Thursday, March 31, 2011

Working the Poll; "Need a facial?"

Skin needs to be clean. Sort of.

Ironically, the more aggressively you clean your skin, the more likely it is to develop issues like acne, scarring, redness, irritation, dry patches, etc, because you're actually stripping away layers of skin and the necessary oils they produce to guard against the elements. In essence, you're getting rid of the good stuff. Not to say that you should necessarily go without. For instance, getting your face licked by a grown man is probably good grounds for a nice scrubbing, but there's no need to book an appointment anywhere.

Facials are pretty aggressive with steamings, peelings and extractions designed to remove minute layers and expose new, fresh ones that are far more sensitive and prone to damage. Done repeatedly, texture and tone will start to denegrate making you think you need, guess what, another facial. I'd say once to maybe twice a year is enough. Any more than that and skin will start to thin out, becoming more delicate and prone to infection than when you started.

If you take the time to remove makeup properly, exfoliate lightly and keep strange tongues at bay, you should be able to go without facials.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Working the Poll; "Not giving face"

I remember rolling out of bed in the morning, throwing on clothes to get ready for school and then waiting in my dad's truck to leave. Waiting for my sister, to be exact.

Though she was only 3 years older than me, the social structure of her new Jr. High School apparently demanded she look primped and dolled every day. This, of course, meant the application of makeup and me tripping over hairspray bottles left in our communal bathroom... when I actually had the opportunity to enter. The endless amount of time I spent waiting... and waiting... and waiting did prompt me to begin walking to school rather than be late again, but I started to notice for the years to follow, this wasn't specific to 7th grade.

Future events like weddings, anniversaries and trips to the grocery store(?) induced preparation on a scale that sometimes warranted my confusion and annoyance prompting me to wonder "when don't you put your face on?". Especially when a close friend of hers accompanied us on a camping trip. Neither of them traversed the mountain ranges without an appropriate shade of lipgloss.

Being a makeup artist, I work with people for special events like film premieres and press junkets seen in magazines and television, so makeup is definitely an important preparation in this case. But, I haven't been hired for trips to the post office... yet.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Product Review; "Davines #13 Mat Forming Ground"

"Organic" means whatever you want it to mean when it comes to cosmetics. Unfortunately, there isn't any specific definition of the term under FDA regulation. However, there are some products out there that stand out from the rest when it comes to offering formulas that perform just as well as their synthetic counterparts.

I was introduced to Davines last Fashion Week at the presentation of Rochambeau's latest collection. As one of the star products for achieving the look, #13 Mat Forming Ground is a new addition to the professional hair care line utilizing botanical ingredients including essential oils and resins.

Ideal for short (unmanageable) hair, this dense paste molds hair together with a dry finish. It gives the look of smooth, pliable texture with no shine whatsoever. At first it felt a bit dry, but as you begin to play with it, it turns into a slightly creamy form until rubbed over your head. The more you rub it between your palms, the softer it becomes and the easier it is to run through strands. But you should begin styling immediately to ensure that it sets in the style you want.

You can run around with it all day and even graze fingers through without doing too much damage, but for stronger hold, finish it off with a bit of hairspray. Bypassing synthetic polymers to give it hold, you'll be surprised at how strong "organic" can be.

Davines Mat Forming Ground; $29.00

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Product Review; "NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil"

Riding the popularity of it's Matte Lip Pencil, the developers at NARS Cosmetics have maintained the same delivery system to bring lips a glossy finish with it's Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil.

Offering sheer to medium coverage each of it's 6 tones are pronounced in the stick but glide on demi-transparent. Even though there isn't much color, these glosses seem to highlight your lips natural tone with a muted finish reminiscent of polished wax. If you want more color, I'd recommend layering them over a traditional lip pencil in a complimentary tone. And unlike traditionally dense glosses, you'll get longer wear in the combination of the two.

The main selling point of this product, aside from it's unique delivery unit, is it's richness of Vitamin E, but I wouldn't necessarily call it "moisturising", though the convenience of the stick is ideal for touch-ups throughout the day. Not necessarily tacky, it feels like a compromise between the softness of a balm and the density of a gloss.

The stick form seems to be the biggest cache of this product for it's unusual nature, but it's kind of lacking in color and overall appeal when it comes to artistry. For everyday use, it's really convenient and an innovative way to approach lipgloss. Still, I might prefer this formula in the more familiar tube.

NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil Crayon; $24.00

Product Review; "Becca Foundation Stick"

Australian makeup artist Rebecca Morris Williams was on a pursuit for what she considered to be the "perfect foundation" that would not only provide seamless coverage but be ideal for masking blemishes.

If you've ever struggled with acne, you know the surface can be difficult to cover and maintain because the surface is so taut and "smooth". Postules don't have much grip for product and they usually need touching up throughout the day, but the texture of Becca Foundation Stick is very ideal for this purpose.

It has a very dense feel to it that seems a bit dry due to rice starch extract, but blends with a bit of effort thanks to a large amount of Carnauba Wax that grabs skin, holds tight and forms to shape as it warms to body temperature. The blend has a unique grab to skin that refuses to melt under hot set lights or blazing sun, and needs very little powder to set and absolutely no need for touching up.

Though the formula is very nice, I'm finding that it can feel a little heavy if not blended properly all around the face. But while I'm not a fan of the product for all-over coverage, I do always keep it on hand for blemishes. I may not consider it "the perfect foundation", but when it comes to blemishes, I'd be willing to consider it "the perfect concealer".

Becca Foundation Stick; $44.00

Friday, March 18, 2011

As Seen on TV; Girl's Life Magazine Behind the Scenes

I didn't realize it until I checked out Girls Life Magazine to find out when the next issue was going to drop, but an editorial I shot for them was being filmed for this video. The theme, shot by photographer Dean Alexander in the Baltimore Dance Conservatory, was a take on modern classics with strong and ecclectic wardrobe, hair and makeup set up against the beautiful and peaceful movements of professional ballet dancers. The footage above shows some peeks into the day, but I'm really looking forward to seeing the spread.

If you follow me on facebook or twitter, you've probably gotten some glimpses of my own bts shots.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

BREAKING NEWS!; Unretouched Makeup Ads

Even with all the primping and preening that goes along with photoshoots, the finished product is always subject to re-touching. Except this time.

Makeup Forever has opted to enter in a process that forbids any and all digital manipulation when it comes to the presentation of subjects in their latest venture, the "Unretouched Makeup Ad". An opportunity to feature not only everyday customers, but their HD range as well.

On their specially designed website, the brand has developed a contest where you are able to upload a photo of yourself in full makeup, and then follow the cues to identify the parts of a video montage that are not retouched. The submission will make you eligible for a bevvy of prizes. The GRAND PRIZE being a trip for two to Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Miami, FL. Second through 6th prize winners will recieve a Leica D-Lux 5 High-Def camera and the entire range of Makeup Forever HD makeup customized specifically for winners. Sans camera, even those who place 7th through 17th will also get the customized HD range.

The contest is open to US residents in all 50 states and submissions are accepted up until April 6th, 2011. No purchase is necessary and will not increase your chances of winning so it's best to submit using your own creativity and application expertise. You should feel free to primp and preen or anything else you like to look your very best. Anything, that is, aside from retouching.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Essentials; Brushes

I reach for the same tools over and over again. And over again. I tend to have that kind of repetitive nature in general; if I'm accustomed to using something, I almost never stray no matter how great the replacement would be. Call it being stubborn, but this behaviour is no more evident than with brushes, and with good reason.

The synthetic bristles in FACE Stockholm's #33 Blush Brush are recommended for the cheeks, but I usually use it to apply eye cream and moisturizer and then immediately after, I use it to apply foundation. Since the bristles will hold the tiniest bit of moisture, foundation won't dry out as easily and blends more fluidly around the face. Unlike traditional foundation brushes, it's slightly domed so you can use it around the cheek and jawline in a circular buffing-like motion. If it's called for, I'll also use it to sweep on cream blushes, highlighters or anything else with a cream base. $34.00

If by chance, total and complete blending hasn't been accomplished, MAC offers another powder brush I use against recommendation. The synthetic fibers in the #187 Duo Fibre Brush are held upright by the goat hair bristles at the base creating an optimal tool for swirling around skin and neck to remove any and all traces of seams. While created with blending pigments and powders in mind, no additional product is necessary for this task. Just the bare brush and constant motion will do. $42.00

