Before each client I have a routine for prepping my makeup, brushes and work area. An important part of the routine is cleaning my brushes. Recently, I posted about the importance of investing in good quality brushes and how taking are of them will extend their life to last decades. Each brush has a specific job to do and makeup built up over time prevents the brush from being able to do it’s job. A reader shared with me how she read my post and decided to cleaned her brushes for the first time in a long time and she felt as if she had just bought a brand new set of brushes!
Cleaning my brushes.
You won’t believe how washing your brushes will improve the quality of your makeup application. I keep a bottle of brush cleaner and a plastic cup in my makeup cabinet so I can clean my brushes easily. I use a brush cleaner from MAC. It is similar to a simple shampoo or a dish soap which can be substituted if you would like. Use a very small amount, about the size of a pea and dilute it in about a cup or 2 of warm water. I swish the brushes around gently, being careful not to break the bristles. If they are heavily soiled with makeup you can first wipe the brush onto a dark washcloth or a disposable cloth. I have a few dark brown wash clothes to use with my makeup so I never see a stain. Set aside brushes on a towel for rinsing later.
Some brushes may need to be cleaned a few times to remove dark makeup. It can be necessary to use many cups of this solution because brushes that are very dirty will muddy the water quickly. After all are clean I then swish each brush in the same cup this time filled with clean cool water. Larger brushes can be shaken out a bit into the sink to remove excess water, then gently towel dried. Each brush is gently dried with a towel, reshaping the bristles.
Drying my brushes.
I set out the damp brushes on their sides, slightly tilted brush end down. This is important because you do not want water running down into the brush itself. This will cause the brush to come loose and the bristles and brush head may detach from the handle. Let the brushes dry on their sides for a few hours or over night. Then enjoy your clean, rejuvenated brushes! -Meredith
This past week I had the pleasure to do makeup for 2 beautiful rising high school seniors, Marisa and Maddy. Basically I am their personal stylist – just like stars have before they walk the red carpet
makeup and hair for Maddy.
I have the privilege of working with a few local Fairfax and Loudoun County photographers and their clients. The clients typically come to me before they have their photo session for makeup, hair styling, and styling of their outfits they will be wearing for the session. It’s traditional for high school students, both girls and guys, to have a professional photographer do a portrait session just before their senior year.
makeup for Marisa.
Today, the session with Marisa started with styling her wardrobe. We chose the outfits that will work best in front of a camera. We chose the accessories that will best highlight each outfit. Today’s shoot was with Angela Goodhart of Goodhart Photography. She has amazing backdrops that work with a myriad of colors and styles of clothing, and personalities!
adding accessories to the adorable dresses.
Then we moved onto makeup. My goal is to have my client go to her photography session feeling beautiful and confident. I like to prepare each girl for what to expect during the shoot. The more they know then the quicker they can become comfortable in front of the camera and the more fun they will have!
Any occasion for a professional is a perfect occasion for me to style you! I recently did hair and makeup for a beautiful client who was doing a special photo book for her husband-to-be as a wedding gift. I am also available to stay with your during the shoot and style each shot to make sure your hair, makeup, and wardrobes look amazing! Schedule me right after you schedule your shoot with your photographer to ensure I am available for your shoot date.
Three generations together; my mom, my daughter and me. This photo reminds me of some of the advice my mom has given me throughout my life. Lately I have been very grateful for her advice regarding caring for my neck. Yes, my neck. Specifically to moisturize my neck. Since I was a teenager I have always included my neck and décolleté (upper chest area), as part of my routine. Now that I have been over 29 for a few years, ahem, I am so glad that I did.
She always told me it is important to take care for your skin at as young an age as possible. We all now know to use face creams and makeup with SPF to prevent sun damage. But many of us forget our neck, décolleté, and ear lobes. They all are subject to freckling and sun damage. Applying sunscreen and facial products with SPF to these areas will slow the aging process keeping you looking younger longer. There are ways to undo some sun damage, like laser facials, which I will blog about soon.
