Breakups To Makeup

Breakups to Makeup StickersI want to introduce this quirky and totally awesome store from NYC called Breakups To Makeup, created by makeup artist Angelique Velez. Breakups to Makeup is an accessories line featuring t-shirts, clutches, stickers, beanies and phone cases. Everything is sold online, and it is so cool and fun, it will get people talking and heads turning with smiles.

The messaging is the best part about this line. My favorite is “Losing you hurt but losing my makeup bag would be a tragedy” and the uber famous “Love raised me, lipstick saved me”. The makeup clutches are made of a black canvas material screen printed in silver metallic foil. The size of the clutch is approximately 8.5 X 8.5″. The interior fabric is a vintage yellow material accompanied with the company’s label attached to the side.

During the Makeup Show NYC, I got some Breakups to Makeup stickers which now decorate my Cozzette brush vessel where I carry my pro brushes. My brush vessel always gets lots of compliments. The stickers and t-shirts are adorable, you can order tank tops and full size t-shirts. Recently, I attended the Breakups to Makeup anniversary event here in New York and got the cutest brush holder, compliments of Angelique. Thank you so much! I love all these and wish you every success in the years to come. You are a total inspiration to us, a makeup artist, educator and a business woman!

Breakups to Makeup is available online at Etsy

**Disclosure I received press samples for editorial review, all opinions are my own

What Inspires Me? Let’s #ShareBeauty

Share BeautyI am often asked this question, “Why did you become a makeup artist?”. When I started my makeup career I was motivated by the artistry side, my love for art and the world of fashion. Six years ago, I was living in Singapore and had an incredible opportunity being in a country with an emerging fashion scene. As I began practicing and learning, I loved seeing the impact of makeovers and being a part of a bride during her most important day. To my fortune, I was in a circle of great artists and mentors, multi cultural clients, stylists, models and photographers who let me create or gave me good direction and offered constructive criticism on my work. Is it stressful working under pressure? Of course, it is but this pressure taught me resilience and perseverance. All this wasn’t easy, I hustled and started from the bottom (like the Drake song). My biggest reward is happy clients and noticing how makeup can completely transform a person, make them confident or take on a character as it can be in the world of fashion. I am in my element when I do makeup, it is what I was meant to do.

In my photos you will see some recent highlights of my life like meeting MUA and creator of MUFE Dany Sanz in New York, getting Latina presenter Lizza Monet ready for an HBO red carpet event, working with actress and model Patricia Velasquez in Los Angeles and on the lower right side, that’s Liza Haron my first makeup mentor and national trainer for MUFE in Singapore. My clients and my makeup mentors inspire me constantly and am grateful for everyone.

Makeup artists put their own stamp in beauty campaigns, fashion shoots, catwalks, red carpets and even have their input in making the cosmetics world turn with new trends every season. On commercial shoots I am usually given a concept and it is my creative that brings out the beauty in our model and or client. Lately, I have been getting a lot of calls for bridal work and Linkedin profile photos, women are very aware of the impact a great profile photo has in their professions and this is where I can help them look their finest for the camera. I take my makeup career very seriously but also love the fun of creating beauty and working with like minded people. There are a few artists whose work inspires me all time and some of them I am lucky to know personally.

Regency Beauty Institute is one of the leading cosmetology schools in the nation. They have 88 campuses across the country and have been able to grow over the years by taking an innovative approach to learning and helping students to turn their creativity into beautiful careers.

Regency and Refinery29’s are running a #ShareBeautyContest, which runs from July 8th-August 13th. One lucky winner will be chosen and each person who enters will have the opportunity to win a customized VIP beauty treatment worth $2,000 from Regency and Refinery29!!! To enter all you have to do is click on this link.

To all of the beauty makers who listened to their hearts & followed their dreams, this super adorable video is for you. #ShareBeauty #sp

**Disclosure** This post is sponsored by Regency Beauty Institute but all my opinions are my own.

Kami Cosmetics Lip Glosses and Lip Paint Review

Kami CosmeticsI love indie brands, they are truly a labor of love. Kami Cosmetics is the creation of Kameka Johnson, a lady from Jamaica who came up with her own line of makeup after being in the industry for thirteen years. These lip glosses and lipsticks are non-comedogenic, hypo-allergenic, allergy tested, fragrance free and paraben free. After trying them myself, I can tell you these are not just your ordinary lip glosses, they are very solid on pigment and formulated to stay on for a while.

