Makeup Before and After: Bronzy Bridesmaid

Another day, another makeup transformation. I took these over the weekend at a wedding I worked at the Brown Palace here in Denver. It’s the brides sister (and maid of honor), who requested a punched up version of her usual look with some bronzy highlights that would photograph well. Here’s the before and after along with a few things that made the look possible.

My Hero Products for the Look:

Estée Lauder: Bronze Goddess Soft Duo Bronzer

Finding a bronzer that looks good in the office is one thing, but finding one that photographs well and lasts all day is another. Lauder has gotten good at bronzing and their one-shade-works-for-most duo is a go-to for a lot of makeup artists because of its instant tanning affect that’s perfect in any light. Keep in mind that bronzer isn’t meant to be used all over the face, just the top of the forehead, chin, and under the cheek bones gives a dynamic look. A little bit of brozner is pretty and youthful, bronzer all over is Jersey Shore.

Tarte: emphasEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner in Black

emphasEYES is as good as any gel liner out there (better than Bobbi for precision because it isn’t as slippery) but with mineral-derived pigments and a natural formula.I used it on her upper lash line with the pointy side of the brush (shown below), then I did a smudgy application under her lower lash line with the diffusing side of the brush. I’ve seen girls literally cry over this liner without it moving. Liner is important to a look and this is one I trust.

L’Oreal: Double Extend Eye Illuminator in Black Quartz

I’m still using Double Extend in my kit – I’ve never had a problem with smudging or moving and these are brides and bridesmaids who are basically sweating and crying all day long. Double Extend Eye Illuminator offers the same great formula on one side in black, but replaces the primer side with a shimmering formula and a round tipped brush meant to highlight the lashes. I don’t know how much the glimmer actually brings a highlight to the lash, but I love the shape of the brush to work mascara into the outer part of the lashes where they’re the longest and need some extra bulk.

KohGenDo: Maifanshi Moisture Foundation in Shades 2 and 3 blended together

I’ve blogged about KohGenDo Foundation before, it’s a well-loved pick for Makeup Artists who forgo airbrushing for a more controlled (and safer) application. It enhances skin and gives a good amount of coverage without making it look like you’re wearing a mask. You can see in these pics that some of her freckles are still showing (I outright refuse to cover freckles beyond what the foundation does because I think they’re so cute), but the bulk of her discoloration is gone and her skin is still showing through and glowing. No need to powder over top either, the formula itself contains 10% powder so it’s self-setting.

Makeup Before and After: Camille

Another great before and after with Camille, a bride I met recently for her makeup trial-run before her big day in October. She has huge blue eyes with a ton of lid space and a perfect crease- most women need surgery for lids like this. Her fair skin just needed a little bronzing, some pink lips, and taupe lids to get the perfect amount of pop. With fair skin, keep in mind that color is amplified so it’s easy to go overboard without realizing it. Sheer formulas and a light bronzer are your friends.

Beautiful Before..

…And Beautiful After

My Hero Products For the Look:

Estée Lauder: Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelée from their limited Fall 11′ Modern Mercury Collection

Lighter in color and weight than most bronzers, this illuminating gel-powder gives the skin natural warmth without deepening the tone too much. I used it to frame her face, extending down her neck for a seamless transition. There’s no need for a spray tan on your wedding day, bronzer gives an even (and predictable!) application every time.

Alima Pure: Press Pass Limited Edition Shadow from their Fall Runway Collection

Alima’s Press Pass is a sheer, smokey taupe to punch up her blues without a heavy or smokey look – it’s a wedding not a night club. When looking for shadows to suit your skin, keep in mind the weight of the formula and not the actual color; fair skin is flattered by sheer shades and deeper skin tones can wear more saturated ones. Measure the shadow’s weight by applying swatches of the color on the back of your hand, if you can’t see any skin showing through from behind the shadow it’s not a sheer formula. The more skin that shows through, the more sheer it is.

Tarte: LipSurgence in Frisky

Camille, like me, isn’t a big lipstick wearer, but a lip color is essential when photographs are involved. I LOVE (and wear) Tarte’s Lipsurgence lip tints. They’re a sort of tinted gel balm that give enough sheer color   to avoid looking washed out. I have a more neutral one I wear daily, then a punched up version (like Frisky) that I wear for TV appearances.

Heavy vs Sheer. Keeping weight in mind when choosing color will open up new doors for fair-skinned ladies looking to keep it feminine without overdoing it.

Makeup Before and After: Catherine

I’ve been remembering to bust out the camera when I see brides for their makeup pre-wedding trial runs lately which is great because who doesn’t love a good before and after makeup pic? Catherine is gorgeous and just as sweet. For her fall wedding, we wanted a neutral colored eye with a dash of plum peppered in and pink lips and cheeks. Here’s the short list of what I used to create the look (lashes were Ardell 110 btw, the ones I use most.)

Click image to enlarge.


NYX Rouge Cream Blush in Hot Pink

This is some of the best cheek color I’ve used. It’s creamier than Stila’s popular Convertible Color with a perfect consistency that’s so easy to apply and blend. It beats out Stila’s (and many other) versions, and it’s what I’ve been using under powder blush for a guaranteed all-day color pop.


Estée Lauder Pure Color Gloss Stick in Honey Pink:

There are few rules in makeup, but lips and cheeks matching will always be the standard for a look that flows so I applied some pinky lips to match her pinky cheeks. Even a non-lipstick wearer can get behind Lauder’s Pure Color Gloss Stick, the sheerest and shiniest option for those who want color without the weight.

