Life On My Terms

Let me be your personal Makeupese Rosetta Stone.

I’ve taken a lot of language classes in my life. Six years of Spanish between middle school and high school. Three years of Latin. (Who cares if I had to take Latin I twice? I couldn’t carpe the diem the first time around.) A few months of Italian at Mount Carmel church in Worcester, MA, with a wonderfully energetic teacher named Angelo Villani. One semester of Italian I in college, the highlight of that being the time my professor asked “Does anyone know what they call ‘The Mafia’ in Italian?” to which I responded “La Cosa Nostra” and then quietly “But there’s no such thing.” (Only 10% of you will get that joke, but I’m still proud of it.)

Even after all of those classes, I was only able to pick up one other language. And it wasn’t even one I studied! It’s called Makeupese, and I’m not only fluent in it, but I’m also a (self certified) translator. Makeup artists, beauty editors, YouTube gurus and just those in the know will often throw out Makeupese beauty terms, forgetting that we are speaking a different language. So I’m here to help you understand the language of my people.

I did a post like this a while back, but there are new terms now, so you deserve an updated post. Let’s do this.

Airbrush Makeup: Makeup applied from a machine that sprays out a fine mist of product via an airbrush “gun” (mechanical applicator). Airbrush is said to be longer lasting than traditional makeup formulations, but I think that depends on the brand of airbrush, the products you are comparing it to and how it is applied.

Airbrush makeup
Spray it, don’t say it.

Baking: A technique created by drag queens to super-set makeup using loose powder. (See below for “setting” definition.) The powder is left on the skin for 5 – 10 minutes while body heat sets it into the previously applied foundation and/or concealer. Then the powder is brushed off.

I’ll keep my opinion on baking to myself today (but you can find it in some of my other posts).

Buffing Brush: A short bristle dense face brush used to blend face makeup. It can also be used to apply liquid foundation and highlighter. It can be a flat or angled brush.

Makeup buffing brush
Get buff.

Contouring: Everyone has heard this term by now (thanks, Kardashians.) Contouring is using a dark color to make an area recede. We use contouring to minimize the width or length of a feature. Keep in mind that contouring is different for each face shape and for the shape of any feature(s) you want to contour, so beware of which contour tutorials you watch. If you have a different face shape than the person contouring and you duplicate that look on yourself, it will backfire.

My favorite picture to use when discussing contouring.

Cat Eye: An eyeliner look that is thickest and angled at the outer corners. A true cat eye will also feature a thin line of liner all the way in to the tearduct. A cat eye is not for those who want a subtle look, but it’s fire if you can pull it off.


Color Wash: Using one shade of eyeshadow for the entire eye. This the most simple eyeshadow look you can do in terms of steps. It’s perfect for a bold or bright eyeshadow, if you keep the rest of your makeup toned down.

Keep it simple. Pairing this look with a heavy contour, black liquid liner and a bold lip would kill it.

Crease: Also known as the “socket.” It’s the space above the eyelid and under the browbone where skin and bone structure dips in. There is no visible crease present on those with hooded or monolid eyes–and that’s okay! There are no bad eye shapes.

See the area above the makeup brush that has a curve of darker eyeshadow? That’s the crease.

Cupid’s Bow: The curve at the center of the top lip. Highlighting that area of skin between the two peaks makes lips look slightly fuller.

You can exaggerate the Cupid’s Bow with lipliner.

Cut Crease: An eyeshadow technique popularized in the 1960s using a light color on the lid and a much darker color in the crease. This is a go-to look in the drag community, and with Instaglam makeup looks.

Cut crease
Cut it out.

Dewy Skin: Skin that has been enhanced with luminizing and radiance-providing skincare and/or makeup to look like there is a sheen on the high points of the face. For more about this look, check out one of my most popular blog posts ever.

This isn’t as easy as it looks.

Doe Foot Applicator: A spongy tip wand applicator found primarily in lip products and cream eyeshadows. It can flat or angled.

You know the type.

Dupe: Short for “duplicate.” You’ll most often hear this term used when someone has or wants to find a very similar product or shade at a lower price, or when a product has been discontinued and someone has or is looking for its next of kin.

This is what a dupe comparison looks like out in the wild.

Foiling: Using a powder eyeshadow or eyeshadow pigment with a mixing medium (cream or liquid). This creates a liquid eyeshadow effect.

Foiled again.

Fallout: Usually used in reference to eyeshadow. It’s any extra shadow that falls under the eye or onto the face while shadow is being applied. It’s the reason why makeup artists like me do the eyes first!

Sometimes fallout gets caught in the eyelashes then releases itself little by little each time you blink. Tapping the brush like you’re ashing a cigarette before you apply shadow will help minimize the risk out fallout.

Flare Lashes: Also known as clusters or individual lashes, these false lashes come in groups of 6-8 lashes instead of strips that are the length of the lashline. They come in different colors, lengths and thicknesses and can be built up. They tend to look more natural and stay on better than strip lashes.

My personal favorites.

Highlight: Using a light color to draw attention to a feature or area of the face.  Commonly used on cheekbones, brownbones, inner corners of eyes and above the Cupid’s Bow.

Allison Barbera Beauty
Cheekbone highlight on an AB Beauty bride. Photo: Move Mountains Co.

Hooded Lid: An eye that has no visible crease. Sometimes that’s the way a person’s eye is naturally, and other times it happens as a person ages and the skin under the eyebrow starts to sag and fold over the crease.

See how you can’t see her eyelid or a crease? That’s a hooded lid.

Juicy Skin: An amped up version of dewy skin, popularized by pro makeup artist, Katie Jane Hughes.

Katie with her signature juicy skin (and a dope orange eye).

Kit: A makeup artist’s supply of tools and products.

Gotta be prepared for everything.

Illuminating: Products that contain some kind of light reflecting particles. Great for places you want to highlight.  Stay away from illuminating products if you have oily skin, because they can make the skin look more oily.

A luminizing primer.

Matte: Products with absolutely no shimmer or shine.

Matte face makeup.

MUA: Stands for “Make Up Artist.” I prefer “Makeup Artist,” but no one says “MA,” because Massachusetts already claimed that.

But it’s my home state, so I can’t get mad.

No Makeup Makeup: A very natural makeup look that is meant to look like the wearer does not have any makeup on. No Makeup Makeup products are meant to match the area they are being applied to. No red lips or black liner with this look!

Oh, she has makeup on.

Non-comedogenic: Means that the product will not clog pores. But I think that any makeup you don’t fully remove at night has the potential to clog pores, so this doesn’t mean “you don’t need to wash it off.”

Neutrogena is known for its non-comedogenic products.

Outer V: Used in reference to the section of the eye from the outer end of the crease to the outer end of the lashline.  Drawing a little “v” here (with the point going towards the hairline) works well with a lot of eye makeup looks.

See it?

Prepping The Skin: Applying skincare products to the skin prior to a makeup application so that makeup goes on smoother and looks better than straight away applying makeup to the face.

