In 1963, legendary Hollywood makeup artist Vincent JR Kehoe was quietly working on something big. He'd just founded The Research Council of Makeup Artists (RCMA) to unite the most talented, sought-after artists from across the TV, stage, and film industries. Inspired by the collaboration, Kehoe developed his own uniquely formulated foundation, the Color Process Foundation, calibrated to perfectly suit professional makeup design conditions.
The foundation immediately became an industry standard, adored equally by professional makeup artists and the people they work with. RCMA Makeup, born out of that breakthrough, has maintained a six-decade reputation as the best of the best. Now, nearly 60 years after that launch, RCMA is bringing a slew of those pro-loved favorites to the public for the first time. Ahead, get all of the exclusive details on the new launch, and read our editor’s honest thoughts.
Spend any time paging through the massive popular profiles of celebrity makeup artists like Emmy-winning Ernesto Casillas, Sir John (he's Beyoncé's go-to), or social media phenom Kandee Johnson, and you'll see evidence of RCMA everywhere. "I and other pro makeup artists always keep RCMA in our kits because it’s foolproof," Casillas tells us exclusively. "It provides smooth full coverage and the undertones are just right. RCMA has never failed me, and I can use it as a concealer, foundation, and contour."
Sir John's in full agreement and tells us it was actually Tina Knowles who put the artist onto the brand when he was working with Beyoncé on tour. "It’s one of the things that stays on in concert," he explains. "It doesn’t roll off the skin. There’s not a lot of oil in the foundation, so it really adheres to the face." Even celebrities themselves can't get enough, including model Kendall Jenner, who reportedly keeps an RCMA stash in her personal makeup kit.
First in the lineup is a new version of the RCMA cult-classic foundation formula. The RCMA Liquid Foundation ($36) is at once full-coverage and imperfection-blurring yet impossibly light on the skin. Available in 36 different shades, there's a perfect color match for everyone.
Top Emmy-winning makeup artist Tym Buacharern says the color selection is one of the best things about the brand: "The color range is suited for every skin tone, from the lightest to the deepest skin tones," says the artist, who regularly works with Lupita Nyong'o, Regina King, and Janet Jackson. "I don't know any artist that does not have one of RCMA palettes in their kit."
One of the most exciting products in the line is the brand's new richly pigmented concealers, the Liquid Concealer ($29). Like its sister product, the Liquid Foundation, this full-coverage concealer takes the lightest touch to cover even the deepest hyperpigmentation, under-eye circles, or blemishes, all while delivering hydration to skin. Available in 16 colors, there's a shade to complement every foundation in the line.
RCMA's Premiere Pressed Powder ($28) comes in four colors—technically. One shade in the group is actually colorless, but its silky-smooth texture and light blurring properties make it one of the most popular products in the range for makeup artists. In fact, Buacharern calls the no-color powders his makeup kit must-have.
Equally adored is the RCMA Premiere Loose Powder ($26) which can actually be applied before or after foundation for extra oil absorption and an even more high-def finish. It's makeup artist Sean Harris' favorite products from the line, too.
"I absolutely love the colorless loose powder, along with the RCMA foundation," he tells us. "This combination has helped me create some of the most beautiful looks for my clients and never lets me down." Judging by the stunning work he's done on Lori Harvey, his opinion is unassailable.
Armed with our favorite celebrity makeup artist's recommendations and the newly available collection, two Byrdie staffers put the line to the test. Here are their honest reviews.
Jasmine Phillips, Social Media Editor
I have combination skin and I’m particularly oily in my T-zone area. This pressed powder helped lock in my foundation to keep me shine-free throughout the day. I had concerns about the no-color powder causing white spots on my face, but it laid on seamlessly and even blurred my pores without altering my foundation color.
Amanda Ross, News Writer
My skin is much clearer now than in my early 20s, but I still struggle with leftover hyperpigmentation and birth control-induced melasma. After buffing on a few drops of the Liquid Foundation with a fluffy brush, I realized it's a product I could probably put on in the dark and still look presentable—the coverage is that good. But really, the remarkable part of this line is how lightly it sits on the face. It definitely doesn't feel like I'm wearing the same full-coverage foundation Beyoncé wears on-stage, but every time I glance in the mirror and see my jawline discoloration fully vanished, I remember. Both powders stopped my oily cheek patches in their tracks, and the tiniest dot of concealer covered what the foundation couldn't... not that there was much it couldn't cover.