Thursday, September 27, 2007

Hey Batter! Batter! Batter!!!

Good Evening!! Today has been an up and down day for me....But after speaking with a friend, I feel better. I am also an outdoorsy type of gal, so the nice day also helped to ease my mood.

Lately, I have been noticing that the recent beauty craze is lashes!! Everyone is doing Celebrities and normal people alike. I have seen some horrible lash jobs though!!! Some just look like they have literally glued the lashes together and then put them on. I have also seen lashes that just were too overwhelming for a person's face. I recently did a consultation with a bride ( I don't like doing weddings, but she did not seem like she would be a bride-zilla) and her lashes were a little on the sparse and short side. Since it was her wedding day, I did not want to do anything that would take away from her face too much, so I decided on something that would make them look more voluminous and lengthen. MAC #32 eyelashes (shown left) were excellent for the task! I love them!! They look so natural. I love lashes in when doing editorials to just completely take the look up to another level. Can you imagine how different the mod era would look if Twiggy's makeup artist hadn't incorporated those false lashes into the look?

Lashes are that extra piece of jewelry to add just before you leave to polish off your look. Whenever I wear them, I always bat my lashes like a girl at a night club trying to signal the guy sitting across from her to buy her a "drank." I feel sooooo Hollywood!!! Shu-Uemura also makes a synthetic version of the famous mink lashes (the ones that are like $400....J.Lo wears them) for only $20 (shown left).

When applying your lashes and most important accessory, apply a small amount of lash glue to the strip (directly from the tube or squeeze glue on a Q-tip), not the lashes. Let the glue get tacky (count to 10), then look down, place lashes as close to your lash line as possible, finish off with gel or liquid liner to cover glue, and have beautiful eyes!! It is really that simple ladies!! If you don't feel confident in your abilities just get a friend to help. Erykah Badu is going to be performing at LOVE tomorrow night. Me and my lashes will be in attendance!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Living My Life Like It's Golden...Bronze

It's Hump Day Wednesday!!!

As I walk around today, I can't help but notice how beautiful the weather is. There is a nice gentle breeze and just the right amount of sun. I can walk around looking pretty as ever without really breaking a sweat. Perfect time to really show off a little skin and pretty makeup!!

I wish it would remain at this temperature year round. When I go into the stores, I see nothing that says, "nice weater". All the swimsuits have been placed on the sale racks, and replaced by knit sweaters, scarves, and knee-length boots. I am constantly reminded that winter is coming. So...if you want to keep that nice tan that you got while vactioning in Florida or Martha's (or just walking around in the hot, here are a couple of tips and products that will help you keep that "I just got back from St. Tropez" look.

The perfect glow starts with the body. If you look above at J-lo and Beyonce, they are glowing from their heads to their toes. They don't only look bronze on their faces. It is a whole body experience. Jergens natural glow moisturizer helps to build a natural glow that looks like its coming from within. It comes in three different shades so everyone can take advantage of this product. It's is responsible for Kelly Ripa's glow. Two years ago, she announced that she had been using this product and women went crazy!! And the best part is that it is only $7 bucks at Target!! Just make sure that you exfoliate your skin before applying. By exfoliating, I mean to gently slough off the dead skin cells by using a body exfoliator.

Once the body has been taken care of, then proceed to the face. Facial Bronzers give you a sunkissed glow. You want to apply with a full brush to the areas that the sun naturally hits-hairline, cheeks, chin, bridge of nose.
Make sure that when choosing a bronzer, you match it to your undertone. The key here is a natural bronze look. Not Donatella...

If you have a fair complexion (Nicole Kidman and Anne Hathaway), look for products that have a peachy/pinky undertone. Guerlain has excellent bronzers that meet this criteria. Using bronzers that are took dark, just will make you look like you have been playing in the mud. But if you have a milky complexion...don't try to work against that too much. Try Bobbi Brown's ShimmerBrick in Beige and Apricot.

Medium complexions (Jennifer Lopez, Kimora Lee Simmons, Lucy Liu)
Try bronzers that have golden undertones. I love Iman's bronzer!! It has a nice shimmer to it and just looks golden on the skin!! Plus, its only like $10 bucks at Target!!! Using a bronzer with a cinnamon undertone will make you look red and sunburned. The object is to look like a perfectly baked, golden brown piece of Laura Mercier has a nice bronzing stick. Try Bobbi Brown's Shimmer brick in Bronze(these shimmer bricks are soooo beautiful).

