Top Tips for a Natural Makeup Look

When it comes to makeup, most people want to look like themselves with a bit of “pop” - not as if they have on gobs of makeup. Sometimes you may want drama, but on most days, if you’re like most people, you probably want to look pretty natural. Here are some of my top tips for your bringing out the natural you.

Face

If your skin is normal-to-dry or dry: 

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer

Use a sheer moisturizing tint such as Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 to even out skin without looking like you have anything on. I recently did makeup for someone who almost never wears any cosmetics. Because I didn’t want to scare her I used this product, assuring her that she would not look like a “painted lady".  And because she actually liked it, I gave her a tube so she can use it every day for moisturizing benefits, and, more importantly, sun protection. As I keep saying, never leave the house without sunscreen. If you don’t want to use a tint, still use something that has a sunscreen. I am currently moisturizing with LaPrairie Crème Biologie Marine Avancee Jour SPF 20 under my foundation - I always make sure my moisturizer and foundation have sunscreen in case I missed applying somewhere.

If your skin is oily:

Clean and Clear
Clean and Clear

For especially oily skin, try an oil-absorbing powder in place of a foundation. And carry oil-blotting papers with you so you don’t have to keep reapplying – if you continually reapply, the powder might start to cake up and not look natural at all. On shoots I’ve been using Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets – they are very affordable and great for every day too. Just press them right where you need to blot excess oil.

Cheeks

Bare Minerals Warm Radiance
Bare Minerals Warm Radiance

For the natural look image above I used a soft red-ish bronzer. If you’ve read my other articles, I don’t mean to bore you by recommending some of the same things over again – but I do love the tried and true and will only share the things I really like. This is Bare Escentuals Bare Minerals Warm Radiance – the shade is so versatile I use it on almost all skin tones. It’s a loose powder so you have to be careful or it can make a mess - dip the brush in lightly and then tap off excess before application. I believe Bare Escentuals recommends just dipping the brush into the top cap to avoid getting too much product on the brush. It’s a definitely good tip.

Eyes

For a natural softness, use shades that blend into skin and hair tone. This is generally more earthy shades, such as soft beiges, creams and browns. Be sure to blend well.

Eye Shadow

  • A soft beige eye shadow with a touch of shimmer from lash to brow
  • A soft rust shade in the outer corners (a little rust shadow accent complements her natural hair color)

Eye Liner

Clinique Naturally Glossy Mascara
Clinique Naturally Glossy Mascara

I lightly applied brown eyeliner on top lash line. To keep it subtle, always apply right on lash line, not outside or inside of it. If you stay on the lash line it just makes lashes look fuller.

Lashes

Try brown or black/brown mascara on top lashes only. I am still a big fan of Clinique Naturally Glossy Mascara. It never clumps and always looks natural. I am also allergic to most mascaras but I can wear this one!

Brows

Clinique Brow Shaper is super-easy to use as far as brow shaping goes. The shades are subtle and it comes with a stiff brush that helps you shape without looking “drawn on”. Apply lightly and then step away from the mirror to make sure you’re using just enough product to lightly define brows.

Lips

On this model I used a sheer gloss with a bit of lip color. I like the non-sticky lightness of Clinique Almost Lipstick (one of their best-sellers and my favorite is a shade called Black Honey).

The shades listed here work for most skin tones. If you have a deeper skin tone you can use the same shades, just with deeper pigment. For example, instead of brown use a black eye liner and mascara. In addition, use brands that have more pigment-rich colors in general, such as MAC, Stila or NARSViva au naturale!

MODEL IMAGE BY:

Photography, Chris Eckert

Model, Melinda Lennox

Hair, Kristan Serafino

Makeup, Robyn Tamura

On the Red Carpet: Laura Benanti

Laura Turned Back

Who gets to be gorgeous, talented and have a great personality? An old friend of mine used to say you get one or maybe two but not all three – she said the gods just don’t allow it. Which seems fair enough. But I recently had the opportunity to work with Tony Award winning Laura Benanti and I can tell you right now she is as kind as she is beautiful. And winning Tonys doesn’t happen unless you’re exceptionally talented, so guess what - she has all three.

