If Extra Bucks Were Real Dollars, I’d Be Rich

CVS, extra bucks, I love my extra bucks, drugstore makeup
I sure do!

I go to my local CVS so much that one of the cashiers knows my name, and he gives me Hershey’s Kisses and extra coupons when I come in. Last week, I made four trips there in 24 hours. I recently wore out my CVS card and they had to give me a new one. I think I spend more time there than I do in my own house.

Besides birthday cards, contacts solution and toothpaste, I buy a lot of my kit essentials there. Here are my top CVS items:

1) Wet Ones Wipes. I use these to remove fake blood from skin, and sometimes to clean my brushes in between clients. These wipes kill 99.99% of germs, so my brushes get properly sanitized, and they dry quickly. They’re also gentle enough to remove makeup from my human palettes (my hands and arms) without drying out my skin.

2) Essence of Beauty makeup brushes. Essence of Beauty is CVS’s cosmetic line. I adore their eye makeup brushes, especially the small pencil brushes. They’re great for placing shadow in the inner corner of the eye, and smudging liner at the lashline. The larger pencil brush is great for creasework.

3) Cotton Balls. If you remove your eye makeup–and if you wear it, you should be removing it at night–you need these.

4) L’Oreal Eye Makeup Remover. Every makeup artist has their favorite eye makeup remover, and this is mine. My eyes have been burned, stung, clouded up and otherwise assaulted by other eye makeup removers. But this blue, white-capped bottle has treated me kindly, and is able to remove even the most stubborn eye makeup. I use the original formula.

5) Ardell DuraLash Flares. I use these all the time. 95% of my brides wear them, so I buy a lot. Flare lashes are more subtle than strip lashes, and they allow you to build the level of drama you want. (Update: I now buy these in bulk from a beauty supply site but for non-makeup artists, CVS is the place to go for these).

6) Neutrogena Oil Free Moisture for Sensitive Skin. I find that undereye concealers work best when the area is prepped with a little bit of lotion first. So I use this non-irritating moisturizer on everyone. Also, it comes without SPF, which I prefer for weddings and photoshoots (SPF products can cause a white cast in pictures).

7) Hand Sanitzer. My job requires that I touch people’s faces, and it’s just not right to do that without sanitizing first. It’s one of those cheap but essential items every makeup artist absolutely needs. And of course, these aren’t for makeup artists only. Everyone needs a little sani in their purse, car, or desk drawer.

8) Petroleum Jelly: I’ve used this for chapped lips, to make eyeshadow glossy and to add a sheen to the skin. My cousin uses it on her lashes at night and swears it makes them softer. I haven’t tried that yet because if I add any more products to my nightly beauty routine, I’m going to have to start at 7:00pm.

CVS is quick, cheap, and (at least for me) convenient. What’s your favorite CVS product?

Have a beautiful day 🙂

My Lashes Don’t Go Out Without It: Dior Diorshow Mascara Review

Diorshow mascara, best mascara
You’re alllll I neeeed to get by.


A good mascara can make your eyelashes fuller and longer. A great mascara can carry a look alone. And an amazing mascara can make you spend your last $29.50 on it.

I have tried many, many, many mascaras, but Dior Diorshow in Black 090 is my all-time favorite. (And I’m updating this post nine years after I originally wrote it, so now we’re talking many, many, many, many mascaras.) It lengthens, volumizes, doesn’t clump and doesn’t smudge. Hell, I think it even did my laundry for me one time. There is a reason it is a cult favorite–it’s the best.

I use the original Diorshow on myself and non-wedding clients (I don’t love the waterproof version, so I use something different on brides and bridal parties). The original Diorshow has a few relatives, including Blackout, Iconic, Iconic Overcurl and Pump n’ Volume, but I prefer the original Diorshow for my base coat (okay, base coats). I use Clinique High Impact Mascara as my second mascara, because it adds length and has an inky black factor that I love when layered on top of the original, but that’s a different blog post.

