Facewear: Monika Boeker

Facewear: Monika Boeker West Nyack Face it, when it comes to buying makeup, bouncing around from one counter to the next, making it up as you go along, is pretty typical. Monika Boeker, a makeup artist who has worked on a collection of celebrity faces (The View, Lil’ Kim, P-Diddy & Notorious Big, et al), will give you a make up lesson for far less than she charged her famous clients. Schedule an appointment and meet at her chic Facewear boutique in West Nyack. She’ll go through your makeup and tell you what to toss (mascara older than three months), what to clean (dirty brushes), what to keep, purchase and skimp on. Despite having a shop full of natural beauty products, and a blog revealing the less-is-more truth about makeup, her expertise and advice remain impartial and pragmatic.

Ms. Boeker, a makeup artist for 12 years, segued from MTV videos to weddings—“why work 19 hour days for less money?”—to a focus on all-natural products. Though trained to do “special effects” makeup for films, the fumes drove her to research, and ultimately produce, her own natural line of makeup. “Facewear,” a lip gloss and shadow line she formulated herself, was sold in Nordstroms & Bloomingdales. Now her all-natural Skyn Fresh line, with moisturizers using avocado and eye makeup remover using ginger, formulated in conjunction with a doctor, is sold through her website and shop via word of mouth. She opened Facewear three years ago, and recently used a $20,000 loan from Community Capital to hire her first employee—“so when I’m on location customers don’t get a sign on the door begging them to come back later.”

Book in for a general one-off lesson or bag her for special events—from weddings (Brides are $200, and $85 for every other additional maid or man) to special events (from $150 for her to come to you). She’s also patient, so if you’re looking for an original present for someone you could easily leave a nervous BFF or Mom in her capable hands. Boeker & Co also tweeze eyebrows, teach makeup application to would be artists, and stock inarguably the best pencil sharpener, and gifts (i.e. aromatherapy balls that fizz at your feet while you shower—a great get even for men).

Most importantly, she understands when you ask for a natural look, you mean the best possible version of yourself. And when she says “natural,” she means no petrochemicals or parabens.

Facewear, 740 West Nyack Road, West Nyack, NY, 834.512.8874, www.facewear.net

How did you make up your mind about makeup?
I began my career as an artist, a painter and sculptor. Then I attended the Insitute of Studio Makeup in Hollywood, but I couldn’t stand the fumes of special effects makeup and just started working as a makeup artist on films, commercials, celebrities.

How did your business evolve?
Three years ago I opened Facewear in West Nyack. I only sell what I like, and what’s natural. The FDA says small amounts of petroleum and parabens are safe in small amounts. Parabens kill bacteria. Which isn’t a bad thing. But is it safe if it’s in your body wash, body lotion, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, lipstick, eye shadow, powder, mascara and toothpaste? Sodium Lauryl Sulfate—which makes products foam up—is the same ingredient that car washes use, and it’s used to degrease car engines. It’s absorbed into the body. It can give you PMS, cause male infertility. There is a link to cancer. Why use them? I only stock natural ingredients. So a liquid foundation is so healthy that it’s actually like using a moisturizer. I still do weddings, teach people how to apply makeup, and tweeze, and have expanded my own Skyn Fresh product line of all natural skin products. The labels are still a work in progress.

Best advice?
When I was opening my shop, someone told me not to invest in anything that wasn’t going to make me money. So, instead of going for a really expensive $5000 reception desk, I went for the cheap, DIY IKEA version and put the money into inventory. Instead of expensive salon furniture, I bought dressers from Craigslist and just use large mirrors and stools for the makeup lessons and the classes I teach. When my friend opened up a posh salon and spent thousands on the design of the interior, I thought, ‘Uh Oh, maybe I’ve got this wrong.’ But I’m still open and she closed after two years.

Advice you offer?
Be careful of large opening orders, and reorders. If you have a large reorder, it means even if two lipsticks are what sells, you have to invest thousands in restocking the entire line and then pushing product you don’t like or that won’t sell. I always make sure I have low reorders or can reorder only what I think works. This way if we don’t like a product, we aren’t stuck reordering it or putting it on mad special to unload it.

Advice for making up?
People keep their mascara and lipsticks forever. You wouldn’t use the same toothbrush for years and years. Keep your brushes clean. We’ll even clean them for you (with all natural shampoo and conditioners). Throw out old makeup. It has a sell-by date, same as food.

Best eye opener?
Wet eyeshadow, just a little, and apply it with a brush. It shimmers. Black powder works great as eyeliner. Your body temperature is close to 100 degrees. Pencil melts. Powder, applied with a brush, is polished and stays put.