It’s mask season until further notice in participating (aka “smart”) US states. That means in public, we’re mostly seeing people’s eyes and not much else of their face. So this is your peepers’ time to shine!
Keep reading and clicking for my most popular eye makeup posts.
Beware of Lash Serums. We all want long, full lashes, but at what expense? There are some lash serums out there that cause the whites of the eyes to turn yellow. I’ve seen it happen to several clients, and I don’t know that the yellowing goes away after you stop using the product. I personally feel safer using castor oil on my lashes, but you do you, Ol’ Yellow Eyes.
Stop Highlighting The Tip of Your Nose. I don’t know who started this trend, but I hate it. When you highlight an area, it looks bigger. Why would you want the tip of your nose to look bigger? If your answer is “I like the bulbous nose look,” then proceed. Otherwise, skip this foolishness.
You Don’t Need That Much Product. Eight pumps of foundation is too much for a human face. Twelve different eyeshadow shades are unnecessary. Five layers of highlight? Get outta here with that disco ball shit. If you put on drag queen amounts of makeup and you’re not performing, you’re going to look crazy in broad daylight. If that much makeup makes you happy, then go for it. But if you’re trying to enhance your features and let your skin show through, cut down on the product amounts.
Learn to Recognize Photoshop. We can all recognize an obvious editing fail–an extra hand in a group shot for a magazine cover, an impossibly small waist on a model in a clothing ad–but in my experience, few people can recognize editing done in makeup and skincare photos on social media and in ads. So much of what I see on social media is heavily, heavily edited. Those photos then get shown to makeup artists, with the expectation that we can duplicate what was essentially created by editing software. It’s very frustrating. I imagine it’s equally frustrating for the consumer who purchases a beauty product, thinking it will give them the same effect they saw in the ad, only to find out they can’t even get close to that. I guess the moral is this–know that what you often see is unattainable, and lower your expectations of what beauty products and makeup artists can do.
Know What “Natural” Means. I can’t count the amount of clients who’ve told me they want a natural makeup look, then have shown me a picture of a Kardashian. Or someone with a black winged eyeliner. Or a beauty guru with lots of full coverage foundation on. To a makeup artist, natural means using a sheer foundation that lets the skin show through, with neutral toned eye makeup that enhances eye color and shape, no strong contour and certainly not loads of shimmery highlight. It’s okay to want more of a full-on makeup look, but just know that heavy foundation, a glittery eye, a winged liner and an ombre lip are not natural.
And that’s all I have to get off my chest…for now.
In the makeup world, there’s nothing more showstopping than a red lip. There’s a red out there for everyone, and a red for every type of look. Red lips can be powerful, flirty, retro, summery, vampy–really anything but natural. I often say that I wear red lipstick or no lipstick at all, which isn’t entirely true but it is mostly accurate. (I’ll wear a non-red color maybe five or six times a year.)
Red lipsticks can differ greatly by undertone, shade and finish. My favorite reds are a mix of undertones, shades and finishes. Want to meet them?
CoverGirl Exhibitionist Lipstick in Hot. I bought this lipstick in February during my drugstore haul, and was pleasantly surprised. Hot is a warm toned red, meaning it has orange undertones, but it actually looks pink-red on. It feels very 1950s pinup girl red to me. It is incredibly long-lasting, especially for a drugstore lipstick. I’m quick to return a drugstore makeup product if it doesn’t meet my standards, but Hot earned a place in my makeup bag.
Lipstick Queen Saint Rouge. Lipstick Queen has several shades that come in both sheer (Saint) and opaque (Sinner) shades. I find myself reaching for the Saint shades more for clients, and this particular shade works so many people. It’s a subdued red, in part due to the finish. It looks almost deep pink-red on some and berry red on others. I’m just now learning it has been discontinued but I’m including it here, because a) Sometimes discontinued shades make a comeback and b) Just because you can’t find a shade online doesn’t mean it won’t pop up in store, maybe even in a sale bin. Saint Rouge is a great starter red for those who are a little wary of a bold red lip.
MAC Lady Danger. She’s an orange-red if I ever met one! Lady Danger is the summer red lip, in my world. Because it’s a warm toned red, I find that it generally looks better on those with warm undertones, or those with cool undertones who have a tan/have applied self tanner. This is the matte red lipstick I keep in my purse all summer.
