the beauty blog


  • Bridesmaids' Dresses: the Unexpected and Inexpensive

    Bridesmaids' dresses have been having their own revolution the past three years. First came the "mismatched but goes together" trend, and now we're seeing patterns and even white dresses! 

    Now is a great time to score some retail steals, so I put together a little collection of dresses I think would be great for bridesmaids (or wedding guests!). From Garden Party to an Urban Loft, I have you covered. All dresses are less than $100, with a few coming in at under $50 (the 2nd dress is on sale for $35, y'all!).

    Where to find the dresses!

    1. H&M

    2. J Crew

    3. Banana Republic

    4. Zara

    5. Urban Outfitters

    6. Anthropolgie

  • Beauty and the Beast

    The most romantic photoshoot with The Bird and the Bear looks, as it should, like a fairytale! My inspiration for the makeup was the deep berry colors of winter. I wanted the lips to be dark without looking goth, so I used Diva, a reddish burgandy matte from MAC that looks amazing with Katelyn's pale skin and dark hair. I kept her eye makeup pretty simple but really went for it with her lashes using my new obsession-Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara from Marc Jacobs. For Katelyn's hair, I wanted to show off the cool ombre she has going on, so I really worked the texture to create a voluminous and effortless-looking style with a nod to the 1920s. 

    Katelyn, along with her husband Evan, was our model and is also our former bride! Check out Evan and Katelyn's website for a look at their fun collaboration with West Elm). You can't have a fairtyle without flowers, and Whim Hospitality blew my mind a bit with Katelyn's bouquet. And there is no other venue as epic as Canyonwood Ridge at night.


  • My 5 Minute Face

    I've become known as the Makeup Artist with a really soft, natural style. I have the same style in real life! When I started at MAC way back in 1995, I was constantly told to put on more makeup (which didn't usually happen). If I have a hot date or a big job, I'll spend about 30 minutes on my makeup. For everyday, though, I spend between 5 and 10 minutes-I've gotten my makeup routine down to a science, and now you can, too! 

    Beautiful skin is about 5 times more important than the other steps put together, so that's where I focus the majority of my time. Since my skin is pretty dry, I like to prime my face with an intensive moisturizer, which I let sink in for about a minute before I start with foundation. I love CeraVe Moisturizing Cream. It only runs you about $12 and can be found at any drugstore or supermarket.

    The next step is making your skin look beautiful! I prefer a somewhat dewy look (rather than matte), which I find easy to achieve with a CC Cream, a creamy concealer and a Beauty Blender. If you don't have a Beauty Blender, I suggest stop reading this and buying one, stat. Don't settle for an imposter-there is some kind of voodoo magic in the original. With a moist sponge, I apply 2 or 3 light layers of CC Cream. I love the one from Gorgeous Cosmetics. I then use my Missha Concealer (it's about 6 bucks y'all!) and make about 5 dots directly from the tube around the crescent of my undereye and pat with my fingers to blend. 

    Now that you've taken two minutes to even out your skin, you want to enhance it with a few different powders. First, I set my foundation with Banana Powder and a big, fluffy brush, concentrating especially on my undereyes. I then take a blush brush and highlight the top of my cheekbones with a light pink or a peachy-pink blush. I take that same brush and contour my face lightly with bronzer. I like a little shimmer in my bronzer, especially in the winter, like Laguna from Nars. 

    Two areas left to finish-no sweat! On my eyes, I take a few quick swipes with a cream eyeshadow stick from my lash line to the crease of my eyelid. I play around with different colors, but I've found that rose gold looks great on everyone, like this one from Laura Mercier. On top of that, I take a fluffy eyeshadow brush and a medium brown shadow and work it into the crease. Give your eyelashes a really good curl and use a few generous applications of mascara to your upper lashes and a light coating to your lower ones. 

    Playing around with lip color is super fun, and I switch mine almost daily, so I'll just tell you how I got the soft nude lip in the picture above. For longevity, I like to start by filling in my entire lips with a matching lip pencil. For this look I used In Synch from MAC. I then used a sheer, peachy-nude lipstick from Lipstick Queen right from the tube!

    There you have it, my friends! A quick, yet polished look for everyday good-lookingness!

    Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments below!

