Wake Up and Makeup

Alarm clock, beauty hacks, puffy eyelids
Go to hell.

Sometimes that alarm clock goes off and you just want to cry, right? A randomly sleepless night, a tossing-and-turning-from-the-flu slumber, a tiny nocturnal human screaming for you every hour, or the fun one, an unexpected late night out. All of those things will make you feel like crap before your feet even hit the floor the next day. But duty calls, and you have to pull yourself out of bed. Swear as much as you want–you still have to do it.

Then you look in the mirror. Yikes! Puffy eyelids and undereyes, redness on your inner eyelids, dull looking skin, forehead lines the opposite of on fleek, and parched lips. Some coffee and a shower might help you feel less tired (at least temporarily), but what can you do about those visual signs of exhaustion?

That’s where I come in. Replace “tiny nocturnal human” with “4:42am call time,” and I’ve been there. As a business owner, I have to push through exhaustion like anyone else with a job or commitment. But as a makeup artist, I feel pressure to also look polished any time I’m in public. I can’t go to a job, meeting or other appointment looking like I only slept for three hours, even if I did.

So I’ve learned some beauty hacks to give the illusion that I am well rested and definitely not thinking about how comfortable my bed is every 15 minutes. So read on and get woke.

Ice, Ice Baby. When I wake up from a near-sleepless night, I am puffy. Not Sean Combs “Puffy,” but swollen puffy. My undereyes may be holding some baggage, but my eyelids are usually worse. And it doesn’t stop there. My whole face looks slightly swollen and trust me, these cheeks don’t need any extra help. Luckily, there is an easy fix for this one: an ice cube. I put one in a dish towel then press it over my face, starting from the forehead down. I press, hold for about four seconds, and move. For my lids, I hold the cube there for 20 seconds. This whole process takes maybe five minutes and it really works.

Stay Hydrated. Lack of sleep accentuates fine lines, and alcohol (if that was a factor in your reduced slumber) dehydrates the skin, which also brings out the lines. Rehydrating skin will blur those lines, so get to it. You’ll get a little help from a moisturizer alone, but layering hyaluronic acid under that is a better choice. For more on the miracle product that is HA, peep my blog post.

Exit the Dark Side. In most cases, dark undereye circles are blood vessels showing through the thin underye skin. When we are tired, our body produces more cortisol to help us feel awake. That increased cortisol causes bumped up blood flood, which makes the blood vessels expand, in turn making them more visible through that thin undereye skin. If you want to know how to minimize them, I’ve got a blog post for that too. On days when you are feeling especially vampire-y, stay away from purple tops and berry-toned lipsticks, as they will bring out the undereye darkness you are trying to hide.

You’re Blushing. When people are tired, they often look paler than their natural skintone. The easiest way to bring color back onto the face is blush. A little blush (soft pink for fair skin, brighter pink for medium and a reddish pink or red for dark skin) makes a world of difference on tired skin. I prefer a cream blush in this situation, because as we discussed, your skin is probably dull looking and/or dehydrated after sleep deprivation. Cream blush blends into skin more easily than powder, which can get patchy on dry or dehydrated skin. My favorite cream blushes are the Make Up For Ever HD Cream Blushes. Pat a small dot on the center of each cheek, blend with your fingers and watch two more hours of sleep magically appear on your face.

Hey, Bright Eyes! Eye drops may help with any bloodshot business you have going on, but makeup can hide the telltale red inner eyelids. Applying some off-white pencil to the waterline will cover the redness and instantly make your eyes look more awake. MAC keeps discontinuing the ones I like (R.I.P. Pale Yellow and Chromographic Pencil NC15/NW20), so I sadly don’t have a good personal recommendation for you right now as I had stockpiled some Chromographic Pencils a few years back. I’ve heard this one is good, and it’s cheaper than the MAC ones, so I’d go for it. I’ll be sure to post reviews of any new ones I try.

Shadowy Lady. If you don’t normally wear eyeshadow, I wouldn’t recommend starting that on a day you are exhausted and low on patience. But if you do normally wear eyeshadow, stay away from shimmery shadows if your lids are puffy, as that will only accentuate that. I also tend to avoid light matte shadows, as light colors highlight whatever area you put them on. I tend to do a light gray or mid-tone brown smokey-ish eye (I say it that way so you don’t think I’m doing some dramatic, heavy look) along with a shadow liner, as that seems to work best when my lids are puffy. The ice cube trick will usually take care of the puffyness, but sometimes I run out of time or am being lazy. Hey, I’m not perfect.

Lip Service. Dry lips go hand in hand with tired skin. A good lip balm like Glossier Balm Dotcom will bring some moisture back, so start there. As far as lip color, again, if you don’t normally wear any, this might not be the day to start. But if you do, something sheer or creamy will look and feel best. Hold off on the matte lip colors if your lips are dry, as matte formulations stick to dry patches, making them more obvious. Unless you’ve cancelled out all of the redness in your skin and waterlines and your eyes are not bloodshoot, I would avoid a red lip as that will bring out redness on the rest of your face. Much like with the blush, a lip color in the pink family will bring some color back onto your face and make you look more rested.

