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: Glam Mom

Recently I got to work with Nicole, a busy mom who (like the rest of us) rarely has a reason to get all out glam. I made her up for a shoot she did last week and the before and afters were so great I couldn’t wait to post them! I can’t wait to see her final images from her photos which I know will be amazing. Check out what I used below to get her look.

Click all images to enlarge:


Her eyes: Copper is such a perfect way to add tons to depth to any look- even for everyday. Her dropped liner on the bottom was Pixi’s Copper Glow smudged out for a more dramatic look. I used Neutrogena’s cream shadow all over under her powder shadow to prevent creasing and to really give the shadow something to stick to. Stila’s Ebony and Kitten were her two main shades, which gave the perfect amount on contrast and pop.


Her face: A silicone primer sometimes isn’t enough moisture (often the case here in Colorado), so I used Miracle Skin Transformer’s Heal Everything Balm which absorbs quickly but leaves the skin hydrated and primed so blending foundation is easy and it sits beautifully on the skin. I mixed together shades 1 and 2 in Koh Gen Do’s Maifanshi Foundation which as you can see gives a ton of great coverage without looking heavy. I buffed in Dermablend’s Mineral Powder on top to chase away any shine without a hint of a dull or powdery look.


Her lips: These lips are the kind most women pay for- big and full and just begging for color. I mixed together two nude shades over a pinky liner and skipped the gloss. The sheen was enough and without the gloss her color would wear longer.


This Week in Pictures and MAKE UP FOR EVER Pro Finish Powder Foundation

My week in a nutshell:

Mike gave me flowers for no reason.


Lance said a bunch of unsurprising things to Oprah.


The baby made wee little stand-ups with some help from daddy.


I captured just the perfect pic of Harper mid breakfast. She sure loves her meal times.

And I got my hair done. Very important stuff when you don’t go as often as you should/ did.

We took just the sweetest pic of Harper at the aquarium in an old diving suit. I swear she poses for pictures now.

And I found a power foundation that trumps all.

MAKE UP FOR EVER Pro Finish Multi-Use Powder Foundation was a pleasant surprise. It’s what mineral makeup and MAC Studio Fix want to be but fall short. It’s perfect coverage without a chalky finish – a powder that thinks like a cream. For me, it has been the easiest, quickest way to get perfect looking skin with the sweep of a brush (you can also use it wet with the included sponge.) It’s so good, I can’t wait to order a palette for my kit to finish faces. It has replaced a years-long run I had using Jane Iredale’s mineral powder foundation. Pro Finish disappears into my skin making it look so much better using just a little bit. I had a laser treatment today that left my skin scorching red after, but Pro Finish easily disguised the redness so well and without any irritation at all. If you’re looking for quick, complete coverage check it out next time you’re at Sephora and let me know what you think!

Professional Grade Makeup; My Haul from Makeup Mania

My kit was running low and needed a little love so I hopped over to my favorite place for all things makeup in Colorado, Makeup Mania. What I use as a Makeup Artist  can easily be translated into everyday, high-performance makeup for the girl who wants a professional result.

I have 4 or 5 different brands of airbrush foundation in my kit, but Dinair gets used 99% of the time. It has a beautiful coverage and an unparalled wear time and I’m not even talking about their alcohol-based waterproof (they call it Paramedical) line. Their straight Glamour line (water-based) is what I’ve been using and I couldn’t be happier. Women rave about it’s weighless coverage and how comfortable it feels on the skin.

I’d heard so much about the ledgendary Lip Tar from Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics that I had to get 3. It’s not like anything I’ve ever used before, it’s a full coverage lip pigment in a gloss applicator. It isn’t heavy or sticky either, it’s designed to give substantial pigment without weight so HD can’t pick up a too-thick look. When they say a little goes a long way, it’s not an exaggeration, just the tiniest dab onto a lip brush is more than enough to glaze your lips in pure color.

I love Graftobian, their $9 HIDef Glamour Foundation is better than most out there and a total hit with friends I have addicted to it. Jen over at Makeup Mania suggested their powder to top off foundation and give a velvety finish. It’s also the perfect replacement for (ugh) Studio Fix since it’s a great coverage that you can apply wet or dry. 

When you think about lush, highly pigmented shadows The Balm probably isn’t the first line that comes to mind but maybe it should. Their original Shady Lady palette was so popular that they made a sequel, Shady Lady 2 with 9 perfect shades that will allow you to create loo from every day to smokey and sultry. Caught in the Act Courtney is my fav shade of the bunch (upper left), it’s a rusty red-brown with some flecks of gold that puts Stila’s Twig to shame.

Click to enlarge

I’ve been using MAKEUP FOR EVER‘s Mist and Fix setting spray which I really like, but Graftobian’s version is only $7.50. It dries quickly, sets makeup, and doesn’t leave a sheen on the skin. If you really want makeup to stick around and a primer isn’t cutting it for you, give this setting spray a whirl.

Everything was purchased at Makeup Mania but I linked out elsewhere for stuff I couldn’t find on their site (you can still order it through them.)

MAKE UP FOR EVER HD Complexion Travel Kit

If you love MAKE UP FOR EVER, it’s probably because of their color selection. Their eye-catching display of brightly colored makeup is hard to miss at Sephora, and it’s always really well-reviewed. I think a lot of the magic of the line lies with their HD basics though, namely their High Definition Primer, Elixir, and Powder because of their light-yet-powerful approach to getting the skin looking good.

If you haven’t tried this skin and makeup perfecting trio, here’s your chance. Their HD Complexion Travel Kit is a steal at $30 and includes good sized portions for you to try. I really like their light-as-air Elixir serum because it increases skin hydration by 520% after 15 minutes and locks moisture in so makeup looks fresh and doesn’t drag onto the skin.

Set Your Foundation Like the Pros Do; Best Professional Setting Powders

Since the 90′s powdery revolution, matte skin has been a thing of the past. Don’t confuse those old powders with today’s versions which invisibly set foundation and can even be used on dry skin. If you want your foundation to last hours longer, look into a setting powder that’s used by Makeup Artists for a professional looking result. Here are a few I carry in my kit.

KohGenDo has a big celebrity following (I hear it’s a favorite of Sarah Jessica Parker) and I like everything I’ve used from the line. In my kit, I have their Maifanshi Face Powder which lightly sets makeup, reduces shine, and matches all skin tones since it’s invisible on the skin (an important thing for a setting powder to be). This loose formula even works with dry skin because it’s infused with hyaluronic acid so it mattes and sets without creating dryness.

If it’s good enough to be used with airbrush foundation, it’s good enough for your foundation too. Kett has a generously sized Kett Sett Powder that was designed to maintain the integrity of foundations under hot lights and tell-all HDTV cameras. It’s invisible on the skin and keeps even the creamiest eye concealers from creasing and sliding around.

It’s a common marketing tactic for mainstream lines to announce their products to be for Makeup Artists, but they rarely are. MAKE UP FOR EVER is an exception. M.A.C isn’t a line that I would suggest women (or Makeup Artists for that matter) use, and most Makeup Artists I know agree it’s not that great.

But I digress.

The point is, MUF’s HD High Definition Powder is a solid choice for setting makeup because it lightly mattes out shine without looking powdery on the skin and it allows the natural texture of the face show through so you don’t look like a corpse. It gives the face a soft focus look that’s so pretty, women wear it solo on days when applying foundation isn’t in the cards.

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