Studio D Makeup: Blog en-us (C) Studio D Makeup (Studio D Makeup) Sun, 27 Sep 2020 15:40:00 GMT Sun, 27 Sep 2020 15:40:00 GMT Studio D Makeup: Blog 120 120 Baltimore Sun Behind The Scenes Check out this awesome video shot during the recent Baltimore Sun fall fashion feature, styled by John-John Williams IV!

Hair by Brian Oliver. Models, Amanda and Rebekah, from THE Artist Agency. Makeup by me.


(Studio D Makeup) behind the scenes makeup makeup artists my work Wed, 02 Nov 2016 09:32:08 GMT
On Moonshots, Mammograms, and Malarkey...

It is extremely rare that I get to wear my makeup artist apron on the same day as my metaphorical cancer crusader hat, but a few weeks ago I was alone in the room with Vice President Joe Biden.


The Contenders is a political docu-series that explains the history behind some of the USA's most controversial and charismatic presidential campaigns. One day I met with our DC-based crew at the White House gates, and we set up for the interview at the VP's office next door, in the Old Executive Office Building. Even while the security team was searching my makeup kit, I was still conflicted about what, if anything, to say to Mr Biden. I don't bring up my personal life while working with political clients. Usually, if there is any talk, I keep the conversation fluffy and superficial, sticking to light subjects like our favorite DC restaurants and the weather. If I am lucky, I get to channel my inner Jemele Hill and chitchat about that politician's favorite local or regional athletic team record, like an ESPN anchor with a powder puff. 

The VP had just wrapped up a Cancer Moonshot press appearance earlier that day, so I knew his passion for the subject would be fresh in his mind at that moment. When our producer pulled me aside to tell me he was on his way and that we would have a few moments alone to prep for the camera, my heart and thoughts began to race... I can not believe these people trusted me with the Vice President. Don't they know me? Is this some kind of test?? Is my breath okay? Finally, Joe Biden walked in and warmly welcomed me to his office. As soon as he sat in the chair so I could begin grooming him for the cameras, I went for it.


"You know, some of these groups are still out here pushing the harmful narrative that "mammograms save lives" even though some of the deadliest cancers might not show up on mammograms? That's ludicrous... No, wait... it's MALARKEY! And the American Medical Association recommendation to start mammograms at age 50 is kind of late, don't you think? Personally, I believe that, in certain populations, it's almost a form of genocide. Women of all ethnic backgrounds are being affected by breast cancer at ages younger than 50, but indigenous Native American and Black women are disproportionately diagnosed at younger ages. I would like to see that AMA age recommendation changed, but that's just my opinion... Would you like some lip balm, sir?" Time was running out, but while I was smoothing pomade into his hair, I just kept on talking.

"Pretty soon you're going to be retired from this job, and you might end up getting super bored, like my dad did when he first retired. So, if you're looking for something fun to do and you want to keep making a difference in the world, you're welcome to come with me on a ride-along. I go to college campuses, office buildings, church basements, community centers, or anywhere else there is a large gathering of women willing to listen to me talk about breast and ovarian cancer risk reduction, early detection, and genetic counseling. How cool would it be if I introduced my special guest, Mister Moonshot Former Vice President Joe Biden, you shout out some inspiration to the crowd, and then just dropped the mic on 'em? If you don't have anything pink to wear, don't worry... I'm very crafty and I will totally bedazzle some matching hoodies for us. Sir, I think you look pretty fabulous. Let's get you in front of the camera."

The Vice President asked me what motivates me to do this stuff, so I quickly told him while I straightened his lapel. He gave me a "proud dad" hug, some strong words of encouragement, and then said, "WOW. You're the real deal... You turned out all right, kid!" 

(VP JB, if you get the chance to read this, my offer is infinite and still stands. The ride-along, the bedazzled hoodies, everything... I meant every word. Breast cancer awareness month may have just ended, but I do this stuff all year long. You and The Mrs Dr JB are welcome to call, text, email, or come rage out with me at any event of your choice.)


Working on The Contenders was a dream gig for me. Documentary work is always my favorite because I am constantly learning fascinating facts while on the set. My mom was a political history geek and a DC native, so when I got called for this job, I wasn't going to let untimely medical procedures hinder me from accepting it. The director and producer were both women, and when I made them aware of my situation they were very understanding of my physical limitations. Thankfully they also understood when I totally crossed the line and threw all of my well-taught "setiquette" out the window to stand on my personal soapbox at work! I apologize to all my on-set mentors and makeup teachers who may have cringed while reading this, but they all know that when I'm not at work, I am active with a both a non-profit women's health education group and an organization that works directly with cancer patients. Therefore, I could not be in the room with THIS GUY on this particular day and not speak up. 


While filming The Contenders, we heard hundreds of hours of interviews about election history from former candidates for the United States presidency and the people who helped support them. Some of these candidates did not win, but all of their campaigns changed politics and press coverage in ways that still resonate sharply today. 

Watch The Contenders on PBS, On Demand, online at Ozy Media, and don't forget to vote! 

(Studio D Makeup) behind the scenes grooming makeup artists my work Wed, 02 Nov 2016 09:19:00 GMT
Skin Brightening Spring Essentials from My Personal Stash


Coming out of winter hibernation means it's time to switch skin care and prep for summer. I start by exfoliating away dry, blotchy winter skin and follow up with skin care designed to moisturize and brighten the dull spots. 
Twice a week, after a gentle brightening scrub, I apply an organic blend of essential oils from Boots Botanics all over my freshly exfoliated face, neck, and décolletage. It absorbs almost immediately, leaving my skin with a finish that is dewy, but not greasy. The light moisture left behind is nourishing and effective at balancing my hormonally-challenged combination/oily skin, but still gentle enough that it does not irritate the post-surgical areas. 

Power Kiss Gloss from Lise Watier feels divine on the lips. It doesn't have much pigment, so it can be a staple of my daily makeup wardrobe whether I am wearing warm or cool colors. The super sheer coral looks natural on ALL skin tones or adds a pop of all-day shine to your favorite lipstick without changing the shade.

I love products that I can multitask with, and I've discovered multiple uses for Senna HD Eye Lift. I used it to set under my eye concealer on "no makeup" days, to highlight brow bones, and to brighten inner corners of my smoky eye. This finely milled pressed powder is a very pale gold that could possibly appear a bit chalky on deeper skin tones than mine. Senna is releasing a darker shade very soon, and I am looking forward to adding them both to my professional kit.

Both Eye Lift and Power Kiss Gloss are fantastic, whether you need finishing touches for a "full face" or you want a quick fix that looks fab, without the fuss.


(Studio D Makeup) body care brightening clay cruelty free essential oils makeup skin care texture refining vegan Sun, 08 May 2016 19:58:01 GMT
Post-Mastectomy Self Care... From A High-Maintenance Brca2 Mutant Many women struggle with body image after breast surgery. We have just made a life and death decision, and as a result, the landscape of our bodies has completely changed overnight. Adding insult to injury, we have just temporarily lost the upper body strength to groom and dress ourselves. Whether you are about to go for chemotherapy or you are going straight to reconstruction, self care is a daunting task when your arms have limited mobility and your chest is freshly sutured together in multiple spots.

For mastectomy survivors and previvors, the amount of time and money you have to spend in doctors offices is already ridiculous. This is not a good time to indulge in expensive department store makeup that you won't be using everyday, but that doesn't mean you should deprive yourself, either. Having body parts removed is a stressful event and you have every right to feel pampered right now. If you are a product junkie, I recommend gathering a handful of effective multitasking products that make you feel like you just stepped out of the spa, even when you can barely get out of bed. Envision your home as a healing retreat, and gather everything you would want by your bedside while you are recovering. Here are a few tips for post-surgical comfort, cleansing, and beauty.


For Sparkly Girls Who Chose Mastectomy When Surveillance Was Enuf...