There are levels of tired you just can’t push through. But I’ve found that when I can hide the obvious signs of exhaustion with makeup, I feel a little less tired when I look in the mirror. It’s like tricking your brain, you know?

I hope you have lots of well-rested days in 2018, but when you don’t, you’ve got these tips to fall back on.

Have a beautiful day 🙂


Start With a Good Foundation (Review)

Foundations have come such a long way. Back in the day, they were all full coverage with pink undertones, and offered only a handful of shades. No wonder foundation got such a bad rep! But with all of the advances in beauty product technology and demand from women for foundation that looks natural and matches their skintone, we now have some great ones to choose from.

I came across this foundation review blog post recently, and I really agree with almost all of it. It’s rare that I find an article like this that I actually like. So I’m sharing it with you, but with one disclaimer. Their recommended foundation for mature skin is MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation. That’s a full coverage pressed powder foundation, which I have in my kit and use on clients with acne (usually over MAC Face and Body). I find that powder foundations can settle into the fine lines on mature skin, accentuating them. So I tend to use MAC Face and Body or sometimes Armani Luminous Silk–both liquid foundations–on my 40+ clients.

Other than that though, I love this review and think it’s worth a read. Feel free to comment with any questions.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Hearing Voices: The Entrepreneurial Guilt Dilemma

Marshall Mathers, feeling no guilt. #goals

Do you have a song that’s always stuck in your head? Mine is “Guilty Conscience” by Eminem and Dr. Dre. It makes sense that this is my mind’s default song, because I’m awesome at feeling guilty. I was a double major in Guilt and Worry, and not to brag, but I graduated summa cum laude.

Guilt is a shitty feeling. It’s been a longtime companion in my personal life, asking me questions like “Why did you eat that?,” “You’re going to buy that shirt you don’t need?,” “Did you just skip a workout because you’re tired?” I’ve learned to mostly mute the guilt voice in my personal life because it’s been with me since childhood, but my Work Life Guilt voice is newer, louder and harder to quiet. She’s the brash younger sister of Personal Life Guilt, and she is resilient.

Work Life Guilt (WLG for short, and because it bothers her when people don’t use her full name) comes at me hard whenever I’m not working. When I sleep in, she’s on me the second I open my eyes. “Good morning, Lazy!” When I’m spending time with family or friends, she’s all “Don’t worry about checking your phone. Drinking tequila and catching up is much more important than running a business.” Even when I’m at home, wanting to crash after a long day, she’s there. “You’re going to read a non-business book when you have EMAILS IN YOUR INBOX? You disgust me.”

I know WLG doesn’t add anything to my life. There is nothing that she says that motivates me or makes me feel good. She is unnecessary, always wrong and honestly, her foundation shade is way off, which offends me as a makeup artist. I’ve been arguing with her a lot, and in some cases, I’m winning. If you want to know my strategies, read on.

Sleeping In. WLG thinks I should be up at 5:00am every day, working until my eyes close. I disagree. If I have a morning appointment, I set my alarm. But if I don’t have a morning commitment, I sleep until I wake up naturally. When WLG says “Are you for real right now? It’s 8:24am!” I say “Yup. My body wanted to sleep until now. I am a bad business owner, makeup artist and person in general when I’m sleep deprived, so this was worth it.” It’s easiest for me to quiet WLG in this situation because being well rested directly impacts my job productivity (and patience), so I feel justified.

Friend & Family Time. If you asked WLG, she would tell you friends are not important (my guess is she doesn’t have many) and family is stuck with you no matter how much you work. But I like being with my people. In fact, spending lot of time with them was one of my two main goals when I opened my company. When WLG says “I can’t believe you made dinner plans with Machaela when you have New Hire paperwork to do!,” I tell her to shut it. I remind her that I’ve been busting my ass for a decade and there is nothing wrong with having a dinner date. WLG and I both know that I will do work before and after I see my homegirl, and my business will not fall apart in three hours. WLG usually creeps in while I’m with my friend or relative, but I try to push her away. (The tequila is helpful with this.) I’ve found the best way to silence her in this scenario is to have a few solid productive hours before I have personal plans, so I don’t feel like work is being dangled in front of me by WLG’s demon-like hands.

Personal Time.  The work day has to come to an end, right? Sometimes mine ends at 10:00pm, other times it has a soft end at 4:00pm. (That means I mostly stop working for the day, but address time sensitive issues that arise.) My favorite way to end my work day is by hanging out with a friend or relative, but that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes it ends with me reading a book, watching a comedy special or deciding to re-arrange my bedroom for no reason. WLG is very loud during these times, and she often wins. I’m doing my best to believe and stick to my argument that no one should be working every waking moment, and I deserve and need time to re-charge. This is my most challenging argument with WLG, but I’m making progress.

One of my goals for 2018 is to silence WLG for good. If you have your own WLG, I hope you can get rid of your’s too. Let’s let Guilty Conscience be nothing more than a classic Em and Dre hit.

Have a beautiful day 🙂