Lip Gloss:

Smashbox Limitless Long Wearing Lip Gloss in Limitless:

A gloss from Smashbox is hard to beat, they aren’t sticky and the colors are right on the money. Limitless is one of those shades that flatters all and gives the right amount of shine for a sexy pout. It gets a lot of use in my kit.


Make Up For Ever HD Elixir:

This light as water serum flies a little under the radar, but it’s an essential in my kit. It’s so dry here in Colorado (especially in the summer) which leaves skin thirsty, and makeup doesn’t look good over thirsty skin. Before priming, I always add a few drops of HD Elixir to the skin for a big drink of moisture that disappears allowing whatever you’re adding on top to melt in like magic.


Rain Cosmetics Diva Eye Shadow Quad in Viva Las Vegas:

Vegas-based Rain Cosmetics made a big splash in the world of beauty as a super glam line of makeup essentials as fun and glitzy as its home state. I love this shadow quad which includes a neutral base shade, two matte browns that can double as liners, and a peachy pink that flatters all skin tones. They have a ton pigment and they blend and wear really well. It’s one of the very few non-mainstream brands that made their way into my kit- which says a ton about its quality.

Eye Liner:

Make Up For Ever Kohl Pencil in 10K:

One of the best color stories for fall 2011 is MUF’s Smoky Couleur Collection, filled with plum and jewel tones that are so deliciously sexy. I used their 10K violet liner instead of a harsh black shade to bring out Catherine’s gorgeous blue eyes on both the top and bottom lash lines as well as her lower rim.

Finishing Powder:

Tarte Smooth Operator:

Don’t underestimate the oil absorbing power of Smooth Operator. Its finish is as good as any and its ability to keep skin shine-free without a chalky finish is unparalleled.

Beautiful in the before.

And beautiful in the after.. Click for full sized images.

Makeup Before and After; Pink Cheeks and Blonde Brows

Contouring and highlighting the face is something that we Makeup Artists do all the time, it’s all about bringing the best features forward, remember this tutorial I did? When you see before and after photos of someone who was contoured, you can see the subtle way that light hits the face and adds dimension, like in these pics for instance.

…Before, click to enlarge.

Mid contour (mid everything actually), lighter, darker and yellow under the eyes using creme concealer.

There we go, subtle hints of a more chiseled face. You can see it on her forehead, nose, and under the eyes especially. 

In order to build up her cheek bones, I layered on Napoleon Perdis Cheek to Chic Blush Duo in #3 (the one in the middle) which looks really bright and scary, but sheers out on the cheeks and lasts long after most blushes fade away.

Blondes have the hardest time with brows – the hair can be so light that it’s almost invisible,  but filing them in can look artificial and weird. Here I used Brow Tech, the powder-and-wax trio from Smashbox which has a perfect shade for blondes with the right amount of ash to it so light hair doesn’t look yellowy or dark. That black brow with light blond hair thing only works for Gwen Stefani.

Makeup Before and After; Pin-Up Girl Red Lips

I can’t imagine a better way to break in my new L’Oreal Infallible LIpcolour collection in new sexy celebrity-inspired colors than to use them on the gals modeling for a recent pin-up girl shoot. Beyonce Red is that true blood red shade that you think of when you think about red lipstick.

Check it out in action.


And after with sparkling red lips, big false lashes, and even a little beauty mark.

Lipgloss applicator with creamy color on one side and a top-coat on the other.

See, it’s the ideal red with an all-day wear formula.
This one is Kate del Castillo’s Plum #790, a brick, maroonish plum.

And Diane Keaton’s Tuberose #290, a neutral pinky color with some depth that flatters most skin tones.

When you’re wearing a light lip color it isn’t as important that it stays put, but darker shades require more staying power so it doesn’t slide outside of your lip line, or worse, wear onto your teeth.

Makeup Before and After; Shades of Pinks and Purple

I was the Makeup Artist for a wedding last Sunday and the girls were all young and adorable even without makeup that they agreed to let me snap a few before and after pics.

I especially loved how this application on a bridesmaid turned out because I used plums on her eyes and pink on her lips and cheeks. It sounds like a combo that’s fit for a Barbie, but anyone can pull off some girly shades without going too far. Keep the look grown up by mixing neutral shades with a color that pops (like purple) on your eyes so you can use some fun color while keeping it grounded at the same time.

Let’s check out the before.

Click to enlarge photos
Pinky, purple adorableness. 
A little closer look at her eyes.

As with any look, getting the skin even is the most important part – everything else from there is just icing on the cake. I used a light shimmery pink, medium gray, and a deep plum on her lids before adding black liner and a strip of false lashes to her eyes. For her cheeks, I  patted on Ben Nye’s creme cheek color in Carnation Pink and then dusted a bright pinky blush on top to give her cheeks super staying power. Anytime you’re layering creme and powder together, you automatically buy yourself a few more hours of wear time. On her lips I used a Stila long-wearing lipstick with a L’Oreal Infallible gloss over top which ended up being about the same shade as her natural lip color.

It’s also worth mentioning that purple shadows are not your friend if you have dark circles around your eyes because those circles tend to be purplish in color. It just ends up looking like you have a meth problem that keeps you up for days, or like you got into a bar fight. Either way, it’s a hard color to pull of when dark circles are in the equation.

Don’t lean on neutrals and browns as your only go-to shadow shades, add in some color to your usual routine and blend, blend, blend until the color softens. Even the smallest hint of color can perk up the skin and give you a healthy glow.

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