Boss Life Gratitude

Talladega Nights, Ricky Bobby praying
Dear 8 pound, 6 ounce newborn infant Jesus: Thank you for my Boss Life.

During my first two years in business, I worked full-time at other jobs (school secretary at a Head Start for a bit, office manager at a construction company after that). I ran my business and met with clients on evenings after work, weekends and holidays. When I was first able to go full-time with my business, I was straight out giddy for months. I have a vivid memory of driving down a street in a neighborhood I lived in, smiling and giggling for no reason other than that I was finally out on my own. (And if an old school hip hop song came on during my giddy moments? Fuggetaboudit. Damn near lost my shit in a happy way.)

But as the years went by, I lost some of that excitement. The further away I got from working for someone else, the more I forgot how miserable that made me. (Nothing against anyone in particular–in fact, my construction company boss, Ralph, was incredibly good to me and I learned some business tips from him that I still use today.) You know when you get a new car/new apartment/new boyfriend and it’s so awesome at first three months later you have a ready-to-share list of annoying things about it? That happened to me, the excitement phase lasted a solid year or two.

I have always been grateful that I have my company and have maintained that I could never work for someone else again. The thought of someone else being in charge makes my skin feel clammy. But I think I sometimes get bogged down by the sheer amount of work to be done or the frustrations of running a business and that makes me temporarily forget how friggin’ good I have it.

But I haven’t totally forgotten how dope it is to be my own boss. Being a business owner has become a huge part of my identity. I feel lucky that I am able to be where I am today without some of the roadblocks other people have had to encounter. I don’t take this opportunity to be an entrepreneur lightly, and I work hard to make sure it keeps happening.

Everyday I'm hustlin
Can’t slack off if I want to stay writing my own paychecks.

The written word is extremely powerful to me, so I want to do this post as a reminder to myself–and maybe other business owners who’ve been at it a while–that there are a lot of things to be grateful for in boss life. And if you’re in the Early Struggle Years of running a business–where money is tight and you don’t know if your business will even stay afloat–maybe you’ll find this helpful too. If you are not already at some of these points, they very well may be there for you, possibly even sooner than you expect.

You know I love a good list, so here goes.

Schedule Freedom. When it comes to my schedule, there are some commitments (weddings, commercials, events, classes I attend) that require me to be there at a certain time. But other commitments–makeup lessons, wedding trials, meetings, classes I teach–are partially dependent on when I want to do them. And what I call my “admin days”–days with no clients, meetings, classes or appointments–are completely up to me. Today is one of those. I got up when my body wanted to (7:30am) and have been working from bed. I’m leaving soon to walk to the bank (work-related), then I’ll go Staples (work-related), laundromat (personal) and grocery store (personal). When I get home, I’ll work until I decide I need a break, then I’ll go for a run. I often end my work day around 9:00pm, but my personal stuff is sprinkled in throughout the day. I’m very grateful that on my walk to the bank, I can stop in a store and pick up a birthday gift for a friend or take care of some other task on my personal To Do list. No one is breathing down my neck, timing my return to the office, ready to freak out on me because I walked in two minutes after my break ended. No one can tell me I can’t do what I want to do when I want to do it. Timing-wise, it’s not really work/life balance since I spend more time working than not working. However, it is a type of balance in the way that I don’t have to cram all of my personal errands and appointments into nights and weekends. This schedule freedom is one of my favorite parts of being an business owner, as you can see by the length of this paragraph.

Job Freedom. When I first started doing makeup, I wanted to be a freelance, one woman show. I thought I could work in film and maybe do some weddings on the side. I soon realized working in film wasn’t the right path for me, so I changed course. And that’s something else I am immensely grateful for–the freedom to choose the direction of my career. I don’t have to climb up the corporate ladder to get to where I want to be. I just decide, This is what I want to do, then I go for. It doesn’t always work out, but I’m at least able to try. This career freedom is something I take for granted until I hear someone talk about the constraints of the structure at their company and how they are not always able to work the job they want to be working. Creating my own job description and changing it when and how I want to is exactly what this little INFJ craves.

