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Monday, July 9, 2012

First batch back from House of Style KC and J. Patrick

Model: Maddox
Photo:  Christopher Clayton
Wardrobe and edits: Nikki Fizer at  No Human Intentions
Hair: Sarah Vallejo at   
Model: Maddox
Photo:  J. Michael Strange
Wardrobe and edits: Nikki Fizer at  No Human Intentions
Hair: Sarah Vallejo at   

Model: Megan
Photo and post by  J. Patrick

Sunday, July 8, 2012

List your business on ThumbTack. Easy sign up, free, and detailed. Any businesses welcome!

Meena Heartsong MUA on thumbtack!

The Fast, Hard Truth about Carmex addiction and other medicated balms. Enzyme Mask recipe alternative.

Repeat after me: My name is ______ and I'm a medicated lip balm addict.

Now you have made the first step.

Ever seen a Carmex fiend in frenzy?  Cruising conveniences stores for the dip. Little yellow pots being passed around, with multiple people's finger scoops in the goo.... Scary, right?
Is this you? Ok, ok, I'll stop. Not judging.
Although please consider that sharing a pot of lip product, especially one designed for cold sores, may leave your stash with unwelcome microscopic tag-alongs. Even if the product kills the herpes virus, the container exterior may not. The common cold is pretty easy to spread about too without someone cross-contaminating your actual lips with theirs. Grossed out? Effective public service I hope!
So anyways...

Why are we so addicted to medicated lip balms and are there drawbacks to using them other than needing a fix?
 Here's the link to the active ingredient list. 

Carmex, like Chapstick is a medicated lip balm. When used on a daily basis, lips can be even more dried out and in a way addicted to the medicated balm. They are intended for painful, severely chapped lips or cold sore treatment. Classic Chapstick is very similar in active ingredients to Carmex, although it doesn't contain Salicylic Acid.

The Ingredient Breakdown 

Menthol, salicylic acid and phenol are comomonly known to be drying to the skin.
Menthol is a typical ingredient since it is a pain reliever. Salicylic Acid is used to break down oil in most acne treatments. Phenol is used in medical grade facial peels also. They are both chemical exfoliants.
When a chemical exfoliant is put over an uneven, delicate skin surface, it mostly exfoliates the exposed, uneven layers, therefore leaving the new surface just as irritated and uneven.

A gentle physical exfoliation like a sugar scrub, or any towel or brush with petroleum or oil product as a softening lubricant, will take off the uneven layers and protect the healthy skin under. Another alternative that might be more gentle to healthy skin than the abrasive method above is using enzymes to eat away dead skin, leaving healthy skin intact.


You can use an enzyme face product or make an edible DIY lip and/or face mask with enzyme rich pumpkin, papaya, apple, yogurt moisturizing and soothing ingredients like cucumber, avocado coconut oil, oatmeal, and honey to gently remove dead skin.
Blend any or all of the following ingredients together til spreadable. Add water if needed for consistency or if you want a much more powerful treatment, squeeze in some citrus juice (orange being milder, grapefruit and lemon more intense) for a mild acid treatment in addition to the enzymes.
These fruit acids are anti-aging friendly Alpha Hydroxy Acids (water soluble) which means they act differently than the Beta Aydroxy (oil-soluble) Salicylic Acid in Carmex.
I recommend doing masks and exfoliation at night, when sleep will help the skin heal the fastest in response to the treatment and there is no risk of immediate sun exposure.

 If doing just lips, you have the option of doing a quick salt or sugar rub or light toothbrush scrub to further help loosen dead cells or if your lips are too chapped to rub, just go straight to your enzyme lip mask and leave on up to ten minutes or until you feel an even tinglingYou can then eat off, or rinse off the solution. *If it is too tingly or burns, take it off  immediately and rinse thoroughly with cool water.
Finish with a natural lip balm to hold in new moisture and protect the fresh skin.
I recommend 
Image Ormedic Lip Treatment, Chapstick Naturals, Weleda Lip Balm or in a pinch straight castor oil or petroleum jelly.

If doing a full face, wash for 1-2 minutes, optional exfoliation, and apply enzyme mask evenly,, but not too close to the eyes.
Again leave on up to 10 minutes or until an even tingle is felt and if too intense, remove immediately. Rinse off thoroughly and follow with an additional moisture mask for incredibly dry or sensitive skin or if not needed, just put on your night cream or moisturizer.

You can do a lip mask as often as you'd like, save a face mask for 2-3x per week and remember to use your SPF every morning as even gentle exfoliation makes the skin more vulnerable to UV.

Gotta love medicated balms, but save em for when you really need em!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Makeup Show in Chicago, Artists, Career building, makeup techniques, products, and inspiration.

