So you’ve identified your face shape, know where to sculpt if desired and have learned how to minimize features you don’t love. Now it is essential that you choose the correct products and tools so no one knows what you’ve been up to. Obvious contour and highlight is about as flattering as harem pants.
The Products: Contour
Contouring products come in powder, cream and liquid formulations. You can use whatever best suits your skin type or layer them (but use restraint, please). As previously discussed, contouring makes areas recede, sometimes giving the illusion of a shadow. Because actual shadows are gray and cool-toned, you want to make sure your contour product(s) are also on the cool side. Anything too warm–think orange-y bronzers–will look off. Bronzers are for bronzing, which is different than contouring. And definitely stay away from any contour products with shimmer, as that defeats the purpose. Shimmer brings light to an area, which will make it look larger–the opposite of what contouring is supposed to do. Using a shimmery bronzer to contour can also make your skin look muddy, aka streaky, aka dirty, aka not a good look.
So, what should you use? For powder contour, I swear by Make Up For Ever Sculpting Kit. It includes a matte contour and a matte highlight and comes in different shades for different skin colors. This bad boy has been my go-to for years.
If you like cream products (typically good for normal to dry skin) and have light skin, check out Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow. It is taupe with gray undertones, so it doesn’t look obvious on fair skin. Jen, one of the AB Beauty makeup artists, uses this and swears by it.
For medium to dark skin, I use MAC Matchmaster Concealer. I know it’s not technically a cream contour, but it’s a stick concealer and works just as well. The shades I use tend to be a little more warm than I would normally go for, but there is a reason the rule can be bent. The kind of face sculpting I do is not as aggressive as current day contouring, so using something slightly warm-toned on medium to dark skin (it would be too obvious on light skin) works as long as it is blended well.
For very dark skin–like the gorgeous blue black skin that some people have–you can skip the contour. To shape your face, you would apply highlight on the areas you want to bring out and the contrast of the natural skin color against the highlight will create a sculpting effect.
The Products: Highlight
Highlight–particularly of the shimmer variety–is crazy hyped up right now. If I can see your cheekbones, Cupid’s Bow and tip of nose (remember–don’t do that!) glowing from across the room then sweetheart, you’ve done too much. Subtle highlight, whether shimmer or matte, is infinitely more flattering. You can believe me, or you can regret it when your Facebook memory selfies come up in five years.
For cream and liquid highlighters with some shimmer, I like Benefit Watts Up (stick highlighter) and Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow Skincare Primer (liquid). Yes, Wonderglow is meant to be a primer, but I think it works beautifully as a highlighter. (I’m having a hell of a time trying to insert photos of those products into this post but Google images will hook you up.)
For powder highlight, I typically reach for the highlight powder from the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow Duo. I apply it with a very light hand, as a little goes a long way.
You for sure want to avoid placing shimmery highlight on skin with fine lines or visible pores. If you want to highlight those areas, use a matte highlight. The highlight powders from the Make Up For Ever Sculpting Kits are great if you prefer a powder formulation. For a matte cream highlight, you can really use any concealer that is lighter than your skin. I prefer ones with a thinner consistency, like MAC Select Moisturecover Concealer.
You can also highlight and contour using foundation. For this technique, you would use your regular foundation around the edges of your face and on any areas you would want to contour. Then a lighter foundation with the same undertone in the same formulation would be used on the areas you want to highlight (but use concealer–not foundation–under the eyes). If you’re someone whose skin color changes throughout the year, this is a great way to use your “winter” foundation during the summer.
The type of product you are using should dictate the tools you choose. I always use a brush for powder products. For creams and liquids, I apply with my hands so my body heat–of which I have none of lately in New England, even though it is MARCH–breaks down the product. When it is broken down (melted a bit) that allows it to apply more evenly. I then blend it with a buffing brush if needed. My go to buffing brush is the one from the Real Techniques Core Collection.
Any contouring and highlighting you do should be blended well. That’s such a huge thing with highlight and especially contour. A foundation buffing brush is great for blending larger areas, and a fluffy-but-not-too-soft eyeshadow brush like the MAC 217 is perfect for blending highlight or contour on the eyes and nose. A sponge of your choice can also be helpful for blending out larger areas of contour.
If you want to see some pro highliingghting and contour in action, check out these tutorials. (By the way, I miss the days when WordPress would let me hyperlink.)
If you’ve been a reader of this blog for a while, you know I have been on the hunt for the perfect brown eyeliner ever since Topshop discontinued my beloved Saddle. I’ve tried some liners that were too dark, some that were hard to blend and some that didn’t have enough red undertones to bring out the green in my eyes. I haven’t Goldilocks-ed myself out of this one yet, but I have found a liner that’s almost “just right”.
