Pay for a Pro


I was having a discussion with a woman recently about the importance of hiring a professional makeup artist for certain life events (i.e. wedding, prom, photographs, balls, etc.).  Part of the conversation centered around how some women only want the MUA to “do their eye makeup” while they just pay a small amount of money for that service (let’s just say they want to pay $15 to have an artist do their eyeshadow, liner, and lashes).  I stated that this was a bad idea for several reasons:

  1. Just doing your (insert facial feature area here) is something that I refuse to do simply because you (the client) must have continuity in your look. My skill set allows me to create a seamless look for you, but your skill set won’t match mine.  If I only do your eye makeup, because you decided to financially cut corners, you may follow-up behind MY work, busily and inaccuratly applying foundation, blush, powder, etc. Now you don’t look as flawless as you could have looked. Meanwhile, someone else may think I created the entire look and my credibility goes out the window.
  2. Paying a professional insures that you are camera-ready. With the invention of HDTV and HD cameras, every tiny flaw is visible and no one wants to be the person filmed or photographed wearing poorly blended foundation or too much blush. A good makeup artist will use products geared toward the HD society in which we now live. You, however, may not have experience using those products that require some training.
  3. Being cheap is not cool. If you can’t afford someone’s services, wait until you can pay. Don’t ever try to low-ball a professional makeup artist. You cheapen the profession and this isn’t fair to the artist. Also, splurging on something that will benefit you and highlight your best features makes sense.
  4. If I only “do” your eyes, or foundation, or whatever, your look will be what I call “unfinished.” It’s the equivalent of getting partially dressed, receiving a plate of half-cooked food, or only getting half of your hair styled.

Good makeup takes time, practice, studying, mentoring, and research. Paying someone who’s taken the time to learn this craft, this art, is worth every penny. You’re worth the investment.

Until next time,



Buy What Makes YOU Happy.

Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful

I don’t even feel like trying to count how many makeup and beauty products exist in this great big world, or even just in the United States alone. I’m sure the numbers are staggering. With more access than ever to products, informational videos on social media, commercials, and print ads, it becomes increasingly stressful to “keep up” with what you “need” in order to feel beautiful.

Women (and some men) ask me all the time, “What is the best _____ for my face/skin/coloring?” I always do my best to give an informed answer, but it gets tricky when people start asking me which company makes the best product. For me, I believe that you should buy what makes you happy. If you love the high-end products simply because of the name, that’s okay. Buy away!  If you prefer drugstore products and they get the job done just fine, again, THAT is okay. Buy away!  Over the years, I have filled my kit and stocked (and re-stocked) with a mixture of eye makeup that cost me $1.00 up to $50.00 foundations. I’ve used $5.00 foundations that worked wonderfully and an almost $30.00 mascara that I absolutely hated (I won’t say the name but I’ve blogged about that before).  I have used a $150.00 face cream that didn’t live up to the hype. I quickly replaced that with my trusty $23.00 cream that has worked well for me since day one (in a pinch, I use my $10.00 pure coconut oil).

The phrase, “You get what you pay for” has validity. If you order a $6.00 lipstick online from the newest hyped-up cosmetic company, you can’t get angry if your lips feel like sandpaper because the company hasn’t invested in quality ingredients. It may be only then (after that allergic reaction) that you look up the company online, and you see that their products were made in a factory that’s currently under investigation for using toxic chemicals (and rat pee).  If you paid close to $100.00 for one tube of lipstick because the brand has mastered the art of packaging, but you had to reapply your couture lipstick 10 times a day until you used it all up (and you don’t have another 100 bucks to replace the tube), don’t feel bad. You got what you paid for, which was “makeup status” among your friends.  Let’s be real. Sometimes it feels good to have an “exclusive” beauty product.

Sometimes, that super cost-effective face primer failed to control your shiny t-zone exceptionally well BUT it worked for the few hours you needed it to work. So yep, you got what you paid for, and that’s okay. I’m no brand snob. I use what works. You should too. Do your research and try products that you have always wanted to try. If your high-end eye shadow makes you feel like a boss, work every molecule of that shadow. If your low-cost lipstick makes your lips look luscious, smile extra hard and post a selfie.  Buy what makes YOU happy.

Until next time,


Blackface or Nah?


Not one cent of my money will be spent supporting this awful depiction of a complex, talented, dark-skinned black woman who had to constantly fight to be seen and heard during one of the most oppressive times in American history. It is utterly appalling that Zoe Saldana thought this made sense. Either she is woefully ignorant about colorism or so ego-driven that she thought taking this role was a good idea. Either way, after seeing the trailer and looking at the stills, this movie is some bullshit.

I have not really gone on record to speak on the upcoming biopic “Nina,” which has generated a lot of discussion based on the casting of Afro-Latina actress Zoe Saldana.  I did leave a post on my sister’s Facebook page, so I’m sharing that today (see the text below the picture above).  Before I posted my thoughts, I watched the trailer for “Nina” and was not impressed with the acting (Zoe’s diction and accent switched up a few times). I’d already seen the stills for the film, and from the perspective of a makeup artist, I was appalled. The muddy looking foundation used to recreate Nina Simone’s beautiful chocolate skin left me angry.  It made me feel like whoever came up with this look was just clueless about black skin AND the history behind “darkening” someone.  The prosthetic nose and teeth were just as bad.  I know better words than “angry” and “bad” but that came from my most basic reaction.  Makeup artists who work on films (I am one of them) have to read scripts, discuss characters, and collaborate with the directors to create the right image for the actors.  I wish that I could have been a fly on the wall when the decision was made to darken Zoe’s skin.  Did the white director, Cynthia Mort, think that darkening an actor’s skin was acceptable? Did she not realize that even the idea of blackface, makeup used in the past (and unfortunately today) to make fun of black people, is insulting?  Better yet, did Cynthia Mort even think about casting a darker-skinned actress to play this role? I’ll ask her if we ever meet.

I get it. Makeup is used to enhance or alter one’s appearance. We see this all the time. In fact, Zoe Saldana was painted blue for Avatar. Things change though, when makeup is used in a way that summons up ugly feelings about race and color in America. Colorism is very real, whether people want to address it or not. Colorism (along with good old -fashioned racism) is why an actress like Zoe Saldana was even presented with this role. It is not her fault that she has a more acceptable skin color in Hollywood, but she could have turned down the role had she been more cognizant of the bigger colorism picture. Colorism is at the crux of the debate I’ve had amongst my friends when we talk about why we hope this biopic flops.   We’ve watched “What Happened Miss Simone” on Netflix, a heartbreaking documentary about the life of Nina Simone told from the perspectives of her daughter, ex-husband, manager, and others who knew her well.  We know that Nina Simone had to deal with being told that her dark skin, full lips, and wide nose were not acceptable. We know that Eunice Kathleen Waymon (Nina Simone) had to fight HARD to be heard. So to watch the trailer for the Nina biopic, and see Zoe Saldana in blackface makeup and bad afros makes it extremely frustrating to know that the masses who are uneducated about Nina will go out and support the biopic that does Miss Simone no justice.

We’ve seen Denzel Washington portray Malcolm X. He stayed dark. We’ve seen the great Jeffrey Wright play Muddy Waters AND Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He stayed light. Makeup is always used on set, but using it to transform a lighter skinned person to become a dark-skinned person is not okay. Nina didn’t want to be erased. She didn’t want to be ignored BECAUSE of her skin. If those involved in the Nina biopic cared to truly study this woman’s history, they would have made better casting (and makeup) choices.

Until next time,