Product Review: Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops in Medium

My new favorite product.

Genetics are a funny thing, aren’t they? I got my dark, thick, naturally curly hair and giant deep set eyes from my 100% Italian father’s side. (I also got the Sicilian temper, which does not serve me well in traffic.) I’ve got the same build as many of the women in my father’s family, as well as some of the characteristics of my 100% Italian maternal grandmother. Three quarters of my DNA is Italian, and I think that’s pretty obvious when you look at me or notice my absolute inability to talk without my hands flying around.

But then there’s my skin color. That’s where my 25% Irish side comes in. I have light skin with freckles. I’m not the lightest of the foundation shades, but no one is calling my skintone “medium.” I can (and have) tanned to a solid Medium before, but my time in Esthetics school combined with having some biopsies and pre-cancerous moles removed over the past eight years made me put an end to my beach days. (I also know that sun damage is the number one way to speed visible signs of aging on the skin, so vanity plays a part in my decision.)

The problem is that I love the look of a tan on me. I feel like with my very dark brown hair, almost-black eyebrows and hazel eyes, I should have darker skin. I think I was meant to have a darker skintone, but there was a glitch. With my hair, brow and eye coloring and the fact that people who look like me often have medium skintones, it only seems right that my skintone is bumped up a few levels.

That’s me in the 80s, dancing with my dad. See his skintone? That’s what I was supposed to have.

And oh, how I have tried to get there. I’ve used self tanning lotions, sprays, gels, mousses, gradual tanners and towelettes. I’ve done spray tans, both the airbrush and machine kinds. I’ve been orange, I’ve been streaky, I’ve been patchy and I’ve smelled like I bathed in DHA. I’ve gotten good results from airbrush spray tans, but I hate the way they look when they start wearing off. Until recently, I’ve relied on Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizers (one for the body, one for the face). I’ve been using the face one in particular regularly for years, as my arms get a little color when I’m out for a run or walking around, but I keep my face sunscreened up at all times, so I need to make it match my body. Anyway, I recently realized that Natural Glow seems to be making my face break out, so I started the search for something new. (No breakouts from the Jergens Natural Glow body moisturizer, but I was open to trying a new one there too.)

I checked with my friends at the Newport Sephora, and they directed me to the Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops. You add these drops into your regular face and/or body moisturizers and they tan you up. They come in Light, Medium and Dark shades. I went with Medium, because that’s the skintone I was meant to have, remember? I’m no fool, so I asked for a sample before committing.

I did a patch test of the product behind my left earlobe that same night. (I specifically always patch test there because I normally wear my hair parted on the right side and swept over my left shoulder, so my hair covers my left ear.) I checked the next morning and saw that a) the color had developed into a nice, brown (not orange) tan and b) I had no breakouts or irritation.

If you Veronica Lake your hair like I do, you can patch test freely behind your ear.

While I was patching, I read through Sephora reviews of these self tanning drops in Medium. I had a bad reaction to the popular self St. Tropez self tanner a couple years ago (after I neglected to patch), and I had the recent breakout from Jergens Natural Glow Face Moisturizer, so I was specifically looking to see if any of the reviews mentioned allergic reactions or breakouts. I figured if I found several reviews mentioning either of those things, I would proceed with caution, but I didn’t see any with that specific negative feedback.

Still, I waited 24 hours after patching to make sure I didn’t have a reaction. I didn’t, so on Night 1, I added one drop of the product to my Neutrogena Oil Free Moisturizer and applied it to my face, neck and ears. I noticed a slight smell, but it wasn’t horrible and didn’t linger. It did feel sticky on my skin, but it was also a humid night so that may have had something to do with it.

When I woke up the next morning, I was tan. Not orange and not streaky, and a good shade for my skin. I didn’t put face makeup on that day, because I wanted to have plenty of opportunities to inspect it and see if the color developed more (and I think it did, a little).

On Night 2, I went with two drops mixed into the same moisturizer and applied it to my face, neck, ears and chest. It deepened my color, but still felt a little sticky. The next time I used it on the same areas, I mixed it in with my SPF35 version of the Neutrogena Oil Free Moisturizer, and then my skin felt only the tiniest bit sticky after. So the moisturizer you mix with the drops definitely impacts the sticky-ness factor.

Before I continue, let me explain the drops thing. My Sephora sample came in one of the mini-spray bottles that they use for perfume samples. The Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops are a serum consistency, so don’t try to spray them out if you get a sample in the same packaging. If you are trying them as a sample–and you really should–and you get them in that bottle, you’ll have to unscrew the top of the packaging and dispense the drops directly from bottle. This method will dispense bigger drops than you get using the dropper that comes with the actual product, so that’s something to keep in mind. When dispensing from the perfume sampler bottle, I recommend you pour it slowly into your moisturizer.

The Sephora sample spray bottles look like this, but just say “Sephora” on them. I thought you might like a visual…

I got four uses out of my sample, and I was sold. I went back to Sephora and bought the full size bottle. As far as packaging goes, A+. I like the design, the top stays on securely and the dropper works. No complaints there.

Once I had the full size bottle, I began applying the tanner to the rest of my body. I’ve mixed it in with my Palmers Cocoa Butter and my Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Butter in Vanilla Apricot, which are the two body moisturizers in my current rotation. Both have their own scent, so that masks any self tanner scent. Again, I haven’t noticed much of a scent anytime I’ve used the drops, but I’ve been self tanning for years, so maybe I don’t smell DHA anymore unless it’s crazy strong. But that’s another reason for you sample it yourself.

The Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops instructions say to add between 1 – 12 drops to your moisturizer. That’s a huge range! My suggestion is to start with one drop, see how it develops, then add two the next time, three after, and so on until you find your perfect mix. I am currently using four drops to every pump and a half of face moisturizer (which is the normal amount of moisturizer I apply to my face, neck and ears. For my body, I first dispense enough of that moisturizer to cover one arm. Then I add six drops of the product to my moisturizer, mix it together and apply. I match the amount for my other arm. Then do the same amount of moisturizer and five drops of the product to apply to my stomach and back. For my legs, I dispense the amount of moisturizer I would normally use for one leg and foot and add six drops of product. Then I repeat on the other leg.

Mix it, mix it real good.

A few suggestions I have for you after you patch test:

Exfoliate First. If exfoliation is not contraindicated with any skincare you are using, a good exfoliation before you apply the self tanner will help it look more even as it develops, as it won’t catch on any dry patches or dead skin.

Start Small. Again, start with the minimum amount of drops and add more each day until you achieve the color you want. It’s important to start with the minimum, as the few bad reviews I read seemed to be because the reviewers jumped right in with five or six drops and it sounds like they also didn’t use enough moisturizer.

Keep It Up. To maintain the color, I would alternate days of your moisturizer alone with the same amount of drops and moisturizer you used to get the tan. The moisturizer alone with help keep the skin hydrated so the tan doesn’t get patchy as you shed dead skin cells, and the every-other-day application of the self tanner and moisturizer will keep your shade of tan as is so it won’t fade.

Mix It Up. You need to realllyyyyy mix the self tanner drops into your moisturizer. If you don’t do that, you will get an uneven tan. After the moisturizer and drops are in the palm of your hand, stir them together with your other hand or rub your hands together for about 15 seconds to ensure they’ve melded into one product.

Don’t Be Stingy. Once you have your self tanner moisturizer cocktail ready, make sure you apply a generous amount everywhere. The best way to get streaky is to use only the little that’s left on your hands to apply to an area. When you can feel it dragging as you apply, you are making the streaks happen. I know better, and I still did that one night while using these drops. I dispensed a little less moisturizer then I meant to, so although I evenly covered my face, I didn’t get enough on my neck (and my neck is notoriously bad with self tanner to begin with). I woke up to some patchy areas on my neck where I hadn’t applied enough moisturizer. Did the same thing on one arm too. I think with any type of self tanning lotion, it’s best to use a little more than you think you need to ensure that it gets everywhere.

