Monday, October 10, 2016

Inpsirational: Alicia Keys #nomakeup

Hello Lovelies,

Today's post is focusing on raw, natural, beauty. 

When I think of that, my mind goes straight to Alicia Keys. If you haven't noticed, Alicia Keys has been stepping out in the spotlight with no makeup. 
That's right. 
No makeup!

As a professional makeup artist, I actually find this really refreshing. While I will always believe that makeup is a powerful and positive thing, it can also be very crippling for many people. 

Alicia Keys wrote an article in Lenny Letter HERE about her no makeup journey, and it is really inspiring. To see someone who is always being photographed and in the spotlight, being comfortable in her own skin enough to show up to the VMA's with NO MAKEUP on-- it was awesome!

photo: RCA/Paola Kudacki

I think she's a great role model for women all over. Finding the strength to be comfortable in your own skin and having the confidence to show the world that you are beautiful just the way you are, is an incredible feat and is challenging for most of us. 

As a professional artist I am faced with people's insecurities, facades, and distorted perceptions. Most women I work with have no idea how beautiful they really are. 

When looking at a client's face, all I see are the beautiful parts of the face-- Great cheekbones, lovely brows, gorgeous eye colors and shapes.
So often we are focusing our energy on what can be better? 
What can I do to fix this? 

We are constantly keeping focus on whatever we see as negative. This is SO damaging. We are all too hard on ourselves. 

So here's what I have to say... 

Take a break. Slowly start to wear less, and less makeup. Really. 

The more we cover ourselves up, the more we lose sight of our true beauty and create a negative association with ourselves in our natural state. I have so many clients that I've worked with that can't even fathom the idea of leaving the house without putting any makeup on! 

Now why would a makeup artist suggest taking a break from makeup?! isn't that my job?? Isn't that how I make a living?? 

Of course I love my job.
And I really do love the positive effects makeup can have. But in this craze of heavy makeup application, and contours, and exaggerated features, I think it's important to step back and appreciate what you have. It's so easy to lose sight of ourselves especially amongst all the outside pressures of the media surrounding us.

Alicia Keys mentions in her article that she turned to meditation to find a deeper sense of self. This is important! We are being fed through the media that all women need to do to be perceived a certain way. Many of us feel the pressure to wear their hair a certain way, or do their makeup just right-- and I'm guilty of it too! Everyone is affected.

Now I  do believe in taking care of yourself. I do believe in the mantra, "Look good, feel good." I do believe that everyone has their own version of beauty.
I don't want to be another source telling you what to do and how you should look-- I want to be a resource for you. I want you to come to my site as a reader and know that if you wanted to know how to take better care of your skin, you could go Here. Or if you wanted to learn about bronzer because you started using it and you're not sure you're doing it properly, you could go Here.

Of course I have my own personal aesthetic when it comes to makeup, but as a professional, you have to learn to appreciate all forms.

So while I urge you to challenge yourself and slowly learn to love yourself a little more, maybe one day you can contribute to the #nomakeup trend. You just might be surprised at how good it can make you feel.

In the meantime, let's not criticize one another for how we decide to present ourselves to the world.
Let's appreciate all forms of beauty. 

Pay someone a compliment today, it just might make their day! 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Product Rave: Exfoliant

Hello beauties,

I have stumbled upon a great product that I would love to share! 

Many of you have been loyal readers and clients and have heard me talk about how important exfoliation is as a part of your skincare routine!

That being said, I am always trying new exfoliants, scrubs and at home remedies. The other day I was wandering around Target on my day off... because I hadn't been in a while and figured, why not check it out.. 

To my surprise, their makeup and skincare has dramatically increased! I was really impressed and totally engrossed in those aisles for a good 40 minutes!

Amongst all the fun new products, I came across this great exfoliant from Pacifica. 

For those of you not familiar with the brand, Pacifica is a beauty brand that is known for their sustainable and natural ingredients. That's pretty awesome!

