What to Expect the Next Time You Go Into a Makeup Store During COVID-19

Due to having to wear a face mask on a regular basis (which pretty much covers the entire face) and more people having the convenience of working from home or perhaps might be out of work during this time, many are finding they are wearing less makeup than they ever did before.  Although this might be the case and many do plenty of their beauty purchases online nowadays, this does not totally eliminate the old school way of shopping for your makeup–going to a retail location to hand pick your products.  Especially for those who do not know much about makeup, online shopping can be rather challenging if you do not know much about how to choose the correct shades to suit your coloring and style preferences.  It is for this reason that going in person is most beneficial because you can rely on a professional to gather for you exactly what you need and know what works for you personally.  If you are a makeup artist like myself, then going in person is equally important for choosing the best products for both professional and personal use and there is no better way of knowing what is best unless you can see the products in person and test them out prior to purchasing.

Being faced with a pandemic, retail locations have started to reopen but to ensure safety, shopping for makeup is a whole different ball game.  Here are some things to expect the next time you are in a makeup or department store:

  •  Most stores have capacity limits meaning that you might need to wait in line just to get in through the doors.  For this reason, it is ideal to go at a time that the store will most likely be less busy, such as on a week day and in the middle of the day.  I would even suggest calling the store in advance to see what times would be most ideal to come in.
  • You absolutely will need a face covering upon entry.  I know this might vary from state to state but most retailers have adopted a no mask / no entry policy.
  • Typically, a makeup artist at the store can test a product on you or even complete a makeover but that is no longer allowed right now.  The same goes for if you want to touch or swatch a product to see if it works for you, makeup testing that requires any sort of touching of the product is completely forbidden.  Even if it can be sanitized prior to and after use, most stores do not allow for anyone to touch the testers which can make picking products a little more difficult.
  • Prior to the pandemic, requesting a sample of a product to take home or any type of makeup sampling typically was acceptable given the store had small makeup containers or prepackaged samples.  However makeup sampling is no longer an option.
  • In terms of return policies, I find that many stores have kept their return policies as they normally would and some have even made extensions for returns due to the current situation.  I have not come across any that do not accept returns during this time although it is always good to ask.

Since you can no longer test a product on your face or touch the testers in any way, I would suggest to have a list with you on hand as you would when you go to the grocery store so you can just grab and go or seek a makeup artist with what exactly you are looking for and take their product recommendations.  Sometimes just by seeing the product or color, you can tell by eyeing it if it will work for you but if you are unsure, it does not hurt to get a second opinion, that is what they are there for!

Top 10 FAQ About Airbrush Makeup

Airbrush makeup has become increasingly popular over the years and as a result, people are more curious about the process, its results, and whether or not this is the ideal choice when getting their makeup professionally done.

I have compiled a list of the most common questions I receive about airbrush makeup which I will share with you along with the answers I provide to my clients.