INFJ life: I will gladly follow rules and policies…if I make them.

Working from Home. Not only do I get to decide when I work and what I work on, but on admin days (or partial admin days), where I do my work. In Rhode Island, I have a office where I meet with clients, but I normally work from home. In my current winter home in South Carolina, I sometimes work at the desk in my studio apartment or, like I’m doing right now, from my bed. (What? The desk chair is uncomfortable!) If I want to work from a coffee shop for a change of pace, I can do that too. Raining, snowing or cold out? Unless I have clients, I don’t have to leave my house to go to work. The convenience of it all is just too good. The freedom to choose my workplace in combination with my schedule freedom makes my job feel more like part of my life than a separate thing I have to go to at a place not of my choosing. When I hear friends say they had a nightmare three hour commute because of black ice but they had to go in anyway, or how their company requires them to go into an office every day even though 95% of their work can be done from anywhere with a computer and a phone, I am reminded of how lucky I am. I love that more and more companies are allowing telecommuting so even if you’re not a business owner, you can get some of this flexibility. It’s a game changer.

Ability to Change the Job. When you’re the captain of the ship, you can decide how you want to run it (or sail it? I don’t know). I’ve worked at jobs where I knew there was a better way to do something, but I couldn’t make changes because of rules, policies, prideful bosses, whatever. But with my company, no one can tell me I have to do something a certain way. When I started AB Beauty, I took what I didn’t like about the beauty industry and some small businesses in general and changed it within my company. Sure, there will always be laws and tax code I have to abide by, but I can create my own systems, style of management, methods of client communication, etc. This is something else I sometimes take for granted, because it is now so natural to me to change something if it’s causing problems. Again, I can’t always do that–and there are plenty of things I do that I don’t like because it makes things easier for my clients or Independent Contractors–but there is a lot I can change when I want to. And guess who I have to get permission from? NO ONE. It’s glorious.

Boss Pride. If you are doing a good job at whatever you do, I think you should be recognized for it, and I think you should be proud of your work. I have what some consider a harsh theory and it is this: 70% of people are bad at their jobs. I stand by that. When I have an interaction with someone who is doing a good job, I write a review, email their manager, leave a big tip–whatever. I think it’s rare for someone to be great at their job, so those 30-percenters deserve a thank you, a pat on the back and recognition. As a business owner, your company may win awards or be recognized in another way, but that doesn’t always happen. What you can do–and this is a hard one for me and I’m sure many other business owners–is be proud of the business you’ve created and the successes you’ve had. And at least in my experience, this pride feels different than the pride I felt when I got good performance reviews or raises when I worked for someone else. The boss pride is cool because you can say “I did this. I made this happen.” At my company, our success is in big part due to my team. I absolutely could not do it without them. So I hope they are proud too! But I do recognize that I played a part in each transaction that has ever happened at AB Beauty. I really feel like I worked for every penny that came in. There is no phoning it in as an entrepreneur (if you want to stay in business, anyway). Maybe this one seems weird to say, but I am grateful for the opportunity to feel proud of making a living for myself.

Friends & Family Time. You know that schedule freedom I talked about? That goes hand in hand with Friend & Family Time. If I want to make plans with a friend or relative and they can give me some notice, I can build my work day around them. For example, my parents came to visit me in SC recently. I can’t take a full day off, but I was able to do some work until noon, hang out with them all afternoon and into the evening, then catch up on work when I got home. I didn’t have to take personal time or play hooky so I could go on a Charleston carriage tour with them. I just got a lot of work done in the few days before they arrived to prep and then worked short, spread out hours on the days they were in town. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–being able to see my friends and family as much as possible was one of my two main personal goals when I opened my business. I still miss some things due to working weddings on spring, summer and fall weekends, but I’m grateful that this ladyboss gig gives me the schedule freedom to spend time with my friends and la famiglia.