Darker Complexions (Alek, Angela Basset, Regina King, Oprah, Gabriel Union)
You can use bronzers with either a golden undertone or a cinnamon undertone. Just try them out to see which one works best. Bobbi Brown has a nice matte (no shimmer) bronzer in deep dark, Iman, and MAC has nice irridescent loose powder in Golden Bronze(use sparingly..and apply in natural, which works excellent as a highlighter. NARS also has a nice bronzer called PALM Beach in the multiple.

If you are really feeling confident about your application, then try Guerlain's Aerosol bronzer(ideal for fair and medium complexions). It comes in a cute spray can. Hold it about an arm's length out and spray in circular motions. Step back and evaluate your work. The application should be evenly distributed.

Bronzer, if applied correctly, can also replace the need for foundation. It alone can even out skin. MAC makes these wonderful Mineralize Skinfinish (shown left) products that gives an excellent glow(they are baked in Italy). If you have fair skin try the one in Medium. If you have Medium skin, try Medium Dark or Dark...etc. Just make sure that your skin is properly hydrated and moisturized!! I wore this product last year(completely unaware of its properties), and my friend told me that I looked like I was glowing!!! Needless to say that I will be wearing this product when the temperature drops!!

I'm off to get my glow own while the weather is still nice!!!

Monday, September 24, 2007


Happy Monday!!!

My weekend was very relaxed and fulfilling. I went to Sephora to see if they had anything new, then went off to show my friend how to tweeze and shape her brows. I headed over with my bag filled with Tweerman tweezers (the kind with the sharp, pointed tip), concealer, brow pencil, MAC 266 angled brush, small scissors, brow gel, alcohol, hydrocortisone cream and clean mascara wands. The look on her face was hilarious, when I knocked on her door and she saw how many tools that I had. I had come prepared to do brow reconstructive surgery!! LOL!! Paying someone else to wax your brows isn't always necessary. I learned this when the wax left me looking like I was experiencing puberty for a second time...and my brows were way too thin!! And I was out of twenty dollars!

The first thing to do when preparing to tweeze your brows is to evaluate the shape of your brows and what you would like them to look like. If you naturally have very thin brow work with that shape. The same applies if you have naturally full brows. Thin over tweezed brows are not complementary to every face shape. You want your brows frame your face and bring out your eyes.

Next brush your brows upward and trim any hairs that extend above the brow bone (the bone that your brows sit on). Then brush your brows upward and outward. If you have a curly hair texture, your brows maybe this way as well, so use a little brow gel to hold them in place (Maybelline makes an excellent brow gel for only 5 bucks!!). With your concealer, trace out the desired shape of your new brow(make sure to trace underneath the brow..called the underscore of the brow). MAC has these convenient little concealer sticks that look like chunky pencils. I love these!! Remove all the hair that the concealer is on. It may be easier to locate the hairs that need to be removed, if you use a concealer that is one to two shades lighter than your foundation. Once all the hairs have been removed, remove the concealer and evaluate your new shape. If there are any gaps, grab an angled brush and fill in. Please whatever you do.....DONT USE BLACK!!!! Ewww.....Elvira is not the intended look. If you have blonde hair try a very light brown or cement colored shadow or brow pencil, if you are a red-head try a camel colored shadow, brunettes try a dark brown. African American women with darker skin tones, should try a deep brown like espresso. I will list my favorites for each below. I have posted a before and after picture of Kevyn Aucoin's sister after he tweezed her brows....this is the G rated There are also little illustrations to help guide you.

Before the Tweeze After the tweeze

I hope you can see the difference. Removing the excess hairs created more space between her eye and brow, which opened her eyes up.

1. Evalaute the shape of your brows. Hold a pencil vertically next to your nose so that you can see where your brows should begin. Next move the pencil to in about a 35 degree angle to see where they should peak (or where you arch should be. Finally extend the pencil another 20 degrees to see where they should taper off.

2. If you have hair that extends past where the pencil starts, tweeze them. When tweezing, grab the hair at the root and quickly remove it in the direction that the hairs grow. When filling in the brow, make sure to use short hair-like strokes to get the most natural looking brow. Once your finish, your brows should look nice and uniform. Don't worry if you don't get it right on the first try...Rome wasn't built in a day. Keep practiciing!! If you really need a little more help visit your local beauty counter and get someone to help you. Or get your brows waxed and shaped, then just maintain them by tweezing the hairs that grow in.

