5 Valuable Things I Learned at Makeup School

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When I decided I wanted to pursue makeup artistry as a career, it was important to me to get professional training at a reputable makeup school.  I went to the Makeup Designory (MUD) in New York City where I studied Beauty Makeup.  Prior to attending, being a girl who always wore makeup (I started just by experimenting and using makeup on my own around age 14), I truly thought I knew a lot.  Mind you I had no experience applying makeup on other people and this was way before makeup tutorials were huge on YouTube.  I walked into makeup school as a true amateur.  As exciting as it was to learn this new craft, it was also incredibly overwhelming as there is much more to learning makeup artistry than meets the eye!

Blush Placement – For me, this was exceptionally an epic moment when I discovered the placement.  I think blush is one of the easiest and most effective makeup products every woman should own.  It gives so much life to the face and an instant attraction pick-me-up.  I do not think it is possible for someone to look unattractive with blush (unless the shade is not right or it is way overdone).

I had always applied my blush on the center apples of my cheeks.  My entire life leading up to makeup school, it felt natural and instinctive that is where blush is supposed to go.  Little did I realize, not only should blush be applied at the center of the cheeks, it should also be brushed upwards towards your temples!  I remember literally thinking to myself, “Wait, I thought that was an 80’s thing?”  Then I realized the purpose behind this.  When you look at a person’s profile, the blush should not just stop at the center of the cheeks and also applying the blush upwards slims the face along with accentuating the cheekbones.

Contouring and Highlighting – Before contouring kits existed and became as mainstream as it has now–thanks to celebrities like Kim Kardashian, the concept of contouring was not really a part of most people’s everyday makeup routine.

I had never contoured (let alone known about highighting) until I got to makeup school.  I find this to be a hard skill set to pick up as in the beginning, it can be difficult to know which shades are best to use to contour various skintones and finding the placement on each individual’s face takes a strong eye.  When I started makeup artistry, I used to study images in magazines in order to get a better visual understanding of contouring and highlighting.

Eye Makeup First – Most of my clients find this to be one of the most surprising things to learn as I begin to do their makeup.  Myself included, I use to always start out with my face makeup before applying my eye makeup.  I am not quite sure why but this always seemed like the systematic approach.  Breaking out of this habit on myself took some time but now as a general rule, I always apply eye makeup first.

The main reason behind this is that often times when applying eye shadows, there could be some fall out that collects underneath the eyes.  This would cause you to have to remove it and to most likely reapply the concealer under the eyes or any makeup on the face.  By completing eye makeup first, this problem is eliminated as you can quickly remove the fall out shadow and then go ahead to apply the face makeup without it getting messed up in any way.

Brow Shaping – Makeup speaking, it is a known fact that the eyebrows frame the face.  I really did not know much about brows other than how to pluck my own brows.  More specifically, I learned various ways to fill in the eyebrows and the way they should be shaped.  When I look back at photos of myself before I was a makeup artist, the first thing I notice is how thin my eyebrows were!  I was making them thinner with a tweezer but not filling them in to give them an arch.  They were completely shapeless and almost nonexistent.

False Eyelash Application – I had never attempted to wear false eyelashes before on my own, so learning how to apply them and also wearing them for the first time was an all around new experience.  I learned that applying them on other people was much easier than applying them on myself in the very beginning.  It took me time after I left makeup school to get good at applying them on myself.  Now it is actually much faster for me to apply a pair of false lashes than to coat my lashes with mascara!

Marci’s Bridal Makeup


For Marci’s bridal makeup, we decided the day of to go even more dramatic with the eyes and add some purple hues.  We also opted for dramatic lashes that were long and full.  The final look was not only beautiful but ultra glamourous!

