career, I started to notice I was having random outbreaks of eczema on my skin and didn't know why this was happening. I ignored it at first, but after a year I realized that this wasn’t normal.
At first I attributed it to the stress and pressure of my job, always working with no time off. I also thought that my diet had a lot to do with it. I dove deep into nutrition and tried to educate myself on every possible aspect of it to heal myself without taking a pill, shot, or steroid creme. This helped a little, but it wasn’t enough. At times it would go away and I would have some relief, but then it would come back even worse than before.
I started to change all of my personal skin care products, toiletries, home cleaning products, everything. I saw a slight improvement, but the condition was still bad at times. Then after all the years I suffered with this problem, I eventually found out that there was an allergy test I could take to test for sensitivity to chemicals and substances that are in our daily environment.
I bit the bullet and decided to pay to get it done and sure enough I was EXTREMELY allergic to two component chemicals that are in every single hair product and makeup brand I had been using every day for the last 20 years. This explained everything. It was why I could never fully heal no matter what I was doing for myself in my home environment or to improve my nutrition. I was intoxicating myself at work every single day.
Four years ago I decided to move and take a small break from doing hair and makeup. Of course, as soon as I stopped working, my skin cleared up after a month and it really proved right that it was the products that I was using for work that were effecting me. Today, I’m able to manage this by trying, as much as possible, to only use clean skincare, makeup and hair products.
I still use gloves when using hair products so they don’t touch my skin. I’ve kept all my personal care products the same as they've always been good for me, and I’ve found that the Dr. Alkaitis Nourishing Treatment Oil has been extremely soothing on my skin throughout this whole process.
It seriously was a long journey, but I’ve finally figured it out and can say that using natural ingredients on our skin and in our surroundings really makes a difference in so many ways.
Problem & Mature Skin
Trish: Do you have any pro tips & tricks to share with someone who may be struggling with skin issues pre-shoot or before a milestone event, such as a wedding or special occasion where photoshop & filters aren’t an option?
Alejandra: Many times I’ve seen a model walk in to start their work day and they are suffering from some kind of acne or skin rash on their face. I would say a majority of the time this is from working with different makeup artists every day who use different skin care products.
Changing your skin care routine every month, let alone every day or every other day, is very confusing and stressful to the skin. The skin doesn’t have time to rebalance and acclimate to what is being used on it.
- My pro tip for the models would be to bring your own skin cleanser and facial moisturizer with you every time you have to do a shoot. Ask the makeup artist to use only your products on your face and this should help reduce inflammation of the skin.
- For brides or anyone attending a special event, I would recommend they be very mindful of the foods they eat before the special occasion. Sugary foods and dairy can be big triggers for skin problems.
- Also, try to do a facial mask once a week for a month prior to your event and always hydrate the skin, my favorites for this are the Dr. Alkaitis Universal mask and the Dr. Alkaitis Nourishing Treatment Oil.
Dr. Alkaitis Organics
Trish: Please tell us what your favorite Dr. Alkaitis’ products are and how you like to use them, both personally and at work?
Alejandra: As I explained earlier, I’ve been using Dr. Alkaitis since the brand first started. I honestly love the entire line! Mainly for its simplicity in what we really need to use on our face daily. For me personally, I cannot live without the Nourishing Treatment Oil. This is definitely a staple for my everyday skincare routine. It’s excellent at balancing the skin's natural oils and hydrates at the same time. The Treatment oil dissipates into the skin very well, unlike other facial oils I’ve tried that tend to sit on the skin.
I also love the Purifying Facial Cleanser for its delicate cleansing and hydrating abilities. It does all of this without stripping away our natural oils which is why I think it works so well.
For work, using the Organic Soothing Gel is a must.
I apply a generous amount on clean skin before I use any foundation or makeup. The Organic Soothing Gel really grabs onto the makeup and helps give it a lasting effect while hydrating the skin. I must also add that the smell of the Soothing Gel is divine and has a somewhat calming effect.
Trish: I have seen clean make-up brands gaining popularity over the last ten years or so. Can you share some of your absolute favorite brands with us and tell us why you love them? I think more and more women are open to trying clean makeup but have a hard time knowing how to find that perfect blush or mascara.
