So Over the Overdone Look

imageI almost want to start this post with “back in my day…” I won’t, but I will say a lot has changed in the past few years in the makeup industry.  I attribute a lot of that to the rise of You Tube and Instagram.  Social media has allowed people to connect with other artists and learn techniques faster than ever.  People have quite literally become stars just for posting selfies or videos of themselves applying makeup online.  While this is amazing, it’s created an unreasonable standard for your average person.  Makeup has become all dramatic contouring, strobbing, baking, and cut creases.  Makeup is certainly art, and I love seeing the art expressed, but I constantly hear woman come in asking for contour kits that can’t even pronounce the word, let alone tell me what contouring is.

I’m not trying to makeup-shame anyone.  I just wish more women embraced their natural beauty.  To me, makeup is about having fun, and enhancing your features, not about wearing a mask.  So many of the looks I see today look for heavy and I can’t imagine they feel very good on your face!  Plus, these looks often involve so many products!  What average person has the money or time for that!  I read a blog today about a woman who tried to replicate a look she saw on You Tube, not even a complicated one, but one described as natural.  It took her multiple attempts over 4 hours!  Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Just this weekend, I had a mother and daughter looking for new makeup.  The daughter was 16, and beautiful, but yet she kept talking to me about her flaws and how she needed concealer to cover this or that.  There was nothing to cover.  Her mother sighed repeatedly trying to reassure her she looked great, and asking me to do the same.  The girl told me that all the other girls at school wear a lot of makeup and she thinks they look better than her when they wear it.  The mom then took a seat in my chair, and I heard the same concerns all grown up.  Self-criticism and doubt, talking about how old she looked and what she needed to “fix.”  She thanked me for reassuring her daughter, and I gently reminded her that she was setting an example for her with all the things she was saying about herself.  I couldn’t help, but think that all the images of impossible perfection that wallpaper their feeds.

So ladies, don’t try to be someone you’re not.  If you see a tutorial on someone who looks nothing like you, don’t try to look like that, because you won’t, and that’s okay! You can’t change your facial structure, eye shape or skin tone.  Find elements like the highlight, lip color, or color palette for eyes and incorporate that into your own look, but still be yourself!  You’re already beautiful!


August Sephora Haul Review

I’m a sucker for a promo, so when I saw Sephora was offering 4x points for VIB Rouge, I went right to the website and started adding things to my cart.  I figured it was a great time to try some things I have been looking at for a while.  Here are my first impressions!
I haven’t tried this yet since I’m still finishing up the Supercleanse (review coming soon), but I love the idea of an oil and cleanser in one.  As you know, I love my cleansing oils!  I’m psyched to try this one.
I had a sample of the Aqua Bomb, the lighter gel-like version of this.  I liked it, but needed more moisture so I thought I’d give this one a try.  I’m just finishing up my current moisturizing, so I’m looking forward to putting this one into the rotation.
I love my compact Becca highlighter, but being Twilight-pale makes it hard to get a true highlight since nothing is really lighter than my skin.  So I thought I’d try the liquid version of the Becca in Pearl.  True to the description, this gives a nice white-pearl finish.
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I also tried one of the new Becca Mineral blush in Flowerchild.
They are very soft for a powder blush, very finely milled.  The color payoff is pretty good, even with one of the lighter shades like the one I have, and it builds very easily.  It’s not the longest wearing, but I like it.  The color looks like a less shimmery Nars Orgasm.
Sans Flash

Sans Flash

With Flash

With Flash

This has one of the most precise applicators I’ve ever seen in a concealer.  This tells me you need very little, which is true.  A small dot really spreads out.  I haven’t put it to the length of wear test yet, but I like the texture and coverage.  I feel like the quantity is so little compared to other liquid concealers, like the Urban Decay Naked; I worried it would run out quickly if you do a lot of spot concealing, but maybe not since you use less.
The Stila Got Inked Cushion eyeliner intrigued me.
I’ve heard of cushion foundations, but this is very unique.  The pot has a sponge-like contraption it in that you press your brush into to dispense the color.  The result it the right amount of color, unlike with many gel liners where you dip straight in and can easily overdo it.  The color is beautiful with a metallic finish (I got the Sapphire), and does no budge when dry.
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Now to the lips.  I went on a bit of a lipstick binge.  I don’t wear a lip color all that often, despite having a drawer full, but I convince myself that’s just because I haven’t found the right one.
This is a super creamy matte, not a dry matte, so major points there!  The color payoff is great and it really holds.  This color is a very nice fuchsia-wine shade.  Definitely bold, but great for this fall’s berry lip trend.
There are so many colors in this formula!  I had a hard time deciding, but narrowed it down to two: Forbidden Berry and Coral Confession.
The first thing you notice is that these definitely are big!  The bullet is huge.  I’m not a fan of this as it’s a recipe for sloppy application.  The cover of the packaging is magnetic though, which I like.   There’s nothing worse than opening your purse to find lipstick smeared all over the inside.  They apply smoothly and give very full color.  The finish is very shiny, almost glossy.  The Coral was a little pastel for me.  The Berry is an almost red, hot pink.  The texture was great.  I loved the way they looked, but they bled like crazy!  I don’t normally have this problem with lip color, but the berry color very quickly migrated into the little nooks and crannies around my mouth, even with concealer used around the edges.  This one definitely needs lips liner and probably primer!
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Next, the Clinique Pop Lip Colour and Primer.  I also got two of these, since I can’t make decisions: Plum Pop and Bare Pop.
The primer and color in one appealed to me since I usually wear primer with my lipstick.  The colors are pretty, fairly neutral, and not as full color as I expected from the primer infused formula.  However, they are super soft and creamy and feel very moisturizing on.  Plum Pop is a very pretty cream color.  Bare Pop has a little shimmer to it.
Finally, I tried one of the NudeStix products.  They get mixed reviews, but I love their spokesmodels and the company philosophy of no fuss beauty.  I got a lip and cheek dual pencil in Soul/Flesh, but I’ve only worn both colors on my lips so far.  I do love the multitasking potential, though.  The colors I chose are a little nude for my taste, but pretty.  I was pleasantly surprised to get such a creamy formula from a pencil!  I don’t know how they do it.  The color went on nicely, but didn’t stay put that long.
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July Subscription Boxes: Ipsy, Popsugar, & Target

