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

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L’oreal Voluminous Lash Primer – Product Review

*Please note – all products mentioned herein were received for free in exchange for an honest review*
Let me just start this article by stating, for the record, I am seriously lacking two important aspects needed for a completed face: eyebrows and eyelashes. I usually have to fake both when I apply “my face” in the form of heavy duty eyebrow pencils and wax & false lashes. Unfortunately, the browser products are still a necessary evil. The lash issue, however, has met it’s match in L’Oreal’s new Voluminous Lash Primer and matching mascara!

I received an ah-mazing L’Oreal Makeup haul from Influenster’s Voxbox incentive program. In addition to the Voluminous Lash Primer and mascara, there were 2 coulour riche eyeshadows, an Infallible eyeliner and eyebrow powder and wax kit (see pictures above and below for examples of how I incorporated these products into my makeup look.) Initially, I wasn’t very impressed with the lash primer, but this was because I only used one coat. For my second attempt, I applied a coat of mascara first then I applied a coat of the primer, followed by a second coat of mascara. This worked like a charm and suddenly, I had lashes that made my eyes pop! I could have easily repeated this process up to two more times as the formula isn’t too thick or chunky and the wands have nice lash separating brushes.

I was VERY pleased with how this product made my practically nonexistent eyelashes stand out without making them crunchy or causing hair loss upon removal of the makeup. I would highly recommend checking out L’Oreal’s new Voluminous Lash line for yourself!

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!

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.