Financial Freedom. On one hand, it is nice having consistent paychecks. For budgeting purposes, it’s so much easier to know exactly when you’ll get paid and how much your check will be. And a bad week at work for an employee doesn’t necessarily mean the same as a bad week for a business owner. An business owner’s bad week (or month…or quarter…or year) can mean severe financial stress and pressure. But a good week, month, quarter or year for a business owner? That can mean a bank account bump up you couldn’t get with six promotions at an employee job. There’s no income ceiling for bosses. My paychecks are the payments from my clients, and I can get more or bigger paychecks by booking more jobs, expanding the company, offering more services, etc. I have my ups and downs like any business owner, but I am thankful I have the chance to increase my income without a cap on my earning potential.

Charleston Snowbird. My second personal goal when I opened my business was to eventually be cold as little as possible, which means leaving New England during the winter. It took a long time, but I was able finally do it in 2017. I choose beautiful Charleston, SC as my (working) snowbird home and I LOVE IT HERE. It’s not tropical, but that’s okay. High 50s and 60s in the winter is fine with me (and it’s been even warmer than that lately). Unless I found an employee job that was a 100% telecommuting position, it’s unlikely that I would have had the chance to do this if I wasn’t a business owner. I mean, the only other people I know who winter somewhere warmer are retirees and people who work in the boating industry (and I get too seasick to even consider the latter as a career). Not only is the Charleston winter climate far superior to Rhode Island’s winter nightmare, but being here gives me the time to focus on my big picture business work, as I don’t really take clients here. It’s the perfect refresher and start to each year for me, and I am beyond grateful that my boss life allows me to do this.

A lot of the things I love about my life are due to my business. I feel very lucky that I’ve been able to create the lifestyle I want. When I’m feeling down or in a rough patch, this will be a good blog post to go back to. If you’re considering opening a business, these are some things you can look forward to potentially having at some point too. And if you’re already there, congratulations! It’s easier to quit than to push through, so if you’ve made it out the other side of the Early Struggle Years, props.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

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How To Change Up Your Makeup Routine

Sheryl Crow, change
Sheryl knows what change will do for you.

You: Knows how to apply makeup, but wants to take it to the next level.

Me: Full of tips and tricks!

This is a post for gals who are at an intermediate level of makeup application (on themselves). If you’re in this group, you probably have at least one primer, good quality mascara and foundation color that matches your skin in your makeup bag. You are confident that you are doing a decent job applying your makeup, and you understand what the terms “contour,” “tightline” and “Cupid’s Bow” mean. But maybe you feel like you’ve reached the top level you can get to on your own. Or you’re in a rut. Either way, I can help you.

Below are some suggestions on how you can up your makeup game, depending on what you normally wear. You in?

If you normally wear a nude lip, try a berry lip. I mean, what are you afraid of? That someone is going to know you’re wearing lipstick? Come on! You can do this. There is a berry out there for every skintone, and you’ll be amazed at what a berry lip color can do for you. The right one will make your eyes–yes, your eyes–look brighter and your eye color will be emphasized. If you want to dip your toe in first, apply a berry lipcolor that you’re drawn to, then blot blot blot on a tissue. You’ll be left with a lip stain, which is more subtle than a full-on lipsticked mouth. After you get used to that, try it as a regular lipstick. Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Love LibertyMAC Lipstick in Amorous and Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick in N50 are all good berry shades that work on a lot of people.

Charlotte Tillbury Matte Revolution in Love Liberty
Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Love Liberty

If you normally wear bronzer, try blush. I get it–bronzer people love their bronzer (sometimes a little too much). I think what bronzer addicts really like is the look of color on their skin, but guess what else can do that? Blush. The right blush color will make you look more awake, more put together and dare I say prettier? If you have dry skin, you might want to choose a cream blush, like the Make Up For Ever HD Cream Blushes. For powder blushes, I like MACNARS and Benefit.

Make Up For Ever HD Blush, cream blush
Make Up For Ever HD Blush

If you normally line your waterline with black eyeliner, try off-white. Instant bigger, brighter eyes! (And when off-white gathers in your tear ducts, no one will ever know.) It’s such a small area of the eyes, but a black to white liner change makes a huge difference. Off-white liner is used frequently in editorial work, runway shows and movies, so making this change basically turns you into a celebrity. The off-white liners I like keep getting discontinued, so you’re kind of on your own here. Sorry! If you are in the market for one, just make sure you choose an off-white, as pure white looks too obvious on the waterline.

