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!



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. 

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.

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.


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.



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!


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.



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.


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 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.


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.


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!


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!


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!



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!


5 Steps to Perfect Eyeliner

When I have a Signature Makeover with a client, I always ask her what she wants to learn, and what she needs help with. 95% of the time my clients tell me they need help with applying eyeliner.

While eyeliner can really enhance your eyes, it can also look harsh or age you if not done well. And I get the frustration women have with it, it can be tricky!

But applying your eyeliner doesn’t have to be the most frustrating part of your day. As a professional artist, I’ve worked with so many different shapes of eyes, and women of different ages. And after working with all of these unique and beautiful eyes, I’ve learned a few tricks to make applying eyeliner a piece of cake.

So to make things a little easier for you, I wanted to share my top 5 tips to creating a perfect line every time.

1. Break up your line as your drawing it. Use little dashes to create your perfect line. Don’t try to draw one continuous line all at once. It’s much easier to create a perfect line in steps rather than all at once.

2. Start your line in the center of the eye to figure out how thick you want it. Draw it out to the end of the lashline, only as far as your lashes go. Then go back to the inner corner and draw a thin line as close to the lashes as you can get, and meet your starting point.

3. End your line slightly angled up towards the end of your brow, instead of pointed down. Having your liner pointed up will give your eye a lift instead of dragging your eye shape down. Marilyn Monroe was able to pull it off with her bedroom eyes, but mostly it just gives you sad, puppy dog eyes. Or even worse, it can make you look older.

4. Use a Qtip to clean up the end of your eyeliner if it’s messy or pointed down. Swipe the Qtip up from the outer corner of your eye towards the end of your brow.

5. Afraid of messing up with your gel or liquid liner? Draw it in first with a black or dark brown shadow and an angled brush, then draw on top of it with your gel or liquid liner. You can perfect the line with your eyeshadow, which is easy to fix or clean up. Once you’ve traced the line you want, apply your bold liner on top for fool proof, perfect liner!

Now that I’ve shared with you some of my favorite tips for applying eyeliner, I’d love to see how you’ve mastered your new liner skills. Share a photo of yourself with your eyeliner look and on Instagram and tag me at @melissahoffmannbeauty in it so I can see how you did! Don’t forget to follow me for more beauty tips, tricks, and behind the scenes that I only share on Instagram.



The Essential Makeup Brushes You Need in Your Makeup Bag

A few weeks ago, I had a makeup lesson with a woman who wanted to learn how to do her makeup. She felt like she had been doing her makeup the same since 8th grade, and wanted to update her look as she was now a professional woman in her 30’s.

The first part of my makeup lesson is to go through a woman’s makeup bag and give it a makeover. I look at what she already owns, and help her throw out what’s old and what she doesn’t use, and then make a list of what she needs to add in.

My client had a ton of makeup! She had tons of brightly colored eye shadows, foundations and powders, and lipsticks. But I was surprised to see she hardly had any makeup brushes. She had 4 small eye shadow brushes, and she had gotten them from gift with purchases, or mini travel sets.

Now 4 eye shadow brushes may sound like a lot to you, but if they aren’t the brushes you need, or they aren’t of a good quality, then you might as well have none. And as we were going through our lesson, and she was able to play with my brushes, she realized the importance of having a few key brushes to help her makeup look pretty and natural.

Having the right tools, or brushes is so important when it comes to doing your makeup. Think about a chef: she needs to have the right knives to chop up ingredients to add to her dish. If she’s trying to use plastic knives, or cheap dull knives, it’s going to make her job a lot harder. Applying your makeup is similar. Having good tools can make your makeup go on easier and smoother, and look better than using poor quality brushes.

And while I prefer to invest money in my brushes, to make sure I’m getting great brushes that will make my job easier, and last a long time, you don’t have to spend your whole paycheck on new brushes. I have found some great quality brushes that are really affordable, and work great when it comes to applying makeup.

Here are the basic brushes that I recommend to all my clients that they have in their makeup bag. I promise you, they’ll make your life easier, and make doing your makeup more fun. Using brushes can also help you to feel more creative and artistic!


To create the look of beautiful skin, you’ll need at least 4 brushes: one for foundation, concealer, blush, and powder.

