To Strobe or Not To Strobe

Strobing

Strobing has been getting a lot of hype lately. It’s not a new technique though–it is simply highlighting with an illuminating or shimmery highlighter. Nothing groundbreaking there, my friends. The idea is to apply the product on areas that you want to bring attention to. You may have come across articles or tutorials that tell you to strobe (I’m making it a verb) some or all of the following areas: cheekbones, browbones, bridge of nose, center of chin, center of forehead, above the Cupid’s Bow and the inner corners of eyes.

I don’t have anything against strobing when done well. It can be flattering and pretty and it’s not terribly complicated to do. But there are some things I think you should know before attempting this look. I consider it my job as a makeup artist to help you understand and execute different makeup looks. So let’s get to it.

  • Light Versus Dark and Contrast Factors. Dark colors make areas recede, light colors bring them out. In general, a shimmer will bring more attention to an area than a matte. If you make an area recede, the area next to that will pop more because of the contrast. Which is why using a matte contour product–which should be darker than your skin–under your cheekbones makes your cheekbones pop. So keep in mind that if you strobe an area, you are playing up that feature. And the area next to that will, by contrast, recede or at least not pop as much. You with me? This is why I don’t do any type of highlighting on my cheekbones. My eyes are deep set so when I highlight my cheekbones–an area that somewhat borders my eye sockets–it pulls that area forward and gives the illusion that my eyes are pushed back even more. I’m all set with looking like a demon, so I forgo any type of highlight there.
  • Flashback. This is something to consider if you want to strobe and are going to be photographed. Anything with shimmer in it (that’s all illuminating products, glitter and metallics) can cause this. If paparazzi is around–whether it’s Us Weekly or your camera-obsessed best friend–anything too shimmery can backfire in flash photography. Ever seen a picture of someone who looks like they have a white streak under their eyebrows? Yes you have. That’s because little shimmer particles in whatever was applied to their browbones caught the light from the flash and said “This is our moment, bitches!” Flashback may work well on Mad Men, but it’s not an effect you want from your makeup.
  • Pores, Blemishes, Lines/Wrinkles, Dry Patches & Oily Areas. Illuminating/shimmery products have a tendency to do two things–settle into areas of the skin and make skin look shiny. Those tiny shimmery particles fit perfectly into large pores, fine lines and wrinkles. Illuminating products make oily skin more shiny and they make texture, like blemishes and dry patches, more noticeable. So if you have an area that has any of these things, I would avoid strobing there. Some of these imperfections are temporary–blemishes fade, oily skin can change with the seasons or as you become an older and wiser woman, fine lines may disappear with a trip to the derm–so hope is not lost.
  • Your Base. Strobing gives a glowy effect, so it makes sense for the skin to show through. A matte, full coverage foundation doesn’t work as well with this look as a sheer foundation does. I recommend a liquid foundation or tinted moisturizer over a powder foundation, as most good illuminating highlighters are liquids, creams or sticks which don’t blend as easily over powder. And prepping your skin with a moisturizer or a hydrating primer first will help with the glow factor.
  • Face Re-Shaping. When you contour or highlight, you are essentially re-shaping your face. The idea is to bring out the parts of your bone structure that you like and minimize that parts that you are not as fond of. The problem is, there are a lot of articles and tutorials done by people with different bone structure than you. So let me break it down by who I think might want to avoid strobing different areas. These are my suggestions, but if you like doing something the opposite way, go for it. I’m all for rocking what you like with confidence. These tips are for the people who want to try strobing but need some guidance.
    • Cheekbones. As I mentioned, I am not a fan of cheekbone highlight on anyone with deep set eyes. And if you already have gorgeous, prominent cheekbones, I would avoid strobing there too. It can almost be too much on faces with strong cheekbones. But if you don’t fall into either of those categories, this looks beautiful when done correctly.
    • Browbones. Everyone should proceed with caution here. Highlighting the browbones brings them forward and pushes the rest of the eye back. That can give a more masculine or Cro-Magnon look, depending on your perspective.
    • Bridge of Nose. Minimal strobing on the bridge of the nose is usually fine unless you have a bump on your nose, it’s crooked or you have large pores there. In the case of a bump or crooked nose, you are probably better off with contour. If you do strobe your nose, do it with the product that’s left on your finger or brush after you have applied it to other areas. The bridge of the nose is a small area and makeup on the nose has a tendency to cake up, so a thin layer will do ya. Stop before you get to the tip of the nose unless you are going for a modern-day Rudolph effect.
    • Center of Chin. Skip this if your chin protrudes as it will draw attention to that. And if you have an oily chin, which most combination skin peeps have, it’s going to accentuate that.
    • Center of Forehead. If you have fine lines or large pores on your forehead, strobing there is going to make that more obvious. Highlighting your forehead can make it look larger so if that doesn’t sound good to you, don’t do it.
    • Cupid’s Bow. If you think your top lip is too full (oh, how I wish I had that problem) skip the Cupid’s Bow strobing as it will add the illusion of fullness. If you have fine lines above your top lip, you’ll want to avoid this as well. Otherwise, this is a pretty safe one for you.
    • Inner Corners of Eyes. If your eyes are wide set, strobing the inner corners can make them look more wide set. And if you have crepey eyelids, which happens when we lose skin elasticity as we age like fine wine, skip this strobing. Other than that, this is an easy and flattering option for most people.
  • Color Choices. Even if you know where to highlight in a way that flatters your bone structure, if you choose the wrong color, it’s going to look off. Light skin looks pretty with pearl shades, champagne tones are flattering on medium skin, and golds and bronzes are dazzling (such an under-utilized word!) on dark skin. Going too light on dark skin can look harsh and ashy and going too dark on light skin can look orange-y.
  • Your Overall Look. If you are strobing, especially if you do more than one area of the face, keep some other areas matte. You want to anchor it so you look more ethereal than disco ball. If you’ve strobed your cheekbones, Cupid’s Bow and bridge of your nose, try a matte eyeshadow with black gel liner on your lids. A matte cream blush and cheekbone strobing is perfection. The cream texture keeps with the glowy feel without adding more illumination. A matte red, purple-toned or bright pink lip with strobing on the face and a neutral, flesh-toned eyeshadow is gorgeous.
  • Don’t Go Overboard. Especially if you are going to be photographed, strobe with a light hand. What looks subtle in person can look overdone in photos. Apply product in thin layers and blend well. I prefer to apply liquid, cream and stick highlighters with one finger and blend with another. Your body heat will help break down the product–especially cream and stick formulations–so they absorb into the skin instead of sit on top of it. I also like to lightly blend any strobing on the face with my Real Techniques buffing brush after I’m done.

