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Jan 17, 2022

Liz Bagatelos Wants To Spray With You

The longtime makeup artist has three kids and three new projects

By Ed Goldman

Liz Bagatelos and I became friends a little more than five years ago when she bought my home. I’m sure I’d have liked her if she’d only bought my car, but there you have it.

I first wrote about Bagatelos, a makeup artist and licensed esthetician, not long thereafter. Her work intrigued me but also her late-night texts, complete with photos, in which she’d ask me what a pictured control panel did and where certain crucial amenities of the house—like the fuse box, sump pump and garage door opener—might be located. Knowing the place was a mess of remodel wiring and mystery plumbing, I tried my best to respond each time. Sometimes I, too, was puzzled, even after living in the place for 20 years.

Edgy Cartoon

Liz Bagatelos, left, prepping a pol. Victoria Flowers photography.

These days, Bagatelos is engaged in three somewhat simultaneous ventures. 

At the Skin Lab Lounge, founded less than a year ago by her longtime pal and fellow makeup artist Jeff Jarwin and already popular, they, a few estheticians and an inhouse nurse practitioner offer Botox injections, facials, and chemical peels to treat acne and other maladies that seem relatively minor unless you happen to suffer from them. 

That’s one of her parttime jobs. Another is her continuing on-call work as a makeup artist for upscale department stores, weddings and corporate and political clients (including then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger).

But my favorite is her tanning business, for which she’ll come to your home to schpritz you to various levels of George Hamiltonosity. (No, I’m not a customer. I earned this sallow look.) Her customers also throw tanning parties, Bagatelos says, adding in a deadpan, “Sometimes it’s possible that wine is involved.” She will also mist you in a special tent in the laundry room of my former house, which is a much better use for it than I ever imagined. My only regret is that Bagatelos calls her business Tanning Essentials instead of my suggestion, Let Us Spray. But since I never said that out loud, I really should forgive her for passing on it.

Bagatelos is a good ad for her own brand, with a youthful complexion that’s “100 percent artificially tan.” Her cautionary comments about the dangers of lying in the sun are less driven by commerce than rooted in tragedy: Her father died in his 40s of melanoma. “He had it for nine years,” she says. She was barely an adolescent when he passed.

Liz and Jon Bagatelos, her husband of 25 years, have three children: Domenika (“Nika”), who’s 20 and a junior at Chapman College studying business marketing; Giovanni (“Gio”), who’s 16; and Bianka, who’s 11. Liz’s mom, Victoria Turo, who’s 87, also lives with the family.

“Her bedroom is your old office,” Bagatelos says with a grin. I’m glad to hear this, because it’s a comfortable space with its own bathroom, originally designed—by the owners prior to me, who had four kids—as quarters for their live-in nanny.  

Bagatelos has been in the makeup industry for 25 years, allied with some of its leading cosmetics manufacturers—Shiseido, Lancôme, Christian Dior and MAC—which she alternately represents, recommends and uses. But she says she has a new “semi-passion” these days: singing. Skin Lab Lounge founder Jarwin bought her a private singing lesson and though it “took me six months to get up the courage to use it” she says she’s now sufficiently hooked to keep at it, though perhaps narrowly. 

“I keep singing Lady Gaga’s ‘Always Remember Us This Way,'” she says.  It’s from the 2018 (and umpteenth) remake of “A Star Is Born.” Maybe, at 53, Bagatelos’s star is also on the ascent.

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).