Thursday, May 31, 2018

Five Strategies To Get Perfect Makeup For Photos

We live in the age of Instagram and social media. If you don't post a picture of it, it's almost like it didn't happen. Believe it or not, I don't use Instagram.  I do, however, attend many events where I am frequently photographed. Here are five strategies to get perfect looking makeup in photographs:

1. Do not wear an SPF. Yes, I realize this sounds like bad advice. The reason is, many sunscreens create a flashback and can make your face have a very white cast when flash photography is involved. If you absolutely must wear sunscreen,  shoot for an SPF of 15 or lower, and test it out before your event.  The below makeup look is one I created for an event last weekend. 

2. Use a primer. I hear countless people say that they don't think primer does anything for them. There are reasons for that. First, pick the right primer for the job. Do you want it to mattify? Add luminosity? Also, be sure it is compatible with your foundation. If you are unsure, ask the person working at your local beauty counter, they know stuff! Finally, just use a tiny bit and gently blend it into the skin. Many people I see use far too much. This is a waste of product and money.  The below dewy primer from Wet n Wild has been a recent favorite of mine. 

3. Go easy on the highlighter.  Depending on the look you are going for, strategically placed highlighter can look beautiful in photos. Be very careful not to overdo it, avoid areas of the skin that have texture, and consider the camera flash.

4. Combat shine. Even if you love the dewy look, there are certain parts of the face that just do not look good with shine. A dewy glow can come across as oily or greasy in pictures. Always use a mattifying powder around the sides of the nose, forehead and chin. Don't forget to carry pressed powder with you for touchups.

5. Smile and have fun. It really doesn't matter what your makeup looks like as long as you remember to smile & have fun at your event.  Here are some photos from an event I went to for Sense8 last weekend. My makeup was fairly natural, but lasted all night. Honestly, I had so much fun, the last thing I cared about was my makeup.

How do you prepare for photos? Share in the comments below. 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Amazing Products From Aveda To Try Right Now!

Amazing Products From Aveda To Try Right Now!

I have been getting my hair done at an Aveda salon for years.  Everyone is familiar with their quality hair care products.  What some people may not realize, is the brand also has amazing skincare and makeup options available.  While at my local salon last month, I took a peek at their makeup station. 

*Some products in this post were sent for consideration. I do not get paid to write reviews.  All thoughts and opinions are my own and always 100% honest. I never guarantee a positive review in exchange for products.  Any links in this article are strictly for the convenience of the reader, and I do not receive any commission.   

A makeup brush that was on display caught my eye, and I asked my stylist if I could purchase one. I was lucky enough to get the last one (which oddly happens to me a lot)! The brush I purchased is Aveda's Inner Light Foundation Brush. It has quickly become part of my morning routine, and I took to Twitter to profess my love for the soft bristles of this handy tool. This brush retails for $40, and is worth every single penny. I can feel the quality in my hand everyday when I touch the smooth cylinder handle. Originally, I was using this brush with liquid and cream foundation products, dotting small amounts on my face, and then blending it out with the brush for a flawless, airbrushed look. 

Aveda was kind enough to send me their Inner Light Mineral Dual Foundation to use with the brush. This is a powder foundation that can be used both wet or dry. I am 37 years old, so when I use any powder products, I get concerned about them settling into the fine lines around my eyes.  This mineral foundation was created to diffuse light, so it actually minimizes the look of fine lines and imperfections. I tested this foundation wet and dry, using both the brush and included sponge.  When applied dry, it is easy to achieve full coverage.  I use a smaller precision kabuki brush and buff the product around fading acne scars while watching them disappear like magic.  If you don't need as much coverage, you can apply the dual foundation with a damp sponge, swiping it onto the skin and stippling on areas that need more coverage.  This foundation is very easy to use, and I would recommend it to makeup experts and beginners alike. I found that I needed very little product to achieve a flawless base. I prefer to apply it with my Aveda brush when using it dry, and with a damp beauty sponge (like the BeautyBlender) when I don't need as much coverage. 

Any good makeup artist will tell you that the real key to a flawless base is prepping the skin properly beforehand. Luckily, Aveda sent me a bottle of their Botanical Kinetics Toning Mist to try.  This stuff smells so good! The scent is difficult for me to describe, but it is a light, fresh scent that isn't overly flowery or perfume-like at all. It is just pure and very clean. Seeing real results in skincare products can take some time, but I can tell you that this mist will be something I continue to reach for daily. It has a cooling, refreshing feeling on the skin that will be especially soothing with the warm weather we have coming in Illinois.  I have been spraying it on my face, neck, and chest in the morning and evening right after washing my face.  Something I read on the bottle itself that interested me is that it is made from 100% post-consumer PET, and First Beauty Company manufactures with 100% wind power in their primary facility.  This product is recommended for oily to normal skin types. It can also be sprayed on mid-day when you need to refresh your face.

