Mom and Magical Makeup

December 22, 2009

A “Before vs. After” photo can be deceiving because almost any woman probably looks better with some makeup.

At first glance, you may not have noticed, but this model has a lot of great things going for her: oval face shape, smooth and clear skin, almond uptilt eyes, and full lips (think, Asian Angelina).

I used corrective makeup application to enhance these assets.


My key focus was evening out her brows. Before, her right eye appeared lower and more downcast than her left. This is because her right brow was lower and less arched. By tweezing/shaping and shading with color to make the brows even, her eyes appeared more even and open.


I contoured the underside of her cheekbone with a neutral brown + charcoal grey cream foundation. I applied cream blush on the apples of her cheeks towards her temples, including on top of the contour.

Tip: You can use lipstick as cream blush. If the consistency is too thick for you, add a tap of moisturizer. Cream blush is used on top of liquid/cream foundation. Once the face it set with powder, you should only use powder blush.


She has a fairly straight and visible bridge. I highlighted the very top part of the nose to make the bridge a little more prominent. Then, in order to draw more attention to lighter area, I contoured the sides and bottom of the nose.


Dark eye liner on the inner rim makes the eyes appear smaller. For her, I skipped the inner rim and used a dark brown kohl eye liner pencil on her lower lash line and black on the upper. I didn’t draw all the way into the inner corners as my focus was on the outer corners to make the eyes look bigger and lifted.

With her yellow skin tone, I used complimenting eye shadow colors in the violet family (i.e. various shades of plums).


I defined the shape with a medium rose lip pencil and filled almost the entire lip. By coloring in the lips with liner first, lip color will wear better and colors go on more opaque and true.


Through corrective makeup, her face looks more slender with fuller cheeks and her eyes appear more open. There is a radiance about her…it could be the magic in the makeup, or the magic of motherhood.


Powder or Plastic?

December 22, 2009

Instead of plastic surgery, which is painful and costly, you can visually alter the bone structure of your face through makeup. Corrective makeup application can give the illusion of a slimmer face, sculpted cheekbones, fuller lips, etc.

Before you feel insulted, I wanted to point out that corrective makeup doesn’t necessarily mean “you’re ugly” and your face needs to be “corrected”. Corrective makeup is about enhancing your good features and letting them overshadow your not-so good ones. Even the most beautiful of celebrities and models utilize these techniques.

The goal with corrective makeup is to make the face appear as balanced and symmetrical as possible. This is what the eye and brain interpret as beauty. Don’t believe me? When’s the last time you thought Quasimodo was hot stuff?

In lieu or addition to contour/highlight powder, the most natural and long-lasting way to do this is with liquid or cream foundation.

Here is an example of using cream foundation to alter features of the face.

1.  Apply concealer to brighten eye area (inner corners near nose and underneath eye).

2. Apply highlight, a foundation color lighter than your skin, on eyes and underneath eyes (from inner corner sweeping up to the temples). This will make you eyes appear more open and lifted.

3. Apply highlight to areas of the nose you’d like to enhance. Here, I added to the upper bridge and the left side of her nose.

4. Apply foundation that matches her skin on the rest of the face. The surface redness is instantly reduced and skin complexion is more even.

5. Apply contour, a darker matte neutral brown and/or charcoal grey cream foundation, in areas you’d like to minimize attention, thus directing attention to the highlighted areas.

For her nose, I want it to appear straighter and draw attention to the bride. I contoured on the sides of her bridge and on the bottom portion of the nose.

For her cheeks, I contoured on the underside of the cheekbone (not underneath). The shadow created enhances her cheeks and makes her face look slimmer…without any blush color!

Stay tuned for more details on where, how, and what to apply for contours/highlights.

Lip Service

October 27, 2009
Lip Balms vs. Lip Conditioners

Have you ever wondered why your lips seem consistently chapped even though you use lip balms religiously? It could be because the product you are using doesn’t really fix your dryness problem.

Lip Balms are supposed to penetrate your lips to help soothe and replenish lost moisture. This is the stuff you want. It includes only natural waxes like beeswax and oils to moisturize.

Lip Conditioners or chapsticks sit on top of your skin and work to prevent further damage from environmental elements. It will prevent dryness, but won’t treat it. Dead giveaways are ingredients like wax, mineral oil, and petroleum. They are usually less expensive and will continue to work fine as long as you use it on top of treated lips.

Another way to keep your puckers from drying up is good old H20 and getting your beauty rest.

Let’s take a look at some top-selling lip products at Sephora and see if they actually do what they say they do, or just give lip service. My reviews below are based on my personal experience with these products as well.

1. Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15
Main ingredients are sugar that protects against moisture loss, plus natural oils and Vitamins. The base is a natural wax. Though it’s a whopping $22.50 versus a $2 chapstick from your local drugstore, it works. Plus, it’s in a good quality case.

2. Rosebud Salve
Ingredients include “Cotton Seed Oil and Aromol, with essential oils blended in a special petrolatum base.”

This is a glorified Vaseline product that will sit on your lips with a hint of pink and a slight shine, but won’t cure your lip woes.

Maybe it’s a best seller because it’s only $6 a pop is featured in Sephora’s impule aisle (the products lined up at checkout that you didn’t need, but now you suddenly want).

3. Philosophy Kiss Me Lip Exfoliating Lip Scrub

This product has finer granules that typical lip exfoliators, so it is non-abrasive. It works well to gently slough off dead skin to prep for richer treatments and/or lip color application. Secret: For chapped, peeling lips use a toothbrush to slough off lip “scales”.

Mostly includes natural ingredients like sunflower seed oil and beeswax, but also has traces of mineral oil and paraffin wax (i.e. cheap fillers).

I think think it’s a great product to carry around in your purse or next to your bed, but if you want intense therapy, this isn’t your savior.

4. Jack Black Intense Lip Therapy Balm
Not only for men, Ladies. And only seven buckaroos.

Active ingredients are mint for a light cooling sensation and shea butter. It goes on thin and feels slick (almost like silicone, but not as greasy). No wax harmed in the making of this product, so no waxy residue.

This isn’t MAC Lip Glass, so it’s not going to make your lips look full like gloss. Appropriate for the everyday Joe or Jane.

This may be a moot point because it’s no longer available for sale, but I was highly disappointed in the Shu Uemura Depsea Moisture Recovery Lip Balm SPF 15. I liked that it creative a protective glove on my lips, but I don’t think it really restored anything.

By understanding your skin’s needs and reading ingredients, hopefully you’ll be able to purchase the right products.

From my newly moisturized lips to yours, muah!

Sephora Discount

October 22, 2009

I heart Sephora. I refer to it as the Nordstrom’s of Beauty.

True, I can get a professional discount at makeup supply stores in Los Angeles or vendors online, but to save time, drive, and trouble I can easily find what I need at Sephora.

With the Friends & Family Discount of 20%, I can get the products I need at a comparable cost with the perk of Sephora’s easy return policy. Type in FF2009 at Checkout during 10/19 thru 11/2 get your beauty product needs and splurges. Also, any order over $50 at this time qualifies you for gratis shipping.

Beat that, Economy!

Limelight Thief: Miss C

October 13, 2009
Hair and Makeup for Wedding Guests

Miss C kept her outfit low-key to avoid outshining the Bride at a recent wedding. But with a little dash of glam, she probably stole the limelight just a little.

To avoid hair breakage on her permed hair, Miss C requested that no heating implements (i.e. blowdryer or curling iron) be used. Also, she wanted to keep her hair somewhat informal, so we used minimal hairspray and didn’t worry about a loose end here or a flyaway there.

By using her natural hair texture, I was able to pin waves in a free form low upstyle. We added in a french braid and twist in the front, so you could see her hairstyle from the front in pictures.

Miss C uses minimal makeup on a daily basis (see left). So we used her Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturizer as a foundation base and layered large patches of buildable concealer to get more coverage and even out skin tone.

For the eyes, I used an eyeshadow palette with natural colors and a satin finish. For definition, black pencil eyeliner and two coats of mascara.

Miss C received a compliment that she was “glowing” and told me “that stuff you use really does the trick!”

The secret was a shimmering, liquid luminizer I used to bring out her cheekbones.

Tip: Showing off your neckline can make you appear taller and leaner.

Click here for more photos of Miss C.

Retro Meets Romance

October 12, 2009
Retro in the Front, Romantic in the Back

Remember how the 80’s mullet was referred to as “business in the front, party in the back”? I wanted to blend two styles, like the mullet, for one look where it was “fun in the front, formal in the back”. The featured updo displays 50’s rolls in the front and romantic curls in the back.

Retro in the Front
On the left side, I created a classic victory roll. After heat-setting hair and teasing for volume, I rolled the section upwards toward the head starting with the ends. Then, I used bobby-pins and hairspray to keep the hair “loop” in place.

The right side was a bit challenging because of a short fringe (i.e. bangs). The solution was to use the same technique for a victory roll, but tucking in the shorter ends in the natural direction of the hair. (Sometimes, you have to let the hair do what it wants no matter hair much hairspray you use.) The result was a modified roll with a “pretzel” effect.

Romantic in the Back
I divided the hair into multiple sections and set the hair in hot rollers. Once cooled, I created large curls and pinned in place.