Complexion:  Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer, Cinema Secrets Ultimate Foundation Palette (used as concealer), Dinair Glamour Airbrush Foundation in Light Golden Beige and Honey Beige mixed, MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Medium Deep (to set the entire foundation), MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Dark (for cheek contour), NARS The Multiple in Copacabana and NARS Highlighting Blush in Albatross (cheek highlight), MAC blush in Mocha (blush)

Eyes:  MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Painterly, MAC eyeshadows:  Jest (lid), Seedy Pearl (brow highlight and little bit in inner corner of the eye), Trax (crease), Shadowly Lady (outer crease), MAC Pro Longwear Fluidline in Blacktrack (top liner with slight wing), Rimmel ScandalEyes Waterproof Kohl Eyeliner pencil in black (bottom liner, applied a couple times for extra emphasis and drama), Callas false lashes #415 (I discovered these in a recent trip to California, these lashes are AMAZING), Sephora Outrageous Volume Mascara in Ultra Black (top and bottom lashes), MAC eyeshadow in Brun (brows)

Lips:  Maybelline Super Stay 24 Lip Color in Pink Blossom, Victoria’s Secret lip gloss in Watermelon Splash, MAC Lip Pencil in Soar

The Eye Shadow Blending Brush Everyone Should Own

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One of my makeup philosophies are, you can own all the makeup in the world, but if you do not have the right tools, it does not matter how much makeup you own.  Often times, people underestimate the power of brushes and how an impeccable brush can truly make a world of difference in their makeup application.

When it comes to eye shadow blending, I only use the MAC #217.  There are many eye shadow blending brushes that resemble this brush, with its dome shape and fluffy bristles.  However, there is nothing that compares to it (trust me, I have been open minded and have tried many others)!  I literally own about ten of these brushes in total between my professional makeup kit and my own personal use.

Eye shadow blending is definitely an advanced skill set and by that I mean it takes time to really master the art of blending.  It is for this reason, I highly advise picking up the MAC #217 brush if you want to step up your makeup skills and really be able to blend eye shadow more proficiently.  This is not only a makeup artist necessity but I personally cannot live without it!

Ashley’s Bridal Makeup


For this bridal look, Ashley expressed that she liked makeup and wanted it to be a little more dramatic, especially with more emphasis on the eyes.  She was also open to colors rather than just sticking to neutral eye shadows so we played with adding plums and peachy champagne tones for the eyes.  For the lips, she wanted a pink that would pop more for the photos and with lip liner, this also adds more depth.

Complexion:  Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer, Cinema Secrets Ultimate Foundation Palette (used as concealer), Dinair Glamour Airbrush Foundation in Honey Beige, MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Medium Deep (to set the entire foundation), MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Dark (for cheek contour), NARS The Multiple in Copacabana (cheek highlight), NARS blush in Orgasm (blush)

Eyes:  MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Painterly, MAC eyeshadows:  Gleam (lid), Phloof (brow highlight and little bit in inner corner of the eye), Romp (crease), Sketch and Shadowly Lady (outer crease), MAC Pro Longwear Fluidline in Blacktrack (top liner, thin and slight wing upwards), Rimmel ScandalEyes Waterproof Kohl Eyeliner pencil in black (bottom liner, applied a couple times for extra emphasis and drama), Kiss false lashes #11, Sephora Outrageous Volume Mascara in Ultra Black (top and bottom lashes)

Lips:  Maybelline Super Stay 24 Lip Color in #770 Crystal Pink with a little clear gloss over it, MAC Lip Pencil in Soar



NARS “Albatross” – My Absolute Favorite Highlighter & Makeup Must-Have

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Often times as a makeup artist, I am asked what are some of my favorite products that I use on a daily basis along with in my professional kit.  This can lead to an overwhelming amount of answers as there are so many wonderful products to choose from but there is one single product that comes to mind and it is NARS “Albatross.”

Thankfully, I discovered this highlighter many years ago when I first began doing makeup and to this day, it is still my absolute favorite highlighter.  In my personal collection, I have a few highlighters that I work with but most days I end up wearing NARS “Albatross.”  It is subtle but still manages to pick up beautifully on the skin and especially in photography.

