Monday, April 18, 2016

Sexy Messy Eyes

I am a huge fan of slightly disheveled looks. I love when makeup and hair looks lived-in and worn, it seems more realistic and there's something sexy about being 'perfectly imperfect'. I wanted to do a twist on the smokey eye, so I made the lower lash line really smudgey and dark. I also used a mix of formulas on the lid to create an interesting finish and texture. You can do this with any color, but I chose this dusty purple to complement Liz's eyes. Hair by Greta Wagner.

Smokey Eye Steps
1. With a rounded brush (I like the domed shadow brush from this set) smudge the cream shadow over the eyelid and along the lower lash line. Feather the edges as you blend and bring the product fairly high into the eye socket.
2. Take a black kohl liner and line the inner rim of the eyes and smudge it into the cream pigment in the lower lash line. You can also pick some of the black kohl on the same brush and blend it into the inner and outer corners of the eyelid to add dimension.
3. Dab a light purple glitter to the center of the lid to add texture and a 'wetness' to the look.
4. Add multiple coats of thick, black mascara to the top and bottom lashes, a little bit of clumpiness towards the root will actually add to this look.

Becca Backlight Priming Filter
Becca Aqua Luminous Foundation in 'Fair'
Jouer Cream Highlights in 'Camellia' & 'Champagne'
Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector (liquid) in 'Pearl'
Illamasqua Cream Eyeshadow in 'Command'
Make Up For Ever Diamond Powder in 'Baby Mauve #14'
Guerlain Khol Me Kajal Liner
Bobbi Brown Extreme Party Mascara
Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Gel in 'Caramel'
Fresh Sugar Lip Balm in 'Rose'
Not Your Mother's Sea Salt Spray

Would you try this 'grungy' version of a smokey eye?


Monday, April 11, 2016

The Ultimate Concealer Handbook

Not all concealers are created equal! They come in a variety of options for coverage, consistency, finish and texture and it's important to know their differences in order to choose the right concealer for the job. I was inspired after reading Into the Gloss's best concealer article to write my own post discussing my favorite concealer tips and tricks. I knew I had to really dive into the subject, because choosing the right concealer out of the hundreds of available options can be pretty intimidating!

Choosing the Correct Formula
Formula is everything, it is what determines the texture and opacity and how the product will lay on the skin. Under eye concealers should be silky, emollient and moisturizing. The formula shouldn't crease or set into fine lines and it needs to be able to move with your natural facial expressions. Concealer used to cover acne or areas of redness and discoloration on the face should be denser, a bit drier and more opaque. They should almost feel like they are drying or 'setting' on their own after a few minutes. Here are my Top 5  favorite formulas for personal and client use:  

I go more in-depth about each of them further on in this article, so keep reading!

Concealer Prep
'Prepping' your under eyes before concealer may seem like too much work, but trust me, it's simple and it makes a huge difference in the texture and longevity of your products! For many people it may be common sense to always start off with an eye cream to smooth out fine lines and plump up signs of dehydration, but I'm about to share a secret about a special star product that works overtime so that your concealer doesn't have to do all the heavy lifting. So please let me introduce...
Benefit Stay Don't Stray 360 Degree Eye Primer 
Eyeshadow primer did you say? Besides being a perfect primer for the eyes, this product is amazing to use as concealer prep, hence '360 degrees'. It is one of my all-time favorite products, it helps neutralize dark circles, prevent under eye creasing, and it acts like a concealer magnet, locking everything in place and making sure your under eyes stay fresh and bright all day long. I apply it to the entire orbital area after foundation and before any main concealer, and then I tap it in with a Beauty Blender. It's also pigmented enough to use on its own as a lightweight concealer, so I urge any of you who are even a little bit curious to go out and try this!

Benefit Stay Don't Stray
applying Benefit's Stay Don't Stray
Color Correcting
Color correcting is the quickly becoming the new buzzword in beauty. People will soon be obsessing over color correction to the same extent as the brow and contouring crazes that have taken over the internet in the past few years. In truth, color correction is nothing new, it has been something that makeup artists have been doing forever in subtle ways. Color correction can be immensely handy as long as you don't over do it. Salmon/peach tones will correct the under-eye darkness of blues and purples, green will correct redness and a pale lavender with brighten sallow complexions. My favorite green and lavender toned correctors are by Becca, while Eve Pearl, Bobbi Brown and Make Up For Ever make great peachy correctors.

The way that you apply your concealer also has a big impact on its final coverage and texture. My favorite tool for under eye concealing is a damp sponge, specifically the Beauty Blender or the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge. A dampened sponge will add hydration, and the patting/pressing motion will smooth the concealer down into a delicate and imperceptible layer.

