Fresh Summer Makeup Tips

A month or so ago, I was contacted by West Michigan Woman Magazine to give a few summer makeup tips and tricks for their June issue. Since it is a magazine,  they only had room for a few quick things, but I thought it would be good timing to expand a little bit.

My section is in the bottom left. 

My section is in the bottom left. 

For me, summer skin is all about basics and not over-doing it. Summer is hot and humid, and the last thing you want is a bunch of makeup dripping down your face.

If you are one of those lucky people that instantly has a sun-kissed perfectly complected glow, well, good for you. You can probably get away with mascara and chapstick for the next three months. If you aren't one of those, please read on. 

First off, I know it's summer and you want to be tan, but please (please please please!), remember your sun screen. Everyone is sick of hearing it, but it's so true. You WILL look like a raisin in ten years if you do not protect your skin, plus skin cancer is just no fun. If you can't remember to put sun screen on, then opt for a product that does it for you. I always choose a daytime moisturizer with at least an SPF 15 in it, 25-30 would be better, and you want broad spectrum protection. Block those UVA and UVBs. 

Tinted moisturizers are a great option for summer, because with a little sun on our skin, most acne will clear out and you won't need as much coverage. A tinted moisturizer will give sheer coverage, but most also contain some level of sun protection. I know Laura Mercier's does, but there are many other brands that do as well. If you suffer from dark circles or have an occasional breakout, use concealer where needed and blend it out into the more sheer foundation. Don't be afraid to rock bare skin if you don't need coverage. 

Another item I love for summer, is cream blush (creme if you're feeling fancy). I recommended Benetint in the article above for cheek and lip color, and it's great because it is a stain and will be more sweat proof. However, cream is another good option because it has more staying power than a powder, and gives that beautiful natural flush that everyone loves in the summer. If you have warm skin, opt for a bright peach shade. Cooler and olive skin tones reach for something deliciously berry. There are also options to fit every budget. Nars multiples are iconic, but I've  heard great things about the $5.99 blushes from NYX and plan on giving them a whirl soon.

As far as lips go, I do love love love the Sugar Lip Treatment's from Fresh! Bonus that they have SPF 15 in them (no crunchy burnt lips for you!). Keep it simple though, that cream blush I recommended above can double as color on the lips. Put a little chapstick on, add some cream blush and voila!... tinted gloss. Pat a tiny bit on your lids as well and you are rocking a summer flush all over your face. Sounds crazy but trust me, it's gorgeous and simple. 

If you are an oily gal, carry some blotting sheets or a pressed powder to touch up your t-zone throughout the day.  Otherwise finish the look with some mascara, maybe fill in the brows a bit, and you are good to go. This is how I will be wearing my makeup all summer long, and I love the simplicity of it. It's summer only for a short time here in Michigan, and less time behind the mirror, is more time out in our brief season of warmth!

Comment if you have questions! :)

Bridal Beauty Tips for the DIY Bride

In my previous post, I mentioned wanting to offer a few suggestions to brides opting to do their own makeup on their wedding day. I harbor no ill feelings toward brides going down that route, and want to see every lady look as lovely as possible (with a look that holds up) on her wedding day.

First things first, makeup will not look good if the skin under it is not prepped correctly. A few days prior, gently exfoliate to remove any build up. Proper moisture is also key, it not only corrects the skin, it gives makeup something to adhere to. One of my favorite moisturizers to use under makeup is Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre. It is a makeup artist must have. I recommend applying a decent dollop evenly all over skin, and allowing it to soak in for ten minutes or so before applying foundation.


The perfect time to apply eyeshadow and liner, is while the moisturizer is sitting and doing it's work. Hint hint, apply eye makeup BEFORE foundation, that way any shadow fallout under the eyes can be cleaned away. If eye makeup is done after foundation and you have fallout, no matter what you do, the under-eye region will look dingy and dull. 

When it comes to eyes, you need to start with a primer if you want your shadows to last. One of my favorites is Urban Decay's Primer Potion. It comes in several options, but the original formula and Sin (a shimmery nude that is pretty enough to wear alone) are my go-to's. A primer will not only prevent creasing, it also helps shadow look brightest and closest to its true color; not muted because the tones of your skin are showing through.  


For foundation, I use Temptu's SB airbrush makeup on 99% of my brides. SB stands for silicone base, and it translates beautifully in person and on camera. Another silicone base makeup I use in my kit, is Make Up For Ever HD. It is available for purchase at Sephora, and I would recommend going in and being color matched prior to purchasing. There are many other options for foundations that will translate beautifully, but I would say stick to a liquid or creme with a silicone base for a wedding day look. 


