All Dressed Up with Nowhere to Go

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Let’s face it, at some point or another we’ve all experienced the sting of being stood up for a date. The circumstances may vary, but the result is the same; you’ve taken the time and effort, and in some cases gone to expense, to put together your very best outfit, you’ve spent a good amount of time on your hair and makeup and you are eagerly anticipating whatever the evening holds. Then you sit yourself down and await the call or the car to arrive. The agreed upon time comes and goes, yet there you sit, all dolled up, still waiting. If you are like me, you may even wait far past the point where it’s obvious he isn’t going to show – eventually becoming angry at both him for being thoughtless and yourself for continuing to hold on to that tiny bit of hope.

Well dear readers, this very thing happened to me this evening. As embarrassing as it is to admit, this is not the first, second…or third time something like this has happened to me. Every now and then I go against my better judgement and find myself attracted to the type of men who don’t know how to pick up a phone to let me know their plans have changed (simple concept right?) But since this is a beauty related blog and not a place for bad relationship advice, I will tell you how I turned a negative evening into an opportunity for some self care and some much needed self love.

After I finally realized tonight wasn’t happening, I took an inventory of my skin and hair care supplies. I realized that this would be an excellent opportunity to try out some of the new beauty products I had acquired over the past week. I had received a Vox Box product from Influenster with a full size sample of L’Oreal Ever Creme. It’s a 6in1 cleansing balm for “dry damaged hair”, which fits the current situation on top of my head perfectly. I also picked up a skin care set at Sephora today by Belif – it was one of their “Winter Moisture Land” kits that they still had in stock from Christmas. It came with their Aqua bomb moisturizer, Hungarian water essence, and Creamy cleansing foam.
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Bringing my new finds with me, I ran a nice warm shower with a few drops of grapefruit oil on the shower floor for an instant mood lift. I washed my hair with the cleansing balm and immediately felt how soft my curls were becoming from the moisture injection – they sprang back to life. I then washed my face with the creamy cleansing foam which took care of the rest of my makeup and cleansed thoroughly. After I finished my shower and dried off, I added a very small amount of the Ever Creme to my hair as a leave in conditioner. I then used the toner and moisturizers included in my skin care kit.
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I now finish writing this blog entry feeling stress free from the comfort of my bed with soft supple skin and hair that feels repaired and smells wonderful. I would encourage any woman who has been through a similar experience to turn to self love, taking the time to care for yourself as it can do wonders to lift your spirits. It is a much better alternative to letting yourself waste any more time lamenting over someone who, to be honest, wasn’t worth your time in the first place. You will always attract people who treat you the way you treat and value yourself, so why not choose to start loving yourself right here and now so that next time you can spot a waste of time from a mile away. Please don’t evet forget you are all goddesses and you are worthy of being treated as such and should accept nothing less. I thank you for taking this journey with me this evening.

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Natural Hair – Overcoming the Struggle!

So since I last left you, I was beyond frustrated with my natural hair and almost ready to throw in the towel. Well, I am happy to report that I have overcome the tug of war struggle with my natural locks, and we have called a truce.
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I realized that all I really needed to do was figure out what my hair needs at this stage in the game is. As you go natural, there are many different stages with their own individual needs – this is true especially if you decide to keep letting your hair grow, rather than sricking to a particular style. I had to assess what my hair needed in order to thrive, and with a little trial and error and some ingenuity on my part – I found my answer.

First off, no matter what you are doing, you must keep your hair moisturized!  I wasn’t giving it the moisture love it needed. So I put together my own hair spritz, moisturizer and revitalizer into a spray bottle and went to town. I mixed 1 part safflower oil to 3 parts water, about a half dollar sized amount of conditioner and  a few drops of peppermint essential oil and shook vigorously to mix all ingredients.

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After washing my hair, I used this hair spritz all over my towel dried hair and then added my secret weapon – face primer! Sounds crazy right? But what I discovered is that Younique cosmetics “Glorious Face and Eye Primer” is a fantastic all natural protector for heat styling, blow outs, etc – as well as being a nice sealant for my hair spritz. You only need about 3-4 pumps (depending on your hair type) in your hand to distrubute evenly throughout your hair.