When powders are finally called for, my preference for synthetic bristles continues. All of Roque Cozzette's brushes are synthetic which means no shedding. At all. For all over powder, the S125 Powder/Blush Brush picks up the most ideal amount of product and places it on skin softly, sparsely and all over without any blobs of color. Surprisingly soft, you can use it under eyes, on top of cheeks or over T-zone after initial application to continue blending. $30.00

For more specific powder placement I reach for another brush in the Cozzette line; the S165 Cylinder Eye Contour Brush. This large (very large) fluffy eye brush is the perfect size to brush on powder highlights or touch up under the eye area with a light foundation powder to ensure proper coverage. Often, I will swipe it over browbones or along cheeks with a slightly warm tone just to perk up skin before placement of richer colors. It's also great for placing contour powders along the bridge of the nose or under cheekbones to create shape and structure. I think the only thing I don't use it for is for over eyes. $18.00

When the time does come for eyes, I actually do use an eye brush. Go figure. The #239 Eye Shader brush from MAC Cosmetics is a short domed brush with fluffy white bristles that is perfect on it's side for placing color on eyelids or turned straight for tracing along lash lines. It's soft enough to create diffused placement and buffing out edges or uneven patches for a smooth finish or for layering product and creating depth in the crease. $24.50

If you like a more defined crease, my preferred shadow brush is the Contour Shadow Brush from Revlon. Not only is this brush inexpensive but it boasts soft rounded bristles and a slightly slanted tip for creating definition. And while that should have been enough for Revlon, they had to discontinue it anyway. But no worries, it didn't stay gone for too long, they just made it pink now. $6.99

The effectiveness of these few brushes are exactly what I need to do any application but should I be without them (that will never happen) I'll gladly use substitutes. Given the opportunity to try out others, I'm always open to experimentation, but only if they somehow perform better than these few I am accustomed...I doubt it.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Back in Black

Originally, feature films were only available onscreen in black and white. Makeup artists had limited colors to choose from to create looks, but one of the most popular was, of course, black. But in times of HD color, black lips have evolved beyond just the silver screen.

Goth culture has probably popularized the deep matte black lips usually seen on rebellious teenagers, but it's actually a more sophisticated look to accomplish than you may think. The dry texture in Illamasqua's black lipstick Pristine, melts like a cream on contact with lips, but the full coverage will set almost immediately. Caution; place it perfectly the first time, straying outside the lipline will stain and linger all day. Unless you want to look like you don't care at all...take that society! $22.00

From rebellion to the runway, many a Fashion Week has featured the black lip but in a shiny, full-on glossy finish. A cream formula from Mattese Elite offers up Bite Me, a tube of rich dark pigment in luxurious, vitamin E infused shine. Loaded with heavy emollients to keep pouts hydrated and essential oils to keep that creamy finish glistening, this tube offers medium coverage that can be layered to look laquered. $10.00

A cream formula from FACE Stockholm offers significantly less pigment but is ideal if you're not accustomed to strutting on the catwalks. The aptly named Black looks like a stain that compliments even the palest of complexions. Layered over any other color, including reds, will create depth and a richness perfect for everyday strutting opportunities. $22.00

Lipstick Queen offers up the same effect with a glossy finish in it's Black Tie Optional. A slightly tack-y formula, this pot of gloss should be applied sparingly and over a cream formula lipstick or just plain lip balm. Slick in formula and sheerly pigmented, mix it with bright tones or neutrals to create deeper, glistening finishes. $22.00

Glossy or matte, sheer or full coverage, black will remain a constant in makeup kits everywhere. With multiple textures and shades to choose from, they incorporate perfectly into your full color world.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Working the Poll; Putting on your face.

When drag queens apply makeup, it's to mimic feminine features and create the illusion of being a woman... or at least a charicature of a woman. They use extensive highlighting and contouring to create cheekbones, lip shapes and hide stubble or rough textures from you. The audience.

When stage performers apply makeup, they do it to keep from being washed out by lighting and to create physical aspects of the role they are playing. By deepening laugh-lines, they can look aged. By lightening and darkening complexions, they can appear to be of a certain ethnicity. They do it to aide in telling a story for you. The audience.

When you put makeup on, who's your audience? Will your boyfriend stare into your smokey-less eyes? Will your girl-friends still think you have full lips without gloss? Will you recognize yourself in the mirror if you went without foundation?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Tidy brushes.

