Pivot

 Me, in the early days of my passion for makeup doing makeup for my high school's theatre department

Me, in the early days of my passion for makeup doing makeup for my high school's theatre department

I don’t know if you’ve ever felt as though you were floating through life, doing what you were supposed to do but not what you wanted to do, but I have. I was a high achieving and intelligent young person, but always had issues applying myself if I wasn’t passionate about something. In the family I come from, you graduated high school, went to college, then got a traditional job that offered a 401k and good insurance and allowed you to do the things you want to do.

While I was in college, I did a number of internships, with the final one being at a really cool PR firm. The people I worked with were nice, it was a really fun office environment, and yet I still didn’t love it. And I only had to do it two days a week, let alone 9-5 Monday-Friday.

It was around this time that I started a job at Macy’s in the cosmetics department as a way to make some spending money. I LOVED going to this job. The people I worked with were nice and I got to indulge in one of my passions, makeup. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I had found what lit me up inside. Once I started working with makeup, I realized that it was what I wanted to spend my time doing. Before working at Macy’s, I didn’t know that freelance makeup artists existed. I knew that there were artists that worked at counters but didn’t realize there was anything else you could do. Some of the other girls I worked with there freelanced on the side and it opened my eyes to the possibilities of working in makeup.

From there, I broke the news to my parents that I was moving home to try to become a makeup artist, packed all of my stuff up, and drove myself and my dog, Bruce, the 8 hours back home to my mom’s house. Basically none of my friends lived at home at the time, so I had a lot of time to myself on my hands. And I spent this time really hitting the pavement and getting myself out there and trying to create a portfolio and book clients. I bought my website domain, built a website (that if I could see today I’m sure I would cringe), and started marketing myself to clients. I did as many TFP photoshoots as I possibly could. TFP stands for “trade for print” or shoots that everyone does for free to collaborate and share the final images for portfolio use. Slowly, I started to build a reputation for myself and create a portfolio to show off my work.

 Me, living my actual dreams cuddling a bunch of puppies in Santorini. 

Me, living my actual dreams cuddling a bunch of puppies in Santorini. 

I have since gone back to school and got my esthetics license and built a successful bridal makeup and hair business. But recently I’ve felt that there was something more that I wanted to be able to offer the world. My favorite thing about doing hair and makeup is helping women to feel beautiful. As I kept trying to figure out what exactly it is I felt was missing, one word kept coming back to me---impact. My favorite part about doing makeup was the impact I was able to have on women's confidence because of it. I want to be able to have that kind of impact but on a larger scale.

This led me to realize I wanted to pivot my brand to being more than about only hair and makeup. I want to be able to share my life, my journey through entrepreneurship, and the ways in which I have designed the life that I love. Because it truly is that, you have to design the life that you want for yourself. All it takes is doing the work and it can be yours. I have so many people tell me that I'm "lucky" to be doing what I'm doing, or "lucky" to be able to travel as much as I do. But the beauty of it is that you don't need luck if you make a plan for what you want out of your life. Once you have your plan, all you need to do is implement it and your dream life will be your actual life. So keep an eye out for some more posts about my life, my journey, and the things I've learned along the way! I can't wait to share more!

PS- I'd also love to hear in the comments if you have anything in particular that you'd like me to talk about, because I'd love to ensure that I'm posting content that people actually like reading! 

Mother's Day Gift Guide

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Mother's Day is fast approaching and we're all scrambling to find the perfect gift for Mom. Stop stressing, I've got just the gifts to pamper Mom and show her how special she is to you. 

1. Brow Ink

What it is: This is a tinted brow gel that comes in blonde, brunette, and dark brunette. Just brush it on and it helps to make your brows look darker and fuller and fill in any sparse spots. 

Why Mom will love it: My mom is obsessed with this product. She's not someone who likes to spend a ton of time getting ready in the morning so this product is perfect for her. She's got light brows that are sparse and this is an easy way for her to get her brows looking great quickly. 

2. Beta Carotene/Papain Renewal Serum

What it is: A mild exfoliating serum that can be used daily. It improves the skin's barrier, helps to lessen the appearance of wrinkles, brightens complexion, and is anti-inflammatory. This is also excellent for pregnant or nursing women or people with sensitive skin who can't use more harsh exfoliants. 

Why Mom will love it: It's an easy step she can add into her skin care routine that will give great results. She can apply it daily after cleansing at night to see healthier, more beautiful skin! 

3. Viseart Theory Eyeshadow Palettes

What it is: The gold standard in eyeshadow, Viseart shadows are highly pigmented, long lasting, and easy to blend. These theory palettes are amazing as they provide six coordinating shades (three shimmers and three mattes). Mom can create many different eye looks with this one purse-sized palette. 

Why Mom will love it: It's compact and easy to use. She can create many looks with the palette from a work look to a date night smoky eye. 

4. Goji Berry Yogurt Mask

What it is: A mask perfect for those with normal to dry skin. Goji Berry helps in rebuilding the skin by stimulating biosynthesis, fibroblast proliferation and by inhibiting MMPs. Anti-aging results can be seen by the reduction of lines and wrinkles in addition to an improvement in the skin’s elasticity. Yogurt moisturizes, smoothes and stimulates cellular regeneration.

Why Mom will love it: Who doesn't love a good mask? This one is great for more mature skin to help re-hydrate the skin, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and leave Mom's skin glowing! 