Chicago and The Makeup Show. It was incredible.
While I'm about to go into much detail about what I saw and learned, everyone's experience s unique, there are so many networking, workshop and seminar opportunities that my post should only make you hungry to go next year to travel to the next Makeup Show so you can take from it what YOU need. What I'm saying is- my sharing can't replace an experience of your own and if you find this info valuable, you have to go or you do yourself a great disservice in what you will miss.

For those unaware of this event: The Makeup Show is sponsored by The Powder Group ( a group of professionals that organize various events, discounts and networking. Member Michael DeVellis created The Powder Group and organizes The Makeup Show in its multiple locations. He also works with Makeup Forever and is absolutely charming. I witnessed him in a verbal altercation and was so impressed by how disarming and totally-not-fazed he was by this woman throwing attitude at him. I thought: What kind of makeup makes your skin that thick? ;)

I got to hear him speak at a seminar about the multi-purpose MUFE Flash Palette-The Artist Advantage: Mastering the Flash Color Palette –Brittany James for Make Up For Ever. With my distaste for FD&C colors and parabens, I have not purchased the Flash Palette since it contains them, but it is a useful artist's tool and if I were to have jobs it required and couldn't find a high enough quality alternative (unlikely) I would invest in it and trust the result and a protective moisturizer underneath it to not be too concerned. The literal paint of makeup. I watched Brittany James use outstanding basic color theory and mixing to turn these brightly colored creams into a full face of foundation, blush, eyeshadow, liner, lipstick, concealer, and highlight.

I attended a Keynote Forum: Industry Insight – Hosted By James Vincent
Panelists- Crystal Wright, Maurice Stein and Michael DeVellis
James Vincent
( was so attentive and kind as he supplied mic needs to those asking questions and pitching in with tidbits and comic relief. I wish I had caught his other seminars and met him formally.Crystal Wright is the definition of a true professional. She wrote the book on it. Literally. I intend to buy it, but had already allotted my budget at the show. For those interested in the industry bible, I'm told this is it. Crystal herself is elegant, beautiful and no-nonsense, the very image of professionalism. I look forward to learning more about and from her.
Highlights I jotted down from the Forum:

When introducing yourself,
speak clearly, slowly, and pause between first and last name
, so you are memorable, not a jumble. If you have a difficult name, be proud of it and empower others to pronounce it correctly. As long as you do this kindly and without frustration or patronization you are making your identity important to those you are talking to and they are more likely to remember and respect you.
These days in America and most 1st world countries, your
virtual presence is a must. This means that a website and E-comp cards might be more important than tangible ones, though a physical/hard portfolio is still recommended and necessary for many professional situations.

I held onto my first come first serve seat and waited for the next Keynote Forum.
The Trip of a Lifetime – Billy B’s Career GPS  ( Billy B is the genius responsible for Lady Gaga's evolving look from the Fame Monster Album cover to the Born This Way music video, and made his name in other music videos. He is so humble and grateful for his success, while being and making us completely aware of the fickle nature of success.
I thoroughly enjoyed this forum, had emotional ups and downs, made new friends, and even stood to ask him questions directly that afternoon.

Here's what meant a lot to me:
Your realities will limit your goal potential. You can't compare your "success" to that of others. Gauge your own victories by your own expectations.
Stick with what works. This applies everywhere, Products, portfolio images, rates, clients, etc... I'm sure it doesn't mean not to take calculated risks, but don't make your career more vulnerable than is necessary when your consistency and income is at stake in a big way.When offered many projects, value your time and energy. Don't get bogged down and burnt out trying to take them all. Weigh the benefits. Benefits can be monetary, publicity, or feed your passion. All of those things are necessary.
The passion is what drives your creativity. For many artists  like Billy B and myself the passion is avante garde work that doesn't get you hired, but feeds your creativity so select projects for free or less money are worth your time.
The publicity drives  your career. Most music videos and magazine covers don't pay anywhere close to commercial or event work. That's because of demand and value- endless many people would love to do it for free, to get the credit and publicity. These jobs don't pay the bills but make you known and more likely to be hired elsewhere.
Monetary- self explanatory. Paying your bills as a makeup artist is most easily done with counter consulting, bridal and commercial work until one is teaching or being hired for large campaigns, movies or celebrities. This work may be tedious or repetitive and is not always what you love about makeup but it is necessary to make this your full-time work.

In this vein we also got the advice to learn hair in the Midwest for bridal and other work as it is expected and valuable. You may need to do this to make a living and name, even if "it makes you feel like a dirty whore". His words, not mine.