Brushes are an integral part of my job and to applying makeup in general. Not only will the right ones create flawless application, but they're optimal for stretching the longevity of your products. That is, as long as they remain in good condition. Whether natural bristle or synthetic, keeping brushes clean will keep your look looking fresh.

In my kit, I like to keep a wide variety of brushes and multiples of each one so that I don't have to share between clients. Fortunately I have found some for a pretty fair price so I don't break the bank. But, if for some reason I'm without a duplicate, I like to reach for MAC Brush Cleanser to quickly clean and sanitize bristles so there's no exchange of color or bacteria. Sprayed over a paper towel, simply take your brush and swipe it back and forth repeatedly to disperse the product and continue this movement until completely dry. Made mostly with water and light detergents, the formula boasts Wheat Protein to strengthen bristles and keep them conditioned. $12.00

If by chance you're using emollient based products like cream foundations or lipgloss, you may have to reach for something a bit stronger for mid-gig cleansing. In that situation, I like to keep a small (2oz) bottle of Parian Spirit Brush Cleanser to free brushes of any tacky residue. With a heavy dose of Orange Oil, this antisceptic, water-like formula feels very wet but annihilates makeup in an instant. By pouring a tiny amount in a disposable cup, you can swish brushes gently and dry off with tissue or a terrycloth towel. $7.00

But of course, at the end of the day, there's no reason to keep anything in my kit that hasn't been completely freed of any and all dirt. In this case, I take every brush, duplicate or not, to the sink and reach for a bottle of Suave Coconut Shampoo. I've used everything from baby shampoo to hand soap and even other formulas of this brand, but I find that this version, even with it's somewhat heavy detergents, won't cause fraying or shedding due to it's honey and coconut extracts. Just pour a small amount in the palm of your hand and swirl brushes until the product becomes murky-looking then rinse under lukewarm water. After rinsing, wring them out in a cotton towel and lay them on their side on a clean dry surface overnight. The next day, you'll find your brushes in next-to-new condition. $1.00

Provided you are concious of keeping brushes properly maintained, you'll be sure to avoid any exchange of product or bacteria and the finished application will always look clean and fresh.

Product Review; "Sonia Kashuk Beautifying Blush"

Costume designer Sonia Kashuk was called upon last-minute to take control of the makeup department when the lead artist never showed up for the shooting of the music video "Funkytown". With little experience, she threw together a look that eventually led to a long career in makeup artistry and soon to a brand that boasts her own name. Once available at Bloomingdales and SpaceNK locations, the brand is now an exclusive to Target Stores nationwide.

Among the arsenal of color, coverage and application products is Beautifying Blush, a matte disc of soft colors available in a clean white compact with a magnetic enclosure. Available in 5 tones from neutrals to plums, this product is pigmented enough to create a smooth and warm look to cheeks but lacks the strength to overpower the rest of your look. The feel is reminiscent of a pressed powder that you use to finish makeup; light and dry enough to pick up moisture but not dense enough to be terribly evident.

Though I wouldn't call it poor when it comes to color, I feel like it's the perfect compliment to "blending". I've found that when dusted with a fluffy brush, I can top it with richer colors without creating evident seams. Or you can layer one color of the formula on top of another to create multi-dimensional color with a satin-like finish. Also used for eyecolor, you'll have a smooth and sophisticated look perfect for special occasions, photoshoots or even strutting your stuff down the aisles of Target.

Sonia Kashuk Beautifying Blush; $8.99

Beauty Breakdown; "Animal-ipstick"

When I first saw these images of Animal-ipstick by artist Paige Thompson I couldn't help but crack a smile of amazement. I'm always impressed by people who use their creativity to go outside the norm with a tremedous amount of expertise and technique.

When I got a hold of Paige, I asked her what inspired her and how she came up with the idea for these creations. With no formal training, one day she;

"...began by applying some bright yellow paint onto my lips and thought it'd be neat to add some black stripes. Before I knew it, eyes and other details were added to create a bumblebee. I was eager to try different animals after that."

Once the creative spark was lit, more animals were to follow such as pandas, crabs, frogs and the most popular fox pictured above. For their creation she

"...figured I could just wing it and see where it led me".

Usually drawn to mainstream cosmetic brands like Estee Lauder for everyday use, this project let her to opt for a paint palette from professional makeup supplier Kryolan Makeup. Through ingenuity and experimentation, these creatures have come to life by choosing a range of colors and "...coat(ing) my lips with that color two or three times", letting it set and then using a variety of brushes to create details wherever they seemed suitable. Through trial and error, these awesome creatures have developed and the notoriety to follow.