5. Peptide Restoration Moisturizer

What it is: An amazing moisturizer for normal to dry skin. This is a superior anti-aging moisturizer containing peptides to accelerate the growth of epidermal cells activating skin repair; peptides also reduce wrinkle depth. Alpha lipoic acid combats the signs of aging as white tea boosts the immune function of skin cells.

Why Mom will love it: It's another easy-as-pie way for Mom to pack some punch into her skin care routine without taking away 20 minutes from her already busy day. She'll love the anti-aging benefits that this moisturizer provides. 

6. BB Cream

What it is: An innovative tinted cream that primes, nourishes, evens skin tone, strengthens and protects in one simple step. It is hypoallergenic, oil-free, and paraben-free. It improves skin’s elasticity while softening the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. 

Why Mom will love it: This is another great time-saver for Mom's routine. Busy moms often don't have time for a full face of makeup but this BB cream will allow her to even her skin tone and look her best in one quick step. 

7. Viseart Cheeks Theory Palettes

What it is: From the same brand that brought you the amazing eyeshadows I can't stop gushing about, these are all-in-one face palettes that offer her a contour shade, highlight, and blush. Combine this with an eye theory palette and Mom will have everything she needs for a complete look! 

Why Mom will love it: It's everything she needs all in one palette, and it's super compact! 

8. Gift Card

What it is: A gift card pre-loaded with cash for Mom to spend on whatever she wants!

Why Mom will love it: She can redeem the gift card for products or facial, makeup, or waxing services in my studio. Mom can get the exact gift she wants because she'll be able to pick it out herself!

My Everyday Makeup Routine

I often get questions from clients and friends about my everyday makeup routine. This is about a 10 minute routine that I do for most days when I want to look put together but don't have the time or energy to put into doing a full face of makeup. You can watch the video above to see me do it, the instructions are below: 

I first apply Kett Fixx Creme (I use the shade N4) all over the face with a wet beauty blender. I then apply the same Fixx Creme using my finger and apply it in any areas that need more coverage (for me, that tends to be around my nose, on my chin, and on any blemishes that weren't covered by the original Fixx Creme application). Next, I apply the Fixx Creme Color Corrector in the shade medium under my eyes to cancel out the dark circles. I then apply another layer of the N4 over the top of that so that my undereyes don't appear orange. I then use my Powder Foundation on a kabuki brush in the shade Cameo Beige to set my makeup. I also apply a layer of Baked Finishing Powder in the shade Satin Glow to give my makeup a luminous finish. Next, I apply my Stick Illuminator in the shade New Nude to the bridge of my nose, cupid's bow, cheekbones, and under my brows. Then, I apply my Automatic Long Lasting Liner in black to my upper waterline, which helps to define my lash line and make it look fuller. I then curl my lashes and apply VolumeX Mascara. For brows, I begin by filling in my brows using my Precision Brow Pencil followed by a coat of Brow Ink to fill in any sparse areas and set my eyebrow hairs. To finish the look and add some color to my face, I mix my Mineral Blush in the shades Sparkling Rose and Coral Sun and apply it to my cheeks. I then use my Sheer Shine Lipstick in the shade Ingenue on my lips. 

And there you have it! That's my quickie basic daily makeup routine. If you have any questions, I'm happy to answer them in the comments! And if you're looking to change up your everyday routine but don't know how, please click here to schedule an appointment for a makeup lesson where we can go over everything for you. Those lessons are free with a $100 purchase! 

Dermaplaning: A Quick and Easy Way to Get Glowing Skin

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You may have heard of dermaplaning before, or maybe you haven't. Either way, most clients I chat with about it don't know much about the service so I thought it would be good to write a blog post about this awesome service. 

What is dermaplaning? 

Dermaplaning is a form of physical exfoliation that uses a sterile stainless steel surgical blade to remove the top layer of dead skin along with the vellus hair, or "peach fuzz" on the face. 

Who is dermaplaning good for?

Dermaplaning is a great service for most clients. It helps to reduce sun damage, reduce the signs of aging, diminish hyperpigmentation, treat dull skin, and exfoliate the skin. This service is especially great for pregnant or nursing clients as they are unable to use most AHAs and BHAs. This service may not be for you if you have excessively sensitive skin, eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, or active acne. The best way to determine if this treatment is a good fit for you is by coming in for a consultation. 

What are the benefits of dermaplaning? 

As mentioned above, dermaplaning can help to reduce sun damage, reduce the signs of aging, diminish hyperpigmentation, treat dull skin, and exfoliate the skin. It also helps active ingredients penetrate deeper afterwards since you are removing the dead skin that usually prevents some penetration. Thus, using targeted products after this service can help to intensify the results you're looking for. An added benefit to dermaplaning is because all of the peach fuzz on your face is removed, your makeup goes on smoothly and flawlessly after this service. This is a great pre-event service to get your skin glowing and have your makeup look amazing for a wedding, prom, or other special event. 

What do you need to know after dermaplaning? 

Because you're removing the top layer of skin, you may notice some sensitivity over the day or so following the service. This is totally normal. You do need to be extra sure you're using your SPF and reapplying throughout the day as we're removing that top layer of dead skin so your skin is even more vulnerable to sun damage than usual. A big concern of many clients is getting stubble as the hair grows back in, which won't happen to you! You won't notice a 5 o'clock shadow or any stubbliness as the hair grows back. You will likely be addicted after one treatment and seeing how good your skin looks and feels, and I recommend about 4 weeks between appointments as the ideal time. 