Alejandra: There are plenty of clean makeup brands right now but not all are great. Often they don’t have high pigments to maintain long-lasting wear. I have two good brands that pop out immediately for me.
Kjaer Weis is a beautiful line of organic makeup developed by a fellow makeup artist named Kirsten Weis. I remember when she was first developing this line of makeup and how beautiful I thought it all was; the product and the packaging. The creme blushes are amazing, you can apply one coat for a sheer natural pinched cheek look or you can easily build up the color to make it more intense.
- A pro tip for blushes: creme blushes give a more natural appearance unlike a powder blush can look more intentional which is not a bad thing. Especially for aging skin, creme blushes are the way to go.
Kjaer Weis also has a generous array of colors in her liquid foundation which I have yet to try but I’ve heard they have excellent coverage without the caked-on appearance. One last thing I have to mention about KW makeup is the packaging, It’s probably the best packaging that I’ve seen. It’s top-notch luxury in its appearance, functionality, and feel as well as being sustainable. You can’t beat that.
W3ll People is another brand that I like using. I always used the same brand of mascara, from my teen years until well into my 30’s and then I started to notice that my eye lids were itching around the eyelash line whenever I would have mascara on. I believe the mascara brand I had been using for the past 20 years might have changed their formula (which happens often,) and I was allergic to the new one. I searched and searched for a new brand to use that wouldn’t give me this reaction and finally I found the W3ll People mascara. The mineral pigment is a rich black or brown color, it’s also buildable, giving you extra length for your lashes without clumping, and its clean beauty.
Trish: How has the pandemic changed the way you work now?
Alejandra: I would say that the pandemic hasn’t changed the way I work too much. I’ve always been kind of OCD about my work station and keep things VERY clean, sanitized and organized. I have separate brushes for each model if I have several models that day and always clean down everything after each job. I have, however, added two new practices to working and that is a mask and/or face shield (obviously,) and a UV light wand that I use over everything to kill any bacteria or virus that doesn’t get cleaned away with soap and water or alcohol spray. So I feel pretty confident with my daily routine for work.
A Memorable Experience
Trish: Do you have an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime on-set experience that you want to share with us?
Alejandra: One in particular that stands out for me was when I had the chance to work with Barack Obama for Glamour magazine. That was definitely a memorable experience and one I will never forget.
Luxury Weddings in the South of France
Trish: You are now specializing in luxury weddings in the south of France. We want to know more! Tell us all about it.
Alejandra: In France there are hundreds of beautiful destinations and Chateaux to get married in. With all of the lavender fields, poppy fields, vast countryside landscapes and beautiful seascapes, who wouldn’t want to get married here!?
I decided in January 2020 that if I was going to continue doing hair and make-up, I wanted to apply my talents to a different type of use, which would be the luxury wedding industry here in France. Women are always searching for that one person to make them feel and look beautiful on their special day. I find it very satisfying to make someone feel so good about themselves on their wedding day. It’s something that I dabbled in when I was living in New York City but I was so busy with all of my fashion work that I couldn’t commit to a wedding a year out on the calendar. After living in France a few years, I knew that this was what I wanted to do. Working close and personal with the bride to create her look is so rewarding in the end.
A New You
Becoming an Image Consultant
Trish: We touched base a little bit about how you are now living in the remote countryside of France (which all sounds so dreamy.) Can you tell us about your new image consulting business? How does that work and what does it entail? Do you have a few style tips to share? I know for a fact many people put on weight staying home during the pandemic! What fashion advice would you offer while we are working towards ‘getting our body back,’ or anything else you can recommend as a great confidence booster?
Alejandra: I’ve always had a love for fashion along with hairstyling and makeup artistry. Working in the fashion industry and being part of a beauty team was perfect for me to get my fix of the latest styles and inspiration, not only in hair and makeup but also in clothing. I never considered being be a clothing stylist but once I moved to France, I realized there was something that I was missing. I had spoken in the past about how fun it would be to style real women and help them figure out new looks for themselves and kind of reinvent themselves. Once I was here in France, I realized that I could incorporate all of my knowledge in the fashion industry to help someone learn what looks best on them, what colors look great on them, what hairstyle they should be wearing and how to apply their makeup. It’s not about telling someone what to wear, \ it’s about making them feel good about themselves.
For example, How many of us have clothing sitting in our closets that we haven't touched for months or years because we don’t know how to style them on ourselves to look good?
