Growing up in Los Angeles, Emi Kaneko was surrounded by art and makeup. Her mom, a cosmetologist and artist, had a whole cabinet brimming with colors, and Emi would watch her mom get ready, mesmerized by how she applied bright strokes of purple eyeshadow and the great care she took of her skin. Her mother’s influence, paired with her interest in painting and the arts, naturally led to the beginning of Emi’s career in the fashion and beauty industry.
After relocating to NYC and developing her craft working for publications like DAZED, Vogue, ID, POP and V Magazine, Emi caught the attention of designer Adam Selman, who subsequently gave the artist her first lead makeup role for the runway. Never afraid to experiment, Emi’s playful personality and knack for bringing people together with her art has her at the top of her game, and she’s having a genuinely good time in the process.
Chatting with Emi on set about her first “Best In Beauty” video with us, which explores the use of bold color makeup, she shares how her love of impactful color has been a constant, no matter the current trend. “I love color in everything—clothes, makeup, hair. It’s something you can play around with,” she says. On challenging the norm (what about those who don’t want blue lips?), she reassures us, “Some people are scared of it and always go to their comfort zone, but if you want a little spice in life—just give it a try! You don’t even have to go out, just have fun at home experimenting.”
To note, this is exactly what she did on set of our latest video. Collaborating with director Bardia and model Sahara, the threesome simply had a good time. “We had a blast! Bardia is amazing—young, cool, and funny. He does a great job of bringing an easy natural environment to set…like a bunch of friends playing dress up. And Sahara is someone who would play with makeup—and we did. What you’re watching is simply the three of us enjoying makeup and having a great time experimenting.”
Look 2: The easiest way to try something new and daring is with an unconventional lip color. Choose a fun color you don’t already own—Kevyn Aucoin Molten Lip in purple? Chantecaille Lip Sleek in magenta? Or do what Emi did here and use the Yves Saint Laurent Beauty Couture Kajal ultra creamy blue eye pencil as a lipstick.
Look 3: This one takes color all the way with a full face in a monochrome lavender-pink. Using Clé de Peau Beauté cream blush and a blush brush from Claudio Riaz, apply the color to your cheekbones, sweeping out and up toward your temples and hairline. Use a little extra cream blush and apply with your fingers wherever you want more concentrated color. Complement the look with a matching lip using Hourglass Girl Lip Stylo or Lipstick Queen Silver Screen lipstick, and add a glossy finish with By Terry Gloss Terrybly Shine.