I’ve only been doing Ipsy for a few months, but I’m usually not thrilled with the boxes.  I usually get stuff that I don’t really use or have already tried, or it’s been poor quality.  So I was thrilled this month to get a bag that had some pretty great finds.




The Bella Pierre lipstick is not a color I will probably wear, but everything else is great.  The lip balm is super moisturizing.  The Cook Way sea salt spray is pretty good.  A highlighter and eyeshadow is always useful.  And the bronzer!  I’m super fair, so I’m not usually a bronzer person, but this Tarte bronzer is soft and natural.  I would buy the full-size product when I run out.




This month also offered an opportunity for the seasonal Target Beauty Box.  It’s the best $5 you can spend.  You can try some great products that are affordable and easy to purchase if you like them.

20150720_223125This month’s box included an Herbal Essences dry oil spray, a full-sized mascara, hair ties, Yes to Cucumbers wipes, a pumice stone (always handy), a full-sized lip gloss, and fashion tape.  Just one of these products could cost $5, so it’s a great deal.  The only down-side is that the box is only available quarterly and you can’t subscribe.  You just have to be on top of it, and buy one as soon as they are posted.

My last box of the month is the well-curated Popsugar Must Have box.  Here’s a closer look at all of the full-sized products in the box for just $39.



The Good Bean bar


A Henri Bendel cosmetic case


Yes to Blueberries Cleansing Wipes


Sorial card holder


Portable electric toothbrush


Supergoop SPF Setting Mist



Hallmark Signature stationary

Reviewing OPI Color Paints

I thought nail art would be over by now, but it’s still going strong!  Not that I can do it!  I’m just recently able to paint my own nails without making a mess and that has taken me years.  So, I was pretty excited to hear about the new OPI Color Paints.  They were advertised as an easy way to achieve nail art looks.  I was sold!


The formula is like a watercolor nail polish, slightly translucent.  Think of the gels used in stage lighting.  Alone, they provide a tint, but they can be layered or blended to get bolder colors or change the tones.  The collection comes with a metallic silver base that makes the colors really pop.  I’ve played around a bit, but I’m not creative when it comes to designs.  They look cool, but you still have to the work.  Even when I just throw something on, though, I always get compliments on my nails when I’m wearing them.  People think I’ve had them professionally done or that they are Jamberry wraps, so I guess they look better than I think.

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I purchased the sampler set from Ulta that came with 5 paint colors plus the silver base coat.  The small sizes are perfect since you’re not painting your whole nail, and it’s probably not something I will use all the time to justify having a whole bottle of each color.  Of course, as with all beauty trends, other companies have jumped on bandwagon like Sephora’s Infinite Ombre set.  Have you tried any of these new polishes?  What did you think?

So Hot Right Now: Countouring

'How Tos' like this are popping up everywhere!

‘How Tos’ like this are popping up everywhere!

If you are a female between the ages of 10 and 100 and have access to any media, social or otherwise, it’s likely you’ve heard of contouring.  Contouring and it’s cousin highlighting are techniques that use different shades of makeup darker and lighter than your skin to add dimension to your face.  The idea is that darker colors give the illusion of  things being more pushed in, like under your cheekbones, and lighter colors bring things out, like tops of cheekbones and the bridge of the nose.  The technique itself has been around for years, but YouTube and Instagram have made it popular (#Contour has over 844,000 tags on Instagram).  It originated with makeup done for photo shoots since it plays off the professional lighting, and maybe it should have stayed in the studio.  The concept is a good one, but people tend to take it too far and apply is universally.   In my opinion, makeup techniques like contouring (and wing eyeliner – stop it!) may be popular, but may not be appropriate for every situation or face shape!  Artists have brought the concept to the masses and on the streets when natural lighting does not necessarily have the same effect.  Also, it involves using three shades of makeup OR MORE. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Contour gone wrong!

Contour gone wrong!

