Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water

I get confused looks when I answer the question that most of my clients want answered: What’s my very favorite foundation that I carry in my kit because the cult following of Koh Gen Do’s Maifanshi Moisture Foundation hasn’t quite trickled down to the masses. It’s a well-loved staple though for Makeup Artists and their celeb clientele as is their Cleansing Spa Water, something I’ve wanted to try since I saw it in practically every Makeup Artist’s kit backstage at New York’s Fashion Week. Typically, I carry baby wipes to clean client’s faces because it’s so quick and easy, but I needed something to remove stubborn waterproof mascara without burning or stinging the eyes so I couldn’t wait to try another solution out.

Maifanshi Moisture Foundation

It’s a totally unassuming looking liquid; crystal clear and completely unscented, but it’s a soapless, mineral-rich cleanser that gets skin sparkling in just a few wipes. It comes with special cotton pads that you saturate and use to gently work off makeup or to give skin a refreshing once over in the morning. No need to rinse after or even tone because your skin will feel perfectly balanced and so soft.

Cleansing Spa Water

I’m loving this ease and effectiveness of the water- not to mention how much space it saves in my kit. It’s one of those things that I’ll actually order and use again and again.

The FDA’s New Warnings About Spray Tanning and Why I Don’t Airbrush Anymore

Have you read the new reports on the hazards of spray tanning? DHA, what’s used to darken the skin and found in every self tanning formula, has been shown to be dangerous when inhaled by the FDA. But I already knew that..

Let me back up a few years.

In early 2010 I went to an airbrushing class in L.A, they also had a spray tanning machine that I fell in love with and bought so I could spray my brides tan before their weddings. It was a hit. Everyone wanted a tan and the system was so easy to use and the color it gave was so pretty that I was tanning clients almost daily during my busy season. I used a walk in shower in a rarely used bathroom in our basement for the tanning sessions where I always had the fan running so it would suck up the fumes. Perfect right? Not so much.

Months later when my busy wedding season was coming to a close, I started having issues with my memory. Not just of the ‘where are my keys’ variety, but on top of short term loss, every time I would talk, I couldn’t find the words I wanted to say. I knew the first time it happened that something was wrong. My mind drew a blank like it never had before and thinking of words as simple as ‘continue’ or ‘besides’ would be gone without a trace. I knew what I wanted to say, but couldn’t place the words which became so frustrating that I’d stop mid sentence and try to focus on what I wanted to say. “Hang on” I’d say while I thought in silence, frustrated at what had become of my typically razor sharp vocab. I started Googling around for what it could be – Alzheimer’s maybe? Early onset dementia? Then a few months later like a bolt of lightening, it came to be from nowhere: It’s the airbrushing.

I’d been inhaling airbrush fumes almost daily between the spray tanning and the makeup often times in my office or a hotel suite where brides get ready where good ventilation and circulated air isn’t ideal. I knew I was breathing it in and often had difficulty taking in full breaths after working a long day, I also started becoming winded more easily walking short distances, just out of shape I’d think to myself, nothing more. My clients were so happy with their beautiful tans and makeup that I was hesitant (to say the least) about quitting this new skill that I had perfected and marketed like crazy. But my feeling about the airbrushing contributing to my memory loss came to me so swiftly and so clearly that I resolved to give up spray tanning and using the airbrush makeup to see if things would get any better. It was bittersweet to say the least and hard to explain to frustrated brides about how I can’t use the airbrush foundation for their wedding even though it’s what they fell in love with for their trial run and told their bridesmaids they’d have their makeup sprayed on to create perfect skin. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it in the end because within 6 months or so my word finding was finally back to normal, as was my breathing and memory loss and I felt like myself again.

Here’s the part where I say that I have no proof that airbrushing caused my memory and word finding problems, it’s just what I experienced.

For me, I won’t be spray tanning anytime soon and I haven’t used my airbrush but a few times in the past two years. Enough time has passed where the fear died down I think because recently I started to consider using it again if I’m outside or near an open window since I really loved the results. Playing with fire, I know.

As for the new warnings, spray at your own risk. Personally, I think the handheld airbrushing is more pointed and controlled than the Mystic tanning booths that just spray the hell out of you while standing in an enclosed box so if you must spray, choose the spray-by-hand option and ask about ventilation and how long it takes. 10 minutes or so is probably reasonable. Check out the full report via ABC News below.

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Making Mineral Eye Shadows Last Longer with Temptu Mixing Medium

If you love wearing mineral eye shadow but hate the creasing and limited wear time, I have a perfect solution. I’ve slowly been replacing makeup mainstays in my kit with their natural or mineral counterparts when I find something that performs as well or better. My requirements? It has to show up well on the skin, blend easily, and wear 12+ hours to make the cut. Unfortunately, even though I wear them quite often, mineral shadows haven’t given me the confidence to be kit worthy until I recently found the perfect solution. It’s all about the Temptu Mixing Medium baby.

Temptu is really known as a professional airbrush line but maybe you’ve tried their wildly popular at-home airbrushing system at Sephora? The heart of their business is still geared toward professionals who use airbrush for their business which is where Mixing Medium is sold although you don’t have to be a professional to buy it (yay!)

Mixing Medium is a silicone-based multi-use lotion that can be used for a ton of different stuff that I’ll get to in a second, but in this case I’m using it to bring intensity and a much longer wear time to a mineral shadow.

Here’s how I use it.

I’m starting with my sample size of Alima Pure Catwalk Eyeliner, one of my favorite mineral makeup lines.

It’s a slightly shimmery, intense shade that I love. Here it is on its own just applied straight on.

