Event Makeup and Custom Body Bronzing by Westi

Event Makeup and Custom Body Bronzing by Westi
Photo by Brandy Fine Focus Photography

Friday, December 21, 2012

Finally got a BB Cream and Love it!

So I have been on the fence about trying a BB cream (short for "beauty balms" or "blemish balms") and it seems like everyone has one now and so many cosmetic companies are making them. I was even at the M.A.C. store the other day and they have one but I thought I would start with a drugstore brand first just to test it out. I bought the Loreal Youth Code BB Cream Illuminator SPF 15 in the color "Light". Loreal claims it "evens, illuminates, perfects, moisturizes and corrects in one step". I bought mine at Target for $16 on sale. I was very curious to try this stuff since I am a makeup artist and should have tried them all by now but will blame that on my crazy life lately. As a mom, I do like to wear something to hydrate and protect my skin when I am running around with the little one and I have been a big fan of Laura Mercier's tinted moisturizer which the texture of the Loreal BB cream reminds me of. It goes on smooth and light and gives a nice glow to the skin and hydrates enough without making my skin feel greasy. At first, I wasn't sure it was covering good enough but as it began to settle on the skin, my skin looked even, smooth and had a bit of a glow which makes me very happy. The one problem I have with it is the smell. Whew. It has a strong floral scent which I am not fond of but I noticed that after an hour, the smell lessened unless I just got used to it. Overall, this is a great product if you can handle the fragrance and I do really like the effect it has on my skin but would be so happy if Loreal came out with a fragrance free version. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Would you ever clean your ear with the handle of your makeup brush?

I really hope the majority of people who read this said NO to my question, but I was shocked to see NeNe Leakes clean her ear with the handle of her eyeshadow brush on the latest episode of the Real Housewives of Atlanta as she was doing her makeup and carrying on a conversation. That vision has stayed in my  head for a few days and I just had to write about it. As a makeup artist, this made me cringe since we are always making sure our makeup and brushes are sanitary and clean. I have always admired NeNe's makeup and think it looks great, so I hope in the future she uses a cotton swab and has someone clean those brushes after she put them in her ear. Ewww. Now I am off to clean my brushes, (which I recommend everyone should try to do once a week) just because I cannot get that vision out of my head. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Urban Decay Naked Skin Foundation Review

I have had mixed feelings with the new Urban Decay Naked Skin foundation. I am a huge fan of Urban Decay and get a pro-artist discount with them so when they came out with this foundation and I received a sample, I knew I just had to have it. I ordered it in the color 3.0. It matches perfectly and this foundation is very light to medium coverage depending on how you apply it. I apply it using my MAC Duo Fiber Brush (#187). The foundation retails for $38 and comes in 18 colors so there is a match for everyone. I like that it has green tea and Vitamin E so it is gentle on the skin and I haven't had any breakouts since using itI am no longer in my twenties and my skin is now a huge factor in how my foundation looks and wears so for me, I have to use a primer before applying this foundation. When I do so, I get a nice light even coverage. I also like to mix a dot of Smashbox Artificial light luminizing lotion (mine is in the color Flash) with it before I apply so I get a nice radiant glow. It doesn't cover acne or age spots so I have to use a concealer. Overall, this is a nice light to medium coverage foundation that gives you a nice even natural look.   