They are also vegan and cruelty free. 
Again, awesome!

Here's the Exfoliant: 

Glow Baby Youthful Face Scrub

photo c/o

It's packed with lots of beautiful natural ingredients that not only help to get rid of dead skin cells, but also support and hydrate your skin. Formulated with ingredients like Flax, Rose Hip, and Walnut-- this product is heaven on your skin.

While I was reading the ingredients in the store, I was a bit skeptical of the walnut shells-- afraid this scrub might be too abrasive, but as it turns out it's very gentle! They are so finely ground, that it's similar to sugar granules. 

 How to use: 

It's simple. Just like any other exfoliant, you want to wash your face first. Take a small amount between your fingers and with gentle hands, apply in tiny circular motions. I usually massage this into the skin for a minute or two before rinsing with warm water. 

Be sure to hydrate with moisturizer or serum immediately after. 

photo c/o 

Finding an exfoliant that is affordable, natural and works extremely well is so important! I was very pleased with this product and had to share with all of you.

I love finding products that are made well, work well and try to do good for the environment! Pacifica is one of those brands that deeply cares for our planet and tries to minimize their footprint by having no manufacturing waste and is sure to work with suppliers that share their vision.

As an added perk, Pacifica is made in the USA and a portion of the proceeds goes to Support Clean Water.

It just makes me love this company so much more! 

After trying this product, and seeing the quality, I'm definitely going to purchase more of their items for myself and my kit.

So give it a try! Let me know how it works out for you!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Bronzer the RIGHT way

Many of you are confused with how to apply bronzer. 
You're not alone! 
Bronzer can be tricky. It's really important to use right kind and color for your skin as well as how you apply it. 

Like most makeup products, there are a lot of different kinds of bronzers. 
There are liquid/cream bronzers, pressed bronzers, loose powdered bronzers! They can be matte, or golden toned, or even glittery. 

So here's a quick breakdown on how to do bronzer the right way so it looks like your natural glowy skin.

Liquid/Cream Bronzers

These can be tricky, but once you get the hang of them, they are quite beautiful. They are sheer and often add that dewey luminescence most of us are dying to get! 

Just take a small amount on the back of your hand or onto a palette. 
Take a medium, loose brush or a Duo fiber brush and tap it into the liquid bronzer. 

Here are two great brush options: 

Gently buff the product onto the skin starting at the high points of the face (where the sun would naturally hit you: forehead, nose, cheekbones) and in small circular motions, carefully blend into the skin. 

*I would suggest placing this over a liquid or cream foundation and then with a lightweight powder, carefully set the makeup where needed (usually around the nose, under the eyes, etc). *

Here are some great Liquid bronzers to try: 

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Nars Laguna Illuminator

I use this on a lot of my clients! Technically it's an illuminator, so it has some more highlight tones in it rather than a matte finish. I love to apply this on the cheeks, forehead and nose for a bronzy, glowy and of course illuminated look. 

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Benefit's Dew the Hoola Soft Matte Liquid Bronzer

For a softer, more natural looking bronzer, this does the trick! It's a matte finish and gently blends into the skin for that subtle but mesmerizing sun kissed color.

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Josie Maran Bronzing Argan Oil

This beautiful bronzing oil adds a hydrating, subtle glow to the skin. It can be applied by pressing it into the skin with your hands- making it very easy and foolproof. Something to remember about this product is that it IS an oil! So it's not going to have as much of that bronze-y punch you may be looking for, but it's great for that subtle glow. 

Matte Bronzer

Looking for a little more sun kissed color in your skin? A matte bronzer is a very user friendly product (when applied correctly and using the right color for your skin!)

Matte bronzer can be used all over the face. Some people take this a little too far and can end up looking like a completely different color from their neck and chest. It's so important to find the right color for you!

A good rule of thumb is to go one to two shades darker than your tone. Try to stay in the same undertone family as well. The cooler you are, go for a cooler toned bronzer and the warmer you are, you can find the warmer toned bronzers. DO NOT go darker than two shades! Once you do, it looks very unnatural and can potentially look more orange than bronze.