A small, stiff, slightly tapered brush is crucial for concealing acne or discoloration with precision. This type of brush will lay down the product only where you need it, preventing excess concealer build up which leads to the dreaded 'cake face'. Because this concealing technique still allows the clear areas of your skin to peek through, you will end up looking more natural and polished. Celebrity makeup artist Lisa Eldridge has a great video demonstrating this technique here.

A flat shading brush can help lay down product in specific areas. I'll usually use a brush like this to place concealer in hard to reach areas, like the sides of the nose or the innermost corner of the eyes before I'd blend it out with a sponge.

Fingers! Your fingers are the free tool that you carry with you everywhere! As long as your hands are properly sanitized there is nothing wrong with using your fingers to apply makeup. It actually helps heat up the formulas, allowing them to quickly blend into the skin for a very fresh and natural appearance. When I use my fingers for concealer I like to use a tapping motion rather than a dragging or gliding motion for the best finish. One of my favorite concealers for a 'hand application' is by Maskcara Beauty. It's an easy to use highlighting concealer, so it's extremely brightening and perfect for days when you don't have much time but still want to look pulled together. Another plus is that it's only $10.50 and comes in an adorable little tin that's perfect to pop into your handbag. Maskcara Beauty also has other great products to go along with this one so check out their whole line; the owner Cara also has an awesome blog that you can read here.

Concealer Application
The number one rule for application is 'less is usually more'! Don't get too heavy with it, it's always easier to build up the product then take it away. Apply concealer only in the spots where you actually need it, don't slather it on all over or you can risk looking mask-like.

without concealer  /  with concealer
Setting Concealer
Setting your concealer with powder is super important if you want it to last throughout the day. Finding a good face powder to set spot concealing with isn't too tricky, but under-eye setting powders can be finicky. You need something that is light weight, won't crease and will brighten underneath the eyes. My personal favorites are the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders. They have been staples in my kit since they came out, and they play a huge role in keeping my under eye concealer looking perfect. My favorite shades for this purpose are 'Ethereal' and 'Diffused', and I also love their Strobing Powder in 'Incandescent' for a more glowy look. This shade also comes in their 3 color palette (one of my favorite products EVER). I also enjoy the Laura Mercier translucent and secret brightening powder and the Ben Nye powders are a good cost-effective option. Again, I like to use a slightly damp sponge to apply my setting powder; usually the same one that I have just applied my foundation and concealer with. I do not employ, nor would I recommend the 'baking' method where you pack on a ton of powder, I simply press a little bit of it into the natural crease under my eye and the slight dampness of the sponge really helps melt the powder into my skin.

Fail-Proof Concealers
* Maybelline Fit Me: Smooth & creamy, great for undereyes and light spot concealing. 
* Maybelline Coverstick: Great for quick touch-ups, this thicker consistency covers well and resists creasing.

Full Coverage
* Kryolan Dermacolor: Intense coverage and insanely long wear-time makes this concealer a must have! Just use a little bit at a time for flawless skin.
* Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer: This little pot can be used as foundation or concealer and can be mixed with moisturizers and primers to create a custom level of coverage. It is silky smooth and has a perfected dreamy finish on the skin.
* Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage: Great for spot concealing, this product has great coverage and a stiff consistency that wears well all day.

* Benefit Stay Don't Stray: An eyeshadow primer and concealer in one, this super long-wearing and lightweight formula color corrects and is the perfect base for any other concealer.
* Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer: Super smooth and velvety finish with a great color range and minimal creasing.
* Mac Pro Longwear: Slightly sticky as it dries, this is water resistant and my personal go-to concealer. It comes in a great shade range and can be easily sheered down or built up for customized coverage.
* Givenchy Mister Light Correcting Pen: Super smooth and hydrating, this is the most 'natural looking' concealer and is great for mature skin. I have a review on it here.

* Maskcara Beauty 3D Foundation: Meant to be used for highlighting and sculpting the face, they really do brighten! 

Spot Concealing
* Kryolan Dermacolor: Intense coverage and insanely long wear-time makes this concealer a must have! Just use a little bit at a time for flawless skin.
* Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage: Great for spot concealing, this product has great coverage and a stiff consistency that wears well all day.

* Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer: Super smooth and velvety finish with a great color range and minimal creasing.
* Mac Pro-Longwear: Slightly sticky as it dries, this is water resistant and my personal go-to concealer. It comes in a great shade range and can be easily sheered down or built up for customized coverage.
* Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer: This little pot can be used as foundation or concealer and can be mixed with moisturizers and primers to create a custom level of coverage. It is silky smooth and has a perfected dreamy finish on the skin.

