MUD Celebrates Our 20th Anniversary with Francine Reich

MUD 20th anniversary Francine

Francine Reich is the Brand Manager for Make-Up Designory Cosmetics. She began working for MUD as the store manager in 1998, and studied make-up and worked as a freelance artist in the early nineties. She has also been a licensed Cosmetologist for nearly 30 years. With the company’s decision to design, create and manufacture our own line of professional cosmetics, she has been an integral part of our success.  Francine has supervised the creation and quality management of every product produced by MUD.

Q: Did you go to MUD? If not, what type of make-up education did you receive?

A: I wish MUD had been around when I was in school! I attended a couple of schools and completed a full course in 1990. I also got my cosmetology license at the same time.

Q: What was missing from the schools you attended?

A: Student support, relevance, preparation for real-life make-up jobs, thoroughness, the list goes on.

Q: How did you get connected with MUD?

A: I worked with the founders of MUD at a previous school. When I left that school, I worked for an industry beauty supply store. When MUD was formed a few months later, Tate [MUD’s CEO] contacted me to help with student kits and supplies. I started off part-time until they hired me on as a full-time employee in August of ’98. My job was to assemble kits and open the first MUD Shop. I was thrilled! Our crew was skeletal so we all wore a variety of hats in the beginning. It didn’t matter to me what I did, I just knew I wanted to be a part of this small family that soon became an extension of my own family.

Q: What was the first MUD Shop like?

A: Picture the size of a walk-in closet: small! I had room for a few make-up cases and some loose items on the shelves, and kits surrounded me on the floor. It matched our student population and needs at that time though. We rented an old hair salon as one of our classrooms and the store was in the front of the classroom. In a sense, I guess you could say I attended MUD because I was in the same room as them and got unsolicited refresher courses daily.

Q: How did it feel when MUD went global? You were a part of that initial conversation to open the MUD Studio brand. What was it like going to a MUD Studio for the first time?

A: It was exciting to know that “mini MUDs” would be all over the world. Visiting for the first time was kind of surreal. I never realized how big we were until I saw a MUD Studio. People wanted to be a part of this and trusted our brand enough to create their own. It was very humbling.

Q: What was the first product MUD created?

A: The student population was growing and so was the demand for consistent formulas and inventory. We had a micro budget, but we needed to start somewhere, so I met with chemists and gave them our requirements. We started with a handful of eye and cheek colors. It was the beginning of a whole new world for me and I loved it!

Q: What makes MUD products special?

A: I would say the research and development behind each product makes it a unique brand. Our testing process is rigorous! When I get a sample, I send it to our instructors to test first. If it passes their standards as instructors and make-up artists, I then pass it on to our staff who are not make-up artists, but actual consumers. It needs to function on all levels, not just professional.

Q: What is your main area of focus when creating a new product?

A: The need and demand are our primary focuses. Temporary trends fade in and out so quickly. We do look at trends, but overall, we create products that will have longevity with the line and work for both pros and consumers.

Q: What is your favorite MUD product that you have created?

A: The Eyebrow Cream – it’s something we have been missing for a long time. It took years to create, but we refused to settle for anything less than what we were after. We went back and forth with samples that either dried out, smudged, or had no payoff at all. Now we have a product that is not reliant on any special packaging and creates the closest thing to natural looking brows (without using fibers) that I’ve ever worked with. Plus, the colors are much more realistic to natural hair than the warm tones you find out there.

Q: When you started 20 years ago, did you foresee what MUD would become?

A: Not at all! I was in my 20s and ready for something new and exciting, but I had no clue if it would last. When I was first approached by Tate with this idea I was a little scared, but I trusted he knew what he was doing so I was on board. He had a vision that maybe some of us couldn’t see at the time, but his instincts seem to always be right, and here we are 20 years later. I am grateful they brought me on and gave me this opportunity, it’s been a trip.

Q: Where do you see MUD in the future?

A: It’s fascinating to see how many esthetician and cosmetology schools seek out our cosmetics and curriculum. It’s a good niche and the demand has been growing like crazy! I think keeping the focus on education and continuing to create a line that works for everybody is what has gotten us this far, so keeping on that course seems to be the direction we are headed. MUD Studios would also be a great addition in some of the larger U.S. cities for students that are unable to get to LA or New York.


Product Focus: Smitten Kit

Are you looking for someone fun and flirty, with a little bit of an adventurous side? A girl you can take out to a high-class dinner or for some fun in the sun? Then look no further, because I’ve found you the perfect date. Let me introduce you to our newest palette, Smitten.

A stunning collection of six eyeshadows and one lip glaze, Smitten is a versatile palette with all the shades you need to get on board with the mauve trend. One side has three rich berry colors, while the other contains three blushing neutrals. The full set gives you the ability to go from day to night, or from editorial to more conservative looks in the bat of a eyelash.