I did some strobing on the bride in this photo using Charlotte Tilbury’s Wonder Glow. Charlotte uses it under foundation on the whole face, but I like to use it as a highlighter.

I hope this post, which turned out to be a hell of a lot longer than I anticipated, has helped you out.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Photo Credit: Summer Street Photography http://summerstreetphotography.com/

 

 

 

 

 

My Super Quick Everyday Look

To those of you who are under the impression that makeup artists are always in full perfect makeup, I hate to burst your bubble but…we are not. In fact, the busier the artist is, the less likely they seem to consistently wear full makeup. I personally always do for weddings and for most other jobs, but on the days when I don’t have clients, I am Low Maintenance Lucy.

On my non-job days (which usually means I am in front of my computer and/or doing business errands all day), I often do the same 5 minute makeup. This makeup won’t necessarily work for everyone, but if you are like me–have combination but blemish-free light skin, some darkness under the eyes and eyebrows that don’t need to be filled in–this could work for you.

Here’s what I do:

1)  I apply moisturizer all over my face. The exact one changes by season and skin status, but I often find myself using Cera Ve in the fall and winter and Neutrogena Oil Free Moisturizer in the spring and summer. If they don’t contain sunscreen, I apply that first.

2) MAC Select Coverup in NW20 goes under my eyes. (This goes after a very thin layer of moisturizer, which I allow to absorb for about 20 seconds.)

3) I blend the Select Coverup with a MAC 224 brush, then use whatever is left on the brush on my eyelids up to my browbones. The skin on my eyelids is so light and thin that you can sometimes see little veins if there isn’t some coverage there. Thank you, Irish genetics.

4) I use L’Oreal Carbon Black Mascara on my top lashes only.

5) Benefit POREfessional goes around my nose/front part of cheeks and on my forehead.

6) I apply Rimmel Stay Matte in 001 Transparent under my eyes with the 224 brush.

7) I apply a light wash of the Stay Matte onto my lids and up to my browbones. It says transparent, but it has some very light pigment that matches my skintone, so it really evens out the area.

8) I apply L’Oreal Carbon Black Waterproof to my lower lashes. I am prone to lower lash smudging, so this works best for me.

That’s it! When I get into my car or to my office, I usually end up applying whatever lip balm is there, but no lipstick or gloss.

I love doing a full makeup on myself, but it saves me time to to this Super Quick look. There are many things one might say I have too much of–lipstick, yoga pants, Biggie paraphernalia–but one thing I don’t have much of is time. So if I can save 15-30 minutes a day by doing a 5 minute makeup, I gots to do it.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

 

 

Ain’t Nobody Got…Yes, You Do

 

mom-makeup

A few years ago, I went makeup shopping with a friend. She had told me she needed a complete makeup bag overhaul but had no idea where to start. Easy enough for me! As a makeup artist, I buy, try and research beauty products all the damn time.

But there was a twist. She had twin one year old daughters, and a military husband who was sometimes gone for months at a time. “Some days I only have one minute to get myself ready,” she told me. So I created a list for her, suggesting a makeup routine she could do when she had one child in her arms and another climbing up her leg (a less than one minute routine) up to when Grandma was babysitting and my friend could do her makeup for a rare night out (a 30+ minute makeup routine). A few weeks ago, I had a similar request from another friend who works part-time in higher education and is at home with her toddler for the rest of the week. Sometimes she needs to look polished and professional, and other times she is with her son and doesn’t have time to change out of her pajamas. I frequently hear from clients, friends and family who want to do some kind of makeup routine but are pressed for time. So I thought I should publicize this list that I made for my friends.

