Friday, June 13, 2014

Be Your Own Masterpiece

Degas, Monet, Picasso – what do you think when you hear these names?

I think of great art and the talented artists who bring it to life. Also, I think of Italy.

When I was younger, I was lucky enough to travel to Italy as a foreign exchange student. It was educational and inspirational to see another culture firsthand and, although there were many amazing parts to my trip, one of my favorites was the Sistine Chapel.

Even after twenty years, I remember standing in awe, struck by how beautiful the artwork was. During my visit, the Chapel was under restoration and the scaffolding in use was so amazingly tall that I could only imagine how Michelangelo painted his enormous work of art. It’s beyond comprehension in its scale.

The work of a makeup artist is art on a much smaller scale, but it has its own complexities. For example, my “canvases” are real, living people, who move, blink, and talk during application. Each one has a unique undertone to their skin, special features that make them who they are. I believe that every face is beautiful in its own way and never use my makeup to change the unique and special traits that make my clients themselves (unless, of course, I’m creating a more dramatic look for a stage or screen character).

My philosophy is that everyone is perfect and there’s no need to mess with perfection.
Instead, I try to enhance -- not correct -- the already beautiful features I see:
  • For great eyes, I look for an eyeliner color to make my canvas’s eyes the focus and add some FAB mascara.
  • I also consider the cheekbone structure of my models. A dab of bronzer or blush in just the right place can go a long way!
  • For lips that look like they belong on a doll, I use lip-liner, then choose a sheen or color that compliments the skin’s unique tone.

But, above all, I remember that the most important part of looking great is feeling great. Remember, you’re an original, one-of-a-kind masterpiece. Buy what you like and wear it, not because it’s “in” or because someone told you ten years ago that it was “your color” and you’ve never wanted to challenge that. If you love it and feel great wearing it, it’s going to show! Even if you cash in on an old trend or buy the same color as your BFF, it’s going to look good, as long as you let yourself shine.

Makeup is fashion, but it’s also art and art is subjective. So if I’m the one buying and wearing it, then I’ll be the one choosing and liking it – no matter how old I am or if the “experts” tell me that color really isn’t for me. I’ll take that color, please, and I’ll probably pair it with my white shoes and purse after Labor Day.

Peace, Love, & Makeup.

Renée Carleen Makeup Artistry

Monday, June 9, 2014

Brushes Demystified. Part One: Selecting Your Brush

A lot of my clients ask me about makeup brushes: how to pick the right ones, how to use them once you’ve got them, and so on. Follow this series “Brushes Demystified” for helpful tips on choosing and using the right brush for every job. This week, we’ll be talking about selecting the right brush for your makeup needs

Selecting Your Brush
When you’re choosing a makeup brush, it’s important to consider your personal needs. Are you seeking a brush for home use or are you a professional looking for an appropriate brush to use on clients? You should also ask yourself what you’ll be using the brush for. Just as there are many types of makeups, there are many types of brushes that will help you achieve your favorite looks. You can use these questions as a guide to choose the brush that’s right for you:

Is it mineral-based?
If yes, I’d recommend a kabuki brush. A short, domed brush is great for dispersing and blending makeup at the same time. (Note: Kabuki brushes are not synthetic. Look for a fluffy, hair-like brush for that great blend.)
If you’re looking to apply bronzer, it’s best to use a flat, mineral brush. Remember that flatter brushes deposit color and fluffier brushes blend.
Is it liquid-based?
If yes, I’d recommend a synthetic flat brush with an arched top. These vary in size, but the larger size works best for most parts of the face.
Is it concealer?
If yes, I’d recommend a small, synthetic brush with a flat, arched shape (it could possibly double as a lip brush, depending on the size). This is the smallest of the “foundation” brushes.
Tip: If you’re doing your own makeup, shorter-handled brushes are usually best. Longer handles work best when you’re applying makeup to others.
Renée’s Recommendation: Since you’ll need a smaller brush for your eyes too, it’s best for home users to have the largest and smallest-sized brushes and for professional artists to have all three (see picture). I like to use the large size for most face applications, the medium for eyelids, and the small concealer brush for undereye and detail work.

Eye Makeup
·     Do you wear eye shadow?
If yes, you’ll want a flatter brush, which will help deposit your color.
Eye crease and eye contour brushes can be used interchangeably in the crease of your eyelid. The eye crease is great for blending, and the eye contour lets you achieve a more dramatic look.
·     Do you wear eyeliner?
If yes, you have some choices as far as brushes go. For gel-based liners, an angle eyeliner brush works best. You can also use flat liner to get a defined application close to your lash line. The smoky/smudger liner helps to soften a straight line, while the small eye detail brush is great for fine detail work on the eyes.
In general, remember that:
Brushes with a flatter shape deposit color
Brushes with a fluffier shape are used to blend and soften, no matter the size 
If you add extra definition to your brows, I also recommend an angle brush.