Take Your Time. Spend some time rubbing the cocktail in. I haven’t noticed any transfer on my sheets, even though I usually tan right before bed, and I think that’s because I spend a lot of time rubbing in the product so it really absorbs into my skin. I massage it in until I can’t feel anything on my skin, which usually takes several minutes. But I think it is a key factor in getting an even self tan.

The Easiest Part. Wash your hands after applying. This stuff will stain your palms if you don’t.

 

Me (far right) at my most tan, circa 2006. Livin’ that South Florida life. This is the same tan color I get from these drops

As far as color, the Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops give me the same type of color I have when I used to get real tans. Not orange, not olive, not red. Just 24 Year Old Allison tan. I don’t know if the drops react with your body chemistry and give you the type of tan you normally get, or if the color they give happens to be the same color I tan, but they work perfectly on me. I do want to add that I have a very yellow undertone to my skin, which could impact the color. If you are concerned about the color, you could try a bigger swatch of color on your stomach or somewhere that isn’t visible when you have on your everyday clothes to see how the color develops on you. (I realize this can be a tough one for those of you who participate in bathing suit season.) My point is, I can only give you my experience with this color, and that may be impacted by my undertone and the way my skin looks when it really tans. But judged off the many reviews I’ve read and pictures I’ve seen, the Medium shade in particular seems to work on a lot of people.

The Medium drops have a green tint, which they claim is color correcting, as green cancels out redness. I don’t typically have any redness in my skin and I’m not convinced you can get color correction from a self tanner, but I can’t say for sure since I didn’t have any redness to start with. So jury is out on the color correction.

I really don’t have anything bad to say about this product! As long as I apply it correctly, it gives me exactly the type of tan I want. I am loving the Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops and may end up crowning them my Favorite Product of Summer 2018. You can get them at Sephora for a cool $29.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

 

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Product Review: Josie Maran Argan Oil

Josie Maran Argan Oil
One of my skincare essentials.

Are you regularly using a face oil? If not, you should really re-think that. Unless you have truly acneic skin (active breakouts covering the majority of your face), face oil should be a part of your skincare routine. It is the ultimate moisturizer and the best product to use for facial massage. It’s also perfect for using on top of prescription retinol to help prevent any peeling. And if you do get peeling for any reason, a good face oil will heal that up with the quickness.

I’ve tried many face oils over the years, but Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil is my favorite. I buy the 1.7 oz bottle, which lasts me several months. I only use about half a drop over my retinol every other night. I use maybe four drops when I do my facial massage once or twice a week, and when I wear it under my makeup in the winter or spring, that’s a two drop job. My point is, you don’t need to use a lot of product for any of these applications, so a bottle lasts a while.

Argan Oil is rich in Vitamin E and essential fatty acids, so it’s got two of the strongest healing and moisturizing ingredients out there. Most moisturizers seal moisture into the skin with wax ingredients, but oils are able to really penetrate and supply that moisture (aka oil) that our skin needs. Organic and natural face oils like this one won’t clog pores, so you don’t have to worry about it causing blemishes.

Who is this stuff good for, you ask? Great question. It’s an obvious choice for those with dry skin, as dry skin lacks oil. Especially if you have dry patches or flaking, this Argan Oil will make a major difference. I would start by applying it at night, over any creams or serums, as once oil is on the skin, any skincare product you layer on top of that will not penetrate as well. If you are still feeling/looking dry, you can also use it in the morning as a moisturizer (just make sure to apply SPF or a moisturizer with SPF over it).

Got some fine lines–or “tic tac toe lines,” as my father calls his–on your face? Argan Oil will help plump up the skin by moisturizing the skin cells, and that will make lines less noticeable. Dry skin and visible signs of aging often (but not always) go hand in hand, so I may have already had you when I explained the benefits for dry skin.

Is this what my father is picturing? Who the hell knows.

If you’re thinking “My skin is already oily! I shouldn’t put more oil on it!,” that’s not really true. People with oily skin often use oil free products and products geared towards oily skin, and those products end up completely stripping the skin of all oil. Know what happens when you strip your skin of all oil? Your sebaceous glands go “Oh shit, the dermis is dry! Produce more oil!” So the oil deprivation plan backfires. But if you allow some oil into your skincare life, your sebaceous glands will chill. If you’re really hesitant about this, Josie Maran also makes an 100% Pure Argan Oil Light version, which is lightweight and leaves more of a matte finish on the skin.

If dull looking skin is a concern, facial massage with this Argan Oil will rock your world. Lisa Eldrige explains and demonstrates facial massage best. She uses a cleansing balm in this video, but I do the same thing with the Argan Oil after cleansing. I put something good on Netflix and spend 10-15 minutes doing this once or twice a week. It makes a big difference in how glowy the skin looks. Some people think glow comes from makeup, but it actually comes from a good skincare routine, including facial massage.

Trying to think of other reasons not to use it? It’s cruelty free, vegan, gluten free, paraben free, phthalate free, synthetic fragrance free, mineral oil free, formaldehyde free, GMO free and PEG free.  Now what?!?!

With any skincare product, you gotsta always do a patch test 24 – 48 hours before using on your whole face to make sure you don’t have a reaction. I’ve never heard of anyone having a reaction to this product, but better safe than sorry. I do my patches, as I affectionately call them, on my neck on the part of skin that gets hidden by my earlobe so if I do have a reaction, it’s pretty hidden. Hashtag genius.

I wouldn’t recommend face oil for acneic skin, only because my experience as a licensed esthetician and makeup artist tells me that the less product you put on and the less you touch truly acneic skin, the better. But if you are not dealing with acne, you should at least consider Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil or Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil Light. You’d be hard pressed to find a better moisturizer.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

The Bank Account Blues

 

You’d look better with some more weight on you.

Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhh, money. We need it, but damn, it can really make life hard for an entrepreneur (or anyone, but you’re in business owner territory here). So let’s talk about it.

This was originally part of one really long blog post, but I split it up into two. If you want to read what became the first post, the rest of this might make more sense to you.

Everything is going beyond great now, but that wasn’t the case in January and February. I hit a real rough patch financially, and I was not expecting it. Happy New Year to me, right? I wasn’t bouncing checks or not paying bills or anything, but I built myself a lovely little psychological prison where the bars were made of Fear and Sadness and the ruthless guard looked suspiciously like me. (Spoiler alert: It was me.)

What I picture the building of a psychological prison to look like, courtesy of Marshall Mathers.

I’ve owned my company for ten years and have grown it from a one woman, part-time gig to a seventeen person, full-time-and-then-some-for-me company. I’ve never been shy about the fact that the first five years were a struggle financially. But I knew I had to push through those and get into the part of entrepreneurship where you not only make a profit, but you can do things again. I turned down countless invites over my first five years because I knew I had only enough money to pay for my business expenses and barebones personal expenses. And when I got through it, it was glorious. (The other post goes into details about just how glorious it was, and how I view money.)

If you are a new reader (in which case, welcome!), let me first tell you about my ridiculous life. From April until January, I live in Newport, RI. That’s my college town, and as my friend Amanda and I say, that’s where my soul is. It is where I have lived for the bulk of my adult life, and even though I didn’t grow up in Newport, it is my home. In the winter–and I am not retired or a trust fund baby–I live in Charleston, SC, which is where Amanda and I decided my spirit is. (My heart is in Nashville, if you’re wondering.) Living in Charleston during the winter is one of my favorite things about my life, but it is not cheap.

