ISOMA Cosmetics (Official Website)


C. Robert Erdman
Executive Director
of the International Society of Makeup Artists (ISOMA)

C. Robert Erdman served as the first Executive Director of the International Society of Makeup Artists, which is also referred to as ISOMA. ISOMA is an international association of professional makeup artists. It was established in 1970 by a small group of makeup artists who wished to learn from one another in order to advance themselves in the multi-media makeup profession.

ISOMA’s Executive Director, Mr. C. Robert Erdman said ISOMA was created because, at one time, many individuals that desired to become film and television makeup artists found it difficult to acquire truly professional training in the field since there were no makeup schools that taught professional makeup techniques. Those individuals that did learn professional makeup techniques generally had a family member that taught them or helped them to prepare for union admittance as a union apprentice. Once one was accepted into a union, one served a three-year apprenticeship. As an apprentice one was required to attend union apprentice classes once a week for three hours and be taught by an assigned union instructor. During the week, an apprentice was permitted to work in a television studio or with freelance senior members on freelance assignments. At the end of their three-year apprenticeship, an individual was required to take a test to see if they qualified to become what is referred to as a “Senior Member,” “Journeyman Member,” or “Full Member” of the union. The union tests could last from 8 to 12 hours long and cover oral, written, and practical tests.

Ms. Su Jeong Kim from Korea and Mr. C. Robert Erdman. They both served as judges for the makeup competitions for the International Beauty Show (IBS,) in New York City

For those that were not fortunate enough to become a union apprentice, one had to learn the art of makeup any way they could, which was quite difficult. At that time period, there were not the numerous public makeup training schools that there are today. There were only two books available that taught professional makeup techniques. One was a stage makeup book titled “Stage Makeup by Richard Corson.” The other book was a hard-to-find book titled “The Technique of the Professional Makeup Artist.” It was not advertised and was not displayed in any bookstores. One must realize that at the time period, there were not many ways for one to learn how to be a professional makeup artist if you did not have a family member to teach you.

In 1927, a makeup artist named Fredrick Boulevard Phillips and his colleagues met several times in one of the rooms at the Max Factor Cosmetic studio and building to discuss their issues and options to improve their working conditions. They finally decided to form a group of makeup artists that they called the “Motion Picture Make-up Artists Association” (MPMAA.) They continued to meet and discuss what to mention in a future letter that they would send to the independent producers and owners/heads of the motion picture studios, in order to ask for better working conditions.

Max Factor was supportive of the group and permitted the MPMAA to use one of the rooms in his large building on Highland Avenue, California. Max Factor had previously used the space to give demonstrations to the film makeup artists, in reference to how to use his products. The MPMAA members later used the room to demonstrate to one another various techniques, discuss makeup problems, and work-related issues, and hold meetings. These meetings and demonstrations were the beginning of the first “craft classes” for makeup artists and the early formation of the group.

In 1937, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (referred to as the IATSE,) finally recognized the Motion Picture Makeup Artists Association (MPMAA,) and gave them a Charter to become a part of the IATSE. The makeup artist members of the Motion Picture Makeup Artists Association (MPMAA,) and the hairdressers in Hollywood (who had formed a group called the “Studio Hairdressers Association (SHA,) merged into one group and together they were called the IATSE, Local 706, Makeup Artists & Hairstylists Guild.

On February 18, 1949 in New York City, another group received a Charter from the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (referred to as the IATSE.) It was created to represent makeup artists and hairstylists in film, television, theater, commercials, and live theater events on the east coast of the United States. It became known as the IATSE, Local 798, Makeup Artists and Hair Stylists Union. These two unions represent makeup artists and hairstylists within the respective areas of their jurisdiction.

As time passed by, many of the new members of Local 706 and Local 798 were family members that had been taught the art of makeup artists and hair by their parents or other family members of the two unions. It was an ideal way for new members to be trained by experienced working professionals in the industry.

For those individuals that did not have a family member to train them and since there were no makeup schools, seminars, no numerous makeup books, no professional magazines, no videos, no DVDs, tradeshows, etc., a few makeup artists decided to form an association like the makeup artists in California did in 1937 and in New York in 1949. As a result, in 1970, ISOMA was created by a select group of young makeup artists who formed friendships and shared trade secrets and techniques in order to educate themselves and advance in the multi-media makeup profession. Slowly by word-of-mouth, ISOMA grew in size with members from around the world who wished to form a bond of learning from one another. Other groups formed similar associations over the years.

