Monday, August 31, 2015

A Smoky Eye Makes Your Eyes Look Smaller - Fact or Beauty Myth?

As a pro makeup artist, beauty expert and writer....I get frustrated sometimes.  Why, do you ask, when I have the BEST job in the whole world?  I'll tell ya....
I get frustrated by all of the MISINFORMATION out there in the world of beauty!  I constantly read tips that are just flat out wrong. (It happens in the fashion world too...example, whoever decided that ANYONE looks good in flatforms or culottes!  But I digress....)

Call them Old Wives tales or Beauty Myths, but trust me, ladies, you can't believe everything you's not all accurate, and often those articles don't give you enough information to understand how the tip might...or might not...apply to you.  Today's blog post is about one of those Beauty Myths that totally drives me nuts.  How many times have you read:

"Avoid a smoky eye or black eyeliner!  It'll close your eye in and make it look smaller..."

I know I've read it dozens and dozens of times.....everywhere from beauty blogs to national beauty magazines, and countless women have told me that their friend/cousin/mom always told them that girls with smaller eyes just can't do a smoky eye.  Guess what?  It ain't true!!  It just isn't....and I can prove it.  Wanna see?  Check out these examples of just a few of my real clients....every last one of them wanted a smoky eye but was afraid to try it because they "had heard somewhere" it would make their eyes look smaller.  Take a look......

That last's crazy, right?  Her eyes look twice their size!  It's all in the technique, how it's applied and harsh edges, and you have to be careful not to overdo. When done correctly, color can be used to create the illusion that your entire eye area is bigger than it really is.  Another key element?  Lashes!  Strip lashes, individual lashes or a couple of coats of glossy mascara will do wonders to visually open up your eye area.

So....have you been avoiding black liner or a smoky eye because you thought you couldn't pull it off? Give it a try, you might be surprised on how flattering a soft, smoky (read: not goth!) smoky eye can be.  If you really want to learn how to recreate this look on yourself, call (972-345-0655) or email ( me today to book a private or group lesson and I'll teach you!

Check back here too, I'll be posting more Beauty Myths in the future...the real scoop, no BS.  Have a beauty myth you've always heard and want to find out if it's true or not?  Post in the comments!

(All makeup on this post, and this website by Jennifer Trotter of Lip Service Makeup)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

What's the Number One Thing You Should Look For When Choosing Cosmetics?

Whenever I do makeup for headshots, weddings or a group or private lessons, clients are always shocked at how LIGHT the makeup feels when I'm done, and how long it lasts.  They want to know what it is that I'm doing to get such great results that look and feel so different from results they get when they do their own makeup at home.  Well, here is my #1 trick.....
Highly pigmented products are a MUST for bridal makeup!

The products I use....expensive, drugstore and pro brand....have all been chosen with one thing in mind...they are all highly pigmented!

So what the heck does THAT mean?

Think about this...have you ever applied a cheap, drugstore eyeshadow or blush that looked pretty in the package, but when you applied it....the color just wasn't there, or you had to really pack it on to see anything?  Or you applied lipstick just to have it fade into oblivion a few hours later?  You might have figured out that those cosmetics weren't the best quality, but what exactly is the problem? Too much filler versus pigment...plain and simple.  A high ratio of filler ingredients will dilute the intensity of pigment and create a  dry, chalky texture.... that means you have to really work to get any color payoff, the colors aren't true and it won't last. In regard to eye shadow, it can also result in major in color all over your cheeks instead of on your eyelids...a beating when you're trying to get ready, but also a waste of time and product.
Photo Credit: Aphrodite Attitude

Higher quality formulas apply true color smoothly, and in one swipe....that's the golden ticket!  You can keep it light with a soft wash of color, or build to major intensity....if a product has more pigment, the option is up to you.  When your shadow, blush and lipstick are properly pigmented, there's no need to pack it on and it'll blend seamlessly with your skin.

Pigmented shadows - Photo credit: Makeup Geek
How do you know if you've got a highly pigmented product?                                
I'll save you plenty of time right off the bat....I've yet to find ANY...and I do mean any, drugstore brand powder formula eye shadow that had enough pigment for me.  I'm a fan of several drugstore brands for other products, but in eye no.  Skip straight to higher end brands like Lorac (my current fave), Urban Decay (watch out for overly sparkly shades), Mac, IT Cosmetics (super smooth and blendable matte shades) and Charlotte Tilbury.  Look for an almost buttery smooth texture and intense color, and minimal fall out...

