Makeup Before and After: A Perfect Example of Why Not to Cover Up Freckles

Another day, another beautiful bride. Here’s a recent trial run with the low down on her look.

before and after

Lips:

I combined a nude liner with tipsy, a LipSurgence light coral gloss from tarte to make her lips look a little fuller. These shiny glosses get a lot of use in my kit especially for girls who aren’t die-hard lipstick wearers but still need some color and shine.

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Highlighter:

Just two days after Hourglass sent their Ambient Lighting Palette to me, I tossed out 4 other highlighters I was carrying in my kit. This one is incredible and all I’ll need. It’s this fine powder that isn’t heavy or shiny looking, almost  like a movie effect, or an Instagram filter, or a dusting of Photoshop for your real life face. Use it on cheekbones or wherever you’d like to highlight, since it’s so light it’s tough it over-do. Here I dusted some along her cheekbones so you can just see a glimpse of it from a forward facing angle. It’s a must-try for those looking for an instant boost to their complexion.

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Concealer:

Her slight discoloration around the eyes was easily zapped using Miracle Skin Transformer’s Treat & Conceal concealer. I’ve used it off and on in my kit, but I’m personally on my 3rd tube since discovering it years ago on a California trip. I was having some issues with the concealer I’d been using for years attracting powder to it (shadows) thus causing darkness under the eyes about 20 minutes after I’d finished an application. The best thing about Treat & Conceal is its consistency which feels like a whipped primer – not heavy or overly creamy so it settles into skin quickly and completely leaving the surface feeling like there’s nothing there.

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Foundation:

I never cover freckles. They’re adorable and such a big part of what makes someone look like ‘them,’ but it also adds some color so if you do try to erase them you’ll just end up looking pale. I use Koh Gen Do’s Maifanshi Moisture Foundation a ton because it makes skin look better, and not like a mask. This is a perfect example of evening out the skin without over-doing it to death. That’s why this is a great pro foundation and everyday choice too.

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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.

(More) Stuff I Buy: tarte

Even I fall into a makeup rut from time to time. For years now I’ve worn slightly varied looks that start with a nude shimmery shadow on my lid and then some other boring brownish shade. Zzzz. I’m so over this shimmer and I’m tired of browns so tarte’s be MATTEnificent colored clay eye & cheek palette caught my eye on a recent trip to Ulta which is quickly passing Sephora as the makeup and beauty destination. (And no I don’t know the company, I really think that because they sell drugstore  and hard to find brands like NYX there too.) Although the colors appear sort of similar they’re unique enough to create different looks and they’re each really pretty and wearable so my whole palette will get used. Unless (and this is a big unless) you have skin that’s darker than a typical medium olive tone. Then I don’t think this palette is for you because the colors are pretty light and probably wouldn’t pack enough punch to really show up. But If you have a lighter skin tone these colors will compliment your complexion without overwhelming it. The cool plums are a nice departure from browns and the pale rose blush is gorgeous on. I’ve also been using the black and brown powder liners- so much easier than a fussy gel liner which I don’t use very often anymore because it takes me too long to make a straight line. For $36 I think I got a great deal, it’s everything I need  in one easy palette.

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I was out of concealer too and wanted to try something new. After circling Ulta three or four times I decided I’m too picky to try something random and too busy to bring something back. Tarte it is!

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Ok so I’m of course loving their maracuja creaseless concealer but the consistency took a little getting used to. It’s on the tacky side so it feels different from typical concealers but it works really well because those with a consistency that’s too moisturizing tends to crease and slide while something more drying doesn’t spread or completely blend into the skin. This pigment dense, waterproof formula melts into the skin hiding discolorations and even dissolves completely into fine lines hydrating those dryer areas using their signature maracuja oil.

I put a coat of it around my eyes, nose and over any other redness but I don’t blend it in right away. Next I apply my foundation then spray my whole face with my Caudalie Elixir. This way the concealer has some time to warm into my skin so when   I press it in using my Beauty Blender everything is perfectly concealed- even my dark circles. Not a hint of discoloration shows through.

You might have to play with it a little to achieve invisible coverage on your skin but once you get it right it’s so worth it.

