My name is McKenna. I’m a California native, now living in the Chicago North Shore area. I like to read and write about beauty. I like to engage in beauty through social media, as well.
What this all looks like is following a variety of blogs, scrolling through Instagram, reading endless amounts of magazines, actually doing makeup when the occasion presents itself (on both myself and others), browsing without purpose through Sephora (or Walgreen’s, or the Saks beauty department), and just thinking about hair, makeup, and skincare in general on a pretty consistent basis.
It looks like taking selfies when I’m excited about how my hair turned out for the day, getting really pumped over an ‘Olivia Palermo for Ciate’ nail polish collection (even though I currently have no nails), smelling every perfume on the glass counters at Nordstrom, getting possessive and angry toward IntoTheGloss because you feel like Emily Weiss has sold out since you first read the blog six years ago, and flipping out over Kate Mara’s new pixie cut.
I’m not ashamed of any of this.
What this doesn’t look like, at least for me, is making how-to videos (though they have been requested and I am considering it), using a blur effect app on my photos, and doing a lot of contouring and strobing and lining outside the natural lip line. And no, contouring and strobing aren’t the latest moves or drug trends you’ll pick up on at EDM, though it sometimes feels that way.
My makeup muse is probably Keira Knightley. Which means my actual makeup muse is her regular makeup artist, Kate Lee. I’d be happy to discover what products are favored by Kristen Stewart, and I also admire Diane Kruger, who typically does her own makeup for red carpet events. I also enjoy makeup artist Nick Barose, who typically works with Lupita N’yongo and doesn’t seem to take his job so seriously that he can’t laugh at the ridiculousness that is makeup industry sometimes.
My makeup anti-muse is probably Kylie Jenner or any of the beauty Instagrammers/vloggers that seemingly try to emulate her techniques. It always looks good, but it’s just so much. I’m usually suspicious of anyone whose makeup is always “on point and flawless”. This is why I’ll probably never become a paid and sought-after professional makeup artist- I admit that I don’t like really “makeup-y” makeup. My favorite kind of look, by the standards of many, would probably be considered very basic and boring. My philosophy has always been “Skin first, makeup second” as Glossier puts it (and yes, I even go by this philosophy on your wedding day), and a lot of the makeup I see these days on social media doesn’t put the person’s skin first. I’m not about a transformation; I’m about an enhancing of what’s already there.
So what does my MUA resume consist of? A lot of good faith, the pictures you see here, and decent reviews from women I’ve worked with before (who are mostly brides and, admittedly, mostly friends). Yep, I’m pretty much a makeup artistry amateur and it will likely stay that way! But that doesn’t mean I can’t pretend to be professional when I talk about it.
My list of hair muses is endless, with some of the regulars including Charlotte Gainsbourg, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Jennifer Connelly, Lily Aldridge, and a whole barage of women who’ve set the most unrealistic standards for hair since the Disney princesses of yore. For the most part, if it’s messy, wavy hair with some good texture and grit, I’m highly inspired by it. I love Tracey Cunningham on Instagram for her coloring wizardry, and Anh Co Tran for the imperfectly perfect texture he brings to his cuts. Oh, and Justin Kamm of Salon 9 in Orange County, CA is pretty amazing as well. I’m not sure what I’m going to do when the time comes for new color and I can’t get out to see him.
My skincare muse is the French woman. I mean it. That stereotypical image of the French woman who cares little about how sleek and shiny her hair is but cares obsessively over the condition of her skin- that’s what I like and feel I can relate to. It also makes it easier to walk out of the door for work without a stitch of makeup on, but with the knowledge that at least my skin is doing great. Downside- This makes me an easy sell for skincare product lines that apparently hail from the land of guillotines and fondue (and no, I’m not referring to Garnier), but hey, it makes life fun. Even though all such “French” products are probably being manufactured in Minnesota and managed out of New Jersey, or something.
Other sources of beauty inspiration for me come from movies, cities, and art. For some reason, all of these things seem to feed into my appreciation for makeup, skin, and hair. I think it has to do with the fact that I see them all as beautiful things. As it is with lovely hair or skin, a vibrant city, striking architecture, and a mesmerizing film all carry the common thread of beauty. So, this makes sense of how when I see a haunting movie, I suddenly have the urge to try something new with my makeup. Or, how when I walk through a museum, I feel the urge to do someone’s hair or write about beauty as I am now. It’s all very interconnected.
Anyhow, that’s pretty much me in regards to all this beauty stuff. Like I said in the beginning, I love to read and write about beauty. I kind of just really love to read and write (though not nearly as much as some people I know), but the whole makeup thing tends to kick these itches into overdrive.
So here I am, back after a long hiatus, re-introducing myself to you. I’m here to write about beauty.
My name is McKenna, and in this particular space I go by “The Bright Blush”. Nice to have you here.