What are you must-have concealers?

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Professional Makeup Artist Interview - Arel Quintese

I am happy to present LaToya Quintese Santos of Arel Quintese as the first artist in my Pro-Interview series. LaToya is an on-location makeup artist based in Connecticut and travels throughout New England for jobs. She is also a representative for Anastasia Beverly Hills which naturally makes her an eyebrow master! 
I met LaToya when I first started working at Sephora years ago, she was the first person to reach out to me and make me feel welcome. At that point I was still a bit of a newbie, so I would go to her with makeup questions (like how to do a smokey eye on my client who was in her 50's) and she would always have great advice (start by smudging a smokey pencil into the roots of the lashes and blend up). Her passion for her work is so evident, and she was instrumental in helping me to believe enough in myself to pursue makeup artistry as my own career. So without further ado, please enjoy the interview.
Q: How long have you been a working professional and how did you get started in your career?
A: I have been working professionally as a Certified Makeup Artist since 2010. 

Q: When did you know that you wanted to be a makeup artist?
A: Being creative has always come easy to me. Whether it was sculpting, arts and crafts or sketching I HAD to take an art class every year in grade school. As I got older, I discovered that I was interested more in watching the fashion shows on TV or when it was time for people to get a makeover on certain shows, I just loved to watch the expression on their faces when they would reveal their new look. It became clear to me that makeup is an art, whether it is natural or avant garde, it is still art. 

Q: What do you love most about makeup and about your job?
A: I get so lost in doing makeup. It's very therapeutic for me. I love the process from start to finish and discovering how certain products blend and their specific finish. My career is so special to me, whether I'm helping new clients discover how to properly fill in their eyebrows working as a representative for the Anastasia Beverly Hills brand, or sculpting their face with her coveted highlight/contour kits. I love being able to make 'applying and understanding' makeup for people that much easier. I love being able to spend those special moments with my personal clients, their trust in me before their 'big event days' mean so much to me, I wouldn't trade it for the world. My TOP favorite thing about my career would have to be creating looks for shoots, I would wake up and do photo shoots every single day if I could. 

Q: What is your signature makeup style and what trends/looks have you been loving?
A: To be honest I don't know what my signature style is. I would love to one day discover it. I've had people notice my work and mention to me, but I still don't seem to see it (haha). Trends and looks? Trends are forever changing, but I will forever love a nice sculpted smokey bronzed eye. Color trends have been more eye catching to me as of recently; metallics, reflecting sparkles, sea green/blue shades. Color always attracts me! 

Q: What are some of your go to, must have, all time favorite kit products?
A: Okay get ready for my list, these are some of my 'Pro Kit' go to's: 
1. M.A.C MatchMaster Foundation (Great on every skin type, photographs beautifully! NO FLASH BACK!)
2. BECCA Ever-Matte Poreless Primer (This primer is everything! It will keep your makeup on all day.)
3. BEN NYE Banana Powder (I used to hate this product, but I have learned to love it! It isn't as smooth as other loose translucent setting/baking powders, but if you learn to work with it and apply the proper amount in a tapping motion you will learn to love it! It's mainly the color that I'm obsessed with.) 
4. NYX Brow Gel ( I use this on EVERYONE! It's like a dupe for the Make Up For Ever Aqua Brow (Retails $22), but this is cheaper (Retails $7).  
5. ANY brand of liquid lipstick (I have started to only use liquid lipsticks on my clients, I have a few favorite brands: Coloured Raine (my top favorite formula), Anastasia Beverly Hills, Stila, NYX, Milani, BH Cosmetics. Liquid lipsticks stay on the longest so it's less touch up time for my clients, and if they want a creamier glossy lip, all I do is add on a gloss on top and wah la! Long lasting, and customizable to everyone's wants!

Q: What products have you recently discovered and can’t live without?
A: I would say Colourpop Cosmetics, as a whole line. I started buying from them last year and I cannot imagine myself not buying from them in the future. They have innovated a whole new formula of products I have never felt before. They are becoming the HIT brand with very inexpensive products they truly understand pigments like no other 'drugstore brand'. 

Q: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
A: I draw my inspiration from everywhere, paintings, movies, TV, other artists, scenery and my own imagination.

Q: Who are some people that have inspired or influenced you throughout your career?
A: So many artists inspire me on a daily basis, but two so far in particular; Megan Martinez (IG: @chaosmakeupartist I have been following her for a few years now and she blows me away every time. Her artistry is so inspiring! She has really inspired me to step outside of my comfort zone. The second artist is Camille Thompson (IG: killahcamz Talk about jaw dropping work! I discovered her late last year, and I am so happy I have, she is Art. I've been so moved by her work, I personally sent her a private message to let her know how much of an inspiration she is. I thrive off of artists who think outside the box and understand makeup as an art and who aren't afraid of being 'too creative'.

