Monday, June 17, 2013

NEW Hourglass Ambient Light Powder! Get your Glow On!

Greetings,  Fellow beauty addicts!  I have some scoop for you!  I happened to get a preview of a new illuminating powder by Hourglass.  Just in time for Valentine's day (it's official launch date at Sephora is February 14th), you can always look like you have your own lighting technician finding your best light!  This is AMAZING, GORGEOUS and truly unique and a MUST have!  RUN!  Don't walk, RUN to your nearest Sephora,  Bergdorf Goodman, Barney's or Bloomingdale's!  I expect this to sell out very quickly.

I was not too receptive to this idea.  I already have a favorite illuminating powder that I own in every color and carry to EVERY last photo shoot.  Lorac's Perfectly Lit Powder is fantastic.
I will continue to use this product; However, I will be collecting every color of the new Hourglass Ambient Light Powder to use in conjunction or in place of depending on the desired effect.  Just so you know I sill love your powder Lorac, but you've got someone making something equally fabulous!
Ok, so what exactly is Hourglass Ambient Light Powder?  Have you ever caught a glimpse of yourself in a certain light and were captured by a romantic, "Oh, my Goodness!, I look fantastic!"  Ever notice how good your B.F.F. looks in the light of the full moon or how great your boy-toy looks in the the first light of morning?  Wouldn't it be great if you could always look you were in this light?  Well, you can.  When we think of how great our favorite Hollywood stars look, after we torture our self esteem we always say, "Yeah, but these people have hair, make-up, and lighting people".  Well, you can be your own personal lighting technician now.

But wait!  There's more!  So many of us have a fear of anything even somewhat relating the the word "luminosity".  Why?  Many of us tend to lump every degree light relectivity into two textures "shiny/luminous" or "matte/powdery".  It doesn't matter which of  these finishes you think of we have heard these textures can make our skin look older.  There are so many more degrees of finsh/texture/light reflectivity than matte or luminous.  For the same reason most of us tend to avoid anything relating to powder.  Hourglass has once again pushed the envelope with cutting edge technology.  Photoluminescent particles capture light, correct it, diffuse it, and manipulates it to our benefit.  You will be wearing powder, yet you'll actually look younger and your skin will look more healthy!  Plus, it will actually color correct and help any type of coverage products actually cover and wear better, like airbrushing?  Sound too good to be true?  I guess it is.  These products do everything I just said but they are not inexpensive ($45.00 U.S.) and you are going to want all of the colors.  Yes, all 6 of them.  Even if you decide to collect them one at a time so the initial investiment is not so shocking, you're going to have to decide which color or colors to adopt and give a loving home to first.
    The luminous finish isn't quite an adequate description either.  Yes, your skin will glow; However, you will NOT have a shimmery, glittery, or frosty finish to the skin.  A lit-from-within super healthy skin finish is what you will have.  And don't we all want that, especially if it makes us look younger?  Yes!  Of course we do.
    This product is versitile in useage as well.  Techincally, it is a finishing powder NOT a setting powder, but it can be used as both and also can be used as a cosmtic, blurring imperfections, color correcting or adding light anywhere you choose.  Play!  Have fun!  Find new ways to entertain yourself with this, in the end though you'll be using it everywhere everyday.  Hint:  Lay this down as all over eyeshadow color to nuertalize redness, blues  and puple skin and the give the whites of our eyes a more youthful glow.
    Do not let the color selection intimidate you.  Yes, there are six colors, and yes, they all do different things; However, there is no wrong choice.  All of the colors will look good on all skins, so don't stress yourself out.  And yes, it does pass the "ashen" test.  I applied this (all 6 colors even the white pearl (Etherial Light)) to an intensity 8.5 - 9.0 African-American friend of mine... and we were both thrilled with the results.  Just so you know my friend also has an oily complection and we still loved the lighting effect on her skin.
    Sounds like a technilogical marvel that has to be loaded with all kinds of things that are no good with us.  Again... They've got us cover.  Controversial ingredients have been left out.  It's oil free, fragrance free ( I did not detect any odor to this product though ), paraben-free, nano particle free and also Gluten free.  You can feel confiedent that this product will not call any attention to itself.  It is there to make you look more beutiful and takes none of the credit for itself.
    Colors from lightest to darkest, and as I'm told also from least to most pearl-ized and their effects are:
    Etherial Light is a cool white transluscent color that makes you look as though you are always in moon light. 
    Diffused Light is a pale yellow and mimics the way we look in the first rays of morning light.  The yellow undertown should help mimimize excess purple or redness of the skin.
    Dim Light is a gorgeous beige.  This is the most neural of the bunch and mimics the way we look in low lighting.  So natural, with the softest most beutiful pearl effect on teh skin.
    Moodlight is a very pretty lilac pink and mimics the way we look in soft, romantic ligthing.  This color will brighten complections and combat sallowness.  THis is a great color for brides, and gives the skin a great "I was just naughty" afterglow.
    Luminous Light is a gorgeous pearlized champagne with hints of a warm pink undertone that mimics candlelight.
    Radiant Light mimics a roaring fire and is a beautiful bronze color.  Super fair complections will get a hint of bronze from this color.  This is the only color with a very, very sheer sparkle, but do not be afraid it's virturally undetectible on the skin.
    There you have it!  Excitement!  So as Mardi Gras comes to a close, the Pope announces his retirement on Ash Wednesday the day before Saint Valentine's Day and all eyes are on the goregous complextions of the celbrities from the Grammys-- we're all going to be having so much fun playing with these colors we'll be asking ourselves "Taylor Swift, who?  Was Adele even nominated this year?"

