Would you take makeup advice from a mermaid? I would.

So, every once in a while, I manage to get to know someone with an affinity for makeup similar to my own.  We both fawn over the perfect Dior palette, share similar frustrations with undereye concealer, and just manage to get excited over the same, dumb little things.  But don’t you dare tell us they’re dumb.

My friend Chelsea and I share a mutual lack of shame when it comes to how much we love makeup.  She, however, has had a lot more experience with it in her line of work considering that, for a good part of her life, Chelsea has been performing on the stage in all parts of the world.  And sometimes that has involved fins.  I’m not kidding.

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Yeah, we’re all jealous now.  I know.  At least we can all be jealous together.

Anyways, the other day Chelsea shared a new picture online (see below) and I was just stunned by her makeup.  I’ve known Chelsea to be quite capable at doing her own makeup because of her time doing shows and on the stage, but I had to be absolutely certain that this was her doing and so I asked.  And this was the initial response I got:

You want the honest truth? It’s funny… I HATE getting my make-up done. I never like it and I always feel like I’ve wasted my money. So my friend just got married and since every other bridesmaid and all of the moms were getting theirs done I thought… okay I’ll try it again.  Fail. I think I’m a make-up artist’s nightmare. Or dream? Considering I paid her full price and asked if I could do my own eyeliner, mascara, eyelashes, eyebrows, lips… and then ended up re-doing the foundation, blush, concealer, and touching up the eyeshadow (which was the only thing I liked) with my trusty DIOR palette.

Welp, taking over for your makeup artist didn’t seem to work out half-bad, Chels.  Especially considering the finished product turned out beautifully:

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I myself have sometimes gotten my makeup “done” only to doctor it up afterwards with my own touch.  I think we all do it, especially if you have particularities about what you like to see on your own face (such as the fact that I require at least five coats of mascara to scratch a certain itch in my brain).  So naturally, I then had to ask Chelsea exactly what she did for this full look.  I gave her the green light on giving me a play-by-play, down to every last detail.  She did not disappoint.  Got a special night out or a fancy occasion coming up?  Then keep reading.  What follows is basically my first guest post on The Bright Blush, and it’s brought to you by none other than Ariel herself:

Okay so I’ll give you the rundown. I used MakeUpForEver HD primer… but only for special occasions when I feel like I want to be professional. I actually don’t really wear primer or foundation often. I use BB cream on a daily basis. I found this awesome one by the brand KATE. It stays on for a long time (I even wore it on stage) and it’s not too runny or too thick. It took me a while to find a brand I liked. It also leaves a fresh dewy complexion, which is lovely.

For that specific day though, the make-up artist used airbrush foundation which I later covered up (errr…touched up) with Clinique Super Balanced make-up in cream beige.

Thanks to YOU if I’m wearing eyeshadow I always use the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer. I seriously never wore a primer before you told me about this and I am now obsessed. I ended up recommending it to everyone at work because it is just SO GOOD. It makes the eyeshadow pop and stay on forever. I like to also put it under my bottom lashes just on the outside half so I can use eyeshadow as a liner and it actually stays on. I find eyeshadow makes my eyes look bigger rather than eyeliner but that might just be me… unless you use eyeliner and smudge it a lot. Anyways…

For concealer I use Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat 2.5. IT IS AMAZING!! I only discovered it a few months ago and I am SUPER picky about under eye concealers. You’re talking to the girl who is endlessly on the hunt for a great moisturizing concealer that has good (but not thick) coverage and also one that doesn’t crease or rub off or get flaky or dry up or needs to be re-applied every hour etc etc etc. I buy a million and then never use them because they aren’t ‘just right’. I think I have given away more concealers and mascaras than I can afford. This one is a bit pricey but I feel like under your eyes it’s one area we shouldn’t skimp on. Prevention people! I learned the best way for me to use concealer is actually just below my dark circle and then I gently pat it with my finger to blend it up. I know everyone always says to use powder to hold it in place but I never do. I feel like it makes me look tired for some reason. Which is also why I’m always looking for a good under eye concealer that does everything.

The make-up artist showed me how to use Smashbox Photo Op Under Eye Brightener as well. I don’t own this product but it was really beautiful so I might have to look into that. She used it to highlight under my eyes and I have to say I was a fan. Dab on to the upper cheek bone area under your eyes and it really brightens up your face.

Eyeshadow- The make-up artist was using the Urban Decay Naked Palette (I don’t know if it was 1 or 2 and some other one that I didn’t see the name of). I later went over top with my DIOR palette in ROSY TAN to make the colours pop and added a shimmer highlight to the inner corners of my eyes. I always highlight right under my eyebrow (on the outer half only) and on the inside corners. I use a medium color on my lid and then use something really dark on the outer crease and blend it up. I also use that dark color under my eyes on the outside half. Pretty typical application and it looks really great on stage too. I think I have to find a balance between stage make-up and regular day make-up. I am so used to seeing myself in heavy amounts of eyeshadow everyday that I just get used to it and think it’s okay for regular life. Hopefully it doesn’t look too drag-queen. And if it does…. I’m still guna work it because I like it and it makes my eyes look big.