A die-hard lover of solid washes of color, my go-to looks are a single swipe of the soft camel brown eye color, Chamois, or rich burgundy eye color Berrywood all over the lid from lash to crease. To spice up either look, I’ll smudge Vineyard, a warm, shimmering burgundy wine eye color along the upper lash line, or along the bottom rim of the eye as a drop shadow. If you have green or hazel eyes, you’re especially in luck–the brighter mauve or purple you go with these shades, the more these contrasting colors will make your eyes pop.

Another route you can take is with the more wearable nude shades, Galaxy, Cashmere, and Chamois. Together or separate, the three can make a variety of pleasant every-day looks, appropriate for business or a friendly family gathering. However, all three can easily be taken into the nighttime with the bright purple shade Velvetine, either applied with water or liquiset as a liner or smudged along the lower lash line. The shocking shade works surprisingly well with the kit’s tamest colors, opening you up to hundreds of looks. 

However, my favorite product in this kit is the nude lip glaze, Bare. Though our lip glazes might not look like the most exciting, I can’t emphasize enough how luxurious this formulation feels on the lips. Buttery and moisturizing, the lip glazes have a sheer pigment and a lot of movement–avoiding the sticky finish their industry counterparts often have. With its subtle sugary scent and wearable tone, this shade is perfect for a night out or a kiss on the lips. Needless to say–I’m totally Smitten! 

MUD’s Smitten Kit can be purchased here.

Product Focus: Firebrick Eye Color


SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSMOKIN’!– Jim Carrey in “The Mask”* on Firebrick eyeshadow (early 2000’s)

Do you ever feel like you woke up one day in a world where everyone is rocking pops of colors out the wazoo? As I sit here with my usual, standard makeup look, I felt like everyone around me was standing out as I blended in. I was struggling to incorporate more color into my looks until a little fire was sparked inside of me- Firebrick. I found Firebrick to be the most wearable pop of color and it was the easiest for my nude-loving self to incorporate.


For those of you a little more on the conservative side, a bright warm orange may seem intimidating to throw into your everyday look; however gently blending a bit of Firebrick into your crease or transition area allows you to spice up an otherwise average eye look.

Once you’re feeling a little more aquatinted to adding color into your makeup,  I recommend you jump right in and start having some fun! There are plenty of ways to make a statement with Firebrick; here are some of my favorite techniques!

Drop Shadow! Daily, I blend the same two warm browns under my eye for a subtle hint of drama; swapping my usual shadows with Firebrick gave my eyes a bold pop that isn’t overwhelming. To do this, dip into the shadow pan with a flat brush like MUD 410 or 400. Gently run it back and forth under your lower lash line, building to your desired opacity.


Pack it on! I spiced up an evening smoky eye by adding Firebrick on my lid, creating a look that helped me stand out in a crowded room! To achieve this red-hot look, use warm browns in your crease and outer corner of eye. Deepen the shades as you concentrate more on the outer “V” and work your way down. Once you’ve built your standard smoky base, liberally apply Firebrick to your lid using a packer brush like MUD 350. If you want to kick it up a notch, dampen your brush and apply Firebrick wet by patting it over your existing shadow.

Pro Tip: To achieve a vibrant editorial look, apply a wash of Firebrick eye shadow all over the lid on a wet brush.

While I will always be a monochromatic, nude-loving makeup artist at heart, Firebrick has open the door to get me out of comfort zone, stay on trend, and have a little fun!


Product focus : Spark




Dunkin Donuts – the corner of Rector and Greenwich – grabbing breakfast before a busy days work at MUD Studio NY.

“Large coffee and a glazed donut, please.”

I’m waiting for the elevator when I go to grab a bite of my donut, I realize … this is my ideal highlight. It’s dewy, it’s glistening, it’s creamy and so much more.

But seriously, who doesn’t love a good highlight. As someone who’s constantly on the search for the ultimate glow, I was so excited when I got the email that MUD would be releasing our very own highlight shade, Spark! For weeks, I anxiously awaited to arrival of our new cheek color, hoping it would be as radiant, pigmented and silky as the highlighter of my dreams. When it finally came time to reveal Spark, it did not disappoint.

spark_alexis2Above - Alexis wearing Spark as a highlight

Spark is a shimmery golden-beige powder designed to complete your make-up, giving the skin a warm natural glow. While Spark is ideal for highlighting and illuminating it can also be mixed with matte cheek colors to add a touch of shimmer. It’s buildable formula will allow you to create a subtle daytime glow or layer it to achieve a dramatic high shine look.

NEW_Spark_instagram2 Spark swatched

If you’re going for a natural day look apply Spark with a loosely pack fan brush, like MUD Brush #510. If you’re trying to blind with your highlight, use a damp, dense brush like MUD Brush #620 and apply Spark in thin layers.

