the beauty blog


  • 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.


  • Barr Mansion Bridal Heaven

    This bride, this photographer and I were a match made in bridal heaven. I love creating soft, "perfectly undone" updos to complement makeup that shows off great skin, lashes to die for and enough glamour for these portraits to be truly special. Check out all of Robyn's pictures over at the fabulous Grey to Blue Photography

  • 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."

  • The Perfect Pink

    A recent article in Vogue, "What Goes into Mixing the Perfect Shade of Pucci Pink Lipstick," shows how much work goes into finding that absolutely perfect shade of lipstick. In the article, two MAC lipticks, Lady Danger and On Hold, are mixed for the iconic Pucci brand. I have a few favorite mixtures of my own that I love for both clients and myself!

    A sheer berry is perfect for winter pouts or olive-skinned ladies, and is created by using 3 products. I start with one of my favorite new lip glosses, Mirenesse Lip Bomb. This lip gloss works a lot like a stain, and is one of the most highly-pigmented glosses I've used. I then dip my lip brush into MAC's Lovelorn and work a little of that into the gloss, concentrating in the middle of my lips to help my lips look fuller. Then, I use a light coat of Buxom in Erica!! with it's delightful cinnamon-y tingle lip plumper to give a killer sheen. Voila! The most perfectly delicious berry.

    Now for a lighter shade of pink (think Brigitte Bardot). This shade is great for the summer or those sexy gals who love to smoke up their eyes and use a more nude color for their lips. As the base for lighter shades, I often start with Nars Honolulu Honey, a flesh-toned beige. For a little metallic sheen I use Stila's Longwear Lip Color in Darling and rub my lips together so the two lipsticks are completely blended. My last step is Amused lip gloss from Tarte (just a little bit of this gloss goes along way).

    What are some of your killer combos?

    With Love & Makeup,


  • Rent the runway!

    Shawn and I poured over the pictures from New York Fashion Week. We keep talking about the trends we love--dark lips, funky braids, sleek and structured updos. We also passed pictures back and forth with comments like, "Um, that is never a good idea" and "So, I keep looking at this, and I still don't understand what's happening."

    I decided that it would be fun if we took some of the looks we thought were cool and transformed them into looks that were more wearable and a whole lot easier to try.


    Love, Erica

    From Shawn:

    "Since fishtail braids are all the rage, I wanted to create a wearable look that encorporates these braids into hair that is worn down. And still keeps all the cool. My look is on the left-in the middle is a model (duh) and on the right is singer Nicole Scherzinger.

    To create these braids, section your hair into two parts. If you have long hair, section your hair from ear to ear and pin the top section up. If you hair is shorter, move the sectioning up an inch or two to give you more hair to braid with. 

    Next, grab about a two inch section of hair behind your ear to fishtail braid. This braid only looks complicated! Trust me, you can learn it in 5 minutes by checking out a tutorial on Pinterest or YouTube. Make the braid nice and tight to start with because next, you are going to pull it apart! I rubbed a little Aquage Detailing Creme in my hands, and then I went through the braid and picked different sections to pull apart.

    Then let the rest of your hair down! You could braid one side or both! And remember, this shouldn't look too perfect!"

    "Violet was all over the runways. Both Vera Wang and Derek Lam (the two pictures on the right) showed vibrant shadows with a softer matching lipstick. 

    I applied Mac's Violetta straight from the tube, and then I am immediately blotted it with a makeup sponge (any kind of tissue-based paper can leave residue).

    For the eyes, I grabbed two of my favorite eyeshadows-Love Letter from Kat Von D, which is a deep purple, and Gunmetal from Make Up Forever, which is a metallic light orchid. I applied a heavy dose of Love Letter all over the lid. I then took a fluffy eyeshadow brush and applied Gunmetal in the crease and down to the very inner eye. 

    You could intesify this look as much as you want--use a purple eyeliner and even a purple mascara! I liked how soft the violet looks on it's own with just a couple of coats of mascara."

    From Erica:

    "Who doesn't love a good "faux hawk"? Not Marc Jacobs, he sent a whole troop of beauties down the runway with hair like the picture on the right.

    I actually did the hair on the left for a bridal photoshoot. My inspiration was to create the feeling of a faux hawk while keeping everything soft and pretty. Since this took me some time to do, and I have a few years of on the job experience, I am not going to take you through the steps of this style. Instead, I am going to give you a few tips for the next time you have some time on your hands and a little motivation! 

    In both of the pictures, the hair was taken "up" in a lot of sections--in my look, I used 5 or 6 sections.  This technique is especially helpful when you want to create volume. Because the sections are secured individually, the weight of the hair remains contained in these sections.

