3 Easy Steps to Nicely Groomed Eyebrows

 This may sound a little bizarre, but I love the feeling of freshly waxed eyebrows – nothing beats it! I usually avoid touch-up tweezing leading up to my self-appointed quarterly appointment so I can get the biggest bang for my buck when I walk into the salon (side note: I apologize for the untamed looks of mine in recent posts).

Many makeup artists swear on the transformations that properly-groomed brows can make on a person. Truthfully, brows can make a big difference in framing your face and (sometimes) make a statement. Take “famous” brows like my list of the top 5 celebrity brows:

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1. Camilla Belle – thick arches that are styled and well-groomed

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2. Audrey Hepburn – thick and tamed for an awesomely defined arch

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3. Charlize Theron – thinner than the other two, with a nice arch and face frame

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4. Rihanna – beautiful shape and arch

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5. Emma Watson – slightly untamed, but still chic and beautiful

3 Steps to Nicely Groomed Brows:

1. Go to an eyebrow specialist to initially shape your brows. An aesthetician at your salon may be a good choice – just make sure that you look at the person’s brows who is shaping yours, as it may be a good indicator of her work. A professional with experience in brow design will help you find the best look for your own brow shape and natural arch, and you don’t have to break the bank either – I’ve found you can find someone to wax your brows nicely for as little as $15! Schedule an appointment for brow waxing every 3-4 months to cleanup and maintain your eyebrow shape.

2. Tweeze stray hairs below your brows to maintain their shape and keep it “clean” whenever you feel it’s necessary. Never tweeze above the eyebrows, because you can easily over-do it and create holes and uneven spots – leave that to the professionals when you schedule a clean-up every fews months.

3. Use a brow pencil, eyeshadow, or a wax/powder combo (like Benefit’s Brow Zings brow shaping kit) with a slanted brow brush (like Sephora’s Pro Brow Brush #20) to fill in the gaps and define and frame your brows. Choose a powder or pencil one shade lighter than your brow color, unless your hair is light blonde – in which case, try one shade darker.

Here’s to show what a big difference nicely groomed brows make:

Me pre-brow wax “cleanup” (Yikes!):

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Me post-brow wax:

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Me post-wax using Benefit “Brow-zings” brow shaping kit (wax and powder) to define and frame:

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As you can see, brows make a big difference! Below is another before and after view to illustrate what a nice, sharp effect a clean brow can have.

PicMonkey Collage

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How to Care for your Eyelashes

Do you want longer, thicker lashes? Getting beautifully lush lashes is more about more than just finding the perfect mascara – it’s about creating a supple canvas to apply your makeup products. It’s important to keep your eyelashes healthy, though this is an often neglected beauty care area. Nice eyelashes will instantly brighten your face, and by following these must-know tips on eyelash care, you’ll be on your way to naturally beautiful lashes:

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1. Take off your makeup before bed. Especially mascara! It’s so important to remove mascara, because leaving it on can cause lashes to fall out prematurely or cause breakage. Soak a cotton ball in eye makeup remover and gently press on your eyelid for 15 seconds. This will help to dissolve the mascara and make it easier to remove by patting or dabbing without having to scrub and irritate your eyes.

2. Comb your eyelashes. Use a clean mascara wand and run it through your lashes a few in the morning to separate the follicles and give the appearance of a fuller lash line. Do this before applying your mascara.

3. Don’t rub your eyes. Rubbing them can twist and pull on the lashes, which causes breakage at the roots and leads to premature fallout. If your eyes are itchy, try gently patting or massaging the area.

4. Be gentle with your eyelash curler. Avoid pinching the skin on your eyelids or pulling on the lashes. Pulling on the lashes will, once again, lead to premature lash fallout. Another good rule of thumb is to curl your lashes first, and apply mascara second…to (you guessed it) avoid pulling and breakage. To use your curler correctly, simply spread the handles and center your upper lashes in between the upper and lower pads. Place the curler at the base of the upper lash line, as close to the roots as possible, without pinching your lid. Squeeze gently. Hold for five to ten seconds and release for beautiful curled lashes.

5. Condition your lashes. Just like you condition your hair, you should do the same to your eyelashes. There are a couple different ways to do this:

  • At night, after taking off your makeup and mascara, spread a small amount of Vaseline on two of your fingertips and spread over your top and bottom lashes. This will work as a deep conditioner, and will make the lashes themselves look fuller and even grow longer. This article on WikiHow is a step by step on how to do this.
  • Use an eyelash primer immediately before applying your mascara. If you wear mascara often, you know that some mascara formulas can have a harsh effect on lashes, by drying them out and making them look shorter and brittle when the mascara comes off. Eyelash primer will counter this, because they are specially formulated conditioners that prep the lashes with conditioning ingredients. My favorite primer is Smashbox’s Layer lash primer, which uses panthenol to strengthen and make the lashes more durable.

6. Use fake eyelashes sparingly. The glue used to put the fake lashes on can hurt your real ones by making them stick together or pulling on them as you remove the fake ones. So while false lashes are a lovely addition to any makeup look, limit using them to special occasions only.

