Feb 28, 2012

Interview with a Makeup Artist

I'm so fortunate to have the friends I do especially when they're either makeup artists or hair stylists!  My fabulous friend, Ariella (who featured on my blog HERE and HERE and HERE) is not only a makeup artist but, now, a registered holistic nutritionist.  YAY for me!!  Anyway, check out a Q&A with the lovely lady:

1) How did you first get into makeup artistry?
I knew I wanted to pursue art but wanted to make sure I could make a living at it so I thought working in TV & film was my best bet.

2) What is your favorite style of makeup to do on others?
I love doing special FX makeup but since I mainly do weddings now, creating a "natural glow" is something I love.

3) What are your favorite cosmetics?
I can honestly say I don't have one brand that I'm loyal to.  There are usually 2 or 3 products from many different lines that I gravitate towards.  For example, my current faves are Tarte Foundations, Benefit Highlighters, MAC Eye Primer, Laura Mercier Face Primer and Stila Eye Shadows.

4) What is the hardest thing (makeup-wise) you've ever learned to do?
I turned a past boyfriend into a blue alien.  Let me say that it was no cake walk!  Airbrushing full bodies is very challenging because unlike a face or a canvas, you must consider every individual angle and a person's movements.

5) Is wearing primer necessary?
It depends completely on your skin type and lifestyle.  If you're a person that applies makeup at 7 AM and needs it to last through the evening then, yes, invest in a good primer.  I see too many women with creased eye makeup and want to run after them holding eyeshadow primer!  Also, if you have blemished skin, I also suggest using a face primer to protect and even out skin tone.  Although a good primer is an investment, your foundation will last longer as a result.  Laura Mercier and Smashbox make fantastic primers.

6) What is the proper way to apply concealer?  Foundation?  Powder?
I find that applying foundation first, then concealer and, finally, powder (powder seals the liquid makeup) to be the most lasting method.  Concealer should be pressed into the face NOT swiped which just moves the makeup around the face.  Press it in with a brush or your fingertip.  Also, press the powder into your face, similar to concealer (try using a makeup sponge) as swiping it will case the makeup to move around and look blotchy.

7) Any special tips you can share?
Experiment and practice!  Makeup is supposed to be a fun way of expressing yourself, like fashion.  Try something new and have fun!  It doesn't need to be the same thing everyday.

8) What's the best way to cover acne scaring?  Pimples?  Blackheads?
The best way to deal with acne or blemishes is to let your skin breathe.  (In other words, don't cover your skin all the time.)  Address the problem and ensure you're taking your makeup off every night.  Also, moisturize your skin!  Often oily skin, which leads to blemishes, is a result of lack of moisture which makes your body overcompensate.  Another tip is to try wearing a foundation with clay in it (like Tarte) which helps control oil throughout the day.  If you're very red in skin tone mix a little green corrector into your foundation which will help even out the complexion.

9) How do you create a smoky eye with as few steps as possible?
3 colors, that's all you need!  1) Medium, all-over color.  2) Feature color, darkest one.  3) Highlighter, for eyebrow and corner of the eye.  Take your first color and apply it all over your eyelid and below the bottom lashes.  Take your feature color and SLOWLY add it on top and into your lash line.  (This can be as bold or as subtle as you'd like.)  Remember, you can always add more color and it's much more difficult to take it off once applied so take your time.  Add the highlighter last and throw on some liner if you want.  (adds a bit more drama to the look.)  Voila, a smoky eye.  I personally love doing smoky eyes in different colors like brown, maroon, purple or navy blue!

10) Any secrets of the trade you want to share?
Choose one facial feature to focus on and the rest should be complimentary.  Either your eyes, lips, cheeks but not everything at once.  Invest in a couple of great brushes as they are the backbone of any great look.  Another good investment is foundation in a pump or squeeze bottle; bacteria stays away for longer and you can control how much product you want to use.

Whew, lots of questions.  Thanks Christina for asking me to chat!!

Note from Christina - Ariella attended Blanche McDonald Professional Makeup School and, after finishing the program, started working on many independent films as a makeup artist.  She left the film industry, quite some time later, to pursue other career passions (such as holistic nutrition.)  She mainly focuses on weddings (yes, she's doing my makeup for my wedding) and photo shoots in the Vancouver area.  She has a passion for eco-friendly makeup and making women feel like the best version of themselves.  She loves helping people feel effortless in their makeup (not like they're wearing face paint) though she does enjoy making a mean dead body once in a while!!  Ha

Feb 27, 2012

Top 6 Red Carpet Looks

Yesterday was the first time I watched the entire Oscar pre-show.  I typically flip back and forth while watching something else to ensure I see a few highlights (aka Brad Pit....) but yesterday I watched it from start to finish.  Though I'm usually blown away by the fabulous dresses the women wear, I have to say that yesterday the looks were even better than I expected.  Most of the dresses encompassed an Old Hollywood Glam theme which is definitely up my alley.  Here are my top 6 looks from the red carpet..