Try these Brands for Brow Pencils and Shadow

1. For Blondes...
Lingering Brow Pencil by MAC
Cement Eyeshadow by Bobbi Brown
Beguile Brow set by MAC
Blonde Brow Set by Bobbi Brown (brow gel that deposits color)

2. Brunettes/African Americans
Stud Brow Pencil by MAC
Spiked Brow Pencile by MAC
Espresso Shadow by MAC
Mahogany shadow by Bobbi Brown
Cork Eyeshadow by MAC
Show off Brow Set by MAC (brow gel that deposits color)
Girl Boy Brow Set by MAC (copper colored brow gel)

3. Red Heads
Taupe brow pencil by Bobbi Brown
Texture Eyeshadow by MAC
Camel eyeshadow by MAC

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Big Apple

Happy Thursday Everyone!!!

Don't you just love the feeling after a good workout? You look good and feel great. I love it when I look in the mirror afterwards, and I have this cute little glow on my cheeks. There is a way to look like this always with a little hint of blush added to the apple of the cheek. Just smile and take a blush brush and pop it on. It literally takes 5 seconds. Blush is a way to give your skin a quick little glow and uplift. Just take a look at Kiya(right). She looks like she just stepped off a trendmill in a pretty, polished sort of way. I posted these photos up just so you can see, when applied correctly the difference blush can make.

I have seen women walking around with red faces from blush being applied incorrectly. Blush should be applied on the apple of the cheek. To find the apple of your cheek, just smile and the protruding area is your apple. Once you locate your apple, take the blush brush and lightly dip it into the blush. Next, starting at the apple apply the blush in a backward (toward your hairline), downward motion. This will ensure that your blush looks the most natural. My favorite formulation of blush is cream blush. Most women look at the consistency of cream blush and cringe. It looks goopy!!! Cream blush is the most natural looking blush. It gives a glow that seems to come from within and can double as lipcolor. It works wonders on dry skin, but can be used on oily girls too (especially in the winter when oily girls seem to get a bit drier). Apply cream blush with fingers or a brush in the same manner as powder blush, just be sure to work the product into the skin. The result should be a glow that seems to come from the inside!! Above is a picture of Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Velvet Plum (this color looks lovely on darker skin tones) and Cargo Powder blush in Coral Beach (this imparts a pretty peachy glow). L'oreal HIP also makes an excellent cream blush that dries down to a powdery finish in a variety of colors that won't break the bank. Check your local drugstore or Target.

Color selection is based solely on personal preference. I believe almost anyone can wear any color. It just depends on application. If you want to wear NARS Exhibit A (which I do from time to time), go ahead!!! Just make sure you use a blush brush (not the brush that comes in the packaging...invest in a brush blush) to lightly apply until the desired color is obtained. Don't be afraid to try a color on if it looks to bright in the packaging. It is important to remember that once the product goes on, it will go on diffused and will not look nearly as bright on you. Never judge a Blush by its color. Sometimes when I am in the market for a new blush and I want a little help picking one out, I will ask the beauty advisor. I do not like it when the first thing they pick up is a color in the plum family. As a woman of color with darker skin, we always get thrown into the plum box. They look wonderful on, but don't be afraid to try bright colors as well. The only exception to this rule is if you want to cover redness on the cheek area. To apply a red toned or pinky blush would just make the redness more obvious. Instead opt for a bronzer. Blush goes on smoother, more intense, and last longer if there is some type of foundation, tinted moisturizer, or primer applied underneath. Well, tomorrow is Friday and that means I will be spending a couple of hours in Sephora and at various beauty counters testing new products. I can't wait!!!

Remember*** Blush is about application technique...not so much color!!!
I also wanted to wish Rhonda and very happy Geburtstag!!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

My Lipgloss is Poppin'!!!

Swimming three times a week can really take a toll on the beauty regimen...Normally, after getting out of the pool, I slather on my Bobbi moisturizer, a little tinted moisturizer, and gloss. I'm not speaking of the overly shiny, I just ate a bucket of Popeyes gloss, but you I just licked my lips a little. They glisten.

This post is dedicated to all the gloss gals. In speaking to a few my friends, I have come to realize that their main beauty staple is gloss. Especially one particular friend, who no matter how many times we go to Target together, she always leaves with the same caramel colored gloss. To see the smile on her face, one would think that she just got the new Billy B. brush set...LOL. I can always predict which gloss she will choose....the brown one. It boggles my mind how we get so set in our beauty routine, that we actually go out to purchase a million different brands of glosses all in the same color family. I love fact it was my first obsession with makeup. Every friday when I got my allowance, I would go to the Big Bee drugstore and get a new lipgloss. I especially used to love the push up kind that covergirl came out with. Never in the same color though!! I always tried to diversify my lipgloss collection.