If not a possibility he suggested teaming with a stylist, bringing them along and cutting them in.
You can see that this was a very fun, useful and open forum. He had a lot of valuable info for new artists that struck home with me. I had articulated my uneasiness about some of these things and now feel much more confident.

Learn restraint, but don't compromise your style/brand. As in any artist, the masters know the negative space is most important and it is so with makeup also. New artists may have talent, but feel the need to prove themselves with each face and will pull out every trick at once, instead of letting the right artistic element shine. While the tricks may be great, they don't always add up to good taste. Developing style has much to do with this.
He talked much of Kevyn Aucoin, his longtime MUA inspiration. When faced with a decision he thought "Would Kevyn do this?". He urged us all to find a like minded inspirational artist with similar style and goals. I will now adopt a new motto. What Would Billy B. Do?

When relating to clients his advice was to keep it comfortable and professional. Sounds obvious but more specifically, if I may paraphrase:
"The best thing you can do for your client is to be the best makeup artist for them that you can be. Not their therapist, saint, or best friend." It will only make the working relationship less objective and harder to negotiate business decisions. Likewise when working with regular clients, continue to build those and all working relationships, but don't put all your eggs in one basket. You never know when a job will fall through, and you can't let it collapse your confidence or business. Let it go. Accept that you did your best, or if you didn't- learn from it and move on.

I got to hear a lot about agents and was glad to since I have never met with one. Most of the artist I heard speak said they preferred it since they didn't like talking money, and left it to a professional. Billy B made clear that an agent does not equal success or more frequent work. They are part of YOUR team and work for you, not the other way around.

Speaking about portfolios we were advised to have 12-20 strong marketable, hopefully timeless images. In this day and industry that means clean beauty and perhaps some glamour. Avante garde will never sell you as an artist for a large paying job in most areas of the industry.
When testing, aim for 2-3 useful images. In the world of testing or "trade" (TFP, TFCD for you modelmayhem-ites) a test should be a team effort. Do not test endlessly while the photographer is being paid for the shoot. Negotiate your own rates as many photographers are charging clients for your services above what they have agreed to pay you and are pocketing the trimmings. Not to sat that all photographers take advantage, but it's been known to happen and just shows the importance of managing your own business.
While negotiating rates can be frustrating and uncomfortable it can't be avoided if you want to work.
If you want the project and are flexible in your rate for the opportunity suggestions when approached for projects were:
"My rate is $__ for half and __ for full day. What is your budget?" Or simply: "Is there a budget for makeup?" Otherwise don't be scared to give your rate, no matter the reaction. Sticker shock or angry reactions are either a result of a non-professional who doesn't understand your value or are a shady haggler type. You probably don't want to waste your time with anyone whose ego and entitlement gets in the way of a standard business negotiation as long as you know you are in a reasonable range for your quality and area. So do research, make inquiries, be fair, let your work and not prices, compete with other artists.
What I've learned, myself, from endless industry forums is to find the reasonable rate for your caliber or desired caliber work based on location and rate accordingly. Extreme rate-cutting, discounts, and price gouging of other artists will only get you blacklisted and prove to clients that our job is worth less. The correct way to charge for event and photography makeup is to have a half (4 hours or less) and full day rate (8 hours and possibly more). Typically a full day rate is not higher than 2 half day rates combined. For some this is in the low, medium, high hundreds and for Billy B and his caliber- a few thousand.
Artists that charge by the hour or by look or number of faces for this type of makeup or demand a kit fee are usually not well educated professionals, since they have not networked and researched enough to know the industry standard. Kit fees are sometimes used for special effects and TV since they require so much on-site product use.
Testing means that both parties invest their time and effort equally, supplies are their own responsibilities and no money is expected to change hands unless otherwise agreed upon. Travel may be negotiated, but is not always expected to be included unless you are being formally hired for a large or out-of-state job as far as I understand (learning more about this).
I mentioned Billy B's humility. He acknowledge that he has assistant, sees Youtube Gurus and other artist that are more skilled than him. He insists his blessing are just that. A successful makeup career is a result of luck and dedication with about 35% talent. His last words were to be in a place that allows the luck to come to you. Create a luck friendly environment so the ups and downs can run their course. 

 With the incredible Billy B (! Also check out newly whitened teeth by wonderfully set off by OCC Lip Tar in Vintage.

I can't finish talking about Billy B without mentioning that he admired my makeup and look specifically. I wanted to explode with happiness. He and so many artists I met at the Show were bursting with warmth and encouragement. I received validation and made connections that warmed my heart and strengthened my committment and dreams. It was an invaluable experience for me, but for anyone wondering- tickets to both days was only about $65.
At this forum I was fortunate to be seated near
Jacqueline Teague Vivolo (  and you can also follow her twitter @teaguevivolomu and find her on MM#1672284. She is an inspiring and artist and kind of just grabbed me and pulled me under her wing, to my delight. She is already a valuable friend and resource and I must thank her for that. I can also now think WWTVD?
Other new friends with impeccable work and who you would be privileged to follow or hire:
who has amassed a brush collection to drool over and was sweet as can be!