I won’t go into too much detail on how to do each step, as I have covered or will cover that in other blog posts. Also, some of the steps or techniques will differ slightly based on eye shape, face shape, skin issues, etc. This is just a general list. And please keep in mind that if you have a skin concern or disorder, like rosacea, acne or vitiligo, you will need extra time.

Have Less Than 1 Minute? Use your hands to apply a moisturizer with sunscreen, a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen or a beauty balm with sunscreen. (I’m assuming most makeup routines take place during the day, so sunscreen is a must. Don’t give me that “But I don’t leave the house!” crap. You can get sun exposure sitting near a window, typing away on your laptop or nursing a baby for 30 minutes.) If you’re quick, you’ll have time for a tinted lip balm or lipgloss too.

Have 5 Minutes? Use your hands to apply a moisturizer with sunscreen, a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen or a beauty balm with sunscreen. Apply concealer under eyes and wherever needed. Apply mascara to top lashes. Lip balm/gloss next, and you’re good to go. This is what I do if I only have 5 minutes but I’m running an errand. It makes me feel a little put together, but doesn’t eat up much time.

Have 10 Minutes? Use your hands to apply a moisturizer with sunscreen, a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen or a beauty balm with sunscreen. Apply concealer under eyes and wherever needed. Using a fluffy brush, apply an eyeshadow in a color close to your skintone onto your eyelids and blend into the creases. Mascara on top lashes. Thin layer of powder over face (you can skip this if your skin is very dry) and under eyes. Mascara on bottom lashes. Apply a lipstick in a color close to your natural lip color, patting it in with your finger. This is a good, quick, basic workday look.

Have 15 Minutes? Use your hands to apply a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen, a beauty balm with sunscreen or a foundation with sunscreen. Apply concealer under eyes and wherever needed. Apply an eyeshadow in a color close to your skintone onto your eyelids and blend into crease. Using an angled brush, apply a dark brown or gray eyeshadow at your top and bottom lashlines. Mascara on top lashes. Thin layer of powder over face (you can skip this if your skin is very dry) and under eyes. Mascara on bottom lashes. Apply powder blush to the apples of your cheeks, slightly blending upwards. (If you prefer a cream blush, do that as your fourth step.) Apply a lipstick in a color close to your natural lip color. If you have the time and desire, you can apply a lipliner first. This is definitely a polished workday look.

Have 20 Minutes? Use your hands to apply a tinted moisturizer with sunscreen, a beauty balm with sunscreen or a foundation with sunscreen. Fill in your eyebrows using an angled brush with a shadow or brow powder. Apply concealer under eyes and wherever needed. Apply an eyeshadow in a color close to your skintone onto your eyelids. Use a slightly darker color on the crease, blending well with a fluffy brush (skip if you have hooded eyes). Using an angled brush, apply a dark brown or gray eyeshadow at your top and bottom lashlines. Layer a pencil eyeliner over the shadow at the top lashline, blending with the angled brush. Mascara on top lashes. Thin layer of powder over face (you can skip this if your skin is very dry) and under eyes. Mascara on bottom lashes. Apply powder blush to the apples of your cheeks, slightly blending upwards. (If you prefer a cream blush, do that as your fifth step.) Apply a lipstick in a brighter or more intense than normal color. If you have the time and desire, you can apply a lipliner first. This look will easily carry you through a work presentation or parent/teacher conference.

Have 30+ Minutes or More? Sounds like someone has an event, girls’ night or date night! Because this probably isn’t your every day thing, go a little more intense if you want. Apply a foundation with sunscreen (if you will be out during the day). Buff into skin with a kabuki brush. Fill in your eyebrows using an angled brush with a shadow or brow powder. Apply concealer under eyes and wherever needed. Apply an eyeshadow in a color close to your skintone onto your eyelids. Use a slightly darker color on the crease, blending well with a fluffy brush (skip if you have hooded eyes). Using an angled brush, apply a dark brown or gray eyeshadow at your top and bottom lashlines. Layer a pencil eyeliner over the shadow at the top and bottom lashlines, blending with the angled brush. Mascara on top lashes. Thin layer of powder over face (you can skip this if your skin is very dry) and under eyes. Mascara on bottom lashes. Use an angled face brush and contour powder to lightly contour face. Apply powder blush to the apples of your cheeks, slightly blending upwards. (If you prefer a cream blush, do that as your sixth step.) Apply a lipliner (if desired), then lipstick in a shade that works with your eye makeup. If you want to go heavier on the eyes, add a black liner in the waterline and/or a darker eyeshadow at the outer V. If you want to make the lips your focus, keep the eye makeup more basic.

Again, this a general outline and the steps and products will vary depending on your skin, bone structure, eye shape, preferences, etc. But these are some pretty solid guidelines to work off of. You may notice it takes longer than I suggest to do each routine, but that will change once you get used to it. I can do the 30+ minute makeup in 10-15 minutes, and I think a non-pro could too, with some practice.

