How to Apply the Perfect Primer

How to Apply the Perfect PrimerOver the last several years more attention has been given to primers and the need to get the face “ready” for makeup. Whether it’s a BB or CC cream, a primer, or even a tinted moisturizer, this step is critical for creating a look that lasts all day and night.

Start by prepping the canvas. Wash your face thoroughly with a skincare product specific to your needs, for example: if your skin is oily you will want to look for a product that contains benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, if your skin is dry you may want to opt for a gentle exfoliator instead. Rinse off the product completely, pat dry and apply toner making sure to work on the oily spots and dry patches. Follow with a moisturizer specific to your skincare needs, heavier in the winter months when skin is dry and chapped, and lighter in summer when the air is heavier and humidity is high. Be sure to apply to moist skin and allow some time for it to evenly penetrate the complexion. If you find shiny spots on the face, use a tissue and pat to remove the excess cream or lotion.

Next, select the perfect primer. If you have trouble skin or are prone to breakouts you may want to reach for a BB cream. BB, which stands for Blemish Balm, is an all-in-one product that combines serum, moisturizer, primer and foundation. If you have aging skin, you may want to reach for a CC cream. CC stands for Color Correcting and typically contain light deflecting particles that help combat redness or sallowness in the skin.  Or, if you’re a purist, reach for the straightforward primer, designed to help your makeup stay on your skin evenly without moving or creasing throughout the day.

One of my favorite tricks for a primer is to store in the refrigerator. This keeps the product cool allowing it to help calm down your skin after washing in the morning. Begin by applying the primer to your skin with a sponge or your Color Me makeup application device, buffing into place.  Top with your foundation – liquid or powder – a dab of blush and a swipe of lip gloss and mascara for a natural yet full-coverage look.

If you’re in a pitch for time, or need less coverage, mix equal parts primer and foundation together, blending onto the skin as you go. This allows for a dewy and natural look that simply needs a swipe of highlighter on the cheekbones for a glowing complexion.

Last but not least, be sure to stay away from too much caffeine or coffee once you’ve applied your makeup. The drink has oils which can effect the skin and make it look red and blotchy in a few hours. Instead opt for some water with lemon or cucumber slices for flavor and hydration. Keeping your cool will always help your look stay flawless and fresh.



How to Apply Perfect Concealer

How to Apply Perfect ConcealerAs any woman can tell you, the right concealer can work wonders. It can help camouflage a blemish, hide dark under eye circles, diminish redness and act as a base for a flawless foundation. Applying concealer can, however, be challenging leaving an obvious spot on the face that draws more attention to the imperfection than if you had simply gone barefaced.

Let’s start with the basics. It is critical that you correctly color match your foundation. This can be done by testing a color on the underside of your wrist or arm as this skin closely resembles the texture and shade of the face. Always seek natural light to check that the color matches perfectly as in-store lighting can alter the color.

Once you have the correct shade for your skin tone, you can begin application. Start on a clean face. Apply moisturizer after washing to ensure that your skin is hydrated and a primer to ensure your products have lasting power. Then top with an eye cream. Be sure to use sparingly, however, or your concealer will run the risk of creasing and sliding on the skin. Follow with an oil-free concealer in the inner and outer corners of the eye, and tap with your fingers until blended. The pressing motion is ideal for concealer, as a dragging motion from a brush or beauty blender can often leave streaks or rub the concealer off the desired area. If you have a Color Me automatic makeup application device, you can also use this here with the disposable sponges. The buffing motion will mimic the tapping of your fingers and evenly distribute the concealer on the skin.

If you are attempting to cover a blemish start by first applying a bit of moisturizer to the area if it is dry. Here, you may want to reach for a bit of greenish tinted concealer as that will help to neutralize the red tone. Pat on over the blemish, blending well. Then top with your skin-matched concealer, pressing gently into place.

Complete the look by topping with a liquid or powder foundation, a light blush or bronzer and a swipe of mascara.


Being Green is Beautiful, Makeup Advice from Abbie Moya

Hello, I’m Abbie Moya and I am a “green” makeup artist and I have been doing makeup for 10 years. I do mostly weddings, but I also do photo shoots, short films, etc. My motto is “Being Green is Beautiful.”

