Cult Product: RCMA foundation

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The Research Council of Makeup Artists was founded in 1962 by renowned makeup artist and respected author Vincent J-R Kehoe. A fierce advocate of education in the industry, Kehoe created RCMA to further the research and development of cosmetic products that would meet the specific needs of professional makeup artists working in the film, television, and stage industries. 

Mr. Kehoe himself designed a foundation formula he called “Color Process” foundation, which has come to be known in the makeup world as simply “RCMA.” Since its introduction more than 50 years ago, RCMA is still considered by many professionals to be the number one foundation choice.

But what makes RCMA so popular with the pros? It’s all about integrity. RCMA foundations are made only with vegetable oils, pure waxes, and FDA-approved colors. And, they don’t include any perfume, lanolin, petrolatum, or mineral oil, which means people of all skin types can wear RCMA without much worry of allergic reactions or clogged pores.

Even after Mr. Kehoe’s passing in 2008, his grandsons honor the careful production of the foundations by manufacturing small batches under strict conditions to maintain consistency and color standards. Every batch of the formula is given a stringent color test to ensure artists have the exact color they need, every time.

Most pro foundations are made with a ratio of 30–40% pigment to 60–70% filler (ingredients like waxes and oils). In mass products, the ratio of pigment-to-filler can be even lower. RCMA foundations are made with a ratio of at least 50% pigment to 50% filler—so a little foundation goes a very long way, and leaves the complexion looking natural and not like it’s covered in makeup. It layers beautifully with cheek colors, highlighters, and contour shades.

RCMA was truly groundbreaking for its time, especially in creating foundation shades for any and every skin tone. The range of shades offered covers all ethnicities, and you’ll find an option with the right depth for the lightest and darkest skin tones, and everything in between.

Kehoe wrote more than a dozen books on makeup, including Special Make-Up Effects, The Technique of Film and Television Make-Up, and The Professional Make-Up Artist, written with colleague Joe Blasco. The man who literally wrote the book on the subject of makeup created a product that can make any face look its flawless best. Trying RCMA, and you’ll realize why this foundation has earned its cult status.

As Director of Artistry for The Makeup Show, The Powder Group and On Makeup Magazine, makeup artist James Vincent has touched every facet of the industry with his talent. With specialties in film and theatre, television and celebrity work, editorial and runway work, James is foremast a passionate educator, training for brands such as MAC, Stila, CNN and Lancome. He continues to inspire the next wave of artists with his beauty expertise. Follow James on Twitter @JVincentmakeup.