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.


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 🙂

Work It, Girl: A 15 Minute Makeup How To For Bosses Like You

Here’s the cold, hard truth: part of your professional image is based on your appearance. I don’t like it either–sometimes even makeup artists want a break!–but studies say that people who look put together are typically taken more seriously and believed to be more competent, even before they say anything, than people who appear to have put in no effort. As an entrepreneur, I know I need to use every tool at my disposal to ensure that I’m doing the best I can in every part of my business, so if I can do something that will mean someone might take me seriously before I even speak, I’m on it.

This post is for my fellow entrepreneurs and business owners who also want to put their best face forward. I’m going to teach you how to do a basic, polished and semi-quick makeup look. Once you practice a few times and get used to how to do it, you can bang out this routine in 15 minutes. Along with whatever wardrobe and hair styling make sense for your profession, this makeup look will help with your professional image.


  1. Eye Primer. If you want your eye makeup to stay on and last all day, you have to use this. And isn’t it your lucky day? I have a post all about how to prime those peepers, and which primer you should use to do it.
  2. Face Primer. You’ve already moisturized your face after your shower, right? Good job. Applying foundation primer while your eye primer drying is your next step then. A quarter-sized amount is plenty, and you can apply it with your hands, like you would with a moisturizer. Primer makes your foundation go on smoother and stay on longer. It doesn’t have to be an every day product, but if you are going to be at events, conferences or speaking to clients or investors all day, that’s a good time to use it. Laura Mercier Foundation Primer is my favorite. If you are going to be on camera or photographed for anything related to your business, I recommend a mattifyer like MAC Oil Control Lotion if you have oily or combination skin. You can use that instead of a primer. Shiny skin is distracting in photos and on camera, but you can help eliminate it with a mattifyer.
  3. Lip Balm. Dry, cracked lips are not a good look on anyone. And if you put lipstick over those lips? Hot mess. Applying a clear lip balm like Glossier Balm Dotcom will make your lips look and feel their best, just like you do when you book a big client/gig or have a killer sales month. Applying lip balm at the beginning of your makeup routine gives it time to fully absorb before applying lipstick, should you choose to do that step.

    Glossier Balm Dotcom, lip balm, Glossier
    The bombest balm.
  4. Eye Makeup. When we are having a conversation with someone, they are (hopefully) looking at our eyes. They are subconsciously scanning our faces to see if we are honest and genuine, and that part of their impression of us comes from our body language and our expressions. Eyes play a big part in our expressions, so I say, frame them up. Depending on how far you go want to go with this, it can either take you one minute or five minutes. Here’s an easy how to for a polished eyeshadow look.
  5. Foundation. I’m calling it foundation because that’s what I prefer, but you can use a tinted moisturizer, BB cream or CC cream if that’s your jam. What’s important about what you choose is thatit matches your skin and evens out your skintone. I prefer a sheer foundation like MAC Studio Face and Body Foundation for dry and normal to dry skin, and Armani Luminous Silk Foundation for normal to oily skin (with a mattifyer under it for oily skin). Apply that with your hands or a foundation brush and blend it with a buffing brush. Start with a quarter sized amount and add more if needed. The idea is not to layer on the product and create a makeup mask. Foundation and its associates, when applied correctly, are meant to even out the skintone so anything that goes over it has a good base to blend into.
  6. Brows. I strongly recommend getting your eyebrows professionally shaped, even if you only do so once a year then maintain on your own with tweezers. If the eyes are the windows to the soul, eyebrows are trim for those windows. Why ruin pretty windows with jacked up trim? A pro shaping followed by some light brow fill in can work wonders. Eyebrows can make a huge difference in your poloshed versus disheveled factor. You don’t need to go crazy with brow fill-in–please don’t go all Instaglam on me–but a little brow powder, pencil or gel applied correctly can make a world of difference. The tutorials below will be a bigger help than my words here.

