Sparkle Bar Owner Leiah Scheibel's 5 Beauty Essentials

Makeup is something one masters over time, not overnight. Leiah Scheibel knows. The makeup artist and co-founder of The Sparkle Bar in Scottsdale recalls her early days of experimenting with beauty products. “My mom is always like, ‘Remember when you used to wear black eyeliner on your lips?’”

As a teenager, Scheibel told her mom she wanted to try doing makeup, and began applying at department stores as early as 15. She says she was using bad makeup, and her “jams” were Cover Girl, Bonne Bell, and Maybelline's Baby Lips.

Scheibel took a lot away from her first makeup book, Making Faces by Kevyn Aucoin – which she immediately flips around in the back to an impressive full-page photo of Linda Evangelista. “It’s just so classic and timeless,” she says. Instead of YouTube tutorials, Schribel says she practiced with this book of “classic iconic women”; it also helped her to “understand the differences in people and their uniqueness.”

At 17, Scheibel got a job at Dillard’s in Paradise Valley Mall, starting in the the Tommy Hilfiger area selling fragrance and makeup. Three months later she was moved to Lancôme, where she spent six years, then Bobbi Brown for another six years. She was the regional makeup artist with Laura Mercier for four years before founding The Sparkle Bar in 2015.

Scheibel and business partner Alexandra Bradberry set up the makeup-only beauty bar along a quiet section of Marshall Way in Old Town. Bradberry runs the books and keeps up with the trends, as does Scheibel – who is billed as the “makeup mastermind” at TSB.

Running a place like Sparkle Bar was never the end game, but Bradberry and Scheibel saw a need for it. After almost a year in business, Scheibel knows what she needs to embody the quality, results, and atmosphere of her makeup bar. Scheibel’s five essentials are quality brushes, Bobbi Brown blush in pale pink, good jams, coffee, and the Laura Mercier Caviar Stick.

Good Brushes
Scheibel starts with the basics: quality brushes – meaning clean, fluffy, and “well made because we use them all the time." Sparkle Bar has about 2,000 tools used to apply more than 30 brands, so this is a must. Scheibel says she has about three go-to brands for brushes, including esum.

Pale Pink Bobbi Brown Blush
“I think a great, hot pink cheek color is to die for,” Scheibel says. By that, she means Bobbi Brown Blush in pale pink, which makes “every single human being look happy and healthy,” in her professional opinion. “It’s my desert island product; I will never not have it,” she says.

"It will last you forever," she says of the $28 product. "Years. You’re supposed to throw it out before you run out of it.”

Upbeat music needs to be on in The Sparkle Bar. And Jennifer Lopez Pandora radio is their go-to. “It’s basically like you’re doing makeup like you used to before you go out when you were in college,” Scheibel says, “and that’s what this space feels like.” 

That hit home with her at the end of a very busy Saturday, when she asked herself, “How is everyone who walks out that door just so happy?” The answer, she says, is because the atmosphere feels like “when you’re getting ready to go out and you’re with your girlfriends and there’s no judgment and it’s just super comfortable and it’s gets you pumped.” She pauses. “So, good jams.”

Caffeine is a big deal to Scheibel. "I love pumpkin spice all year round. The girls are like, ‘Yeah, it’s not fall,'” she says. “It’s my favorite. It’s so basic of me.” Sparkle Bar has a coffee bar set up in the back corner, ready for clients, along with water and Perrier. Though she’s happy to make a quick cup for clients, she says there’s nothing she likes more than clients jumping up to help themselves while she’s say, getting a clean brush. “It’s like I’m in her home doing her makeup,” she says. “It’s them being comfortable enough.”

Laura Mercier Caviar Stick
The $29 Laura Mercier Caviar Stick is eye shadow, and truly for that woman on the go, as users don’t need a brush for application. “You can look put together and polished in the car with the rearview mirror,” she says. “It’s good for the professional woman, a mom who has a parent-teacher conference, date night, for a college student,” she says, “So this is an eye shadow product that every single woman needs.”

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Lauren Cusimano was the Phoenix New Times food editor from 2018 to 2021. Joys include eating wings, riding bikes, knowing everyone at the bar, talking too much about The Simpsons, and falling asleep while reading.