Product Review: NARS Light Reflecting Loose Setting Powder

If you're obsessed with finding the right combination of products to give you that buttery smooth looking complexion, then one of the products that you've probably tried, or at least, looked into, have been a litany of setting powders.  I personally prefer using loose powders to set the complexion, and for most of us, the perfect loose setting powder is one that locks creams and liquids into place, without taking away the glow that you've spent so much time creating. During my first trip to the new Nars Boutique in Atlanta, I decided to check out this powder in the translucent shade. I was out of my beloved Laura Mercier translucent setting powder, and I needed to re-up immediately, leaving me ZERO time to call LM to order. I tested it out on the back of my hand (I know, I know, not the best indicator of true performance) to set their Radiant Creamy concealer, then gave it the good ol' flash test -- it passed, and gave a beautiful soft, Albatross - like finish so I decided to purchase it.  Boy, was that a mistake. I decided to test it out on a few of my model friends, who are WOC, to see how it performed. In natural light, everything was fine. During the flash test, YOWSA. HD powder like flashback. I thought I'd used too much, and incorrectly. Take two. I used it during a wedding, in very light quantity, on Caucasian clients. In natural light and flash, it was fine. I tried the same technique on one of my WOC client, and one of my absolute worst nightmares occurred: she went to an event, took flash photographs, and....ghostface. I have since chucked it from my kit. Even though the product seemed to perform fine on my Caucasian clients, and gave a beautiful brightening effect when used under the eyes in VERY light amounts, I refuse to have products in my kit that ONLY work on one ethnicity. I pride myself on having a global kit, and being prepared for whoever sits in my chair.  FINAL VERDICT: If you're a woman of color, or you frequently work with clients of color, and that includes Asian and Latina, I strongly suggest that you try the Velvet Loose Powder instead. The light reflecting aspect of this powder is just not suitable for anyone with medium to dark complexions. Thank you for reading, and feel free to share this review, and leave any questions or comments below!

If you're obsessed with finding the right combination of products to give you that buttery smooth looking complexion, then one of the products that you've probably tried, or at least, looked into, have been a litany of setting powders. 

I personally prefer using loose powders to set the complexion, and for most of us, the perfect loose setting powder is one that locks creams and liquids into place, without taking away the glow that you've spent so much time creating. During my first trip to the new Nars Boutique in Atlanta, I decided to check out this powder in the translucent shade. I was out of my beloved Laura Mercier translucent setting powder, and I needed to re-up immediately, leaving me ZERO time to call LM to order. I tested it out on the back of my hand (I know, I know, not the best indicator of true performance) to set their Radiant Creamy concealer, then gave it the good ol' flash test -- it passed, and gave a beautiful soft, Albatross - like finish so I decided to purchase it. 

Boy, was that a mistake. I decided to test it out on a few of my model friends, who are WOC, to see how it performed. In natural light, everything was fine. During the flash test, YOWSA. HD powder like flashback. I thought I'd used too much, and incorrectly. Take two. I used it during a wedding, in very light quantity, on Caucasian clients. In natural light and flash, it was fine. I tried the same technique on one of my WOC client, and one of my absolute worst nightmares occurred: she went to an event, took flash photographs, and....ghostface. I have since chucked it from my kit. Even though the product seemed to perform fine on my Caucasian clients, and gave a beautiful brightening effect when used under the eyes in VERY light amounts, I refuse to have products in my kit that ONLY work on one ethnicity. I pride myself on having a global kit, and being prepared for whoever sits in my chair. 

FINAL VERDICT: If you're a woman of color, or you frequently work with clients of color, and that includes Asian and Latina, I strongly suggest that you try the Velvet Loose Powder instead. The light reflecting aspect of this powder is just not suitable for anyone with medium to dark complexions.

Thank you for reading, and feel free to share this review, and leave any questions or comments below!

Makeup Debate: Natural vs. Neutral

Hi faithful readers!

I'm really trying hard to stay consistent with bringing you guys quality content, and semi-regularly occurring blog posts, lol. Today's topic is something that I'm surprised hasn't been talked about in 187,000 other blogs already: Natural vs Neutral, when it comes to makeup. 

It's something that happens to makeup artist so often, that after we get to a certain point career-wise, we don't even trip about it anymore, because we more than likely know what the client really meant, just by gauging how much makeup they normally wear. Allow me to set the scene: client sits down with makeup artist. Makeup artist asks what kind of look the client is going for, she says something to the effect of, "oh, you know, something natural, but pretty...", then the client proceeds to pull up a photo of Kim Kardashian or Carrie Underwood from Pinterest. The makeup artist re-creates the look, the client looks in the mirror, and the "OMG this is too much!" commentary begins. 

It's a rookie mistake on both ends. The makeup artist, for not pinpointing the aspects of the look that the client likes, and the client for not realizing just how much makeup Kim or Carrie is actually wearing. The above scenario is a heavily recurring one during bridal and prom season, and in the spirit of said seasons being currently underway (in the US & UK), I'm writing this to help out everyone involved, so that there are more happy clients, because when the client is happy, everyone is happy. 

All images shown are of my work.

Natural Makeup. Photography c/o DeWayne Rogers Photography, 2015, all rights reserved.

