What I Bring To The Table

Most people have a makeup bag for their personal use, but I have a makeup table. If you’re going to do something, do it big, right? I have a coffee table in my bedroom, and it is covered with the products I use most often. I have seen a lot of “What I Have In My Makeup Bag” videos, so I thought I’d do my version via this blog.

I’m going to share with you the products I have been using lately. Some are old favorites, others are new crushes. I am always trying new things, and have a box filled with samples on the table, because I like to switch things up. I refuse to get stuck in a beauty rut–I think that is the kiss of death for a makeup artist.

I have currently have three moisturizers that I’ve been using. Garnier Nutritioniste Skin Renew Anti Sun Damage Daily Moisture Lotion was my summer moisturizer. It has an SPF 28 and I believe is targeted to oily skin (which my combination skin definitely is in the summer), so it worked well for me. I recently started using a heavier moisturizer because my skin will become dry as the colder weather comes in. It’s a mini-jar of Lancome Bienfait Multi-Vital. It feels nice on my skin and does a good job moisturizing, but I don’t love the perfume-y scent. And my go-to moisturizer has been CVS Oil Free Moisturizer in SPF 15. It’s not fancy, but it’s a good basic.

I have done several eye primer tests over the years, and Too Faced Shadow Insurance is still the best, in my opinion. So I always have one of those on the table.

My current face primer is the Laura Mercier Foundation Primer. Love it. I don’t use it every day, but if I am going to have my makeup on for several hours, it’s a must.

One of my essential products, for both my personal and professional kits, is the POREfessional pore minimizer by Benefit. This stuff is magic. It really mattifies the skin and gives the appearance of smaller pores. I use it on my t-zone.

I have a few foundations on the table and I usually mix them to create the shade and coverage I want. I have NARS Sheer Glow Foundation, Make Up For Ever Face & Body Foundation, MAC Face & Body Foundation and Benefit Hello Flawless. I also have a Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer. When I use a Face & Body, I set it with the Hello Flawless powder foundation, because I like more of a medium coverage. The Sheer Glow Foundation is on the thick side, so I like to cut it with the thinner Make Up For Ever Face & Body. If I am just going for a run or don’t have time to do a full face of makeup, I wear the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer alone, but I usually mix that with a Face and Body. (I wear something with SPF when I go for a run during the day, because the sun is out, and I’m all set with sun damage and pigmentation.)

I do my initial undereye concealer with MAC Select Coverup (with a thin layer of moisturizer underneath). It is a cream concealer that sets to a powder, but it can still look a little shiny after it dries, so I set that with my pressed powder. I find that the Select Coverup can get a little cakey if you put too many layers on, so if I need to touch up later in the day, I use Make Up For Ever Lift Concealer. It doesn’t last as long on its own, but it has good staying power when layered over the Select Coverup. If I am having a real dark circles day, I use Smashbox Photo Op Under Eye Brightener instead of a moisturizer, prior to applying my initial concealer.

To set my foundation, I use MAC Blot Powder. It’s only a visitor to the table, though–its real home is in my purse, because my t-zone usually needs a couple of touchups during the day.

To contour or bronze, I use NARS bronzer in Laguna. I currently have three powder blushes in rotation–Benefit Dandelion (a pretty soft pink), Make Up For Ever Sculpting Blush in 22 (peach) and NARS blush in Orgasm (peachy pink with shimmer).

For eyeshadow, I often reach for NARS Duo in Madrague. This duo contains a cream and a caramel color. It stays in my travel bag, since it is compact and a great go-to combination. I keep the Coastal Scents 88 Color Palette on the table, since it contains most every eyeshadow color I would want to use. The shadows don’t have the greatest staying power or pigment, but if I know I will only be wearing makeup for three or four hours, they do the job.

I have three pencil eyeliners currently on the table. MAC Kohl eyeliner in Smoulder, Topshop Kohl in Saddle and Covergirl Liquiline Blast in Blue Boom. Smoulder is my favorite inky black liner for the waterline. I also keep one in my purse, because let’s face it, waterline liner needs to be touched up. You can read my recent review of Saddle (in “In The Name of the Father, The Son and The Holy Eyeliner”), but I’ll just say I love that eyeliner for almost any liner purpose. I use Blue Boom on my waterline as an alternative to black or brown. Sometimes I want a pop of color on my eyes, but don’t want to do a full on colorful eye, so the waterline liner is perfect.

To fill in my brows, I use a matte dark brown shadow from the Coastal Scents palette.

I use two mascaras on my top lashes–Dior Diorshow and Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash. On my bottom lashes, I use Smoky Lash only.