Best way to apply powder bronzer: 
Use a Big Fluffy brush- you want the bristles to be loosely packed so you can softly and evenly display the color. The tighter the bristles are packed together, the more packed on your color will be.

A great brush option: 

I prefer using Natural hair brushes when it comes to applying bronzer. Here's a great brush from Bobbi Brown-- and it's even labeled "bronzer" on the handle so you don't forget!

*When applying something like bronzer or blush, it's important to work in layers. This will prevent any over distribution of color in one area. *

Swirl your brush into the powder, tap it against the edge of a table to remove excess product. From there you'll want to apply it to the skin-- there are two great ways to do this.

1) The Number 3: Apply the color in the shape of the number 3 starting at the top of the head, round into the cheekbone, and round under the jawline. This creates a soft natural "contour"as well as warming the skin.
2) The Sun: Apply where the sun would naturally hit you. Gently swipe it across your forehead, down your nose, chin and hit the apples of the cheeks and cheekbones. This gives more of a natural sun color glow.

Here are some great Matte Bronzers: 

Tarte Amazonian Clay Matte Waterproof Bronzer
This is a great color for my fair skinned beauties! This soft tawny bronze is a great color for fair skin to look like it has a natural sun kissed glow. 

Nars Bronzing Powder

Nars carries 3 shades of bronzer that are beautifully crafted. I'm kind of cheating here because they have more of a radiant finish than a matte finish, but I'm still including it here because they look soft and natural without looking too highlighted.

NYX Matte Bronzer

I'm actually pretty impressed with NYX and their bronzers! They come in 5 shades with an option of cool or warmer undertones, which makes it easier to choose one for your skin!

Just because Summer is over doesn't mean bronzer is off the makeup table! Fall and winter is a great time to subtly apply bronzer to keep a healthy glow all year round.

Best of luck to you on your bronzer journey! I hope this helps you out! If you have any additional questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section!

Monday, September 19, 2016

2016 Emmys

The Emmy's were last night! 

As I was sipping champagne and snacking on Thai food at my sister's house, we excitedly watched the red carpet for today's blog post. 

Here are the Top 5 Best Styled Looks from the Emmy's! 

5. Sarah Hyland

I know,  I've put Sarah Hyland on the list before, but she must have one great styling team! I am kind of obsessed with her look from last night. 

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Her Silhouette was very 1950's chic-- I'm completely in love with this outfit! 

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I think she styled everything perfectly well with it. From the very sophistacted low looped style was a perfect accent to this dress. Her makeup was perfectly on point as well-- soft, dewey, golden toned... It was very fresh and modern. 

4. Yara Shahidi

This young lady looked so beautiful! I love that this 16 year old was able to keep her look young and fresh. 
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Her makeup was clean, with a copper toned eye and lashes (no liner!). Her hair was a perfect compliment wiht a deep side part and pinned loosely in the back-- it had the essence of vintage flair (as did her dress and accessories) but still felt young and hip. 

3. Kristen Bell

She looked awesome! 

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Her fairytale dress was so playful and whimsical-- I love that she decided to keep her hair down for this. If she put it in an updo it would have had a completely different feeling. But leaving it down allowed her to be more playful and loose. 

photo c/o

The makeup was very pretty-- clean skin with pops of highlight around the eyes and on her cheekbones played up the fantasy part of the look while also making those features pop! Her eye color really shined through with the burgundy shadows (which was a color pulled from her dress). Well done!

2. Mandy Moore

You may not agree with me, but I am a sucker for anything resembling the 70's and Mandy Moore gave me major 70s vibes last night! 

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I am kind of obsessed with the center part, long bangs and loose waves. It's so cool and effortless and really compliments her dress (there's a lot going on from the color to the ruffles, but I love it!)

Her makeup played well with the look -- those burnt red lips paired with that yellow dress was so pitch perfect! I love that she kept her eyes in the neutral browns and a pop of color on the cheek to balance it out. 

