Model Spotlight: Natalya Stanton

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When photographer Alex Ibarra hired me to provide makeup services for a portfolio shoot he was doing, I had no idea I was about to encounter the force that is Natalya Stanton. After setting up my work station, I awaited the arrival of my model for the day. Shortly thereafter, in walks this adorable young woman, with an inviting warm & unassuming personality.

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As I worked on her makeup, I started chatting her up – like I do with all my models – and found her to be very fun and entertaining to be around. She was the ultimate professional, instinctively knowing the basics of sitting for makeup (when to close your eyes, look down, tilt her head, etc) with little to no direction. Towards the end of the first makeup look, my nosey nature took over and I rather boldly asked her age. I knew that with skin as fresh and dewey as hers, she had to be young – I figured about 18 or 19. However, imagine my shock and awe when she stated that she would be turning 16 shortly!! I was utterly speechless (a rare event) to find out that this mature, gregarious,  professional young woman was only 15 years old!!

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It was an extreme pleasure to meet and have the opportunity to work with such a bright and talented model. The images she and Alex Ibarra created together (with a little help from yours truly) turned out amazing. I know that no matter what type of work Natalya decides to pursue in the future, she will no doubt be very successful, for she is already off to a fantastic start in this game of life!

To see more of Alex’s work, follow his Instagram photo stream: @cirka_88

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“I woke up like this”: The No Makeup Look

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BeyoncĂ© has, without a doubt, influenced millions of women in many positive, female-empowering ways. BUT… this whole “I woke up like this” fad got me thinking. Do men really believe and expect their women to wake up looking like that?

Mrs Carter-Knowles was right on point when she put a spotlight on the fact that women really do have to work twice as hard as men only to get less pay and respect, and at the end of the day we are expected to show ourselves “flawless” and feminine. After giving some thought to the experiences I’ve had as a MUA, I realized that there actually are men (and a few women) who believe this hype about waking up flawless.
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I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard a guy say how he prefers the natural look – like Kim Kardashian (?!?). Or when a man uses a picture of a celebrity “without makeup” as a reference and says that he’s uncomfortable with me doing his wife’s/girlfriend’s makeup because he likes his women natural with no makeup – like so-and-so here in this magazine. I find faults with these viewpoints for two reasons: 1) Although they are not the client but usually a tag along, I often get the lecture about putting “all that junk on women’s faces” (their words, not mine) when they prefer the “natural” look. 2) The fact that they are using celebrities, who factor entire glam squads into their daily staff, as a standard of what is natural, shows how unrealistic and clueless some (not all) men are about women and their beauty practices. So just to set the record straight, I would like to give you an example and breakdown of what that fresh faced no makeup look is all about – and that it does, in fact, require makeup.
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The above picture shows some very natural, camera ready makeup I applied on this beautiful young model. Although both images are pretty similar, if one was just to look at the image on the right, it would naturally be presumed that it was how she looked without any makeup. However, as you can see when compared with the image on the left, I have added just a little bit of makeup as enhancement. This, is a perfect example of the No Makeup Look.

To achieve this look; First add a little concealer under eyes and onto cheek bone in a shade one step lighter than your skin. Next, pat on a little BB cream in your shade, as this is much lighter than regular foundation, yet will still provide a light coverage and even out skon tone. To bring out those cheek bones subtlety, use a contour shade 1.5 shades darker than your skin, very lightly blending it into the hollows of the cheeks. You can also take this contour shade and and blend a little around your hairline and jawline to enhance your bone structure. Optionally, you can dab a little bit of nude lipstick with a slight pink hue onto lips. You will now have a look using just enough makeup to enhance what you were already born with. Most people will likely think you simply got a good nights rest – and truly woke up like this!

Combating Stressed out Skin…With Oil?

This week has delivered more than its fair share of stress. I have had quite a large workload in addition to a FAST approaching menstrual cycle (ain’t it grand being a girl!) There has, however, been a silver lining to it all, because despite everything else going on – stressed, broken out skin has not once been something I’ve had to worry about. I attribute this, not to any pricey miracle skin care system, but to a few common ingredients that I always have on hand – oil.