What I’ve been using as part of my personal skin prep lately.

Primer: A face, eye or lip product put on prior to foundation, eye makeup or lip color to help the products stay on longer. They also give a good base and help provide a smoother, more even surface for the products.

My favorite lip primer.

Setting: Using a powder or spray to lock in the makeup that has been applied. Some makeup artists do not consider cream and liquid products to be set until they have been layered over with a powder or setting spray. Setting allows the products underneath the setting product to last longer, as the setting product provides a barrier between the skin and the oils that naturally come through and break down products.

A pro favorite setting powder.

Sheer: Minimal coverage products that have a hint of color, so that you can still see through to the skin.

If you see freckles through makeup, it’s sheer foundation.

Spoolie: You know what a standard mascara wand looks like, right? A spoolie is just product-free version of that designed for brushing brow hairs into place and combing through lashes to get rid of clumps.

Simple but effective.

Smokey Eye: A true smokey eye is an eyeshadow look that is on a gradient with the colors. The darkest color gets applied at the upper lashline with colors in the same color family getting lighter as they go up towards the crease or middle of the eye area. It also includes a gradient effect on at the lower lashline, except the darkest color starts at the top (right at the lashes) with lighter colors in the same family below that. The lighter colors above (top lid) and below (bottom lashline) the darker colors give that “smoke” effect. Contrary to what you’ve probably seen, heard or read before, a smokey eye is not darker shadow at the Outer V or black liner in the waterline.

Do you smoke?

Smoked Out: This is what we call it when a liner has a lighter color above it at the upper lashline or below it at the lower lashline. (Also, what you might be if you spent some time with Snoop.) This doesn’t have to part of a smokey eye, though. You could have a contoured eye or a cut crease with a smoked out liner.

Smoked out winged liner.

Stippling: An foundation application technique using a stippling brush (for liquid foundation) or a sponge (for powder foundation) to press the product into the skin. For powder, you load the sponge with product, place it onto the skin, press down, move to the next section and repeat. With a stippling brush…I’ll just let Wayne explain. Stippling generally gives more coverage than a powder puff or flat foundation brush.

How you stipple.

Strobing: It’s just layered highlighting without contouring nearby to provide contrast. Strobing is done on the cheekbones, temples, bridge of the nose and on the Cupid’s Bow. Normally a cream or liquid concealer in a shade lighter than the skin is applied first, then set with a powder that matches that concealer, then topped with a powder highlight. Some people also use a cream highlighter layered with a powder highlighter.

Strobed out.

Tightlining: Lining the upper inside eyelid with a pencil eyeliner, usually in a black shade. This can help make top lashes look fuller.

Tightlining in process.

Transfer: When a mascara or eyeliner smudges onto the eyelid, crease, or browbone before it has dried.

Eyeliner transfer.

Waterline: The inside lower eyelid. Lining here with a dark color makes the look more dramatic and makes the eyes look smaller. An off-white liner here will open up the eyes.

Using an off-white to line the waterline.

Winged Liner: Eyeliner that extends past the end of the eye on the upper lashline and is angled upwards, giving the illusion of a lifted and elongated shape.

Just wingin’ it.

Look at you now! Talking like a pro. The quiz will be on Tuesday, so get ready, class…

If you need clarification or have any terms I missed, fire away (aka comment).

Have a beautiful day 🙂







Per Request: My Skincare Routine

Me with no face makeup on except a small amount of undereye concealer. No filters or retouching used.

A while back, I posted on the Allison Barbera Beauty Facebook page asking what kind of posts people would like to read. I got a lot of great suggestions, and I will get to all of the topics.

Since it is the start of a new year, it seems fitting to begin with a post about my skincare routine, requested by AB Beauty makeup artist and hair stylist, Candie. As I’ve said before in this blog, I can give you all the makeup tips in the world, but if you aren’t taking care of your skin, your makeup can only look so good.

Skincare routines should be customized for your skin type and concerns, so what works for me may not make sense for you. Let me first tell you what I have going on, as some of my product choices are based around that. My skin is combination with visible pores on and around my nose. I get oily in the T-zone during the warmer months. I have some fine lines on my forehead and around my eyes. I have hyperpigmentation (some freckles and small sun spots) on my face. I also have melasma above my upper lip. I do not have acne, but I occasionally break out on my jawline and chin. My nose is prone to blackheads. So my skincare routine is based around keeping my skin clear, hydrated, moisturized and slowing down the visible signs of aging. Any of that sound like your skin or skin concersns? Even if not, I’ll provide alternate products suggestions for different skin type and concerns.

Ready? Sure you are.

Cleanser. I cleanse once a day, at night. When I was in school for Esthetics, we were taught that unless you have very oily skin, a nightly cleanse is all that’s needed. They told us that the twice-a-day cleanse idea was created by the beauty industry so that they could sell double the cleanser. And that makes sense to me. Because if you are properly cleansing your face before bed, your pillowcase is clean and you don’t live inside a fume-filled factory, how dirty is your skin getting while you sleep? It’s much more important to cleanse at night to not only remove your makeup and sunscreen if you wear it, but also all of the dirt, oil and bacteria that latched onto your skin during the day. Because if you sleep with all of that on your face, guess what you’re asking for? BREAKOUTS.

To properly remove everything that you applied to your skin, and what showed up there uninvited during the day, you need to bring in a truly thorough product. And that product is–say it with me–oil cleanser. I’ve talked about this many times, because in my humble yet experienced and licensed opinion, oil is the only thing that fully removes makeup. And don’t worry–it won’t make you breakout. It will actually help prevent acne, since it removes the crap that can cause blemishes to appear. My current favorite oil cleanser is the Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil. It works for all skin types, and it’s vegan, cruelty-free, and formulated without GMO, formaldehyde, and synthetic fragrance.

If you have a cream, gel or lotion cleanser that you love though, I’ll still let you use it. But I strongly recommend using an oil pre-cleanse first to remove your makeup. Dermalogica Precleanse is the gold standard of pre-cleanses, so if you are not going to go full oil cleanser, cop this. A little goes a long way so you won’t need to re-stock it often.

Have truly oily skin? If you wake up shining bright like a diamond every day, I give you permission to use a gentle cream cleanser (like Clinique Liquid Facial Soap in Mild) to remove the surface oils. (I also sometimes do this myself if I’ve used an overnight mask or something that leaves a little residue on the skin.)  The thing with oily skin though is that you don’t want to use anything too strong that strips the skin of its natural oils. You know that squeaky clean, tight feeling? That’s the skin being stripped of those oils. If you regularly do that to oily skin, your skin says “Our oil is being depleted! Ramp up production!” Then it produces more oil, and your plan backfires. So if you have oily skin and you feel the need to cleanse twice, just make sure that morning cleanse isn’t setting you up for failure.

This will melt your makeup right off.