Foundation: You can eliminate the foundation brush if you want to keep it really simple, but I find I love applying my foundation with a brush. It helps it go on smooth and blends it nicely. I like brushes that have synthetic (not made of real hair) hairs, and are stiffer. I also like brushes that have a tapered or flat edge, so you can get under the eyes and around your nose.

Concealer: I love concealer brushes that are synthetic, flat, stiff, and have a tapered end. You can use the flat side for applying concealer under the eyes, and the tip of the tapered end to cover blemishes or spots.

Blush: I like medium sized fluffy brushes for applying blush. You can pick up a good amount of powder with the bristles to apply it, and then the fluffiness will help to blend it. Brushes made with either soft synthetic bristles or real hair are both good.

Powder: I love large, fluffy brushes for applying powder. I prefer to apply a light dusting of powder to help my foundation last all day or to get rid of too much shine. I’ve also found that if you can find a powder brush that has a tapered edge, you can use it to sweep under your eyes to keep your concealer in place.


To apply your eye makeup, you’ll need at least 3 brushes. And I’m going to give you a bonus brush too, in case you want to have more options with your eye makeup.Base color: I like to have a large, flat brush with stiff bristles to apply an all over base color. The flatness of the brush allows you pat on your lid color so it shows up more.

Crease color or blending brush: Have a fluffy eye shadow brush to apply shadow in your crease, or for blending out the edges of your shadow. You can also use a fluffy brush to blend 2 colors together.

Eyeliner brush: The shape of the brush is going to depend on you. Some people find small angled brushes easier to apply eyeliner, and some like to use a small pointed one. Both are great! I find that if I want to apply a dramatic cat eye, and angled brush can be helpful. If I want to apply more of a natural look to my eyeliner, I’ll use a small, thin pointed one.

Bonus eye brush: a smudge brush. This brush can be very helpful for creating a smoky eye, or making your eyeliner look softer.

Extras: brows and lips

These 3 brushes are necessities for me, but they might be some fun extras for you to add to your bag as you get more comfortable with doing your makeup.

Brows: Angled brush: If you are using (or want to use) a powder for your brows, then you’ll need a stiff, angled brush to apply the powder to your brows. It will help you fill in your brows for a natural look.
Spoolie brush: Once you’ve applied your brow powder, you can use a spoolie brush to comb through your brows to blend in the powder or brow pencil.

Lips: Lip brush. I like to apply lipstick with a brush, rather than directly from the tube, especially if I’m doing a bold lip. The brush helps me to have more control over the shape of my lipstick and keeping the outer edges neat. It also helps me from putting too much lipstick on, and to make the tube of lipstick last longer.

You don’t have to buy all of these brushes at once, especially if you’re just getting started in learning to do your makeup. Start with 2-3, get comfortable using them, and then maybe add in a few more. But having the right brushes in your makeup bag is going to make it easier for you to apply your makeup and help you feel like you know what you’re doing. And you’re going to look amazing, and feel good about your own makeup skills.



3 Secrets To Doing Your Makeup Like A Pro

As a professional makeup artist, I’ve worked with hundreds of women for the most important occasions and events in their lives. From weddings, to branding photoshoots, and speaking engagements, my job is to make women look amazing and feel confident.

Every time I do a woman’s makeup, I hear the same thing: “I wish I could do my makeup like you do. I don’t know how to do my makeup. I’ve been wearing the same makeup since 8th grade. I don’t think I’m doing it right.” Does this sound like you?

I admit, it would be great to be like the Kardashians who have their own personal artists come make them up every day (or at least that’s how I imagine it). But you don’t have to be a celeb to look great every time you leave the house. You can easily learn how to do your makeup and look amazing. All you need is a little practice, belief in yourself, and some tips from me!

Here are my top 3 tips to do your makeup like a pro!

1. A little goes a long way. Do you feel like your makeup looks caked on, or like you wearing a ton? You’re probably using too much. Or you’re wearing full coverage for everything. You don’t need to wear as much makeup as you think you do. It looks more modern, fresh and young to just wear enough to enhance your features without covering or changing them.

Look at changing your full coverage foundation to a sheer one or a tinted moisturizer. Skip the Kardashian contouring and add shape to your face with a light dusting of bronzer and a pretty blush. Use the tiniest amount of a loose, translucent powder to set your makeup rather than a colored powder compact.

