Archive for the ‘Ask the Expert’ Category

October 11, 2013 12:00 am

How to: Tackle dry, chapped lips

One of the most frequent beauty dilemmas a makeup artist encounters is perfect lipstick application on dry, irritated or chapped lips. Lipstick can enhance the face by adding color and freshness, but if it grabs on to dry or chapped areas it will do exactly the opposite. It is part of your job to know how to overcome this obstacle.

When caught in this pinch, many people grab a chap stick or a waxy lip primer. Yes, this will allow you to put the product on, but it will not last long or give your client any knowledge as to how to prevent the problem in the future. As a professional, it is not only our job to resolve the issue (to the best of our ability), but it is also our responsibility to educate our clients so they can prevent it in the future.

Don't let chapped lips get you down this fall

In the old days, people would grab a toothbrush and rub the dead skin away. This is acceptable as an at-home do-it-yourself, but as a professional, there are much better options. The Fabulips collection by Bliss will not only make the lips super smooth and supple, but it will also prevent any future dryness or irritation. The foaming lip cleanser is the first step on the road to flawless. It is a bubbly cleanser that lifts away debris without stripping or drying. Work this over your client’s lips and any of the residue that causes irritation will be wiped away. Step two, the Sugar Lip Scrub, is a delicious combination of finely ground sugar, almond shells, walnut shells, and hydrating oils. A light buff of this soothing exfoliator will turn your client’s chapped lips into a soft, perfectly smooth pout. Step three is a peptide packed Instant Lip Plumper that will immediately rejuvenate the lips with a lush, hydrated plump. To make sure the word chapped is never used to describe your lips follow the plumper with the Softening Lip Balm. Shea butter, jojoba and grape seed oil protect and penetrate, leaving the mouth soft, smooth and kissable.

A simple, smart routine, focused on protection and rejuvenation, is all you need to take the chap off your client’s lips.

 

nathan johnsonWritten by Nathan Johnson

Nathan Johnson is a film, television, celebrity, and real women’s makeup artist with 18 years experience in the industry. Nathan believes in education and empowerment – his personal mission is to make America more beautiful one woman at a time. He brings product reviews, makeup tips, and personal experience to the QC blog.

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October 5, 2013 9:22 am

Get the Look: Neutral Contoured Eyes

A neutral contoured eye is a great everyday look, but this eye can also be used as a base for any other look! Doing this will help the shadow appear super blended and buffed out. Apply your smokey eye over top or even a bright shadow look. Using this neutral matte base not only helps with blending but also creates a nice color corrected base for you to work on. This look also works well as a base when creating a bold liquid liner and false lash look. You only need two shadows and two brushes to create the base. Here’s how:

Take these steps to create a neutral contoured eye

1. Start with a clean, fresh lid.

2. Apply your favorite eyeshadow primer all over the lid from lash line to brow.

3. Apply a matte cream color shadow (or a shade slightly lighter than your skin tone) all over the lid, softening into the crease.

4. Apply a soft brown into the crease (darker skins may need a dark brown for the same effect).

5. Apply the same cream colored shadow as a brow highlight.

6. Ta-dah! Your neutral base lid can work as a blended out canvas for all other looks or can be worn alone!

 

brittany hallWritten by Brittany Hall
Makeup by Brittany
Visit Brittany on Twitter and Facebook

Brittany Hall has established herself as a freelance makeup artist, with over five years experience in the industry. She’s also an established blogger – on “Makeup by Brittany”, she blogs about fashion, beauty, home decor, and makeup. She brings her flair to the QC blog with regular posts about her experience in the beauty biz.

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August 13, 2013 8:30 am

Perfect Summer Perfume – QC Picks

best summer perfumes - qc picks

Summer is a time for lighter clothes, sunglasses, long days under the sun and – of course – a change of fragrance. It’s time to tuck away your spicy, woodsy winter perfume and reach for something a little lighter and playful. That’s why we’re sharing our picks for the perfect summer perfume. We’ve polled the beauty gurus of our head office and have narrowed it down to the following five picks. Take a look and see if yours is on it!