 

So after reading all that, I'm sure you're super excited to get yourself scheduled for your first dermaplaning appointment. You can click here to request an appointment to have your skin evaluated to see if dermaplaning is right for you, and to receive the service as well! 

My Travel Beauty Essentials

As you may know if you follow me on social media, I'm a bit of a travel junkie. I love setting out and exploring new places and meeting new people! My most recent trip was to Thailand, which I absolutely fell in love with! Being a beauty junkie as well as a travel junkie, I have perfected my travel skin care and beauty to ensure I'm bringing as much as possible to continue my routine! Here are some of my favorite products to take with me when I travel: 

Cucumber Hydration Toner
20.00
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Glycolic and Retinol Pads
22.50
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These Glycolic and Retinol Pads are awesome to travel with since they are a pad and don't count as a liquid. You know my liquids bag is always bursting at the seams so anything that I can bring that doesn't count is a win for me! This allows me to control breakouts and continue exfoliation while traveling. Just be careful with retinol--it does make your skin more sensitive to the sun so if you're using this product while you travel you need to make sure to be really good about your SPF application to avoid potential sun damage. 

Toner is my best friend while traveling. Plane air can be so dry so this can help keep your skin hydrated while you're getting to your destination. It's also awesome when you're needing a little pick-me-up throughout the day to spritz this on for a little refresher. The cool mist helps wake you up and help you feel great. It's also awesome if you're traveling somewhere that has a hot climate, when you're starting to get really hot and sweaty spritz this on for an instant cool-down! 

Sheer Protection SPF 30
24.00
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Lip Balm SPF 15
5.00
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Don't forget your lips with SPF! An area people commonly forget to protect with SPF but your lips are just as susceptible to sun damage and skin cancer as the rest of your skin! Use a lip balm with SPF in it regularly to keep your lips protected from the sun. 

Speaking of SPF--that's my next travel favorite. When we travel we tend to spend more time outside, whether it's on the beach or just walking around a new city. We need to make sure we're protecting our skin from the sun while we're out, so carrying around extra SPF is a must! Make sure to reapply every few hours to ensure your skin is always protected. 

 Limelight Waterproof Complete Concealer  $24

Limelight Waterproof Complete Concealer

$24

A good concealer goes a long way while traveling---especially when jet setting around the world. I was relying on my concealer after the complete 180 time flip to Thailand and the jet lag that it caused. Look fresh when you're 

 

 Perfect Pressed Powder  $22

Perfect Pressed Powder

$22

If you're anything like me, you get oily throughout the day, especially in hot and humid weather. Having a good pressed powder on hand is key for this. You don't want to be shiny in all of your travel photos, so have some pressed powder on hand to keep the shine at bay! The pressed powder won't get all over your bag if it spills like a loose powder would, but it'll do the job to take away shine! 

These are just some of my favorite products to take with me when I travel! I'll have to do another blog where I share more, but these are some of my favorite essentials to have in your travel bag! 

The 5 Best Makeup Tips for Older Women

I get this question ALL. THE. TIME. Pretty much every older woman I work with seems to be stumped by the changes in their skin as they've gotten older and how to deal with them. Here are my 5 best makeup tips for making older skin look its best. 

 

1. Avoid Powder

Older skin tends to lack moisture and get drier as we get older. We just don't need a ton of powder on our face if we're not oily. In fact, the powder will only make your makeup look cakier and accentuate wrinkles if you use too much of it! Switching to a more hydrating foundation or a tinted moisturizer with limited powder only in areas you might get oily will help your makeup to look more natural and help your skin to look more hydrated and healthy! 

2. Corrector

Corrector is your best friend! Some of us younger ladies are blessed with this problem as well, however as we get older our under-eye circles tend to get more problematic. Using a corrector with an orange or peach tone to it under your eyes will help to neutralize the darkness to make you look younger and more awake. 

 

3. Less Is More

Less is more when it comes to amount of product used. Sometimes, we just use too much product which causes it to settle into fine lines and wrinkles. Using just the right amount of product to achieve the result you are looking for without caking on the product can help your makeup not to settle into fine lines. This can be especially noticeable in the eye area, so watch out for this spot! 

 

4. Primer

Primer can be especially helpful to avoid product settling into fine lines and wrinkles. Using an eye primer before shadow can help so that the shadow does not crease into the fine lines and wrinkles near the eye and accentuate them. This can also be used on the under-eye area to help avoid creasing there as well. I'm not as big of a fan of face primers as they can tend to suffocate your skin but a good skin care routine will prepare your skin well for makeup! 

 

5. Apply Blush While Face Is Relaxed

As we get older, our skin tends to sag a bit more. Thus, if we apply blush while smiling the apple of your cheek can fall and have blush appearing on your face lower than you expected (or wanted!). Apply your blush where it looks natural with a relaxed face, and then blend with it smiling to ensure it looks good both ways! 

Ingredient Spotlight: Pumpkin

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It's officially the season for Pumpkin Spice everything! But what about putting it on your face? Well, turns out, pumpkin can really pack a punch when incorporated into your skin care routine as well. Pumpkin can be a beneficial ingredient for those with sun damage or hyperpigmentation they are trying to get rid of. It is also a great ingredient for acne sufferers, as it contains Vitamins E and T which help fight acne. It also contains the highest naturally occurring levels of Vitamin A and Beta Carotene in any fruit, which are both great ingredients to gently exfoliate and help to reduce the signs of aging. In addition, pumpkin also contains Vitamin C, which is an awesome antioxidant to help fight free radical damage in the skin due to sun exposure or lifestyle. Pumpkin also boasts natural enzymes and AHAs to exfoliate the skin and remove dead surface skin cells. It has a small molecular size as well, which helps to penetrate deeper in the skin to see results. 

