Face Saving Tips for Keeping your Makeup Fresh all Day!

This past weekend I spent three days at my annual religious convention. I had a chance to catch up with friends I hadn’t seen for a while, take in some great spiritual “food” for the soul and scope out the *ahem* single men (I’m only human!) Throughout the weekend, I wanted to (literally) put my best face forward which meant keeping the face I started the day with (see above image) as fresh as possible. This was more than a notion when you consider my makeup had to last anywhere from 10-12 hours in 80°+ southern California weather. It may sound daunting, however, I was quite successful at keeping my face from melting by the end of the day. How, you may ask? Well, as you may have guessed from the title of this article, I fully intend to share my tips and tricks with you!

As it is true with most things in life that are intended to last, the quality of materials used and the foundation are the most important aspects. The same is true of a long-lasting makeup look. As you can see from the preceding image, I put some thought beforehand into what products I wanted to use and laid them out in advance. It may not seem like it from first glance, but this is a streamlined product assembly for me – I am a makeup artist after all. Since I knew that I was going to be in a warm & humid environment, I decided to go with airbrushed foundation as it tends to provide a longer lasting yet lighter feeling look. Like I do with any foundation, I primed my skin first using a primer that I could feed through my airbrush gun. I took great care to set my foundation thoroughly with translucent setting powder to lock it in and make it easier to blot later on in the day. I decided to forgo heavy contouring and even blush (since I forgot to pack my blush pallette – boo). As I was keeping the focus on one feature, bold red lips, the rest of my makeup was kept more neutral. I lined my eyes and used a few coats of mascara but eyeshadow was fairly light.

Now we get to the secret weapon – my touch up kit. This is essentially a personalized version of what I give all of my bridal clients to keep on hand. It is very simple: blotting papers to soak up excess oil, lip balm that will truly provide long-lasting moisture, a long wearing lipstick or cream, & a translucent powder to reset your makeup and erase shine. Not pictured is a makeup refreshing spray that I did use one day. The specific products I used are as follows:

  • Nyx Cosmetics blotting papers
  • MAC Retromatte in High Drama
  • Ben Nye Banana Powder
  • Wild Herb Soap Co Lip Balm in “Spearamint” 

My two favorites from this mini kit would be the lip cream and lip balm. I honestly cannot say enough about the lasting power of the Retromatte formula. I only had to touch up my lips twice in 12 hours… that includes eating, drinking and wiping my mouth in between. Part of the lip cream’s power has to do with the moisturizer you use underneath it. That brings me to my second product rave, the lip balm from Wild Herb Soap Co – it’s been my personal favorite for 2 years now. I keep it stashed Everywhere so I am never caught without it. There are no nut oils used so it never gives you that dry feeling you can sometimes get with other natural lip balms, it’s all natural and organic, and you never have to worry about any unwelcome allergic responses. I use it with all of my clients. For the quality and performance, it is surprisingly very inexpensive. Don’t just take my word for it, you can try it for yourself by clicking here. Trust me, it will change your life!

So what did my face look like at the end of the day? See for yourself! The picture below is of my mother and I at around 5pm, after we had been wearing our “faces” since before 6am. Naturally I shared my extensive face-saving knowledge with my best girl. 

As you can see, keeping your makeup looking fresh throught a long day is pretty easy as long as you put a little thought and planning into the types of products you use beforehand. Not having to worry about my face turning into something that resembled those oil stains left behind in the driveway after a leaky car has been there, allowed me to focus on the reason I was at my convention in the first place – to enjoy the association with good friends and feed my soul. I hope these tips will be of assistance to you dear readers – all 5 of you – the next time you have an event that requires you to put your makeup to the test. Most importantly though, remember that no matter what your face or clothing looks like – the most beautiful thing any of us can wear is a genuine smile!

Until next time, keep smiling 🙂

XOXO 

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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.

Natural Hair – The Struggle

A little while ago, I wrote about how happy I was to be going natural with my hair. In fact, when my one year “natural anniversary” came around in April – I felt like a new woman. I had made it a full year without putting any harsh straightening chemicals in my hair – I felt like I could conquer the world!

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Fast forward just under six months later, and my elation and excitement about being natural has begun to wane a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I am still very happy and proud of myself for staying off the creamy crack for such a long period of time. The problem is, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do next. Do I cut it and rock a short natural doo, or do I continue to let it grow and try to get like some of my hair crushes with long beautiful natural tresses. In the meantime, I am not doing my hair justice by keeping it in pinned up twists 24/7 that usually end up with fuzzy edges – BORING.

