Bridal Makeup Example


Photo by James Sotirakis  www.jsimagedesign.com

How do brides want to look on their wedding day?  Most would say they want to look beautiful and flawless, but without a lot of heavy makeup.  Being a makeup artist, the tricky part is putting enough makeup on for the photos, but not too much to where is looks overdone in the lighting of the actual wedding and reception.  Here is how I did our bride’s makeup.

I began by prepping her skin with a light moisturizer mixed with a face primer, MAC Skin Base Visage.  She had very few minor skin imperfections that needed to be covered with concealer.  For redness, I used Ben Nye Red Neutralizer #2.  Under her eyes I used Make Up For Ever’s Camouflage Cream in N13.

Brides like for their makeup to last all day and night, no matter how much crying, laughing and dancing they do.  This is why I usually airbrush foundation and blush on brides.  Dinair foundation in Light Golden Beige was sprayed lightly on the face to achieve the perfect coverage.  I also sprayed a little on her neck and chest area to make the skin look uniform.  Dinair Peach Beige Plum was used on her cheeks.  Most airbrush makeup requires very little powder so I dusted her with a small amount of translucent powder.

Our bride’s eyebrows were enhanced with a neutral taupe/brown powder and combed through with a clear brow gel to set them.  MAC’s Shroom and Charcoal Brown eye shadows were used to compliment her blue eyes.  For her eye liner, I used MAC’s Fluidline in Blacktrack on the upper lash line and on the lower lash line I used Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Eyes pencil in 2L, which is brown.

I love false lashes and always recommend them for brides, just not the gigantic showgirl type.  After curling the lashes and applying a coat of waterproof mascara, good old Maybelline Great Lash in Very Black, I applied Revlon’s false lashes in Flirty.

On her lips, I used a neutral spice colored lip liner, lining the lips and filling in completely to create a lasting base for the lipstick, Cover Girl’s Lip Perfection in Soulmate.

Do you have to use these exact products to achieve perfect bridal makeup?  Of course not, there are countless substitutions that can be made.  I just list what I used as examples of colors and textures to give you an idea.

The final result looked beautiful in person and photographed very well, making an extremely happy bride.

Copyright of all photos:  Tracy Sotirakis, with the exception of top photo.



5 Things To Never Do With Makeup

Don’t do this, don’t do that.  Wear this color, never ever wear that color.  There are many so-called rules when it comes to makeup that it’s easy to get confused.  Many professional makeup artists don’t even believe in most of these rules.  However, there are a few commandments that must be strictly followed.

Bacteria photo:  Wikimedia Commons

1.  Do not share certain makeup products with friends/family members.  Mascara should never be shared with anyone.  Eye infections and bacteria can easily be transferred.  You may think that your BFF is clean and sharing your mascara with her is OK, but can you see bacteria?  No, just don’t do it or you may be very sorry.  Same goes with the lipstick, lip gloss or balm that you slather on constantly.  What comes out of your mouth?  Saliva, bacteria, maybe the beginning of a cold or some other infectious sickness.  Do you share your toothbrush with your sister or best friend?  Just say no to sharing your mascara and lip products.  If you have shared these things, save yourself and throw them away.

Poor guy!

2.  Don’t let it get too cold or too hot.  Makeup is fragile.  It likes nice gentle temperatures.  Don’t let any liquid or creamy formulas freeze.  They may separate and get crumbly.  On the reverse side of freezing, if your creamy formulas get too hot they will be ruined.  Pencils and lipsticks will melt.  Foundations and concealers will turn sour and have a nasty spoiled smell to them.  Throw them out if this happens.  The chemicals have changed and this may cause your skin to break out.  You will also smell the funky scent all day because it’s on your face.  Trust me, I live and work in the desert where it gets extremely hot, I have ruined countless makeup items.  If I have to do a shoot outside during the hotter months of the year, I use a cooler as my makeup case.  It’s very chic!

3.  Please, don’t sleep with it on.  How many times do you have to be told?  Some of you still go to bed with your makeup on.  Your skin needs to rest and regenerate at night.  Infections can occur around your eyes and hair follicles can become clogged from not taking off your makeup.  Don’t be so lazy, clean your face!