After I moisturize and seal my hair, I put it into several twists to dry and curl and the next day I can do my twist out. Healthy hair, better style, happy girl!

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My advice to all natural divas, no matter what stage you’re at – do not give up and don’t give in to the temptation of going back to the creamy crack if you are still desiring to maintain your beatiful natural tresses. A little extra work and time spent on your hair now,  will keep it manageable and easier to work with later. So keep at it naturalists – if my lazy butt can do this,  I know you all can!

To order Younique’s Glorious Face and Eye Primer (by the way it is incredible when used as  was meant to be as an actual primer lol) check with younique.com to find a local sales associate.

Workspace Organization

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The above picture is mainly meant for humor, but for me there is a very large element of truth in my quote. No matter how hectic the particular work environment that I find myself in, having a well organized work station never fails to provide me with a certain sense of calm. There are several key reasons – besides the xanax-like effects – why good organization at your work station is vital.

First, and foremost, maintaining a neat and tidy work station lends itself to good hygiene and santization. This should be the number one concern when working with someone else’s face. When you keep things organized, you can easily distinguish between what is clean and what needs to be cleaned, keep used disposables out of the way and discarded, and keep makeup and other tools sprayed and wiped down as you go.
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Second, you may be surprised to know how much of an impact the way you set up your station can have on the pace at which you work. What would normally be a 20-30 minute face, can quickly turn into an hour long face in the absence of a good organization system. Think about it this way, if you constantly have to stop every few minutes to locate an item you just put down or search through bags and cases for eyelash glue – wasted time is steadily ticking by. This will not only serve to frustrate and fluster you, but it will also throw off the schedule of the film or photo set and/or tick off the client who has likely planned their event carefully based on your quoted time frame. This will not help you book repeat business.

Lastly, an organized and clean station just screams professionalism. As they say, first impressions are everything – and when your client sits down in your chair you want an organized set up to be one of the first impressions they receive. Your clients will get the sense that you know what you’re doing and that they are in good hands.
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So no matter how large or small your makeup kit may be, if you keep it clean and organized it will make your life much easier. It will also keep your clients happy by helping you work more efficiently and keeping your surroundings hygienic – all of which leads to repeat bookings. And that, dear ones, is how we build our business – through good word of mouth and repeat customers.

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

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Beyoncé 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!

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)

The Evolution of My Face

At night, as I’m staring into the mirror wiping off my makeup, I often reflect on the words of my beauty icon Gwen Stefani, “the magic’s in the makeup”. It truly is magical how drastically a girl (or boy) can transform herself (or himself) with mere liquids, creams and powders. I am the first to admit that I look a bit strange underneath the full face I often wear, yet I am not self conscious about this. My face isn’t symmetrical. I have hyperpigmentation and some acne. But I am just as comfortable going out of the house without makeup as I am with it. The reason for my comfort level is a result of my practicing what I preach, in that I place more value on inner beauty. Below, I share with you my readers (all 5 of you) the evolution of my face.

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Do I feel that I may look a little more aesthetically pleasing with makeup? Yes. Do I feel the need to wear it every day? No. Does it sometimes cheer me up to wear makeup? Yes. What can I say, I’m an enigma at times. I stick by the importance of inner beauty, but I also realize that my career revolves around makeup and that it is a key part of my job to advertise my skills on myself. I mean, would you want to go to a hairstylist with crappy looking hair? No, I don’t think you would.

The most important thing to me about putting on makeup, is the fact that I enjoy it. If wearing makeup was a task that I took no pleasure in, or felt like it was something I was obligated to do – I would never have chosen this line of work.

At the end of the day when it’s all said and done, I look forward to cleansing my skin and letting it breathe. I also look forward to trying a new look the next morning. I think its awesome that I can wake up as picture (1), half an hour later walk out of the house as picture (6), and go to bed as picture (1) again.

Magic.