Now here’s where the magic happens; see that tinsy little whitish dab on the lid? That’s the Mixing Medium and how little I use. Gather a little powder on your brush to scoop a little into the lid to blend it with the liquid making a thick paste.

Now the swatches side by side, on the right is with the Mixing Medium. You can see more of an intensity (especially in person where you can pick up the detail better than my lens did) but beyond that is how this newly formed cream gives such better wear. Like hours longer. Many hours. This turns any ho-hum mineral shadow into a more intense, long-wearing shadow fit for any Makeup Artist’s kit.

It also shines when you use it with mineral powder concealers turning it into a creamy one that wears well and doesn’t look cakey or powdery. It also gives glittery pigments something to stick to if you pat it on the lid before applying so they stay on without flaking away. If your foundation is a bit too heavy, mix a few drops in to thin it out and keep the color and performance just the same. Basically, it can turn any makeup powder into a longer wearing, more intense cream or thin out a cream so it isn’t so heavy on the skin. It does it all.

I love Mixing Medium, I’ve had it in my kit for years. I did have to get used to thinking to grab for it, but now I use it all the time because it’s so cool. There are some things in my kit that are best suited for pro use, but Mixing Medium just isn’t one of them. Check it out- I think you’ll really love it too.

Temptu Mixing Medium

What Kim Kardashian’s Makeup Artist Uses

I watch this video like a frat boy watches porn (obsessively, minus the yucky sexual stuff). I think I might even have it memorized. I can close my eyes and see it all unfolding: The generous under eye concealer application, his artful powder contour, and the better-than-nude lip color. It’s a virtual symphony hitting all the right notes with women who are dying to know the makeup tricks that Mario Dedivanovic uses all the time on his #1 client, Kim Kardashian.

Let’s watch it again..


Seeing the cosmetic line Motives by Loren Ridinger logo everywhere, I couldn’t resist reaching out to ask them what Mario used of theirs to create this look. Within minutes, Loren herself actually responded (at 3am her time!) to give me a heads up that a complete list would follow the next day. And it did.

Here’s what Mario used in the video above from Motives by Loren Ridinger.

· No More Shine Makeup Setting Spray

· Eye Base

· Liquid Eyeliner

· Khol Eyeliner in Angel and Onyx

· Pressed Eye Shadow in Toast

Other things in the video that I spy are Lancôme Mascara (not positive which one, but he used Hypnôse Doll Lashes on Kim for her wedding), he’s holding a Laura Mercier puff the whole time (as to not touch her face directly – a Mercier-trained artist thing to do), EYE M GLAM is swept down the bridge of her nose, cheekbones, and patted on her cupid’s bow (his signature shimmer which I have and love). It’s like a makeup Where’s Waldo, every time I recognize something new.

To see the full listing of what Mario used on Kimmy K for her wedding, click HERE. On this 2 year old tutorial, he used a ton of M.A.C for Kim’s makeup but on the wedding list there’s a lot of L’Oreal and Lancôme in the mix. I’m not saying those aren’t totally acceptable to use, but I might be smelling a whiff of corporate sponsorship so take the list with a grain of salt.

Makeup Before and After: Bronzy Bridesmaid

Another day, another makeup transformation. I took these over the weekend at a wedding I worked at the Brown Palace here in Denver. It’s the brides sister (and maid of honor), who requested a punched up version of her usual look with some bronzy highlights that would photograph well. Here’s the before and after along with a few things that made the look possible.

My Hero Products for the Look:

Estée Lauder: Bronze Goddess Soft Duo Bronzer

Finding a bronzer that looks good in the office is one thing, but finding one that photographs well and lasts all day is another. Lauder has gotten good at bronzing and their one-shade-works-for-most duo is a go-to for a lot of makeup artists because of its instant tanning affect that’s perfect in any light. Keep in mind that bronzer isn’t meant to be used all over the face, just the top of the forehead, chin, and under the cheek bones gives a dynamic look. A little bit of brozner is pretty and youthful, bronzer all over is Jersey Shore.

Tarte: emphasEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner in Black

emphasEYES is as good as any gel liner out there (better than Bobbi for precision because it isn’t as slippery) but with mineral-derived pigments and a natural formula.I used it on her upper lash line with the pointy side of the brush (shown below), then I did a smudgy application under her lower lash line with the diffusing side of the brush. I’ve seen girls literally cry over this liner without it moving. Liner is important to a look and this is one I trust.

L’Oreal: Double Extend Eye Illuminator in Black Quartz

I’m still using Double Extend in my kit – I’ve never had a problem with smudging or moving and these are brides and bridesmaids who are basically sweating and crying all day long. Double Extend Eye Illuminator offers the same great formula on one side in black, but replaces the primer side with a shimmering formula and a round tipped brush meant to highlight the lashes. I don’t know how much the glimmer actually brings a highlight to the lash, but I love the shape of the brush to work mascara into the outer part of the lashes where they’re the longest and need some extra bulk.

KohGenDo: Maifanshi Moisture Foundation in Shades 2 and 3 blended together

I’ve blogged about KohGenDo Foundation before, it’s a well-loved pick for Makeup Artists who forgo airbrushing for a more controlled (and safer) application. It enhances skin and gives a good amount of coverage without making it look like you’re wearing a mask. You can see in these pics that some of her freckles are still showing (I outright refuse to cover freckles beyond what the foundation does because I think they’re so cute), but the bulk of her discoloration is gone and her skin is still showing through and glowing. No need to powder over top either, the formula itself contains 10% powder so it’s self-setting.

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.)