1. Marc Jacobs DOT

Marc Jacobs DOT is as energetic-smelling as its packaging. It looks like a lady bug and smells upbeat, lively, and full of fun. With notes of red berries, dragonfruit, honeysuckle, jasmine, coconut water, orange blossom, vanilla, driftwood and musk – this perfume is a fabulous choice for anyone seeking a chic, energetic and upbeat mood.

2. Stella Summer

Stella McCartney brings you Stella Summer, a simple perfume that’s fresh and warm. Inspired by warm, summery days, Stella Summer offers up notes of frosted lemon, green apple, dades rose, Bulgarian rose, peony, and amber accord. It’s the perfect choice for anyone looking to smell like a summer-fresh bouquet of roses.

3. Poppy

Poppy by Coach is a youthful and flirty fragrance. It’s full of cucumber flower petals, mandarin, baby freesia buds, jasmine, pink water lily, southern gardenia, rose petals, creme brulee accord, cedarwood, bleached sandalwood, vanilla, and whipper marshmallow. It’s a light, fruity-meets-floral perfume for both the young and young at heart.

4. Candy

Prada Candy is a sophisticated yet carefree perfume. We love its simple notes of caramel, musk, vanilla and benjoin and think it’s the perfect fragrance for both at-work and on a night out. Plus, the hot pink and gold bottle makes for a nice addition to any vanity or dresser!

5. La Vie Est Belle

La Vie Est Belle by Lancome is described as a free, happy and deep fragrance. The description, to us, sounds a little contradictory – but once you smell it, you get it. The fragrance is simple with 3 main notes – iris, patchouli and gourmand. It’s juicy and fruity without being too sweet, and great for women of all ages.

So, was your summer perfume on our list? If not, what is it? Let us know in a comment!

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August 9, 2013 10:41 am

Spruce up Your Summer Cottage

Add some rustic chic to your summer cottage

With these last few days of summer, spending those precious weekends at the cottage becomes so much more special. I know I try and get out to my own family cottage as much as possible during July, August, and September.

Do you find though that your summer getaway spot is feeling a bit outdated, a bit too country, or too dark with all kinds of wood? Well, time to get your decorating shoes on.

There isn’t much I love more than a cottage with lots of white and light colors to keep it feeling fresh and airy, mixed in with wood tones. Soft white, greys, and a pop of color like aqua really equal perfection in a cottage space.  They are the perfect complement to the greens and blues of nature.

I like to bring in lots of painted furniture and textiles that are easy to keep clean. White slipcovers on sofas can seem impractical, but actually you can throw them into the wash with a bit of bleach and they come out looking good as new. Having painted pieces of furniture can break up the wood in a cottage space and give you a chance to bring in some white or color. Use jute or dhurrie rugs as these will stand up well to lots of action and be easy to vacuum and keep clean (no shedding!).

The most important part? Grab a cold drink, a good book, and spend lots of time listening to the breeze and enjoying yourself. Have a happy summer!

 
 

Gemma Bonham-CarterWritten by Gemma Bonham-Carter
The Sweetest Digs

Gemma Bonham-Carter has made it her mission to DIY her house into a stylishly decorated home, one project at a time. She believes that good design doesn’t have to break the bank. You’ll find her posts focus on reusing pre-loved items in surprising ways to create something new and exciting.

 

 

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August 7, 2013 9:32 am

How to: The Five-Minute Face

Here’s a question I hear from my clients all the time: “I lead a busy life. Is there a trick that can have me looking great in just a few minutes?” Let’s face it – even the biggest stars do not have a makeup artist living in their house. They love what we do for them, but they want a fast way to feel great on the days we are not there. Below you will find quick steps for a natural-looking glow that I recommend to all my clients!

Step 1: Foundation

Nathan Johnson's five-minute faceImmediately after applying moisturizer, work one pump of a liquid foundation into the skin. Use a brush or your fingers to blend it. This little touch will even out the skin in an effortless, natural way. (If you have oily skin, use powder instead.)

Step 2: Concealer

Using your pinky or a brush, apply a light touch of concealer under the eye. Apply it only where needed. To find that spot, tilt your head forward when you look into the mirror. A half-moon of darkness will leap right out. That is what you conceal. Done properly, this is the step that will give you the well-rested look.

