No More Makeup Masks!


Cosmetics (Photo credit: My Sight, as You See.)

A couple of years ago, I published a post entitled, “Makeup or Mask?” I described a mini makeup party my business partner and I hosted, where we encouraged the aspiring makeup-wearers to never feel they need to cover their natural beauty. I love working with women who don’t usually wear makeup – there’s a real rush I get from teaching women to put on makeup and then see the look of surprise on their faces when they see how natural it looks! Come on, no one wants to look like a clown.

Once you learn the basic techniques, there are some other basics that are nicely outlined in an article I discovered from The Beauty Department, “To See or Not To See.” This article gives two major lists – makeup that should not be detected easily (foundation, concealer, bronzer, illuminator, eye/lip liner, blush and mascara).  and makeup that should be bold and statement-making (lipstick, bright shadow and bold liner). Read and apply these tips liberally! Wear your makeup, not a mask!

WE wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes

– Paul Lawrence Dunbar


Quick Beauty Tips: Applying Liquid/Cream Foundation

Makeup_wedgesI was watching a makeup application video and cringed a little when I saw a young lady use a foam sponge to apply her cream foundation. I stopped using foam sponges a few years ago, mainly because I started using brushes for everything. But recently, I learned that you actually waste product when you use those cute little white wedges. The foam soaks up liquid and cream foundations (after all, they are ‘sponges’!) So much of what you pick up on the sponge will stay on the sponge, and less will end up on your face. What the wedges are better for is correcting makeup mistakes – think about it, if they soak up all your makeup, wouldn’t it make sense to use it to clean up edges and make corrections? To apply foundation evenly, you should use a synthetic brush, similar to one pictured below.

Synthetic Foundation Brush from Motives for LaLa Cosmetics

Synthetic Foundation Brush from Motives for LaLa Cosmetics

Afrobella’s Beauty Picks

Beauty Products

Photo credit: VancityAllie

The other day, a young lady from Facebook mentioned she was looking for a new lipstick shade and asked for suggestions. I immediately pointed her to my March 27, 2013 blog post, “Afrobella’s Essential Lipstick Collections For Women of Color.” Here I provided links to two awesome posts by Patrice Grell Yursik, a.k.a. Afrobella, where she listed both MAC and drugstore lipstick choices for women of color. In fact, I still plan to print the list and take it with me to my local MAC counter.

Well, my beauty guru of gurus has done it again, publishing “Afrobella’s Obsessions. Hair, Beauty, and Bath Edition – Summer 2013.” Check out her new monthly column where she’ll be giving her recommendations for hair, makeup, skincare and other beauty products. Head over to Afrobella’s site and get your summer beauty advice.

(#31WriteNow Challenge, Day 3)

Quick Beauty Tips: Warm Weather Makeup

Spring time

Spring time (Photo credit: davidyuweb)

Spring has been with us for a few weeks, but many of us have not seen too many signs of the warm weather just yet. Here in New York City, next week’s weather forecast includes temperatures in the upper 60’s and 70’s, so this is a great week to practice some quick warm weather makeup tips! During the spring/summer, it’s harder to get up and out in the morning, so I’ve also included a few shortcuts to quicken your morning makeup routine.

Aveeno Positively Ageless Moisturizer

Aveeno Positively Ageless Moisturizer (

Moisturizer – Just because the weather is warm, and skin tends to appear more “dewy,” that does not mean your skin can go without moisturizer. Even though your skin doesn’t feel dry, sunnier days can lead to dry skin – perspiration leaves salts on the skin that can have a drying effect. So don’t leave home without moisturizer, preferably one with SPF.  (Don’t forget to properly layer your products – read my quick beauty tip here)

Foundation – Many of us don’t want to be weighed down by foundation in the spring and summer. Don’t worry, you can still achieve even skin tone without using a lot of product. My advice – don’t spend money on tinted moisturizer when you can easily make your own! Take your favorite liquid or cream foundation and on the back of your hand, mix one part moisturizer to one part foundation (change the ratio to achieve your desired coverage). Apply to your face as usual for a light-coverage treat!

Milani Baked Bronzer (

Milani Baked Bronzer (

Bronzer –  There is no rule that says you have to use foundation, so go ahead and skip it. Use your favorite bronzer instead! This will give your skin a sun-kissed glow. For many years, I was afraid of bronzer because the only application tip I ever read was, “Brush bronzer on the places where the sun hits your face.” Whaaa? Well, it never hurts to ask questions, so thanks to the lovely young woman at the Estée Lauder counter, I learned the quick way to apply bronzer. Starting at your temple, create a ‘three’ by sweeping the brush in a semi-circle down toward your cheekbone, then complete the bottom of the three by sweeping the brush down along your jawline. For an added highlight, quickly sweep bronzer on the apple of your cheeks, the tip of your nose, the ball of your chin and on your forehead, right between your eyebrows.

lipglass and new kuromi make up case for purse

(Photo credit: Knitty Cent)

Lipwear – In a previous column, I encouraged you to revitalize your lipsticks by pairing them with a different lip liner. Or, skip the lipstick altogether and just use your favorite lip gloss for a quick color application to your lips, with our without lip liner.