MAC Russian Red. You’ve got your orange-reds and your blue-red reds, and Russian Red is as blue-red as they come. This was supposedly Madonna’s favorite red shade in the 1980s, if that tells you anything. I love this particular matte red on those with fair or light skin with cool undertones.
MAC Ruby Woo.Ruby Woo is like the brighter, more matte cousin of Russian Red. I find it’s more flattering than Russian Red on medium and deep skintones. Ruby Woo has a 1940s/early 1950s feel to it. Because it’s so matte and can be drying, I recommend prepping your lips first with a good balm.
Marc Jacobs Lip Creme in Dashing. Another discontinued red! This day has been very discouraging. Dashing is/was another blue-red, but seems less blue than Ruby Woo and definitely less than Russian Red. If you come across Dashing, it’s worth considering if you want a pigmented red. It’s long-wearing but moisturizing and leaves the lips with a gorgeous sheen. Very Old Hollywood, dahling.
I know this isn’t the ideal time for a post about lipstick, since we’re wearing masks for much of the time, but I’m doing it anyway. It’s fun to think about when life will be normal again and lipstick won’t be hidden by masks. In the meantime, there’s nothing that says you can’t play around with colors at home and find the red (or two) that you love.
Green is the rarest eye color in the world, with only 2% of the population lucky enough to have it. I’ve been willing my hazel eyes to turn green for years now. It’s not working out well, but a girl can hope.
Like with any eye color, there are eye makeup shades you can wear to really bring them out.
Ready to bring out the green? Let’s go.
Emerald green eyes look really pretty when gray and purple eyeshadows and eyeliners are used.
Khaki colored eye makeup can make forest green eyes pop.
Jade green eyes look gorgeous with brown shadows that have red undertones.
Bronze and copper shadows really bring out sea green eyes.
Like with any color, you can wear black liner on the waterline to enhance the green, but it will make your eyes look smaller. Also, black can look a little harsh on green eyes, especially if they’re a lighter shade of green, so I would pair black waterline liner with either a gray, dark brown, bronze or copper shadow to help balance it.
If you want to do a bold lip and bring out your green peepers at the same time, try a berry, plum, aubergine or deep red lip color. Red and purple tones are complimentary to green, so the right lip color will make your eye color pop.
That’s all I’ve got! Enjoy your rare eye color, and please send some green vibes to the hazel people who want to be you.
Last week I did a post about eye makeup that enhances brown eyes, so now it’s time to do the same for blue eyes. I mean, it’s only fair! Like with brown eyes, there are various shades of blue, so I’ll break it down.
Cornflower blue eyes really pop with a light pink eyeshadow on the lid. A little shimmery shadow in silver can also look really pretty on the inner corners.
A navy blue shadow or liner can really enhance gunmetal blue eyes, as can smokey gray shadow looks.
Ice blue eyes are emphasized when someone has on rose gold eyeshadow or warm brown shadow.
Bronze and copper shadows make sapphire blue eyes pop, even if just used at the lower lashline.
Black liner on the waterline will enhance any eye color, but beware of doing this if your eyes are on the small side, as that will make your eyes look smaller.
Believe it or not, lipstick can also make eye color pop. A blue-toned pink lip can do that for all shades of blue eyes, and an orange-red lip can enhance icy blue eyes.
These are just tips to point you in the right direction, but play around and see what you like.
Because I’ve been working in the beauty industry for so long, I sometimes forget that not everyone knows to use certain products. I didn’t always know how to, when or why I should use certain products either, but as someone who was obsessed with skincare and makeup from a young age and then started a career in the beauty industry, I’ve learned a lot. Like, a lot a lot. So I’m going to share with you what each product does and the reason I use it.
Ready for this masterclass?
