“We will never discontinue a lipstick, because our clients own the recipe,” Stephanie Belleci Manna, Owner of Belleci Cosmetics declares standing above a marble counter that acts as her customary work station. Her assistant of five years, Chelsea Padilla stands near with focused eyes as Manna begins to pull a crimson color palette from an array of liquid pigments. “Many women come in with their discontinued Chanel and Esteer Lauder, for example, and we match them.” Manna, exclaims.
By way of experimental training and traveling for Benefit Cosmetics, Manna was able to connect with some of the leading Cosmetics artists from Beverly Hills, Los Angeles and New York. “When I was training for Benefit Cosmetics I couldn’t help but desire to start my own brand.” With an open market in the beauty industry other companies create custom blends of foundations, what sets Belleci Cosmetics brand apart from the next is how they create the correct consistency utilizing texture and moisture levels for each client. “We can make a foundation that is super matte to super sheer, the sky is the limit.” Manna continues by stating, “Many women don’t realize that you cannot use the same foundation year around. I don’t care what beauty magazine’s say, your skin tone changes with the season.” It’s about the undertone with foundation as she explains, she pauses as she glances towards my face as she states briefly, “a fair skin tone still requires color, your current foundation is lacking that natural sun kissed glow,” with a slight smile Manna states, “We’ll change that today.”
Just over seven years ago, Chelsea Padilla had answered an ad posted on Craigslist for a makeup artist position. After her initial phone interview the two met in person and as Padilla describes, “we clicked instantly”. With Padilla’s passion for painting and color theory, along with multiple years of makeup artistry for Sephora cosmetics the connection was immediately made. With the two eventually crossing paths at some point as Padilla’s mother was a resident in the same community as Manna. “We’ve been together for seven years now, we couldn’t imagine being separated,” Padilla expresses.
The same could be said of Manna’s instilled Italian cultural background, raised in a household that housed some of the most influential women of her youth. With the success of a four year run as a cheerleader for the Oakland Raiders, seven years with Benefit cosmetics as a national trainer and artist, she settled in the year 1994 to start a family. A new chapter in Manna’s life had begun soon after with her own take on the beauty industry with the launching of a debut cosmetic line, Belleci Cosmetics.
With a belief that “Women don’t have to settle” along with a simple philosophy of “Less is more” women who have experienced a custom made product with Manna can be quoted with three words: customary, effortless and convenient.
After an initial consultation, Manna began working up a base and modifying it to achieve a final product which compliments my personal individuality. Overseeing final adjustments that Manna and Padilla had made to my current beauty routine brought tears to the surface, as I glowed with such radiance. With Manna’s arm reaching around my shoulders as I placed the hand held mirror in my lap, I understand that less is more.
By Doris Hobbs