Sometimes your basic beauty bag of tricks just won’t cut it. When the most special of occasions beckons, it’s time to turn to professionals to achieve that standout, wow factor look. And while the average cosmetologist at your local department store counter could be of service, what would you say to a company who specializes in doing makeup for pageants, theater and movies? May want to give it a try, right? Well now you can since Chicago was picked as one of two American cities to host a flagship for European beauty brand Kryolan Professional Make-up.
Started in 1945 in a post-war Berlin, Kryolan was first developed as a makeup brand used strictly in theater. Never before had there been a line of theater makeup that didn’t put an enormous amount of stress on the actors’ skin. Kryolan worked with both chemists, dermatologists and cosmetologists to create a line of makeup that held up heavily under the harshest of lights (and later camera angles) yet was effectively gentle. Today the line is used in all kinds of televised events, beauty pageants and movies and is sold in over 80 countries around the world. Berlin still holds the company headquarters while the manufacturing is done in Chennai, India. The only freestanding stores are in London, England and the two locations in the U.S.: San Francisco and, as of recently, Chicago. Located just off the chic shopping intersection of Armitage and Halsted, passerby to the area may not yet realize the magnitude of what has landed in the neighborhood.
I myself wasn’t aware of the full extent of the Kryolan world. Having attended the boutique’s grand opening, I was impressed with the staggering array of products—an uncountable number of colors for lips, eyes and face, beauty accessories that from feathered eyelashes to fake wounds and a curious-looking special effects section that included facial hair and fake blood. It was the most beautifully laid out stage makeup store I had ever seen and I admittedly paid little attention to the actual everyday cosmetics. It wasn’t until my private appointment with store manager Ulrike Bege did I realize how valuable Kryolan would be to everyone.
Ulrike was a study in both sweetness and professionalism, clearly not American between the fact that she was not loud and that her vast knowledge of the Kryolan company was articulated in a gentle, lilting German accent. I was excited to have a makeup application with her, having started with Kryolan two years prior in Berlin. In that short time she had worked her way up the ranks and was picked as the bold pioneer to open the flagship store in Chicago. Watching her study my features, I knew I was in good hands. I had a birthday party to attend that evening and told her I wanted a subtle yet glamorous look. She said she would prefer to play up my eyes and provide a glowing finish to my skin and just like that, we were ready to begin.
She told me she wanted to go with the Kryolan High Definition line, the makeup most used for photography, t.v. and movies. The High-Definition makeup contains micronized pigments, which involves blowing the pigments through a wind tunnel to achieve an ultra-fine, flawless finish. Due to the extreme formula, the foundations have a very light texture and feel weightless, like a second skin. Ulrike also used the Kryolan Ultra Under Base, a primer brushed on with a synthetic foundation brush, noting synthetic hairs are more sanitary and last longer than real hair.
As she worked, she told me High Definition makeup was introduced by Kryolan about three years ago and that they are one of the last independent manufacturers of the products. Over 30 years ago, Kryolan came out with DermaColor, a camouflage makeup that was used to cover up tattoos and scars and was even picked for medical use. Today other companies have come out with similar lines, but Kryolan was the first to conceive the idea and DermaColor is still the most widespread line of camouflage makeup used around the world.
Back on my face, Ulrike was using a Kryolan Brush-on Concealer with mica. She chose an orange tone because she noted it blends out the blue undertones of dark circles. Being olive-complected, one of my biggest skin concerns is discoloration and under eye circles. But as I watched, the mica-infused concealer made them disappear almost immediately. She then dusted the Kryolan Translucent Powder all over my face and moved onto my eyes.
A Kryolan Shading Powder called T.V. Brown in the High Definition line was picked, which Ulrike noted, reflects well by a camera (hence the name). The Kryolan boutique boasts 146 eye shadow colors that come either individually, or in professional sets ranging from 5 or 8 colors to 15 or 20. The eye shadow color she picked for me was from the Viva Brilliant line, a highly-pigmented powder shadow that can be applied wet or dry without a cakey surface. A High Definition Cream Liner was swept in a soft line on my upper lids, chosen for its ability to create any type of line, ranging from natural to dramatic. Finally, a thick, Kryolan Waterproof Mascara gave my lashes the appearance of wings.
Though my face looked flawless already, Ulrike wasn’t finished! She went back over my foundation with the Shimmering Event Foundation to enhance certain spots and angles on my face. She explained the foundation was used as a highlight or glimmer powder and was often used in beauty pageants. The most common used areas for the foundation, she explained were the face, decolletage and the upper arms. While she applied the Kryolan K3 Blusher to my cheeks, a combination of apricot and peach which was picked as a powder instead of cream for a matte finish, I asked her on the demographic of customers to the store so far. Surely any makeup aficionado, from novice to pro would find themselves in heaven in the Kryolan boutique. She noted there was a wide range of guests to the store and had helped everyone from professional makeup artists to moms, prom queens to drag queens and all the curious in between.Everyone who came in, she explained, found at least one thing that worked perfectly for them. And how could they not?!
For the final touch, Ulrike dabbed a DermaColor Light Lip Pigment which contained Vitamin E and chamomile on both my upper and lower lips. Over that she applied a some High Gloss in Magnolia for an extra bit of amped up shine. Once the look was complete, she sprayed a light mist of Fixier Spray, a part aerosol/part alcohol spray that sets a full face of makeup to last all day. Commonly used for grease makeup or body paint, Ulrike said the polymers in the spray were light enough to use on an everyday basis for makeup that won’ t budge. And with that, I was done and ready to take the world by storm with this fabulous new face.
It was fascinating to see the extent of what makeup is able to do. Although I was only exposed to a small amount of Kryolan’s vast arsenal, it was enough to make me want to return just to tinker with the endless number of products the boutique has to offer. It was Europe’s best kept beauty secret, but now Kryolan belongs to Chicago and I know I’m not alone in saying I can’t wait to make the most of it.
Photo Source: Second City Style