If you keep up with my blog, you will see it is evident I also use this almost every time I do a makeup application on my clients.  Even though it looks deceivingly very white, it actually shows up a sheer light gold.  Best of all, it works on essentially all skin tones!



8 Must-See Fall 2016 Makeup Trends

The look I created above was actually for a bridesmaid in a September wedding and as a young student at FIT, she expressed she wanted a look that was on trend and suitable for a fall wedding.

Best of all, the makeup captures many Fall 2016 makeup trends in a wearable way, so here is a master list of the makeup trends as seen above:

  • Winged Eyeliner – This trend is definitely here to stay and can be seen as very clean and defined (like the look above) or more thick and dramatic.
  • Dramatic Eyelashes – That is where a good pair of false eyelashes comes in!  Mascara is great but to take any look up a notch, false eyelashes are a necessity!
  • Ultra Dewey Skin – Although a matte complexion has been more popular lately, dewey skin has been more commonly seen on the runways these days.  It is more youthful and fresh looking.
  • Matte & Shimmer Eyeshadow Mix – Matte eyeshadow palettes are popping up everywhere but there is nothing like a good mix of matte and shimmer shadows blended to prevent the eyes looking too flat from the matte texture.  Notice in the look above, the look is mainly matte contrasted with a strong brow highlight shimmer and a touch of shimmer in the inner corners.
  • Vampy Lips – Plum and purple lip colors seem to always be more prized in the fall months and this season is no different.  Although the plum lips above is very wearable, don’t be afraid to go darker this season!
  • Subtle blush – This season, I have seen both extremes.  Either a strong pop of color on the cheeks OR a subtle almost no blush kind of blush look.  For the makeup shown above, we decided to go for a subtle blush since the eyes and lips carried the most drama.
  • Natural Brows with Fullness – Brows are not overly defined and definitely not thin.  Today’s brows have some fullness and look untouched (even if they are filled in ever so slightly, who would know otherwise)?
  • Clear Lipgloss – Despite the overabundance of matte lip products in the beauty aisles these days, there is definitely still an appreciation for a simple clear lipgloss to complete any look.

In case you were wondering what products were used to create this Fall 2016 look, let me share the complete list of products I used to design the look featured in this post:


Complexion:  Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser Primer, Cinema Secrets Ultimate Foundation Palette (used as concealer and foundation, I mixed a couple shades from the palette), MAC Studio Careblend Powder in Medium Plus (to set the entire foundation), MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Medium Deep (for cheek contour, blended very softly), NARS Highlighting Blush in Albatross (cheek highlight), MAC Powder Blush in Sincere (just a touch blended in the center of cheeks)

Eyes:  MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Painterly, MAC eyeshadows:  Jest (lid), Nylon and Vex (I mixed both for the brow highlight), Haux (crease), Blackberry (outer crease), Crystal Avalanche (slightly in the inner corners), MAC Pro Longwear Fluidline in Blacktrack (top liner, thin and extended out on the sides winged), [FYI, no bottom eyeliner], Kiss false lashes #11, Sephora Outrageous Volume Mascara in Ultra Black (on top lashes coated over the false eyelashes and lightly on the bottom lashes)

Lips:  Maybelline Super Stay 24 Lip Color in #380 Blackberry Glaze (I think this might be discontinued but can be found here) with a clear coat of lipgloss from the other end of the lip stain

Velour Lashes – Luxurious Silk False Lashes

velour-lashes-momma-knows-bestOver the weekend, I got a chance to try a pair of Velour Lashes on one of my brides, specifically in the style, “Momma Knows Best.”  I would describe this pair of lashes as natural with a more lengthening and defining effect.  The outer corners provide extra volume and give these lashes a little more flair than an ordinary pair of false lashes.

Velour Lashes are 100% handmade of silk and come in such a wide assortment of styles.  The band is flexible and are solid black which is great as I typically need to apply a thin layer of black eyeliner first along the lash band prior to application.  With these false lashes, I can skip that step and proceed to just applying a thin layer of lash glue.  They apply with ease and are also comfortable which is always an important factor when purchasing a pair of false eyelashes!