I chose and paid to attend "Perfecting the Canvas" by Kathy Aragon. It focused on perfecting skin for events, TV, and photography and the necessary distinction. There was no focus on eye or lip makeup, but everything else, which is where the quality of an artist perhaps shows the most.
This was my class of choice since I focus a lot on eye makeup, brows, and find lips simple, but have not gathered oodles of foundations or other skin products yet, and wanted to know how to grow usefully in that direction. The skin quality is the gauge of quality for makeup artists, since it requires the most techniques including: sculpting with highlight and contour, color correction and concealing of blemishes, under eye circles, and other inconsistencies, using bronzer responsibly, paying attention to body skin continuity and creating appropriate coverage for the model and purpose.

Kathy was warm and casual and invited questions at all stages. She had many product and tool recommendations. I will try to piece together my info appropriately.
I went nuts over OCC Lip Tar the moment I got my hands on them on the floor, then in the workshops she showed us how to use them as cheek stains. Just work fast and with a tiny (and I mean pinhead) amount at first since they are so pigmented.

I learned a little contour trick which is starts with a swirl at the ear and then blend along the hollow. A highlight trick is that the top of the brow and hairline have about 2 finger widths as do the top of the cheekbone and eye on most people, so there is plenty of room to highlight and those spaces do not need to be filled with it. The lower finger under the eye will highlight the cheekbone and the first finger above the brow will highlight effectively without getting into the hairline.
She had many tips and much praise for the original Beauty Blender used damp with foundation. Favorite foundations: Face Atelier and MUFE HD, blended with Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancers for more coverage.
Color matching tips for speed: If you think the color might be a shade too dark test it in your contour area, too light test in a highlight area or under the eye so they can be blended and enhance instead of needing to be cleaned off.
For fast face work, a double ended brush was recommended like a foundation/conceal duo from Crown.
The most common color correction is a peach/salmon undereye concealer to cancel blue undertones. Eve Pearl and Joe Blasco for higher coverage were recommended. These are also useful for toning down 5 o clock shadow in men's grooming.
HD powders are typically made form silica and have been mysterious to me. I got the lowdown- don't set a whole face with this and a brush, just use a puff to take the dewiness from T-zone so you don't pack it in and create a whiteout.
We got lots job-specific tips like not using mineral, spf, sparkle or heavy shimmer for event/bridal where flash will distort the effect. Much the same for TV, keep highlight in your foundation or matte powder..
Flexibility for blush brushes are useful or a fan for a light touch. MUFE and KA were recommended for excellent blushes.

 Practicing makeup on the lovely Vanessa from in my makeup from the Perfecting the Canvas workshop by Kathy Aragon ( She is wearing MUFE Face and Body foundation, OCC Lip Tar and various highlighter, concealer, contour, bronzer and blush.

We then paired and practiced on each other. Vanessa from was flawless already but I was proud of the natural face and orange lip I put on her. I also got the chance to ask Kathy a nagging question: Was the quality of my current brush set holding me back. She led me straight to BDellium brushes ( and the next day I purchased a green 15 brush set at a very reasonable price. They are vegan, cruelty-free, hypoallergenic synthetics with sustainable bamboo handles. Can't wait to use them. I definitely needed them since natural bristles are very absorbent and likely to roughen over time.

So while I gave much info here, again I will say that what I learned from the demo and practice was invaluable and to have such an amazing artist available to answer questions and help me bring my personal techniques to a new level was well worth the trip and workshop price and I highly recommend the experience and learning from Kathy Aragon.

Aside from these intensive learning experiences I also was in heaven at all the booths. I swatched every canary yellow and royal purple eyeshadow I could find and MUFE was the most pigmented. I listed all my favorite OCC Lip Tars for my wishlist and loved seeing CoverFX products in action. There was an amazing deal on MUFE HD foundations that I wish I could have afforded to take advantage of, since I only work with RCMA creams right now and want to add a good silicone base line. I was ready to take home OCC NSFW and A Kevyn Aucoin Highlight/Contour Duo and fate snatched them from me, so they go back on the wishlist. I learned how to better use my Smashbox cream liners with a smaller longer brush and tested some lovely subtle highlighters there. Had an awesome time making eyes with Harry at Grande Lash ( and giggled during my teeth whitening. I got to watch amazing bodypaint demos both days and am still looking into the awesome hair product at and are a makeup artist or enthusiast networking and inspiration headquarters. Professional membership with and the Powder Group as mentioned are highly recommended for discounts and education.
I may be editing this as I get more permission to post shoutouts and details. Questions and comments are welcome and I hope I will see you all at the show next year!