Bob enjoyed being the Executive Director of the International Society of Makeup Artists (ISOMA) and helped it grow with members around the world

After half a century, ISOMA is pleased to have accomplished the goal of helping one another learn the craft of makeup. Today, there is less of a need for such assistance due to the fact that there are a variety of professional schools and colleges that teach makeup, numerous makeup books, videos, CDs, makeup magazines, makeup trade shows, an Academy Award for makeup artists, and makeup seminars that are taught by seasoned professionals who share their knowledge and techniques that they have acquired during their lengthy careers. 

Mr. Erdman always said that “The goal of ISOMA has always been to be more than just a group of networking and self-help individuals who could learn from one another, it has been a multi-purpose one. ISOMA wants to inspire and recognize young makeup artists and acknowledge unsung individuals as well as honor the more celebrated master craftsmen/women of our profession. Mr. Erdman stated, ISOMA wished to create respect and esteem for makeup artists and the international makeup profession. He strongly encouraged both individuals and organizations to work hard to advance the makeup profession with new ideas, products, techniques, technologies, etc. Further, ISOMA promotes a Code of Ethics and Excellence for members of the makeup profession and has always worked to create international goodwill.” 

ISOMA prides itself on being an impartial international society that wishes to simply honor members of the makeup profession who have not and may never be honored by members of their profession. ISOMA feels it is an important service to acknowledge deserving individuals. Especially in an industry that entertains, educates, and inspires millions of people who have been affected by the work of various professionals in the multi-media profession. ISOMA is honored to be the creation and means of this goal. ISOMA honors members of the makeup profession and presents awards to competitors at various national and international competitions.

In 1990, Mr. Erdman was instrumental in helping ISOMA create its own premium-quality line of cosmetic foundations (called ISOMA Cosmetics, which it sold exclusively to its members around the world. In 2009, ISOMA officially offered its professional line of premium-quality cosmetics on the Internet to professionals everywhere who were employed in the multi-media makeup profession (films, network television, cable television, video, theater, print, society, etc.). The ISOMA Cosmetic line was expanded to consist of a variety of shades of Airbrush Foundations for numerous skin tones (which may also be mixed to create additional shades.) Due to Bob’s keen sense of business, he introduced several other useful products such as premium-quality Powder Puffs, Makeup Setting Sprays, Lip & Skin Balms, etc.

To the world, C. Robert Erdman was known as the Executive Director of ISOMA but he was simply referred to as “Bob” by his family, friends, and fellow members of ISOMA. Bob was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey and later resided in Hillside, N.J. before moving to Somerville, N.J. in 1995.

He graduated from Kean University in Union, N.J. with a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master’s Degree in Organizational Psychology. He was interested in photography and makeup artistry, due to his work with various makeup artists. His congenial personality, broad knowledge of just about everything, and his professionalism made him the ideal candidate to be the Director of ISOMA when it was first created. He organized ISOMA into a world-renowned association.

Photo credit: Megyn Craine


At ISOMA and at home, Bob was always an active individual. He was a member of the Somerville Elks and the Central Jersey Chamber of Commerce. Bob enjoyed every facet of photography, camping, and traveling in his spare time with his artist wife Amy. Bob especially looked forward to the Christmas holiday season dressing up and being called “Santa.” His warm, jolly, and caring personality made him a beloved Santa. He appeared at various town events giving out candy canes and warm-hearted cheers to everyone that he encountered during each month of December. As he aged, his beard turned white and that enhanced his loveable appearance as Santa. He enjoyed being with his wife Amy and various family members. No one could have asked for a better friend and Executive Director of ISOMA than Bob.

The International Society of Makeup Artists (ISOMA) Code of Ethics

ISOMA Code of Ethics

As a makeup artist, I am a member of a select group of highly skilled professional artists rendering their craft to individuals in need of personal enhancement for medical reasons or for individual beautification for society wear or for the enjoyment of people who may see our creativity as part of their viewing pleasure in print, or during stage, film, television, video and Internet performances. 

I shall upon my honor strive to achieve professional knowledge, growth and excellence for myself, my profession and my society.

Conduct myself with dignity and perform my craft in an ethical and professional manner.

Be ever mindful to treat with decorum and esteem other professionals and those that I encounter in my professional career.

Share in a like manner, with other giving professionals concerning artistic knowledge, techniques and abilities.

Bestow upon others the same professional kindnesses and courtesies that I would desire for myself.

Try in some meaningful way to give back to other professionals and society in return for the professional and personal enrichment that I have enjoyed and benefited from my profession.

Promote the advancement of the makeup profession in every manner and deed possible, knowing that I, as well as other professionals, shall benefit from such promotion.

Create goodwill, not only within my own circle of friends and community, but contribute in some way to the promotion of international goodwill, which shall benefit all of humankind.

Scroll to Top