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 🙂

 

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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:

Itching

Stinging

Redness

Peeling

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

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 🙂

 

 

 

Beauty Guru Makeup Techniques: The Real Deal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Makeup baking
Baking leads to caking.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lighting it up.

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

I call bullshit on some of y’all gurus.

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

Some things take time.

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

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

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

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Lip Service: Part 2

Looks like someone found several lipstick colors that work on her.

So you’ve read Part 1 and you’re feeling good about your lipstick knowledge base. Great! Now you’re ready for Lipstick 202. Get that (lip) pencil out and take some notes.

It’s time to talk about color choices. Remember that time your friend was wearing a lipstick than looked so good on her, then you tried and it made you look sallow, tired and dull-skinned? That doesn’t mean you can’t wear lipstick, boo. It just means it wasn’t the right color for you, which could be due to several factors. Such as:

  1. Your Brow Color. Those face framing arches have their own color, and if that color (or the warmth or coolness of it) is different than the lip color you choose, it can look off.
  2. Your Hair Color. If you are someone who has tried a myriad of hair colors over the years, you already know that makeup looks different when your hair is lighter or darker than its natural color (does anyone even know their natural color anymore?). So that lipstick that makes you look sexy-vampy as a blonde can make you look like a straight out vampire when you’re raven-haired.

    Cameron knew how to change it up.
  3. The Rest of Your Makeup. Especially with a bold or bright lip color, the rest of your makeup has to be complimentary. A gray smokey eye might look perfect with a nude or light pink lip, but if you add an orange-red lip, it all goes to shit. The general rule is (and I’ll admit this can be broken if you do it right) that you should put the focus on one feature at a time. So if you want to do a watermelon pink lip, this isn’t the time to also do a glossy eye, electric blue winged liner and thick brow. (For what not to do, see: Instagram beauty influencers.)
  4. Your Skin Undertone. In the most basic sense, there are three skin undertones: warm, cool and neutral. Within those undertones, your skin can be more yellow, pink, beige, golden or peach. If your skin undertone isn’t the same as or complimentary to a lipstick undertone, sometimes it can work, depending on your hair, brows, the rest of your makeup and your outfit. But other times, it will look way off. When you are starting out with lipstick, it might be easiest to figure out your undertone then stay with lipsticks that have that undertone. This might need to be a blog post of its own…

    Any of these look familiar to you?
  5. Your Natural Lip Color. We all have a natural lip color. Lips contain a small amount of melanocytes (the cells that produce pigment and give our skin color) compared to the rest of the body, so blood vessels show through and give us a pink, red, brown or purple toned lip color, depending on our physiology. Consider it Nature’s Lipstick. But when you put a man-made lipstick over whatchu already got, that underlying color is going to change the way the lipstick looks. If your NL is a reddish pink or brown and you put a sheer or shimmery pale pink over that, the pale pink won’t be so pale or pink anymore. You can cancel out your natural lip color with the tiniest bit of foundation or concealer over your lips, but give that practice run or two before you debut it to the world.
  6. The Top You Are Wearing. Go grab a bold or bright lipstick you have as well as a white shirt and a black shirt. I’ll wait…. Okay, thanks. Now put on a black shirt and look at the lipstick. How does it look? Perfect or scary? Take a note of that, and repeat with a white shirt. Friggin’ game changer, right? The color that is closest to your face makes a big difference as to how your makeup looks (that’s why I ask brides to wear a shirt similar to the color of their wedding gown to their makeup trial). Play around different shirt and lipstick colors to see if there are combinations that work with each lipstick color. Sometimes there won’t be. Not every lipstick is for you. Think of it like dating, except easier and you don’t need to enlist your best friend’s help to decode texts your lipstick sent.

