- Leanne on Cynthia’s Christmas Wedding in Holyoke, MA
- rachellisamua on What’s the deal with airbrush, anyway?
- Liz Washer on Crystal & Matthew’s Smith College Winter Wedding
- Tammy Thompson on Crystal & Matthew’s Smith College Winter Wedding
- lisa johnson on Beauty Resolutions: Keeping Things Clean in 2013!
Tagsairbrush articles bancroft bridals before and after berkshires ma birdcage veil bridal beauty brides of color bright lips color-correcting concealer do's and don'ts editorial eutopia events eyebrows eyeliner false lashes florence ma forget me not florist holyoke ma how to how to be a redhead individual false lashes jenursa lesbian weddings lgbt look park makeup tips michelle girard photography natural looks northampton ma personal style product reviews purple redheads red lips sandra costello skincare smoky eyes springfield ma step by step the log cabin trends wedding makeup wedding photos
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- August 2011
- June 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010
- September 2010
- July 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- January 2010
Are YOU Ready for Your Close-Up?
Learn how to DAZZLE on your wedding day – sign up below to receive a complimentary 30-page, fully illustrated bridal makeup guide plus a subscription to my biweekly ezine. It's more info & inspiration than you can shake a mascara wand at!
Category Archives: Trends
I had the distinct pleasure of taking part in several styled shoots with the incredibly talented Michelle Girard in 2012, and I’m so pleased to announce the publication of another one of our group efforts! This shoot was built around a pair of gorgeous, fair trade Celia Grace gowns and the detailed styling touches of Eutopia Events. Once again, I did makeup for both the bride & groom, but to shake things up a bit (and to add my own “shop local” element), I opted to use all mineral makeup by local business Fortunate Face Minerals. To fit the shoot’s rustic theme, I created a very soft look with sparkling eyes for the gorgeous Marcie (owner of Celia Grace), plus a bright Spring-y pop of color on her lips created by mixing two mineral colors together with a cream base.
Happily, this shoot is everywhere! Click here to view the gallery on Fab You Bliss, here to view the photographer’s selections, and here to view Eutopia’s tips on eco-friendly wedding planning. My favorite images from the day appear below:
Photographer: Michelle Girard Photography
Hair Stylist: Jennifer McClendon
Event Planners & Styling: Eutopia Events
Floral Designer: LaSalle Florists
Dress Designer: Celia Grace
Candles: Prosperity Candle
Pleasantly surprised to see the results of an email media query that actually took place nearly a year ago! Two photos of my work are shown as well. Here’s the paragraph I am quoted in:
Skip the Usual Tubes: Don’t like the feel of heavy lipstick or goopy gloss? Go for a soft stain, which will wash your lips with a hint of color without excess shine. “Tangerine is one of my favorite color trends in recent years,” says Liz Washer, whose makeup expertise has appeared in Essence. “It just looks so juicy and fresh, and there’s a shade for every skin tone. But if you’re not quite up for a bright orange or tangerine, try poppy or coral. You can also soften a bright lip look by patting lipstick on your lips with your ring finger, achieving a softer stain effect, or use a semi sheer gloss in the same color family.”
Full article: Brightening up Winter with Tangerine Lips
It was a pleasure to be asked once again to appear as a local makeup expert on WWLP’s Mass Appeal – here is my segment from Friday, 9/28/12:
The “No Makeup” Look
As Calvin Klein famously said, “The best thing is to look natural, but it takes makeup to look natural.” This look is very hot on the runways right now and the key is perfect, glowing skin, with some subtle contouring to bring out the features, but keeping the look very bare and very natural. This is perfect for brides who don’t like to wear a lot of makeup but still want to look great in their pictures.
Accentuating One Feature
For example, a beautiful bold lip! Keep the rest of the look soft – very natural eyes, soft blush in the same color family – a monochromatic lip & cheek is very modern.
The Smoky Eye
The smoky eye has been reinvented, and it’s not all about black & grey anymore. Earthtones kicked up with a metallic like bronze or copper look amazing, or you can even bring in some purples, or sage greens – as long as you blend the colors well and use shades that complement your skintone, you can absolutely wear color in a tasteful and timeless way.
Ooh la la, it’s time for some sauciness. As you might have guessed, we did both shoots on the same day – a lighting and wardrobe change made all the difference!
