Archive for the ‘Makeup’ Category

November 29, 2013 9:04 am

Subtle Cut Crease and Angled Lower Liner

There was a look posted on the QC Facebook page that featured a cut crease and an angled lower liner. I decided to recreate my own version of the eye using different colors to create a softer look. Here is the finished look…

Get the look! By MUA Brittany Hall

Follow along with this step by step tutorial:

Create a stunning cut crease and angled liner look

Step 1 – Start with a clean, primed eyelid. Apply a pink/gold shadow all over the lid.

Step 2 – Blend a dark brown shadow into the outer corner, softening into the crease.

Step 3 – Take a smaller tapered brush and drag the dark brown shadow in a fine line along your natural crease. Soften and blend up towards to brow. This is called a cut crease technique. What we have created today is a soft cut crease. To make your cut crease more pronounced draw a very dark distinct line through the crease with a smaller brush.

Step 4 – Deepen the outer corner by blending in a black shadow into the very outer edge.

Step 5 – Take a makeup wipe and carve a sharp, defined line out of the shadow.

Step 6 – Apply liquid liner to the upper lash line. Take a fine point liner brush and create a mirrored reflection of the liner on the upper lash line. Soften and blend down.

Step 7 – Take a white liquid liner and accentuate the two winged lines you have created by applying it between them, using outward strokes.

Step 8 – Apply mascara and lashes and there you have it!

Since I used a pinky gold shadow as my base I chose to finish the look with a soft pink lip and cheek. When wearing such a bold statement eye, you don’t want it to get lost among bright brush and a dark lip. I chose to make my eyes the focus by playing down the rest of my features. I highlighted my face using something with a gold undertone to complement the eye!

This dramatic look is still subtle

Hope this helped you guys out and you were able to recreate this look yourself!

Makeup Artist Brittany HallWritten by Brittany Hall
Makeup by Brittany
Visit Brittany on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest

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.

November 19, 2013 12:00 am

4 Ways Makeup Affects Your Skin

The vast amount of time invested in our skin, from facials to pinning down the perfect cleansing regimen, can often be put at risk by the use of cosmetics. Makeup is a wonderful tool to enhance natural beauty and highlight your best features, but how can makeup work against you? We’ve all heard about the possible reactions our bodies can alert us to when using a new product, but what are some lesser-known ways that makeup affects your skin care?


1. Fights with your moisturizer – If not properly removed at the end of the day, old makeup lingers on the skin, clogs pores, and blocks the replenishment of your night time skin regiment. The skin repairs itself while you sleep, so why not give your dermis the best (and cleanest) possible palette to work with?

The Solution: Every evening, remove makeup with a cleanser that compliments your skin type and follow with your preferred moisturizer.

2. An allergic reaction to cosmetic ingredients, irritant contact dermatitis can come in two types according to Mayo Clinic: irritant contact dermatitis, the most common reaction which affects the skin’s most outer protective layer, and allergic contact dermatitis, when an “allergen triggers an immune reaction in your skin.” Complications resulting from contact dermatitis include neurodermatitis (lichen simplex chronicus), bacterial and fungal infections.

The Solution: Always check the product label for ingredients that have caused your skin to violently respond in the past. If possible, ask for a tester or a sample of the product. If you are still leery to start using a new product, try a “patch test” by applying the product to your wrist or curve of your elbow.

3. Bacterial infections – While there are no requirements made by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for cosmetic companies to provide expirations dates on their products, a good rule of thumb is to discard eye products (like mascara) after 3 months of use and foundation, 1 year. The wand of a mascara product is a breeding ground for bacteria. The FDA advises consumers to store cosmetics properly and avoid sharing with friends or family members. The use of saliva to moisten dry product immediately raises the risk of contaminating the product as bacteria from the mouth.

The Solution: Toss it if it’s old, dry, or dirty, don’t share your cosmetics, and store properly. It’s probably a good idea to clean your brushes and applicators too…

4. Just because it’s “organic” doesn’t mean it’s safer to use. “An ingredient’s source does not determine its safety,” states the FDA. “For example, many plants, whether or not they are organically grown, contain substances that may be toxic or allergenic.” Some plant and plant parts contain toxic properties that can cause severe allergic contact dermatitis (see #2).

The Solution: Take the same precautions you would use when using conventional cosmetics. Examine labels for ingredients that have burned you in the past and use the “patch test”.

Bottom line, if you have an adverse reaction to a cosmetic product, immediately discontinue use and seek the advice of a trusted skin care practitioner. Medical spas provide personal assessment and evaluation of their clients’ skin and determine a tailored skin care plan based on skin type and need. Anti-bacterial, detoxifying, and deep cleansing treatments are available in addition to skin-rejuvenation and laser therapy.