2. Your brushes are magic erasers. Do you ever get frustrated because you’ve put too much blush on, or your eye shadow looks messy? You can use your brushes to erase your mistakes and have your makeup looking clean and beautiful.

Use your foundation brush with the leftover foundation on it to blend out streaky blush or contouring. Use a fluffy eye shadow brush dipped in a little concealer to erase eye shadow fall out beneath your eyes. Swipe your concealer brush up at the corner of your eye to clean up eye shadow that makes your eyes look droopy. Does your eyeshadow look like your drew it on with a crayon? Use a clean fluffy brush to blend out the harsh lines so it fades into the skin or the next color. Does your red lipstick look less than perfect? Use your concealer brush with leftover concealer to clean up smudged lipstick around your mouth.

3. Flawless skin is everything. This is what sets apart a great makeup look from an ok one. If you skin looks good, then you don’t need to wear a lot of other makeup. And if you’re not blessed with naturally clear, glowing skin, you can fake it with good products and techniques.

Spend most of your getting ready time on perfecting your skin, rather than a complicated eye look. It can be easy to just slap on some foundation or powder and then spend 30 minutes trying to perfect a smoky eye you saw on you tube. But if your skin doesn’t look good, no one is going to care about your perfect liner.

Massage in your moisturizer, so your skin absorbs it and is really hydrated. Add in an illuminating cream on top of your cheekbones and under your foundation to give your skin a natural glow. Take time to blend in your foundation so it looks like skin rather than makeup. Use thin layers of concealer to cover up dark circles or a blemish, instead of putting a whole blob on all at once.

Doing your makeup doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it can be easy and should be fun! I want you to feel confident in your own makeup skills, and know you look amazing every day.



The Cheapest Face Lift You Could Get

This past month I’ve been lucky enough to get to spend lots of time with my dear friend Becca, The Dabblist. And lately, every time I see Becca, she gives me the best compliments on my skin. When I was with her last month in New Mexico, she kept commenting on how my skin was glowing and gorgeous.

I always love to hear that my skin looks good, especially because in the past that was not always the case. (Who doesn’t love compliments?)

But this last weekend, while doing her hair and makeup for the trailer for her new holiday product, A Handmade Holiday, she kept insisting that there was something different about me.

She kept telling me my skin looked so good, but also that I looked younger, more rested, and just glowing. She kept asking me if I had had a facial, or done anything different. She said I looked like I had a facelift, but in the nicest way possible!

I wracked my brain, trying to think of what I had been doing differently. I haven’t had a facial in a year, and my skincare routine has stayed the same.

After doing some serious thinking, I realized that there were some key differences that were probably making a huge difference in my appearance. And as one of my favorite things to do in beauty is to look fresh and youthful, I wanted to pass on these tips to you.

Spoiler alert: they are not all beauty related!

Here are 5 secrets on how I made my skin look fresh & beautiful without the surgery of a facelift:

I don’t worry or stress in large amounts. This one may take a little time for you, but it is so important for your physical & mental health and as well as your beauty. I’ve been making a conscious effort to not stress myself out so much, whether it’s about money, my business, or just life.

I’ve just been having more fun in my life, which leads to less stress and being happier. I just got back from an amazing retreat with my mastermind sisters in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where we had time for relaxation, sisterhood, and enjoying a beautiful new place.

I’ve been spending more quality time with my man, making sure we are having romantic dates to connect with each other. Sometimes having fun is something as simple as taking my 2 dogs to the park, and other times it’s going to movies and seeing my favorite bands play live. I’m no longer saying no to the things I want to spend time doing because I think I should be working.

I grew out my eyebrows. When I was growing up, I had the thickest brows. which I of course hated. They were so thick and dark, I felt like it was all you saw when you looked at me, and I was dying for super thin, arched brows like Drew Barrymore (it was the 90’s!).

Now that I’m older and wiser, I’ve realized how great having thick brows truly is; having thicker, more colorful brows is more youthful, too! I had never tweezed my brows too thin, but a couple months ago, I was looking in the mirror and decided that my brows could be thicker. It may have been because I was looking at Vogue and Cara Delevingne was looking so gorgeous with her extremely full brows. I put down the tweezers and left my brows alone for a month to see what would happen. And surprisingly, they did fill in thicker, and I’ve been loving the way they’ve grown out.

