Keeping natural keeps clients coming back
Elise Brill turned her experience in film productionin to a 16-year love affair with makeup and making women feel beautiful. Her business, lessi b. Cosmetics, was inspired by her childhood nickname. | Provided
2612 Kingston Drive
Hours: by appointment
Updated: October 2, 2012 8:26AM
NORTHBROOK — Elise Brill was working in film production and casting in the late ’80s when she realized her passion for makeup.
“I would hang out in the makeup trailer because I enjoyed seeing the magic of how people would look and feel differently after makeup was applied,” Brill said.
That led to a career as a makeup artist and her Northbrook Studio, Leesi B Cosmetics, which she’s operated for 16 years.
Lauren Trubow, of Chicago, has had her makeup done by Brill several times, most recently for her wedding in April.
“I’ve never loved my makeup as much as when Elise does it,” said the 30 year-old, whose sisters also are clients of Brill. “It really brings out confidence in me.”
“Women need to embrace their own beauty,” said Brill, who worked for makeup giants, Lancome and Bobbi Brown before starting her own company. “I enjoy teaching them how easy makeup application really is.”
Brill does makeup for weddings, Mitzvahs and fashion shows. She also works with actors and models for print and television ads.
“Makeup is all about trial and error, and seeing what works for you and what you feel pretty in,” she said.
“She’s very light, meaning she doesn’t use heavy makeup,” says client, Karen Levy of Riverwoods, “She doesn’t change your features, she enhances them.”
Brill believes three things make the biggest difference when it comes to makeup: flawless, glowing skin, which is achieved by a good foundation that’s applied correctly; great eyes with effective mascara application; and a pretty lip, meaning a color that works. Brill is known for her eyelash application, and says long, thick lashes really make women look and feel beautiful.
“My approach is very individualized,” said Brill, who keeps a chart for each client so she can remember what products they liked and disliked. “I set aside an hour and ask them about their background, what they’ve been using, and what they like and don’t like about makeup.”
“She tailors what works for each woman,” Trubow said. “I saw the pictures from my sister’s wedding and I said, ‘Wow!’”
“The makeup lasts so much longer and there’s a finish to your face that’s different than doing it yourself,” Levy said.
In addition to makeup application, Brill sells a large line of cosmetics that she purchases from manufacturers, and said all of the products are the same, if not better quality than department stores, but less expensive.
“She doesn’t oversell you,” Levy said. “She works with the makeup you have and she’s really good at blending colors and blending looks for you.”
One of Levy’s favorite products is a primer with SPF that Brill recommended.
“There’s no charge for someone to come in and try out some colors with me. I’m happy to spend the time,” Brill said.
She says the most common makeup mistakes she sees are women over the age of 40 who wear too much, not enough or no foundation, and recommends a foundation that gives coverage, has added sunscreen and that evens out brown spots.
“You should see the thank you notes I get, handwritten notes from people who tell me they’ve never felt more beautiful in their lives,” said Brill, who as a child was called Leesi, which is what sparked the name for her business. “And that just feels good. It’s the best.”