I have three lipliners on the table–Covergirl Lip Perfection in Passion (for red lip days), MAC Lipliner in Subculture (matches my natural lip color) and a new one that I am trying, Vincent Longo Duo Lip Pencil in Lavender Lite/Grape. Lavender Lite is a subtle light purple-pink that works with one of my lip glosses (next section), and I wear the darker purple Grape as a lipstick (I color my lips in with it and top with a clear balm). I recently had some blue extensions put in my hair and the Grape lip color worked well with those.

The two lip glosses currently in rotation are Buxom Lips Lip Polish in Princess (a shimmery pink pearl, looks nice over Lavender Lite liner) and Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Baby Doll (soft pink shimmer). I always have a red lipstick on the table and right now it is MAC Lipstick in Lady Danger. I’ve got a bright pink MAC Lipstick, Girl About Town, on the table as well, although I haven’t worn it for a while. Looks like I just thought of a look for tomorrow…

If I want my makeup to really last, I spray on some Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray. That stuff is phenomenal.

My face brushes are by Real Techniques, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE them. My eyeshadow brushes are a mix of Sonia Kashuk, CVS Essence of Beauty, and MAC. I use an angled brush from ELF for my brows. Lip brush is from Michael’s Craft Store. I use Bioderma Eye Makeup Remover, because it is so gentle on my eyes. I’ve got a pair of Ardell 117 False Lashes patiently waiting for my next night out, a Duo Eyelash Adhesive, and some small silver stars I sometimes lash glue near my eyes or on the tops of my cheekbones.

Also on the table are some hot rollers, a Global Beauty Flat Iron, Minardi Subdue Styling Cream (to calm down any frizz), Batiste Dry Shampoo, Lamaur VitaE Brushable Hold Hair Spray and a fine tooth comb so I can tease the crap out of my hair. The higher hair hair, the closer to God, right?

Of course, I do not use all of this stuff every day, but it is a good solid mix of products that give me plenty of options without having too many options. Because if I were to look at my professional makeup kit every day and decide what I wanted to do, I would never leave the house.

So, just some ideas for your own makeup bag. These are all products I like enough to use regularly, so I feel like I can vouch for them. I’m always looking for new products to join the table, so I would love to hear any recommendations you have!

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Valentine’s Day Makeup

I’m no romantic, so Valentine’s Day isn’t my thing. But I also don’t wear all black and burn ex-boyfriend memorabilia every February 14th. Instead, I look at it the same way I look at most things in life: as inspiration for a makeup look.

Today I did a look with pink eye color, pink cheeks and pinkish red lips. I’d post a picture but I photograph horribly.

What I used:


Too Faced Shadow Insurance
NARS blush in Orgasm (yes, blush on the eyes)
MAC eyeshadow in Brun at top and bottom lashlines
MAC Pigment in Vanilla on browbone
Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash mascara


Make Up For Ever HD Foundation 117 & 118 mixed with moisturizer
MAC Select Coverup in NW 20
Make Up For Ever Sculpting Kit #2 contour powder
NARS blush in Orgasm


CoverGirl Outlast Lipstain in a pinkish red color (doesn’t say the color on the tube)
Carmex lip balm (I left the house with it matte, then decided I wanted shine)

That’s it! Easy, Valentine’s Day inspired look ♥

Have a beautiful day 🙂

A Lip Color Alternative: CoverGirl Lip Stain Review

Growing up, I (of course) loved playing with makeup. Sometimes I’d put a lipstick on, decide I didn’t like it, then gently blot some off on a paper towel.  Many times, I liked the color that was left better than the original application.  I was making a lip stain and didn’t even know i!.  And now they come pre-packaged–no paper towel needed.

I love a berry lip stain with flushed cheeks and just mascara on the eyes. It’s a really pretty look and different from the glossed or nude lips that are so popular. A stain is low maintenance, because it really stains the color on your lips (duh) and doesn’t wear off as quickly as glosses or lipsticks.

Another option is to layer it under a lipstick to both give the lipstick something to anchor to and so there is a layer of color undernearth when the lipstick wears off.  The only downfall is that lip stains are often drying, so if your lips are chapped or cracked, the product is going to grab onto those areas and showcase them.

I recently tried the CoverGirl Lip Stains and they are fabulous. The applicator looks and feels like a felt tip marker and it deposits color when you press down. The color comes out kind of sheer at first, but you can build up to a deep stain. They offer a good color selection, which is key.  A girl’s gotta have choices! They also have a faint fruity scent which I like.

My only issue with this product is that as a makeup artist, it’s hard to use these on other people. With other lip products, I scan scrape, squeeze or swipe them out of their containers, but you can’t really do that with these. I can press down and deposit color on a palette, but it only gives a little at a time.