4.  Do not blow on your makeup brushes.  Blowing on anything releases tiny particles of saliva into the air.  Kind of makes you regret eating birthday cake, huh?  Tap on your brushes with your finger to release any extra product instead of blowing.

Photo:  Warner Brothers

5.  Most of all, don’t care what others think about your makeup.  Hey, if you think you look like a goddess with bright purple eye shadow all the way up into your eyebrow, who cares?  Makeup is supposed to make you feel good about yourself, so wear it proudly!  You can take a woman who normally wears very frightening makeup and give her a complete overhaul, turning her into a supermodel, but if she isn’t comfortable in that makeup, she won’t feel good about herself.  Wear what you like and be happy.

These are just a few.  There are countless other rules out there in the makeup and beauty world.  Just pay attention to the sanitation rules and throw the rest out the window.



Please Wash Your Makeup Brushes!



Nasty, dirty things.

Would you sleep on the same pillow case every night for 3 months?  No way, that’s gross.  So why are you repeatedly putting something on your face without washing it regularly?  Your makeup brushes need a bath, right now.

I’m a bit of a germ freak when it comes to my makeup brushes for my business.  All clients get their own set of clean brushes, washed with anti-bacterial soap and water.  Why am I so vigilant about this?  I don’t want disgusting dirty stuff put on my face, so I don’t put it on my client’s faces.

Washing makeup brushes is easy and should be done on a regular basis.  The brushes will feel softer and work better without all the layers of gunk on them.  Washing brushes will not make the hairs fall out, but some shedding occurs with all brushes, especially less expensive ones.

Start by gathering your dirty brushes.  Get a fresh towel and spread it out to give the clean brushes a place to lay flat and dry.

The best soap to use for natural hair brushes (blush, powder, eye shadow) is a mild shampoo.  Baby shampoo works well or any regular shampoo that you have in the house.  For synthetic brushes (foundation, concealer, eye liner, lip) use a liquid dish soap that you would use to hand wash dishes, not the stuff for the dishwasher.  I usually try to find one that says something about dissolving grease.

Using warm water, wet the brush then work a little soap into it.  Swirl the brush around in the palm of your hand gently, never pushing too hard which will damage the hairs.  Let the brush lather up to get rid of all the makeup.

Hold the brush under the running water and work out the soap, gently spreading the hairs.  Try not to get any water into the ferrule, which is the part that attaches the hairs to the handle, the silver thing on this brush.  If too much water gets into the ferrule right where it is attached to the brush handle, your brush may get damaged and fall apart.  For very soiled brushes, the process may need to be repeated until all the makeup is dissolved.  Do not use any hair conditioner.  Do not leave them to soak.

Fresh and clean

Squeeze out the excess water and smooth the hairs out.  Lay flat to dry.

Do this on a weekly basis (at least) to keep your brushes clean and bacteria free.  Brushes will last for many years if treated with love.  Happy washing!

All photos:  Tracy Sotirakis



Spring/Summer Lip Color Trends 2013

Spring is here and it’s time to stash away your fall/winter lip colors…..again.  Don’t worry, you can pull them back out in October.  I know, every spring we get to hear what the “new” colors are and this year is no different.

Have you noticed that the clothing and makeup trends now are a little reminiscent of the 80’s era?  Florescent clothing in the stores and bright makeup back in style.  Maybe you should have saved some of your day-glow yellow shorts and hot pink tube tops from 1988.

As a lover of lipstick, I am always pleased to hear about what is happening in the lipstick world.  This spring the lipstick trend goes from vivid, bold and bright to muted nude.  Most of the emphasis is on matte shades that jump out and grab you with their intensity.  The colors are happy and care free.




Intense Red





Bright Hot Pink


Deep Berry



When going bright and sassy on the lips, make sure that the rest of your makeup is toned down.  Pair the nude lipstick with a smoky eye so that your eyes are the focus, not the lips.

Spring and summer is also about looking fresh and clean so lighten up on your heavy foundation and thick powder.  Let your skin show.

These colors can be found wherever you buy your favorite makeup.  From inexpensive to pricey brands.  Why not try some of these beautiful colors?  If you absolutely hate it, remember that it comes off with some tissue, it’s not permanent.  Makeup is supposed to be fun and expressive.  Put your bright lipstick on right now and spread some sunshine!

