What’s Next For NYX Founder Toni Ko?

You may have heard of a popular yet under-the-radar beauty brand called NYX Cosmetics. High tech ingredients, the trendiest colors, affordable prices (think less than $5 for a liquid eyeliner) — what’s not to love? Well, let’s just say a mega giant beauty company called L’Oréal also fell head over heels for the line, purchasing NYX last summer for an undisclosed amount. (Women’s Wear Daily reported that it could have been up to $500 million.)

And the beneficiary of that major payday? NYX’s founder, Toni Ko.

For our interview, Ko invites me to her penthouse condo in downtown Los Angeles. Spacious with lots of natural light, her home has arguably the best views in the city. Ko has eclectic taste when it comes to home décor, the space filled with traditional Asian furnishings with a modern twist. Of course, there’s the requisite walk-in closet dedicated to just shoes, but what takes this place to another level is the in-house pastry café, where fresh pastries are baked just for her. Ko, along with her bichon frise, Bruce (he has his own Instagram, @SirBruceBarkalot), has lived in the penthouse for about seven years now and isn’t planning on going anywhere unless a) she becomes a billionaire (a goal of hers) or b) kids come into the picture (she just recently got married).

Makeup, it seems, has always been in Ko’s DNA. When Ko was 13, her family emigrated from South Korea to the U.S. and opened a beauty supply store. Though she wasn’t allowed to wear makeup in junior high, Ko says she would save all her lunch money to buy it and then hide it in her backpack so she could put it on at school and remove it before she got home. Even back then, Ko had keen business instincts. “I remember buying eyeliner at a local drugstore and it being very difficult to apply,” she says. “The red lipstick didn’t appear red, the blue eyeshadow wasn’t exactly blue. That’s when I realized there was a niche for an affordable yet high performing product.” It wasn’t until years later, however, when Ko was 25, that she would found NYX. In a humble 600-square-foot space, NYX sold only one product back then: eyeliner pencils. But within the first year of business, NYX generated over $2 million in sales.

Initially, Ko was inspired by brands like M.A.C and Urban Decay, which offered “professional makeup to the everyday consumer.” But as NYX grew, Ko found herself looking to her homeland for inspiration. “I would go trend shopping in Korea all the time,” she says, ticking off the trendiest neighborhoods of Seoul. “Technology is amazing there, and their products are so advanced.” She had discovered BB cream about 10 years ago, but as a smaller company, held off on introducing NYX’s own version until there was a demand for the product by American consumers.

As NYX grew, so did its social footprint. With 1.7 million followers on Instagram and an active channel on YouTube, NYX’s democratization of quality makeup was right in step with the mass outreach social media afforded it. “It really works for the beauty industry,” says Ko. “Before, if you didn’t run traditional advertising, you couldn’t reach your audience. But YouTube and Instagram has changed the game in terms of viewing tutorials in real time, seeing actual color on a real person and much more. People who didn’t know how to apply makeup now have the tools and accessibility to find makeup artists online and learn how to do every trick of the trade.”

While selling NYX — a company Ko nurtured into a worldwide best-seller, available in over 70 countries and sold at retail giants like Target and Ulta — to L’Oréal may be every entrepreneur’s dream come true, for Ko, it was like losing a best friend. “It hit me the next day,” she says. “Most people would celebrate and pop champagne after selling a company, but I felt deflated like a balloon. Up until I sold the company, I was so excited. I never considered working at NYX actual work — that’s how much I loved what I was doing. But I truly struggled [after the sale], getting used to the fact that NYX no longer belonged to me.”

On the upside, if she did get a nine-figure payoff, she’ll be set for life. And after years of always being conscious of her spending, Ko’s first splurge after the sale was not one, but five Hermès Birkin bags. (Yes, the ones with the rumored multiyear waiting lists that can go for $10,000+ a pop.)

Ko is now channeling her energy into building a real estate portfolio, as well as three local charities that focus on schools and underprivileged children. In fact, she started her own nonprofit, the Toni Ko Foundation, which not only supports organizations that help children in need but also those that empower women to start their own businesses. “The only way for many women around the globe to be more liberated is to become financially independent,” says Ko, whose own mother immigrated to the U.S. with three young children. “I think it’s incredibly important to lead women in the right direction to achieve independence.”