Day 1 Loot:

Handy MUFE bag and magnetic palette ( Lashes, plastic mascara wands, and Lash Duo Glue from . OCC Lip Tar in Interlace, Lower lash wands and lip wands from Dante Disposables (
Day 2 loot(not pictured):
BDellium 15 brush set, MUFE small artist handheld palette,and a spatula from Naimies and personal teeth whitening touch up kit.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Skin Cancer Awareness-Making sense of SPF and do YOU need it?

Ok I'll answer that now. Yes we all need it! Why don't you wear it?
Some people ask:
1. Don't I need my Vitamin D from the sun?

Vitamin D is produced in the body when exposed to sunlight and can help combat seasonal and other depression, and in some cases actually help reduce cancer, but more isn't always better. A daily dose of D can be received from about 10-15 minutes of sunlight. Most of us can get this through windows of buildings, cars, and walking in between. If you think you have SeasonalAffectiveDisorder or that you need more sun exposure, go for it! Take a quick walk and soak up some rays, although to decrease aging skin, feel free to do this WITH sunscreen on at least your face and hands. The rest of the body can absorb light too, without making you look older faster ;)
Did you know that a white cotton shirt has very little sun protection, you can get your Vit. D, tan and even burn right through it. Darker colors absorb light and protect your skin more.
2. People in the past didn't wear sunscreen and didn't all die of skin cancer...
It's true that diagnosis of skin cancers are on the rise. Some of this may be because tanning was not popular until our great-grandparents made it fashionable and we have become more efficient at creating tanning environments, beds, lotions, and time spent outside. In addition, ozone depletion and other factors have increased the amount of radiation we receive daily and unless protecting our skin everyday, it will most likely see some damage.
3. Why do I need sunscreen when my skin produces melanin to protect me?
While your natural melanin gives you some protection, a tan is an increase in melanin production. When your skin tone darkens, melanin is being produced more rapidly as a defense mechanism, which means it is responding to a threat and damage already incurred. A tan is not a preemptive strike in the sun war. It is a regrouping and arming of troops after the missile hits. Therefore, a tan is not effectively keeping your skin from damage if you keep getting darker. Australia and South Africa are good examples here. Australia has a 1 in 3 skin cancer rate, but awareness is nationally sponsored and respected, which makes early detection and treatment more common and death far less likely. South Africa and a few other countries now fine parents that don't protect their children from the sun due to the excessive sun exposure and damage there. Those with darker skin may be less likely to burn but are also less likely to think they need protection or check themselves for skin cancer. While deeper completed people may have less cancer, they die more often from those few cases, since they don't detect problems as early as those who can more easily see their skin reddened or damaged by sun or tanning.
4. Aren't chemical sunscreens dangerous and do they even work?
Do they work is a good question. The answer.. depends on the sunscreen in question.
Until this year the FDA didn't regulate SPF claims on drugstore products, so they recently found all kinds of sunscreens, especially those labeled SPF 80 and over, including kid/baby products, that weren't effective at all. Now that regulation has started, the highest SPF you will see will be labeled as SPF 50+ to avoid a false sense of protection some high SPF users reported. Other changes include cutting out advertising claims that can't be validated. Water-proof has no proof, you will find water-resistant products instead. Sprays and towelettes will be cracked down on since they rarely deliver an effective SPF dose and powders are more closely watched as well. All SPF products must protect against UVA and UVB, which is new. And while this sounds dandy, it took years of pressure, petitions, etc... to enact this and even so we are years behind Europe in our product claim and safety regulation.
Sunscreen basics:
SunProtectionFactor doesn't mean the minutes you can safely be in the sun as many think, but how many times longer you can not burn, based on the ingredients plus your own sensitivity. So if you burn in two minutes, an SPF of 15 should keep you from burning for a half hour... Regardless of SPF, products must be used as directed to be effective, meaning reapplied in a proper amount every few hours.
There are chemical and physical sunscreens.
Physical blockers come from minerals like zinc and titanium dioxide. They are typically the least irritating to the skin, and don't let UV penetrate your skin, but can wear off like any makeup or product that sits on the top layers of dead skin. A risk to consider is that they are often in powder makeup or powder sunscreen form and should never be inhaled and can rub off.
Chemical absorbers like those including the chemical name -methoxycinnamate- and variants absorb the radiation, so it doesn't penetrate further into the skin and will slough off with dead skin cells, where the product is absorbed and sits. It does have higher irritation risks, since it is a chemical being somewhat absorbed and stops being as effective after 2-3 hrs.
Most sunscreens have a combo of blockers and absorbers and all are recommended to be reapplied every few hours, or after 45 min of sweating, swimming, etc... Also, note that most products are underused and therefore ineffective. You will at least need a shot glass full for the body and nickel-sized squirt for the face. Some residue should be seen to ensure enough is on the skin.
EWG website is pretty thorough and some say sensationalist about displaying chemical risk factors in skin products, but they do have an SPF guide and Hall of Shame which found that most high SPF claims weren't accurate, so if you want to see how your pre-FDA regulated sunscreens stack up, check it out and make sure YOUR sunscreen actually works.