All photos by Tracy Sotirakis


Solution To Creased Eye Shadow

Hot weather, humidity, oily eye lids and wearing makeup for long hours–all causes of the dreaded creased eye shadow.  Are you plagued with this problem?  The solution is pretty simple, eye primer.

Eye primer is a pretty hip cosmetic item now so there are many brands to choose from depending on your budget.  An eye primer should last you a long time, so if you want to invest in a more expensive brand, feel free.  Less expensive brands also work just as well, it just depends on personal preference.

L to R: Primer from a wand, from a stick, a pot, clear wand, shimmer

They can come in pots, tubes, sticks, wands or brush applicators.  Eye primers can also come in different colors.  They can be skin tone, color correcting/neutralizing, clear or have a shimmer to them.

Left side with primer, right side without (same eye shadow)

Before doing any eye makeup, apply a small amount of primer on both lids, going from the lash line up to the brow bone, smoothing with your finger if necessary.  Let the primer dry for about a minute then apply eye makeup as usual.  You will notice that your eye shadow will be more vibrant and last all day.

If you are also plagued with migrating eye liner on your lower lash line, apply a small amount of eye primer there too before applying eye liner.

Say goodbye to melted eye liner and creased eye shadow, use your eye primer!


Beauty Shows, Hair, Makeup, Skin

IECSC Las Vegas, NV 2013

 June 22-24 2013
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Las Vegas Convention Center

My favorite event of the summer is the IECSC show in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Unfortunately, it’s only for industry professionals, so the public is not allowed to attend.  Sorry to all you makeup and skincare junkies that are not professionals.  I wish you could go also.

The most exciting part of this year’s convention is that I will be speaking on stage in the Makeup Education room.  I have two classes and here are the descriptions from the conference catalog:


I am honored to be speaking this year.  If you are an industry professional and want to attend the show, go to www.iecsc.com/las-vegas and register.  They also have shows in Florida and New York if you can’t attend the Las Vegas show.  Please come and attend my class and find me after to say hello and introduce yourself.    See you at the show!

*Logo above and catalog snapshots are from IECSC*


Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream Review

Yeah, sometimes I cart this much around.

We have all been hammered by the beauty and fashion magazines lately about BB Creams.  BB stands for Blemish Balm, as they are sold in Asian markets, or Beauty Balm as sold in Western markets.  They are supposed to multitask and be a primer, foundation, sunscreen, moisturizer and serum.  You can wear them alone or with your other favorite moisturizer, foundation or powder.

Are they really worth the hype or are they just another sales pitch for one more product that we can’t possibly live without.  I have so much makeup it’s frightening (or drool inducing), but that’s my job.  See picture to the right and you’ll see what I mean.  Is a BB Cream really going to change my life?  Probably not, but I had to try one anyway.  Those magazine ads really do work.  I had received samples of different brands and I liked them but they always made my skin look a little shiny after a few hours.  For my personal use, I usually like more of a matte look to my skin.  I don’t wear a full coverage foundation, maybe just a tinted moisturizer or a very light coverage foundation.  Too many freckles to cover up and then I just look weird.   BB Creams seem to be marketed to gals like me.

In a beauty magazine recently, they had an ad for Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream for Combination to Oily Skin.  My interest sparked.  The ad came with a coupon and a handy color chart.  Most of us know what color spectrum we fall in when the cosmetic companies group us into only 3 different skin tones.  Although, light may not be light enough for you or deep is not deep enough.  Trial and error is sometimes the only way to figure out which color is appropriate for your skin tone.  I went with the Light/Medium for combination to oily skin.  I purchased it at my local gigantic one stop shop for $11.97 and used my $1.00 coupon.

Garnier’s BB Cream Skin Renew for combination to oily skin is supposed to control shine, minimize pores, even skin tone, and hydrate.  It also has SPF 20, which in my opinion is not enough for daily wear (SPF 30 is recommended), but at least it’s something.  It also has “Mineral Perlite + Mineral Pigments”.