    If she wore that same lipstick with a black top, totally different feel. You’ll have to use your imagination for this one.
  7. Contrast. This is a real basic rule, but something to keep in mind–lighter colors are more of a contrast on dark skin, and dark colors are more of a contrast on light skin. A deep wine lip color is going to be way more obvious on someone who wears the lightest foundation shade than the darkest, and that pale pink lipstick from before–even if it’s applied after your NL has been cancelled out–is going to be more obvious on a darker skintone. So if you try that lipstick that looked fly on your friend but it doesn’t pop as much on you (or it pops too much, and not in a good way) it might be because of the contrast.
  8.  Your Hair Style. Ok, so your brow color, hair color, the rest of your makeup, skin undertone, NL, skin and lip color contrast and clothing are all working beautifully together, but somethin’ ain’t right. Is your hair pulled away from your face? Take it down. Is your hair down? Put it up. Your hair style is part of your overall look and sometimes it needs to be tweaked to work with everything else. For example, I have dark brown, almost black hair with blue ends. My eyebrows are black and my eyes are hazel, veering towards the green side most days. If I go for a dark berry, burgundy or oxblood lip color and my hair is down, things can get Elvira-y real quick. But pull my hair up into a top knot? The Halloween feel disappears. If you have short hair, this up or down thing won’t be an option, but for the rest of us, keep it in mind as you dabble in the lipstick arts.

    Bey knows.

Here are some very general lip color choices that work on a different eye and hair color combinations.  Take the eight factors above into consideration too, but this can be a good starting point if you don’t have any lipsticks, or any lipsticks that look right even after trying different hair styles and clothing colors.

  1. Brown Eyes & Brown Hair: Deep pink, fuschia, coppery tones.
  2. Brown Eyes & Blonde Hair: Peachy nude, deep pink, mid-tone pink.
  3. Brown Eyes & Red Hair: Peachy nude, pinky nude, sheer wine tones.
  4. Blue Eyes & Blonde Hair: Petal pink, orange red, oxblood.
  5. Blue Eyes & Brown Hair: Deep red, blue toned pink, petal pink.
  6. Blue Eyes & Red Hair: Peachy nude, coppery tones, orange red.
  7. Hazel Eyes & Brown Hair: Coral pink, berry tones, wine tones, true red.
  8. Hazel Eyes & Blonde Hair: Peachy nude, mid-tone pink, wine tones.
  9. Hazel Eyes & Red Hair: Peachy nude, coppery tones, berry tones.
  10. Green Eyes & Brown Hair: Berry tones, deep red, pinky nude.
  11. Green Eyes & Blonde Hair: Wine tones, petal pink, peachy nude.
  12. Green Eyes & Red Hair: Peachy nude, coppery tones, orange red.

If you’re more of a visual learner, I found a few good articles with pictures to show you how different lip colors can look on different people.

  1. This Buzzfeed article does a good job showing four different skintones and coloring, although I wish they threw a redhead in the mix. It’s partly a review of certain lipsticks, but the pictures alone tell the story of how different the same lipstick can look on varying skintones and coloring.
  2. There is some bad makeup and heavy editing in some of these pictures, but this article shows several different colors on different skintones.
  3. These two girls with totally different hair, eye and skin colors have an Instagram account dedicated to showing how different lipsticks look on each of them! I love this idea.
  4. This article shows several women wearing one of MAC’s most popular lipsticks.
  5. And one more from across the pond.

I think you’re now ready to find the right shades for your coloring, and figure out which shades look better with certain shirt/dress colors and the different hair styles you rock. The right color lipstick can emphasize your eye color, brighten up your face and make you sing “Don’t cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me” to yourself. (Here’s the video if you’re feeling nostalgic for 2005.)

Have a beautiful day 🙂

 

Lip Service: Part 1

Elizabeth Taylor lipstick quote
My mantra.

Lipstick: the shoes of the makeup world. Bear with me here. Adding lipstick can transform your entire makeup look, just like wearing stilettos as opposed to ballet flats changes the whole feel of an outfit. There’s a reason lipstick tubes are called “bullets.” They are an Image Weapon. (I know there’s a better line there, but that’s the best I could do.)