This fall, Laura stars in the new NBC show Go On with Friends' Matthew Perry. 

When she first arrived to NYC, Laura was cast as an understudy for the Broadway role of Maria in The Sound of Music - a show she would go on to star in. From there she went on to many roles and became one of Broadway's brightest stars, picking up awards and accolades all along the way. After learning I was in the presence of Maria I couldn’t help but hum My Favorite Things (really corny of me, I know, but I actually wasn't thinking about it) as I did her makeup - and Laura and hairstylist Kristan Serafino joined right along with me. Then off she went to the red carpet looking glowing and beautiful.

Makeup Tips for Laura's Red Carpet Look Laura wanted more natural makeup so I stuck with warm nude and earth tones and added small touches of brightness to keep it fresh and glowing.

Laura Up Close
Laura Up Close

Moisturize before applying makeup. I used a light moisturizer and Origins GenZing eye cream. Moisturizing helps smooth on foundation so it looks soft and natural. Because her skin is already so smooth and even, I used foundation sparingly and only to create a "palette" for color. To make sure it lasted throughout the night, I set the makeup with a sheer face powder and the under eye concealer powder from Laura Mercier's Undercover Pot.

Highlight eyes with a touch of light shimmer. I used Matisse Elite Star Dust Powder on just the inner corners to draw attention to her eyes. If we were creating a dramatic look I would use shimmer more liberally, but using it just as an accent is perfect to keep it soft and natural.

Warm the face with a bronzer. I used a bronzer in place of a blush on cheeks, around the sides of face and on the forehead area. Again, to keep it natural, it's important to blend any bronzer well.

Add soft color to lips. Laura is wearing coral shoes - I didn't mean to match her lips to them, but now that I'm looking at the images I kind of did! Matching lips and shoes is, of course, in no way important or necessary, but keeping lip color in the warmer tones helps blend the warmer eye and cheek color together.

Hairstyle Laura's hair is elegant, softly relaxed and pretty. If you'd like your hair to look like Laura's, click here for Kristan's Hair Tips.

Look for Laura this Fall,  Tuesdays at 9pm (EST)!

Go On NBC
Go On NBC

Hair by Kristan Serafino, Makeup by Robyn Tamura

Sparkles & Bangles, Pretty in Pictures

These are some of the images we created for Kelly Bruggema's Soo Ihn Kim Jewelry. Kelly is a talented jewelry designer who also photographs her beautiful designs. Or you can say she's a talented photographer who started her own jewelry line. And though it's a fairly young company, her collections have already been seen on celebrities such as Heidi Klum and Zoe Saldana – as well as featured in magazines such as Vogue, InStyle and Harper's Bazaar.

Kelly Jewelry

Hair is by Kyung Min Chon. I love Kyung's story because she really followed her heart to become a hairstylist. She began her university education in Korea as a German Studies major. But once there she realized her true passion was to be in beauty. Being Asian myself I know that any career implying "artist" is not one most Asian parents get that excited about. So she somewhat independently applied to the prestigious Osaka Mode Fashion College, was accepted, and moved to Japan to study hair and makeup. Kyung has since become an accomplished hairstylist and makeup artist with numerous celebrity and corporate clients. She currently works at Warren-Tricomi in NYC.

Amsterdam Two

And myself...well, you already know about me. I just had so much fun working with Kelly and Kyung - and seeing those gorgeous pieces of jewelry too.

Kelly’s designs can be found in boutiques throughout the world and with online retailers ShopBop and The Gilt Groupe (where I will soon be looking for some pieces myself).

On Side

Side Look

 

Going to the Beach Essentials

I recently visited Carmel By-the-Sea, so as you might expect, I went to the sea. The beach is soft white sand surrounded by cypress trees and a sky so blue it’s like a painting. But, in case you didn’t know – as I didn’t – a Carmel summer is colder than a Carmel winter.