That’s okay though, because I know how to save and budget. I don’t buy a lot of “stuff” for myself, because I’d rather put money towards the perfect winter apartment and plenty of spending money for grits and Bloody Marias. I did my first snowbird winter in January and February 2017, and although my rent was so expensive I almost lost my lunch when they told me the price, it worked out perfectly. I had saved enough for both rent and spending money, so I was completely fine.

Gimme that.

This past year, I leased an apartment in a way better Charleston location. And even though it was a 3.5 month lease, it ended up actually only costing a few hundred dollars total more, taking all expenses into consideration. I had saved like crazy again in 2017 to prepare for snowbirding in 2018, but the perfect storm of expenses hit me hard at the worst time.

About three weeks into my 2018 snowbird winter, I noticed that my bank account was looking very lean. It was normally 5 – 10x larger (depending on the time of year) than it was this past January. At first I thought Oh, we just need to book five or six more jobs and things will be normal, but it was a quiet month in terms of booking and big month in terms of expenses. I had to dip into my savings–something I haven’t had to do since I started even having a savings account four years ago–to pad my account. And that killed me.

How could this happen to me?, I thought. I’m the person does a monthly budget and knows exactly when each dollar goes out. The person who use pro discounts and coupon codes and could make a dress out of the CVS Extra Bucks coupons she has used. Sure, I spend money on going out and treating my friends, but that’s not every day (or even every week) and I don’t spend a ton when I am out. I realize paying for three rents (Newport apartment, Newport beauty studio and Charleston apartment) during my snowbird winters is crazy expensive, but I had pulled it off in 2017 with zero issues, so I assumed 2018 would be the same.

CVS Extra Bucks would be my WuTang name.

After some thinking, I identified a few causes of my bank account blues. It came down to a lethal combination of unexpected expenses and timing. My attorney increased her rate right before I needed some legal work I didn’t anticipate done in December, so that was a big chunk. My website domain cost jumped up and my studio rent always increases in January, so even though I knew to budget for one, I didn’t know that the domain would increase by so much. I also had a sizeable security deposit for my Charleston apartment temporarily out of my bank account, which is something I didn’t have to pay during my previous snowbird winter. And, I had taken my “Find a Winter Home” trip to Charleston in November plus another trip in mid-December to get my keys and get my apartment set up for my drive down in January. The previous year, I only took one trip before January, and I had stayed with a friend. In November, I stayed in a hotel, and it wasn’t cheap. The costs from that trip had to be paid in December, which is typically not a high revenue month for my company.

But still, I was surprised. It’s not that I go around spending money on whatever I want, but I really hadn’t had to worry about my bank account for a while. I’m talking for several years. Sure, I had some expense-heavy months in the past few years, but there was always enough cash moola, baby, to absorb those hits. I looked at my company’s wedding bookings in January, worried that maybe business wasn’t as good. But it was great! We actually had more weddings and other jobs booked for 2018 than we had in January of 2017 for that year. The difference was that for the 2017 season, the bulk of our bookings starting coming in in December 2016 and January 2017. For the 2018 season, the bulk of our bookings started coming in in September of 2017.  So although business was better, a large amount of payments hit the bank account during my snowbird winter in 2017 but before it in 2018.

Also, when comparing our 2017 numbers to this year, we had more corporate work in January of 2017. Most Januarys are not that busy for corporate work, so 2017 was kind of a fluke. But between that and all of the December 2016 and January 2017 payments, the beginning of the previous year had nice little cushion, which allowed the normal expenses and the Charleston expenses to land nicely. It just wasn’t the case this year.

How I felt the winter of 2017.

This year, January was the perfect shitstorm of high expenses and a lower income month. Either one on their own would have been fine–and looking back at 2017, I had encountered those exact factors without even really noticing, since previous months had padded the bank account–but together this January, they made an impact I actually felt. All bills were still paid and I wasn’t late with anything, but I did not like the way my business bank account was looking.

So, I did the only thing I thought I could do–I starting a spending freeze (for non-essential items). I only know how to do things in extremes, you know? And I am well aware that the the small things add up. Dropping $50 on dinner and drinks may not seem like anything when I compare it to my regular income, but that was equivalent to my electric bill in Charleston. I held off on going out to eat, meeting friends for drinks and buying anything I didn’t absolutely need. It was a huge bummer, but it felt foolish to me to spend when things were lean. I still don’t take full days off when I’m snowbirding, but in 2017, I was able to take a decent amount of half days off and I loved it. My Charleston life is generally a little slower paced, business-wise, so that I am able to take half days off more often. But for the first six weeks of 2018, I didn’t do much socializing because of the freeze, and that really bothered me. It felt like I was wasting my snowbird winter, but my financial state made me feel paralyzed.

Maybe this all sounds crazy because I was not technically broke. I had money in savings and room on my credit cards (since I pay them in full every month) if things got really bad. But the savings money was my Charleston in-case-of-emergency-fund (the emergency being a slow business year that didn’t leave me with enough to snowbird off that year’s income) and I had worked so hard to get out of that credit card debt. So while those solutions kept me fed and housed, I was still scared. I kept having this irrational thought of What if we stop booking?. Not completely, as that’s highly unlikely for a company that’s been in business for ten years with yearly growth. But I started thinking What if we start booking half of what we usually do? What if I burn through my savings and wrack up credit card debt? Then I would be the 2012 Allison who constantly checked her mail for client payments and reluctantly maxed out her credit cards because she had no other choice. She lived with constant financial stress and fear that one big unexpected expense could wipe her out.

2012 Allison on Halloween, secretly stressing about how much that cocktail behind her cost.

On top of the stress of waiting for a higher income month to balance out the bad months and replenish my savings, I also felt embarrassed. How could I be in this position after a decade in business, the past four of those years being virtually financially worry-free? I thought I was a better business person than that. I really beat myself about that, and it felt so shitty. A lot of it came from this fear of being back in the true broke days of my early years in business, when I carried around so much financial stress that I’m surprised I didn’t fall over. When that stretch of bank account blues ended, I was elated. A huge weight was lifted off my shoulders and I told myself I would never be back in that position again.

On my rare good days (more like scattered hours) early this year I thought, Maybe it’s actually impressive that I had such a good four year run of no financial stress. I don’t know what other small businesses encounter in terms of profit and loss ebb and flow, so I started to think what I was experiencing could be normal. That thought sent me on a search for stories of other established small business owners who had been in this position (and ideally, a happy ending of them getting out of it!), but I couldn’t find many that went into detail about how they felt during their rough patch. They were mostly information on how to solve the problems (which is valuable, but not what I was looking for) or quick mentions of bad times/failures that were overcome prior to great successes. So the idea for this post was born.

When I’m in any type of shitty position, just knowing that other people have been in my shoes helps me feel better. Since other entrepreneurs may also be looking for financial struggle stories that they can relate to, I this could maybe make one person feel better.

As if any adult could fit in my weirdly small child-sized shoes.

It’s not considered polite to talk about money, right? Then fine, don’t read this. (Too late if you’re already this far into it, you weirdo.) But I think especially as an entrepreneur, it is important to talk about it. Unless your business is in the accounting or financial advising industry, money might seem scary and confusing to you. But if you run a business, you have to really understand it. And it’s hard to understand something that many consider tacky to talk about, since that can prevent us from asking for help and advice. If you are an entrepreneur without a good grasp on finances, I think it’s easy to make a lot of mistakes. It’s also easy to feel like you are the only business owner going through a financial struggle, but honey, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

I started this post in mid-February, as I was emerging from my spending freeze, and am finishing it now in June of 2018–a record-breaking month for sales for my company. This is likely going to be our best year ever, breaking revenue, booking and company size records. It started out rough, but has completely turned around. Having the rough patch happen forced me to take a really hard look at my monthly income fluctuations and expenses, and I now understand them in a way I didn’t before. That is an extremely valuable realization. It’s allowed me to devise a new plan to prevent anything similar from happening next winter, and I feel confident that it will work.