#6 - Berenice Bejo from The Artist 

Berenice is absolutely stunning most of the time but last night she was breathtaking.  Honestly, there is no one I know that could pull off a mint green lace long-sleeved dress with as much grace as she did.  Plus, her red hair accentuated this dress is such a fantastic way.  She looked amazing!

#5 - Rooney Mara from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Ummm, simply stunning. Honestly I have no other words to describe this look.  First off, this dress would not look good on anyone other than Rooney because of her vintage appeal.  Her dark hair and fair skin tone add so much dimension to this dress that it's as if it was created for her.  (which it very well could have been.)  She looked so amazing.

#4 - Milla Jovovich 

Is there ever a time when Milla doesn't look fabulous?  Seriously, this girl has got mad skills, phenomenal willpower OR amazing genes.  Hmmmm...This one-shoulder beaded white dress looks amazing on her AND, again, has a vintage vibe to it.  

#3 - Emma Stone from The Help

This girl is such a cutie.  She's hilarious during the red carpet interviews and even funnier when presenting the award with Ben Stiller.  I love that she can make any, and all, styles look fantastic and breezy.  I adore this dress because the color suits her to a tee and the bow adds something extra special.  Plus, it's giving off a vintage vibe that really follows suit with the Oscars theme this year.

#2 - Natalie Portman

When I first saw her in this dress, I had no idea it was covered in polka dots.  Yes, I watched it in HD but I was staring at her prefect skin so I barely noticed the dress.  Looking back at it now, I realize just how gorgeous it really was.  Though this is not usually my favorite style of dress, it's perfect on her and something I would LOVE to wear because of the color.  As always, Natalie looked fantastic.

#1 - Michelle Williams from My Week With Marilyn

There are some people that just ooze confidence and radiate beauty and Michelle Williams is that person.  Never have I ever seen her in a look that she couldn't wear beautifully and with her fair, porcelain skin and blonde hair, she can pull off almost every color.  Not only was she wearing the best color of the night but her dress was so unique and fabulous that she appeared in a level all her own.  I WISH this dress was mine.

What were your favorite looks of the night?  Any dresses stand out to you?

Feb 23, 2012

How To: The Green Concealer

Recently (and by recently I mean the last year and a half) I began using green concealer.  There was a brief period of time when my face was completely clear or all things red however, this grace period disappeared and I am now back to using a green concealer daily to cover any, and all, red imperfections.  After using this green stick for the past year, I can honestly say I have no idea how I lived without it.

Pimples suck right? I know, silly question.  However, what sucks more than having a pimple is not knowing how to conceal it properly.  It doesn't matter how expensive the concealer, foundation or powder you use if it doesn't conceal imperfections well.  Plus, to hide a red mark you must use a green based concealer.  A yellow based product will never hide a blemish the way it's color counterpart can.  It's as simple as that.

There are 3 items I swear by when concealing pimples: green concealer, a concealer brush and a fantastic loose powder.  (Now, since I only ever use a powder foundation I also incorporate a great powder foundation and a makeup sponge.  If you are only trying to cover a blemish and don't like a lot of makeup, then you only need the first three items.)  The three items I use daily to cover all blemishes are Physician's Formula Gentle Cover Concealer in Cover Green, E.L.F. Professional Concealer Brush and my trusty Youngblood Loose Foundation in Pearl.

  Step 1: The Green Concealer

Swipe the brush back and forth in the concealer a few times to ensure the brush has a light coating of concealer.

Step 2: Apply Concealer to Blemish

Apply green concealer-coated brush directly to blemish.  (PS - I would never normally use this much concealer on a spot but wanted to show you what the color looked like against my skin.)  Once applied, pat the product into the pimple using your middle finger (or which ever finger you feel comfortable using.)  Don't be alarmed if the spot is still slightly visible through the concealer.

Step 3: The Loose Powder

Perhaps my favorite step of all.  Take the same concealer brush you used to apply the green concealer and place in some loose powder.  Put enough on the brush to cover the pimple you'd applied the green concealer on.