As I always say, it’s much easier to remember sun protection when you’re hot and the sun’s beating down on you. So not only did I keep intending to put on sunscreen (but not doing it), I also didn’t think about how water reflects the sun, increasing your chances of being getting sun damage. (As a city girl, I forgot even the obvious, such as how sand sticks in your hair, between your toes, in your shoes, everywhere.) Eventually I did come to my senses and began using my oft-mentioned Neutrogena sunscreen. Then it occurred to me that they must make a gentler baby formula I should get for Lucy. Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Faces is so ultra-gentle that not only did I use it on Lucy but on my own face every day at the beach.

So if you’re like me and don’t go to the beach often, here’s a checklist to get you started:

Beach Essentials

  • Sunscreen, of course – Remember to reapply if you go in the water.
  • A Sun Hat and UV Protective clothing - In the picture above, Lucy is in her cousin's UV clothes...and although everyone walking by told me what a "cute little boy" I have, she was protected!
  • UV protection sunglasses
  • Lots of water to stay hydrated.
  • Several towels, even if you don’t go in the water. For example, I had a wet dog come by and shake all his sandy wet fur on me (twice).
  • Rubber flip-flops, so sand is easy to rinse off. If you must remain chic at the beach, DVF and Tory Burch both make rubber flip-flops. Or just get those inexpensive ones from the drugstores they have anywhere there is a beach. One day I wore my leather slip-ons because I thought I’d just slip them off when I got to the beach. Now I’m wondering if I will ever get sand out of them.

If you’re a beach-goer you might be laughing at my naiveté, but this city dweller would have liked to have this list so maybe there’s another one like me who will too.

The Present & Future You

I’ve been talking to friends about self-perception. If you’ve read earlier things I've written, you know I had a baby. And it wasn’t yesterday. It was 2 years ago, and, at this point, I'm feeling like the "you just had a baby" excuse is no longer such a good one. My body has changed - but I’ve just been waiting to get back to “normal". In my neighborhood, there's a lot of women pushing strollers looking as if they never had a baby and I always thought that would also be me. But now I'm starting to wonder if I need to accept a new normal and make peace with it. Maybe. I am actually going to try a little more before giving up my old clothes. And that's positive. The less positive part is that self-acceptance is just not that easy.

When I told a friend this, she said, “You know, when I was skinny I didn’t even think about it. I thought it was normal and I just found other things wrong with me.” I know so many women – smart, beautiful, interesting women – who talk about what they wish they had or didn’t have and what they’d like to change about themselves. I even hear it from models and actresses and women everyone would describe as nothing less than beautiful.

In the best of worlds we just wouldn't care – but we all know there is a certain standard of what's considered beautiful (and not). Still, it doesn’t mean we should let it define who we are or make us unable to love what we have. I think that sometimes when we're so busy looking at what we don't like we don't even realize what we do.

I mentioned this to another friend and she made me laugh because she said, “You know what? Sometimes I look at pictures and think about how bad I look. And then I realize that in 10 years I’ll look back and think I looked awesome!” This, I think, is amazing - because as we go through life it all becomes relative. And if the future you is going to look back and see how great you look and are, why not let the present you see it too?

 

Looking Like an Idol

So it’s down to the finale. Maybe by the time you read this it will be over but it’s not about the winner, is it? It’s about who’s in it. I watched American Idol last night (of course) and because there were only two women featured, I think I can do this (as opposed to my last American Idol post when there were too many people to keep track of). Jennifer Lopez

I am pretty sure Jennifer Lopez’s makeup artist was off for the night. This was not the same makeup artist. I don’t like to be hypercritical of other artists’ work because I know how hard it can be, how much lightning can affect makeup, how the person wearing it affects the makeup, how brutal HD can be, and so on. And when you’re famous, everyone is too often looking at you and criticizing you, which is awful. Plus I love Jennifer Lopez. But since her makeup is usually flawless I have to say that it just didn't meet its usual high standard.

JLo almost always wears concealer under and around her eye area that brightens and draws attention to her eyes. This time it was too much - either too light or too thick and you could see the line between where her concealer started and stopped. It looked like she had a two-toned mask on, her nose looked uneven and she was shiny. Of course she is still gorgeous, but I’m talking about the makeup and what we can learn from it.

Don’t

Unless you’re going for a specific look that requires it, don’t let makeup lines show on your face. That always says that you’re wearing makeup, not just looking glow-y and smooth. Make sure that everything is blended, blended, blended.