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Yes, you heard me correctly. I actually take oil, and rub it into my face on purpose! It is really not as crazy as it may sound, for this is actually a tried and true skin care method that has been around for centuries. It is called the Oil Cleansing Method (or OCM for short). There are articles all over the interweb that go into laborious detail about this routine, its history, and the thousands of oils you can use – I do encourage you to take the time to read more about it if you would like to know the technical, chemical and historical side. However, so as not to stress YOU out with tedious details, I have chosen to give you the simplified version.

The Process
1. First mix about half a tablespoon each of Castor Oil & Olive Oil (I prefer extra virgin) in your hand and massage into your face.

2. If you have a Clarisonic brush, this would replace the little facial brush shown, however both will accomplish the same thing. Use the facial brush to massage the oil further into your skin using soft circular motions. This will serve to exfoliate and stimulate the circulation in your skin and dislodge any dirt or clogged pores.

3. Take a clean washcloth and run it under very hot water from the sink faucet (as hot as you can stand to hold). Squeezing out the excess water, place the heated cloth over your face to steam in the moisturizing oil. Once it cools, simply whipe away any excess oil.

4. Your skin should feel incredibly smooth, soft, and moisturized. However, for those who have more dry skin problems, you can dab on a bit of vitamin E oil in areas that feel a little dry. I also like to use the vitamin E around my eyes and on my forehead to prevent fine lines.

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And that, dear ones, is all I do to keep my skin in good working order. I would like to point out the side by side comparison photo above from October of 2013 to the picture I took this evening. It isn’t a drastic infomercial type difference, however you will notice that my pores are smaller and my skin texture has become much smoother. Oh and did I mention my cycle starts in 2 days! (No major breakouts)

No matter what your skin concerns, I firmly believe you will be very impressed with the effectiveness of this skin care regimen that has stood up to the test of time. Suitable for all skin types, not only will it save you a great deal of money, but you can also rest easier knowing that what you are putting on your skin is something natural,  chemical free, and safe enough to ingest – if you are so inclined (Note: Castor oil is a laxative, if you do feel like ingesting any of these oils – please keep that in mind!).

Easy Breezy Weekends

Ahh, the weekend is here and I can finally exhale a bit. If no jobs are booked, Saturdays are my day to be a little lazy and sleep in, enjoy a delicious brunch, then head out to do whatever I please. It is also a perfect time to wear something comfortable and lighten up on the makeup, or forgo it altogether.

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Today, I opted for throwing a flowing silk poncho over a pair of my infamous fat girl stretchy pants (fear not, for I was working the look), adding a pair of fun dangly earrings, and donning a pair of oversized sunnies.

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I kept my makeup pretty light (for me), however, it goes without saying that no matter what level of makeup I choose, I will be drawing in a full brow – this girl must frame her face. As for the rest of my makeup, I did use a very light hand. I made my cheeks nice and rosey, using a bolder blush than I normally wear, as that was the feature I chose to highlight. I lined my eyes with kohl liner that I smudged out a bit, used a brown shadow to add a slight contour to my nose, nude lipstick, a little BB cream and light concealer – and I was ready to go in 10 minutes.

By spending less time and energy on my outward appearance, I had the opportunity to focus on spending time with the ones I care about most & the flexibility of joining in on an unplanned, yet enjoyable activity.  Which, in the end, isn’t that exactly what weekends are all about?

Unfiltered Beauty Project

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Being that it was my day off, when I awoke this morning I had every intention of letting my skin “breathe” and skip the full face of makeup. Then I remembered that I had to go to MAC and Sephora to purchase some supplies. (No, the irony of wearing makeup to go makeup shopping is not lost on me). I believe that most makeup artists would agree, that when you go into a beauty eatablishment, putting on your best “face” is a way of communicating with the employees that you know what you’re doing and you are all part of the sisterhood (or misterhood – as we all know there are some Fab-u-lous male MUA’s to be found at MAC and Sephora *finger snap*!).

However, when I was sitting at my vanity putting on my face, as I have done hundreds of times – I stopped to look, and I really mean look, at myself. As I sat there letting my face bake, I wondered how I may be being perceived by those who don’t personally know me and my strong feelings about the importance of inner beauty.