In my experience, when I am pressed for time and feeling flustered, even just having a tiny bit of makeup on makes me feel more put together and ready to OWN my day. I think the magic of makeup has that effect on a lot of people, and if you’re reading this, you are probably open to that idea. So give it a try, and feel free to leave any questions in the Comments.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

That’s Messed Up

little-miss-messy-300x300Barbie. Martha Stewart decor. Roses for Valentine’s Day. Perfect is a bit boring, isn’t it? When it comes to makeup, I personally like a look that is a little undone. Not the whole look, because that easily becomes The Girl Who Had Too Much Tequila When She Saw Her Ex makeup. But some elements of messy-ness, I think, make it interesting and more modern. If the word “messy” bothers you, substitute it with “imperfect.” But I’m going with Messy. I’ll even capitalize it to make it more legit.

I want to clarify that there is a time and place for Messy makeup. I don’t do this style for wedding clients, because polished makeup usually goes better with wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses. I would never do it for any type of corporate or commercial job, or for film (unless that was part of the character’s look). But it’s a look that can work for day or night, depending on your outfit, the occasion and your confidence level. So much of makeup is about wearing your look with confidence. Please know that. Breathe it in, say it as a mantra, tattoo it on your wrist, whatever you prefer.  You can wear Messy makeup…or a red lip..or an orange eyeshadow. Just figure out the right product(s) and application for you, and rock it proudly.

Back to the Messy thing. In my book–and again, I am not referring to the aforementioned situations that Messy may not work for–there are certain products and applications that work, and certain that don’t. Here’s my guide to getting messed up, makeup-wise.

Can I Wear…

Messy Lipstick? Yes, yes, 1,000 times yes. My new favorite way to wear my MAC Lady Danger (orange red) lipstick is to half-ass apply it to my lips directly from the  tube, rub my lips together, then pat over my lips with my finger (like a lip stain, but without out removing so much of  the product). No lipliner, no lip brush. I let it blur at the edges of my lips, which actually makes them look bigger (God knows I need that). With this color, it looks like I ate a cherry popsicle, which we all know is the best flavor.  Messy lipstick feels so much more modern to me, and it’s easy to do and touch up.

Messy Lipgloss? No. Because if you go too far outside the natural lipline,  it’s going to be sticky on your skin, and will look like you were drooling or your nose was running.

Messy Lipliner? Negative. Lipliner is used to outline or correct lip shape, so it has to be precise. If you aren’t purposeful with it, it’s going to look like a child applied it.

Messy Foundation? Hell no. If you haphazardly throw foundation onto your face, letting it streak where it will and leaving it un-blended, it’s going to look like crap. There is a reason this has never been a trend or a runway look (to my knowledge). It’s Sloppy makeup. There is a difference between Messy and Sloppy. It’s like the difference between Tipsy and Wasted. You know which one is a better look, both on your face and at Happy Hour.

Messy Blush? Nah. Blush placement should flatter your face shape, so there’s really no going outside of those parameters. You don’t want it to be two-circles-perfect though. The point of blush is to bring some color onto your face and flatter your face shape, but it needs to be blended so you can’t tell where it starts and ends.

Messy Bronzer? Nope. If you are bronzing your skin, it should go where the sun hits. Like blush, it’s all about placement and blending.

Messy Contour? No way. Have you ever seen any of those crazy striped Kim Kardashian-y “Before” contour photos? The placement is very deliberate. Yes, it needs to be blended. But you can’t just go putting stripes wherever you want, like some kind of abstract tiger painting. However, skipping contour will make you look more natural/less done up, so on some level, not contouring is a nod to Messy makeup.

Messy Powder? No ma’am. Powder is meant to do one or more of the following things: set your makeup, eliminate shine, or even skintone. It’s not supposed to be seen, so messing it up isn’t going to do you any favors. It will just make your skin look partially shiny or patchy–not cute.

Messy Concealer? No. This is for the same reason as powder–it’s not meant to be seen. Messy concealer would be akin to over or under-concealing, which just looks obvious,  in the “She doesn’t know what she is doing” way.

Messy Highlighter? Nope. Again, strategic placement and blending are key. Stripey or unevenly applied highlighter will make your face shape look all wonky.

Messy Mascara? It depends. Some people like a more clumped up or textured look, which could be considered Messy. Messy mascara is basically extra mascara, paying minimal attention to lash separation. I’m all for it, as long as the lashes are full. When the lashes clump into three or four distinct sections, I don’t think that looks good. But if there are a lot of lashes with some extra texture, I think it looks edgy and cool. I’m not big on running-down-the-face mascara, but if you want to channel your inner 1990s Courtney Love, go for it.

Messy Eyeliner? Yeahhhh, buddy! If it’s a pencil eyeliner, I say do it to it. Draw a medium-thick line as close to your lashline(s) as you can get, then smudge it out with a pencil brush or an angled brush. You don’t want it halfway down your face, but if it migrates a bit, so be it. Messy eyeliner is supposed to look worn in. Unless I’m doing a retro look, I’m really not into defined liner. I even do a Messy eyeliner for weddings, but it’s more of a Messy Lite or Soft Focus Effect eyeliner. I use a pencil (or sometimes a gel liner) to line the top lashline. Next I lightly smudge it, then trace over and slightly above it with an eyeshadow. I tend to just use a  thin line of liner or shadow at the bottom lashline and while I may soften it, I don’t make it Messy. But in other situations, full on Messy liner looks awesome, I think. It’s a go-to look for me.