Now, back to that base...along with the mineral foundation, Aveda was kind enough to include a tube of their Inner Light Concealer in Balsa. The color matches my fair skin perfectly, and is very easy to blend. It has become my go-to under eye concealer, because it provides full coverage, with a demi-matte finish making it ideal to wear under the mineral foundation. 

Aveda also sent me one of their environmental compacts, which holds my dual foundation and their Petal Essence Face Accent in Tessarae. The petal essence face accents are a trio of talc-free powders than can be used as a bronzer, blush, or highlight depending on the shade and your skin tone. The color I have been wearing, Tessarae, contains neutral peach and rosy tones. I found these colors to be very long-wearing when I tested them over the mineral foundation along my cheekbones and as eyeshadow. I LOVE this product. It is so versatile, which is a makeup artist's favorite type of product.  On my fair skin this looks just stunning as a blush.  It doesn't even look like I am wearing makeup. Instead, it looks like a natural flush or as though the sun gently kissed my face.

 Pictured above, the mirrored compact has a magnet at the bottom so I can easily refill it with other Aveda products. It is the perfect size to carry in my purse for easy touch-ups. 

Above: On the left side of the compact is the mineral foundation, on the right is the petal essence face accents in Tesserae.  The first three swatches are the individual colors in the petal essence face accents, with the final swatch being a blend of all three shades together. 

While the petal essence face accents are recommended for use on the nose, forehead, chin and cheeks, I also used the colors individually on my eyes for a pulled together natural sheen. 

For face application, I found it easy to pick up each color individually using a thin fan brush, or using a larger brush all of the colors can be swirled together for a peachy glow. 

Here is a natural glowing look I did using all of the Aveda products mentioned in this post: 

I get a lot of compliments when I wear these products.  I am very excited to explore more products from Aveda, as I haven't tried a bad one yet!  I was really hoping I would like these products, because Aveda is a very ethical company. In addition to being cruelty-free, they are always doing good things.  They care about the environment, their products are made with responsible packaging and ingredients, and the quality is absolutely there. There was a time when "natural" products meant they were lacking in quality in some way. That has clearly changed.  Natural beauty is a trend that is here to stay, and I am glad to be here for it.  

For more on Aveda's cruelty-free policy you can visit their website here:

What are your favorite Aveda products? Let me know in the comments below!

Thank you again, to Aveda for allowing me to share my review with the world. More importantly, I want to thank Aveda for being a cruelty-free brand. This is so important to me, and I really hope all of you choose to shop in a way that aligns with your beliefs, whatever they may be.  XOXO

Friday, May 18, 2018

Riley Rose - Cruelty Free Beauty Haul

Last weekend I spent a few hours shopping at Riley Rose in Chicago. If you are not familiar with Riley Rose, don't worry, I've got you covered!  Riley Rose is a makeup, beauty and home decor store. The brands are a mix of on trend favorites and cult classics. One of the things that drove me through the doors of my local store was the fact that they carry so many cruelty-free brands. Many of the makeup brands I saw there are ones that I have been curious about, but thought their products were available only through their own website. 

I loved seeing so many familiar cruelty-free brands under one roof. 

Here is the entry to the Riley Rose store in Chicago:

As soon as I walked in to the brightly lit entryway I noticed familiar brands like Sugarpill and Beauty Bakerie.

They also sell a nice selection of Sigma makeup brushes for those who like to feel the bristles and handles before purchasing. 

I could go on forever writing about all the amazing brands, colors and textures before my eyes. I truly felt like a kid in a candy store. 

I took the opportunity to swatch eyeshadow palettes from a cruelty-free brand called Pinky Rose. I had never heard of this brand before, and was truly impressed with the pigmentation as well as the color variety in their palettes. 

After swatching and playing with as many new products as I could, I decided to purchase an eyeshadow palette from Coloured Raine

I have read great things about their eyeshadows and was lucky enough to snag the last of the brand's Beauty Rust palette in the store. 

This warm six-pan palette is stunning! Swatches above from left to right: Natural, Dream, Nighty Night, Daisy, Recharge, and Dusk. 

Here is a quick eye look I did using every color in the palette:

My next purchase was from a brand called Winky Luxe. This brand is known for their lip colors shaped like pills. I picked up their 24K Glimmer Balm, which softens and nourishes the lips leaving behind a unique shade of pink. 