But apparently people do, and the makeup companies have tried to streamline their contouring routine by creating all in one palettes specifically for contouring.  The original ones, like the popular Anatasia palette, were powder, but cream palettes have emerged as well.  Although the palette may simplify things, you could contour the old fashioned way and just use shades of regular makeup or concealer.  This is likely to give a more natural look than since the tones and textures are matched to you.  Just choose a shade two shades darker and two shades lighter than your foundation.  Palette colors are designed to be one size fits all, but they aren’t always a good match.  For my kit, I selected the NYX Contour palette.  I don’t use it personally day to day, but for special event makeup, it’s a good tool to have.  Out of all the palettes available, I chose this one because it was relatively inexpensive, had 8 colors instead of the 4 or 6 you usually get and the individual shades can be switched out of refilled to customize the palette.

Bridal Beauty

I shared this recently on a bridal blog,,  and thought my readers may enjoy it too.  I think a lot of this applies to weddings, as well as other special event makeup.
One of the many hats I wear is ‘makeup artist.’  I’ve worked in the industry for a decade, currently working for one of the biggest beauty brands and freelancing a bit, so I’ve worked with a lot of brides.  Now being on the other side as bride myself gives me a new appreciation for the challenge of working with vendors, including hair and makeup.  Here are some things to consider when thinking about your wedding day look.
No matter how much makeup you normally wear, use this as a rule of thumb; if you feel like your makeup is just right, add a little more.  If you feel like you have a little too much on, that’s perfect.  The reason is two-fold.  First, you’re wearing it all day, so it will warm and fade a bit.  This ensures that it won’t completely disappear.  Second, you need a little more to show in photos, otherwise your features fade away and you can look washed out.  So don’t be scared of blush and a little lip color!  You really do have to wear makeup.  You may not wear much or anything on a daily basis, but for this occasion you need to have something or else your features will be lost.
That said, if you don’t wear a red lipstick and winged eyeliner everyday, your wedding day probably isn’t the time to start.  Some brides have a theme that calls for a certain look.  For example, I had a bride that was getting married at a very vintage venue, so they did a 1920’s theme and she wanted her makeup to fit.  Other than a scenario like this, you should look like yourself, just enhancing your features.  I cringe when I see super dramatic bridal makeup with dark smokey eyes, etc. or when brides bring me photos of a celebrity on the red carpet as their inspiration.  I can certainly tailor it, but be reasonable with your expectations.  If you don’t look like Kim K., you won’t (and shouldn’t!) on your big day.  Timeless is key for photos!   I’m sure there were quite a few blue-shadowed brides in the 80’s.  Don’t be that girl.  Right now lashes, wings, and airbrushing are very in, but, IMO, they tend to look more fake and overdone than not.  Be true to you!  You don’t want to look back on the photos in 20 or 30 years and think, wow, what was I thinking!  You can’t go wrong with timeless neutrals.
Be open, but come with some ideas.  It’s helpful to know what you like and don’t like.  Pinterest and Instagram are great resources.  Again, don’t pick something because it’s trendy or looks great on someone that looks nothing like you, but if there are colors you like to wear or you really like to play up your eye color or your lips, let the artist know.  Having nothing to go on makes it harder for you both, and more likely you won’t like the result.  More information is better.  I like to know what kind of makeup they wear on a daily basis.  What’s your venue?  Indoors or out?  Day or evening?  What are your colors or theme?  How are you wearing your hair, all back and up or some down in front?  And most importantly, any skin issues or sensitivities.
If you have allergies or sensitives, please let your MUA know up front so she can prepare accordingly and bring products that work for you.  That’s another reason I avoid airbrushing.  It can be heavy, less breathable and more susceptible to breakouts or reactions.  It’s just not necessary.  Your photos will be retouched anyway, if you have heavy makeup to begin with, skin can look plasticy post-editing.  Keep it light, and try it out if you haven’t warn it before.
No matter what kind of makeup you go with, do a trial first!   I’ve had several people tell me they have their makeup done only to wipe most of it off and re-do it themselves!  What a waste! Trials can give you a feel for the makeup, how it wears and looks.  Plus, most importantly, you can see it in pictures.  Always snap some photos to get a true sense of how it will look.
Consider having hair and makeup done for your whole party.  It can be an expense for you or them, but when you think of pictures, you want it to look uniform.  You don’t want to have one girl who did her own and have everyone else looking well quaffed.
Last, but not least, the budget.  Onsite beauty services are not cheap, for sure, but they don’t have to break the bank!  If you’re having a large group, try to negotiate a group price.  If you can go to their location, at a salon or otherwise, you can often save a travel fee.  Think outside the box.  If there is a makeup line that you use, see if one of the people at that store or counter free lances.  That way you know the artist and the product and they will often charge less than a full-time artist.  Stores and makeup counters will sometimes provide the service in store for a small fee, about $50.  The cheapest route is to DIY, but only do this if you’re really confident or have a talented friend.  It can create a stressful morning if you’re struggling.  Go to a store and ask the artists to give you a lesson beforehand.  Make sure you have the right products, and then practice before the big day!
If you have questions about beauty, bridal or otherwise, leave a comment below, or let me know if there’s something you want to see in future posts!