Yesterday at work, I spent a good two hours speaking with this woman, whom I immediately thought was gorgeous as soon as she walked into the room. When I told her so, she gave this self – deprecating laugh and and went on to list everything that she disliked about herself. She ended by saying rather emphatically, “YOU’RE the one who is beautiful, look at your makeup!” It made me more than a little sad to see a woman with such beauty inside and out who had not only convinced herself, and consequently let others convince her as well, that she wasn’t.  Despite my furtive attempts to assure her of how beautiful she in fact was, I could see that the many years of lack of self love had taken its toll and left a negative lasting impression on her. I also repeatedly tried to impress upon her that I was wearing a FULL face of makeup, yet to her, that was what made me beautiful.

I was reminded of this encounter while yet again putting on another full face of makeup, despite the fact that this was to be the day to give my skin some much needed rest. It was at this moment that I decided to follow in the footsteps of a woman that I have so much respect and admiration for – plus sized model Tess Munster (the force behind Eff Your Beauty Standards). I decided to start a movement of my own (I say movement, because although it is just me at this point – most movements start out with a party of one) for those of us in the beauty industry. I am calling it the Unfiltered Beauty Project

I will start using the hashtag #UnfliteredBeautyProject on twitter, instagram & facebook whenever I attach a picture of myself, one of my models or anyone else that depicts one of the following: 1) No makeup 2) the makeup process (I.e. unfinished face, before and afters) 3) Somone who has so much inner beauty that it is just bursting forth and far overshadowing any cosmetic enhancement (a child laughing, an elderly woman with lively dancing eyes, etc). The most important aapect of all of the images tagged in this project, is that they won’t be retouched in ANY way whatsoever. I love those instagram and photo editing software filters just as much, if not more, than anyone else, but they do their job just a little too well – they filter out a lot of the natural beauty to be found in any image.

This is not to say I will abandon my beloved filters full stop, nor am I encouraging anyone else to follow suit. What I am encouraging everyone, eapecially beauty professionals, is to show the real you every now and again. Be proud of those baggy shadowed morning eyes, honor that zit smack in the middle of your forehead, and resist using that brighten tool to erase those coffee stains on your teeth. Let people know that beauty is about so much more than what we wear and paint on ourselves, and that we truly can be comfortable in our own, real, skin.

We are artists and have a talent that should certainly be showcased. But lets also honor the other vast forms of beauty that are found in each and every individual, starting with ourselves.

(stepping down, and putting away my soapbox)

Noteworthy Encounters: Larry Taite

I am truly a blessed individual. Not only do I have a wonderful job as a free-lance makeup artist, but I also get to spend a few days a week at the local Museum of Natural History as a gallery attendant.  It is in this second part time job, that I have the opportunity to meet other locals & travelers from all over the state, country and world.  Some of these encounters leave a such a positive lasting impression on me, that I feel compelled to share them with others.

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One such encounter happened today, with a gentleman I met named Larry Taite visiting from Huntington Beach, Ca. He was visiting Santa Barbara by chance after hopping in the car the day before with no particular destination in mind. Although retired, this young man is certainly not slowing down.

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He showed me his incredible Sony NEX-7 camera that he takes with him on his random travels, capturing some of the most breathtaking images I have ever seen. With a very charismatic smile to match his equally charming personality (can you tell this girl was a bit smitten? Lol), we enjoyed a lively conversation about photography and the powerhouse that is his camera.

Alas, all good things eventually must come to an end and Mr. Taite had to move on with his photography and I actually had to do my job (I was, afterall, at work). He left with my card and a promise to send me a couple of the photos he took during his visit to the museum. This story is still a work in progress, as I eagerly await sharing this talented artists’ work with all of you.

So stay tuned my friends, for the best is yet to come…

Teasers: Spring Beauty Editorial

I  am so giddy with excitement over a collaboration with my talented photographer friend Sara Strimpel on an upcoming Spring 2014 beauty editorial, that I simply HAD to share a few small details with my readers!

We are currently hard at work in pre-production, and although you will have to wait a little while to view examples of the finished product – below you will find a little teaser of where I am drawing my inspiration for my makeup designs!

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Now I mustn’t give away all my secrets, but rest assured that this editorial will be nothing short of the title of my favorite lipstick color – “Flat Out Fabulous!