I added a liquid bronzer into my tinted moisturize I love bronzer, and powder bronzer has been a part of my routine for a long time. But I just recently discovered Giorgio Armani’s Maestro Liquid Summer Bronzer. I started adding a couple drops to my foundation, and it gives me the perfect summer glow. I plan on wearing it all through the winter since I love the way it makes my skin look.

I’ve surrounded myself with positive, inspirational people. While on my current journey of entrepreneurship, I’ve been meeting and spending time with some amazing women. They are all ambitious, hard working, brilliant, and big dreamers. Some are entrepreneurs, some have corporate careers, and some are moms.

The one thing they all have in common is they are positive and supportive. By choosing to surround myself with people who are spending more time on pursuing their dreams and living happy lives, and less time complaining about all the things that are wrong with their lives inspires me to not wallow in negativity.

I’m let myself rest. I used to think I needed to be working every day to be successful. I thought I had to say yes to every job inquiry I had, yes to every photo shoot, and yes to every coffee and lunch date. I thought I had to use up every spare minute I had on growing my business.

I thought it was a waste of time, or worse, lazy, to just relax and take time off from my business. I was so exhausted all the time. I finally realized that I needed to take time off to recharge and rest, and that it was essential to my health and mental wellness. When I’m rested, I’m in a much better mood. My energy levels are better, which means I’m more present for my clients and the work that I do. By taking more time off, my business is growing faster than it has before. My relationship is better because we are spending more quality time together. The bags and circles under my eyes are gone, and my face looks more relaxed and yes, lifted. And I don’t feel guilty anymore about ignoring email for a weekend or when I just want to relax on the couch and watch Pride and Prejudice for the thousandth time. (The A&E version, although I do like the Keira Knightly one too).

These 5 tips have worked wonders for me, and I’m sure you have some great “beauty” tips to for looking younger and refreshed. What have you done differently to get a compliment on how young you look?



Get Bold With Your Look

A few weeks ago I had a boudoir shoot with a new client named Teresa. As I’m working with a new client, doing their hair and makeup, I love to learn more about them and who they are. Teresa shared with me that she’s a Physical Therapist who is opening her own practice soon, but used to work for a larger corporation. We talked about how she loved what she was doing and how she was helping patients’ health improve.

I always ask my clients how they normal day-to-day routine for their hair and makeup. It gives me a sense of how comfortable they are with makeup and allows me to craft a look for them that makes them feel beautiful but still like themselves.

When I asked Teresa this question, she told me she doesn’t wear much makeup, especially not at work. In fact, she tries to make herself as unattractive as possible. When I asked her why, she said that when she used to do her makeup for work, she would get hit on a lot by some of her male patients. Their behavior made her uncomfortable and interfered with her ability to focus on their treatment. She found it was just easier to not spend any effort on her appearance so these patients would not see her as an attractive female but as a physical therapist.

Teresa’s story is one I hear all the time, and I think so many women can understand! I know I can relate!

We’re afraid to be attractive because of negative attention we may receive. We’re afraid to stand out, so we hide our beauty. We’re afraid to express ourselves with our style, or our clothes and makeup, because others might say belittle us. We may let other people’s negative reactions, or the possibility of these negative reactions, prevent us from shining and expressing ourselves with our beauty, our style and our femininity.

I want women to not let this fear or negativity stand in the way of them expressing themselves with their beauty. I believe that when women spend more time and energy on themselves and their beauty routine, they feel more confident and amazing in their own skin. This is my wish for you, dear one: be bold, be fearless, be sexy and feminine, and be beautiful. Be that girl who doesn’t care what others are saying about her appearance, even if it feels edgy. Because you are a unique and gorgeous woman, and the world needs you to show it off!

I know you probably have some ideas of how you can shine that you’ve been dying to try, but maybe have been afraid to try out. In case you need a few ideas, I’m sharing with you some of my favorites. Pick one, a few, or all of them to show off your bold beauty!