As far as chemical danger, I urge you to use physical blockers from an organic based skincare and body product line, as I agree there are some scary chemicals in mass-produced products. While some colors, preservatives, and other chemical ingredients have been linked to cancer, they aren't going to carry the same skin cancer risks as the sun, so I do not agree with those that say sunscreens are the reason for increased skin cancers.
The least irritating sunscreen is going to be one with those mineral blockers, and like any moisturizer for breakout prone or sensitive skin go for one that is oil, fragrance, dye, and paraben free. If you care about the environment and reducing your chemical intake, there are plenty of amazing brands that don't just plaster "Natural" on their umbrella-owned product, but actually are sustainably produced, vegan, organic, and contain healthy skin ingredients.

And finally I know that in addition to irritation, many people don't wear sunscreen because they find it greasy, smelly, or sticky. Finding the right product and application is the key there. They are not all alike. Find somewhere with a good return policy, read your ingredients, and product reviews, and try a few. Ooooooorrrr... Just read my next blog.
My next blog will feature favorite sunscreen products, correct application and the how, when and where to use it.

Skin Cancer Awareness- Tanning

For Skin Cancer Awareness month I am posting about tanning and sunscreens. We all know a tanner and we all need sunscreen whether we like it or not, so please take this info seriously, I may have a few things you haven't heard before and more questions are welcome.

First- the basics.
Melanin is the natural pigment and color of our skin. To give you an idea of where it comes from:
The outmost layer of skin is the epidermis, underneath lie lthe dermis with our blood vessels, collagen, elastin, and a necessary layer of subcutaenous fat between our skin structure and muscles. The uppermost layer of the epidermis is the stratum corneum which consist of dead layers or skin, this is where most skin and makeup products are applied, absorbed and seen. Deep in the epidermis melanin is produced and distributed to create skin color and some natural sun protection.
Darker skin has more, lighter skin has less, sun spots or age spots are clustered melanin typically due to sun damage. Although overall freckles are clustered melanin, they are genetic and while typically sun-senstive are not initially caused by sun damage.
We all have some melanin (unless you were born with Albinism- a complete genetic lack of melanin) and it does help protect us, but chomp on this food for thought:
We all know the tanning bed users that over an over say they use it for a "base tan", meaning they purposefully irradiate themselves with UVA and UVB (most tanning beds use both kinds, some have just one) in order to have an all-over boost in their natural melanin production, but a base tan only gives a natural SPF of about 4. I'll explain more about SPF further down, but know that a lot of lip balms have twice that. And they are damaging their skin and raising their chances of skin cancer.
OK: skin cancer and tanning. How scary is it? REALLY freaking scary is the correct answer. Even heroine is not proven to cause cancer, yet it kills most of it's long-term users. Why do I mention this? Because tanning has been proven to be as addictive as heroine!
As we cook our skin, our body sends us feel-good chemicals so we aren't caused more pain by radiation exposure. This chemical reward in the brain is how drugs form addictions. We are thinking that we are healthy and taking care of our appearance because it makes us feel warm and slightly euphoric as we absorb endorphins. That positive glow we get once subconciously influences us to do it again. This becomes habit and in many cases, soon begins to interfere with life which defines addiction or dependency. It can take far too much time and money, or become a self-esteem or other emotional crutch.
But considering how horrible it is for your health would make any regular tanning fit the description of an addiction and can raise your chances of melanoma by 75%.

What about beds that call themselves safe because they only use one type of UV light? The carcinogenic mutations in some skin cancers have been linked to UVA radiation more than UVB, suggesting that beds have different risks than natural light. The UVA light is also more strongly associated with skin aging than UVB, and with genetic damage. UVB burns the skin quicker, which may create your tan faster, so using only UVA will only tan you slower, have you exposed to radiation longer and age your skin faster. No amount of Botox or facelifts can give back the healthy, plump, springy skin of youth and nothing ruins it faster than lots of UV radiation.

