Summer Proof Your Makeup

Picture this: you've just spent an hour getting ready to go to brunch with your besties. You've applied your makeup perfectly, with flawless skin and your eyeliner is on point. You meet the girls at your favorite brunch spot, and they have the perfect table waiting for you outside. You're catching up on everyone's lives while enjoying mimosas when you realize that you need to use the ladies' room. As you pass by the mirror you see... your makeup is running down your face and you look like a hot mess!

All your hard work that morning was for nothing, and now you have to figure out how to fix it!

Has this ever happened to you?

As a makeup artist who works with tons of brides during the hot summer, my job is to make sure my clients look amazing all day long, whether the temperature is perfect or scorching. So I've picked up some tips in all my years of experience to help summer proof (and cry proof) my clients' makeup so they never look in the mirror to see their "face" dripping off!

Today I'm going to share my top 5 tips to summer proof your makeup so you can look cool and confident no matter how hot it is.

1. Less is more. Summer is the time to show off your skin, and it’s easier to have sweat proof makeup when you’re not wearing a ton of it. Heavy foundation and powder is going to show more streaks or be more noticeable when wearing off, so wearing a foundation that’s lighter will be more forgiving. I love wearing a tinted moisturizer or sheer foundation in the summer. My favorite right now is Make Up For Ever’s Water Blend Foundation (formerly Face and Body). It gives a light coverage to even out your skin naturally and is water proof! MAC's Face and Body foundation is another great choice. Perfect for summer!


2. Use long wearing cream eye shadows and blush. Powders tend to wear off when it gets hot, so creams are your best bet for summer. There are so many great options now for cream shadows and blush! I love the Eye Caviar Sticks from Laura Mercier or Long Wearing Cream Shadows from Bobbi Brown. Choose a pretty champagne or soft taupe, apply over your eyelid with your finger and blend the top of it with a fluffy brush and you’re done. For cream blush, I love Charlotte Tilbury’s Beach Sticks or Nars’ The Multiple.


3. Use waterproof mascara and eyeliner. This one is kind of a no brainer, but I think sometimes we forget to grab the waterproof eye products in the summer. If they’re not waterproof, they’ll probably be running down your face in about 20 minutes if you’re outside. Make sure to grab an eye makeup remover that is specifically for waterproof products.


4. Add color to your lips with a lip stain or long wearing lip gloss. You won't have to worry about it disappearing after sipping cocktails or having to reapply it every hour. Stila's Stay All Day Liquid Lipsticks are seriously amazing- really pigmented, great colors, and they stay put through eating, drinking, and everything! For a more natural look, Benefit's Benetint is lovely for a rosy pout.


5. Set your makeup with a translucent powder and setting spray. I don't recommend heavily powdering your face in the heat, as it can get cakey. But I love setting a foundation with a light, translucent powder to help waterproof it, and finish with a really good mist of a makeup setting spray. The powder will help seal your tinted moisturizer or foundation, and the setting spray will help the powder settle into the skin and lock it into place. My favorite translucent powder right now is Make Up For Ever's Super Matte Loose Powder- I use it on all my clients. And I love Make Up For Ever's Mist and Fix setting spray, or Urban Decay's All Nighter setting spray. Both will help waterproof your makeup and make it last for hours.

I hope you're enjoying your summer and having all kinds of fun adventures! I'd love to hear from you in the comments below what your favorite tips are to summer proof your makeup, or what your favorite water proof must have products are!

Xo,

Melissa

How I Became A Professional Makeup & Hair Artist

I haven’t always been a professional makeup and hair artist. In fact, I’ve only been working professionally for 6 years. You might be surprised to hear this, and wonder what I did before my career in beauty started. I do get asked a lot about how I got started and what my story is. So I thought I would share it with you, in case you’re curious. Or in case you’re feeling restless in your career and wanting some inspiration for a change. Because if this is the case I know how you feel!

When you’re young, adults are always asking you what you want to do when you grow up. I’ll admit, I’ve been guilty of asking kids I’ve been around this same question because their responses are so cute. But I have a strong memory of my grandma asking me what I wanted to do when I grew up. I gave her several answers: an artist, a hairstylist, a teacher, a writer, a counselor and a fashion designer. And I think I may have even thrown in doctor because adults always love to hear that. It’s interesting that in my career today I get to include a little of everything I wanted to do as a kid in what I do.

I’ve always loved makeup and hair. When I was young I used to play dress up and give makeovers to my friends and myself. My mom has always done her makeup, and was my first inspiration to playing with makeup. I had my own play makeup and chest of dress up clothes that I would play with daily. And one of my favorite toys was a Barbie head that I taught myself how to braid on.

When I was in 7th grade, my mom took me to the Clinique makeup counter to learn how to apply makeup and bought me my first “quality” makeup to use. Before that, I was obsessed with teal mascara and shadow, and frosty pink lipgloss, courtesy of Wet n’ Wild cosmetics and used to experiment with some crazy looks.

In college, I decided I wanted to be a psychologist. I still loved beauty, but thought I needed to do something more academic or “responsible”. Actually I had no idea that a career in makeup existed outside of the makeup counter or high fashion shoots in New York. But I knew I wanted to serve people, and help them feel good about themselves and their lives.

When I graduated from college, I tried a couple different jobs that fit in the field of psychology: a group home counselor, a group home teacher, and finally, a high school Special Education teacher. None of them felt like a good fit, were extremely stressful, and paid a shitty wage. I decided the most important thing in a job was money, so I set out to find a job that paid well. And was introduced to the world of pharmaceutical sales.

When I got my first sales job, I thought I had hit the jackpot: great salary and commission, travel, company car, expense account, and no office to sit in all day. But after 6 years of the high stress, controlling bosses, unrealistic expectations with sales goals and doctor's office visits, and feeling like I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning, I knew I needed to make some changes. I wanted to do something I loved, and could support myself on. I wanted to do something that was meaningful, that made me feel like I was making a difference in someone's life.

For some reason, I kept going back to what I loved as a kid. And makeup and hair kept coming up as the answer.

And then I had a clear sign from the universe. While in Vegas at a company meeting, we were walking through the hotel and saw a fashion photo shoot in progress. I watched the makeup artist touching up the model and it clicked: that’s what I want to do. I remember telling this to my friend and she was like, YES!

So I started making my plan to make this a reality. The short version is I hustled my butt off. I researched everything I could find on how to become a makeup artist. I reached out to other artists to find how they got started. I went to beauty school at night to become an esthetician. And I spent weekends working for free, building my portfolio with other creatives to try to attract paying clients. My first 2 years in business were mostly working for free or for very little pay to build up my portfolio and gain experience. I spent most of everything I earned (and then some) on my makeup and hair kit, and classes to learn new techniques and grow my business.

And it finally paid off. At year 4 I was a full-time artist, with my sole income being my beauty business. I finally feel like an established artist.

It’s taken a long time to get here, and it hasn’t been easy. I’ve learned so much on being a creative entrepreneur, the power of community, and making my own path. I’ve worked with some amazing creative partners, and had wonderful clients, and even though I sometimes miss the steady paycheck and benefits, I’m glad that I followed my heart and went after my dreams. I still don't have everything figured out, but I feel much more secure in my business than I did 3 years ago.

And even though I love my job, I still feel there’s more for me to explore, and more for me to do. (More on that in a future post!) But I’m happy to be a working artist and making a living being a creative.

I’d love to hear from you now. Have you left behind a steady paycheck to follow your dreams? Or are you longing to leave your current job to pursue your passion? I’d love to hear your story in the comments below.

Stay tuned for my next post on the biggest lessons I’ve learned from this journey.

Are you following me on Instagram? I post a lot of behind the scenes and photos from my life as a creative entrepreneur.

Xo,
Melissa

Foundation Basics

Women often tell me that they are afraid of wearing foundation. And no wonder! We've all seen   women either wearing caked-on foundation, or having faces that don’t match the rest of their bodies. Or maybe you've had a bad experience with an artist who has put too much foundation on you and left your skin feeling like a mask. That happened to me a few weeks ago when I was looking to try a new foundation. Has this ever been your experience?

Foundation is actually one of my favorite items of makeup. I’ve struggled with acne most of my teenage and adult life. There were times that my skin was so red and broken out that I was embarrassed to leave the house.  My skin looks so much better now, but it’s still not perfect. So, foundation is my best friend. It evens out my skin, making it look fresh and pretty. And having beautiful looking skin makes me feel so confident!

Wearing foundation does not need to be stressful. Knowing what type of foundation will work best for your skin and your personal style, and wearing the right color, will help take the stress/fear out of wearing it. And, knowing how to apply it makes it even easier.

In today's post, I'm going to share with you the different types of foundations and what skin type they're for. And I'm going to share with you how to choose the right type of foundation for you. 