Being Green is Beautiful, Makeup Advice from Abbie Moya

Summer is a wonderful time to be outside at the park, the beach or the pool. You want to look nice, so you put on your makeup the same way you have been throughout the year. After about an hour or so, you notice that your makeup is no longer on your face because you have sweated it off. During the summer months, you should change your makeup routine. My theory is less is more. You want to just enhance your beautiful features without piling on layers of makeup. Makeup that looks fresh and young. Something that says SUMMER!

Many women are skeptical of organic makeup because they don’t believe that it will perform like the other brands. After lots of research, I have found some great organic/natural makeup lines that perform just as well or better as those sold in department stores.

I am going to show you a simple look that even the makeup beginner can do! I have enlisted my beautiful friend, Jenn to model for me. Here is her before and after pictures (I took the after outside in the sun to show how the makeup looks in the natural light). I will take you step-by-step and describe each product that I used.

Summer Makeup Advice - Dos and Donts

1.) ALWAYS use a sunscreen! It doesn’t matter which one. I like to use Nature’s Gate. Works great for everyone in your family.

primer-reviews2.) Once your sunscreen sets in for a bit, I applied a primer. The one I used on Jenn is Jane Iredale’s Smooth Affair. Not only is it a primer, but also a brightener as well. Apply that all over the face. You can use a foundation brush or your fingers. If you were to use a brush, I recommend the foundation brush from Ecotools or Bdellium Tools. Both are great and plus they are eco friendly!

3.) Let the primer set in the skin for a few minutes before applying the foundation. If you do not wait, then your foundation will start to bead up depending on the primer that you use. Just a good rule of thumb to wait a few minutes not matter what. You could brush your teeth while waiting!

Organic Foundation Review4.) You are now ready to apply the foundation.
One of my favorites that I use on most of the brides is from W3ll People. It is called Narcissist Foundation and Concealer. They have six colors ranging from light to dark and it’s a cream foundation. I used number five on Jenn. I like to use my fingers for the face and a concealer brush for under the eyes. The reason for using the brush under the eyes is because when you use your fingers, we have a tendency to pull the skin. This will create more wrinkles. The benefit to using your fingers with most organic foundation is that your natural oils help to smooth it onto the skin and create that flawless finish. Again these are just recommendations. You use whatever you are comfortable using. Make sure you bring the foundation all the way down onto your neck and blend, blend, blend!

rms-powder5.) For the summer, I like to add a light bronzer on top of the foundation.If you are really oily, you can lightly brush a translucent powder over your entire face prior to the bronzer. I love the one from RMS Beauty called “un” powder. The bronzer I used on Jenn is from a mineral makeup line called Alima Pure, in Trinidad. Make sure you brush the bronzer all the way down the neck and even a little onto your décolletage.

6.) Now you are ready to apply your blush. I like powder and cream, but for a fast simple look I use a cream blush like the one from Vapour Organic Beauty. The color I used on Jenn was the Aura Mutli Use in Crush. I use this with my fingers as well. For placement, I always have you smile and put some on the apples of your cheeks and blend it back into your hair line. Just keep applying until you have the desired amount.
Organic Blush

7.) From the cheeks, I moved to the eyes. I wanted to keep it very simple, so I used my same bronzer for my crease shadow. For the all over color, I love to use the Luminous Shimmer Powder in Lumina from Alima Pure. Looks great on a lot of skin tones. I then took an angle brush and dipped it into my dark chocolate brown pressed eyeshadow from Couleur Caramel and used that to lightly line the top of the eyes. I finished it off with the Couleur Caramel Cils Longs in Black mascara.

8.) Before applying your lips, if you notice that you feel that you are too dewy, then take that “un” powder and do a light dusting all over the face.

9.) To finish off the look, take the same cream blush and apply that to your lips then add a pinkish clear lip gloss called Fiji from Primitive Cosmetics.

Organic Lip Gloss Reviews

10.) For added comfort, before going out spray some Jane Iredale D20 Hydration spray. Not only does your skin feel hydrated but it helps to set your makeup.

You now have your simple summer look! I hope that I have opened your eyes to some great tips on makeup and remember, “Being Green is Beautiful!

Dangers of Counterfeit Cosmetics

Dangers of Counterfeit Cosmetics and What Consumers Can Look for to Avoid Purchasing Counterfeit Products
The Issue: Counterfeit Cosmetics

According to the International Chamber of Commerce, each year $250 billion[1] is lost to counterfeit products and this loss is expected to total $1.7 trillion by 2015.  Pharmaceuticals and personal care items ranked in the top 5 counterfeited items seized by U.S. customs (refer to table 1 below). The economy isn’t the only thing taking the hit from counterfeiting. Recent studies, including a comparison study conducted by NSF International, have found elevated levels of harmful contaminants such as lead in fake cosmetics. This article provides a few tips that consumers can use to avoid knock-off cosmetic and personal care items, especially when purchasing online.