Kami Cosmetics lipgloss (Origami) – I tried this lip gloss without any base or stain and on application, it was tacky but packed a super nice color. If you want a statement lip with gloss, this is definitely it, a vibrant pink with tons of shine. For a longer lasting effect, layering a nice stain base over this or it can be worn on its own too.
Retails $16 and is available online at Kami’s website

Now getting to the good stuff, so apparently Beyonce’s MUA, Francesca Tot loves the next set of lip colors I also happen to like lots, the Butterfly Bold Effects Lip Paint collection.

Kami Cosmetics Butterfly Bold Effects Lip Paint pink (Snobish) and red (Secret Affair) – I tried both and must say I love Secret Affair the most, it is vivid, shiny, rich, feels and looks amazing on. The Snobish was slightly less my favorite because of the pink color, I would say it’d suit someone darker than me but just like the red, it is a nice lip color. The Lip Paint collection is more like a rich lip stain in cahoots with gloss, hope that made sense, it is awesome and it photographs and looks even better in person.
Retails $16 and is available online at Kami’s website

Kami Cosmetics often does deals via their Instagram and Facebook page.

***These were sent to me as press samples, opinions are my own :)

Top Five Bronzers For Your Summer Glow

Top Five Bronzers SummerAlthough the past few days have been nothing but humidity and rain here in NJ, nothing brightens my day like talking about bronzers. Since I don’t go in the sun or tan even, I rely on bronzers to give me a glow of sorts when I do my makeup day or night. Choosing a top five favorites was difficult, as I tend to gravitate towards the palettes and swish around with color, so in lieu of that I present you a list of my favorite, makeup artist approved bronzers.

E.L.F. Contouring Blush and Bronzer (St Lucia) – ELF makes pretty solid bronzers that work well within the budget range and have excellent color payoff. I would say, start slow with this bronzer as it packs a really strong pigment. Works well for both medium to light skin tones and has a light shimmer. E.L.F. is cruelty-free. Retails for $3

NYX Illuminating Bronzer (Chaotic) – NYX has a brilliant series of five bronzers for pretty much most skin tones and preferences. I have Chaotic which is a mixture of dark pink with a slight peachy finish AND shimmer. I don’t always use it as I tend to gravitate to less shimmer myself but I still think it is a good product because of the range in colors and the fabulous pigment payoff. NYX is cruelty-free. Retails for $9

Milani Bronzer XL All Over Glow (01 Bronze Glow) – A duo package of two shades of bronzer, perfect for day/ night. What I like about this bronzer is that you get a ton of product and a slight shimmer that isn’t too obvious on application plus this builds nicely. There are three versions of this bronzer for a year-long kind of glow and for the price, can’t knock it. Also good for a contouring effect, tested and tried by me. Retails for $9.99

Cover Girl TRUMagic “The Sun Kisser” – This bronzer is a cream, oil-free pigment that is a soft and build-able. I love that this comes as a cream because it layers nicely and has no shimmer, goes on matte and does not feel cakey at all. For fair skinned gals, this is an option as it is subtle and can be used over foundation or under for a gentle “glow”. Retails for $10.49

Urban Decay Naked Flush “Streak” – If you want the whole enchilada, this is it, highlighter, bronzer, blush all in one palette. I love the peach color because it’d work well on darker skinned ladies and year round as a nice blush. The bronzer has a slight shimmer and is a nice color that will not make you look orange or overdone on application. The highlighter is a total bonus and looks amazing especially at night (I wouldn’t go crazy with it during the day). Retails $30

**Disclosure** Some of these beauties I bought for myself. Urban Decay and CoverGirl were sent for editorial consideration, opinions are always my own.

Lash Extensions At Browhaus NYC Review

Browhaus Lash in BloomThe summer is busy for me and getting ready to go out the door is a challenge. On most occasions, I’ll do a five minute makeup face. Now that I have my lash extensions aka LASH IN BLOOM at Browhaus in Soho New York City, all I got to do is apply sunscreen or BB cream, a dash of bronzer and am out the door – in five minutes.