Q: What is your most important piece of beauty advice and/or makeup tip for women?
A: My best beauty advice for women is to love the skin you're in. Makeup is art and if you're using it as your creativity there is nothing wrong with that. People judge what they cannot understand. Wear what you love!  

Q: What is your most important piece of advice for aspiring professionals?
A: My best beauty advice for aspiring professionals is to stand firm in your gift! Have new goals every time you accomplish the old ones you've made. Stay focused on what YOU want out of life and don't be distracted by everyone else around you. It's never an easy thing to build your business up from scratch, but there is no easy way to be successful except through faith, hard work, dedication, consistency and patience. If your work as an artist isn't built on a solid foundation, when you reach the top it will crumble. Think of the saying, 'the turtle wins the race'.

Q: What is one thing you wish you had known starting out?
A: I honestly wish that someone would have told me through the hard times to stay in love with your passion. There has been quite a few times along this journey that I turned against my gift during hard times when I should have learned to use it as an aid. Be your own encourager, starting this career was never easy, but thankfully I have strong supporters around me lifting me up on a daily basis. Recognize your strong supporters and keep them close, as for everyone else, learn to use them as stepping stones towards your successful future. 

Q: If you weren’t a makeup artist, what would you be doing instead?
A: I get asked this question a lot and I honestly would have loved to be involved in helping the youth somehow. I have such a strong connection with teenagers, specifically the young girls who are growing up with no hope for the future or any confidence for what they want to be in life. There's nothing that lifts me up more than the joy in their eyes when they speak about what they love to do. No one should ever feel like they're nothing in this life. Sometimes growing up in unhealthy situations causes failure in life, and it doesn't have to be that way. I still will find a way to give back to the young girls, to instill confidence in their hearts, so they never have to feel like they're not worth it. 

IG, PINTREST, FB, TWITTER:  @arelquintese 

If you are a professional makeup artist and would like to be a part of this Pro-Interview series, send me an email at nicolemariemakeupartistry(@)gmail(.)com

Monday, April 4, 2016

Classic Hollywood Red Lip

Every woman wants to master the classic Hollywood, cherry red lip. Along with the 'cat eye' it is a staple look for any makeup lover and can make you look chic in any circumstance. The trick for a luscious and succulent red lip that draws you in is to use more than one shade of red. When you use a deeper shade along the perimeter of the mouth and a brighter shade in the center, it will make the lips appear plump and made up by a professional. Lindsay already had perfect lips to begin with, but read on if you would like to see what products I used to get the look; and p.s. one of the lipsticks is a drugstore purchase!
1. Make sure your lips are hydrated and smooth. You can use a damp toothbrush and brown sugar to do some gentle last-minute exfoliation.
2. Line your lips with a red lip liner and make sure to keep all of the edges sharp. Soon I will be doing an entire post on how to properly line your lips!
3. With a lip brush, paint on the darker shade of red lipstick concentrating it around the perimeter of the mouth.
4. With a lip brush, paint on the brighter shade of red lipstick concentrating it in the center of the mouth.


1. Prime the eyes to prevent creasing and ensure long-lasting color, I used Benefit Stay Don't Stray.
2. Apply a matte nude shadow to the entire eyelid and up to the brow bone.
3. Lightly blend a matte caramel brown into the outer corner corner and crease of the eye.
4. With an angled brush, blend a dark ashy brown onto the lash line as eyeliner.
5. Add mascara and false lashes, I used the Kiss Demi Wispies.
6. Softly fill in the brows to finish the look, I used the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in 'Taupe'.

Foundation: Make Up For Ever Face & Body & Graftobian Glamour Cremes
Concealer: Mac Pro Longwear
Powder: Hourglass Ambient Powders (Dim, Ethereal, Diffused)
Blush: Make Up For Ever HD Cream Blush #210
Highlight: Jouer Cream Highlight (Champagne) & Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector (Pearl)

Lipliner: Palladio Herbal Lipliner in 'Red Rose'
Lipstick: Bite 'Tannin' & Revlon 'Love That Red'

My favorite deep red is 'Tannin' by Bite. It is incredibly creamy and hydrating and will add depth to any lip look. My top favorite bright red lipstick is 'Love That Red' by Revlon. It's been in production since the 1951 so you know you will be getting that classic red look! Here is a list I found online of other vintage Revlon shades that you can still purchase today!
What is your favorite red lipstick?