Another reason to check your neck is to make sure your face and neck are the same color. When you apply your makeup consider applying bronzer to your neck. Especially as we are starting to be outside more, our faces may get more sun than our neck and décolleté. Make sure you invest in a bronzer without shimmer to use on these areas. I recommend a bronzer with no shimmer because using it on these areas is to even out your overall color, not to add shimmer. Bronzers with shimmer are great but for the purpose of adding sparkle and color when you want to shine! -Meredith
Photo courtesy of Angela Goodhart, Goodhart Photography.
No matter what I do, I inevitably have a few clumpy, uncooperative lashes. I have found that using the traditional eyelash combs don’t help much. And I have poked my eyes numerous times with pointy objects as I try to separate them. Well I have the solution – my foolproof, favorite fix for lashes is dental brush picks!
They are lifesavers! These toothpicks are made of a soft, flexible plastic. One end has a brush and the other end is like a toothpick. They can be found at any drugstore. Give them a try and let me know what you think! -Meredith
My brushes at a shoot with Goodhart Photography.
Ever wonder how makeup artists make your makeup look so good? The answer is: brushes. Well, and talent, but seriously, brushes make the difference! I learned this many years ago while I was working at Nordstrom. I was selling designer clothing and I needed a designer look for my makeup too. My trés chic manager sent me to the MAC counter to have my face done and a favorite makeup artist of mine explained why I should invest in great brushes.
When I was younger I modeled and danced my way around the DC beltway. I would use the applicators that came with the cosmetics to put on my stage makeup. If you have these in your makeup collection toss them out! They are not doing us any favors! Applicators don’t allow you the control and finesse that you get with a brush. I did have some cheap brushes as well but once I tried the professional quality brushes I couldn’t go back.
Each brush accomplishes a specific task. A few may be multi-taskers, but for the most part, the brush will do it’s job for you, making you look like a pro! I recommend investing in a few brushes: a liner brush, one for shadow in the crease of your lid, one that covers your lid with shadow, and a blush/powder brush.
I am still using the very same brushes I bought years back at Nordstrom. If you take care of them they will last literally decades. The best way to take care of them is to gently clean them with a brush cleaner, dry them laying on their side so no water runs down into the handle, which could cause the brush to separate from the handle. If you travel with them keep them protected so that the bristles don’t become bent.
Treat yourself to a brush for your next splurge. And have me over sometime -I love coming to a client’s home and helping you clean out and organize your makeup drawer! I will leave you with an overview of how to use what you have creatively and properly, and give you a shopping list of what would make your beauty collection complete. -Meredith
Readers often ask me for advice about home, fashion and beauty. I thought I would share a few of their questions and my answers in case you have the same ones.
doing hair, makeup and styling for a shoot with Goodhart Photography.
What is my favorite mascara? Anything MAC, Diorshow, Lancome Definicils, or CoverGirl LashBlast Fusion.
How do I keep my eyeliner from wearing off during the day? Line your eyes with an eye pencil and then “set” it with a similar or darker shadow. Use a thin, flat, liner brush, with stiff bristles, to draw right over the liner with shadow.
How do I decide where to hang pictures on my wall? Eye level. That being said, eye level for a person that is about 5’10″. I recommend hanging photos or smaller pictures in a cluster. When one small thing is hung by itself it feels out of place, even if it’s a small wall. Honestly, some walls should be left empty. White space is ok! Too many small things being hung everywhere is distracting. Your eyes need a place to rest, white space is that place. Art and pictures look wonderful when grounded to something else, by hanging similar things with it in a cluster or when a big item is hung over a table or couch.
How do I choose the right paint color? Start by choosing swatches of paint that you like. I recommend hanging them on your wall and making notes about how much you like the color during different times of day. For example, I may write directly on the swatch “good in A.M.”. Then at night I will check the swatches again and comment if I like it in the “P.M.”. Then after a few days I will see which I liked the most at different times of day. Colors look very different in different light. You can also paint a small sample onto a piece of poster board. This works great because you can move the board around the room and see how it looks in different exposures of light. Most stores sell samples of paint and Benjamin Moore sells pre-painted poster board of some of it’s most popular boards.