Moisturizer. I don’t care who you are or what your skin type is–you need to moisturize every day. I do not go a day without moisturizing, ever. All skin contains fats and oils that will prevent it from completely drying out and cracking open (if I need to gross you out to get my point across, I will), but it needs help. Moisturizer will deliver that assistance and will make your skin feel softer. It also plumps up the skin so that fine lines and wrinkles are less noticeable, and it has a smoothing effect that allows makeup to go on much better. I use Neutrogena Oil Free Moisture Broad Spectrum SPF 35 which is great for normal, combination and oily skin.

For dry skin, I recommend Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre (although it contains almond oil, so not the best choice for those with almond allergies). Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer is another good option for dry skin. And there’s nothing that says you can’t switch moisturizers if you have combination skin that changes with the weather. If you get oily in the warmer months and dry in the colder months, use an oil-free moisturizer when it’s sandals weather and a more hydrating moisturizer when it’s boots weather. But make sure you are moisturizing every day if you want good skin.

A makeup artist fave for dry skin.

Sunscreen. Not only can sun damage cause skin cancer, but it is the number one cause of visible premature aging. It not only causes some types of hyperpigmentation (like age spots), but UVA rays–which Esthetics school taught us to think of as “Ultra Violet Aging rays”–penetrate the deeper layers of the skin and break down collagen and elastin. Collagen and elastin are what keep the skin firm, so when they are attacked, wrinkles, fine lines and sagging show up. Sunscreen protects the skin from that damage, so it’s a must.

My moisturizer contains sunscreen, but I also use a separate sunscreen if I’m going to be outside for long. I used to use the Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Face Moisturizing Sunscreen but was given Glossier Invisible Shield for Christmas, so I’ll patch test that and as long as my skin approves and it doesn’t leave a white cast on my face (which I HATE), I’ll be making the switch. If you’re thinking “But Allison, I like the way I look tan!,” I get it. I like the way I look with a tan too. But I haven’t gotten a real tan for years, and that is part of why my skin is in good shape. The skin is the body’s largest organ, so I’d rather take care of that and fake it ’til I make it with Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops.

On my “To Try” list.

Hyaluronic Acid. H.A., as I call it, is one of my favorite skincare product discoveries of the last five years. And it’s one that’s suitable for all skin types. Everyone I have ever recommended it to has told me they saw results soon after using it. So what is H.A., you ask? It’s a substance that our body naturally produces that helps hold in collagen and lubricates joints and tissues. It gets depleted as we age, but luckily we can add it back to the skin topically. I’ve already written a whole other post about it, so you can get more details there, and I strongly encourage you to read that. H.A. is an essential part of my skincare routine, and is one of the few skincare products you will notice a difference from early on.

It’s the best hydrator out there, and we could all use some hydration. Even oily skin can be dehydrated, so don’t go scrolling to the next section yet if you’re thinking “I don’t need that!”. When the skin is dehydrated, that means it lacks water. When the skin is dry, that means it lacks oil. If you are unsure what dehydrated skin looks like, look in the mirror when you are hungover, battling the stomach bug or have just gotten off a flight. Those are all common causes of loss or lack of fluids, which your skin is happy to announce you have via dullness, flaking or more pronounced fine lines. I’m no doctor so I’m not going to advise you about systemic dehydration, but if you can see the signs of skin dehydration on your face, get yourself some H.A.


Retinoids. Retinoic acid, a derivative of Vitamin A, is one of the the only scientifically proven anti-aging ingredients. Prescription retinoids contain retinoic acid, while non-prescription retinoids (aka retinol, the general term which I am guilty of using for my prescription retinoid cream) products have to be converted into retinoic acid at the cellular level. Basically, a retinol will take longer to show results because of the retinoic acid conversion time. So why not go in the with the big guns right off the bat and use a prescription retinoid?

I started using a prescription retinoid (Trentinoin Cream 0.05%) when I was 33 and three years later, my skin looks pretty much the same. People are frequently surprised by my age, and I think my boo Trentinoin plays a big part in that. For more on retinoids, check out this post.

The good stuff.

Exfoliation. I personally don’t exfoliate since I am on Trentinoin and exfoliation is contraindicated with retinoids, but I am including it because it’s something I did before I was on Trentinoin. I still think a prescription retinoid cream is the way to go if you are over 30, but if you’re under 30 or can’t/won’t use a retinoid, I recommend regular exfoliation.

Exfoliation removes the dead skin cells from the top layer of skin, making it feel softer and allowing makeup to go on more smoothly. If you leave those dead skin cells to chill on your epidermis, your skin will look dull and your makeup might get patchy as it grabs onto those cells who have crossed over. I’ve been out of the exfoliation game for a minute, but I can tell you that when I was in it, I preferred chemical (aka enzyme) exfoliation over physical (aka manual or scrub) exfoliation, as chemical exfoliation is more gentle. When exfoliation was part of my normal routine, I liked Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment (they also make a gentle version for sensitive skin). Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant is another good one.

You can get a sample of this at most Sephoras.

Blackhead Extraction. When I notice blackheads on my nose, I do extractions on the area. I’m a licensed esthetician so I can confidently do extractions in a way that I know won’t cause scarring. If you are not an esthetician, I recommend periodically going to one for a facial, which should include extractions. You can also use the Biore Pore Strips, which can remove some blackheads. If those don’t work for you, schedule a facial and make sure that you are thoroughly cleansing each night, as going to bed with a dirty face is a great way to get blackheads.

An oldie but a goodie.

Face Oil. Don’t be scared of face oil. Oil does not always = breakouts. Think of it as a souped up moisturizer, okay? I have been using the Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil for several years, and my skin is better person for it. Face oil is one of the skincare products I noticed almost immediately results from. I use it a couple nights in a week in the winter, when my skin is on the dry side. I apply it at night and let it absorb while I sleep. I use it year-round when I do facial massages, which really help when my skin is looking dull. (Lisa Eldridge explains that well here.) I reach for it as a sort of spot treatment if I get dry patches, which crop up if I’ve used too much Trentinoin, after I’ve been sick and my skin is dehydrated or when frigid weather causes dry patches and flaking. In those cases, I apply a small amount to the dry patches and it always heals them within a couple of days. Lastly, I use face oil 20 minutes after my Trentinoin if I have noticed any recent peeling or redness from it.

For more info on the Josie Maran Argan Oil, I’ve got another post for you! Unless you have truly acneic skin–in which case I recommend limiting your products until your acne has cleared, as adding anything new can irritate your already irritated skin–face oil should be part of your routine.

The Queen Bee of moisturizers.

Spot Treatments. As I mentioned, I get the occasional blemish. When I do, I use a spot treatment to attack it overnight. If it’s a small whitehead or a pustule, I first try to get it with salicylic acid. I like the Clinique Acne Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel. If that doesn’t do it, or if I’m dealing with a papule, I go after it with Persa-Gel 10, a kickass benzoyl peroxide treatment.

If you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about with my acne terminology, I can help with that. Clickety click click here.

A drugstore gem.

