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:


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


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


Smashbox Blush Rush


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


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: 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.



... 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

Nail Trends: Leather and Velvet and Feathers (Oh My)

Nail art is huge right now. Forget color, right now it’s all about texture. Blake Lively wore a velvet mani for her wedding while the company Nails Inc caught fire after Alexa Chung tweeted this pic of her ‘leather mani.’ Now they have a new Bling it On Feathers collection so you can have tiny little (real? fake?) feathery looking bits on your nails. This is a trend I’ll have to sit out since my daughter occasionally chews on my fingers and I’d hate for her to ingest feathers, or velvet, or whatever but beyond that it’s just weird.

Velvet nails via

Velvet nails via

Feather Mani via

Feather Mani via

Easiest Blush to Apply: tarte’s Airblush

Forget eyeliner, I think the most difficult thing to apply is blush. Take a gander around your office and you’ll see women with heavy, streaky, or under-colored cheeks. It’s hard to nail the perfect flush. Technique accounts for a lot, sure, but so does the right blush. I’ve been using tarte’s Airblush Maracuja Blush for a few weeks now and I’m so impressed. It’s one of the easiest cheek colors to apply because of its consistency- not a powder but not overly creamy. You can use your fingers, but I use just a regular blush brush that captures and disburses the color softly and evenly. Don’t let the bold looking shades fool you either, they’re so sheer and buildable that you can pile on the color without overdoing it.

tarte airblush maracuja blush

tarte airblush maracuja blush

Estée Lauder Pretty Naughty 2013 Spring Collection

Spring is around the corner so it’s the perfect time to grab some vibrant shades of pinks, plums, blues, and greens to add to your probably too-brown makeup arsenal. Lauder is bringing full-on feminine front and center with their Pretty Naughty spring line. Just little pops of color like this can make a big difference in updating your look so take the plunge and try a new color or two this spring.


Their gelée formula blush is so easy to apply. Use the sponge in the compact to ‘dot’ on where you’d like the color to go, then blend it in using your fingers. Creme blushes tend to look more natural on the skin and wear longer, they also don’t collect on fine hairs on the face (photography tip!) so when you’re outside or in bright light, your makeup is undetectable

Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelée Blush $40

Pure Color Illuminating Powder Gelée Blush $40

I’m dying to try their Sheer Matte Lipstick since matte formulas are often heavy and thick. I’m hoping this one gives coverage and color without the weight.

Pure Color Sheer Matte Lipstick in 'Demure' $25

Pure Color Sheer Matte Lipstick in ‘Demure’ $25

Lately, Lauder’s shadows are rivaling Dior’s iconic palettes in terms of great color combos. That cool brown and charcoal will anchor any look from casual to evening by using them on the lid or as liners. Use the pink, purple, and blue either on the lid (when in doubt just keep the color below the crease), or you can smudge them under your lower lash line, or even dot your eye’s inner corners. If you’re using them to line under your eyes, use a black liner in your water line to give the look a more modern spin.

Five Color EyeShadow Palette $48

Five Color EyeShadow Palette $48

Don’t forget the nails. I’m obsessed with purple, so I’m always happy when it’s on-trend. A great polish on your nails goes a long way in looking more put together. Since I’m pretty casual anyway, getting my nails to a more fashionable state might be just the easy spring update I need.

Pure Color Nail Lacquer in 'Insatiable' $20

Pure Color Nail Lacquer in ‘Insatiable’ $20

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush

Tarte is quickly taking over as my go-to makeup fav. Who wouldn’t love their natural formulas that perform like crazy surrounded by packaging that’s beyond charming? Add their Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush to my daily Tarte routine. It’s a long-wearing powder blush that gives an especially strong performance on shine-prone skin due to amazonian clay that both minimizes pores and keeps shine away, key to helping color stay put. For 12 hours to be exact.

Sleek packaging

Looks like candy

Vibrant colors range in texture from bold to sheer

Beautiful shades

If you’re looking for a hint of sparkle to your blush you won’t find it here (not that you want added sheen when your skin is already shiny), it’s a natural velvety finish that looks great in every light. It’s another home run for Tarte, check it out if you’re looking for a new great cheek color.