Many women I come across are scared to try anything other than a very sheer lip color or a tinted lip balm. And a lot of fear comes from lack of knowledge, right? So I’ve created a non-alphabetical Lipstick Dictionary for you (it makes more sense this way). It contains information about all of the lipstick terms you may have heard, and some you need to know about.

And here.we.go.

Lipstick. A wax and oil based pigmented product that comes in a tube and is designed to enhance or change lip color. Lipsticks come in a variety of textures, finishes and colors.

Lip Balm: Waxed based product intended to heal and hydrate the lips. Can come in stick, pot or tube form. If your lips are dry, even the highest quality lipstick will look bad, so you’ve got to keep your lips hydrated. I’ve found that balms that are too waxy might fill in the cracks that can happen when lips are dry, but they don’t heal past that surface level. And balms that are too oily have the similar effect of making lips feel smooth but not really healing the dryness or dehydration. Glossier Balm Dotcom, which seems to be the perfect texture of wax and oil ingredients, is my all time favorite and the only balm I recommend. Apply this lip magic first thing in the morning, so it has time (at least 15 minutes) to absorb. Whether or not you wear lip color, you should be getting balmed up every day.

Lip Gloss. A liquid/gel hybrid that is applied straight from a tube or with a wand or brush applicator to give the lips a shiny finish. Some glosses are tinted, others are highly pigmented. Glosses tend to fade quickly as the lips absorb them, but thicker glosses–you know, the sticky ones that your hair gets stuck in–have more staying power due to their consistency, which takes lips longer to absorb. Glosses were big in the late 90s up until around 2010, then matte formulations got trendy (again). Glosses are starting to make a comeback, and us 90s girls are ready for it.

Lip Stain. A water based liquid or gel that deposits color onto the lips, often for extended periods of time. Lip stain can be drying, especially if it’s a longwear formulation, so make sure to prep with lip balm first. You can also make your own lip stain by applying a lipstick (after your lip primer has absorbed) then blotting it several times on a tissue.

Lip Tint. See “lip stain.” 

Lip Primer: A lightweight product, usually in a cream formulation, that is applied prior to lip color to make it last longer. If you want to make your lipstick stay on all day, apply a lip primer like Too Faced Lip Insurance after your balm has absorbed. Give it a few minutes to dry before your next step. This is a great time to do your mascara, sculpt those cheekbones or do some other part of your makeup that takes you a minute or two. If you put your lipstick on before your primer has fully absorbed, it’s not going to work. So just do what I say!

Lip Liner: A pigmented pencil or thin crayon used to add definition to the lips and give lip color something to adhere to. If you want to add some extra staying power to your lip color and shape your lips, lip liner is the way to do it. Make sure it’s sharpened, then outline your lips. I do this in four quadrants (look at the one thing I retained from Geometry class coming through!). I start with the lower left half of the bottom lip, tracing over the bottom of the natural lipline to the center of the bottom lip. Repeat on the other side. Then on the top lip, one quadrant first followed by the other. But the work doesn’t stop there! It’s important that you then fill in your lips with the liner. That’s right, color between the lines. This gives your lip color something to adhere to so it stays on better, and it prevents the visual announcement of “Hey, I have lip liner on!” that happens when lip color fades and only the telltale outlines stay.

Lip Scrub: A physical exfoliant that removes the dead skin cells on the surface of your lips that could otherwise latch onto your lipstick and cause it to apply unevenly. If your get dry lips and lip balm doesn’t completely heal them, you should consider exfoliating your lips once a week. You can go with a homemade lip scrub or a pre-made one, but since you will definitely be ingesting some of the scrub, I suggest keeping it natural.

Undertones. The subdued or secondary colors found in most shades of colors. You know your primary colors, right? Red, green and blue. But in makeup, most of the shades you come across are a mixture of colors. Undertones play a big part in lipsticks, which you might be aware of. Ever heard anyone refer to a lipstick as an “orange red” or a “pinky nude?” Sure you have. Knowing the colors that work for you in general can help you find a good lipstick match. For example, someone with blue eyes might like how they look in a pink shirt because pink and blue are complimentary and when the right colors are on or close to the face, they will bring out eye color. So if you start to be aware of lipstick undertones (they are often listed in the lipstick color description on a website), it might help you figure out what works for you.