I have been wearing it for a few days now and here’s my opinion:  OK, not a life changing “miracle”, but I kind of like it.  The color is a tad dark and a little too beige for me, so I have to use it sparingly and blend well down my neck.  Most BB Creams are supposed to be used very sparingly anyway.  I do really like the fact that it is not dewy like other BB Creams.  It does feel like more of a light coverage foundation.  My skin looks very pretty with it on and I did set it lightly with a loose translucent powder.  I wore it out one day and got caught in a rainstorm and it seemed to hold up pretty well, my hair was another story.  My only note of caution is that some users with very sensitive skin have reported that this product was irritating to them.  I haven’t experienced any blemishes or itchiness.

The texture is not thick at all, not what I would call a “cream” but more of a liquid.   You have to be careful when dispensing it from the bottle, a lot can come out at once.  The smell is alright, it doesn’t really bother me.  After it sets on the skin I can’t smell it.

While this product may not be technically a true BB Cream like the real ones sold in Korea, I will continue to use this bottle of Garnier Skin Renew BB Cream for combination/oily skin.  Are you going to be sucked in also and try a BB Cream for yourself?

** Update:  I have been using this product now for a while and I have come to completely love it.  I even put one in my professional makeup kit and intend on purchasing the darker colors as well.

D.I.Y, Makeup, Skin

Make your own Glow Lotion

Spring and Summer are here and it’s time to show the parts of our bodies that have been covered up by sweaters, scarves and long pants.  If you are anything like me, you probably have several broken or unused powdered eye shadows, blushes or bronzers taking up space in your makeup drawer that you just can’t bring yourself to throw away.  Why not find a new use for them?

I love making my own products and I always have tons of broken or unused makeup items that I save for later use.  Now that it’s time to bare our shoulders and décolleté, let’s make some Glow Lotion.

Items that you will need for your project:  (As always make sure your containers and utensils are clean and sanitized.)

Lotion:  If you are making something to go on your face, use a face lotion.  For the body, use a body lotion. You will need to use a good amount of lotion in your blender.  If it’s not enough, it won’t blend.  Body oil could also replace the lotion if you want a Glow Oil instead.

Broken or unwanted powdered eye shadow, blush or bronzer:  These can be a variety of colors, depending on what color you want your Glow Lotion to be.  Good colors to gather are browns, peaches, pinks, bronzes, taupes, golds and beiges.  Think “glowing skin” colors.

A Container:  If you don’t have a fresh container or bottle, you probably have a used bottle laying around somewhere that only has a tiny bit of product in it.  Clean it with soap and hot water to sterilize it and peel off the label if necessary.

Scent:  If you want your product scented, feel free to mix some essential oils (very few drops) or perfume oil into your personal blend.

Blender:  A blender is necessary to thoroughly mix your blend together, making sure there are no solid pieces of product left.  I will be using my trusty Magic Bullet, which normally cranks out smoothies.

Miscellaneous:  A funnel, small spatula, paper towels or napkins.

I will be making two different Glow Lotions because I can never just make one:  Face Glow Lotion, a nice pinkish highlighting color, and Body Glow Lotion, a bronzy color for the anywhere on the body, scented with “tropical coconut”.

I made the Face Glow Lotion with a light face moisturizer that I had and wasn’t using.  The shadow colors here are frosty light pink, very light neutral taupe, a beautiful busted rose gold and another rose gold cream stick eye shadow.  I did not use any scent in this mix because it will be primarily for the face.

Everything was scraped out of the containers and put in the Magic Bullet.  I already had the lotion in the bottle, so I just poured it out into the blender then washed and sanitized the lotion bottle.  Make sure that you have enough space for both the lotion and colored products to fit in your container or you will have extra.  It took a few times of blending and scraping the the sides of the blender to make sure that everything was incorporated, but the end result was beautiful!

For the Body Glow Lotion I made a large batch because I had some very pigmented products to work with.  The colors here are light orange bronzer, medium taupe eye shadow, dark reddish bronzer, medium copper bronzer and a bronze eye shadow stick.  If you are making a lightly tinted Glow Lotion, just use one or two powdered products.  You can always add more if you want to deepen the color.  Everything was blended and the result was a very nice bronze lotion that actually made me look tan, which I am not.

Oh how lovely!

The fun part about making your own cosmetic creations is that you can make them exactly how you want, light or dark, sheer or highly pigmented and whatever color you desire.  Now all you have to do is make a cute label and tape it on.

