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.

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!

“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!