Cleanser.What does it do? Removes dirt, oil, bacteria, and makeup (if it’s an oil cleanser or cleansing balm) from your skin. If you don’t use an oil cleanser or cleansing balm, you’ll want to use a makeup remover before cleansing. When should I use it? Every single friggin’ night. I don’t think a morning cleanse is necessary as well, unless you have truly oily skin and feel the need to use a gentle cleanser to remove surface oils that have built up overnight. Why should I use it? Because if you let the junk from the day stay on your skin overnight, you’re asking for blemishes and irritation. How do I use it? Oil cleansers and cleansing balms go on dry skin, then you massage in, then rinse off. Most other cleansers go on damp or wet skin. Just read the directions on the packaging, boo. Farmacy Green Clean is my go to cleanser and because it’s a cleansing balm, I don’t need to remove and cleanse separately.
Moisturizer.What does it do? The stratum corneum–the very top layer of skin–is there to help protect the layers of the skin below that. Moisturizer does a combination of holding and delivering lipids and water to the stratum corneum. That means that top layer stays strong, which prevent cracks and fissures that can allow bacteria to penetrate the deeper levels of the dermis, causing infection. When should I use it? Every morning. Why should I use it? Because you don’t want your skin to feel like sandpaper, right? Flaky skin isn’t cute, and skin that has visible cracks on it is…problematic. How do I use it? Dispense the recommended amount and slather it on. I’ve found that two pumps worth is usually sufficient. If your moisturizer comes in a jar, use a clean spatula or scoop to take out the product so you’re not introducing bacteria from your fingers into the jar every time. I’ve been using Neutrogena Oil Free Moisture Broad Spectrum SPF35 for years, but there are lots of good ones out there.
Hyaluronic Acid.What does it do? HA is a substance naturally found in our bodies. It lubricates the skin, joints and other tissues. In skincare products, HA provides the hydration the skin needs and is often lacking. When should I use it? In the morning after you shower and at night after you wash your face. Why should I use it? Because dehydrated skin feels rough and looks dull. Plus, lack of skin hydration makes makeup cake and settle. How do I use it? Apply it to damp skin followed immediately by moisturizer. For more HA info, peep this post.
Face Oil.What does it do? It delivers lipids to the skin, helping to keep that stratum corneum strong and free of cracks and fissures. When should I use it? It depends on your skin type. If you’re very dry, you can use it before or in place of moisturizer. If you have combination skin and get dry during the winter, I’d recommendation using it overnight. If you just sometimes get a dry patch, you can use it as a spot treatment. Also, if you use retinoids and experience peeling, you can apply a thin layer of face oil 20 minutes after you ret up. You can also use it for a facial massage, which is great for both dry and dull skin. Why should I use it? Because sometimes, moisturizer isn’t enough. How do I use it? Dispense a drop of the product and apply it with clean hands. If you need more, go for it, but start small and dispense more as needed, since a little bit of oil can go a long way. My favorite face oil is the Josie Maran Argan Oil.
Retinoids.What do they do? Retinoids increase collagen product and new cell growth, and they thicken the deeper layers of the skin where wrinkles start. When should I use it? Always at night. Retinoids can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so unless you’re nocturnal and sleep on the beach, you should apply your ret before bed. When you first start on retinoids–and go straight for the prescription stuff if you can, as it’s not diluted by other ingredients–I recommend using it every three nights. After three months, try every other night. Once you’ve used it for a year or so, see if your skin can tolerate it every night. Why should I use it? Because retinoids are the only scientifically proven anti-ager. How do I use it? You’re better off reading my retinoids blog post to find out that answer.
Exfoliants.What do they do? They remove dead skins cells from the top layer of skin, making the dermis smoother and more receptive to skincare products and makeup. Exfoliation also makes skin look brighter and healthier because dead skin cells dull the skin. Exfloliants can help unclog pores, but not in the way that facial extractions can. Physical exfoliants (the ones that feel gritty or textured) slough the dead skin cells off, while chemical/enzyme exfoliants dissolve the “glue” that binds dead cells to skin, causing them to fall off. When should I use it? Two to three times a week, either morning or night. If you’re on the sensitive side, stick with twice a week. If you use retinoids, DO NOT use an exfoliant, as retinoids exfoliate already, and double exfoliation causes irritation and sensitivity. Why should I use it? Because smooth, bright skin will make you a happier person. How do I use it? It depends on the product, so make sure to read the instructions.