- Before you go for breast surgery, make sure your house is ready. Stage your ideal recovery area in the days leading up your mastectomy. Stash some extra wound dressings, sterilizing alcohol wipes, an ultra hydrating lip balm, eye drops, and your favorite fragrance free moisturizer in your nightstand or as close to your bed as possible. If Feng Shui is your thing, realign your bedroom properly. If luxury bedding is your thing, treat yourself to some smooth new linens, satin pillowcases, or blackout curtains. Don't forget to place your favorite candles, books, and music within reaching distance. I wanted my room to feel just as relaxing as the treatment rooms in the spas I used to work at. You are about to be there for a few days, so do whatever it takes to feel fabulous in your bed. 

- Get a very long exfoliating body brush and an even longer foot file for easy head-to-toe cleansing. Bending and reaching will be impossible at times, so prepare yourself for limited arm mobility. I used 3M Command Waterproof Hooks inside the bathroom shower so that everything is as easily accessible while bathing. Some of you may even choose to invest in a shower chair. Make sure that all your bathing tools are placed on your waterproof shower hooks before you leave for surgery. You might be coming home with a couple of extra drainage tubes hanging out of you. When you are strong enough to shower again, you will need to clip your drain pouches together and hang them somewhere safely in order have your arms free to scrub. Keep that in mind when you are pre-setting your bathroom.

- Keep a refreshing, alcohol-free, cooling mist within arms reach at all times. Your surgeon may actually advise you to skip showering and keep the post-mastectomy surgical dressing dry for the first few days. To stay fresh when showering is impossible, use a botanical mist with cooling anti-inflammatory properties, preferably one that balances your skin's pH and delivers light moisture. Sometimes all it takes is a blast of hydration and antioxidants, and your glow returns immediately. I have been obsessed with using botanical sprays since I was a makeup artist for Shu Uemura, a skin care brand well known for their kelp-derived Depsea Hydrating Mists. For a less expensive version, there are organic rose water or cucumber water sprays in the beauty aisle at most health food stores, and fragrance-free mineral water mists by Vichy and Evian available at Ulta and Target. I guarantee this will become a lasting part of your home beauty routine.

- If you are staying overnight in the hospital, pack light and only bring your best multi-tasking skin care. I naturally gravitate to products geared to sensitive skin, with little to no added fragrance, alcohol, sulfates, or other potential allergens that could irritate post-surgical skin. A day or two after my mastectomy, I was mobile enough to use my Burt's Bees Sensitive Skin Cleansing Wipes along with my facial mist.

- Use a Clarisonic or your favorite motorized exfoliating brush for facial cleansing during the healing process. Repetitive back-and-forth arm motions are going to be difficult for a few weeks, and may get more uncomfortable depending on how you choose to reconstruct. I've been using my exfoliating brush with my favorite cleansing oil to avoid over exerting my arm/chest muscles during reconstruction.

- Find a moisturizing dry oil spray for hard to reach dry spots. After showering and drying off, you won't have the energy left in your arms to apply lotion. Trust me.

- Don't forget that healthy skin starts inside. Feed your healing body by munching on cucumbers, carrots, almonds, avocados, and your favorite raw foods that are rich in vitamin E and Omega 3 fatty acids. Your skin is your canvas, and proper nutrition will help to heal it and keep it smooth.

- If you must spend money on products, always invest in good eye cream and a great exfoliator. I've found wonderful body washes and shampoos that are free of dyes, sulfates, and artificial fragrances (all known irritants for sensitive post-surgical skin) at my local drugstores and health food shops. When you decide to invest in pampering yourself with spa quality professional skin care, look for something that is going to give you antioxidant protection and long-term results instead of buying a 30 dollar mascara that will probably go bad before you finish the tube.

- Stock up on no-rinse hair cleansers and conditioning sprays. Reasons and techniques for breast surgery vary from person to person, but there is one common complaint. There are going to be days after your mastectomy when, although you have the energy to shower, you absolutely physically can not lift your arms above your head to wash, braid, blow dry, or style your hair. Eventually your arms and chest will be strong enough that, after you take a muscle relaxer (or two), you can get the job done. Until then, invest in a dry shampoo or no-rinse cleansing spray that is best for your hair type. It will be essential for getting through the first few weeks.

- Invest in stylish headwear. Although there are many convenient shortcuts for freshening up your hair without hurting yourself, this is also a great time to step up your accessory game and invest in some grownup hats that work well with your wardrobe. This is a crucial step after breast surgery, whether you are having chemo or not, because reaching above your head varies from extremely uncomfortable to impossible at times, depending on where you are in the healing/recon process. If you are having breast surgery as a precursor to chemotherapy, you probably already know that human hair wigs can cost hundreds of dollars. Stylish scarves and wraps are more economical in the long run. Truly fabulous hats and chic turbans can be timeless statement pieces that you will want to wear forever, long after your hair grows back and your arms regain their range of motion. You might be ready to dress your self and go back to work, but still not have the arm power to style your hair. What would Jackie Bouvier Kennedy do? What would Erykah Badu do? What would 70s Liz Taylor do? 

Arrive at your Easter Brunch, drink all the champagne, and leave a trail of glitter.

-Minimize your makeup routine to the bare bones. It's totally normal if you want to freshen up before your crew arrives to help you with household chores (because they will do that, if they are decent human beings), but please do not wear yourself out. You just had major surgery, and divas have days off, too. For an effortless polished look, try Black Opal Invisible Oil Blocking Powder. It's a drugstore cult darling among makeup artists and retails for less than ten dollars. Use it alone to blot off excess shine, or over your favorite BB/CC cream. This is not the time to waste money on luxury makeup, and this powder works just as well as some department store brands that cost 3x more. Save your money during reconstruction, because you will need every penny for your hospital bills, prescription co-pays, medical supplies, and the unexpected related expenses that may pop up.

- Remember that surgical prep instructions ask that you don't wear nail polish on your fingers or toes in the operating room. Treating yourself to a last minute spa pedicure is a relaxing way to take your mind off what's happening to you, but otherwise pointless. If time and money allow for a pre-surgical pampering spa visit, consider booking yourself for a last minute facial, waxing, or lash extensions. For a beauty treatment that last through most of your medically-induced hibernation, lash extensions will give you the most bang for your beauty bucks. Isabelle Williams is a friend of mine from my days working at Red Door in Chevy Chase, and one of the best eyelash extension specialists in the Washington DC area. Isabelle lashed me up a few days before my mastectomy. She offered me the choice of a short, more subtle lash length, but clients who are used to wearing a couple of coats of mascara on "minimal makeup" days will prefer a longer, curvier lash. I told her that I wanted to wake up with an effortless smoky eye every day, and that's exactly what I got. When I was still in the hospital feeling like "Shaq is wearing cleats and standing on my chest" (the first thing I said after waking up), my lashes were on point, honey. A few hours after surgery, I looked in the mirror, opened that surgical gown and saw my new post-mastectomy body for the first time. Maybe it was the anesthesia talking, but I said, "Damn girl...your boobs look like Hot Pockets right now and you still look incredible." When was the last time you gave yourself a Two-Syllable Damn? Were you in the hospital when it happened? Probably not. The extensions didn't damage my natural lashes because they didn't break off, but gently fell out over time. Even without making follow up maintenance appointments, my lashes still lasted me six weeks!

In case you were wondering what part of your adult life marching band was preparing you for... this is it.

- You may think you already have enough pillows, but you probably don't. Hospital bed wedges and small underarm pillows are essential for your post-mastectomy lounging comfort. Someone asked me to describe the feeling of breast reconstruction via tissue expanders, but I haven't felt anything like this since I was in high school. The sensation is almost exactly like wearing a drum harness, but under the skin. My torso was top heavy and stiff, totally immobilized in some areas, and bringing my arms together in front of my body was challenging. If you were NOT a busty teenage percussion player and can't relate, try strapping a couple of two by fours to your chest at armpit/bust level for the similar weight and stiffness, and then try washing your hands or bending over to tie your shoes. Hugging is weird. Driving is possible, but awkward. I hear that some people can sleep laying down, but I was not able to for weeks. Reclining was most difficult for me at later stages of expansion. 

