Matte vs. Shimmer – Where on the Face and Why Texture is Important

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For starters, let me introduce the makeup model I chose for this post, the iconic Gigi Hadid.  She is definitely one of today’s modern muses for her soft femininity and her makeup is always stunning.

The leads me to this post and a makeup topic that is overlooked but a crucial one in terms of makeup product selection and placement.  Often times the terms matte and shimmer (or other terms include dewy, shiny, glowing, and radiant) are used when describing a makeup product.

Matte:  A matte texture has no shine whatsoever and can appear to have a velvet or powder finish.  Typically matte products appear more natural looking.

Shimmer:  A shimmery texture provides a shiny and glowing effect and stands out more on the face by reflecting light.

As a general rule, shimmer accentuates features more (more specifically with highlighting and “strobing”–the modern makeup terminology for essentially the same thing) because of how the light hits while matte textures do the opposite by appearing almost flat and do not pick up light at all.

Areas of the face that should typically always be matte:
– Forehead
– Chin
– Nose
– Under the cheekbones (by the use of contouring)
– Eye shadow crease and outer crease (I generally opt for matte shadows; however, depending on the look, shimmery shadows can work)
– Outline of the lips (in other words the lip liner)
– Eyebrows

Areas of the face that should typically always be highlighted (shimmery/dewy/radiant):
– Brow bone (the space right under the eye brows although this sometimes can be matte depending on a person’s preference)
– Top of cheekbones
– Cupid’s bow (the space between the nose and upper lip)
– Inner corners of eyes (optional but ideal for eye brightening)
– Center of eyelids (optional as well, this depends on the look but placing shimmer in the center of the lid catches the light and appears brighter)
– Center of the nose (optional, I personally do not do this much at all but if you look at magazines, the center of the nose always seems to be highlighted)

Areas of the face that can be either matte or shimmery:
– Lips
– Eye makeup in general
– Center of cheeks (in other words the blush color–personally, I typically always choose MATTE for the center of the cheeks but again, this is a personal preference and depends on the overall look being achieved which is why I put this into the either category)
– Skin (in reference to the overall effect of the skin, some people prefer their skin to look matte while others may opt for a more dewy finish that provides a glow)

Keep in mind with the last category, why it does not make too much of a difference is because those areas of the face are dictated by personal preference, style, and makeup trends.  For example, matte lip products are very popular at the moment whereas there have been times shimmery lips are more trendy.  Another example is with blush, a person with more oily skin is going to prefer to stick with matte blushes only because it reduces oil throughout the day while a person with dry skin may only where shimmery blushes because the skin will appear to look less dry and more radiant.

Back to the beautiful image of Gigi Hadid, which facial features are matte?  What areas of her face provide more shimmer?  When examining this image up closely,  it appears that the overall effect is more on the shimmery side.  More specifically, the gold eye shadow on the entire eye, the lips, the skin overall is more dewy, tops of cheekbones, and the center of nose.  In terms of matte textures on her face, I would the eyebrows, outline of her lips, blush, and the contour under the cheekbones.

 

 

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Best Foundation for Makeup Artist Kit – Cinema Secrets Ultimate Foundation 5-in-1 Pro Palette

cinema-secrets-palettesAs a makeup artist, I myself am always curious as to what foundation other makeup artists like to stock in their professional makeup kits.  With so many options today, I would say most makeup artists like to carry a few different options and that there is not necessarily one universal foundation brand that makeup artists respond as “the one and only foundation.”

Personally, I think less tends to always be more and I do not like to carry too many foundations in my kit.  Lately, most of my clients opt for the airbrush makeup application in which I strictly use Dinair, so carrying a ton of foundations is not a necessity in my makeup kit.

When I do a traditional makeup application (applied with a standard foundation brush and liquid/cream foundation), I tend to stick to Cinema Secrets Ultimate Foundation 5-in-1 Pro Palette.  This foundation truly is great!  Best of all, I actually have been using this around the time I first began my career in makeup artistry.  I discovered the brand the first time I attended The Makeup Show in NYC and have been pretty hooked since.

I like this foundation for many reasons.  For starters, it comes in a palette which in and of itself is much more convenient than carrying multiple bottles of foundations which can be bulky and heavy to carry around.  Secondly, being it is a cream consistency, it is very blendable and I can easily manipulate the coverage ranging from sheer coverage to more full coverage along with mixing the colors more easily to get the most accurate color match.  There are also many palette combos to choose from.  I own the 400, 500A, and 500B series which tends to cover most skintones.

Also, I use these palettes as my concealer palettes for undereye circles and other skin imperfections.  I am a huge believer than a good foundation can also serve the purpose of a concealer.

I highly recommend the Cinema Secrets foundation palettes to any professional makeup artist for the convenience and the quality.  I also want to mention that I do as a second option carry the NARS Sheer Glow foundation in my kit.  I own almost every shade as I like the color spectrum offered (especially for darker complexions) and the coverage is very smooth.

The Purpose of Makeup Setting Spray and the Best One to Use

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When applying makeup, it is important to consider the longevity and how long it is going to last throughout the day.  A professional makeup application is meant to stay from the moment of application til the end of the day.

One might wonder, what are some products used to ensure the makeup is going to last this long?  Aside from investing in good primers (both for the face and for the eyes), I do recommend getting a makeup setting spray which is used at the very end, immediately after the makeup application is complete.  It is also a very simple step as it is just sprayed lightly all over the face.

The purpose of a makeup setting spray is to lock in the makeup so it does not crease, transfer, disappear, or need any touch ups.  

The makeup setting spray I have been using for years and that I always keep stocked in my makeup kit is the Skindinavia Makeup Finishing Spray – Oil Control.  They do offer different variations of makeup finishing sprays that essentially do the same thing but I like to get the Oil Control because I think most people want their face makeup to stay relatively shine free and matte for the day.  Furthermore, this makeup setting spray ensures that the makeup will last for up to 16 hours.  What I love most about this spray is that it is lightweight (it does not feel sticky) and it has a patented temperature control technology that actually keeps the face cool which prevents shine to build up throughout the day.  I think that in itself is amazing!

 

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!

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!

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:

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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

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.

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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.