Insteading With Sally Hansen Natural Beauty

Sometimes the best makeup is found in the most unlikely places. Sally Hansen Natural Beauty struck up a partnership with Makeup Artist Carmindy which resulted in the line’s best creations to date, a few basics even trump their (much) more expensive counterparts.

Instead of Dior AirFlash $62 – try Airbrush Spray Makeup $14:

If you spray the foundation directly onto a sponge (preferably a Beauty Blender) and dab it into the skin, you’ll get the same look and finish as Dior’s AirFlash… and save $48. Just remember that it’s not meant to be sprayed directly on the face, the spray is just a delivery system so you’ll use less of the densely pigmented makeup and get a natural finish with superb coverage.

Instead of Stila Kajal Eye Liner $18 – try Forever Stay Eye Pencil $8

This has to be one of my favorite eyeliners I’ve ever used. It glides on like Kajal from Stila, but it has the lasting power of the gel liners in a pot – even swimming won’t cause a smudge. For these reasons, I’m bummed to see that it’s nowhere to be found on their site, but it looks like it’s still available (for now?) on I’ll be picking up a few more before they’re gone.

Beauty Essentials You Don’t Already Have

You think you have beauty product known to (wo)man you’ll ever need. You’re the Macgyver of beauty, the one your friends go to when they need something to grow their brows, plump their lips, and make their skin glow. Would it surprise you to find out that you’re missing a few things? These uniquely cool offerings will add value to your beauty arsenal and sharpen your routine not to mention hold firm your reputation as your friends’ resident beauty know-it-all.

You Don’t Have: An Eyeliner This Color

Aside from the fact that the wear time of this liner is limitless, the color is nothing short of incredible. Every woman should own Estée Lauder’s Silver Zinc liner, a somewhat smokey grey with a touch of warmth. I’ve been using it to line under the eyes while still using black on top. It breaks up the look and adds a softness where black might be overpowering especially during the day. It’s a totally eye catching look that works on all ages and skin tones. FYI- it’s a limited edition color, grab one while they’re still available, I predict they’ll sell out soon.

You Don’t Have: A Shower in a Bottle

Admit it, there are days when laziness wins and the daily shower gets pushed aside. Instead of piling on a fragrance, you can spray on a shower-fresh scent like Lush’s Dirty Body Spray (nice name btw.) It’s meant to neutralize a not so fresh scent with their own yummy blend to successfully fake out the noses around you into smelling a much cleaner you.

You Don’t Have: Professional-Grade Vegan Brushes

Makeup Artist Samantha Champan knows what makes a good brush and her brush line reflects just that. They’re made with synthetic taklon brushes, so they’re vegan and 100% cruelty free. They’re ultra plush, high performing, and designed to take up minimal room- each one stands up on its end. Grab them at Ulta where you’ll find sets of 3 or 4 brushes being offered for less than you’d normally pay for just one in a department store.

You Don’t Have: A Waterproof Bronzer

Cargo is known for their legendary cheek colors and bronzers. This huge tin of perfectly balanced Water Resistant Bronzer is in my kit so I can bronze brides who have a good amount of dancing (and sweating) to do. It doesn’t move or change color even in the most humid conditions making it a go-to for the Makeup Artists on Dancing With the Stars.

You Don’t Have: Gluten Free Skincare

Brittanie’s Thyme is one of the better USDA certified organic lines out there with solid gluten-free options. This kit includes one of my favs from the line, their Organic Everyday Moisturizer that uses a base of Aloe and Coconut Oil to gently moisturize and nourish even the most delicate skin.

You Don’t Have: Razor Burn Relief

Res-Q from Satin Smooth delivers quick rescue for ingrown hairs, razor burn, bumps, and skin irritation after waxing, shaving, or threading. It’s one of those really useful things to have around in case of emergencies or to use daily if you’re prone to skin irritation from shaving.

You Don’t Have: A Cleanser That Smells This Good

My beloved Sanitas has this Lemon Cream Cleanser that I swear smells like a really decadent dessert. Sure it removes makeup and acts as a gentle, all-around great cleanser with hydrators and vitamins, but it’s the scent that makes using it an addiction.

Four Seasons Denver Shoot with Studio JK Photography

A few weeks back I was asked to be the Makeup Artist for a shoot at the Four Seasons Hotel Denver. The pics would be a part of their marketing materials as well as to provide future brides inspiration on the venue. Our beautiful model wore breathtaking gowns from Priscilla of Boston, and super-stylist Erin Ferris (Tanto Salon Denver) and I got her glammed out with 3 different looks. Here are a few of my favs from her first look and what I used to achieve it. I’ll post parts 2 and 3 of the shoot later on.

First of all, big wow to Studio JK Photography, a Denver-based husband and wife team who rock my world with their brilliant captures. You can see why they travel the world photographing weddings, they’ll be in Greece next month in fact.

Secondly, I used so many different products during the 10 hour shoot that it would take forever to highlight them all. Instead, I’ll give with my ‘hero’ products for this look, and when I post the other 2 looks from the day, I’ll do the same.

I’m working. And, apparently cross-eyed.
Gorgeous Colorado skyline in the background.

Pretty amazing right?

In a shoot like this when you change the model into different looks, you do so with the color aspects like eyes and lips, but typically leave the skin as is so I needed a primer that would hang on to whatever I was putting on top for the whole day. Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Light grabbed the makeup and kept it looking fresh. This was the first time I used their light version, it’s as good as the original and absorbed right in.