Messy Eyeshadow? Kind of. Eyeshadow does not have to be perfectly contoured every time. You don’t always need a crease color, a browbone highlight, an outer V color, a center lid highlight, etc. I mean, keep it so it’s not noticeably uneven on your eyes, but don’t drive yourself nuts.

Messy Eyebrows? No no. Brow powder or pencil above or below your brows isn’t going to look good, but on the flipside, overdrawn or harshly filled in brows are equally unflattering. Your best bet is a softly filled in brow (which is why I tend to use powders instead of pencils).

Messy False Lashes? Possibly. If you are using strip lashes, then no. They need to sit at the lashline, placed not too far in towards the nose and not too far out towards the temples. They should line up with your natural lashline. But with flare lashes (individual clusters of 6-8 lashes), you have some flexibility. You can use different lengths, placed in slightly different areas on each eye, to get kind of a fluttery look.

If you choose a Messy makeup look, I recommend keeping it limited to one area. Messy eyeliner, mascara, lipstick and false lashes at the same time will turn Sloppy. But a Messy lipstick with a contoured eye? That’s a win. Pairing something polished with something messy is, in my opinion, updated and un-stuffy. Think jeans with heels, a white tank top with a pencil skirt, or a Biggie Smalls t-shirt with a blazer (my personal version of Business Casual). And because Messy makeup is generally easy to do, it’s a time saver. So if you haven’t already, why not give the Messy look a try? Be a borderline makeup rebel–you know you want to.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Well, Naturally

Oval Nails

“I just want to look natural.” While it sounds simple, the true Natural Look is one of the hardest to do. Why? Because it is about perfecting the skin. When my clients request the Natural Look, 9 times out of 10, they want glowy, flawless skin–but in a way that will make people think they are born with it. If you are 10 years old or a model (and trust me, not all models have perfect skin), then I take it back–this is an easy look. If not, read on!

In other looks, the focus may be on the eyes, lips, cheeks, lashes, etc., so the skin does not have to look so flawless. But for a truly natural look, the skin needs to appear clear, contoured (but not in an obvious Kim K. way), even, smooth and glowing.  It’s a tall order, but it can be done.

Your first step is to get your skin in good shape (ideally this is done consistently, not just for this look).  The better your skin is, the easier this look will be to do and the better it will look. I wouldn’t attempt this look if you are in the middle of a huge breakout. In fact, if you are currently dealing with acne, hold off on this. It will take a lot of time and product, and probably frustration. If you are currently not dealing with breakouts, starting by cleansing and exfoliating your face. And if you were out last night, make sure you finish removing that eye makeup that you were just too tired to get to…

First, apply an eye primer, like Too Faced Shadow Insurance. You will be applying eye makeup and you want it to last, so an eye primer is key.

Then, apply a moisturizer with luminizing properties. A tinted moisturizer, like Jouer Moisturzing Tint or even Jergens Natural Glow for Face mixed with a little of your regular moisturizer, will work well. Really massage the moisturizer in. This is going to rev up the circulation to the skin which will help give you some glow.

Next, apply a matte eyeshadow in a color as close to your skin as possible. This should go on your lids and into the crease if you have deepset or hooded lids. If not, keep it on just the lids.

Apply a matte shadow that is a shade or two darker than your skin to the crease of your eyes (skip if you have deepset or hooded eyes).

If you have large pores, apply a pore minimizer to those areas.

Take an angled eyeshadow brush and the same crease matte shadow and apply it as close to your eyelashes (both top and bottom) as possible. The point is to give subtle definition to your eyes, not to make it look like you have eyeliner on.

Now, take a matte eyeshadow that is a shade or two lighter than your skin and apply a small amount under your browbone. If you have deepset eyes, skip this step.

Apply face primer if you have oily skin and/or will be wearing the makeup for a while.

Apply a couple of thin coats of mascara to your top eyelashes. This is one of the few times I will say go ahead and use brown mascara if your lashes are blonde. If not, black mascara is good. Just don’t load it on. Comb through it to remove any clumps. If you are staying true to this look, it’s not about the lashes.

If you have redness, apply some green color corrector to cancel it out.

Add an off-white liner to your lower waterline. Make sure it is off-white and not pure white, because that will be too obvious. The off-white covers any red, pink, or brown tones on your waterline, making you look well rested.

Apply a sheer foundation, like MAC Face & Body or Make Up For Ever Face & Body, using your hands. After you have applied it, take a few seconds to press it into your skin with your palms. This will give you a really natural finish.

If necessary, fill in your eyebrows with a brow powder. If they are full will no sparseness, you can skip this step and just give them a brush through.

Apply concealer to under the eyes and any areas you may need it.

Add a cream blush to your cheeks, using fingers. I like a peachy pink for light to medium skintones, and something slightly orange for darker skin. No matter what you choose, it should be muted. Nothing too bright or shimmery. Ideally you want it to mimic what you look like when you are naturally flushed. MAC, Make Up For Ever and Sonia Kashuk make great cream blushes.

Use a cream highlighter sparingly on the tops of cheekbones. You don’t want something super shimmery, but a tiny bit of shimmer is okay. If your collarbone is showing, add some highlighter there too. Blend well.