Step 3: Powder

Set your foundation and concealer with a mica or silica based setting powder like the ones by Make Up For Ever or Cover FX. These look the most natural and will not change color through the day like talc based ones will. (If you used powder foundation, use this powder only on the concealer.)

Step 4: Eyeliner

Apply a dark brown liner to the upper lash line. Use a brush or cotton swab to smudge the color into the lash line for a really natural liner look. This small step makes the eyes pop!

Step 5: Highlight

It is the features that make this natural face so magical, so we need to make the right areas pop. With a brush, sweep a touch of highlighter across the high point of the cheek bones, along the brow bone and on the upper lid above the tear duct.

Step 6: Mascara

A touch of black mascara on the top lashes will make the eyes the focal point.

Step 7: Blush

For an effortless glow, add a little outdoorsy color to the face with a peachy-pink blush. When swept over the apples of the cheek, a fluffy brush will leave the perfect amount of color.

Step 8: Lips

A sheer, pink gloss adds freshness to the lips and face.

Final look

This natural look can be done in 2 to 5 minutes and will have any of your clients ready to face the world when you can’t be there!

 

nathan johnsonWritten by Nathan Johnson

Nathan Johnson is a film, television, celebrity, and real women’s makeup artist with 18 years experience in the industry. Nathan believes in education and empowerment – his personal mission is to make America more beautiful one woman at a time. He brings product reviews, makeup tips, and personal experience to the QC blog.

 

 

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July 16, 2013 1:29 pm

Party Planning Décor Ideas

summer bbq

With summer upon us, backyards, BBQs, and cottages come a calling. It’s a perfect time to throw a bash for friends and family! Whether it’s a few people over for a Friday night soiree or something bigger, it’s always fun to throw in a few nice touches that make the event a little more special.

Here are some easy suggestions that won’t take you hours of planning or prepping:

Instead of setting up a basic dessert or food table, dress it up a little. Add some balloons – you can tie them from a piece of string above, stick them with tape to a wall behind the table, or have them filled with helium.

See the image at  littlegreennotebook.blogspot.ca

Like balloons, streamers can be a really inexpensive decoration but don’t have to look juvenile. Choose a few colors and twist them for a backdrop, or use them to line tables.

See the image at mandjsherry.blogspot.ca

Pick up some colorful serving dishes or trays (plastic ones are a great a buy!), and use glass vessels to hold small snacks. Even chopped veggies can look special if you lay them out nicely! You can even add little notecards to identify what food is what – making everything look a little more formal.

See the image at  www.styleathome.com

These sweet striped straws make any drink seem a little sweeter. You can find them online (try etsy), or at some craft stores.

See the image at www.ontobaby.com
See the image at www.styleathome.com

Adding some flowers to your tables will make it feel more special. Buy some loose flowers (no need to buy expensive pre-made bouquets!), and put a few stems in a bunch of small vases. Don’t have many vases on hand? Use mason jars, old tea tins or food tins, wine bottles, mugs, or grab some small glass jars from the thrift store before your do.

See the image at heartbeatoz.tumblr.com
See the image at accentseventdecor.com

Happy party planning!

Gemma Bonham-CarterWritten by Gemma Bonham-Carter
The Sweetest Digs

Gemma Bonham-Carter has made it her mission to DIY her house into a stylishly decorated home, one project at a time. She believes that good design doesn’t have to break the bank. You’ll find her posts focus on reusing pre-loved items in surprising ways to create something new and exciting.

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With the weather finally changing and summer fast approaching, it’s always good to take a look at our makeup routine and adapt it to the warm weather. Today I’m going to share with you my summer makeup routine as well as some must have products!

Going into summer with a tan feels great. Invest in an amazing self tanner and you will have everyone fooled. A self tanner is always a safer way to achieving a beautiful sun kissed glow. Plus, once the shorts and skirts come out of the closet it’s nice to feel extra confident by adding a bronzed glow to your legs!

I recently tried a new self tanner called Vita Liberata sold at Sephora.

