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..

Smashbox Spring 11′ Collection; In Bloom

I’m loving In Bloom, the spring collection from Smashbox that is filled with feminine, flirty, cheery shades that will slowly draw you in until you’ve nabbed the whole collection up.

I’m mostly obsessed with their Creamy Cheek Duo, one of the best cheek cremes I’ve ever used. Its sheerness allows you to build up mistake-proof color that’s flushy, natural, an super sexy. I’ve been dabbing a bit on my lips too for an easy monochromatic look, just add a few swipes of mascara and that’s all you need for an easy weekend look.

If you liked their Artificial Light lotion, then you’ll love the new powder version. A small, spongy applicator allows for precise application to the brow bone, cheeks, and your eye’s inner corners for a perfectly balanced sheen that tops off any look.

Check out this vid from Smashbox Lead Artist Lori Taylor who shows you how to get a look that’s In Bloom and just right for spring.

Powdered Eye Liners

Eye liner; friend and foe. Perfectly lined eyes are so beautiful and the cornerstone of most looks, but getting it on evenly is the bane of most women’s morning routines. This new generation of powdered liner is easier to apply than a gel or a pencil because they don’t slip around. You won’t get a completely precision look like a liquid liner gives, it’s much more of a laid back, casual look that’s quick and simple to maneuver. Here are a few powdered liners to check out.

Jane Iredale can pretty much do no wrong as a line as far as I’m concerned. It’s a personal fav and a go-to for a lot of my daily routine. Their new Mystikol dual ended powder liners give bold, rich color on an easy-to-draw sponge tipped applicator on one side, and a highlighter shade on the other to fire up your inner corner or brow bone.

Novice liner gals will love their ease, but I think their strong suit is their total blendability from a liner into a smudgy shadow.

Color Options:

Malachite: A sparkling moss with buttery beige

Amethyst: Royal purple with luxurious pearl

Dark Topaz: Rich brown with velvet rose

Lapis Lazuli: Vibrant blue with shimmering ivory

Onyx: Otherworldly black with creamy pearl

In Bloom Soft Focus Powder Eye Liners from Smashbox use precision wand applicators to apply soft shades effortlessly without any dragging along the lid. They’re available in day-friendly shades for a lighter look that isn’t harsh, if you’re not a fan of the black eye liner look then these are for you.

Color Options:

Dark Brown


Guerlain’s Terracotta Loose Powder Kohl Liner has a fine tip wand for a thiner line and some pretty fiery shades with just a dash of glimmer for the ultimate in sexy eyes.

Color Options:


Brun (with golden flex)

Blue (teal)

Mirage (dark neutral brown) limited edition

Smashbox Wish for the Perfect Pencils Set for the Holidays

Here come the stocking stuffers! It’s not too early to think about the holidays is it? Smashbox has their Wish for the Perfect Eye Pencils out, 4 pencils for only $16. It’s basically buying one and getting the rest for free. Here’s a look at the set.

And the colors..

From left to right; Graphite, Orchid, 14K, and Onyx

It’s basically every liner color you should own. Their Onyx is super rich and deep – something I love, the Graphite is perfect for when black seems too dark for daytime, Orchid works to offset those shimmering nude eye shadows we all love, and 14K  highlights the inner corners of your eyes or under your eyes. It will probably end up being your favorite and most used of the 4. The pencil’s smudging quality is great so you can build the liner into a rich shadow with a sweep of a brush.

Remember, $1 from each limited edition set goes to the Children’s Miracle Network, beauty with a cause!

Wish for the Perfect Eye Pencils

Smashbox Eye Wish Palette

If you’re still using heavy, chalky M.A.C eye shadows, then you’re really missing out. I always say that the color is as important to the look as the weight of the makeup. When you see someone with eyeshadow on that looks bad, chances are that the heaviness you’re seeing has a lot to do with the overall weight of the makeup and maybe not as much the application. If the shadows don’t sit well on the skin, or blend easily, even the best application can’t make them look good.

If you haven’t tried Smashbox shadows, you really should. I personally use them and carry them in my kit, I love their soft, velvety finish because they stay on a long time and have a gorgeous look that rests beautifully on the skin. Check out their new Eye Wish Palette, it’s filled with every shadow you’d ever want to create sweet day looks and sexy night ones too. No crazy throw-away shades you’ll never wear, it’s a complete collection of beautiful basics.

Click to enlarge

Here’s what you’ll get;


Soft Gray
Matte Bone
Ballet Pink
Shimmering Bronze
Cool Gray
Warm Brown
Deep Teal

Cream Eyeliners;

Dark Brown
Black Violet

Photo Finish Lid Primer Mini (what I use professionally and personally daily)

Lash DNA Mascara Mini

They also included pull out cards that fit neatly under the mirror to show you step by step how to create looks using the various colors.

Even better? Smashbox is donating $1 from every palette sold to Children’s Miracle Network. It’s a huge value, $243 worth of makeup for around the price of a few shadows ($45).

You’ll find the palette for a limited time here at Sephora and Smashbox

Makeup Before and After; Pink Cheeks and Blonde Brows

Contouring and highlighting the face is something that we Makeup Artists do all the time, it’s all about bringing the best features forward, remember this tutorial I did? When you see before and after photos of someone who was contoured, you can see the subtle way that light hits the face and adds dimension, like in these pics for instance.

…Before, click to enlarge.

Mid contour (mid everything actually), lighter, darker and yellow under the eyes using creme concealer.

There we go, subtle hints of a more chiseled face. You can see it on her forehead, nose, and under the eyes especially. 

In order to build up her cheek bones, I layered on Napoleon Perdis Cheek to Chic Blush Duo in #3 (the one in the middle) which looks really bright and scary, but sheers out on the cheeks and lasts long after most blushes fade away.

Blondes have the hardest time with brows – the hair can be so light that it’s almost invisible,  but filing them in can look artificial and weird. Here I used Brow Tech, the powder-and-wax trio from Smashbox which has a perfect shade for blondes with the right amount of ash to it so light hair doesn’t look yellowy or dark. That black brow with light blond hair thing only works for Gwen Stefani.