Face Masks. I’m not a mask addict, mostly because I already have enough steps in my routine and they work well. But I do like to use the Clarins Beauty Flash Balm every week or two, especially if my skin is looking dull or tired. I think this is a great mask that should work on all skin types, but if you have a specific skin concern you want to address, there’s probably a mask for it. Charcoal and mud masks are great for oily skin, while Vitamin E, avocado, and shea butter masks will make dry skin happy. If you have sensitive skin, look for masks that contain oatmeal, honey or aloe.

My go-to mask.

Hydroquinone. Let’s start with the definition of melasma. It’s a hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin) that appears in gray-brown patches, usually on the face but sometimes on other areas of the body. Melasma is caused by birth control pills, pregnancy, hormone therapy and sun exposure. I think my upper lip melasma came from sun exposure. I regrettably had some serious sunbathing days in my 20s, and I started to pay for it a few years later via creases on my chest, moles that had to be scraped off or gouged out of my body, and melasma. Even though I did always wear sunscreen on my face, during pool days in the hot Florida sun, I could feel my face sweating, particularly at my hairline (where I also have faint melasma) and my above my upper lip. My theory is that the sweat on those areas broke down the sunscreen and allowed the sun damage to kick my melanocytes (pigment-producing skin cells) into overdrive.

My melasma got worse as I got older. Even though I was keeping my face protected from the sun, cumulative sun damage can take a while to appear. My dermatologist prescribed Hydroquinone 4% Cream to diminish the darkness above my lip. Hydroquinone is a skin bleaching cream and although some people says it’s harmful, I ran it by my MD/ND (medical doctor and naturopath) and he gave me the okay. You are supposed to only use it for three months at a time, which I do mostly during the warmer months, as that is when I notice the melasma most. It’s definitely faded to the point where I forget I even have it, but sometimes it crops back up, at which point I start my three months again.

If you don’t have melasma, this of course doesn’t need to be a part of your routine. And even if you do have it, Hydroquinone might not be the best choice for you. Get thee to a derm and go from there. But since I am telling you all of the products I use, I had to mention this one.

And this is what melasma looks like.

Sleep. This sometimes elusive skincare “product” is just as important as the rest. Even if I am doing everything else right, if I’m not sleeping enough, my skin does not look its best. I realize we can’t all regularly get as much sleep as we need, but lack of sleep does affect how your skin looks. I have to mention it because if you’re only clocking a few hours of sleep most nights, I don’t want you to say “I’m using all of the products Allison said and my skin doesn’t look good!” and think it’s my fault.

I obviously have a post about sleep too. I have an opinion on everything.


Getting my beauty sleep.

Supplements & A Clean Diet. I’m not a medical professional (although I have referred to myself as an “amateur doctor” before), but I do think what you put inside your body has as much of an impact as what you put on your skin. For example, I don’t mess with too much sugar because it makes me feel like shit. When I do, I not only feel gross but the fine lines around my eyes are more pronounced the next day. I don’ think I’m imagining that, and studies do show that sugar can break down collagen, aka accelerate the formation of lines and wrinkles. You mean the very things I am trying so hard to avoid?!?!

In general, I’ve found that when I take the supplements I personally need (fish oil, iron, probiotics, multivitamins and some stuff that helps with hormonal issues I was born with), I feel better. When I physically don’t feel well, it shows up on my face. Think about it. What does someone’s complexion look like when they are ill? Bright and glowy, or pale and dull-looking?

I was a vegetarian for six years (ages 12 – 18) and my skin did not look great. I wasn’t breaking out, but my skin was sallow and my undereye circles were even darker than they normally are. Turns out my body thrives on protein and iron, and I wasn’t able to get the amount I needed from a plant-based diet. Although I would prefer to not eat meat, I didn’t feel great–and my skin showed that–when I was, so I had to make the change.

My point is, finding the right combination of foods and supplements (if that’s your jam) helps you have a healthier system, and your skin is included in that.

Luckily I don’t have to take THAT many supplements in a day.

Wow, you made it through this whole post? Congratulations! I hope you have found it helpful. I know it may sound like a lot, but it’s not that bad. The total time needed for my evening routine (not including the wait time in the Trentinoin process, which I detail in the post linked in the Retinoids section) is maybe 15 minutes. In the morning–normally just hylaluronic acid, moisturizer and sometimes sunscreen–it’s around five minutes. It probably took you longer to read this post that it takes for me to do my morning routine. I barely even count my bi-weekly mask time, as it takes about 30 seconds to apply it and maybe three minutes to thoroughly wash it off. When I do a facial massage with the Josie Maran Argan Oil, that can take 15 minutes, but I do that while watching something, so it’s multi-tasking. Extractions are on an as-needed basis, and that’s an under-ten-minutes process as well.

The hardest parts of getting into a skincare routine are finding the products that work for you and then getting into the habit of using them. And sorry, but there is no shortcut there. Hopefully my recommendations have helped, but actually doing the routine is on you.

If you have any questions, comment away. I am here for you and your skin.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

ImPOREtant Stuff: How To Minimize the Look of Large Pores

I’m sure you were dying to see a closeup of some pores today.

Back in the day, the only skin concerns you heard about were acne and wrinkles. Women’s magazines focused on wrinkles, while teen magazines were all about preventing or covering acne. The only times you heard the word “pores” was when an article told you to splash your face with cold water after cleansing to close the pores. (And hey, it doesn’t work that way–cold water will temporarily stop the pores from producing oil, but they don’t completely close up from it, which is a good thing.)

Then, in 1996, Biore Pore strips happened. “Pore” became a dirty word. Everyone wanted the gunk (technical term) ripped out of their skin and shown satisfyingly on a piece of what appeared to be hardened cotton. Cleaning out pores wasn’t just a fad. It became an obsession in the beauty world, later followed by the need minimize those clear–but still visible–pores.

We’ve all been strippers.

And I get it. Clogged pores cause blackheads and other kinds of acne, and pores are more obvious and look bigger when they are clogged. And large pores–even when they are cleaned out–don’t make for a sought-after skin texture, hence the creation of pore minimizing makeup.

If you are engaged in a war with your pores, I may be able to assist with your battle strategy. I got your plan all laid out.

Cleanse. First of all, you gotsta cleanse every night. Remove your makeup first then cleanse your skin (or use an oil cleanser and kill two birds with one stone). What do you think clogs pores? A lovely mix of dirt, oil, makeup, dead skin cells, sweat and bacteria. Properly removing your makeup and cleansing will get a lot of that junk away from your pores, so if you skip this important step, you’re making your pores vulnerable to attack.

Exfoliate. Dead skin cells are like that last guest at your party–they won’t leave until you make them. They stay on skin and hide inside pores, and the only way to get them out is by exfoliating. You can use a physical exfoliant (aka a scrub) or a enzyme exfoliant, but either way, regular exfoliation–2 – 3 times a week–is an important part of keeping your pores un-clogged. Salicylic acid is an exfoliating ingredient that works especially well with clogged pores, so keep that one in mind. (Skip this step if you use a retinoid or any other product that is contraindicated with exfoliation.)