Off white eyeliner
The eye opening effect of off-white liner on the waterline.

If you normally wear powder foundation, try liquid foundation. I’ll be honest–I’m not into powder foundations on their own. I sometimes use a powder foundation over sheer liquid foundation on areas that need more coverage, but I generally don’t like the way it sits on bare skin. I think powder foundation can easily settle into pores and fine lines, accentuating them, and it can get streaky on a really oily skin (oil can come through and make dark streaks as it hits the powder). A sheer liquid foundation with concealer on the areas you need it can give you the coverage you want, and it allows cream products you put on top of it to blend easily. It’s also more suitable if you have dry skin or get dry in the colder months. At least think about it, okay? And then maybe try MAC Studio Face and Body Foundation. It’s lightweight and buildable so it’s a good gateway drug to the foundation world.

MAC Face & Body, sheer foundation
MAC Studio Face & Body Foundation

If you normally use a pencil eyeliner, try adding shadow to it. After your apply your eyeliner, trace over and slightly above (top lashline) or below (bottom lashline) it with an eyeshadow in the same color. This will not only give dimension to liner, but will also help the liner stay on better. I believe that’s called a “win-win.” A shimmery eyeshadow usually isn’t the best choice for this as shimmery shadows aren’t packed as tightly so they don’t stick to an eyeliner the same way, but any good quality (sorry, not drugstore) matte shadow you like will do the job.

Eyeliner, bridal makeup
Eyeshadow over eyeliner on this beautiful AB Beauty bride.
Photo: Meagan Emilia Photography
Hair: Emily Buffi for Allison Barbera Beauty
Makeup: Allison Barbera

If you normally wear powder eyeshadow, try a cream eyeshadow. Changing your shadow consistency–even if you stay in the same shades that you normally wear–will look (and feel) new and fresh. As a bonus, cream shadows take less time to apply. I think they are going to become more popular in the coming years, so switching up your shadow texture may also make you an Early Adopter in the beauty world. Make Up For Ever Aqua XL Color Paint cream shadows are long-lasting and easy to apply.

Make Up For Ever Aqua XL Color Paints
Make Up For Ever Aqua XL Color Paints

If you normally wear liquid eyeliner, try gel eyeliner. You can get a defined line with gel, but it also gives you another option that liquid doesn’t–smudging (the on-purpose kind). If you draw a thin line with gel liner then use a brush to pull it up onto your lid (top lashline) or down (bottom lashline), you can still get definition, but in a soft way. Gel liners also tend to be a little more forgiving, whereas a liquid liner mistake usually causes a lot of swearing and a complete do-over. Just give it a shot! I use MAC Pro Longwear Fluidline gel liners, but Clinique Brush On Cream Liners are said to be really good too.

MAC Fluidline gel liner, gel eyeliner, MAC Blacktrack
MAC Fluidline gel liner

If you normally wear only top lash mascara, try applying it to your bottom lashes too. I’ve noticed that a lot of intermediate level makeup civilians only wear mascara on their top lashes. But applying mascara to the bottom lashes can immediately add definition to your eyes. Just make sure to concentrate it at the lash roots instead of the full length of the lashes, unless you are going for a spidery look. Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara is made for this.

Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara
Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara

If you normally wear matte lipstick, try a lip crayon. Lip crayons tend to be more moisturizing and have some level of sheen to them. Matte lips got overly trendy there for a while, so if you have found yourself in that rut, it’s time to move on. You can still do the same color, but a refreshed version of it. You’ll love it. Clinique Chubby Sticks are a pro artist fave.

Clinique Chubby Sticks
Clinique Chubby Sticks

If you normally ignore your brows, try filling them in. It takes a little practice, but filling your brows in–and I don’t mean overdrawing them into dark, blocky stripes–can make a huge difference. Your eyes will look more defined and your overall look will be more polished. I prefer brow powders and pomades to pencils, but you do you.

Thin eyebrows, eyebrow fill in, 2004 makeup
Do better than I did with my eyebrows in 2004.

