Category Archives: Product Reviews

My New YouTube Channel Has Landed!

Big news! By request of so many friends and clients, I have started a YouTube channel, where I will be doing tons of videos on everything beauty! Product reviews, proper tools for the job, makeup tutorials, contests, and even descriptions of the products in my new makeup line. If you know me, you know that almost nothing is off-limits, and I don’t embarrass easily, so I will share it all with you guys, from artistry to zits! Also, feel free to email me with video topic requests. Be sure to subscribe below, and share with your friends! The first video is already up, a quick review of the new Makeup Light, from Hollywood makeup artist Vivian Baker! Subscriber here, and don’t miss a thing! www.youtube.com/RachelLisaMUA

xoxo-

Rachel

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My new fave brush cleaner! A video review of Clean Brush shampoo!

I love the lemon scent, but it's also available in Lavender and Unscented

I love the lemon scent, but it’s also available in Lavender and Unscented

Hey Kids! I am constantly being asked by clients how they should clean their makeup brushes. I recently purchased this little gem, created by my friend and fellow makeup artist Jessicca Ochs. I’ll be honest- at first I bought it to humor her. I typically have not had great experiences with solid brush soaps. But boy did this little hunk of magic surprise me and EXCEED any expectations that I had.

I recently went to Chicago for The Makeup Show, and had to take it to my friend and all-around-bad-ass Sonia Roselli to try. Here is the video of us using it! I’m the one with the tattoos hanging out and the busted hair. Watch and see how amazing it is, and how many frigging brushes we washed with one container!  (Caution- we were very tired and slap happy, so there might be some cussing and overall goofiness).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=uFusfoDXtd8#at=20

To buy this amazing product (And I highly suggest you do), go to http://www.cleanbrushes.com. I happen to prefer the olive oil version, but I think that’s just the Italian in me. I haven’t heard one negative review on this stuff! It’s a must for professional makeup artists and anyone that owns makeup brushes!

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WTF is a Primer? v1.0

As a professional makeup artist, you can imagine my shock, awe, and slight disgust when I was asked this question by my sweet, possibly Amish cousin, Sarah. Clearly one of us is adopted. How can ANYONE related to me not know what a primer is, much less not even own 1 or 5? So it became painfully obvious that this post needed to be written before she or anyone else I loved spent another day with large pores of creased eyelids. ( Somewhere, a unicorn just cried a little…)

First of all, what you need to know is that there are two major groups of primers, facial primers and eyelid primers and every woman that wears makeup needs to own one of each type. Would DaVinci ever paint a masterpiece without priming his canvas? Heck no, he wouldn’t! So why would you?  Pay attention, I’m about to break it down like RUN DMC- Today I will cover face primer.

Face Primer- As you might have guessed, face primer is to be used all over your face! A face primer is going to do several things for you, depending on which brand and type you choose. Every basic primer is going to: Fill in fine lines and wrinkles, smooth the texture of your skin, minimize the appearance of large pores, and best of all, keep your makeup on much longer throughout the day- I’m talking hours longer here, people.  Primers have now become so advanced, some of them can even correct your skin tone, keep your skin from becoming oily, and even deliver anti-aging properties and sun protection to your face. Pretty impressive.

Picking YOUR Face Primer- Now, since there are so many options out there, I’m gonna give you some quick tips before you end up wandering around your makeup counter like a lost puppy.

First, you might have a texture preference. Some primers are silicone based, and have a slippery, yet buttery soft feel. Do not mistake this for oil- it’s not. It will dry smoothly and to an almost powder-like finish.  Examples of silicone based primers are the old-school Smashbox PhotoFinish primer ($36, http://www.smashbox.com) , and my all time new fave, the Whip Hand Cosmetics “Set The Stage” primer. ($39, http://www.whiphandcosmetics.com) They are good for all skin types, and really give your skin that ultra-smooth look, like you’re walking around in real-time photoshop.  I adore the Whip Hand Primer because it feels like whipped silk, on your hands and your face, and a little bit goes a LONG way. It;s getting rave reviews from makeup artists everywhere, not just me.

Other primers, like the classic Laura Mercier Foundation primer ($32, sephora.com), have a light gel base, and are reminiscent of smoothing aloe onto your face.  It’s lighter texture is often preferred by people with very oily skin, or who want a very natural feel to their makeup. These also seem to perform better in really humid climates for some people. Also in this category is the amazing Make Up Forever HD Microperfecting Primer ($34, sephora.com). I love this particular brand when I need a color-correcting primer for clients with discoloration issues, like rosacia. The green version will subdue the red, giving you a more even skin tone. Feeling extra pale and sallow? Pick up the purple version! I know- it seems weird to be putting these colors all over your face, but it’s basic 5th grade color theory. Complimentary colors, when put on top of one another, cancel each other out.