Go play!  And let me know what you think!  I can't wait to hear all of your feedback.

Blake Artistry
412 531-2083

Sunday, February 10, 2013

How to get your bridal and wedding make up to last (Step 3 - Choosing the right Make-Up (A Concealing))

How to get your bridal and wedding make up to last (Step 3 - Choosing the right Make-Up (A Concealing))

Congratulations!  You're getting married or you are in a friends wedding!  Either way, it is going to be a lot of fun, a lot of work, some stress, and very rewarding.  The day of the special event you want to look as good when the reception is winding down (no easy task after a glass of wine or five) as you did when the procession music started playing.  I am more than happy to share some tips with you to make your make-up stay all day and all night!  We have previously prepped the skin by exfoliating, and now it is the day of our big event.  After priming we need to apply concealers, foundations, and other cosmetics that should last the entire day (and ones you will feel comfortable wearing all day), and set your make-up; Moreover, I'll share some tips from not accidentally damaging your face during the event to how to remove all of it in the end.

Just about all of us have something to hide.  No, I'm not talking about all of those "skeletons in the closet", but rather a less than perfect complexion.  Few of us are thrilled with our chosen mediums and products used to conceal them.  What's worse, concealing less than desirable features often brings more attention to them.  You may not be able to see what you've covered,  but now it's overwhelmingly obvious to everyone you have something to hide.  Even worse, most concealers and foundations don't manage to last all day.  In fact, it seems like they begin to fade the moment you finish putting them on.  Not to worry, I'm going to share my secrets with you.  You'll be fully concealed, comfortable, no one will know, whether they are close up or far away and the results should require little to no touching up!

The day of your big event is going to require some concealing that is photography friendly as well.  The last thing we want is an over the counter foundation or concealer reflecting the light  from a flash back into the camera causing a white glow in your pictures or those of your guests.  Many of your expensive department store brands do the same thing.  Oh, boy!  This sounds complicated.  Not to worry!  You're local blogging professional make-up artist has worked with most of the brands and have experience at least with all of the "designed for photographs and film work" brands.
First big question!  When to conceal?  No one can seem to get this question answered to their satisfaction and every "professional" you ask seems to have a different answer.  This question is answered in two parts. 

    First, concealing and other complexion steps should be completed after the eyes are done, excluding mascara.  What?  Since when?  Do you know what you are talking about?  Yes!  It took me a long time to teach myself this especially after doing makeup for the theater.  But eventually doing television work and runway, I learned this is a HUGE time saver!  Why?  Well, if your eye shadows fall off your applicator and onto you face, you have not given them a moist environment to get stuck in.   They can be easily wiped away off of bare, primed skin.  Also, if you're doing a smokey eye or any other type of eye where blending is paramount (and isn't it always?) then you can quickly and easily frame your eye with your concealer and foundation for that extra professional look.
   Second, pre-conceal?  Post conceal?  Or both?  Ha!  I can answer this one too.  If you're using a corrector or a concealer that doesn't match your skin tone then my suggestion is to pre-conceal.  You're foundation should (hopefully) be able to color correct the concealer so you're not an odd color; However, concealers are so technologically advanced  now you should not need to use a separate correcter.  Even if you are covering a tattoo.  The most serious of imperfections may require pre-concealing and post concealing, but this is only in the most extreme of conditions and remember this may not look as natural close up.  Do not worry!  I am here to help!  I'm going to help you find as little or as much coverage as you need.

Ok, please note -  The following section will discuss the amount of coverage different concealers will provide A light coverage concealer should provide as much coverage as a medium to full coverage foundation would provide where as a full coverage concealer is more like a tattoo cover product.
We're going to need all-day-wearing, photographically-friendly concealers and there are more than you think.  If you like a light-weight liquid concealer with light coverage consider Smashbox's High Definition concealer. It lays very naturally on the skin and the high definition ingredients won't make lines or rough textured skin look more obvious.  There are six shades so finding a skin true match should not be as hard here as with some other brands.  If you prefer your concealer in a stick consider Nars' Concealer. This is also light-weight, long wearing, light coverage.  This concealer comes in 9 shades so a skin true match should not be hard to achieve.  I also like to use this perfectly wedged stick to frame in eyebrows and to use as a nude matte highlighter for the brow bone (there are times when we may not necessarily desire shimmer (although, being fairly certain I was a crow in a former life, I can't image when those times are)). 

For a medium coverage liquid try Make Up ForEver's HD Concealer.  It comes in a pen and there are 9 shades so you can get a closer match to your skin tone.  You'll probably still want to tap/blend with a concealer brush.  One of my favorites is by Paula Dorf.  It's a great quality brush and it's just the right size.  Sort of like a mini foundation brush.  Also, for a medium coverage please look at Cargo's Blu_Ray concealer.
It's fantastic.  It comes in a pen with a foam tip that makes application a dream  It's very light-weight, it actually smooths lines and wrinkles thanks to an ingredient they call Visilox an instant smoothing Botox nuero peptide.  The down side to this is that there are only two shades.  They are both very skin true colors but anyone any darker than an intensity 3.5 is not going to be able to satisfactorily match their skin-tone.