Velour Lashes can be found on their website directly and are also sold exclusively at Sephora.  

The Purpose of Contouring & How to Achieve the Look

contoured-faceFacial contouring is a makeup application technique that is used to accentuate the shape of the face by defining the cheekbones (some also like to contour the nose and along the jawline).

As a makeup artist, I find contouring absolutely essential when completing a face as I believe everyone looks more attractive with more prominent cheekbones and a slender, more defined face.  These are the main benefits of facial contouring and with just a little bit of makeup, the face can be dramatically enhanced.  The photo above captures a before and after of a face without the facial contours followed by a contoured face (added shadows) as seen along the cheeks, nose, jawline, and forehead.


The MAC #138 brush is great for facial contouring

To achieve this look, you would need to create shadows on the face by picking up a contouring powder (or nowadays cream is another makeup medium available).  When choosing a specific contouring product for your face, it is important to pick a shade that is about two shades darker than your natural skintone.  If you pick a shade that is too light, it will not create a shadow and just blend in with your face.  If you pick something too dark, it will create too harsh of a contrast and look extremely unnatural.  I typically stick with contouring powders (I think they are more user friendly and also appear more natural looking than blending creams) and like to use a fluffy brush that is tapered to contour the cheeks.  Personally, I use the MAC #138 brush.

Aside from choosing the right shade and makeup medium, it is important to get the placement of the product just right to best accentuate your features.  In terms of placement, it is important to apply the contouring product right under the cheekbones as this is what will make them stand out more and create that added definition to the face.  Blush would then be applied above the contour in the center of the cheeks, and a highlighter would be applied right above the blush on the very top of the cheekbones at the highest point.  Finding the right placement might take some practice so I recommend looking at images in magazines (models and celebrities are always contoured to perfection!) and to go to a professional makeup artist to show you the right products to use along with how and where to apply them on your face.

Kim’s Makeup for New York Fashion Week – #NYFW

Kim's makeup for Fashion Week Kim's makeup for Fashion Week 2
Kim attended Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week this past Monday, September 12th and needed a look that was a little more done up than her everyday makeup but also soft.  She wanted the eyes to be a little smokey in neutral tones paired with a lighter lip.

Before creating a look, I always like to take into consideration the actual outfit for the event.  In the photos above, she is wearing a robe but Kim shared with me the outfit prior to me doing the makeup.  Kim showed me a beautiful floral top with burgundy leather pants.

I opted for warmer eye shadows with a slight burgundy undertone.  The lips were nude with a pop of lip liner to add definition and not allow for the lips to blend in too much with her natural skin tone.  For the complexion, airbrush makeup was the way to go to ensure it would outlast the humidity and also give a flawless finish without the feeling of wearing makeup.

:  Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer, Cinema Secrets Ultimate Foundation Palette (used a little bit as under eye concealer), Dinair Glamour Airbrush Foundation in Light Golden Beige, Laura Mercier Invisible Loose Setting Powder (to set the entire foundation), MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Medium Deep (for cheek contour), NARS Highlighting Blush in Albatross (cheek highlight), MAC Powder Blush in Melba (just a light dusting)

Eyes:  MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Painterly, MAC eyeshadows:  Sable (lid), Nylon (brow highlight), All That Glitters (inner corners of eyes), Amber Lights (crease), Shadowy Lady and Embark (outer crease blended together), MAC Pro Longwear Fluidline in Blacktrack (top liner, thin and slight wing upwards), NARS Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner in Via Appia (lined on the bottom first), Rimmel ScandalEyes Waterproof Kohl Eyeliner pencil in black (very softly lined over the Via Appia), Kiss false lashes in the style Shy (these fit perfectly, no trimming needed), Dior Diorshow Iconic Mascara in black (I put a thin coat on the bottom lashes along with the top to blend in the natural lashes with false lashes), MAC eyeshadow in Cork (lightly to fill in the brows)

Lips:  Sisley Phyto-Levre Perfect lip pencil in Nude, Sisley Phyto-Lip Shine lipstick in Sheer Nude, and Sisley Phyto-Lip Gloss in Nude

Here is a look from the front row of Zac Posen’s Spring 2017 Collection (thanks for sharing Kim!)