Pumpkin can be a little intense for some people, especially those with sensitive skin. But for those with more resilient skin who really want to see change in their skin, pumpkin can be an ideal ingredient to incorporate into their home care and professional treatments. I offer both a pumpkin enzyme and a pumpkin peel that I incorporate into our professional treatments and have seen amazing results with my clients and with my own skin perfectly. Book an appointment today to see if pumpkin would be an ingredient that would work for you! 

Foundation Review: NARS Sheer Glow Foundation

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I recently decided to switch foundations as I was previously using Urban Decay's Naked Skin foundation, which I loved the finish of but I felt it was breaking me out. After taking a look at the ingredient list, I realized there were some ingredients in there that could be problematic for my acne-prone skin. So after doing some research on foundations that are safe for acneic skin I bought two contenders from NARS, the All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation and the Sheer Glow Foundation, both in the shade Barcelona. I will do a full review of the All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation in the future, but today I'll just talk about the Sheer Glow. I've definitely found my new daily go-to foundation in this one. First of all, the color match is great for me. I've got a lot of yellow in my skin tone and it's often difficult to find a foundation that actually has the amount of yellow I need in it. This one is a great match and has the right undertone for me. It feels really light on the skin and has a sheer to medium coverage level. I love this for every day because it doesn't feel or look super heavy but helps to even out my skin tone. I've now been wearing it for a few weeks and haven't noticed any breakouts after wearing makeup which I love as well. The feel of wearing this foundation is very similar to not wearing anything at all, which I love, and it wears well and is still going strong after a long day. I definitely recommend this foundation for someone who wants a bit of coverage but isn't looking for a full coverage foundation. I like to use a lighter coverage foundation like this one and pair it with a colored powder to build up the coverage without looking too thick or cakey. This also helps since I have oily skin to mattify my foundation and help to control oil at least for a bit (although I do usually end up having to touch up with powder throughout the day since I do get pretty oily). If I do notice any areas of discoloration that are still coming through after the foundation, I'll just go over those areas lightly with some concealer to get the coverage I want without having to go for a full coverage foundation. 

 No makeup

Without Makeup

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With Foundation Only

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Final Look With Powder, Concealer, Blush, etc.

How long does it take before you see results from new skin care?

I TOTALLY get it. We live in a world of instant gratification, so we're trained to expect immediate results from everything we do. I know you get super excited when you go home with a new skin care product, and I know that oftentimes you're a little disappointed when this new cleanser that was supposed to change your entire life doesn't show you a noticeable difference in your skin after your first use. But with skin, we've got to be patient. Those of you who are serial switchers are never letting any of these products actually have a chance to work for your skin. Sticking with a routine for even a week and not seeing results isn't enough. So what is? 

It takes an average of 28 days for your skin to go through its natural desquamation process. 

So what does that mean? It takes time for your skin care to work. You may see some results sooner than that, and that's awesome! Particularly with exfoliating products we tend to see results quicker as they're doing the job of revealing newer skin cells. But if you're looking to work on hyperpigmentation, for example, you're going to need to be patient. Once a cell has too much pigment, there's nothing we can do about it. What we need to do is affect the melanocyte (the cell that creates pigment in the skin and deposits it into your skin cells) to stop overproducing melanin, our skin's pigment. This means that it's going to take time for those overpigmented cells to naturally move through their cell life and get exfoliated off. 

Sometimes, you'll even see things get worse before they get better. We see this a lot with acne. It can take up to 90 days for an acne lesion to form, so there may have been lesions under the skin for a while before starting a new product that that product helps to get out of the skin. This isn't a bad thing, it's actually a good thing, but some people will see a breakout with starting a new product and assume the product is breaking them out. 

So be patient with new skin care, and give it a chance. Obviously, if you're breaking out really bad or having an allergic reaction, stop use. Always check with your doctor or esthetician about any potential reactions to ensure that it's a normal reaction and nothing to be concerned about. 

Chicago Cubs Styled Shoot

It's been a while! Thanks for your patience in what's been a crazy busy summer of weddings, which has meant my blog has gone a bit neglected recently. But I'm back with a vengeance and today I'm sharing a styled shoot that I participated in last year that celebrated the Chicago Cubs' historic World Series win, which was also featured in Wedding Day. My friend Carla of Forever Incredible Photography is a big Cubs fan and contacted me wondering if I'd be interested in working with her on a styled shoot to celebrate their win. I don't think I could have told her yes any quicker! I thought it was such a fun idea and a cool way to commemorate the Cubs' win. Check out some of the photos below! 

Huge thanks to all of the vendors involved that helped make this dream a reality! 

