“It was really during COVID-19, when we were all trapped in our homes and with nothing to do, and I had no creative outlet, and I wasn’t around my team or my friends, and Jeremy was upstairs watching ‘Game of Thrones’…It’s not my thing, so I went downstairs, and I made a pot of tea, and I thought, ‘I really wish I had a scone,’” explained Blandino, asked what sparked his interest in the new hobby. “It sounded delicious, and I thought, ‘I’m going to try to make one.’”
He and husband Jeremy Johnson founded the beauty company in 1998, before it was acquired by The Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. 18 years later for reportedly $1.45 billion, the largest purchase in Lauder’s history.
“They turned out as ugly as crap, but they tasted delicious,” he went on about the scones. “And I had so much fun doing it, and I put it on Instagram. I just found a creative outlet that I loved. It really reminded me of my day job where I put different colors, textures, ingredients together to create one amazing new thing, and that was exactly like baking.”
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While playing chef in the kitchen is new for Blandino, he’s long been inspired by food while creating cosmetics collections, bringing a playfulness to makeup with cheeky product names and formulations like chocolate-scented bronzer.
Located at The Grove in Los Angeles, open now through May 17, the activation is a shoppable event, showcasing Too Faced bestsellers like the Better Than Sex Mascara, Lip Injection Lip Gloss and the Born This Way complexion range, as well as the Sweet Peach Palette, Hangover Pillow Balm and newly launched Too Femme Heartcore Lipstick, a glossy color and lip balm hybrid.
“It’s a wonderland,” Blandino said. “It’s a totally immersive experience for your senses.”
Visitors can also expect Instagram-ready photo moments, with decorative cakes by Samantha Ray of The Gemini Bake, and programming with giveaways, mini makeovers and social media competitions.
“It really is just sharing our hearts and sharing our smiles and our interactions and our souls with one another,” Blandino said of the importance of in-person events. “You can’t do that on Zoom. We tried….It’s in our DNA now to be safe and to be aware, to be responsible to ourselves and to one another, but it’s time to just live our lives and have fun again and start looking for the best in each other and the best in life.”
The pop-up marks Too Faced’s first event since the pandemic began. Complying with L.A. County’s COVID-19 guidelines, masking will be up to the individual. (While the county currently requires masks in some settings, like public transportation, it’s leaving mask mandates up to the policy of a business or venue.)
“It’s time to celebrate again and to experience each other in a fun and fabulous way again without fear, without worry, without stress,” he added.