Do you change your makeup routine when the weather gets warm?

Quick Beauty Tips: Don’t Give up on Your Lipstick!

Parallels and price of beauty

Parallels and price of beauty (Photo credit: Swamibu)

Ladies, have you ever gotten tired of a particular shade of lipstick? Well don’t toss it just yet – give it a new look! 

Here’s today’s quick beauty tip: Try pairing your lipstick with a different shade of lip liner. You would be surprised how a different color lip liner can change the look of the lipstick.

A perfect example is bright red. Normally, you might use a red liner – a color similar to the lipstick shade. It will give you a bright and vibrant red. But use the same lipstick after applying and blending in a brown lip pencil – immediately that red will tone down and, if blended properly, will give you what looks like a totally different shade of lipstick.

Try it and tell us how you did!

Quick Beauty Tips: Eyeshadow Primer Substitute

MAC paint pot Bare Study

MAC paint pot Bare Study (Photo credit: 20augustus)

When I first started wearing makeup, I dismissed the use of any eyelid primers. Like concealer, I thought it was an extra, unnecessary step. But I soon learned that if you want your eyeshadow to last, or the colors to really stand out, an appropriate eyelid primer and/or base is crucial to sustaining your eye look for the day.

This brings me to today’s post. I stayed away from home overnight, and in my hasty packing, I left my favorite eyelid primer at home (MAC paint pot in Groundwork). Certainly not catastrophic, but I was concerned because I knew I would be having a long day today. I thought quick and wondered what I could do. What I used was not some MacGyver-type solution, but it’s a nice alternative if you find yourself in a pinch. Remembering that some women actually use concealer as a base, I lightly swept my MAC concealer over my eyelids, taking care not to use too much, as concealer tends to crease. To further avoid creasing, or caking up of the concealer, I swept a layer of MAC Mineralized Skin Finish (which I usually as a light pressed-powder foundation) on top, just to set it (also realizing this is the same technique I used to set the concealer in my under-eye area). Now that the canvas was ready, I painted away! We won’t discuss the fact that I had left my second set of shadows at home as well, and only had my highlight color (MAC’s Arena) and crease contour color (MAC’s Embark). But I put those two colors together and made a nice neutral look!

Just remember that here are no real hard and fast makeup rules, but like in cooking, if you know basic techniques and understand some of the ‘science,’ then you can come up with quick solutions to avoid makeup problems.

MAC Arena

MAC Arena


MAC Embark

This and That This Week: Cosmetiques Laudun

Laudun photo courtesy of Cosmetiques Laudun

Jeanne Gabriel Laudun is the inspiration behind Cosmetiques Laudun, a skincare company which offers a line of environmentally friendly and all natural products. According to the company website (, “Laudun products pamper the skin with ingredients found in the common garden.” Jeanne Gabriel Laudun’s granddaughter, Anna Laudun Beauboeuf, is President and CEO of Cosmetiques Laudun and built the company based on her grandmother’s treasured skincare recipes. Although there are many natural skincare companies out there, this is what drew my interest in Cosmetiques Laudun. I have had the opportunity to communicate with the company’s Vice President and Jeanne Gabriel Laudun’s grand-niece, Sandra Gabriel, who explained to me that her great-aunt used ingredients from the garden to make her own beauty products in her kitchen. Her picture is on the company’s website and she was a beautiful woman. Obviously, her products worked well!

The website also states that “The Laudun philosophy is based on respect for nature, health and protection of the environment.” None of their products are tested on animals, and all of their botanical ingredients are natural and certified Organic.


USDA Bio Facial Moisturizer/Anti-aging, $64

I was able to try their USDA Bio Facial Moisturuizer (left), which like most of their products, is fragrance-free and feels moisture-rich and nourishing to the skin. According to the site, “MITSY Day & Night Anti-Ageing Moisturizer is a USDA Certified Bio silky moisturizing skin crème that glides over the skin without the feeling of heaviness. MITSY is formulated with 100% pure grapeseed oil, rich in antioxidants, ideal oil to use on your facial skin.”


Argile Cleanser Facial Mask, $20

I also tried the Argile Cleanser Facial Mask (right), which is made of French green clay. I don’t usually use clay masks, but I have to say that this mask did a wonderful job tightening my skin and pores, without leaving my skin feeling dry, as many masks often do. The product description notes, “This is an amazing substance that has been used throughout history for its ability to detoxify and purify the skin, making it a fabulous hydrating mask that effectively tightens and absorbs toxins.”

Aside from the actual products, I love the spirit of this company. President Beauboeuf states, “My grandmother, Jeanne, has blessed me with extensive knowledge on natural skincare recipes, and, with gratitude and joy, I am happy to share them with you.”

Visit them at