    • What is airbrush makeup exactly?
      • Airbrush makeup is a technique applied with the use of an air compressor machine and an airbrush gun applicator as opposed to “traditional” makeup which is applied with the use of makeup brushes.  Typically, most makeup artists only airbrush the foundation on the skin although it is possible to airbrush other areas of the face including blush on the cheeks and even liquid eye shadows.
    • Which is better in your professional opinion, airbrush or traditional makeup?
      • This is a great question and one that I am asked quite often.  I never like to say one method is absolutely better over the other because it truly depends on the individual and the overall look we are looking to create for the complexion.  I think that airbrush is definitely the ideal choice for someone who never wears makeup as it is super natural looking while still lasting all day.  If you wear makeup on a daily basis and never tried airbrush makeup, I always encourage at least experiencing it for a makeup trial as it provides flawless results and does not feel like you are wearing makeup.
    • How long will the airbrush makeup last?
      • Both airbrush and traditional makeup are built to last the entire day without any real touch ups.  Depending on your skin type, exactly how long it will last could vary but you could expect lasting results even if you got your makeup applied very early that morning.  I would say that I do believe airbrush makeup is going to last slightly longer than the traditional makeup due to the fact that it is a more sheer and lightweight formula.  The formula is also water resistant.
    • Do you still use primer, powder, and/or setting spray with the airbrush application?
      • Although I was told primers, setting sprays, and even powders are not a necessity when using airbrush makeup, I still always use all three products in conjunction with airbrush makeup because I believe that any product I can use to extend the wear of the makeup, I will want to use it as it provides what I call extra makeup insurance.  In other words, all these products will provide makeup longevity throughout the day.  So the answer is no, it might not be required but yes, I absolutely will use primer, powder, and setting spray with an airbrush makeup application.
    • Which airbrush machine do you use?
      • I had done a lot of research before I invested in a machine and find Dinair Airbrush Makeup to be the best.  I like the system and their actual makeup as it applies smoothly, lasts all day, and I can custom blend the colors too if I need to which provides a client with a true customized foundation match.
    • I have sensitive skin, does airbrush makeup cause breakouts?
      • Since the airbrush makeup is applied gently on the top surface layer of the skin as opposed to traditional makeup where the brush directly brushes the foundation into the skin, I definitely think the airbrush makeup is the better option because of how it is applied and much less actual product is applied onto the skin.
      • It is always wise to set up a makeup trial and test the airbrush makeup to ensure your skin does not react to it but I have found that in all my years of doing makeup, I have never had a client complain after a trial that the makeup did not work with their skin or that it caused a reaction.

    • What foundation do you prefer on yourself personally?
      • For my every day makeup, I prefer to use a sheer liquid foundation or tinted moisturizer as opposed to airbrush makeup as it is just quicker for me to apply on myself than setting up my airbrush machine every day and I just feel as thought I have more control of the product than airbrushing myself (it’s easier for me to apply to others than myself in other words).  However, I have played around with the airbrush makeup and do very much like the results so for a special event, I will use this from time to time for an extra flawless finish, especially during the spring/summer months when there can be more humidity.
    • I don’t have the best skin, will airbrush makeup cover all my imperfections? 
      • No matter how much coverage is needed, I will still use concealers first to cover up any imperfections and then airbrush over it.  This is a great combination as the concealer will cover up the areas that need a higher concentration of makeup while the airbrush makeup locks everything in and smooths over the surface of the complexion.
    • How much coverage does airbrush makeup provide?
      • When done correctly, airbrush makeup is meant to be very smooth looking by providing a flawless finish without the appearance of wearing any makeup.  Your complexion should still look like your skin with an overall effortless look.
  • Is airbrush makeup more natural looking than traditional makeup or vice versa?
    • Although I can apply both airbrush makeup and traditional in a natural way, at the end of the day, airbrush makeup will always be the more natural choice.  This is due to the actual application technique and the fact that you end up wearing much less product on the face as opposed to a traditional makeup application.

Still have a question regarding airbrush makeup?  Please feel free to contact me directly as I would be happy to answer any additional questions you might have along with giving you my professional and personal recommendation on what is best for you and your skin! 🙂

My Favorite Lash Enhancing Serum -Babe Lash Essential Serum

Babe Lash

I just posted this topic on my Instagram but thought it was important enough to transfer onto my makeup blog.   There are many lash enhancing serums on the market and I have tried a handful over the years.  After testing many, I would say that my favorite lash enhancing serum is Babe Lash’s Essential Serum.  For starters, this absolutely works and I noticed results within a matter of days.  I first discovered this product last October at the @ipsy beauty event and have been purchasing it ever since.

The standard size tube is supposed to provide a 3 month supply although honestly, I usually run out of it a little before the 3 month mark.  I just started a new tube today and I like to mark on a calendar the start date so I have an idea how long it lasts and approximately when I should start a new supply.