The weird thing is, I’ve had this eyeliner in my pro kit for several years. It’s been my go-to brown waterline eyeliner from the beginning. (I’m pretty sure it was a recommendation from the Pixiwoo sisters.) It’s MAC Eye Kohl in Teddy. MAC describes it as an “intense bronze,” but on me, it comes out more as a chocolate brown with red and bronze undertones.
Teddy is easy to blend, as any kohl eyeliner pencil should be. Because it’s a kohl, I usually set it with some eyeshadow in a similar shade so it doesn’t transfer on my crease or smudge under my eyes. But I’ve applied it to the lower lashline sans shadow before and it barely moved. (I did get some transfer on the upper lashline though, which I always get when I don’t set a kohl liner with shadow. That’s partly due to my eye shape, and partly because of my oily lids.) If you want an eyeliner pencil that does not move, don’t go with a kohl. That’s a general makeup rule.
If you want a good waterline liner though, Teddy will not disappoint. This liner goes on smoothly and is pigmented so you can actually see it on the waterline, unlike some liners. (I won’t give names.) It’s moderately long-lasting on the waterline, which is normal. If your eyes have moisture–and for your sake, I hope they do–eventually that will break down any waterline liner.
Because it’s a kohl, Teddy is easy to smudge out. I like to apply a thin line then smudge it with an angled brush or a pencil brush. This is big for me because I don’t usually like a defined liner on my peepers.
Teddy lasts all day for me without any touchups (at the lashlines, anyway). Longevity is also essential for me, because I don’t always have time for touchups. Some kohl liners I have known go on smoothly and are nicely pigmented, but they don’t hold up. Teddy won’t back out on you by mid-afternoon, and that’s an important quality in a liner.
Teddy is my makeup equivalent of that guy I grew up with who I never thought too much about then started to see in a different light. (For the record, I have no such guy.) Is this eyeliner the one I end up? Or am I settling? It’s hard to tell, but Teddy is a solid choice who I’ve grown to love. I’ll keep passively searching (aka swatching every brown eyeliner in Sephora on my hand when I’m there), but I’m happy for now.
If you want to give Teddy a try, you can get it at MAC stores, counters and online.
It’s been a while since I’ve told you what I have in my personal makeup bag, so I’m sure you’ve been patiently waiting for this post. I’ve done a few of these posts over the years, and some of the products in my bag have never left me (except to be replaced by new, full versions of themselves). Others are new to the crew and may or may not make the cut.
Here’s what we’ve got.
Neutrogena Oil Free Moisture SPF 15. This moisturizer is affordable, gentle and great for normal to oily skin in the warmer months. I usually switch to a richer moisturizer for the fall and winter when my skin gets dry and flaky, but I don’t know if I’ll need to do that now that I use face oil. Time will tell. Until then, I’m sticking with this tried and true product.
MAC Face & Body Foundations in C2 & C5. I use a mixture of shades C2 and C5, depending on how much self tanner I have on. I absolutely love this sheer foundation (which can be built up to medium coverage by simply rubbing it into the skin for longer). I also sometimes use the darker C5 on my ghostly legs because I don’t feel the need to make people aware that I’m 25% Irish. My freckles and propensity to Irish goodbye a party take care of that.
Laura Mercier Foundation Primer. This is still the best primer I’ve ever tried. I use this when I know the makeup I put on at 6:00am needs to stay strong into the evening. Laura Mercier also makes hydrating and oil-free versions of this primer for dry and oily skin. If you want your makeup to last all day, you have to use a primer. There is no way around that. I think it’s actually a law in most states.
Make Up For Ever Sculpting Kit in Shade 2. Shade 2 of this powder highlight and contour duo suits my light (but not super fair) skin. I’m not big on highlighting my own face, so the contour powder gets more love. I don’t like a strong contour, but I was in the wrong line for “good bone structure” when features were being given out, so I can use a little help. (I did, however, accidentally get in line twice for “tiny feet” and “thick hair.”)
MAC Powder Blush in Pink Swoon. This matte, soft candy pink powder blush really brightens up my face. I use this particular shade on a lot of clients too. If you are tired, sick or hungover, an even skintone and a pop of pink blush will make a world of difference. So unless you are a teetotaler who always gets eight hours of sleep and never even catches a cold, you should have good pink blush in your makeup bag.
Benefit the POREfessional. This pore minimizer is a must for She of the Large Cheek Pores. I also use it to blur the slight forehead lines that have developed in the past few years (from wisdom, obviously.) I have been buying this product since it came out and I don’t intend to stop. If you have no visible pores or lines on your face, you probably don’t need POREfessional. Also, we can’t be friends.
Clarins Multi-Active Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 20. I don’t use this every day, but if I’m going for a walk or run during the day in the summer, I apply it first. It doesn’t leave a white cast (my sunscreen pet peeve) or break me out like many others. But it does smell similar to the Raid I once used to kill a bee from 10 feet away (I’m allergic and it was in my house! Not sorry), so I get a little flashback anxiety when I put it on.
