Behind-the-scenes with MUA Laura Costa

Hi friends!

Got a real treat for you guys today! For all the die-hard beauty lovers out there: don’t you dream of getting a peek inside the life (and the makeup bag of course!) of a working makeup artist? Hear their opinions on products & trends? Well, I certainly do and that’s why I was so excited to chat with hairstylist & MUA Laura Costa.

Her resume is quite extensive across various media including publications, fashion photography, music videos & commercials. Her work has graced the covers of Billboard Magazine and The Hollywood Reporter, and she counts Adidas, Cartier, Hasbro, & The New York City Ballet as just some of her clients.

I hope you guys enjoy our chat and find it interesting or helpful! Make sure to follow Laura on Instagram (She is repped by ENNIS Inc.)

I’m going to start by being really basic, but how did you start out in the beauty industry as a hair & makeup artist?

I’ve worked in salons my whole life. I started assisting a top-notch hairstylist years ago in Boston on Newbury St. One day a movie was being filmed at my salon (Bride Wars), and after seeing that production I said to myself, that’s what I wanna do! I wanna work in show business. So I moved to NYC to pursue it. I then met a woman who owned a production company in 2009 and she introduced me to her lead make-up artist. That’s where I learned how to do makeup for television and photography. And a whole new world opened to me.

What’s your favorite kind of job to get booked for & why?

I love working on huge productions! I love how they can make an amazing set. Also love award shows! The craziness of the red carpet is so fun. Plus it’s cool to watch the performances 🙂

In a nutshell, how would you describe your hair & makeup style? Do you have a signature look you like to create on clients?

I’m more of a tomboy myself so I believe that reflects in my work. I like to give more of an edgy, sexy cool-girl look rather than something glam or super girly. I’d say my style is more Rihanna than Beyoncé!

Model with natural makeup applied by hair & makeup artist Laura Costa

What are your kit must-haves? Could be certain products or brands.

I’m huge on prep, so I love my Embryolisse Radiant Eye Serum and the Lait-Crème Concentre. I also love iS Clinical Hydra-Cool Serum! Wonderful for people with sensitive skin or rosacea. Definitely have to have my Weleda Skin Food as well.

I love the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter, Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate Palette, and the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder Duo! Definitely looove the Flyliner Liquid Eyeliner by Fenty Beauty, that’s my new jam! From Glossier, the Boy Brow and the Clear Lip Gloss are favorites! Also the Ultra UD Pressed Powder by Make Up For Ever.

Elnett from L’Oréal! Best hairspray hands down! Always have it. And I’m loving IGK hair products right now. The Beach Club Texture Spray is sooo good and the 30,000 Feet Volume Powder Spray is amazing. I need Architexture by L’Oréal always!! Combine that with a blow dryer and a Mason Pearson brush, and I can do wonders 🙂

Work of hair & makeup artist Laura Costa

Read this: Drugstore alternatives to Charlotte Tilbury’s Hollywood Flawless Filter

Read this: Video: Glossier Boy Brow vs. Benefit Gimme Brow

What do you think of perfected ‘Instagram makeup’? Do you think it’s a trend or is it here to stay?

Trends are consistently changing especially with make up and fashion. The idea of “flawless“ skin is already changing. One day I’ll go onset and people don’t want their freckles covered; they want bushier, “un-groomed ” eyebrows and dewy skin. The next day I could on a set and it’s no shine at all; matte everything with super-groomed features. I say it’s probably best not to do anything permanent to your face just because you think it’s trendy. Plus, we don’t know what the blading will look like ten years down the road. Things fade.

Read this: A Meditation on “Instagram Makeup”

Speaking of social media, how do you think it’s changed being a hair & makeup artist? Is it easier to book jobs because your reach is greater?

For me, I don’t ever book jobs through Instagram. Honestly it’s just like any other responsibility to keep up. On most of my jobs, we have to sign NDA’s (non-disclosure agreements) so it’s frowned upon to be posting things on set.

Work of hair & makeup artist Laura Costa

What’s the beauty question you get asked the most by your clients?

How to cover under-eye bags! Men, women, models…everyone needs help with their under-eyes and wants to look less tired than they are!

Any advice for budding MUA’s starting out now?

Learn to adapt to your surroundings. Be organized and learn to be able to work with little sleep! I have a strong coffee matcha habit!

If you have any beauty questions for Laura that you’d like answered, pop them in the comments below and I’ll send them over to her!

(The Hollywood Reporter image courtesy @tawnibannister)

Xo, Erica


Go behind-the-scenes with hairstylist & MUA Laura Costa! Get the scoop on her kit must-haves, her opinions on trends, how social media has changed the business.

What is the CVS Beauty Mark all about?

Hi friends!

Today we’re shifting away from products and talking a bit more about bigger picture stuff. Not sure about you, but as a beauty lover I (try to) follow news & trends as much as I can. CVS is one of my favorite places to shop beauty, so whenever they are in the headlines my interest is piqued immediately. And they are currently making some bold statements in the industry with their Beauty Mark initiative.

I first mentioned this initiative in a post last year after CVS announced their plans to significantly expand their beauty offerings both online and in-store in early 2018.

Read this: Has CVS brought us the future of drugstore beauty?


In a nutshell, CVS promises that by the end of 2020 all of their marketing imagery (including print, in-store, digital, & social media) will be completely untouched by Photoshop or any other editing software. From their perspective, this is a major strive towards total transparency, and a move away from unrealistic beauty standards.


The Beauty Mark is our pledge to pass a healthy self-image on to the next generation.
CVS Beauty Mark tagline
CVS Beauty Instagram

Read this: Major Drugstore Beauty Brands Are Helping CVS Reach Its Goal of Eliminating Photoshopped Imagery

To avoid any potential confusion on the consumer’s part, the Beauty Mark will appear on every unaltered image. You then have 100% certainty that the marketing image you’re seeing is in its purest form, so to speak. As it stands now, CVS estimates that about 70% of their imagery is now Beauty Mark-compliant.

See the difference below.


Several big drugstore beauty brands and their celeb ambassadors, like Kerry Washington, Ashley Graham & Ayesha Curry, are fully in support of the CVS Beauty Mark initiative. Neutrogena, CoverGirl, Revlon, & Olay are just a few of the legacy brands taking a major role in helping CVS reach its 2020 goal. A plethora of other beauty brands are set to join in the initiative in 2019 including Physician’s Formula, Aveeno, Rimmel & Burt’s Bees.

CVS Instagram statement on Beauty Mark initiative


I think CVS is making a pretty powerful statement in taking this initiative. Over-manipulated beauty images have been a long-held industry standard, and it’s only amplified even more since the dawn of social media.

There’s definitely an opening now to start a conversation about unaltered beauty, especially as more emphasis is put on body positivity and mental wellness. When I take selfies, either for this blog or for my Instagram, they are never manipulated in any way. I think it’s important to show what I really look like; my skin tone, my freckles, my blemishes, everything. Not some face-tuned version of myself.

We all have a responsibility for what we put out on the internet, especially when so many younger, more impressionable people are interacting online.

Do I think this means that all the companies, all the advertisers, all the marketers will now stop using Photoshop because of the CVS Beauty Mark initiative? Hell no. It’s just one step in a positive direction.

You can read more about the Beauty Mark initiative here.

What do YOU think about the CVS Beauty Mark? Let me know in the comments below!

Xo, Erica


Learn about the CVS Beauty Mark initiative, and how one of the biggest beauty retailers is tackling the industry’s fixation on unrealisitic standards.