Tip For The Day

This is my version of "over the top" makeup

This is my version of “over the top” makeup

Here’s the scenario: You meet up with your friend for a day of shopping and dining. When she opens the door, you are startled and shocked by her new makeup. Her lipstick looks like she’s been playing in chalk (too pale), she has either over/under drawn her eyebrows (scary),

Badly shaped eyebrow


and she took contouring to the next level (did she get a nose job?). Your friend is excited that she’s learned these techniques from her favorite online tutorial (no shade to all the talented MUAs who use social media to share tips), and asks the cringe-inducing question, “How do I look?”

If your instinct is to do a wall slide to the floor, clutch your pearls, and say, “A hot mess” then stop yourself before hurting her feelings and use some tact. This has happened to one of my MUA friends before, and she’s not known for being tactful, but she couldn’t crush her friend’s feelings. The artist quickly realized that her friend had been dutifully following HER advice but hadn’t quite mastered the look she wanted to achieve. The artist acknowledged that her friend had been experimenting with color, which was great, as many people shy away from strong colors. She then suggested things to add a little “here” and take away a little “there” for their soon to be Tweeted/Instagramed “selfie.”  Once the artist finished correcting the typical newbie to makeup issues (foundation not blended enough, wrong lip color, mascara or eyeliner, etc.), she took a new picture of her friend, who was elated.

This could have gone another way and feelings could have been hurt. Many times, when we see loved ones wearing makeup that makes us pause in disbelief, those people have no idea of how they truly look. The mirror tells lies. Instead of jumping in with, “You have on too much makeup” change the wording and say, “I saw (whatever product) and think it would look fantastic on you. Have you every tried that one?”  This is a tactful way to let your person know that all the colors of the rainbow in one place (their face) might not be a good look.

Some people are stuck in their ways and don’t feel that they need to change their makeup application routine. There’s not much you can do about these folks except keep a straight face (pun intended).

My “Tip for the day” is for two sets of folks: the offenders and those who are offended. If you have been told before that your makeup is “bright” or “creative” or people just say, “wow” when they see your face, you need to tone it down. If you are friends with the person who needs a makeup intervention, let them know verbally, not through the wall slide, pearl clutching, or “Hot mess” comments! Be sweet!

Until next time,


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The Makeup Show-Chicago


I am counting down the weeks until I can finally stroll through the doors of The Bridgeport Art Center, where The Makeup Show will be held. If you’ve been following my career and my blog, then you should already know how much I’ve enjoyed attending in the past, and how disappointed I was last year when I couldn’t make it to the event.

For those of you who don’t know, The Makeup Show is held annually, in various cities (and countries) for professional artists in the beauty industry. What makes the event special is that attendees can participate in hands-on workshops, meet other artists, hear keynote speakers who are trailblazers in the industry, and purchase tons of beauty products at a discounted rate.

As an artist and blogger, The Makeup Show has allowed me to meet the Legendary Reggie Wells, Beauty Guru Sam Fine, and my favorite blogger Patrice Grell Yursik, known as Afrobella in the blogger world. Hearing advice on best practices from Tia Dantzler, new Creative Director for Fashion Fair Cosmetics, was invaluable.  The event is inspirational and much-needed, especially in Chicago, a city full of talented artists, who don’t always get the exposure of their NYC and LA counterparts.

Dreams of The Makeup Show will be dancing in my head until June 7th!

Until next time,




Groupon ScreenshotI’m taking a detour from my usual posts about all things beauty because I just want to shout from the rooftops about Groupon’s excellent customer service.


I purchased a Groupon for an item that I needed, and when it did not arrive in a timely fashion, I reached out to Groupon’s customer service department and was pleasantly surprised to get a response within a few moments. The email stated that I would be hearing from a customer support agent within 24 hours. I’ve “heard” that line before so I wasn’t expecting a follow-up WITHIN 24 hours but that’s exactly what happened! Not only did I receive a sincere apology from the agent (Nithya V), but also details as to what transpired with my order (Groupon was unable to ascertain why the vendor did not follow through), and I was offered a full refund if I chose not to wait for the item. I chose the refund, and not only was that request granted, but the funds were reflected in my account within a few days (Groupon said that the process could take up to 10 days).