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Some days I am so close to walking around the corner to CVS and getting myself a Dark n Lovely relaxer kit, turning off the phone, closing the curtains and blinds and just slathering it all over my head . Other days I just want to break out the clippers, chop it all off and start over. In this journey, I am discovering that there is so much more than just going natural. I thought I would stop relaxing and that would be the end all be all of my story. But I am here to tell those of you just starting out or maybe considering it – that when these women talk about their “natural journey”, that is exactly what it is, a journey that is ever evolving.

Even though I have had my temptations to undo all the progress I have made,  I do not regret it for one second. No matter what style I embrace next or when putting in the extra work that I now realize is required for proper care, I have ultimately taken a huge step in rediscovering myself. I love washing my hair and seeing the true texture that God has blessed me with. When putting in the good smelling natural oils and creams that I make or buy, I know that I am nourishing my hair and scalp rather than stripping it.

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So yes, this is a journey that I, and I’m sure many others struggle with from time to time – but at the end of the day, I know it is an investment in myself and that I am revealing the person I was meant to be.

And I most certainly do not miss those chemical burns on my scalp due to my hair dresser running her mouth while I sat in the chair squirming!

Jeepers Creepers, Where’d You Get Those Peepers!

Ladies, I’m in love. I have finally found the one… and I ain’t talking about a MAN! Lol My love affair is with the one and only eyelash product that I have ever found that actually delivers what it promises – banging lashes!

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Girls, the struggle is real when it comes to my eyelashes. Due to a little cooking “experiment” when I was in the 5th grade (there’s a reason why cooking shows say kids need parental supervision) I singed what little eyelashes I had to begin with, and I have been cursed with ittty bitty lashes ever since. I have tried just about every mascara on the market (as my Tupperware container filled to the brim will confirm) only to find that all those promises of long thick lashes are actually for people who have decent lashes to begin with.

Eventually I realized that my only hope would be false lashes. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my falsies. I could be a different gal every time I applied that strip. Only problem was, it added at least an extra 15 minutes onto my makeup routine. Then there’s the glue issue – finding out after many itchy eyed days and nights, that I was allergic to the regular DUO so I had to get non latex adhesive. And let’s not forget the dreaded scene where you are chatting up a cute guy only to have one of your lashes choose that exact moment to start running away from the corner of your eye. Also, quality lashes aren’t cheap and you have to keep buying tubes of adhesive if you are a regular wearer… it quickly adds up! But fear not ladies, for I have found the holy grail of solutions!

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Younique cosmetics 3D Fiber Lashes is my new boo I told you about earlier. This kit comes with a sealing gel and a tube a fibers that attatch to your lashes giving you lashes up to 3x longer and thicker. This has saved me SO much time on my makeup application and there’s no worrying about glues or aligning the lashes right or them coming off – because they are your lashes! You also needn’t worry about allergies because this product, as with all of Younique’s line, is all natural,  organic and vegan. It will not irritate your eyes. Oh and for my divas on a budget – this kit is only $29! I have mascaras that cost more lol.

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Something else you will love about this product and the company, is The Love It Guarantee.  If you don’t love it, you aren’t stuck with it. Although,  after you try it for the first time I have a feeling you will be hooked for life just like me.

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Skin Care and Makeup for Mature Skin (part 1)

I found that my last article on “The Art of Aging Gracefully” was so popular, that I decided to follow it up with an extended discussion on how to take care of mature skin. This will be a two part discussion, with this part focusing on skin care.
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Now, when I talk about mature skin, I am generally speaking of women who are 40+, however this article may also be helpful for those of us who are slightly younger that have less than ideal skin for our age. In addition, it is never too early to establish good skin care habits.

There are two main aspects for a woman to consider when thinking about long term care of her skin and oveall looks – the actual skin care regimen, and makeup choices (application and product types). The problem I run into most with some of my mature clients is that they expect me to work miracles with makeup alone and knock a decade or more off their looks. This is a very difficult situation for a makeup artist, as the most unrealistic requests tend to come from the most demanding clients (which is why just hearing the words mother of the bride will sometimes send me into a desperate search for a Xanax! )

What most women (young and old alike) don’t realize is that, just like any other type of painting, it is crucial to start out with the most flawless canvas possible before you lay down the first brush stroke. This is where good skin care habits come into play. Women who take excellent care of their skin will provide a smooth canvas for makeup application, ensuring a beautiful & even more youthful appearance as the finished product.
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Your face is the only one you have to work with, and unless you plan on shelling out thousands on the Russian roulette game that is plastic surgery, it is wise to start investing your time and energy into taking care of it.