It’s shaping up to be record breaking year for AB Beauty.

If you are an established business owner going through a rough patch financially, I feel your pain. I feel your fear, your anxiety, your stress and your embarrassment. If you can figure out the causes of your financial rough patch, there’s a good chance you can correct them and/or prevent them going forward. In the meantime, try to recognize the fact that it’s probably just a tough couple of months. Business ebbs and flows but unless we are talking about some disaster that hit your business or a disruption in your industry that negatively affects your company, you are going to be okay.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Look Breakdown

Mindy is killin’ it in life and with this look. Makeup done by Janice Kinjo.

Mindy Kaling is having a YEAR. I love her and think she looks fantastic, so I’m going to breakdown one of her recent gorgeous makeup looks. This one is from the Ocean’s 8 world premiere.

Foundation: Medium coverage foundation with a glow. Armani Luminous Silk Foundation would work. I know from reading interviews with Mindy that she has oily skin, so if you’re also a shining star, start by priming your skin with MAC Oil Control Lotion.

Concealer: As needed on the face and under eyes. It’s hard to tell where concealer went without seeing what someone looked like pre-makeup, because a good concealer should cover circles and blemishes and blend into the skin. I know that Mindy has some darkness under the eyes, so if you have that too, a peach (for light to medium skin) or orange (for deeper skin) color corrector can be used before undereye concealer. I’m partial to the MAC Studio Finish Skin Corrector in Pure Orange for deep skintones, and Algenist REVEAL Concentrated Color Correcting Drops in Apricot for light to medium skintones. For very fair skin, I go with Bobbi Brown Under Eye Corrector in Light Peach.

Powder: Powder all over to set. MAC Mineralize SkinFinish Natural Powder would do the job. For this look, I would apply it with a brush, pressing it onto the skin.

Highlighter & Contour: I see a matte highlight on the center of Mindy’s face, particularly down the bridge of the nose. I don’t detect much else as far as highlighting and contouring, but it doesn’t mean it’s not there! Good face sculpting makeup blends seamlessly into the skin.

Cheek Color: Super faint peach terracota color. MAC Blush in Gingerly would be a good choice.

Eyebrows: Brow powder to fill in sparseness/add shape where needed. I can see that the top of the brow was filled in to help with the shape and arch. Go with whatever color matches your brows for this, but don’t load it on. This look is not about the brows, but they should be defined to work with the look.

Eye Makeup: I spy a light silver eyeshadow on the lids and inner corners of Mindy’s eyes. MAC discontinued the one I would use for this (it’s Silver Ring, if you have it!), but I have faith that you could find one that works. It’s tough to see if there is anything in the crease, but I’m going to assume there is a matte brown shade to warm things up. I’ve used MAC Eyeshadow in Charcoal Brown for creasework on clients with Mindy’s skintone. There is some black gel liner like Clinique Brush On Cream Liner in True Black in a medium thick line at the top lashline, traced over with a black eyeshadow like MAC Eyeshadow in Carbon to keep it soft. The shadow is slightly winged out and blended well to make it a little smokey. (It’s possible that a gray shadow, like Bobbi Brown Eyeshadow in Slate, was added to the outer corners and blended into the wing.) There is some of that silver eyeshadow at the bottom inner corners, blended out to about halfway to the bottom lashline. The black eyeshadow was used again on the outer 2/3 of the bottom lashline. A black pencil, like MAC Eye Kohl in Smolder was used in the bottom waterline, to tightline (the top waterline), and right into the inner corners. See how there is a thin dark line around her tearduct on each eye? That’s black liner. It looks like that was extended slightly into a point.

Mascara: Yes, top and bottom lashes. My go to is still Dior Diorshow Mascara.

False Lashes: I would guess strip lashes that are fuller at the outer corners. When you are wearing a medium to thick black liner or shadow at the upper lashline, your lashes need to be dark and thick to stand out against the liner, and sometimes falsies are the only way.

Lipliner: Yes, same color as the lipstick. MAC Lip Pencil in Brick would do it to it.

Lipcolor: A brick red with shimmer, MAC Fresh Moroccan, seems to be what Mindy had on. It may have been topped with some clear gloss too.

This look is best suited for medium to medium dark skintones. Silver eyeshadow paired with brick red lips can be tough to pull off on those with fair or light skin, although it could look beautiful on a redhead with fair skin.

Now go watch everything Mindy has been a part of, because she is amazing.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Product Review: MAC Pro Longwear Concealer

MAC Pro Longwear Concealer
A tried and true kit essential.

Some things I read really stick with me. I once read an article about a woman who had a disease that made her eyeballs slowly protrude out of her sockets, and now I check my peepers on a daily basis for signs that they are moving. That article terrified me. There are a lot of other examples of articles that have fed into my hypochondriac tendencies, but better I keep those to myself.

Professionally, the articles or posts I’ve read that have stuck with me most are those from makeup artists who traveled to jobs and had their luggage–including their pro kits–lost along the way. They then had to scramble and do a job based off what they had in their purse and could find at local stores. That’s always made me think, What are my absolute essentials? My pro kit is stocked up and so heavy that I sprained both wrists last summer lugging it around, but what do I really need?

I have a few essentials, but the first one that came to mind is MAC Pro Longwear Concealer. This matte fluid concealer is pigmented enough to provide serious coverage, and if you work in thin layers–which you should–it won’t cake up. Because it is so pigmented, you only need a small amount. Two pumps can just about cover an entire face, which is not what concealer is for, but you need some kind of standard of measurement, right?. I use one shade for under eyes and a different shade on the rest of the face on most people, and I’ve found that half a pump of each shade is often enough for many of my clients. If I need to add more, I do, because this stuff is buildable.

With some concealers, I’ve found they are either too thick to use under the eyes or not pigmented enough for the face. But the Pro Longwear Concealer works on both areas. It comes in range of colors, and I’ve never had a problem getting a color match on anyone.

My only issue with this concealers is the packaging. It comes in a tiny glass bottle with a pump, but like with most pumps, you can’t get to all of the product with the pump. And the the pump mechanism doesn’t twist off and allow you to get in there. From what I understand, you have to use pliers to get the pump off if you want to reach the several-applications-worth of product often left after the pump stops pumping. So I have a whole bunch of these almost-goners at my parents’ house, waiting for my father to finally bring home the pliers has says he has. (Could I buy my own pliers and try doing it myself? Sure. But will I? Nope.)

Other than the packaging, MAC Pro Longwear Concealers are perfect. They are an essential both in my pro kit and my personal makeup bag. If you are looking for a good fluid concealer, give this a try. Available at MAC stores, counters and online for $24.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Beauty Guru Makeup Techniques: The Real Deal

It’s amazing how quickly my brain will make connections between a movie I’ve never seen–like “The Love Guru–and what photo I should put into a blog post.

There are professional makeup artists and there are beauty gurus. Sometimes a person is both, but that’s not who I’m referring to here. I’m referring to the beauty gurus who do Instaglam makeup (which they often do on both Instagram and YouTube), primarily on themselves but sometimes on others as well. I’ve been looking through some of their Instagram posts and watching as many of their tutorials as I can handle, and I feel compelled to make sure everyone is aware of what is really going on a lot of the time.

This post is for those of you who follow gurus on Instagram or subscribe to their channels on YouTube. How things look in photos or on camera can be very different than what they look like in real life. Like shockingly different.

This post is also for beginner makeup artists, because after a decade in this industry, it is my duty to make sure you know the difference between beauty guru makeup techniques and professional makeup artist techniques. It’s fine to know how to do both if that’s what you like and you have a clientele who likes beauty guru makeup, but you have to know when to put on your professional makeup artist hat and when to do the typical guru type of makeup.

