Makeup For A Night Out- My Friend Meg

It’s been way too long since I’ve done someone’s makeup for a special occasion; my last real client was before our move out here!  The only thing that’s come close is when I had the pleasure of doing a trial run for a beautiful girl attending her senior prom here in Illinois, but her plans fell through at the last minute.  So, since July of last year, it’s really just been me tending to my own face (which begets way too many selfies, let me tell ya).

So you can imagine my excitement when my friend Meg, whom I’d gotten to know through church, asked me to help her with both makeup and hair!  I admit I was a little nervous because it had been so long, but I was too excited to work with someone again to let the nerves bother me.  Meg was attending a benefit event for the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, and the cocktail attire dress code provided the perfect excuse to play around.

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I prepped Meg’s skin with Glossier’s Super Bounce serum, which perhaps turned out to be her favorite product we used that day.  Luckily, even though I’d brought my own kit with me, Meg had an amazing arsenal of her own with plenty of great stuff to choose from.  We primed her skin with Laura Mercier Radiance Foundation Primer, and then I used a Beauty Blender to evenly apply Bobbi Brown’s Skin Foundation Stick in Beige all over.  After a dusting of BareMineral Original Foundation in Light to set it, I used Meg’s two Cle de Peau concealers to the undereye area as well as around the nose and lips.  If I can name one area on the face that always gets overlooked when it comes to concealer, it’s the nose area.  The skin around your nostrils and at the bottom of your nose almost always suffers from discoloration; a good concealer on these spots has a real lifting and brightening effect.  To set the undereye concealer, I used Laura Mercier’s Secret Brightening Powder.

For Meg’s eyes, I stuck with some of my most trusted friends- MAC eyeshadows in Shroom and Cork, and my Dior 5-Couleurs Eyeshadow palette in Earth Reflection.  I used the two brown shades in the Dior palette, along with the pearly-white one for the brow bone and inner corners of the eyes.  The hardest part of makeup for me, to this very day, is properly blending multiple eyeshadows.  I really try to get a look at the eyes from all angles and in both natural and artificial light; I tried to take my time getting this just right because unblended eyeshadow is truly painful to behold (and here’s a tip- shimmery shadows are much more forgiving than matte ones when it comes to blending).  I lined Meg’s eyes with my BFF- Christian Siriano for Victoria’s Secret eyeshadow in Royal- and I don’t know what I’ll do when it finally runs out because I’ve yet to find anything quite like it.  For lashes, we used multiple layers of Meg’s Bobbi Brown Eye Opening Mascara.

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I did a bit of contouring with Kat Von D’s Shade and Light Palette, and used Chanel’s blush in In Love for cheeks.  I added a bit of highlighting using MAC’s Mineralize SkinFinish on the top of the cheekbones, and a touch of a pearly NARS cream shadow to the cupid’s bow.

Finally, for lips, Meg prepped them with MAC’s Prep + Prime.  We then used Laura Mercier’s lipliner in Natural Lips topped with NARS Velvet Satin Lip Pencil in Bahama- this is the perfect dusty brick-rose with just enough color to be a “statement lip” without needing to be fire-engine red or something.  We had her pack a clear gloss with her along with the pencils, just for extra moisture.  To set everything and give the whole look a diffused effect, I dusted Meg’s face all over with Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Mood Light.

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As for hair, I’d known for a while that I basically wanted to take inspiration from Ahn Co Tran and go for waves with lived-in texture.  This is my favorite look, and frankly, it’s one that I know I can replicate fairly well on others.  Meg has a midlength bob so I knew this texture would be perfect for her cut.

I used my tried-and-true technique of wrapping one-inch sections of hair around a 1.25-inch curling iron, without using the clamp and always leaving the ends out.  If you try this, try to wrap sections loosely so you don’t get a wave or curl that is too tight.  As I progressed through her hair (and I did it in three layers, working from the bottom up), I’d separate any waves that were too big or tight and finish with a generous mist of Bumble and Bumble’s Dryspun Texture Finish- better than Oribe!  I also sprayed Living Proof’s Instant Texture Mist into my hands and worked it into Meg’s hair, too; the Texture Mist provides bouncy hold and sort of acts like a spray-gel, but better.

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I kept laughing because Meg kept saying how I understand “the bend”- no one wants their hair truly curled these days, we all just want it to have that awesome “bend” that looks chic and lived in!  It’s the best!

One adorable Majè jumpsuit later and Meg was ready!

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I had such an awesome time playing around with this sweet mama- she looked amazing and I was so happy with how much she enjoyed the whole process!  I can tell you that it’s so much more fun with the client is interested and curious about what you’re doing, from the skin prep to the final touches.  And I was truly happy to finally lend someone a beautifying hand on the North Shore- it’s about time!  xo, MR

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Best Of: Brown Eyeshadow

Most folks who are into beauty will tell you that there’s always that one makeup item that they continue to purchase, almost impulsively, in multiple varieties and brands, even though acquiring more of that item is completely unnecessary.  What am I talking about?  I’m talking about the person who has nine different hair masks, or the girl who keeps buying new highlighter (whether liquid or a solid or whatever) over and over even though she’s barely made a dent in one of them.