Friday, December 14, 2012

I'm Back-Thanks in Part to Vitamin C

I cannot believe it has been so long since I have posted. So awful but I can explain. We bought another house, rented the old one, produced my own makeup show for a local artists talent showcase, got stomach flu, lost 6 pounds in a week, recently got bronchitis for three weeks and now are going into the holidays. All this time, I have been bursting with ideas to post but with all the stress, drama and illness in my life I have not been able to sit down to get them typed up. One thing I have learned through all of this is how taking care of ourselves has a huge influence on the way our skin looks. My skin went through dehydration and a serious breakout and is finally beginning to look somewhat normal after two months. While being ill and very stressed, I realized how powerful Vitamin C is and the effect it can have on our skin and health. Every day, I took 1000mg of Vitamin C in tablet form in the morning and drank a packet of Emergen C Acai flavor (which contains 1000mg of Vitamin C) in the afternoon. I was shocked that after a week,  my normally brittle nails are stronger without cracking, my eyebrows began to fill in on the outsides (which never happens) and my skin began to clear up and look more firm. I do not recommend taking large amounts of Vitamin C and please check with your doctor before doing so since large doses of Vitamin C can have side effects but it is truly amazing how it contributes to our well being both inside and out. I will definitely be taking Vitamin C and the Emergen C packet to see if these results continue. Cheers!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

February Makeup Portfolio Photo Shoot

I can't believe how time has flown by and how much I have neglected my blog. I am so pleased at how my photo shoot turned out and to have gotten to work with such incredible talent. I had a vision of strong makeup in an outdoor setting and I think that was captured well in these photos. I admit it was a bit scarey to put myself out there with a few of these looks, but that is how I feel I will grow as an artist. I wish I could have blended a bit more, but for times sake could not. Overall, I think the models, hair, makeup and photography are amazing and I am so proud of these images. Photographer Julia Varga of Julia Varga Photography was a true pro and captured these beauties with amazing uses of light. You can visit her Web site at http://www.juliavarga.com/ and her blog at  http://juliavarga.wordpress.com/ is so inspiring. The hair was done by Kylie and team at Rejuvenation a Hair Salon http://www.rejuvenationahairsalon.com/ and makeup by yours truly. I did end up using RCMA foundation on all models and the NYX lip colors from my previous blog and I noticed on set that I wish they were more matte but still did the job well. I also used Naked Cosmetics pigments on the eyes which are incredible and I promise to blog about soon. The past few months have been spent traveling to makeup shows and MAC master classes to educate and motivate me for the upcoming wedding season so lots of exciting new things are in the works. Here are a few photos of the shoot:

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Inspiration for my Upcoming Photoshoot

Here are pieces of inspiration and flowers that I will be using for our portfolio photshoot. The lipstick colors pictured above are from left to right/top: Pandora by NYX (deep purple), Bruised by Nyx (almost black), Nymphus by NYX (deep rusty red), and Citrine by NYX(bright orange)
Here are pieces of inspiration that I will be using on my upcoming photoshoot in February. I now have the photographer and three models booked so now let the creativity begin. I know we want to do a more bohemian chic theme and it will be shot outside at a local park with bridges and wooded areas. I can't wait to see the outcome. Now I just need to get some ideas for the models overall looks. I know I want to use an almost black lipstick ("Bruised" Round Lipstick by NYX), a deep rusty color ("Nymphus" Round Lipstick by NYX) a deep purple ("Pandora" Round Lipstick by NYX) and a bright orange ("Citrine" Black Label Lipstick by NYX). Now, for the eyes... I need help. I have a few ideas but have yet to decide each model's look. If anyone has any good combinations with these lipsticks, please comment and let me know. To be continued....

Saturday, January 28, 2012

SkinPrep FX Primer Review

Foundation PrimerIf you have read a few of my blogs, you know I am trying everything to slow down and hide the signs of aging before I finally cave and get Botox and I found yet another amazing addition to my skincare and makeup routine. Its SkinPrep FXNourishing Foundation Primer &
Anti-Aging Serum. I originally purchased this to use only as a primer under makeup to help soften the lines around my eyes and forehead, but once I started using it I realized my skin looked clear and refreshed after a few days so now I am using it at night as part of my skincare routine.  It feels as if you have nothing on but your skin feels like silk and my foundation glides on with ease and my pores and lines are much less noticeable.  I like that it is oil free, fragrance free and paraben free so I feel confident knowing it is working to improve my skin while I wear makeup. This is a great primer for normal to dry skin so if you are oily you may want to try their Clear Prep Fx.  I purchased mine from the CoverFX Web site for $45 which can be a bit steep for a primer alone, but if used as a primer and anti-aging addition to your skincare routine it is well justified. I can't wait to use this on some of my wedding clients to help speed up the application time of foundation while improving the skin's condition.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