TYPES OF FOUNDATION
There are many different types and textures of foundation. I will talk about 4 of them and tell you why they may, or may not, be right for you.

Tinted Moisturizer/BB Cream/CC Cream:
These are all essentially the same thing: foundation with skincare in them. They typically have a sheerer, more natural look to them. Many leave the skin looking dewy, although some can have more of a matte finish. They often are limited in the color selection offered, so it may be hard to find your exact skin tone. They are great for normal to dry skin. If they say they have a matte texture, then they will be a good choice for oily skin.

Liquid Foundations:
Liquid foundations can range from sheer to medium to full coverage. This type of foundation is one of the most popular ways to wear foundation. Liquid foundations can have a dewy, semi-matte, or really matte finish to them. They are great for all skin types, depending on the type of finish they have.

Cream Foundations:
Cream foundations are usually medium to full coverage, but can sometimes be diluted with moisturizer to look more see-through. Typically, they have a dewy finish to them. Cream foundations are great for dry and mature skin.

Powder Foundation:
Powder foundations are usually medium to full coverage. Mineral powders would fall into this category, although not all powder foundations are mineral based; they have a matte finish to them.

HOW TO CHOOSE WHICH TYPE OF FOUNDATION IS RIGHT FOR YOU
I get asked this question all the time by my clients. There are so many choices out there, and it can be really hard to pick the right type foundation in the right shade for your skin tone and skin type. Making this choice really depends on your skin type, and the kind of coverage you are looking for.

To choose the right type of foundation, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is your skin dry, normal, combination (dry in some places, oily through the t-zone or center of your face), or oily? If you’re not sure, then read my descriptions below to find your skin type

Dry Skin: Your skin often feels tight, pulled taut, and/or rough to the touch. It may look dull or flaky.
If you’re dry, you will want a hydrating tinted moisturizer, liquid or cream foundation.

Normal Skin: Your skin is perfectly balanced. It’s hydrated and not oily.

Combination Skin: Your skin may be dry in the cheek area, and oily or shiny through the t-zone or center of your face.

If you have normal or combination skin, you could choose any type of foundation.

Oily Skin: Your skin may be shiny from excess oil production in the t-zone or all over. You often find your skin gets shiny only a few hours after washing it in the morning.

If you’re oily, you probably want a more matte liquid foundation or powder. But be wary of mineral powder foundations for oily skin, they can make you look shinier than you are.

  • How much coverage do you want from your foundation?
  • Do you want it to be natural and see-through? If so, you probably want a tinted moisturizer or a more sheer liquid foundation.
  • Do you want it to cover up some spots or uneven skin tone, but still be able to see your skin through it? You probably want a liquid or powder foundation.
  • Do you have a lot of unevenness or blemishes on your skin that you want to completely cover up? You might want a full coverage liquid, cream or powder foundation.

It’s my personal opinion that you don’t want to completely cover the look of your skin with foundation, but rather even it out and cover blemishes or pigmentation only. I like to be able to see the skin through the foundation. But if you feel your skin has a lot to camouflage, then it may make you feel more confident to aim for a heavier coverage with your foundation.

  • What type of finish do you want?

If you are looking for a glowing, dewy finish, you’ll probably want to go with a tinted moisturizer, hydrating liquid or cream foundation. Look for the terms “radiant, illuminating, hydrating, luminous, and dewy” in the title or description of the foundation.

If you are looking for something that’s not super dewy, but not too matte, look for a liquid or cream foundation that’s semi-matte.

If you want more of a flat, non-shiny finish, look for a liquid or powder foundation that is matte.

The type of finish for your foundation is really your preference. Trends come and go, and you can decide to follow them, or stick with the look that works for you. I personally love having dewy looking skin, and think it looks more youthful. But you might like the look of having really matte skin - and that’s perfectly fine.

Once you’ve decided on the type of foundation you want to wear, you can look for the right color. To choose the right color of foundation for you, shop for your foundation during the day, and have access to natural daylight. You can ask one of the sales people or artists to assist you. Choose an artist who’s wearing makeup that looks attractive to you, rather than the first one who offers to assist you.

Make sure that you look at the whole picture of yourself rather than just your face. You want all the skin on your body that is showing to be one even color, meaning your face should be the same color as your neck, and the same color as your chest. I usually prefer to buy my foundation at Sephora or Nordstrom because of their excellent return policies, in case I find that the color doesn't work out when I get home.

I hope these tips are helpful for guiding you in finding the perfect foundation. You want people to notice your beautiful skin when they look at you, not your foundation!

Are you afraid of wearing foundation? What are your foundation challenges? Share them with me in the comments below! And stay tuned for my next post, I'm going to share with you my best tips for applying your foundation flawlessly!

Do you know a woman who needs help finding a foundation that's right for her? Then please forward this post to her. I love helping women embrace and express their beauty through makeup to feel like their most beautiful selves.

xo,
Melissa

5 Steps to a Flawless Looking Face

When I was in my late 20’s and early 30’s I had terrible acne. I had had acne as a teenager, but my adult acne was way worse. I felt so self-conscious about my skin and would either pack on the makeup to hide it or not leave the house on days it was really bad. I felt like I looked terrible and that people were staring at me and thinking I looked ugly. Or worse, "why doesn't she take care of her skin?"

I would never leave the house without wearing makeup, and if I was dating someone I wouldn’t let him see me without my makeup. It was not a fun way to live.

I remember wishing I had beautiful skin, and that I would be so much prettier if my skin looked good.

It took several years for me get my skin under control by taking better care of myself and reducing stress, and for my hormones to have balanced. Now my skin looks great. It's not perfect, but my acne is gone and it's clear. I often go without makeup and feel confident doing so. But I still love to wear makeup, and feel like I look even better when I have done at least my face makeup routine.

I often get compliments on my skin and how great it looks. I love hearing it, but I still get surprised when I hear it because I still remember how terrible I used to feel about my skin.

I know having great looking skin is something a lot of women struggle with. And I get it. When your skin looks dull, broken out, or sun damaged, it affects the way you feel about how you look. Even if you have clear skin, applying makeup to look flawless can be difficult. 

Is this something that you’ve struggled with?

If so, then you’re going to love this post! Because I’m sharing with you my top 5 tips to get flawless looking skin with your makeup!

Read below to learn more about my flawless face routine.

1. Moisturize and prep your face really good. Great makeup starts with great skin. So even if you have breakouts or oily skin, find a great moisturizer that works for your skin type and massage it into your skin so it’s completely absorbed. Your skin will look smoother and healthier.

After you moisturize, use a primer that's for your skin type. I love using a radiant primer to give my skin a glow from within before I apply my foundation. My favorite right now is Charlotte Tilbury’s Wonder Glow Soft Focus Primer. If you have oily skin, you can use a shine reducing primer to keep your skin matte and fresh looking. I love Make Up For Ever’s Step 1 Mattifying Primer.

2. Use a foundation that will give you the look you want. So often women just grab a liquid foundation without researching what kind of look or finish it’s going to give them. If you want a dewy glow to your skin, use a tinted moisturizer or foundation that has the words radiant, luminous, glow, etc in the title. Try Becca's Aqua Luminous Perfecting Foundation. If you want your skin to look just like skin (not too dewy, but not too flat), use a foundation that says semi-matte, nude or skin in the title or description. I love Make Up For Ever’s Ultra HD Invisible Liquid Foundation or Urban Decay’s Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Foundation. For a completely flat, non-shiny look, choose a foundation that says matte in the title or description. Make Up For Ever’s Mat Velvet Foundation or Chanel’s Perfection Lumiere Velvet Foundation are perfect for this.

Once you’ve found your perfect foundation, you want to apply it evenly and perfectly blended into your skin so people see you, not your makeup.  Apply a pea size amount of liquid foundation with a flat or buffing foundation brush. This should be the perfect amount to even out your skin without looking caked on. Put the foundation on the back of your hand and dip the tip of your brush into it. Then start in the center of your face and start sweeping it across your face in broad strokes towards the edges of your face. If you see streaks you can move your brush in circular motions to blend it more, or use a slightly damp sponge to blend it in. Make sure you blend the foundation down your jawline and neck so you don’t have a noticeable line where you stopped applying it. If you have areas where you need a little more coverage, you can dip your brush into the foundation again and dab it on the place that needs a little more.

3. Conceal dark circles and spots. You only need a small amount of concealer to brighten under the eyes and cover up acne and dark spots. Use a small stiff concealer brush to apply a thin layer over the dark spot/circle/blemish and use your ring finger to lightly tap around the spot to blend the makeup in. If you can still see the spot, you can add another thin layer. I love Laura Mercier's Secret Camouflage Concealer or Nars' Radiant Concealer.

*Pro Tip: Even if your skin is less than perfect, trust me, you don't want to pile on the makeup. It will only draw attention to it. The best thing you can do is get your foundation to even out your skin tone and then use your concealer to hide what you don't want to be seen. You need a lot less makeup than you think!