Photography: Michelle Girard
Models: Dani & Kim
Originally published on HowToBeARedhead.com
Done well, eyeliner is one of the most featuring enhancing (and feature changing) aspects of makeup – you can alter the shape of your eye, thicken your lashes, and make a fashion statement all at once! It’s also one of the trickiest to master, so if you’re struggling, here are some proven techniques:
1. Step away from the liquid liner! Liquid liner is one of the most difficult types of liner to master, so if you’re new to makeup, save this for later. Your key to mastering eyeliner is a quality eyeliner brush. You can choose an angled, flat, or pointed tip – whatever feels easiest to control. Armed with this indispensible tool, you can apply cream or gel eyeliner (which mimics the look of liquid but is much more forgiving to apply), you can use eyeshadow as liner, and you can create smoother, thinner lines with pencils as well. Brand new to lining with a brush? Try the flat tip and simply press it right against your top lashline – you’ll leave a perfect stripe of pigment and you can simply press the brush along the lashline until you get the effect you’re looking for.
2. Choose a cool color. Definitely experiment with a variety of colors – black and brown are classic, but coppery shades are gorgeous against blue eyes, aubergine tones will enhance green eyes and as for brown, take your pick of jewel tones – they’ll all create a gorgeous, striking contrast!
3. Start clean. When you’re starting out with liner (or just creating a particularly challenging shape like a cateye), you’ll save yourself a lot of frustration by doing liner first, and the rest of your eye makeup afterwards. That way you can clean up the edges with a pointed cotton swab and some makeup remover, without ruining the rest of your makeup.
4. Keep an eye on it. Our eyes change shape when they are open versus when they are closed – the creases in our eyes shift, and it’s enough to throw off the shape of liner that looked perfect against a closed lid. Most of the time, your eyeliner will be seen with your eyes open, so make sure to apply it that way too! Tilting your head slightly back and looking down your nose into a mirror can help with application. For winged and cateye liner shapes, experiment with drawing the outer wing with the eyes open, and then connecting it to the lashline in a sudden downward dip – the resulting “paddle” shape will look smooth when the eyes are open and will keep the lid liner from becoming unflatteringly thick.
5. Steady, steady… I like to rest my elbow against the table and the heel of my hand or my thumb against my cheekbone when I line my eyes. There’s no shame in it – do whatever you need to do to keep your hands steady. (And please, no lining behind the wheel!)
6. OK, now you can grab the liquid liner. Once you’ve drawn the perfect shape in with pencil, gel or powder, you can go over it with a liquid liner to give it a strong, sharp edge.
A few weeks ago I joined the talented Binita Patel and her photo & video team for a stylized shoot at the amazingly gorgeous Willowdale Estate in Topsfield, MA. The pictures & video clip below feature the adorable (and real-life married couple) Kendra & Matt, with hair by Maricruz and wardrobe/styling by Harper by SEAMS Couture. I loved the color scheme – hello, yellow! – and gave Kendra a modern spin on a vintage look with bold, graphic winged eyeliner and red lips. (I rarely get to do makeup that dramatic for real-life brides, so it’s fun to break the mold a little bit for shoots!)
Check out the video & some of my favorite sneak peek images (thus far!) below:
Airbrush is a makeup tool and application technique that can be amazingly effective, and many makeup artists (myself included) love using it. But airbrush has ALSO benefited from really effective hype. I’m writing this for the benefit of people who want to know exactly what airbrush makeup is all about and why it’s a great choice for weddings, photoshoots & special events, but to ALSO understand that it’s not a magic bullet or a guarantee of an artist’s skill or professionalism. Welcome to the no-spin zone!
What is it?
Airbrush makeup is liquid makeup that is applied with compressed air instead of a brush or sponge. That’s pretty much it! The liquid makeup used in an airbrush gun is generally of a thinner consistency than hand-applied formulas so that it can pass through the airbrush system without clogging. Airbrush cosmetics are typically silicone-based, water-based, or alcohol-based; each base has its merits for different skin types, application types, desired finish, longevity, and coverage. (Water and silicone formulas are mainly used for the face, while alcohol based is popular for tattoo coverage, body work, and special effects). Some artists use specific brands of airbrush makeup (many professional lines now offer their own airbrush formulas), and others thin traditional foundations.
Why is applying makeup with compressed air better than with a brush or a sponge?
It’s not better; it’s just different. The airbrush system is an application tool, much like a brush or a sponge. Some artists make a mess with sponges and prefer brushes; some artists are the exact opposite. (Me, I like everything and I switch things up all the time, but I’m strange that way!)