Ko also plans on returning to beauty as soon as her 5-year non-compete clause with L’Oréal is up. “Trust me, I’m counting down the days, and time is flying by!”

In the meantime, Ko keeps a smile on her face (“The act alone makes you happy,” she says), striving to work hard and stay honest. “I wish to learn something new every day and surround myself with people that I can learn from,” she says. “I want to set my timetable every 10 years and look back at myself and say, ‘Hey, I really became a better person, and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished so far.’”

 

STORY BY ESTHER CHO
Photo courtesy of Toni Co
This story was originally published in our Spring 2015 issue. Get your copy here

YG’s Cosmetic Line Moonshot Goes International With Global Online Store

 

We went crazy when we heard YG Entertainment released their cosmetic line, Moonshot. Who wasn’t mesmerized by all the vibrantly colored powder mousses and the luminous cream paints. But those of us who are a “moonshot” away from Seoul, we had no access to the wonderful pigmented products…until now. It’s time to rejoice and have our fill of cosmetic candy because YG just released Moonshot’s online global store, which means international shipping!

The brand that dares you to be extraordinary released their makeup looks for Spring/Summer 2015, and they don’t fail to wow us! Watch the behind the scenes to see how the makeup artists achieved the S/S15 looks by using Moonshot’s hot new product–the powder duo.

The models in the video are seen sporting the newly-released powder duo in Minty Wind and Aries Scent. If the video wasn’t enough to have you craving these colors, the actual products will certainly do the trick.

For those of you who’ve used green eyeshadows before, you may have experienced the green color turn into a dark ash grey color instead and you’re stuck looking like you wiped dirt across your eyelid. You don’t have to worry about that with Moonshot. The green color of Minty Wind stays true to its vibrancy. That means no dirt on your lids and only extraordinarily cool eyes.

duo_403 copySS_Collection_04

 

If green’s not your cup of tea, then have a look at Aries Scent. Nothing can beat a good lavender purple shadow– it’s equivalent to the trusty Little Black Dress but for your eyes. The Aries Scent palette will be your go-to for the spring and summer because it’s great for all skin tones and all eye colors, especially those with brown eyes.duo_703 copySS_Collection_03

Check out Moonshot’s international online store for more quality multi-use products! Plus, there’s a FREE SHIPPING event happening until April 19th. Better start stocking up on those goodies! Take a closer look at these top sellers that were featured in their Fall/Winter collection:

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 10.33.13 AM Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 10.34.15 AM Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 10.34.36 AM

 

All images courtesy of Moonshot Cosmetics.

 

 

Introducing Moonshot: The Must-Have Cosmetic Line From YG Entertainment

 

YG Entertainment, the company that brought big names like Big Bang and 2NE1 to international audiences, is now taking on the cosmetic scene! Coming from one of the pioneers that put Kpop at the forefront of music, the line can only be appropriately called “Moonshot.”

The concept of Moonshot draws inspiration from Apollo 11’s successful landing on the moon in 1969, when a dream became reality. The line is intended for those who aim for the moon and for those who strive to be trendsetters — that’s quite apparent in the collection. The line’s bright, vivid colors boldly standout in comparison to the soft pastel colors that have been trending lately in South Korea.

Moonshot's Power Duo collection

Moonshot’s Power Duo collection. Photo courtesy of moonshot-cosmetic.com

Moonshot currently has their Flagship Store open in Seoul, but recently they released their online store. However, for those of us who can’t read Hangul, we’ll have to wait until Moonshot debuts their English website in January 2015.

We can’t wait for Moonshot to start shipping internationally!

Stick Extreme, a multi-use item for your eyes, cheeks, and lips

Stick Extreme, a multi-use item for your eyes, cheeks, and lips. Photo courtesy of moonshot-cosmetic.com.

Multi-use powder mousse to add some sparkle to your look. Photo courtesy of moonshot-cosmetic.com.

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 3.17.46 PM

Photo courtesy of moonshot-cosmetic.com.

CL1330-Hyphen300x250px

All photos courtesy of Moonshot Cosmetics.

Look For Less: Urban Decay Naked Palette

Everyone has been raving about the Urban Decay Naked Palette ($54) with its twelve gorgeous neutral shades from shimmer to matte textures. But who wants to pay over fifty dollars on eyeshadow?

