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.

Makeup Before and After: Liner and Lips

How adorable is this ‘girl next door’ bridesmaid whose makeup I got to do recently for a wedding? On girls like this who are so naturally beautiful to begin with, I really like to do a more casual, unstructured look that flatters without looking heavy. Could you imagine if I drew a big swoopy cat eye on her? Or did something really smokey? It just wouldn’t work. Filling in her brows, evening out her skin out, and adding some bronzer made a big difference, but her sparkly blue eyes and full lips were definitely the focal point.. Here’s what I used to make them front and center.

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My pencil liners have been getting a lot more use than the gel ones I’ve always carried in my kit because of the unstructured look they give. Laura Mercier’s long wearing pencils glide on so smoothly and wear as long as any gel. Typically a pencil this soft is the first to smudge, but this formula is as close to perfect as it gets. For this look, I used Noir (black) on her top lash line and Slate (charcoal) to line below. Using grey to line under her eyes looks less harsh than using just black all the way around.  Try it using a violet, blue, or ivy liner- just use a black liner on your top lid, then any color along the bottom. It’s a modern and easy way to wear colored eye liners and a fun departure from ho-hum black.

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Laura Mercier longwear crème eye pencils

Since she didn’t like the heavy look of lipstick, I lined her lips in a neutral pink and used Jouer Lip Sheer SPF 15 in Santorini over top. It’s a perfect, universally flattering pink that’s lightweight and moisturizing. You can use them solo (as I typically do since I use mine all the time in place of lip balm) or with a liner to deepen the color if you’d like. Either way, you’ll love how soothing they are, and their casual color that works for any occasion or no occasion at all.

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Jouer Lip Sheer SPF 15

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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New Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder Bronzers

Bravo to Laura Mercier!  Although most lines carry one maybe two bronzers, it doesn’t actually make sense to have a one-color-fits-all shade. Because we all have such different skin tones to begin with, the same bronzer might leave one person perfectly tan while the other looks like a muddy mess. Mercier’s new Matte Radiance Baked Powder collection offers a highlighter along with 4 shimmer-free matte bronzers with unique tones and depths formulated for different shades of skin.

I’ll grab a few for my kit since bronzers for fair and deeper tones are always hard to find. If you fall into those categories and bronzers tend to leave you looking more orange than sun-kissed, check out these new bronzers with a custom twist.

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What’s New from Laura Mercier this Spring

Belle Nouveau, Laura Mercier’s Spring 2012 collection has some gems worth checking out – here are the highlights.

Nobody does creme shadows as well as they do, I use several in my kit as primers. They aren’t drying and for being so sheer they really lay down some beautiful color that holds onto powder shadows and prevents creasing. Their 3 new colors; Aqua, Grey, and Mauve give a sheer pop of fresh spring color to the lids in the same crease-free way.


Sheer Créme Eye Colour $22

Anything purple lights my fire and this light lavender polish is just what my boring pastel pink polish wardrobe needs to get my toes ready for spring.


Lavender Cloud Nail Lacquer $18

I always keep a body bronzer both in my kit and under my sink. Since I’m an SPF freak and inconsistent with self-tanner, I’m often dressing for something when I realize that I look like an extra from the Twilight movies. I mix a dab of body bronzer in with a body lotion or oil and get an even, instant tan that lasts until my next shower.


Body Bronzing Makeup $38

Laura Mercier Holiday 2011

When it comes to color, Laura Mercier is hard to beat especially if you’re like me and revel in great quality makeup. Their holiday collection is still available and really worth a look. Just a few new shades and techniques can make for a new updated look for 2012.

Their Baked Eye Colour Palette $48 was probably my favorite offering from all of last year’s holiday collections. Now it’s back with 5 new shades, a double ended brush, and the same rich formula that’s easy to wear and blend.

If a smaller palette is more your speed, check out their Petite Eye Colour Trio $25 in Smoky Neutrals and Smoky Taupes – which is the one I have. It’s a mauve, plum, and neutral pink that compliments most skin tones and gives some fresh options for those who want to escape the ho-hum brown rut we so easily get sucked into.

Their best deal of the bunch, I think, is the Kohl Pencil Set $45 with 5 eyeliners in Stormy Grey, Black Violet, Brown Copper, Black Gold and Black Navy that end up being just $9 a pop. Their creamy formula is so easy to apply because it doesn’t drag on the skin so you can even lay a coat of it down on your lids before you apply shadow for extra dimension to a smokey eye.

And while you’re at it grab a Caviar Stick Eye Colour $24, a creamy liner/shadow hybrid of intense color. They’re pretty unique and way cool for a smudgy, imperfect look which is my favorite for totally sexy morning-after eyes.

All but the Caviar stick (thankfully) are limited, so once they’re gone they’re gone.