I’m going to go through some of the techniques and behind the scenes stuff so you know what’s really up. I can’t watch every video or story and comment on every technique, but these are the ones I see most often.

Baking. Baking is a drag makeup technique that calls for copious amounts of a lighter-than-your-skin loose powder to be placed onto areas you want to highlight. It is then left on the skin for 20 minutes to “bake.” This is HEAVY makeup (if you didn’t pick that up when I said “drag makeup.”) Mario Dedivanovic did this for a while on Kim Kardashian, but cautioned that it is not an everyday technique. Here’s the thing about powder: it sticks to texture. Dry patches? It’s grabbing onto them. Pores? It will happily fill them in and announce their presence to the world. Fine lines? Treats them just like it does pores, but has the fun effect of adding years onto your face.

Drag queens can get away with baking because they are performing, so they are far enough away where you can’t see any skin texture. But if you are baking your makeup then sitting outside for a lunch date with your friend at 1:00pm? She’s going to see everything. Unless someone has no visible pores or fine lines–so basically, infants–that much powder is super obvious in person. Most clients who sit in my chair tell me they don’t want their makeup to look caked on, which is why I stay away from baking.

Makeup baking
Baking leads to caking.

Tip of Nose Highlight. This highlighter craze has gone TOO FAR. This particular trend drives me insane, because it’s really common with beauty gurus, and it is bad. I believe it started because some gurus said it would make the nose look upturned and like, so cute. And I’ve seen some people say they do it because they have a bump on the bridge of their nose, and highlighting the tip makes the bump seem less noticeable in comparison. And others say it makes a flat nose look more narrow, which makes zero sense. Highlighting anything will make it stand out more and look bigger. Do you want the tip of your nose to look bigger or bulbous? I didn’t think so. Plus, part of this trend is to use shimmery highlighter, and shimmer makes things shiny. When did having a shiny nose become desirable?!?! Lastly, shimmer particles fit very nicely into pores, and many people already have visible pores on their nose. Why would you want to point those out? If you insist on doing this technique, fine. Just know that it is obvious and not flattering in person.

Tip of nose highlight
It’s hard for me to not powder this picture.

Tip of Nose Blush. This shit is baffling. It’s not unusual for a pro makeup artist to use some bronzer or blush across the bridge of the nose when doing a sunkissed or beachy editorial makeup, but tip of the nose? I don’t get it. I’ve always applied makeup to cover red or pink tones on the nose, not bring them out. Blush is meant to meant to mimic the natural flush you get on your cheeks, not your nose. A red or pink nose used to mean someone was sick, crying or had rosacea. I don’t know the reasoning behind this one, and I don’t want to.

She’s stunning, but I can’t get down with this trend. (And this looks like a tip of nose blush and highlighter combo.)

Contouring for One Face Shape. If you look up contouring and highlighting tutorials, 90% of them will be for an oval face shape. That’s great if you’re an Oval, but what about the Hearts, Diamonds, Triangles, Rounds, Oblongs and Squares out there? And what about those with features that they are better off not highlighting or contouring? If you are going to venture into the world of highlighting and contouring, you have to first identify your face shape then learn how to contour and highlight for that shape. If you are a Square with prominent cheekbones and you contour like you’re an Oval, you’ll be putting the focus exactly on the areas you don’t want to draw attention to. For more on face shapes and how to sculpt your’s in a flattering way, check out my Shape Up series.

If you’ve got a small forehead, prominent chin or full cheeks, this technique would not flatter you.

Product Dripping. I don’t know what this technique is called, or if there is even a name for it, but I’ve seen it in several tutorials. This is when the guru takes a liquid production (foundation, luminzer, primer, etc.) that comes in a bottle with a pump or dropper and dispenses product directly onto the face. I’ve been doing makeup professionally since 2008, and I had never seen anyone do this until recently. The pro artists I know will dispense product onto their hand or a palette before applying (as do I). I can’t imagine what the benefit would be of applying it directly from bottle to face. And in many of the tutorials I’ve seen with people who do this, they use a ton of product. When I use Armani Luminous Silk or Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundations, I dispense one pump–sometimes a pump and a half–to do an entire face. I’ve seen gurus use 4-6 pumps on themselves. That is bananas! That’s a crapload of makeup, and it’s completely unnecessary. There is zero chance of that much product not caking up on the skin, especially after powder is applied. And good luck blending! The skin can only absorb so much. It’s also a giant waste of product. Please do not do this.

WHY

Emphasizing All Features. I went over this in my Which Team Are You On? post, but here’s the recap: editorial makeup (and pro makeup in general, up until social media) focused on one feature, but Instaglam makeup does them all up. Full coverage foundation, heavy contour, blinding highlight on several features, cut crease eyeshadow, winged liner, thick brows, false lashes, overdrawn lipliner and matte or intense lipstick colors. It is essentially drag queen makeup, which I love when done well on actual drag queens. But drag queens are men who transform themselves into ultra-feminine women. Women already naturally have some of the features and bone structure drag queens emulate, so putting extra emphasis on those features can backfire and make a woman look masculine. (Fine if that’s your thing, but I have a feeling it’s not what those following beauty gurus are going for.)

I see a beautiful woman there, but what stands out? Skin? Highlight? Contour? Eyebrows? Eyeshadow? Eyeliner? Lipstick? Lashes? Or all of it and therefore none of it at once?

So Much Product. With the emphasis on all features, beauty gurus are already using a lot of different makeup products. And the actual amount of product they use is insane to me. Let me break it down.

  1. I’ve already covered drip foundation, and this triangle-of-concealer-under-eyes application makes no sense, as Wayne Goss explains. Every good pro makeup artist I know works in thin layers of concealer and foundation, which allows them to blend easily and use only as much as they need to blur any imperfections and let the skin show through.
  2. The amount of powder used by many gurus–whether or not they are baking–is borderline obscene. Powder is meant to set foundation and minimize shine, using the least amount of product you can. Lots of any kind of powder product is guarantee to cake up on the skin.
  3. You don’t need to use three contour products and a bronzer. If you want to sculpt, a cream contour and a powder contour are the absolute most you would need to use. I’ve seen gurus use concealers, stick foundations or contour sticks, powder contour and bronzer layered over each other. Unnecessary!
  4. If you think layer upon layer of glittery highlight will look like anything other than a stripe of shimmer on your face in natural light, you are mistaken.
  5. Overdrawn lips plus lipstick plus lipgloss plus highlight over and under the liplines? Again, drag makeup. If that’s your goal, proceed.

If you want to use as much product as many of the gurus do, be my guest. But know that a) It’s going to look super heavy in real life and b) Your beauty product spending will increase, as you are using way more product than you need to.

And now for the behind the scenes stuff. Beauty guru tutorials and photos can be very deceiving. I was talking to a friend of a client at a bridal trial recently, and she said she went to a meet and greet for a well-know guru, and could not believe how much makeup she had on. I wasn’t surprised at all! It’s because of those things I just mentioned, as well as:

Lighting. I’ve worked on a several films, commercials and television shows over the years.  So I can tell you from experience that lighting makes a huge difference. If a person is lit well, their skin will look smoother, younger and more even toned than it really is. You can absolutely manipulate lighting to be mega-flattering and soft on camera. But beauty gurus don’t have a lighting crew on set! you say. True, but many of them use ring lights, which can make even the most hack blending job look gorgeous on camera. If they did the same makeup in your bathroom that has those yellow lights you hate, things would look at lot different.

Lighting it up.

Filters. You probably know about Instagram filters, and the editing you can do there. There are also digital filters that many beauty gurus use to make the skin look impossibly smooth and perfect in videos. Don’t feel like reading anymore about this? Then watch Wayne’s video on what he calls live Photoshop.