Gloss is a great way to try a red, bright pink, or a coral that you thought you might be too dark or light for(I hate those sayings). My favorite red gloss is the MAC lustreglass in Venetian. It gives you a hint of color...just enough so you can imagine what you would look like if you had the lipstick on. Plus it still give you the shine of a gloss. I pair it with Currant/deep red liner...I look so nice and 50's but with a modern glossy finish!! I usually reserve the red lip for special occasions, like the Red Carpet, Dates, etc. Now on a day that I'm feeling girlie, I love hot pinks!!! Makeup Forever has this nice hot pink in Candy Rose that gives medium color payoff, but not overwhelming. I love hot pinks and coral in the summertime!! It's goes with the weather. I swear Christian Dior has the longest lasting gloss that I have ever tried!! I can go for hours and not touch up!

Gloss is an excellent way for you to step a couple of feet outside of your comfort zone when it comes to color. Never go by how the gloss looks inside the tube. Once it goes on your lips the color becomes more diffused. Using a darker or lighter liner will also change the color. I almost always mix atleast two different colors to get that perfect color. So...don't limit yourself when it comes to picking formulations or colors...and always remember to exfoliate lips before applying gloss. Try to have a variety of colors!!!! Play around and have fun!! The Drug store is always a good place to start. Loreal HIP and Revlon make awesome gloss for only $7.

Try These Out:
1. Clinique Superbalm Moisturizing Gloss in Raspberry

2. Bobbi Brown in Bright Pink

3. Stila Lip Polish in Glaze

4. Cargo Lip Duo in Bora Bora

5. Nars Lipstain Gloss in Indian Red

Monday, September 17, 2007

The 7 Deadly Sins of Makeup

I know, I know....I am out doing myself today with two posts, but I just had to. This couldn't wait until Wednesday. Walking around DC today, I could not help but spot women sporting some horrible makeup.

Ladies, here are a couple of things to consider when deciding what makeup to wear.

1. YOUR EYESHADOW DOES NOT HAVE TO MATCH YOUR CLOTHES or YOUR LIPSTICK!!! I can't tell you how many times I have seen this today alone. Makeup is about coordinating with your clothing but not matching. If you have on a purple shirt, it is ok to wear a gold or muted green shadow. Imagine seeing someone with a green shirt, green eyeshadow, and green shoes and acessories......

2. Extreme Brow highlights are outdated. I think I see this more from people who are MAC victims. It is ok to have a brow highlight, because naturally there is a highlight there. BUT if you are a chocolate gal walking around with NW25 under the brow.....please find the nearest bottle of makeup remover. Makeup is about expression...but lets be progressive and modern.

3. TWO Toned lips.....ewww!!!! Kevyn Aucoin made this trend hot back in the day with Mary J, but folks that was back in the 90's. Lets fast forward to the present. Please blend the liner in with your lipstick. Your lips will still have definition. It is about a natural transition of color. Chestnut liner with C-thru gloss, Nightmoth with explicit!!!

4. Brows that are 5 shades to dark or tattoed on!!! NO!!!!! Unless you are a blonde please do not apply. Your brow color should match your hair color. No one should be able to tell that you fill your brows in. It should look like you were born that way.

5. Ungroomed brows....the age of catepillars on the face are gone. Full brows are in...but they are still groomed. Just lightly tweeze the hairs that need it. The Brooke Shields trend is still relevant, but even her brows were groomed.

6. Black liner is not everyday!!! I love the Cleopatra/Elizabeth Taylor look. Love IT!!! But not for class everyday, not for work, speaking with clients with your eyes looking like a racoon is not cute. Brown liner is softer. And please do not only line the bottom.

7. Overly powdered skin. Women are walking around here looking like they have literally packed 5 layers of studio fix on!!! Real skin is not overly matte or powdery looking.
Step away from the sponge. Invest in a powder brush.

Ladies...don't let me see you on the street. I'm watching!! You have been warned!!!

Paint the Town Red!!!!