No matter how long your natural lashes are, there is no greater joy than having full and longer natural lashes.  Seriously.  Think about it, have you ever heard *anyone* say they have a desire to have shorter lashes or tell their makeup artist, “Please minimize the appearance of my lashes?”  I don’t think so!  Long and full lashes are one of the few beauty standards that universally, everyone wants to obtain!  It doesn’t matter what culture (I work with many and have learned over the years that beauty varies very much from culture to culture) or what the beauty trends are at the present moment (in other words, it doesn’t matter what decade it is).  At the end of the day, people want their lashes to stand out and have a visually impacting presence.

So I say, long live beautiful lashes for life! 👍 If you want a natural alternative to enhancing your natural lashes without having to get lash extensions, this is definitely the way to go.  Keep in mind that in order to keep permanent results, you will need to use this on a consistent basis.  At least once a day for ideal results and then you can scale back to every 2-3 days once you have obtained results that are of your satisfaction.

IPSY Live NYC 2019 – What’s in the Glam Beauty Bag?

I feel incredibly fortunate to have a Sunday off to have been able to attend Ipsy Live NYC this year.  For starters, what an amazing beauty event!  This was probably the best beauty event I have ever attended.  It was seriously such an amazing experience.  My main motivation to go was to meet Mario Dedivanovic although I also got to explore two floors filled with so many fun and unique brands.  It was awesome to interact with them and get the opportunity to really learn about their products.  Most brands had their products for sale and at discounted prices which is always a bonus.  There was endless shopping but if you weren’t in the mood to shop, you could still pick up some free samples at these booths as most had free stuff to hand out.

Each attendee was also given a hefty beauty glam bag which was essentially a goodie bag stuffed with makeup, skincare, and hair products.  The bag itself looked pretty impressive and interesting from the outside so the question is, what did the bag include?

I took out all the products for display and typed out a full list of what was included in the entire glam bag:

A look at everything that was in the glam bag this year!

  1.   Wen by Chaz Dean – Three Nineteen Ultra Nourishing Intensive Body Treatment
  2.   Perfectly Posh – Gender Bender with Charcoal & Shea Butter Big Bath Bar
  3.   Sooae New York – Cactus Soothing Gel Mask, Unicorn Glow Hologram Mask, and My Collagen Hydrogel Lip Patch
  4.   Grown Alchemist – Hydra- Repair Day Cream Cemellia, Geranium Blossom
  5.   Wen – Winter White Forest Cleansing Conditioner
  6.   Chaz Dean – “Faith” Eau de Parfum (0.15 oz)
  7.   Thann – Aromatherapy Shower Gel
  8.   Nelson Beverly Hills – Moisture Healing Mask
  9.   Pixi + Chloe Morello – Lip Icing Lip Glow
  10.   Purlisse – Coconut Oil and Cranberry Silky Body Butter
  11.   111 Skin Harley St. London – Rose Gold Brightening Facial Treatment Mask
  12.   Nature Lab Tokyo – Perfect Shine Oil Mist Color + Heat Protectant
  13.   The Balm – Time Balm Face Primer
  14.   Derma E – Hydrating Gentle Cleanser Hyaluronic Acid & Chamomile
  15.   Ofra + Madison Miller – Sea Shimmer Highlighter
  16.   Sweet Chef – Beet + Vitamin A Fresh Pressed Sheet Mask
  17.   Mamonde – Rose Water Toner
  18.   High Beauty – Cannabis Facial Moisturizer
  19.   IBY Beauty – City Limits Lush Eyeshadow “Fire & Ice” (shimmery forest green)
  20.   Nature Lab – Perfect Shine Clarifying Scalp Scrub
  21.   Youth to the People – Kale + Spinach Green Tea Hyaluronic Acid
  22.   Urban Juve – Ultra-Hydrating Lip Balm
  23.   Babe Lash – Enhancing Conditioner
  24.   Morphe – Lipstick “Lust” (deep burgundy)
  25.   Kokie Professional – Kissable Liquid Lipstick “Pink Pleasure” (bright bubblegum pink)
  26.   Apto Skincare – Pomegranate Face Mist
  27.   Neon & Co – Good Hair Shampoo
  28.   Caolion – Magic Black Powder Eye & Cheek Patch
  29.   Pop Beauty – Kajal Pen “Inky Purple” (dark purple)
  30.   Sol de Janeiro – Coco Cabana Cream
  31.   Moda Pro Makeup Brush – Foundation BMD 200 brush
  32.   Ciate London – Liquid Velvet “Pin Up” (medium pink)
  33.   Briogeo – Blossom & Blossom Ginseng + Biotin Volumizing Spray
  34.   Yensa Color + Face – Pumpkin Tumeric 2-in-1 Radiance Polishing Mask
  35.   Colourpop – Super Shock Shadow “Don’t Leave” (red shadow with slight shimmer)
  36.   Uruoi – S3 Extra Mild Lotion
  37.   Eva NYC – Purse Perfect Hair Towelette
  38.   Ebanel Skincare – Hyaluronic Peptide Serum
  39.   Pur Cosmetics – Lash Curler
  40.   Coupons – T3 (25% off purchase) / Derma E (30% off purchase)