- Get used to seeing a different body every time you pass a mirror. Remember when I said my post-mastectomy boob nubs looked like Hot Pockets? That probably won't last forever. The tissue expanders totally change your silhouette with each fill. As you go through the expansion process, there is no static level of comfort. That means they are doing their job. For a lot of us, breast reconstruction is going to be a series of procedures, and not a single event. Every time you go to the doctor for expansion, wear a button down shirt that you can slide in and out of easily. Don't forget to bring your best seatbelt pillows because you will definitely be sore on the way home. Along with the stretching and growing comes occasional stiffness and pain. I named my tissue expanders Bishop and Ash, after the cyborgs from the "Aliens" movies. One side functioned so naturally, sometimes it was possible to forget there was artificial technology under the flesh. The other side was Ash. I often find myself injecting humor into situations through music, so I made a motivational breast reconstruction playlist and filled it with oddly relevant Grrl Power anthems from my youth. Some times to get through the pain, I sang along with Patti Labelle, "Know where I'm goin' and I know what to doooo... Oo-oooo, oo-oooo, oooooooooooh, I GOT A NEW PAIR OF BOOBS."

- I don't care how strong, how proud, how modest, how independent, or how much of an introvert you think you are, people are going to have to help you out for a little while. Shut up, sit back, and let them, because you physically can not do this alone. My friends stepped up and took turns with my family. I had another procedure two weeks ago, and they are still coming by to keep me entertained, cook meals, bring groceries, and help me out with household chores. 

- Netflix and Pills. Rest. Rest. Rest. And rest some more. Take what your doctor gave you. Nap like you are getting paid for it. Watch Attack The Block or Mad Max for the 99th time. Work on some crafts or sewing. Write in your journal. Sit still and heal. 


Winter is usually the slowest time of year for photo shoots and weddings, so I decided to schedule my breast reconstruction hibernation period accordingly. As a freelance makeup artist, I work with my hands, on my feet all day, and depending on the location I may have to drag a 5 to 10 pound makeup kit down escalators, across grass, and/or up dozens of marble steps. All of this requires arm strength that I just don't have on some days. I keep telling myself that it could be worse. I remind myself daily that my mother worked at a preschool post-mastectomy, and attended chemotherapy on afternoon breaks while other people's toddlers were napping. Along with the BRCA mutation and my killer rack, I also inherited my insane work ethic from her. 

My agency and my fellow artists have gone above and beyond, standing by to cover gigs for me if my chest muscles weren't cooperating, and making sure that the shoots I actually got out of bed for were totally worth it. There have been days that I actually love the challenge of running around set with the sensation of bricks in my chest. I started 2016 by making a list of fascinating and inspiring people that I really wanted the chance to work with, and thanks to my booking agent, a few days later I ended up shooting with one of them. 

The Honorable Ms Lynch.

My original intention for writing this breast surgery aftercare list was to share with other folks prepping for a mastectomy, but I can imagine that anyone who has had their chest opened up and pectoral muscles moved for any reason at all is going to experience similar challenges in their grooming routine. I had the luxury of planning a double mastectomy for a few years, because of my genetic status. If you know someone who just found out that they need a mastectomy last month, last week, or yesterday, please share this post and the following links with them.

If you think that you may be at high risk for hereditary cancer, Bright Pink has information that may help you in your quest to understand genetic testing and begin early screening. My family is affected by BRCA2 cancers, and my inner circle understands that I have been in a cycle of preventative medical surveillance, surgeries, and recovery for the last ten years. Unfortunately, not everyone has access the same kind of family support system, and people around you who think "it's just a boob job" may be the very same folks that you have to lean on temporarily. Medical acronyms like BSO, HBOC, DIEP FLAP, and PBM are familiar to cancer survivors and previvors, but the rest of the world doesn't know what they mean because they don't have to. Direct your family, friends, or roommates to a web page that describes in medical terms exactly what procedure you are having done, if that's what it takes to get them to understand that you need help. Some of them will be too squeamish to finish reading it, but they need to know that mastectomies are serious surgeries with certain specific aftercare needs. My surgery and recovery was a group effort between my friends and family, and a medical team including a dermatologist, a genetic counselor, a gynecological oncologist, an occupational therapist, and a couple of plastic surgeons. My prophylactic breast surgery was not a "boob job" because the alternative for me is death, not a flat chest. 


"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

-Audre Lorde, A Burst Of Light

(Studio D Makeup) beauty supplies behind the scenes body care body image drugstore favorites hboc health makeup selfcare skin care texture refining wellness Sun, 13 Mar 2016 15:46:47 GMT
DC Wedding Inspiration for


Last summer we celebrated the SCOTUS federal marriage equality decision with a wedding shoot celebrating two real Washington DC couples. This was a collaboration between several talented DMV-area wedding vendors, brought together by Rebecca at Blue Canary Events.

Both brides are wearing Shu Uemura Cream Eyeshadow and Eye Liner. Lashes by Ardell. Foundations by Temptu. Lip colors from Aqua Rouge by Makeup Forever.

Both grooms were prepped with skin care from Embryolisse, and they were finished with Eve Pearl Concealer and Powderless Powder.

Hair by Mary Blomme, for Phillip Michael Studio Bridal. Photography by Mathy Shoots People.
The complete wedding editoral and vendor list is available on CapitolRomance.

(Studio D Makeup) bridal makeup capitol romance dc makeup artist dc weddings makeup makeup artists my work wedding makeup weddings Thu, 25 Feb 2016 00:23:05 GMT
Summer beauty  


I believe that summer beauty is all about accenting smooth, glowing skin with pops of long wearing color. The current heatwave inspired me to create some poolside looks using my favorite melt-proof party makeup.


Temptu SB on skin. Shu Uemura Cream Shadow on eyes. All lip colors by Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics.

Photography: Zoltan van Heyningen

Model: Elle (THE Artist Agency)



(Studio D Makeup) artists beauty long makeup my shot summer waterproof wearing work Wed, 22 Jul 2015 10:37:45 GMT
A day at the office.  
I recently shot with a creative team for Cosmopolitan Magazine at the offices of the United States Senate. There were a few familiar faces that I had worked with or met before, but it was an honor to meet Elizabeth Warren, Susan Collins, Heidi Heitkamp, and Kirsten Gillibrand for the first time. A couple of the senators asked me for advice on how to find a good eye shadow primer. In return the ladies gave me some pearls of wisdom that helped me make massive improvements to my speech for an upcoming Girl Scout leadership convention. (I'm hoping that by the time those teenage Girl Scouts reach voting age, some of the women I met at the Senate building will actually be on our presidential ballot. I wish!) The photos of the Senators will be published in Cosmo this spring. 
(Studio D Makeup) behind the scenes celebrity makeup my work Fri, 13 Mar 2015 08:00:00 GMT
No glow? No problem. It is the middle of winter, I just ran out of my personal foundation, and I'm not a bit upset. If the polar vortex is sucking all the life out of your skin, here are some of my suggestions to get your smoothness back. 
  • Jumpstart your immune system and brighten your skin from within by eating plenty of citrus fruit, cucumbers, and carrots. I've gotten in the habit of shredding about two cups of carrots every night. The next day they are ready to go, whether it's to blend with fruit and greens for a morning smoothie or to make a quick fuss-free salad to take along with me. Now that I'm experimenting with gluten-free baking, I'm also expanding my knowledge of carrot desserts. (Feel free to send recommendations!) I love to grow cucumbers, and when I have them in the garden they are a mainstay of my summer diet. To make up for that, I'm buying citrus fruits to use as a base for smoothies, salsa, marinades, and sauces. Fresh, canned, or frozen: even in winter, eating a diet rich in brightly colored, antioxidant-rich veggies will increase your chances of having soft and even toned skin. 
  • Juice Beauty is a beauty and skin care brand with a strong stance on organic ingredients, and pure fruit juice is one of Mother Nature's greatest exfoliators. The Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel is available in several different strengths. There is one formula for the sensitive skin client and a different one geared towards customers like me, who prefer a little tingle when they exfoliate. Use it twice a week for the best results because it encourages cell turnover, gets rid of dead skin, and it definitely brightened my dull spots. 
  • Shea butter is one of my favorite ingredients of all time, and I am a huge fan of the Shea Moisture brand of products. I am always enthusiastic about trying sulfate/fragrance/dye/allergy free brands, but every time this brand puts a new product out, they slay the competition. I just tried the Shea Moisture Olive and Green Tea Body Butter, since I tried the shower gel last year. It's creamy, but not greasy, and SO unbelievably, buttery soft. The light, herbal scent is gender-neutral (Dude approved!), and my skin stayed smooth all day. 
  • The Shea Moisture CC Cream looks effortless, feels weightless, and I'm wearing it daily. In my prior BB and CC cream experiences, formulations from other skin care brands ended up fighting on my face. The end result was often the familiar chalky grey sheen negatively associated with the SPF CC creams, tinted moisturizers, and hydrating primers some rival brands are selling to women of color for over forty dollars. This product was under 20 dollars, but the pigment and the SPF work perfectly together. Finally I can protect myself from the sun, hydrate without looking oily, and even my skin tone in one step. (I've added a serum to my evening routine because I am sleeping with a heavier moisturizer at night.) The finish is luminous, but more pearlized than shiny. I'll replace my personal foundation a couple of months from now when I run out of this.
(Studio D Makeup) body care brightening drugstore favorites exfoliation foundation foundations gluten free hyperpigmentation moisturizers paraben free phthalate free skin care texture refining vegan Fri, 20 Feb 2015 10:22:00 GMT
That time I went out to buy a media cabinet, and came home with more beauty supplies...