4. Use a translucent powder in your t zone to reduce shine and set your makeup. You just need the smallest amount, and make sure it’s a translucent or super fine powder. Sweep it across your forehead, nose, top of cheeks and chin with a large fluffy powder brush. My favorites are Laura Mercier’s Pressed Setting Powder and Charlotte Tilbury’s Air Brush Flawless Finish Powder.

5. Add color and dimension to your face with bronzer and blush. Once you have the perfect base, you need to add some color and dimension to your face so it doesn’t look completely flat or washed out. I love using a natural looking bronzer and pretty peachy pink blush to finish my flawless face. Sweep the bronzer across the high points of your face, where the sun would naturally hit you- forehead, nose, cheeks, chin, jawline and center of the throat. My favorite blush at the moment is Charlotte Tilbury’s Filmstar Bronze and Glow. The highlighter is also divine!

Dust a pretty, peachy pink blush on the apples of your cheeks and blend softly up the cheekbone. I’m wearing Nars’ Deep Throat right now for a pretty flush.

*Bonus Step! To set your makeup and get it to look like skin, I love to finish with a hydrating setting spray. It helps the powders set into the skin and look really natural. I like to spray a fine mist moving the bottle in a circle around my face. Spritz the spray as you’re circling, about 12 inches from the face. I love the setting sprays Make Up For Ever’s Mist and Fix and MAC’s Fix +.

Whenever I’m working with a woman, my focus for her makeup is always getting her skin to look flawless, and then everything else falls into place. Because when your skin looks amazing, you don’t need a ton of makeup to attract attention away from it.

I hope that these tips will help you get your skin looking flawless, and you’ll feel confident and beautiful.

Xo,
Melissa

 

The Top 11 Makeup Mistakes You Could Be Making

As a makeup artist, I often hear from my clients that they feel like they don’t know how to do their makeup. Either they’ve done it the same way since they were in high school, or they don’t have a clue where to start so they end up guessing at how to apply product. Does this sound like you?

I took some of complaints and challenges I hear about from my clients to create a list of the most common makeup mistakes you could be making when doing your own makeup. And because I want you to look and feel your most beautiful, I’m sharing my tips on how to fix these makeup “mistakes”.

1. Applying too heavy of a powder on top of your foundation. Powder can be great for setting your makeup and keeping you from looking shiny. But I often hear from women that they are using a powder foundation on top of their foundation, which can end up making your makeup look heavy or cakey. Yikes. Use a light sweep of translucent powder to set your makeup. If you're using it to reduce shine, just apply the powder in the areas where you get shiny- forehead, nose, center of cheeks and chin.

2. Too much or too thick eyeliner to try to make both eyes look the same. I get it, lining your eyes and getting them to look the same can be really hard. But instead of adding more and more to even them out, try cleaning up the eye that looks messy, rather than just adding more. Use cotton buds dipped in a little eye makeup remover along the top of your line or underneath to make it look clean and even, and then work on the next eye. You'll get the perfect amount on each eye, rather than just covering your whole lid to try to make them look the same.

3. Drawing a thick line underneath your lashes. I think this is one of the top liner blunders that I see. Just drawing a line under your eyes can look heavy or harsh and make you look older. Try blending your line with a cotton bud or small smudge eyeshadow brush to soften it and enhance your lower lashes. Or, just draw little dots between your lashes and use your cotton bud or brush to blend it and add a hint of shadow under your eyes.

4. Leaving the end of your eyeliner thick and blunt at the end of your line. When applying liner on the top lash line, many women don't know how to end it and usually just leave it looking unfinished. You want your line to come to a small point at the end, kind of like a short wing (as in winged liner, not an actual bird!). The end of your line should also be pointed slightly up towards the end of your brow rather than pointed down following your lash line. Having it pointed up will give your eyes a little lift and make you look younger.

5. Pumping your mascara in the tube to try to get more on the brush. You never want to pump your mascara wand in the tube. It can cause too much air to get into the tube, which will make it dry out quicker or get flaky. You can lightly swirl the wand around in the tube before you pull it out to get lots of product on it, or just give it a second dip. If you're not getting enough mascara on it doing this, then odds are it's time to get a new tube.

6. Contouring your face too much or with the wrong color. Contouring is super popular thanks to the Kardashians, and it's often done too heavy or with a color that looks unnatural. Contouring, or creating shadows on your face can easily turn clownish or fake looking in person. If you are going to contour, make sure you use a product that is specifically for contouring, or a bronzer that is matte and has a greyish or cool tone to it. And you want it to look barely noticeable in person. It should just look like there's a natural shadow there rather than a stripe or dark patch on your face. So if you can really see it in the natural light, then you probably put too much on.

7. Using too light of a concealer under your eyes. I know that some beauty tutorials tell you to use a lighter concealer under your eyes to brighten up the area, but too often it ends up looking like you fell asleep in goggles in the tanning bed. Or like you're taking makeup lessons from Donald Trump. And if you have puffiness under your eyes, it will actually accentuate it. Use a concealer that is the same shade as your foundation to lighten up dark circles or shadows. It will look more natural and less noticeable.

8. Using too much concealer under the eyes. Speaking of concealer mistakes, applying too much concealer can cause your concealer to crease or look cakey. You only need to apply concealer where there is darkness. Apply a tiny amount where there is a shadow or dark circle and blend the edges of where you applied it. If the area is still dark, then you can add another thin layer. Applying it in thin layers only where you need it will help your concealer look more natural, not crease and last longer.

9. Putting too much bronzer on your face. I love a good bronze glow, but how do you apply your bronzer so it looks sun kissed rather than fake-n-bake? Take a large, fluffy powder brush and dip it into your bronzer, and then sweep it across the high points of your face: forehead, bridge of nose, cheeks, chin, jawline and center of throat. This is where the sun naturally hits you when you get a sunburn or tan and will look the most natural when applying your bronzer. Apply one layer first, then you can apply a second for a deeper bronzed glow. With a clean brush you can blend all over your face so your bronzer looks like it's coming from your skin and not makeup.

10. Not wetting your sponge before using it. There are some great makeup sponges on the market now, but if you don't know how to use them you could be wasting your money. Your sponge will work the best if you use it wet rather than dry. Spray the sponge all over with a little water or hydrating toner, or run it quickly under the facet. Squeeze out the excess water so it's damp, not soaking. Then use a tapping or bouncing motion to blend your foundation or concealer to get flawless looking skin.

11. Ending your foundation at your jaw. You've done a beautiful job applying your foundation on your face, but then you're left with that tell tale line at the end of your jaw. To get your makeup to look more natural and have people notice your beautiful face rather than your makeup, make sure you blend your foundation down your jawline and down your neck, especially if your neck happens to be lighter than your face. You want your face and your neck to look even, rather than 2 different colors. And while you're at it, apply what's left on your foundation brush or sponge on your ears so they look the same color as your face. Ears tend to get red, which can look funny if they are a different color than your face.

What makeup “mistakes” that aren’t on the list are you making? What keeps you from feeling like you do your makeup well? Or do you have your own tips on how to fix these challenges? Leave me a comment below to share!

xo,
Melissa

7 Products Every Woman Needs For Spring

Every season I take notice of the latest trends and products to come out, whether it's for beauty, fashion, or even tech! Sometimes I follow the trends, and sometimes what happens to be the latest thing becomes a staple in my makeup drawer. (Yes, I only have a drawer for my personal makeup stash, probably not what you expected!)

For me, fresh and pretty makeup is always on trend for Spring, with the skin as the focus. So after some careful thought about favorites for me and my kit, I put together this list of must haves for every woman this Spring.