Natural Makeup. Photography c/o DeWayne Rogers Photography, 2015, all rights reserved.

As you can see in the above image, my model, Aiyana, is wearing makeup, but it's not obvious. She just looks youthful and radiant. Nothing is overpowering anything else in this look. She looks fresh and healthy. She has on foundation, concealer, blush, highlighting powder, lip liner, lipstick, lip gloss, setting powder, mascara, brow pencil and gel, as well as a cream eyeshadow on her eyelids, but most of that in completely undetectable. This, ladies and gentlemen, is NATURAL makeup. There is nothing about this look that screams "I HAVE ON MAKEUUUUUP!!!!!" 

In the image below, my model Hillary clearly has on makeup. No, her skin isn't loaded up with any heavy products, but she has a smoky eye, done with black and brown shadows (remember, black is a neutral color), false lashes, sculpted brows, contouring products, blush, bronzer around the perimeter of her face, lip liner, lipstick, lip gloss, highlighting powder, and eye liner, on top of a full coverage foundation, undereye concealer, and setting powder. Now, yes, she is unbelievable stunning (she's one of my favorite faces to work on), and the makeup is gorgeous (if I do say so myself, lol), but it's definitely not natural. Nothing about a smoky eye is natural. LOL. There are most certainly ways to create a very understated smoky eye, but as long as the client understands that it will be noticeable, and is comfortable with that, all will be right between the two of you. 

I hope this post has been of assistance to you guys, in one way or another! Until next time, 

Stay beautiful. <3

Neutral makeup. Image c/o Keith Saunders Photography, 2015, All rights reserved.

Neutral makeup. Image c/o Keith Saunders Photography, 2015, All rights reserved.

Eyelid primers: Necessary or Nah?

Throughout the course of my career, I've tried quite a few eyelid primers, as a part of my hunt for the absolute best product to make eyeshadow bulletproof. In addition to Fashion, Editorial and Special occasion makeup, I do a TON of bridal, so of everything on the face, the eyes is usually one of the top features that brides worry about. "Will my eyeliner/mascara run if I sweat?" "Will my eyeshadow last?" "Will I be okay if I cry?" So waterproof mascara and eyeliner isn't all that is necessary when it comes to the bulletproof eye.

Here are my thoughts on various eyelid primers that I have used in the past:

MAC Paintpots:

My days starting out as a MAC Artist, I swore by Painterly, Groundwork and Blackground as a base to anything having to do with eyes, and while they DO serve as creating a nice base to powdered shadow, because they have a tendency to crease when using enough product to successfully hold powder shadow, I actually prefer to use them as what they actually are -- a cream shadow. Some of my favorite colors being Indianwood, Constructivist, and Vintage Selection, they are a quick way to add gorgeous color to the eye, without needing to use 4 or 5 different powdered shadows to create a beautiful shimmery or smoky eye.

Tarte Clean Slate 360 Creaseless 12-hour eyelid primer: 

My main attraction to this primer was the creaseless part, especially for my more mature clients, which, it does indeed deliver that, I suppose, but it's performance wasn't extraordinary enough for me to deem it worthy to stay in my kit. To me, it felt like more of an unnecessary step to the eyeshadow application process. One thing that I did think was a little nifty, was the iridescent finish of the product. Cute, yes, but it didn't seem to serve much of a purpose. The primer is colorless, which, if it really "grabbed" powder shadow, would be fantastic, because it doesn't alter the color your shadows in any way, but my overall verdict of this product is just 'meh'. 

Urban Decay Primer Potion:

Ah, this cult favorite. According to Youtube, this primer is one of God's precious gifts to the makeup world. My opinion? It's...."aiight". Yes, just aiight. Sure, it's great when you're using it on a 22-year old client with smooth skin, but what about the rest of the world? Now, while it holds onto shadow nicely, it has a tendency to get grainy in texture, which is no good, especially when it comes to applying this to clients. Two words: scratched cornea. Who wants to take that gamble? It comes in two colors in addition to the colorless original, such as Eden and Minor Sin, which is nice for those of us deeper complexioned makeup wearers that don't like the slight ashy cast that the "colorless" formula leaves. I'm 60/40 on this one. It performs great, but the texture con was major for me. Major enough to get the product chucked from my kit altogether.

Lorac Behind the Scenes Eye Primer:

This one I was actually impressed with. It is TRULY colorless, gives a satin-y finish, is crease-less, AND holds onto shadow for the dear life! Out of all of the eyeshadow primers that I have tried, THIS ONE will be the one that I reach for, without a doubt. It actually keeps PaintPots from creasing! I actually use this one on myself, on the rare occasion that I wear eyeshadow. A tiny bit goes a very long way, so don't go into product overload on this one, because you'll be massaging it in until eternity. 

If there were a contest between these four, the Lorac primer would win, hands down! Now, as far as whether I think that eyelid primers are absolutely necessary, it would be a 'NO' from me. I have found that by 'priming' the eye with your (client's) highlighting concealer and setting with a light dusting of powder, you have a slightly quicker way of prepping your eye for shadow application, and it is bulletproof! No creasing, no texture issues (from the product), and one less product to worry about purchasing.