There are more options with blush...there are several brands at every price point that have enough pigmentation to provide the healthy flush you're looking for.  Look for soft, micro-milled formulas that provide enough color with a subtle application....if it requires several swipes, move on to another
Highly pigmented gel blush from Butter London
brand. Also look into gel or cream versions...they often carry more pigment, and eliminate the chalky texture issues that can come with powder blush.  Brands I like include Nars (powders and "the Multiple" cream sticks), Milani powder blush (a cheapie insider fave), MAC Blush (especially the Mineralize Finish ones), Butter London gel fomulas (super intense! See example on left) and Maybelline cream blush sticks.

You'll have even better luck with lipsticks! I've found several across the board that carry the
Example of pigmented lipstick swatches
pigmented intensity I seek.  Look for matte formulas that provide good color payoff in one can sheer it out with gloss, or apply straight from the tube for the full effect. A few of my current go to lipsticks include Kat Von D (intense, matte and long lasting), Smashbox, L'Oreal (half the price and very comparable to higher end versions), Revlon (classic and affordable shades) and Lipstick Queen.

Highly pigmented products mean better color payoff, a long lasting look AND you can use less product! Also, the more pigmented your products are, the more versatile they are...
Use a light touch and blend well when you want subtle looks, apply full force when you're ready to be bold...the same products can do both, if you've chosen well.

What cosmetics do you own that pass the pigment test?  What do you have that doesn't?  Share in the comments!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Top 4 Ways To Take Your Look From Day to Night

When fab beauty resource blog SheKnows reached out wanting a few tips on how to transform daytime makeup into a nighttime ready look, I was more happy to share!  (They shared just one of my tips, but here's the entire article for ya!) I often have VERY long days, and find myself working all day with clients and then heading off to a networking cocktail party or industry event with just a few minutes to spare....I definitely use these tips in my own routine too!

Here are my 4 quick ways to take your look from Day to Night:

Start with a Classic Bold Lip - One of the oldest tricks in the book for a works! Stash an ultra glamorous lip color to take an otherwise neutral look into cocktail party territory. This works especially well if a strong lip is NOT your usual look! It's a bold shift that signals "sexy and special".... perfect for a night out! A shade that works on nearly everyone is a deep berry, but a classic crimson or a winter-perfect burgundy are elegant picks too. 

A few of my fave evening ready bold lip colors are "Hellbent" by Kat Von D, "Snow White" by NYX, "Shame" by Urban Decay and "Rebel" by MAC)

Highlight the Positive - A shimmery highlighter dusted on cheekbones and brow bones instantly gives your face a lift, and picks up candle light beautifully!  Add a bit down the bridge of your nose and on cupid's bow for a fresh look perfect for nighttime. Highlighters to try - Kevyn Aucoin's "the Celestial", Mac "Silver Dusk" Powder and IT Cosmetics in "Hello Light".

Photo Credit Stephen Moleski
Get in Line - an inky black liner instantly adds an air of sexiness to an otherwise subdued daytime face. Choose a pencil...easier than liquid, and doesn't require a brush like gel liners. Line water lines (bottom...and top if you can swing it) then smudge with a q-tip, the whole process takes seconds and is really hard to screw up!
Choose a soft, highly pigmented pencil for a sultry effect.
My fave black liner pick for a no-brush-needed application?  Urban Decay 24-7 Pencil in Perversion ---it's pretty much the pinnacle of smoky black eye pencil! 

Grab Your Falsies - False LASHES, that is! They're not just for black tie
anymore...nothing gives your eyes fluttery impact like popping on a pair of false lashes. And when applied properly, they really aren't too over the top...promise.  Practice at home to get technique down so you can do it quickly when trying to get out the door to after work cocktails. Bonus tip - stash a small tube of dark tone glue! The white glue will eventually dry clear, but the dark tone glue is immediately invisible, perfect if you're pressed for time. Try Eylure Lashes in "Volume" and Duo Dark Tone Glue, both available at drugstores.

Add a bold necklace or earrings, switch out flats for pumps and lastly, ditch your big work bag and tuck necessities into a cute and colorful clutch...done! You just went from all business daytime meh to sultry evening A-mazing! What are YOUR fave day to night tips and products?!?
Photo Credit Express

Want to check out the SheKnows article with tips from celebrity makeup artists and other beauty pros like me?  Click here....

(PS, If you weren't already aware, SheKnows is a great resource for anything you want to know on beauty and'll get addicted!)