NYX Lipstick and Lip Pencil Haul

I recently visited a Web site called Cherry Culture and was blown away by their prices on NYX as well as other brands. I hope the sale is ongoing so others can get these amazing prices. I didn't want to spend a lot of money on these colors since I will rarely use them on brides and clients but wanted to get some very edgy colors. Here is what I got:

From Left to Right: Black Label Lipstick in Italian Chic, Round Lipsticks in Nymphus and Penelope, Black Label Lipstick in Citrine, Round Lipsticks in Bruised, Pandora and Phoebe.  The Long Lip Pencils from top to bottom are: Deep Purple, Coffee, Mahogany and Nutmeg. The Black Label Lipsticks were $5.99, Round Label Lipsticks $2.50 and the Long Lip Pencils $1.99. Awesome!!!

Here are the lipstick swatches on my arm from bottom to top: Black Label Lipstick in Italian Chic, Round Lipsticks in Nymphus and Penelope, Black Label Lipstick in Citrine, Round Lipsticks in Bruised, Pandora and Phoebe.

Funny thing is that I was only going to get a black and purple lipstick to add to my kit and I decided to splurge and stock up on some fun colors. I was like a kid in a candy store. I can never just buy one or two things. So excited about my upcoming photo shoot. Can't wait to use these in some photos.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Smashbox Artificial Light Luminizing Lotion Review

I am not getting any younger and I am still shy about botox so I am always looking for ways to hide wrinkles, shadows or anything showing my age. I think illuminators are an amazing way to diffuse lines and imperfections and this one is the best I have tried yet. I mix it with foundation, tinted moisturizers and primers to give my skin a healthy youthful glow. A little goes a long way. I am still trying to find a way to get a tiny drop so I don't waste it. This product reminds me of Low Beam from Benefit but has a more natural color and a fluid-like consistency that helps even my sometimes dehydrated skin look dewey and glowing. There are no flakes of glitter, just a gorgeous natural glow. I have even applied it with a stippling brush over my makeup as a highighter and loved it. I didn't look glittery like a disco ball either. I purchased mine on the Smashbox Web site for $26 and think its well worth it. This should last me a while and I don't go anywhere without it except the gym. I can't wait to use this on clients, especially brides and models and I hope others love it as much as I do.

Monday, January 16, 2012

January Birchbox Review

I was so excited to receive my January Birchbox in the mail. The box was beautifully presented and packed well which raised a question as to how the sample of Juicy Couture was shattered into tiny pieces and the entire package was covered with the smell. Ugh. I guess that is compliments of our local mail delivery service.
The samples inlcluded in the January Birchbox shipment I received were:

1. VMV Hypoallergenics Re-Everything Eye Serum. This is a good size sample and I am very much looking forward to using this since it is supposed to work well on dark circles which is my main issue after fine lines so I will be doing a blog about this for sure.

2. Juicy Couture fragrance. This scent is really growing on me. I think it was a bit overwhelming because it spilled everywhere and was all over everything but when I pass by the box, I really love the sweet floral but clean smell. My husband kept asking me what smelled so good too. Haa haa.

3. Zoya Nail Polish in Kristen. Beautiful bluish gray color just like the description. I am not a fan of blue nails but this has enough gray in it to make it run and neutral at the same time.

4. Jouer Moisturizing Lip Gloss in Birchbox Pink. This is a very nice fuchsia color. Very pretty. I have not gotten a chance to try it but will be using it soon!
This is the box that everything was nicely packaged inside.

This card was included to give information on each item and how much each full-size product would cost. Love this!