I don’t like to wear eyeliner but when you wear false lashes you need a little. I make a very thin line on the upper lash line using ‘Two Faced Perfect Eyes Waterproof Eyeliner in Perfect Black’. I also put a small line over the eyeshadow under my bottom lashes but only on the very outside. Not drawing a line underneath. (Am I being to picky now?)

Mascara- ALWAYS and only.. old school CoverGirl Super Thick Lash in very black. (The skinny red tube) Lots of layers. Just keep loading it on, haha! Sometimes I do another layer of CoverGirl LashBlast Volume (the thick orange tube) if I want it even more intense. I have tried so many mascaras because I’m a sucker for new bright colors and believe the lies that they will make my lashes amazing. But this one always wins and again I have wasted money because I just throw them in the bag with my 239586 unacceptable concealers.

And now for false eyelashes: My eyes hate them. I have tried so many brands. Thick, thin, long, short…because of my job I need to wear something. But literally every time I wear a strip of false lashes my eyes get heavy and watery and I look tired. So I started using Individual lashes by ARDELL (Flare Short Black). WINNER!!! I could wear them everyday if I wanted. Josh thinks fake eyelashes are disgusting and make him want to gag… little did he know I was wearing them all the time. HA!! Now the secret is out because the videographer at our wedding filmed me putting them on while saying.. ‘Surprise hunnie… they aren’t real’. At least they don’t make him want to gag. I use tweezers to put them on and focus on the outer half. It really doesn’t take that long and you can also use it to fill in gaps in your lashes if you have any.

Eyebrows- I am a brow girl. I literally look like a different person if I don’t fill in my eyebrows. I use CoverGirl professional natural lash mascara (clear) to tame those suckers down. And then I use a brush and my dark brown eyeshadow (Which I may or may not have taken from Disney..shhh) La Femme Hollywood in Dark Brown.

I only use a light brush of powder between my eyebrows and on my nose. I do not like a shiny nose. T-zone control is important. I use MAC Select Sheer Pressed NC25.

Bronzer- Again thanks to your recommendation I am a die hard fan of NARS Bronzer in Laguna. It’s perfection and doesn’t give me pimples.

Blush- I may or may not have also taken this one from Disney….. haha it’s ‘La Femme HOLLYWOOD’ in Lilac Champagne. It is VERY pink but I literally dust the tiniest amount on only the apples of my cheeks (Yes while smiling). And its wonderful.

My trick for everyday lips is my Wal-Mart no name brand ‘Ariel’ (yes, like Little Mermaid… you can also get Cinderella) lip chap and then lip liner. I’m not kidding. I get so many compliments on it and I just want to laugh because it’s a dollar.. and probably made for 5 year olds. When I don’t have that I use Carmex and lipliner.

For this certain occasion I used my Ben Nye Rum Raisin lipliner (Thanks Disney) and I wanted really bright lips to match her bridesmaid flowers so I used Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Fuchsia Fusion. It’s not super long lasting but I don’t mind reapplying. For me it’s really all about the liner because my lip line is not very defined.

One more product that I love to use for beautiful glowing skin, especially in a strapless dress, is St. Tropez Skin Illuminator. It’s a shimmery lotion that gives you a beautiful glow and defines your arms and neck/chest. Apparently Jennifer Aniston uses it so I had to give it a go. Turns out she knows what she’s doing. If you don’t want it to be too shimmery just mix it with a regular body lotion.

I think that’s it… Sorry if I rambled on and on. It’s very long. Oops.

And there you have it.  Let me tell you, I LOVE a girl that can talk makeup like it’s nobody’s business.  Music to my ears.  Chelsea may live far away (as she’s been a performer in Hong Kong and continues to live there), but let’s face it- there’s nothing like a heavenly makeup job to bring folks together, though they may live oceans apart.  Come visit soon, Chelsea!  xo, MR

Face paint. But so much better.

I’ve never been a big fan of liquid foundation.  Perhaps that’s because it’s always come with this stigma of being “face paint”, as in, if you wear it on a somewhat-regular-to-regular basis, that means you wear a lot of makeup and you “paint” your face.  You know, a painted lady?  And I’ve always been scared of wearing too much makeup.  Maybe I’ve felt that “a light dusting of powder” seemed more modest as compared to a “light smear of foundation”.  I don’t know.  Thought vomit.

