January 19, 2014

Every Girl & Woman Needs to See This

I recently did a blog post on various makeup tips for ladies who wear glasses (see here). When I write new blog posts, I usually put an update on my Instagram page letting my followers know that there's something new to check out. One of my dear sweet friends wrote something very sweet underneath that recent photo, something along the lines of "you always look like a model" or something to that degree. While that was a very sweet thing to say, it could not be FURTHER from the truth. I had to chuckle because at the time I read that comment, I believe I was wearing fleece sweat pants, face was freshly scrubbed and I'm sure my hair was all slicked to one side with baby boogers in there somewhere.

I think it's really important to "keep it real" with everyone. I don't wake up with the face that you see in most of my pictures. That's the beauty (or the beast depending on how you look at it) of social media. We can edit, filter, adjust and crop to our heart's content. I like makeup. I like to apply makeup. I have years and years of experience doing my makeup and I am STILL learning new and cool things. What I am about to show you is a before & after of me with NO makeup (nada, not a stitch, no concealer, no primer, just plain moisturizer) on versus a full face of makeup so that you can see just how far makeup can take a person. Please go easy on me and if you judge me, just keep it to yourselves I beg of you. I would have NEVER done this 5 or 10 years ago....my insecurities would have never allowed it. But there is something really beautiful about growing a bit older (translation = not giving a shit). Who knows, maybe having a baby humbles a person (when your nether region is on display for the entire L&D ward to see, you get real comfy real quick with the real you).

I'll show you the start and the finish with all the steps in between so you can see just how much time goes into a refined finished result. I think it's our responsibility as women (especially those of us blogging about beauty and makeup) to be transparent and honest with each other so that we can stop comparing ourselves to each other. Most of the time, I look like the ghoul on the left and not the one on the right. If I'm staying home with the nugget, you can bet your sweet ass I'm not putting on a full mug of makeup. That being said, when I DO wear makeup, I do it because it makes ME feel better. More polished, more awake, more "put-together". If it wasn't something I enjoyed, I would never put this much time and attention into it.

All of the photos I took are UN-FILTERED and UN-RETOUCHED. I swear on all that is good and holy there were no apps, filters or anything else used other than my iPhone camera. The only "tool" used was the flash but only in some (to show detail). Most of the photos were taken in my master bathroom which has white walls and very bright light. I took my "before" photo in front of my bedroom window so you could get the reality of natural light...ugh...helllllo splotchiness, greasiness, redness, dark circles and ginger eyelashes!

Alrighty, now that that's out of the way, here goes......drumroll please..........
                                           BEFORE                                                                               AFTER
Yikes. If I haven't scared the pants right off your body, please continue on. If I've lost you forever, well, it was nice knowing you.

Let's begin. After I applied my daily moisturizer, I used my YSL Teint Parfait Complexion Enhancer in No. 2 Rose Pearl. I hate to tell you but sadly this has been discontinued. Wamp wamp! There are still a couple of shades being made so if you can find it at Nordstrom, ask for a sample. It's a very lightweight, oil free product that I think is just beautiful as a primer. It has almost a powder finish and looks stunning under foundation. You can also use it as a highlighter (I haven't done this) but I imagine it would be a very pretty, subtle highlighter as opposed to a "shimmery" highlighter. But I digress...

Here I am with only my foundation on (above). Don't mind my dirty Beauty Blender sponge to the left...it is clean but stained as the dickens from use. In case you are wondering, there is NO dupe for a Beauty Blender. It is the best makeup sponge ever and NOTHING compares. Trust me on this, I have tried all the cheaper versions. ALL of them. See how blah and boring and unremarkable my face is with just foundation? All one color. We're about to fix that.....

WHOA, nelly!! Now that's what you call one crazy looking beeyotch! Don't fret, my pets. We'll be blending it out shortly. I feel very strongly about this step so listen up. Using your concealer or highlighter after your foundation (instead of underneath it) will make all the difference. This is me with my YSL Touche Eclat in No. 2 applied under my eye area, down the bridge of my nose and all down my inner cheek area in an inverted triangle. This really brightens up the face as opposed to just applying under the eye. Dark circles are no joke and can cast their ugly net all down your face if you let them. I also apply it around the mouth, center of chin and another inverted triangle between the brows. If you have the means to get yourself a Touche Eclat, do it. It's the best out there and has SO many uses. However, if you'd rather save your money for, you know, groceries or something responsible like that, try one of these instead: Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch, or Sleek Makeup Luminaire Highlighting Concealer. Once I applied my highlighter/concealer, I pressed it into my skin with the pointy end of my Beauty Blender sponge in a dabbing motion as opposed to a sweeping motion as to avoid "pushing" the product around my face.