I completed a survey for Groupon about my experience (I love surveys because I believe that my opinion DOES matter), and again received an email from Nithya V thanking me for MY support.

This experience is why customers choose to maintain relationships with certain companies. I believe in informing my readers about all things that work, whether beauty-related or not, and Groupon works hard for their customers. Now I’m headed off to cyberspace on a search for some cosmetic and beauty Groupons!

Until next time,


Sephora + Pantone and My Color IQ

Color IQFor those of you who are not familiar, beauty emporium Sephora partnered with color company expert Pantone, to develop an identification system for matching foundation accurately. I had been TRYING to get myself to physical store (I shop for makeup and beauty products online more than in person) for MONTHS, but finally, I had a day to myself where I could explore my own Color IQ.

As a makeup artist, I am used to mixing foundations for clients and for myself, to achieve the perfect color. I have eczema, and as a result, my face is discolored due to old eczema rashes that healed but caused hyperpigmentation (the skin darkened due to an increase in melanin). It takes me forever to find the right foundation (actually, make that plural, as I have to use more than one), so I was quite curious to see if Color IQ would correctly identify which foundation would work best for my face.

First of all, let me just say that the Sephora employees at the Lincoln Park location here in Chicago are AWESOME! Asia helped me identify my Color IQ by taking 3 pictures of my face with the hand-held camera that exclusively photographed my skin in total darkness for an accurate view of the true color of my skin, without distractions from fluctuating things like natural light, etc. Once she took the pictures, I received an on-screen list of the best foundations for my skin color. There were 16 total, and I also was given variations if I needed to select a foundation that was lighter or darker depending on my preference. The list was then emailed to me, which I thought was extremely helpful, even for a professional. With so many foundations out there, I can sometimes forget what works best for me! Here’s my list below (but please keep reading after the list and pictures):

HD Invisible Cover Foundation
180 Brown
$ 42.00
Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30
$ 42.00
Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20 – Oil Free
$ 43.00
bareMinerals Matte Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 15
Warm Deep
$ 27.00
Tinted Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20
$ 43.00
Liquid Halo HD Foundation SPF 15
$ 42.00
Genius Gel Super-Charged Foundation
86 Cocoa Deep
$ 48.00
Ultimate Coverage Complexion Crème
$ 44.00
Even Better Makeup SPF 15
$ 27.00
Oil Free Suprême Foundation
Rich Sienna
$ 45.00
Matifying Compact Foundation
$ 9.00
Maifanshi Moisture Foundation
$ 62.00
Long-Wear Even Finish Foundation SPF 15
$ 47.00
Mat Velvet + Matifying Foundation
No. 85 – Brown
$ 36.00
Teint Idole Ultra 24H
540 Suede W
$ 45.50
The Foundation Perfect Matte Liquid Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 20
Golden Honey 170
$ 67.00

I decided to try the first foundation on the list, which is Make Up For Ever HD Invisible Cover Foundation in 180 Brown. I have red undertones in my skin and this foundation really made my skin look natural but I did notice that I had to apply more than one layer to get the best coverage. If you follow my blog, then you must know that I ADORE  Make Up For Ever (MUFE) and use many of their products, but the HD foundation was one that I had not yet tried. I think that it really gave my skin an airbrushed quality that looked fantastic in both natural and artificial light. I’ve seen other bloggers post that the foundation did not work for them (i.e. it was too oily, didn’t give enough coverage, etc.), but I have dry skin, and it worked for me.

I used my Stila One Step Foundation Brush to blend the foundation, and I have to say, I was really pleased with the overall results! Now that I have my list of new “go to’s” for foundation, I am going to start testing out the Color IQ theory more extensively.

Until next time,



Less Is More

Sometimes, the best makeovers are the ones that are the most subtle. I pride myself on creating looks that make my clients feel like their best possible selves, and it doesn’t take heavy contouring, highlighting, loads of colors and such, to create a natural, yet noticeable makeover.