NYX’s Nude on Nude Palette ($25) is a medley of 20 neutral eyeshadows and 10 vibrant lip colors, and it doesn’t break the bank.

nyx nude on nude

Let’s compare the two palettes:

nyx urban decay

Urban Decay Naked Palette:

naked swatches

NYX Nude on Nude Palette:

nyx swatches

Both palettes have similar colors and a variety of shimmery and matte eyeshadows. Would you rather pay $54 for twelve eyeshadows or $25 for twenty? You’re welcome.

 

 

Summer Beauty Trend: 3 Steps For BRIGHT LIPS That Last

This summer the new trend is bright lips. Of course, it takes more than  just the perfect lipstick to create lasting lipcolor. Lucky for you, we have some quick and easy ways to make sure your lips stay perfectly bright all summer long. Here are 3 tips for getting the perfect bright lip.


1. Exfoliate your lips before for smoother application.
Fresh Sugar Lip Polish ($22.50)
fresh-sugar-lip-polish_20121002_1367998921


2. Store bright lipsticks in the fridge to prolong its life.

altuzarra-rtw-ss2014-details-037_012715740325


3. Use a lip liner to prevent feathering and to extend the life of your lip color.
Makeup Forever Aqua Lip Waterproof Lipliner ($19)
16508

 

 

Beautybox : The Most-Wanted Korean Cosmetics Delivered to Your Doorstep

Have you ever wanted to try new products without buying the full size bottle? Are you looking for the most trusted and best-loved Korean beauty products, but you have no idea how to get a hold of them? Well it sounds like it’s time for you to try out a beautybox.

product.272.139111730361170.930.5d.400.400_1

The beauty box by Memebox brings together products that are sourced, packaged and shipped directly from Korea.

“There are couple of reasons behind this,” The Memebox website explains. “Firstly, we want to make sure that you get the widest choice of products, and that means not limiting ourselves to a small warehouse outside of Korea. Secondly, beauty trends evolve incredibly rapidly, and shipping directly from Korea allows us to stay on top of that.”

The best part about this is all variation between the different beauty boxes. For instance the original Memebox ($23) contains 4-8 full sized products and deluxe samples that vary from hair and body products, to skin care and cosmetics. That’s right, you get to choose specifically what type of beauty products you’re looking for.

P2039077

There are special edition boxes that focus on masks ($23), scents ($15), or colors ($15).

memebox_themaskedition2

Additionally, there is the Superbox which contains full-sized products and the Luckybox which combines the most popular items selected from previously sold-out Memeboxes. There are even boxes for men ($29).

thumbnail_memeboxformen_1stbox2

Top 5 Natural/Nude Lip Glosses

Vibrant and bold colors have certainly risen in popularity. We can’t tell you how many women reach for their bright red lipstick on a night out. More women are also choosing colorful eyeliner and eye shadow to make their facial features pop.

Despite this, there are certainly still a handful of women who opt for for more natural-looking lips. Maybe you prefer to draw attention to your eyes. Maybe a nude shade better matches your skin-tone. Maybe you just simply like the look of natural and nude lips. Whatever the reason may be, we have just the thing for natural lip gloss lovers.

Audrey intern, Paulina Lee, is here to give some insight on the top 5 Natural/Nude Lip Glosses currently on the market.


lg 1
1) Bobbi Brown- Rich Color Gloss in Pink Buff ($25)
This lip gloss gives lips a beautiful glossy appearance without the stickiness.  It also provides a layer of moisture, which gives even dry lips the appearance of a smooth gloss finish.  The pigment of this is a bit more on the matted side.


lg 2
2) Smashbox – Limitless Long Wear Lip Gloss in Forever- Whispering Pink ($22)
Although the pigment looks glittery in its container, it isn’t so when applied.  When applied on your lips, the color comes out as a pretty pink shimmer with just the right amount of gloss.  It’s great for a fun night out and another plus is its lasting quality– one application can last for hours.


lg 3
3) Benefit – Ultra Plush Lip Gloss in Dandelion ($16)
Not only does this lipgloss give a youthful appearance, but smells wonderful to boast.  The pigment of this lip gloss is much more sheer than the two above, but still retains the a pretty glossy quality without feeling sticky.


lg 4

4) Revlon – ColorStay Overtime Liquid in Forever Pink ($10)
This gloss is long-lasting as one side is the pigmented color while the clear end of the stick acts as a sealing conditioner to maintain the glossiness.  It boasts a 16 hour lasting quality to it, allowing the subtle pop of color to last throughout the day.


lg 5
5) LUSH – Lips Liquid lipstick in Perspective ($19)
Like all LUSH products, this lipgloss is made from entirely natural ingredients such as rose wax and jojoba oil.  It is not as glossy as the others and may need to be touched up with additional clear gloss, but it stands out with its vibrant yet subtle pigment.  Also, this product unique in its versatility, as it can also be used as blush or eyeshadow as well.