We hope to see more of Paige's work as her technique develops and, just like any truly creative person, expect to be amazed at the finished product.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Product Review; "Guerlain Light-Diffusing Perfecting Primer"

In order to extend the wear of makeup, a primer is generally recommended. Most are made with various elements like silicone or glycerin, the former to fill in pores and the latter to give skin "tack". When skin is properly cleansed and hydrated, the addition of a primer should be the key to a flawless finish.

Guerlain opted to take the glycerin approach but added silica as an absorbant property to aide in controlling shine. But in place of shine there's a bit of titanium dioxide and mica that adds a glimmering effect. The purpose of which is to diffuse light and create a more radiant complexion.

What I've found is that, under foundation, not only does Light-Diffusing Perfecting Primer provide less slip, but the "glimmer" element gets filtered through and looks a bit more like a soft glow. Provided you're wearing coverage that isn't too dense, it adds more radiance or "light diffusion". That's probably why they put it in the title.

On skin, it feels like a serum that stretches over the entire face from just one pump and dries down completely weightless. It also reduces the appearance of redness or irritation so you'd probably end up using less of your coverage products in the long run. I'd feel free to put the primer on even without makeup. Before makeup, it seems to make complexions pretty radiant on it's own.

Guerlain Light-Diffusing Perfecting Primer; $68.00

Product Review; "Youngblood Pressed Mineral Compact Foundation"

During another closet excavation that brought my attention to once forgotten products, I came across some sleek, black compacts with a very soft powder and an enviably large mirror.

Youngblood Cosmetics is a tremendously fashion-forward looking brand that is as clean and streamline in packaging as it is in formulation. Using mostly rice starch as it's binding agent, their Pressed Mineral Compact Foundation feels really smooth on skin and provides somewhere between medium and medium-full coverage. Though it's designed to be a mattifying product, I don't really feel like it completely is.

Which is kind of a good thing, actually. Too much drying of skin can be very irritating and makes the appearance of makeup much more prominent. While it does give you pretty good shine control, the finish has a slight sheen that reflects light as if through a filter. Rather than looking dry, complexions look even, soft and natural.

Flip open that mirror and see for yourself.

Youngblood Pressed Mineral Compact Foundation; $39.00

Product Review; "MAC Mineralize Foundation SPF 15"

The mineral makeup craze has been in full swing for sometime now. And while most of the products are released in loose powder form, last year MAC Cosmetics released a line of cream foundations capitalizing on the trend.

Mineralize Foundation SPF 15 has eluded me for sometime because, to be honest, I don't really care for the packaging. Not that the sleek black compact isn't easily portable and light-weight for travel, but it's a bit bulky when you have to carry all 23 shades throughout New York City.

I finally came around to playing with the formula after having them in my closet for a while. Really easily compatible with all skin types, even dry ones and holds a satin sheen pretty much all day. The formula is free of waxes and instead feels a bit like a gel that smoothes over skin reducing the appearance of pores and hydrating skin with it's content of 30.5% water. Plus a blend of beet extract, Haberlea Rhodopensis Leaf Extract, and yeast extracts create a luxurious and soft texture that feels weightless and doesn't produce excess oil on the skin so there's very little need for shine control.

I now like the formula enough to carry them around with me. However, I did transfer the cream to some pill-box containers I found at Walgreens. The packaging isn't nearly as fancy, but at least I'm not as far behind on the mineralize craze.

MAC Mineralize Foundation SPF 15; $32.50

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Breaking News !!; "Animal-ipstick"

Generally, I like a good red lipstick. Or pretty much any shade in a matte formula. But it seems as though I'm a bit behind on this artists way to wear lipcolor.

Blogger and creative force Paige Thompson has gone a few steps ahead of me when she grabbed face paints and a camera to create a series called "Animal-ipstick". Currently shopping her images to various news outlets via Solent News, she's already created a good amount of buzz since I saw a post on facebook about her most recent work. Curious, I clicked over to find an array of images that inspire quite a bit of reflection into my own approach to doing lips.

Obviously not for my red carpet clients, maybe I'll have to give this look a shot when booking my next editorial. Do those paints come in a matte formula?

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