    Love Always,


  • Soft & Natural Wedding Beauty

    Marissa wanted a very natural look for her wedding (she's so darn naturally beautiful that it seemed like a good idea to me, too!). On Marissa's skin I used a Beauty Blender for a sheer application of my favorite CC Cream and a little concealer under her eyes. On her eyes I used rose and brown shadows and a brown gel eyeliner, which creates a softer line. For her lips I used my go-to nude pink gloss for brides-White Russian from Buxom. Enjoy these beautiful pictures from Angela King Photography! 


  • Sweet Cheeks

    My dear friend and former bridal client, Amelia, recently asked me how to use blush in the right way. This is a topic near and dear to my heart, as blush is my absolute favorite part of makeup! Read on to delve into the world of flushed apples and contoured cheekbones. And, while you're at it, check out Amelia's band Twin Scars. She rocks. 

    The basic premise of makeup for your sweet cheeks is to accent both the hills and hollows near your cheekbones. This is going to be different for every person, so instead of telling you where to put product, we're going to figure it out together. 

    1. Contour

    I like to start with contouring the "hollows" of my cheeks. By shading under your cheekbones, you automatically make your cheekbones more pronounced. It's like hiding something in shadows: the parts in the light look even bigger in brighter. 

    How to find these hollows? Easy! Pucker your cheeks by making a fish face (this might be best done in private). Now feel around your cheeks. See how your cheekbones pop? Underneath those cheekbones you have also created a depressed line extending from the jaw muscles close to your hair to the outside of your mouth.  

    Take a matte bronzer (I like MAC's Matte Bronze Bronzing Powder) and a firm-ish angled blush brush and lightly sweep the bronzer from the outside of the line in. You can raise and lower the drama level here but know that this bit looks unfinished until everything is blended. 

    2. Blush

    Now, smile your biggest smile! The area that moves forward the most (the apples) is the ONLY place you want to put your blush. Please heed these words and don't look crazy. 

    A blush that looks great on everyone is the cult classic Orgasm by Nars. Nars also makes a great Kabuki blushing brush. Gently swirl some product onto the brush and then cover your apples with a few quick strokes. 

    3. Blend

    After the first two steps, your efforts should have yielded some noticebly good results. But, you are not quite finished. 

    To blend everything properly and look picture perfect, I suggest one of two methods...take a big fluffy clean powder brush and loosely brush over the bronzer and blush OR take a Beauty Blender sponge and gently sponge over the area. 

    Go forth and conquer, dear readers! 

    Love always, 


  • The Power Brow

    If eyes are the window to the soul, you really ought to have a good pair of eyebrows framing that window!

    Eyebrows have the power to make or break your look. Cara Delevinge has almost single-handledly popularized a dramatic, full eyebrow, but a heavy brow isn't for everyone. Shawn and Erica's tips on how they create their own perfect brows, including their favorite products, are below. Enjoy!


    Get Erica's softly defined brows...

    "Thanks to my pops, I have a long, thin face shape with a defined bone structure. I never want to look harsh, so my eyebrows and the rest of my makeup creates fullness and softness. For this reason, I don't define my arches but rather go for a gently upward-sloping eyebrow. I achieve this look by plucking the innermost part of the eyebrow into a rounded edge, which takes off some of the length, as well as plucking a "row" of hairs underneath the outside edge in order to taper the brow upwards. This brow shape creates the illusion of width and subsequently makes my eyes look bigger and more open.

    My eyebrow makeup routine is pretty simple. Even though my hair and eyebrows are almost black, I NEVER use a black pencil. Instead, I use this waxy pencil in gray-brown by Missha. The general rule for a softer eyebrow look is to use a shade lighter than your natural brows. My first step is to draw an upward-sloping line underneath my eyebrows to define their shape. Next, I use short, firm pencil  strokes in an upward motion to essentially add brows to any thin areas. I then take NYX Eyebrow Cake Powder and a firm, angled eyeliner brush to stroke shadow over the entire brow."

    Get Shawn's dramatic arches...

    "I have a diamond-shaped face, so I like to create a dramatic rounded arch to introduce a softer angle into my face and really emphasize my eyes. I only pluck the stray hairs since I like a fuller look.  I like bold, defined brows, so I use products one or two shades darker than my natural brow color.

    I fill the inner part of my eyebrow in with Buck from Urban Decay (a shadow from the original Naked palette) with a firm eyeliner brush. I then make one long line underneath with the Anastasia Brow Wizard followed by short firm strokes to fill in any sparse areas: it's tiny tip has great precision, and the brow brush attached at the other end blends edges so it never has that drawn-on look. Last, I use Mac Brow Set to catch any wayward hairs and define the edges."