Do

If you are on camera – particularly if you have a tan or darker skin tone - wear powder. Even if your skin is not oily, the flash or bright lighting can make your skin look shiny.

Jessica Sanchez

Jessica Sanchez looked good, especially during the first song. Everything was just right – the dress was glamorous without looking too sexy for her age, the hair and makeup was soft and matched the dress. Throughout the season, Jessica’s makeup sometimes looked a little drag queeny. Part of it is that she already has naturally strong brows so when you add makeup it can quickly look like too much. But last night her eye shadow was soft with a touch of shimmer, she had lots of lashes, soft cheeks and lips with a little glossy light color. And the lips weren’t too defined so it looked good without being distracting.

However, by the 3rd song Jessica had too much blush on. This is what I’m talking about – let me be clear that she does not/did not look like a drag queen - but you venture into drag queen territory when you wear too much makeup all over.

Don’t

Wear too much too much on all features. If you want to wear more makeup, concentrate on one feature, i.e., smoky eyes with lighter lips, dark lips with more nude eyes. This ensures you look sexy and glam without it being too much.

Do

Try out a pinky nude lip! For the first song she wore a pinky brown lipstick with a beige/nude gloss on top. Not everyone can wear a completely matte-nude shade like you see on models in a magazine – but most people look good with the shade Jessica wore.

Here’s how:

  1. Find a pink-brown or pink lip pencil to line and fill in lips for a matte base (the color will stay on longer with a matte base).
  2. Follow with a pinkish brown or brownish pink lipstick.
  3. Apply a nude lip gloss on the inner part of lips (as opposed all on lips to the lip line) because the gloss will move out to the edges as you wear it.

And on a final note - of course, I do love my Phillip Philips, who always looks the same, which is boyishly gorgeous. He is kind of good-looking but if you really look at him it’s more of his expression, his eyes and that smile that make him good-looking. Which, after all, is the essence of beauty. After his first song I really thought he would lose. But when he pulled out that last song, I think he won. Only time will tell. And let’s see if JLo’s makeup artist is on the job tonight.

Top 6 Things to Do About Your Dry, Chapped Lips

6. Avoid Super Long Wear. If you wear lipstick, don’t use one of those longwearing lipsticks that has a lip stain on one end and a moisturizer on the other. At least, I’ve not found one that works. Even with the moisturizing stick, lips still feel dry shortly thereafter so you have to keep using the moisturizer on top of the stain all day long. And I don’t even think the color ends up being super long wearing anyway. Or else I’d be wearing them. 5. Find a Moisturizing Lipstick. I personally hate reapplying lipstick so I wear the driest, most matte lipsticks that don’t ever come off. This causes people to constantly comment on what a great color I have on but that my lips look really dry. Which, again, if I have to trade one thing for another I’m not going to wear a lipstick I have to reapply over and over. The alternative for me is not wearing lipstick. But you, like most people, probably don’t have this hang-up. So find something really creamy and soft like Lancome’s L'Absolu Rouge.

4. Moisturize Nightly. Since I wear dry lipstick during the day, I moisturize at night. I like to use either Burt’s Bees Nourishing Lip Balm with Mango Butter or Nivea Lip Care Essential. For some reason I discovered Nivea years ago in Dubai. It was in my hotel room or something and I had not had it before so I bought a whole bunch while I was there, only to realize we have it here. But since then I have loved many Nivea moisturizing products.

3. Exfoliate Lips. Use a gentle face scrub on your lips from time to time. I like Clinique 7-Day Scrub Cream because it has a cream base and small, perfectly round beads that are gentle and buff off dryness. Do not use a chemical/cream exfoliant on your lips unless a company says it’s OK - if it’s not specifically made for lips it can be irritating (or worse).

2. Use a Lip Balm with a Lip Pencil. If you can’t find a moisturizing lipstick that does it for you, use a moisturizing lip balm with a lip liner. First apply lip balm; then line and fill in lips so you can wear it all as your lip color. Apply the balm first or else the lip pencil will probably drag and pull on your dry lip skin.