A good set of brushes is so essential to a good makeup application, and if you take proper care of them they can last you for a decade or longer. My favorite indestructible brushes, both from my personal stash and for professional use, were made by Bdellium Tools, Royal Langnickel, and Shu Uemura. Obviously, I have invested a great chunk of money into making sure that I have the proper brush for every job, so I am meticulous about their care. Bad things happen when excess moisture stays in the brush. At best, it can get in the ferrule, weaken the glue, the hairs begin to shed, and your 65 dollar brush is now just a stick. What's the worst that can happen? The combination of excess moisture, haphazard cleaning, and improper drying or storage can lead to spreading of germs and bacteria to yourself or your clients.
I clean each brush individually, disinfect it, squeeze out the excess moisture, and lay them flat to dry. My Inreda Makeup Brush Drying Mat (because that's what it is) is 3/4" deep, which elevates my tools away from whatever hidden bacteria may be lurking on surfaces, allows for air to completely circulate around and through the bristles, and gets the brushes dry faster. Do you feel the need to sanitize your fancy new drying surface? Spray it down with alcohol or pop it in the dishwasher.
The Inreda DVD rack costs seven dollars in the media storage area of Ikea, so I bought two when I thought that I would use them to organize video games and DVDs. Laid out side by side, the two mats can evenly dry about 100 brushes at one time.
(Studio D Makeup) beauty supplies brushes DIY makeup artist makeup brushes Thu, 04 Dec 2014 12:21:00 GMT
Effaclar Serum is effective and the price is right.
I am officially obsessed with Effaclar Serum from La Roche-Posay. The miracle serum is engineered to help normal-to-oily skin types address and combat signs of environmental damage and aging. It can be used daily with sunscreen and/or nightly under moisturizer. Since I started using it nightly I have seen a dramatic difference in the texture of my skin. Pores around my nose appear smaller, and they no longer swallow up my makeup and primer when I wear foundation. I have oily/combination skin, and this serum has lessened the texture of both dry patches AND the acne scars. My skin is not only smooth (literally, like butta), but much brighter and more even-toned. I love this product and cannot say enough good things about it.
I have noted here in my blog before that I am extremely sun-sensitive, and usually steer clear of using deep exfolating methods in the summer. Follow the directions on the bottle (with any type of AHA or glycolic serum) to avoid getting a sunburn. Effaclar contains a 7.5% AHA-Glycolic Complex, which is strong enough to get the job done, but hasn't left my skin irritated. It tingles just enough to let you know that it is working.
The best part of it all is the price. I have paid upwards of 150 dollars for similar products and not seen these kind of results. Effeclar is costs a little more than 40 dollars, and available at CVS or Ulta. When I factor in the coupon that I used to get the serum, I am amazed that it is possible to get spa-like results from a product I paid 25 bucks for at a drugstore.
(Studio D Makeup) anti-aging brightening drugstore favorites exfoliation fragrance free hyperpigmentation paraben free serums skin care texture refining Thu, 14 Aug 2014 10:55:00 GMT
No, I don't need to see a link to your Pinterest page.
Now that bridal season is in full swing, I'm just about fully booked, and things are going well! However, I have noticed a disturbing uptick in one particular bridal trend that needs to end now: 2014 is the year of The Obsessive Pinterest Bride.
I am a freelancer, and consider every job as an audition for the next. One angry bride with internet access can ruin my whole season, so my ultimate goal is to give each and every one of them an outstanding experience, from first contact to the final follow up. I have been working with brides for a decade, and I have never seen a planning tool that is more confusing and destructive to the creative process. Beautiful women contact me, and say in their initial emails "I don't wear very much makeup, so I'd like to look natural. Do you mind if I send you a link to my Pinterest page?" ...And then they send me a link to 200 photos of women wearing full coverage foundation, highlight and contour, black winged eyeliner, layered lashes, and opaque matte lipstick. Yes, it is beautiful makeup, but it is as far from natural as a makeup artist can get. I would never use that much makeup on a person who is not on stage, period. 
The majority of the Pinterest photos I see were staged on-set by a team of professionals, who need it to look good for only an hour or however long it takes for the photographer to get the shot. The makeup artist and hairstylist are standing just out of the frame, ready to run in and powder a nose or slick down any stray hairs. Many of these looks weren't designed to hold up for hours (after sweat and tears, or an entire wedding/reception/after party), but to be photographed quickly and then changed to another look. Unless you are paying me to follow you down the aisle with my set bag, to stay all day and all night ready to touch up your makeup at any second, chances are I'm going to use a different batch of products than what would be used for a quick photo.

Clients need to remember that some of these women in the pictures are not actual brides on their wedding day, but MODELS working on a bridal shoot. I frequently point this fact out to clients because it is part of a model's job to take care of their skin, whether that means getting regular facials or just having a fantastic home skin care regimen. Please, do not expect that on your wedding day or at your bridal trial your makeup artist is going to swoop in like a magical fairy and give you perfectly flawless skin. If you haven't been doing the prep work by drinking tons of water and using quality skin care products, then my work is only going to be as smooth as the canvas that you have given me to paint on. 

I have never done a bridal or formalwear photoshoot where the hair stylist didn't bring a suitcase full of extra hair. Let me repeat that again: I have NEVER done a bridal or formalwear photoshoot that didn't require the hair stylist to bring a suitcase full of extra hair. However, I have seen engaged women share page after page of Pinterest images with hairstylists and expect to get the exact same extreme multi-tiered voluminous updos. Unless you are showing up to your bridal trial with at least two extra bundles of hair, the hairstylist has to work with what grows out of your head. Some brides realize this, order hair extensions weeks before the wedding, and have them dyed to match. A lot of Pinterest brides see a photo, fall in love with a look that is impossible for the average human to achieve, and have very unrealistic expectations based off that photo. 

These photos have also been professionally retouched. I will admit that sometimes it takes a highly trained eye to know how much a photo has been digitally manipulated "in post" (that's industry talk for adding filters and effects). Here's a clue: when the model or bride in the photo has a face that is blurred completely poreless and devoid of natural moles, freckles, or vellum hairs ("peach fuzz"), that is probably NOT a good inspiration photo to show your wedding day makeup artist. 