7. Toss out old mascara. Mascara only lasts about 3 – 6 months before it dries up and becomes less effective, so make sure you buy a new tube every so often. Regularly replacing mascara helps to keep your eyes free from germs that can accumulate and lead to infections.

Beauty Tips for the Athletic Girl

As you’ve probably already gathered, I definitely identify as the active type. My true love is running, which I’ve been passionate about since I joined the cross-country team in my early high school days, but I also really enjoy swimming, yoga, hiking, cycling, skiing, tennis, etc. I’ve always believed that just because a girl is sporty, that doesn’t mean she has to identify with the makeup-clueless jock (unless, of course, that’s you’re thing and you proudly own it – in which case, I totally respect that, you go girl!) Through some trial and error, I’ve found some simple beauty tips and tricks for the athletic girl:

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Photo courtesy of Track Attack

Sans Foundation – Nothing’s worse than makeup, mingled in sweat, melting right off your face. Not only does it feel gross, but it’s also clogging up your pores exactly when they need to breath the most! Instead, if you know you’re going to work out later in the day, opt for a tinted moisturizer and spot treat blemishes with a little concealer. OR I’ve found that using a little Bare Minerals original mineral foundation has good coverage, but allows the skin to breathe while you exercise. Also, unlike other loose powders, this one stays put and looks nice and natural instead of creating an oily finish hours after applying – whether you work out or not! Lastly, if you decide to skip face makeup altogether, make sure you use your sunscreen and moisturize!

Lip Balm – Did you know that on your lips is the softest skin on your entire body? It’s import to keep your lips moist too, especially as we approach colder weather and dry and chapped lips can become a problem. My favorite is Burt’s Bees lip balm, which hydrates, moisturizes and nourishes your lips.

Mascara – If for some reason I was stranded on an island and I could only bring one item of makeup, I would have to go with mascara. Why? Because a simple swipe adds definition and intrigue to the eyes. Sometimes I wear waterproof mascara when I workout, but to be honest with you, usually regular does just fine. If you’d like to go for an even more natural look, opt for clear mascara. This gives the lashes a wet look, but still defines them to frame the eyes nicely without a shocking harsh color.

Hair – The most important thing is to make sure it’s out of the way and not flying in your face when you’re moving! I usually opt for a messy bun, which has a chic tousled look (sometimes after a yoga class, it looks better than when I started!) or a braid, which looks nicely feminine. I personally have thin hair, and sometimes a braid accentuates this fact, so I really wish I could rock the braid that lovely thick-haired ladies can! Also, for those little fly-away strands that always manage to come undone, use an elastic headband to reign them in.

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Photo courtesy of Jada Beauty

Remember your extremities! – Elbows, heels, feet…not very flattering parts of the body that I like to keep covered in  the winter because they quickly dry up – especially when I’m in drier climates (like when I visit home in Montana over Christmas – dry and cold)! Use your favorite type of lotion to keep these body parts moist too.

Shades – Even in the winter, the sun can be brightly shinning…granted it depends in what type of climate you live in. To protect the eyes and prevent premature wrinkles (and also as a fun accessory) pick out some trendy shades for outdoor activities. However, make sure they’re not too trendy and will stay on your face as you move!

Bridesmaid Makeup – Do’s and Don’ts

There are a lot of things to think about when one of your close friends asks you to be a bridesmaid – dresses, shoes, accessories, gifts, showers, parties, and that’s all before the actual wedding day! The day of the wedding, cameras will be pointing in every direction if you’re in the general vicinity of the couple being honored, so makeup is an important part of looking and feeling your best. Here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when preparing for the Big Day:

DO ask the bride what she wants you to do. Some brides will want everyone in their wedding party to have their makeup done professionally, others will not mind if you do your own. Make sure you know what is expected of you so you don’t step on anyone’s toes. If you find out that you will be expected to do your own makeup:

DON’T outshine the bride. Make sure to take your cue from how the bride’s makeup is done. If the bride is going for a more natural look, take her lead and do the same. If she decides to go with dramatic eyes or a bold lip, this gives you a little more freedom to play up your makeup with a more bold element – just make sure not to go overboard! This is the bride’s special day, and it’s important to let her shine.

DO practice your makeup a week beforehand. Make sure you test the foundation you will be using so you know your current skin tone matches. You may want to drop by a cosmetics counter at your local mall if you are unsure – most counters will match your foundation for free.

DON’T use any type of moisturizer or foundation with sunscreen in the formula. Some camera flashes will reflect off of the sunscreen and cause discoloration of your face…only in the photo, of course. To avoid looking like a banshee in wedding photos, stay clear to be on the safe side. (*Disclaimer: you should wear sunscreen every other day of your life.) That said, avoid heavy powders, as they can also reflect off of camera flashes.

DO pack your lipstick/lipgloss with you to re-apply. It will most likely be a long day – the ceremony, pictures, and then the reception, and between cocktails and snack breaks your lipstick or gloss will not last the entire time. Use a lip stain so you will always have some color, but keep your top layer of stick or gloss in your purse to easily swipe it on.