Step 4: Applying the Loose Powder

Apply the loose powder directly to the blemish.  No need to be fancy as all the excess with be blended in momentarily.

Step 5: Blending

I always use my middle finger to blend but should you want to use something else, a makeup sponge does come in handy here.  Blend until all the loose powder is firmly in the skin and the blemish is covered.  

Now, for the ladies that like to wear less makeup then by all means stop here.  However, I like to finish my whole face off with a fabulous pressed powder (Clinique's Perfectly Real Compact Makeup and a makeup sponge).   I find that this not only sets the concealer but my face appears flawless and feels much smoother.

Hope this makeup trick helps ladies.  Do you usually use a green concealer?  If so, which is your favorite brand?

Feb 22, 2012

Obsessed With: Paperself Eyelashes

I wanted the Dior Velvet Eyes soooo badly that Allan took himself to Sephora while on a business trip and snapped me up a pair.  I raved about them for days, months even, but have yet to find the proper place to wear them.  Now, I find myself obsessed with something equally as unique: shaped paper eyelashes called Paperself.

If you've never seen them before, you MUST check out this link.  These lashes are so different, unique and intricate that just owning a pair might make you feel like the luckiest person in the world.

According to Paperself's website, the lashes are "inspired by the art of Chinese paper-cutting.  The eyelashes blend an element of traditional culture with contemporary design."  The lashes come in 11 different styles and each style has a different symbolic meaning like success, love or happiness (just to name a few).  Another awesome thing about these lashes is that you can either wear the full lash for a dramatic look OR cut a little piece to wear in the outer corner of the eye as an accessory.

I am SO going to get me a pair of the Peacock style.  They are gorgeous!  I should mention that they are selling at Sephora (on-line) for $9 USD instead of the regular $19 USD.  Gotta love a good deal!

What do you think ladies?  Have you tried these before?  What's your favorite style?

Feb 21, 2012

My Style Icon: Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn has been my style icon for as long as I can remember.  And it wasn't just her style that I loved, it's just her.  For example, she used to be a ballet dancer like me, she rocked short hair (most of her on-screen life) like me, and she adored Givenchy clothing (also, like me.)  Plus, she dedicated her life to helping others with UNICEF.  She was honestly, one of the most amazing individuals ever.

Aside from all these outstanding things, she will always be remembered for her style, both in and out of the movies...

"I never thought I'd land in pictures with a face like mine" -Audrey Hepburn

"There is more to sex appeal than just measurements.  I don't need a bedroom to 
prove my womanliness.  I can convey just as much sex appeal, picking apples of a tree
or standing in the rain" - Audrey Hepburn

"The beauty of a woman is not in facial mode but the true beauty in a woman is reflected 
in her soul.  It is the caring that she lovingly gives the passion that she shows.  The
beauty of a woman grows with the passing years" - Audrey Hepburn

"I believe in manicures.  I believe overdressing.  I believe primping at leisure and wearing lipstick.
I believe in pink.  I believe happy girls are the prettiest girls" - Audrey Hepburn

Wasn't she fabulous?  Who are your style icons?

Feb 17, 2012

DIY Beauty Fridays: Removing Product Build-Up with Baking Soda

Did you know your hair is prone to build-up?  Gross, right?

For those that haven't heard this term before, build-up is a layer of product left behind after shampooing.  Sometimes, even the shampoo and conditioner you use can be the culprit.  You know when your hair has product build-up because it feels greasier then usual, extremely weighed down, and will look very lackluster.  If this is your hair, you need a clarifying shampoo.  Or, better yet, you need a cheaper alternative....

DIY Clarifying Shampoo

Shampoo (please please please try to use a sulfate and paraben free shampoo)
1 tsp baking soda

Place desired amount of shampoo in your hand.  ( I personally know I use too much shampoo but find a quarter size amount just isn't enough.  I use the size of two quarters when I shampoo my hair.)  Mix the baking soda into the shampoo you have in the palm of your hand.  Apply to hair like normal.  Let stand 5 minutes and rinse out with warm/cool water.  Apply a good conditioner afterwards!!  

Baking soda is a great alternative to purchasing an expensive clarifying shampoo.  Not only does it do the trick BUT it's something that everyone has in their cupboard.  If you use a lot of products daily, you'll want to ensure that you're clarifying about once every 3 weeks.  If you don't use very many products, a clarifying treatment once every month and a half will suffice.

Try this out ladies.  Your hair will definitely thank you!