It's not just the wedding vendors who are feeling Pinterest pains. Sometimes I feel the most sympathy for my friends who work as tattoo artists. It seems that people don't put much thought into the placement or color choices of their permanent artwork. We work in a visual industry, so I definitely do not want you posting online and telling your friends I did that work on you if it doesn't represent my best quality work! At the end of the day, if one of my customers chooses bad makeup, at least they can wash it off. I can't imagine having to recreate poorly placed, horribly colored, permanent artwork on someone who can then walk around sullying my professional reputation for the rest of my life! ("Dude, check out my bitchin tat! D did it.") 

If a seasoned artist is trying to talk you, the client, out of something, you should definitely listen to their suggestions and their reasons why. It's up to us as visually creative professionals (especially hair stylists, tattoo artists, and makeup artists) to be responsible and explain that might not be the best look for your hair type, skin tone, or face shape. It is up to you, the client, to research the person who is working on you, pick the right professional for the job, and LISTEN during the consultation. I don't arrive for my annual appointment armed with a binder full of photos of random smiling people, and then proceed to tell the dentist how my teeth should look when they are done and what to use to clean them. 

Here are a few tips that will make almost any type of potential client have a successful consultation: 

Ask open ended questions. If you are going to send an artist a picture of a person who looks absolutely nothing like you, be up front with the artist about what elements of the photo catch your eye. (Statements like "I like the glow on her skin" and "I like the placement of her eyeliner" tell me a LOT about what to do on a person.) If you, the client, bring us a photo and just say "I like her tattoo/hairstyle/makeup" be prepared to hear that you may not get that EXACT look, but we can design something similar that is more suited to your individual needs! Tell us what you like about the look, and we can try our best to bring those specific elements into your look. We aren't trying to be difficult by not giving you the exact result from the photo. We are doing our best trying to give good customer service as artists, because our name and professional reputation is on the line too. 

Be honest. Tell your stylists what they are getting in to, so they know exactly what your needs are. In 2007, while I was busy planning my wedding and attempting to recreate a Harlem Renaissance era jazz club vibe in a Chicago park, I was experiencing major hair thinning because of medical treatments. I told my friend and hairstylist, Charles Campbell of Kiva Salon in downtown Chicago, exactly what meds I was on, and he correctly assessed that I would probably be losing even more hair in the weeks before the wedding. Then he gave me the sexiest wash-and-go pixie cut since that scene in "Friday" when Debbie slow-mo jogged up the street and waved at Craig. (Apparently all those magazines that say "guys prefer ladies with long hair" didn't ask any guys who were teenagers in the 90s.) When The Dude saw my hair, he loved it and said I looked like Nia Long. SCORE!! I also told the vendor who created my birdcage veil that there wasn't going to be much hair left to grab on to, and she adjusted the comb accordingly. If I had been unrealistic in my expectations, I would have insisted on keeping the length, and adding extensions into thin, brittle, medically-damaged hair because I had to create that picture-perfect vintage late 30's hairstyle in all the pictures in my bridal binder. We aren't trying to get in your business, but your medications and hormonal treatments will affect hair and skin texture. It is best that you honestly tell your wedding glam squad these things, so they can plan for you accordingly.

Be flexible and open minded. Just because you haven't heard of some of the brands I'm using doesn't mean they are no good. When you limit your stylist to using the products that you requested, you are shutting down the opportunity for them to do their best work with the professional materials they are accustomed to using. Sure, you may think your department store foundation is great for daily wear, but you are a teacher/lawyer/accountant who doesn't get their picture taken on a regular basis. I'm sure that I haven't heard of some of the things you regularly use at your daily job either, but I'm not going to challenge your expertise on the matter. When you go to any type of stylist and say things like, "I know my texture is fine and straight, but would like to try adding curl to my hair, if possible" or "I would like to try a bright lip but haven't found the right red yet" or "I usually hate my legs but I have been working out and I might be ready to show them off now" you give stylists the power to find the colors and shapes that work best ON YOU, instead of making us feel pressured to recreate an exact look from a photo. 

I'm not saying that you should delete your Pinterest page and scrap all of your ideas. What I am saying is that you should look with a more critical eye and decide what it is about these styles that appeal to you, before you get your heart and head set on the impossible. 
Remember these tips, and good luck planning your wedding!
...and we lived happily ever after, because I trusted a professional to do their job!

(Studio D Makeup) behind the scenes body image bridal makeup makeup artists Sun, 03 Aug 2014 13:03:00 GMT
'Get On Up' movie hits theaters today.

I recently groomed "Get On Up" director Tate Taylor during the DC segment of the film's promotional press tour. "Get On Up" is the highly anticipated feature film biography of James Brown, played by Chadwick Boseman. Grooming for Chadwick was done by the fabulous and talented Saisha Beecham. 
Although he is not a DC native, Chadwick studied performing arts at Howard University and still has ties to the area. At the end of our two days together, the most exciting moment for me was going to the offices of the Smithsonian Museum of African American History (opening in 2016), where the museum staff brought out their collection of James Brown's personal artifacts for a private showing. I touched his shoes, and the old dance nerd in me felt just a wee bit more funky that day. "Get On Up" debuts in movie theatres on August 1, 2014.

'Get On Up' - Let's Talk Live |
(Studio D Makeup) behind the scenes celebrity grooming men my work Fri, 01 Aug 2014 18:39:00 GMT
Bombshell Shineshadows: shimmering smoky eyes at a great price! This Spring, my friends at CoverGirl sent me one of their newest product lines, The Bombshell Collection. After having a few weeks to try and test it all, I've made space to add the most outstanding performers to both my personal and professional kits. I was most impressed with the quality of the Bombshell Shineshadow. Cosmetic junkies and makeup artists both commonly complain that high priced "pro" brands may be able to make a decent long-wearing cream shadow that photographs well, but many of them dry up into sparkly dust shortly after the first usage. These metallic cream shadows are packaged in a squeezable tube! I have been using them for two months now, and they still have the same smooth texture that they did when I first opened them. The shadow's finish when worn alone is a metallic shimmer, but I also like to smoke out the look by smudging a darker matte shadow on top of it. 
Copper Fling Bombshell Shineshadow has been my summer go-to neutral. I road tested it myself while attending an outdoor art festival on a HOT day. One drop of primer under this shadow, and it did not crease during 12 hours of dancing and sweating in the July heat. Some of the luxury or department store brand crease-resistant cream eye shadows can cost upwards of 25 dollars. (That's a lot of money for a product that I may or may not get through before it completely dries up.) For that same cost you can go to the corner drug store and get four of these. The price can not be beat! CoverGirl Bombshell Shineshadows are about 6 bucks at Target and CVS, so there is no guilt in purchasing a handful of them.
(Studio D Makeup) drugstore favorites eye makeup eye shadow eyes makeup shimmer summer Fri, 01 Aug 2014 15:58:00 GMT
CC primer works hard in the heat.

Tarte Colored Clay CC Primer does everything the label promises. It conceals. It corrects. It absorbs all the oil under my makeup, and kept my "t zone" matte all day in steamy mid-Atlantic heat. Color correction has been a trade secret of many makeup artists, and the cause of confusion for thousands of makeup consumers. Clients often ask me why I use these brightly colored creams under their foundation. The green is for neutralizing redness and the purple is for brightening dark areas, but if you are new to trying these techniques, it can be difficult to know where to put it and how much to use. Tarte's primer has the color correction stripes built right into the stick. This helps to eliminate the guesswork when you are attempting to even out your skin tone. Play with it a little bit until you customize your perfect blend. Some parts of my face need less green correction, so I only apply as needed. 
It is brilliantly packaged in a solid roll up tube, like a thicker lipstick. You can swirl the primer stick directly on your face, but I chose to apply it with a small foundation brush. With five shades ranging from fair to deep, there should be a match for almost everyone. I tried the CC primer in tan, and it matches my skin well enough that I can wear it under a sheer powder or tinted moisturizer to minimize large pores and shine on my "no makeup" (yeah, right) days. 
In this case "CC" also stands for colored clay, which is a key ingredient in the most recent collections from the Tarte brand. Clay has been used in skin care treatments for its antioxidant and oil absorbing properties since the dawn of civilization, so this mineral rich foundation primer is actually pampering my face under my makeup.

