Posts Tagged ‘Makeup Tips’

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 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.


September 12, 2013 11:10 am

Nathan’s Tips: How to Do Bold Eye Makeup

Bold eye makeup is always in fashion. A bright pop of color framed by darkness is both sexy and unexpected, like this look I created below. If pink is not your thing, have no fear. It can easily be replaced by any color you choose. If you are not feeling bold, try replacing the color with a more neutral shade. By taking the following steps, and playing around with the colors, you will have an infinite number of new looks at your disposal. Read on to get the look…


A bold eye always makes heads turn

Anything you do to your eyes, cheeks and lips will only look better if it is set on a flawless face. To perfect the canvas, try Natural Finish foundation by Cover FX and Magic Salmon Concealer by Eve Pearl. When set with a fine powder, these two powerhouses deliver a flawless, dewy glow.


To maximize the pop, start with white Flash Color by Make Up For Ever. This opaque cream will completely cancel out your skin tone and allow the truest read of color on the lid. With the white applied from lash to crease, tap in Cherry Bomb Loose Color Concentrates by Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics. This little pot of magic is the find of the century. The pigment load is so high that these babies last all day and glide on like a dream.

In the crease and along the outer corner, sweep Onyx Eye Color by Make-up Designory. Using an angle brush, pull this color along the upper and lower lash lines to define the eye. The last step on the eyes is Mascara. Three coats to the upper and two to the lower will bring those lashes to unbelievable lengths.


To get a beautiful glow on the cheeks, try True Love Cheek Stain by Tarte. For added highlight, sweep Mary-Lou Manizer by The Balm

on the cheekbone and inner apple area. An extra touch on the bridge of the nose, the chin, forehead and under the brow bone will add extra pop.


For a bee stung look try Vamp Lip Glistens by Beauty Society. A sheer coat really shows off the sexy pout!

That’s how easy it is to get this beautiful bold look.

Photo by Thomas Cantley

nathan johnson

Written 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.


August 22, 2013 4:50 pm

Tips to Banish Dark Circles for Good

The eyes are the focal point of the face…which makes it so much more noticeable when they’re feeling a little tired. If you asked most women what they would change about their faces, they would probably say that they would eliminate their dark circles forever – I know I would! There are ways, both with and without makeup – to tackle this common eye issue. Read on for our tips to banish dark circles.

Reduce dark circles with a combination of natural treatments and concealer

Make some lifestyle changes

Everyone has dark circles. Before you go crazy covering them up with expensive concealer, try to get rid of them by reviewing your lifestyle – that means, first and foremost, getting your recommended amount of sleep each night. As well, certain allergens or sinus problems can cause your circles to appear darker; if you have trouble with allergies, either remove the problem or treat it as best as you can. A balanced diet can go a long way – cut the salt, get the right vitamins (especially K and B12), and drink plenty of water. Finally, find a way to relax and de-stress so that you can improve all of the above.

Try a natural solution

Cold does wonders for dark, puffy skin. Some people swear by applying cold, caffeinated tea bags to the eyes every morning to wake them up, and reduce swelling and discoloration. Ice cubes or a frozen spoon work as well. With any cold compress, leave it on for 10-15 minutes. Cucumbers are also a great natural solution to energize tired eyes, as well as a potato puree.

Creams and makeup

Most dark circles are caused by things that simply can’t be changed, like genetics or having very thin skin under the eyes. These can be reduced and tightened with cream, but the rest has to be left to concealer. When you’re shopping for a good under-eye cream, look for one with both vitamin K and retinol. And stick with this regimen – products with these two ingredients are proven to improve dark circles and puffiness over time.

Choose a concealer that matches your skin tone, and keep it in place with a setting powder. When you’re applying concealer, be as gentle as possible. It’s a sensitive area, and any further damage can just make things worse. Remember that less is more! Too much under-eye concealer will just look cakey, and draw unwanted attention. Only use this product as needed.

How do you get rid of the dreaded dark circles?




April 4, 2013 2:45 pm

How To – Day to Night Makeup Looks

Women don’t just work hard; they live and play hard as well. Daily life is busier and more hectic than ever. Work, romance, and fun flow one into another, so it only makes sense that we have a makeup plan that can transition with us.

