Hourglass No 28 Primer Serum

Primers are eveolving. There’s a big all-in-one trend combining skincare principals to makeup right now (hello BB Creams) so some primers aren’t just layer of silicone anymore. I’ve tried a few really great ones lately that I was going to lump together for a hot new primer post, but they’re so impressive that I think they deserve shout outs all their own. Up first is No 28 Primer Serum $68 from Hourglass which I find to be more skincare that just happens to also prime the skin for makeup. It’s infused with essential and plant oils along with vitamins so it can even be used as a skin treatment at night sans makeup, perfect if you like the feeling of a weightless slip to the skin.

It does provide a plenty of reinforcement for a long lasting foundation wear time and gives the skin a more refined look and feel. It’s a really unique serum that isn’t greasy or heavy – it has been pretty awesome as my new go-to primer in my kit lately. If you’re as serious about the look and condition of your skin as you are your overall makeup routine, you have to check this one out.

Vapour Organic Beauty Stratus Instant Skin Perfector

Don’t be confused by the stick applicator, just think of it as a makeup primer/skin perfector with a hint of moisture. Infused with 70% certified organic ingredients and 30% vitamins and natural pigments, it’s the first naturally sourced primer that I can actually use in my kit because it gives a professional result as soon as it touches the skin. Use it as a quick primer under makeup, or because of its soft focus pigments that blur pores and imperfections, as a perfector in place of foundation so your skin looks really great without adding color. Great for for hitting the gym or for days when you just don’t have the energy for a full face of makeup, which for me is admittedly most days.

It comes in 3 very subtle skin tone balancing shades, but the one I have is 903 the yellow-based one that I’ve used successfully on all skin types. The carry less of a ‘color’ and more of a ‘tone’ that’s so slight that the yellow cast disappeared immediately.

I especially love it for crow’s feet pre-makeup to blur out fine lines and give a good base that makeup doesn’t settle into. For a while my go-to for this was L’Oreal Studio Secrets but I honestly get a better result with Stratus not to mention how much better I feel about using a chemical-free formula.

I also found that if you rub a little onto your finger tips, you can press it on top of areas where your foudation looks heavy or chalky to help it warm into the skin a’la Mercier’s Secret Finish.

Check out Stratus and all things Vapour HERE.

Atopalm Daytime Undermakeup Moisture Cream

If Atopalm is good enough for the seasoned Makeup Artists who I saw using the stuff on model’s parched, overworked faces backstage at fashion week, it’s way good enough for you. Don’t take their word for it though, you can also browse the gazillian reviews on sites like Dermstore to see that people go wild for their moisturizers that perfectly prime the skin for makeup. As you can imagine, I was psyched to get a sample of their new Daytime Undermakeup Moisture Cream to see if it could stand up to the hype I’ve been giving it in my own head. Thankfully, it does.

There’s nothing too sexy about it – no big price tag, glittery presentation or sweet smell – just a fantastic light cream without parabens to calm and soothe even the most sensitive skin. Don’t let the undermakeup thing throw you off either, it balances the skin and holds in moisture so foundation blends beautifully but it’s completely fine for use at night as well. I found it to be one of the most neutral moisturizers I’ve ever felt on my skin, meaning my skin just felt like skin – not slippery or shiny or tacky, just the way it should without all the crazy stuff we tend slather on top that disguises our natural skin’s texture.

I like it and I like the price ($18). I think this and their best-selling original will be my new go-to moisturizers for my kit since they’re calming and suitable for all skin types.

Atopalm Daytime Undermakeup Moisture Cream found at Dermstore, Skinstore, and Atopalm.com

Cover FX Skinprep Primer

Mixed in with this super sheer silicone-based primer are skin hydrators so it can replace the need for a morning moisturizer, or add additional hydration to thirsty skin. It’s a primer with a feel unlike most; not greasy or heavy, with a slight slip to give foundation something to hang on to leaving skin hydrated and balanced. It’s a fantastic primer for dryer skins to encourage a longer foundation wear time. At $45, Skinprep is a bit of an investment, but it’s more of a grown up primer for those whose skin isn’t automatically perfect without a little bit of help.

Best Illuminating Primers

I just tried a bunch of illuminating primers that were sent my way recently, who knew finding a good one would be so tricky? Some were too shimmery, some had no sheen at all, and some just didn’t hold makeup on any better than nothing at all. Only these two made the cut and here’s why..

Sally Hansen’s Natural Beauty line is the creative work of TLC’s Carmindy from What Not to Wear. It’s churning out a few cult favs already and their Luminizing Face Primer is one of them. It’s a dense, silicone-based primer with a pretty shimmer that lights up the skin so your foundation looks a little more alive. Because of the luminizing effect the shimmer gives, it wouldn’t be something you’d wear without foundation, it’s a true primer that works best under makeup.

Hard Candy’s Sheer Envy also beat out competitors charging 3x more because of its subtle sheen and mild consistency that quickly disappears into the skin. I’d also be sure and pair this one with your foundation and remember a little goes a long way.

If your skin is looking a little dull lately and you’d like to wake it up, these primers will give you a boost without a sparkle overload.

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..