DON’T match your makeup to your dress. Match your makeup to your skintone. For cooler skin tones, lean towards pinks and silvery shades, and for warmer skin tones, stick with corals, gold, and earthy tones. Wearing blue eyeshadow to match your blue bridesmaids dress with most likely look tacky and dated in years to come.

DO use waterproof mascara. Whether it’s a hot muggy day, or you’re prone to tearing up a little watching the bride and groom together, this is always a safe choice.

Here are a couple of beautiful bridesmaids I had the honor of doing makeup for at a recent wedding:

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7 Makeup Tips for Women with Mature Skin

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As we age, our skin changes and tends to lose it’s elasticity and luminosity. Using certain makeup techniques can help to make you look younger and hold back the years. Less is more when it comes to makeup in your 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond, as you don’t want to emphasize fine lines and wrinkles. Focus on bringing a little youthful color to the face by making brows, lashes and lips look fuller. Here are a few tips:

1. As the skin thins with age, dark under eye circles may become more prominent. Blend a creamy concealer with moisturizer to ensure that it doesn’t cake or settle in fine lines.

2. When applying foundation, only dot the areas that need it, and blend well so that it doesn’t settle into fine lines. Use light-reflecting foundation or tinted moisturizer to create a youthful glow.

3. Brighten the cheeks and add color with a cream blush like the one I used on this client, L’Oreal’s Magic Smooth Souffle Blush in Plume. The cream blush will have a longer staying power and shows up better on more mature skin than a powder blush will.  Cream blush also has a brightening effect and will give a youthful flush.

4. On the eyes, apply a creamy concealer as an eyeshadow primer and then brush matte neutral tones over the lid and in the crease. Avoid wearing vibrant or hard colors or using metallic or shimmer makeup, as it exaggerates the texture of the skin and draws attention to lines and crepiness.

5. Use a dark brown or grey eye pencil as eye liner; it is more flattering than a harsh black, and the pencil will allow you to work between the roots of lashes. Go over the pencil with a dark powder eyeshadow and smudge the line gently to make the eyelashes look thicker and give the eyes some definition.

6. Define your eyebrows and fill in any sparse areas using an eyebrow pencil and powder the same shade as your hair to make the brows fuller and natural.

7. Fine lines around the mouth will sometimes cause lipstick to bleed. To avoid this, outline the lips with a waxy lip pencil to prevent feathering, and stick with rose or coral toned lipstick or lip gloss.

Above all, don’t stress about the aging process; embrace it! You can still look lovely in the skin you’re in, and your confidence will radiate your beauty!

Liquid vs. Gel Eyeliner

If I had to choose one makeup product that makes the most significant difference in appearance, I would hands-down choose eyeliner. When it is applied correctly, eyeliner can make your eyes pop, and can even make them seem a little flirty (like when using the winged eyeliner technique). However, things can go badly if you’re not using the right products or techniques.

If you like a more precise liner like I do, the best products to use are either the liquid or the gel eyeliner. Here are the differences between the two:

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Liquid Eyeliner: I know many people are intimidated by liquid liners because it calls for a steady hand, but don’t be! Yes, it may take a little practice at first, but a liquid liner will produce the most precise and intense effect that you can get, so it’s well worth learning! Start by taking the wand (or rather, the built in ultra-fine brush) out, and gently scrape the excess paint off the top, so you don’t have it clumping where you don’t want it. Then, follow the brush slowly on your eyelash line. You can build on the thin line to make a thicker line, for whatever is your desired end result. Liquid liner dries very quickly, so if you mess up, rub your finger on it immediately to take off the paint, otherwise you will have to use eye makeup remover to take it off.

I love liquid liner for the intense and bold effect it gives, but it is pretty difficult (and not very sanitary, I haven’t found any good disposable liquid liner brushes yet) to apply on others, so I rarely use it on clients.

Liquid liner

Gel Eyeliner: If liquid eyeliner sounds like a little much, and you need a little wiggle room as you haven’t mastered keeping your hand perfectly still, gel eyeliner is a perfect option! It still can produce a clean, precise look, but the gel doesn’t dry quickly like the liquid paint, so you can easily repair any smudges or mistakes. The key to using gel eyeliner is having a great ultra-fine synthetic-haired brush. My favorite to use for gel liner is this bent liner brush from Sephora. I like this a lot more than other brands and brush styles I’ve used because it is both fine-enough for me, and it has firm bristles so I can wield it where I want it to go without it moving all over my eyelid. Like the liquid liner, it may take a little practice to get used to, but it’s much more forgiving. To apply, just dip your brush in the gel and follow your eyelash line with the brush. You can also add for a thicker line if you like, or “wing” the ends of your eyes.

Gel Liner

If you’d like a less precise look, gel liner is also great for smudging to create a smokey effect. Grab MAC’s 219 Pencil Brush with a dark-colored eyeshadow and swirl it and brush up from the gel immediately after applying it to the lash line.

Smudged Liner