Medium to full coverage Hourglass has a fantastic concealer in a stick.  Hourglass Hidden Corrective Concealer It's much lighter-weight than the coverage would imply.  It stays put and wont' move into lines or pores, wears all day, and the six shades are all very true to skin colors.  It's loaded with vitamin E so it's actually not too bad for your skin.  I love to apply this with Sephora's Pro Airbrush Concealer Brush #57!  This is so beautiful.  It quite literally looks like you have been airbrushed.
     If it's serious concealing you need check out Amazing Concealer by Amazing Cosmetics.  This link also has a video that helps explain how to use the Amazing Concealer.  It's actually pretty easy to work with (not using too much will be your biggest challenge)  I carry all ten shades of this product with me to every photo shoot.  I never want to be without them, and I wish I had them in college to smear on my windows to keep the sun from penetrating my room.  This concealer really is Amazing!  It's very, very light weight, it can be waterproofed, it's long wearing, the colors are great and they will cover anything.  Trust me i have even covered tattoos with this.  Setting it correctly also makes it smudge proof and transfer resistant.  If all you are concealing is your under eye area you never need to squeeze the tube what's in the lid is the perfect amount.  I recommend their concealer brush for this as it is inexpensive and fits perfectly into the lid.  This is not completely oil free; However, the grade of the oil that is use in this is so refined you should not experience congestive problems with this product even when used every day. If you are using this on the body to it is essential to follow the directions EXACTLY, and if you are wearing a light color near or over this product allow additional drying time and I would still cover the fabric with tissues and paper towels.  I do this with tattoo covers and theater make up too.
     If you choose to go with old world tattoo and birth mark covers please consider Cover Blend by Exuviance over the other similar brands.  Exuviance comes from a pharmaceutical background and formulates their more skin healthy than others.  They have great colors and the coverage is unbeatable; However, these products are not easy to work with and do not feel comfortable on the skin.  Get their specific setting mediums and follow their instructions if you are covering a tattoo to set them and keep them from transferring.  I also recommend using them before foundations on the face as they may not necessarily be formulated for photographic purposes.  Please, do no expect to look 'natural' up-close when using any of these products.
    I have not worked with Kat Von D's products but I know some make up artists that rave about her tatoo cover.  Then, I read reviews that aren't as stellar.  You may want to give it a look as well if nothing else has met your  specific needs.
   Also, you may give theater make-ups a look.  I prefer Ben Nye simply because I have worked with it.  I'm certain there are other great products but I know that Ben Nye works.  You'll almost certainly have to buy this product online and you'll still want to prep, prime, apply and set. Do not worry about matching your color so closely.  You will become whatever color you apply.  You will have to request a catalog.  You can purchase these products directly from online retailers too.

And there you have it!  All of your dirty little secrets should be well covered and the cat is securely in the Chanel bag and Paris Hilton will not be letting the kitty out.    No matter how little or how much you have to hide you should be able to find an option that will thrill you and look great in your photographs (you're wedding legacy).

I would love to hear what you think.  Please, participate in the conversation.

Next up, how to get your foundations to look beautiful and last all day.

Chet Michael
Professional Make-Up Artistry in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Charleston, West Virginia
412 531-2083

Monday, February 4, 2013

Oz the Great and Powerful - 2 new palettes by Urban Decay for Spring 2013

Happy Superbowl Sunday!   I can not wait to watch the big showdown between the San Fransisco 49'ers and the Baltimore Ravens.  As a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, I am rooting for the San Francisco 49'ers!  If you are not a huge football fab and the Puppybowl is more your style ( I have to admit I am caught between two worlds on this one ), then, you may want to take a look at the two new Palettes by Urban Decay.  Look fast though, they are limited-edition and I expect they will sell quickly.

If you have not been on Facebook, checked what's trending on Twitter,  or randomly searching on Google, then you may not be aware that Disney is about to release "Oz The Great and Powerful" starring Mila Kunis as Theodora and Michelle Williams as Glinda along with a lot of other Hollywood fan favorites.  Mila and Michelle look AMAZING!  And Urban Decay is on all the glamour and fun by releasing two character and movie inspired spring color pallettes!  Just as Disney wants us to guess "which witch is which?" Urban Decay is forcing us to ask "Which witch palette is with us going home today?".  Answer?  Both! OMG!  Both! 

These palettes are GORGEOUS and versatile!  All the eyeshadow colors are "all new", though some may be vaguely reminiscent of previous or existing colors.  Both come with 4 full-size eye-shadows, 2 full size eyeshadow duos, a mini size 24/7 eyeliner, and a full sized Super Saturated High-Gloss Lip Color, and a hard-metal customizable carry-all/compact (all shades pop out and can be interchanged with any other full-sized Urban Decay eyeshadow (since the reformulation)).  Making what you take with you a truly custom experience.  Both palettes are completely wearable, fashion-forward, high-quality, and easy to work with.   Let us talk about the colors-- Glinda and Theodora.