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend. I sure did!!! The Runway Africa show was on fire!!! The makeup was on point, the models were stunning, and the designers just put the icing on the cake. The makeup followed trend. Fresh, nude, pretty faces, and of course the always sexy smokey eye with a bold lip. The last scene was very tribal. The models came out with tribal markings. It was incredible!! Don't worry if you missed it....I will be posting pictures on Wednesday. By the end of the show, I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs...."I AM AFRICAN!!!"

I got a chance to sneak backstage to observe the products that the makeup artists were using to achieve such natural looks. What did I see? The new MAC paint pots in bare study, bronze and gold shadows, strobe cream to give the skin a nice radiant glow, and MAC studio mists foundation to even out skin, but still leaving it dewy. No one was using powder!!! The makeup artist explained that the object was to keep the skin looking "fresh, like real skin."

This brings me to the next topic of discussion....eye shadow base.

How many times have you spent an extra 20 minutes doing dramtic eye shadow only to find that by the end of the day, the shadow has done a hoodini or creased ? Go's ok to raise your hand. I see it all to often. This is happening, because the oil on your eyelids have practically broken down your eyeshadow and caused it to crease. To eliminate this use a base. A base will act as a barrier against the oil. New technology in cream shadows make them an excellent choice to use as a base. Cream shadows are now long wearing and crease free!!! My favorites are the MAC paints, MAC paint pot (arrived on counter August), Bobbi Brown Cream shadow, and NARS Cream shadow. They come in a variety of colors. Using a base will also help you get a more intense color payoff. If you want to use a Jewel Blue eyeshadow, use a Jewel Blue base to get a long wearing, non-creasing, intense Jewel Blue color on your lids. Some artist like to use concealers as an eyeshadow base. I like this method only if I know the shadow will be on for a short period of time or if the person has dry eyelids. Using concealer underneath as a base for someone with oily eyelids is asking for trouble!! Chances are you have double the amount of oil on your eyelids than on your face. Concealer already contains some type of emollient, which is like adding fuel to an already burning fire. New cream shadows go on "wet" but dry down, so work fast! Apply a thin layer, because if applied to thick it can look clumpy. On those days, when you have to be to work at 8AM and you wake up at 7:30, cream shadows can be worn alone, with the quick stroke of your index finger. I love the Bobbi Brown cream shadows in Burnished, Suede, and Aqua. I also love the MAC paints (in the squeeze tube) in Graphito (perfect base for a smokey eye), Architecture, and Bamboo. NARS won the InStyle award for "Best Cream Shadow." For you gals who live out in areas where there aren't any MAC, Bobbi, Sephora, or Christian Dior can always go online.

Keep the lid on tight!!! They will dry out if not!! OK well, class dismissed. Remember to post if you have questions or want a particular topic discussed!!! Have a Beautiful Monday !!!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Tools of The Trade

Good Morning Class....

Yesterday, we spoke about foundations and concealers. Today we will be learning about the tools or brushes to apply them. Why use brushes you ask? Simple....Brushes apply less product, waste less product, apply products with more precision, and prevent the tranfer of bacteria from your hands to your face.

However, it is very important that you clean your brushes (that you have invested so much of your hard earned cash into) atleast three times a week. This can be done by using a mild baby shampoo and spraying sparingly with alcohol. Once they are clean, reshape the brush and leave to dry off a counter top. Doing this will keep your brushes in tip top shape!!!

There are sooooooo many different brushes out there on the market!!!! I even feel overwhelmed typing this. Billy B.(MAC senior artist) has a line of brushes, Jay Manual, Bobbi Brown, MAC, Lancome, Prescriptives, Sephora, Mally your brand of brushes are limitless just make sure that the quality is there.

We are going to keep it restricted to foundation and concealer brushes today. There are two classes of brushes to apply foundation. There are flat synthetic brushes (artificial fibers) and natural hair brushes (usually made from animal hair...trimmed animal hair). Natural hair brushes tend to absorb the product and synthetic brushes pick the product up on the tip. The type of brush you should use with your foundation and concealer depends on what you are trying to accomplish. Below I have listed a couple of things to think about along with some of the brushes I like to use. Take Notes!!

1. If I am using an emollient product like a foundation stick, cream to powder, etc. I like to "buff" the product into the skin. By "buff," I mean making the foundation appear to be the person's own skin by using buffing motions(like when you buff wax onto a car). I never like to look like I am wearing foundation. The illusion of natural beauty is what I strive for. This is best acheived by using a natural hair brush or a brush that has a dome like tip. I prefer MAC brush in #192 and #109. However, there are brands that have flat synthetic concealer brushes for concealers.