  • Put on a bright lipstick. The brighter the better.
  • Rock electric blue cat eyeliner.
  • Wear large, colorful feather earrings.
  • Wear a fun, chic hat.
  • Wear a red dress.
  • Strut your stuff down the cement catwalk in gorgeous heels.
  • Wear big, fabulous cocktail rings on all your fingers.
  • Smile and wink at a stranger. (Not really a beauty tip, but I’ll bet you’ll feel really sassy after!)
  • Wear sexy lingerie under your work clothes.
  • Wear smoky eye makeup during the day.
  • Style your hair big and voluminous. Like you’re Beyonce on her world tour.
  • And speaking of Beyonce, wear fun, metallic Flash Tattoos. The more the better.
  • Wear bad ass leather pants.
  • Paint your nails in a color you would normally never wear.
  • Wear a jeweled, boho headband.
  • Wear sparkly eye shadow.
  • Follow the color blocking trend and wear 2 different bright colors together. I love coral and blue together, or purple and red.

I’d love to hear from you what your favorite ways to be bold with your look are. What are you dying to try out but have felt too nervous about showing off? Let me know in the comments below!


Top 5 Tips to Get Your Makeup Perfect For Your Photo Shoot

Picture this: you have your big photo shoot tomorrow to get new photos for your website. You have an amazing photographer, three gorgeous new outfits, and the perfect location. You've decided to do your own hair and makeup and now you're getting a little anxious about it, wondering if it will look good, if it will show up on camera, or what if you put too much on? How will you know if you'll look super model perfect, or like one of the little girls from Toddlers and Tiaras?? Aaaak!

Don't worry girl, I can help you! I've done hundreds of photo shoots, and I'm going to share with you my top five best tips to make sure your makeup looks perfect on camera and in your photos or video, and is good enough to go out to your favorite restaurant after for a celebratory dinner.

1. Start with super hydrated skin. Use a non greasy, lightweight moisturizer that will plump up your skin and keep it really hydrated. Leave the SPF for the beach, SPF is generally not photo friendly for flash photography. And if you're not sure if your photographer will be using a flash, better safe than sorry. Your makeup will go on better on hydrated skin, and it you're skin will look young and fresh. I use Embryolisse in my kit, but you can use your favorite moisturizer that works for your skin type.

2. Make sure your skin is matte. What this means is you don't want your skin to look shiny and reflective, you want it to look flat. Shiny skin does not show up well in photos or on film, and can make you look like you have really oily skin, reflect too much light, or be really distracting. If your skin is dry, you probably don't have to worry about this. If your skin is more on the oily side, you can use mattifiers or primers to absorb and prevent shine. Two of my favorites are The Porefessional from Benefit or Make Up For Ever's All Mat.

3. Limit the use of shimmer, glitter and shiny makeup products. Actually make that no glitter, and only a little shimmer if you can't do without it. These types of products can reflect light too much, or make your skin look really shiny. If I do add any luminizing products on a client during their shoot, I make sure it's really subtle, and only highlighting the features a little. I may add a little in the inner corners of the eyes, top of the cheekbones, and cupid's bow. I love these Ambient Lighting Powders from Hourglass cosmetics. They are subtle but gorgeous, and have 6 shades to fit all skin tones.

4. Give yourself flawless skin. For the most part, you are probably going to want more of a fuller coverage foundation, along with using concealer and powder. You want your skin to look really even and pretty. You want enough coverage in your foundation products to cover any redness, blemishes, or discoloration in the skin, or dark circles, and of course, be matte. If you have even, blemish free skin, then you can use something a little sheerer like Make Up For Ever's Face and Body Liquid Makeup. It evens out the skin tone and looks and feels really natural. But if you need more coverage, use Make Up For Ever's HD Invisible Cover Foundation. It covers everything you need it to while still looking like skin.

5. You're going to need more color in your face than you think. You don't want your face to look washed out, and you want your features to stand out. This means you'll probably need to apply more blush, contouring, brows and lips than you think you need. Take a selfie with your iphone to make sure your makeup stands out, and ask your photographer if you can see his or her screen at the beginning of your shoot. Bring your makeup with you in case you need a little touch up.

