Makeup Before and After: Saylee, Alison Raffaele, and Smashbox

Here’s gorgeous bride-to-be Saylee making my job as easy as it gets. For her wedding she wants a soft romantic look to match her fairytale caliber gown. She didn’t need much, just the basics- shimmer shadow, black liner, and pops of color to her lips and cheeks. Today I’ll highlight a few standouts that I recently started carrying in my kit and I don’t know how I ever did without them.

It’s just an ‘after’ since I forgot to snap a ‘before.’ It happens.


Click to enlarge

Hero Products Used:

Primer: Miracle Skin Transformer. Her skin is in great shape so I just wanted some light moisture and to even out her tone before her light foundation application.

Concealer: Alison Raffaele’s Concealer is as good as you’ve heard. This cult favorite is light with tons of natural looking pigment which works beautifully for both dark circles and blemishes. It’s also paraben free and without mineral oil and talc so it doesn’t slide or dry the skin making it perfect for both everyday use and photography. It’s truly one of the best concealers around.

Luminizer: Alison Raffaele Luminizer in Yellow which gives light and dimension to the face without any sort of shimmer. It’s a grown up highlighter and a worthwhile extra step for those who are serious about great looking skin. I find myself grabbing for it now instead of the highlighter I’ve used for years since it’s more versatile and photographs beautifully.

Eyes: Smashbox Limitless 15 Hour Wear Cream Shadow is a new classic. If you want your shadow to stay on all day, you have to layer powder shadows with a cream like this one. It’s really light which makes layering easy, and the long wearing formula intensifies and keeps shadow fresh hour after hour even on the oiliest lids. I used Topaz, a pinky neutral which I’ve found works great under any shadow, or even on its own.

I can’t come to your house to get you glammed up everyday, but you can use what the pros do to make your beauty routine easier and longer wearing.

Pixi Catching Shadows Crayon for the Summer

I try not to get too complicated when it comes to my makeup routine, but I do make a few changes when the the weather starts to heat up. First to go are usually powder shadows that can look heavy or chalky in the sunshine. I’ve been using THIS Lid Last Shadow Pen ($18) from Pixi in place of my usual powder shadows and really loving it. It’s easy to swipe on and blend using only fingers and it stays on without creasing (I still use a primer and matte powder shadow first so it has something to grab onto.) The shade is perfect too, a shimmering champagne that’s just a step beyond having bare lids, but not a full on heavy shadow look – something else I avoid in the hotter months when flushy cheeks and pink and coral lips take over for winter’s defined eyes.


Catching Shadows Crayon in the shade ‘Beaming Reflection’

I think this particular shade is part of a limited collection so find it soon, HERE are the other colors available in the crayon.

Alima Pure Let Them Eat Cake Collection

If you’re named after something it’s called a namesake, but if you’re named after a cake would it then be a cakesake? Namecake? Anyway…These 4 totally adorable shadows from Alima Pure’s Let Them Eat Cake collection are the ‘cakesakes’ of the yummy desserts they resemble. I like Alima Pure’s shadows – versatile with good pigment and with one of the cleanest formulations around. Each of these 4 shadows are of the everyday variety with the deeper shades allowing for some options in depth. Red Velvet reminds me of Stila’s epic Twig shadow while Angel Food gives a nude shimmer similar to their popular Kitten shade minus the orangy tint that can make Kitten a challenge on fair skin. Strawberry Shortcake is a delicate pink shimmer while Devil’s Food can be used for a punch of drama or as a liner.

Check it-


Left to right: Red Velvet, Strawberry Shortcake, Angel Food, Devil’s Food

I’m slowly transitioning into mineral formulas when I find ones with good pigment and wear time, not an entirely easy task but these 4 made the cut into my kit. You can use them wet to punch them up, or pat them right over a still-tacky layer of shadow primer for a better grab and a heightened look.

NYX Deep Charcoal Shadow for a Perfect Smoky Eye

This $5 single shadow from NYX in es29 Deep Charcoal happens to be one of my favorite gunmetal shades I’ve ever used. The depth is just right – not too dark so you can smoke it out with black liner and still have that contrast that’s so important to the look. It’s also balanced with enough shimmer to make it wearable and easy to blend, but not overly shimmery. It creates the perfect smoky eye on all skin tones by adding just the right amount of drama.

Physicians Formula Nude Palette i.e. A Less Expensive Version of Urban Decay’s Naked Palette

If you’re not willing to spend the $50 for Urban Decay’s Naked palette, check out the Nude palette Physicians Formula just released with a similar look as Urban’s but for only $11. While I can’t vouch for the shadow’s textures and color payoff, I can say that I’ve had great luck with this line (especially the bronzers!) and $11 for 9 wearable shadows is a damn good deal.

Urban Decay Naked 2 vs. The Original Naked Palette

Urban Decay’s Naked palette was said to be the best selling shadow palette of all time. Not exactly sure how that’s all calculated up to reveal such an honor, but I know that seemingly every Makeup Artist, beauty blogger, and 20 year old out there ponied up $50 for 12 brown shades that I happily passed on purchasing. Too much glitter, too many ho-hum browns, and not enough eye-catching standouts to turn my jaded head. Naked 2, well, that’s another story.

Let’s first compare the two.


Original Naked Palette $50 A bunch of browns with a blue-grey thrown in.


My Naked Palette 2 $50. Still neutral (hello, Naked..) but with some cool tones splashed in there.


A closer look at the first few shades and the Crease Brush side of the dual ended brush.


And the other shades with the Shadow Brush end shown


It’s housed in a sleek, mirrored tin for extra protection for super clumsy girls like me.

Let’s be clear; it’s still a palette filled with neutral colors, some you may already have versions of sitting around. I like Naked 2 better than the original because it only has two shades (Chopper and YDK) that have bits of glitter whereas Naked has several making it less wearable for those of us who aren’t 13. Foxy, Booty Call, and a few others are pretty standard finds and nothing special outside of Urban’s highly pigmented formula. I love the mauvey twist from the mate Tease, cool gray shimmer of Pistol, sexy silver Verve, gorgeous plumy liner/ smokey eye maker Busted, and the deep Blackout – the blackest shadow you’ll find. All in all, there are enough choices and combinations to make Naked 2 a total hit and a better overall palette than the original. Price-wise if you were to buy each shade separately it would be around $200 (not including the cost for the brush and tiny lip gloss that you could probably do without.)

When seeing if a palette is something you need, it’s best to look at each shade individually (in person is best) and even take a pic if you need to compare it at home with what you already have so you aren’t buying the same colors over and over. It’s one of the few palettes where every color is a winner, and their shadows are among the best – great pigment and easy to blend so they look better on the skin than chalky shadows like M.A.C. which is exactly why I nabbed it to use in my kit.