Get A Facial. An esthetician will do extractions during a facial, and those extractions will get rid of any clogged business you couldn’t get out yourself. It’s best to have extractions (the manual emptying of blackheads and whiteheads) done by a professional, because many a “I can do this myself” extraction has resulted in scarring.

Extractions done right.

Pore Minimizer. If your pores are clean but still visible, a pore minimizer will be your best friend. Pore mimimizers temporarily fill in pores without clogging them so that makeup can apply smoothly over those areas. I use a pore minimizer on myself and many of my clients, and it really does make a difference.

Matte Liquid Foundation. I’ve found that sheer liquid foundations are much better on those with large pores than powder foundation. As long as a pore minimizer has been applied first, a sheer liquid foundation won’t sink into pores and highlight them the way a powder foundation can.

Stipple Your Powder. You can still use a pressed powder (more lightweight than a powder foundation) to set your foundation if you have large pores, but you’ll get the best results if you use a sponge and stipple/press a thin layer of powder over those areas as opposed to applying it with a brush.

I hope my battle plan serves you well. Godspeed, Pore Warrior.

Have a beautiful day 🙂


The Beauty Gifts Guide

Or how about some setting spray?

You know what time (of year) it is. If you are still working on your holiday shopping–I know I am–and you have someone in your life who is into skincare and/or makeup, I’ve got some suggestions for you. (Or maybe you want to add these to your own holiday wish list!)

In no particular order, I present the strongest players in the beauty game.

Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil. Oil cleansers are THE best way to remove makeup and cleanse the skin.

Josie Maran Pure Argan Oil. Face oils restore moisture to the skin like nobody’s business, and this one is the OG of face oils.

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5. The best hydrator out there. Apply this to damp skin after cleansing or showering, then follow immediately with moisturizer.

Neutrogena Oil Free Moisture SPF35. Great for normal and combination skin.

Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micellar Water. If you prefer not to feel like bees are stinging your eyes when you remove your eye makeup, you’ll love this gentle makeup remover.

Clarins Beauty Flash Balm. My favorite face mask. This can also be used as a tightening primer under makeup.

Too Faced Shadow Insurance. What to use if you like your eyeshadow to stay on and not crease.

Dior Diorshow Mascara. The way to go if you want to pump up the volume on your lashes.

Clinique High Impact Mascara. For length and inky blackness on your lashes.

MAC Studio Face & Body Foundation. If you like your skin too look like skin when you wear foundation, try this makeup artist favorite.

MAC Pro Longwear Concealer. Great for both undereye and face coverage.

MAC Oil Control Lotion. An oil minimizing product for the shiny peeps.

MAC Conceal & Correct Duo in Pure Orange/Ochre. Perfect for concealing hyperpigmentation on deep skintones.

MAC Lipstick in Lady Danger. A cult favorite red lipstick.

MAC In The Flesh Eyeshadow Palette. A solid array of neutral eyeshadows.

Rimmel Stay Matte Powder. A quality drugstore pressed powder.

Algenist Green Color Correcting Drops. Use this under foundation to cancel out redness.

Algenist Apricot Color Correcting Drops. An awesome dark circle color corrector for light and medium skintones.

Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined Gel Eyeliner in Truffle. I use this dark brown eyeliner on most clients.

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer. I use this on anyone whose makeup needs to last alllll day.

Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray. Everyone should have this.

Stila Convertible Color. I use these primarily as cream blushes, but you can use them a lipcolor too.

Benefit Hoola. This matte bronzer is another cult favorite. Hoola Lite is better for fair to light skintones.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector. These powder highlighters come in several shades to compliment all skintones.

Ben Nye Banana Powder. If you are trying to conceal dark undereye circles, this should be your final step to lock in your undereye color corrector and concealer.

I hope this helps with your shopping. Happy Holidays!

Have a beautiful day 🙂






Black Friday Beauty Deals

Maybe don’t do that, though.

Let me help you out with your shopping today. Here’s a list of Black Friday deals in the beauty world.

MAC Cosmetics. 25% off all orders.

Benefit Cosmetics. 25% off all orders.

Bobbi Brown. 25% off all orders, plus a free full sized gift.

Make Up For Ever. 20% off orders over $100, now through 11/27.

Urban Decay 20% off, plus free shipping.

NARS. 20% off, now through 11/27.

Armani. 20% off all orders, plus free shipping. A free full-sized lipstick with orders over $125, and a free makeup clutch with orders over $300.

Laura Mercier. Free smokey eye set and free shipping with orders over $75.

Some of these deals extend into Cyber Monday, while others don’t, which makes me think those companies will have new deals on Monday. Either way, Happy Shopping!

Have a beautiful day 🙂


Skincare Tutorials I Love

I recently posted on the Allison Barbera Beauty Facebook page asking people what beauty-related topics they would like to read about. People commented with a lot of great suggestions and trust me, I’m on it! One person–hi, Candie!–said she would like to read posts about skincare (specifically my skincare routine). But I’ve been sick lately and my brain isn’t at its creative best, so I’m going to start with some skincare tutorials I love, then I’ll be back with a post about my current skincare routine.

And here they are:

Lisa’s skincare favorites.

Facial massage done right.

If you’re going to France anytime soon.

Can’t talk about skincare without talking about sunscreen.

Wayne’s take on the best skincare products.

Nic’s skincare routine.

Some great skincare tips from Nadine Baggot.

Enjoy! And have a beautiful day 🙂


Whose Line(r) Is It Anyway?

eyeliner meme
Just tell her she looks great.

There are some folks in this world who would fight you if you took away their eyeliner. (That is a fight I would pay to see!) Many of us have that one makeup product that we can’t live without, and for a lot of people, that product is eyeliner. That makes sense, since eyeliner is one of the makeup products that can give your eyes definition, make them look bigger, make your eye shape look different, and enhance your eye color. That’s a lot of payoff from one product, right?

So we’ve got Eyeliner Lovers in one camp. They will fight you to the death for the last kohl pencil at Sephora, so keep your guard up. In the other camp, we’ve got those people who are scared of eyeliner, or so they tell me. In some cases, I think what they are really scared of is working with liquid liner, doing a winged liner or having their eyeliner smudge. If you also have that Eyeliner Fear, there is hope for you. Step 1 is to get educated on your liner options. And I can help!

Here’s what we’ve got:

Liquid Liner. Many makeup masterpieces have been created with liquid liner, but it is the hardest to liner work with. Because a good liquid liner is strongly pigmented and is meant to create a sharp line, if you slip up, there’s no hiding it. Liquid liners come in tube, pen or small bottle form, generally with the the applicator attached. The applicator may be a thin brush or a pointed felt tip applicator. The circumference (am I using that word correctly?) of the applicator will dictate how thick of a line you get. If you want a sharp wing or a graphic liner look, you should go with liquid.

