If you’ve heard of the makeup brand RCMA—Research Council of Makeup Artists—we give you major props. Considering that our job is to write about everything and anything beauty related, we were fairly certain that we knew about every product line out there. But, as it turns out, we missed one, and it’s one that you can find floating around in nearly every professional makeup artists’ kit.
RCMA is no new kid on the block; the line was founded in 1952 by professional makeup artist Vincent Kehoe, who worked primarily for film, television, and stage (he worked on the 1958 horror classic, The Blob). “He wanted to create a brand that would revolutionize the professional makeup world,” says co-owner Christian Kehoe. (The company remains a family-run business, with Christian and his brother now the third generation in charge.) The result was a comprehensive yet carefully curated line of products that quickly became a go-to among the pros, though not the everyday consumer. “Our grandfather liked that it was an industry secret,” says Kehoe. “You’d only hear about it from other makeup artists.”
“It’s definitely a professional line,” says makeup artist Benjamin Puckey, the pro who first tipped us off about the brand. “They’re a small company that isn’t part of a big cosmetic juggernaut, but it keeps on selling because people in the industry keep on buying it.” Makeup artist and beauty expert Jenny Patinkin agrees: “It’s a no-fuss line—no fancy packaging or celebrity ad campaign—just solid, high-level performance designed with professional makeup artists in mind.” Their Color Process Foundation tends to be the fan favorite, due to its unique formula, versatility, and extensive shade range. “Because it’s made with 50 percent pigments and 50 percent emollients, it’s great for anyone with normal to dry skin. It delivers medium coverage, but the texture is thin and can easily be built up without looking cake-y,” says Puckey, who notes that it can be applied with fingers, brushes, or sponges. Celebrity makeup artist Andrew Sotomayor is also a fan. “It may be called a foundation, but it also works well as a concealer,” he says, while Patinkin uses it as a highlight and contour, too. With over 100 shades available, the color selection is amazing and has incredible options for deeper skin tones, adds Puckey. Careful color matching remains a priority for the brand: “Color consistency is key and we still manufacture our products in small batches to maintain those strict standards,” says Kehoe.
So while it may be mostly the pros that know about the line (for now!), there’s nothing stopping you from getting in on the RCMA action; all the products are sold on their website. And while there are a variety of palettes, eye shadow, and cream blushes available, “the Color Process Foundation is definitely worth trying first, especially if you’ve been having trouble finding your perfect match,” says Sotomayor (and, conveniently, you can order samples of any shade for only $1). Patinkin also likes the translucent powder: “It’s light, easy to apply, and works on an enormous range of complexions,” she says. Consider this one trade secret that is most definitely out!