In addition to this bag, there was an opportunity to choose five items (probably out of about 15-20 choices) and fill a makeup bag.

I could always use a face wash and setting powder so these were good choices and I’m very excited to try the Ofra Cosmetics highlighter. I also had purchased a full size at their booth for my kit.

Lastly, as I had mentioned, most booths gave out products in addition to what they provided in the main glam bag.  Most booths had lines (between 5-15 minutes) so I wasn’t able to get to every single one but I did stay in the lines for the ones I wanted to look at most in terms of the products they had to offer.  This is a look at what I ended up collecting in addition to the glam bag.

I’m mostly excited to try the Babe Lash serum. This is a full size product to last about 3 months. I am in need of a new lash serum so I can’t wait to try this!

I stayed at Ipsy Live NYC for a little over 4 hours which gave me plenty of time to play with new products and shop for items for my kit, myself, and as gifts.  I spent about $200 on makeup/skincare.

Thank you for checking out this blog post!  If you also went to the Ipsy Live NYC event this weekend, have an interest in makeup, or have a comment regarding this post, please be sure to connect with me on Instagram @melimakeupartist! 🙂

Kylie Cosmetics “Go Ghost” and “French Vanilla” Highlighting Powders Review

I just ordered highlighting powders for the first time from Kylie Cosmetics.  They are specifically called, “Kylighters” or pressed illuminating powders.  I was not sure what to expect as ordering makeup online without testing the products in person can be hit or miss.

When I saw Kylie demo her highlighter, “Go Ghost” from her recent Halloween launch, I just knew I had to try it.  I also wanted to try, “French Vanilla” which looked rather similar.  For my personal self, I always gravitate towards a highlighter that looks white but it is actually more of a sheer gold color.  For many years, I have always been a fan of NARS “Albatross.”

I tested both of these highlighters once they arrived this afternoon and they really exceeded my expectations.  Color wise, they definitely turned out how I envisioned.  I would say they are close but still different.  I think the “French Vanilla” pops a little more on my skin but the “Go Ghost” looks just as beautiful as a cheek highlight.  The texture of these powders are also super silky and they apply rather nicely.  I have a feeling these will also work well as eye shadows.  I am happy I purchased both of these highlighters, they truly are amazing and I highly recommend them!

“Go Ghost” and “French Vanilla”

How Much Makeup is Needed to Create a Natural Look

I wanted to write a post regarding natural makeup and what it takes to create a full face natural look.  There seems to be a misconception that creating a look that appears to be natural requires less products.  The truth is, it actually still requires just as many products as a look that appears more dramatic.  When you use more products, the good news is that you do end up using much less of each product so a little goes a long way.

For someone who wants to keep their products to an absolute minimum, it can definitely be done but the face typically will not look as complete, potentially will not last as long throughout the day, and might not look as flawless by the end.  As a professional makeup artist, my visual standard of perfection is much higher than the average person so that is why I will continue to use this many products because I understand how they work and the exact purpose they serve.  I do not like to cut corners when it comes to any makeup application so however many products it takes to get to the end result, I will still use them.