Kohl Eyeliner. Y’all need to thank the Egyptians for this stuff. It’s been around since the Protodynastic Period in Egypt, which goes wayyyyyy back to 3100 BCE. It has been used in many cultures by men and women for different reasons. Some believe lining inside the waterline with kohl prevents eye infections, while others think it keeps the sun out of the eyes. Because of the amount of lead in true kohl, it’s actually banned by the FDA in the US. So when we are talking about kohl liners here, they are just a (safer) facsimile of the real thing. You’ll see them in pencil or crayon form in this country. Kohl’s biggest identifying feature is the softness of the formulation and how easily you can blend and smudge it. I like kohl liners for the top lashline, because you can draw them on and smudge them upwards with an angled brush for a smokey effect. I generally stay away from them on the bottom lashline, as the same thing that makes them easy to blend makes them quick to smudge under the eye. They also work really well in the waterline, as they glide on smoothly and a quality kohl liner has loads of pigment. Kohl liners won’t give you a sharp line, as they tend to smudge out a little as you draw them on, so I wouldn’t recommend them for a sharp winged liner or graphic liner look.

Non-Kohl Pencil. I have to differentiate between the two because although they can look the same, they are different animals. Non-kohl pencil eyeliners (let’s just called them “NK liners”) seem to be the most popular with makeup civilians. Which makes sense, because from what I can tell (and I couldn’t find the research to back this up), there are more NK pencils than any other type of eyeliner on the market.  Pencil liners can be soft or hard. I don’t recommend using a pencil that’s too soft, as the tip can break off with even the lightest pressure. But using a pencil that’s too hard can cause tugging of the thin eye skin, which is not only uncomfortable but can lead to fine lines. So you have to find the right formulation, Goldilocks. If the pencil has a thin enough tip, you can get defined line from  it. If that’s your goal, just make sure to keep it sharpened. Some pencil formulations set instantly, so there is no room to smudge/smoke them out once they are on. Others are more creamy and give you time to smudge/smoke. So think about your liner needs before purchasing an NK pencil.

Crayon Liner. Crayon liners are most closely related to NK pencils, but might be a distant relative of kohl. They are generally a softer consistency and can usually be smudged/smoked out. They might start out as a pointed shape, but even with the ones you can sharpen, they usually end up more rounded. I tend to use crayon liners at the lower lashline, as they are softer, so more comfortable to use there than a hard pencil. I don’t like a harsh line at the lower lashline, but a waterproof crayon liner will allow for a soft line that stays in place. I use a crayon liner at the bottom lashline on all of my female clients (unless they don’t like bottom lashline liner), so my favorite Bobbi Brown ones have an important place in my pro kit.

Gel Liner. I love me a little pot o’ liner! Gel liners are actually more like a cream consistency, but for some reason, “gel” is typically used to describe them. To apply gel liner, you scrape some out of the pot with a clean makeup spatula (don’t you dare use your fingernail), put that on a palette or your hand and apply with a fine liner brush. I know some people dip straight into the liner with their brush when they are doing their own makeup, but that transfers bacteria from your eye to the liner. The pot gets closed after using, trapping the bacteria into your gel liner and making it so you reapply the bacteria–which if high school Biology taught me correctly multiplies when in a enclosed space–back onto your eye the next time you use it. And from an artistry standpoint, I’ve found that dipping the brush straight into the gel liner loads it with too much product, which you either end up wasting it if you notice it and wipe some off your brush first or you apply to your eyes then realize you have way too much on, and that’s not an easy fix. With gel liner, I recommend first applying a very thin line then building it up if need be. Once you go too far with gel liner, there’s no coming back. But it is a versatile liner because you can use it to create defined lines, wings or graphic liner looks, or you can smudge/smoke it out before it sets for a softer look. There’s a little learning curve if you are used to any type of crayon or pencil liner, but if you love liner and haven’t tried this yet, you should give it a go.

Shadow Liner. If you want a soft look that still gives you definition, using a eyeshadow as an eyeliner will get you there. 95% of the time, I use shadow liner only on myself. All you need to do this is a matte shadow and an angled or fine liner brush. You can layer it for more intensity or keep it light for subtle definition. Shadow liner is the most forgiving of the liners because since doesn’t have the texture of a waxy pencil, shiny liquid liner or cream gel liner, so it doesn’t stand out as much against the skin. It also won’t typically show a tiny slip up, where some of the other liners will immediately announce that you had a hand twitch or didn’t get your line even as you were drawing it. If you are doing a graphic or winged liner, mapping out your shape first with an eyeshadow will make the job much easier. Shimmery shadows won’t give you the same type of definition as a matte shadow, as the shimmer particles can look patchy when drawn in a line. (Don’t believe me? Use a brush to draw a straight line of shimmer shadow next to a straight line of matte shadow on your hand, and see which one stands out more.) If you don’t use eyeliner but want to, shadow liner is a great gateway drug to the other liner types.

Permanent Eyeliner. You can’t find this in a makeup kit! Permanent eyeliner is tattooed on. I get the appeal for someone who always wears liner, but put a needle near my eye and I’m going to bite you. If you are considering permanent makeup, keep in mind that we lose collagen and elastic in our skin as we age, and everything starts to droop a little. So that liner that started at your lower lashline could end up a lower than you wanted it. And with the permanent liners I’ve seen, they all seem to turn navy blue after a while. I’m not super knowledgeable about permanent makeup, as it’s not the type of “makeup” I work with, so I would just say, do your research.

Guyliner. Guyliner is most typically black pencil liner at the bottom lashline and/or bottom waterline. It’s most popular with duded who have a punk or rocker style. In my opinion, it looks great on the right kind of guy. But if you put it on a 50 year balding man who wears suits to work, it’s going to look off.  I’ve dated two guys who could pull off guyliner and even though they didn’t regularly wear it, I convinced them to let me try it on them. Because why should only one person in the relationship wear makeup? Sephora Date Nights could be a thing…

Did you learn, like, so much? Good! Now your part, Step 2, is to play around with the liners you have or go out and buy one that you don’t have. Then practice, practice, practice and feel free to hit me up with questions.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Don’t Overdo It: Why You Can’t Rush Skincare Product Results

Grace would follow skincare product instructions. Frankie might accidentally use a tube of retinol as cake frosting.

I’ve got a “one more” addiction in many areas of my life. Let me answer one more email before I go for a run, watch one more episode of Grace & Frankie before I get into bed, read one more chapter of this book before I turn my lamp off, eat one more chip with guacamole before I hate myself. I guess that Daft Punk banger from 2001 really had an effect on me…

Luckily, I don’t have the “one more” inclination with cocktails, which has saved me from many hangovers. I also never “one more” another part of my life–my skincare product application. I know that there are a lot of people out there who think that if they use one more pump of product than instructed or apply it one more time a day than they are supposed to, they will see quicker results. But that’s not how it works, Little Miss Impatient.

Here’s a list of things that can happen if you apply more product than you are supposed to (particularly if the product contains a strong active ingredient) or apply it more often than instructed:





Chemical burns

My disapproval

Or don’t, and see how that works out for you.