Then I sort of impulse bought Amazonian clay full coverage airbrush foundation because I thought the name and packaging were both awesome. I’m always on the hunt for a good powder foundation because of how easy they are to apply and this one had a light constancy and good coverage (on my hand from the tester but not my face because I’m a germaphobe like that.) Side note: When I worked at Nordstrom a million years ago, some sicko came in to get makeup to cover some weird skin problem she was having but like 5 of us at different counters wouldn’t touch her (because you’re not supposed to, duh) and we basically told her to see a doctor. But then we looked over to the Lancome counter and there was this equally weird girl who worked there for like 1o minutes who was all- sure I’ll help you. The rest of us were like SMH which turned into a WTF the next day when the Lancome girl came into work with the SAME RASH. It took about an hour for someone to pipe up and tell her to be on her way (which was strange because she called in sick all the time, but when she had an actual problem, there she was!) But the damage was already done because she, the initial weirdo, and now most of the Lancome girls all had Impetigo, a really gross and highly contagious oozy skin rash that has to be treated with antibiotics. We all had to disinfect what we could salvage at our own counters, but several tester units were thrown out which was expensive and a huge mess. So lesion learned: Don’t use testers on my face and also don’t try to disguise some red weeping sore- treat it with actual medicine.

Anyway- I’ll try my very own clean and new powder foundation this weekend and report back.

Amazonian clay full coverage  airbrush foundation

My Foundation and Skin Spray Dream Team

When clients ask what brands I use in my kit I always answer the same way, “the best of the best.” It makes sense, I get to try out so many amazing things from companies big and small so I promote the best stuff to kit status where they’ll make my job as a Makeup Artist much easier. The mistake I often make is leaving them there and not using them for myself.

I usually take a few winter months off from my wedding makeup biz which is typically when we vacation for a few months by the beach. This year we stayed in Colorado to focus on our baby girl and (finally) finding a house after a two year search. (I think we’re there!) So because my kit has been parked in the closet and I just ran out, I got my fave foundation (along with my miracle setting spray) out of my kit and into my bathroom.

I can’t say enough about Koh Gen Do and their moisture foundation, not that I really have to since so many makeup artists and celebs use it. Its perfect ratio of powder, emollients, and water give it a better-than-skin look that’s never heavy or drying. It’s the perfect photography makeup but it’s so light that I overlooked the fact that it’s a great everyday makeup too. My melasma is slowly fading out but I still need some coverage so when I have time I quickly blend it in with my fingers before setting it with my favorite spray.

Caudalie Beauty Elixir is another kit staple for many MUA’s because it somehow makes the skin look better. If ever I’m having problems getting foundation to blend into a client’s dry skin, a few sprays pressed into the skin using a Beauty Blender does the trick. I top my foundation with a few sprays and skip the powder. The result using the two together is healthy, even looking skin.

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Just a quick snap I took today in the drive through at Starbucks. I say ‘snap’ only because I’m too old for selfies. See? Even skin. (Side note: I wasn’t mad and I’m not cross-eyed. At least I don’t think I am but it might be because my wonky eye can’t see that it’s wonky.)

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Quick Makeup Essentials for Moms

We’re a month into having our second daughter and I think we’re in a pretty good groove. My goal to shower every day (so sad, but moms you get it right?) and look somewhat presentable has been accomplished, which means my 5 minute makeup routine is pretty streamlined at this point. I used to write about quick makeup tips for moms but looking back I didn’t have a clue. I know now that using basics to look rested is what’s key. Here’s what I’ve been grabbing to look less like a zombie and more like my old self.

I always start off using my Matte Moisture Tint from Jouer. It covers my melasma and blends just using my fingers so I can slap it on quickly and have undetectable makeup that wears all day. Next time I’ll get the luminizing instead of the matte version but I’ll definitely grab another Jouer – their tinted moisturizers rival Laura Mercier’s and they use minerals so they’re better for your skin.

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NYX has a jar of lavender concealer for just $5 that gives my fair skin the same highlight and glow that a yellow concealer does on medium or deeper skin tones. I put it under my eyes down to the tops of my cheekbones. My eyes and face look brighter and more awake which is exactly what I need. I use it over concealer once my dark circles are neutralized otherwise it would exaggerate them by adding purple on top of skin that already looks blue.

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Tarte’s Cheek Stains basically apply themselves with an applicator about the same size as your cheeks. I just smudge a little on the apples of my cheeks and blend. Adding color to the face is essential to looking fresh and rested.

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Neutrogena’s Healthy Lengths Mascara is one of the few I’ve tried where one coat will do the trick. The formula clings to lashes and fattens them up just shy of looking clumpy so one quick coat is all I need.

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Fragrance. Always.

Smelling great is such a big part of feeling put together. Modern Muse, Estée Lauder’s latest fragrance is both a familiar scent and something the feels totally new at the same time. It’s a warm floral, young and sexy but not sweet or heavy. I like to spritz it on my hair where it lingers all day so I don’t have to use it on my skin- something I avoid during the months when I’m nursing.

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So I’m evening out my skin with the foundation, using the concealer to add brightness, giving color to my cheeks, defining my eyes with mascara, and making sure I smell good.
It’s easy and takes about 5 minutes- a reasonable amount of time we can all find in our day.

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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