I also looked through the shelves at brands I have used for years like Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics and Lime Crime. After swatching all of the highlighting palettes in the Lime Crime display,  I chose one with a pink, peach and gold iridescent powdered trio. 

Below is the Lime Crime Hi-Lite Opals palette: 

The above swatches truly do not do this product justice.  These look truly stunning when blended on the high points of the face, catching the light like revealing an iridescent glimmer reminiscent of the magical sheen seen on freshly made soap bubbles.

Many of my readers have asked me about brushes from Lottie London. At Riley Rose, I finally came across a display that carried this brand. They are quite affordable with most brushes around $11 each, and a value set available as well. I opted for their bronzing brush. 

This brush has a lightweight handle and a full brush head. The bristles are angled, fitting the curves of the face and neck quite well. I find the bristles to be soft, and the right density for bronzer. Due to the brush being so large, I find it works well as a body brush,  bringing color onto the shoulders and chest area. 

My final purchase was from a company called Static Nails. The box I bought contained matte finish press-on nails, a glue that is designed to be easily removed by soaking in hot water, and a mini nail file/buffer. 

As you can see from the above photo the nails are long and come to an exaggerated point. While this may look lovely in photos, I found them a bit too long for everyday life. As the instructions suggested,  I cut them down and filed them with the enclosed nail file. 

I have not had any of these products long enough to write any type of a thorough review. I thought sharing my buys and a bit about Riley Rose might be fun in case you want to do a little shopping as well.

You can find your local Riley Rose at

*All products in this post purchased by me. I do not get paid to write reviews. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

One Palette, Three Looks (Series) - Look 3 Using Shayla X ColourPop Perception Palette

Here it is folks, the final look in my series. I really hope this blog series helps you to get the most out of your palettes. While I tried to use a variety of colors from the palette, I must admit that I have a few favorites that I find myself using for every look. Culture (soft matte brown, that is quite warm) has been my go-to crease color for just about every look. Unbothered is turning out to be a favorite, as is Revenge. I am well aware that some people are getting sick of the warm toned palettes and looks, but orange shades truly make my blue eyes stand out so I do reach for them a lot when doing my own makeup. However the Perception palette does have a large variety of color options, so I think there really is something for everyone. 

Here is how I got the 3rd look in my series:

To start, I used a fluffy brush to blend Culture into the crease. This color blends evenly & smoothly, but I did bring in a second clean brush to diffuse the edges.

To deepen the crease a bit more,  I used Revenge, blending that up and into Culture using the same fluffy brush.

Here is where I really wanted to try something different. Green is not a color I use often on myself.  So I chose I.E. (metallic green with gold shift), for my lid color. I applied it with a flat brush using patting and swiping motions. 

At the point where my lid color met my crease, I blended a bit more using the first brush. Then, picking up some pressed powder that matched my skin tone, I applied it just below the brow bone and down blended to soften the edges. 

The only shade this palette is missing for me is a lighter matte color. I tend to favor mattes under my brow, but that is just a matter of personal preference. I am sure those with a deeper skin tone are constantly frustrated with light matte colors that don't work for their skin tone. I have plenty of light matte shadows in my collection to use, or a pressed powder with good pigmentation (as I used here) can work just as well. 

Using a brush I picked up at an art supply store, I tightlined using Wet n Wild Creme Eyeliner in Carbon My Reach. 

To finish off the look, I applied just a smidge of Unbothered to the inner corner of my eye, bringing it on the upper and lower lid about 1/8th of the way in. Unbothered (ivory with peach flecks) blends beautifully into I.E. with little effort.

I swept the matte shades that I used in my crease along the lower lash line as well before brushing my brows & adding mascara. 

 Here is the final look:

As a bonus, here is a fourth look:

I wore the below eyeshadow look today using Culture & Thic from the Perception palette as well as Vibrate and Inhale from the Urban Decay Naked Petite Heat Palette.

I noticed the mattes in the Perception palette compliment Urban Decay's Naked Petite Heat Palette quite well. See below swatches.

Can you tell which row has Urban Decay shadows and which is ColourPop? 

Thank you for reading. What palette would you like to see next in this series?

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

One Palette, Three Looks (Series) - Look 2 Using Shayla X ColourPop Perception Palette

I am happy to report that I am still in love with my new ShaylaXColourPop Perception Palette.  The variety of textures and colors has inspired my creativity.  It is super easy to rock a professional matte look or go bold with some metallic colorful shine.