And finally... 

The one I literally yelled "OH MY, YES!" at the television screen as soon as I saw her walk on... 

1.  Kerry Washington

I try not to put Kerry Washington on every best styled blog, but my goodness this woman has killer style, and last night was no different! 

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She looks incredible! I love this sexy, black, sleek dress on her and that it still shows off her baby bump. It's refreshing to see her play up this wild, sexy side with that HAIR. 

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It was amazing. I am obsessed with her going natural and letting it be free rather than fighting the heat and humidity. 

Her makeup was natural and minimal, allowing her glowing skin to be the main focus (well, that and the hair.. and the baby bump)!

And there you have it, my top 5 from the night! I always love hearing who your favorite styled looks are! Feel free to share in the comments section :) 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Oily Skin Tips

Hello loves,

I've been a bit behind in my blogging as I was actually in an accident -- all is okay! but I was out of the office a bit and working on set as it's definitely the "busy season!"

But now that I'm back, I thought I'd help my fellow oily skinned beauties with touching up throughout the day! 

I have combination skin (as does much of the population!) so my skin can become dehydrated quite easily, but becomes an oil slick midday. 

So what do you do? 


Let me fill you in on some tips to help control the shine. 
Remember, a little shine is okay! Our skin is a living organ and it's okay to not be totally matted down as that's not very natural looking. But we don't love being shiny all over.... 
 It's about finding the happy medium :) 

Step 1: Moisturize your skin! 

I have clients tell me all the time that because they are so oily, they avoid putting moisturizer on. They think it just adds to the "greasiness." 
This is so counter productive! 
Your skin craves moisture. Internally and externally (so drink plenty of water!!!!). When you neglect your skin of moisturizer, your skin actually freaks out and starts over producing oil as a way to "hydrate" your skin. 

It's so important that you find a lightweight moisturizer (preferably one with SPF), to wear throughout the day.  

I like this one from Mario Badescu 

Something to keep in mind, it may take a month or two for your skin to adjust to the change. 

Step 2: Blot your skin.

Blotting papers are your friend! 
They are great to keep in your bag for midday touch ups. Regardless of whether or not you're wearing makeup, these babies immediately absorb the oil. 
I prefer blotting papers without powder in them. 

I am loving these Clean and Clear Blotting Papers

Step 3: Apply Anti-shine

There are lots of great mattifying products to choose from. They are generally a silicone based product (usually colorless, otherwise they have a slight tint). You can apply to your skin before makeup or after--as a touch up rather than powder. 

I recently fell in love with Face to Face Super Matte Antishine
Simply tap onto your skin using your fingers for a touch up, or brush onto skin before makeup.

Step 4: Powder

I always leave powder as a last resort. If you powder yourself all day, you will end up having a caked on face of makeup! Use steps 1-3 daily and if you blot and tap on the antishine and still feel like you need a little extra matting, you can apply a bit of powder. 

For touching up it's convenient to just get a powder compact that is your color or colorless. 

Here's a great pressed powder from Makeup Forever
I always suggest pressing the powder onto the skin with a puff, or cotton pad, and then dusting off any excess with a brush. Otherwise a small brush is ideal for powdering those tough oily spots! (around the nose anyone??)

I hope these tips are helpful and that you can start your hunt for the perfect products for YOU

Remember to stay hydrated, eat well, and blot! 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Beach Essentials

Summer is still going strong! 
While packing my beach bag recently I thought I'd share what I take with me for those hot sandy days! 

It's pretty basic, I don't do much when it comes to the beach or laying pool side. I usually skip any makeup because... well... obviously. 

So here is my Summer Beach Bag Breakdown...

1. You need a cute bag. 

You do. 

Everlane: The Beach Tote
photo c/o

This tote is clean and classic-- large enough to pack all your staples! 100% canvas so it's durable and lightweight. 