I usually will go for a sheer tinted moisturizer instead of foundation on steamy summer days, but I have experimented with Tarte's CC Primer under both liquid and powder medium-coverage foundations over the last few weeks. Hyper pigmented areas of my face were brightened by the primer before I even applied foundation. My face was smooth and matte all day at work, after happy hour, and on the weekend, well in to the wee hours of the morning. It felt wonderful to remove my makeup at the end of a long sweaty work day and not see any blocked pores. This primer is vegan, and the entire range of Tarte's products are cruelty-free. I especially recommend this for the oily or breakout prone who might not like the feel of dimethicone- or silicone-based gels or lotion primers. Mine came from Ulta, but you can also find it online at You get a lot of bang for your buck, because it retails for 34.00 and a little bit of this product goes a long way when applied with a brush or sponge. I have not used it in my work kit or on clients and I'm not advising this for use in a professional setting, but this primer has definitely earned a space in my personal kit.
(Studio D Makeup) brightening clay color correction cruelty free foundation foundation primer gluten free oily skin paraben free phthalate free primer skin care summer texture refining vegan Mon, 07 Jul 2014 08:19:00 GMT
Follow me on Instagram...
Entrenched among the snapshots of makeup and skin care products that I love, you will find the occasional photo of me and The Dude gardening, record shopping, or just being generally awesome.
(Of course, my dog already knows that he is more handsome than any dog you have ever seen, but he loves getting "likes" on his photos, too.)
(Studio D Makeup) behind the scenes makeup makeup artist makeup artists my work photos skin care Sun, 06 Jul 2014 09:43:00 GMT
Smoothing serum for post-surgical scars
Seven percent of breast cancer diagnoses are in people that have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, but 90% of people who have the mutation don't know it. I am in that group of people who chose preventative surgery in order to avoid cancer. At first I scoffed at being called a Previvor, but I know there are many women in my family and around the world who would have loved to have the chance to have that title. 
In the last couple of months, I have been using Scar Healing Therapy by Kinerase on my incisions in the morning and at night before bedtime. It has a lightweight gel texture that absorbs into the skin immediately, so it can also be used on the face under makeup! The 48 dollar price tag may seem a bit steep compared to drugstore scar remedies, but Kinerase is made by Valeant Pharmaceauticals, and therefore has more advanced ingredients that actually WORK.
This product is NOT a replacement for antibacterial ointments (like Neosporin), so wait until your wounds are no longer open to begin using it. After they have healed and the stitches are on the scabby side, you can begin using Scar Healing Therapy. Eventually the scars begin to return to your natural skin color, and the raised texture becomes noticeably smoother. As my doctor told me, you'll be back on the beach looking stunning in a bikini again very soon!
(Studio D Makeup) body care body image fragrance free scars serums skin care texture refining Wed, 02 Oct 2013 11:59:00 GMT
"Back To Cool"

Last June, I was lucky enough to spend a day with a really, really ridiculously good-looking crew of kids, while working with a very talented team from the Baltimore area. The end result is "Back To Cool" - a children's fall fashion editorial inspired by a long day at the office. Shooting with these kids was awesome. They had a long day of work with no naps, and stayed totally professional on location!
I am sure you are wondering, what does a makeup artist do with kids who already have dewy skin and perfect complexions? We shot these photos in the dead of summer, and this was a bunch of basketball-playing, horseback-riding, rope-jumping, ACTIVE children. Active kids get sunburn, mosquito bites, scrapes, bruises, and boo-boos. I used Cinema Secrets concealer on all of the above. I used Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream to soften flaky skin and add a healthy sheen to dry areas. The little ladies on the set all seemed to really enjoy the lip gloss I chose for that day. Urban Decay Lip Love (in Drizzle) is a honey-infused lip therapy that is cruelty-free and vegan. I've been told that it is also quite delicious.
This editorial was printed in Maryland Family Magazine and you can see it online on Check it out, if you can handle the cute. Here I am behind the scenes, reapplying sweet tasty lipgloss to my gorgeous model, Hayden, for the 90th time. Rough day at the office... (Not at all!)
(Studio D Makeup) behind the scenes body care concealer cruelty free lip gloss lips makeup artists my work photos skin care vegan Tue, 13 Aug 2013 09:00:00 GMT
ultra hydrating body wash does indeed exist

This body wash contains certified organic olive oil and shea butter, so it is loaded with vitamin E and fatty acids that soothe and hydrate my dry winter skin. The green tea extract adds a light pleasing scent and antioxidant protection. I love that Shea Moisture products are cruelty-free and none of them contain sulfates, synthetic color, or synthetic fragrance.

I'm digging the light scent and the hydrating bubble action.
(Studio D Makeup) anti-aging antioxidants body care cleansing cruelty free gluten free men normal to dry skin organic paraben free phthalate free skin care Thu, 04 Apr 2013 11:21:00 GMT
Beauty, Blood, and Beards

Happy Valentine's Day!

It's been a long while since I've written. My hands have been preoccupied over the last few months. 2012 was an intense year. When I wasn't working, I was still working. I studied techniques and read about skin care in my free time. Sometimes I woke up thinking about makeup and fell asleep thinking about makeup. I took some time off work and did the Production Makeup Program at Cosmix School of Makeup Artistry in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Other students in the program came from all walks of life, all over the country, and as far away as Nigeria and Brazil. Some of us had years of salon experience and others were fresh out of high school. Most of our days were spent doing hands-on work, but there were quite a few moments of traditional "school" time. It has been over a decade since college for me, but I actually enjoyed getting back into the swing of daily homework and writing papers. (Ironically, I was able to justify bringing along my xBox as a means of communication with the outside world.) The Dude came to visit me for my birthday weekend in September, but I was away from the comforts of my home and family for 15 long weeks. The experience I had at Cosmix was worth every second. I gained so much confidence and learned from some incredible people currently working in the industry. In addition to being talented hands-on artists, the teachers had also been active in parallel aspects of the industry. One has years of film experience and is also a voting member of the Academy, another worked for years representing artists in a talent agency, and another runs a company that produces ready-to-wear sculpted foam prosthetics. They brought more than just technical makeup knowledge to class, and there were some days when listening to their life stories and work experiences gave me all the lessons that I needed.

The first month of class was like a beauty boot camp, and brought artists of all levels back to the basics. Color theory and facial geometry are the essential building blocks of all makeup artistry, and I really appreciated the opportunity to have a refresher course on those subjects from veteran artists and amazing teachers. As the program progressed, our curriculum included replicating looks from many decades and studying the cultural shifts that changed fashion and beauty over the course of time.
My anxiety began to kick in midway through the program, as we were beginning to work on skills that I did not feel comfortable with yet. I eventually conquered my aversion to styling hair. Personally, I keep my own hair short, and my photo shoot hairstyling repertoire used to consist of two styles: high ponytail and low ponytail. I am rarely put in situations where I have to do anything more than that, so I am extremely thankful to have spent some time learning more hair styles. After weeks of timed hair and makeup drills, I saw a dramatic improvement in my speed and accuracy.

Car crash head trauma and my first broken nose.

My career so far has been focused on clean beauty makeup for print photography and formal events, but I have always held an interest in doing makeup for film and television. When I was a little kid in the 1980s, the first makeup artist who I knew by name was Rick Baker. He permanently resides in the Holy Trinity of Childhood Heroes alongside Miss Piggy and my Mom. I was thrilled to have the chance to create and apply prosthetic makeup. Bald cap application, hand-laying of beards and mustaches, and head casting were all part of our curriculum. I also discovered that I am actually pretty good at making bullet holes. Each night after I left class I took a shower immediately, but still managed to have plaster or some type of adhesive stuck to my body somewhere. I didn't even care. My whole mission in life became to get as messy as possible. My only regret is that it ended so soon. I could have done FX and injury work for another month with no complaints.

