Born in Music City USA, Tommy Parsons was always interested in the technical side of the arts. It was not until an elective class in College that the cosmetic bug hit Tommy. “I almost failed the rest of my classes. I was in the theatre all the time, mixing color for actors and working with anything I could get my hands on.”
Coming from a family with a cosmetic chemistry background Tommy Spent time as a youth not only applying makeup, but is learning about, not only the raw materials, but the components as well. “I spent a week one time testing adhesives for labels because I got tired of the existing labels on my foundations sliding off because of the oils and grease in the formula. This was actually the beginning of my research in makeup.
Working as a makeup artist in New York for the ABC Network and for the Black Entertainment Network on one of their longest running shows gave Tommy tremendous advantages in the field. Not only using the product for its advantages at that time but for realizing the downfalls of its formulation. “I remember working with pancake (powder based) makeup and learning there was no need to set the makeup with loose powder; but cream makeup did require powdering. The only basic difference in the formulations was the oil base and waxes used in the product – I was setting oil which did not disappear”.
Working with some of the biggest stars in country Music and Hollywood gave Tommy a close evaluation of not what products did, but how they reacted and held up on the face. Tommy worked with such greats as Dolly Parton, Randy Travis, Patricia Neal, Arthur Hill, Ralph Belamy, Ernest Borgnine, Eva Marie Saint, Gylnnis O’Connor and every country music entertainer you could imagine. His work with entertainment corporations like CNN, Knight Ridder, General Electric, and over 200 television stations in the US put him on the list of Who’s Who and nominated for 6 Emmy Awards for basic makeup and prosthetic makeup for various music videos. He is also one of the few makeup artists to have worked on President Bill Clinton, and a host of government officials as well as 5 governors for the State of Tennessee. He was the official makeup artist for the Miss Tennessee Pageant from 1986 to 2002 and was an advisor to the members of the State Board of Cosmetology for Tennessee and Arkansas members.
Working with talent was special but I was always evaluating makeup and testing raw materials. Makeup was good; at least the advertisements said it was. His work with professional companies was the actual start of his design and formulation career. “I realized there were big gaps in color ranges and technical innovations in products due to the fast paced growth of technology at the time. Working and designing colors for professional companies like the Ben Nye Company, Cinema Secrets, Graftobian, Mehron, Kryolan, and RCMA, Tommy helped advance some of the color concepts in the industry. “My first was a color that would eliminate the blue undertones from the skin and I gave it the Ben Nye Company and named it, Mellow Orange™”. Tommy loved helping the industry out and eventually created his own lines and consulated on the Board for American Beauty Cosmetics.
Tommy continued working on formulations, componentry, and design and eventually his career lead him to Los Angeles working for a large professional cosmetic company. “I always felt like I had a calling to be here”’ said Tommy, “but it wasn’t until I met with Danné Montague King that I finally met someone with the scope of the beauty industry that I had in cosmetics”.
Tommy and Danné started talking about the cosmetics world and literally dissected everything from marketing to formulations on most of the popular professional and over-the-counter cosmetic companies. Cosmetic companies making claims of what a their cosmetic “would” do, and couldn’t, gave Danné and Tommy a challenge to create a cosmetic that “did” do and would. Danné had been working on the concept for years, and Tommy had been working on the concept since the mid 70’s – it was only natural to design and create DMK Cosmetics.
Under Tommy’s direction and final approval with Danné, Tommy started formulating and working with one of the best chemists in the world and starting putting together formulas for testing and evaluation. “It was funny our first formula was a great formula, but It would not melt using the current cosmetic manufacturing machinery - so we re-created the parameters of the machinery”. Danné theory about thinking outside the box was an inspiration to Tommy and working with the most advanced raw materials, encapsulated pigments and botanical ingredients gave way to the best Cosmetic in the world – DMK Cosmetics.
Today Tommy is the Managing Director for DMK Cosmetics and works with its international and domestic team of distributors, in marketing, education and training. Tommy also is researching ideas for “outside the box” eye shadows and cheek colors. “I knew the cosmetic wheel could be re-invented and Danne’s expertise and recommendations allowed that to happen for the first time since Max Factor created pancake”.