I call bullshit on some of y’all gurus.

Editing Out Steps. A full face of makeup–especially the way some of these gurus do it–often takes way more time than the length of the video. Application steps, blending and product absorption time can easily be edited out. Sometimes a guru will tell you that, but other times they keep it to themselves. A winged eyeliner alone can take the length of some of these tutorials, so don’t think that you’re doing anything wrong if you can’t do a full face and lashes in 10 minutes and 19 seconds.

Some things take time.

If you are aware of all of these factors and you love guru/Instaglam makeup, then do you, babygirl. I’m not trying to dissuade you from doing looks you like on yourself. I just want you to know the reality of what you see so you don’t think you’re doing it wrong when it looks heavy or unflattering on your own face.

However, if you are a pro makeup artist and you try to do this type makeup on a commercial, film or at a corporate shoot, you’re probably going to get fired. If whatever you are working with is filmed in HD, heavy makeup is going to be magnified and it will not look good. Think back to the last movie or show you watched. Did you see obvious contour? Tons of disco ball highlight? Heavy, dark brows? Nope. You have to know how to do clean makeup if you want to work in on those types of shoots.

I could go on and on about this topic, but I think I’ve covered the basics. If you’ve got questions or comments, you know what to do.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

2018 Game Plan: Checking In

Remember when you said that?

Accountability. You have to have it as an entrepreneur, since you don’t have a boss breathing down your neck. But it’s also a valuable thing to have in your personal life as a motivator to get things done. My 2018 Game Plan post consisted of both personal and business goals, and now six months later–when most New Year’s Resolutions have long since gone to shit–I think it’s time to see how I’m doing. You, my dear, dear reader, are my virtual accountability coach and this is my progress report.

BEAUTY GOALS

Mask Appeal. My goal was to regularly use face masks. I did really well with this in January, then trailed off a bit in February when I ran low on masks. I got a bunch of mask samples from Sephora in March, but didn’t love any of them. I’ve been using the Clarins Beauty Flash Balm as a mask once a week or so since April, so I’m getting better.

Lotioned Up. My goal was to be more consistent with applying body lotion, and I failed miserably in January and February. I think that was because my bathroom in Charleston was cold, so I wanted the shower-to-towel-to-clothing process to be as quick as possible. Now that I’m back in RI and have two lotions I love, I’m doing better with this. Savannah Bee Company Royal Jelly Body Butter Tupelo Honey and Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Body Butter in Vanilla Apricot make this easier.

Massage Envy. I’ve been killin’ it with this goal. I do my own facial massage once or twice each week, and my skin has been looking glowy. Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil is my go to for this. If you want to know more about facial massage, check out this tutorial from Lisa Eldridge.

Brush It Off. I’ve also done well with dry brushing, which is good since I slacked off with the body lotion for a while. Dry brushing is quick and easy, but skip it if you’ve got a spray tan or self tanner on, as it will exfoliate off some of your fake tan.

Tame Those Claws. I would give myself a B+ with nail maintenance. I had been filing and buffing almost as much as I should until I got back to RI in April. I even painted them myself one time, which I never do! (By the way, Revlon Nail Polish lasts a good four days without chipping, which I found impressive.) Once wedding season started in April, I slacked off, but writing this post might kick me back into gear…

BUSINESS GOALS

Get Blogged Down. Knocked this out of the park. I love writing and I love sharing tips, tricks and product reviews (as well as the self indulgent posts like this–no shame). I’ve been stockpiling posts and publishing 1 – 2 times a week for all of 2018. This definitely got more challenging once wedding season started, but I’m making a serious effort to keep it going.

Template Time. I reviewed and revised all of my business templates in January and February, which allows me to efficiently provide clear, updated information to my clients and my team. Score.

Socialize. I’ve taken some social media classes and have learned a lot, much of which I have already put into practice. I do Instagram stories a few times a month so I need to get better with those, but I don’t love them. I’ve also updated all of my social media profiles as well as this here blog. I’m far from a digital marketing maven, but I am improving.

Be a Teacher. In Charleston, I did one full makeup lesson and one mini-lesson (lipstick only), plus had one scheduled that the client had to cancel. I did better than winter of 2017, but I’d like to do more lessons this year.

Grow, Girl. I had a plan for expansion that I had been working on for a while, but after three months of trying different potential options, I discovered it’s not going to happen this year. I was super bummed out but I have some other plans in the works. I can’t shake this ambition thing…

No need to tattoo this on my body. It’s ingrained in me with no ink.

PERSONAL GOALS

Give Thanks. I hit a real rough patch in late January–three big shitty things happened at once–but got through it. (Nothing devastating, thankfully.) I haven’t forgotten how great my life is though, and if you played a drinking game where you took a shot every time I silently said “Thank you!” for something in my life during the day, you would be tore up by noon.

Love It or List It. I’m still planning on giving my bedroom in my Newport apartment a makeover. I inherited a plain white comforter from a friend who stayed with me in Charleston the first week of January (she bought it because my apartment was cold due to the unexpected low temps, and I hadn’t brought enough extra blankets with me), and since I want to my updated bedroom to be mostly white, I’m considering this a start.

My dream bedroom.

Overreact Much? As mentioned, I got hit with three shitty things in a row in January. I actually did pretty well reacting to the first one, but lost it when the second, most pervasive issue came up. Then I got sick of myself being so worried and bummed out, so one day I woke up and thought, I’m done being like this. And no lie, about two hours later, things related to that second problem started improving. Then a few days later, I got a big boost with something else related to the second and third problems. Now, I know I’m being cryptic here, but I have to be. The moral of the story though is that either it’s a coincidence that things started improving when I decided to change my mindset–which could be the case–or my mindset somehow helped. It certainly didn’t hurt, so I will try to remember that next time a shitstorm or two makes an appearance in my world.

Listen Up. Uh oh. Not sure I’ve made a lot progress here. I have been trying, but as an entrepreneur who communicates with her clients and team mostly via email and text, sometimes five or six hours go by where I don’t speak a word to anyone. Then when I see someone…I can’t stop! But I am really trying to shut up and be a better listener. I’m more likely to be a listener with clients, but when I see a friend and they ask me about something I feel strongly about (so most things), I tell them everything I’ve been thinking. But, I do ask questions and check in with my friends often, because I want to know what’s going on with them. Still, I could definitely improve here.

Zip it, Allison.

Win Big. I made sure to enter the HGTV Dream Home Giveway two times a day (the max amount you can enter) while it was happening. I didn’t win, but I’m okay with that.

I think I’ve done pretty well overall! I’m on a constant quest for self improvement because although there are a lot of things I can’t control (much to my chagrin), there are some things in my life that I can make better. And those seemingly small changes can make a big difference. I’ll keep working on this stuff for the second half of 2018.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Find Your Tribe

 

Hatch Tribe, women entrepreneurs

I love owning a business. It’s one of my favorite things about my life. It’s given me the freedom I crave, the confidence boost I needed when I started it in my mid 20s, and the opportunity to both give work to others and support myself. I can’t imagine ever working for someone else again! Being an entrepreneur is perfect for me and I have no doubt it’s what I should be doing.

But it can be mad lonely. I’m the sole owner of my company, so it’s been just me from Day One. Before I get too woe-is-me, let me first say that I’ve been lucky enough to have the support of the friends and family who matter to me, and I realize that’s not the case for every entrepreneur. I consider myself especially lucky that my father is a serial entrepreneur (he’s opened six businesses that I can remember), and my brother now runs a business my father opened. They are great resources for me because even though the beauty industry is seemingly very different from the real estate and property management industries they work in, there are similarities with the operational and expansion sides to these businesses. I also have a close friend who works in the beauty industry and owns her own business. It’s been great to have someone who completely understands almost the exact problems I encounter because of our industry and the similarities in our business models.