Photographer & Co-Planning: Carla Stehman | Forever Incredible Photography |773.453.5381 |@4everincredible

Wedding Planner: Carrie Pedregosa | Orchid Weddings & Events | 815.715.0049@orchidweddingsandevents

Venue:  Shapiro Ballroom | 312.842.4798| @theshapiroballroom

Florals/Pipe & Drape: Jessica Petty Smith |Anemone Creative |872.222.7208 @anemonechicago

Dress: Victoria Sdoukos | Victoria Sdoukos Couture | 312.226.9880 | @victoriasdoukos

Suit: Ge Wang | ESQ Clothing | 312.631.3278 | @esqclothing

Invitations:  Mindy Sabo-Cox | Your Happily Ever After |@shopyourhappilyeverafter

Hand Lettering: Delaina Doshi | DelainaJDesigns |  @delaina_j

Macarons: Bria Helgerson |Sugar Fixe | @sugarfixe

Cupcakes: Sweet N’ Dainty Cupcakery |@sweet_n_dainty_cupcakery

Makeup & Hair: Meghana Prasad | Meghana Prasad | 763.486.7531 @meghana_rose

Female Model: Willow Star |Willow Star Model |@willowstar26

Male Model: Chris Maher |Chris Maher |@chrisfredmah

Linen Rentals: Classic Party Rentals | @classicparty

Jewelry (Earrings/Bracelet/Necklace): LoveEmilyD | @loveemilyd

Jewelry (Honeymoon Ring): MetalHeartbyRenee | Renee

Jewelry (Cufflinks/Bouquet Charm): BallHawkNet | Dave Davison 

Signage + Glassware: Double Dee Designs 

 

Share this with your friends who are Cubs fans. Do we have any fans that are dedicated enough to the team to incorporate some of these details into their wedding? 

The One Product You Should Never Leave The House Without

I bet you thought I was going to give you some miracle product that was going to get rid of your wrinkles and clear your acne and magically give you a better life all around. Well, not exactly. BUT, I am going to talk today about the single most important step in your skin care routine and the best all-around anti-aging product you can be using on your skin. 

That product is SPF. Now, a lot of you might be wondering why I'm calling SPF the single best anti-aging product you can be using. Well, it's just that. ANTI aging. The #1 cause of the signs we associate with aging is damage from the sun's rays. There are two types of rays that are emitted by the sun that make it down to the surface our delicate skin, UVA and UVB. The distinction between the two is how they affect your skin. UVA rays can be thought of as the "aging" rays. These rays from the sun have a longer wavelength so they penetrate deeper into the skin. These rays have lasting effects that may not be seen until years later. Much of the sun damage we see appear later in life as wrinkling and dark spots can be traced back to our younger years. This is why I am adamant with all of my clients (but especially the younger ones) that they MUST be diligent about sunscreen usage. UVA radiation is up to 95% of the radiation that actually reaches the surface of the earth, as these rays are not absorbed by the ozone layer. They are also able to penetrate through glass, so even if you're not outside if you're near a window you can still be getting skin damage from these rays. There is a famous photo of a trucker who spent many years with one side of his face (the side nearest the window) getting sun and the other side staying protected in the shade. And guess what, the result is dramatic. 

You can still see signs of aging on the other side but the proof is in the pudding. Protecting your skin from UVA rays will help slow the signs of aging dramatically. So before I've even talked about the other type of rays have I convinced you to wear your SPF?

The other type of ray is UVB rays. UVB rays can be thought of as the "burning" rays. These are the ones everyone seems to be concerned about, and the reason why most people wear sunscreen when going to the beach. Your sun burns are caused by UVB rays. Most sunscreen protects against these rays as they a visible and painful result. UVB rays have a medium wavelength, are absorbed by the ozone layer and don't penetrate very deeply into the skin, hence the surface damage of a sun burn. This can still cause lasting damage, and once the skin is burnt we've already done damage so we definitely want to protect against this as well. 

So WHAT can we do? Wear SPF! Everyday. Rain? Sunscreen. Blazing hot sun? Sunscreen. Four inches of snow on the ground.....sunscreen! Even though we may have passed 18 we can help our skin by not accelerating the aging process with the sun and avoid more serious damage like skin cancer.  Even if you've got darker skin like I do and don't necessarily burn, that does not mean that you're not susceptible to UVA rays and the potential of skin cancer. Make sure your sunscreen is at least SPF 30 as this will protect your from 97% of the the suns damaging rays (spf 15 protects from 93%, spf 50 protects from 98%) and it should also be Broad Spectrum.  Broad Spectrum means that it will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays. If you're already seeing the signs of sun damage make an appointment and we can do a series of treatments to help lessen the visible damage the sun has done to your skin. 

Sheer Protection SPF 30
24.00
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How To Erase Dark Circles

We all have them, and we all hate them. The dreaded dark circles. Whether they're genetic, like mine, or they're due to lack of sleep, most people deal with these pesky dark circles. And most of you have probably noticed that when you put concealer directly over the circles they don't seem to completely cover and they tend to turn ashy and grey. 

That's because we need to correct the color of the circle to properly cover them. Since concealer is just covering it up and not correcting the color, some of that color peeks through and gives you that ashy grey look. So how do I cover my dark circles? Follow along below for the step by step guide on how to erase your dark circles. 

Before: 

Here is what my dark circles look like before anything is applied to them. 

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Step 1: 

Apply a corrector to your dark circles. My personal favorite is the Kett Fixx Creme Correctors. They have them in a variety of intensities to match your skin tone as well as the intensity of the discoloration under your eye. As a general rule, you should match the level of your skin (how light or dark it is) unless you have extreme discoloration. You may then need to go with a corrector darker than your skin tone to properly cancel out the discoloration under your eyes. 

Step 2: 

Blend the edges of the corrector so there are no harsh lines. 