For personal use though, you can’t really go wrong. I’d say it’s worth it to have one of these in your makeup bag when you feel like doing something different. If it feels too matte on your lips, you can always add gloss or balm.

And at around $10, they won’t break the bank. So give one of these a try!

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Pleasantly Surprised: CoverGirl Lashblast Fusion Mascara Review

I’m a Diorshow girl–I think I’ve made that clear. I’ve yet to find a better (non-waterproof) mascara. But that doesn’t mean I don’t try other mascaras.  I wouldn’t be doing my job as a makeup artist if I didn’t test out new products!

I recently tried the CoverGirl Lashblast Fusion in Very Black. It claims to lengthen, separate, and volumize the lashes, without smudging or smearing.

Before I tell you what I thought of this product, I have a confession to make. I’ve become somewhat of a makeup snob in the last few years.  I used to buy all of my makeup from drugstores–until I discovered lines like MAC, NARS, Laura Mercier and Make Up For Ever.  I’ve found that in general, the more expensive brands are more expensive for a reason–they’re better.

But I’ve tried a lot of CoverGirl products lately and I must say, I’m impressed. The Lashblast Fusion mascara is a solid lengthening mascara. I don’t think it does much in terms of volumizing, but it absolutely lengthens. I haven’t noticed any smudging or flaking, even in humid weather. And true to its claim, it separates the lashes. (It doesn’t separate perfectly like in the ads you might see for mascara–those are fakes lashes and/or Photoshopped–but it does a good job of that.)

What I don’t care for is the mascara wand. It’s a rubbery, spiky looking wand and I don’t like the way it feels.  This doesn’t affect when I use the product on clients, since I only ever use disposable wands on them, but I don’t like the way it feels when I use it on my own lashes (obviously I have one tube for clients and one for my personal kit). That may just be a preference thing though.  I don’t consider it a dealbreaker, like the spiky ball applicator in the Givenchy Phenomen’eyes mascara.

So all in all, this is a solid lengthening mascara at a great drugstore price.  Nice work, CoverGirl!

Have a beautiful day 🙂

An Eyeliner That Won’t Budge: CoverGirl LiquiLine Blast Review

Remember that surprise makeup package I got? Sure you do. So let’s get those reviews started, beginning with the CoverGirl LiquiLine Blast eyeliners.

These pencil eyeliners are stubborn, and I mean that in a good way.  You don’t have to worry about these bad boys going anywhere. I tested all seven liners that I received, and not once did they smear, smudge or flake.  Once they’re on, they’re on.  They lasted through hot, humid days, workouts, and even a few tears.

That being said, if you want a smudgy look, you need to work fast. Take out a pencil brush out and get moving, because these liners set before you can say “smokey eye.”  I didn’t care for the smudger found on the other side of the pencil. I found it a little too hard, and I felt like it was tugging on my eyelids when I tried it.  A soft pencil brush (CVS Essence of Beauty makes great, affordable ones) will do the trick though.

There’s nothing I hate more than a weak eyeliner. If I want a muted color, I’ll tone it down or blend it out.  Give me color, give me pigment, or give me a friggin’ break.  Thankfully, the CoverGirl LiquiLine Blast eyeliners absolutely deliver in the intensity department. When I first tried the Blue Boom shade (a gorgeous electric blue), I actually said “Oooooh!” out loud.  I also really like the Silver Spark and I’ve been using Brown Blaze a lot on wedding clients.

These liners retail for under $10–a great value. If you want a good, long lasting liner that has serious intensity, try a LiquiLine Blast. There are very few liners that can stand up to the heat and humidity that most of the country is experiencing right now, but these liners won’t let you down.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Reason 7,678 Why I Love My Job

When I checked my mailbox after work, all I had was bills. Booooo. But when I walked up the stairs to my apartment–wohoo!–there was a package.

I didn’t recognize the return address and I’d received all of the orders I placed recently, so I had no idea what it was. The words “anthrax” and “explosive” crossed my mind, but so did “surprise makeup package.”

I took the risk and opened it.

It was a surprise makeup package! t was from the new Pat McGrath collection from Cover Girl. Pat is one of the most talented makeup artists in the industry, so I have high hopes for this collection. I’ll review it asap, but until then, here’s a peek at what they gave me:

  • Cover Girl & Olay Simply Ageless Serum Primer
  • Cover Girl LiquiLine Blast Eyeliner in Brown Blaze, Silver Spark, Green Glow, Violet Voltage, Black Fire, and Blue Boom
  • Lash Blast Fusion Mascara in Black
  • Outlast Lipstain in Saucy Plum, Scarlet Pucker, and Nude Kiss

I don’t know which guardian angel of makeup sent me all of these products, but I thank them.

Have a beautiful day 🙂