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03.04.09

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Phaedra

BEAUTY QUEEN: A look styled by Rebecca Sell

Style

Soft Sell

By Jessica Fromm


REBECCA SELL can make women feel like a million bucks. As a longtime professional makeup artist and proprietor of Barbarella Beauty in Willow Glen, Sell sees women come to her boutique, salon and artsy makeup studio in a style rut and come out with a whole new look and attitude.

"I've seen it happen for years, and it still blows me away," says Sell. "I've had women come in that were going through difficult life changes, or feel like they're in a slump, and just a few makeup tips, the right hair color and a great pair of denim or top later—it really transforms their whole attitude."

Barbarella Beauty in Willow Glen is a one-stop shop for style. The boutique's stylists and makeup artists pride themselves on having the experience, background and ability to make women feel and look their best by focusing on their strongest features.

Sell first got into doing makeup professionally in the late '80s. Discovering her passion for helping women reinvent their appearance, she quickly moved up in the industry, working on commercials and fashion spreads for Vogue, Allure and Elle. After opening up her first venture, Kiss & Make-up in Los Gatos, Sell expanded the business in 2003 with Barbarella Beauty in Willow Glen. There, she and her son, Anthony Sell, also a makeup artist, have gained a reputation as "eyebrow miracle workers."

According to Sell, some of the biggest cosmetic mistakes that women commonly make are overtweezing their eyebrows, not updating their look to be age appropriate and overdoing eyeliner.

"I find that people focus a lot on lining their eyes in the wrong areas and applying lip color that they've seen in a magazine and love but really isn't a good version for them," says Sell.

With a checkerboard floor and retro pinup photos on the walls, Barbarella's retail boutique is located at the front of the shop. It stocks cute, girly active wear and accessories for women who want to look polished and feel comfortable on a day-to-day basis. Barbarella Beauty's products include an eclectic array of denim for all ages, Soul Revival blouses and dresses sewn in L.A. exclusively for the store, as well as jewelry and accessories made by local designers, all hand-picked by Sell herself. The shop's mirrored makeup counter features Dianne Brill cosmetics. The salon in back is where Barbarella's quartet of stylists can do everything from a blowout to cuts and colors.

Sell says that since the beauty boutique opened, she has seen downtown Willow Glenn evolve a strong sense of community: "I think we have more of a mentality of supporting and shopping within the neighborhood. It takes a special type of clientele to recognize that it takes everybody, the neighborhood and residents, to support small businesses, and we have that now."

She adds, "For a long time, people [who lived in Willow Glen] had been used to going to the mall and driving to Los Gatos to do their shopping. Now, with all the stores and restaurants and boutiques that have opened up, people have become more and more open to shopping within their own neighborhood. They are realizing it really does take them to support small businesses."


BARBARELLA BEAUTY is at 1183 Lincoln Ave., San Jose; hours are 10am–4pm Mon, 10am–7pm Tue–Fri, 10am–5pm Sat; 408.947.7255.

REBECCA SELL can make women feel like a million bucks. As a longtime professional makeup artist and proprietor of Barbarella Beauty in Willow Glen, Sell sees women come to her boutique, salon and artsy makeup studio in a style rut and come out with a whole new look and attitude.

"I've seen it happen for years, and it still blows me away," says Sell. "I've had women come in that were going through difficult life changes, or feel like they're in a slump, and just a few makeup tips, the right hair color and a great pair of denim or top later—it really transforms their whole attitude."

Barbarella Beauty in Willow Glen is a one-stop shop for style. The boutique's stylists and makeup artists pride themselves on having the experience, background and ability to make women feel and look their best by focusing on their strongest features.

Sell first got into doing makeup professionally in the late '80s. Discovering her passion for helping women reinvent their appearance, she quickly moved up in the industry, working on commercials and fashion spreads for Vogue, Allure and Elle. After opening up her first venture, Kiss & Make-up in Los Gatos, Sell expanded the business in 2003 with Barbarella Beauty in Willow Glen. There, she and her son, Anthony Sell, also a makeup artist, have gained a reputation as "eyebrow miracle workers."

According to Sell, some of the biggest cosmetic mistakes that women commonly make are overtweezing their eyebrows, not updating their look to be age appropriate and overdoing eyeliner.

"I find that people focus a lot on lining their eyes in the wrong areas and applying lip color that they've seen in a magazine and love but really isn't a good version for them," says Sell.

With a checkerboard floor and retro pinup photos on the walls, Barbarella's retail boutique is located at the front of the shop. It stocks cute, girly active wear and accessories for women who want to look polished and feel comfortable on a day-to-day basis. Barbarella Beauty's products include an eclectic array of denim for all ages, Soul Revival blouses and dresses sewn in L.A. exclusively for the store, as well as jewelry and accessories made by local designers, all hand-picked by Sell herself. The shop's mirrored makeup counter features Dianne Brill cosmetics. The salon in back is where Barbarella's quartet of stylists can do everything from a blowout to cuts and colors.

Sell says that since the beauty boutique opened, she has seen downtown Willow Glenn evolve a strong sense of community: "I think we have more of a mentality of supporting and shopping within the neighborhood. It takes a special type of clientele to recognize that it takes everybody, the neighborhood and residents, to support small businesses, and we have that now."

She adds, "For a long time, people [who lived in Willow Glen] had been used to going to the mall and driving to Los Gatos to do their shopping. Now, with all the stores and restaurants and boutiques that have opened up, people have become more and more open to shopping within their own neighborhood. They are realizing it really does take them to support small businesses."


BARBARELLA BEAUTY is at 1183 Lincoln Ave., San Jose; hours are 10am–4pm Mon, 10am–7pm Tue–Fri, 10am–5pm Sat; 408.947.7255.


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