    Glinda is spring reincarnate.  Fresh, clean, bright, light, colorful, multi-textured, and seemingly sweet and innocent.  At first glance you eye is immediately drawn to the shimmery colors and the blue undertones in this collection.  You may be tempted to think of Katy Perry, Brittany Spears, Niki Minaj or some other colorful pop princesses when you look at this color combo.  While this palette can certainly achieve an over the top, fashion-forward very bright and colorful look only meant for the daring or famous, it can also be used to achieve a very sophisticated or natural look. Remember, it's all how you work with your colors.  Aura is a duo pan with two gorgeous colors that every girl will want in their wardrobe.  One is a white with a blue iridescent while the other is a white with a pink iridescent pearl finish.  Aura will highlight and brighten any eye no matter how deep set or naturally shaded.  Either or both color will reflect light and make eyes look whiter and more awake.  Do not be afraid of these colors and I just don't see how either one could be over used on fair to medium skins.  Dark tan to Deep skins will want to use more of these colors (using them sparingly may make the eye lid skin look ashy).  If you are darker skinned make sure you use this duo generously; Thereby, making the look intentional (on your skin it will be a beautiful iridescent highlighter).  You will love this duo and be praying that Urban adds these two colors to their permanent color collection.  Fans of the AC/DC color from before the eyeshadow reformulation (the newer AC/DC isn't the same as it was before) will LOVE Tornado.  This dark purple shimmer is almost exactly the same color.  Tornado can be used to smoke up the eye or add contouring drama or used to beautifully and sophisticatedly  line the eyes.  Natural and nude eye girls can still use this color.  If you like shimmer and glitter you'll love the duo pan, Oz.   One side is gold shimmer with gold glitter and the other is silver shimmer with silver glitter.  It's beautiful and dramatic.  Magic, is a beautiful lavender subtled by a golden shimmer.  So delicate and pretty, it's perfect for spring.  Everyone will love the color South.  South is a warm gray with a very fine golden shimmer/glitter.  Brightening and neutral it's fun and yet conservative, perfect for just about any look.
     You'll get a mini 24/7 eye liner pencil with this palette in a very dark charcoal/plum purple, called Rockstar.  This is one of my all-time favorite eye liner colors.  Rockstar is  a great spring color. It can be used by even your nude/natural ladies to emphasize literally any color eye.  You'll see the charcoal but the plum will brighten your natural eye color like you will not believe!  You have to try this color. You'll also get a Super Saturated High-Gloss lip color pencil in a beautiful warm light pinky-beige.  The color and formula are both very nice... You'll love this.

     Theodora is gorgeous too!  At first glance she won't appear as eye catching and the girls that like the more nude natural eyes are going to be more attracted to this palette.  Do not be fooled by this palette though.  You glitz and glamor girls are going to get a lot of use out of this one too.  The colors are mostly brown with hints of a more olive green and a tiny splash of black.  You'll get more matte colors in this palette, and yet you'll still be able to add shimmer and glitter when you like.  Your duo pan colors are so much fun.  Jealous has a bit of shine without really being glittery nor shimmery.  You will just have to see this one.  One side is a light almost pistachio green, while the other is more of medium tone olive, leaning emerald.  These will look soft and nearly neutral on the eye and will be great for emphasizing brown and blue eyes.  Spell has a dark smoky black with a beautiful greenish-gold shimmer to it and also a golden glittery shadow.  Smoke up your eyes, make them shine, or both!  And when blended down these shadows still look beautiful on ladies that prefer a more natural look.   Bewitch is great for a more matte smokey look.  It is an expressive dark neutral brown with more of a satin finish.  West is very similar but has a more metallic finish to it.  Broken is beautiful all over shade in a light neutral/cream with a satin finish (this is great for blending your more smokey colors).  Finally, Beware is a warm medium chestnut brown with a matte finish.  You will also get a 24/7 eyeliner pencil in zero.  A dark black chameleon shade.  Lay this pencil down first and lightly press eyeshadow colors into Zero ,Voila!  Zero becomes whatever color you lay over top of it!  Or, wear Zero by itself, this black color doesn't smudge, run, or fade easily.
    You'll also get a Super Saturated High Gloss Lip Color Pencil in a soft Red.  Ladies, do not let this color sway you in your decision to select this palette.  This color is soft, and yet "Oh! So glamorous".  If you have every wanted to wear a red lip but have been afraid to try, this might be the shade for you.  Just a note, if you've been wearing nude lips for a while, there is no red or reddish color that won't blow your mind psychologically.  You're going to have to put it on, and wear it around for 2 hours before you can even begin to judge whether or not this is something you can handle.  This is a great starter red.  And hint?  If it's still too bright layer it over another more neutral color.  This color can be blotted and will give more a a lip stain effect.  The ladies that love a red lip will find this warm/neutral red to be a stunner.  Soft and yet dramatic at the same time.  Give this color a try.

These palettes get even more beautiful when the two of them are mixed.  Try a dramatic statement eye with the smokey colors from Theodora while blending them with the light, airy shimmery, or iridescent colors from Glinda and pop on Glinda's lip color.  Or do a light fresh shiny eye from Glinda and pop the lash line with Theodora's smokey shades adding Theodora's lip color.  This makes the combinations and fun of these two palettes exponentially fun!