Rimmel Stay Matte Powder in 001 Transparent. This pressed powder has been with me since AB Beauty makeup artist, Jen, recommended it to me. It does a good job of setting my foundation and eliminating shine without caking. I would like it even more if I didn’t consistently drop and break the cover within two weeks of buying it. That’s not Rimmel’s fault though. That’s on me, rushing around in the morning and knocking things over with my butt (apparently I got in line for that twice as well).
MAC Pro Longwear Concealer in NW20. My undereye coverage godsend. This stuff masks my dark circles, lasts for hours and doesn’t cake. I use this concealer on clients as well for those reasons. It’s not thick or dry and as long as you prep the undereye with a little moisturizer first, it applies smoothly. It’s a real winner.
Charlotte Tilbury Mini Miracle Eye Wand. I usually use the MAC Pro Longwear Concealer for undereye coverage, but this two-sided pen–moisturizer to prep the area, concealer to do its thing–saves me about 10 seconds because it’s an all in one. I sometimes I feel like that will make a difference in my day. You either know exactly how I feel or think I’m crazy for saying that, but either way, I’m doing it.
Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Marine Boosting Mist. Someone gave me a sample of this spray which is supposed to be a primer, setting spray, hydrating mist and skin refresher. That’s too multi-use for me to believe, so I use it as a skin refresher. That means I spray it on if I think my foundation is looking cakey (not Face & Body, but sometimes when I try a new one). It helps dilute the foundation so it doesn’t catch on dry patches. I won’t buy a new one when it runs out, but it’s nice to have until then.
Too Faced Shadow Insurance. My Holy Grail of eye primers. Without this, my eyeshadow fades and creases within hours. (One more thing I got in line for–oily eyelids.) Whenever I do my eye makeup without applying this first, I regret it.
MAC Eyeshadow Quad. I bought a MAC empty quad duo and filled it with Brun, Espresso, Wedge and Brule (all matte formulations). Brun is a muted blackish brown I use for shadow liner and to fill in my brows; Espresso is a muted golden brown I use for the lid, outer V or as a shadow liner; the soft beige taupe Wedge is my crease go-to color but also sometimes my all-over lid color and Brule is a light creamy beige shadow I use on my lids. These four shades work well with my brown eyes, which I like to pretend are hazel.
MAC Eye Kohl in Costa Riche. This dark brown shade of pencil liner has red undertones, which help bring out the green in my eyes. (The other thing that somehow makes them look more green is crying, but that’s not as pretty.) I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect brown pencil eyeliner since Topshop discontinued my beloved Sable, and Costa Riche is my latest attempt. It goes on smoothly–no tugging on the lid–and is easy to blend out, as a kohl liner should be. Plus, I love that it brings out my green like Sable did (it had tiny reddish glitter flecks which did the job). I haven’t experienced any undereye smudging or crease transfer and the color payoff is great, as is the case with most MAC products. I wish it was maybe a tiny bit darker, but that’s a preference thing, not a product downside.
Dior Diorshow Mascara. This is my true homegirl of makeup products. Maybe we don’t talk for a bit (aka I try a new mascara) but we always reunite. She is simply the best. And I know Diorshow is a She because a He mascara would be much more flaky and wouldn’t stay around as long.
Clinique High Impact Extreme Volume Mascara. This is my current top layer and bottom lash mascara. I like how black and inky it is, but it does sometimes smudge a tiny bit under my eyes. I generally really like Clinique mascaras for my top layer and bottom lashes, so I’ll try a different one next.
Ardency Inn Punk Eyeliner. I’m not usually a liquid eyeliner gal, but someone gave this to me so I’ve been using it. It’s a liquid liner pen with a hard tip. It’s more of a gray black than an inky black, which I don’t care for. It doesn’t move once it’s dry, but it also fades quickly. Once I’m through with this one, we’ll part ways. (Also how I approach dating.)
Topshop Waterproof Eyeliner in Ebony. “Blackest black pencil eyeliner and waterline best friend.” That would be this eyeliner’s epithet. If I’m being honest, the liner splits its time between my makeup bag and my handbag, because waterline eyeliner is something that needs to be touched up. It’s waterproof and sets quickly so I don’t like it for lashline liner (I like something I can smudge a little), but for the waterline, it’s bomb.
MAC Chromographic Pencil in NC15/NW20. It’s technically an eyeliner pencil, but I’m also technically in my mid 30s and have blue streaks in my hair, so I’m not really one for doing things the way you’re supposed to. I use this off-white color on the waterline to make my eyes look bigger or more awake. True white is too obvious, but off-white gives the desired effect in a natural way.