That said, here’s why I prefer this tool & these formulas for bridal foundation work in particular:
- Applied correctly, it looks and feels lightweight. Airbrush artists need only a small amount of liquid to achieve the desired effect, depending on the condition of the skin. Of course, the same is true with hand applied makeup – talented artists know how to apply their products judiciously. But with hand applied makeup, you see the product first and then work to blend it into the skin, whereas airbrush retrains your eye to stop when the skin looks perfect, not when you can actually SEE makeup on the skin. Done correctly, this allows the artist to do more with much less. (The mistake that many untrained artists make is to spray and spray until they can actually SEE it wet and heavy on the skin, the way they would with a traditional foundation formula prior to blending, but this heavy application defeats the purpose of using airbrush.) It’s a great choice for people who don’t like the look of heavy foundation.
- It lasts. The makeup I use for weddings stays on until you remove it, and looks great all day. Now, this wasn’t always the case with airbrush makeup – many early formulas were quite dry and inflexible, and tears or sweat would cut right through them. Newer formulations, including some that are water-based, have polymers in them to ensure much longer lasting wear, and they are water- and transfer-resistant.
- Touch-free application means thorough-yet-invisible coverage. Ever pat concealer on a pimple over and over again, and still be unable to hide it, even as it gets cakey around the edges? The difficulty inherent in getting product to stick to the smooth raised surface of a blemish is partly because the touch of your brush, sponge or finger simultaneously applies, AND lifts away, coverage. With airbrush, you’re simply not touching the skin. You can spray over the skin without simultaneously rubbing against it. It’s very handy. (This is also why I prefer airbrush for tattoo coverage, since no product from the previous layer is being lifted away or disturbed as I work, and I can achieve opacity without caking.)
- It photographs beautifully. Airbrush is popular for high-definition film, photography, and television for a reason: the fine mist of color is even and blended, with no harsh lines, making it virtually invisible on-screen and to the naked eye. That means your makeup won’t be obvious in close-up photos, or in person. (Again, you can get this result with any kind of hand applied makeup too, but airbrush was specifically designed to create this effect.)
- It’s fast. Once again, it’s certainly possible to achieve the same smooth results with a brush or a sponge, but blending full-coverage concealer by hand takes more time. Airbrush, as stated above, is smooth from the moment it hits the skin. This makes it quicker to perfect the complexions of an entire bridal party without making them late for the ceremony!
Is airbrush preferred by celebrities, TV & movie directors, etc.?
Sure, some people will even insist on airbrush makeup, so it’s important for aspiring makeup artists to learn how to use it so they can appeal to a broader base of clientele. But the people who hire makeup artists are generally looking at the portfolio (or the resume) first and foremost, and if they like the work shown, they’re unlikely to worry about whether the artist used a brush, sponge, or airbrush (or all of the above) to achieve it.
Can I airbrush myself at home?
Yes, there are consumer airbrush kits available from a variety of different companies. The consumer versions are simplified considerably, usually so the home user won’t have to disassemble the gun for cleaning each time, or learn how to operate a complex trigger mechanism.
My experience, however, is that consumers might find home systems frustrating for the following reasons:
- Even simplified, the systems are not intuitive to use, and the process of using airbrush is very different than conventional makeup. Remember what I said above about retraining the eye? This is much harder to do on oneself, and it’s not necessarily something you can learn from just reading the instructions on the box or watching a DVD – it takes practice to master. It’s worth learning if you love the results, but be prepared to put the time in, or take a lesson if you can.
- You can’t see exactly what you’re doing when you’re spraying your own face, you have to close your eyes for part of the process, and you have to stand back from the mirror in order to have enough room – so you have to airbrush yourself partly by feel. I’ve used my (pro) system on myself before, and I have to be really careful to apply evenly and to not spritz my hairline or clothes. I rarely feel like struggling that much with my own face!
- Consumer kits don’t allow you to blend different colors or correctors together to achieve a good complexion match. Most have makeup locked in a tube or pod-shaped dispenser that attaches directly to the compressor. So unless you precisely match one of the shades available, you’re out of luck. This is why I’m always slightly shocked when I see professional makeup artists using consumer systems – how do they blend colors? I have airbrush makeup from two different companies, Temptu and OCC. Both lines offer 12 skintone shades, as well as blushes, color correctors, and other color cosmetics. I find that most of my clients are a mix of at least two colors (sometimes more), and it changes throughout the year depending on skin type and sun exposure. I would feel very limited using only a single “pod” of foundation to match someone’s skin, even just my own.
- Simplified doesn’t mean bulletproof… the consumer compressors are generally lower quality, don’t have as good a psi range, and they’re easier to break than most pro systems. I speak from experience: my first airbrush compressor was a portable variety that is also sold as part of the company’s consumer kit, and wasn’t meant to be a standalone tabletop device. One day it vibrated itself right off the edge of a counter and crashed to the floor, splitting the casing in the process. I upgraded immediately after that, and was a lot happier, even though the pro compressor weighs more and takes up more space in my kit.