2.Powdered products are better applied with full brushes or velour puffs. You want to use a brush that is full, because they apply the products softly and not just in one place. I generally have a kleenex handy to shake the excess powder off before applying to the face. I love the Bobbi Brown powder brush (it has a tapered tip).

3. Flat synthetic brushes are good for liquid products. Why? Liquids tend to sink down into natural fiber brushes, whereas with a synthetic brush the products remain on the tip. I love MAC #109, MAC #191, and MAC #188 (not flat, but has a flat head...good for buffing).

The point here is to take into account the shape of the brush and the materials used to make it. This will help you to determine what it will be best used as. For the beginner, it is best to just invest in a brush set. During this time of the year, Sephora is probably the best place. MAC has brush set during the holiday season and Nordstrom has them during their anniversary sale, which makes a perfect gift to yourself, of course. Now that we have covered the basics, I will not be giving out anymore "get out of jail free" cards for those of you that I see walking around with foundation lines.

Remember to scroll down below and take a quiz on your knowledge of America's Next Top Model!!!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Back to The Basics

Whew!!! I am exhausted. Trying to reshape your body after just relying on your metabolism to keep the weight off is kicking my butt. Instead of hitting the treadmill like most, I am opting for a low impact workout-swimming. This brings me to my next topic of discussion. It is a topic of mystery for most, leaving most women looking like they have floating heads or someone just painted their faces on. Get where this discussion is headed....? That's right foundation and concealer!!!! Many women are dead set against wearing it, because they are afraid of it. They don't know which shade is best, which formulation is best, and for some reason we feel that it makes us seem vain and artificial for wearing it. Foundation does not compromise your beauty. It enhances it. I am a BIG fan of the natural look (in fact, that is what I am known for), but I have seen some women walk around, and they would look so much better with a little concealer under the eye and foundation in certain areas.

Now here is the age old question....What is the difference between foundation and concealer?

The only difference between foundation and concealer is the concentration of pigment in the product. There is more pigment in concealer than in foundation. Foundations and concealers come in a variety of forms (i.e. liquids, powders, cream to powder, moisturizing, stick, cake, etc.). They also come in a variety of finishes. By finishes, I mean the final texture of the product once it dries down onto the skin (natural matte, satin matte, dewy, natural, radiant glow, pearlized, etc.).

For beauty makeup or day-to-day wear, the biggest mistake women make is applying foundation all over the face. This is a no-no!!! It will look like you have a floating head and too much foudation on. This will totally defeat the purpose of foundation, which is intended to make you look like you have beautiful, even, and healthy skin. The rule of thumb with foundation is to "Apply As Needed." I find that the most discolored areas are the cheeks, forehead, and undereye area. If you must apply all over, make sure that you blend the product past the jawline, so that there are not any demarcation lines. Also, the match. There is no reason (unless you are an actor or performer of some sort) should your foundation be five shades lighter. Trust me ladies....It looks HORRIBLE!! Be sure to purchase the correct shade of foundation, which is why I suggest making an investment by visiting your local department store. Unless you are an expert, don't pick up something out of the Target beauty aisle without testing it out in natural sunlight. In order for it to match perfectly, the foundation needs to have the correct undertone. In today's day and time, finding the right foundation should be a breeze. Many women of color have this problem...but with the right makeup artist (i.e. Myself) this should be a simple process. Below I have listed the pros and cons of a few different formulations of foundations.

1. Tinted Moisturizer-TM

This is a lighter version of foundation that is composed of more moisturizers than pigment. It provides a sheer coverage and imparts a radiant finish. Most even come with spf of atleast 15. I would recommend this IF you have pretty even skin. Some of my favorites are Becca Tinted Moisturizer, MAC, Laura Mercier, and Bobbi Brown Tinted Moisture Balm.

2. Liquid Foundation

No need to be afraid!!! This is one of my favorites. It is the next level up from tinted moisturizers. There are several different finishes when it comes to liquid foundation-matte, natural matte, dewy, etc. They come with atleast an spf of 15 and there are also moisturizing formulations for those with drier skin. The coverage is sheer to medium. To build this one up to a medium coverage, let the first layer dry then apply another. The only thing with liquid foundation is that once it dries onto the skin, the color darkens just a tad (not enough to notice).

My favorites are L'oreal HIP (works well on women of color), MAC studio fix fluid (matte finish), Armani, Makeup Forever, MAC Face and Body (very sheer coverage), and Bobbi Brown (oil free and moisturizing).