Too Faced Lip Injection. I have very little top lip to speak of. So when I want to temporarily make my lips fuller and am in the mood to endure five minutes of stinging, I apply this plumping gloss. Say what you will, but this ish works. It has a rosy tint to it, which I don’t love because straight rosy tones don’t look great on me, but I apply the color I want after the Lip Injection has absorbed.
Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillowtalk. There is something about this pinky-peachy nude lipliner that allows me to slightly overdraw my lips without looking cray cray. The shade and velvety texture work better on me than any other lipliner I’ve tried. It’s a keeper or, as Charlotte herself would say, it’s “divine.”
NYX Soft Matte Lip Creme in Istanbul. This was an impulse buy at CVS. You know, when you go in for contact solution then you see what looks like the petal pink lip color you’ve been after for years. It turns out it wasn’t the exact color I thought it would be once it was on my lips, but it’s still decent. I find it to be a little too drying and slightly sticky, so I mix in a tiny bit of Glossier balmdotcom to make it more comfortable to wear.
Clinique Chubby Stick Intense in Heftiest Hibiscus. I had a client who was looking for a specific lip color for her wedding day, but it needed to be in a moisturizing formulation because her lips get dry easily. I knew Chubby Sticks had a good reputation for being comfortable to wear and I saw one in the color she loved so I grabbed it. I also grabbed one in Heftiest Hibiscus, a pinky red, for myself. I don’t operate on a one-for-you-one-for-me philosophy–I would have never turned a profit as a freelance artist if I did that!–but I needed to make sure the formulation was comfortable to wear. So I tested mine out for a couple weeks and it passed the test. I really love this product and will definitely re-purchase it when I run out.
Revlon Colorburst Lip Stain in 040 Rendezvous. This is one of my summer go-to colors. It’s on the orange side of coral, so I use it when I want to brighten up my look. Crayons are easily to apply, and this formulation is comfortable to wear. No complaints here.
Korres Lip Crayon in Delight. And then sometimes, I want a light pink shade. This one delivers on that desire, and I do wish it hadn’t been discontinued. Life can be so disappointing…
Lipstick Queen Rouge Sinner. This baby is my go-to fall red. (My summer red, MAC Lady Danger, is still in my purse, because I’m holding on to the last days of summer.) It’s what I call a vintage red. It’s got a slight rose tone to it, but in a muted way. If it was 1948, this color would be sold out everywhere. Every LQ lipstick I’ve ever tried is long-lasting, pigmented, non-drying and has beautiful packaging. Owner Poppy King truly knows lipstick.
Tom Ford Lipcolor Sheer in 10 Rose Soleil. My cousin, Saint Maria, gave me this beautiful rose pink that’s shot through with shimmer. It’s the perfect every day polished-but-not-high-maintenance lipstick. I love how it looks layered over the Pillowtalk lip liner (as I mentioned, pure rose doesn’t look great on me but works when it has other tones mixed in). And I want to live inside that white with gold-trimmed packaging.
That’s it (for now). I realize I have more products than the average person, but what did you expect? If this post only included a tube of Maybelline Great Lash Mascara and a Clinique lipstick I bought in college, my clients would be in trouble. Part of being a good makeup artist is trying new products. The ones that pass the test get purchased (brand new, of course) and introduced to a million new friends in my pro kit. The ones that don’t pass the test get tossed in the trash, never to be spoken of again.
Maybe this post will help you if you are looking for new products for your own makeup bag or will inspire you to take a good hard look at what you currently have. Or maybe it will help you kill time waiting at the dentist’s office. Either way, thanks for reading.
Could a kid growing up in the 90s love hip hop as much as she loved mystery book series? Damn straight. I was into Biggie Smalls, Li’l Kim and DMX as much as I was into Babysitter’s Club Mysteries, Encyclopedia Brown and Nancy Drew. The former because those flows though and the latter because I like a good mystery solved by a pro.
And I’m in still into both. People come to me with their makeup mysteries and I solve ’em (often while listening to hip hop). I’m going to tell you about some cases I’ve cracked so you can look even more fly.
Why do my lashes look so much longer after I put on mascara? You may think well duh, it’s the mascara. Part of it is product, but if you see a major difference with any mascara you use, it’s probably because the tips of your lashes are blonde. Even if your lashes grow in dark, the very ends of them could be blonde. So if you’re a brunette and your lashes are mostly dark, you can now nod your head knowingly when someone says “Blondes do have more fun!”
I wear the same foundation as my sister but her’s stays on so much longer. What the hell? I’m pissed. Chances are your skin is more oily than your sister’s. Oil breaks down makeup so if your skin is producing more oil than your sister’s, your foundation will fade faster. Try using primer first and setting everything with a setting spray, like Urban Decay 24/7 All Nighter. Primer gives the added benefit of making your foundation apply more smoothly, so now you’re winning the foundation game. Not that sisters ever keep score.