When I got my lash extensions, the process took about an hour. Table manners at Browhaus are impeccable and I was super comfortable in my spot. First, the specialist asked me what my lash style is, dramatic or natural? I asked her to give me some oomph but still wanted a fuller and more lush set of lashes. Next, I was told about the procedure and asked that I keep my eyes closed as the lash specialist applied the extensions. Basically, the lashes are lodged within 1/3 distance away from the lash line and most definitely NOT on the lash root. This is important as the extensions do not interfere with your own lash growth at all. For falsies, these lash extensions do not weigh on the natural lash, in other words you don’t feel them on which is what happens typically with strip lashes or flutter-like wispies. I work with false lashes on clients and that is the number one issue, the weight of false lashes once the glue is on and lashes are placed. The Browhaus lash in bloom feel and look super natural. Once the lash glue started to dry, I was able to open my eyes, the stinging from the glue was very mild and went away within minutes. I ended up with a total of 100 lashes.

The extensions can last from two weeks up to four weeks, I am at week one and lost maybe a couple. The first tip I was advised upon leaving was to avoid getting the lashes wet within the first 24 hours. Giving the adhesive time to dry thoroughly is the most important step to letting the extensions settle. There is other aftercare tips that I’ll discuss as well. I am using cloths and avoiding hot water/ steam in my face (something I don’t do in my showers) and not using any mascara – honestly I don’t need any right now as my lashes look very full and amazing. Skipping oil-based products and make-up removers on or near your lashes is also strongly suggested and I agree that this is something one should be careful with. Oils may dissolve or weaken the adhesive bond. If you are wearing makeup using water-based make-up removers is the best alternative. Other tips are to avoid rubbing the eyes after the treatment. Do not use cotton balls or swabs directly on your lashes as the fibers may get entangled with your lash extensions. All these are simple, easy to follow after care tips to ensure lashes last longer.

Overall, my experience at Browhaus NYC was top notch and I will be getting my lashes done again. I am loving being able to get up and spend less time doing my eyes, for a busy mom and makeup artist, time is a-ticking. Browhaus is currently having an awesome July promotion for $50 you get 50 lash extensions, trust me you will notice a major difference!!!

ARDENCY INN AMERICANA Custom Coverage Foundation Review

Ardency Inn Custom Coverage Foundation
In the world of foundations, Ardency Inn Americana is unique. It comes in a small bottle and the formula is not as liquid-y as most regular medium to full coverage ones. If I had to summarize it in one word, I would say this is the foundation where little takes you a very looooong way. I tried this on a couple of different occasions and the results were impressive.

When I applied Ardency Inn I made sure I had ample moisture on before. I started by prepping my oily areas with matte primer, in this photo I had Bodyography Veil Foundation primer on. Ardency Inn foundation is a product that works well for oily skin types, if you are combination dry or dry patchy, I would not use this without mixing in moisturizer or a primer. Also, I need to mention it was probably close to 90 degrees Fahrenheit and humid so I used a very small amount to even out my skin. What I liked the most of Ardency Inn Americana in Medium Golden was how well it matched my skin tone and the coverage of darkness and circles while maintaining a “bare skin” look/ finish.

My opinion? I would say for a medium to high range foundation Ardency Inn Americana is great and worth splurging for. If you don’t use foundation everyday but want to have something for those days that you do, this is a super formula I’d suggest. Moreover, if you don’t need much concealer, Ardency Inn Americana will take care of covering and concealing well, better than most foundations or mixed with concealer if you have more coverage and concealing needs. Durability? My face held up well and looked amazing for a long time.

Ardency Inn is available at Sephora and retails for $38

**This product was given to me for editorial consideration, all opinions are my own

Sun Safety This Summer

Blox Sun gloves Cotz SunscreenCoolibar SPF50 wide brim pool hatIn my blog, sun care and skincare are probably my most talked about topics after makeup. Reality is when your skin gets sun damaged, no amount of makeup or creams can bring that back, only laser treatments. There is also the risk of melanoma, no matter what your skin color and tone is, not wearing sunscreen makes a difference. On that note, skincare and sun awareness are not just in the face, it is all over the body (neck, hands, feet, basically wherever your skin is exposed now in summertime especially). Here, I am bringing you my personal summer must-haves!

Cotz Pure SPF 30 Sunscreen – This is the kind of sunscreen that you’d want to wear outside when you are going makeup free. I actually met the creator of Cotz at a press event and this is how I discovered this brand now available at Ulta and online. Some of the ingredients are Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide which help prevent sunburn and decrease the risk of skin cancer. On application it doesn’t feel creamy, white pale or oily even but one definitely feels the presence of the sunscreen. Cotz products are 0% synthetic ingredients, preservatives or chemicals, excellent for those who are looking for an alternative to drugstore brands. I found the consistency lightweight and easy to work with on the skin. FYI, there is also a formula for those with sensitive skin, eczema and rosacea.