Am I supposed to buy and wear neon colors just because the stores are pushing them on us? No. Trends come and go. Only buy it if it speaks to you. It’s always fun to buy one piece of the current trend to add to your wardrobe. But don’t buy too much. You don’t want to look like a fashion victim! And the trends don’t last so don’t invest too much money in the trend. Save some of your money for the next trend which will be arriving soon!
Do dry shampoos really work? Yes. They come in different formulas. I have used the dry powder form. I sprinkled it onto my scalp and then gently massaged it into my hair. The powder gets absorbed by any oils in your hair and scalp and your hair no longer looks shiny. I have heard the spray formula works well.
Today I had the pleasure of doing a makeup trial for bride-to-be Kristy – what a doll! She is getting married soon so we did a trial look for her to ensure she looks gorgeous as she walks down the aisle. We discussed the look Kristy had in mind for her big day.
FOUNDATION: Make sure your skin is prepped so that your foundation will look flawless. I used a liquid foundation in a shade that was perfect for her skin-tone. I added a bit of powder to set her foundation.
EYES: I applied an eye primer to ensure her eye shadow stays put. Her eyes are amazing so they were so much fun to do. We opted to use a MAC pigment for shimmer on the lid. I used a light burgundy in her crease and black eyeliner, set with a deep plum shadow. We added a few coats of black mascara and few single false eyelashes (not a full strip) to the outer corner of her eyes – for wispy, gorgeous lashes!
LIPS: We lined her lips and filled them in completely with the liner, and popped it with some gloss. Lining the entire lip in a color that is close to your lip color ensures that color will stay on your lips longer than if you use liner only on the edges.
SPARKLE: I approach sparkle in bridal makeup conservatively. It is important that you minimize any reflective makeup so that you look don’t look shiny in your pictures. You may consider taking a few pictures with a flash after your trial to make sure there are no distracting reflections.
Beautiful Melissa! What an honor to be a part of her wedding as her makeup artist and wedding coordinator. This very special day celebrated love, God and friendship.
the beautiful bride.
This bride wanted have natural makeup on her big day. She wanted a soft, beautiful look to go with her simple, beautiful style. Her bridesmaids were in bright pink and each one had her own individual flair. I was privileged to do makeup for some of the bridal party as well.
beautiful bridesmaids. photographer: garrett hubbard.
The weather was amazing, the guests were plenty, and the pink and orange cakepops devoured! God shone down on the couple on that day and blessed everyone in their presence!
the happy couple.
Thank you to Garrett Hubbard for the beautiful pictures. -Meredith
Emma and Chandler
Make Prom even more special by starting with professional makeup for you and all of your friends. The party starts early as we all gather at your house and I do makeup for you and your besties while you all get ready for the big day!
Depending on the number of girls in your group I can offer light hair styling as well. Consider hiring a professional makeup artist for any special event on your calendar!
Photo’s courtesy of Goodhart Photogrpahy.
Last week I was chatting with a friend and I found myself distracted by her eye makeup because it was creasing and seemed to be sliding off of her eyelids and it was only 10 am!
Rebecca and Me.
I introduced her to eye primers. An eye primer is a must for every woman wearing makeup. A primer coats the eyelid in a foundation-like product that locks-in any shadow or liner put on top of it. I highly recommend MAC’s Prep and Prime Eye or the MAC Paint Pots. MAC calls the Prep and Prime Eye “an undercoat to eye makeup”.
I use a primer daily and so do many of my clients because once you use it you can’t imagine life without it. Use it under any makeup you wear to ensure it stays in place for hours. The product sticks and stays in place whether you want a light coating of shadow or an intense pop of pigment. -Meredith
Photo courtesy of Goodhart Photography.