The idea of changing makeup seems like way too much work for most women. But it is our job as artists to teach our clients the tricks that make transitioning far less of a task. Since most women wear the basics during the day (foundation, liner, and mascara), I am going to cover some quick tricks that will change any makeup look from daytime to party-ready in a flash.

Foundation Touch-up

Using the pinky finger, or a small synthetic brush, reapply the perfect shade of foundation to areas where it has worn away. Under the eyes and around the nose are two places to pay attention to. People touch, tug, and wipe their noses constantly, and this tiny fix will do wonders.


Most people develop a bit of shine during the day. So tone it down by dusting a light touch of powder over the entire face. If you don’t want to take a powder brush everywhere with you, cotton balls do an amazing job. Now remember, I said a light dusting. The goal is to tone down the shine…so less is more.


If eyeliner and mascara are left over from the morning, don’t reapply. Lets dress up the lids by applying a soft, sultry shade, one that will immediately jazz up the eye. Go from the lash line right up to the crease. Lining the lower lid will add depth and definition. Use an angle brush or a pencil to add the color. If you want an extra pop, liquid eyeliner is really your best bet. Use it only on your upper lid…and if you want to get the cat eye, pull it just beyond the outer corner and flick it up.


To make the mouth pop at night, depth and drama are key. The easiest way to get the look is to apply a shade of lipstick or gloss that is two shades deeper than the color you wear for the day.

These day-to-night tricks are really simple, but you will see that the finish is a universally flattering, slightly more dramatic version of the daytime look. The perfect combination of depth and darkness will guarantee you a flawless face that will look great in any nighttime lighting.

Here’s a tip. Have your client assemble a small make-up bag that fits in her purse or desk drawer. Then she will always have everything she needs to make the day-to-party transition.

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.


If you’re anything like me you have skin that is so pale it verges on translucent. Skin so pale that sunscreen with an SPF of at least 55 must be applied before any outing, and shopping for a foundation is like searching for a needle in about 20 haystacks. Finding foundation for pale skin is a difficult challenge.

Many foundations seem perfect at first, but after just a few hours of wear they begin to oxidize and turn darker than their original shade. I’ve spent many frustrating years seeking out the perfect product, and I think I’ve finally found one…well two actually. Let me tell you a little bit about them!

MAC Studio Fix Liquid Foundation in NW10
The first is from MAC. They’ve recently expanded their range of shades in the Studio Fix line to include some really light hues for the Edward Cullen lookalikes among us. I’ve tested out the NW10 – the lightest shade they have – and am incredibly happy with it. This foundation offers medium coverage, wears well all day while staying true to its original color, and sits nicely on the skin. If I wait for it to dry completely before setting it with powder it can usually last me throughout my busy 10-12 hour days. Though the lady behind the counter told me it’s a neutral, I would definitely say it has a peachy undertone.

NARS Sheer Matte Foundation in Siberia
The second is NARS Sheer Matte Foundation in ‘Siberia.’ This product is slightly thinner in consistency than the M.A.C, but it offers very similar coverage if layered and a lovely matte finish. Just like the MAC NW10 it looks quite neutral, but does have a bit of a yellow undertone. I opt for this foundation in the winter months when I am at my absolute palest.

I have classic combination skin; dry cheeks and an oily t-zone, and these formulas both work very well in keeping my skin looking matte and fresh all day long. Like I said, I usually stick with the NARS throughout the winter and switch to the MAC in the summer when my skin is a tad darker, but I also find that they can work well when mixed together. I just put equal amounts of both on the back of my hand to warm them up and then blend them together. I also tend to use the MAC Studio Fix as a concealer in the winter, as it covers imperfections wonderfully and better than any concealer I’ve tried.

Everyone’s skin is different, and so this may not work as perfectly for you as it does for me. I did just want to share in the hopes that it will help some of you with similar skin types to my own!

Have you found THE perfect foundation shade for your fair skin? Share it with us in a comment!

Image 1 via
Image 2 via


February 28, 2013 3:30 pm

The Amazing Blush Brush: Must Read

Why is the blush brush so amazing? When it comes to make up, there are really no rules. There are, though, a series of fundamental suggestions. One of the most important is… if you want professional results from your makeup, you need to use professional tools.

I am by no means suggesting that you run out and buy an arsenal of expensive makeup brushes. I am simply suggesting that you have a handful of the right brushes on hand. A great artist can work wonders on a face with very few tools, and when I’m done passing on my knowledge to you, you’ll be able to do the same.