Often times, overusing a product will have the opposite effect and make it not work at all, which is a waste of product and therefore money. Although changes may be happening deep down in the layers of the epidermis, depending on the product and the issue you are trying to improve, it may take 2 – 3 months before you start to see a difference. I know this is a tough pill to slowly swallow when we live in a world where a quick injection of instant gratification is preferred, but some things can not be rushed.

Visible skincare results take time. If you are one more-ing any skincare products, you are likely setting yourself up for failure, disappointment and my voice saying “I told you so!” in your head. If you are using high quality products that are right for your skin type and concerns, you will see results if you use them properly. It’s that simple.

Have a beautiful day ‘:)


Makeup Myths Exposed

I’ll be the judge.

Advice given from non-beauty professionals can often be garbage. Sorry, women’s magazines–I stand by that statement. Sometimes, articles and posts are written to promote certain products from lines that are paying for the placement. And just because someone is a beauty editor or a beauty writer doesn’t mean they have any education or training in skincare, makeup or hair. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read articles that tell me that to get beachy waves, I should go to bed with my hair wet and braided. Do you know what happens to someone with naturally tight, curly hair when they do that? It sure ain’t beachy waves or anything close.

I meet a lot of clients who tell me about makeup myths they’ve read/heard. I mean, they don’t say “Hey, have you heard this makeup myth?” (Although I would love that conversation.) They say it more in terms of what they think they are supposed to do, based off advice from a magazine, website or misguided friend. Like “I know I’m supposed to wear pink eyeshadow because my eyes are blue, but I don’t like the way it looks.” I’m here to crush the most common myths I’ve heard, because you deserve a better makeup life.

I’m going to stick with makeup myths only here, because that’s my forte. Recognize any of these?

Purple Eyeshadow Is The Best For Brown Eyes. I blame this on the Almay “enhance your eye color” eyeshadow trios that came out in the late 90s. (I believe Almay was the first ones to do this, or at least the most popular.) These trios and others like them are based off the color wheel. The idea is that since each color on the color wheel has a complimentary color, using the complimentary color will enhance your eye color. In a general sense, that’s true. But there are other factors that can throw this. For example, if you have hazel eyes and get a tan or spray tan, your eyes will look lighter and often more green. Hair color changes can make your eye color look different too, as can the color of the shirt you’re wearing. And many people have a few colors in their peepers. You may look at someone at first think and “Blue eyed baby,” but upon second look you see hints of green, gray or yellow. Now which trio do you chose?!?! Purple eyeshadow is touted as the best complimentary color for brown eyes, and it can look good on some shades of brown. Because of that and because brown eyes are the most common, I think this myth got real popular. But it’s not accurate. In general, purple is a tough color to pull off on the eyes. It can look garish on some skintones and hair color combinations. It also pulls the purple from undereye circles–even after they’ve been concealed–and makes them look more purple/dark. So yes, purple can look good on some brown eyes, but it’s not going to work on every brown eyed girl.

Oh, would you look at that! Kerry Washington and her brown eyes looking STUNNING in blue.

You Can Wear Waterproof Mascara Every Day. Ooooh, no, no, no. Waterproof mascara is fine on occasion, but it’s tough to remove at night, which means more wear and tear on your eyelashes. What does repeated wear and tear cause? Breakage. If you want to create the potential for stubby lashes, go for it. But if you want to give your window-treatments-to-the-soul the love they deserve, lay off the waterproof.

Smokey Eye = Black Eyeshadow. I think a few of the New Jersey-themed shows from earlier in this decade helped perpetuate the myth that a smokey eye is all black shadows (and maybe some silver if you fancy). A smokey eye can actually be done using any color. A true smokey eye consists of three or more shadows in the same color family. Those shadows are applied in a gradient, with the darkest color at the lashline, the medium color above that on the lids and the lighter color above that (into the crease on non-hooded eyes or above the medium color on the lids on hooded eyes). It also tends to have two or three colors at the bottom lashline, with the darkest being closest to the lashline, the medium below that and the lightest below that. This is not what many people think a smokey eye is, so when a client requests one, I always ask “What do you mean by ‘smokey’?” Sometimes they actually want a darker color in the crease, or a black liner in the waterline.  A true smokey eye can be done with any three (or more, if you’re feeling ambitious) colors in the same family. So bring me your browns, your greens, your blues, and I will smoke you up.

You Have To Contour Under The Cheekbones. First of all, you don’t have to do anything with your makeup. But if you do want to go the contour/face sculpting route, the first thing you need to do is identify your face shape as well as the features you want to emphasize. If you already have prominent cheekbones or a thinner face, contouring under your cheekbones will potentially make you look older, gaunt or a little on the drag side (not saying that’s bad, but not what I’ve found the average woman is going for). So before you place that contour product into the hollows under your cheekbones, think “Do I need to do this? Will this bring out what I want to bring out?” Just because a Kardashian does it doesn’t mean you should too. And maybe take that as general life advice.

You don’t need to go full Maleficent, especially if your CBs are already prominent.

All Foundations Are Heavy. Back in the day, all foundations were heavy. If I was writing this in 1988, this would not be a myth. (And I’d have more issues than heavy foundation if I were writing something called a “blog post” in 1988. You mean a “chain letter,” lady?) Luckily, there are 23,046 (rough estimate) foundations on the market now, with plenty of sheer and lightweight options. And for me, sheer and lightweight options are where it’s at. I look at foundation as a product that evens the skintone, often with a little help from color correctors and concealers. I’ll never understand the appeal of heavy foundations, because I like skin to look like skin. So if you’re with me, there are plenty of foundations out there for you to chose from.

Match Foundation To Your Hand. If you’ve got no face makeup on at the moment, hold your hand up to your face. Yes, right now. Is it the exact same shade as your face? Probably not. So why would you match your foundation to your grabbers? The best place to match foundation is on your jawline. The center of the face is more likely to have pigmentation (including freckles), so you might choose a shade that’s too dark if you match based off that. Your jawline will give you a better match, and it will help you see how far off your face shade is from your neck shade. Things can get a little complicated if your face, neck and chest are different colors due to a tan or spray tan, but that’s for another post. I do want to mention that sometimes deeper skintones can be lighter in the center of the face and darker on the edges, so in that case, you do want to match separately on each area.

Powder Foundation Is Best For Oily Skin. I get the idea behind this–powder absorbs oil. However, I think that kind of absorption works best in a touchup way. My technique with oily skin is to use a mattifying lotion, liquid foundation, longwear concealer in the T-zone, powder to set and then setting spray. My issue with using powder foundations on oily skin is that the oil can sometimes break through the powder, leaving dark spots or streaks that darken the powder foundation. I will say that tends to only happen with very oily skin, but why chance it?

Damn it! Now what am I supposed to name my documentary about powder foundation?

Concealer Goes On Before Foundation. This myth makes zero sense. The idea of concealer is to mask skin imperfections. Foundation already does that to varying degrees, depending on the foundation type. So why in Biggie’s name would you not put foundation on first? If you do that, it may fully cover or start to cover your areas of concern. Then you go in with concealer for more targeted coverage. Not only do you end up using less concealer–so less makeup on your skin and more money in your wallet–but if you are using a buffing brush to blend your foundation on, you are likely rubbing off some of the concealer as you buff. That’s more waste! Be smart and base first.