So, now that you know the difference between the two kind of primers out there, you just need to go let your fingers do the walking, touch, feel, and play in the different formulas and find one that you like.

How to Use- Think of your primer as the last step of your skin care- using your fingers, put it on a clean, moisturized face, immediately before any concealer or foundation go onto that pretty mug of yours. If you want a super flawless and even coverage, you can also buff it in lightly with a sponge, but once you get the hang of it, your fingers should work just fine. Just remember- less is more, and it’s easier to add than take away. Using too much primer can result in your makeup sliding right off of your face…it just won’t be able to get a good grip on your skin. Now you are ready to apply your foundation and concealer like a pro! You go,girl!

Still have questions? Probably. If you’d like my advice on picking the right primer for you, leave me a message in the comments below, telling me about your skin and the foundation that you currently use. I’ll do my best to set you up right. And stay tuned, because coming soon…

WTF is a Primer v2.0- Eyeshadow Primers- The Revenge of the Greasy Crease! A Plethora of Primers

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Totally Spongeworthy

For years now, professional makeup artists have known the wonders of the little pink egg, aka, the Beauty Blender. Now that they are readily available at Sephora retailers everywhere, I figured it was time to tell you what all the fuss is about.

The brain child of celebrity makeup artist Rea Ann Silva, the Beauty Blender is a reusable non-latex makeup sponge that makes giving yourself the flawless finish that a professional makeup artist would give you right at home. Unlike a brush, this little miracle won’t leave streaks in your foundation, and soaks up way less product when used properly. And when compared to using your fingers, the finish is much more even, and it’s shape makes it easy to navigate into those tricky areas like your nose and tear ducts without losing an eye. Also, with proper care, they can last for months if not years.

Using it is easy…just wet the sponge, squeezing out any excess water until your little egg is slightly damp. Then place your liquid foundation on the back of your hand, dip the sponge in, and begin gently patting (or stippling, as we pros call it) the sponge all  over your face, making sure to blend evenly. I also like to employ a technique where I literally rock the sponge back and forth all over my face for slightly more coverage. Just play with it and decide which technique you prefer. I know wetting the sponge seems odd, but just trust me- you get an even smoother finish with it when damp. When you are finished, simply wash the sponge with soap and water to prevent bacteria from growing it that bad boy, or you might end up giving yourself some really unsexy zits.

When used in conjunction with a really awesome primer, I have had clients swear I gave them botox while they weren’t looking- their skin looks that smooth. I like to use mine with the Whip Hand “Set The Stage” primer ($39, http://www.whiphandcosmetics.com) for skin that looks like it has been photoshopped, but in real life. You can buy a Beauty Blender solo for $19.95 ( http://www.sephora.com), or grab one of their starter kits that include the sponge,  soap, and drying port, both which will extend the life of your precious egg. The original Beauty Blenders were pink, and came with a liquid soap, but I am partial to the new black version with the solid soap, reminiscent of a men’s Olde Tyme shaving bar.

Like most awesome things, there have been a ton of replicas out there, but in my opinion, none of them can touch the original.

In Conclusion: If you’re not applying your foundation with a Beauty Blender, you’re just doing it wrong. Get with the program, or we are so breaking up.

Bath time for my babies!

Bath time for my babies!

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Update: I have been using these the past week or so in my kit, and all of my clients have been dying over their skin and begging to know what it was- even the more oily skinned clients! The finish is just gorgeous!

Lipgloss and Lithium

A long, long time ago, in a place called QVC, a company called Bare Minerals came along and had everyone OBSESSED with the idea of Mineral Makeup. Minerals!!! They’re all natural! That sounds so good for my skin, right? The craze was born. Well, I hate to break it to anyone, but ALL makeup is made of minerals. But the demand was there, so all of the big boys in the cosmetics industry tagged along, vying for that client that wanted to have the word ‘Mineral’ in their foundation.

MAC fell in line too, with the introduction of their Mineralized Powders and  liquid Foundations. And they did well. But suddenly to the surprise of many loyal customers, MAC pulled their liquid mineral foundation…. I did some undercover investigation to find out why, and was happily surprised with what I found. Although many people loved that foundation, MAC decided they could do better…

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NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer- The Holy Grail of Concealers!

So it used to be that concealer was one of those things you just had to use to hide flaws. It was never anything you really LOVED or looked forward to using…a lot of times it would crease or wear off, leaving you looking older than you are, making an acne spot look even more textured, or like you got punched in the eye by noon. It also used to be that NARS was known for their crazy-fabulous color collection, and not their flawless skin products. Until now…

I am just going to come out and say it- I truly am in LOVE with the new NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer. ( $28, http://www.narscosmetics.com )  I would so have it’s babies. If you don’t yet own it, just stop reading this blog post and go buy it. Here’s the lowdown-

-It doesn’t crease or wear off. I swear on my makeup kit, this stuff doesn’t move. For HOURS. I can put it on at 8 am, and still look fabulous and fresh 12 hours later. People have been commenting lately that I look so well rested, and my skin is amazing. Those of you that know me personally know I am plagued by seasonal allergies, insomnia, and a slightly clueless significant other, all which cause me to have dark circles under my eyes as well as the occasional frustration zit.