How much makeup do we have in our makeup draw that never gets used and is collecting dust? How about the plethora of skin care products that we don’t even know if they work for our skin, and all the hair products that we tried but they don’t work and we keep anyway?
This is why I decided to start this business of Image consulting in France along with my wedding business. I give my expert opinion on all these points to help women see that it’s not so hard to do this on their own. I lend a hand to help women get started in cleaning out their closet, seeing what looks best on them and what doesn’t. They get a makeup lesson from me to learn how to apply makeup with the right colors for their complexion, learn about skin care for their skin types and what hair styles look best.
Trish: Can you share with us how this works and what a client can expect during the appointment?
Alejandra: My Image consultations include a fashion and hair consultation and a skin & demi make-up lesson.
- A client can expect to spend 3-4 hours with me on their initial visit.
- We will either work on your spring/summer or fall/winter wardrobe and start to work out new outfit combinations with what you already own. We’ll take your measurements, document the new outfits and also see what you might be missing from your wardrobe that you can add in from a list I will send you after your consultation.
- We find the most flattering color story, best fit and shape for your body type. The goal is to build confidence and use what you already own but re-fashion it in a way that maybe you didn’t know how to before
- As we age we sometimes lose our own personal style and get lost or confused about what to wear. Or bodies may go through transformations and we may no longer be sure what looks good on us. It can be extremely helpful to have someone help us reinvent ourselves or even just give us a new sense of fashion direction.
- We will also talk skin care and makeup and you will learn how to apply your own makeup for an everyday look and/or evening look. At the end of our visit we will do a brief hair consultation and discuss hair color and styles that look best on you.
- After our consultation, you’ll receive a detailed email form me and a look book with everything we went through that day including images of the outfits we styled together along with any recommendations of missing key items you might need to add into your wardrobe. Information for stores and shopping links will be included.
From then on if you want to schedule another appointment to help pack for a trip, shop an outfit for a special event, or work on the next season, I’ll have all your measurements and info on file for the following meeting. It is truly a very satisfying adventure for me to be able to offer this exclusive one-on-one experience to women in need of some personal, creative assistance.
Your Tips for 2021
Trish: Do you have any tips for going forward into the new year?
Alejandra: A few tips I can give would be: don't be afraid of color; always have at least one good pair of jeans in your wardrobe; good quality undergarments are extremely important, and get rid of anything you haven’t used in over a year including clothing, makeup, skin care, and hair products.
Fashion & Style
Trish: Do you have any links of favorite designers that you would like to share?
Alejandra: There are so many designers to choose from and so many that I love which makes it hard to name just a few but here are four of my favorites:
2: Mara Hoffman
Trish: Alejandra, what are you looking forward to and would like to manifest personally and professionally for 2021?
Alejandra: I’m definitely looking forward to this new year, to see what it will bring. I am personally working on manifesting patience and growth. I’m happy with what I have now and will be patient for what ’s to come, whenever it comes. Professionally, I’m manifesting to meet and work with positive, creative people. In order to move forward we need to not only stay positive but also surround ourselves with challenges in life that keep us moving forward.
The Cherry on Top
Trish: What inspires you today?
Alejandra: When I lived in New York City I was inspired by the people I saw every day. Seeing everyone’s creative individual style, just walking down the street was so inspiring. Now that I’ve relocated to the remote countryside of Provence there are beautiful landscapes all around me. It’s no wonder all of the famous artists would come here. There’s definitely a much slower pace here. During each season of the year I go foraging for all of the wild ingredients available and I use them in my cooking. I dry herbal flowers and plants for teas and tinctures, and I preserve the wild fruit that I’ve collected for the coming months when they are not available. I have found that being here creates more balance in my life, and to be surrounded by the beautiful colors of nature, the art and history of Provence, inspires me every day. It’s extremely uplifting to be encompassed by such natural beauty.
Thank you Alejandra for sharing your wisdom with us today and letting us have a peek into your new life in France. I can’t wait to visit and run through the poppy fields with you!
Alejandra is available for exclusive private consultations for fashion, hair, skin, and make-up.
You may inquire ALEJANDRANYC@ME.COM for her services in both South of France & USA
For more eye candy, visit her Bridal & Fashion websites & social media below.