Tag Archives: Makeup

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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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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Don’t you know who I am???

Me doing meFamous last words…because, like if a D-List celebrity, if you have to ask that question, no, people don’t know who you are. So here I am sitting in front of my computer and attempting to answer that question. An introduction of sorts. A resume’. A walk down memory lane…

A lot of you just know me as ‘that crazy makeup artist I follow on Facebook’.  And that alone floors me- whenever I get ‘recognized’ when I hand someone my card, I am always astounded that anyone has ever even heard of me. I haven’t won any Oscars or been on any reality shows. So how did I get here, with people asking or BEGGING me to write a blog? I’ll get there, but first, just the facts, ma’am.

Some of my first memories are of doing makeup. My mother, always a very glamorous woman, used to teach as a makeup artist for Barbazon in the 70’s- if you’re under 35, you’ll need to google that ‘ish.  But during that period, she also sold makeup for Mary Kay. As a child, I was never allowed to have Barbies – only ‘creative’ toys in our house- mounds of construction paper, crayons, crafty stuff. I can’t even venture to guess how many pairs of Wonder Woman wrist cuffs I must have fashioned for myself back then. So when she stopped working for Mary Kay, her makeup kit became my toy. I still have the most vivid memories of those shiny pink cases, and the exact SMELL of a Mary Kay foundation. I would spend my days in the basement (or the ‘rumpus room’, as we called them back then), painting my face for hours, listening to my record player, with “Saturday Night Fever” and the Broadway cast recording of “Annie” on heavy rotation. At that moment, true love was born- I wasn’t a kid in a basement on the West Side, I was a STAR! I could put makeup on my face and become the most beautiful woman in the world! And it didn’t hurt to make me feel girly, considering that back then my haircuts were given to me in the garage, so I kinda looked like a boy, but alas, I digress….

Fast forward a few years- as you can imagine, I grew up with quite the imagination. Anything creative, where I was the center of attention, I was doing it: musical theater, acting, singing in choir, playing the drums,etc. But at some point you graduate high school and you have to star doing weird adult thing, like pay bills. Although I was accepted into the musical theater program at a college, I opted out.  I mean really, what was a girl from Ohio going to do with a degree in Musical Theater?

At some point in the early 90’s, I was given my first Kevyn Aucoin book, and I took my lead from there. Kevyn’s work was mind-blowing, transformative, and so inspirational. I knew that if I could be .00000001% of the makeup artist he was, I would be happy.

So I took my very first job at a makeup counter for Prescriptives, and that’s where it all started. I owe so much to that company for teaching me color theory, hard core and right out of the gate, custom blending people’s foundations. And I LOVED it- well, part of it, anyway. I loved interacting with women, doing their makeup, and making them feel good about themselves. It’s funny that a little bit of mascara and some blush can do that to us. All told, I ended up working for Prescriptives, Clinique and MAC before I ended up moving to Los Angeles to chase my dream.

At 26, I decided to run off and join the Navy, but we’ll tackle that another day. But hey- it got me stationed in SoCal, so I went for it.

Los Angeles was a lot of things that I had never even imagined possible. I attended and graduated with honors from Makeup Designory, aka, the “Harvard of Makeup”, where I studied beauty and character makeup. I worked on movie sets, music videos, and runway shows with designers I had only seen in Vogue. I pounded the pavement, building my portfolio, paying my dues, and worked under some other really amazing MUAs. I basked in the amazing weather, and even ended up teaching my OWN makeup classes. I hung out with celebs and did their makeup, and lounged by the pool drinking $15 cocktails at the infamous Roosevelt Hotel. Hell, getting run over by Lindsey Lohan on one of her drunken rampages was a real possibility on any given day.

But with all of the things Los Angeles was, it wasn’t home. I missed my mommy. I missed my friends. So two years ago I decided to move back to Cincinnati. And I haven’t regretted it one bit. Life is just easier here. I have all of my old friends around me. I have the support of my family, and Cincinnati has come a long way since I left t so many years ago. I sold my Hollywood Mercedes and bought my Jeep. I also have a rent payment that is under $1200.

So here I now sit, happier than ever with my life. Is it as ‘glamorous’ as L.A.? Maybe not. But in reality, I would prefer to do makeup on a gorgeous bride on her wedding day and feel that love and appreciation, do a creative shoot for a magazine, or teach a makeup lesson to a woman that just wants to feel more confident in herself. I feel appreciated. I feel fortunate. I LOVE my job. It’s funny how a little bit of mascara and some blush can do that for us…

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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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