    Benefit, natural brow fill in
    From Benefit Cosmetics. They know how to do a natural brow.
  7. Concealer. Foundation may minimize some of your areas of concern, if you have any. Concealer is there for what foundation doesn’t cover as well on its own. I’m talking blemishes, redness and dark undereye circles. (For severe redness and dark circles, a color corrector may be needed first.) A pigmented concealer with a thin consistency, like MAC Pro Longwear Concealer, allows you to cover areas of concern without causing product build up. Nothing gives away “I stayed up working until 2:00am” like dark circles, so let concealer keep that a secret.
  8. Cheek Color. If you are tired and overworked (and you probably are if you are a business owner), your skin might look dull and washed out. A good cheek color will make you look much more awake and put together than you might feel some days. I like a good cream blush, like Make Up For Ever HD Cream Blush  because cream blushes blend well and often look more natural. Use your finger to apply a small amount to the apples of your cheeks and blend slightly upwards with another finger, a buffing brush or a makeup sponge. It’s like caffeine for your face!
  9. Top Lash Mascara. Mascara, like the way you take your coffee, is a personal preference. For the top lashes, I personally like Dior Diorshow Mascara and Too Faced Better Than Sex MascaraL’Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black Mascara is, I think the, the best one at the drugstore level. If the eyes are the windows the to the soul and the eyebrows are the trim, eyelashes are the window treatments. (I can not take this analogy any further.) Wiggle your mascara wand at the roots of your lashes for volume, and hold at mid-lash level and lightly blink into it for length. Mascara makes everyone’s eyes look more open, awake and alert. It helps us fool people into thinking we always sleep well and never have nightmares about our companies closing…
  10. Powder. A good powder does two things 1) Sets the foundation so it stays in place and 2) Minimizes shine. You want to set your foundation so it stays on as long as possible because really, who has time to re-do their makeup? And shine, you see, can look like sweat, and never let ’em see you sweat. You can apply your powder with a sponge or a brush, but either way, press it onto the skin–don’t buff it in. Under the eyes, I recommend using a clean fluffy eyeshadow brush to lightly press it over your concealer, as that powder layer will act as a barrier to keep your bottom lash mascara from melting when it hits your concealer. This whole powder step for both your face and under your eyes is super important and won’t take more than one minute. Rimmel Stay Matte Powder is a solid choice in this department.

    Rimmel Stay Matte, best drugstore powder
    Rimmel Stay Matte pressed powder. This has been in my personal makeup bag for years.
  11. Bottom Lash Mascara. You can either use your regular mascara or get a beauty tubes mascara like Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara. Beauty tubes do not smudge, so if your mascara smudges even with powder over your undereye concealer, consider the tubes. You may want to skip this step on regular days, but I do recommend it if you are going to be filmed or photographed, as it really helps define the eyes.
  12. Lip Color. If you’re shy about lip color, you can knock out two steps at once by using a tinted lip balm. If you’re going to go full on lipstick, make sure the color you choose looks right with the top you are wearing. (The watermelon pink lipstick you love may look great when you have a white shirt on but will clash with a red sweater.) Using a lip brush to apply your lipstick will help keep it looking more polished, since that allows you to control the shape of the color at your liplines.
  13. Cheek Color Revisited. I like to use more cheek color–either cream or powder–at the end of my application to make it a little brighter, and because an extra layer will help it stay on longer. This is a completely skippable step, but if you’re a blush gal, I think you’ll like it. If you are being photographed and are doing your own makeup, definitely add some extra blush, as photography requires makeup to be a little more intense to show up in pictures.

This may seem like a lot of steps, but none of them on their own will take you more than five minutes. And I’m really breaking it down here, so that makes this post look long and maybe intimidating. But the actual process is not!

Other than helping you look more polished, a basic look like this will help take away from what I call “face distractions.” Whether they realize it or not, people experience split seconds of distraction when they see something that is “off” on a face. Shiny skin, uncovered blemishes, unruly eyebrows–you know what I’m talking about. If you surveyed a group of people, most would probably say that stuff would never distract them. That’s because they are not even realizing it. Trust me, I get hired on corporate shoots and commercials to take away physical distractions so the viewer/client/customer is focused on the message of the person they are watching, not a red nose, smudged mascara or a super shiny forehead.

I’ve linked to some tutorials below because sometimes you just need to see a makeup step in action. These tutorials were all done by true pros, so you can trust them. There are a ton of tutorials out there done by beauty influencers who don’t really know what they are doing, but I would never lead you astray like that.

You don’t have to do all or any of these steps every day, but it might be a good tool to use for when you are in the public eye, meeting with clients or promoting your company. This may seem like a lot, especially if you never wear makeup, but you can definitely do this. I mean, you run a business! This might be the easiest thing you do all day. But if you have questions, I have answers, so comment away.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Recommended Makeup Tutorials

Some of the steps are different in these, but that’s okay! They know what they are doing.