So, I've been home for a little over a month and just found a huge chunk of plaster stuck to the underside of my makeup kit. It made me miss my new friends in Florida. This entire experience has rekindled the fire in my soul and has made me even hungrier. Learning new techniques and expanding my skill set is always an on-going process for me, and I am definitely a much more well-rounded artist than I was at this time last year. My family is SO awesome, and they were extremely supportive while I was so far away. I also have to thank Michael Devellis, James Vincent, and The Powder Group for selecting me to receive the Kelly Gleason Scholarship for Makeup Arts. Without them, none of this magic would have happened.
Some say that beauty makeup artists and special effects artists are two completely different types of people, but I think it is entirely possible to be a Jill Of All Trades who loves doing it all. That is my ultimate goal.


Sher demonstrates her version of the smoky eye.
Nadine shows how to sculpt a face with contour.
Sher Salzman called my work "Flawless" - I cried.
I look ruggedly handsome with a beard, right?
FX guru Andy Wright taught us proper head casting.
My roommate: a plaster head for sculpting my makeup mold.
(Studio D Makeup) Thu, 14 Feb 2013 08:32:00 GMT
Warhol portraits came to life on the runway in London Ladies on the runway wore bizarre combinations including green skin, blue eye shadow, and bright pink lips alongside pastel hair designed by Mark Hampton. Some of the models wigs were designed in the style of Debbie Harry, and others were in the trademark flipped bob of Queen Elizabeth, but all of them had bright and unexpected colors streaked through. The end result was that all of the models looked as if they had stepped out of a painting in a modern art museum.
The whimsical makeup and hair was balanced out by a wearable vast collection, with silhouettes that could flatter every woman. I'm in love with both the navy blue wrap dress and the white dress with the assymmetrical top. Shown with accents like metallic boots, floral hats, and opera length gloves, Ms. Westwood's collection brought the styles of the 1960s back in a big way. Have you ever wondered what Mary Tyler Moore (as Laura Petrie) and FLOTUS Jackie Kennedy would dress like if they went to a Lunachicks show at CBGB? I'm pretty sure this is it.
You can watch the show here.
(Studio D Makeup) makeup artists on the runway Sun, 23 Sep 2012 18:35:00 GMT
makeup companies making big promises... again coming under fire for making claims that their skin care products have drug-like magical potency to magically erase the signs of aging and turn back the hands of time.
I have learned not to expect miracles from skin care products made by cosmetic companies. They may be wonderfully effective for some people, but they aren't guaranteed to give the same results to everyone. 
Products that are used in professional medi-spas by aestheticians, spa technicians, dermatologists, and plastic surgeons may come with a higher price tag sometimes, but that is not always the case. Some of them run in the same price point or less than a luxury brand product carried in a department store.  Usually, when they are more costly, the reason for that is the science and research that goes into making the product. Another reason for that is the quality of the ingredients. In my personal opinion it is worth the extra pennies to buy a product that is better suited to my needs. 
Remember that cosmetic companies in the U.S. are not government regulated. Makeup brands are coming out with serums and creams that cost upwards of a hundred dollars an ounce, and some of them have little to no proof that they actually do what the fancy packaging claims that they do. Skin care gets FDA tested and approved when it has been created by a pharmaceutical company or is made for use in a medical setting. In those instances, the companies will sometimes advertise using actual case study photographs that document the effectiveness of the product over time. Personally, I am going to trust that eye cream a lot more than the one advertised with a retouched photo of a 22 year old model who has been worked on by professional makeup artist.
Another thing I hear from clients is, "Well, my mother used XYZ-department-store-brand for 30 years and that is what I am going to use too." Science and technology is ever evolving. There are new advances made in chemistry everyday, and the skin care industry changes to reflect that. They find ways to make ingredients more effective, and they find that certain ingredients are obsolete. Remember back in the day when Pluto was still a planet? I guess "My Very Eager Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas" has become "My Very Eager Mother Just Served Us Nachos" now. I am not driving the same car I was driving ten years ago. I am not watching the same television I was watching ten years ago. I do not watch VHS tapes or play Sega Genesis anymore, so it only makes sense that I would certainly change my skin care every few years, too. 
Remember that your skin is your biggest organ, and you need to treat it as such. I am not knocking all department store and drugstore brands because there are some wonderful products out there, but you have to be cautious as a consumer. If you have special concerns it is best to get your mascara from a makeup company, and your skin care from somewhere else.
(Studio D Makeup) anti-aging beauty supplies body care body image makeup skin care skin in advertising Sun, 23 Sep 2012 08:42:00 GMT
LOOK at Walgreens Walgreens, the iconic American drugstore, has been everyone's favorite neighborhood pharmacy for over 100 years. Since acquiring the Duane Reade beauty chain in 2010, they have tried to elevate the common drugstore experience to rival what shoppers get from a department store. LOOK Boutiques have been introduced in Walgreens key urban markets such as Chicago and Las Vegas. In certain locations they also serve wine and sushi. This week I visited a nearby location in northwest Washington DC.
The first floor is the familiar drugstore setting with traditional soda coolers against the wall, rows upon rows of magazines, and 2 tons of candy for sale. As soon as you take the escalator second level, the store opens up into a bright and immaculate room with high ceilings and enormous windows. Anyone who has ever been in the cosmetics area at a department store knows that they are notorious for crappy flourescent lighting. The LOOK Boutique is filled with glorious sunshine, and natural light is any retail makeup artist's best friend. The makeup stations are cleaner than some I have seen in local spas. Most makeup boutiques in malls usually cram insane amounts of products into tiny claustrophobic spaces (Sephora, I am looking at you), but this store is extremely spacious and actually pleasant to navigate.
LOOK carries some of the same brands found in spas and used by professionals in the beauty industry. I was happy to see the cult-favorite Becca Cosmetics and powerhouse pharmaceutical skin care from Kinerase. Nail polish snobs can find OPI and Essie, the same brands used in professional nail salons everywhere. A display island in the middle of the sales floor showed an impressive selection of brushes and application tools. I also saw plenty of premium hair care products and fragrances that you would normally find in a nice department store.
Ana is the supervisor, and she leads a team of friendly makeup and skin care experts. The staff members all greeted me with the same courtesy and professionalism that shoppers expect to receive from a luxury-brand department store. They aren't just there to restock cotton balls and ring up your cheap mascara. These ladies give great customer service, are extremely product savvy, and have years of experience in the beauty industry. LOOK Boutique is definitely going to be a huge success in Washington DC.
Kinerase? In Walgreens??? Yes!
(Studio D Makeup) beauty supplies body care drugstore favorites shopping Wed, 29 Aug 2012 06:00:00 GMT
cleansing oil: pay luxe or pay less? For a while I was addicted to the legendary Shu Uemura's Cleansing Oil. My oily/combo skin always felt completely soft and squeaky clean after using it. The best part about it is how fast the cleansing oil melts off waterproof makeup, and even breaks down lash glue. However, Shu Uemura is no longer in stores and only available for sale online in North America. Sometimes I don't want to wait for shipping and I need my product now.

I have heard good things about Boscia's MakeUp-BreakUp Cool Cleansing Oil and I decided recently to give it a try. Even the toughest mascaras come off with very little rubbing around the eye, so there isn't an issue with excess manipulation stressing out that sensitive skin. After cleansing my face feels clean, smooth, and hydrated. My biggest pet peeve about this product is the smell. Some people say they like the slightly minty scent. Personally it reminds me of mentholyptus cough drops, but I'm not much of a mint lover (except for mojitos and Girl Scout cookies) anyway. Boscia puts out a good cleansing oil at a great cost, but I do miss the radiance that my skin had after using the Shu Uemura oil. Their formulas are always going to be pricey, but the added benefits are worth the cost if you have certain skin concerns.

I will probably buy MakeUp-BreakUp again, just because it is easily accessible at Sephora and Ulta stores for 26 dollars. However, if I have to choose between the two cleansing oils, I honestly don't mind throwing down the 77 dollars for Shu Uemura's Advanced Formula Cleansing Oil. It is absolutely worth every penny, and a little bit goes a long way. In my opinion, the legendary formula's skin brightening benefits and strong antioxidant properties gave me results that can not be duplicated.