Establishing a solid skin care program as early as possible is the best way to go, letting it get more comprehensive as you age to target specific areas of concern. However, just as it is never too early to start, I also believe it is never too late to decide that you are worth the investment in your skin. The most basic program consists of a good quality mild cleanser, moisturizer and weekly mask. There are thousands of companies that offer packages for skin care, but I simply do not have the time nor point of reference to go into even 1% of them. I can, however give you my opinion on one company that I was introduced to early on & have first hand knowledge of how it can save skin of all ages and types. That is Silk Skin.
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Silk Skin is the product that my mother has always used and it is what I used briefly until I switched over to the oil cleansing method. My mother swears that this line is what has “held her face together” all these years and is such a faithful client that she should have stock options. I find that their products are actually of very good quality. If you find, however, that their prices are a little out of your budget, you can also find excellent kits and packages from companies like Mary Kay and Avon. I feel that it matters less about the brand, and more about having a routine and sticking to it religiously.

No matter what brand you go with, there are certain prudent actions you will want to take to improve and protect your skin. These include, but are not limited to:

*Cleansing daily
*Moisturizing after cleansing
*Exfoliation and/or mask weekly
*Protecting your skin from the sun (I.e. sunscreen and limiting exposure)
*Drinking plenty of water to flush toxins
*Balanced diet that provides essential nutrients
*Reducing and eliminating stress! (This is a big one as stress will not only age you prematurely but it can also shorten your life span)

As I wrap up this segment on skin care, please keep in mind that, while I do have a good deal of practical knowledge about skin care from years of working on peoples’ faces – I am not an esthetician, I am a makeup artist. This information is simply meant to point you in the right direction. In part two I will discuss the types of makeup best for mature skin. You will see in these two articles, that your skin care practices in addition to choosing the correct type of makeup work together in a cohesive fashion. You can’t have one without the other and expect great results – it’s a bit like the proverbial lime in the coconut (not really, but you get my point) 😉

The Art of Aging Gracefully

When you are young and in the prime of your life, we don’t often give much thought to the adjustments we will have to make as we age. I longingly remember my high school days – more specifically, my supple creaseless skin. I could easily walk out of the house without a bit of makeup, not a care in the world about who I might run into. (Sigh) Those were the days! But alas, as I head into my mid 30s, I find that those days seem like a distant memory. These days, if I leave the house with anything less than concealer, brows and at least a dusting of foundation – I know that the laws of the universe will inevitably require that I run into at least 3 people that not only recognize me, but also know that my job is to make people beautiful. I also get the expected question, “Wow Brit, you feeling alright? You look tired. “

What are you gonna do though, we all start aging from the time we leave our mother’s womb – so you can either fight it tooth and nail, or put on your big girl panties and try to age with some grace. Personally, I choose the latter. Afterall, I have had one of the most amazing examples of how a lady should act, how to exude class and kindness, and most relevant for this article – how to age with effortless grace. All of these lessons have come from the most important woman in my life, my mother.

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My mom in the 80s

This past weekend, I had the immense pleasure of doing my mother’s makeup for her to go see the diva herself, Ms. Diana Ross in concert (now there’s another classy woman who has aged with grace).
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Even though this is what I do for a living, it never ceases to amaze, excite and make me nervous all at the same time when my mother requests my makeup services for a special event. I am always reminded of all the time I spent as a little girl, perched on a seat in the bathroom as I watched with awe and wonder at this beautiful woman put on her face to go somewhere. She was and remains the most beautiful person in the world to me, so it is quite an honor for her to trust me with making her up.

As she would (literally) kill me if I posted her age for the world to see, I will just state that my mother is “a woman of a certain age” – who with one flash of her drivers license, can legally take advantage of every senior special a restaurant or store may have to offer. She doesn’t look her age at all, and good genes notwithstanding, I attribute this largely to the fact that she has taken excellent care of herself and has a beautiful personality that easily shines through.

All makeup artists know that it is easy to slap a bunch of makeup on someone and make them look like a completely different person – which is fine if you are doing character makeup and that is the purpose. But to enhance one’s beauty and looks, you must understand your client’s individual needs to give them the best results possible. Each canvas (or face) is different and with different age groups and skin types, there are adjustments to be made. My mother, while beautiful, does have mature skin and that has to be taken into consideration when working with your older clients.

