August 18, 2011

Some work from a few years ago:

The eyeshadow in the last photo is MAC Teal pigment over Makeup Forever Green Liner

Complexion in all photos is Makeup Forever and Nars

Model: Eren

Photographer & editing: Kara

Makeup: Moi and Vanessa [our well-deserved photo credit went to the company we worked for, although we’re credited elsewhere.]

Summer bridal makeup

June 28, 2011

This bride wanted a smokey eye, natural lip, and bronze complexion. We were planning on creating a bronze eye and at the last minute she decided to go for the gusto and change to a smokey eye. We also lightly airbrushed her decollete (and set with powder and fix spray) to blend in a spray tan she had gotten a few days before. Complexion is Temptu, brows are Makeup Forever, eyeshadow is Smashbox and Stila, lips are MAC.

Favorites of 2010

December 29, 2010

1. Hot pink lips: Bold, effortless, chic. This was the lip look I rocked the most this year, with a natural eye, of course. Faves of the year included Sephora Rouge Cream Lipstick in Mr. Lover, Benefit Posie Tint Stain (3-5 layers for intensity) layered with Smashbox O-Gloss Original (always turns my lips bright hot pink), and MAC Lipstick in Girl About Town.

2. Lashes: It’s rare for me to wear faux lashes even though I love them so (my eyes freak out if I wear them too often) and when I have a full fringe, I always feel super glam. My faves are still Ardell because the quality surpasses the price (around $4). The #120 demi are my absolute faves and I also like #113 and #122. My lash glue of choice is always Duo waterproof clear lash glue unless…I can get my hands on the Makeup Forever lash glue that comes with their lashes. I hoard this whenever I buy Makeup Forever lashes because it is absolutely the best I’ve tried.

3. The love of my life (well, purse-wise at least) is my Lux De Ville Lucky Me bag in black and leopard. I love it because it’s roomy and super cute. It isn’t, however, great for rainy weather, so I’m currently using their Starlite Kisslock bag in red sparkle, which doesn’t hold as much but makes me happy because it reminds me of Dorothy’s ruby slippers, just in purse form instead of shoes.

4. Headbands! Love! It takes  a drab hairstyle to fab on mornings when I’d rather sleep than make an effort with my hair. I just brush, slick into a pony, pop on a headband and I look like I tried.

5. Josie Maran GOGO instant volume mascara: I always admit that mascara is not my thing, so when I do end up loving one, it’s the real deal. The brush is almost a triangular shape and it gives my lash a flirty flutter without clumps. Thanks, Josie. P.S. I also kind of love everything from this line, so maybe I’m biased? It really is a super fab line that I highly recommend.

6. Zirh Shave Gel: See a few posts back. Amazing!

7 & 8: Perricone Super: I’m sooo loving the Lush Lips and Hyper Hydrator, both with coconut water. Coconut water is great for the skin (I would like to say that I drink it regularly, but I only drink it a few times a month) and the smell is light. The lip treatment is ultra hydrating, silky, and is indeed very lush. The moisturizer is light and helps keep my oily skin in check. The line is also a bit more wallet friendly than Perricone’s core line, which I also love and can’t always afford.

9. Perricone Advanced Firming Eye Activator: Anti-aging! Brightening! Tightening! I love this eye cream bunches and always buy it when it’s within my budget. I’ve been a devotee of this product since 2006.

10 And as always….Bliss Best of Skintentions moisturizer is still tops in my skincare regime. I love the way it makes my skin look and feel. If I need an instant pick-me-up, this does it. I also love the built-in SPF (with the Japanese skincare rating of PA++).

September Faves

October 5, 2010


1. Tarte EmphasEYES Aqua-Gel Eyeliner, $18, in eight colors, I haven’t been wearing eyeliner almost all summer, with the exception of a few days. I like the way liner looks on my eyes, I just really dislike taking it off at the end of the day.  Tarte liner lasted all day and was actually easy to remove! It felt a little cool when I was applying it and that weirded me out a bit because my lids felt wet but it subsided after a few minutes. I would love to buy other colors (I have black) and might add them to my holiday wish list. I even thought the ultra-slim stick was easier to handle and use for creating a cat-eye. 