-It has a very thin texture, so it never looks cakey or heavy.  So no more using a specific creamy concealer for the eye area and adding a dryer concealer to cover redness on your face. Also, the coverage is buildable, so if you have extra ares that need more coverage, you can add second coat to really blot out any imperfections.

– It has light diffusing ingredients. What does that mean? It means that not only will it cover your not-so-perfect areas, it will actually blur the fine lines and wrinkles your annoying boss caused, and can make your face look smoother overall.

– It comes in 10 shades, for all skin types, for super fair to dark complected skin, so you won’t have an issue finding the right color to match your skin. (See below for swatches of a few of the colors I have already purchased for my pro kit)

– You only need to use a little bit of it. Anyone I have seen that has had issues with it creasing is using too much of the product. If one coat doesn’t give you the coverage you want, use 2 very thin coats, like  you would with a nail polish. It comes in a tube with a doe-foot wand, similar to a lip gloss. Just dab a tiny bit on the area you want to cover and pat it out to blend it.

So, in conclusion, if you want to look all bright-eyed and bushy tailed, even if you’re not exactly feeling that way, you need to add this concealer to your arsenal. Along with a good dose of their Multiple Orgasm, and you’ll have all of your friends asking if you just had a relaxing stay at The Betty Ford Clinic 😉

Copyright, NARS Cosmetics

Copyright, NARS Cosmetics

Colors from top to bottom: Chantilly, Honey, Biscuit, Amande

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Lip Hits by Whip Hand Cosmetics

I’m just gonna start by saying I am jaded- it takes a lot to turn my head or impress me when it comes to new makeup products. Been there, done that, returned it, went back to my original favorites. But I am always willing to give a new product a try, especially when it comes to the quest of the perfect long-wearing but non-drying lip color.

Enter Whip Hand Cosmetics, straight out of Detroit( http://www.whiphandcosmetics.com) – I had heard other makeup artists RAVING about their “Set The Stage” primer ($39), and was curious to try it, but I already had a kit full of primers I was still using. So I tweeted Whip Hand, and full disclosure, they sent me one for free to try. (yeah, I know, makeup artists get all the cool stuff first). But regardless of it being free that first time, I LOVE IT! It has replaced every single primer in my kit…it’s like Botox in a jar…you NEED it in your life….I have since bought several more…but I digress…that’s a whole other blog post.

I was so impressed with their primer, I started looking around their website ( http://www.whiphandcosmetics.com ), and saw their “Lip Hit” product ($20). It promised to be long wearing and creamy, and I’m not gonna lie, I thought the packaging was pretty cool. So I originally ordered 2 shades, and as usual was skeptical. But my oh my, was I pleasantly surprised! You know those other long-wearing lipsticks that have 2 sides and totally make your lips peel? Yeah-these don’t do that. They melt into your lips like buttah, stay put for hours, and have a gorgeous satin finish that seems to almost retexturize even dry,cracked lips. No lip liner needed. And yes, the packaging IS ingenious! It’s a long tube with a twist up mechanism that dispenses just the right amount onto a soft little paddle, almost like a rubber spatula, so it’s not going to dry out on you. NOTE: when I got my first Lip Hit, I assumed I had to cut the tip off for it to dispense. You don’t. Oops.

They initially launched the product with 7 shades. While I loved their original shades, their was a specific color I was looking for that they didn’t have yet..that perfect pinky-nude that looks good on everyone, and can you can throw on every day to run to the store, or add a lip liner to it to add more pop if you want. So I talked to  Riese Lauriat, owner/developer/Chief MUA and HBIC, and sent her some color swatches to see if she thought they could develop one for me, in the same long-lasting formula of their original colors. She said they would work on it. And lo and behold, last weekend, when they launched their 7 NEW shades for Spring, there it was, aptly named “Crave”- the exact color I had requested and needed for my kit (And my purse ).  My other faves that I suggest you check out are Tempt, Score, and covet, but honestly, they’re all gorgeous. (See below for some color swatches)

And this is just one example of what a great little company this is- they have excellent customer service, and truly want to hear feedback from customers on their products, and what they can do to make you as a client keep coming back. You heard it here first…they might be small now, but I predict this brand will eventually end up in Sephoras around the world. You can say you knew them way back when by stopping by their booth at The Makeup Show in Chicago, June 9-10.

