Holy Blake Lively Batman! Or, my gorgeous friend Katie!

Katie is a friend that I seriously admire.  She works with my husband as a high school ministry director, and I have to say that if there’s one word to describe her it’s energy.  Katie’s got an unparelled talent for being able to speak in public on a moment’s notice, get a crowd going under any circumstances, and put a positive spin on nearly anything.  Katie is a classic extrovert, and she’s the first to organize game nights, community dinners, New Year’s Eve champagne parties, and she’s always the first one to raise a glass for a toast.  She loves to have a good time.

So when Katie let me know that she’d be going to a fancy Christmas soiree (that may or may not have been hosted by a vocal trainer on a certain little show called Glee), and that she wanted me to do her makeup for said soiree, I admittedly got a bit nervous.  I mean, what kind of makeup do you go with to reflect such a great personality?  And seeings that it was a pretty swank party Katie was headed to, how do I take things up a notch without going overboard?  And on top of that, Katie sticks to a consistent routine of bronzer and mascara (and she doesn’t need more, anyhow).  What’s a little more without being a bit too much?


Let me tell you this: If you have good teeth (which Katie has in spades), and if you’re not typically seen with bright makeup on, the absolute easiest and most high-impact answer to the above questions is a red lip.  Or pink or orange or plum, quite honestly.  A statement lip– we’ll just call it that.  Katie was a tad worried about going with this at first because her teeth and lips are such stand-out features of hers; she didn’t want to feel like she was all lip!  The best solution for this is not found in adding heavy eyeshadow or eyeliner (which can look overdone on top of a bright lip), but rather by adding some great false eyelashes.  Don’t overspend on these; Ardell’s from the drugstore are amazing! I used the Glamour Demi Wispies in Black on Katie, as this is my go-to pair for myself and for brides.  I dusted a champagne shadow on Katie’s lids (I believe I used Dior’s 5-Couleurs palette in Earth Reflection, or it could’ve been MAC’s eyeshadow in All That Glitters) and then lined just the outer corners of her eyes in deep brown shade for extra definition.  Lining the lids in powder shadow helps soften any harsh false lash lines, too.  I used the shimmery ivory shade in my Dior palette to highlight the inner corners of Katie’s eyes as a tribute to Blake Lively (whom I think Katie looks like!).  I dotted the same shadow on a blush brush and tapped a bit onto Katie’s cheeks, and used her MAC bronzer for some light contouring.  With a red lip, I don’t typically add blush because it competes too much with the lipcolor, so we left it at just highlighting and contouring.

I had Katie moisturize her lips while I worked on her face and eyes.  A good way to prep your lips for lipstick is by exfoliating them is gently with a toothbrush, but we skipped that and just had her saturate them in balm.  I used MakeUpForEver’s lipliner in Red 8C, and filled in her lips first with MAC’s Russian Red by using a lip brush (from SkinMarket … DOES ANYONE REMEMBER THAT PLACE?!).  I then had Katie blot, and filled her lips in again by using NARS’ Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Girl (a real fire engine red).  I then placed just a touch of Kevyn Aucoin’s Sensual Skin Enhancer on the cupid’s bow and on the inner corners of the lips.  Creating the perfectly-shaped statement lip is still something I’m working on; it’s harder for me than the most complicated eyeshadow.  Many professional makeup artists like to use a primer under lipstick (yes, an eyeshadow primer) and additionally like to dust translucent powder on top for extra staying powder.  However, in Katie’s case, I didn’t want things to get unbearably dry.  It was her first time doing a red lip, and matte lipstick can feel like cement if you aren’t used to it.  I’ll save the primer and powder for when I do Lupita Nyong’O’s makeup for the Academy Awards.  Right.

So, the final product: How amazeballs does Katie look?!  I was so, so pleased with the whole package.  With just a few curls in her hair (at her own hand), Katie was pure holiday magic.  I know I’ve been slow to crank out a post yet this year, but I sort of like that this first post of 2014 is a throwback to party season.  Everyone likes a fresh start with a new year, but at the same time I’m convinced that we still wish party season could continue well past January (minus the party planning).  And, I mean, party season sort of does continue past January with AWAAAAAAAAAAAAARDS SEASON.  Consider this makeup I’ve done for Katie my own teeny tiny contribution to the 2014 Awards Season, and just a little something to hold you over while I work on my Golden Globes post!  Thanks, Katie!  You look phenomenal!  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.


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