Perfecting Foundation with Christian and JR Kehoe of RCMA

It’s true! A successful makeup application starts with a strong foundation.

You can create the best smokey eye in the world or the most perfect red lip application, but if your complexion isn’t up to par, your beautiful artistry will go unnoticed. That’s why, when it came to selecting the perfect foundation for LimeLife, we knew our best bet was to trust the pros.

Growing up in the makeup industry and working trade shows at a young age, it was easy to know which products were the most sought-after by professional makeup artists. The Alcone booth was always the one-stop shop for all of the artistry essentials: sponges, powder puffs, Make-Off Remover Wipes, priming and setting sprays, special effects products (yes, fake blood and all!) and RCMA foundation palettes.

I remember being 12 years old and selling foundation in bulk to artists all day, not really understanding the hype or why they needed so much foundation. Later, after really digging into the formula to create LimeLife’s Perfect Foundation, I discovered what made it so magical. I’ve since seen first-hand how important the right foundation is when it comes to professional artistry, on-camera performance and feeling like your best self every day. If high-profile artists trust this formula for their celebrity clients, we knew our LimeLife family would love the results!

Our Perfect Foundation formula has been around a lot longer than we have, yet it is still our best-selling product today. Read on to learn more about the history behind this iconic foundation!

LimeLife by Alcone’s bestselling Perfect Foundation now comes
in 34 shades!

Meet Christian and JR Kehoe, the brothers who continue the legacy of their late grandfather, Vincent J-R Kehoe, and his perfect, tried and true, foundation formula. 

Who created the RCMA foundation formula and why?

Christian Kehoe: Our grandfather, Vincent J-R Kehoe was the brains behind the formula. He was the founder and president of The Research Council of Makeup Artists, or RCMA, from the 1960s until his passing in 2008.

Vincent was an established professional makeup artist who had been working since 1940. Through his career, he was in charge of over 3,000 major television, film and stage productions, but he was probably best known for the many books he wrote on the art of makeup. To this day, many pros say his books inspired them to become makeup artists and thank him for sharing his knowledge.

Our grandfather wanted to be a driving force in the professional makeup world with his innovation and education. He loved to push the envelope and find a solution or better way to do things as a makeup artist. One of the biggest problems he found was when film and TV were transitioning into color. The makeup didn’t translate, and all of the makeup artists had to scramble to try to keep their actors looking natural. There were very few makeup companies that were dedicated to the professional world, so Vincent set out to change that. His brand would be dedicated to the pros and make what they needed to be successful in this new era of TV and film.

He sat in his apartment in Manhattan, took out all the makeup in his kit, and laid it on the floor. He put them into categories of tones that worked and ones that did not. But that was just the first step, because Vincent was not just a makeup artist. He was also a chemist and a published photographer for Life, Sports Illustrated and many other magazines.

It really was a perfect storm, having a makeup artist that understood chemistry and photography.”

He took his knowledge in all these fields to come up with the perfect foundation that would look natural on the skin while holding up for hours under the hot lights on set. This was how RCMA’s Color Process Foundation was born! (Also known as LimeLife’s Perfect Foundation!)

What sets it apart from other formulas? 

Christian Kehoe: I think there are several things that set our formula apart from others. One of the biggest things is our versatility – you can wear RCMA every day or on the red carpet. RCMA was also one of the first makeup companies to use a very high pigmentation in their formula. Vincent created it that way for a reason, because you can use very little product to cover the face and it looks much more like natural skin. When other products have less pigment, you add layer after layer and it can begin to look cakey.

I think one of the other traits that separates us from other formulas is our consistency. We do small batches and our variant tolerance is very small. That way the makeup artist knows when they order our product, they’re going to get the same color again and again.

JR Kehoe: And we make everything with love! Haha.

What makes a cream foundation better than a liquid?

Christian Kehoe: I wouldn’t say that one’s better or worse – they’re just different. Cream foundations like ours last longer, hold up better throughout the day and are more versatile than liquid foundations. They can hold more pigmentation, which lets you use less product, so your money goes farther too. When you use a liquid foundation, half your product gets absorbed into the sponge.

Can you talk a bit about your relationship with Alcone and LimeLife? When did you first learn about Alcone and how has the partnership evolved? 

JR Kehoe: Alcone has been our sole distributor of RCMA in New York for over 25 years. We have become very close friends with the Mallardi family during that time. 

Christian Kehoe: Honestly, I can’t remember a time before, when Alcone wasn’t a distributor of RCMA products.

We’ve always had a really good relationship with Alcone and the Mallardi family. When Madison came to us and asked us if we wanted to be a part of LimeLife, it really was a no brainer.

What they were trying to do made so much sense. They took their years of expertise and knowledge of working with the professional makeup artists, knowing what really works, and combined all of those products, the best of the best, into one brand. Their idea of making it easy for the consumer to have what the pros really use was brilliant. On top of that, it gives people a chance to start their own business and sell products that really work. We were honored that they wanted us for their foundation.

Why do you think building relationships is so important in the beauty industry?

JR Kehoe: The makeup community is small but continuously growing. The industry is constantly changing, and we need each other for support and creativity to grow with it.

Christian Kehoe: I think aligning yourself and building relationships with good people is important, especially in the beauty world. The great thing about working with Alcone was we had already been working together for so many years. We’ve known the Mallardi family for so long that we knew what kind of people they were. They are amazing, good-hearted people, and to be honest, in this industry, it’s hard to find people with integrity and morals. Working with them is very much like working with family.

What does it mean to you to carry on a family business?

JR Kehoe: It means everything to us.

We take great pride in what we make because it’s not just the RCMA name on it, it’s ours. We are 3rd generation, and we make everything from scratch, beginning to end.

Christian Kehoe: It really does mean everything because RCMA’s been in our family for almost 60 years. Being able to continue our grandfather’s legacy the way we have means the world to us. It makes it very personal. We take every product that goes out personally.  And, being a family business, we can do what we want; we don’t have to cut corners or push out products that we don’t feel are right. The best part is we get to work with each other. Our family has always been very close and now we get to see each other every day.

What is it like working with your brother?

JR Kehoe:  It’s the best, we are so lucky and fortunate to be able to work and keep the family legacy going with our best friend.

Christian Kehoe: I agree, it’s the best. We’ve always been very close; we are best friends. I know a lot of people don’t work well with their family, but I think with us it’s the opposite. We’re both very different, so we each bring different things to the table. There are times when I see something he doesn’t and there are times when he sees something I don’t. And the truth of the matter is I know that I can trust him 150%. I know that he cares about me and my family as much as I care about him, so we’re always looking out for each other and trying to make sure that we do the best for the company because we know that’s what’s best for each other.

What did your grandfather teach you about business and/or makeup artistry?

JR Kehoe:  Everything, from compounding to hand pouring. If you make a quality product, it will be used repeatedly. We have stuck to this and believe that’s why we have been around over 58 years.

Christian Kehoe: He pretty much taught us everything we know in some aspect. We’ve never worked for another makeup company. We’ve only worked for RCMA. So what we know and how we do it may be different than how everybody else does it. The most important things he taught and ingrained in us were quality, integrity and consistency. These are the things that we have control over. If we take care of these things and make products for the makeup artist without gimmicks and without lies, just good products, we will always have a market.

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