You feeling invigorated by the change or changes you’re going to make? Good! I’m so glad you are on board. If you have any difficulties or questions, you know I’m here for you. I’m just a comment away.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

 

 

 

Dolla Dolla Bill, Y’all

Scrooge McDuck, entrepreneur income, money talk
Not my steelo.

Cash rules everything around me

C.R.E.A.M.

Get the money

Dolla dolla bill, y’all

-WuTang Clan

Listen, I’m no Scrooge McDuck. I’m not greedy, and I’m not someone who cares to acquire a lot of things. I don’t have expensive taste. Fancy cars, designer clothes, new technology–none of that is really appealing to me. Becoming filthy rich was never on my list of goals. But the truth is, having cash money–at least enough to be comfortable–changes things in a big way.

I spent my first five years as an entrepreneur struggling financially. I wasn’t bouncing checks or ignoring bills, but I only had money to pay for the essentials. I didn’t take out a business loan or borrow money from anyone to start my company, so I had to come up with the money somehow. And it was HARD.

After about six years in business (the first two years being part-time because I had to work day jobs to survive), everything changed. That was due to a combination of updating my website to be mobile-friendly (a non-existent term when I launched it in 2008), the solid reputation that took a while to build and half a decade’s worth of connections and word of mouth referrals coming to fruition. And oh my God, the relief. I could pay all of my bills without anxiety and I no longer had to constantly check my bank account to make sure I had enough to cover everything. I was able to pay off all of my credit card and student loan debt by my seventh year in business, and was even able to start going on vacations! (I mean, I still had to work during them, but sometimes only for an hour or two each day). And not only could I go to comedy shows, join friends for drinks, and show my face at birthday dinners, but I could treat my friends. Several of them had really helped me out when my bank account was hurting, so it felt awesome to finally be able to buy them dinner or grab the bar tab.

But my biggest financial victory was Charleston. Ever since I opened my company, I knew I wanted to eventually live somewhere warmer. I decided on Charleston, SC and being a (working) snowbird there became my ultimate goal. I was financially able to do it in January of 2016, but my father was going through treatment for pancreatic cancer and I didn’t want to be away from him for a few months, so I delayed my snowbirding. I started it in January of 2017 and now I’m back, but for longer this year. Living in Charleston is one of my favorite things in my life. And you can say all you want about positive vibes and the universe, but it was straight out hard work and money that made this happen.

They say money can’t buy happiness, but it does seem to help. Being able to live in Charleston fills me with joy, as corny as that sounds. Having money allows me to make donations to organizations I support, which is important to me because my schedule doesn’t allow me to volunteer like I’d like to (not a humble brag, just something that means a lot to me). Thanks to my bank account, I was able to cover the bulk of the cost of my sister in law’s bridal shower, which she told me after was the best day of her life (trumped, I’m sure, by her wedding three months later, but still). After I got out of my broke years, I was able to loan money to friends and relatives who really needed it. I’m not implying that I’m loaded and can spend as much money as I want without thinking about it, because that is not true at all. But I got to a point where I was able to do things I couldn’t have gotten close to during my first five or six years in business, and help out others in small ways. And that was a life changer for me.

The income change that made the biggest impact on my life was the one that brought me from struggling and worried to comfortable and debt-free. I remember learning about this in a Psychology class in college, but it didn’t sink in until I had to think about things besides registering for classes, what new Bacardi flavor I should try and which parties my crush of the week would likely be at. The studies I learned about in that Psych class said that when it came to life satisfaction and happiness, money only made a difference when it took people out of constant financial struggle into a place where they could pay their bills and live comfortably. When I say “comfortably,” I don’t mean wealthy. I mean whatever income is needed for someone to pay for the essentials, plus some extra that a financial hit–like an unexpected car repair, a big medical bill or even just Christmas shopping–doesn’t put them into a situation that they can not recover from.

I think you can want to have enough to be that kind of comfortable without being materialistic or wanting to be rich just for the sake of being rich. There’s no shame in wanting to be in a place where you can pay your bills and have the income to be able to do at least some of the things you enjoy.