By removing your makeup at bedtime, properly caring for your products, and taking the necessary steps to educate yourself about ingredients, you will lessen the chance that your cosmetics will derail your skin’s health.

About the author: Elizabeth Rago is a freelance writer specializing in health, wellness, and women’s lifestyle content, working with yoga studios, chiropractors, mental health, wellness practitioners and Thrive Medical Spa in Chicago. Elizabeth writes the weekly column, The Circular Home for Chicago Shopping (an editorial partner of the Chicago Tribune) and is Senior Editor of All Things Girl, highlighting topics related to the modern domestic woman. She has been published in Mamalode Magazine, and  Connect with Elizabeth on Twitter, LinkedIn, Houzz, and Google+.


November 15, 2013 12:00 am

Cat Eye Makeup Tutorial, Part II

As promised, here’s the second cat eye look you guys loved from the Facebook page! This look would be perfect for holiday parties, especially New Year’s Eve. It’s super smoky and sultry, but it’s still a cat eye. What makes it different from yesterday’s look is that it’s not all about definition. It features a smoldering sexy eye and a pale nude lip. Here is the inspiration for this look…

A smoky eye and cat eye in one

Here is my version of the look in a step by step tutorial. Follow along with me!

Step by step to a dramatic cat eye

Step 1 – As always, start with a clean, primed eyelid.

Step 2 – Start building your smoky winged look by packing on a black shadow and blending it into a cat eye shape.

Step 3 – Soften the edges of the look with a blending brush and a little bit of light grey shadow.

Step 4 – Apply a brow highlight (I used a matte cream colored shadow). Blend it down into the light grey blending shadow.

Step 5 – Apply a liquid liner with a wing matching the same shape as the shadow. This step is not necessary but I find it adds a little definition to the look.

Step 6 – Apply a very thick full set of lashes. I used the Katy Perry Lashes in Oh My!

Step 7 – Apply multiple coats of mascara on the bottom lashes. Don’t be afraid to create a somewhat clumpy look – it works well with this look!

Step 8 – Apply a nude lip liner all over the lip to neutralize any natural redness in the lip. Then apply a pale pink lipstick on top. I used Creme Cup by MAC.

Here’s a closer look at the finished product…

Try out this dramatic cat eye

There you have it! An easy and quick smoky cat eye, sure to be a show stopper for any night-time event or holiday party. Give it a try yourself!

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

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.


November 14, 2013 9:04 am

Cat Eye Makeup Tutorial, Part I

Recently, the nine looks below were posted on the QC Facebook page. Everyone seemed to absolutely love look #5 so I decided to recreate it for you! As the lower lashes aren’t quite visible in the photo, I decided to create what I think works well with this look. Stay tuned to The Blog, because tomorrow I’m going to post a cat eye makeup tutorial for another one of the popular looks below.

Nine gorgeous cat eye looks

Here’s my version of the look, step-by-step. Follow along with me!

Nine steps to a classic cat eye

Step 1 – Start with some creamy neutrals as your base. Use cream or white on the lid and brow to highlight, and a soft pink or brown in the crease.

Step 2 – Apply a liquid liner across the lid at your desired thickness.

Step 3 – Create an extension of your lower lash line into the beginnings of your winged liner.

Step 4 – Connect the tip of the wing to the top of the line you have created on your upper lash line.

Step 5 – Fill in the gap and apply mascara and false lashes.

Step 6 – Apply a white liner on the lower water line. Be sure to avoid smudging it onto your lashes as we want to apply a clean line along them afterwards.

Step 7 – Use a flat, thin liner brush to apply a brown eyeshadow along the root of the lower lash line. This will give the illusion of bigger eyes!

Step 8 – Apply a light coat of mascara along the lower lashes, keeping it clump free and clean-looking.

Step 9 – Apply a red lip and away you go! This is a great look for this time of year, whether it be for a Christmas party or a night out with the girls!

Here’s a closer look at this fabulous cat eye/red lip duo:

A classic cat eye look

Hope you all enjoyed this step-by-step tutorial and were able to create the look yourself with ease. Make sure you check back in tomorrow! We’ll take the drama up a notch with a dark and sultry cat eye look.


brittany hallWritten by Brittany Hall, Makeup by Brittany

Brittany 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.


November 11, 2013 12:00 am

QC Staff Tips: Day to Night Makeup

We all know the feeling – you’re off work in 10 minutes but have a dinner date in 30. With the time it takes to commute and change, you need a streamlined day to night makeup routine. And that’s where we come in! Keep reading for some tried and tested tricks from the QC Makeup Academy staff.

Day to Night Makeup

Julia says:

“Metallics are huge right now. I like to wear a sheer brown eyeshadow during the day, and before I head out of the office it’s as easy as smudging the whole look out with a layer of bronze. I finish everything off with lengthening black mascara, a swipe of sheer pink lip gloss, and a tap of powder on any oily areas.”