Cosmetics Meets Technology: 3D Print Any Color Makeup From Your Computer

Story by Ruth Kim. 

Ladies, ever scroll through Tumblr or Pinterest and see a lip color that you’re just dying to have? Or maybe you accidentally drop your eye shadow case and the palette bursts into a thousand, tiny particles (isn’t that the worst?), and you need a replacement ASAP.

Well, with the Mink printer, these dreams may soon come true.

Grace Choi, a former MBA student at Harvard Business School, is introducing a gadget that may just shake up (and piss off) the makeup industry: a mini 3D inkjet printer that prints real, usable makeup in the comfort of your own home.

Choi, who calls herself a “serial inventor,” debuted a proof-of-concept demo of the Mink printer at a TechCrunch Disrupt conference this week. She launched her presentation with this bold claim: “The makeup industry makes a whole lot of money on a whole lot of bullsh–.”

Summarized by Choi in simple terms, all makeup is made of are cheap raw material substrates that are mixed with varying shades of pigment. Cheaper and more accessible makeup products, sold at a Walmart or CVS, only come in colors that will sell in masses. More unique “niche” shades are sold at exponentially higher prices at Sephora or makeup counters. Who wants to pay that kind of money? “No one, that’s who,” Choi says.

So this is where the Mink 3D printer comes in. The gadget essentially turns the internet into an “endless beauty aisle,” says Choi. From any YouTube channel, Pinterest board or Facebook photo, makeup enthusiasts can select a shade, use a color picker to copy the exact hex code, click print, and voila. But you’ll just have to see it to believe it. Watch Choi’s demo in this video.

When all is said and done, Choi will initially sell the mini printer at the retail price of $300. We’re just simply fascinated at the endless possibilities that technology can offer.

 

This story was originally published on iamkoream.com

 

LOVIN’ LILAC

Get in on Pantone’s color of the year with tips from makeup artist Christina Choi on how to do orchid, lavender and plum on every type of eye. 

For spring, we’ll be seeing a lot of plums, lavenders and lilac in makeup and on the runways. I love this color trend because these shades look especially great on Asian skin tones. It’s also flattering for dark brown, brown and hazel eyes. Here, I show you how to wear this trend on three different eye shapes using Christina Choi Cosmetics. Finish each look with a sweep of Luxury Gloss in K-Pop, our new shade for spring, infused with argan oil and vitamin E — it’s the perfect complement to the lilac eye trend.


THE TOOLS:

Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 11.11.41 AM

 

From left: Deluxe Stamp Brush, Angled Shadow Brush, Bullet Crease Brush and Contour Crease Brush, all by Christina Choi Cosmetics.

Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 11.15.13 AM
Purple Galaxy Eyeshadow

 

Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 11.17.01 AM
Island Orchid Eyeshadow

 

Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 11.19.41 AM
K-POP Luxury Gloss

 


 EYE TYPES:

Screen Shot 2014-03-14 at 11.23.25 AM

Eyes with small crease (thin double eyelids):
-Dust a sheer layer of Splendor Eye- shadow, a baby pink, from lash base up to the brow bone using the Deluxe Blending Brush.
-Keeping your eyes slightly open, contour the natural crease line with Chai Eyeshadow, a medium matte brown, using the tip of the Angled Shadow Brush. This brush is designed specifically for a thin double crease.
-Line the upper lash line with Purple Galaxy Eyeshadow, a deep eggplant purple with silver flecks, using the Perfect Liner Brush. For a softer look, apply dry. If you want a more liquid liner effect, add a touch of water to your brush, mix, apply and wing outwards.
-Dust the lower lash base with Island Orchid Eyeshadow, a neon-lilac, using the Deluxe Stamp Brush. This brush is designed to make eye lining a breeze. Just use the side of the bristles and stamp onto the lower lash base starting from the outer corner, working your way in.

