A cool splash of water, orange juice and oats may serve as an eye-opener for most morning routines, but not for Judith August, the owner of Judith August Cosmetic Solutions. “I put my lipstick on first thing in the morning—and my concealer,” August says. “I don’t like to look at myself all dragged out.That’s me!” August’s fascination with all things cosmetic sprouted as a preteen, snooping through the vanity of her best friend Carla’s mother. “She had hundreds of lipsticks, in so many colors. That was my introduction to makeup … with Stella’s drawers,” August says.
The beauty world hooked August, and she ultimately become a fashion model during the 1960s, landing her big break with a contract as a May Company girl at 18 while studying art at UCLA. However, being behind the camera came with scrutiny. “I had the look of the day, but photographers would have to do special lighting for me because I [had] very large bags around my eyes. Over the long term, if I wanted to stay in the game, I had to learn how to conceal,” August says.
This was the catalyst for her career in makeup. August begged for the help of her childhood “cosmetic junkie” inspiration: Stella. The mother of her longtime friend made a key introduction for August to natural skincare guru Aida Grey of Beverly Hills, who took August under her wing. With many days spent tinkering in the boutique, August became an ace in the field, and she soon branched out to conduct lectures and training programs as well as make appearances on behalf of the beauty company.
But she wanted more from her work. “I began working with plastic surgeons on the corrective side of things. I didn’t want what I was doing to be frivolous; I wanted it to be important,” August says. This work included teaching patients to conceal scars and bruises. She also freelanced for various doctors, who enlisted her cosmetic skills to teach makeup techniques to children and battered women.
August’s role in cosmetic medicine had her traipsing across town, dragging her tools in heavy duffels. In an effort to decrease the load, she switched to using a concealer pencil from Germany she discovered in a local beauty store. “It replaced a lot of stuff I had to carry,” August says. Eventually a doctor with whom she worked wanted to purchase her new tool as a gift for post-surgical patients. “Then I got the idea: This could be a business,” August says.
In 1986, August created her own formula for “The Everything Pencil,” a concealing color stick to cover discolorations of all types. With a feature in Allure magazine, this single product launched her company. Eventually she found her way to Southern Nevada.
“I came to Vegas from California, because I was engaged to a man who was opening a business here. At the same time there was an earthquake in 1994 where I was living. My house collapsed around me—it was the Northridge Earthquake. I was living in a three-level condo and the top floor fell into the first floor. It was pretty serious. Everything that could break, did.”
Today, Judith August Cosmetic Solutions covers the gamut of corrective color makeup with a focus on covering up scars, under-eye circles, rosacea, dark spots, tattoos and more.
Through the years, August’s aesthetic prowess has retained her as a veteran competitor in one of the top-grossing industries in the world. “You know, my success can be summed up in that I’ve been successful in my own little way. I’ve never advertised. Anything that’s ever been written about me has just come to me. I’m certainly not a household name, but I found a niche, and I’m still here 30 years later.”