Table 1: Top 5 counterfeited items seized by U.S. Customs*
Items Estimated MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) from seized goods % of total goods seized
1. Handbags/Wallets $700.2 million 40%
2. Watches/Jewelry $502.8 million 29%
3. Consumer Electronics/Parts $145.9 million 8%
4. Wearing Apparel/Accessories $116.2 million 7%
5. Pharmaceuticals/Personal Care (includes cosmetics) $79.6 million 5%
*US Customs and Border Patrol top seizures come from: China, Hong Kong, Singapore, India and Taiwan.Source:

If you have thought about the safety of some personal care products or ingredients, you aren’t alone. A recent independent study conducted on behalf of NSF International found that 48 percent of consumers are concerned about the quality and safety of personal care products.  Many major retailers and manufacturers are now taking steps to help ensure the safety and quality of these products and NSF International, a global public health and safety organization, is helping.

NSF International developed a program earlier this year that addresses growing concerns among retailers and consumers about adulteration, mislabeling and counterfeiting issues.  The program provides extra checks and balances for product quality in the form of manufacturing facility inspections, product testing and certification as well as training for manufacturing and quality personnel. These services enable manufacturers to improve the quality and safety of their products and retailers to strengthen oversight of their cosmetic and personal care suppliers.

Why is this important? Cosmetic and personal care manufacturers are required by law to ensure the safety of their products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates cosmetics, requires manufacturers to ensure their products are safe for their intended use, and advises manufacturers to use the necessary testing to ensure the safety of their products and ingredients.

What can consumer do to protect themselves?

Although these products are regulated, they aren’t approved by the FDA or any other regulatory agency before they hit store shelves. So it’s important to keep a few things in mind when purchasing cosmetics and personal care products.

Consumers should purchase cosmetics from trustworthy companies and authorized retailers and be cautious of inexpensive versions of brand name cosmetics. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is.  Additionally, consumers who have concerns about the product packaging (e.g. wear/tear, discoloring, missing barcode, etc.) or the product itself can contact the manufacturer and verify that the lot number on the product is legitimate. Fake or knock-off versions may contain harmful levels of contaminants or heavy metals or have imperfections in packaging or in coloring as NSF found in some cosmetic products purchased online.

Issues with counterfeit products

Earlier this year, NSF International evaluated two product types – mascara and compact foundation – each purchased from two different sources: one was authentic and one was counterfeit. Both products were tested and compared to determine differences in formulations, labeling, packaging and levels of heavy metals.

NSF International found a high level of lead (260 ppm) in one compact powder. This is 26x the allowable level set by Health Canada[2] for lead in cosmetics. This was also 1000x higher levels of lead found in a comparable compact product. Although an exposure limit for lead in cosmetics intended for skin contact has not been set in the U.S., the CDC recommends that people should minimize their exposure to lead, especially children, adolescents, and pregnant women.

During the evaluation, NSF also found key differences in the packaging and formulations for both sets of mascara and compact powder. In the compact powder set, one of the packages had the lot number, bar code and color code printed or stamped directly on the package while the other used  stickers for this information.  The colors and graphics on the mascara tubes also differed.  The lot number was printed on the package of one mascara while a sticker was used to adhere to the lot number to another mascara.
Consumers concerned about what’s in their cosmetics can visit or contact NSF International’s Consumer Affairs Office at for more information about how to look for products that are safer for you and your family.


Other sources used for this article


[1] UNODC Campaign raises consumer awareness of links between organized crime and $250 billion a year counterfeit business
[2]Health Canada has set an allowable level of 10 parts per million for lead in cosmetics. 1 ppm = 1µg/g, 1 mg/kg, 1 mg/L


Makeup Tips for Women In Their 30s

Makeup Tips for Women in Their 30s A woman’s third decade on this earth shouldn’t be wrought with thoughts of “This is the end, now what?” Your 30s mean coming into your own and becoming more comfortable in your own skin – a feeling that should be the norm and becomes more pronounced as time marches on.

With 2014 being the year of Radiant Orchid, according to the color authority – Pantone, don’t hide from it, embrace it or at the very least the spirit of it. Spring has also sprung a new makeup favorite – orange lipstick.