The trick to making a natural look work is to understand that you have to use primer, foundation, eye liner, brow color, mascara, eye shadow, blush, bronzer, and lipstick or gloss. Natural doesn’t mean “bare.”  Instead, natural makeup requires the makeup artist to blend carefully, utilize products that enhance the features, and use more natural tones for the eyes, cheeks, and lips.

To create the look shown in this post, I used MAC Matchmaster Foundation to even out the Natural Makeoverthe skin-tone and reduce the redness. I really love how this lightweight formula allowed me to build up to heavier coverage if necessary. After creating an even complexion, I swept MAC Eye Brow Pencil in Lingering over the brows, using light strokes to add more shape and definition.

I played around with a few eye shadows but settled on MAC shadows in Rice Paper, Naked Lunch, and Goldmine. I used a little bit of Amber Lights in the crease area for definition, and followed up with Smolder Eye Pencil and L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes in Blackest Black.

A light dusting of MAC blush in Peaches, and MAC bronzing powder in Golden finished off the look.

Again, when we talk about natural makeup, we are truly talking about a style versus paring down to virtually no makeup. It takes time and practice to perfect this style but when done correctly, natural looks can really bring out the radiance of the skin, and that’s what makes for a happy client!

Until next time,


In Love With…

How many beauty products can you absolutely say you love? We all have our favorite brands and colors but if asked, how easily could you narrow things down to just ONE or TWO products you can’t live without? I’ll throw you a lifeline and let you select your top three products. Is that easier?

Over the years, I’ve fallen in (and sometimes out of) love with tons of makeup and beauty products. Sometimes, the reason for why my love wanes is due to something newer or better hitting the market. At other times, I just forget that I own certain things (yes, I’m a recovering beauty hoarder). Every few years, I think back on the products that continue to be staples in my kit, and I fall in love all over again with certain ones. Here’s my list:

1. L’Oreal Voluminous Mascara in Blackest BlackVoluminous and Stila Lip Glaze

2. Stila Lip Glaze in any color

3. MAC Lip Pencils

4. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar

5. Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Face Cream

OCC Black Dahlia Metallic

I can’t NOT own these products because they just work. Period. Spending my money (and time) in a way that makes life manageable is very important to me, so I try to keep myself educated on the various products out there. Not buying every single new thing to hit the market is okay. I had to remind myself of that when I once spent about 3 hours cleaning out my kit and found things I’d either never used, or didn’t particularly like. For instance, there is a certain brand of mascara that people swear is The. Best. Ever. I personally think it’s too clumpy and it smells weird. I found a tube of this super expensive, over-hyped mascara in the bottom of my kit and realized I’d given a donation to the company who sells the brand.

My favorites are tried and true products that (in some cases) I’ve used for over 10 years, and they haven’t failed me yet. Since I’m a beauty budget babe who secretly hoards cosmetics, I’m going to stay in this relationship with my favorites and stay in “love.”  Which products make you fall in love all over again?

Until next time,


First Makeover of the Year

This is my first post of the new year and I’m excited to report that I’ve been making some much-needed changes in both my professional and private life. I promised myself I’d put myself out there more in 2014, and work on some goals that would make me a better ME. My first makeover of the year was special because the client is one of my very best friends, who hired me to create her glamorous look for a very special event. I used a combination of products to create the look, starting with Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Radiance to create a smooth texture. What I love about the primer is that it gives a beautiful glow to the skin and works well if you’re oily.  MAC Pro Longwear Concealer and MAC SPF Matchmaster Foundation were used next, applied with my favorite Alcone sponges, then followed up with my Billy B Foundation brush.

Because I love playing around with different products, I was able to create the perfect Lizsmokey eye using Magnolia Makeup pigments on my friend’s eyes, L’Oreal Voluminous Mascara, and MAC Fluidline in Black for liner. The brows were filled in with MAC eye pencil in Strut. Cheeks were defined with Covergirl Queen Collection Bronzer in Ebony Bronze, and NARS Blush in Taos, one of my “go to’s” that I cannot live without. We decided on Stila Lip Gloss over MAC lip pencil in Spice to complete this look. My friend looked radiant and although everyone raved about how gorgeous she looked, I think the makeup only played a minor role to her inner beauty!

Until next time,