Something that you might not be thinking of, is that when you go to kiss your husband for the first time, that beautiful shade of pink, red, salmon, or whatever is going to transfer right onto him. That can all be avoided with a lip stain. A stain is also great, because all you have to worry about the rest of the day is applying a clear gloss when your lips start to feel dry. Easy peasy perfect color throughout the day. Make Up For Ever, Nars, etc. all make wonderful stains, but there are drugstore brands that work just as well. Maybelline Super Stay 24 Color is one that I think parallels the high end and pro brands, and also comes in a wide variety of colors. 


After all your makeup is perfectly in place, a finishing spray will "lock" in the look. I currently  have Skindinavia's in my kit, but Urban Decay's All Nighter is literally the exact same formula. So take your pick!  Just hold the bottle 10 inches or so from your face, and do 4-5 gently sprays up and down, then side to side to make sure you have even coverage.


I hope some of these tips are helpful, please feel free to comment with any other topics, questions or products you would like to hear about! 

Why Hire a Professional Makeup Artist for Your Wedding (or any other special occasion)?

November through March is the high season to book a makeup artist for your wedding, and with all the inquiries coming in, I thought this would be a good time to touch on this question. I see many brides debate about hiring a professional, verse a salon, verse the friend that is good at makeup, verse doing it themselves. That's a lot of verses to ponder. I'm going to try to break it down, and hopefully help at least one bride. 

My brain works well in lists, and I know I did a list in my previous post, but you will just have to bear with me and suffer through another.  

1. The difference between a professional and your sister's best friend's cousin.

Clean brush and spatula for sanitary application. :)

Clean brush and spatula for sanitary application. :)

Let me start by saying, I used to be that sister's best friend's cousin type that would show up and do the makeup and hair for anyone that I knew. It was great practice (I was in high school and college), and I thought I did a pretty darn good job. Looking back though, I wince.

The wincing is a result of several things (Now there are lists inside of lists!). First, I had literally no training, and some of my choices and techniques were questionable. I had literally ZERO concept of what makeup would translate well in a photo (brand, color, anything). The biggest problem though, was not those. It was that I did not have a professional kit, and I did not know a thing about sanitary procedures. I thought I did, but I also thought it was ok to share mascara with my best friend, like you would a margarita. 

Nothing disturbs me more than seeing someone doing someone else's makeup, and potentially spreading disease. A makeup artist should always have: 70% alcohol, or some other type of disinfectant that has 70% alcohol in it, hand sanitizer, brush cleanser, clean spatulas for scooping product, clean brushes, and disposable mascara wands on them at all times. They should NEVER blow onto a brush to get rid of excess product (always gently tap the brush on a wrist), and should NEVER put a finger or a brush into a jar of foundation, lip gloss, whatever. If someone who is working on you does not have those things, or displays these tendencies, quickly run the other direction. An eye infection or skin rash is no fun, and could cause scarring. The "friend coming to do makeup type" is most likely going to use her personal makeup on you, and personal brushes. If that is the case, both are more than likely chalk full of bacteria. NO thanks. Make sure she (or he) has fully sanitized their tools before they use them on you, and you stick to your own liquid and creme products.

There are always exceptions of course, and many of the "friend types" are very talented!! Now you are armed with the knowledge to keep yourself healthy. 

2. Training and no headache.

The great thing about someone that does makeup for a living, is that we are mobile! I am a complete studio on the move. This means that on your wedding day, or engagement photos, or whatever you are getting glamorous for, I can come to you in the comfort of your own environment. There's no running across town to have your makeup done in gale force winds, only to step outside and have your hair whip into your lip gloss like a fly on fly paper. Ok that was a little extreme, but the point is, you can sit back and sip on a mimosa in your bathrobe while we jam out to some great tunes, if that's what you want to do. 

I am also trained to do this. I'm a licensed cosmetologist, which means I can stop any hair catastrophe in its tracks, as well as the fact that I am state certified in all of the sanitization laws. I'll make you pretty and keep you clean. I also assisted another makeup artist for around a year before I started taking clients, I attend workshops with pros (Kevin James Bennett, etc.) multiple times a year, and have a bachelors degree in art and design. All in all, that is SIX plus years of education, in addition to the fact that I continually seek new training so I am always growing. I've been training in this field almost long enough to be a doctor (with the student loans to show!). In no way shape or form did I mean any of that to come out condescending. The point I am trying to make is: everyone else I know that does this for a full time job, has very similar credentials. We take our craft seriously, and this is our career. 

3. The photos.

If you are hiring a makeup artist for your wedding, you want to blow everyone away the second you step out onto that aisle. What you may not consider is, you also want to blow everyone away when they see the photo of that moment fifty-years from now. 

Putting it bluntly, drugstore and non-professional makeup does not translate on camera like the stuff we have access to.  We also know how to play up your angles, and give you those amazing cheekbones you fantasize about in the mirror.  Photoshop is great, but it can't do everything. Ask any photographer, and they will tell you that a knowledgeable makeup artist makes a huge difference. (At some point I want to do a post that just compares photos with professional makeup, and photos without. Don't let me forget!)