FINISHES/TEXTURES (Because this one really calls for its own section)

Cream. The original lipstick finish of modern times that isn’t completely matte but isn’t a satin, metallic or frost either. Cream textures glide on easily but aren’t sparkly or only lightly pigmented. This texture works on everyone and is a comfortable formulation to wear. However, it is more like to bleed over the lip line, so if you encounter that problem, try using a lip primer and/or lip liner under it.

Matte. A texture and effect that is flat and contains no shimmer, glitter or other light reflecting particles. Matte lipsticks are highly pigmented, which makes them more bold/obvious. They can be drying, so make sure to stay on your lip balm and lip scrub game if you like matte lipsticks.

Satin. Halfway between a cream and a matte finish. Satin lipsticks provide a slight sheen without any shimmer of frosts or metallics or the stickiness of some lip glosses.

Frost. A finish that has highly a reflective iridescent shimmer. A frost finish gives any lipstick an icy, opalescent effect. Frost lipsticks were very popular in the 1970s, and then again in the late 1990s, as all makeup trends come back around. That’s beauty industry gospel.

Metallic. Another highly reflective finish, but with gold, silver or copper light reflecting particles that create a foiled effect. If you are going to wear a metallic lipstick, I recommend making it the focus of your look by keeping the rest of your look clean/minimal.

Hopefully I’ve helped decode some of the mysteries of lipstick and its associates. In Part 2, I’ll tell you about colors and application techniques so you can pucker up with confidence.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

 

 

Getting Personal

I’m happy to tell you what’s in my personal makeup bag! You don’t have to be a creeper about it.

It’s been a minute since I’ve told you what I have in my personal makeup bag, so I think it’s time. Most of these products are in my pro kit too, with a few exceptions. You want a little look into what this makeup artist uses on the daily? I got you, Nosy.

Neutrogena Oil Free Moisture SPF35. This has been my go-to moisturizer for years. It’s not too thick, it doesn’t feel drying or sticky, and it interacts well with both foundation and undereye concealer. It’s not heavily fragranced, which is essential for me (and the reason I couldn’t stick with an Aveeno moisturizer I tried recently). It’s got the all important SPF too, which means one less product to layer on. I do not use this on clients who will be photographed, as the SPF can cause flashback (making the skin look lighter than it is), but I recommend it for everyday use for anyone with combination skin.

Neutrogena Oil Free Moisture

MAC Oil Control Lotion. Since I have combination skin, I only use this during the warmer months when my skin gets more oily. It’s mattifies like nobody’s business, which is why it’s also a staple in my pro kit. If they ever discontinue this product, I’m going straight to the MAC headquarters to protest.

MAC Oil Control Lotion

MAC Studio Face and Body Foundation. This foundation might be my soulmate. I have used it for years, both on myself and on many of my clients, and it never disappoints.  It’s a sheer coverage foundation that turns into medium coverage the more you work it into the skin. It absorbs beautifully and leaves a little glow. It feels lightweight, looks natural, and if you use a primer under it, it lasts all day.

MAC Face and Body Foundation

Benefit POREfessional. I’m lucky enough to have both large pores and fine lines, but POREfessional helps me keep that a secret. It temporarily fills in my lines and pores, preventing my foundation and powder from settling into those areas and highlighting them. I also use this on almost all of my clients. It’s a real gem.

Benefit Porefessional

Too Faced Shadow Insurance. Eye primer is a game changer, and this player is the MVP. (Now accepting props for that accurate sports analogy.) If you wear eyeshadow or eyeliner, you must prime so your eye makeup can last. I’ve tried a million other eye primers, but in an eye-to-eye comparison challenge, Shadow Insurance always wins.

