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  • Writer's pictureAlina Fridman

Eugenia Weston: From Brow Guru to Hollywood's Favorite Makeup Artist

Eugenia Weston Senna Cosmetics

Some people stumble into their dream careers by chance, but few turn that stumble into a five-decade journey of innovation and glamour. That's pretty much what happened to Eugenia Weston, the brains behind Senna Cosmetics and the inventor of the brow stencil. With over five decades in the beauty biz, Weston's story is like a Hollywood script - full of twists, turns, and a whole lot of glamour.

The Accidental Makeup Artist

Weston's love affair with makeup started when she was just 11. "That's when it all sparked and my fascination with faces began," she says. But it wasn't until 1970 that she landed her first big break at Jon Peters, a swanky salon in the San Fernando Valley.

Here's where it gets interesting. Weston learned the ropes from Bobbe Joy Dawson, who she calls "the first brow guru." Talk about learning from the best, right? Weston picked up skills like eyebrow shaping and custom foundation blending - little did she know these would become her bread and butter later on.

Big Business: Senna Cosmetics is Born

Weston's journey in the beauty industry started long before Senna Cosmetics. As a teenager working in a drug store, she was already experimenting with creating custom makeup for customers, concocting brown eyeshadows for those tired of the ubiquitous blue. This early innovative spirit led her to New York in the early 70s, where she collaborated with a chemist to design unique eye and face colors.

Now, here's where fate steps in. In 1976, after taking a break to have a baby (because, you know, life happens), Weston got an unexpected call from an old colleague, Geri Cusenza.

"Geri called me and said, 'I'm opening up the best salon in the valley. It's going to be incredible. You need to come join me and create your own makeup line,'" Weston recalls. And just like that, Senna Cosmetics was born.

The timing was perfect. Senna quickly became the go-to makeup studio, with Weston saying, "We were so busy, I had five makeup bars. We were booked solid all the time, every famous person came to that studio. It was amazing."

The Divine Miss M Connection

Speaking of famous people, in 1979, Weston's talent caught the eye of none other than Bette Midler. This wasn't just a fleeting collaboration - it was the beginning of a decades-long professional relationship and friendship.

"I started working with her in 1979," Weston recalls. "I did her book tours, went all over Europe and Australia with her." This globe-trotting adventure was just the beginning.

When Midler landed a four-picture deal with Disney, there was a snag - Weston wasn't in the makeup artists' union. But Midler, recognizing Weston's talent, wasn't about to let union rules get in the way.

"She was such a brat," Weston laughs, affectionately. "She's so funny. She's really hilarious. So dramatic and funny and smart and intelligent and talented, you know?"

Midler's determination to have Weston as her makeup artist led to some creative problem-solving. The studio had Weston do Midler's makeup off-set, then drive her to the set. Eventually, they even had to set up a makeshift studio at Cinema Secrets in Toluca Lake.

"I had to go to Cinema Secrets, had to be dropped off. I had to do her makeup there. They drove her to set. I had to stay in Cinema Secrets all day," Weston remembers.

But Midler didn't stop there. She insisted that Weston get into the union, setting off a whirlwind of testing, training, and even a stint on Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal" video to make it look legitimate.

This crash course in Hollywood politics included special effects makeup classes and a grueling union test. "Bob Schiffer, who did makeup for Marlena Dietrich and Joan Crawford, had to be on the board for a year because of me," Weston reveals.

Thanks to Midler's firm support and Weston's talent and determination, she made it into the union. This opened the doors for Weston to work on numerous films with Midler, including "Beaches," "Big Business," and many more over the years.

Their collaboration has stood the test of time. Most recently, Weston worked with Midler on the movie "The Fabulous Four" filmed in Savannah which will be released this July. It shows both Weston's skill and the deep trust and friendship they've built over more than four decades in the fast-paced world of Hollywood glamour.

Eugenia Weston and Bette Midler

Sitting in Makeup Chairs with Brow Stencils: A Game-Changing Invention

Here's where Weston's ingenuity really shines. One day, a client in her 60s complained that she couldn't replicate Weston's brow magic at home. So, what did Weston do? She grabbed a Christmas card box, cut out a shape with her brow scissors, and voila - the first brow stencil was born.

"I have a book of over 500 hand-cut stencils that I made for people," Weston says.

This DIY solution quickly caught on, leading to the creation of Form-A-Brow®, a set of four universal brow stencils that revolutionized at-home brow grooming.

"I knew it was a hit because Coty called, everybody was calling, ordering it," Weston recalls. While she couldn't patent it, the industry still recognizes her as the original brow stencil creator, a testament to her innovative spirit and problem-solving skills.

Senna Cosmetics Form-A-Brow®

Adapting to a Changing Industry

Over the years, Weston has seen the beauty industry transform. From the rise of independent stylists to the advent of social media influencers, she's adapted to every change. In 2018, she updated her skincare line, staying true to her makeup artist roots. "It works with my color cosmetics, prepping skin for makeup and removing it. That's always been the focus," she explains.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented challenges. "COVID really changed everything," Weston reflects. "I had to close three of my makeup studios because my employees wouldn't come back. Now, instead of being employees, they want to be independent."

But true to form, Weston saw these challenges as opportunities for innovation. She pivoted to offering virtual makeup consultations and online tutorials, reaching an even wider audience. Her adaptability extended to product development too, focusing on at-home beauty solutions that met the changing needs of her clients.

"The industry is always evolving, and so am I," Weston says with characteristic determination. "Whether it's new application techniques, product formulations, or ways of connecting with clients, I'm always looking for what's next." This forward-thinking attitude has kept Senna Cosmetics not just relevant, but at the forefront of beauty innovation for decades.

A Legacy of Education and Empowerment

Throughout her journey, Weston has remained passionate about teaching. "I love the teaching part of it. It's really rewarding for me, and for them," she says. This commitment to sharing knowledge has made her a beloved figure in the industry.

Weston's dedication to education goes beyond just her clients. She's mentored countless aspiring makeup artists, sharing not just techniques but also the business acumen she's gained over her five-decade career. Her studios in Beverly Hills and Tarzana have become hubs of learning, where women come not just for makeovers, but for empowerment through beauty knowledge.

Eugenia Weston Makeup Artist

The Weston Effect: Shaping the Future of Beauty

Eugenia Weston's journey from a curious 11-year-old to a beauty industry icon is a testament to where passion and adaptability can take you. Her story reminds us that sometimes, the best careers are the ones we stumble into - and that with a bit of creativity and a lot of hard work, we can turn happy accidents into lasting legacies.

Today, Weston's impact on the beauty industry continues to be felt. Her innovative products, techniques, and teachings have influenced countless makeup artists and beauty enthusiasts. From her game-changing brow stencils to her work with Hollywood stars, she's shaped trends and techniques for decades.

As she looks to the future, one thing is clear: Eugenia Weston's accidental career has become an intentional force for change in the world of beauty. Her story isn't just about makeup - it's about resilience, innovation, and the power of following your passion, wherever it may lead.



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