Since flawless skin is the first building block to stunning makeup, I am going to begin with an amazing multi-functional brush every pro and consumer must have for complexion perfection. The blush brush is one of my absolute favorites, and I use it for so much more than just blush.

The Blush Brush

Uses: To apply setting powders, pressed powders, contour colors, bronzer and, of course, powder blushes.

Why it works: Powder makeups cling to the natural hairs on this rounded mid-sized brush, allowing for an even deposit on the face. The head is large enough to give a fast and even distribution but small enough to ensThe multi-functional blush brushure ample coverage over the cheekbones and in crevices (under the eyes and around the nose).

What to do: To apply any powder makeup, dip the brush into the product, then turn the brush upside down and tap the handle on the sink. This will pull the powder down into the brush, allowing an even distribution of color as you pull it across or buff over your face. (If you don’t tap it into the brush, you may end up with too hard a lay down of color on the first place the brush hits. Some people prefer to flick the brush to remove the excess powder, but I tend to think this is messy and wasteful.) Apply dry powder foundation all over the face and any other products where needed.

Tips and tricks:

  1. When using foundation as a setting powder, tap the brush onto the face, allowing the foundation to ‘grab’ the powder that it needs. This will ensure that your perfectly applied foundation and concealer will not be moved by the sweeping motion of the brush.
  2. Setting your cream or liquid makeup with powder will extend its wear and cut down on shine.
  3. To use the blush brush as a buffer (for contour or bronzer application), pinch the bristles close to the ferrule (the metal section that holds the bristles in place). This will tighten the hairs and lay down a heavier application of color. Use the same technique if you wish to lay down more coverage from pressed powder, and contour powders.


This multi-use brush is a staple that will help perfect your application.

If you are happy using your fingers, let me caution you: it is not hygienic, it causes needless wear on the skin and, like I always say, fingers are to make-up like the cookie monster is to cookies; they gobble it up. If you put it on with your fingers, you are throwing away at least 25% of your product and over a lifetime, that is a lot of wasted money. Save time, save money and look better…use brushes.

Get out there and be beautiful.


February 22, 2013 7:21 pm

How to Avoid Cakey Foundation

Have you ever completed the perfect foundation application and set it with your favorite setting powder only to look in the mirror and see cakey foundation? It’s a problem many of us have likely encountered, but there are a few simple steps to keep this from happening. Read on below to find out!

  1. Moisturize your skin, including an eye creamApplying makeup on top of well moisturized skin will keep your foundation and setting powder from clinging to any dry patches or flaky areas. Using an eye cream in the under eye area, and extending it out to your temple, will add an extra boost of moisture to this region and keep the area looking lifted and brightened. An eye cream will also ensure your concealer sits nicely on top of your skin and Keep your makeup from looking cakeydoesn’t settle into any fine lines or wrinkles.
  2. Use a primerIf you have oily skin, use the primer of your choice all over your face. If you have combination skin, apply a bit of primer over any areas that are prone to become oily throughout the day. If you have dry skin, you may be able to get away with using a very hydrating moisturizer and no primer. Take your time and find the combination of moisturizer and primer (if any!) that works for you. Using a primer will help even out your skin tone and texture, allowing your makeup to be more smoothly and evenly applied across the face.
  3. Apply less foundationOne of the biggest mistakes makeup wearers make is using too much foundation. However much you’re using right now, you could probably cut it down to 2/3 or even 1/2. The thinner you apply your foundation, the better your concealer will sit on top of it and the quicker your application will dry. This will be extremely helpful in avoiding your setting powder from looking cakey, as you need to wait until your makeup is completely dry before applying setting powder.
  4. Wait for your foundation and concealer to complete dry before applying powderWhen you apply setting powder on top of foundation or concealer before it’s finished drying, you’ll notice it starts to bunch and look cakey. This can be avoided by using less foundation, waiting for the application to completely dry, and then applying a dusting of setting powder across the face – focusing on the areas that are more likely to become shiny or oily throughout the day. A trick to keep a fresh, dewy-looking complexion is to only apply powder to these oil prone areas, and to skip applying powder on less oily areas of the face such as the temple, upper lip region, jaw line, and cheek bones.

Do you have any other tips for keeping your foundation looking flawless? If you do, then post them on our Facebook page!