  1. Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer: I love this concealer right now. It's lightweight and creamy, and covers up everything from dark circles to redness to acne. (Sephora)
  2. Laura Mercier Paintwash Liquid Lip Color in Nude Rose: This lip product is like a cross between a lipstick and a lip gloss. It has great color payoff, stays put, and a pretty shine. And the color is gorgeous, like your natural lip color but better. (Sephora)
  3. Nars Blush in Impassioned: Nars just came out with this new blush color, a pink orchid shade, and it's gorg. It gives you a pretty pink, natural looking flush. If you have darker skin, try Mata Hari for a similar look. (Sephora)
  4. Charlotte Tilbury Goddess Skin Clay Mask: This mask is amazing. It cleans out and tightens your pores, hydrates your skin, and makes it softer than a baby's bottom. I put it on at night for 30 minutes, put on a great night cream after, and my skin is glowing and so soft the next morning. (www.charlottetilbury.com)
  5. Peter Thomas Roth 24K Gold Pure Luxury Lift & Firm Hydra Gel Eye Patches: Sometimes a girl needs a little help to look like she's gotten 8 hours of sleep, and these eye patches will do the trick. They hydrate, plump and lessen dark circles and make you look awake and refreshed. Pop them in the freezer for 20 minutes and then put on and enjoy... BLISS. They are also amazing while traveling or hung over. (Sephora)
  6. Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal: I love glowing skin for Spring, and this liquid highlighter will give you gorgeous, glowy skin. You can mix a bit with your foundation, or put it on before your foundation for an illuminating primer. If you have darker skin you'll love the color Topaz. (Sephora)
  7. Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Colour in Rose Gold: These caviar sticks are a must in any color! They make doing your eye makeup a breeze. They blend easily and are super long lasting. I use the color Rose Gold on pretty much everyone, and it looks amazing. It's a beautiful champagne color that adds brightness to your eyes. Pop it on your lid with some mascara and you can run out the door. It's great on darker skins too, but for something that shows up a little more try Sand Glow. (Sephora)

These products will help you look fresh and radiant for any event or for your everyday routine. Do you have any must have favorites for Spring? Share them in the comments below!

xo,

Melissa

Valentine's Day Sultry Makeup Tutorial

Valentine's Day can be such a fun event to get really dressed up for. Whether you're spending it with your sweetie, or your best gal pals, it's a great occasion to wear something that makes you feel gorgeous. And along with the perfect outfit, having a great hair and makeup look can add to you feeling hot and confident.

This Valentine's Day, I wanted to do a makeup tutorial that was different from the soft, romantic looks or red lips that you usually see. I wanted to do a look that was more on the sexy side, and had more fire than sweetness.

I always look to celebrities, fashion and beauty trends and the red carpet for inspiration for beauty looks. While checking out the stars at The People's Choice Awards, I became obsessed with Olivia Wilde's burgundy smoky eye, and thought it would be a perfect look for Valentine's day. I decided that I needed to create a makeup tutorial based on it that I could share with you, so you could bring some of Olivia's sultry heat to your own look for Valentine's Day.

I asked Emily Scott of The Refined Woman to team up with with me for this tutorial, knowing this look would be amazing on her. Plus I knew she would come up with perfect outfit to compliment the look.

Read on to see my tutorial for this Sultry Valentine's Makeup Look below. And don't forget to check out The Refined Woman to see Em's fun and flirty Valentine's Day outfit.

Step 1: Give yourself a fresh looking complexion. Since I wanted the eyes to be the focus, I kept Em's skin looking fresh and light. I used a light to medium coverage foundation, like Nars Sheer Glow on her skin, and used concealer to lighten up under the eyes and cover any spots. Then I applied Dior's Lucky Pink, a soft pink blush on her cheeks to give a little color without overwhelming her look. I finished her skin with a touch of MAC's Soft and Gentle highlighter on the top of her cheekbones to give a little radiance.

Step 2: Create a mauve base on your eyes. I love using a cream eyeshadow as a base for my eye looks. It helps the eyeshadow last longer and look more intense than it would on it’s own. I used Laura Mercier’s Caviar Stick Eye Color in Amethyst, a warm mauve color, all over the lid and into the crease. Then I took a MAC #217 fluffy eyeshadow brush to blend out the top edge of the shadow so it faded onto the brow bone. I also applied the mauve shadow under her lower lashes and blended it with the same fluffy brush.

Step 3: Apply a burgundy eyeshadow on top of your base. I used MAC’s Cranberry eyeshadow, a gorgeous shimmery burgundy color. Take an all over eyeshadow brush, like the Sephora Pro All Over Color #12 brush and pat your burgundy shadow all over the lid. Then use your base color fluffy brush to blend the top edge of your burgundy shadow. It should fade into your mauve base. Take a smudge brush like the Sephora Pro Smudge #11 brush, dip the tip into the burgundy shadow, and line underneath the lower lashes.

Step 4: Tightline your eyes with a dark brown eye pencil. Line the inside of your top and bottom lash line with a dark brown eye pencil, like Teddy by MAC. When you line the bottom inner lash line, draw a little in between the lashes, like you’re trying to connect them. Then dip your smudge brush into the burgundy shadow and blend the liner so it looks soft and smudgy.

Step 5: Apply lots of black mascara. Give your top and bottom lashes 1-2 coats of your favorite black mascara. I’m loving Benefit’s They’re Real Lengthening and Volumizing Mascara.

Step 6: Finish your look with a pinky nude lip color. I can’t get enough of Aerin’s Rose Balm Lipstick in Perfect Nude.

Splurge vs Save on Your Beauty Products

A common question I get asked by my clients is what should you spend your money on and what can you can you save on when it comes to your beauty products?

When it comes to my makeup and hair kit and my own personal stash, I’m more on the “splurge” side than on the “save” side. I charge a pretty decent amount when it comes to doing a client’s hair and makeup, and I feel that by providing luxury services for my clients, I should use the best of the best when it comes to beauty products.

During my VIP makeup shopping trips with my clients, I always take them to a Sephora or high-end department store that carries the best cosmetic brands. Mostly because I’m recommending the products I know well, but also because I want my clients to have amazing products that will give them the best results.

Most of the hair and makeup products I buy end up in my kit. I like to have the best and most luxurious items to treat my clients with. I also like to have the best products for myself, since I’m a walking billboard for my business.

But by experimenting with some high end and not so high end products, I’ve discovered that you don’t always need the luxury price tag on all your beauty items. So even though I mainly follow the “you get what you pay for” theory, there are some things you can buy cheaper if you’re looking to save a little money.

The important thing is to play with different brands to see what works for you and what you like. And if you try something new and you don’t like it, take it back. You don’t need to have a makeup graveyard sitting around in one of your drawers. Nordstrom, Sephora and Target all have great return policies.

Today I'm sharing with you what I think are the most important things to spend your money on, and what I think you can save a little money with. Whether you're an all luxury girl, or one who likes to be more conservative with her wallet when it comes to beauty products, I think you'll like these shopping tips.

Things to splurge on:

Foundation- For a really good foundation to cover what you want it to cover and not looked caked on, you need a quality one. You want a foundation that has good ingredients that isn’t going to clog your pores.

Bronzer- Good bronzers will make you look sunkissed, not like you spent hours in a cheap tanning salon. My favorites are by Nars, Laura Mercier, and Charlotte Tilbury.

Blush- I’ve found that many cheap powder blushes don’t always have enough pigment in them to show up on the skin and not look chalky. I like the ones by Nars, Bobbi Brown, and Dior.

Lipstick- Lipsticks should be creamy and highly pigmented, and should look pretty similar on the lips as they do in the tube. Your lips should feel hydrated and not dried out, especially since you’ll probably be wearing it all day. My experience with drug store lipsticks is they often look like a completely different lipstick when they are put on than you think they will. And I haven’t found a brand that feels as good on as the luxury lipsticks do. I love lipsticks by Nars, MAC, and Chanel.

Eyelashes- I use Ardell eyelashes in my kit, and they are actually from a drug store. The difference is they are a higher quality than many others that you get from drug stores, cheap beauty supply stores, or dollar stores. You want to make sure they eyelashes use real human or mink hair, and not synthetic hair. The higher the quality, the more natural they will look. If you really want to splurge on lashes, check out Velour lashes. They are sooo luxurious and pretty!

Skincare- Skincare products at the drug store are not going to be as effective as ones you get from a luxury or clinical skincare line. The reason is they are going to use cheaper ingredients so they can keep the price low. They are also not going to use as much of an active ingredient (like the ones that promise you’ll see dramatic results in your wrinkles or collagen) because to get the results you want to see safely you would need to be advised by an expert on how to use it and make sure it’s right for you. I always recommend to my clients that they visit an esthetician for regular skincare treatments and can recommend good products that they know will give results.

Nailpolish- There’s nothing worse than nailpolish that chips right away or needs more than 3 coats to show up on your nails. I love polishes by OPI, Essie, and Chanel.

Shampoo and conditioner- We can be so hard on our hair, with all the hot tools we use daily and sometimes rough brushing and teasing. So many of my clients complain about having dry or dull hair, split ends, or hair that won’t grow. Using high quality salon or organic shampoos and conditioners, in addition to getting regular hair cuts and using heat protectants will help keep your hair healthy and shiny.

Things to save on:

Mascara- While I do have some luxury mascaras that I love (Lancome Hypnose and Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash Extravagant), I often don’t see that much of a difference between the different mascaras. In fact, I use Loreal’s Voluminous Carbon Black and Maybelline’s Volume Express in my kit.

Eye shadows- This one is a maybe. I usually prefer luxury brands for my eye shadows because the pigment in them is usually better, meaning they actually show up when you put them on and don’t have specks that fall all over your face. I have found that Maybelline and Loreal as well as NYX Cosmetics have some great shadows at affordable prices.

Concealer- Concealer is also a maybe for this list. My favorite concealers are from luxury brands like Laura Mercier, Nars, and MAC, but I have found a few from drug store brands that work well. Maybelline, Revlon and Sonja Kashuk have some great options that look nice on the skin and cover up what needs to be covered.