3. Cream to Powder

Most cream to powders come in that convient compact packaging with the cute little sponge underneath. Now as I have seen, many women use the sponge incorrectly. I am just down right against using sponges over and over. Why ? They breed bacteria. Think about it....the sponge goes from the compact to your face (which has bacteria), then back into your product, then back onto your face.....EWWW. Then, you get a lovely little visitor two weeks later right on the center of your forehead. Cream to powder foundation goes on as a creamy formula and VOILA!! It dries down to a matte finish. Ideal for the oily gal. The coverage is medium to full. I really only recommend a matte finish if you are extremely oily. I do not like the matte look, because real skin does not look overly matte. If you get oily throughout the day invest in oil blotting paper.

I don't really have any favorites in this category, but Bobbi Brown is introducing her new moisturizing compacts next week. MAC also makes a moistureblend foundation(sheer medium coverage).

4. Powder

This is probably my least favorite, because it isn't used correctly by the masses of women. Like the cream to powder foundations, it comes with a lovely little sponge for women to pack on the product. I can always tell when a women is wearing a powder foundation(i.e. MAC studio Fix), because it looks cakey and powdery. Powdered foundations give a matte finish. It has a medium to full coverage. This product is ideal for the oily gal. Before using this product make sure to moisturize and let your moisturizer sink in. If not, the product will become hard. But this is a BIG "no-no" if you have dry skin. It only serves to make you look drier. I know the packaging is convenient, but moisturing cream in compacts are readily available. Translucent powder is totally different than powdered foundations. Translucent powder "sets" your makeup (by set..think of it like saving your work). It ensures that you will not have to do very many touch ups throughout the day and absorbs excess oil. You only need to "powder" certain areas (under eye area to prevent concealer from creasing, forehead, and a little on the sides of the nose). If you have drier skin, very minimal powdering is necessary. The pigment concentration is minimal, so there isn't much coverage.

5. Cake and/or Stick Foundations

These are full coverage foundations that are very emollient. They glide over the skin effortlessly when "warmed up" (not in the microwave...but on the back of your hand). They provide a natural finish and is ideal for the gal that does not have skin like Beyonce. These can tend to feel heavier IF applied incorrectly. To thin out the product for a lighter feel, apply with a damp sponge or buffing brush. This is good for all skin types.
I love Bobbi Brown foundation stick, MAC studio Stick, Black Opal, and Laura Mercier.

6. Aerosol/Airbrush Foundation

This is a sheer to medium coverage foundation that must be sprayed on a secondary surface( a square of aluminum foil, petri dish, etc.). Do not spray this directly on the face. It has micronized mother of pearl particles that act as optical diffusers to soften fine lines, even complexion, and give an airbrushed finish. This is another one of my favorites, especially when working with models who have lovely skin. Aerosol foundations have buildable coverage. Apply one layer then apply another. They also come in bronzers as well. No powdering is necessary after this, unless that is the look you want to acheive.

My top picks are Christian Dior Airflash (excellent coverage, but only comes in lighter shades), Guerlain, and MAC studio mist.

Concealers come in the same formulations as foundations and give similar finish. Using concealer is encouraged only if you have dark circles to cover or an area that your foundation just isn't quite doing the job. For undereye concealer, I would recommend a color that is one to two shades lighter than your foundation. This is because you want highlight your undereye area and bring forth your eyes. Some cosmetic companies automatically adjust the corresponding concealer colors to a lighter one. It takes out the guess work. Please make sure to blend the foundation and concealer so that there are no lines. I find the most effective application is next to a window. Natural light highlights flaws, making it easy to identify where more blending is necessary. Now this is not to say that concealer can't be used as foundation and vice versa. Sometimes if I would like sheer coverage I use a sheer concealer under my eyes, cheeks and forehead.

Last but not least, who came first...the chicken or the egg???? Which comes first? Foundation or concealer? This is an age old debate. I adjust this technique accordingly. If I am doing a lighter concealer under the eye and I want to blend the two together, then I place the slighter darker foundation on top of the outer edges of the concealer. The effect is a natural transition of color. This is what I would suggest for you-adjust accordingly. Play around and see which technique works best for you.

Ok class this concludes our chapter on foundations and concealers. In the next chapter, we will discuss the proper tools to apply foundation and concealer. Any questions please feel free to post. And remember....Your makeup should look and feel like your second skin.

Attention !!! Achtung!!!