Making a mature tanning decision:
Age limits and taxes on indoors tanning are sweeping the US and Europe since school age girls do not often take tanning risks seriously and have the fastest growing rate of melanoma, due to the number of habitual tanners between ages15-24. If the taxes seem unfair, consider how much money is spent on cancer treatment or even just an appointment to check on a new skin abnormality. The cost of medical treatment is for many reasons, beyond most people's means. This is another thing people often don't think about when they risk their health for peer pressure or vanity.
There are a few hyped stories about tanning deaths, that I can't find much on, but use your judgement. If you can get "sun poisoning"  as a result radiation and raised body temp in a day at the beach (which can need hospitalization or in some cases kill), you can definitely get it from a tanning bed which usually has a normal day's worth of UV exposure in about a 20 minute period. That's an extreme short term risk. The long term risks are irreparable saggy leathery skin, uneven skin tone/sun spots, and cancer.
 Other common risks include skin irritations from beds that haven't been sanitized properly, painful burns, allergies to tanning lotions, dry skin, and freckles in those that don't normally get them.
 If someone has tanned their entire life and doesn't look the worse for it, they are an exception, not a tanning expert. They may have a naturally high amount of melanin, they may not tan as often as they say, or they may use a bed with weak bulbs, they may have undiagnosed cancer while they are talking to you, or they may be very very lucky, which only means that for one that's escaped damage (so far) there are more that haven't. I have been in a tanning bed, with my fair skin and all. It felt great and was only tanning a few times a month for 1 summer at age 20. In only a few years I have pigmented areas on my face, more freckles on my arms and chest, and now burn easier even with two kinds of professional brand, medical grade sunscreen and spf makeup on. And this is after I browned up like a berry as a kid. We aren't young forever.
If you refuse to stop tanning, I encourage you to pay attention to your skin for the signs of cancer and for cosmetic reasons to wear SPF at least on your face and then use a little bronzer if you feel there is a difference.
The early signs of skin cancer are:
A = Asymmetry: Melanoma lesions are typically irregular in shape (asymmetrical); benign (noncancerous) moles are typically round (symmetrical).
B = Border: Melanoma lesions often have irregular borders (i.e., ragged or notched edges); benign moles have smooth, even borders.
C = Colors: Melanoma lesions often contain many shades of brown or black; benign moles are usually a single shade of brown.
D = Diameter: Melanoma lesions are often more than 1/4 inch or six millimeters in diameter (about the size of a pencil eraser); benign moles are usually less than 1/4 inch or six millimeters in diameter.
Some melanomas may be other colors, including brown, pink, and even white. While some melanomas develop slowly, any sudden and rapid change in the size, shape, or color of a mole or spot on the skin should prompt you to seek medical attention immediately.
Have a trusted friend, lover, or family member do a thorough full body check if you don't go to a dermatologist regularily, don't forget between toes, in skin folds, and through hair.
Please watch and make every you love, or anyone who tans watch:
Ok scary tanning talk over, but I hope you do take it seriously.

Other tanning facts, I find interesting:
A tan used to be a sign of poverty, since those with them typically worked outside, as opposed to the white skin of aristocrats who spent most of their time indoors.
Tans may be so attractive to us, because of Carotene. This is a vitmain found in carrots and some other veggies. Every heard that too many carrots will actually make you turn orange? It's sorta true. Some natural sunless tanners even contain liquid carotene for that reason. Perhaps that glow we find attractive isn' because of the sun, but because of nutrition... A healthy diet with lots of veggies will also help you maintain clear, skin, weight, nails and hair! That carrot is looking sexy!

Tanning became more popular because of Chanel. Not the perfume of bag, but the lady CoCo, herself. She was very fit and loves to play sports outside. Her own tan and fashion influence created a "Tan=Health and Wealth" mentality that has lasted almost a hundred years. Indeed the very wealthy may have more eleisure time spent outside.

Wild how we got here, huh?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Oil and Sweat Proof Makeup Techniques and Products

Today's Topic-
How on earth do I keep my makeup on in the summer or when my skin is oily?
Well... Here are the Dos and Don'ts.
Don't put antiperspirant/deoderant on your face to keep it from sweating. It clogs your follicles, and blocks your pores. This IS how it works on underarms, but the face is much more sensitive and must "breathe". Sweat helps us regulate our body temp and get rid of toxins Oil holds moisture in the skin, and keeps it supple and helps protect from wind, pollutants, etc... So proper sweat and oil function is especially important in having great skin and we don't want to impede that. If you try this you may experience deadly trapped heat in the face, acne breakouts, skin irritations, or overdrying which can be painful and aging to skin.
Don't spray your face with hair spray! Many swear by this, but if they have any skin complaints, this is an obvious contributor. Even if no irritation is revealed, it can still be clogging, drying, and otherwise unhealthy for the skin, not to mention it is extremely flammable and harmful if inhaled in large amounts.