But I suppose this idea of foundation used to be pretty justifiable.  I mean, I remember looking at the drugstore formulas back in the early 2000’s and thinking Wow … Can I ever wear this stuff without looking like I dipped my face in wet terracotta?  And then just let it dry and have myself buried with thousands of ancient Chinese soldiers with the rest of the terracotta folk?!  No ma’am, I’m not trying to look like Lucy Ricardo when she tries to make a literal bust of herself (see season 2, episode 15 “Lucy Becomes a Sculptress”).  And then of course, there’s always been the issue of shade range when it comes to foundation.  OHHHHH the shade range.  Not only have makeup companies needed to seriously step-up their git-along when it comes to shade range for darker skin tones (because no, not every so-called “Eastern” woman can be covered by one shade, usually called something awkward like “clay” … I mean for real?), but I feel like just within the past five years have manufacturers begun considering things like “neutral”, “cool”, and “warm” tones in foundation shades.  Yes, because “eggshell”, “orange”, and “orange 2.0” just doesn’t quite cover it.

Now, I shouldn’t talk too much smack because it does take work and some Jaeger-level technology to develop a truly excellent color range for something like foundation, and so this post is more meant to praise than criticize.  I think the work has finally paid off!  Hail Science.

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So, as you regular readers know, I’m a big believer in BareMinerals.  And I continue to use it (in it’s original powder formula), but there’s something about a powder formula that, with as mineral-y and sheer as they can make ’em now, I believe detracts from a skin’s glow.  Now, I am all about glowing skin.  I like the dewy, fresh, translucent, just-washed look, and I feel today about matte skin the way I felt about foundation at all a decade ago – It’s just too much.  It doesn’t sit well with my psyche, which is a problem, because many women prefer a matte finish and I need to be able to willingly accommodate that desire.  And what’s more, matte skin, lips, and nails are huge for this coming fall season, and so of course, being the sucker that I am, you know I’ll be wanting to play along.  Heck, I’m already armed with Urban Decay’s Surreal Skin Mineral Makeup in a shine-free, perfectly matched shade.

So autumn trends aside, I decided to start looking out for a regular-use foundation line that provided light-to-medium coverage with a natural, non-mattifying finish.  And I wanted a high-quality one with plenty of shades to choose from.  I’d heard wonders about the new Giorgio Armani Maestro Fusion Foundation.  I literally squealed when I swiped a bit of it on my wrist because it felt like silk.  Oh, they easily could rename the stuff “Silky Baby’s Butt Makeup by Giorgio Armani”.  But priced at sixty-five bucks, I just couldn’t stomach it.  How about their Luminous Silk Foundation?  It gets rave reviews, but it still costs sixty.  Chanel’s well-reputed Perfection Lumiere?  Still over fifty.  So what other lines are there?  Hmmm …

I then thought of Lancome’s Teint Idole line that debuted perhaps a couple years ago, with Julia Roberts as the spokesmodel.  I also thought of the eight-dollar reward I had for Ulta, and my curiosity was piqued.  I headed over to Ulta and plopped myself down in the makeup artists’s chair in the Lancome section.  Not only was the Teint Idole priced at forty-five, but the shade range was overwhelming.  It’s divided into four “intensities”: Ivoire, Buff, Bisque, and Suede.  These intensity levels are then broken down into different shades and tones, so every complex variation of skin color is covered.  However, I realized that the Teint Idole was a full-coverage, mattifying foundation that gave off no shine.  Not what I was looking for.

Lancome’s Teint Miracle, however, worked some sheer magic on my skin.  My skin felt soft and hydrated with just enough coverage to give a dewy, evening-out effect.  As so many good foundation reviews will say, I didn’t feel like I was wearing “makeup”.  It took a very small amount of the product to reach a satisfactory level of coverage, too.  And as for the price, well, the price wasn’t wrong, in that it still felt like an investment but not something shameful and unnecessary.  I can’t hang with the Maestro when he’s asking for all my mo-nay!

I will note though that my Lancome shade is the tiniest bit lighter than my current skin tone (thanks to the summer sun), and so I’m putting off using it for the next month or so.  I’m currently mixing my Boscia B.B. cream with Weleda’s ultra-moisturizing Skin Food for an incredibly rich, sheer bit of coverage that my skin just drinks up.  I mix a dab of each product on my hand (even parts) and rub it evenly on my face for a delicious glow that makes me look awake and refreshed.

So this is what I have for now, and while foundation may not be a primary concern of yours in this God-awful September humidity that we’re experiencing in Orange County, it’s something to keep on your radar nonetheless.  Fall is coming (and, did I mention Fashion Month has commenced?!), and we’re well on our way to an abundance of dark, cozy nights with plenty of opportunities for mysterious, not-too-perfect smokey eyes, oxblood lips, and evened-out, flawless skin.  Let’s get this heat over with.  xo, MR