Sunscreen.What does it do? It protects your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays. When should I use it? Every time you plan on leaving your house during daylight. Why should I use it? Because you don’t want to get skin cancer, and because sun damage is the #1 cause of premature aging. I’m talking fine lines, sun spots, wrinkles and sagging. How do I use it? Dispense or spray on the recommended amount of product prior to any makeup application. My favorite face, neck and chest sunscreen is Glossier Invisible Shield.
If you’re not doing any of this already, this can seem like a lot. But once you get into a routine, it’ll feel like nothing. If you’re worried about how long all this will take, don’t be. Cleansing takes maybe five minutes if you’re wearing a lot of makeup. Moisturizing and hyaluronic acid take under a minute. If you want to give yourself a facial massage with face oil, that could take 10 or so minutes, but the other face oil uses I mentioned won’t take you more than a minute. Retinoids application is done before you can say “I can almost feel my collagen production ramping up!,” and exfoliation should only eat up between 2 – 15 minutes (part of the 15 minute max being passive/wait time), depending on your product choice. So yes, you do have time for that.
A good skincare routine will not only make your skin look and feel better now, but it will slow down the visible signs of aging if you do it right. If you wait until you already have sun damage and visible signs of aging, only a plastic surgeon or dermatologist will be able to rescue you. But if you start taking care of your skin now, you’re helping out your future self. And trust me, 2030 [Your Name Here] will thank you for that.
It makes me happy that this blog has been helpful to so many people. Several times a month, someone tells me how they now use a product or technique they learned about in one of my posts, which is exactly why I have this blog. I want to make your beauty life better.
I find myself in a lot of discussions with clients, family and friends which end in me directing them to one of my blog posts. So without further adieu, allow me to present the most popular “A Pretty Addiction” posts.
Eye Makeup Smudges, Be Gone! One of the most common complaints I hear from people is that their eye makeup melts off after a few hours. It doesn’t need to be that way! Check out this post for tips.
Product Review: Castor Oil. Lash serums can have some pretty gnarly side effects, like reddening of the eyelid skin, yellowing of whites of the eyes and general irritation, which is why I stay away from them. I’ve found organic castor oil to be an effective, natural lash growth stimulator, and I mention this post whenever people compliment me on my lashes.
Skincare Device Review: NuFACE Mini. If I got a commission from all the people I know who bought this because I recommended it, I’d be sitting pretty! I don’t though, and I’m happy enough with my commission of people’s faces looking better 😉 The NuFACE Mini is a true gem.
Eye makeup can seem complicated. So many brushes, so many products, so many techniques. But with a little knowledge and some practice, you can really step up your eye makeup game.
Brush Up On It. Using the right brushes makes a world of difference. A dense brush is best for packing shadow onto the lid, a fluffy brush is ideal for crease work and blending, a pencil brush allows you to easily apply shadow in the hollow above the tearducts, angled brushes and fine liner brushes are best for applying various liners, and a small smudger brush is great for diffusing lower lashline liner and shadow. If you can equip yourself with the right tools, you’re off to a great start.
Prime Time. Why even bother with eyeshadow and eyeliner if it’s going to fade off after a few hours? Using a good eye primer will help your eye makeup stay on much longer. Eye primer is my first step in all makeup applications.
Blackout. Want a sultry eye makeup look? Apply a black kohl pencil liner on your bottom waterline for instant bedroom eyes. Va va voom, baby.
Turn Around, Bright Eyes. The easiest way to make your eyes look bigger and brighter is to apply an off-white pencil or crayon liner to the bottom waterline. That gives the illusion that the whites of your eyes (which are actually off-white) go down further, making your eyes look bigger. It’s easy and effective, so give it a try already!
Double Up. If you expect to get to good length and good volume from one mascara, you’re probably going to be let down. I’ve found that the best way to achieve both is to use a volumizing mascara first, followed by a lengthening mascara layered over that. I’ve used this technique for years, and I think it’s the reason that I frequently get asked if I’m wearing false lashes (I never am).
Shadowy Lady. Pencil, gel and liquid liners aren’t your own only eyeliner options. For a softer but still defined look, try applying a matte eyeshadow with a pencil brush.