Too Faced Shadow

MAC Pro Longwear Concealer. I’ve got deep set eyes, Italian genes and light skin, so of course my undereyes are going to look dark. My circles (usually) aren’t dark enough to require a color corrector first, so this thin but pigmented concealer covers them right up. It stays on well and doesn’t cake up like cream undereye concealers do. It’s pretty much perfect.

MAC Prolongwear Concealer

Kevyn Aucoin The Creamy Glow Duo in #3 Tansoleil/Bettina. I’ve been using this cream blush (usually the coral one on the left) for the past few months. It blends nicely, has good pigment and lasts as long as you can expect a cream blush to. She’s a keeper.

Kevyn Aucoin

MAC Eyeshadow in Brule. This shadow is a few shades lighter than my skin, so it’s a great lid color for a contoured eye. It has a satin finish, so it’s easier to blend than other similar colors in matte formulations (I’m looking at you, Blanc Type.) Like all MAC shadows, it’s pigmented so you don’t need to apply 12 layers for color payoff. It’s a good basic shade for those with fair to light skin.

MAC Brule eyeshadow

MAC Eyeshadow in Wedge. This soft, matte light brown is my go-to crease color. It blends well, which is key for any crease color, and gives light definition when applied to the bottom lashline. I also sometime use it all over my lid for the base of a brown smokey eye. It works on fair, light and medium skintones.

MAC Wedge Eyeshadow

MAC Eyeshadow in Brun. I use this muted blackish brown for lining my upper lashline and to fill in my eyebrows. Brun + an angled brush = a perfect duo.

MAC Eyeshadow in Brun

MAC Eyeshadow in Carbon. This matte black shadow is makeup artist favorite. I use it on a thin eyeliner brush to get real close to the lashline. Because it’s highly pigmented–unlike a lot of matte black eyeshadows–I’ll also use it to draw a full winged eyeliner, and it looks like a pencil or crayon liner in terms of intensity.

MAC Eyeshadow in Carbon

MAC Eyeshadow in Espresso. This muted warm golden brown is perfect for my brown smokey eye. I also use it to add definition to my bottom lashline. Espresso can also be used as a crease color on dark skintones, so it has a place in every makeup bag.

MAC Eyeshadow in Embark. This reddish brown shade brings out the green in my hazel eyes, so I use it as a liner or on the whole lid when I want to do a darker brown smokey eye. This a great shade for hazel and green eyes.

MAC Embark eyeshadow

MAC Eyeshadow in Scene. When I want to do a light gray smokey eye–also a great color choice for hazel eyes–I reach for this muted blue-gray shade.

MAC Scene eyeshadow

Rimmel Stay Matte Powder. I use the Transparent 001 shade to set my foundation and undereye concealer and  to absorb oil. It is lightweight and doesn’t cake up. I use a different, more pigmented powder on clients but I like a more lightweight one myself for every day makeup.

Rimmel Stay Matte

MAC Powder Blush in Pink Swoon. This soft coral peach powder blush is highly pigmented and blends well. It’s the perfect pop of color on my skin and really helps me look more awake. This works on any light to medium skin, although it’s a little too pink for those with roseacea.

MAC Pink Swoon blush

MAC Prolongwear Fluidline in Blacktrack. I use black gel liner when I want to make my eyes more dramatic and defined. This liner can be smudged before it sets, but once it’s set, it doesn’t budge. Some gel liners have a thin consistency so you have to apply several layers to achieve a strong black color, but with Blacktrack, you get the color payoff right away. This liner works on all skintone and eye colors.

MAC Blacktrack

Dior Diorshow Mascara. If I were to rap a song to this mascara–and don’t put it past me–it would be “You Make Me Better” by Fabolous.  I’ve tried dozens of mascaras in my decade as a makeup artist and when it comes to volume, Diorshow one always wins out.