QC Asked: What’s your favorite product for long lasting makeup?

Urban Decay De-Slick Setting Spray. I have textbook combination skin. In the morning I give my face one or two sprays of this, and my face stays matte until late into the afternoon. I’m never without it!

Day to Night Makeup

Sandra says:

“I keep about three lipsticks in my purse at all times (okay, probably more like six!). When I don’t have the time to change my look for evening, I just pick my favorite shade and I’m good to go! It’s amazing how much drama a deeply saturated lip can add to an otherwise clean face.”

QC Asked: What three lipsticks do you have in your purse right now? 

“Right now I have the Rimmel’s Kate Moss lipstick in shade 01, NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Never Say Never, and Wet n’ Wild’s Mega Shield Lip Color in Ring Around the Rosy.”

Day to Night Makeup

Carly says:

“I wear simple winged eyeliner almost every day. If I’m going out after work, especially on a Friday night, I’ll take a minute to add some drama by smudging the eyeliner out a bit. I really like Clinique’s Quickliner for this. Then it’s all about the falsies. They can change my entire look in an instant. I like keeping the focus on the eyes, but I’ll usually swipe on some light lip gloss to finish it off. This dramatic look has never failed me!”

QC Asked: What’s your one must-have beauty product?

“There’s actually two I absolutely can’t live without! I adore STILA Stay All Day Matte Liquid Lipstick, and can’t get enough of  Benefit’s They’re Real mascara.”

Amanda Says:

“Interested in learning more about our online makeup academy? Click here to request a free brochure with no obligation to enroll!”


November 5, 2013 8:53 am

5 Pro Makeup Tips from a Celebrity MUA

With over two decades in the beauty business under my belt, I have stumbled upon hundreds of little secrets. Some of them make my job easier, some correct mistakes, and some are just plain fun! Today, I want to share a handful of my favorites with you.

Read some of Nathan's pro tips

1. Softening harsh lines and too much color

If you have ever put on too much blush or gone a bit heavy on your brow powder, eyeliner, or eye shadow, you know the woes of having to wipe it off and start the makeup fresh. The good news is that you don’t have to take off all the makeup anymore! There is an easier alternative that can save the day. Translucent powder and cotton swabs are two must-have products. If you go a bit heavy on the eyeliner or the brow color, a touch of translucent on the swab will blend it down until it is the perfect depth. For bigger areas like the cheek or eyelid, use the power on a brush or your fingertip.

2. Lower lash definition

Most people tend to avoid mascara on the lower lashes out of fear of the raccoon eye! If you don’t know how to apply it right, that’s probably for the best. If you want all the magic of a defined lower lash line without any of the negatives, apply the mascara for color and depth, not for length. Just set the wand tight to the lash line and wiggle it back and forth. You will get the perfect lay of color. Black is always beautiful, but if it seems too heavy for you try brown instead.

3. The perfect “overnight” smoky eye

This may seem like a huge no-no, but if you want the perfect smoky eye with minimal effort, sleep in your eyeliner. The liner will smudge so perfectly, you would not be able to duplicate the look if you tried. If you want to give this a go, I have one tip…swap out your white pillowcase!

4. Glowing cheeks

If you watch award shows, you will notice the dewy glow that most of the celebrities have on their cheeks as they walk the red carpet. There are a lot of ways to achieve this, but my favorite, and perhaps the easiest, is to apply a skin-brightening primer over the blush. True highlighters can sometimes be too bold but a brightening primer will take a beautiful cheek to AMAZING. Just tap it over the blush with a foundation brush.

5. Super Bright Eyes

Lining the inner rim of the upper lash line with a blue pencil will make the whites of the eyes look super bright! This trick is amazing because you can magnify the intensity of the eyes without anyone knowing you used a blue pencil. An added bonus is that it adds immediate depth to the lash line giving the appearance of fuller, thicker lashes.

Those are a few of my favorite little tricks. I would love to hear a few of yours! Leave a comment letting me know what makeup tricks you’ve discovered along the way.

Pro tip: Check out QC’s Pro Makeup Workshop with Nathan Johnson for even more of Nathan’s expert tips!

nathan johnsonNathan 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.


October 28, 2013 12:00 am

How to: Sultry Smokey Eye for Fall

Recently QC Makeup Academy posted a picture on Facebook of a lovely fall-inspired smokey eye. Everyone was swooning over it so I was asked to recreate it for you guys in my own way. I hope you like it!

Here are the colors I chose. If you don’t have these exact colors, don’t worry! You can use ones close to these. Unfortunately a couple of these are discontinued or the label has rubbed off, so I can’t list the exact shadow names. Regardless, I thought I would show you what they look like so you can see if you have something similar. Never be afraid to mix colors to get your desired shade. I mixed the dark green single shadow with the lighter green shadow in the palette for the green I used below.

