Thank God For My Cousins: Sonia Kashuk Brushes & Products Review

There are a lot of makeup lines out there and new products are constantly released.  I’d very much like to try them all, please.  If I wanted to do just that all day (and I do!), I wouldn’t be able to do anything else. So until I’m the position to do nothing but try new products all day–at which point I probably will have died and gone to heaven–I rely on recommendations from friends, family, clients, fellow bloggers, other makeup artists, and beauty publications.

Whenever I do a woman’s makeup, I ask her what she normally uses.  I don’t do this to tear apart, judge, or to suggest other products.  Rather, part of why I ask about her favorites is so that I can decide if I want to try them. If someone really raves about an eyeliner, or I hear a bunch of people praise a certain bronzer, you can be damn sure I’m going to get it.

I first heard of the Sonia Kashuk line about five years ago. My cousin, Brooke, got me a Sonia brush kit for my birthday. Brooke had tried a Sonia brush before and liked it and thought I would too. She was right, as Virgos often are. The brushes came in a white travel case and to this day, the blush brush that came in that kit is my favorite. It’s super soft, distributes color evenly and doesn’t shed.  The Sonia brushes, if they’re taken care of properly, last for a while.

My cousin Maria lives in New York City, and she’s the one who got me into the Sonia products.  She finds these amazing products at Space.NK and sends them to me.  How great is she?!?!

Below is a list and review of the Sonia products I currently have:

Beautifying Blush in Lilly:  This is one of the most used powder blushes in my kit.  It’s a warm pinky peach that looks amazing on medium and olive skin tones. As long as there’s a primer underneath, it lasts for a while. It’s well pigmented, but not to the point where it’s too much.  It’s very buildable, so you can choose how intense you want the color to be.

Beautifying Blush in Flamingo: This powder blush is a cool pink shade that really brings a pop of color to the cheeks. I reach for it often when I am doing a purple eye makeup look, as it balances out the look and doesn’t clash with the purples.  See “Lilly” description for pigment and length of wear.

Creme Blush in Rosey: I think the shade name is a little deceiving.  I’d call it “Peachy”, or maybe “Peachy-Rosey”, but who am I to judge? This blush is easy to blend (it doesn’t grab onto the skin then dry and not budge, like some cream blushes) and it gives a gorgeous flush to the cheeks. I’ve found this shade to be flattering on several skintones.  Like many cream blushes, it can fade quicker than powders, but I’ve found that layering it really helps.

Lip Palette in Shimmering Sorbet: This lip palette includes five colors–shimmery apricot, light toffee brown, mid-tone pink, coral and berry. The apricot and pink are on the sheer side and the brown, coral, and berry are more pigmented. This palette has a great color selection and the formulas don’t feel sticky. They do tend to dry out my lips a little, but that might just be me. As far as length of wear, they fall somewhere in the middle–they don’t come right off, but they’re not especially long-lasting either.

Eye Shadow Quad in Smoke in Your Eyes: This is my most used eye shadow quad. It contains a dark gray, a cream, a mid-tone gray and a chocolate brown. The brown is absolutely gorgeous and flattering on many eye color/skintone combos. The two grays are great for a smoky effect. The cream works well as base or a highlight.  The shadows are well pigmented and as long as you use a primer underneath (which I do with all shadows, no exceptions), they last all day.

Eye Shadow Quad in Born to Be Wild: This quad contains four beautiful colors–a vibrant purple, a rose gold, a dark blue and a light, frosty blue.  The purple is perfect for brown eyes, and I love the rose gold on blue eyes.  If you want to wear all four colors at the same time, one combination I like (especially for blue-eyed girls) is the gold rose on the lid, dark blue at upper lashline, light blue at lower lashline, and purple at outer third of lower lashline.  The pigment and length of wear is the same as the Smoke In Your Eyes quad.

Eye Shadow Duo in Stormy Night: The two shadows, a silver gray and green gray, are shimmery and high impact. The colors look great when worn together or alone. If you’re nervous to use metallics, try lining close to your lashline with a gray or black pencil liner first, then trace over the liner with an angled brush dipped in one of the shadows. Pigment and length of wear is the same as eye quads.

Enhance Eye Shadow in Fleshy: The name grosses me out a little, but the shadow is great.  This is a must have for those with light to medium light skin. It’s close to the color of those shades of skin, so it’s great as a base.  And if you are a very natural one shadow girl who just wants the lids to look more even, this is a good choice for you.  Pigment and length of wear is the same as the other shadows.

Sonia Kashuk is a solid makeup line, and I’ve liked or loved every product I’ve tried. The blushes and the eyeshadow quads are amazing, and everything is relatively inexpensive. The line is available at Target and SpaceNK.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

A Nine to Five Face

I am first and foremost a makeup artist, but I also have a day job as an Office Manager. Although I’ve been known to come into work wearing what some may call “inappropriate work makeup” or “a night look” (I can’t squash the artist in me just because it’s a weekday!), I also sometimes wear Office Manager Makeup.  Today is one of those days.

I’m sorry that I don’t have a picture to attach. But even if my camera wasn’t currently on the fritz, I probably wouldn’t have one.  Whenever I take a picture of myself, I end up looking like some weird turtle/troll/bunny hybrid and then I start researching plastic surgeons in the area. So you’re just going to have to trust me here.  This is a day job appropriate look that would work on people with light to medium skin.

Because I tend to use a lot of products and I know some of you would want a simpler look, I’ll put the word “optional” next to the products you can get away with omitting.