2. Water. 

I never leave the house without a liter of water! I try to drink 3 liters a day. 
I just purchased this water bottle and I love it! 


photo c/o 

This bottle is thick glass with a silicone cover to prevent shattering! It holds a liter of water and comes with two lids- one with the handle and one without. It also comes in range of fun colors! I went with pink so it's easy for me to spot :) 

3. Books/Magazines. 
What better activity when lying on a beach?? 

Last read.. 

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Hilarious and beautifully written short essays. Easy read and light hearted for the beach/poolside. 

I LOVE magazines... here are 3 easy to find favorites...


4. Sunscreen. 

You saw this coming, I know you did! 
I obviously pack two kinds of sunscreen, one for the face and one for the body. 

For the Face: Vichy 

photo c/o 

Love this stuff- very lightweight, full protection and gentle on the skin. 

For the Body: Neutrogena

photo c/o 

There are a million types of sunscreen, but I can't seem to get away from the sprays! So easy to apply and this Neutrogena one is super light and sheer. 

I'm always on the hunt for a more natural option-- so if you know of any great spray organic sunscreens, please share in the comments! 

Don't forget about your lips! 

I also pack a Lip Balm with SPF to protect my pout! There are so many lovely tinted versions, so you can have a little pop of color. 

Fresh Sugar Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15

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Beautiful tints that come in a wide variety of colors. 

5. Hat. 

Let's keep this sun exposure to a minimum! I always try to bring a hat. Makes reading easier and helps to protect that skin. 

photo c/o 

This beautiful straw hat is a great option. The wide brim protects your skin and looks chic. 

There you have it, my beach bag essentials! 
What are your must haves?

Monday, August 1, 2016

Brow Products

Hello loves,

Let me just say... 


One of the biggest trends of the year (and for good reason), are good, thick, bold brows. 

I'm not talking about instagram, stenciled on brows. I'm talking, lush, natural brows. 

So avoid the stenciled brow look-- it's overdone, very fake looking, and it's just going to make it look like you don't know what you're doing. 

Here are some products and tips to keep your brows on point...

1. Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade

I am in love with this stuff! 
It is water resistant, and won't budge! So it's great for the humidity and warmer summer months. This pomade comes in a variety of shades, so there is definitely one to suit you! 

Technique Tip: 
Use an angled brow brush to delicately draw onto your natural brow--follow with a spoolie brush to soften. 

2. Sonia Kashuk Tinted Brow Gel 
photo c/o

Brow gels are great for a quick fix..
Cover grays? CHECK
Tame wild brow hairs? CHECK
Darken blonde brows? CHECK 

This stuff is easy to apply with the wand attached and does the job well. Best part?! It's super affordable. 

Technique Tip: 
Be sure to wipe the wand of any excess product. This will make application cleaner and more precise. 

3. IT Cosmetics Brow Power Super Skinny
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I love this pencil! 
Its super fine tip allows for natural looking hairs as you draw them in and helps with precise fill ins-- no mistakes! It's a great formula-- super creamy and easy to apply, but stays put. I love that it has the spoolie brush on the other end-- two products in one! Win! 

Technique Tip: 
Start off with lighter pressure in the heaviest part of the brow, and gradually add more as you work your way to the end of the brow (where you need more coverage). This allows an even and more natural looking fill. 

I hope this helps with your brow product search! Just remember to start soft and slowly build. 

You don't want to scribble on some brows haphazardly! They are there to frame your face DELICATELY :) 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Refreshing Facial Mists

Hey all,

So I don't know where you are reading this from, but let me tell you, in Chicago, it is HOT. Not just hot, but HUMID. And STICKY. 

Not fun. 

Of course some of you may be used to this type of 100+ Degree weather, but I am not! Not even in the summer!
In light of the heat... 
I thought I'd take this hot weather as inspiration to introduce one of my favorite types of products... 

Facial Mists. 

I am kind of obsessed with these face sprays! If you haven't had the experience of trying one, I highly suggest investing in a small bottle to carry around with you. 