Step 3: 

Apply a concealer over top of the corrector to neutralize the slight yellow/orange cast that the corrector gives. I personally use the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind concealer. Blend out any edges of this. 

Step 4:

Set the concealer with powder. You can use a translucent powder or a colored powder that matches your skin tone. 

So there you go! Those are my everyday steps to erase my dark circles. Feel free to comment if you have any questions or comments! 

The One Ingredient Everyone Should Include In Their Skin Care Routine

You've probably heard of hyaluronic acid---it seems to be in all the hot skin care. But what exactly is hyaluronic acid? Well, hyaluronic acid is a glycosaminoglycan, which is a carbohydrate that helps to maintain and support collagen and elastin. It is a key ingredient in both fighting the signs of aging and preventing them in the first place. What is so remarkable about this little molecule is that one gram of hyaluronic acid can hold up to six liters of water! It's a powerful hydrator, and hydration is the key to proper skin health. Hyaluronic acid is a molecule that is already present in your body, and applying it topically has been proven to reduce wrinkles and hydrate skin. 

But hyaluronic acid isn't just good for anti-aging, it is also good for acne sufferers. When the skin is dehydrated and its barrier is stripped, the p. acne bacteria that usually live on the skin's surface move into the pores looking for the oil that they use as food. That is when we get inflamed acne, so keeping the skin properly hydrated will reduce the breakouts. 

In addition to the hydrating properties, new research suggests that high levels of hyaluronic acid are also linked to a higher level of protection from free radical damage, another cause of aging. 

You may also see it as "sodium hyaluronate" on an ingredients label. This is a salt derived from hyaluronic acid which has the added advantage of absorbing into the skin easier. 

So where can you find hyaluronic acid? It is featured in both the Cucumber Toner and the Ageless Hydrating Serum. Everyone can benefit from having both of these amazing products in their skin care routine. 

Ageless Skin Hydrating Serum
30.00

For all skin types.  This serum can be used to firm and plump fine lines. Hyaluronic attracts and binds moisture around cells for extra hydration.

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Cucumber Hydration Toner
20.00

For all skin types.  This toner contains heavy water, hyaluronic acid, and cucumber.  Voted #1 Face Mist of 2013 by Les Nouvelles Esthetique & Spa!

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Red Flags To Look For When Hiring A Makeup Artist

After a recent client experience where I was called in a panic because a bride's makeup artist had no showed on her wedding day (which thankfully I was able to go help with), I knew this blog post needed to be written. I hear too many horror stories of clients getting burned by unprofessional makeup artists and wanted to warn people of a few red flags to look out for when you're hiring a makeup artist to ensure you're going to have the best possible experience. 

Red Flag #1: No experience or no reviews

Look out for artists who can't prove that they have a track record of successful weddings. Now, I'm not saying to not give newer artists a chance but even newer artists should have ways to prove to you that they are reliable, like experience working under or for another artist or personal recommendations from friends. Look out for reviews on independent review sites like WeddingWire, The Knot, Yelp, or Google. If you see anything concerning, take that into consideration. If you like the artist otherwise, maybe bring it up with them. They could have an explanation for the reviews. None of these are hard and fast rules, as there can always be someone who has it out for an artist for no reason, but it's good to take these things into consideration before hiring an artist. 

Red Flag #2: No contracts or retainers

Look out for an artist that doesn't ask you to sign a contract or pay a retainer. These things are there to protect you just as much as they protect the artist. A contract gives you a legal footing to stand on in case something were to happen, you have the ability to show the agreement in court to prove that the artist did not fulfill your obligation. An artist having a thorough contract gives you the peace of mind to know that they are not going to flake out on you or if an emergency arises they will do their best to help you find a replacement artist. The same goes for a retainer. Looking for these signs of a legitimate business can help to ensure you're not hiring someone who will flake out on you. 

Red Flag #3: Poor communication

If you're constantly having trouble getting to talk to your artist or routinely waiting days or weeks to hear back from them via phone or email, this is a big red flag. Your artist should be willing to communicate with you and answer any questions you have. They should be on top of scheduling and you shouldn't have to be constantly asking them about the same things over and over. This should be something you can tell from the beginning of communication with an artist and should be able to avoid someone who isn't committed to you. 

Red Flag #4: Too much of a bargain

I get it, we all like a deal. But if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Someone who charges incredibly low prices probably is not running a legitimate business, and this should make you nervous when booking them. If they're not serious about their business, they potentially will be flaky, won't be carrying liability insurance, or just won't show up at all. Your wedding is not a place you should want to take chances on a bargain, you should ensure you hire a professional who knows what they're doing and will be reliable. 

Red Flag #5: Asking you to bring your own makeup

This is another indication of someone who is not running a real business. If you are a makeup artist, you should have a kit full of makeup for every skin type, shade, and anything your clients may request. The only time a legitimate artist would ask you to bring your own makeup is if you have severe allergies and they don't have the time to patch test their products on you, but otherwise your makeup artist should be providing everything for you. 

Red Flag #6: Poor sanitation

This may not be a red flag for someone who won't show for you, but this should be a BIG red flag for you. If an artist is using dirty tools or their kit looks nasty, RUN far away. Many people don't realize how dangerous a makeup application can potentially be, but makeup artists who don't practice proper sanitation can spread eye infections, herpes simplex, and many other undesirable illnesses. You definitely don't want to take chances with your health or your eyesight, so make sure the artist you hire for your wedding practices proper sanitation. 

 

Is Alcohol In Skin Care Bad?