I am absolutely loving the color this self tanner provides. The mousse pumps out and has a reddish undertone which really helps you avoid looking orange and appears so naturally sun-kissed. I find a mousse self tanner to be extremely foolproof when used with a tanning mitt like this…

You can see where you are applying the product with each swipe, allowing you to create a streak-free glowing tan from head to toe!

Once you have created a nice base tan with a self tanner of your choice, it is important to keep skin hydrated. For summer, I am absolutely loving dry oil for my skin. It’s fast absorbing and still super hydrating, leaving a beautiful glow on the skin. I’m currently loving this head to toe body oil from The Body Shop called Beautifying Oil. It’s safe for the body, face and hair!

Now that we’ve achieved glowing, hydrated skin from head to toe, let’s move on to a beautiful summery fresh daily makeup routine. This is great for the office or for a girl on the go!

Step 1:

After cleansing and moisturizing your skin, apply a tinted moisturizer all over, blending in with your fingers or a brush. Right now I’m loving the Stila Illuminating Tinted moisturizer. It takes down any redness and naturally blends out minor imperfections while adding a dewy glow to the skin.

Step 2:

If you tend to be oily, gently dust a translucent powder all over to set the tinted moisturizer. If not, let the tinted moisturizer dry for just a few moments before moving onto the next step…bronzer! Apply a bronzer along the top of your forehead, almost brushing the bronzer into your hairline. Then apply into the hollows of the cheeks, under the jaw line and anywhere else you wish to look bronzed! Personally, I love a matte bronzer. I find you don’t have to worry about looking like a disco ball if you like to apply your bronzer with a heavy hand. My personal fave is Chocolate Soleil by Too Faced.

Step 3:

Blush! I absolutely love a rosy glow for summer. Blush complements bronzer and a beautiful tan so well. I like to get playful with my blush for summer, using brighter shades that pop. Apply a blush of your choice to the apples of the cheek or just above where you applied the bronzer (more to the side of your face). Both application techniques are great, it’s just a matter of choosing one you feel works best for you. For a bright pop of pretty pink try the NARS blush in Gaiety.

Step 4:

On to the eyes! A summer look to me is about low maintenance and easy wear. As always, give your brow some definition by brushing a brow powder (in the appropriate color) through your brow. This look can be all about the brows. After creating your summer glow and supple dewy skin, apply a strong brow and you’re out the door! It’s a very chic summer look. If a strong brow isn’t for you, a waterproof cream shadow can be your best friend. Using your fingertip, blend a cream shadow across your lid, softening it into the crease. Choose a color you love or one that complements your eye and skin color! I love the Stila Smudge Pots; a great universal colour is “Kitten.” It’s a pinky nude and can also double as a highlighter! Add some mascara and eyeliner (if you choose) and ta-da! A fresh summery eye look.

There you have it, a fresh summery look that will wear great on a hot summer day!

brittany hallWritten by Brittany Hall
Makeup by Brittany
Visit Brittany on Twitter and Facebook

Brittany Hall has established herself as a freelance makeup artist, with over five years experience in the industry. She’s also an established blogger – on “Makeup by Brittany”, she blogs about fashion, beauty, home decor, and makeup. She brings her flair to the QC blog with regular posts about her experience in the beauty biz.

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Nathan's tips to keep your skin looking great this summer

With the freezing weather finally behind us, more than just sweaters and snow blowers can be tucked away. As you pull on your thinner summer clothes, be sure to lighten up on your makeup and skincare as well.

In the warmer months, thick cleansers and creams can feel just as heavy as a winter coat would. For better feeling skin, try switching to something light and gentle like Cetaphil. This little powerhouse will cleanse, soften, and gently remove all the excess debris from your skin without stripping all the natural emollients. There is a fine balance between removing the excess and removing too much. You want the skin to retain a healthy amount of oil so you will look young and beautiful without looking oily. It will help keep the skin hydrated, and even and free of pesky breakouts.

In the summer months the skin is naturally oilier. Not only do we produce more oil, but the humidity in the air can seal it into the skin. Your choice of a summer moisturizer is even more important than the cleanser. Unless you are have very dry skin, dense, oil-based moisturizers in the warmer months will lead to clogged pores and excessive oiliness. Active Moist by Dermalogica is one of my all time favorites. The formulation is sheer but very effective. With a combination of silk amino acids and botanical extracts, this super hydrator will keep the skin supple while smoothing the skin’s surface.