The minty makeup melter will do in a pinch.
(Studio D Makeup) cleansing eye makeup makeup removal oily skin Tue, 24 Jul 2012 08:54:00 GMT
My work with Flashes Of Hope at Johns Hopkins I did Jada's makeup. The clowns did their own.
One of the best parts of my job is making every client I touch walk away happy, no matter what the gig is. This summer, I became a volunteer with Flashes of Hope.

Flashes of Hope volunteers work together with children's hospitals all over the country to bring the family portrait experience to sick kids and their parents. After spending quite a bit of time in hospitals with my own sick family members, I understand the crucial link between looking good and feeling good.

As a makeup artist working with tweens, it is absolutely critical to have plenty of sparkly lip gloss. I made double sure to stock my kit that morning with various combinations of pink, purple, and glittery stuff. Leslie, my contact at the charity, said "meet me by the giant ostrich" when I spoke to her on the phone. (If you haven't seen the new children's hospital at Johns Hopkins in downtown Baltimore, the enormous ostrich is one of many bright and cheery new contemporary art pieces that add to the charm of the facility.) The hospital designated a room as a mini photo studio for us, and that is where I set up my makeup table and chair. Soon after we were ready, familes began trickling in for their photos. Eventually we were even joined by a couple of wisecracking hospital clowns. It is amazing what a little concealer and a lot of eye cream can do to refresh an exhausted mom who has been sleeping sitting in a chair next to her child's hospital bed for the last few weeks. I am so thankful that I get to be a catalyst in making someone's day, month, or year better.

I have to say a very special thanks to my friend/mentor Kim Reyes for hooking me up with Flashes of Hope and for just being generally awesome!

Ron Mott profiled Flashes of Hope recently on the NBC Nightly News. Watch this video. Get involved!
(Studio D Makeup) my work Sun, 22 Jul 2012 10:22:00 GMT
Spring Color Story

Here is a spring fashion story that I did with photographer Marge Ely of the Washington Post. Symone is wearing Face Atelier foundation, Kryolan eye shadows, and Makeup For Ever lip color. You can see the entire article here.
(Studio D Makeup) my work Thu, 22 Mar 2012 10:16:00 GMT
Project Runway All Stars!! A great face and a fierce walk to match.Hello, fashion lovers... Project Runway is back! This is the all star season, where fan favorites from previous years return to compete against each other for the biggest pize package in the history of the show. Keep an eye on this familiar face, Tatjana, as she models for Anthony Williams. I loved his style during his season 7 appearance on the show. I was also a huge fan of Seth Aaron's designs, and he truly deserved to win the top prize that year. I'm glad to see that Anthony is back for a second chance and I'm sure he will go far in this competition, especially with such a talented model wearing his designs. Tatjana is the only model from last season who got booked to return to Project Runway again! The competition is going to be tough (Mondo is back!!) but I'm looking forward to watching all of the drama unfold.

Thanks to Face/Off (syfy), Drag Race (Logo), and the return of Absolutely Fabulous (BBC) I'm getting my makeup and fashion fixes on an almost daily basis.
I honestly wanted to throw the television out of the window after seeing my favorite NFL team get eliminated from the playoffs. Now my dvr is working overtime and I am in TV heaven.

photographer: Tony Veloz
beauty: me
(Studio D Makeup) my work on the runway television Thu, 19 Jan 2012 11:39:00 GMT
Ahava is saving my winter skin Ahava Dry Oil Mist has been my savior for the spots that I cannot reach. Have you ever tried to lotion your own back? Unless you are an octopus or have freakishly long arms, it's much easier to just point this bottle and spray.
Ahava products almost always contain dead sea salts and algae as key ingredients for their powerful antioxidant properties. The Dry Oil Mist is loaded with these antioxidants and vitamin E to strengthen the skin against free radicals, moisture loss, and premature aging. I really like the mandarin and cedar oil fragrance (The Dude thinks it smells great too), but it is very soft and not overpowering. I actually wish the scent lasted a bit longer throughout the day, but my skin still feels soft long after the scent has faded.
I originally bought the mist to combat the dry skin on my back and shoulders, and now I'm finding new uses for it. After shaving and exfoliating my legs, I apply shea butter and spray the oil over that. The two moisturizers work synergistically to lock in hydration without leaving an oily residue on my legs. This spray is well worth the 38 dollar price tag, and I will definitely be recommending this to friends and family. You can find it at Ulta stores or order online from the Ahava website.
(Studio D Makeup) anti-aging antioxidants body care moisturizers normal to dry skin skin care Fri, 13 Jan 2012 09:20:00 GMT
something new Chill out... it's totally faux.Jenna is up-and-coming, and has a great future in modeling ahead of her. She's also FULL of energy and extremely funny, which is awesome.

Some people will say models shouldn't talk, but I like it when I'm working with a model and have to say, "Girl, sit still and quit making me laugh."

This was my last shoot of 2011, so I'm glad the year ended on an extremely high note!

photographer: Luis Aragon
hair/makeup: me
(Studio D Makeup) my work Wed, 04 Jan 2012 14:14:00 GMT
New Year, New Adventures
I began last year with a handful of goals, and surpassed them beyond my wildest dreams.
New clients came my way. I worked with some fantastic photographers and talented models. I finally decided to fully embrace social media (except Tumblr - still working on that one), and while doing so, made contact with some amazing creative professionals from all over the world.
The metaphorical "cherry on top" of 2011 came in November, when I was selected by The Powder Group as the recipient of the Kelly Gleason Scholarship For Makeup Arts. Almost two months have passed and I'm still over the moon. Reality is setting in, and now I also realize that I have to leave my family, my dog, and my memory foam mattress behind. It is absolutely worth it, because I know that I have a once in a lifetime chance to exponentially increase my knowledge of this craft that I love so much.

Right now I feel like the sky is the limit. In 2012 I will improve my self and my skills, and I promise to pay it forward!
Whatever your plans are for this year, I wish you all success.
(Studio D Makeup) Wed, 04 Jan 2012 14:13:00 GMT
my #makeupmonday list, Part One do like Twitter. In fact, I kind of love it. Twitter contains a wealth of information if you are someone who works in (or aspires to be in) the world of hair, makeup, and fashion. My Twitter feed is full of makeup artists and fashion writers from around the world. Online boutiques that specialize in supplying skin care and makeup professionals also have major presence in social media. Some of them feature product giveaways or special discounts that I would have completely missed out on if I weren't reading their tweets.

I'm going to be compiling a list of my personal favorite Tweeters over the next few weeks. Here are a few accounts that all my fellow beauty junkies and slaves to the industry should be following:

The Supplies
Many of the premium quality professional brands are using Twitter. Skin care companies have announced new products via Twitter, so it can be a useful tool when trying to find that perfect potion for your kit.
  • @MakeupForeverUS 
  • @NARSissist
  • @CoverFX
  • @FaceAtelier
  • @OCCmakeup
  • @Temptu
  • @Sigma_Beauty
  • @RoyalLangnickel
  • @BeautyBlender
skin care
  • @KateSomerville
  • @Skinceuticals
  • @CRCmakeup
  • @CinemaSecrets

The Teachers
There are educational opportunities available for professionals working in all aspects of the beauty industry. Seminars, workshops, and trade shows happen year-round on all corners of the planet, and you can learn more about them by closely watching the following tweets. Also look for words of advice and inspiration from these award-winning artists and educators with years of experience.

  • @TheArtistLabs
  • @ThePowderGroup
  • @ElevateArtists

beauty gurus
  • @JVincentMakeup
  • @KJBennettBeauty
  • @JenJamesBeauty

trade shows
  • @ABSupdates
  • @TheMakeupShow

Stay tuned, because I will be adding more to the list periodically over the next few weeks. Feel free to make suggestions!
(Studio D Makeup) Mon, 05 Dec 2011 12:36:00 GMT
a quote for today... "If you don't wear lipstick, I can't talk to you."
- Isabella Blow
(Studio D Makeup) lips quotes Fri, 04 Nov 2011 10:05:00 GMT