Dior Diorshow

Clinique High Impact Mascara. For inky black color and length, I use this mascara on top of Diorshow. I also apply it to my bottom lashes because I find it stays on the bottom lashes better than Diorshow (which stays on fine on my top lashes).

Clinique High Impact Mascara

MAC Eye Kohl in Smoulder. I use this intense black pencil in my lower waterline if I want to make my eye makeup more dramatic without adding shadow. Black eyeliner on the waterline intensifies eye color, as it’s a contrast to every eye color, but it does make eyes look smaller so I stay away from it if I’m going to be photographed. (In which case, I’ll use an off-white liner in the waterline.)

MAC Smoulder

I can’t tell you about my contour powder because it’s been discontinued, as have the ones I have stockpiled in my kit. But I sometimes use Benefit Hoola for soft sculpting, as long as I have some color (aka self tanner) on. It can look a little orange on very fair skin and not dark enough on dark skin, so it’s not a universal shade.

I’ve been using some of these products for year, but it’s not that I don’t try others. It’s just that there are certain products that I find can’t be beat. I will forever try new products and I will change things up if I find something better, but I’ll never change to a lesser quality product solely because it’s trendy or other people I know like it. I hold my ground, man.

I have my lip products their own makeup bag (unnecessary), but I’ll discuss those in a separate post. My favorite brushes will go in another post too. Oh, the suspense…

Would love to hear some of your tried and true products, as well as anything new you are loving. Comment away.

Have a beautiful day!

How To Properly Cleanse Your Face

Bumble, oil cleanser, face cleanser, good skin tips
Cleanse first, swipe later. They’ll still be there.

I know what you did last night. Nope, not the Netflix binge. Or the Bumble swiping. Not that nightcap either. I’m talking about the part when you thought about washing your face, but decided it wasn’t necessary. Busted!

Ok, so maybe you didn’t do that last night. But you have done it. And that’s not cool, B. Not removing your makeup and forgoing cleansing is a great way to cause breakouts, eye irritation and clogged pores. I understand it feels like one more thing you have to do at the end of a long day, but it’s not a difficult task. It only takes around five minutes, so you have the time.

Want to excel at taking your face off every night? Here’s a handy dandy how-to for you.

  1. Erase The Evidence. If you use anything other than an oil cleanser, you need to precleanse first. An oil makeup remover like Dermalogica Precleanse will get rid of any makeup, moisturizer, SPF, oil, dirt, etc. that’s been chilling on your face all day. You should be good with a dime-sized amount, or a little more after a heavy makeup day. Apply it to dry skin then massage it in. Avoid putting it directly on your eyes (although you can lightly use some on your lashes if you were wearing waterproof mascara). Then wet your hands and continue massaging it in, concentrating on the areas where you had more makeup on. The Precleanse will turn white and frothy after you do that. Then rinse it off with lukewarm water and pat your skin dry.
  2. Wash Away Your Sins. If you use an oil cleanser (Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil is my favorite), which I strongly recommend, you don’t need to precleanse. Although after a heavy makeup day, I suggest doing a double cleanse–one after the other–just in case. An oil cleanser is used just like the Precleanse. If you use a non-oil cleanser, those normally go on wet skin, but read the instructions on your bottle first.

    Josie Maran Argan Oil, oil cleanser
    You’ll love this oil cleanser.
  3. Pat Down. Pat–don’t rub–your face dry after cleansing. I’ve seen some vigorous face drying from people before, but keep in mind that repeated tugging on facial skin can cause sagging. Skin only has so much elasticity to offer and if you’re being rough with it, it’s going to bounce back slower and slower. Also, if you use a self tanner or have a spray tan, rubbing your face dry will remove some of the product.

So that’s it! What you do next depends on what your beauty regimen is. If you use hyaluronic acid, certain toners or serums, you’ll have a step (or a few) after cleansing. But let’s first focus on getting you to CONSISTENTLY remove your makeup and cleanse your face. You have zero chance at having clear skin if you are ignoring this beauty essential.

You got questions? I got answers. Comment away.

Have a beautiful day 🙂