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..

Too Faced Shadow Insurance Candlelight

I love Shadow Insurance, I wore it for years before dabbling in other primers that were sent my way for review. This is one of those rare gems that I’ll go back and spend money on again and again. At a recent Sephora outing, I saw their new Candlelight version of the popular primer and nabbed it up. It’s the same formula as the original so you’ll still have shadows that remain crease-free all day, but this one has a beautiful glowy look to it that illuminates softly without any dramatic harshness. It gives just a hint of glow under shadows, a nice change from the usual putty-like matte primers that can make even the most shimmery shadows seem drab.

Too Faced Shadow Insurance $18

Benefit Stay Don’t Stray; I Like It But…

Although their hip looking display usually entices me into checking Benefit out most every time I pass by, there’s usually very little that inspires a purchase. The problem as I see it is their lack of shade diversity in their foundations and concealers – their Hello Flawless tinted moisturizer has only 1 shade and it’s a lighter than medium hue. Not giving all women the oppertunity to shop with you is a sign that they aren’t super savvy since a Makeup Artist like myself can’t fill a kit there because we work with so many different shades of skin.

Now that I’m finished with my rant… I think I finally found something I really like.

It’s a tinted primer that keeps shadows and concealer around the eyes in place. A great two-in-one and the first I’ve used that primes eye concealer which can easily  slide and crease. It’s the right consistency (thick to grab a hold what you build on top)  and totally erases redness on the lids and even darkness around the eyes giving your concealer a big head start.

It kept my shadows looking fresh and untouched for hours and my concealer stayed in place and didn’t crease even in humidity. I like the sample I was using and will probably buy it when it’s gone. Of course the caveat with the primer is that it works best for light and medium skin tones, which is why I hesitate to give it a full on thumbs up.

Check out THIS NARS primer for medium to deeper skin tones. It doesn’t prime concealer, only shadows but it works for all skin tones as most lines should.

Benefit Stay Don’t Stray $24

Fusion Beauty PrimeResults Primers

I can’t wait to get my hands on Fusion Beauty’s PrimeResults Brightening Primer. It’s one of four primers from the line, each designed to target specific skin needs. Brightening has a light lilac tint which doesn’t show up as purple on the skin, it just works with your skin tone to give a brighter glow under makeup. Kim Kardashian is wearing the primer in this pic below.

They also offer an Anti-Wrinkle, Anti-Redness, and (another one I want) Acne Control Primer for my clients who breakout easily so they’ll have a helpful barrier of the primer resting between their skin and the makeup to keep irritating ingredients away.

$42 Sephora, PrimeResults

Brighten Up Skin With Cover FX Briteprep Primer

Of course you want your skin to look healthy and fresh, but adding a highlighter to the skin might not be for you. If you’re on the oily side or just don’t like the pronounced look of a highlighter on the skin, try using something under makeup like Briteprep from Cover FX. It’s a skin primer that simply brightens skin without using any shine or shimmery effects so it  flatters all skin types. You’ll notice that your skin looks brighter even under makeup and the SPF 50 will have you covered for your daily dose of sunscreen.


Too Faced Primed & Poreless Skin Primer

I’m loving Too Faced Primed & Poreless skin primer. It reminds me of THIS one from Philosophy because it’s tinted and perfects your skin so well that foundation might be optional. It’s especially good for shiny or oily skin because It mattifys but doesn’t dry skin out because it’s infused with vitamins. I also like the added boost of retinol and mulberry to help with fine lines, pores, and dark spots giving it a skin treatment vibe.

Primers work well for when you don’t want to wear a lot of makeup (because it makes your skin look great without), but it also helps foundation to stay on the face longer. If you’re going to wear makeup, you might as well prep the skin so it stays on throughout the day.

I like to pat it into crow’s feet around the eyes without adding any makeup over top to cancel out fine lines by filling them in with the primer and not using anything on it that might settle into the lines making them look more pronounced.  When you use it,  you’ll be able to see an immediate change in the skin which will look fresh and more awake.

Find Too Faced at Ulta,, and right HERE