Gretchen Mol’s Hair and Makeup for DC’s Premiere of “An American Affair”

I had the pleasure of working with Gretchen Mol this week for the Washington D.C. Premiere of her new movie “An American Affair” out tomorrow, the 27th of February.

Gretchen is a classic beauty that has a look reminiscent of the iconic roles she tends to play. She was Bettie Page in HBO’s “The Notorious Bettie Page”  and you may recognize her past role as Roxie Hart in Broadway’s “Chicago”. In her new movie she plays a character (a mistress possibly?) that has a relation to JFK in the time leading up to his assassination.

Regardless of the complex characters Gretchen tends to play, Gretchen herself is an amazingly down to earth, talented and beautiful actress as well as proud mother.

For her movie premiere I decided to add some waves into Gretchen’s naturally fine and curly hair. I included her input in the whole process and together we decided on a hair and makeup look that would set the right tone for the evening and would work with her classic Jason Wu dress, whom you may know as the designer of Michelle Obama’s Inaugural Ball gown.

I set her hair in medium sized pin curls while doing her makeup and when we released and lightly finger combed through the curls a form started to take place. I kept more of the formed curls in the front, left the hair pretty loose and carefree on the sides and pinned any extra length up in the back, allowing some of the hair to fall naturally out of the pins.


Hair and Makeup by Kathy Aragon for Gretchen Mol / Image courtesy of WireImage
Hair and Makeup by Kathy Aragon for Gretchen Mol / Image courtesy of WireImage

For Gretchen’s makeup we did a soft neutral shadow with a black wing tipped liner. Her face was given a glow with a slight mix of Face Atelier’s Ultra Foundation mixed with a dab of Face Atelier’s Ultra Sheer foundation. I added a little smudged color under the eye, highlighted the cheekbones and opted for a soft pink over the cheek as she didn’t want to look too dramatic for this event. The lips were just a light sheer pink gloss over her natural rosy pigmented lips (lucky Gretchen!).


Hair and Makeup by Kathy Aragon for Gretchen Mol / Image courtesy of WireImage
Hair and Makeup by Kathy Aragon for Gretchen Mol / Image courtesy of WireImage

I had a great time working with Gretchen and I wish her the best of luck with everything she does! I look forward to seeing more of her work and maybe, one day, we will get to see her in more iconic rolls. Let’s talk Marilyn Monroe! 😀

Here is a video of the Movie Premiere After Party held by Washington Life Magazine.

WLTV World Premiere Screening “An American Affair” from Washington Life Magazine on Vimeo.

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Working with Star Stylist Ted Gibson and chatting about his new Haircare Line and DC Salon.

I pride myself in keeping my blog personal to my experiences and to reviews of things I have tried and come to love. I try not to report on a brand new product or company that is out unless I’ve tried it myself to give you my honest opinion on it.  So, in having adapted this philosophy, it doesn’t surprise me when big news slips through my radar, but I am finding that news worth reporting somehow brings itself right into my face, such as with star stylist Ted Gibson!

During Inauguration Pre-ceremonies I had the pleasure to do makeup for Amy Brenneman, the beautiful actress from the show Private Practice. I came a bit early, chit chatted with her amazingly talented husband about how things have been in D.C. thus far while setting up and waiting for Amy to arrive. A few minutes later Amy came in with a hairstylist followed by  two videographers. I figured she was going to be doing an interview of some sorts while getting ready. It turns out the two men were actually following the hairstylist, who introduced himself to me as Ted Gibson. The two men had been collecting footage of the events he was doing including an earlier shoot he had with Ted and Caroline Kennedy for Vanity Fair.

When first meeting Ted I instantly loved how polite and sweet he was and how easy it was to work with him. He completely worked around me and what I needed even after I was insisted that he be comfortable and in good spot  for him to work in. It was such a nice experience that I didn’t even mind the two video cameras taping me do makeup while he was doing hair. 🙂 I truly had no ideal what a big star he was until his story started to unfold about his salon in NY and the new one he just opened in DC. When I asked him about the beautiful pink and brown boxed product  in front of him he proceeded to take out a few “Styling Hair Sheets”  wrapped in a shiny silver foil, embedded design, and his name on the front. He told me I could get his line at Target now and gave me some hair towelettes to try out in the future. Upon talking more about what they did and how I could use them for my own fine hair he then decided that his “Building Spray”  would work great for me followed by a blowdry and/or hot rollers and gave me a bottle of it to take home with me.  

He held himself in such a great manor and complimented everyone throughout the time we were there. It’s no wonder celebrities and his client’s alike  fall in love with him even before seeing the final result of the guaranteed gorgeous style!  Ted proceeded to give Amy an elegant hairstyle with a slightly off centered part with hair that swooped down both sides before cascading curls began to fall.