The first look I created was a soft cut crease using navy, browns and iridescent ivory. For my second look I still used Unbothered (ivory with peach flecks), and Culture (matte soft brown), but the stars of the show were September (metallic pinky violet), Spill the Tea (metallic warm taupe), and Strut 'n Slay (metallic rosy copper).  Played Out (matte chocolate brown) was used to deepen up the outer corners.

All products in this post purchased by me
I do not get paid to write reviews.
All opinions are my own.

Here is how I got the look:

I began with Wet n Wild's Photofocus Eyeshadow Primer to create a smooth base, patting it on the eyelid and bringing it up to the brow bone.  To set the primer, I used my Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Skin Perfecting Micro-powder in fair. This is my holy grail pressed powder because it is just so finely milled.  I'm 37 years old, so I need to be careful about powders settling into the fine lines around my eyes.

Using a Sigma E25 Blending brush, I dipped just the tip of the bristles into Culture, which is a smooth matte soft brown that shows up very warm on my skin. It's a great crease color for me, but if you have a darker skin tone, Thic (matte vibrant orange)  would be a better choice for this step.
Holding the brush horizontally,  I applied the shadow into the natural crease of my eye socket blending the color back and forth. It is important to build the color up slowly, then turn the brush so the bristles are vertical and blending it up and out, creating a nice fade.

Next, using a flat synthetic brush, I applied September, starting at the corner of the eyelid and blending it across the lid toward the inner corner of the eye, but stopping 3/4 of the way in.  This shadow performs very differently depending on what brush you use.  

Next, I dampened a Cozzette P355 (now called P370) brush with some Milani Make It Dewy setting spray, and picked up a mixture of Strut 'n Slay & Spill the Tea. The brush I used is technically a lip brush, but I love using it to foil metallic eyeshadows. These metallic shades applied best when I used a patting and then swiping motion.  I used this technique to coat the inner portion of the eyelid, stopping about 1/3 of the way in.

Switching back to my Sigma E25, I picked up more September and starting at the outer corner of my eyelid, blended the color in to meet the metallic shades on the inner portion of the lid.  

Using a super light hand and my Sigma E32 Exact Blend brush, I put just a tiny bit of Unbothered on the inner corner of my eye, and just below my brow for a highlight.  This shadow can be super metallic depending on what brush you use.  I chose a fluffier brush because I just wanted a hint of sparkle, as not to take away from the color on the eyelid.

Using a small tapered blending brush, I applied Played Out to the outer corner of my eye, blending it inward with a clean brush. I then used the tip of the small tapered blending brush to apply a little of the same color along the lower lashes.

Wiping off my Cozzette P355 brush, I dipped it into Unbothered and applied just a tiny bit to the inner corner of my eyes.  Then I diffused the color with a fluffier brush. 

I did use Unbothered on a fluffy brush as a face highlight as well, taking it along the cheekbones, and bridge of the nose with a very light hand.  I finished the look by applying some corner lashes, black gel liner and mascara.

For my lips, I mixed a custom lip color using clear gloss and OCC pigment in the color Glisten.

Here is the final look:

What do you think?  Make sure you are subscribed so that you don't miss look number three in my Perception Palette series!

Monday, May 7, 2018

One Palette, Three Looks (Series) - Look 1 Using Shayla X ColourPop Perception Palette

If you follow me on Twitter, I am sure you have seen me tweet about the Shayla X ColourPop Perception Eyeshadow Palette. I purchased this palette with my own money, and I am sure glad that I did. For only $23, the palette includes 16 super pigmented shadows in a variety of colors and finishes.  The palette was a collaboration between YouTube beauty sensation Shayla and ColourPop. If you are familiar with Shayla's channel, something she always comments on when reviewing a palette from any brand, is if it has a mirror or not. Like many makeup lovers, she strongly prefers her palettes to come with a mirror. She also prefers eyeshadow palettes that display the color name below each shadow.  These are qualities that I really appreciate in an eyeshadow palette, and I am glad to see her stay true to her preferences. This is one of my favorite things about brands collaborating with beauty bloggers/YouTubers, etc. The individuals that these brands are choosing to collaborate with really love makeup. They have a lot of it, and for this reason alone, they know what many consumers want in their beauty products.

I am a big fan of ColourPop, and their Yes, Please palette is one of the most used palettes in my stash these days.  However, while the Yes, Please palette is a great color scheme and the shadows are textured to perfection, I do find myself wishing that it had a mirror and that I could see the names of each colors beneath each shadow, rather than on the back. 

In addition to the Perception eyeshadow palette, Shayla launched an entire collection with ColourPop including lipsticks, a lip gloss, and two highlighters. She said that she made the collection hoping that there would be something in it for everyone. 