2. Urban Decay Book of Shadows Vol III, $54, Since I’ve missed out on previous book of shadows palettes, I figured I’d give this new one a whirl. I think it’s a good value for the assortment of shadow colors, two liners, and a primer. Oh, and the cute little diorama that lights up. Super cute! My only beef with Urban is the glitter shadows. I know the glitter is supposed to “lightly float under the eye creating a halo effect,” (those words were from a UD artist) but it makes me feel like a glitter bomb exploded on my face. Luckily this palette only comes with a few glitter pans and the rest have a light shimmer. It’s not yet on and most Sephora stores should have them in-stock already or will be getting them soon. If you don’t see them out on display, ask. Mine came from the stock room. =) 

3. Ojon Volumizing Two-Minute Hair Mask, $34 6.5 oz, I love what Ojon’s products do for my hair and at the same time, I can’t handle the scent and had to stop using the brand a while back. Luckily a fellow beauty-junkie that knows my qualms gave me a new jar of the Volumizing mask and said, “I know you aren’t loving the rest of the line but try this. I promise the scent won’t make you gag.” Um…where has this mask been all of my life? The scent is more of a jasmine and “green” scent and not the traditional coffee/chocolate/woodsy/”natural” scent of the rest of the line. It makes my hair feel bouncy, hydrated, soft, and makes it smell so good. The texture is also feather-light and feels whipped to perfection and I always look forward to using it. 

4. Lancome Definicils Precious Cells Mascara, $29,, I like natural looking mascara and this delivers the results I want with an added bonus of lash conditioners. I like the unique brush; One side has a traditional wand, the other has longer bristles. I did a more dramatic last by building up mascara layers for work one day and one my clients thought I had on individual faux lashes. It also promises lash doubling properties and less lash fall-out when removing mascara. 

5. GHD Blue Serenity Styler (MK IV), $230,, Ohhhh, GHD, how I love thee. I already own a GHD MK IV and I’ve been worried that my most favorite beauty tool in the world (yes, in the world) is slowly dying. It’s starting to not perform as it once did. It’s still functional, of course. It’s just taking slightly longer to heat up and the little beeper no longer beeps at me when it’s ready. I’d been eyeing the sleek, pretty limited-editions for a while. The Blue Serenity color lured me in. I love the bonus quilted case even the hard black case it comes with. I’ve tried many brands of styling irons in the past and I’ll be sticking with GHD, possibly forever. 

6. Peace, Love & Juicy Couture, $18-$87, and The newest offering from Juicy Couture is supposed to be inspired by the “free-spirited, sixties-style vibe of Malibu.” It reminds me of something familiar but can’t quite figure out what. It is actually quite nice. It’s lighter than the other fragrances in the Juicy range and a bit more girly. Out of the featured notes, the magnolia, honeysuckle, and patchouli flower come out more with my skin chemistry than the others. Interesting, since I’m not into magnolia or patchouli. If you happen to be in Nordies or Sephora, give this one a wiff. I like the rollerball size. It’s small enough that I’ll use it all up before I grow tired of it and the price is right. 

7. Laura Mercier Creme Smooth Foundation, $50, In the past, cream foundations and I have not been friends. They felt heavy on my oily skin and they even looked heavy. I was given a small sample of this to try and I pretty much love it. It’s designed to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, a feature that I can’t really vouch for since I have neither. It doesn’t feel heavy at all, only perhaps a tiny bit tacky when first applied. I didn’t set it with powder one morning when I was in a rush to get out the door and it lasted the same amount of time on my skin as when I do set it. I was a bit more dewy than usual but no biggie. A little goes a long way and if cost is a concern, I’m certain the jar would last a very long time as I’ve been using my little 5 g sample for three weeks and I’m just now running out. I’m debating if I love it enough to buy a jar of my very own because I’m between colors. Warm Ivory is a little light and the next color up, Sunny Beige, is too dark.

White for Summer

August 1, 2010

Summer is the perfect time to wear white. It helps to keep you cool when the temps rise and it looks tres chic anywhere from a night on the town to a day at the beach. You do the monochromatic thing and wear head to toe white (just make certain you do different shades of white or add a splash of gold or silver or a tiny bit of color) or you can pick and choose pieces, accessories, and even makeup. One of my fave quick and easy summer eye looks is to draw on a sheer shimmering white eyeliner and smudge until you’re left with a faint sparkle (Try Sephora Collection Flashy Liner in #02). I also like doing the same technique with a sheer shadow (I like Sephora Collection Aspen Summit #23, which is in the free birthday gift for beauty insiders this year).