Lipgloss- I typically use lipgloss when I want shine on my lips over a lipstick, or something sheer and glossy. I think there are some great drug store lipglosses that you can save on rather than having to spend a ton of money on something you’re probably going to be replacing every month or so. I like the ones from Revlon, Loreal, and Burt’s Bees.

Hairspray- My favorite hairspray is Elnet by Loreal. It’s a staple in most makeup and hair artists’ kits. It gives great hold but still feels soft and natural in the hair. It can be easily brushed out to change styles and you can spray a lot in the hair without it feeling stiff or sticky. I also like the ones by John Frieda, which are now sold at Target.

Do you have any great beauty product steals you can share? Or splurge products you can’t live without? Let me know in the comments below.

xo,

Melissa

How To Find Your Beauty Spirit Animal

Last year I discovered the idea of spirit animals. A few friends of mine had signed up to find theirs through an animal totem discovery session, and I couldn't wait to find out mine.

I filled out a questionnaire asking me a few questions about my daily life preferences, and how I relate I relationships (plus some other fun questions), and sent in a couple photos. A week later I got the results of my session. I discovered that the Dolphin was my spirit animal. And once I read the explanation of it, it made perfect sense.

Dolphins are playful, adventurous, and uplifting to others, which I've been told fits me. And they are a reminder of the beauty and joyfulness of life, which I need to be reminded of when I feel stressed or overwhelmed.

Those who believe in animal totems, or spirit animals, feel learning about your animal guide helps you to understand yourself better, and how you relate to the world. You may have similar traits or super powers as the animal. Your animal may teach you how you to play, enjoy life, engage in relationships, and live the life you were meant to live.

A style icon is just like a spirit animal. Just like your spirit animal helps you understand yourself better through the traits they have, your style icon helps you understand what it is about her style or super powers that you identify with and relate to. She can help you understand how to express yourself through your beauty and style, and how to gain confidence through it.

Finding your style icon is a little like finding your spirit animal.

Before finding your guide, you might feel like you're all over the place when it comes to your beauty and personal style. You might be unsure of what feels like you or what looks good on you. So you either try to do the latest trend you see on YouTube and cross your fingers you did it right, or you give up altogether and do the same messy bun you’ve been wearing for a year.

But having a style icon or beauty spirit animal, helps guide you with ideas and inspiration to look your best. It can help you show the best version of you, or even help you discover that version that makes you feel your best. And feeling like you look your best can increase your confidence and help you to really be seen in the world.

So how do you find your beauty spirit animal?

Ask yourself these questions:

1. What celebrity/thought leader/woman has a style that you feel drawn to? It could be a celebrity that you buy every magazine she’s featured in. It could be a woman who’s kicking ass in her business. Or your neighbor who you admire every time you see her. It can also be more than one. Look for elements that they have in common to see a pattern.

2. Of these women, do they have similar features/coloring/body type as you? It’s ok if they don’t, but if they do you can take clues from specific colors or types of makeup and clothing they wear.

3. What is it about the woman’s attitude or spirit that you relate to? Is she confident, fierce, life of the party, classy, bold, refined, successful…. Think about what it is that makes you want to be just like her. This attitude probably comes out in the way she dresses and does her hair and makeup.

4. Can you picture yourself wearing her style? Whether it’s long flowing skirts, minimalistic jewelry, bronzy makeup, etc. Imagine yourself in her shoes (literally) and see how it feels.

5. If she’s a celeb or well known, put together a pinterest board of photos you love of her. Make note under each photo of what it is you like about it to remind you.

This board will be your lookbook and personal guide to help you have your own memorable style. It’s not about copying everything your icons wear and do in exact detail, but rather taking elements from their clothes and beauty and incorporating it into your own style.

Now that you have your beauty spirit animal, you use her powers to increase your confidence and expression of who you are!

Once you find her, she may stay with you for several years, or just a season. You might find you want a new beauty spirit animal every year.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. What did you learn about yourself by finding your beauty spirit animal? Care to share who she is? How can she help you express your own style and who you are? I want to hear all about it!

xo,

Melissa

p.s. Want to know who my Beauty Spirit Animals are? Right now it’s Blake Lively and Stevie Nicks meet the Olsen Twins. ☺

5 Tips For Glowing And Natural Looking Summer Skin

Trends for summer can change a bit from year to year, but there is always one beauty look that’s always on trend: natural looking and glowing skin. Even if you're not naturally blessed with perfectly even and clear skin, you can still look like you are with a few simple tips.

Since the summer months can be hot and sticky, I find that using makeup products that feel lighter on the skin are always better. And if they are water resistant, it’s a plus for resisting sweat and humidity!

Whether your summer climate is cold and foggy San Francisco, or hot and humid on the East Coast, having beautiful summer skin will be a great look for you.

Today I’m going to share with you my top 5 tips for creating gorgeous, natural looking summer skin. These are tips that I use on my clients and on myself. Making the skin look good is always a focus for me and my work.

1. Hydrate your skin with an illuminating lotion or primer. I love adding a light shimmer under my foundation so my skin looks like it glows from within. Some of my favorites include Charlotte Tilbury’s Wonder Glow, Laura Mercier’s Illuminating Primer, and MAC’s Strobe Cream.

2. Apply a foundation that has a light coverage. Choose a tinted moisturizer, BB or CC Cream, or a Face and Body foundation. I’m obsessed with Charlotte Tilbury’s Light Wonder Foundation, Make Up For Ever’s Face and Body Liquid, and Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer.

3. Use an illuminating concealer under your eyes. By using a highlighting concealer, you’ll brighten up those bags without looking like you’re wearing tons of makeup. Check out Touche Eclat by YSL, Dior Skinflash Radiance Booster Pen, and Sephora Collection Smoothing and Brightening Concealer.

4. Sweep bronzer across the highpoints of your face with a big fluffy brush. Think of where the sun would naturally hit your face: the forehead, cheeks, bridge of nose, chin, and center of throat. I’m loving Nars’ Bronzing Powder, Hourglass’ Ambient Bronzer, and Make Up For Ever’s Pro Bronze Fusion.

5. Finish your beautiful summer skin with a peachy or bronzy blush to add a beautiful flush to your skin. My all time favorite summer blushes are Nars’ Orgasm Powder Blush, Nars’ The Multiple in Na Pali Coast, or Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Nectar.

Bonus step: Spritz your skin with a hydrating mist to help the makeup set and look fresh! I can’t get enough of MAC’s Fix Plus, Caudalie’s Beauty Elixer, or Tata Harper’s Hydrating Floral Essence.

Having gorgeous looking skin can help you look younger and radiant, and doesn’t have to take that much time to get. Once you have your routine down, it should only take about 5 minutes.

The best part about beautiful skin? If you’re in a rush, you don’t have to do much else for your makeup. Throw on some mascara and a fun lip and you're good to go!

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. What are your favorite tricks for glowing summer skin? Have a favorite product you can’t live without? I’d love to hear all about it.

xo,
Melissa

How to Find Your Perfect Look For Your Wedding

This past March I married my love of 6 years. It was a memorable day of love, joy and fun with our families. And it the perfect wedding that fit the two of us.

We got married at City Hall in San Francisco, which is a breathtakingly beautiful building filled with grand ceilings, white marble and gold trim. We knew we wanted to have something small and intimate with our families, and a place that was gorgeous but low key. We decided City Hall was perfect.

Once we had the venue chosen, it was time to find my dress and decide on my wedding style. I had originally thought I would be an ethereal boho bride, with a long flowy white dress and floral crown. But all the flowy dresses I loved were way out of my budget, and I realized that being a boho bride didn’t fit the venue we were getting married at.

Then one day I was scrolling through Instagram and found this gorgeous picture of Ashley Olsen at a red carpet event. She was wearing a simple black ball gown with a deep v in the front, and smoky makeup. Bam! That was it, the inspiration I needed for my look.

I turned my search from hippie white dresses to dramatic black gowns. I started a pinterest board for beauty inspiration and filled it with big hair, messy waves and smoky eye makeup. And threw in some black dresses to help with the feel of the new look. My new vision was now Boho Chic.

After scouring the internet and all the stores in San Jose, I chose a black, strapless tulle gown from Jenny Yoo. And the best part of it was, since it was a bridesmaids dress, it was less than $300!

Once I had the dress, I needed accessories to jazz it up and make it more me. I found a bronze jeweled belt at Anthropologie to give it a boho feel. I decided to wear my old favorite BCBG gold strappy heels for my “something old”, and so I didn’t have to buy new shoes that I might not wear again. And my favorite gold rings, bracelets and earrings finished off my look.