- …but it does mean limited. With a makeup brush, you can vary the pressure. motion and technique you use to achieve different results. With a pro (dual-action) gun, you can do the same thing by varying the psi, distance from the face, how much you pull back on the trigger, etc. But consumer guns are stripped down and, as a result, they are mostly push-button. This can result in spotty application because it’s harder to taper the coverage when “off” or “on” are your only options. For that reason, I will only ever use a dual-action gun on a client; I want that range of subtlety and nuance to be available to me.
OK, that sounds like too much trouble; how can I get an airbrushed-looking finish by hand?
It just takes practice. One technique that will help a lot is learning to stipple. Try bouncing and patting your brush or sponge (or fingers) over the skin instead of rubbing, streaking, or doing the old “windshield wiper” motion. Stippling mimics the pattern that airbrush creates, and helps prevent surface irregularities (like pores, lines, and blemishes) from standing out. It also helps prevent streaky lines and noticeable edges. It’s a great technique to try at home!
Is airbrushing a good indication that an artist is skilled & professional?
If only it were that easy! I once had a maid of honor proudly tell me that she insisted that the bride hire me because I airbrush, and that “any artist who doesn’t airbrush doesn’t know what they’re doing.” I thanked her for recommending me, but I also cautioned her that owning an airbrush is no guarantee of skill. Anyone with a little money can purchase a system, after all. Then I surprised her by pointing out that, while I mainly use airbrush for weddings, the majority of my beauty & fashion portfolio was done by hand.
So how do I choose an airbrush artist for my wedding?
There are good and bad airbrush artists out there, just like anything else. The only way you’ll know if a makeup artist is right for you is by looking at their work (does it appeal to you? Does it look flattering, smooth, and well-matched to the subject?), paying attention to their communication style (is it professional, punctual, and helpful?), and seeing feedback from their clients (is it genuine? Does the artist have clients who can speak about their experience?) And if you’re still not sure, that’s what trial runs are for!
The mark of a skilled artist is not the tools they use, it’s how they use them.
A few weeks ago I joined the talented Binita Patel and her photography team for a stylized shoot at the Massachusetts Horticultural Society at Elm Bank. As luck would have it, we didn’t get to explore the grounds that day (the early Spring rains drove us indoors), but nothing could dampen a stylized shoot featuring a beautiful laughing bride with peaches & cream makeup and watermelon & teal decor! I particularly loved our bride’s infectious smile and stunning hair, sculpted to perfection by Maricruz.
You can view the complete shoot on Binita’s blog; here is an assortment of my favorites:
I was so flattered when fellow makeup artist Kristen, who is also a beauty blogger for My Cosmetic Bag, asked to interview me about my experience working at New York Fashion Week. Below is the Q&A, or you can visit the original article here!
Who designs the looks for fashion week? How are they decided?
I’ve never been privy to this process, but usually the key artist (the one who is hired to create the look and assemble the team) will meet with the clothing designer to go over the collection, what the story is, what the themes are, influences, references, etc. Sometimes extensive storyboarding is involved. The designer may have a specific makeup look in mind, or the artist may come up with something that complements the wardrobe. Usually it’s a very collaborative process. Then the artist will usually sketch out the looks to share with the team, and do a demonstration backstage so everyone knows how to make up the models.
I’ve heard stories about the pace of fashion week being crazy. Is that true?
I’d say yes, definitely yes, although I was very lucky – the teams I served on for my first season were so well-organized, and we had plenty of artists for the work there was to do. Things got frantic toward the end of our prep time because everyone was doing last-minute tweaks simultaneously – wardrobe, makeup, and hair. And you have to pay attention to the whole model, not just her face, so there was lots of body lotioning, additional cover-up, etc. that happens at the last minute. Sometimes backstage was very crowded with public relations, press, photographers, etc. (especially if a celebrity model was walking in a show), so you had to dodge a lot of elbows. But I never felt like I didn’t have enough time or space to do what I needed to do, and I credit the key artist and the first assistants for keeping things running so smoothly!
How long does it take to get the models ready on show day?
It varies depending on how complex the looks are. I served on big teams (8+ artists) so I wasn’t as rushed as I expected to be. On average, we did two or three models per show per artist; more if we were also grooming male models because that doesn’t take as long. We generally had about three hours from load-in to showtime. It seems like plenty of time at first, but all kinds of things come up: rehearsals, fittings, last-minute changes to the makeup… that time slips by very quickly, so you have to work fast.
What makeup trends did you see for fall/winter 2012?