Even so, until recently, I never felt like I had a community of entrepreneur friends and contacts. I’m grateful for those three people I have, but three people is not the majority of the people in my life. (Like come on, I’m more popular than that.) And that’s where the loneliness comes in. I haven’t been sitting in a room crying for the past ten years, but I’ve felt it. It’s not loneliness in the sense of “I have no one to hang out with,” but more “I don’t have a lot of people I can relate to.”

So damn true.

Being an entrepreneur is career choice, but also a lifestyle choice. If you own a business, chances are your personal life and career life are interwoven. It’s unlikely that as an entrepreneur, you work eight hours, turn it off and go home to your personal life. (I know not all employee jobs are like that, but let me generalize for a minute.) If you broke my typical day into chunks, it would be Work, Personal, Work, Personal, Work, Personal (with the Work times being the longest) and repeat. And that’s seven days a week for me. It’s not the traditional work schedule, and I can tell that some of my friends and relatives (understandably) don’t get it.

It can also be hard to relate to non-entrepreneurs for a lot of other reasons, but you can read my Prep School series for more on that. What I want to talk about now is Hatch Tribe, an amazing group that I joined last year. You know me–I either love something or I hate it–and I love Hatch Tribe.

Let’s start at the beginning, because this isn’t Memento. (I love a good early 2000s movie reference that only 20% of my readers will get.) I moved to Charleston for my first snowbird winter in January of 2017. I became friends with a tall and witty attorney named Mairin, who I’m convinced is my long lost sister. She got me immediately, right down to the way I approach situations due to my entrepreneur status. (Like she gets mad for me when she thinks someone is wasting my time because she knows I’m already running at a time deficit.) At one point last winter, Mairin told me about the Hatch Tribe Speed Meet and Greet event she had seen on their Facebook page. I went to that event, and I was hooked.  I went to a few other events while I was there, and attended some virtual events (or watched replays) after I moved back to Rhode Island last spring. Everything was helpful, inspiring and valuable, so I continued to follow Hatch Tribe on Facebook, and joined their Facebook group

This year, Hatch Tribe created the Members Circle. It covers the four big areas that I think are essential for a community of entrepreneurs. You ready for this list format?

Advice. Got a question about social media? Accounting software? Hiring practices? If you can think up a question, someone in the Members Circle can answer you or direct you to someone who can. Every single question gets answered, so no one is left hanging. Do you have any idea how amazing that is? In many other parts of my life, I’ve found that people struggle answering direct questions. (So much so that I once wondered if a new punctuation mark replaced the question mark and I missed the press release.) A lot of the issues we come across as business owners are common issues, so even if someone doesn’t work in the same industry as you, they very well may have encountered the issue you’re facing. Or maybe, using my earlier example, an accountant in the Circle can recommend the best accounting software. I’ve been asking long winded questions in the Members Circle since I joined in February, and I’ve gotten tons of valuable advice. There are even topics that you can follow–like Growth, Marketing and Money, to name a few–so you can see what other people post about those topics. The level of organization in this group makes my soul happy.

Question mark
Is this thing on?

Education. You like to learn things to help improve your business, right? OF COURSE YOU DO. Maybe you have access to a ton of classes and the time to attend them in person, but if you don’t, you are going to love this. (And if you do, you’d get more of them in the Members Circle!) Each month in the Members Circle, there’s a new theme and mentor who works in an industry related to that theme. The Mentor of the Month and Hatch Tribe founder, Hilary Johnson, put out helpful 15 minute videos related to the theme, and also do an online masterclass that both connects the previous videos and delves more into the theme. So far I’ve learned a lot about Instagram stories and algorithms, social media content, SEO, perfecting the way we talk about our business to others, the fears that can hold us back in business, the importance of balance and more. If I wasn’t in the Members Circle, these are all things I would have had to research or take classes on myself, if I even thought to do so. But now, it’s offered to me in a way that is always clear and easy to follow, and I can ask followup questions. You find me a better situation than that. You can’t!

Women entrepreneur groups
That’s not me, but I am that happy when I’m learning stuff in the Members Circle.

Support. I’ve been lucky enough to get a lot of support from most of my friends and family in the ten years that I’ve had my business. My immediate family and closest friends have been unwavering in that aspect, and I appreciate that more than they will ever know. But now, with the Members Circle, I also have a group of girlbosses who are truly rooting for me (and I’m rooting for them). Need some examples? Every Friday, Hilary posts something encouraging us to share our wins from the past week. As entrepreneurs, we might not be used to stepping back and saying “I accomplished this” or “My company reached this goal” and taking time to appreciate that. We can do that in the Friday thread, plus give our support to everyone else who posts about their wins. (There’s also a whole “Celebrate” topic, so it’s not just a Friday thing.) Still not convinced? There’s no “Like” button in the Members Circle–because there’s a “Cheer” button. Try to not feel supported when people are cheering you! It’s impossible, like saying “Oh, no thank you” to chips and guacamole. There’s no cattiness in the Tribe–Hilary would shut that shit right down–and no feeling that you are being judged or doing something the wrong way. It’s 100% support, and not because people are trying to sell to you or recruit you. (In fact, there is only one area of the Members Circle where you are even allowed to promote.) If you’re craving support of your entrepreneur life, it don’t get no better. (If I have to get this song in my head, you do too.)

 

Just like that “Ocean’s 8” cast support, except some of us work from home in our pajamas several days a week…

Understanding. It’s real easy to feel misunderstood as an entrepreneur. If some of the people in your life don’t get or don’t like your entrepreneur lifestyle, can you really blame them? It’s not the norm. Only about 7% (depending on your source) of the US population owns their own business. I mean, damn. That’s some kind of rare disease statistic. You might have some people you are close to who aren’t entrepreneurs and get your lifestyle, although you’ve probably had to clue them in along the way. But in the Members Circle, everyone gets it because they are in it too.  This one is huge to me, because I’ve spent a lot of time trying to explain to my family and friends why I have to or can’t do something, or why I have to approach certain situations the way I do. And honestly, being in this group of only girlbosses adds another level of understanding. I know some male entrepreneurs and while I’ve gotten great advice from some of them, the level of empathy and the extent to which some truly listen is lacking. I’ve also found some male entrepreneurs to be condescending, and dismissive of my success because it’s in a female dominated industry. (Fuck those guys, though. If you don’t think the beauty industry is gigantic and growing like crazy, put down your golf clubs for a minute and do some research.) In Hatch Tribe, and particularly in the Members Circle, you don’t have to explain yourself. Everyone there is on the same page.

Entrepreneur meme
#entrepreneurjokes

I had a bit of a rough winter in Charleston this past year and Hatch Tribe–both due to the Members Circle and the friends I met through the Tribe that I spent time with–was one of the big things that got me through it. I’ve made some awesome, badass girlboss friends, and even thought I miss my weekly meetups with some of my them now that I’m back in RI, I still feel as connected as I did while I was in Charleston.

I really think if the Members Circle had been around when I first started my business, things would have gone a lot more smoothly for me. There were so many things I had questions about and needed input on in my early years, and I could have used the support and expertise of the Tribe. It’s still immeasurably valuable even as an owner of a ten year old business though, and there are people in the Tribe who have been in business longer than that. So no matter how long you’ve been paying those self employment taxes, the Members Circle can be beneficial to you.