I made a video to show every single product I was wearing today.  I do not wear the same exact products every day as I do enjoy switching up the eye shadow, lip color, and blush.  This is just a general idea of what an every day look for me entails.  I will list the products below that are mentioned in my video:

  • MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot “Soft Ochre” (eye shadow primer)
  • MAC “Vanilla” eye shadow (lid color)
  • Kiko Milano #09 eye shadow (highlight)
  • Addiction “Flash Back” eye shadow (crease color)
  • MAC “Bronze” (outer crease color)
  • Maybelline Line Stiletto “Blackest Black” liquid eye liner (top liner)
  • MAC “Teddy” eye kohl pencil liner (bottom liner)
  • Lancome Hypnose Drama mascara
  • Red Cherry “Wispy” false lashes
  • Benefit Porefessional face primer
  • NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer “Custard – Medium 1”
  • NARS Sheer Glow “Deauville – Light 4” liquid foundation
  • Physicians Formula Mineral Wear Talc-Free “Translucent” pressed face powder
  • Becca “Moonstone” pressed highlighting powder
  • NARS “Benares – Dark 1” powder foundation (cheek contour)
  • Chanel “280 Golden Sun” powder blush
  • Anastasia “Ebony” brow powder duo
  • Lancome “Sable” eye brow pencil
  • NARS Velvet Matte lip pencil “Bahama”
  • Lipland “Fifty-Fifty” liquid lipstick

As you can see, the final look is very natural looking.  However, I ended up using a total of 20 products to create it, hard to believe (I know)!

Eye Makeup Brushes – What I Use and Why

I created a makeup video to briefly go over the makeup brushes I use most of the time when applying eye makeup.  I have used various brushes but these are definitely my go to brushes.  Before going into any detailed videos on eye makeup application, I wanted to first go over the tools because without the right brushes, it is hard to really apply the techniques.

In this video, I talk about these eye makeup brushes:

  • Makeup Designory #300 brush – I use this for applying eye shadow primer/base (cream based product).
  • MAC #239 brush – This brush is specifically used for applying eye shadow (powder) onto the lids.
  • MAC #224 – This brush is great for applying eye shadow highlighter under the brows.  It is also a great multi-purpose brush and can be used for applying under eye concealer.
  • MAC #217 – This is an absolute necessity when it comes to eye shadow blending into the crease.  It is fluffy but also tight to really get into the crease area.  I own at least 10 of these brushes!  I recommend having at least two of these, one used in the entire crease and one to blend at the outer corners of the crease.
  • Sephora #207 – This is a double ended brush serving different purposes.  The angled side I like to use for filling in the brows (powder product) while the smudge side I like to use for applying eye shadow as bottom liner or for smudging the bottom liner for a more smokey effect.
  • MAC #266 – This angled brush is best for applying a gel or liquid liner and is especially great for creating a winged eye liner.

Overall, as long as you can find brushes that are similar to the ones I mentioned in terms of the shape and size, then they should be sufficient.  The only one I strongly recommend you get specifically is the MAC #217 brush, I find this to truly be the best eye shadow crease blending brush.

How to Cover Up Under Eye Circles and How to Use a Color Corrector

Here is a quick video going over ways to cover up under eye circles.  I discuss this topic by introducing two different demonstrations.  The first is the easier demo for someone who does not have much darkness but still would like to address this area of the face.  The second demo is specifically for someone who has more prevalent dark circles to cover up and needs to address this makeup issue more seriously.

In order to take your concealer skills to the next level, a color corrector will need to be incorporated into your daily makeup routine.  Color correctors may add some confusion and be a source of intimidation but I explain the proper use in the video along with what shade you should be looking for.

By the end of the video, you will learn how to eliminate the appearance of dark under eye circles along with understanding the purpose of using a color corrector.

False Lashes – Tips on How to Choose the Right Pair


When it comes to false lashes, there are many options which can make it rather difficult knowing what’s best.  To choose a pair that’s right for you, there are a couple of questions to ask yourself:

* Do you want a more natural or dramatic look?
* Do you prefer length, volume, or both?