Ok, we're getting better but still not there yet. The pic on the left (above) is right after I blended out my concealer. The photo on the right is after I applied my contouring color. You can see the harsh lines under my cheek bones, down the sides of my nose and on the sides of my forehead. Again, don't panic, we're about to blend. I use a matte face powder to contour. Try to use something without shimmer to it, it will look more natural. Here's what I use: click here in shade N7 "Classic Tan". If you use a face powder, make sure to just go a few shades darker than your normal skin color and keep it in the neutral or cool family. Here's the brush I've been using for contouring and it's ONLY $3!!! You can also find it at Target. I finished by setting everything with this loose powder by Makeup Forever. Again, press it into your skin instead of sweeping it across.

Above (right) is after I blended out my contouring lines (with this brush) and applied blush. I typically use the lighter shade (no. 2) of Creme de Blush by YSL but decided to punch it up a bit and use the hot pink (no. 5) today (once again, no. 5 may be discontinued because it is really hard to find, but if you can get no. 2 it is just as gorgeous and what I wear every day) . You can apply with your fingers, but I LOVE the airbrush effect you get when you use a brush with cream blushes. Here's the one I used.

My favorite part. Brows. Usually the most neglected part of the face but honestly, the most important. If you don't believe me, scroll up to my before and after pics and take a look. Seeeeee what I mean?! They frame the entire face! I used Maybelline's Define a Brow in Dark Blonde to basically "draw' in my shape very lightly (top right). You can see I have very sparse eyebrows. I'm kind of like a naked mole rat. After my shape has been determined, I use MAC Small Angle Brush #266 to fill in the outline with a warmer shade in a powder formula, in this case, the far right shade of the NYX Eyebrow Cake Powder.

Pat a little primer on your eyelids and lips. I used NYX Eye Shadow Base in "white". I like using white when I'm using brighter shadows so they really pop.

Here's what I used on my eyes. YSL Ombres 5 Lumieres in "Indian Pink". Click here for more affordable dupe in "Prima Donna". See below for steps.

1) Apply the candy pink (top right in the palette) to entire eyelid.
2) Apply the diagonal shade (bottom left in palette) from the middle of the eyelid out to the outer corners.
3) Apply the warmer plum shade (bottom right in palette) to the entire crease.
4) Apply the deeper, cooler plum (top left in palette) to the top and bottom lash lines using a stiff angled brush and smudge out.

I applied Palladio Retractable Eyeliner in "Eggplant" as closely to my upper and lower lash lines as I could get it. Before I applied my mascara, I do what I always do and run NYX Wonder Pencil in "light" along my lower water line to get rid of any redness. See below.

Apply a hefty dose of black mascara (after curling your lashes, of course). I am obsessed with L'Oreal Paris Telescopic Shocking Extensions Mascara in "Blackest Black". I buy it in bulk.

Lastly, the kisser. I applied a nude-pink liner and filled in my lips. Then I married up a cheapy lip crayon and a fancy-schmancy gloss. Nothing like mixing high-class and trash! Fill in lips with ELF Jumbo Lip Crayon in "Pink Umbrella" and top with YSL Gloss Pur in No. 2 (omg...I think Gloss Pur has been discontinued also...GAH I'm such a prick for picking all these products that are not available!) You can use this as a suitable alternate in shade "Peony".

Voila! Here you have it! Pic on the left is no flash, no HDR, no filters, just super bright lighting. Pic on right is HDR on, still no flash, same lighting.

Hopefully now you will see that most if not all of my photos posted take some work and they are not my "natural" face. I would like to shake the hand of the lady that wakes up looking like this....I'm sure she's out there somewhere. But she most certainly doesn't reside here.


  1. Love you, lady! No one would want to see a before picture of me...especially before I put my eyes on. It's unfortunate that Matt doesn't have a choice and that's mostly what he sees at home. :)

    1. I love YOU! And I happen to know for a fact that you are one of those people that wakes up looking perfect. Ever since we were kids!

  2. You look gorgeous with and without makeup! If I posted a picture of myself with the clean face it would be a disaster but you look amazing! By the way, I love how you use the concealer.


    1. You are TOO sweet! Thank you for the kind words! It's funny how hard we are on ourselves right?! I think I look like a 12 year old boy without makeup!

  3. wow! this is awesome!! such great tips and you truly look beautiful either way!

    1. Thanks again, Helene! I appreciate it :) (and thank you for the sweet words).

  4. Amazing tips! And you're so stunning with and without makeup. :D

    1. Thanks Lynsey! I hope you found some useful tips in there :) Thank you for the kind words!

  5. You are gorgeous either way! Thanks so much for sharing! Great tips that definitely help!

    1. Thanks so much, Kristine! Happy to help! So glad you found my little blog!

  6. You look wonderful because the sweetness that is inside comes
    out on the outside. And I am loving the color of the eye shadow.
    Thank you for the tip of using highlighter on top of my foundation-
    I can't wait to try it.
    All the best, Mimi at http://inmyprimetime.blogspot.com/

    1. What a sweet thing to say! Thank you, Mimi! So happy you found my blog :)


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