The bottom section near the nape of the neck was “swirled” together.

For more photos, please visit my Flickr page.

Starry, Starry Eyes

October 6, 2009
Channeling My Inner Vincent Van Gogh

Starry, starry [eyes]
Paint your palette blue and grey

For a birthday party last weekend, I put on sultry shades of blue and silver on my girlfriend’s eyes. The main palette was a limited edition Stila Blue Trio Eyeshadow.

To make the eyes pop, I used a loose white, shimmer powder on the inner corners of the eye.

For the finishing touch, I adhered bold, doll-like false lashes. KY Beauty sells these at wholesale prices. The website doesn’t display all the styles Online, so you can call to inquire.

Surprisingly, the lashes didn’t look too over the top with the smoke eye makeup. But just so you can get a sense of how dramatic these are, I’ve pasted them on our little furry friend, Rilakkuma (Japanese nickname for relaxing bear).

My Mom is Prettier than Yours

October 5, 2009
Career Makeup for Mom

Remember when we were kids and we tried to one-up each other with our parents’ abilities? Well, maybe only in the movies…

My mom may not be prettier than yours, but I sure made her look pretty for her company photo this morning.

Any mom can look years younger with some makeup, proper skincare, and a healthy lifestyle.

My mom has extremely sensitive skin where most products make her breakout in rashes. For a professional photo, I would normally use a heavier coverage foundation, but we didn’t here to prevent a possible allergic reaction. She used her own foundation base and tinted moisturizer, but I set the face with multiple thin layers of pressed and loose powder to get some additional coverage.

Dior has a great powder foundation that has great coverage and tiny flecks of light-reflecting powders that prevent a flat finish. A bonus is that it contains SPF, a key factor in age prevention. I also used Bobbi Brown’s Face Powder to deliver some warmth and color to the face. Lastly, I applied Make Up For Ever’s famous HD Loose Powder to get a nice, matte finish without the cakiness.

Even for Beauty Conservatives like my mom, false lashes are great way to enhance the eyes. I used the most natural-looking false lashes to help darken her own eyelashes and make her eyes look more open. The eyelashes on these are shorter than typical ones you see at the mall or at drugstores. The result is a a “barely there” look.

Tips for makeup on mature skin:
– Avoid too much shimmer as light attracts attention to wrinkles or dry skin
– Avoid dark colors on lips (unless that’s the look) as it makes the lips seem smaller
– Make sure to add blush to cheeks to give a youthful glow
– Define eyebrows and eyelash line as hair tends to thin with age
– Add a touch of gloss on the lips to make them appear fuller (too much may look tacky)

She received “nothing but positive comments” on her makeup from all her co-workers. It’s a good Monday for both of us!

Interview with the Glampire: Hair Trial

October 1, 2009
A Romantic Updo
High on Romance, Low on the Head

My goal was to create an updo with a soft effect, meaning no heavily structured ringlets (though there is a time and place for those!).

The overall outcome was an array of curls and twists. The hair almost has the movement of waves or flowers, naturally placed.

I used light hair, workable hairspray (the kind that is brushable without flaking) and combed through each piece of hair to make it polished and smooth.

At Sally’s, for a mere $5, you can get the Phillips 3 Row Teasing Brush that will help you create sleek looks and backcomb with ease.

I love, love, love Hollywood and retro glamour. I integrated soft S-waves in the front and pulled the hair back to finish the look.

To create this look, set hair in rollers using pin sets or hot rollers and let hair cool completely. Gently break up the curls with a glossy hair product (see below for product recommendations) and comb through. You’ll see a natural S shape in the hair. Use large, light grip clips to exaggerate the shape and pin in place. Spray the hair and let hair set again. Unclip and lightly comb to clean up any flyways. Voila!

Product Recommendations for Shine or Smoothing:
TiGi’s Rockaholic has a fine, light texture and smells great.
TiGi’s Head Rush is a fine misting spray. The shine actually helps texture show up more.
Paul Mitchell’s Gloss Drops is thicker and more dense.
Tip: A little goes a long way. Always start with less and add more if you need.

Please visit my Flickr page for more photos.

Rapunzel, Rapunzel

September 17, 2009
Rapunzel, Rapunzel lets down her long hair

Sometimes, Rapunzel wants to wear her hair in ravishing ringlets instead of simply long. Straight, long, medium/thick textured hair is heavy and it often challenged with volume and body.

In order to achieve anti-gravity curls, I set the hair in pin curls (imaginary hot rollers created by hand and clips) for at least 30 minutes to let the curls fully set. Then, I backcombed the hair around the crown to create volume.

Rapunzel exclaimed she has never had her hair so bouncy. It’s a fairy-tale come true.