The lipstick that I loved in the tube looks way different on my lips. What am I doing wrong? You’re doing nothing wrong, boo. It’s just that your lips have their own color which effects the color you put over it, especially when you use a sheer lip color. The more matte (opaque) a formulation is, the more it will cover your natural lip color. But if your natural lip color is darker than the lip color, even a matte lip color might not do it. If you want the true color in the tube, run a tiny bit of foundation or concealer (like the amount left on your brush or sponge after applying to your face) over your lips prior to applying lip color. There’s your blank canvas, just waiting for its perfect lip color soulmate.
I’ve been using face oil but it’s making my makeup slide off. What’s the deal? You’re either using too much, not massaging it into your skin enough or applying makeup immediately after. Typically, 1-3 drops is enough for oily skin, 2-4 drops is good for normal skin and 4-6 drops is ideal for dry skin. Apply it after your moisturizer has absorbed but at least 5 minutes before primer or foundation. I prefer to really massage it into my skin which revs up circulation and helps it absorb more quickly, but go with a patting motion if you’re on the oily side.
Why does liquid foundation always look so weird on me? I think I know what you mean by “weird.” If you went from nothing or a tinted moisturizer to a full coverage foundation, you probably aren’t used to seeing your skin without the variations in skintone, lack of redness, freckles, etc. Backtrack and try a sheer foundation like MAC Face & Body, which will let your skin show through.
My undereye concealer gets really caked up, no matter what kind I use. How do I make that never happen again? First things first, dab a little moisturizer under your eyes prior to applying your concealer. That primes the area and keeps product from gathering on those tiny bumps of skin. Let it sit for a few seconds, then apply concealer. A rice-grain sized amount should be enough to do both undereyes. Concentrate your concealer in the center and towards the nose, as that’s where most darkness is. After about 5 minutes, apply a very light layer of translucent powder to set the concealer. If you are not using too much concealer, this process should eliminate your problem. My favorite undereye concealer is MAC Select Coverup and Rimmel Stay Matte Powder in Transparent is my favorite translucent pressed powder.
Why won’t my eyeshadow stay on? Is it afraid of commitment like every guy I date? I’m not sure what’s wrong with those jokers, but if your eyeshadow is fading fast and you’re not already using one, get yourself an eye primer. Too Faced Shadow Insurance is the gold standard, says this girl. And know that in general, drugstore eyeshadows don’t having the same staying power as higher end brands. MAC eyeshadows are fantastic and when they are paired with Shadow Insurance, you’re talking all-day strong.
Stuck in a makeup rut? Need a quick change from work makeup into happy hour makeup? Want to try something new but only have 5 minutes? Don’t panic, girlfriend. Makeup isn’t always a time-consuming, detailed process. There are some small makeup changes that you can do that will make a big impact.
Try one out!
1) Eyeliner Magic. Want to make your eyes look bigger or more awake? Apply on off-white eyeliner or concealer pencil to your lower waterline (I like MAC Chromagraphic Pencil in NC15/NW20). An instant day-to-night eyeliner trick is to apply a black pencil eyeliner, like Topshop Kohl Pencil in Coal, on your lower waterline. Instant sexy eyes. What’s up now, Megan Fox?
2) Lipstick Love. Changing your normal lip color and/or texture can brighten up your face, make your outfit work or pull your makeup together. If you normally wear a fresh pink lipstick, try a berry lip stain. If you’re a matte red lip girl, try a creamy nude. A 30 second lip change can bring your look from innocent to vamp, retro to modern, polished to playful, etc. There is more than one lip color that works on each person, so play around!
3) You’re Blushing. If you don’t normally wear blush, you’ll be amazed by what a small amount of cheek color can do. And if you do wear blush, try something new. Switch from a powder to a cream or vice versa, or swap your normal petal pink for a pretty peach.
4) Contour Time. Try using a contour powder to shape your face. Once you know what you are doing, you are looking at about a two minute change. There are a shitload of contouring how to’s on YouTube, so check them out. (Pixiwoos, Lisa Eldridge and Charlotte Tilbury are my favorites for all makeup tutorials.)
5) Bat Those Lashes. But first, apply another coat of mascara to top and bottom. I prefer an inky black mascara, like Dior Diorshow Extase, when applying on already-coated lashes.
A little change can amp up and refresh your look. None of these take more than two minutes, so no excuses. I know you have two minutes–your Facebook Newsfeed can wait.
“I just want to look natural.” While it sounds simple, the true Natural Look is one of the hardest to do. Why? Because it is about perfecting the skin. When my clients request the Natural Look, 9 times out of 10, they want glowy, flawless skin–but in a way that will make people think they are born with it. If you are 10 years old or a model (and trust me, not all models have perfect skin), then I take it back–this is an easy look. If not, read on!