    I think one of the key components to creating an updo that looks modern and cool is staying away from "perfect." I love adding texture or emphasizing natural texture. I always start with a working spray like Does it All-this creates stronger curls. For my updo on the left, I quickly curled all of the hair. Once the curls cooled, I used Bb.texture and combed through the sections with my fingers before I started pinning. The first section is actually a french braid which I loosened after I braided to add volume. I like to use a strong hold hairpsray at the end, but I don't like to, um, I will just say "helmet head." That way I can change parts of the updo as I need to.

    Some might call this messy, but to me, this is perfect."



  • The Fairest of Them All, Part 1

    Anyone that knows me well also knows that I have a "thing" for redheads. Besides dating an inordinate number of them (like 3), redheads are my absolute favorite people to make up. Why do I like working with them so much? Although I could go on about my of love freckles for quite awhile, the most amazing thing about redheads is how quickly they transform with the right makeup. It's basically instant gratification for a Makeup Artist. This Blog is not called "Things Erica Likes," though, so I will now commence giving beauty tips! Anyone with very fair coloring can also benefit from this post.

    In Part 1, we're going to talk skin. I am not going to speak to the genetic reasons why red hair, pale skin and freckles go together like peas and carrots as my good friend Wikipedia does quite a nice job already. If you have an abundance of freckles, toss your traditional foundation. Your freckles will still show through and this creates a "muddy" effect. I recommend steering clear of mud unless it's the kind that clears your pores! Instead, start with a brightening primer or a bb cream. This primer by Benefit leaves your skin all kinds of pretty. For a bb cream, I go straight to the motherland called Korea (bb cream was developed in Germany but became hugely popular in Asia).

    A concealer with yellow undertones erases dark circles, neutralizes ruddiness and also helps brighten your face. I suggest lightly tapping this concealer under your eyes (and any other areas that could use some attention) with your fingertips or the almighty Beauty Blender. Do this step before your primer or bb cream has time to dry to seamlessly blend the two.

    Set all of your hard work with translucent loose powder and a big fluffy brush. My absolute favorite powder is an old school Makeup Artist staple: Ben Nye Banana Powder. It may look a little funny, but it works on any skin tone and does wonders to brighten up a fair complexion, especially in the winter months which can be especially unkind to redhead's delicate skin. If your skin is very dry, I would lightly dust the powder only under the eyes. 

    Two more things to address and then this post is wrapped: bronzer and blush. Dear Redheads, bronzer is your new best friend. Stay away from shimmer and look for a bronzer that isn't too dark, which is surprisingly hard to do! I say go for broke and splurge on this Chantecaille bronzer. Using the same fluffy brush that applied your powder, sweep the bronzer lightly over the apples of your cheeks, under your cheekbones and then hit your face framing sweet spots: your temples, along the top of your forehead and the base of your jaw. 

    Redheads need to be careful with blush, and I say this with a heavy heart as blush is one of my top 3 favorite things in life. Bronzer has already done the heavy lifting in brightening up your face, so I recommend going in one of two blushing directions. But first, let me alert you to the direction you should never EVER go in: any blush in the orange family. Now that I have diverted that crisis, swirl a dusting of light pink or light rose blush on the apples of the cheeks. Only the apples. The blush should blend right into the bronzer, which is about the time you will begin to look like a goddess. The other option is using a pink or mauve-toned highlighter in the same fashion. If you are going out at night, you can even layer the two! I have a new favorite highlighter from Hourglass that is the perfect color for redheads. 

    Stay tuned for Part II which will cover fun things like eyeshadow and lipstick! 

    Love and kisses,


  • Ruby woah!


    I always knew I could pick a good lipstick, but who knew I was this good?! The results are in, and out of the $377 million we ladies spent on lipstick in 2013, MAC's "Ruby Woo" reigned supreme, according to the scientific folks at the NPD Group. It has also held court through much of my 2014.

    I fell in love with not only the color (a striking blue-based red) but also with MAC's modern take on matte. Banish any thoughts you have of a drying, unwieldy tube of red war paint...this is not your grandma's lipstick! Unless, of course, you have a very cool grandmother with a penchant for "bringing it."

    You may run into application trouble if you have very dry lips (my favorite fix for this is applying a light layer of Rosebud Salve with my fingers 10 minutes prior). I tend to apply lipstick directly from the tube for rich saturation. I have good lips! What can I say? If you need a little more control, pick a lip liner that glides on smoothly. I like "Cherry" from MAC or "Red Dynamite" from (gasp!) Rimmel. I line after lipstick.

    In conclusion, I leave you with these sage words: I dare ya! You could go old school Hollywood with the likes of Dita Von Teese and Gwen Stefani. Or, keep the rest of your makeup simple like Rihanna: dewy bronzed skin, a coat or two of mascara and let that perfect red pout be the center of attention right along with you.

    Love Always,