Concealers Are All The Same. Concealers can come in squeeze tubes, pump tubes, twist pens, cute little pots and palettes. And that’s because different concealers have different consistencies. Some are thin and liquid-y, some are thick and solid and some are in the middle. That’s because different types of coverage are called for at different times. For undereye concealer, I recommend a thin consistency concealer, because a thick one will cake up on ya real quick. But for blemish coverage, you often need the thickness of a heavier concealer to get the job done. Also, there are both matte concealers and luminizing/light reflecting concealers on the market. The latter are meant for coverage of darkness under the eyes (which you should be using a color corrector for first anyway), as the pigment helps conceal and the light reflecting particles bounce light off the area, which cuts some of the darkness. But put a luminizing concealer on a blemish and all you’ve done is draw attention to it when the light hits it. So the exact opposite of what you want. When you are or buying or trying concealers, keep your coverage goals in mind so you can choose correctly.

Makeup Wipes Remove Makeup. Laziness at its finest! And you know it. Makeup wipes can take some makeup off the surface of the skin, but the ingredients don’t dissolve makeup then remove it, so some makeup can still be left on the skin. I’m a firm believe that the only thing that fully removes makeup is oil (in the form of a pre-cleanse or cleanser). Get rid of the wipes, get yourself some oil, and watch your skin improve.

And that was probably AFTER she used a makeup wipe!
Photo: Benny Lukas Bester

Bronzer Is Supposed To Be Applied To The Entire Face. Bronzer is a product intended to mimic a tan. And when we tan (for those of us whose sunbathing lives weren’t ruined by seven months in Esthetics school), the majority of the color we get hits the high points of our faces (at the hairline, across the cheekbones, down the bridge of the nose and around the edges of the face). So not all over the face. I notice a lot of women do this, and the ones who admit it to me tell me it’s because they like to look tan. But what it really looks like is that they put bronzer all over their face, and their neck and chest are two shades lighter. If you want to look tan, use a sunless tanner or get a spray tan. If you want a natural, sunkissed look, put bronzer where it is supposed to go. I know some of you don’t like this advice, but I will not lie to you.

Makeup Can Cover Breakouts. Makeup can work wonders bringing out eye color, emphasizing features and making the skintone more even. But it can not cover raised texture. Yes, some pore minimizers can mostly fill in pores and fine lines so that the makeup applied on top of those areas does not sink in and highlight them. But a blemish, scar or bump that is raised can not be covered completely. Because that would mean finding a product that was thick enough to match the rest of the skin to the height (what else would you call it?) of the raised area. That would be the only way to make the makeup all level, if you will. But it would also mean looking like a maniac. What makeup can do though is cover any discoloration on that area so that the eye is not drawn to it. I feel confident that every pro makeup artist would agree with me here, so you should too.

Do you feel like I’ve cleared some stuff up for you? Good! (I’m imagining you said “Yes! Thank you! You’re the best.”) If you’ve gotten any beauty advice that you think sounds a little off, comment away and I’ll give you my take.

Have a beautiful day 🙂



What You Should Know About Foundation

0.1% of the available foundations on the market.

Foundation has gotten a bad rep, and some of that is justified. For a long time, all foundations were super heavy and had a pink undertone to them, which gives the skin a lovely mask-like effect if you don’t have pink undertones in your skin. And many foundation lines don’t offer a full range of shades, which is messed up. That’s gotten better but is still not where it needs to be.

However, you can find lines that cover a full range of shades and undertones, and do not feel or look heavy on the skin. Those are the foundations lines I stock my kit with.

Foundation is the starting point for the rest of your makeup. I view foundation as a product to be used sparingly to even out the skin. I strongly prefer using a sheer or at most, medium, coverage foundation. I then apply concealer if more coverage is needed on certain areas. I think a lot of people don’t like foundation because they think it’s heavy and unnatural looking, but that’s not how all foundations are.

My foundation love of my life is MAC Studio Face & Body. I have been using this on clients and on my own face since I started doing makeup. It’s a water-based sheer foundation that changes into a medium coverage foundation the more you rub it into your skin. It gives a little glow without getting super shiny (although I do normally use MAC Oil Control Lotion under it on oily skin). But this post isn’t about my beloved F&B. It’s a how-to for using liquid foundation.

And here we go!

Step 1: Dispense product onto a palette or the back of your hand. The exact amount you need will depend on the foundation you use. If you are using Face & Body or a similar foundation, give it a good shake first. Start with the smallest amount (half a pump, if it’s in that type of packaging) and dispense more if needed.

That might be all you need.

Step 2: I do this differently on clients, but on my own face, I like applying foundation with my hands. I start by putting a good sized dot of foundation on the center sections of my face–center of forehead, center of each cheek and center of chin. I do not put a dot on my nose, because nose skin is a different texture on most people, and too much product directly applied there can get cakey. But don’t worry–we will get to the schnoz. The reason I apply foundation on these areas first is that most people need coverage on the center of their face more than the outer edges. So applying it there then blending it outwards allows the majority of the product to even out the areas that typically need it most.

Step 3: I use my hands to blend the foundation into my skin. I do this in a smoothing type of motion. Starting at my forehead, I’ll spread half of that foundation dot across the right side of my forehead, and half across the left. I make sure it’s blended up to my hairline and above my brows. (And this is why I do brows after foundation–because sometimes foundation will touch your brows as you apply it, so it makes more sense to do the brows after so you don’t mess up your hard work.) Then I spread the dots on each cheek, going downwards and outwards, over the jawline. I make sure I bring it all the way to my ears. On my chin, I spread the foundation to the right and left and under my chin. By this point, I have a little foundation on my hands, so I run a hand over my nose to deposit some product. I do not apply foundation under my eyes because I use a concealer for that, as my undereyes have a different undertone (one might call it “purple”) than the rest of my face.

Smooth it on.

Step 4: Next, I press my hand on each section of my face for 5-10 seconds. I find that the body heat from my hands helps the foundation melt into my skin better. I don’t always have time to do this step, but when I do, I swear my makeup looks better.

Step 5: I take my Real Techniques buffing brush from the Flawless Base Set and gently buff over all over my face. This gives a final blend, ensuring that if I got too much product on any area, it’s gets blended out. I then pick up what’s left of the product from the back of my hand and apply it down my neck with that brush. Necks are often a different color than faces, so I always do this on myself and on clients. I run what’s left on the brush over my ears, because those can also be a different color (especially on some people when they blush or get hot, so doing this minimizes the redness flush if that happens).

That’s it! I really broke it down for this post, but my whole foundation process typically only takes around five minutes. You don’t need to wear foundation, but if you want to even your skintone–which makes you look more awake, polished and younger, if that’s a concern–foundation is the way to go.

Have a beautiful day 🙂