Feb 15, 2012

Wedding Wednesdays: The Vintage Wedding Dress

As you all know (since I talk about it at least once a week on here), I'm getting married September 15th.  Of course this in itself is extremely exciting but I'm also stoked about our vintage wedding theme.  Allan was very understanding when I explained I wanted a vintage theme (this of course means our color scheme is turquoise, yellow and grey) and his only request was that we incorporate "biking" to some extent.  With all the vintage tandem bike paraphernalia on Etsy these days, it's been very easy.

Anyway, enough about the theme...let's talk dresses.  [I should quickly mention that Bronwen (my fab blogger friend and bridesmaid) writes a recurring post called Wedding Wednesday but with her on vacation at the moment, I thought I would write this week's].  Because of the vintage theme, I wanted to find a dress that not only followed suit but also fit me to a tee.  I'm happy to say that I've already purchased my dress but since I can't give away too many details about it just yet (in case Allan decides to read this post), I thought I'd post some pics of others dresses that all have something in common with my dress....LACE!!

Any of these dresses striking a chord with you?  Which one is your favorite?

Feb 14, 2012

OOTD: Valentine's Day Style

Yes, this is my banana peel from this morning
Happy Love Day everyone!!

Am I a sucker for commercialism if I say I love Valentine's Day?  I certainly hope not.  Valentine's Day, for me though, isn't about the chocolates or flowers or dinner dates out on the town.  Instead, it's the premise of a love day that makes me happy.  Everyone seems to be in a special mood regardless of where you go and the lovey-dovey words just seem to pour out of me.  I guess I am a true sap.

So, seeing that today is an extra special day, I thought I'd share a couple items that make me remember hearts and love: my favorite Material Girls heart sweater and Physician's Formula Happy Booster Glow & Mood Boosting Powder in Natural.

First check out this blush.  Not only does it have hearts galore inside the compact but the colors are just divine.  I love how shimmery the colors are and how natural looking the pink tones are.  Definitely a plus for anyone with fair skin.

Last but not least, one of my favorite Macy's purchases ever...a Material Girl Collection (Madonna and her daughter's clothing line) grey, black and red sweater.  I love it because it's the perfect length when worn with leggins (since it still covers my bum) and I can through on a leather jacket and feel very rocker-ish, like I did this morning.

I'm now going to enjoy the homemade spinach dip I made for our staff V-Day Potluck and await the surprise dinner Allan has planned for tonight.

What are your plans for today?  What are your favorite heart items?

Feb 13, 2012

Lusting Over....Estee Lauder's Idealist Even Skintone Illuminator

Sometimes the world can be so magical a place that radiant, illuminated skin can come from a bottle.

According to Estee Lauder, that day has come.

I realize this product has been out for a couple months but for some reason it's just made its way to my "want" list today.  The reason for my sudden desire you ask?  Well, with the wedding coming up in 7 months, I'm on a quest to find the best radiance in a bottle.  For those that know me quite well, I'm always on the hunt for the perfect product that creates a dewy, glowing complexion.  Of course, there are always my tried and true illuminators, which I love, BUT my all-time favorite has been discontinued.  This, of course, means I must continue searching to find the perfect replacement.  Enter Estee Lauder Idealist Even Skintone Illuminator.

I've been using Estee Lauder's original Idealist for years now and adore it.  Honestly, it not only makes my pores smaller but it smooths all my fine lines, creates an even skintone and makes my skin feel silky smooth.  In terms of primers go, this is my go-to.  The only thing lacking with this product is the non-existent shimmer.  Yes, I know that not everyone wants to be a shimmery pixie (like I do) but it would be nice if this product had a radiant addition.  Which, I'm sure could be the reason Estee Lauder created the Idealist Illuminator.

This product not only does everything the regular Idealist does but also gives your skin that slight glow.  Plus, when used daily you'll notice that your puffy eyes and dark circles will dissipate.  On that alone this product is worth it.

Bad news is the price.  Yes, it is rather expensive but it does work.  Prices are as follows: 3.4 oz $135 (USD), 1.7 oz $85 (USD) and 1.0 oz $58 (USD).  I'm definitely going to be saving my pennies for this product that's for sure.

Have you tried any of the Idealist products before?  What are your thoughts?

Feb 10, 2012

DIY Beauty Fridays: Pomegranate Body Exfoliator

Pomegranates are one of the strangest fruits I think I've ever eaten.  I mean you're actually supposed to eat only the seeds.  Strange right?  As strange as it is for a food source, pomegranates are a gold mine of antioxidants making them fantastic for skin and body care. 