When you open your medicine cabinet and put away the thicker moisturizer, store away the heavy foundation as well. Choosing tinted moisturizer in the summer keeps the skin fresh, dewy, and light while evening out the tone and cutting the red. I adore SkinTint FX by Cover FX. The base is a super-lightweight silicone and it is packed with the perfect amount of color and bronzer to make the skin glow with summer illumination. As if that wasn’t good enough, this mulit-tasker tossed in SPF as well as vitamins F, A, C and E to soothe, calm and hydrate the skin.

There is a big difference between dewy glow and slick shine. To keep excess oil at bay, tap De-Slick Mattifying Powder by Urban Decay onto all of your hot spots. This lightweight, oil-absorbing rice powder works equally well over foundation or bare skin. It’s a lifesaver.

A few simple changes in your daily routine will ensure that your face stays cool regardless of the temperature. Don’t worry about storing away your heavier products over the summer, they’ll hold up just fine until the fall.

Put the heavier products away, but don’t worry, they will hold up just fine until the fall.

 

nathan johnsonWritten by Nathan Johnson

Nathan Johnson is a film, television, celebrity, and real women’s makeup artist with 18 years experience in the industry. Nathan believes in education and empowerment – his personal mission is to make America more beautiful one woman at a time. He brings product reviews, makeup tips, and personal experience to the QC blog.

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At QC Makeup Academy we’re always asked questions about beauty products and dilemmas by our students. One of the most common questions has to do with the problems of setting powder. Even young women can find it settling into fine lines, and making them look much older than they are. We decided to put the question to celebrity makeup artist Nathan Johnson. Read his tips below!

QC: As one gets older is less often more with make-up? I am having trouble with “setting” powder being too obtrusive, especially around the fine lines of the eyes. Sometimes I avoid the powder all together there. What am I doing wrong? Please help!

Nathan: This is truly an excellent question. Powder and makeup settling in and around fine lines is an issue that professionals and women at home deal with.

Your question is tricky because with liquid or cream foundation, setting powder is necessary. Without it, your makeup will run, crease, and have a lot less longevity. There are a few things that may be at fault. So let’s look at them one by one until we find the culprit.

First of all, regardless of a woman’s age, when it comes to foundation and setting powders, less is ALWAYS more. Skin is a beautiful thing and you should not hide it. Perfect it, yes. Hide it, no. I cannot stress enough the importance of wearing only the level of coverage that you need. If you have chosen a texture of foundation that is too heavy, it’s going to look even heavier when you set it. Believe it or not, the weight of your powder may be the fault of your foundation or concealer. If you are using cream, have you tried liquid or tinted moisturizer? We usually need a lot less than we think to create the illusion of perfection.

If you find you’re using the right texture of foundation, then setting powder is probably the culprit. Talc powders can grab onto the foundation and force everything into the fine lines giving you the look of an ancient paper maché mask (I’m being a bit dramatic). And the problem only gets worse when your oil starts to come through the makeup.

There is one sure-fire way to combat this. Use a setting powder that is silica or mica based. Setting FX Setting Powder and Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Powder (pictured at right) are both 100% talc free. Both powders have absolutely no texture, so when you rub them between your fingers they disappear like a fine silk. And, no texture means no settling into fine lines. Put a touch on the end of a fluffy brush and lightly tap it onto your skin. The foundation will grab only what it needs. The formulations are 100% mineral based, non-drying to the skin, and the reflectivity of the mica picks up the light and makes the skin look even more luminous. Is that not awesome?

Solve the problem by following these steps and I have no doubt you will look flawless all day long.

nathan johnson
Written by Nathan Johnson
www.nathansbeauty.com
Nathan Johnson is a film, television, celebrity, and real women’s makeup artist with 18 years experience in the industry. Nathan believes in education and empowerment – his personal mission is to make America more beautiful one woman at a time. He brings product reviews, makeup tips, and personal experience to the QC blog

 

Image via www.sephora.com

May 10, 2013 10:12 am

How to Create the Ultimate Makeover

Makeup is a wonderful tool for anyone who wishes to accentuate what they already have or create an illusion of what they might have. It is a fun and creative way to express your style and beauty. One of my favorite things about being a makeup artist is to create the ultimate transformation or makeover. I love to find the best feature of the face and make that stand out, masking any flaws or imperfections. Knowing what to draw on and what to mask is the key to a good artist.