Wingin’ It: Part 1. Before attempting a winged liner with a gel, map out your shape with eyeshadow first, then trace over the line with your gel or liquid liner.
Wingin’ It: Part 2. Afraid that you won’t be able to get the angle of your wing right? Put a small piece of Scotch tape at the outer corner of each eye, angled up towards your temples. Then trace above the top part of the piece of tape. As long as you position it correctly, you’ll get a wing that doesn’t wobble.
Crease Work. The whole point of applying shadow to the crease of the eye (in most situations) is to make it look more pronounced/deeper than it is. When you want an area to recede, you use a color that’s darker than the skin. Along those lines, I think it make sense to also only use matte shades when you’re trying to make an area recede, as shimmery shades–even if they’re darker than your skin–attract light to the area on which they’re applied, which is the opposite of what you want if you’re trying to make the crease of your eye more recessed. Basically, find yourself a matte shadow that’s a few shades darker than your skin (I suggest choosing a warm brown shade, whether that’s a light, medium or dark brown) and make that your go-to shadow for the eye crease.
This might seem like a lot, but it’s not like you’re getting quizzed on it! This post is here for you to reference when you want to play around with eye makeup. And that’s they key–play around so you can get used to the different techniques. You’ve got this.
I’m not trying to toot my own horn here, but I’ve had several people over the years ask me how I do my makeup. Some of the products change, but the process has stayed the same. If you’re wondering how I do the damn thing when I wear a full face of makeup (very rare these days), keep reading.
Step 1: Eye primer. I have combination skin and my giant Glo-Worm eyelids are on the oily side, so without this eye primer, my eyeshadow fades off almost completely within a few hours.
Step 2: If I haven’t previously applied my moisturizer, I do it now. But it usually goes on post hyaluronic acid, which I apply after I shower, since it needs to go on moist skin.
Step 3: Even though my moisturizer contains SPF, I don’t use enough of it (half a teaspoon of sunscreen is the recommended amount) to get the full benefit. So if I’m going to be outside for an extended period of time, I add sunscreen to my routine.
Step 4: By now, my eye primer has completely absorbed so I can start my eye makeup. My base/lid shadow goes on first.
Step 5: Since my moisturizer and sunscreen (if needed) have now absorbed, I can do some pore minimizing. I apply a pore minimizer it to any area where there are visible pores, and well as to the fine lines on my forehead and around my mouth. Sometimes those fine lines are barely visible, but if I’m tired, dehydrated or my skin is dry, they’re out full force.
Step 6: Back to the eyeshadow. I finish that up and add eyeliner. Most of the time, I use eyeshadow as an eyeliner, but occasionally I use a gel liner at the upper lashline and/or a pencil liner in the waterline.
Step 7: It’s foundation time! I use a liquid foundation, applied with my hands and blended with a buffing brush.
Step 8: I fill in my brows next, using a matte brown powder eyeshadow. I do brows after foundation so that they are not disturbed while I’m blending the foundation on my forehead, as sometimes the brush will lightly hit my brows as I blend.
Step 9: I erase any shadow fallout from under my eyes with micellar water.
Step 10: While the residue from the micellar water is drying off, I apply my cream brush. The shades I choose vary, but I typically go with a pink or light peach.
Step 11: I apply a thin layer of moisturizer under my eyes to prep. I blend that in with a fluffy eyeshadow brush, then I apply some concealer. If I need to conceal anything on the rest of my face, I do so now.
Step 12: I apply a volumizing mascara to my top lashes.
Step 13: I set my foundation with pressed powder, pushing it into the skin with a buffing brush.
Step 14: I apply a beauty tubes mascara to my bottom lashes, because the tubes don’t smudge.
Step 15: I apply a thin layer of powder under my eyes to set my concealer.
Step 16: I apply a matte bronzer to add some warmth and lightly sculpt my face.
Step 17: I apply an inky black, lengthening mascara to my top lashes.
Step 18: I apply either more cream blush or some powder blush.
Step 19: If I’m going to wear lipstick (I often don’t), I apply it now.
It sounds like 19 steps would take forever, but this whole process only take me 15 – 20 minutes, and that’s usually with multiple email and text distractions. If you have the products and the tools but don’t know when to apply what, hopefully this post has helped.