A Note on Fan Brushes: These can be used to sweep away translucent powder under your eyes when applying eye makeup. They are also used when applying masks in facials.
A fluffy, flat brush is great for bronzers and setting translucent powders.
A medium-sized blush/cheek brush is best for cheekbones. This type of brush is meant for the cheekbone area, so it’s not as big or fluffy as a setting powder brush
A stipple brush is good for setting powder and applying cheek color.

Setting Powder
These brushes are usually bigger and fluffier than cheek/blush brushes.

      Are you looking for personal use?
If yes, you can probably go without a brush since brushes are mainly meant for detail work. Save your money or buy another lipstick shade (More color! Yay!)
      Are you a professional makeup artist?
If yes, you’ll want to apply with a synthetic brush for that perfectly defined pout. See picture for a concealer brush that can double as a lip brush. (I’m a big fan of “Less Is More.”)
A Note on Retractable, Disposable, and Freebie Brushes:
While they’re convenient for storage, retractable brushes aren’t very sanitary, since they carry products and germs back into their tubes. I’d only recommend this if you can open the tube to disinfect it, along with your brush. 

Other disposables, which are often included for free with makeup, are usually not going to give you good results. Most of the time, I open them up and throw them away immediately. Invest in good quality brushes, clean them with gentle cleanser and warm water (use a disinfectant when necessary), then dry them, handle side up. This will keep water from leaking into the handle. Once dry, put them in a cup on your vanity or, if you’re a professional, use a clean brush roll. (Make sure you clean the roll after every use so dirty brushes don’t contaminate clean ones.)

Can You Use Your Fingers?
Yes! You can apply liquid foundation, blush, and sometimes even lipstick with clean fingers. (Unfortunately, it won’t work very well for eye makeup). Make sure you remove your makeup with a disposable or washable applicator (never dip into your product with fingers) and use clean fingers to apply. You can achieve a pretty, soft effect this way, without even picking up a brush.

A Note on Brushes: When choosing any brush, make sure to look for a good quality bristle and an appropriately-sized handle. Use a disinfectant spray when necessary and wash in warm water with a gentle soap-based cleanser.  


Look for discounted brushes in my August brush sale and stay tuned for most posts in the “Brushes Demystified” series.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Umbrella or Sunbrella?

People typically think of pulling out their umbrellas on rainy days. They keep you from getting rained on, keep your hair dry, keep your clothes and makeup looking fresh -- it makes sense right?

But what if, instead, we used umbrellas as sunbrellas? The same way we protect ourselves from frizzy hair, wet clothes, and running makeup, we could protect ourselves from the burning and aging that comes along with ultraviolet rays.

I imagine a world where, when the sun is shining brightest and UV rays are at their height, people carry these sunbrellas around for even greater protection. More than just a fashion statement (and they would surely be quite stylish!), they would protect us from sunburns and harmful exposure. Nowadays, we have sunscreen and sunhats, but wouldn’t it be nice to think BIGGER? If sunbrellas existed, we would have more than one use for the traditional umbrella -- we could protect ourselves from the elements on rainy days and sunny days. Imagine the fun colors and designs we use to brighten up dreary weather put to use again on the most beautiful days of the year! Walking works of art, which keep the people who carry them safe and healthy.

To me, the greatest thing about umbrellas are the chances you have to share them. We could extend the kindness of the friends and family members who help keep their loved ones dry with this new opportunity to keep our loved ones healthy, as well. We might even set up “sunbrella stations,” where we grab a donated sunbrella when we need one and leave it for someone else when we don’t.

Take a Penny, Leave a Penny? How about Take a Sunbrella, Leave and Sunbrella?

If you aren’t quite ready to break out an umbrella on a sunny day, then you do have other options for protection from the sun:

  • Sunscreen (Look for titanium dioxide and zinc oxide in the ingredients)
  • SPF Clothing
  • Sunhats
  • Sunglasses (Don’t want to forget your eyes!)

Or, since the best advice always comes from Mom, “Always look for the shade.” Now you have another reason to love trees -- they’re looking out for you!
Renée Carleen Makeup Artistry will be having a sunbrella contest in July. Keep an eye out for details.