I hope you enjoy all the compliments that you get on your glowing skin!



Traveling With Makeup

Photo by Tracy Sotirakis

This is a tragedy.  For so many reasons.  First it is a TOTAL mess when you discover that this heart breaking thing has happened.  Second, it is a huge mess to clean up.  What if I was unaware that this had happened and opened the eye shadow palette up in a client’s home and dispersed dark grey eye shadow fragments all over their expensive carpet?  That would be another sort of tragedy, and a carpet cleaning bill to round it off!

Photo by Tracy Sotirakis

My shattered eye shadows and blushes were the result of a recent job out of town where flying was necessary.  The blame goes to the airline and whoever was inspecting my case of makeup supplies.  Everything was packed to ensure durability, some things wrapped in towels and nestled in their little cubbies in my waterproof, smash proof Pelican case.  My supplies survived the trip to the job just fine.  The way back was another story.  When I got home and began to unpack my makeup, everything was out of order and the eye shadow palettes were out of their protective cubbies and unwrapped from the cushioning towels.

OK airport security, what did you think they were??  Not that I am really angry with airport security, but if you tear my stuff up, please put it back how it was or else this mess happens.  It’s obviously delicate!  They must not know how annoying it is to have shattered grey eye shadow or peach sparkly blush everywhere.

So, when you all travel with your makeup, hopefully you don’t have quite as much as I do, but wrap everything like it’s going to battle.  They might “rearrange” it at the airport, but at least you tried.  The next time that I have to fly with all my makeup again, there will be a lot of bubble wrap involved.  Maybe some thin foam packing in there too for certain products.  Airport security will really go nuts!  Happy travels, and may your makeup be unbroken.

Hair, Makeup

Bridal Photo Shoot at a Ghost Town


photo by http://www.jsimagedesign.com

This past week, I had the pleasure of working on a photo shoot for a bridal magazine at a ghost town.  Luckily it was not one of those very spooky ghost towns where if you accidentally take a rock you will be cursed until you return it.  The weather was wonderful, around 80 degrees with a light breeze.  Being a ghost town, there was no power or anywhere to set up all my goodies so I used my favorite outdoor setup area–the back of my truck.  It always pays to be mobile and flexible and be able to do makeup and hair anywhere the client wants.

We had two models, one female and one male, “bride” and “groom”.  Luckily they were a couple so that made the hugging and kissing shots more comfortable.  The look that we were going for was desert bohemian.  Our female model, Ashely, had beautiful blue/green eyes, pale skin and “ombre” dyed hair–dark on top and light on the bottom.  I used a full coverage cream foundation to give her a flawless finish and a nice amount of powder.  For her eye makeup, I filled in her eyebrows with a matching powdered brow color.  I wanted her eyeshadow to really make her eye color pop so I used a cream colored base, a cool shimmery taupe that borders on the purple side and a dark burgundy to contour.  She had nice eye lashes, but I put on false eye lashes to thicken them up.  For her eyeliner, I used brown and black and smudged it in well to make it a little smoky.  I then applied peach and light taupe blush and a pinkish nude lipstick.  Lastly, I curled her hair and teased it a throughout the curls to give it a little volume.

Now you may ask, how did I curl her hair if I had no power?  Out of all the items that are in my makeup/hair kit, the one that has saved me the most times is my butane powered curling iron.  All you have to do is attach the butane cell to the small iron piece, start it up and curl away.  It’s not a gigantic curling iron but it produces a great curl.  I highly recommend it to anyone who travels or needs to do their hair where there is no power, like a ghost town!

photo by http://www.jsimagedesign.com

For our groom, Todd, he received some makeup and hair action also.  I used a little bit of a creamy concealer to even out his skin tone and take care of a few minor skin imperfections and finished with powder.  I ran a whole bunch of anti-frizz cream through his hair and then just let it do it’s thing.  He needed to be able to run his fingers through his hair so I didn’t use a ton of hair spray.

The shoot went great. We had fantastic late afternoon light.  Everyone came together to produce some stunning images.  As I was packing up my stuff, the florist, Olga Goddard from myfavoriteflowers.com came over and gave me this lovely arrangement to take home.  Thanks, Olga!