  • Sense Daytime Protective Emulsion (or SPF moisturizer that you like)
  • MAC Face & Body Foundation
  • Make Up For Ever Sculpting Kit #2 (to highlight and contour) OPTIONAL
  • MAC Pro Longwear Concealer (under eyes and on blemishes)
  • MAC powder blush in Tenderling (on apples of cheeks)
  • Rimmel Stay Matter pressed powder (to set foundation and undereye concealer)


  • Too Faced Shadow Insurance
  • MAC eyeshadow in Ricepaper (all over lid)
  • MAC eyeshadow in Wedge (in crease) SKIP IF YOU HAVE HOODED LIDS
  • MAC eyeshadow in Satin Taupe (on outer V)
  • MAC Fluidline gel liner in Blacktrack (top lashline) OPTIONAL
  • MAC eyeshadow in Brun (a tiny bit at lower lashline, using an angled brush)
  • Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash Mascara (top and bottom lashes)
  • MAC eyeshadow in Mystery (to fill in brows) MAC OMEGA IS BETTER FOR BLONDE BROWS


  • MAC Lipliner in Subculture (line and fill in lips) OPTIONAL
  • MAC Lipstick in Creme d’Nude

That’s it! It’s really a pretty, polished, work appropriate look.  I’ll do one for medium to deep skin as soon as I can.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

An Anti-Aging Helper: Dr. Brandt Collagen Booster Review

Skincare is so important. You know that, right? I intend write a post soon about skincare tips, my routine and things I learned in Esthetics school. But until then, I’m going to give you this review of a product I tried recently.

It’s called Collagen Booster and it’s a serum made by Dr. Brandt. I’ve used the Dr. Brandt Pores No More pore minimizer before, and it really makes pores look smaller, so I was confident that this serum would do its job.

I’m in my 20s and don’t really have a problem with collagen loss (which is related to decrease of skin elasticity and formation of fine lines and wrinkles) yet, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to try it.  I used the serum on the left side of my face only for three weeks to see how it worked. After that time, that side of my face looked slightly brighter and my skin was considerably softer. It didn’t make me break out, nor did it cause any irritation.

As far as serums go, the Collagen Booster is on the thin-medium side. Some serums are so thin and liquid-y that they seem watered down. But this one has a good consistency, is not sticky, and it absorbs quickly.  The only thing I don’t like is that it contains parabens (more on that in another post).

Because the collagen in my body is not visibly depleting yet, I can’t say for sure how well this works for that issue.  But Dr. Brandt is an excellent skincare line and I have a feeling it probably does help with the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. And, this product claims to help with the strengthening of collagen fibers, as well as some other work on the intercellular level.  A lot of skincare is at that level, which can’t be seen by the naked eye. So appearance-wise, it is just taking preventative measures. But once you see the fine lines, wrinkles, or damage, it’s past the point where you can make much difference anyway (at least with non-prescription products).

Sorry, tangent.  Bad habit of mine.

The Dr. Brandt line is available at Sephora,, and probably a bunch of other places, but I don’t have the time to research them right now. I’m a bad blogger.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

I See Why Snooki Likes It

Due to my gluten allergy, I can’t eat bread and pasta like a good Italian girl should.  I recently decided I had to do something to fit in with the rest of my family, to match them in some way. So I got spray tanned.

No, that’s not the real reason I did it. I did it because like many people, I love the look of a tan.  But after I had some moles removed and my dermatologist used the term “pre-cancerous,” I figured it would be best to avoid the sun.  I love lying out at the beach, but between the cancer connection, wrinkles, and fact that I work seven days a week and don’t have time to go to the beach, a natural tan isn’t an option for me.

Never one to jump into anything, I started talking to my esthetician about spray tans last year.  I had her walk me through the spray tan prep, process and maintenance about a dozen times before I finally booked my appointment.

Before my evening appointment, I had done (almost) everything that my esthetician, Bethany, had told me to do.  I exfoliated the night before and didn’t put on any lotions or perfumes that day. I removed my makeup right before the appointment and used a baby wipe to take my deodorant off (you’re not supposed to have any on because it can make the spray tan apply weirdly, but I couldn’t go without all day).

I changed into an old bikini once I got into the room and stepped into the spray tan tent. Bethany took out her airbrush machine and warned me that the spray would feel a little cold. It did, but it wasn’t unbearable. The whole process took around 15 minutes. I then changed into my loose, dark colored clothing and went home.

Afterwards I was pretty dark, but not orange or streaky. There was a slight fake tan smell, but nothing overpowering.  I couldn’t shower, wash my hands, sweat, or basically go near water for the rest of the night, but Bethany had told me what to expect so I knew not to work out or make any plans.

The next morning, I showered and rinsed off until the water went clear. And my tan looked AWESOME.  It made my skin look so good that I willingly went to a makeup job with no face makeup on. And oh, the makeup options tanned skin brings!  The gold eyeshadow that usually does nothing for me looked gorgeous and red lips on a tanned face are a totally different experience.

The spray tan only lasted about five days, but I also went with the lightest shade (I’ll go darker next time). I absolutely loved it and wish Bethany could spray tan me every couple of days.

Some things I’ll do differently next time:

  • I’ll exfoliate my feet better. Every time I use any type of tanner, it gets all patchy on my feet.  Drives me nuts.
  • I’ll make sure to wear looser, dark clothing after the application. I had a loose t-shirt on, but my black yoga pants were a little too fitted to wear right after the appointment, so they made faint lines where the seams are.
  • I’ll be better about moisturizing after each shower. Bethany really stressed this rule, which I followed for the first few days. Then I got lazy.  My tan probably would have faded more uniformly had I heeded her advice.

I’ll definitely, definitely do it again.  I can see myself getting addicted to spray tans and am thinking I might make another appointment right now…

Have a beautiful day 🙂