I wanted a little more coverage and staying power after I applied her foundation so I went to one of my new favorite finds, Estée Lauder Double Wear Powder. It locked in the makeup and kept shine away for the entire day. No small feat when hot lights and tons of movement is involved.

I wanted her to have statement eyeliner (click on the 2nd pic to enlarge) so I laid down the groundwork for the liner’s shape using a dark brown powder shadow and an angled brush. When I got it even, I went over it using Iman Luxury Liquid Eyeliner in onyx, a deep black with specks of shimmer that lightly glistens in the sun.

Klorane’s Soothing Make-Up Removal Wipes helped me out big time. I needed a wipe that would remove all of her eye makeup quickly but also gently. If these wipes didn’t remove makeup so easily, her eyes would have been red from rubbing and it would have taken me much longer to get her looking perfect. Even the waterproof mascara melted right away.

Look for our peacock-inspired part two very soon..

My Ulta NYX Haul; Liners, Shadows, and Glosses

When I say I love NYX, I mean it. I received a few things to review a while ago and quickly became obsessed with its creative on the cheap vibe that (dare I say..?) beats the tar out of M.A.C. I gauged the color and wear time of M.A.C’s Penultimate Eye Liner against the one below from NYX and there was no comparison. NYX had them beat on richness of the black (it made M.A.C’s look almost graphite or brown) and it wore longer without budging. The tip is much easier to apply too. I reviewed the NYX Super Fat Marker (which I use daily) but toady I grabbed the smaller one for my kit when I want more precision lining. Here’s a look at the pen and the rest of what I grabbed today from Ulta.

Super Skinny Marker $9

I’ve used their Studio Liquid Liner in Black and Coffee so I knew these stay-put liquids were easy to work with and the shade selection was so fun. I needed a few new hues to stay inspired so here’s what I chose.
Sky Blue, Purple, Silver, Blue. $4.49 ea

If you love a sheen without glitter chunks, these little jars of Ultra Pearl Mania will make you happy. They’re great alone as shadows or placed over them, or even as mix-ins with lip gloss for an unexpected sheen effect on your pout.
Nude, Charcoal, and Baby Pink $2 ea
I couldn’t leave without Lip Gloss. Theirs is thick and smooth but not sticky – oh and it smells good. Big points for that right?

Sweet Heart and Crystal Soda. $5.40 ea

The only thing I didn’t find at Ulta is NYX Doll Eye Mascara ($9) which I grabbed online. They’ve released a few newer ones that I haven’t tried, I really hope this one doesn’t get discontinued because it’s so easy to build. I use it as a ‘topper’ to bulk my lash tips. 
Check out NYX either at Ulta or online. It’s big artist-quality performance for a ton less money.

Color, Color Everywhere

Maybe it’s my spring fever that has me totally inspired and seeing pops of color everywhere, but I had to bust out the camera and catch a few things I’m loving lately.

Top left; My careless application of SpaRitual polish in Spellbound, a classic Ruby Slippers shade that gleams in the sun and beckons tons of compliments.

Middle Left; Iman Cosmetics Luxury Liquid Liner in Onyx too pretty to save for special occasions, so just in case you’re wondering yes that’s me buying bananas at Whole Foods with my glitter liner blazing.

Bottom Left; My 17″ MacBook Pro that I look at so much I had it colored a slightly sparkly lavender shade with a graphite apple.

Right; NYX Cosmetics Grinding Blush in English Rose, a sheer enough shade that’s a perfect pink for all skin tones (and ages).

Click to enlarge

Powdered Eye Liners

Eye liner; friend and foe. Perfectly lined eyes are so beautiful and the cornerstone of most looks, but getting it on evenly is the bane of most women’s morning routines. This new generation of powdered liner is easier to apply than a gel or a pencil because they don’t slip around. You won’t get a completely precision look like a liquid liner gives, it’s much more of a laid back, casual look that’s quick and simple to maneuver. Here are a few powdered liners to check out.

Jane Iredale can pretty much do no wrong as a line as far as I’m concerned. It’s a personal fav and a go-to for a lot of my daily routine. Their new Mystikol dual ended powder liners give bold, rich color on an easy-to-draw sponge tipped applicator on one side, and a highlighter shade on the other to fire up your inner corner or brow bone.

Novice liner gals will love their ease, but I think their strong suit is their total blendability from a liner into a smudgy shadow.

Color Options:

Malachite: A sparkling moss with buttery beige

Amethyst: Royal purple with luxurious pearl

Dark Topaz: Rich brown with velvet rose

Lapis Lazuli: Vibrant blue with shimmering ivory

Onyx: Otherworldly black with creamy pearl

In Bloom Soft Focus Powder Eye Liners from Smashbox use precision wand applicators to apply soft shades effortlessly without any dragging along the lid. They’re available in day-friendly shades for a lighter look that isn’t harsh, if you’re not a fan of the black eye liner look then these are for you.

Color Options:

Dark Brown


Guerlain’s Terracotta Loose Powder Kohl Liner has a fine tip wand for a thiner line and some pretty fiery shades with just a dash of glimmer for the ultimate in sexy eyes.

Color Options:


Brun (with golden flex)

Blue (teal)

Mirage (dark neutral brown) limited edition