Here are the shadows I used…

The colors you'll need for a fall smokey eye

Here’s the final look…

A gorgeous green and gold fall smokey eye, by Brittany Hall

And here are the steps to re-create it yourself…

Step by step for a fall smokey eye

Step 1

Start with a clean, primed eyelid. Apply your primer from the root of your lash line all the way up to the brow.

Step 2

Take your desired green shade (I mixed the dark and light green you saw above) and apply it to the center of the lid. You’re applying at the roundest part, or the “peak”, of the lid.

Step 3

Apply a bronzy gold into the inner corner of the lid and along the top of the green. Blend it into the first half of the crease.

Step 4

Pick up the cranberry color on a blending brush and apply to the outer corner of the crease, blending into the green and bronzy hues.

Step 5

Apply a brow highlight underneath the brow and into the inner tear duct. This will add a little pop!

Step 6

Add liquid liner and lashes.

Step 7

Smudge the cranberry shade along the outer lower lash line.

Step 8

Smudge the bronzy shade along the inner lower lash line.

That’s all she wrote, folks! I hope you found these instructions comprehensive and are able to recreate this look with ease. If you have any questions, leave them for me in a comment below!

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.


October 25, 2013 11:42 am

How to: Sugar Skull Makeup Tutorial

Day of the Dead, or Dia de Meurtos in Spanish, is a major Mexican holiday celebrated on November 1st and 2nd. It is a time when families honor and remember their loved ones who have passed away by leaving them food, flowers, and sugar skulls on homemade altars. For all you makeup lovers, the colorful and whimsical sugar skull makeup is a fun challenge to complete and a great look to pull off. The best part is that once you’ve got the basics down, you can personalize it with whatever shapes and colors you’d like! Read on for a step-by-step guide for a simple sugar skull look.

Sugar skull makeup look

Step 1

Cover those brows and prep the skin with the foundation of your choice. You can go a few shades lighter than your natural skin tone here if you like, just to give yourself that skeletal look. Try to create as flawless a finish as you can.

Step 2

Map out your design with eyeliner by drawing large circles around the eyes (above the eyebrows). Depending on the overall look you’re trying to achieve, you can use whatever color you’d like. Black, purple, and blue are popular choices. Precision isn’t too important at this stage.

Step 3

Prime the eyes inside your circle to make sure the pigment that you’re about to put on stays in place.

Step 4

Taking a brightly pigmented powder, fill in the circle around the eyes. This is where you can start getting creative! Decorate the edges of the circles however you’d like, either by making a design with eyeliner (as seen above), or jewels. You can even add some eye glitter to the lid for an extra bit of sparkle.

Step 5

Finish off your eyes with a thick liner on the upper and lower lashes (don’t forget the waterline!). If false lashes are your thing, feel free to use them here for a more dramatic look.

Step 6

Buy or make some stencils for an extra bit of whimsy. You can use flowers, hearts, or just a fun design around your forehead, or on the chin. Fill them in with a bright pigment in the color of your choice.

Step 7

Using a crème eyeliner and angled brush, outline the nose in black and fill it in. This will complete the skull look. You can add an extra bit of sparkle here too, if you like.

Step 8

Paint the lips in the color of your choice. The above look went all white for an overall creepy effect, but you could also fill them with a bright red or coral for a more colorful, fun look. Extend the corners of the mouth and add “stitches” across the entire mouth using black eyeliner.

Step 9

To really look like a skull, you’ll need some contouring! Take a dark gray and contour the cheekbones and jawline.

Voila! You’ve created an authentic sugar skull makeup look just in time for Day of the Dead. Why don’t you enter it in our Facebook Halloween contest? Click here for details.



October 11, 2013 1:18 pm

MAKEUP CONTEST: Get Spooky with QC!


Congratulations to our winner Crystal Gray and runner-up Kylie-Elvis Schmoulianoff!

And we’d like to say a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who participated! We were overwhelmed by the number of entries we received, and are wildly impressed with the level of skill and creativity shown. We wish you all a very happy Halloween!

Makeup Contest


Show us your very best Halloween makeup for a chance to win an Urban Decay eyeshadow palette and personalized audio feedback from celebrity makeup artist Nathan Johnson!

To enter this makeup contest, simply create a Halloween makeup look on yourself or a friend. Then head on over to QC Makeup Academy’s Facebook page, “like” this post, and message us with a photo of your spooky creation!

Nathan will be selecting the top 2 looks himself, and providing audio critique for both. The winner will receive the Urban Decay Vice 2 Palette, and the runner up will receive the Urban Decay Deluxe Eyeshadow Palette. Check out the image below to see exactly what’s up for grabs.

Contest begins today and runs until October 30th. The winners will be announced on Halloween. Good luck!

Halloween Makeup Contest with QC Makeup Academy


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.