Pro Tip: For an all over glow that will work just as well for a model on set as it will for bride on her big day, try mixing a dime size amount of our MUD Face Primer with your Spark Cheek Color and apply to high points of the face and body with  fingers or a brush.


Think of me and my donut the next time you go to highlight with our new cheek color, Spark!

Alexis Chance,  Store Manager at MUD Studio NY


Glitz & Glam Face Chart by MUD Artist Vanja Djuran

The latest issue of MUD Art includes this beautiful step-by-step illustration for creating a dramatic, glamorous make-up look. Some might say it’s theatrical, others might say it’s perfect for the holidays. Either way, we might all agree that it’s simply stunning.

Eye Colors: Bone, Taupe, Statue, Pavement, Canvas, Onyx | MUD Cake Liner in Black | CFX Wheel 1 Black
Face: Dual Finish Pressed Powder in Light 2 (DFL2)
Brushes: #100 #210 #300 #340 #810
Lips: Sandy Beach

Available on

A Lovely Email from Sorbet Salons, South Africa

We can say what we want about ourselves, but what speaks loudest is what others say about us. This email from Danica, Owner the Sorbet Salons (South Africa) to her staff was forwarded to our offices in Valencia, CA. It speaks to the quality of our products, our service and the students of MUD:

“I made a point of visiting the MUD academy during my holiday in California just to see how big they really are compared to MAC and I must say, there is no comparison , we really do have yet another  strong and fantastic brand in our store. The academy looks so small from the outside, but behind their beautiful retail store they have a massive academy where they teach their students how to do all sorts of makeup & hair like you have never seen before. 

The [MUD staff] girls were very excited to meet someone from South Africa that keeps MUD in their store and that shares their passion for the brand. They were also very generous to take me on a tour in the academy and show me some of their students work. It was really something to see…”  

Sorbet / Sorbet Dry Bars / Sorbet Salons/Sorbet Nail Bars


Thank you, Danica for visiting us in California. We are beyond pleased that you had a great experience and hope to continue serving you and the extended MUD family in South Africa with the best service and quality products.

Contact MUD South Africa | MUD Cosmetics Distributor

Brenda Botha
Make-up designory (MUD) South Africa
Head Office
Website : / Facebook:






MUD Alumni Shine Backstage at MISS USA

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And the 2014 MISS USA winner is … Nia Sanchez representing the state of Nevada! Last Sunday, the fourth-degree black belt beauty received the MISS USA 2014 Tiara amidst a cheering crowd at the Civic Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  As the official cosmetics sponsor for MISS USA and MISS TEEN USA, Make-up Designory congratulates all of this year’s beautiful contestants!

It has been an absolute thrill to have taken part in this event which included not only the sponsorship for cosmetics, but the opportunity to have a special team of MUD Make-up Artists chosen by Sean Conklin, Lead Artist to make-up all 51 of the MISS USA contestants for the registration and fitting events, photo shoots, the dress rehearsals and the live show.

The MUD Alumni team of make-up artists included Lauren Smeraglia, Ashley Guirdy, Vanessa Moreno, Chelsea Wallace, Jessica Poche, Jill Pugh and Denise Zamora.

We asked Sean to elaborate on his strategy for choosing such a successful group of artists. Sean stated,

“I chose our team based predominantly on their skills and personalities, and each artist had to be a MUD graduate. The goal was to create a great working dynamic. Since we would be working on 51 contestants, judges and t.v. personalities in a span of 12 hours, we needed to be quick, precise and, needless to say, pleasant. Now that the whirlwind of events are over, I look back and am astonished at the way our team performed—like clockwork. The girls were all willing and able, and as a whole, I couldn’t have asked for a better team.”

It takes amazing individuals to make a great team, we asked Sean to sum up in a few words why he chose each artist. Here’s what he said:

On Lauren Smeraglia “Lauren carries MUD products at her salon The Powder Room. She is familiar with MUD products. When I went to her Salon to offer further product and retail training, we connected instantly.  She was one of the first on my list of contacts.

On Ashley Guirdy: ”I remember Ashley as a student. She has a great personality and she’s a fantastic artist. It was great to have a Louisiana local!”

On Vanessa Moreno: “This gal is as sweet as can be, but her skills really ‘pack a punch’!”

On Chelsea Wallace: “Chelsea’s background includes Pageants. Her experience, along with her upbeat personality, and her excitement for joining the MUD MISS USA team is what sealed it for us.”

On Jessica Poche: “She’s another Louisiana local, so having her friendly personality and excellent make-up skills on our team worked out perfectly.”

On Jill Pugh: “Jill is fast and furious (laughs). Her make-up skills in beauty are superb and her work ethic is phenomenal. We are lucky to have gotten her on board.”

On Denise Zamora: “Dee is my right hand woman! She’s great at delegating, awesome at her make-up skill and loved by all.”

Thank you to all who participated in this amazing event. For more photos, visit our Flickr Page and