This is a question I get a lot from those of my clients who like to take a look at the ingredients label of the products they use. They sometimes get tripped up because they'll see something with alcohol in the name and assume it's bad for their skin. But not all alcohols are created equal. There are different types of alcohols and they have very different effects on your skin. 

There are two main types of alcohols we'll be talking about--simple alcohols and fatty alcohols. Simple alcohols are ingredients like ethanol, denatured alcohol, ethyl alcohol, methanol, benzyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, and SD alcohol. These can be used as a solvent, astringent, to enhance absorption (of both good and bad ingredients), as a preservative, or to buffer the pH of a product. These alcohols are extremely harsh on the skin, and can disrupt the skin's natural barrier function, which is crucial to having healthy skin. You see these alcohols a ton in drug store products, particularly in drug store astringents and toners, which are often very high in alcohol. 

The good alcohols are the fatty alcohols. These are formed when fats and oils are chemically reduced. They can be used as an emollient to help product spread and to help prevent water loss in the skin and can also be used to help cleanse the skin. For most people, these alcohols will be perfectly fine for their skin and will help to increase the health and hydration of their skin. There are some studies that on very sensitive people these can still be an irritant, but for anyone who is sensitive we always recommend they patch test products before they start using them. 

The main fatty alcohols we see in skin care are cetyl alcohol, which is derived from coconut oil and can be used as a stabilizer and emollient; stearyl alochol, which is also derived from coconut oil and can be used as an emollient and emulsifier; and cetearyl alcohol, which is an emulsifying wax that can help to thin and soften very thick formulas. 

Hopefully this information about alcohol in skin care will help you to be a better label reader and understand the ingredients that you are putting on your skin better! 

How To Choose Your Wedding Day Makeup Look

The makeup you choose for your wedding day is important, it's going to be there on the day of as well as in every photo of the event. I have a lot of brides that stress out about choosing their look for the big day, but it isn't as difficult as it seems! Here are some of my tips for choosing a wedding day bridal look you'll love now and for years to come. 

 

Don't go too trendy. 

Trends can be fun, but ideally you want to look back in 20 years and not have a "What was I thinking?" moment. Try to avoid super trendy looks. This means that chunky glitter or neon is probably not the best look for your wedding day. But it also means that the super "Instagram" looks of heavy, full coverage foundation and harsh lines are probably also not the best idea for your wedding day look. 

 

Stick with what you're used to. 

If you're someone who never wears makeup, a full face is probably not going to be your style. Ditto for a girl who likes to be done up all the time, a super natural look probably won't be your thing. I always recommend being a little more "done up" than usual for your wedding day, but don't take it as an opportunity to try a completely new style that you're not sure you're comfortable with. You want to feel like a really beautiful version of yourself, not a complete stranger. 

 

Don't skip the trial. 

Your trial is the time for you and your makeup artist to determine the exact look you want for your wedding day. I have a Pinterest board that I send to my brides that has a ton of inspiration images to get them started thinking about their look. This is a great place to start looking for inspiration for your bridal look. Once at the trial, this will give you an opportunity to see the makeup on yourself and determine what you are comfortable with. 

 

Skin is always in. 

Having beautiful, glowing skin is never out of style. Focusing on the skin and keeping your makeup fresh faced and natural is my preferred style of makeup for your wedding. You will look gorgeous, fresh, and glowy and won't have to worry about looking at your photos years down the line and seeing something crazy that you completely regret. 

Don't Believe The Hype! Stay Away From Those Black Masks You're Seeing On Social Media

We've probably all seen these black masks all over our Facebook and Instagram timelines. And we've all probably gotten a good chuckle out of the videos of people in agony trying to peel them off. But yet somehow I'm also still seeing tons of people using them.

Just FYI---your skin care shouldn't make you cry! These masks are basically a Biore pore strip for your entire face. And yes, they may pull some debris out of your pores, but the majority of what they're pulling out are natural sebaceous filaments that aren't doing any harm to your skin. Not to mention these masks are also peeling off the top layer of your skin as well as all of the vellus hair on your face. 

I totally get it---the satisfaction of seeing all that gunk is fun (my fascination with getting gunk out of people's faces is part of why I love being an esthetician), but these masks are ultimately doing more harm than good to your skin, and it's just not worth it. 

Your skin might feel baby smooth after you do one of these masks, but that's because you've just ripped off the top layer of skin and all of the hair on your face, revealing brand new skin to be exposed to the elements. Your skin's natural defense system is important, and these masks completely strip your skin of its defenses. 

So what can you do? Charcoal can be good for cleaning your pores, but use a professional quality mask instead. I love the charcoal mask by the line that I use in my practice, Skin Script. It's gentle on the skin and you wash it off with a wash cloth to avoid any damage to the skin. 

How To Pick The Right Cleanser

Picking the right cleanser is tough. You want to pick a cleanser that will complement your skin type and not over dry your skin. Many over the counter products are way too harsh for most people's skin and can compromise the delicate protection system your skin uses to stay healthy. Your skin should not feel dry and tight after cleansing, this is a sign that your cleanser is too harsh and is stripping your skin. This is one case when "squeaky clean" is NOT a good thing!  So how DO you pick the right cleanser? Seeing an esthetician is your best choice, as they can look at your skin and choose the products that will best complement your skin. You can also do research into the ingredients of the products that you put on your skin. Even if you don't know an ingredient, Google is your best friend! Just search for the ingredient and you can often find information about it and whether or not it is harmful to the skin. Below are a few of my favorite cleansers: 

Pomegranate Antioxidant Cleanser
26.50
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The Pomegranate Antioxidant Cleanser is awesome for dry skin. It is a creamy cleanser, so it doesn't foam up, but does a great job at cleansing the skin while moisturizing the skin and not stripping your skin's natural barrier. This is also a great makeup remover, so you don't need to use two steps to take off your makeup! 