I understand why money can be considered evil, but I don’t think that’s always the case. It’s all about the way you use it and look at it. I don’t view money as a way to acquire more things. (And it doesn’t rule everything around me–sorry, WuTang.) I see it as a tool that makes life easier and more comfortable. Struggling financially adds a lot of stress to a person’s every day life. That’s no secret.  A lot of people feel ashamed and frustrated when they are broke and it can be a tough situation to get out of. But what’s the thing that solves many of their problems? Cheddar. (And notice I didn’t say all of their problems.)

Even though it’s something most of us use every single day, there’s such a stigma attached to talking about money. A lot of people consider it tacky to discuss it, but I think when you avoid talking about something, it can lead to confusion. Some people are in the dark about money management, budgeting, the options when things are bad, etc. because we are not born knowing those things and it can feel embarrassing to ask for help (and a non-option to hire someone for financial advice when the money to pay them isn’t there). I know it can be an uncomfortable topic to discuss, but especially as an entrepreneur, it’s essential to understand money and how it should impact the choices you make.

Why am I even writing this blog post? Because I have another one coming where I talk about financial struggles, but I wanted to first explain how I view money and how it’s changed my life. This is primarily a beauty blog, but I’m as much of a business owner as I am a makeup artist, so I’m going to write about boss life stuff sometimes. And the cool thing about reading is that it’s really easy to not do it if you don’t want to. So if this type of blog post isn’t for you, you have options. Isn’t that a great thing?

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Insta Makeup Trends: What I Really Think

Instagram: the place where good, bad, ugly and just plain weird makeup looks have a platform. I follow a lot of cosmetic companies and pro makeup artists, and I love seeing some of the stunning, creative and retro looks they post. But I sometimes get wind of Instagram makeup trends that aren’t quite so well done. You’ve seen some, right?

I’m going to go over some of the popular Insta makeup trends of the past year or so, and I’ll let you know exactly what I think (as if you had any doubt about that).

#youready?

The trend: Faux freckles.

What it is: Using eyeliner or eye shadow to draw on fake freckles.

What it looks like on Instagram: Faux freckles

My professional opinion: Pro makeup artists have been doing this for years. I think it gets overdone on Instagram (and I’m not even referring to the glitter faux freckles trend), but it can be done in a more subtle way. For a pro take on this trend, check out the end of this tutorial from Nic of the Pixiwoos.

The trend: Clown contouring.

What it is: Using contouring, highlighting and color corrector products, as well as blush (and sometimes lipstick) drawn on like clown makeup to sculpt the face.

What it looks like on Instagram: Clown contouring

My professional opinion: Like many of the non-clown contouring techniques out there, that is a lot of makeup. (Keep in mind those highlight, contour, color corrector and blush cream products are put over foundation, then powder goes on top of them.) Like with any contour tutorial you follow, you have to make sure the makeup artist or model has the same face shape and eye shape as you do, or else you could end up accentuating the features you are trying to minimize. From what I understand, clown contouring was started as a sort of creative challenge between some beauty influencers and wasn’t meant to be taken seriously. I say, go with that attitude. If you want to do clown contouring for fun, do it to it. But if you want to learn how to contour for your own face shape, check out my Shape Up series (Part 1Part 2Part 3 and Part 4).

The trend: Glitter lips.

What it is: Using a glitter-infused lipstick or patting glitter on top of lipstick.

What it looks like on Instagram: Glitter, glitter lips, glitter lipstick

My professional opinion: Due to my 2006 One Particle of Glitter Lodged In My Eyeball incident, I hate glitter. If you give me a birthday card with glitter, I’ll stop responding your texts. That being said, I don’t hate the look of this trend. However, I have to assume it would not be comfortable to wear and would dry out your lips very quickly. Glitter has come under some heat lately for its negative effect on the environment. (Most types contain micoplastic–tiny pieces of glitter that end up in the waterways, harming fish and hanging out in our water supplies.) There are biodegradable glitters that don’t hurt the environment, and there are also edible and non-toxic glitters which you might want to consider if you are putting something on your lips. Because, you know, you’re going to end up eating some of it. So if you are going to try glitter lips, be smart about it!