On the day of our wedding, it was time for my vision to come to life.  When I met with my wedding hair and makeup artist, my dear friend Maria Chang of PMA, I shared with her my board and how I wanted to be seen. Yes, even though I’m an artist, I wanted to have the full experience of being a bride so I hired my amazing friend who I knew would get me and what I wanted. I wanted to feel pampered and taken care of, not stressed out over getting every detail perfect.

After showing her my inspiration, and telling her how I envisioned it, I let her artistic talent take charge from there. And it was better than I could’ve imagined! I felt more beautiful than I ever had before.

Here's a peek at some of the photos from our day! Our amazing wedding photographer was Abi Quisenberry of Abi Q Photography.

How to Get Beachy Waves

Last week on the blog I started a new series called How to Get Beachy Hair. If you happened to catch it, I shared with you my favorite Beach Sprays that help you get cool, surfer girl hair. (Click here if you missed it!)

So now that you have your sea salt spray, what do you do with it? If not used right, you can end up with crunchy, gritty hair that’s more grungy than beachy.

This week I’m continuing the series to give you my best tips to get the most of your beach spray and have the most fabulous beachy hair you can get. And to get some inspiration for your new style, I created a pinterest board of my favorite beachy waves. You can check it out here: Beachy Waves Inspiration Board.

To be perfectly honest, most of these styles if not all of them have been created with a curling iron. But I want to share with you tips on how to get beachy hair without use of the iron, as well as how to use the iron for waves.

1. Use your beach spray to give texture and volume, and hold to your hair. If you’re looking for some great texture, volume or hold for fine hair, a beach spray can be great for this. When you get out of the shower, give your hair a light mist over from roots to tips. Sometimes it takes some experimenting to find the right amount, but it’s probably less than you think. Blow dry your hair as usual and then style. Your hair will hold onto styles longer and feel bigger than normal.

2. For air dried beachy waves, brush your hair free of tangles before you wash it. Wash your hair and towel dry it to remove the dripping water from it. Spray your hair with your surf spray from root to tips, lifting hair up so you can reach the underneath sections. Use your hands to scrunch your hair up to help create waves as you are spraying it. A light mist will be enough to coat your hair and add great texture to it. Then let it air dry.

3. To add waves to dry hair that is naturally wavy, lightly mist your hair all over with the beach spray. Scrunch up with your fingers and hold for a few seconds to enhance your waves. Let your hair dry, and then you can pull waves apart a bit to make them piecey. Add a little flexible hold hairspray to keep in place and control frizz.

4. To add waves to dry hair that is straight, use your beach spray to lightly mist your hair all over. Separate your hair into 3-4 sections: one on each side of your head and 1-2 in the back, depending on how much hair you have. Loosely braid each section to about 1-2 inches from the bottom. Let it air dry, or use your hair dryer on low to dry your hair. Once your hair is dry, loosen your braids and shake your hair out. You can finish with a flexible hold hair spray to hold the waves in place and control frizz.

5. To add more polish to your waves, add the curling iron in. You can use the iron to enhance your natural waves you created with the tips above, or use the iron to create all your waves. Take a 1 inch or larger sized curling iron or wand. Take a section of your hair that is about the size of your iron and wrap it around the iron, leaving the ends out. Hold for 5-10 seconds, then release. Pull the ends of the hair down and hold for 5 seconds to relax the wave. Then take another section and wrap it in the opposite direction you did the first. Hold for 5-10 seconds and release, pulling on the ends again. If you’re only going to do a few pieces to keep your hair more natural, choose pieces that are randomly spread out or more on the straight side. Once you’ve finished with the iron, let your hair completely cool. Use your fingers to tousle your hair for volume and to separate the waves. Then spray with a flexible hold hairspray to hold your style and control frizzies.

Beachy waves can be as simple as using the sea salt spray to give your hair a natural wave to spending more time and effort on it for a more deliberate wave. Both are beautiful, and it’s up to you to find your perfect beachy style.

I’d love to hear from you now! What beach hair tips are you going to try tonight? Or what tips have you found gives you the most surf-tastic summer hair? Leave me a comment below!

xo,
Melissa

The Best Beachy Sprays For Hair

Summer is my favorite time for beauty. It feels like just the right season for easy, natural makeup, but also with a pop of something fun to spice things up. And of course bronze skin is a must! I’m sure you could sense from my last email that bronzer is one of my essential makeup products that I can’t live without. 

Summer is also a great time for simple, tousled, beachy hair. And the messier the better in my opinion!

This week I’m continuing with the Summer Beauty theme, but I’m starting a new series on How to Get Beachy Hair. It’s pretty much my every day hair look during the summer, and continues to be popular with celebs and beauty trends.

Sea Salt Sprays continue to be some of the most popular hair styling products. And with all the options out there, it's hard to decide which one is right for you. Today I’m sharing my favorite Beach Sprays to get that cool, surfer girl hair. Because you can’t have beachy hair without a great beach spray!

I love these sprays because I’ve found they all give great texture to your hair to give it that “I just spent the day at the beach” look without getting too dull or gritty.

1. Davines No. 14 Sea Salt Primer for Wizards- I first learned about this sea salt spray in a hair styling class where the instructor had us use this as a setting spray for styling hair. It helps to give hold to styles in fine hair. www.davines.com.

2. Sachajuan Ocean Mist- I love Sachajuan products for their light feel and heavenly smells. This beach spray gives your hair great beachy texture with volume and body. www.amazon.com or Anthropologie.

3. Bumble and Bumble Sea Salt Infusion- I love that they've added a little a little oil to this sea salt spray to give your hair a little shine with your salty texture. www.sephora.com.

4. Aquage Sea Salt Texturizing Spray-  A lightweight mist that doesn't add dirty build up to your hair. www.aquage.com

5. Phillip B Maui Wowie Volumizing and Thickening Beach Mist- This spray adds tons of volume and thickness to your hair without adding dullness or grit. The smell makes you feel like you're on the beaches of Maui. www.phillipb.com

6. John Frieda Beach Blonde Sea Waves Sea Salt Spray- I usually don't use drug store products (except for my beloved Loreal Elnet), but I've found this sea salt spray to be great. It helps to create beachy waves and texture without the crunchiness. www.target.com.

7. Oribe Apres Beach Wave and Shine Spray- Oribe products are always in my top favorites. This spray is a fine mist to add the perfect tousled beachy texture and shine without stiffness. www.oribe.com.

Are there any sea salt sprays you love that aren’t on the list? Tried one of these already and loved it? Share with me in the comments below!

xo,

Melissa

How to Get A Bronze Glow, From Head to Toe

Nothing says Summer like bronzed, glowing skin. When I was younger, I enjoyed baking in the sun or tanning beds to get my tan on. And when I was lounging by the pool, I’m afraid to say there might have been baby oil involved!

Now, I’m wiser and protect my skin from the sun with SPF and limiting my sun exposure. But I still love the look of bronzed skin! Whenever I see Jennifer Aniston glowing in my US Weekly, I look at my own pale, sunless skin and cry. (Well, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit).

I’m not one for getting weekly spray tans, so I have to resort to other options. And my obsession with safely tanned skin is to your benefit today! This week on the blog, I’m sharing my favorite products for getting a beautiful bronzed look, from your head to your toes! Read below to find out my top picks for the face and the body.

BRONZERS FOR THE FACE

1. Nars Bronzing Powder: This one always makes my list, and has been a favorite for a long time. (If you signed up for my free guide to the 7 Products Every Woman Needs, you might have noticed this is on there!). There are 2 colors, both of which give you an easy, naturally bronzed look. Laguna is perfect for light to medium skin tones, while Casino works great for darker skin tones. I also love using these bronzers to contour. Because they aren’t orange or sparkly, they work great as contour powders.

2. Giorgio Armani Maestro Liquid Summer SPF 15- This liquid bronzer is a new favorite, and I’m in love with it. Just a few drops on your skin or in your favorite foundation gives you the most beautiful, summer glow. No powder bronzer required after! On my no foundation days, I’ll apply just a bit of this all over my skin to give life to my skin. There are 3 colors to choose from to fit every skin tone.

3. Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Bronzing Veil- I was introduced to this product at a makeup trade show, and it’s been in my kit and personal stash every since. This bronzing powder has hints of warm gold and copper pigments in it to make your skin look radiant. As it has more of a sparkle to it than other bronzers, I like to keep everything else really clean and simple to let the skin be the star of the party. There are 2 colors to suit any skin tone.

4. Tarte Amazonian Clay Matte Waterproof Bronzer- If you’re looking for a great waterproof bronzer, then this is a great choice for you! The matte, warm color is perfect for a naturally tanned look that will stay put in the pool, or while sweating alongside it. Tarte is also known for being a more natural makeup line that has ingredients that are good for your skin rather than harmful for it.

