Cristina Bartolucci is known as the “mad scientist of beauty” to her team, family and friends. As the founder of DuWop Cosmetics, Bartolucci knows a thing or two about looking good. Her “jump off and swim” approach to business is one of the things that has made DuWop so successful.
Started in 1998 out of necessity, the brand has grown as Bartolucci has invented product after product. Cult favourite lip loss, Lip Venom, put DuWop on the map but high quality products and imaginative technology are keeping it there.
We spoke with the lovely Bartolucci, over brunch, to find out about the inspiration behind one of the cosmetic industry’s most innovative brands.
How did you get your start in the beauty industry?
I started out doing makeup for film and television. Before that I studied art at U.C. Berkeley, so LA and the entertainment industry was a completely new environment for me. I instantly fell in love with beauty – it was creating art on a canvas that walks and talks. How cool is that?
What inspired you to start DuWop?
While working on films and television shows, I had the chance to try practically every product on the market. My actors and I were constantly being sent products from all different companies and everyday we’d try a couple. This gave me the chance to learn what was out there, and what wasn’t. I started getting ideas for products that weren’t yet on the market. That’s how DuWop was created – out of gaps I’d find in the beauty industry.
What was your first product?
Igels was our first product. I kept experiencing actors coming to work with puffy eyes and dark circles, and I would have 10 minutes to get them from puffy to wide-awake. I was soaking gauze in ice water and pressing it on the eyes, which worked, but was so messy and not too comfortable. Igels was my solution. They are relaxing, smell decadent, and are perfect for an at home spa treatment.
Where did the idea for Lip Venom come from?
Who knew that kissing scenes on set would spark such a unique idea for a beauty product! I kept noticing that after love scenes, my actors would have these gorgeous, plump, red lips. I realized that kissing was increasing the circulation to the lips, plumping and flushing them. We wanted to create something that mimicked that effect. I am proud to say that we were the very first lip plumper on the market.
What is your favourite DuWop product?
I would have to say that it is our new foundation, Foundation of Youth. The stuff is truly amazing. It is medium coverage, but weightless, and leaves your skin feeling better after you wear it than it did before.
What sets DuWop apart from its competition?
The modern woman cherry picks the best that each makeup line has to offer. We have set out to create the cherries – cool products that you never knew you needed but suddenly can’t live without.
What is your biggest professional accomplishment?
This is a hard one because I’ve been fortunate to be involved in so many incredible events and projects through DuWop, from inspiring charity events to appearing live on QVC. If I had to choose one, it would be appearing on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” That was very exciting. She was incredibly kind and generous, and to be honest I was so glad that it wasn’t just hype.
Who are your greatest influences?
I am very inspired by the designer Paul Smith. His style has evolved over time but there is a true line in his work that you can’t quite name. That is the key to great branding, that je ne sais quoi.
How do you balance your personal life with your career?
This is very hard as I’m a mother of two gorgeous girls and a wife. We try to have dinner together as often as possible. I try not to miss dance recitals and parent/teacher interviews. We take vacations. It’s something you have to constantly work at.
What is your daily beauty routine like?
As much as I love coming up with unique products and testing formulas, my own beauty routine is pretty simple. I start with DuWop’s Foundation of Youth, an anti-aging foundation, dab some Cheek Venom blush on the apples of my cheeks, apply a few coats of Lash Venom mascara, and finish with Icedteas, our new tea infused sheer lipsticks.
Can you share a makeup secret with our readers?
Blush is a miracle product. To instantly brighten up your entire face, dab a pink or peach blush on the apples of your cheeks. Blush also takes years off your face, giving you a youthful glow.
What is your most sinful guilty pleasure?
A Vosges Red Fire chocolate bar – it’s heaven!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I would like to be growing organic vegetables, making great meals for friends, reading books and maybe trying to write one. I will always have a passion for beauty though. Maybe one of my daughters will take it up and I can nurture her career.