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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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 

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.

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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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.

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!