We created a lot of bright, beautiful statement lips: velvety matte reds, bright oranges and poppy corals… really beautiful. (Pantone’s Color of the Year is Tangerine Tango, a luscious red-orange – don’t be afraid of it!) For eye makeup, one look we did a few variations of was a matte smoky earthy brown, blown out to precisely nothing on the top and bottom lid, with a pop of highlight directly on the center of the top lid – so that the inner eye was kept darker (an unusual twist!) This gave the eye an intriguing rounded shape. Complexions varied from very subtle (exposed freckles and natural satin skin) to velvet matte perfection, and for several shows we added a glossy highlight to cheekbones and eyelids.
Sometimes runway fashion does not translate well into real life. What tips can you give for incorporating the show trends into an everyday makeup look?
I worked a lot of sportswear shows that featured very wearable makeup for the most part, but of course things were bumped up for the catwalk. My suggestion is to view runway shows as a form of performance art – they aren’t necessarily meant to be taken literally by everyday folks, but you can draw inspiration from them and experiment. Picking one feature to focus on is always a good idea – everyone should try bright lipstick at least once! (I’ve been wearing red lipstick all week for the first time in years; it’s such a fast way to look pulled together and chic.) And you can experiment with a smoky metallic eye or dramatic eyeliner without drawing it all the way up to your eyebrows or out to your temples.
What was your favorite moment from working Fashion Week?
There were several! Working with a celebrity model (who I didn’t even recognize at first) was kind of a trip – I’ve never been so mobbed by photographers before; I had to actually sign a release afterwards!
But I think my favorite moment was being part of a brand new designer’s show that turned out to be amazingly gorgeous – so much so that our key artist came backstage afterwards with tears streaming down her face, and the energy in the room was incredible – even the longtime, been-there-done-that pros looked ecstatic, and the applause seemed to go on forever. It was such a privilege to be part of that. I see big things in that designer’s future.
Hearing wonderful feedback from the key artists throughout the show was also such a good feeling – I never felt taken for granted and we all worked beautifully together! I don’t know if my experience of assisting at Fashion Week is typical, but I’m certainly grateful to have it!
Originally published on HowtoBeaRedhead.com
Another Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in NYC has come and gone, and this year I was privileged to serve in several backstage makeup teams. I can’t even begin to say how exciting it was, and what an honor it is to do that kind of work!
I’m pleased to share a few looks that I helped to execute for the runway, and how you can incorporate them into your own daily beauty routine:
1. Lips: go bright! The fastest way to look pulled together is to slap on a statement lipstick – you can skip other color cosmetics and let your lips create a chic focus for your face. You may have already heard that Pantone’s Color of the Year is Tangerine Tango, a luscious red-orange – don’t be afraid of it! If you’re not quite up for a vampy red, try poppy or coral. You can also soften a bright lip look by patting lipstick on your lips with your ring finger, achieving a softer stained effect.
Liz’s product picks: OCC Lip Tars in Queen, Grandma, and Harlot (mix with Clear to soften); MAC lipstick in Lady Danger
2. New ways to get your smoke on. One look our team did for a few shows was a matte smoky brown all over, blown out to precisely nothing, with a pop of highlight directly on the center of the lid – so that the inner eye was kept darker (an unusual twist!) This gave the eye an intriguing rounded shape. Try this in warm earthtone shades that complement your complexion – smoky eyes don’t always have to be black or grey, and the warmer colors are flattering especially with green and hazel eyes.
The key is the blending… instead of brushing on your color with a windshield wiper motion, use a soft brush to pat the pigment on, using less and less pressure as you work your way out. Then smooth out the edges to nothing using a clean brush.
Liz’s product picks: MAC #217 and #227 eyeshadow brushes; BeautiControl Au Natural eyeshadow palette
3. Get luminous. At a runway show, the models’ skin has to reflect the light strategically. We did everything we could to keep the T-Zone (forehead and around the nostrils) matte, while adding light-catching pigments and products to the tops of the cheekbones, above the lip, and sometimes even down the bridge of the nose. With only a few exceptions (where a more retro matte look was specified by the designer), we focused on creating natural, youthful, slightly dewy skin, only concealing where needed – and this is definitely a trend that every girl should try!
Once your skin is prepped, pat on a little sheen on the high points of the face – you can use anything from a rich moisturizer to a shimmery champagne eyeshadow. Keep it subtle – you only want to see it when you turn your face and it catches the light. This is a fabulous trick for date night!
Liz’s product picks: Elizabeth Arden 8-Hour Cream, Smashbox Artificial Light, NARS Multiple