4. The higher price tag.

A poorly lit photo compilation of Lauren's bridal consultation! 

A poorly lit photo compilation of Lauren's bridal consultation! 

I know you are thinking, a professional sounds great, but what about the higher price tag? Here are my uncensored thoughts. You are about to spend a significant amount on your dress, on your flowers, on your food, on your photographer, etc., etc. Why are you not worried about the true center of attention that day? You silly!! 

Our rates are higher because we have put a lot time and money into our training and education, and we have specialized products to offer you. Your wedding day is very important, and you will look back on your photos forever. Don't throw all of your budget at crab cakes and leave yourself to Aunt Susie with the twenty-year old Maybelline. That may have been a tad harsh. If you are on a very strict budget, and hiring a professional isn't an option, it truly is OK and I hope I haven't given you an anxiety attack. If that is the case, consider splurging on some higher quality products for yourself to use the day of. Perhaps my next post could offer a few suggestions?? Let me know in the comments if that sounds good!

I could go on and on about this, but I think that sums it up nicely for now.  The last little thing is remember this, we ALL offer consultations. If you are on the fence, consider having a preview session and if you aren't satisfied, no harm. 

Stay warm! 


How to Fall Asleep with a Smile

Yep that's my handy work. That squirrel was also a Christmas present... I love squirrels!

Yep that's my handy work. That squirrel was also a Christmas present... I love squirrels!

Whew, I am ready to start a new year.  First order for 2014 is all about that image to your right. Complete contradiction to my business you say? Contrary to popular belief, makeup isn't all about beauty on the outside (a lot is, but not ALL). The absolute best part of my job, is when I work with someone that doesn't realize how beautiful   she or he already is. That moment when I am finished and they bring the mirror to their face, and I see this light spread across it. That's the best. If there are tears, even better. It truly is not about masking flaws, it's about giving someone confidence they may have been lacking.  As cliche as it is, it's about making the outside match the inside. Inner beauty, that's where it is at this new year.

Aaand I don't just mean inner beauty in your heart, but in your house, in your family, in your relationships, in your whole life. 

The last few months of 2013 were pretty rough for me, my mom unexpectedly passed away in November.  Something like that changes you forever, especially when you are 26 and she is 57, healthy and happy. I'm definitely still struggling, and probably will for a long time, but I have also learned some key things about myself and this short life that I think are worth sharing.  Here is my start:

1. Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, sweat the small stuff. It just ain't worth it. It's something I'm still trying to teach myself daily (as I stare intensely at a certain someone's socks that mysteriously end up in every corner of the house). Letting little things go will free up so much of your energy.

2. Unplug. From social media, from email, from anything that masquerades as a 24/7 necessity.  Feel like you have to say yes to every get together? Say no sometimes. Focus on some quality one on one time with yourself. Instead of candy crush, take that hour and dedicate it to your partner, or someone else you care about. Watch your real-life physical relationships and inner peace grow.

3. Find balance, create boundaries. This goes hand and hand with #2. I'm not saying forsake facebook and twitter forever, I'm simply saying there is a time and a place. In the world of freelancers, life vs. job becomes a blur. If you don't set boundaries with your schedule, it's easy to realize it's 10 p.m. and you only ate a banana all day. I feel best on days where I decide how long I'm going to work, and when I reach that point, I stop. I imagine you would too. 

4. Set goals, start small, check them off. Need a big change? Always wanted to visit Hawaii? Seeking a new career path? There must be something you've been thinking about, and if there isn't, there should be! Find something that brings you joy, something you want, and seek it. It may be overwhelming, but you'd be amazed how great you would feel if you take one tiny step forward. You'd be even more amazed at what a chain reaction that tiny step could create. Five years ago I never dreamed I would be making a career doing exactly what I want, and I attribute it to a few small decisions that got the ball rolling.

5. Create a sanctuary. Whether its your bedroom, bathroom, your home or a tree fort. Make a place that brings you peace while you are there. For me it's my whole house, and it is a personal goal of mine to keep it that way forever. A Friday night spent in my pjs, wrapped in blankets, with a cup of hot tea in a hobnail ceramic mug. Perfect.... and apparently I am 95. Don't care! That's the fun, it's your creation.

6. Love, be thankful, and show it. It's pretty self explanatory. Don't count on the people you love being here tomorrow. Take every opportunity to let them know how you feel.  I'm also going to give you a homework assignment that I hope becomes a ritual. Each night, list 5 things you are thankful for right now. I bet you fall asleep with a smile.

None of these are perfect, and the list could have been endless, but I hope they give some inspiration this January. I'll leave you with this smiley picture of my friend and fellow makeup/hair artist Rebecca Gohl (you should know Rebecca specializes in vintage looks, and they are pretty dang amazing). We played around a few weeks ago at Julie Strating's first makeup workshop here in Grand Rapids. She is another friend and AMAZING makeup artist. 

I just love her glasses. 

I just love her glasses.