The trend: Baking.

What it is: Leaving a translucent powder on the skin for 5-10 minutes to really set into areas you want to highlight. This technique has been used in the drag community for years.

What it looks like on Instagram: Baking, makeup baking, powder highlight

My professional opinion: Again, it’s a lot of makeup (but you might have guessed that when I said “drag community.”) It requires several layers of product–both creams and powders–which can easily cause caking. (Baking, caking–am I writing a food blog now?) Especially if you are dry in any of the areas you are going to bake, you’ll likely see the powder adhere to the dry patches. And if you’ve got large pores or fine lines and you’re baking over those, you can expect to see some of the layers of product settle into those pores or lines. If you’re going to try baking, I recommend making sure your skin is well exfoliated and moisturized first, and prepped with a pore minimizer if enlarged pores or fine lines are a concern.

The trend:  Lollipop lips.

What it is: Intentional lip color smudging outside of the lips, to mimic what I think is how a child looks after eating a lollipop.

What it looks like on Instagram: lollipop lips, Instagram makeup trends

My professional opinion: Why????? I’m all for messy makeup, but not to this degree. I prefer a blurred/stained lipcolor, which has a similar effect but doesn’t make you look like you did your makeup after five cocktails…in the dark…with mittens on. That blurred/stained look I’m referring to can be achieved by applying a lipstick, blotting on a tissue, then patting the edges with your fingertips. It’s okay to go slightly over the natural lipline since the lipstick would be soft and undefined, but “slightly” is the key word. If you want to be a Lollipop (Lips) Kid, don’t let me stop you. But if you’re wondering what I think of this look, I don’t approve.

The trend: Feathered eyebrows.

What it is: A part down the middle of the length of each eyebrow, with the brows hairs then smoothed down by brow gel, pomade or glue (yes, glue stick glue.)

What it looks like on Instagram: Feathered eyebrows, Instagram eyebrows, Instagram eyebrow trends

My professional opinion: Points for creativity, but I can’t see this look being flattering on anyone. Can you imagine having a normal conversation with someone whose brows looked like that? You know you would be looking at their brows the whole time. If you’re into statement looks and you don’t mind some “What the hell?” stares, go for it. It’s not what I consider a wearable look, but to each her own.

The trend: Doing makeup with weird shit. (I mean, can you think of a better description?)

What it is: Using things other than makeup brushes and tools to blend or to guide the lines for contour, highlight and eyeliner wings. Some objects I’ve seen beauty influencers use: spoons, tampons, fidget spinners, silicone bra inserts, hard boiled eggs and condoms.

What it looks like on Instagram: Weird Instagram makeup trends, hard boiled egg makeup

My professional opinion: Ridic. I guarantee an actual makeup brush or sponge does the job better than any of these weirdo ideas. This one annoys me the most so I’m stopping it at three sentences.

I’m all for being creative and having fun with makeup. My issue with some of the Insta beauty trends is that people aren’t learning how to correctly apply makeup, or they are going for super overdone looks that aren’t going to translate well in person. Play around with makeup all you want, but remember that a lot of these Insta trends aren’t wearable. If you want to improve your makeup game, watching a tutorial from a legit pro makeup artist like Lisa Eldridge is a better use of your time than trying to figure out how to use a fidget spinner to contour your face.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Product Review: MAC Oil Control Lotion

MAC Oil Control Lotion, oily skin, mattifyer
Shine, be gone!

In many cases, I like oil. Face oil, hair oil, oil cleansers–all good. But oily T-zone? No thanks. Especially in my heavily photographed and filmed line of work, I can’t have clients walking around all shiny-faced. A good mattifying product is key, and girl, do I have a good one for you.

It’s MAC Oil Control Lotion, and it’s worth every penny. If you have oily skin, you can use this as a primer or wear it alone if you’re going foundation-less. It’s a thin (but not gross and watery) white lotion. It’s got a pleasant scent that I can’t identify, but it doesn’t linger. It absorbs quickly and doesn’t make skin feel sticky or tight. A little dab will do ya–one pump is plenty–so you won’t go through it super fast.

