Fav N Rave Fridays: Fall & Winter Skin Care

Have you noticed that as the days grow shorter and colder, your skin is changing right along with the season? Maybe it’s going into a full blown seasonal depression and you barely recognize the dull lifeless skin covering your face and body. Are you wondering how you’re going to be able afford to buy all new products when it feels like you just bought the final product to round out your summertime skin care regime? Well, don’t worry (it gives you frown lines) because this week’s Fav n Rave Friday is all about tweaking your warm weather skin care products with just a few inexpensive additions that will take you right into Groundhogs Day!

First, let’s talk about products for the body – this is where you can get away without having to change much of anything. The biggest issue my skin tends to have with colder weather, is that it starts to dry out big time (picture that 5000 year old frozen “Ice Man”.) So the key to keeping my skin from cracking is to moisturize, moisturize… and moisturize! Do you have a delicious-smelling body lotion that you just can’t part with during Fall and Winter? You don’t have to! Just make sure you crank up the moisture content and you’re golden. 

As shown above, I really love the Hempz body lotion brand – they smell divine and are very adequate warm weather moisturizers. All I do when the weather gets drier is add 1 part virgin coconut oil to 2 parts lotion and that adds in just enough extra moisture to make my parched skin happy. For my feet I like to take things a little further and add an intense shot of moisture to my easily cracked soles. When I get out of the shower and after I use my body lotion, I will rub a little Extra Emollient Night Cream from Mary Kay on my feet and immediately cover with thick socks for at least 15 minutes. 

So now that we’ve talked about the body, let’s get down to business and discuss the facial routine. As a sidebar, the products described herein are what work for me at the moment. We are all unique and have varying skin issues and needs to take into consideration – please use common sense, caution, and if unfamiliar with how you may react, do a skin test on the inside of your elbow overnight. If you are going to have a nasty allergic reaction – better to have it on the inside of your arm rather than all over your face. The principles of adding in extra moisture still apply when it comes to taking care of the skin on your face. I happen to have combination skin but once authentic Fall weather kicks in, I get much drier. So as to avoid my face tightening up like a recent face-lift recipient, I have to walk a fine line between getting enough moisture but not getting that slick greasy look where the product just sits on my skin. 

For my skin, I find the two most vital steps for me are daily (gentle) exfoliation and toning. I can usually get away with keeping my regular foaming face wash as long as I use it with my “broke girl’s clarisonic” as this provides regular exfoliation without being too harsh on my skin. After cleansing, I use a Moroccan Rose Water Toner mixed with just a hint of apple cider vinegar. This toning step serves to close my pores, calm my skin and slough off any remaining dead skin cells. Right now, I am not using a serum so in place of that I massage a few drops of grapefruit Essential oil into my skin to treat the little bit of acne I still get from time to time and as a serum of sorts. Since I have some major acne scars under my chin, I have been using a dark spot fade cream from Avon just in the areas with heavy acne scarring and on the rest of face I use a retinol moisturizer that is a little thicker than what I would wear during summer, this is also from Avon. Twice a week I’ll use a sulphur mask from Origins before toning and mmoisturizing to purge my skin of any toxins that may be just waiting to spring a surprise attack.

And that’s it folks! None of the products listed are going to set you back more than $20 at the very most, and others like the coconut oil and essential oil have multiple uses other than those listed here. So dear ones, this has bwent my Friday Fav n Rave product reviews and beauty tips. It is my sincere hope that your skin and your wallet can make it through the cold months ahead unscathed by applying these simple principles.

In closing, I leave you with the deep and insightful quote on inner beauty below…

Until next time Xo 

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Fav ‘N’ Rave Fridays!

Greetings and Happy Fall beauties! For many of you, the Fall season began weeks ago – but for those of us in Southern California, it feels like it literally snuck in overnight! We went 0-100 starting with, “Ugh! I’m sweaty, cranky and mad at the world” heatwave to “Yass UGGS season is finally upon us” all in the blink of an eye! Personally, I couldn’t be more thrilled to see the cool weather return. Besides being an excellent opportunity to spot cold weather clothing fails (I’m sure we can all think of a few unfortunate legging violations), this is also the time of year when makeup gets a little more glam and glitz!

It’s also a good time to experiment with new looks and makeup brands, which leads me to the subject of this article – Favorite and Rave product reviews on Fridays! This is where I give you the 411 on new product finds that I am completely smitten with. Recently I signed up as a beauty insider with a Southern California based company called Profusion Cosmetics. They kindly sent me a little care package of new products they were releasing to give a try in exchange for sharing my honest thoughts with all of you. 

