D.C. has a reputation for inspiring makeup looks that are more conservative than the incoming administration, but you'd never guess that based on the makeup collection created by Shun Pittman, the owner and founder of Corps d'Elite Salon on U Street.
Pittman has created her own makeup line that includes over 300 individual items and, although some of the shades are fairly neutral, she also dreamed up a swamp-green lipstick and a nearly neon pinky-orange eye shadow.
“It’s a full, comprehensive makeup line from foundations to dual pressed powders to translucent powders," Pittman explained. "We have a full, extensive palette of eye colors, cheek colors, bronzers, mascaras, concealers and five lip items." Pittman, who rocked a bold lip on the day we spoke, created a range of lipsticks, as well as a sheer lip glaze and a traditional gloss, but one of her most popular products is the vinyl lip lacquer, which looks like gloss but is actually a stain.
The innovation doesn't end at Pittman's lip line. Her products intentionally reflect D.C.'s diversity and cover a wide range of skin tones. Pittman struggled to find makeup products that suited her dark skin when she modeled in years past, so she had to mix together foundations to get the right color. She was so determined to make sure other women didn't have to struggle to find products, so Pittman developed 12 dual pressed powders and 6 translucent powders with warm and cool shades for light and dark skin alike.
Pittman takes a lot of her inspiration from D.C. - she recently released a line of lipsticks inspired by watching the masses that flock to U Street. Some of the colors, like the bright blue, are definitely more suited for a night out on the town, but others can be translated into an office appropriate looks - we're particularly infatuated with some of the pink tones.
Still, Pittman says all of the colors are designed to be wearable; The collection includes several shades of violet so women can incorporate that pop of color in a way that suits their skin and comfort level. Her tactics seem to be working - as soon as she put the lipsticks in the window of her salon, she struggled to keep them in stock. Pittman plans on launching an online store for her makeup soon.
Pittman admits a lot of D.C. women may shy away from breaking their makeup routine before walking out the door - many of them are what she'd consider naturalists, "people who won’t do green eye shadow (and) like to stick to more earthy colors." However, Pittman says her clients tend to make bolder choices coming to her beauty bar, a makeup and salon service she hosts at her salon after typical work hours.
"People end up just buying what they usually buy," Pittman said of makeup counters. "I've been a victim of that. I come home with the same tube of lipstick I already have... but at the beauty bar, (clients) are working one-on-one with a makeup artist and sometimes they're willing to step out of their bubble."
If you're looking to adopt a whole new look or just try out a new product, Pittman recommends booking a complimentary 15-minute makeup consultation at Corps d'Elite Salon so you can confidently push your own boundaries, wherever they may be. However, it ultimately comes down to a willingness to learn about makeup. "The beauty of it is that people will be afraid of playing with a color if they don't try it," Pittman added. "If you try it, then you can just see how it works."