The top pair is ideal if you are looking for length. The lashes are more defining and separated.

The middle pair is the most natural out of the three. They provide more volume but aren’t super long in length. Once they are applied and blended with the natural lashes, they can look like your own lashes. “Demi wispies” are probably the most popular and universal false lashes out there, they pretty much work on everyone.

The last pair is “stacked” meaning it is actually two pairs of false lashes stacked on top of each other. This allows for them to be very full with extra volume.

I don’t see stacked pairs all too often but they do exist and if you want to stack your own, you can totally do it yourself! This can be done by stacking them on top of each other prior to application (like the ones you buy) or by applying one pair first followed by another set on top of them. Given the choice, I prefer to pre-stack before application but either method will work.

This is just a look at a few false lash options.  It is always best to try different variations to see what your style preferences are and what works best for you.  Depending on what occasion you are wearing them for can also be a deciding factor for choosing which pair of false lashes are best as lashes can range from natural styles where it does not look like you are wearing them at all to more dramatic styles that stand out and make the eyes pop.

How to Choose the Right Blush and the Blushes in My Makeup Kit

In this video, I share all the blushes I keep in my professional makeup kit and how I go about choosing the right blush for my clients based on their personal coloring (skin tone, eyes, and hair).  For beginners and most people in general, I do recommend a powder blush as opposed to a cream formula because it is much easier to apply.  I also tend to stick with matte blushes only (I explain why in the video) so this is something to look for the next time you go makeup shopping.  The blushes featured in the palettes are all by MAC:

Light to Medium skin tones:

Sincere (neutral, light apricot beige) – Ideal as a starter blush for anyone who has never worn blush before, anyone who has pink undertones to their skin, or anyone looking for a blush that won’t add too much color to the face as this will appear very natural on the skin
Melba (salmon warm pink) – I use this the majority of the time, it is universally such a beautiful shade that adds color to the face but not overly bright
Peaches (coral) – Great for those who have warm coloring and also a nice pick if you have red hair
Mocha (medium cool pink) – I like this for a person who has cooler coloring, such as a person with blue eyes and dark hair
Fleur Power (bright warm pink) – This works on most skin tones but especially great for someone who has a medium to olive skin tone or a tan.  This will show up nicely, adding a little more color than some of the other shades listed above.
* Fashion Frenzy (hot bright pink) – I always like to keep a hot pink for those who love to wear blush and want their cheeks to really pop.  This works on pretty much all skin tones since it is highly pigmented and shows up very easily.
[*Discontinued shade similiar to the MAC’s Dollymix blush]

Dark skin tones:

Shadester (brown beige) – This shade is actually meant to be used as a contour color but it can be used as a blush, more so on a medium skin tone
Raizin (deep warm auburn) –  One of the best colors to use on a darker complexion, the color is richly pigmented and looks natural once applied
Loverush (deep red wine) – This also has a nice pigmentation but appears brighter on the cheeks, very pretty
** Sweet as Cocoa (natural bronzy color with gold shimmer) – This is a natural looking blush that compliments a darker complexion nicely while also serving as a bronzer on medium skin tones
** Format (deep shimmery bronze) – A popular blush on a darker complexion that provides a shimmer and will appear fairly naturally, not too bright
** Ambering Rose (red and gold shimmer) – I would say this is universally a nice color for any complexion because it warms up on the skin and really brightens the complexion because it has red and gold in it
[*** Blushes that contain a shimmer and are not matte] 

I also mention a shade that is not in a palette, it is a single blush by NARS – Sex Appeal.  I love this color on exceptionally fair skin tones.  Although it looks like a very pale color, it actually pulls up beautifully on the cheeks.  It is a very light, pale peach pink color.  I also always like to use this on someone who is fair with red hair or strawberry blond hair.  

I strongly believe that blush can enhance everyone’s complexion so finding the right shade is the first step.  In a future video, I will demonstrate the application along with the exact placement.