Fun with Color Inside Our Brands

Celebrity makeup artist Paola LaMorticella on preparing the skin for color

Paola LaMorticella, the founder of Olio E Osso, has been the go-to makeup artist and stylist for top athletes for over 25 years. We first fell in love with Paola’s Tinted Balms, which she originally developed while working on photo shoots with the US Women’s Soccer Team: they’re versatile, sheer, and give skin the light wash of color that is often all you need to look a little fresher and brighter.

Paola joined us for our Sea Retinal launch party, which we were thrilled about; we always love seeing her work her magic with makeup. What we noticed most during her last visit was how much attention she pays to prepping her canvas. This careful use of primers and nourishing balms on the skin allowed her to use a lighter touch with makeup so that everyone leaving her chair looked exactly like themselves, but at their very best: brighter, fresher, more vibrant. Which, we think, is the look that most of us are hoping for.

So Dara called her later and asked, “Can you tell us more about how you prepped everyone's skin?” While packing a portable kitchen for a family trip to the beach (Paola is a phenomenal cook), she kindly obliged. Find out what she shared below.


Dara: You seem to use your Balm Vita and your new Salvezza Treatment Jelly on everyone’s skin before you apply makeup. What is it about these two that makes them musts?

PAOLA: I love the Salvezza and the Vita so much because they are so simple and do so many things. They both are full of actives and powerfully nutrient-dense ingredients that the other balms don’t have; they’re supercharged.


Dara: Tell us about Balm Vita first, since it's the first supercharged product you made.

PAOLA: Balm No. 1, which we started with, is a great, everyday balm that’s a got some shine and a lighter weight. I use it as a shine on my eyebrows, and it’s also great for slicking back baby hairs.

I wanted to make something that was richer and more nourishing, a little heavier weight without the shine. So, I started by taking away some of the shea oil and added in wild-harvested meadowfoam oil, which is so beautiful and healing. Ours is actually harvested in our home state of Oregon, which is amazing; it’s been used for centuries in this area by indigenous peoples as a medicinal oil and plant.

I also took away all the fragrance, and I added an olive squalane to bump up cellular regeneration and ceramide E to strengthen cellular walls. This helps the skin hold moisture and heal. There’s also beeswax and olive oil in the formula, so it’s a really intensive, antioxidant-rich, and nutrient-dense moisturizer that helps strengthen the skin.


Dara: I love Balm Vita — it’s one of the few things I’ve found that really moisturizes my lips. How do you use it?

PAOLA:  Just scoop it out and soften it with your fingertips, then apply it wherever you need it. It’s amazingly soothing for any kind of rash, even diaper rash. And if you have very dry skin and you’re going somewhere and trying to pack light, you can take it as your moisturizer: it’s protective and lets your skin breathe. And it’s miraculous for healing tattoos! It really bumps up color on older tattoos, too; it really sharpens those lines. I have a lot of tattoo-artist friends who use it. From birth to tattoo to aging skin while traveling – are you kidding me? It’s kind of amazing.


Dara: Now, Salvezza — tell me how this one came about, because it’s really unusual. People were going wild over it at our party.

PAOLA: At some point last year, I just felt my skin needed a boost of moisture. I started playing around with castor bean jelly as a slug because it’s very nutrient dense, it’s non-comedogenic, and it’s an alternative to petroleum jelly that’s used with burn patients who have an allergy to petrolatum. 

I decided to see if I could use that to make something small and compact that I could use as a spot moisturizer and a super dense hydration boost. Something that would plump, firm, and leave the skin feeling really wonderful. Caffeine also does beautiful things to your blood flow; I love it in the lip scrub, which is where I first used it (and I just love the smell of that cold-brewed coffee), so I added it to Salvezza, too. Then I added squalane and Ceramide E, which are in the Vita, for cellular regeneration. With the addition of the caffeine, it’s a really lovely combination.

Then I started testing it on set as a primer, especially under the eyes, because I found that it really does plump the skin; I notice a difference in the texture of skin when I use it on people who are in my chair. I use it on crepe-y under-eyes or marionette lines before putting makeup on — I let it sit, do something else, then come back, and it makes skin kind of luscious.

It’s also great as a nightly mask on the lips or under the eyes. I’ve been using it for a year under my eyes, and we have a small army of people who are doing that.


Dara: What does the rest of your routine include right now?

PAOLA: I’ve been using some of your products, too! At night, I’ve been using the Sea Retinal and Salvezza. Then, in the morning, I use your Sea Serum first, I use some of my face oil (coming soon!), I put on some Salvezza and let it sit, and then I put a little sunblock over the top.

As I need it, I’ll use our Lip Scrub in the morning, too. It helps plump the lips a little bit with its caffeine, and it seals in moisture well. I also like it because it’s a physical exfoliant, so it doesn’t strip: it has a couple of different grinds of the super-caffeinated coffee I use for its cold brew, and then I grind olive pits in my flour mill at the studio and put those in. You swipe it on, then work the ground coffee into your lips and let the caffeine do its thing.


Check out the Olio e Osso lineup at Ayla here. We’re huge fans of it all.

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