Do not be afraid to play!

So, tomorrow, when the guys are talking about the nearly miraculous almost come-back of the San Fransisco 49'ers, how amazing Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys sounded or YouTube - ing the "not-so-shocking" reunion of Destiny's Child during Beyonce's Superbowl performance, you can be thinking about all of the ways you can put your spring looks together with Urban Decay's two "Oz the Great and Powerful" limited edition palettes.

Check them out!,default,pd.html

You can also see the movie trailers at

Let me know what you think!  I can't wait to hear!  

412 531-2083

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Hi!  Welcome to Blake Artistry!  My name is Chet Michael.  I'm a professional make-up artist I've worked with everyday men and women, brides, models, professionals, and actors for 20 years on the stage, television and runway for some of Paris' hottest couture brands.  One thing I've found, is we all want to feel better about ourselves.  I have committed myself to helping people of all ages and backgrounds do just that.

I will be answering questions, making suggestions, and just generally talking about skin care and make-up.  Please, feel free to join me and participate.

I look forward to talking with you all.

Blake Artistry
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Charleston, West Virginia
412 531-2083

How to get your bridal and wedding make up to last (Step 2 Prime)

Congratulations!  You're getting married or you are in a friends wedding!  Either way, it is going to be a lot of fun, a lot of work, some stress, and very rewarding.  The day of the special event you want to look as good when the reception is winding down (no easy task after a glass of wine or five) as you did when the procession music started playing.  I am more than happy to share some tips with you to make your make-up stay all day and all night!  We have previously prepped the skin by exfoliating, and now it is the day of our big event.  Next we need to prime the skin, choose all day wear cosmetics (and ones you will feel comfortable wearing all day), and set your make-up; Moreover, I'll share some tips from not accidentally damaging your face during the event to how to remove all of it in the end. 

We have already prepped the skin, so why now prime it?  Priming does a number of things.  First, it gives your make smooth surface, or canvas, to be applied to and gives everything a "smooth as glass" or "airbrush" finish.  Secondly, priming the skin gives your make-up something to adhere; Thereby, significantly increasing its wear. Third, priming your skin prevents your skin from metabolizing your make-up, also significantly increasing the wear of your make-up. Forth, priming helps keep environmental factors (such as 93 degree weather and 100% humidity) from decreasing the length of wear of your make up.  Lastly, some primers help to waterproof or provide additional benefits such as minimizing oily shine.  With all of this, you can certainly see that priming the skin is an absolute must for event make-up.

There are two primer categories.  Primers for face and primers for eyes.  I will discuss both.

When do I use a primer?  Primers should be applied after your skin care and before any make-up.  Additionally, through years of experience being a make-up artist, I can tell you, prime your eyes, do you eye-make-up, then begin priming your face and doing the rest of your make-up.  I know this is counter intuitive.  We perfect our faces, color our face and lips, and eyes (our focus feature) are our last show-stopping endeavor.  Any mistakes or eyeshadow fall-out could significantly increase your make-up application time and may result in you starting all over.  Who wants that?  So, moral of the story-- prime and do your eyes first, then prime the rest of the face and complete the rest of your
     1. Prep / exfoliate the skin  (days before the event)
     2. Prime / moisturize/hydrate the eyes
     3. Prime/ use eyeshadow primer on the eye area
     4. Complete your eye look (excluding mascara application)
     5. Prime/ moisturize your skin
     6. Prime/ use primer on the skin
     7.  Complete color application face and lips
     8.  Set you make-up
     9.  Mascara application
     10. Enjoy your event

What primer should I use?  My favorite primer without question is Hourglass' Veil Mineral Primer. I use this on all of my photo shoots and models. Yes, we all have our favorites, and I am not here to dissuade you from yours; However, this primer is so unique, versatile, and cutting-edge it at least merits a look.  Why do I love it?  Just touch it you'll see.  It's the lightest weight primer you'll ever touch.  I never thought primers were heavy or had a texture until I used this one.  Also, it performs impeccably.   It's versatile, it's approved for all skin types and can be used on both the eyes and the face.  It's great for sensitive skins and those of us that like to avoid controversial ingredients (it's oil-free, paraben free, phthalate free, sulfate free, fragrance free, gluten free, and vegan friendly).  Wow!  With all of those "frees" how can this possibly work well.  As if that weren't enough this Primer also helps to neutralize redness so your foundation has less work to do.  Give it a try, you will love it!  Any and all make-up (even powders) becomes water-proof when used above Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer and it comes in both a normal size and a travel size.  Please, do yourself a favor and check this product out.
     If this is not the primer for you let me help you select a good primer for you.
     Let us start with eye shadow primers.  All of these merit a look, but just about every brand makes a great one.
     Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer is light-weight, long wearing,  and photography-friendly.
     Benefit's Stay Don't Stray is light-weight and offers concealer like coverage above and below the
        eye.  Just be careful, the pump gives you too much product.
     Paula Dorf's Eye Primer is hard to find but it's a great heavy duty eye shadow primer that is made
         for photographic work and it neutralizes undesirable colors on the eye.  You will own this
         primer for a VERY long time (a little goes a long way).
     Lancome's Aquatique Nude Eyeshadow Primer is another heavy-duty, concealer-like eye-shadow primer and this one is water-proof.  It's been a fan favorite for years.
     Urban Decay's Eyeshadow Primer Potion is a light-weight easy to use eyeshadow primer that comes in colors and in clear.  Ulta and Sephora guests and cast members use this as go-to eyeshadow primer.,default,pd.html?start=3&cgid=509&q=primer%20potion
     Light-weight, high-performance and brand prestige are all part of Chanel's Base Ombre a Paupieres.
     Comes from nature, long-lasting, light-weight and very professional in performance-- Tarte's Clean Slate 360 degree 12-Hour Smoothing Eye Primer is a mouth-full to say but won't break the bank.
     A decades-old fan favorite.  Clinque's touch base.  Make sure you close the lid when you are done.