This isn’t a sponsored post and no one asked me or even implied that I should write it. I wanted to because I appreciate Hatch Tribe, particularly the Members Circle, so much. To be fully transparent, there is an incentive for members who refer other people who join, but duh, every good business has some kind of incentive program. It’s not pushed on anyone in the Tribe (I actually had to look it up to remember what the rewards were). So yeah, I have an invite I can send people who are interested, but I’d be just as happy if you joined on your own. I wouldn’t write this post if I didn’t truly love Hatch Tribe. If you are a regular reader, you know I love promoting the things I’m into, and I’m not shy about saying what I don’t like. (Go ahead–try asking me about beauty influencers.)

As far as cost, joining the Members Circle is, I think, affordable for most entrepreneurs. It’s $34.99 (that’s what, a pair of pants from Express?) for a monthly membership, or $349.99 for an annual membership. One business-related class a month alone would likely cost you more than $34.99, plus you can get lots of free advice from people in the Members Circle who want to share what they’ve learned. And you can’t put a price on understanding and support. Plus, the membership fee is a write-off! (I checked with my accountant to confirm that.) Business owners love write-offs, don’t we?

If you’re a girlboss and you’re feeling unsupported or unsure about this whole entrepreneur thing, there’s a big group of us who want to help. So at least check out Hatch Tribe. Hope to see you in the Members Circle!

Have a beautiful day 🙂

 

Look Breakdown

Chrissy Teigen makeup
Photo by John Shearer/WireImage

Chrissy Teigen has rocked some gorgeous makeup looks the past few years. I came across one from the 2016 Grammy Awards that I think is beautiful, classic and perfect to wear as a wedding guest, as it will work with any dress color. As it’s now wedding season pretty much everywhere, you might need this.

Here’s my take on what she had on. Some of this is verified info from Mary Philips, the makeup artist who did this look.

Foundation: Full coverage foundation. Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation would work well. See how the center of Chrissy’s face looks highlighted? You can get that effect by using the foundation shade that matches your skin around the edges of your face, and one that is two shades lighter on the center of your face.

Concealer: As needed on the face and under eyes. It’s hard to tell where concealer went without seeing what someone looked like pre-makeup, because a good concealer should cover circles and blemishes and blend into the skin.

Powder: Powder all over to set. MAC Mineralize SkinFinish Natural Powder would do the job. For this look, I would apply it with a sponge to get more coverage.

Highlighter & Contour: There’s definitely some highlight on those gorgeous cheekbones. Mary used the Physician’s Formula Super BB #InstaReady Contour Trio BB Stick to sculpt Chrissy’s face. This multi-tasking stick has both contour and highlight sections, which I am guessing she applied separately with a brush.

Cheek Color: As luck would have, Mary also shared which two blushes she used on Chrissy for this look. The first one was Physician’s Formula Argan Wear Blush in Natural, which was applied to the apples of the cheeks, at the center of the hairline and lightly at the chin. Then on just the apples, Mary applied Charlotte Tilbury Cheek to Chic Blusher in Loveglow.

Eyebrows: Taupe brow powder to fill in sparseness/add shape where needed. I can see that the top of the brow was filled in to help with the shape and arch. Go with whatever color matches your brows for this, but don’t load it on. This look is not about the brows.

Eye Makeup: Mary said she used “warm bronzes and heated desert tones” for this eye makeup. I would go with MAC Eyeshadow in Swiss Chocolate for the initial color. This should be soft and very well blended. The shadow is extended past the outer corners of the eyes in a soft, uplifted angle shape. I would use a pencil brush to apply that same shadow at the lower lashline. On the lid, I would top Swiss Chocolate with MAC Bronze. Eyeliner is barely detectable, but I would guess some matte dark brown eyeshadow like Bobbi Brown Eyeshadow in Rich Brown was applied with a thin brush at the top lashline.

Mascara: Yes, top and bottom lashes. My go to is still Dior Diorshow Mascara.

False Lashes: She might have had a few small individual lashes on the outer corners, but you could achieve a similar look with just mascara.

Lipliner: Yes, same color as the lipstick. MAC Stripdown Lipliner would work. It looks different on the MAC site, but it is a creamy brown beige.

Lipcolor: MAC Velvet Teddy plus some clear lip balm like Glossier Balm Dotcom would do the job.

Because of the mostly neutral colors, this look appears natural and understated, but with the right hair and outfit, it looks very elegant. It’s technically an easy-ish look to do, but if you stay with the full coverage foundation, make sure to exfoliate first, and prep your skin with a moisturizer, serum or face oil (or whatever combination of those work for you) first. Full coverage foundation will catch on any dry areas and can cake up if you don’t work in thin layers.

This look is best suited for medium to medium dark skintones. The eyeshadow colors are especially complimentary on brown and green eyes.

If you’ve got questions, I’ve got answers, so comment away,

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Makeup Artist Dreaming: Who’s the Boss?

Do you want to be an Angela or a Tony?

Once you have gotten educated/licensed and decided which area or areas of makeup artistry you want to focus on, you’ll have to decide if you want to work for yourself or for someone else. If you want to work for yourself, as a freelancer, you will be responsible for finding your own jobs (and jobs for others, if you hire anyone). If you work for a company, the jobs will be provided for you, but you will have certain guidelines to abide by and possibly a specific product line or lines that you are required to use.

There are benefits and disadvantages to both approaches, but there is nothing that says you can’t change directions if you feel that particular setup is not working for you. Some artists who work for other companies have a tremendous degree of freedom and creative choice, and some freelancers may sometimes work as independent contractors for other companies. Initially going down one of the two paths will give you some direction to start with, but it doesn’t mean you career path is set in stone.

If you want to work for yourself, it’s up to you to be organized, disciplined and responsible. When you work for yourself, you don’t get sick days, paid vacation time, or someone to cover for you when you are unavailable. A freelancer makeup artist’s schedule is typically wildly unpredictable, which makes planning things in your personal life difficult. It is hard (and frankly unwise) to turn down a job because you want to go to the beach for a day when you don’t know when your next job will come in.

If you have some business experience, you will find that knowledge very helpful if you decide to work for yourself. You will be responsible for your own advertising, marketing, billing, ordering products, client communication, etc., so any experience in these areas will be beneficial. If you don’t have any business experience, try to find someone you know who can help you with the basics. Or consider taking a business class for entrepreneurs.

Another huge part of being a successful freelancer is keeping yourself motivated. No one can fire you if you decide to sleep until 11:00am every day and take off three days every week, but you will never build your business by doing that. You have to hold yourself accountable and get things done, and especially when you are starting out and don’t have a client base, it can be difficult to stay motivated. But it is critical to your success, so whatever inspires you to work hard—maybe it’s motivational quotes, books by successful entrepreneurs, or goals you want to accomplish—keep them at the forefront of your business. Working for yourself has its challenges, but it can be extremely gratifying. It also gives you the most creative choice and allows you to run your business the way you want to. This is a good path for makeup artists who are independent, motivated and organized.

If you want to work for someone, you have several avenues to explore. You can work at a salon or spa, for a cosmetics company, as an independent contractor for one or more companies, or at a makeup counter. Depending on the position and the company, there are varying degrees of scheduling freedom and travel available. With some of these jobs, you may have a regular schedule and possibly some benefits. You may also be collaborating or working with a team, which is a plus for those who work best with others.

Keep in mind that working for someone else also comes with certain rules and guidelines. The owner/your manager has the ultimate say, which can stifle creativity in some cases. Depending on the company, you may have to use only their products. This is great if you love every single product they make—especially if they give an employee discount, which many companies do!—but if you don’t like the line you are working with, it can make your job difficult.

Most the successful makeup artists who have been in the industry for a while end up as freelancers. Some started that way, while others worked for someone else until they felt ready to make the move. Don’t force yourself to do what goes against your nature and personality type, but also be open to making a change if you realize the situation you are in does not work for you.

Best of luck with your adventures in makeup artistry!

Have a beautiful day 🙂