Apply a thin layer of loose powder to set your face makeup and undereye concealer. Unless you are oily all over, you can apply the powder just on the t-zone and undereye area if you prefer.

Apply a small amount of mascara to lower lashes, concentrating it at the lash roots. You don’t want much here. Again, it’s just about defining the eyes.

Use a contour brush to lightly shape your face with contour powder (this will vary depending on your face shape). Make Up For Ever Sculpting kits are great for this. If you prefer a cream contour, do this step after highlighter.

If your skin is oily or you prefer a bit more of a flushed cheek, apply some powder blush in the same shade as the cream blush you already have on.

Line and fill in your lips with a liner that is the same color as your lips. Pat in the liner with your finger.

Top with a lip balm. Don’t use a gloss if you want to stay true to this look. At their best, lips are smooth and even colored, but nobody’s lips are naturally glossy.

Now, look at yourself. THAT is natural makeup. This can be a beautiful look, but if you are someone who is used to wearing a lot of makeup, you may feel naked. And I wouldn’t recommend this for a special event or night out. It can be gorgeous in photoshoots and during the day, but it might look a little off if you are wearing a cocktail dress or going to a holiday party.

But, at the same time, if this is your look, and you love it, rock it. Rock it with pride. I’m all for wearing what makes you feel good, and if the Natural Look does it, then by all means, go for it! I just wanted to give the disclaimer because I think many people think the Natural Look is Jessica Alba on the Cover of Allure. It won’t turn you into her anymore than wearing heels will make me 5’6″ for real. I hope this blog post will help you if you do want to try this look. And if you like the look after that, then even better!

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Are You Blushing?

Want that “glow from within” look? Then you, my friend, should consider cream blush.

Cream blush, especially when layered between liquid foundation and powder, gives your cheeks a gorgeous, soft focus glow. I can’t think of anyone this wouldn’t be flattering on. Cream blush is great for dry or mature skin, and it also works on oily skin (as long as you set it with a powder blush).

Here’s how I do it:

After most of eye makeup is done, I put on a primer on my skin (if you aren’t oily and/or don’t have a problem with face makeup fading, you can skip this step). While the primer is setting in, I do my mascara. Foundation goes on next. I either use a sheer foundation, like a MAC or Make Up For Ever Face & Body foundation, or I use a medium coverage foundation, like Make Up For Ever HD Foundation. Sometimes I use a medium-heavy coverage foundation, like NARS Sheer Glow, and cut it with some Face & Body. Whatever you choose, as long as it is liquid, you’ll get the desired “glowing” result. I use my hands to apply the foundation, then I buff it into the skin. My absolute favorite brush for that is the Real Techniques Buffing Brush.

Next, I apply cream blush to the apples of my cheeks, using my fingers and blending slightly upward onto the cheekbones. I love Sonia Kashuk Creme Blushes, MAC Cremeblend Blushes and Make Up For Ever HD blushes.

If I have used a Face & Body only, I then go over the entire face with Benefit Hello Flawless powder foundation. I use my Buffing Brush to press the Hello Flawless onto the skin. I avoid buffing it at this point, especially over the cheeks, because I don’t want to move the cream blush. Cream blush is a slippery little fella, that’s just the nature of the product.

If I have used a fuller coverage foundation, I do the same step, but I use a powder instead of Hello Flawless. My current favorite powders are Make Up For Ever Super Matte Loose Powder , MAC Blot Powder and Rimmel Stay Matte Powder.

After that, I apply my contour (usually Benefit Hoola or NARS Laguna). Then comes the powder blush. I most often reach for Make Up For Ever Sculpting Blush, NARS Blush or MAC Powder Blush in a peach or pink shade. Adding that layer of powder blush amps up the cream blush and kind of seals it into place. I have oily skin, and I find that my cheek color really stays on when I do this. Not to mention, people always seem to compliment my “glowing” skin when I do this look.

Cream blush is ideal for dry winter skin, and a pretty, glowing look is perfect for Valentine’s Day. Give it a try!

Have a beautiful day 🙂

The Truth About The “Dewy” Look

As a makeup artist, I get a lot of repeat requests. Smokey eyes, bronzed skin and blacked winged liner are three of the most popular. Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of requests for “dewy skin.” So I suppose this is perfect time to tell you the real scoop on that look.

The idea behind dewy skin is that it looks young, fresh and not made up. But like most makeup looks that people think look “natural,” it actually takes time, the correct products and a few other factors you may not have access to to get it right.

The best way to get the dewy look is to have a good base to start with. And by that, I mean good skin. Dry, uneven or dehydrated skin is not going to work here. If you regularly cleanse, exfoliate (this is huge) and moisturize, then you have a better chance of achieving the look. This is a good habit to have whether you want the dewy look or not, so get to it!

Before we go on, I want to preface this by saying that if you have oily skin, this is probably not the look for you. Adding shine to an oily skin is going to make you look, well, greasy. If you have oily skin and you’re using–but not over-using–oil absorbing and mattifying products, you probably still have some of your skin’s natural oils coming through anyway, so you may look dewy without trying. If that sounds like you, you can stop reading right here (unless my writing has you entranced).