Where to buy above items: Tops and sandals are from, necklace is from, white shadow is the Sephora Collection Shadow mentioned above, white silver ring is from, and the velver rose hair clip is from

Vegan Beauty Products

July 7, 2010

As more and more ladies and gents are becoming aware of the products they use, more companies are responding by creating parabin free products and even vegan products. I’ve been trying to compile a list of such companies for my readers, but it’s been a long road because some brands will have some vegan items while others in the line are not. Also, some vegan products are not classified as natural and vice versa.

On my search today, I found a small but reliable list of vegan goodies at Beauty and The Blog  for you all to check out until I finalize my own list. It will probably be a while before it’s posted because my July and August are pretty crazy booked, and I’ll try to post it as soon as I can.

Get the Look: Pink & Plum

February 2, 2010

Meghan was going to a special event and wanted a pink and plum eye look with an almost “nude” lip. Her specifications were to concentrate color mostly on her lid and give some definition in the crease without going too dark.

Products used:

 Top row, complexion: Laura Mercier Oil Free Foundation primer, Stila Oil Free Natural Finish Foundation in Shade “C”, Smashbox Photofinish Concealer in #2 (applied under the eye and mixed with Smashbox Photo-Op Under Eye Brightener, not pictured), Benefit High Beam (lightly applied as highlight on cheeks, Nars Loose Powder in “Eden” to set makeup, and Nars Loose Powder in “Mountain” to lightly contour.

Middle Row, eye: Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion, Christian Dior 5-Colour Designer Eyeshadow “Nude Pink # 508”, Laura Mercier Eye Liner “Caviar”, Ardell Faux Lashes #120 Demi

Bottom row, cheek and lip: **Nars Blush in “sin”, Duwop Reverse Lip Liner, MAC Lipstick in “Politely Pink”, Nars Lipstick in “Belle Du Jour”

**Meghan has a natural flush and wanted to embrace it so I applied foundation with a lighter hand on her cheeks and did a light dusting of Nars Sin on the apples of her cheeks.

We also used these exact products to create a more natural look for her Holiday CD cover, with the exception of switching the blush from NARS to TheBalm in Hot Mama, and applying a bit more foundation to her cheeks. Meghan also is prone to dark circles so I added a bit more under eye concealer and used an apricot corrector underneath to cancel out blueness. For her eyes, we used the lighter hues from the Dior Palette and nixed the faux lashes.

I first tried Bare Escentual’s Bare Mineral foundation back in 2005 and despite all of the fabulous infomercials that promised this foundation would deliver beautiful skin, it did not work for me at all. The coverage was OK and application was easy (albeit very messy) but it made my oily skin feel greasy and the bismuth oxychloride made my face itch like crazy. I also did not like how shiny it made my skin look.

I swore off the brand, even after a colleague of mine ended up working for the company and tried to convince me that it was a good product. When the matte foundation was released, she gave me my very own jar to try out and said I would like this new formula better. It sat in my makeup organizer for months until recently when I decided to break it out and finally give it a try.

I like the new packaging; its user-friendly closable sifter ensures that you won’t end up with a powder explosion when opened. I also love that it is matte and is free of bismuth oxychloride. I did not like the coverage as it seemed to be lighter than the original. I also didn’t care for how it felt on my skin, though to be fair I feel this way about all mineral makeup, not just this brand. I felt itchy when it was first applied and then that feeling went away after a few moments of wear. For me, it is totally better than the original. I can absolutely see how others love Bare Escentuals products and I’m still not a fan of the brand.

PSA: I know that the B.E. slogan is “makeup so pure you can sleep in it,” but please don’t. Even though the makeup won’t clog your pores, you are still producing oil and not washing your face after wearing any kind of makeup can contribute to clogged pores or acne.

The new matte foundation is $28 and can be found at Bare Escentuals stores and Sephora.

Lancome Hypnose Drama Mascara

November 14, 2009


Imagine voluminous lashes so intense in only one stroke, they look like falsies. That’s what Lancome’s new Hynose Drama mascara promises. For $24.50, you can swipe your way to the thickest, darkest, clump-free lashes you’ve ever seen.