The Diorshow wand is the biggest, baddest wand ever. Once you try it, you’ll have a hard time seeing other mascara wands as anything but wimpy. This magical mascara also has the faint scent of roses. How often do you use eye makeup that smells good? It’s a treat.

I often get asked for product recommendations, and sometimes my answers vary depending on skin type, coloring, the person’s style, etc. But I 100% recommend this mascara to anyone who has eyelashes.

You can get it at Sephora and add onto the beauty insider points.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

I Don’t See It As a Problem

I’ll admit it—I’m addicted. I know it’s not always good for me and I spend way too much money on it, but I can’t help it. I love the look of it, in all its different varieties, I love the smell, and I love what it does for me. I can’t live without it.


The Beauty Gene was not passed down to me from my mother. She rarely buys makeup, and usually only wears a little foundation, a little lipstick and a light coat of mascara. Growing up, I would jump at the chance to play with her ancient makeup or gasp! be allowed to purchase a Bonne Bell lipgloss or Wet n’ Wild nail polish of my own.

The only logical reason I can come up for how this addictions started is the fact that I was reading teen magazines at a young age. I somehow finagled myself a subscription to Seventeen Magazine at age 10. I read it for a good year before my babysitter showed it to my mom and suggested finding me a magazine that was more age appropriate. True, there were a lot of articles about sex and relationships, but I wasn’t paying attention to those (I didn’t know a condom from a condo at that point). What I did read were all the beauty tips and reviews. I think I was the only fourth grader who was exfoliating on a weekly basis. So this reading and understanding of “older girls” stuff is the only catalyst I can identify for my makeup addiction.

I’ve created a beauty timeline to try to understand where my addiction started, and exactly when I got hooked.

Age 3—My best friend Danielle’s mother makes us up as clowns. She does it for Danielle to help her get over her fear of clowns and for me because I love the feeling of makeup on my face. The pictures she took show a nervous Danielle, and an ecstatic Allison.

Age 8—My Aunt Terry, a nurse, is painting my nails for me and tells me she is not allowed to wear nail polish to work. I am horrified at the thought and say, “Can you at least paint your toenails?”

Age 11—My friend Amanda and I are playing when we find my mom’s Mary Kay eyeshadow palette. I cover Amanda’s eyes with a turquoise shadow and paint her lips with a pale pink. Amanda’s mother flips when she sees it, and we are not allowed to play together anymore.

Age 18—I go to CVS every few weeks to pick up new makeup. Lavender lipstick, kelly green eyeliner, shimmery liquid bronzer—I try everything.  Sometimes all at once.

Age 24—I go to school for Esthetics, where I routinely interrupt my instructor to ask her which lipstick or blush she is wearing. Her answer is considered part of a lesson, and I know I am enrolled in the right kind of school for me.

The addiction has only become worse as I’ve gotten older and started my career as a makeup artist. In the last few years, I’ve discovered a more expensive, more potent brand of the stuff—high end beauty products. My L’Oreal mascara has been replaced with Diorshow, my CoverGirl blush was thrown away when I discovered NARS Orgasm, and my Maybelline lipgloss got the ax the day I tried a Lancome Beauty Tube.

As a makeup artist, I can validate my addiction. It’s probably scary to some. I see the fear in the eyes of makeup virgins when I first approach them with my Shu Uemura eyelash curler. But I know that once I am finished transforming them into an enhanced version of themselves, they too will feel the rush and may become a beauty junkie like me.

My hands shake as I open my boxes from Sephora, but the calm hits when I see my samples. I rip open a Stila box to uncover the tinted moisturizer that is on my face before you can say “natural looking glow.” My friends get excited over engagements and babies, but I feel true joy when winged eyeliner comes out perfectly.

I’m not interested in kicking this addiction, and I don’t think I could if I wanted to. I see the world as a giant inspirational makeup palette, and I want to share what I’ve learned as a makeup artist. This blog will be home to product reviews, tips and techniques, makeup pictures, stories from various makeup jobs, and hopefully suggestions from others.

Hope you enjoy it!

Have a beautiful day 🙂