5. Charlotte Tilbury Film Star Bronze and Glow- This is a new addition to my kit and I’m obsessed with it. On one side you have a beautiful bronzer that you use to sculpt cheekbones or give warmth to your skin. On the other side you have a gorgeous champagne highlighter that gives the most radiant light to your skin.

BRONZERS FOR THE BODY

1. Nars Body Glow- When I think of hot summer nights and going out with friends or my love, this product immediately comes to mind as a must for my beauty routine. This beauty oil gives your skin softness, plus a beautiful bronzed sheen that makes your skin irresistible. The Monoi De Tahiti oil has the most divine scent, and the bronze shimmer in the oil makes your skin luminous.

2. Lancome Flash Bronzer Self-Tanning Body Gel- This is a great tinted self tanning gel for a longer lasting tan. I love that the gel is tinted so you not only can you see where you are applying it but it gives you an instant tan, while a longer self tan is developing. It’s great for when you want to look like you’ve been lounging all day by the pool without the sun damage.

3. Hempz Touch of Summer Daily Moisturizer- If you’re looking for a more gradual self tanner that adds tons of moisture to your skin, then this is a great one. It leaves your skin super soft and with a gradual tan, and is really easy to blend in. I use this all winter long to keep my skin hydrated and with a natural color minus the streaks that some self tanners leave behind.

4. Caudalie Divine Legs- Here is a gem I discovered in Paris. I love the Caudalie Divine Oil, and had to try out the Divine Legs to see if it lived up to the name. And it does! It’s a gorgeous body lotion that gives a golden bronze glow to your legs with a hint of shimmer. Your legs will have that perfect summer glow.

5. Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs- This leg makeup has long been in the kits of makeup artists everywhere. It’s great for not only giving a great, water resistant instant tan, but also covering up veins and other imperfections. It comes in the original spray and now in a lotion form. Plus you can’t beat the price! You can find it at most drug stores.

What’s your favorite way to fake the look of a long vacation at the beach? Do you have a favorite bronzer or tip that I haven’t mentioned above? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!

Xo,
Melissa

How to Bring Parisian Girl Style into Your Every Day Style

Hello, dear one!

I hope you enjoyed last week’s post on Parisian Girl Beauty. It was fun to write, and reminisce about my trip.

To continue on with my series on Parisian Style, today’s post is going to focus on fashion.

Before going to Paris, I had no idea what to expect from the residents of this oh-so fashionable city. I’ve seen the posts from Paris Fashion Week, and photos from Instagram and style bloggers. I had this vision that everyone would be dressed up and wearing the most put together outfits. Like they were going to a fancy tea party every day.

But the reality of what I experienced was quite different. The women did look chic and polished. But they looked a lot more casual than I expected, which actually made me love the city even more. Just like their beauty trends of simple and effortless, the fashion trends seemed to follow this rule.

Here are a few of the trends I observed in the women of Paris, and how to incorporate them into your own style.

1. Flat shoes- Paris is a walking city (when you’re not riding the Metro or taking a cab), and most Parisian women were wearing some kind of flat shoes. I saw lots of ballet flats, cool motorcycle boots and booties, and sneakers. In fact, I saw so many women wearing Converse that I was tempted to pick up a pair myself! I did see some embracing the strappy sandal trend, but with the weather so unpredictable even I left most of my summer sandals in the closet. Between the miles I walked every day and the cobblestone streets, it was much easier to wear cute flats than heels. Fashion Tip: Wear cute booties or dressy flats with your jeans, pants and dresses to bring a sense of adventure into your style.

2. Scarves- Scarves were the most popular accessory. Parisian women pair a scarf with any outfit. It’s not only stylish but practical. If you are out and suddenly surprised by a quick rain shower or wind, the scarf helps to keep you warm. And you can always toss it in your bag if it gets too warm outside. Fashion Tip: find a cute, lightweight scarf to add style to any outfit. Anthropologie, Old Navy and Target have great ones!

3. Skinny Jeans- Everyone wears skinny jeans. Dark blue, black, faded, waxed, distressed… I saw all different types. Luckily I love skinny jeans, but they aren’t always flattering on all body types. Most of the time, jeans were cuffed at the bottom too, to show off the flat or bootie. Fashion Tip: If skinny jeans aren’t your thing, you can always get a straight leg jean to give you a similar effect without being too clingy. If you want to try cuffing your skinnies, roll them up twice and tug down. The cuff should hit your leg at the ankle to look cool and not high-water.

4. Cool coats- I saw 2 main types of outerwear- fitted leather jackets and camel colored trench coats. In my opinion they are 2 of the coolest and most classic pieces of outerwear you can own. Even though it was Spring, I learned to carry a jacket every time I went out. You just never knew if your perfect sunny day was going to turn into a chilly, rainy one. Fashion Tip: both of these coats look great with pretty much anything you wear, you can’t go wrong! If you don’t have at least one of them in your wardrobe, I recommend you go out to the mall immediately and pick one up! I’ve even seen cute, faux leather jackets at Target for a really affordable price.

5. Nylons and stockings- French women wear dark nylons and printed stockings under most of their clothes. I saw them under jean shorts, skirts, dresses and even long jeans. While on some it looked a little out of date, others it looked really cute. And there are definitely ways to pull off this trend and make it up your style game. Fashion Tip: find some black or dark stockings that have a cool pattern on them. Wolford has the best ones, but you can find cool ones at Nordstrom or Target too. Wear them under shorts with an interesting top and flats, or under a printed dress to add more intrigue to the outfit.

Paris was fascinating and inspiring to me on so many different levels. I felt like everywhere I looked I found beauty, creativity and inspiration and I wanted to drink it all in. From the culture to the art, the landscape and architecture, and the people, I couldn’t get enough. I wanted to bring a piece of Paris back to you, whether you’ve been there before or only dreamed of it.

I’d love to hear from you now. Have you been somewhere that inspired you so much you wanted to incorporate a piece of that place into your daily life? Have you been to a city or country that had such a memorable style that you brought it into your own style? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

xo,
Melissa

How To Look Like a Parisian Girl

Bon jour!

I’ve just come back from a 3 week long trip to Paris, where I was working with the amazing Wendy Yalom on several Personal Branding Shoots for some inspiring women entrepreneurs.

Going to Paris has always been a dream of mine, and to be able to go for my career is a makeup artist’s dream come true. To be in Paris for 3 weeks was truly amazing. I really got to settle in and get to know the city. I also felt so at home there, like I was a resident of this beautiful city.

Before my trip, I was honestly a little nervous about going. I had scoped out fashion blogs and re-watched the last few Sex and the City episodes, and was feeling a little insecure about my own style. I was convinced that my clothes and my casual boho style were not going to fit in there. (I know, so silly, but this is what was going through my mind). I felt like I needed to get a whole new wardrobe, but there just wasn’t time. And I didn’t want to spend all the money I was earning on new clothes for the trip.

So I packed my favorite pieces of clothing, and just decided that I was going look great just as I was.

When I got there, I realized there was no need to worry! Parisian girls have this casual, effortless, “I just woke up like this” style, and I felt like I fit in just fine. Other than the fact that I speak about 10 French words and have tattoos and my nose pierced, I could’ve been mistaken for a French woman. (From what I could see, the French aren’t into tattoos and piercings so much).

While I was there I thought it would be fun for me to bring back some of the Parisian style and beauty tips and share with you. It’s perfect for those days that you want to feel cool and put together but not have to look like you spent hours on yourself. So I’m going to do little Parisian series for you, starting with their beauty secrets.

Parisian beauty is very simple and classic, chic but not fussy. In the 3 weeks that I was there, these are the top 5 Beauty tricks that I observed. Adopt a few into your style, or use them all!

1. Natural looking makeup is all the rage. 90% of the women I observed had very natural looking makeup. The skin was very fresh and natural looking, no contouring or heavy bronzer, and light blush if any at all. In fact, I’ll bet that most women weren’t wearing foundation. I rarely leave the house without foundation, and if you feel that way too, you can still rock this and wear some makeup. Wear a sheer foundation or tinted moisturizer. Skip the contouring and powder. Wear a tiny bit of blush, or just a little bronzer to give your face some color.

I didn’t see the women wearing a lot of eye makeup. I rarely saw any at all. Skip the eye shadow and just wear mascara to emphasize your eyes.

2. Wear red lipstick- all the time. Despite looking like fans of the no makeup look, the French women seem to love their red lipstick. And it wouldn’t be a stain, it would be bold. I rarely wear red during the day, but when in France….. I wore my new favorite red lipstick, Annabella by Nars, every day and felt fabulous in it. If you’re looking for a new red to wear, check out my blog post on The Perfect Lips for Valentine's Day to see some of my favorite reds.

3. You can skip your foundation but don’t leave home without doing your brows. Parisian women had naturally beautiful and full brows. They must have missed the grunge over-plucked look of the 90’s, lucky girls. And even those with light colored brows still enhanced them a bit with a little pencil or powder. Having great looking brows always makes you look more polished than unruly brows.