If your skin is dry, normal, or normal to dry, and you have a consistent cleanse-exfoliate-moisturize routine, read on. If you have dry skin, you can start with a moisturizer for normal to dry skin (like Benefit Total Moisture Facial Cream or Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre). Normal or normal to dry skin, just use whatever moisturizer works for you (Ole Henriksen makes great moisturizers for a variety of skin types and concerns). You could also start with a serum like Tarte’s Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Illuminating Serum. This stuff gives some serious luminosity. I would avoid oil-free moisturizers for this look.

The next step would be a luminizing lotion or primer. Illamsqua makes a fabulous primer for dewy looks, called the Satin Primer. The Tarina Tarantino Pearl Glow Primer in Pearl is a good one too. Wonderglow by Charlotte Tilbury is another great choice.

Next, you’ll want to use a sheer foundation. I recommend MAC Face & Body Foundation. It leaves the skin with a very dewy finish, and feels lightweight.

Apply a liquid or cream highlighter to the cheekbones and browbones (and above the Cupid’s Bow, if you’re feeling daring). I like Benefit Watts Up for light to medium skin and MAC Cream Colour Base in Improper Copper for medium to dark skin. Use translucent powder only under the eyes and on the nose. You don’t want to over powder, because you’ll mattify the skin, which is the opposite of the dewy look.

Use a cream blush for cheek color, as they tend to have more of a dewy finish than powder blushes. I like the Make Up For Ever HD Blushes for this.

On lips, use a sheer gloss like Lancome Juicy tubes. You want something lightweight and almost watery looking, if that makes sense. I’d skip lipliner if you want to stay true to the look.

Since the rest of the face has that glowy, dewy quality, I prefer to “anchor” it with defined eyes (as Hayden and Camilla did in the pictures above). You can go dewy all over, like the model above did, but I don’t think that look translates well in real life for most people (it’s different for runway or editorial, which I’ll get into). So for eyes, I would go with a slightly shimmery, natural color or a metallic shadow in the brown or gold family, and black liner at the upper lashline and waterline. Go ahead and contour the eye with a matte color slightly darker than your skintone. (If you have hooded eyes, skip this step.)

And you’re done! Feeling dewy? No? Well, let me tell you truth about dewy looks…

When you see a dewy-faced actress onscreen, please know that she had the advantage of professional lighting, camera lenses, and a makeup artist to touch her up after each take. That celeb on the red carpet? She spent hours with a makeup artist beforehand and may even have one with her to touch her up throughout the event. And there’s a good chance she has the money to spend on high quality skincare services and products. Same deal with models, who are also often genetic freaks with amazing skin.

And the models and celebs you see in magazines? Please, they have it made. A pro makeup artist, photographer, and lighting, constant touchups during the shoot and Photoshop after. Anyone can look dewy after all of that.

So my point is, don’t think you’re doing it wrong if your dewy makeup doesn’t come out like Hayden’s or Camilla’s. Just use this post and those pictures as guidelines and do your best. You’ll do great!

Have a beautiful day 🙂

My GTL

I think too much. Often times when I call someone for business or personal reasons, I am already having the conversation in my head before they’ve picked up. On our way into a restaurant with my friend recently, I was talking through my possible drink choices and the pros and cons to each one before we were even in the door. And it’s common for me to spend a whole cardio workout thinking of what I will do when I win the lottery some day, right down to what color I want the walls in my third guest room in my beach house to be. (As you can imagine, falling asleep can be quite difficult–my brain does not want to shut up!)

So when I can do something without really thinking, it’s amazing. This often happens when I’m doing my own basic day look makeup, which I call my Go To Look (GTL). This changes due to the time of year, what my skin is doing, my mood, etc., but I tend to use the same products for a month or two at a time, letting the makeup part of my brain run on autopilot.

My GTL lately has been:

1) Benefit Total Moisture Facial Cream. Usually, my skin starts-a-peeling at the first mention of winter, but this cream has saved me. It is thick, but doesn’t feel heavy on my skin. It absorbs almost immediately and doesn’t leave a residue or any sticky-ness. Love.

2) Too Faced Shadow Insurance Eye Primer. Even if I don’t plan on wearing any eyeshadow or liner, I use this because it does a little camo action on the tiny veins you can see through my fair skin. And if I do wear other eye makeup, I know it will stay on longer and not crease with the Shadow Insurance underneath.

3) Dior Diorshow Mascara in Black. Still the best volumizing mascara I’ve ever used. I use this first, on top lashes only, because I find it tends to smudge on my bottom lashes (but never the top–so weird).

4) Clinique High Lengths Mascara in 01 Black. It took a little while to get used to the semi-circle comb-like applicator, but I’m cool with it now. The black, inky-ness of this mascara rivals Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash, and it is a phenomenal volumizer and lengthener. My two mascara combo has caused more than one person to ask “Are your lashes real?”

5) MAC Select Coverup. This is the only concealer I’ve ever liked for under my eyes. It’s a liquid that dries to a powder but it sets quickly, so you can’t be dillydallying around while you apply it. Once it’s on, the coverage is amazing and it doesn’t cake as long as you prep the area with a tiny bit of moisturizer first.