If you think there are a lot of eyeshadow primers to choose from, Make-Up Primers for the face are a huge financial driver for the cosmetics industry right now.  Every Company makes one and every company is vying to be number one in this category.  I still suggest using Hourglass' Veil Mineral Primer; However, if you still want to shop for other primers I recommend doing so by your skin type.

Oily skin may want to have a look at these primers to feel comfortable, extend the wear of their makeup, and help minimize shine.  Smashbox Photo Finish Light is a light textured 60% water formula and Smashbox has long been regarded for their pioneering of the Primer category.  Cargo's Blu-Ray Mattifier is made for photography and blurs imperfection so makeup is less necessary.  It'll also help keep down your shine during your event and is less expensive than other professional primers.  Also look at Urban Decay's Complexion Primer Potion-Pore Refining.  It's light-weight.,default,pd.html?start=23&cgid=4   Oily skins used to be able to depend on Lorac's anti-aging Aquaprime; However they just discontinued it.  Let's hope their new POREfection not only performs as well as the Aquaprime, but also sets a new standard.
  Another popular oil controlling primer is offered by Bare Minerals.  Bare Essentials Prime Time Oil Control Foundation Primer can be seen at:,default,pd.html

Normal Skin has a myriad of choices.  Of course, you already know my favorite, but ther are other nice ones.  If you need color correction, consider Smahbox Photo Finish.  There is a whole collection of primers here to help with neutralizing any excessive or undesirable colors of the skin.  They are ll made with photographic work kept in mind.
If you feel as though you would like your complexion to look younger definitely inspect Peter Thomas Roth's Un-Wrinkle Primer.  This primer has Peter's genius Peptide Blend including both repairing peptides and highly-desired-ground-breaking-instant-satisfaction nueropeptides.  You may want to check out the skin care in this same category.  Also, well known for her complexion prowess is Laura Mercier and her fans love her Foundation Primer.

Dry skins are getting more choices in this category all of the time.  If you skin is need of serious conditioning try Hourglass No. 28 primer serum.  This is a skin-healthy from nature option is also anti-aging and is built with 28 natural skin care powerhouses.  Your skin will positively radiate with this within using this primer, and you can use it as your serum at night and also as your hair/skin/nail oil.  Heads up Moroccan, Argan,  and Marajuka oil fans.  I love this on my cuticles.  Tarte is always a great choice for more sensitive skins.  Their Clean Slate Flawless 12 Hour Brightening Primer will feel great on dry or dehydrated skins.  If money is no option and you love luxury try Chanel's Base Lumiere Illuminating Make-Up base.
If your skin is dehydrated than it is dry consider putting water into the skin before priming.  Try a few drops of Philosophy's When Hope is Not Enough firming serum.  It contains sodium hyluronate a powerful skin healthy ingredient that binds and attracts several hundred times its weight in water.  Your skin won't be thirsty and it won't "drink" your make-up to compensate.

Wow!  Did I really have that much to say about primers?  You can guess this must be a very important step.  It's a big event and you want to look your best with minimal effort for as long as possible. First prepping your skin, and then priming will ensure you get the best results for the longest time.

I'm dying to know what you discover and what you think.  Please, join the conversation.

 Blake Artistry
Professional Make-Up Artistry
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Charleston, West Virginia

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

How to get your bridal and wedding make up to last (Step 1 Exfoliation) all day (Step 1 Exfoliate)

Congratulations!  You're getting married or you are in a friends wedding!  Either way, it is going to be a lot of fun, a lot of work, some stress, and very rewarding.  The day of the special event you want to look as good when the reception is winding down (no easy task after a glass of wine or five) as you did when the procession music started playing.  I am more than happy to share some tips with you to make your make-up stay all day and all night!  Over the next several days I will tackle each step.  We will prep the skin, prime the skin, choose all day wear cosmetics (and ones you will feel comfortable wearing all day), and set your make-up; Moreover, I'll share some tips from not accidentally damaging your face during the event to how to remove all of it in the end.  This is too much to cover in just one article as you will see.