They are great for refreshing your makeup and skin in this sticky type weather. BUT it's also great for other climates as well. Cold weather often leads to drier skin-- so these refreshing sprays are a great boost of moisture. 

That being said, they are awesome for travel! Carry a mini version on your next flight so when you got off that plane, you can refresh, re-hydrate and wake up! 

There are so many kinds to choose from, so if you're not sure on the right one for you, you've come to the right place! Here is a breakdown of some of my favorites mists for every skin type. 

1. Evian 
$12.50 for 5 ounces

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You've probably seen this around -- Evian Facial Spray has been around for a while. This light mist of mineral water is great for any skin type. It truly refreshes, adds moisture and rehydrates skin. The more you use this throughout the day, the better. 

Great for all skin types as it's just mineral water, so it's incredibly gentle. 
The bottles come in 3 different sizes: 10 oz, 5 oz, and 1.7 oz (great for travel or on the go!)

2. Rose Water

I'm going to give two options for this lovely spray! I LOVE Rose water. It's light, refreshing, and the scent is lovely. One of my favorites that I've used for years includes...

Mario Badescu's Facial Spray
$7 for 4 ounces. 

photo c/o

This spray has aloe and herbs as well as rose water to help lock in moisture. It's affordable and good quality! It's great for all skin types as it's gentle and non irritating. 
The smallest size they offer is 4 ounces, but I often buy small 1 or 2 oz. bottles to fill and carry with me. Again, the more you can use this refreshing mist throughout the day, the better! 

Another to try... 

Herbivore Rose Hibiscus Coconut Water
$32 for 4 ounces

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A little pricier... this spray has no artificial ingredients whatsoever! I love the integration of coconut water (a wonderful scent and hydration tool), and witch hazel. 
Because of the witch hazel in this product, I would suggest this spray for people with oilier skin. The witch hazel helps to act as a natural astringent but also has the capacity to lock in moisture at the same time. 
You could use this in the morning as a toner before you leave the house. 

3. Nurturing Force Wellness Aloe Vera
$15 for 2 ounces

This is a great treatment for dehydrated skin. 
Nurturing Force is a wonderful brand with products that are vegan and natural. This spray is a great way to instantly hydrate and cool/soothe distressed skin. 
Perfect for someone with dry, cracked skin, or rosacea (but works well on every type!), this product cools on contact and instantly refreshes! 

There you have it, 
some of my favorite facial mists! 

While these mists feel amazing in the warmer months, they can and should be used year round. So start integrating this into your skincare routine for a boost! 

Do you have a favorite facial mist that isn't mentioned above? Feel free to share your favorites in the comments! I'm always looking for new products to try! 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Shiseido Cleanser

Hey all,

So I ran out of my little cleanser sample from Tammy Fender, and I needed to find a new one. While I didn't mind the cleanser, I didn't totally love it (at least not for the price point)... So off to Sephora I went (where I proceeded to spend an amount of money too great to post...) to look into a new face cleanser. 

I've tried a lot of different types and brands. I'm never super sold on any cleanser-- never found one that I love, but I have to tell you, this current purchase is quite nice! 

I purchased the Shiseido Ibuki Gentle Cleanser. 
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I have used some of Shiseido's skin products in the past. I've tried their White Lucent Brightening Serum, I've used their eye masks, and while I have enjoyed those products I never thought to try their cleansers! 

They have a good range for different skin types, but this lightweight cleanser works wonders for my combination skin. It lathers and gently cleanses, leaving my skin soft and feeling refreshed.  It also easily removes waterproof mascara and liners. 


A tiny bit of this product goes a long way--So a $30 cleanser doesn't seem so bad :) 

I've only used it for a week so far and it's been lovely. No major issues or complaints-- it does have more of a scent than I normally like/want, but I haven't had a bad reaction and it's bearable :) 

So there it is, my current cleanser that I'm loving. If you have a cleanser that you love feel free to share in the comments section!