Before & After: Just the Basics

Liz, a  bride with an upcoming wedding I got to work with last week has pretty much the ideal face; big eyes, full cheeks, and pouty lips.  I can see why she isn’t a fan of the overly made-up look since she really doesn’t need to wear much day-to-day, so I created a timeless look that she (thankfully) loved using the basics that I reach for over and again in my kit.

What I used:

Face:

Primer: Hourglass no 28
Foundation: Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Moisture Foundation
Concealer: Smashbox High Definition
Setting Spray: Caudalîe Beauty Elixir
Powder: Koh gen Do Maifanshi Face Powder

Eyes:

Primer: Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Makeup Color Base Lavender Pink
Eye Shadow: Urban Decay Naked 2
Liner: NYX Super Skinny Eye Maker
Mascara: NYX Doll Eye
Lashes: Ardell #110
Brows: Anastasia Brow Duo

Cheeks:

Smashbox Blush Rush

Lips:

Liner: Philosophy The Supernaural (discontinued)
Gloss: NYX Mega Shine Lip Gloss 104 Sweet Heart

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A few things:

I’m finding that my go-to concealer these days is Smashbox High Definition. It’s creamy and covers everything so well but also blends into the skin with minimal creasing.

I start with the face first, once you get the skin right the color is easy. I spray the Caudalîe Beauty Elixir on the skin as I blend the foundation which helps it to melt into the face leaving the foundation looking invisible.

Koh Gen Do has pretty much the best everything when it comes to primers, foundations, and powder. I buy it, I use it on myself and in my kit, I love it. Seriously, this line is hard to beat. Yes, it’s pricey but it’s worth it because of how it conceals while leaving the skin so natural and almost dewey looking. Their products do what’s promised.

Everyone in the world should own that NYX gloss. It’s the prettiest shimmery nude ever.

Makeup Before and After: Liner and Lips

How adorable is this ‘girl next door’ bridesmaid whose makeup I got to do recently for a wedding? On girls like this who are so naturally beautiful to begin with, I really like to do a more casual, unstructured look that flatters without looking heavy. Could you imagine if I drew a big swoopy cat eye on her? Or did something really smokey? It just wouldn’t work. Filling in her brows, evening out her skin out, and adding some bronzer made a big difference, but her sparkly blue eyes and full lips were definitely the focal point.. Here’s what I used to make them front and center.

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My pencil liners have been getting a lot more use than the gel ones I’ve always carried in my kit because of the unstructured look they give. Laura Mercier’s long wearing pencils glide on so smoothly and wear as long as any gel. Typically a pencil this soft is the first to smudge, but this formula is as close to perfect as it gets. For this look, I used Noir (black) on her top lash line and Slate (charcoal) to line below. Using grey to line under her eyes looks less harsh than using just black all the way around.  Try it using a violet, blue, or ivy liner- just use a black liner on your top lid, then any color along the bottom. It’s a modern and easy way to wear colored eye liners and a fun departure from ho-hum black.

Laura-Mercier-Summer-2013-Longwear-Creme-Eye-Pencil
Laura Mercier longwear crème eye pencils

Since she didn’t like the heavy look of lipstick, I lined her lips in a neutral pink and used Jouer Lip Sheer SPF 15 in Santorini over top. It’s a perfect, universally flattering pink that’s lightweight and moisturizing. You can use them solo (as I typically do since I use mine all the time in place of lip balm) or with a liner to deepen the color if you’d like. Either way, you’ll love how soothing they are, and their casual color that works for any occasion or no occasion at all.

jouer lip sheer
Jouer Lip Sheer SPF 15

Makeup Before and After: How to Use Yellow Primer

I was dying to try Koh Gen Do’s Yellow Primer ever since I saw this now infamous photo of it slathered all over Kim Kardashian’s face. Though my technique isn’t the same as her MUA Mary’s, I use it all the time and am addicted to the gorgeous highlight it gives the skin. How did I ever live without it? Pre-foundation I apply a good amount of it under the eyes- all the way across like a half moon and down to the tops of cheeks, I also use it down the bridge of the nose, the center of the forehead, and also on the chin. There are many ways to highlight the skin, but this is how I use this product and get great results.  Because it’s a primer and not a foundation or concealer, the yellow pigment isn’t too dense which can make the skin look sallow.

I used Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Moisture Foundation over the primer which has been a staple in my kit for years. As you can see the coverage is perfection and it’s undetectable so it doesn’t look at all heavy. It’s a staple for so many Makeup Artists, but you can use it as a daily foundation too.

After highlighting the skin, I needed to put some depth back in so I used a ton of Jouer’s Mattifying Bronzer aroud her hairline, cheeks, and even down her neck and decloté to give her a bit more color and ensure that her face would match up with her neck. I don’t like bronzers that have shimmer in them which I think give a really tacky Jersey Shore sort of look. Jouer’s are shimmer-free and give a subtle, natural looking glow which is why they’ve become the most used in my kit. This new formula mops up shine by keeping the skin matte, an unusual bonus for a bronzer.