How to Choose the Perfect Lipstick

How to Choose the Perfect LipstickFor many people, finding the perfect lipstick can be a bit of a challenge and especially overwhelming when you are at a beauty counter and have about a hundred shades staring at you, “Pick me, pick me!”

I love lipsticks and believe every woman should own at least one amazing lipstick, even if you usually only wear a lipgloss or lip balm.

Why do I love lipsticks so much?  I believe lipstick is a total style accessory such as a beautiful cocktail ring or a stunning handbag.  It really expresses your personality, style, and even what mood you are currently in, all in a single swipe.

Here is a set of guidelines to follow for the next time you are faced with a sea of lipsticks without any sense of direction.  Sometimes it can be really hard to choose a shade on your own,  but if you know what exactly to look for, you can go to any makeup counter with confidence!


Lipsticks come in various textures which will allow for them to look and feel very different.

*  Matte:  These are completely shine free.  Your lips will have a more dry looking finish (rather than shiny) and typically last longer throughout the day than any other lipstick texture.  Matte lipsticks are usually very pigmented meaning you can expect a very good color payoff.

* Sheer: These lipsticks have very little color payoff and usually allow for your natural lip color to shine through.  The finish is usually glossy and sort of feels like you are wearing a chapstick or lip conditioner because it feels very lightweight (as if there is nothing on).  The is ideal for someone who does not want to feel like there is much on the lips and does not want a ton of color.

* Creamy: These lipsticks feel exceptionally smooth on the lips because it has the most moisture.  These lipsticks also have great color payoff and best for people that have drier lips.

* Frost: These lipsticks always have a high shine with a metallic finish.  The color payoff can vary but almost always has more pigmentation than a sheer lipstick.


In color theory, intensity refers to the saturation and brightness of a color.  Meaning when choosing a lipstick, it’s good to consider how bright you want the color to be. Although red may seem like the brightest color, depending on its intensity, certain reds are not as bright as others.


In color theory, value refers to the lightness or darkness of a color.  Choosing how dark or light a shade is usually determined by a person’s personal comfort level and personal taste. I believe it is good to have a variety of dark and light shades because depending on the overall look of the makeup, it is good to have both options available.  Plus, it is great to be able to mix different shades and having both light and dark colors allows for you to do this more easily.


Determining a color family can narrow down the lipstick process tremendously.  This simply means picking a general lipstick color such as:  brown, pink, plum, coral, or red. Once you choose a specific color family, you can then examine all the different shades within it.


Are you going to a special event where you want your lips to pop?  Or are you looking for an “everyday” shade that you can wear all the time?  Keep in mind that depending on where you are going or what occasion this is for, your lipstick choice could vary.


It is important to consider your skin tone, hair, and eye color when choosing your best personal lipstick shade.  This is something that you may not have a good eye for initially, so it is always good to ask for a second opinion from a friend or a makeup professional that can give you recommendations on shades that will best suit your personal coloring.


I mention this only because I find this to be extremely crucial in coordinating the right lipstick to complete a look.  It is important to always think about the overall look you are trying to achieve with the makeup.  If you are wearing a smokey eye, usually you want the lips to be soft.  If you are wearing very little eye makeup, you may want to make your lips be the main focal point in which your lipstick choice can afford to be more bold.


This basically refers to your personal taste and what colors you are most drawn to.  I know for myself, I am into style which allows for me to be more experimental with my lipstick choices.  Sometimes I like to be bold, other days I may want a more minimalist look to my makeup.