In this post I am going to talk about creating a basic makeover for your client, obviously tweaking these instructions to fit each individual. I’m going to show you pictures of my clients – some before and after shots. I will then walk you through the process of assessing a face, what needs to be corrected, and what should be a focal point. As a makeup artist, being able to recognize these points is very important.

Take a look at this client below…

Everyone loves a makeover

With the summer weather upon us, this client came to me with a bit of a sunburn and some minor scarring/pigmentation issues. The first thing you want to do is correct. I went in with a light concealer that had a yellowish undertone. I did this to counteract the redness happening in the skin. If there is any redness in the skin, steer clear of foundations or concealers with pink undertones.

The next thing you want to look for is the focal point. For this client that was glaringly obvious to me: her eyes. She has a great eye shape as well as very large brown irises (the colored part of the eye). To really accentuate these features I choose to use a smokey grey/brown shadow with beautiful big long lashes. When you look at her the first thing you are drawn to is her eyes – mission accomplished.

Next up…

Makeup application before and after

When we take a look at the above client, starting with corrections, we see some redness and spots that need to be concealed. I also notice that the brow shape is really bringing down the sides of her eyes, making them appear droopy when they are far from it. You can see when comparing the brows and eyes in both pictures that in the “after”, her eyes look quite lifted. That’s mainly due to altering the brown shape.

I needed to lift the second half of her brown up. In doing so (trying to avoid the “drawn on” look), I just added brow powder where it was needed, avoiding areas that already had hair. Using this technique, you are able to fill in more on the skin without making it look noticeable. But if you put product where there is already hair you have darkened that area as to almost reverse the work you have done on the skin. It’s all about balance. You can see how that not only lifted her brows but her eyes as well. To continue to draw the eyes up I used a big flared lash which really lifts the outer corner of the eye again. All of these factors turned what appeared to be a droopy eye into a beautifully lifted eye, which it already was. In this case, brows were the main area of correction and eyes were our focal point.

Lastly…

These brows are gorgeous

Right off the bat I looked at this client and saw amazing brows. They have a beautiful shape and are very flattering to her facial structure. I knew right away I wanted to make them a focal point. There were small patches to fill and I darkened them slightly but I really didn’t need to do much to make these brows pop.

An area of correction for me was the under eye. There was a little darkness and puffiness. In most cases, it is quite difficult to reduce the appearance of puffiness with makeup alone, although there are some little tricks to help it appear reduced. When concealing the under eye darkness and trying to avoid accentuating puffiness you want to avoid putting a bright concealer or highlighter right on the peak of the puffiest spot. This will only draw attention to it. Fill in the rest of the under eye with concealer and brightener. In turn, you are drawing our attention to the dark areas which are now bright and light, taking the attention away from the puffiness. If you’re worried about not applying concealer under the whole under eye, don’t be – the puffiest part of the eye is rarely ever the darkest part, therefore it doesn’t need concealing. The puffiness is still there, we have just created an illusion that it’s not. Ah, the beauty of makeup!

Before you begin makeup on your client, take a step back and really take a good look at their face. Where are her angles and shadowing? Does she have a large brow bone? Is it casting a shadow under the eye, or is it just dark circles? Determining the root of what needs to be corrected will help you do your job better. I hope this has helped you guys out! Please feel free to head to my blog, click the “contact” link and ask me any further questions. Have a wonderful day!

brittany hall

Written by Brittany Hall
Makeup by Brittany
Visit Brittany on Twitter and Facebook

Brittany Hall has established herself as a freelance makeup artist, with over five years experience in the industry. She’s also an established blogger – on “Makeup by Brittany”, she blogs about fashion, beauty, home decor, and makeup. She brings her flair to the QC blog with regular posts about her experience in the beauty biz.

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