In other looks, the focus may be on the eyes, lips, cheeks, lashes, etc., so the skin does not have to look so flawless. But for a truly natural look, the skin needs to appear clear, contoured (but not in an obvious Kim K. way), even, smooth and glowing. It’s a tall order, but it can be done.
Your first step is to get your skin in good shape (ideally this is done consistently, not just for this look). The better your skin is, the easier this look will be to do and the better it will look. I wouldn’t attempt this look if you are in the middle of a huge breakout. In fact, if you are currently dealing with acne, hold off on this. It will take a lot of time and product, and probably frustration. If you are currently not dealing with breakouts, starting by cleansing and exfoliating your face. And if you were out last night, make sure you finish removing that eye makeup that you were just too tired to get to…
First, apply an eye primer, like Too Faced Shadow Insurance. You will be applying eye makeup and you want it to last, so an eye primer is key.
Then, apply a moisturizer with luminizing properties. A tinted moisturizer, like Jouer Moisturzing Tint or even Jergens Natural Glow for Face mixed with a little of your regular moisturizer, will work well. Really massage the moisturizer in. This is going to rev up the circulation to the skin which will help give you some glow.
Next, apply a matte eyeshadow in a color as close to your skin as possible. This should go on your lids and into the crease if you have deepset or hooded lids. If not, keep it on just the lids.
Apply a matte shadow that is a shade or two darker than your skin to the crease of your eyes (skip if you have deepset or hooded eyes).
If you have large pores, apply a pore minimizer to those areas.
Take an angled eyeshadow brush and the same crease matte shadow and apply it as close to your eyelashes (both top and bottom) as possible. The point is to give subtle definition to your eyes, not to make it look like you have eyeliner on.
Now, take a matte eyeshadow that is a shade or two lighter than your skin and apply a small amount under your browbone. If you have deepset eyes, skip this step.
Apply face primer if you have oily skin and/or will be wearing the makeup for a while.
Apply a couple of thin coats of mascara to your top eyelashes. This is one of the few times I will say go ahead and use brown mascara if your lashes are blonde. If not, black mascara is good. Just don’t load it on. Comb through it to remove any clumps. If you are staying true to this look, it’s not about the lashes.
If you have redness, apply some green color corrector to cancel it out.
Add an off-white liner to your lower waterline. Make sure it is off-white and not pure white, because that will be too obvious. The off-white covers any red, pink, or brown tones on your waterline, making you look well rested.
Apply a sheer foundation, like MAC Face & Body or Make Up For Ever Face & Body, using your hands. After you have applied it, take a few seconds to press it into your skin with your palms. This will give you a really natural finish.
If necessary, fill in your eyebrows with a brow powder. If they are full will no sparseness, you can skip this step and just give them a brush through.
Apply concealer to under the eyes and any areas you may need it.
Add a cream blush to your cheeks, using fingers. I like a peachy pink for light to medium skintones, and something slightly orange for darker skin. No matter what you choose, it should be muted. Nothing too bright or shimmery. Ideally you want it to mimic what you look like when you are naturally flushed. MAC, Make Up For Ever and Sonia Kashuk make great cream blushes.
Use a cream highlighter sparingly on the tops of cheekbones. You don’t want something super shimmery, but a tiny bit of shimmer is okay. If your collarbone is showing, add some highlighter there too. Blend well.
Apply a thin layer of loose powder to set your face makeup and undereye concealer. Unless you are oily all over, you can apply the powder just on the t-zone and undereye area if you prefer.
Apply a small amount of mascara to lower lashes, concentrating it at the lash roots. You don’t want much here. Again, it’s just about defining the eyes.
Use a contour brush to lightly shape your face with contour powder (this will vary depending on your face shape). Make Up For Ever Sculpting kits are great for this. If you prefer a cream contour, do this step after highlighter.
If your skin is oily or you prefer a bit more of a flushed cheek, apply some powder blush in the same shade as the cream blush you already have on.
Line and fill in your lips with a liner that is the same color as your lips. Pat in the liner with your finger.
Top with a lip balm. Don’t use a gloss if you want to stay true to this look. At their best, lips are smooth and even colored, but nobody’s lips are naturally glossy.
Now, look at yourself. THAT is natural makeup. This can be a beautiful look, but if you are someone who is used to wearing a lot of makeup, you may feel naked. And I wouldn’t recommend this for a special event or night out. It can be gorgeous in photoshoots and during the day, but it might look a little off if you are wearing a cocktail dress or going to a holiday party.