If you’re a gel liner girl.

A different type of basic eyeshadow look.

Lisa makes some really good points about work makeup. And this one is eyeliner-free, for those of you who aren’t liner fans.

Lisa’s take on eyebrows.

A great eyebrow tutorial. You don’t have to do the last two steps, but Charlotte gives some great tips to create a more stylized brow.

A solid foundation and concealer tutorial.

A quick bit on how to apply cream blush.


The Easiest Eyeshadow How To You’ll Ever Read

Some things I find scary: tornadoes, restaurants that don’t understand gluten allergies, Remy Ma. We all have our own fear factors, right? I’ve had a lot of clients and friends tell me they don’t wear eyeshadow because they are afraid they’ll mess it up. That should not be on the list of things anyone is afraid of! So if it’s on your’s, I’m going to help you get past it. No no, I insist. I’m going to teach you how to do a basic eyeshadow look that works on all eye colors, and with little tweaks, all eye shapes.

You in? Then let’s do this.

Step 1: Prime Time. If you want your eyeshadow to last, you have to prime first. It’s super easy, and you can read all about it here.

Step 2: Choose Your Weapons. You’re going to need three brushes: a dense eyeshadow brush, a fluffy eyeshadow brush and an angled eyeshadow/liner brush. My three favorites are from MAC, but take a look at these photos and see if you already have similar brushes. No need to buy what you already have. We tryin’ to keep our bank accounts healthy at A Pretty Addiction, right?

MAC 239 brush, MAC 239
MAC 239. Dense eyeshadow brush.
MAC 217 brush, MAC 217, fluffy eyeshadow brush, blending brush
MAC 217. Fluffy eyeshadow brush.
MAC 263, MAC 263 brush
MAC 263. Small angled brush.

Step 3: Shadowy Lady. You only need three eyeshadow colors for this basic eye makeup look. The first one should be a neutral, matte or satin shadow that is a couple shades lighter than your skin. (If you want to make your eyes look bigger, choose a shimmery version of that shade, as shimmer makes areas look big when light hits the shimmer particles.) The second color should be a matte brown that is a couple shades darker than your skin. And the third shadow should be a matte shade that is couple shades darker than that last shadow.

Step 4: Patty Cakes. Pick up that dense brush, dip it in the lightest eyeshadow, and pat it onto your lids up to the crease of your eye. You want to make sure that you pat the shadow on so that the maximum amount of product is applied. If you do a back and forth windshield wiper motion while applying lid shadow, it can get patchy. The point of this particular lid shadow is to brighten up your eye area and even the skin (pigmented matte shadow will hide the tiny veins and most of the discoloration that can appear on the lids). Use your fluffy brush to blend the edges near the crease and on the outer corners of your eyes. If you want the one minute version of this eyeshadow look, you are done now and can move on to mascara.

Step 5: Show Off Those Sockets. Use your fluffy brush pick up a little of the medium brown shadow. You only need to get shadow on the tip of the brush. That’s why I like the MAC 217 Blending Brush–it has a tapered tip to help you pick up the optimal amount of shadow. Tap the brush like you’re ashing a cigarette before applying the shadow. This eliminates the extra shadow which would otherwise drop onto your face and/or get too dark in spots when you apply it, making it hard to blend out. Place the brush on the outer corner of the crease of your eye, and move it back and forth towards your nose until you can see the color. A good blending brush will soften the edges as you windshield wiper motion that bad boy through the crease. The idea is to get a soft shadow there, adding some dimension to your eyes by highlighting your bone structure. If you have deep set eyes, apply that color slightly above the crease, as you might not want to enhance the crease unless you want your eyes to look more deep set (fine if you do, just not a look most people request.)

If you have hooded eyes or monolids, use your fluffy brush to apply that same shadow to the outer corners of your eyes instead of the crease, as your’s maybe be hard to see or nonexistent when your eyes are opem. That will be much more flattering to your eye shape. If you only have a couple minutes for your eyeshadow, you can stop here and move on to mascara.

See where that darker shade is? That’s where you put your medium shade, unless you have hooded or monolid eyes.
Where to put the second darkest shadow color on a monolid or hooded eye shape.

