Get Outside The Box

This makeup, hair, and photo session was quite the experience.  I am a big fan of Pat McGrath (the best makeup artist ever). She posted a instagram contest that I decided to take on. The contest was to recreate her work and post to Instagram with the hashtag #backstagewithpatmcgrath. This was so exciting to me! The one thing I didn’t consider was she would see this replica… oh, my, the pressure was on.

This was during a season of intense scheduling. I was so busy I could hardly see straight, but I needed this challenge. It really lit a fire in me that I needed. Here is one of my inspirational images. This was from the Spring 2011 John Galliano show. Pat McGrath and Julien d’Ys creatively designed each look so not one of the models was alike. Gilded waves, lids, and lips in combination with intense color adorned each model. This was in contrast to many of the season’s minimal looks.


I started with a temporary lift with face lift tapes and used Temptu airbrush foundation in 01, covering everything including the brows and lips. I then used Makeup Forever HD Powder and purposely left it heavy and slightly powdery. This powder is made of 100% silica. This mineral, if left unbuffed and heavy, will look ghostly. This is not usually a look that would be favorable. My belief is you have to know the rules before you can break them. This is one instance where breaking the rule is good.

The eyeshadow was done before the brows so I could get plenty of color pigment into the model’s own brow hairs. I used TIGI Perfect Eyeliner in black as a base for my shadow. The black liner was smudged under the eye, on the lid, and onto the inner brow. The tear duct area was left open for highlighting. I used a combination of Tigi metallic and teal shimmer shadows of the top of the black. I used a Ben Nye shadow in orange on and above the brow, as well as, under the eye on the hight of the cheekbone. The tear duct was highlighted with a gold shimmer from urban Decay.

Brows and Beauty Mark: Precision Black Pen from TIGI.

Eyes: Love It mascara for the lashes

Cheeks: Blushed with Awaken from TIGI

Lips: Luxury from TIGI, dabbed with fingertips

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I didn’t win Pat’s contest, but I won a fresh sense of passion and inspiration by trying something new.  I’m a firm believer that pushing past our fears, even to the point of failure, Is how we become better. None of us will grow if we stay were we are most comfortable. Moral of the story… make the decision to push yourself right out of the box.

Stay tuned for the next look and break down from this contest. Here’s a sneak peek!


A Day in the Life of a Photo Stylist (Four Looks, One Model)

The last few posts were a fun peek into the day of a photo stylist. The photographer on this project (Marta Elena Vassilakis) and I worked hard this day to create multiple looks for one model in a short amount of time.

Part One: Natural Bohemian

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This shoot began with a wardrobe fitting, and a plan as to the hair and cosmetic looks for the outfits that were chosen. Most of the time it’s easier to start natural and work your way into more intense styling. This slightly bohemian look was styled with TIGI Root Boost. The product was placed from roots through the mid-lengths to create lift and texture. The hair was then dried using the fingers to lift the hair at the roots. Once the root area is dry, the rest of the hair was smoothed using only the hands to leave the hair with some unrefined yet delicate texture. The goal was to refrain from over-styling the hair. Because we started with product, it will be easy to keep the volume at the base.

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The model we were working with has the most amazing skin with freckles. I didn’t want to cover them. Her cosmetics here were very clean.  I used TIGI Brow Sculpting Duo in brunette (only the powder), TIGI Eyes Love It mascara, and TIGI Decadent lip color in Bliss was softly dabbed onto the lips and cheeks to create a stain



Part Two: Royals

For the second portion of this shoot, we started with a quick change of clothes…


…and a little pink added to the pout and cheeks. I also added a dust of rose shadow to her eyelid creases. This rose color is a great contrast to her eye color, which really make her eyes standout.


I used about a dime size amount of TIGI Up Front Pomade to tame her locks.


Part Three: Hats

For this photo we moved the entire session to the studio, changed clothes again, and added not one but two hats… just for interest. The hair was swept back and banded into a low pony held at 45% so the hair would fall into a soft swag to frame her face. Oh yes, can’t forget the lip balm.


Part Four: 60’s Inspired

The last segment of this session was also done in studio.


The hair was sectioned in two with a large “V” shape at the fringe. Both sections were back brushed to the high heavens. The lower sides and back section was gathered into a low pony and banded low on the tail so it could be tucked under and pinned to create this faux bob. The top was then coiffed and formed into a pompadour, pinned and seamlessly molded into the bob.

There was a slight shift in cosmetics. I added Makeup Forever Uplight for a luminante dewy finish. The lip color was brought down to nude and glossed. The power in the makeup was all in the brows. The length and color were exaggerated. This small shift made a powerful statement for this 60’s inspired image.


Simply Beautiful

On Patience: Makeup, Hair Jacquetta Sorensen; Photo Marta Elena Vassilakis

On Karissa: Makeup, Hair Jacquetta Sorensen; Photo Marta Elena Vassilakis


These two simply beautiful looks show the power of focusing on one feature of the face. As I explain each step, I will be referring to the following photo of brushes.