1. Drink Lots of Water. Cure that dryness from the inside out. Eight 8oz. glasses daily are the recommended but I find that I do best with 12 (glasses a day). This makes my brother to warn me about hyponatremia (water intoxication that can be fatal) but I rarely achieve 12 glasses anyway. I know if I did my lips would be soft and supple every day – without ever having to use any lip balm.

Mwah!

Making Makeup Last

Have you ever come home, looked in the mirror, and wondered where the makeup went? Or maybe you just can't be bothered to reapply throughout the day. If so, and you want to change it, here are tips to make your makeup last longer. Skin. For foundation, find one that's right for your skin type and also indicates longer wear. If you use a foundation that's not for your skin type you will not get the right results - if your skin is oily and you use a foundation for dry skin, it will look shiny and definitely slip off your skin;  likewise, if your skin is dry and you use an oily skin foundation it will make your skin look and feel even drier. Use a brush to lightly dust powder and set foundation.

Cheeks. Find a good, long-wearing blush tint or cream blush. For even longer wear, pat a matching powder blush on top. I like Becca's Beach Tint for several reasons. You can use it on cheeks and lips (I am always looking for all-in-one products because I won't spend a lot of time on my own makeup). It's a small, portable tube so you can throw it in your bag too. And I just like Becca's packaging. When I looked it up, I found out that this product is also one of Allure magazine's Editor's Picks. So me and the editors recommend it. The only thing about this product is that after awhile you have to massage the tube before squeezing because the product can separate. But it still always looks good.

Eyes. Try a cream eye shadow. For more intense color, add powder eyeshadow on top. Use an eyeliner that doesn't move. For over 20 years I have loved Clinique's Water-Resistant Eyeliner. I was devastated (OK that's  exaggerated, but I was a little unhappy) when it was discontinued. And I wasn't the only one because eventually Clinique brought it back. It's not waterproof but as long as it's dry it never comes off until you take it off. For lashes, look for a waterproof formula or water-resistant mascara. My fellow makeup artist friend swears by Trish McEvoy's Lash Curling Mascara. I haven't tried it myself but I know the type of formula it is - it will only come off by intentionally using warm water (meaning, a splash of water or tears that come when you watch Beaches will not remove the mascara or make it run).

Lips. Line and fill in with lip liner first; then apply lipstick. For longest wear, use a matte lipstick over the lip liner…although if you have dry lips it may make your lips drier so you'll need to moisturize lips well at night.

I hope these help! Here's to your long wearing makeup days.

 

My Favorite Products Winter 2012

Since I work with so many different brands I am lucky enough to try and evaluate products on a regular basis. And, of course, I can't help myself and buy my own as well. So my list of favorites is always evolving as I discover new things, but these are my recent discoveries.

Laura Mercier Invisible Loose Setting Powder

 

I recently used this on many different skin tones and was pleasantly surprised to see it truly was invisible. Products often say they are "invisible" but then they are only invisible on certain - usually light - skin tones. I have not yet tried this on very dark skin, but so far it has worked on every other skin tone.  It also not only looks invisible, it feels incredibly silky smooth. I was so happy to find this because I have to powder people all day long and I'm always carrying around different shades for different people. And if I powder too much the makeup often gets cake-y. Now I have this one!

Up & Up Cocoa Butter Lotion Deep Conditioning

I am an equal opportunity cosmetic user. I am discriminating but do not brand discriminate when something is good. If there's a deal to be had, I will have it. This cream is a generic Target brand. I have a 31.8 fl oz bottle that you can buy online for $3.49USD. (It says 30% more, although I do not know what it's measuring against.) My skin gets so dry in the winter that usually only the really thick creams make my skin comfortable - but they also make it greasy. This lotion is creamy and makes skin instantly comfortable. I also put some extra on my feet right after I crawl in bed so my feet are extra-soft in the morning.

Chanel Perfection Lumiere Long-Wear Flawless Fluid Makeup SPF 10

So not only do I love Chanel packaging (who doesn't?) but their products are good too. I originally thought this foundation would be shimmery and sheer because the word "lumiere" made me think it would shimmer. It is actually lightweight like a sheer foundation, only with more coverage. It gives you that "I don't have makeup on" look, except your skin is more smooth and even. For that reason, I love it. And, if you can't or don't want to afford a Chanel bag, a little Chanel makeup is a nice mini-substitute. It's not inexpensive, but you do at least get what you paid for.

