Favorite Summer Lipsticks

Favorite Summer Lipsticks Norah Loves MakeupSummer Favorite Lipstick swatchesSummer is all about color. As much as I love a fully made up face, a pop of color on the lips can be ultra chic. I have been playing with some fun brands and colors, as usual I am going drugstore, indie and a bit high end to showcase some range and how closely similar they can be. The choice ultimately lies on finish from matte, semi matte, glossy, sheer AND how bold you want to go. On my face, I have CC cream and my brows are filled in, everything else is bare faced (for me anyway).

Tat2U Lip Extreme (Mucho Caliente) – Love the name, love the products and pigment of this indie brand. I featured a lipstick by Tat2U before and this Mucho Caliente gloss did not disappoint. It is creamy so apply with a pointed lip brush to get precise application. If you want color AND gloss, this is it! The Lip Extreme collection offers a nice array of rich colors. Retails $14

L’Oreal Paris LeMatte Color Riche (408, She is so matte) – Application on this is easy, two well-distributed layers and you’ll end up with a rich, semi matte finish. Although this is labeled a matte, my opinion on this L’Oreal LeMatte is that it is more semi matte. There is no sheen at all and as it wears off, a lip stain will be left on the lips. The color is a coral family (see photo). A great drugstore find and easy on the wallet. Retails $14.25 on Amazon

Black Up Paris Rouge matte (34M) – The perfect semi matte. I found this Black Up Paris so rich and bold in color, I didn’t line or add any setting to see the pigment shine on its own. This is a brand that’s consumer but also very makeup artist friendly, offering a 40% discount to working makeup artists and 20% to students. Retails $22

Ardency Inn Modster Kick (a vivid orange with yellow undertones) – Ardency Inn delivers a very rich in pigment and a velvety matte finish lipstick, perfect for summer under minimal makeup. A combination of three waxes (Beeswax, Carnauba, Candellila) makes this a really nice alternative to those who like matte but don’t want the dryness that comes from hours of wearing a dry finish lip product. Retails $25

Pro tip – Use a lip stain to get your pop of color lip statement to last even longer. This is something I do for brides. First, I make sure lips are supple and moist, then blot. Once this step is secured, I line the lips with a lip stain (NYC Smooch Proof 16 h stain is favorite). I try to align the color to the shade, so if I am doing a pink tone, I will use a very close match to my 2nd lip product, this ensures the colors don’t collide and blend into each other.

Pura Naturals Sponges Giveaway

PURA NATURALS GIVEAWAYA few weeks ago, I blogged about the awesome, environmentally conscious cleansing sponges for the body and face, Pura Naturals. These body care sponges are made from the same unique foam approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection agency to clean sensitive waterways, specializing in the ability to magically extract grease, dirt, oil and grime while repelling water, they dry fast and inhibit the growth of mold, bacteria and yucky odor. Each sponge is made from plant-based/renewable resources and contains no petroleum by-products. Pura Naturals are milled Level Naturals gluten-free and the vegan soap gently exfoliates the skin without the use of synthetic micro-beads and other harmful elements. They are available in a variety of refreshing scents, as well as unscented for sensitive skin.

The feedback I had from the sponges was so overwhelming, I’d love to have a lucky reader win a set of Pura Naturals, it is such a cool way of cleansing face and body. To give you a little taste of how nice these sponges really are, here is more info on what you’d be receiving, if you win the basket. To enter, you must follow Pura Naturals Facebook page and their Twitter.

Pura Naturals Face Active Charcoal
Pura Naturals Face Unscented
Pura Naturals Active Citrus Zest
Pura Naturals Body Lavender Mist

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.

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.