1. VMV Hypoallergenics Re-Everything Eye Serum
2. Juicy Couture Fragrance (Bummer this was shattered but the smell is amazing and is everywhere in my house now. Haa haa)

3. Zoya Nail Polish in Kristen (So Pretty! Have this on my nails right now)
4. Jouer Lip Gloss in Birchbox Pink. Very cute and pretty pink.
5. LARABAR. Love these things but my toddler grabbed it and ripped it open and ate it before I could take a picture. Bummer, but these are yummo!

 My overall experience with Birchbox is that they have great attention to detail with their beautiful packaging and inclusion cards that make it clear and easy to understand each product and how much the full sizes are. I think for $10 a month, I will give it a few more months and see what samples come my way if the post man can get it here in one piece. Arrgggghh..

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

How to Clean Makeup Brushes and Stop them from Shedding

Since cleaning my brushes is something I do weekly and have experimented with for years, I thought I would share how I clean my brushes and what I use to keep them looking new and not shedding like a dog on a velvet couch. Here are the steps that I take to cleaning and conditioning my brushes.
Step 1.  Get some gentle or natural shampoo and conditioner that is appropriate for cleaning brushes. I use Johnson's Baby Shampoo to cleanse both my synthetic and natural brushes. I find that the gold baby shampoo cuts the greasy foundation on my brushes that most brush cleaners can't and is gentle so it won't damage my brushes. I know some artists use natural shampoo by various brands and those work great too but I find that this works best for me and tames my daughter's "Richard Simmons" hair so it is a multi-tasker in our house. I have also discovered the key to keep brushes from shedding is to condition them. Makes sense right? What happens to our hair when we style it and style it and then only shampoo it? Well, mine can become a serious disaster without some conditioner. I use the same conditioner at the moment that I use on my hair. It is from Rejuvenation Salon and is a silk protein conditioner. Amazing. You can use just about any conditioner for your brushes but this one works well for me and makes my brushes extra shiny.

 Here are two dirty brushes with foundation and good old Johnson's Baby Shampoo and Rejuvenation Silk Protein Conditioner from my friend's salon.  If you are at all interested in purchasing it you can call Rejuvenation at
(805) 778-1602.  
 Step 2. Take your dirty brush and squeeze just a bead of shampoo into your hand then wet the brush and swirl the brush into your hand to massage the shampoo into the bristles. When you work up a lather and see the color in your hand, then rinse the brush under warm running water. Repeat this step until the water runs clear. I also test the brushes by swiping them on a dry paper towel after the water runs clear to make sure all traces of makeup have been removed.
Here is my dirty brush before cleansing.

No, this isn't my grandma's hand. Haa haa. It is the winter and I have a toddler so my hands spend a lot of time in hot water and washing brushes is no different. I have tried using rubber gloves but like to feel the brushes when I was them and think it gets them cleaner by massaging them a bit.

Keep swirling and adding shampoo and rinsing until the water runs clear.

Whallah!! No traces of makeup. Sorry for the blurry shot. I just got a new camera so future blogs will be more clear.

Step 3.  Take a bead of conditioner into the palm of your hand and gently massage the brush into it and then swirl and rinse.

Step 4. I like to gently squeeze the brush into a washcloth or towel to remove any excess water and then lay the brushes on a clean dry towel to dry. I like to roll the towel on the side where the handles of the brushes will be laying so they will be at an angle so the water will not stay in the ferrule. This will also help keep the brushes from shedding since water in the ferrule can loosen the hairs or rot them.
Here are a few brushes shiny, clean and conditioned waiting for their next trip to enhance someone's beauty. Hope you can see that the brushes are laying at an angle with the handles elevated higher than the bristles of the brushes.

I am always experimenting with different techniques and shampoos and conditioners to make sure my brushes stay like new and in good condition. Nothing is more frustrating that hairs falling all over the face of your client when you are trying to apply makeup. I even had a wedding photographer standing over my shoulder waiting for me to remove hairs on my client's face before taking a close up shot and of course I felt a bit embarassed but this method has kept my brushes healthy and shed-free.