First, we need to prep the skin.  This will do two things for you:  1. It will allow you make-up to lie as flat to your skin as possible giving better cohesion and looking far more beautiful than skin that hasn't been prepped (this also helps to prevent the "caked-on" look).  2. This will allow your make-up's most maximized wear-ability and breathe-ability.  So how do we achieve all of this fabulousness?  Exfoliate the skin.
     If you are pregnant, please, check with your doctor and read ingredients carefully.  Exfoliation is a category where a lot of those ingredients you are recommended to avoid-- sneak in. 
     Exfoliate the skin?  You are either groaning or asking yourself 'what does that mean?' or 'why does everyone tell me this?'  Exfoliating the skin means to encourage dead skin cells on the surface that should be making their way to their final resting place, to go ahead and pack up and leave.  The dead skin cells on the surface are little dead sponges that like to absorb your make-up and then leave you at exactly the wrong time.  Also, dead skin cells are very "cliquish"-- they like to hang out in odd groups in random places and ignore everyone else.  This creates a blotchy or "caked-on" look  (Imagine if you covered your shower loofah in make-up how uneven it would appear).  So, already, we know we don't like them.  Let's tell them to get gone!  Let's exfoliate!   This doesn't have to be an arduous task or an irritating one either.  Plus, your skin will feel and look so much better you'll have less need of actual make-up.
      When is the best time to exfoliate?  Well, this depends on your skin.  If you have very sensitive skin  you may want to exfoliate 4 days out from the event and perform a sensitivity patch test a month out.  This will give any residual irritation time to subside or give you time to find another medium of exfoliation that suits your delicate skin.  Sensitive skin also should choose the most gentile form of exfoliation possible and you may want to experiment ahead of time to find out what works best for you.  If you don't have sensitive skin choosing a way to exfoliate  is as easy as choosing your favorite medium.  Regular skins should exfoliate 2 nights out from the event.  This way we know it has been done and is not interfering with our event preparations.  It may only take a few minutes; However, it is amazing how busy you will be those last few days.
     If you do have sensitive skin may I make the following recommendations?
     Philosophy Detox (Oxygen Peel).  What?  Are you crazy?  A peel for sensitive skin? This isn't a peel in the traditional sense. This  peel is not using an acid to burn off dead (and sometimes living) tissue.  In fact this particular treatment is great for just about anyone (men and women).  It is detoxifying, hydrating, antiseptic, gentle, and it exfoliates by "suggesting" dead skin cells find a new place to live. As the oxygen and the hydration benefits are accepted by the skin the skin's keratin bonds (these hold the skin cells in place) are gently broken and the skin cells fall off naturally.  I still recommend a patch test as with any sensitive skin, but I think you'll love the results.  This method takes about 10 minutes of dedicated "ME TIME".  Everything you need is in the box and you'll get enough for 10-15 treatments.  If it's just you open one of the capsules and pour half of it into the little test-tube like jar provided and replace the top of the capsule to save for next time.  If you and some friends are doing it together or you are doing more than just your face (this works on the back of hands, elbows, and the d√©collet√© too, use a whole capsule.  If you are using half a capsule, fill the jar 1 quarter of the way with gently warm water, if you are using a whole capsule, fill it nearly half way.  Snap down the lid and shake vigorous for a few seconds (don't try to get the texture smooth it should be lumpy like pancake batter).  Apply this gel to the area you wish to treat and then follow with the cream foam in the large jar also provided.  The oxygen and water start to separate out and to work... Yes, you're are going to bubble up!  This is kind of fun.  The treatment needs 3 to 5 minutes to work, so enjoy and relax.  Do not worry this isn't an acid, it will not burn you if you leave it on too long.  In fact, this treatment shuts itself off.  Now, if you have very sensitive skin, splash what's left of the mixture off of your face and notice how bright and smooth your face looks and feels!  If you do not have very sensitive skin remove the mixture with the provided spatula.  This will help encourage those dead skin cells to leave!  Then splash off the remainder with warm water.  You will love this!
    Check it out!,en_US,pd.html
    Peter Thomas Roth Botanical Buffing Beads are fantastic way to get great physical exfoliation for any skin even sensitive and delicate, simply take a small frozen pea size amount and GENTLY (this is not a race ladies and gentlemen) buff damp (make-up free) skin for 90 seconds (sing your alphabet three times if you are not a person who likes to count).  The beads will dissolve as you buff releasing nourishing agents into the skin; Thus, assuring you don't over exfoliate the skin and the botanicals calm the skin.  You'll notice this product has won several awards in a lot of magazines. 
     Check them out!

Now, if your skin isn't sensitive or delicate, well then you have a wide array of ways to choose your medium of exfoliation.   I would suggest doing your exfoliation 2-3 nights out from your event. And you may want to practice once or twice a month or a few weeks out from the event to make sure you don't experience any surprise sensitivity.  We all know what happened to Samantha on "Sex And the City".  I recommend rethinking-- Over-The-Counter nonprofessional products that contain ground up shells or nuts or anything that may contain shards of something to cut the dead skin cells off.  I am in no way inferring that there aren't some great way to exfoliate inexpensively from the drug store; However, I don't recommend the use of shards of anything to improve anyone's health of anything.  One to try might be L'Oreal's Derma Genesis Skin Daily Exfoliating Wash.  I have not tried this product yet and I have not been able to see the ingredients yet; However, I do like the fact that says it uses beads and is gentle.
    My favorite ways to exfoliate and pamper myself are:
    Philosophy's microdelivery peel, this is great for getting the best of both chemical and physical exfoliation and you also get the benefits of anti-aging peptides and brightening vitamin C.  This smells and feels fantastic to those of us Veteran exfoliaters.
    Check it out:,en_US,pd.html
    Peter Thomas Roth's Clinical Peel & Reveal Dermal Resurfacer. This gives the best of physical and enzymatic exfoliation.  The pumpkin enzyme smells delicious.
    Check it out:
    Kate Somerville's ExfoliKate gives enzymatic and physical exfoliation as well.  Also, there are varying formulas depending on surface skin type. You can choose the one that works best for your skin for that time of year.  Sephora clients rave about this product.
    Check it out!
    Glamglow is a great way to get exfoliation out of a mask.  The mud purifies and detoxifies the skin while the 6 acid blend, green tea and other exciting ingredients exfoliate and protect the skin.  Sephora cast members are raving about his product.
    Check it out:

Once you have experienced all of the many benefits exfoliation can provide not only for your special event, but also for the overall health of your skin, you may find yourself seemingly addicted to it.  Please, keep in mind over-exfoliation of the skin is just as bad, if not worse than not exfoliating it enough.  Do what's best for your skin and remember your skin changes, listen to what it has to say!

If you have any questions, suggestions or comments I would love to hear them.  

412 531-2083

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Fantastic Eyebrows

You know, one of the greatest things we can do for ourselves is promote good brows.  As sophisticated and supposedly evolved human beings we sometimes forget that we are predatory mammals.  As predators it follows logic that it is imperative we are able to read the expressions of our prey and our frenemy packs of fellow predators in order to forecast the possible actions of each.  Where do we look to read these hints?  The eyebrows and the lips are the most expressive features of any mammal, perhaps organisms on Earth.

Even if we do nothing else for ourselves, a set of well groomed eyebrows can take us above an beyond our classic 'fresh out of bed' look, and to the opposite end we all know too well just how frightening a set of over-wrought, painted up, truck-stop waitress eyebrows can be.  Ever tried a new Aesthetician only to return with a pair of McDonald's arches for brows?  I bet you were convinced your dating life was over for at least three weeks and dreaded the ever judgmental looks from your girlfriends and coworkers. 

I'll be posting some tips for great brows in the near future.  Be sure to check back for that.  In the meantime I also wanted to share some of my favorite brow beauty products with you.

If you already have plenty of hair on your brow and you just need to fill in and groom your brows, there's nothing better than Anastasia of Beverly Hill's Brow Gel.  It is so fast and easy.  It is light-weight and it isn't sticky.  It comes on a mascara wand... simply make sure there isn't too much of the gel on the mascara brush and comb through... fabulous brows in under 20 seconds.  The color stays put and I don't have to worry about you having those dreaded waitress eyebrows.
     Just a word to the wise on the colors.  Don't be afraid of them.  Yes!  They look shimmery, but they are completely natural on the eyebrow.  The shimmer is much more subtle than it looks in the tube and on the brow it picks up the natural (or unnatural in some cases) highlights in our own hair.  Making them much more natural than matte brow gels would be. The colors go on about 1-2 shades darker than they appear (but not to worry this is pretty foolproof product).  It also comes in clear for those of us that just need to keep what we already have in place.  Here's the downside-- you can not create brows where they do not exist.
    Check them out!

Perhaps you are not so blessed in the brow department and need to actually create portions or entire eyebrows?  Well I have a new favorite!  It's brand spanking new too!  Wait to you try this mostly natural, water resistant, vegan friendly product!  It's amazing!  Hourglass's new arch brow can be used to fill, groom, or create eyebrows or individual hairs.  It's the perfect consistency.  It isn't so hard that it hurts, nor is it too soft so you get the 'magic maker eyebrow' look either.  It is water resistant and once the color is on... it is on!  The wax is built in so you can do everything in 1 or 2 easy steps.  The tip, oh my goodness wait until you see the tip!  It's triangular shaped!  Yes, I know Smashbox has a tip the same shape, and it just so happens I love that product too.  With this shape, you can quickly fill large areas beautifully and naturally (use the largest side of the tip to lightly color both the skin of your brow and the hair of your brow) or mimic individual hairs with the thinnest part of the tip.  You will love this product!
     Downside?  Well, this isn't an inexpensive product, but it's well worth it.  Once this color is down, it's there and it isn't going anywhere.  Moral of this story, use a light handed touch until you figure out how this one works.  The good news is you never have to worry about your brow color moving or fading.
    Check them out!

We all know, Smashbox with their models on the covers of the world's most fashionable magazines are the world's experts on brow color.  Brow Tech To Go is a great way to fill in or create brows where they don't exist.  The formula is water-proof, but easy to remove when you want to and worry proof until you are.  The tip is a "powder-in-a-pencil" formula.  Triangular shaped just like the new Hourglass Arch Brow.  Use the same way; However, when you are done remove the mascara wand on the other end and set with a lightweight brow gel.
    Downsides to this product?  There are only two shades and while they are both pretty universal some of us may be left out of the perfect color crowd.  Also, there's two steps to this product. While, I don't mind this, some of us may enjoy a 1 step product instead.
   Check them out!

Of course I don't have the space to address all brow products and tips here.  Check this location for more tips, tricks and product reviews.  Feel free to join the conversation here.  Contact me with questions and comments.

Chet Michael
Blake Artistry
Professional Make-Up Artistry
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Charleston, West Virginia
412 531-2083