It's only January, so I expect I will find more favorite makeup gems. And when I do, you'll see them here too.

Get the J.Lo Glow!

One woman who wears makeup right is Jennifer Lopez. She is always glowing. Next time you're watching TV, look at people's makeup and compare the difference. For example, sometimes newscasters look orange or greyish or too pale (I know sometimes they have to do their own makeup so we can cut them slack, but take a look). Below are some things you can do to try on the glowy look as shown here. When J.Lo goes red-carpet-y and glamorous, she does it just right. The Look Basics

Blend well.  Makeup looks soft, with edges fading away. Here and elsewhere, her makeup is almost always well blended.

Skin looks natural. Her foundation is used to smooth and even her skin, and the shade gives her a slightly warmer look.  Again, the makeup is so blended and smooth it gives her a non-makeup-y glow.

Focus on eyes. The makeup draws attention to her eyes. Everything else is muted.

Face

Bronze. After foundation, apply bronzer at hairline, on forehead and down the sides of face. Bare Minerals Warm Radiance works on many skin tones for both men and women. It gives a touch of warmth without looking unnatural or orange-ish.

Brighten. Choose an under eye concealer that’s one shade lighter than your skin tone; blend under eyes to the tops of your cheekbones. This is what gives her that bright-eyed look. I like YSL Touche Éclat for this because it's so lightweight it doesn't look like you added a lot of makeup.

Flush. Use a soft pink cheek color, concentrating color on the apples of cheeks and up cheekbones. Blend so it fades away.

Eyes

Start with a pink base. Use a pink eye shadow all over eyelid, blend up to (but not on) brow bone. Make sure the pink is not too bright. It’s not a garish pink, it’s soft, slightly pink shade.

Use a plum shadow in crease. Apply a dark plum eye shadow at the base of lashes, in crease and blend up, fading into the pink.

Apply black eyeliner. Use a black kohl eye pencil on the inside and on lash line. Meaning, right next to the whites on the inner part of eyeline is lined black, as well as on the lash line.

Blend brown eye shadow slightly underneath the lash line. Blend a golden brown shade under the bottom lash line. Use a thin brush to smudge and blend.

Lashes. Her top lashes are long, even and perfectly separated—if you’re why wondering they’re so perfect, it’s because they’re falsies. If you’re feeling adventuresome, try falsies on your top lash line. If not, try Laura Mercier Full Blown Volume Mascara in black.

Brows. Use a brow powder, such as Clinique Brow Shaper, to lightly fill in brow shape. It's easier to use a powder than a brow pencil. I always recommend filling in your natural brow shape…unless your brow shape is all over the place. If so, pluck the stray hairs around your brows first and then fill in.

Lips

Nude. Line and fill in lips with a light pink-beige pencil. Then use a matte lipstick of a slightly lighter shade, concentrating color on the middle of the lip. Look closely and you can see that the lipstick is slightly lighter and then blends out to a slightly darker lip line. You can also use a light, nude gloss on top for extra shine.

Voila. The J.Lo glow!

 

LOFT Loves Teachers Makeovers!

If you didn't already know, Ann Taylor LOFT has a teachers' perks program that includes every day discounts, special events, as well as sweepstakes and a cool 50K grant program in support of educators! If I were a teacher, I'd be heading off to LOFT to be appreciated.

We took a trek to Connecticut to do the hair, makeup and fashion makeovers currently featured  in LOFT Loves Teachers. I had not been in a high school since...a long time ago. So being in the gym, walking halls through the halls and seeing those little desks brought back memories of Spanish class (Me llamo Robyn), dreading algebra and hearing the bell ring (running to get back in the classroom on time). Memories good and bad, of course. It's high school!

If you're looking for "before" shots, we don't have any. The makeover was more about letting the teachers have fun with a new look, so it's just the "after." See some images below. Enjoy!

Photos by J. Ryan Roberts and Guggenheim Productions. Hair by Katie Ambrose, makeup by Me.