Green Tea Citrus Antioxidant Cleanser
26.50
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The Green Tea Citrus Cleanser is great for all skin types, particularly normal to oily. This one will foam up, and will help to cleanse and soothe the skin. 

Raspberry Refining Cleanser
26.50
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The Raspberry Refining Cleanser is awesome for those battling acne! It contains both glycolic acid which helps to break the bonds between dead skin cells and allow them to slough off, opening up impactions, as well as salicylic acid which helps to normalize oil production and get rid of excess oil. It also contains tea tree oil which is naturally antibacterial to fight acne. 

If you're still not sure or are in need of more skin care help, I always offer free consultations and product recommendations to help people get their skin care on track! Give me a call at 763-486-7531 to schedule your appointment. 

What To Look For In A Wedding Makeup Artist

Finding the right artist for you can be tough. Here are some tips on what to look for when you are booking your makeup artist for your wedding. 

  1. Find an artist who specializes in bridal makeup. There are tons of people out there who love makeup as a hobby, but only someone who does this as their job knows the intricacies of the art. Not only do they understand how to avoid any makeup malfunctions, but they also are intimately familiar with how a wedding day goes, and know how to schedule and plan to ensure it goes off without a hitch. 
  2. Don't wait until the last minute to book. Seasoned pros can book up months in advance, so do your research early and once you have settled on the artist for you, book them! This will ensure that your date doesn't get booked by another bride and have you left high and dry.
  3. Find an artist who is running a real business. An artist that does this as a hobby may love it, but they may be skimping in other ways. They may be slower to respond to emails, or they may be flaky. You don't want to be left with an emergency on the wedding day and nobody to fix it. Ensure that you sign a contract with your artist, this will protect both you and her. Ensure she runs a real business, this means having a license and paying her taxes. Finding someone who follows the rules will ensure that you are going to get the best, and most professional, experience possible.
  4. Find someone who you like. Obviously, you want to love their work, but they're going to be spending the morning of your wedding with you and you want to make sure that's a pleasant experience. Pick an artist that you feel comfortable around, as they will be the one setting the tone for your wedding day.
  5. Make sure you know your budget, but also know what bridal makeup costs in your area. It is totally fine to be on a budget and to look for vendors that fit into that. But don't expect vendors to change their pricing for you. Most wedding vendors do not negotiate on pricing as they have set it at a rate that is both fair to you and ensures that they are getting properly compensated for their time, talent, and experience.
  6. Find someone who listens to you. You know yourself and your comfort level best, so your artist should listen to you about the style of makeup you want and the amount you feel comfortable with. Don't let yourself get pushed into something you're not comfortable with, you are the client and you should be getting what you want. Your makeup artist may have suggestions for photography or what might look better on you, which are great to take into consideration as they are a professional, but ultimately you should be the one choosing your final look.
  7. Look for a makeup artist who practices good sanitation. Brushes should not be re-used from client to client unless they are being cleaned first. Watch for someone who sanitizes their hands and does not work directly out of any cream products. The best practice is for your artist to use a palette and spatula to get the exact amount of product they need without contaminating the tube. This is a HUGE deal, a makeup artist can potentially pass an infection from client to client so you need to make sure your artist is taking proper precautions to prevent this.
  8. Look at an artist's online reviews. These are a great way to get an idea of what past brides loved about their artist (or if there are any red flags to be aware of). Finding an artist with good reviews online will ensure you are getting the highest quality experience possible. 

Bridal Makeup Do's and Don'ts

Planning for your wedding can be super overwhelming, so I wanted to put together some quick do's and don'ts to follow for your bridal makeup. 

Do: 

  • Go with a classic style for your look. Going for something too trendy can leave you 10 years down the line looking at your photos and wondering "what was I thinking?"
  • Book a trial with your artist. This is the time for you and your artist to get to know one another and determine the look for your wedding day. This can either be done prior to booking, or, if you know which artist you'd like to book, is best done about a month before the wedding. 
  • Do book early. In demand bridal artists can book up months in advance, so don't hesitate to secure your date once you have determined the artist you would like to work with. 
  • Wear false lashes. Even if you're not used to them there are a variety of lashes from natural to dramatic and they make a huge difference in photographs! 

Don't: 

  • Book with just anyone. Your makeup will affect how you look on the day of as well as in pictures, so you want to be sure you're booking someone who knows what they're doing. You may have a friend who really likes makeup but to ensure that you are going to look your best and avoid any makeup mishaps, booking a makeup artist who specializes in bridal (this is not a hobby for them, this is their job) will ensure that you look your best on your wedding day. 
  • Book an artist without a contract. The contract is there to protect both of you, and ensures you're working with a professional. 
  • Get a wax or invasive facial the week of your wedding. To avoid any potential skin reactions, keep it simple the week of the wedding. 
  • Be afraid of more makeup than you're used to. You are having pictures taken with high-end cameras that can pick up any tiny imperfection. You'll need to be wearing a little more makeup than you would every day to ensure that you look flawless in photos.