Bloxsun Sun Glove SPF 50 – Gloves with sunscreen! I love the idea of protecting my hands when outside. On both sides of my family, age damage spots are very common in the hands so am really trying to avoid having them. Age spots are dark brown moles, very typical in the face, hands, shoulders and arms — areas most exposed to the sun. What Bloxsun has created is a special accessory for the hand which completely covers the hands. The fingers have a nonslip fabric perfect for holding items, sports and for when you are driving. Bloxsun also has a line of scarves with sun protection, ideal also for protecting the neck area which often gets very neglected like our hands.

Coolibar SPF 50 Shapeable Pool Wide Brim Hat – I purchased this awesome hat a couple of years ago and LOVE it. My son plays soccer so when I am outside this is the look, a hat that covers my face, neck and offers a 7″ brim for maximum protection. It is easily foldable, very lightweight, travels well and washes so easily by hand. What I love about this hat is that the wide brim allows me to gage the coverage according to the position of the sun, blocking rays from touching my face and neck. Pair this with some sun shades, sunblock, and you are 100% taken care of outdoors.

In that 2nd photo, that’s me wearing my trusted hat, no makeup and Cotz sunscreen.

What are your favorite sun protection items?

**The sunscreen and gloves were given to me for editorial consideration, all opinions are my own.

Makeup Transformation

Makeup Makeover Norah loves makeupIt’s summer and it is officially busy around here. Between makeup work, teaching makeup at Glam Lab NYC and my almost-walking eleven month old, I am trying to find the time to blog about all the skincare and makeup I am digging. For now, I am bringing you a no-makeup but I am really wearing makeup look, I did for a client.

This young lady was very upfront with me, she does not wear makeup, wanted a barely-there look. I explained to her that how makeup looks to the eye and how it photographs are two different things but she was very resolute on her decision. This client had combination skin, was going to be outdoors and she had some moles she wanted covered up. Let’s break down the look.

Embryolisse Hydra Mat Emulsion (oil free moisturizer)
Makeup Forever Al Mat Primer (On the T-zone)
Marie Veronique Organics Pacific Lip Treatment (I apply this before I start the makeup)
Face Atelier Ultra Pro foundation #2
Makeup Forever HD concealer
Kryolan Dermacolor Camouflage concealer
Senna Cosmetics Cream to Powder Cheek Palette
Viseart Neutral Palette
L’Oreal Paris Infallible Lacquer Liner 24H Eyeliner in black
No mascara because she had lash extensions
Senna Brow Powder on the brows
Makeup Forever Aqua Lip Waterproof Lipliner Pencil 1C
Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain

To seal all this makeup, I used Skindinavia’s Makeup Finishing Spray for Brides. No powder. Setting spray in the heat of outdoors has never failed any of my clients and looks good.

***I mixed the concealers into the foundation to cover and stippled where I needed to hide and correct, under eyes and a couple of areas she wanted covered, brown moles mostly. It has to be said the L’Oreal gel liner is the bomb, I ran out of the Tarte gel liner and couldn’t get to a Sephora so I took a chance on this and it paid off. The Kryolan Dermacolor Camouflage palette is one of my most favorite all-terrain concealers. When someone goes in front of a camera or has a problem that needs heavy covering/ correcting, this is what I use. The Kryolan Dermacolor concealer is dry paste so I usually blend it with foundation, warm it up on skin contact unless I feel the client has the right balance of moisture already in place.

Any comments and feedback, I will definitely answer :)

Balanced Guru Detox Scalp Review

Balanced Guru Detox Scalp
Over the next few weeks, I am going to be sharing some of my recent favorites for hair care. My hair has a lot going on, I color roots every six weeks, have Keratin treatments every six months and also I like to do my own blowouts. Also, I had a baby last year so this means that while I was pregnant my hair looked incredible thanks to the hormones and in this past fall/ winter I experienced significant hair loss (boo) – all this is normal. Chemicals and heat tend to weaken the hair and dry it out so I am trying to add more natural treatments, conditioner and less styling although the latter is awful hard for me personally. In the name of going more organic with the hair situation, I decided to give this Balanced Guru Detox Scalp treatment a try. My scalp can be oily after a few days of not washing and also parts of it feel dry sometimes.