4. Natural looking hair is best. Most Parisian girls wear their hair natural. There wasn’t any perfect looking curls or smooth Kardashian waves. Girls with straight hair didn’t use a straightener to get smooth, stick straight hair. And curly locks weren’t defined with huge amounts of serum or cream. They were just left free to be as wild as they wanted to be.

If the thought of doing nothing to your hair leaves you with the chills, don’t worry. You can embrace your natural texture and still look cool. Don’t overstyle your hair so it doesn’t have movement. Put the flat iron or curling iron aside and use a little teasing and some hairspray to get control over your hair without it looking too perfect. Or if you do curl your hair, leave the ends out of the curling iron so it looks more natural. Grab random sized sections of hair rather than uniform pieces.

5. Wear your hair in simple, effortless styles. When Parisian girls are not wearing their hair down, they wear it in either a top knot, low bun (chignon) or pony tail. Each style is slightly messy and not perfect looking. Which is the best kind of style to do since it’s easy and quick! Use the texture of your hair to your advantage to create an unfussy updo or pony tail. Just make sure you have a little volume in your hair around your face so they style doesn’t look too severe.

I also saw a lot of middle parts in the hair. If you want to change things up in a very simple way, trying out a middle part is a great way to experiment.

One of my favorite parts of traveling is observing the trends and customs of the local women in the area. And France is one of the places I identify with a lot. I love that French women are all about embracing their natural beauty, and look effortlessly chic. And while it’s great to really go all out with your hair and makeup and fashion, sometimes it’s nice to feel beautiful with minimal effort.

I’d love to hear from you now. What are your thoughts on Parisian Beauty? If you identify with this style, what’s the one thing you can do (or love to do) to make yourself feel effortlessly chic? Let me know in the comments below.

Next week I’ll be talking about how you can bring more of Paris into your fashion and style! Ooo la la!

Merci bien!

Xo,
Melissa

Eyeliner Colors to Make Your Eyes Pop

Welcome to the last class in my Eye Liner 101 Series Class! I hope you are enjoying my tips on mastering eye liner, and feeling more confident in your own eyeliner skills. (If you missed my first 2 classes, 5 Tips To Perfect Eyeliner and The Dish on Different Types of Eyeliner, you can catch up here).

Today’s class is all about bringing out the sparkle in your eyes by wearing the best eye liner shades for your eye color.

When it comes to what shadow and liner colors you should wear for different eye colors, I always say you should wear what you like. The days of the “makeup rules” and there being one perfect shade for your eye color, skin tone, lips, etc are over. My personal philosophy is you should wear what you like and what makes you feel good.

That being said, there are certain colors that will bring out your eyes more or look fantastic on your lips. So think of this as a guide to colors that can intensify your natural eye color and make you look even more beautiful. Or it might even be just new colors to try out for a bold new look.

Blue Eyes:

When it comes to blue eyes, wearing shades that contrast with your blue eyes can really make them stand out. If you look at an artist’s color wheel, the color opposite of blue is orange. Don’t worry, you don’t have to go out and try to find an orange eye liner to make your blue eyes pretty! Think about wearing warm browns and coppers, and golds to bring out the blue. A dark navy blue or charcoal grey can also make them pop.

Melissa’s Favorites: MAC’s Eye Kohl in Teddy or Costa Riche, Smashbox Always Sharp Waterproof Kohl Liner in French Navy.

Green Eyes:

For green eyes, using contrasting shades again will make green eyes look even greener. Since red compliments green on the color wheel, using liners that have reddish undertones will really make green eyes stand out. I love using plums or warm purples or bronzes on green eyes. A rich brown or black is always a good choice too.

Melissa’s Favorites: Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Gel Eye Crayon in Brown (Out), MAC Eye Kohl in Prunella, or Laura Mercier Kohl Eye Pencil in Black Violet.

Brown Eyes:

I personally always feel like brown eyes look good in any color, but maybe I’m biased because my eyes are brown. My favorite colors to bring out the golden flecks in brown eyes are warm browns and navy or midnight blues. I also think plums and turquoises are pretty fabulous too with brown eyes. If you have medium to light brown eyes, rimming them with black in the inside can also make them look more amber.

Melissa’s favorites: MAC Technakohl Liner in Auto-de-blu, Smashbox Always Sharp Waterproof Kohl Liner in Penny Lane, Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Eye Crayon in Blacquer, and Laura Mercier Kohl Eye Pencil in Black Turqoise.

Hazel Eyes:

Hazel eyes are fun to play with color, since different colored liners can bring out more of the green tones or brown tones. To bring out more of the green in hazel eyes, wear burgundy and purple tones. Emerald liners can also bring out more of the green. To make hazel eyes look more earthy, wear warm browns or olive colors.

Melissa’s favorites: Laura Mercier Tightline Cake Eye Liner in Forest Green, Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Eye Crayon in Ro (Cocoa), MAC Fluidline in Macroviolet, and MAC Power Point Eye Pencil in Forever Green.

Hooray! Congratulations! Now that my 3 class series on Eyeliner 101 is over, you can consider yourself an eye liner expert! I'd love to hear from you in the comments below. What was your favorite trick that you learned? What tip made you feel more confident when doing your eye makeup? Leave me a comment below!

xo,

Melissa

Eyeliner 101: The Dish on Different Types Of Eyeliner

In my last post, I shared with you my favorite tips to create perfect eyeliner every time. I get asked all the time not only how to apply eyeliner, but what is the best kind to use. Or what’s the difference between them all. Eyeliner is one of the most common makeup frustrations!

Since eyeliner and applying it can be so tricky, I decided to continue on from my last post, and make a series of it. Think of this series as your eyeliner 101 class, and with this class, you’re sure to get an A!

There are so many types, so many colors, so many brands. How do you know which one is the best for you? How do you know which one will make the best cat eye? Or which one won’t run down your face?

I’m going to make it simple for you. For today’s class, I’m going to share my 3 favorite types of eyeliner, what they are for, and my favorite brands of each type.

With my tips, your days of stressing over eyeliner are over! Read on to learn more.

1. Pencil eyeliner: I find pencil eyeliner is probably the easiest type of liner to apply. The pencil is easy to hold and control, and more forgiving than some of the other types of liner. If you make a mistake, it’s not as obvious, and easy to fix (or remove).

Some pencils kohl, which is softer and easy to smudge. And some are waterproof and stay in place once they dry.

Pencils are great for a softer looking eyeliner. They are also great for smudging, or using as a base for your eyeshadow. There are so many possibilities with them.
If you like a more natural look for your eyeliner, then a pencil is the choice for you.

Melissa’s favorites: MAC Eye Kohl, Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Gel Eye Crayon, and Tarte Skinny SmolderEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Eyeliner.

2. Gel eyeliner: Gel liner is great for getting a bold liner look. You can create a strong line, cat eye, or winged liner with it. It’s applied with a brush, and I find it’s a little easier to apply then a liquid liner. To apply, dip your brush into your gel pot and then trace your line on your lash line, using little strokes. Gel liner is pretty long lasting, and often water proof, so if you make a mistake it’s a little harder to fix. But by dipping a qtip in a little makeup remover to clean up your line, your liner will be perfect.

Gel liners come in a range of great colors, to create as polished or as bold of a look as you’re desiring. You can also use them as a base under a matching eyeshadow to make your shadow really pop.

Melissa’s favorites: Smashbox Jet Set Waterproof Eyeliner, MAC Gel Eyeliner, Tarte Clay Pot Waterproof Eyeliner.

3. Liquid eyeliner: Liquid liner is great for a cat eye, winged liner, or retro look. It requires a little more control of your hand and the wand and can be a little harder to apply then gel or pencil. They usually come out with a glossy or wet looking finish, although some are matte. I personally prefer a matte look to my eyeliner.

Most liquid liners are water proof and don’t budge no matter how long you wear them, or how sweaty (or wet) you get.

I have a few tricks for liquid liner to make applying it a breeze. When you pull out the wand, wipe off the excess liquid and only get a small amount on the tip. This will give you more control. Use small strokes to apply your line, and go back to add more or make adjustments. If you make a mistake, fix it right away with a little makeup remover and qtip so the liner doesn’t set and become waterproof.

Melissa’s favorites: Stila All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner and Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner.

Now that I’ve shared with you my best tips for applying eyeliner, and the differences between the different types of eyeliner, you’re well on your way to becoming an eye liner expert! Next week I’ll continue on with the series, with my last class in Eye Liner 101, the best colors you should wear for your eye color. Stay tuned for next week!

Do you have any favorite eyeliners that I should know about? Or what are your biggest frustrations when it comes to applying eyeliner? Leave me a comment below to let me know!

If you liked this post, I'd love it if you would share it with a friend! I'm on a mission to make every woman her own makeup artist!

xo,
Melissa