There is a runway africa show happening on Saturday, September 15th at the French Embassy here in DC. The show is going to be HOT!! The designers are phenomenal. Visit for information on tickets. I will see you there!!!

Don't forget to test your knowledge below on America's Next Top Model.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Moisturize,Moisturize, Moisturize!!!!

Good Morning ALL!!!

This morning, I had to be somewhere at 8AM. I woke up at 7:15 in a frenzy. I had no time to play around with newly purchased eyeshadows and blush from Makeup Forever (although with weather like this, today would have been perfect). So I made a mad dash to the bathroom and showered. But all my joy had not been lost in this uproar. I am a skincare fanatic. See, I believe that good skincare is the foundation of your foundation. Think about it....We use concealer and foundation to give the illusion of having perfect skin. So anyway, when I cleansed my skin with Bobbi Brown Lathering Tube Soap followed by the Hydrating Face Cream (Bobbi Brown Cosmetics :: Hydrate), I looked in the mirror and smiled because my skin felt nice, supple, and hydrated. I don't mean to toot my own horn but TOOT!!! TOOT!! My skin looked damn good, despite not having the pleasure of doing my daily routine of foundation, concealer, eyeshadow, eyeliner, etc. This made me want to thank my grandma and fairy beauty mother for instilling good skincare pratices in my 20s.

So....What is the moral of this story??? Good skincare is important. Invest in products that will properly cleanse, hydrate, and nourish your skin, so foundation and concealer will be options, not necessities. I have listed a few misconceptions that most women have when it comes to skincare:

1. Oily Skin does not need moisturizer.

Most women that I encounter seem to feel that if their skin is oily, there is no need to moisturize. Wrong! Skin can be oily on the surface but dehydrated underneath. If you smoke stop! Drink lots of water and moisturize.

2. Oily Skin should be cleansed with harsh cleansers to remove all traces of oil.

Washing your skin more than twice daily to remove sebum does more harm than good. It only serves to stimulate oily skin to produce more sebum to compensate for the loss. Use a cleanser that will not leave your skin feeling dry and tight afterwards. I find that cetaphil makes an excellent gentle cleanser for oily skin for only $7.

3. The Needs of Skin remains the Same.

This is one of the biggiest misconceptions. My skincare regime changes with the weather. In the summer, I would consider myself a normal to oily gal, so I use a moisturizer that is lighter in weight, but still hydrating. Conversely, in the winter, I am more normal to dry. I use a moisturizer that is heavier. I prefer to use balms and serums in the winter to protect my skin from the wind damage. Most women will find that as they get older their skin will change as well. This is why it is essential to have an arsenal of skincare products, so that on days that your skin feels drier you can make the necessary adjustments.

4. Oily skin must avoid oil containing products.

Acneic skin should avoid oil containing products. That is, skin that is prone to breakouts. Not oily skin. Every other day I use Clarins Face Oil (it is the summer in DC) followed by Bobbi Brown Hydrating Face Cream. Only if you are prone to serious breakouts should you avoid these products.

5. Good Skincare consist of using the same moisturizer that you use on your face.

I cringe as I write this one.Partly because I used to be a victim of this last one, before my fairy beauty mother took me under her wing down the aisle of the cosmetics department of Nordstrom. I saw no difference between using Vaseline Intensive Care and some over priced department store moisturizer. In fact, I really did not know that such a thing was in existence. My grandmother taught me to moisturize, but it was to the extent of using Vegetable Oil on my face during the cold months. I quickly noticed the difference upon using the products. My skin no longer felt tight. Needless to say...Now I NEVER use body moisturizers on my face.

Ok...I think we have it. So Let's repeat this together...Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize!!!!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Meet and Greet

Are you totally lost on how to apply foundation? Don't know which brand is best for your skin? Tired of spending money on products, only to find you were a victim of the poorly trained sales girl, trying to make her sales goal?

Well honey, your prayers have been answered, and Mona is here to rescue you out of your beauty rut.

My name is Mona. I have been a makeup artist for nearly ten years and am currently residing DC. I have studied under some of the best in the industry, and worked for some of the most prestigious cosmetics brands. I am here to guide all those gals out there who need a roadmap to guide them through the beauty isles of Target and Bendels. I will discuss everything from that perfect shade of lipstick to the best pairs of tweezers. I will even keep you up on the last trend happenings in the beauty world by giving details on the makeup happenings backstage....

I am off to a wonderful weekend !!!!

***Remember -"Foundation should look and feel like your second skin!!!! "