Pomegranate Body Exfoliator 

1 TBSP finely ground pomegranate seeds (you can buy this in health food stores or grind your own)
1/2 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp aloe vera gel 
1/4 cup olive oil (extra virgin works best)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and then, while in the shower, get scrubbing.  Apply the polish in circular motions to wet skin.  Rinse with warm water and pat dry.  **For a coarser scrub grind some of the pomegranate rind/skin/peel into the mixture.**

Why this works?  Pomegranates are literally a super fruit.  Aside from all the antioxidants, they also contain something called Punic Acid which helps keep skin looking young and healthy.  The actual pomegranate extract calms and moisturizes the body during the cold, dry month which makes this winter fruit a necessity for the winter season.  This exfoliator will not only moisturize but also remove dry, scaly, unwanted skin.

Happy scrubbing ladies and have an amazing weekend!

Feb 9, 2012

The Beauty Tips I'd Tell My Younger Self...

If only our wrinkles could be as cute as these...
In two months I'm going to be 30.

Wow, just writing that number makes me slightly nauseous.  Please don't think I'm one of those oh-man-I-hate-birthdays-and-want-to-permanently-stay-25 kinda gals because I'm honestly not (though being 25 forever sounds awesome.)  What's freaking me out about being 30 can be summed up in one word: wrinkles.  It's isn't that I have a lot, I don't, but we all know that as you age, you face ages too.  This is why I am worried.  (Which adds to wrinkles, I know, but I can't stop.)

However, what I would LOVE to be able to do is go back in time to chat with my 17 year old self and explain all the little things one should never do in their teens and early twenties....

1.  Never EVER go to sleep with your makeup on

This, my friends, is a classic no-no that I perfected while in my twenties.  Oh, who's fooling, I still do this after an extremely late night.  (Bad Christina.)  We all know the repercussions of being lazy but, unfortunately, this lack of cleansing leaves your skin dry, dirty, oily and clogs your pores to no end.  If you find yourself in this predicament, keep a container of Oil of Olay Daily Facial Wet Cloths (my favorite) on your bedside table and wipe as you're falling in to bed.  Trust me, you skin will thank you!!

2.  It's NEVER to early to start using an eye cream

I give props to my mom for starting me on an eye cream at a very early age (16) but I also curse myself for not using it as often as I should.  I always say this till I'm blue in the face but, seriously, if you begin a regimen that includes anti-aging early on, you're less likely to have a face load of wrinkles.  Some, yes but a face load, no.  My favorite eye cream is Clinique's All About Eyes.  It's the one I use myself every morning and evening.

3.  Water really does prevent blemishes

I grew up in a household where we ate well-balanced, healthy meals and junk food was almost never allowed through the front door.  When I moved out at 17 and began living on my own (and eating things like pop tarts for breakfast), I thought I'd disprove the theory that problem skin was directly related to junk food.  As it turns out, your skin does not like things like fried food, pop, sugar and tons of coffee.  Though having the odd bad-for-you meal out isn't going to affect your skin, a steady diet of these items will.  This is why it's important to eat a lot of fruit and vegetables AND drink 8 glasses of water a day.  The water flushes out the toxins in your body and your skin will be extra hydrated.  Plus, you'll have a natural glow.

4.  Sleep isn't for lame-o's 

It's called beauty sleep for a reason.  Your body needs downtime to revive and refresh itself for another strenuous day.  Now, being the odd sleeper I am, 7 hours is a good sleep for me but you should really be aiming for 8 hours, no more and no less.  They say that any more than 8 hours can actually make your body more tired.  So, aim for 8 hours and your skin will thank you.

5.  Picking pimples will make them scar

I never believed my mom when she used to say this to me.  I actually thought that by ridding my skin of the "white goo" I was doing myself a favor.  Ummm, this is really not the case.  Picking a pimple with your fingers can cause the blemishes to spread, will make the pimple area bright red and make the blemish the worse since your fingers carry germs of their own.  IF you need to be rid of a whitehead, grab a tissue and place it in between your fingers.  Cover your fingers with the tissue prior to placing them around the pimple and slowly press on either side.  Once the whitehead is gone, wipe the area with the tissue and STOP PICKING.  It may seem like there is more to pick at, but there actually isn't.  If you follow this rule, you skin shouldn't be as red, if at all.

Whew, so many tips for my younger self.  Are any of these tips you were doing when you were younger?

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