Vibrant Lips Are A Do
The simplest way to add color to an otherwise boring palette of neutrals is to incorporate a bold color on the lip, be it a gorgeous shade of lavender, your perfect shade of citrus or any other color that doesn’t ring safe.

Introduce Concealers Into Your Makeup Bag
A major makeup concern for the woman in her 30s is, “Am I making enough of a statement while still looking classy?“ Stay current, yet ladylike by simply updating your eye makeup. With many a night still being spent out with the girls or all that working overtime to get that next promotion, it’s inevitable that hard-partying, hard-working dark undereye circles will appear. Look unscathed by daily life, by making a concealer a best friend, which hides a multitude of sins. Use beneath your eyes and on blemishes to perfect your complexion.

Give Yourself An Eye Makeover
Consider a mini makeover not to change your look completely, but to take stock of what is working for you and highlight those attributes.

For day and night, enhance beautiful doe-shaped eyes with natural to intense matte and pearls shade from It Cosmetics Naturally Pretty Vol. 1 Matte Luxe Transforming Eyeshadow Palette ($42). With 14 shades to choose from, this palette is ideal for every skin tone.

Make Your Skin The Star
But, when all is said and done, the absolute number one thing a 30-something should be concerned about is making sure that her skin reads luminous and healthy-looking beneath all that makeup. Leave the cakey stage makeup alone and start using Beauty Balms (BB) and Complexion Corrector (CC) creams, which deliver multi-skin care benefits as they leave a haze of color on the skin to perfect while your skin’s  glowing complexion shows through.

Sephora Collection Makeup Brush Pro Airbrush #55

Sephora Collection Makeup Brush Pro Airbrush #55

The Sephora Pro Airbrush #55 makeup brush is an excellent brush and everyone should have one in their cosmetic bag. I discovered this brush after noticing several beauty experts on YouTube raving about it. The brush has synthetic bristles to ensure smooth, streak-free application designed to create a natural airbrushed makeup look without having to use an expensive airbrush.  Ideal for use with your favorite liquid, cream, powder foundations, concealers, blush, or contouring products.

Sephora states on Amazon the Pro Airbrush #55 makeup brush is their “best selling brush”. I have used this brush for four years and still love it. If you don’t have one in your makeup bag, you are missing out.

Christian Dior Diorshow Iconic Mascara

Diorshow Iconic Mascara.
I think I started using mascara when I was fifteen. Since then, I have been searching for mascara that separates my lashes individually, defining my eyes, and it goes on without clumping my eyelashes together. You think this would be an easy find since every mascara claims it does this, but they just never live up to what they claim.

Ideally, mascara should separate eyelashes while darkening them for that model fashion magazine cover natural look. Most mascaras do a decent job of this, while others have an impressive factor such as Maybelline Great Lash Mascara and Lancome DEFINICILS High Definition Mascara , but only Dior show Iconic Mascara  from Christian Dior really makes me go wow!

I can’t say it enough: Christian Dior’s Diorshow Iconic Mascara is my favorite and does everything I expect a mascara to do. I have tried other brands and I keep returning to Diorshow Iconic Mascara. It just does what we all dream of when using mascara and is hassle free. I never had to use an eyelash comb to correct my eyes after using Diorshow Iconic Mascara, which I do with every other mascara. It separates lashes like I haven’t seen before, darkening and extending the lash while looking natural and not clumpy.

Diorshow Iconic Mascara is pricier than drugstore brands but worth every penny.

Olay Regenerist Microdermabrasion Peel System

Olay Regenerist Microdermabrasion 2.2 Oz and Peel System Skin Care 2.0 Fl Oz
I have been blessed to have facials in some of the best spas and salons in Orange County, Silicon Valley, Napa Valley, & Arizona. One of the best facials I ever had was at Canyon Rancho in Tucson Arizona. Going to spas are great, but not everyone has the time and money to go for weekly or monthly spa treatments. With Olay Regenerist Microdermabrasion Peel System you can feel like you had an expensive facial for pennies on the dollar.

Olay Regenerist Microdermabrasion Peel System will never replace a professional Mirodermabrasion Diamond Tipped Machine done by an expert, but the product peels off  dead skin giving you a fresher look.

I discovered this product three years ago after extensive research, and I still love it. It is excellent and worth its weight in gold.

Olay Regenerist Microdermabrasion Peel System lifts a veil of dullness, and it is perfect for deep skin exfoliation.