But, at the same time, if this is your look, and you love it, rock it. Rock it with pride. I’m all for wearing what makes you feel good, and if the Natural Look does it, then by all means, go for it! I just wanted to give the disclaimer because I think many people think the Natural Look is Jessica Alba on the Cover of Allure. It won’t turn you into her anymore than wearing heels will make me 5’6″ for real. I hope this blog post will help you if you do want to try this look. And if you like the look after that, then even better!
I’m talking about my purse-bag, not my makeup-bag. (And definitely not my pro makeup kit–that would take wayyyyy too long.)
I have my Go-To products, and although I change them up, below is a list of the products I have been keeping with me lately.
MAC Blot Powder in Light. A pressed powder that is perfect for touchups. It eliminates shine without adding cakey-ness.
Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 40+. It’s a travel size one, and the product feels and smells great. I like wearing a higher SPF moisturizer during the summer and early fall because I have pigmentation on my face, and I would prefer to keep that to a minimum.
I keep several eyeliners with me because they are such an easy way to change up a look.
MAC Eye Pencil in Pale Yellow. This color has been discontinued, but any off-white pencil eyeliner will work. I use this to rim my lower waterline when I want my eyes to look bigger or more awake.
Topshop Kohl Liner in Coal. When I want to quickly make an eye makeup more dramatic, I apply some of this to the waterline. Or I add it to the top lashline for more definition..or rim my eyes for a sexy, smudgy look. I even used it to touch up the facepaint on a friend’s daughter the other day, so it’s versatile!
Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes in 7L. This turquoise liner is my go-to when I’m bored with my eye makeup. I reached for it a lot over the summer, but it doesn’t feel quite as right for the fall.
MAC Eye Kohl in Minted. Here’s one I use more in the fall and winter. It’s a change from black or off-white on the waterline, and it works well with my hazel eyes. I don’t usually use it on the top lashline because I like a darker color there, but I think it’s great way to add a pop of color at the bottom lashline.
Nivea A Kiss of Smoothness Hydrating Lip Care. I have tried what feels like a million lip balms/moisturizers over the year, and I truly like this one the most. Many of them feel great when I first put them on but eventually dry my lips out. Or they work for the first few days, then stop. I have been using this one for about two months and it is good people. And it’s got SPF 10, which is a huge plus. No overpowering scent of any kind, and I believe it only comes in the colorless shade.
Rimmel London Stay Glossy in Non-Stop Glamour. It’s a peachy pink gloss with gold flecks. It’s shiny, somewhat moisturizing and lasts surprisingly long for a lip gloss in that price range. It’s a bit sticky (which I think helps glosses stay on longer), but not unbearably so. The shimmer is pretty, and doesn’t veer into frosty territory.
MAC Lipstick in Lady Danger. It’s a classic. Matte orange red perfection. I love a red lip–it instantly dresses up a look–so I keep this little gem with me at all times.
ELF Retractable Lip Brush. When I put on a red lip, I usually use a lip brush. I think it looks more polished that way. This ELF brush is great because it is retractable, so it doesn’t leave red stains everywhere when I put it back in my bag. And take a look at their website–so cheap!
I change up the products in my purse occasionally, but many of these have been with me for a while. I like to have options, but I don’t want my already heavy purse to really weigh me down. What’s in your bag?
Want that “glow from within” look? Then you, my friend, should consider cream blush.
Cream blush, especially when layered between liquid foundation and powder, gives your cheeks a gorgeous, soft focus glow. I can’t think of anyone this wouldn’t be flattering on. Cream blush is great for dry or mature skin, and it also works on oily skin (as long as you set it with a powder blush).
Here’s how I do it:
After most of eye makeup is done, I put on a primer on my skin (if you aren’t oily and/or don’t have a problem with face makeup fading, you can skip this step). While the primer is setting in, I do my mascara. Foundation goes on next. I either use a sheer foundation, like a MAC or Make Up For Ever Face & Body foundation, or I use a medium coverage foundation, like Make Up For Ever HD Foundation. Sometimes I use a medium-heavy coverage foundation, like NARS Sheer Glow, and cut it with some Face & Body. Whatever you choose, as long as it is liquid, you’ll get the desired “glowing” result. I use my hands to apply the foundation, then I buff it into the skin. My absolute favorite brush for that is the Real Techniques Buffing Brush.
Next, I apply cream blush to the apples of my cheeks, using my fingers and blending slightly upward onto the cheekbones. I love Sonia Kashuk Creme Blushes, MAC Cremeblend Blushes and Make Up For Ever HD blushes.
If I have used a Face & Body only, I then go over the entire face with Benefit Hello Flawless powder foundation. I use my Buffing Brush to press the Hello Flawless onto the skin. I avoid buffing it at this point, especially over the cheeks, because I don’t want to move the cream blush. Cream blush is a slippery little fella, that’s just the nature of the product.
