Christina Son is a beauty artist from Toronto who founded Sugarin Studio now living in Los Angeles. After getting a chance client who works in the movie business in 2013, she started doing eyelashes for Hollywood celebrities. Her clients range from the rapper Eve to Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger actress Ally Maki and Grey’s Anatomy star, Sarah Drew. She has been written about in Entertainment Tonight, which has called her one of the best cosmetic artists in the business, and has been called a lash specialist by Popsugar.
Son is the go-to expert to help spot trends in the industry, like ombré shading, which gives a softer eyebrow look, lash extensions and lash lift. Today, Son not only specializes in lashes, but microblading and cosmetic tattoos in Los Angeles. For her 5th anniversary of starting her business, she spoke to us about the art of the eyelash, how Instagram has helped and why trust is key.
Why did you decide to relocate from Toronto to LA?
Christina Son: As much as I love Toronto, I wanted more diverse opportunities in my field. Beauty industry is more saturated in LA and I wanted to explore. It’s a very diverse place with many great talents from all over the world.
How did you first get into doing lashes in LA?
I was very fortunate and did lashes for a prestigious movie producer and she loved my work. From there, I started to get inquiries from other great talents in the industry and my career took off from there.
When you started in 2013, lashes weren’t as prominent as they are in beauty culture. When did you see their shift into the spotlight?
I believe the social media platform played a big role as it is global. People can easily find the newest beauty trend. On Instagram, everything is visual. You may see people wearing lashes and artists sharing their lash work. People get intrigued, curious and want to know more.
How can you determine what lashes are a perfect fit for each person, is it about their face shape, their personality, their on-screen persona?
My clients usually know what they want. Majority of my clients are quite natural and prefer the “untouched” look. If they are unsure, I would ask them if they are looking for more of a natural appearance or something more glamorous and the purpose of getting lashes. If it’s for a red carpet/on-screen role, the questions would go deeper to find more information regarding same. Then I would assess their own lashes such as health, thickness, length. Understanding their daily beauty regime also help to determine the style and technique.
What has it been like working with celebrity clientele such as Noureen Dewulf, Whitney Port, Jodie Sweetin, Sarah Drew among others?
I am very fortunate to have this kind of opportunity. I’m more fortunate to work with such wonderful people. It’s very exciting to hear about their projects and work. For them to have my work be part of theirs is a great privilege. I recently did lashes for Ally Maki’s press tour for Toy Story 4. This was a lot of fun and exciting as Toy Story is one of my favorite movies.
I saw on Instagram that you’ve worked with the rapper Eve, what is she like to work with?
Eve is simply wonderful. I really enjoy working with her. She is incredibly sweet and down to earth. She is very natural and prefers the natural look when it comes to her lashes. I’m also obsessed with her dog, haha.
Is the ‘lash lift’ procedure still new to some people?
Absolutely. This is currently one of the biggest beauty trends however there’s still some people who have never heard of lash lift. They are curious about what exactly entails in the service, and my most asked questions are how long it lasts and if it’s damaging to the lashes. This is a fantastic alternative to eyelash extensions as it is very low maintenance. Lash lift was Google’s most popular beauty searches of 2018. Special thanks to my client who has posted in social media several times, she was contacted by Google to let her know about this information and that she was the closest person associated with this trend.
What are some of the pros and cons of lash extensions?
Eyelash extensions are fantastic for those who are willing to take care of them. It really transforms the eyes and women love them, whether they are natural or prefer more of a glamorous look. It saves a lot of time from beauty regimen and most women do not wear any makeup once they have their eyelash extensions. It makes a person look wide awake and rejuvenated. Unfortunately lash extensions is not for everyone. It is high maintenance and gentle care is much needed. If they are rough with their lashes, they can easily lose their own lashes or the extensions may shed very quickly. It is also very costly and quickly adds up as a refills and touch ups are needed in order to maintain the lashes.
How did you get into brows?
I wanted to explore further in the cosmetic artistry industry. I have a passion to help people boost their confidence and self-esteem. Lashes and brows go hand-in-hand so I wanted to learn natural-looking permanent makeup. I enjoy working patiently and meticulously. Microblading brows also gives me the freedom to explore my artistic abilities by designing and customizing everyone’s brows according to their desire and needs. The transformation is very rewarding especially for clients who have suffered hair loss from cancer and alopecia.
What mistakes do you see in microblading today?
Not enough research and improper training. Microblading artistry is a journey. It is not a skill that you can develop overnight. It takes patience, commitment, skills and experience to be able to draw, create your own unique patterns, understanding pressure and technique so you’re not damaging the skin. Unfortunately, there’s many facilities offering training holding a large number of students in class with lack of supervision during live model work. You need to be able to trust your artist. My recommendation is to invest some time in doing research and ask questions whether you are looking to get microblading or seeking training to become a microblading artist.
How is ombré shading different than microblading?
Ombre Shading is the newest trend in permanent makeup. Both the style and technique are different than microblading. Ombre Shading is performed with a machine whereas microblading is done with a manual pen. The beauty of Ombre Shading is that it works on all skin types unlike microblading. It is also versatile as it can be mixed together with microblading technique to give texture, density and definition. Ombre Shading gives a soft cosmetic penciled look. Once healed, it looks very natural. Microblading is creating and mimicking natural hair strokes not a solid cosmetic look. Both techniques are wonderful depending on the person’s skin, lifestyle and other factors.
What keeps you going as an entrepreneur?
I have always been driven to have my own business since I was 13 years old. When I was in school, I was constantly thinking about the possibilities of having a success business. It has also been my goal to retire my parents so that keeps me going. They have sacrificed greatly for my brother and I. One day I would like to retire them so they can just enjoy life to the fullest.
Is working with celebs the same as your regular clients?
Yes, it is, to some degree. If they’re very highly profiled clients (unfortunately I’m not able to disclose their names) the appointment arrangements are a bit different as they prefer to keep everything strictly confidential.