Step 6: Can You Define That For Me? Eyeliner gives the eyes definition. There are several different formulations and every color you can think of out there, but for this look, we’re talking about using an eyeshadow as a liner. That gives more of a soft focus effect than a pencil, gel or liquid liner, plus it’s easier to do and way more forgiving. Pick up that angled brush and dip it into the same eyeshadow you used in Step 5. Tap the brush to get rid of the excess shadow, then apply it to your bottom lashline. The key here is to get it as close to your lashes as possible. Repeat this step on the top lashes using the darkest eyeshadow. But at the corners, pull your brush up slightly. That will give the illusion that your eyes are uplifted, which is flattering on most people. If you feel confident with a pencil, gel or liquid liner, you can use that on your top lashline instead, but keep in mind that will take a little bit longer.

And now you’re done! You have created a polished, flattering eyeshadow look that will work for any occasion and go with any lip color. It may take a little practice, but you can definitely do this.

For more eyeshadow help (like if you were wondering what a “satin” eyeshadow is), check out this post.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

How To Change Up Your Makeup Routine

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

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

Me: Full of tips and tricks!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara
Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara

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

Clinique Chubby Sticks
Clinique Chubby Sticks

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

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

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

Have a beautiful day 🙂




Eyeliner Assistance: Tutorial Roundup

Eyeliner, eyeliner types, winged liner
It’s too bad there aren’t many options to play around with.

Eyeliner. It’s common to have a love/hate relationship with the product that can emphasize and flatter your eyes, or make you look like a crazy person. There are different formulations–pencil, gel and liquid being the three main ones–and every color you can think of on the market.

Eyeliner can make your eyes look bigger, smaller, more rounded, more almond, closer together or further apart. It can highlight your eye color or bring out the different flecks of color you might not even know you had. It can make you look sultry, more awake, retro or trendy. It’s no wonder that eyeliner is part of the daily routine of so many women.

As awesome as eyeliner is, it can be tricky to apply. I could write a series of posts about the various formulations, techniques and what works best on different eye shapes, but I don’t know how helpful that would be. So I’ve decided help you out with some eyeliner tutorials from professional makeup artists on YouTube. With pro guidance and some practice, you too can excel in eyeliner application. Sound good?

Winged Liner.  A classic look, and the one people struggle with the most. Let Lisa Eldridge be your guide.

Winged Liner for Hooded Lids.  This can be pretty tough, so give yourself plenty of practice sessions. But once you get it, I think you’ll love it. (If you don’t have hooded lids, watch the first tutorial instead.)

Sultry Eyeliner. A great night out eye makeup look. This is full on so it might feel pretty dramatic if you don’t normally wear eyeliner. It will make your eyes look smaller, so if your eyes are already on the smaller side, it’s probably not the best choice for you.

Kitten Flick with Liquid Liner. A little easier (and subtle) than a full winged look. You could also do this with a gel liner.

Off White Liner. If you want to make your eyes look bigger or more awake, watch this one.

Cat Eye Look. Contrary to popular belief, it’s different than a winged liner. Similar to to the sultry liner, but Charlotte Tilbury has some other application tips.

Something Different. Feeling adventurous? Give this a try.

Did I miss any? If so, leave a comment and I’ll find a good tutorial to help guide you.

Have a beautiful day 🙂


Wake Up and Makeup

Alarm clock, beauty hacks, puffy eyelids
Go to hell.

Sometimes that alarm clock goes off and you just want to cry, right? A randomly sleepless night, a tossing-and-turning-from-the-flu slumber, a tiny nocturnal human screaming for you every hour, or the fun one, an unexpected late night out. All of those things will make you feel like crap before your feet even hit the floor the next day. But duty calls, and you have to pull yourself out of bed. Swear as much as you want–you still have to do it.

Then you look in the mirror. Yikes! Puffy eyelids and undereyes, redness on your inner eyelids, dull looking skin, forehead lines the opposite of on fleek, and parched lips. Some coffee and a shower might help you feel less tired (at least temporarily), but what can you do about those visual signs of exhaustion?

That’s where I come in. Replace “tiny nocturnal human” with “4:42am call time,” and I’ve been there. As a business owner, I have to push through exhaustion like anyone else with a job or commitment. But as a makeup artist, I feel pressure to also look polished any time I’m in public. I can’t go to a job, meeting or other appointment looking like I only slept for three hours, even if I did.