He told me he had just opened his new salon in the Washington D.C. metro area called Ted Gibson Salon & Hela Spa. It has already been visited by great celebrity names on the first day, like Anne Hathaway and Tatiana Ali.  He also told me how it sat atop of a Louis Vuitton store at The Collection in Chevy Chase, MD., only minutes away from downtown D.C. How much more fabulous can  you get?

Already, not even a week since we worked together I have heard Ted’s praises being sang repeatedly. While working on a model for Elite in NY yesterday I started taking out the Styling Sheets to use on her. When she saw them she shouted out and proclaimed “Ted Gibson! I love him! I just worked with him on an InStyle magazine shoot!”. It’s obvious you don’t have to be around him long to become completely smitten with the man, his talent, and with the fact he is living his dream out loud. I look forward to visiting his salon, trying out all of his haircare line at some point, and costaring with him on some random footage floating out there of us working together! 😀

You can find Ted Gibson Salon & Hela Spa at  The Collection in Chevy Chase 5481 Wisconsin Avenue, Level 2 Chevy Chase, MD 20815 Contact: 301.951.4445

You can also find his complete haircare line at Target stores nationwide: Ted Gibson at Target as well as other select products at Sephora.

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“Makeup is Art” Spotlight- Alexandru Abagiu

When I started doing makeup full time, right around my “mia” makeup is art  days, I looked to the internet to find many inspirations. I didn’t have to travel far to find one of my immediate favorites , Alex Abagiu.

I first ran into Alex more than four years ago on a popular pro makeup artist forum called “EmElle’s” that I frequented. I was so in awe of his work but even more in awe that someone with his talent and credibility gave back so willingly to the makeup community. The preciseness, cleanliness, and creativity of his work still comes through in every face he touches.

Elle/ Photo: Steven Eskey
Elle/ Photo: Steven Eskey

Alex seemed to dissapear from the scene for a while and his website and his beautiful gallery of work went with him. I was devasted! I wrote EmElle and asked her about him and she reported back with a note she got from Alex mentioning he had been busy with his new role as one of L’Oreal’s lead artists in Romania! 

When thinking of the first person to spotlight for this blog there wasn’t a more obvious choice than Alex. He was my original inspiration in the makeup field and years later his work has stood the test of time. His website is now back up with a fresh body of work and it’s just as immaculate as ever.  Alexandru Abagiu shows that Makeup is indeed Art.

More of Alex’s work can be found at : Alexandru Abagiu

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“Makeup is Art” Reborn

Welcome to my new baby of 2009!

My name is Kathy Aragon, or Kat for short, and I am a professional makeup artist and hairstylist in and around the DC Metropolitan area up to NY. My work ranges from doing hair/makeup for CNN and  high society events  to doing commercial and fashion editiorials for popular national magazines.

I started my relationship with the name “Makeup Is Art”  after my first little girl, Mia, was born. She was an inspiration to me and when my family and I developed our makeup line we named it after her“mia” makeup is art.  After working on the line for a while I realized my passion started shifting from marketing with doing occasional makeup to wanting to be the creative artist behind the products I believed in.  I didn’t want to go the route of using stock pictures for marketing as it didn’t feel genuine to me.  I wanted to take the reign and start doing the photoshoots on my own.  That is when the makeup bug hit me big time.

The instant gratification I got from creating something beautiful all the while lifting someone else’s spirits was addicting. After the bug hit, I realized I couldn’t do both sides of the job wholeheartedly. My heart just wasn’t in the paperwork anymore. That was when I decided to become a full time freelance makeup artist and retired the “mia” makeup is art line.

I decided to continue with more education and did every workshop and class I came across, but most importantly,  I just kept at makeup for years. It wasn’t hard to do because I loved doing it so much. A lot of what I learned to date has been learned through trial and error. I still learn so much on a regular basis from peer artists and even from the everyday woman who shares my love for finding that perfect (for now) product, look, or technique.

It has now been 9 years to the date of when I picked up my first set of makeup brushes and almost 6 years to the date that my line  “mia” makeup is art was created.

Cut to January 2009, where the electricity in the air is apparent in the Washington D.C. area. The feeling that there is an exciting new chapter around the corner is apparent. A new sense of passion seems to swell from the hearts around me.  My original passion in the makeup field got fueled by my “mia” makeup is art line and my passion now continues to be the makeup and hair work I am blessed to do on a full time basis. I now want to bring those two worlds together in some shape or form and that form seems to be taking place as this blog. I, too, am inspired to start a new chapter and am hoping this blog will be a good way to give back what I have learned through my endeavors.

My posts will be honest and about things I firmly believe in or am inspired by. That I can vouch for as it’s the least I can give to anyone putting time into reading this. I do, however, ask a favor of you.  Before my blog starts full speed ahead, I would love to get some feedback as to what type of topics you really look for in a beauty blog. I am open to all ideals and am confident that this blog will find it’s own footing fairly quickly.

I look forward to our time together!



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