If I have used a fuller coverage foundation, I do the same step, but I use a powder instead of Hello Flawless. My current favorite powders are Make Up For Ever Super Matte Loose Powder , MAC Blot Powder and Rimmel Stay Matte Powder.
After that, I apply my contour (usually Benefit Hoola or NARS Laguna). Then comes the powder blush. I most often reach for Make Up For Ever Sculpting Blush, NARS Blush or MAC Powder Blush in a peach or pink shade. Adding that layer of powder blush amps up the cream blush and kind of seals it into place. I have oily skin, and I find that my cheek color really stays on when I do this. Not to mention, people always seem to compliment my “glowing” skin when I do this look.
Cream blush is ideal for dry winter skin, and a pretty, glowing look is perfect for Valentine’s Day. Give it a try!
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!
As a makeup artist, I get a lot of repeat requests. Smokey eyes, bronzed skin and blacked winged liner are three of the most popular. Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of requests for “dewy skin.” So I suppose this is perfect time to tell you the real scoop on that look.
The idea behind dewy skin is that it looks young, fresh and not made up. But like most makeup looks that people think look “natural,” it actually takes time, the correct products and a few other factors you may not have access to to get it right.
The best way to get the dewy look is to have a good base to start with. And by that, I mean good skin. Dry, uneven or dehydrated skin is not going to work here. If you regularly cleanse, exfoliate (this is huge) and moisturize, then you have a better chance of achieving the look. This is a good habit to have whether you want the dewy look or not, so get to it!
Before we go on, I want to preface this by saying that if you have oily skin, this is probably not the look for you. Adding shine to an oily skin is going to make you look, well, greasy. If you have oily skin and you’re using–but not over-using–oil absorbing and mattifying products, you probably still have some of your skin’s natural oils coming through anyway, so you may look dewy without trying. If that sounds like you, you can stop reading right here (unless my writing has you entranced).
If your skin is dry, normal, or normal to dry, and you have a consistent cleanse-exfoliate-moisturize routine, read on. If you have dry skin, you can start with a moisturizer for normal to dry skin (like Benefit Total Moisture Facial Cream or Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre). Normal or normal to dry skin, just use whatever moisturizer works for you (Ole Henriksen makes great moisturizers for a variety of skin types and concerns). You could also start with a serum like Tarte’s Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Illuminating Serum. This stuff gives some serious luminosity. I would avoid oil-free moisturizers for this look.
The next step would be a luminizing lotion or primer. Illamsqua makes a fabulous primer for dewy looks, called the Satin Primer. The Tarina Tarantino Pearl Glow Primer in Pearl is a good one too. Wonderglow by Charlotte Tilbury is another great choice.
Next, you’ll want to use a sheer foundation. I recommend MAC Face & Body Foundation. It leaves the skin with a very dewy finish, and feels lightweight.
Apply a liquid or cream highlighter to the cheekbones and browbones (and above the Cupid’s Bow, if you’re feeling daring). I like Benefit Watts Up for light to medium skin and MAC Cream Colour Base in Improper Copper for medium to dark skin. Use translucent powder only under the eyes and on the nose. You don’t want to over powder, because you’ll mattify the skin, which is the opposite of the dewy look.
Use a cream blush for cheek color, as they tend to have more of a dewy finish than powder blushes. I like the Make Up For Ever HD Blushes for this.
On lips, use a sheer gloss like Lancome Juicy tubes. You want something lightweight and almost watery looking, if that makes sense. I’d skip lipliner if you want to stay true to the look.
Since the rest of the face has that glowy, dewy quality, I prefer to “anchor” it with defined eyes (as Hayden and Camilla did in the pictures above). You can go dewy all over, like the model above did, but I don’t think that look translates well in real life for most people (it’s different for runway or editorial, which I’ll get into). So for eyes, I would go with a slightly shimmery, natural color or a metallic shadow in the brown or gold family, and black liner at the upper lashline and waterline. Go ahead and contour the eye with a matte color slightly darker than your skintone. (If you have hooded eyes, skip this step.)
And you’re done! Feeling dewy? No? Well, let me tell you truth about dewy looks…
When you see a dewy-faced actress onscreen, please know that she had the advantage of professional lighting, camera lenses, and a makeup artist to touch her up after each take. That celeb on the red carpet? She spent hours with a makeup artist beforehand and may even have one with her to touch her up throughout the event. And there’s a good chance she has the money to spend on high quality skincare services and products. Same deal with models, who are also often genetic freaks with amazing skin.
And the models and celebs you see in magazines? Please, they have it made. A pro makeup artist, photographer, and lighting, constant touchups during the shoot and Photoshop after. Anyone can look dewy after all of that.
So my point is, don’t think you’re doing it wrong if your dewy makeup doesn’t come out like Hayden’s or Camilla’s. Just use this post and those pictures as guidelines and do your best. You’ll do great!