I spent a full week trying out all of the products that I received, and while pretty much all of the products tried were instant additions to my work kit – there was one item in particular that I simply must rave about! This first ever product Fav ‘N’ Rave Friday goes to…(drumroll please) the *Velvet Matte Rouge Stick*!

These lippies are amazing for several reasons!

  1. They come in an adorable kit, called “Kiss me Up Velvet Matte Lipstick Set”
  2. It’s shockingly inexpensive 
  3. Smells ah-mazing
  4. They are a “staunchly cruelty-free” cosmetics line
  5. Quality, quality, quality!  

I had many days where I was running around, driving from appointment to appointment, with no real time or even a desire to check my makeup. In between application and doing a face check, I did the normal day to day actions – I sipped on beverages, got a quick bite to eat, touched my face like a gazillion times (terrible habit, I know.) When I would finally catch a moment to check my mouth, my lipstick was still at a full 80% non-smear coverage after 6 hours! I also never had a problem with dry lips while wearing, which has been an issue I’ve had with some of the long wearing lipsticks and creams I’ve tried in the past. 

From the above picture from tonight after 7hrs, you can see I am very pleased with the performance of this lipstick lol. For the price point (currently $6.99 for a set of six) there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t get one of these for yourself! Run, don’t walk, over to www.profusioncosmetics.com and after you add this set to your shopping cart, do a little browsing around the site for other goodies (gel eyeliner set also gets two thumbs up).

I thank you for spending a little time with me and my ramblings. As always, remember that you can finger paint your outside to your heart’s content… just don’t neglect the nurturing of your inner beauty.

Until next time Xo

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.

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.

How to Find Work as a Makeup Artist (Part One)

I know, I know, it’s been far too long since I provided you with some beauty insights. Alas, I have been wrestling with a major bout of writer’s block… but that is now a thing of the past and I am back and brimming with new tips and tricks!

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For today’s entry, however, I want to talk to my aspiring makeup artists. This will be a several part series on how to go about finding work. Now, I’m going to present a scenario that I think may resonate with many of you: You’ve had some training in makeup artistry (whether it be at a beauty school or the university of YouTube), you’ve put together a decent kit, you may even have business cards and the like – but you have no clients and no idea how to obtain them. Sound familiar? Don’t sweat it ladies and gents, even established MUA’s experience client lulls from time to time, which when you’re working free-lance can put a major dent in your budget.

Fortunately, there are actually several ways to drum up business. This first part of my series will focus on business leads. Finding a company that can provide you with leads that are already looking for the type of work you do can save you a tremendous amount of time building up a client base. One site in particular that I have personally had much sucess with while dealing with slow work periods is Thumbtack. You can see my profile here: Makeup Artist.

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Brides to be, prom goers, photographers etc, will use this site to post jobs that they need a makeup artist for. Up to 5 artists may bid on the job and then the person hiring picks one of those bids. It does involve a small price to submit a bid, so if you aren’t picked you don’t get reimbursed. However, if your bid is not looked at within 48 hours, you receive your bid credit to be used on another job. You may spend a little over $3 per bid, but when you book a $100 – $600 job, you are more than compensated for a few lost bids.

I have booked weddings and in turn had a word of mouth wildfire that got rolling from one booked thumbtack job. We will be talking about word of mouth marketing in the next article in this series, but in the meantime go ahead and sign up: Sign Up Link. It is absolutely free to sign up and you only bid on the jobs you are interested in. It is a terrific way to immediately start building paying clients.

Be on the lookout for my next article in this series on the power of word of mouth. Happy bidding!

Spring Break Photo Shoot

Over the past 10 days, I had the joy of having my 21 year old niece visit me here in California while she was on Spring Break from school in Virgina. Although we had been in touch for quite a while, this was our first time meeting face to face. I wanted to provide her with a unique experience, so I arranged for her to have a photo shoot while she was here.

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In the above picture, she is wearing just a hint of makeup (remember the “no makeup” makeup?). As you can see, she is a beautiful young woman, however for her shoot she wanted to glam things up a bit.

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We had an opportunity to do two different looks; a bridal shoot (which almost brought tears to my eyes, she looked so beautiful) and an evening formal look. Having never modeled or worn that much makeup before, she was phenomenal and the shoot went extremely well.

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As she was getting ready for bed that evening, I made it a point to congratulate her on the day’s success. I also wanted to be sure to impress upon her that, although the makeup she wore was a beautiful enhancement, she was beautiful before we started the makeup process. It was important to me that she realized that her beauty came from within and that anything on top of that was merely icing on the cake.

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I am very proud of this intelligent, beautiful young woman and eagerly look forward to her next visit!