One of my very favorite things I’ve tried this summer is Laura Mercier’s Kohl Liner Extreme,. The black is so rich and deep that a little goes a long way, but it’s the ease of application that I love best. The slightly creamy formula comes to a dull tip that’s a bit wider than a traditional pencil so it’s easy to draw a line on the lid or smudge it into your waterline. If you feel like you can never get your liner on right, you have to try this one out. It will make your liner application 10x easier.

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Makeup Before and After: Glam Mom

Recently I got to work with Nicole, a busy mom who (like the rest of us) rarely has a reason to get all out glam. I made her up for a shoot she did last week and the before and afters were so great I couldn’t wait to post them! I can’t wait to see her final images from her photos which I know will be amazing. Check out what I used below to get her look.

Click all images to enlarge:

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Her eyes: Copper is such a perfect way to add tons to depth to any look- even for everyday. Her dropped liner on the bottom was Pixi’s Copper Glow smudged out for a more dramatic look. I used Neutrogena’s cream shadow all over under her powder shadow to prevent creasing and to really give the shadow something to stick to. Stila’s Ebony and Kitten were her two main shades, which gave the perfect amount on contrast and pop.

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Her face: A silicone primer sometimes isn’t enough moisture (often the case here in Colorado), so I used Miracle Skin Transformer’s Heal Everything Balm which absorbs quickly but leaves the skin hydrated and primed so blending foundation is easy and it sits beautifully on the skin. I mixed together shades 1 and 2 in Koh Gen Do’s Maifanshi Foundation which as you can see gives a ton of great coverage without looking heavy. I buffed in Dermablend’s Mineral Powder on top to chase away any shine without a hint of a dull or powdery look.

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Her lips: These lips are the kind most women pay for- big and full and just begging for color. I mixed together two nude shades over a pinky liner and skipped the gloss. The sheen was enough and without the gloss her color would wear longer.

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Makeup Before and After: Coverage and Color From tarte

Of all the BB Creams I’ve tried so far, tarte’s is the only one I’d be able to actually use in my kit. Most BB’s are skin-enhancing, so they give some coverage but not nearly enough to get skin looking great for a long day and tons of photographs. Kelly, is the bride below whose trial run for her upcoming wedding I photographed for a before and after. I used tarte’s latest foundation on her and we were both thrilled with the results. Her skin looked so great that very little concealer was needed and it looked invisible both in person and on camera.

On her cheeks I used tarte’s airblush maracuja blush, which is my new go-to for an easy flush, and then their LipSurgence lip luster on her lips for a finished look that isn’t thick or heavy.

Before...

Before…

... And After

… And After! There was a slight change in the natural lighting, but the photo isn’t re-touched at all.

tarte bb cream

tarte bb cream

tarte airblush maracuja blush

tarte airblush maracuja blush

tarte lip luster in achiote

tarte LipSurgence lip luster in achiote

Makeup Before and After: No More Matte Skin

Flannel shirts tied around the waist, Pearl Jam’s Ten CD, and matte skin. Ah, the 90′s. Flashback to any star walking the red carpet for a 90′s event like my girl Cameron Diaz here and you’ll see someone barely recognizable. Matting out the skin with too much powder completely hides its texture so it looks more like a mask than skin which is not only aging but incredibly dated. It just looks weird.


Ghost like Swayze. She looks so much better now.

Thankfully everywhere you look you see makeup that’s ‘luminzing’ and gives that ‘perfect glow’ to liven up otherwise dull skin. A powder-free, healthy looking complexion is youthful and modern. It’s something I strive to achieve when I work- striking that balance between luminous but not too shiny for the camera. I think I nailed it a few weeks back with Amanda, a bridesmaid with really great skin to start with but a good example of how we kept the integrity of her skin in tact without powdering it to death.


No makeup before.


And after. Click to enlarge.

Vapour Beauty is an organic line that pros go nuts over. It’s probably the only line of its kind that sees the inside of artist’s kits because of their safe ingredients and skin-perfecters that perform as well as any other.

I started by priming her skin using thier Stratus Instant Skin Perfector to add some moisture and even out her tone. If you’re in a hurry, you can use only this stick which is like a colorless BB Cream. It just wakes up the skin and makes it look more alive. After that I applied her foundation (airbrush), then for blush I warmed up their Solar Translucent Bronzer on the back of my hand and patted it into her cheeks. I don’t typically use bronzer in place of blush, but this color is so warm and dynamic that I use it for both.

Chances are you probably don’t need a setting powder. If you want a longer wear from your foundation, use a great primer first instead of a powder after and stick to cream based blushes to keep the look consistent.

Vapour is an online thing, but they sample like crazy. Check em out HERE.