6) Make Up For Ever HD Foundation + Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer. I mix my two shades together for a slightly less heavy coverage than the HD foundation. I mainly do this because in the winter, it’s the only way for me to get my perfect shade, but any extra moisturizing on my dry winter skin is a good thing.

7) Make Up For Ever HD Powder. In the summer, I reach for the MUFE Super Loose Matte Powder to control shine, but this time of year, the HD Powder is where it’s at.

8) Make Up For Ever Sculpting Kit #2. I use the darker color to contour and it really makes my bone structure look so much better. It’s not too orangey or too dark, even on my light skin.

9) NARS Blush in Orgasm, MAC Powder Blush in Peaches, or Sonia Kashuk Beautifying Blush in Flamingo. My blush changes depending on what colors I’m using on my lips and cheeks, but these have been the three I reach for most.

10) Lipstick Queen lipglosses from the Peacock Alley collection. The ones I have are sheer with a hint of color and some glitter, so just enough for me to feel polished without doing a lipstick or more intense color.

11) MAC Eyeshadow in Brun to fill in my brows. It matches my coloring and I love the MAC eyeshadows for filling in brows.

That’s about it for my most basic makeup look. Now when I say basic, I don’t mean I wear this to go for a run, or to walk to the mailbox down the street. But if I have to head over to CVS, or the bank, or the library (oh, do I love the library!), I’m usually wearing my Go To Look. It makes me feel polished and put together. I just feel better when I have makeup on, like I’m being true to myself. (Some people feel the opposite way, in which case I say, rock on!) Some people drink coffee–I can’t, gives me the heart palpies–but my Go To Look is what I need to really start my day.

I sometimes go back later in the day to add on some eyes or lips and night makeup is a whole different ballgame. But during the day, if I don’t have a lot of time or am feeling lazy, I turn to the Go To Look. And now I need to Go To bed. Can’t wait to hear what my brain wants to talk about tonight…

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Making Tammy Faye Proud

Black Widow In Da House

I adore mascara. I regularly wear at least two brands, layered up, to reach ultimate length and volume capacity. I could achieve a similar effect with false lashes, but why make things easy? Plus, on myself (and for some client/model looks) I want the texture of mascara. Smooth, clump-free lashes are beautiful, but slightly clumpy, mascara-loaded lashes are fun.

I’ll admit that this look is not for everyone. If you’re a natural girl, skip it. If you like perfect makeup, move on. If you prefer to not spend 10 minutes removing your eye makeup, don’t even try it. But if you’re a mascara whore like me and you like imperfect makeup looks, you gotta rock this.

I accomplish this look using Dior Diorshow topped with Clinique High Lengths Mascara. (If your lashes are naturally straight, you’ll want to curl them first to avoid impairing your vision with loaded lashes.) I work it the Diorshow into the roots first, then paint lashes, small sections at a time. The smaller end of the wand works best for this kind of sectioning. I do a normal application for the High Lengths layer.

I like this look either with a flesh toned or light eyeshadow color on the lid, or a chocolate brown shadow on the lid, blended slightly into the crease. I skip filling in the eyebrows when I do this, because good God, woman, that’s enough eye makeup. I keep the lips more natural–matte or glossy is fine–and tend to like a slightly shimmery blush with this (but you could go with whatever you want, as long as it’s not too much cheek color). It becomes dated and tacky if you add full eye makeup, brows, contouring and a strong lip. But if you leave the lashes as the focus, it looks modern.

Again, not for everyone, but this is a trend I am loving.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

My Go-To Summer Look

Like everyone else on the planet, I’ve got no time. So as much as I’d like to spend an hour on my makeup every day, I can’t. But I like to at least look polished when I leave the house. I’ve been doing this summer makeup look a lot lately, because it’s quick, easy and looks like I put more time in than I did. Here’s the makeup recipe:

1. Apply any SPF moisturizer to face and neck using a foundation brush.
2. Apply Too Faced Shadow Insurance or preferred eye primer to entire eye area, using your finger to apply and blend.
3. Using the same foundation brush, apply Make Up For Ever HD foundation or liquid foundation of your choice to entire face, blending down onto neck.
4. Under the eyes, apply a dab of moisturizer or liquid eye brightener, like the Smashbox Photo Op Under Eye Brightener and very lightly blend it in. (Optional)
5. Then apply MAC Select Coverup, or the concealer you prefer and blend with a fluffy eyeshadow brush.
6. Apply several coats of Diorshow to top lashes.
7. Buff Make Up For Ever HD powder or loose powder of your choice all over the face, using a Kabuki brush.
8. Apply a matter bronzer, like Hoola bronzer by Benefit, to cheekbones, center of forehead, bridge of nose and chin, using a blush or powder brush.
9. Apply Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash to top and bottom lashes.
10. Apply a coral blush, like Benefit Coralista, to apples of cheeks.
11. Apply a sheer lipgloss in any color to your lips.
12. If desired, apply a shimmery bronzer, like Guerlain’s Terracotta bronzer, to cheekbones.

Done! The look is a slightly bronzed face, with lots of lashes. Not doing eyeshadow and eyeliner saves tons of time, so this is a quickly and easy look.

Have a beautiful day 🙂