Well, Lancome, if you say so but I chose to believe otherwise. Sure, the strange wave-shaped brush seems unqiue and I love to use as little product as possible, but I did not achieve the results that Lancome says I should have.

While the formula is nice, it clumped terribly on my lashes. After a quick comb through with a clean mascara wand, my lashes looked decent. To achieve the promised volume, though, I had to do several coats, combing through with a clean wand each time. It was more work then necessary. Honestly, most Lancome mascara seems to clump on me, so perhaps the formula is not compatable with my lashes.

If you like to layer your mascara or find that most Lancome mascara’s work for you, it’s worth a try. Just know that the brush is a little difficult to work with, given it’s shape, and you may need to do a few layers.

Halloween: The one day you can dress up as anything or anyone you want without getting strange glances. It’s also a day when many people have their makeup done by someone else. This should be a great and fun experience but sometimes things can get in the way. Here are some of my favorite tips for helping things run smoothly any time you are having someone else do your makeup, Halloween or not.

1. Have an idea of what you are looking for and bring examples (color swatches from fabric, photos, or anything that inspires you). If you aren’t certain of what you want, brainstorm with the artist to help come up with some ideas.

2. If you bring a photo of what you want, remember that may not be the exact look you get. A good makeup artist will try to work with your own unique features to replicate the look, but sometimes our faces are different then our inspiration model’s and things might have to be tweaked. For example: You may have a more delicate eye area then the model in your inspiration photo, and doing the same dramatic smokey eye in exactly the same way might make you look like someone punched you in the eye.

3. Relax! When your body is relaxed, we are able to work more efficiently. It’s hard to apply eyeshadow on someone who is closing their eyes tightly and it’s harder to enhance the brows of someone who is moving their face. Relax your face and follow the directions of the artist of when to open, close, and look up.

4. Know that there will usually be a fee to have your makeup done. Freelance artists (individuals that do not work at a counter or store) will usually discuss a fee up front when you book your appointment. The going rate of most artists start around $60 and can go as high as $150 or more depending on what you want, the experience of the artist, and sometimes location if your artist is traveling to you.  If a full makeup application at a counter or store is “free” you are expected to purchase at the end of your makeover session. Having worked cosmetics retail myself, I can tell you that it is very rude to get your face done and simply walk away. The associate/artist is spending valuable company time with you. Most counters and stores nowadays charge a fee up front to ensure their time is not wasted. If yours doesn’t, it’s because the company has good faith that you will purchase something. If you just want your makeup done without buying anything, be upfront. Yes, they might make you wait while an artist free’s up or book an appt. in advance, but if you are genuine in trying a new look or products, they will want to give you great service so that you will make a purchase the next time.

5. Do not think that it’s okay to bring a friend to your appointment and expect to have their makeup done. Always call ahead. If it’s a busy season (prom, wedding) your artist might be booked solid that day. If going to a counter or store, most companies assign someone to do your face and will not often have the time to accomodate an extra face, especially on a busy day. If you plan to bring someone with you who also wants an application, call before hand and see if you can book an appointment for them after yours. Also please note that said friend will also have a fee for her face as well. Very rarely do artist give a 2 for 1, if ever. I will sometimes with large wedding parties do the bride’s mother for free.

6. If you do not like the direction your makeup is going, please speak up. We want you to be happy, so please let us know how we can better help you. There’s nothing worse than having a client proclaim they love what you’ve done only to find out later that they didn’t like it.  Things you can say if your wishes aren’t being met include, “I was hoping we could try it another way,” “I thought I’d like that color/look/method/etc. but it may not be for me after all. Can we try something else?” Just be honest, and be polite. It’s much easier to fix something as it’s being done then at the very end. Please do not be demanding or rude.

7. And the most important: BE ON TIME (yes, I am yelling). It seems like people these days have either A.) No sense of time.  B.) Respect enough for themselves (it’s YOU that looks bad when you show up late) and the other person to be on time.  C.) Some other reason, which is still no excuse for tardiness. If you will be late, please telephone to let your artist know. Often times there is only a certain amount of time alloted for your appointment and your time will be cut short by being late. Give yourself enough time for travel, finding the location (if you have never been there before), and time for parking and walking to your destination. Also, give yourself at least 15 extra minutes, just in case there is unforseen traffic or other circumstances.