It seems silly I know, but in regards to these misuses, note that it is technically illegal to use a product other than it's intention. This means that any horrible reaction you may experience, you legally can't sue or otherwise be compensated for damages if you weren't using the product as directed..
Have I dissuaded you? I hope so.

Here's what you can Do:
Use mattifying skincare and makeup products .
If you are not oily, but sweat more, don't overstress your skin with mattifying skin care or acne products, cleanse and moisturize more gently and focus on the mattifying makeup primers, complexion and setting products.
Also be aware that sebaceous gland activity can function as a defense mechanism of the skin and overdrying or other skin irritation as well as stress or other hormone changes can cause an abrupt increase in your oil production. For this reason, it's important to keep the skin well hydrated and a good hydration regimen helps clear and heal skin faster and often reduces excess oil production .
The recipe for healthy, glowing, hydrated skin:
Drink plenty of water, cut out or reduce your intake of caffiene, alcohol, and smoke, wear daily moisturizer and SPF and night moisturizer.
Also: Radiation (shrinks oil glands) and planes (stale cabin air) also dehydrate the skin so be extra careful to hydrate and moisturize on days when getting sun exposure, x-rays, or traveling.

To start every application:
Cleanse the face for 1-2 minutes, pat dry and apply your moisturizer/spf product, allow to absorb until the skin is no longer tacky and then apply your primer and other makeup.

The more you pile on, the more it'll slide off so build your complexion as needed. Here I will show you the path to 4 levels of coverage from lightest to fullest.
1. Sometimes a primer and a setting powder will give a nice finish alone. Add one or all of the following for a natural look: a bit of concealer/bronzer/blush/highlight.
2. If you feel your skin tone needs a bit more balancing, use a tinted moisturizer after you prime, a bit of concealer (lightly blended under eyes, around nostrils, on blemishes or red areas) and the bronzer/blush/highlighter as desired or not at all.
3. If you are covering acne or have much uneven skin tone, follow a tinted moisturizer and concealer with powder foundation, and setting spray.
After priming, use a full coverage liquid foundation, setting powder and optional spray.
4. The ultimate in coverage: primer, liquid Foundation, concealer, powder foundation, setting powder, and setting spray.

Products I recommend-
Clay cleansers or those that contain salicylic acid will leave you grease-free.
I like Dermalogica Dermal Clay Cleanser for a gentle but oil-absorbing cleanse.
Image Salicylic Gel Cleanser for incredibly oily or acne-prone skin.
Image Skincare Matte Moisturizer SPF 30 or another moisturizer with microsponge technology.
Urban Decay DeSlick Primer (Color corrects without green!)
Murad Skin Perfecting matte Primer
Jane Iredale Absence Primer
BareEscentuals i.d bareVitamins skin rev-ver-upper (light)
Tarte Clean Slate Poreless (light)
Tarte tinted moisturizers, liquid foundation, and powders are clay based and therefore asborb some oil.
Urban Decay Tinted moisturizers are amazingly non-greasy, and have a decent amount of coverage.
Jane Iredale Dream Tints suit oily skin well with a dewy finish and for more coverage their PurePressed powder will not budge once set with Balance (see below) 
Urban Decay  24/7 Concealer Pencils can be used alone over primer, blended into tinted moisturizers for more coverage, or with any other foundation, just remember to set with a powder.
Setting Products:
Balance Antioxidant Hydration Spray
Urban Decay DeSlick Setting Spray
Urban Decay Razor Sharp Ultra Definition Finishing Powder
Jane Iredale Amazing Matte Loose Powder or Brush Me Matte (light)

The ones labeled (light) are just that- not as heavy duty but good for perhaps just a shiny T-zone.

Other sweat and oil friendly products and tips:
Waterproof/water-resistant mascara: Maybelline XXL Waterproof, Urban Decay Big Fatty (essentially water-resistant)
Tinted eye primers alone for light color or under eyeshadow to preserve: Jane Iredale Eyegloss, Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion
Lip and Cheek Stains Like those from Benefit, Urban Decay, Tarte, Revlon.
Lip and Eye Pencils: Urban Decay 24/7, or most firmer pencils set with powder (for liners you can use eyeshadows of the same or more intense color for a bright pop or rich depth!).
FYI: I love doing this^ with a green, navy, or black eyeliner and then an intense shimmery aqua shadow over it or black on black for the blackest black ever!