6. Define your eyes. You can really connect with your audience or clients with your eyes, and you want to make sure they stand out. To get eyes that pop in photos, make sure you use eyeliner on the top of your lashes, and on the bottom lashes too, or at least define under neath with a medium tone eyeshadow. Contour the crease of your eye socket with a medium toned shadow, and blend out the edges really well with a large fluffy eye shadow brush. And don't forget lots of mascara, at least 2 coats. Bonus points if you do false eyelashes!

7. All day shoot? Use a setting spray to make your makeup last through the last shot. You can also use a translucent powder and blotting papers for touch ups for shine. My favorite setting spray is Make Up For Ever's Mist and Fix. It sets your makeup so it lasts all day, but also keeps it fresh and from looking cakey.

What are your favorite tips for photo shoot perfect makeup? What products are your favorite for makeup that lasts all day? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below! And if you found this post helpful, please share it with your friends!


5 Easy Makeup Tricks to Help You Look Younger

One of the most common things I get asked by my clients is what they can do to look younger. Our society is obsessed with youth, and looking young, and so many women are on a holy quest to find the newest and best creams, serums and gadgets to help them achieve this fountain of youth. I admit that I am a little obsessed with looking younger. I always get really excited when I get carded or told I look 10 years younger than I actually am, like it’s the best day in the world. I’m sure those of you over 30 can totally relate!

I know for myself, when I feel like I look younger, and look good, I feel more confident and good about myself. It’s almost like I feel 10 years younger than I actually am, and have the energy of my 20 year old self with the wisdom of my 37 years. I want to share these tips with you to help you feel more confident in yourself, because when you do, you’ll show up more in your relationship, friendships, your business, and your life.

Makeup is a great way to achieve your goal of looking younger, without having to go to more drastic and costly measures of needles and expensive treatments. There are so many different makeup tricks you can do to achieve that youthful glow, but here are my top 5 favorites that are staples in my daily makeup routine.

1. Have color on your lips. As we get older, our lips lose their pink color and can become washed out looking. Adding some color to them is a great way to brighten your face. You can go a more natural route of using a lip stain to darken them, or use your favorite rosy colored lipstick to give them color. Look back at pictures when you were younger to match the color of your youth, or go with one that makes you feel good.  Lips can also get thinner with age, so you can cheat your lip shape by slightly overdrawing your lips, and adding a highlight above your cupid’s bow with a shimmery champagne colored shadow.

 2. Fill in your brows. When I was younger, my brows were so thick and dark they looked like caterpillars, and I was so embarrassed by them I would pluck and pluck away at them, trying to get rid of the uni-brow and look more like Drew Barrymore’s pencil thin arches. Now I would love to have them back! Yours may not have been as thick and dark as mine, but I’m sure you’ve noticed that they don’t look quite the same as they did when you were young. The color of your brows fades as you get older, and the hair and shape gets thinner. You can fix this and get back your brows of high school by adding in a little color and thickening them up with a brow pencil, powder, or colored wax.

 3. Have dewy looking skin. Dewy, hydrated skin looks youthful and luminous, and is on trend right now for beauty. Make sure your skin is super hydrated by using a good moisturizer for your skin type morning and night. Use a foundation or tinted moisturizer that uses words like hydrated, glow, radiant, illuminating, creamy, moisturizing, etc. These are all words for a foundation that is going to give you that beautiful, fresh looking skin. Skip the powder, unless you need in in your t zone to control oil, and then use it lightly. You can also add in a cream or liquid highlighter at the tops of your cheekbones to increase the dewiness factor.

 4. Give yourself a rosy glow with blush. I love cream blush to go with dewy skin, but you can also use a powder one if that’s what you prefer. Having a rosy glow on your cheeks brings life into your face and makes you look healthy.

 5. Make your lashes look long and full. Have you ever noticed how children have the most beautiful eyelashes? Make yours look just as good by curling your lashes and applying 1-2 coats of your favorite mascara. You can also line underneath your top lashes, as close to the lash line as you can, with a black eyeliner. By connecting your lashes you’ll make them look even fuller, and give your eyes a doe- eyed look (I call it the Bambi effect!).

These are some of my favorite makeup tricks to take years off your look, and I’d love to hear from you what your favorite tricks are to look younger. Leave a comment below to share with me your favorite products and tips for a younger makeup look! And please share with your friends if any of these tips helped you get carded more!