Kimara Ahnert knows a thing or two about beauty. As an A-list celebrity makeup artist, creator of the Kimara Ahnert makeup line, and owner of the decadent Kimara Ahnert studio on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Kimara has been making women beautiful for over 14 years. Celebrity Parents visited Kimara’s exclusive studio to chat about makeup, family, and the biggest makeup mistake women make!
Have you always loved makeup?
Always. Ever since I was a little girl, I had a knack for makeup. I loved doing makeovers on my friends when they would come over for play dates. Sometimes those makeovers included haircuts, which I don’t think their parents appreciated!
I remember that as soon as my mother would leave the house, I would go right to her vanity table. She had a Clairol Day-To-Night mirror with makeup lights. I thought that was the coolest thing ever! When I was six years-old, I asked her, “When you die, can I have your makeup and clothes?”
How did you make makeup your career?
In college, I was a business management major. I always knew that I would be in business for myself; I just wasn’t sure what it would be. I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs, so I was exposed to the service side of the business industry from an early age.
I took a course to be licensed in makeup both for fun and curiosity, to see my talent in makeup. I came to New York and was working as an assistant to a makeup artist. I assisted her at shows, photo shoots, private clients, etc. I never worked for a cosmetic line or at a counter, like many emerging makeup artists do. I hit the road running.
When did you decide to open your studio?
I realized that there was a real need in the city for a place where women could come for professional makeup and skin care. I wanted to create an environment where women could learn, have fun and be pampered.
I did a business plan for 2 ½ years before opening the studio. It was very well-thought out and planned! During that time, I was saving money, incorporating, working on the product line, working with manufacturers, and sampling products before they went to development. Then I was ready to find the space, which took over a year. The space had to be convenient to the clients I already had, and I wanted to have a Madison Avenue address, to continue that level of prestige that I was looking to operate among.
The Kimara Ahnert studio has a lot of celebrity clientele.
We have 9-10 makeup artists, including myself, who work in the studio as well as on location. We’ve done a lot of editorial work, like Martha Stewart Living, Glamour, and many other women’s interest magazines. We also do a lot of weddings, too.
If you had to choose one style of makeup that you like best, which one would it be?
Weddings! Without a doubt.
I am a really girly girl. When I was little, I dreamed about my own wedding. Even though I’ve been married for 14 years, I have never gotten tired of weddings. I love being part of the excitement. By doing weddings, I still get to be a part of that and seeing it all come together on such an important day is very rewarding. In a sense, I get to relive the experience again and again.
What would you say is the trend for spring/summer?
The look is very fresh; it’s not about painted, dramatic makeup. It’s playful and youthful. It’s about luminous skin with a glow. There’s color, especially for the lips. It’s all about pinks and bright colors, but they’re sheer and glossy. What’s also popular right now is eyeliner that’s defined; women can rim the inside of their eye with an eyeliner that’s the same color as their eye.
Face makeup such as bases are going towards mineral-based powders, and concealers, moisturizers are talc-, fragrance- and paraben-free. Two of the most popular products in our line are the mineral-based loose powder and the tinted moisturizer, both of which have an SPF 8.
What’s one of the biggest mistakes women make with makeup?
Women often go too light with their concealer. They think it needs to be a shade or two lighter than their foundation, when it should really be the same color as their face makeup. Women sometimes don’t use foundation and only use concealer. They should still use something on their face, like a powdered foundation, or a tinted moisturizer, and blend it in. It will even out the skin tones and look very natural.
How did you meet your husband, Glenn?
(laughs) When I was in college, I was a business major, and I had to do an internship in my field. So I interned at Atlantic Records in the business department, and Glenn was an exec with Atlantic. So I was the summer intern in his department, and we had a secret romance!
Glenn is still in the music business today. He started his own business management company and now he manages The Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato.
Does Glenn help you manage your business?
Since day one, Glenn has been the satellite CFO of my business. It’s been a nice partnership to have a person who allows you to be creatively focused on your business, who is on top of your cash flow, and who you trust. It’s been a situation that I’ve been grateful for.
Between your studio, the product line, you’re also the mom to Jonathan, who’s 2. How do you do it all?
Being really organized! I’m a real planner. I carry a book with me, and everything gets written down and everything gets checked off. It gives me a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. I plan everything out, I multi-task and I juggle. I honestly believe you can get it all done, as long as you slot it in. If you give it a time, a place and a deadline, you can get it done.
To run a business, run a home, be a good mom and wife, I do everything being 100% focused on what I’m doing at that moment. I don’t get distracted because I’ve allowed myself the time to, for example, go to Super Soccer Stars. I still make time to work out 4-5 times a week. If you slot it in, you’ll be surprised how much you can layer into a day!
What are your plans for Kimara Ahnert, the brand?
Whatever I’m doing immediately, there’s always a strategic plan for it. I have a vision to open more studios. I also want to continue my wonderful product line which I’ve been developing now for 14 years. I am constantly looking to develop and grow my brand. I have a plan for tomorrow, for five years from now, for ten years from now. I think the key to success is to stay consistent with what you do best. I want to continue being the best at what I do, and never compromise the great level of service we provide to our clients. If I keep doing that, the sky is the limit.