Eyes with no crease (monolid):
-Apply two layers of Island Orchid along the lower lash line using the Deluxe Stamp Brush. Then apply Island Orchid to the eyelid, blending and diffusing with the Crease Defin- ing Brush.
-Frame the upper lash line with Purple Galaxy Eyeshadow using the Bullet Crease Brush to slightly smoke out the liner. For a more dramatic effect, add a couple layers of Purple Galaxy, making the liner thicker and diffusing the edges with the Bullet Crease Brush to create a blended appearance.
-Frame the lower lash base with Purple Galaxy Eyeshadow using the Perfect Liner Brush.

Deep set crease:
-Apply a light layer of Island Orchid into the natural crease of your eyes using the Contour Crease Brush. This brush is designed to fit into a larger crease line.
-For a pop of plum, press Island Orchid on the eyelids using the side of the Deluxe Blending Brush, perfect for a larger eyelid surface.
-Contour the crease line with Purple Galaxy, using the tip of the Angled Shadow Brush. Use only a touch as this shade is highly pigmented and a little goes a long way.
-Define the upper and lower lash base with Purple Galaxy using the Perfect Liner Brush.


Christina Choi has more than 17 years of makeup artistry experience, most recently as Designer of Makeup Artistry and National Artist at Bare Escentuals. She founded Christina Choi Cosmetics for the modern woman on-the-go — a multifunctional line complementing all skin tones, eye shapes and ethnicities, with an emphasis on products and brushes that work especially well for Asian features. 

 

This story was originally published in our Spring 2014 issue. Get your copy here.


Christmas Gift Guide For The Make Up Lover

So you have to buy a Christmas gift for someone who loves make up, but you don’t know a thing about a make up. This can get a bit tricky. What brand do you choose? What will look good on her skin? What does that cream even do?

Well have no fear! Here at Audrey, we shared our absolute favorite make up items. If we love these so much, we hope she will too. Check out Ask Audrey Staff | Whats In Our Make Up Bag below to get some Christmas gift ideas for the make up lover in your life.

 


EOS Lip Balm

“Dry lips annoy me and I usually have to choose something that tastes yummy. For the most part, EOS has a pretty decent selection of delicious flavors (not saying that I eat my lips…)” 

 


NYX (The Curve) Eyeliner

“On the days when I have a million meetings to attend and then a function at night, this eyeliner makes touching up my eyes pretty easy- especially when I want to do a dramatic tail. ” 

 

 


MAC Studio Finish SPF 35 Concealer

“It hides all my blemishes and evens out my skin tone.” 

 

 


Revlon ColorStay Eyeliner (Black)

“So I don’t look like I’m sleeping. Its (Revlon ColorStay) the only one that stays” 

“This has made it onto my list of HG (Holy Grail) products for me. I’ve sworn by this eyeliner since I’ve started wearing makeup. Glides on smoothly – and yes, it really does stay put. ”

“My daily must-have. Really easy to apply and it doesn’t take much effort to get a lot of color out of it. As everyone else has said, it definitely stays on.” 

 


SENSAI Lip Treatment

“It’s way beyond a lip balm. It totally makes me feel like I have sumptuous Angelina lips.” 

 

 


Aerin The Mini Lipstick

“The chicest, most minimal lipstick tube ever. It makes me feel stylish just pulling it out of my bag.” 

 

 


MAC Mineralize Skinfinish (Porcelain Pink)

“I could swirl this on with IT Cosmetics super plush powder brush all day long. Adds the perfect hint of sheen and flush to my wan winter pallor and reflects away from my many sunspots!” 

 

 


NYX HD Studio Photogenic Grinding Powder (in Soft Beige)

“I was introduced to this over the summer and it gives me the most flawless (and very natural) coverage, without feeling heavy. It’s cool to grind the makeup!” 

 

 


Kanebo Sensai Rouge Intense Lasting Color (in 113)

“Enough to last me the entire work day. The red is the perfect shade for me to wear on regular days – just enough color, without going too bold. The formula also feels great on my lips! ” 

 


Urban Decay Naked Palette

“When my brother gave me this for my birthday, he said all the workers in the shop wouldn’t stop talking about how perfect this gift would be. As expected, I fell in love. It has enough variety for a chill day in the office to a crazy night out.”