Homegrown Beauty: Twins Launch Makeup Line

Sisters making mark in cosmetic industry

Ladies, remember your early fascination with makeup? You'd raid your mother's makeup case and smear lipstick all over your mouth. After coloring your cheeks with blush and accentuating your eyes with eye shadow, you thought you looked good, but actually looked more like a circus clown! Thankfully, as time progressed, most of us learned to make cosmetics work for (not against) us, elevating our beauty to new heights.

"You can create any look you want with makeup," says Janice Tunnell, co-founder, along with her twin sister, Denise, of the Illusions Cosmetics company.

The sisters took their teenage love of Wet-N-Wild lip gloss and mascara and launched the line, developing eye shadows, lipsticks, glosses, blushes and professional brushes.

The idea started when Janice wanted to open a boutique that sold makeup and also provided customers with makeovers. Denise offered sisterly support and advice but posed an important question. "I asked her 'how are you going to do makeup, if you don't know the skin types?'"

So both sisters studied makeup and esthetics to accompany their accounting and business management degrees.

The boutique they dreamed of never opened, but the Tunnell sisters freelanced their way through the entertainment industry, working on music videos, movies and television shows, steadily increasing their list of clients along the way. Artists they've worked with include Terrance Howard, Columbus Short, TI and Academy Award-nominee Taraji P. Henson, just to name a few.

The sisters say they loved how the cosmetics industry provides limitless opportunities to make things that were vintage the new trend once again. For example, Denise shares that this summer brings lots of bright pink, yellow and green color schemes, along with Illusions Cosmetics' upcoming line of body shimmers and bronzers.

But if women aren't sure bright colors and makeup altogether suit their fancy, the sisters recently launched a new blog and blog talk radio show, advising listeners on makeup tips and skin care. Celebrities, their makeup artists, and medical professionals are featured on their show.

Crystal D. Porter is a writer for N'Digo, a free weekly newspaper.

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