It’s truly amazing what a talented makeup artist can do. He or she reaches into their bottomless makeup trunk, a beautiful mess of shadows, liners, primers, concealers, mascaras and lipsticks hitting every Pantone shade in existence, and in under an hour can turn you into a living, breathing masterpiece – that looks exactly like you, only hotter. Or softer. Or from another era.

Remember that recent report we covered on the importance of makeup in the workplace? It’s no secret that cosmetics play a role in our every day lives, the only secrets are how to achieve the precise look we so desire.

A few months ago I was invited to be on the panel of judges for Calling All Makeup Artists, a makeup showdown between six artists presented by YOUR NAME Professional Brands, 35-year-old industry leader in private label cosmetics for the salon and spa industry. As someone who has worked with many a makeup artist – from my days in editorial interning at VOGUE and Glamour, to the many beauty whizzes who have transformed me for events, on-camera appearances and weddings – I couldn’t wait to be on board to support.

Here’s how it worked: YOUR NAME sponsored six up-and-coming artists in a career-changing opportunity on October 3rd. They partook in a day-long photography makeup workshop led by renowned makeup artist David Maderich, during which each contestant was charged with creating an interpretation of YOUR NAME’s Spring 2012 collection. Each rendition was captured by acclaimed photographer Roberto Ligresti and handed over to a panel of beauty industry veterans – including yours truly! – to evaluate and select one lucky winner. The winner, yet to be announced, will be featured in the Spring 2012 YOUR NAME catalog which will be seen by over 12,000 beauty industry professionals.

THE JUDGES: Julie Keller, Editor-In-Chief, American Spa, Maggie Mulhern, Beauty and Fashion Director, Modern Salon, and me – Michelle Joni Lapidos, Director of Social Media & Editor of Spa Week Daily, SPA WEEK.

THE CONTESTANTS:

Devra Bader – Devra Bader Beauty Spa
Larry Chowning – About Face Designs
Jennifer Meletis – Lois Christy Salon
Monica Flor – Moka Cosmetics
Caty Flor – Moka Cosmetics
Zekira Kobas – Adam Broderick Salon

THE 6 FINAL IMAGES: After the glamorous showdown, I received the best final photo of each artist’s shoot, below. They haven’t yet revealed which photo is from which artist, and the winner is yet to be selected… so weigh in below! Which look do you love most? Scroll down to see all the looks, and at the bottom you’ll see who got my vote, and the super-fly reason why.

EDITORIAL WINNER – Jennifer Meletis of Lois Christie Salon:

BRAND WINNER – Monica Verduzco of MOKA Cosmetics:

My favorite? #6. The delicate rosiness in the cheeks, the sweet, glossy coral lip, and of course – the eye shadow. That look was obtained by taking a pair of carefully placed lacy panties and airbrushing eye shadow over them!

Check back soon to see who the winner is when it’s announced. (UPDATE: Winners have been announced – it was a tie! Check their Facebook page to see the vote count, and I also updated the tied winners above.)

Have a gorgeous (Halloween makeup-filled) weekend!