Each model’s skin was prepped with a light moisturizer and primer. I used TIGI Whipped foundation on both models (color #1 applied with the foundation/concealer brush, which is the brush on the far right). The whipped foundation is a cream to powder matte finish. I love this for HD photography.


I then used a mascara wand to apply TIGI concealer to the brows. Just rub the bristles with the stick of concealer and comb into the brows for this really interesting effect.


I used Haute (top right in bottom image) on Patience. On Karissa I used Awaken (bottom left) . I only wanted to apply a wash of color to the cheeks so I used the powder brush, which is the first brush on the left in the brush photo. I loaded the product just slightly to the lower portion of the apple of the cheek. I then transitioned the color back toward the hairline and temple making sure the color is completely blended away before it hits the hairline.



For the lips I custom blended colors. I do this often because I’m a control freak and I just feel the need to make the color exactly what I want. Patience’s lips were the focal point of her makeup. The color was a mix of black lipliner and Passion TIGI lip color.  Karissa’s lips were a mix of Splendor and Finesse TIGI lip color and concealer. Both of the custom blends were mixed on a pallet then applied to the lips with a lip brush, which is the fourth brush in from the right on the brush photo.


Patience eyes were a wash of golden bronze shadow and a ton of brown mascara… keepin’ it simple. Karissa’s eyes were the dramatic focus of her image. The technique for this is complex, so I will break it down in a post to come. For now, just know I used TIGI black patent eyeliner (I love it for the shine) with no mascara. I like the way her blonde eyelashes are highlighted with the contrast black background.

New Arrival! (Birchbox Review)

Just recently, I decided to try Birchbox.

If you don’t know what this is, it is a subscription box of custom selected product samples. I’ve been wanting to do this for awhile now. I jumped on board when the “Style Me Pretty” wedding box was announced.

I was so excited when it arrived. It was like Christmas in summer.


The packaging even felt like a gift. I like when attention is given to the details. I found a handful of sweet treasures in this pink box.

I’ve already used the waterproof makeup remover wipes from LA FRESH… Love them!! They are packed full of antioxidants and biodegradable. The wipes work well and leave my skin feeling silky soft with no irritation. The also smell wonderful will lavender oil.

I love love loved the hair tie. To see my tutorial on creating this beautiful look, go here: Low Bouffant Pony

Sweep the hair together, tilt the head forward, and wrap hair tie just lower than the base of the neck. Now grab a small section of hair from underneath the ponytail at the base of the neck and slide the whole ponytail on that strand. This should make a nice full bouffant style for your low pony.

Stay tuned for more reviews on these products!

P.S. I ordered one for my man. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Just for Kicks (Makeup and Hair from the American Beauty Show)

I had the opportunity last year to work backstage for a show in Chicago. I took my camera just in case I had a minute to archive some of the beautiful work that was being pumped out that day. It was a blast bringing together the skill of multiple artists to create one vision. I love what magic happened that weekend. I want to share some of the photos and break down the makeup for you. For this post I won’t really talk about foundations, but I used TIGI foundation for all the models.

For the model above I used masking tape to create this… umm… mask. I cut the tape for the bottom shape. I placed the TIGI black shadow using the dome brush wet with liquid enhancer loading at the top tapeline, transitioning to color downward, and then blending away. I left the lid natural. I repeated the process with the yellow from the VIP pallet and a clean dome brush, working upward form the bottom tapeline. Now, one more time, I used the black brush wet to strengthen the top line… quick before the wet shadow dries… and applied the black glitter with the blending brush. I gave the outside corner of the eye a straight line, added a slight brush of the orange to the cheeks,and a blot of yellow shadow to the lips for an edgy Avant Guard look.

Eye colors come from VIP pallet and Gold from to TIGI Glitz duo. The details were created by color, washing the orange over the eye lid, then loading yellow with the shading brush… not blended. I loaded the end of my brush heavily with orange and very intentionally placed the color to create this whimsical lash impression just under the eyes. The checks were done with Haute TIGI blush, and Serenity for the lips.

Below is a slight variation of the look from the previous photo

Here is a wash of Glitz Gold on the eyes, and Serenity on the lips.

Bring on the drama with a cocktail of black liner and Luxury lip color to create the dark blackberry lip.

Here silver and gold from the Glitz Split Shadow was used on the eyes (gold in the inner eye and silver on the outer edges). I wanted this makeup to have a very monochromatic feeling, so I used Serenity on the lips and then dabbed the gold shadow over the lip color to highlight the center of the mouth… fantastic on the pale blonde.

The model above and below is the same girl… wow, the power of change! She had beautiful brows and lids for the sultry cat eye. I gave it a little twist with a mime-inspired line through the center of her eyes, shadowing the line from dark to light.


TIGI Liquid Enhancer and Black were used to create this intense black with a glitter overlay. Gold Glitz under the eye adds a interesting pop of color to this look.