One of the best haircare tips I’ve ever been given is to not wash everyday, as this strips the hair of natural oils. Between washes I manage by using dry shampoo, sometimes baking soda on its own and doing ponytails, seems to work well. However, by the time I wash my scalp is a little greasy mess, which is normal so this when the Detox Scalp came in handy. Balanced Guru Detox Scalp has oregano, tea tree oil and rosemary essential oils to help the root of the head have a fresh clean feeling. Topically, essential oils like tea tree aid in the removal of sebum and buildup of product, things that happen when you style your hair like I do.

This product works best when applied onto the scalp and gently massage with fingertips (I did after washing my hair). No need to rinse. It is very soothing and does not leave any residue or sting-like sensation. Balanced Guru Detox Scalp is 100% cruelty-free, recyclable, and biodegradable, uses certified organic ingredients.

Retails $23 and for half an ounce bottle $12, can be bought at Balanced Guru and Amazon.

**This product was given to me for editorial consideration as a press sample, opinions all my own.

Five Makeup Tips From A Pro Makeup Artist

“What are your top five makeup tips?”. I get asked this question A LOT. Over the years and after applying makeup on different continents, weather patterns, skin tones, ethnic backgrounds, age groups from young to mature, I’ve learned a few tricks, so here they are.

“Your makeup is almost done and you make a mistake on makeup application”. AKA lip lines not clean/straight, brow filling in, eyeshadow fallout, too much bronzer. Do you use foundation to correct the color? NO! Use primer. Primer is colorless and clear, so any mistakes you make on application will NOT be corrected if you use foundation or concealer. Color on color will not cancel out a mistake, it will make it worse. So if you do make a mistake, dab a small amount of primer in the area, I like using a pointed q-tip to clean up.

“I want my lipstick to last a long time without touching up”. No lipstick is going to stay on all day without any touching up, period. Unless you planning to not eat or drink any fluids all day, this is pretty much guaranteed, a touch up is needed. What you can do to allow the lips to have some color and possibly hold a few more hours before touching up, is using a lip stain on exfoliated pre-moistened lips. Usually when I start applying makeup on a client, I will make sure I apply lip balm and towards the end of the makeup being done, I will blot out excess moisture AND apply my first layer of lip stain, followed by a semi-matte lipstick. Your lips will hold a nice color under and this can easily be touched up with gloss.

“My concealer and under eye eyeliner always run!!!”. The under eye area is tricky. In all the experience I’ve had my most effective way to ensure this does not happen is to first of all, use a waterproof eyeliner like Make Up Forever Aqua Eyes and make sure the under eye is hydrated and if you are oily, use oil free primer/ moisturizer mixed with concealer. My next best suggestion is to use makeup setting spray like Skindinavia. Spray a napkin or a Kleenex tissue with Skindinavia setting spray and very gently press on your under eye area a few times over to set the eyeliner and the concealer with the tissue. You can also use a q-tip and go over it with setting spray, like the tissue and gently dab over the eyeliner.

“I want my lashes to look longer”. Use a lash curler (I like Shu Uemura’s). Don’t like eyelash curlers? Use a heated spoon. Either way, this ensures the eyes look more voluminous and open with full lashes in sight. My mother used to curl her lashes with a warm spoon, you can do this by blowing heat on a dryer or simply by running hot water. Test the temperature before putting it on your eyelashes. Press the edge of the spoon gently while holding your lashes to curl them nicely. I also suggest separating lashes with a fan brush, after your mascara is on, if your lashes are sparse it won’t look clumpy or like they are stuck together.

“I have a party, event, wedding, photo shoot, or special dinner and want my skin to look amazing”. Skip alcohol, lower your caffeine intake and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Eating your water hydrates your body much better than drinking it. Eat up watermelon, cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes and melon, all mostly water vegetables. Skip salty meals, soy sauce, fizzy drinks, soda, sugary drinks, ease up or have no dairy, all these bloat the skin or cause breakouts in some way. This is how skin will photograph well and look radiant. If you think it is all in the makeup, well some of it is, but tired skin has a particular appearance and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had brides and models show up to makeup with bad skin as a result of not taking these precautions.

What’s your thoughts on these tips? Do you have any you want to share?