So I’ve learned some beauty hacks to give the illusion that I am well rested and definitely not thinking about how comfortable my bed is every 15 minutes. So read on and get woke.

Ice, Ice Baby. When I wake up from a near-sleepless night, I am puffy. Not Sean Combs “Puffy,” but swollen puffy. My undereyes may be holding some baggage, but my eyelids are usually worse. And it doesn’t stop there. My whole face looks slightly swollen and trust me, these cheeks don’t need any extra help. Luckily, there is an easy fix for this one: an ice cube. I put one in a dish towel then press it over my face, starting from the forehead down. I press, hold for about four seconds, and move. For my lids, I hold the cube there for 20 seconds. This whole process takes maybe five minutes and it really works.

Stay Hydrated. Lack of sleep accentuates fine lines, and alcohol (if that was a factor in your reduced slumber) dehydrates the skin, which also brings out the lines. Rehydrating skin will blur those lines, so get to it. You’ll get a little help from a moisturizer alone, but layering hyaluronic acid under that is a better choice. For more on the miracle product that is HA, peep my blog post.

Exit the Dark Side. In most cases, dark undereye circles are blood vessels showing through the thin underye skin. When we are tired, our body produces more cortisol to help us feel awake. That increased cortisol causes bumped up blood flood, which makes the blood vessels expand, in turn making them more visible through that thin undereye skin. If you want to know how to minimize them, I’ve got a blog post for that too. On days when you are feeling especially vampire-y, stay away from purple tops and berry-toned lipsticks, as they will bring out the undereye darkness you are trying to hide.

You’re Blushing. When people are tired, they often look paler than their natural skintone. The easiest way to bring color back onto the face is blush. A little blush (soft pink for fair skin, brighter pink for medium and a reddish pink or red for dark skin) makes a world of difference on tired skin. I prefer a cream blush in this situation, because as we discussed, your skin is probably dull looking and/or dehydrated after sleep deprivation. Cream blush blends into skin more easily than powder, which can get patchy on dry or dehydrated skin. My favorite cream blushes are the Make Up For Ever HD Cream Blushes. Pat a small dot on the center of each cheek, blend with your fingers and watch two more hours of sleep magically appear on your face.

Hey, Bright Eyes! Eye drops may help with any bloodshot business you have going on, but makeup can hide the telltale red inner eyelids. Applying some off-white pencil to the waterline will cover the redness and instantly make your eyes look more awake. MAC keeps discontinuing the ones I like (R.I.P. Pale Yellow and Chromographic Pencil NC15/NW20), so I sadly don’t have a good personal recommendation for you right now as I had stockpiled some Chromographic Pencils a few years back. I’ve heard this one is good, and it’s cheaper than the MAC ones, so I’d go for it. I’ll be sure to post reviews of any new ones I try.

Shadowy Lady. If you don’t normally wear eyeshadow, I wouldn’t recommend starting that on a day you are exhausted and low on patience. But if you do normally wear eyeshadow, stay away from shimmery shadows if your lids are puffy, as that will only accentuate that. I also tend to avoid light matte shadows, as light colors highlight whatever area you put them on. I tend to do a light gray or mid-tone brown smokey-ish eye (I say it that way so you don’t think I’m doing some dramatic, heavy look) along with a shadow liner, as that seems to work best when my lids are puffy. The ice cube trick will usually take care of the puffyness, but sometimes I run out of time or am being lazy. Hey, I’m not perfect.

Lip Service. Dry lips go hand in hand with tired skin. A good lip balm like Glossier Balm Dotcom will bring some moisture back, so start there. As far as lip color, again, if you don’t normally wear any, this might not be the day to start. But if you do, something sheer or creamy will look and feel best. Hold off on the matte lip colors if your lips are dry, as matte formulations stick to dry patches, making them more obvious. Unless you’ve cancelled out all of the redness in your skin and waterlines and your eyes are not bloodshoot, I would avoid a red lip as that will bring out redness on the rest of your face. Much like with the blush, a lip color in the pink family will bring some color back onto your face and make you look more rested.

There are levels of tired you just can’t push through. But I’ve found that when I can hide the obvious signs of exhaustion with makeup, I feel a little less tired when I look in the mirror. It’s like tricking your brain, you know?

I hope you have lots of well-rested days in 2018, but when you don’t, you’ve got these tips to fall back on.

Have a beautiful day 🙂