Shayla, this palette feels like it was made for me!  I love it so much, that I decided to use it as the first in my new series, "One Palette, Three Looks."  With brands launching new palettes on the regular, some of us are scooping up the next popular palette without looking at what we may already have in our collection. However, not all of us can afford to purchase new products whenever they come out. My goal with this series, is to help you get the most out of your makeup. I chose this palette for a few different reasons. First, it is affordable.  Second, it has a large variety of colors and finishes, which lends itself perfectly to this type of series. Finally, I really love this palette! 

Here is how I created look #1 using the Perception Eyeshadow Palette:

After applying my base, and completing my face makeup, I applied NudeStix concealer in Light #3 to my eyelids as a base. You can apply any matte concealer that matches your skin tone or is within a few shade ranges of it. If you prefer to use an eye primer, you can, but I wanted the nude color to show through on the lid, as I did not apply eyeshadow along the eyelid, focusing most of the color along the lash line, and just above my crease.

Next, I took Urban Decay's 24/7 glide-on eye pencil in Radium (travel size) and followed along the upper lash line starting just where my pupil begins, drawing the line out and winging it up slightly.  These pencils dry and set quite quickly, so it is important to blend before moving on to the next eye.  Taking a Sigma pencil brush, I then blended the pencil up and inward to define the crease of my eye.  See the shape that I made with the pencil and pencil brush below:

Next, using the same pencil brush, I picked up the color called 14 from the Perception palette.  This is a metallic navy that is so much more pigmented than I expected it to be! You only need to pick up the tiniest amount on your brush. Using this navy shadow, I traced over the pencil and blended it into the crease.  As you can see from the above photo, the resulting look is quite strong.  I then took a clean blending brush, without any product on it, and blended out the blue shadow just above the crease so that it faded, keeping it strongest only at the outer edge of the eye.

Using a small flat brush, I picked up a mixture of Culture (matte soft brown) and Revenge (matte red brown) from the palette and gently smudged it along the lower lash line. Using the same small, flat brush, I dipped it back into the same mixture of brown shadows and brushed a line just above the natural crease of my eye to create a softer version of a cut-crease. I blended (very softly) the brown into the blue where they met, being careful not to over blend.

When using blue eyeshadow, one must be careful not to emphasize any natural blueness in the under-eye area.  It is very important to use a good concealer and/or color corrector if need be to cancel out any blue tones naturally occurring in the face. To brighten things up a bit, I took Unbothered from the palette (an ivory with peach flecks) and blended it into the inner corner of the eyelid. Depending on your skin tone, you may want to pick up just a smidge of Culture to blend it back onto the eyelid with. Since I am so fair, Unbothered worked alone for me to brighten up the look.

I lined my lower waterline with a bronze eyeliner before filling in my brows and applying mascara to top and bottom lashes.

Here is the final look:

Yesterday, the weather was absolutely beautiful in Chicago, and I wore this eyeshadow look out and about all day, and it lasted until I removed it that evening. I look forward to creating many more looks with this palette.  Make sure you are subscribed so that you don't miss out on the other two looks that I will be creating with this palette in my One Palette, Three Looks series. 

If you have any specific colors that you want me to work with from this palette or types of looks you would like to see, please let me know in the comments below. 

What other palettes would you like to see in this series?

Giveaway - Win an eyeshadow palette & ring palettes- CLOSED

Hello friends! I want to thank you for reading my blog and always inspiring me. While I hope that my tips are helpful, it is the interaction on social media and in your comments that keep me going. 

To show my appreciation, I decided to have a giveaway! One lucky reader will win a new NYX Smokey Eye Palette & 2 mini stainless steel mixing palettes (pictured below). 

Here is how to win:

  1. Be subscribed to this blog
  2. Follow me on Twitter @MakeupMatters1
  3. Leave a comment below on your favorite post, or an upcoming post that you would like to see.
That's it! No purchase necessary.  I can only ship within the United States at this time. 

You must be 18 years old or have written permission from a parent or guardian to be eligible. 

Please DM me on Twitter @MakeupMatters1 or email me at to confirm you are located in the U.S. and that your entry has been submitted. 

Contest ends June 15th at midnight CT

One entry per person.

1 NYX Smokey Palette - Brand new, Includes 6 sleek eye shadows to create the perfect smokey eye.
Net Wt 0.21oz / 6g

2 Stainless steel ringlet mixing palettes: Lightweight, easy to clean portable finger palettes. A must-have item for any nail or makeup artist.

Good luck!