From left to right- Yearn, Covet, Hooked, Tempt, Score, Crave

From left to right- Yearn, Covet, Hooked, Tempt, Score, Crave

Whip Hand Cosmetics Lip Hits

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MAC’s Revamped Mineralize Moisture Foundation

A long, long time ago, in a place called QVC, a company called Bare Minerals came along and had everyone OBSESSED with the idea of Mineral Makeup. Minerals!!! They’re all natural! That sounds so good for my skin, right? The craze was born. Well, I hate to break it to anyone, but ALL makeup is made of minerals. But the demand was there, so all of the big boys in the cosmetics industry tagged along, vying for that client that wanted to have the word ‘Mineral’ in their foundation.

MAC fell in line too, with the introduction of their Mineralized Powders and  liquid Foundations. And they did well. But suddenly to the surprise of many loyal customers, MAC pulled their liquid mineral foundation…. I did some undercover investigation to find out why, and was happily surprised with what I found. Although many people loved that foundation, MAC decided they could do better. And boy, did they ever…behold, launching at MAC counters and stores everywhere, Thursday March 7th, the new and drastically improved- Mineralize Moisture SPF 15 Foundation!

“So, Rachel, why is it so much better?”, you ask? Well hold your horses, I am a fan of drama and timing. I’m getting there…

My undercover source, whom I shall refer to as “Carbon”, told me that the new formulation was actually developed to be used by professional makeup artists for photography. “But I’m not a makeup artist, I just like to wear it!”, I hear you screaming. Well, here’s the deal- when a foundation is developed for photography, you can bet your sweet cheeks that it’s gonna look even better in person. A lot of  popular ‘consumer’ brands of foundation have an excess of minerals and SPF which can cause something we in the industry as “flashback”- that dreaded ‘why does my face look 10 shades lighter than my neck’ effect. Remember the Nicole Kidman incident where she looked like an extra from “Scarface”?  Now, when you’re out with your girlfriends taking tons of pictures that you might regret later, you will not have what I call the “Floating Head” syndrome, where your face looks like it’s not connected to the correct body.

“Carbon” also informed me that the new version is loaded with shea butter, beet root, yeast, light diffusers and emollients that will have an instant botox-like effect on drier and more mature skin. I had to have it. NOW.

Without betraying my sources, let’s say I stumbled upon a bottle before the launch, and smoothed it over my normal-to-dry skin. I instantly fell in love with this foundation. I kissed the bottle and bought it an engagement ring. I was an instant convert. My skin felt so soft, looked flawless, and had a glorious glowing finish that made my neighbor ask me what I had been up to, and if we had used protection. The coverage is medium, but builds easily without caking, to a full coverage foundation, meaning I had to use less concealer. It has a nice 8 hour wear to it, and I had no issues with it oxidizing or breaking up on my skin throughout the day. Random people were stopping to compliment me on my skin. I broke up with my old (And much more expensive) foundation via text.

Now, if you have oily skin, this might not be the foundation for you. It is very emollient with a dewy finish that oilier girls might not be so fond of. But if you have normal or normal to dry skin, I HIGHLY suggest you give this stuff a try. At $33 a bottle, it’s very affordable, and comes in every shade of the Benneton rainbow. Stop in to your local MAC store or counter and give it a shot, or buy your usual MAC shade online at http://www.maccosmetics.comMac Mineralize Foundation

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Product Review: NARS Larger Than Life Eyeliner

Copyright: NARS Cosmetics

Copyright: NARS Cosmetics

I am constantly being asked- “What is you favorite long-wearing eyeliner?” Since the launch of the NARS Larger Than Life twist-up pencils, I  have become obsessed with this product. Here’s why-

-It goes on like butter: you barely have to touch this liner to your skin to get full-on opaque pigment, instead of having to tug and pull on your delicate eye area. You WILL need a waterproof eye makeup remover to get these off at the end of your day.

-Once it sets, it stays: I often work 12 hour days, and by the end of the day, this liner hasn’t moved an inch. Even in the waterline.

-It’s convenient: You never need to worry about carrying a sharpener around with you. This is a twist-up pencil, and has it’s own sharpener cleverly hid in the back end of the packaging.

-The Color Range: From the blackest black on the market, to a vibrant purple, there is a color that will flatter every skin tone and eye color.  For everyone, I am loving the gray hue, Madison Avenue. It is softer than basic black for a casual every-day look, and makes brown eyes sparkle.  Want to brighten the eye?  Try Rue Bonaparte, the lovely cream shade for an affect that conceals any redness in  your lower waterline. Also, I just love that these liners are all named after famous streets from around the world! Tres chic!

Tip: for that sexy smoked-out liner look, apply, then quickly buff with a pencil brush to soften the edges.

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