This magical product really does absorb oil though, so I don’t recommend it if you don’t have truly oily skin or an always-shiny T-zone/other area. I have combination skin with an always-oily T-zone in warmer temps, but I don’t use this in the colder months when my skin tends to be more on the dry side. Using this product on a dry skin type can cause any makeup you apply over it to be harder to blend, as it causes the minimal oils that are present on dry skin to be absorbed, causing face makeup to stubbornly stick to the dry areas.

MAC Oil Control Lotion is an essential in my pro kit and in my personal makeup bag. It’s one of the most effective products out there. If they ever discontinue this, there will be a lot of shiny, (un)happy people walking around.

If you or someone you love is fighting the shine, this is the ultimate weapon. It’s got my full makeup artist and licensed esthetician stamp of approval.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Look Breakdown

 

Kerry Washington, Kerry Washington makeup
A true stunner.

Kerry Washington: striking, right? She always looks gorgeous, but I think this look from the 2017 Golden Globes is a real winner. And perfect for the winter.

Let’s do this.

Foundation: Medium coverage with a glow. Armani Luminous Silk would work well.

Powder: Powder all over to set. MAC Mineralize SkinFinish Natural Powder would do the job.

Highlighter: Yes, on cheekbones. It’s subtle though. MAC Mineralize SkinFinish Powder (shimmery, unlike the Natural Version) in Cheeky Bronze is similar to what I can see on Kerry.

Contour/Bronzer: Contour under cheekbones. I’m a big fan of the Make Up For Ever Sculpting Kits for this.

Cheek Color: A minimal amount of a coral peachy pearlized blush, like MAC Powder Blush in Style would be a good dupe.

Eyebrows: Brown brow powder to fill in sparseness/add shape where needed. Anastasia Brow Powder Duo in Brunette/Dark Brown would be a good choice.

Eye Makeup: MAC Eyeshadow in Mulch, a red brown with bronze pearl, looks similar to what Kerry is wearing on the outer 2/3 of her lids. The inner two thirds is another shimmery color, but in a lighter shade. MAC Eyeshadow in Nylon could work here. It looks like there is a little highlight right under the arch of Kerry’s brows. A small amount of Benefit High Brow would give a similar effect. I spy a black liner at Kerry’s top lashline. Clinique Brush On Cream Liner in True Black (or whatever black gel liner you like) would work. Trace over and slightly above that with a black eyeshadow like MAC Eyeshadow in Carbon. This isn’t a harsh or graphic liner, so the shadow will soften it. I think a black pencil was used to tightline too. MAC Eye Kohl in Smolder works well for tightlining. There might have been a very minimal amount of brown shadow used at the bottom lashline, but I’d apply it with a small, thin brush to avoid a thick, obvious line. MAC Eyeshadow in Espresso would be good.

Mascara: I would assume so, but tough to tell if it’s on the top lashline because she is wearing false lashes. If it’s on the bottom lashline, it’s the lightest possible coat, but that may be Kerry’s natural lash color.

False Lashes: Yes, strip lashes that are more feathery than thick or long. The look to be at their longest at the center. Ardell Wispies Black 268 would be perfect.

Lipliner: Yes, same color as the lipstick. MAC Lip Pencil in Currant should do it.

Lipcolor: I found out the exact lipcolors used for this look–Dolce & Gabbana Glam 355 lipstick with Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Color Stick in Deep Plum–but only the Neutrogena one is still available. Sigh. I think if you line and fill in your lips with the liner then put that over it, it wouldn’t be that different.

Who would this look work on? Well, the exact cheek and highlight colors I mentioned are more flattering on medium and dark skintones. They eye makeup would work on any eye color, although Mulch could look a little off on fair skin. I personally love a dark berry lip on women with both dark and light skin, but if you have lighter skin, it will of course be more of a contrast.

Kerry’s makeup artist for this look was Carola Gonzalez.

Some more pictures of this beautiful look:

Kerry Washington Golden GlobesGolden Globes makeup