One very important thing to remember when working on mature clients is to moisturize before you do anything else. Makeup has a tendency to settle into any fine lines or pores it can find, so it is extremely important to hydrate the skin adequately as a base. Next, it is a good idea to stay away from overly dark colors as this can have an effect of sinking in areas of your clients face that they’d rather fill out. I love using shimmery or pearlescent shadows, light reflecting highlighters (I.e. MAC cosmetics mineralize skin finish) along with blush on the cheek bones to bring out the features. Lipstick should also be kept lighter and glossy to make the lips look a litttle more pouty and full, but not clown like. A clean and neat brow that is a relative match to your clients hair shade (whether they are dyeing or letting nature take its course) is very important to frame the face. Last, but not least, don’t forget to add in some controlled dimension to your mature client’s face with well placed and light handed highlight and contour. As we age, our skin loses some of its elasticity and gravity can work against us. By using tasteful highlight and contour, we can remind the face of where its underlying bone structure is, keep that jawline where it should be and bring out those killer cheek bones. The key words to remember are light and tasteful. You can put on a full face of makeup, just don’t use a heavy hand.
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For my mother’s concert look, I enhanced her beautiful deep set eyes with shimmer shadows, a little more contour on her outer corners and added some light false lashes. I smoothed out her overalll complexion with a mixture of cream and powder foundation and thinned out her eyebrows a bit with a shade a step darker than her hair color. Finally, with just a bit of trepidation, I handed her a mirror so she could approve the finished product – and she loved it! (Score one for my ego!)

The most beautiful finishing touch to any clients makeup is the satisfaction and self confidence that shines in their eyes and countenance when they are pleased with what
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they see in the mirror. That can’t be bought or found in any bottle of product, as it is their own personal brand of beauty. It is the ultimate reward for a job well done (and my only reward as I can’t in good conscience charge my mother lol) and why I absolutely love this job.

Beauty for the Professional Woman: Adding Color to your Makeup Routine

There is no denying it; women have made quite an impact in the business world today, and rightly so. We hold our own in the board rooms, find new ways to “think outside the box”, and close deals just as well, if not better, than our male counterparts.
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I am not implying that we need to be in competition with men, but it must be acknowledged that we have fought long and hard to earn our place and respect in formerly male dominated areas of the business and entrepreneurial world. Despite these hard earned areas of equality, however, there are still aspects of being a female in business that come with expectations that are not necessarily asked of our male colleagues. I reference one aspect in particular, and that is the importance placed on physical appearance.

I am sure that every professional realizes that first impressions are everything in business. Knowing this, we make sure that we do everything we can to put our best foot forward – detailed attention to clothing, grooming etc. Yet as women, there is the added pressure of remembering to put our best face forward. Studies have, in fact, shown that wearing a tasteful amount of makeup can positively affect how a woman is perceived. A 2011 New York Times article even went so far as to say, “It increases people’s perceptions of a woman’s likability, her competence and… her trustworthiness.”

Makeup is likely already a part of our daily routine in one way or another, so I would like to discuss incorporating a little more personality through use of color. For some, adding color might make you more than a little nervous; however it isn’t as daunting as it may sound. You don’t have to start with the whole rainbow, and for this article’s purposes I am suggesting just two versatile colors that work for every skin tone; orange and berry hues, which come in a variety of shades.

If your skill set isn’t at a level you are comfortable with to try experimenting, head to your nearest makeup counter for a short demonstration. This will also be a great time to have a professional assist you in choosing the hue of these colors that work for you. Once you have product in hand, start out by focusing on one feature at a time as you add your color of choice.

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Orange and peach shades of blush can be quite becoming on many skin tones. A little tangerine eyeshadow can make your eyes pop against a complimentary jewelry piece or clothing item. An orange lip gloss is a fun touch for those after work cocktails or anytime you want to highlight your pucker.

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Berry hued blush is probably one of the most popular blush color ranges and may already be in your makeup bag. If you would like to carve out those cheekbones a little more, choose a deeper shade for contour. Dabbing on a berry lip gloss is almost universally flattering and is very work appropriate. Also, just like orange, there are many fabulous berry hued eyeshadows to add that pop color to your face.

As you become more comfortable with color, try experimenting further. As these color choices will work just as well closing out the Summer months as they do heading into Fall, you will have plenty of time to find what works for you.

To wrap up this subject, I want to leave you with some food for thought. I would like to point out that these suggestions aren’t about changing yourself; it’s merely enhancing what you already have. Taking a few extra moments to add a hint of color can be a perfect complement to that carefully chosen outfit, perfect pair of shoes, manicure and hairstyle that you have spent time crafting as part of your professional presentation. While it is not your physical appearance that makes you a smart business woman, we are reminded of the importance of first impressions. Make it a habit to invest in yourself, and those potential clients will also see the value of investing in you.