There always seem to be one or two items that we’re particularly drawn to, and over the years we find ourselves in possession of a substantial-yet-laughable collection of said items.  For myself, it seems to be any type of my-lips-but-better color that’s just between pink and what would probably be categorized as nude.  A second one for me would be brown eyeshadow.  I’m discussing the latter today.

When I refer to “brown” eyeshadow, I get that the term can necessitate some explaining.  I do not mean bronze or rust, or anything with too much of an orange cast.  Sometimes, I guess I might be referring to something within a taupe range, but I really do believe that its a true brown that catches my eye the most.  That’s not to say that my attraction to shades of brown hasn’t been refined over the years.  I think I was naturally drawn to more earthy tones in the first place because I grew up watching my mom wearing lots of shimmery shades of copper and bronze.  I think the first eyeshadow I ever chose for myself was a peach CoverGirl single shade, called “Peach Parfait”.  You’d think that as a teenager I’d be more attracted to striking jewel tones, and yet even as I grew up I always identified brown or earth-tone shadows as my favorite and what I felt to be the most flattering on myself and others.

I tend to see most people agreeing with this.  There’s a reason why Urban Decay’s Naked palettes possess the cult status they now do, and there’s a reason why they were made in the first place.  These palettes we know so well are comprised of metallics and rose-golds and now a huge variety of shades, but there’s a general starting point that you can detect and it begins with the idea of ultra-flattering brown.  Just look at the case of Naked 1.

But anyhow, on to four particular shades of brown that I am personally in love with.

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Bobbi Brown Eye Shadow in Slate may be part of the whole taupe thing I mentioned earlier.  It’s definitely not a classic warm brown, but it’s certainly not silvery either.  It reads as a matte, milky, cool grey-brown on the eyelids and it works perfectly for day by itself, or you can really build it up for a smokier night look.  I discovered this shade by researching what Princess Kate used on her wedding day, and yep, this is one of the actual shades used!  I think she layered it with about three others, but I’ve worn this a few times by itself and I love it.

I purchased L’Oreal Infallible 24HR Eyeshadow in Bottomless Java after reading about its use on Kate Beckinsale for an Allure magazine cover shoot.  Eyeshadow is usually the last thing I’ll purchase at a drugstore when it comes to beauty.  I always find the color payoff to be terrible and the shadow pick-up on the brush to be bad.  You know how sometimes you tap a brush into the shadow and it only seems to rub it around and make dust without ever picking anything up on to the actual brush?  That’s most drugstore eyeshadows.  This L’Oreal line, however, is honestly great.  The pigmentation is awesome and every brushstroke is loaded with rich color.  This particular shade would be gorgeous on any skintone, and I favor this color over a couple of MAC’s Veluxe Pearl shades.  Rim your eyes with this shadow and blend it up into the crease, pile on some mascara or false lashes, and that’s pretty much all you need for a night out.

There are about ten MAC eyeshadows that are considered essential shades to many makeup artists.  If you’re accustomed to the brand, you’ve probably heard of Shroom, Naked Lunch, Sketch, All That Glitters, or Cork.  This last shade has been such a staple of mine over the years that I think it’s managed to make it on every bride’s eyelids that I’ve worked on (mine included).  It’s a very basic, matte shade described as “muted golden brown”, and it’s managed to be a building block in nearly every multi-layered eyeshadow look I’ve done.  First I’ll use a shade like Shroom or Orb to even out the discoloration of the eyelid on top of shadow base, but I almost always follow that up with Cork to begin adding warmth.  A look I’ve repeated multiple times is blending Cork in nicely all over the lid while adding lots of kohl eyeliner in Smolder or Feline (and I took this idea from a page out of InStyle that I’ve kept for years).

Finally, for a bit of a wildcard brown that has a slight twist to it, MAC is my friend once again.  Their Pro Longwear Eyeshadow in Uninterrupted is described as “dark camel with semi-matte finish”; it has a lot more gold in it than the other shades I’ve mentioned.  However, it’s discontinued!  That’s sort of the beauty and tragedy of MAC- they hold on to their timeless classics and there are always so many shades to play with, but if you fall in love with one of the many that gets discontinued, it’s quite a bummer.  It’ll probably take me forever to get through Uninterrupted though because the stuff really does last an eternity.  I don’t even use base when I wear it; it’s that potent and long-lasting.  I love this shade for its brightening properties- blue eyes look Blue Fairy kinds of blue with it, brown eyes look more yellow-gold, and green eyes look sort of hazel with it.  And hazel eyes just look extra hazel!

What are the products that you keep purchasing over and over?  Anyone else happen to have a brown eyeshadow addiction like me?  I actually haven’t purchased a Naked palette yet, probably because I’m a proud hipster and don’t want to own what I feel like everyone else owns, but knowing me, I’ll crack one day.  One day.  xo, MR