As a Pro makeup artist I am always shopping for products and accessories for my kit that will hold up to my high standards and that I can trust will get the job done when I am under "on set" time constraints! My clients expect the very best from me and my artistry and I make sure that my kit (and my brain) are packed with many tricks of the trade!

The products in my kit are not only amazing they are “the best in show!” I have spent the better part of the past 20 years testing numerous cosmetic, skincare and accessory lines. Time and time again, I return to the products I know I can rely on.

So, I thought that I would compile some of my favorite brands and put them into a 2009 Pro Holiday Gift Guide (just in case our readers needed ideas on what to get your favorite makeup artist or beauty junkie)!

All of these products would make great gifts or stocking stuffers and are perfect for the beauty Pro or novice in your life!

Japonesque Train Case: every teen, woman, beauty junkie or professional makeup artist needs a place to keep their makeup and this cute train case is just the right size! Would fit perfectly under the sink and makes travel even more stylish!

The Kim Greene Line: this set of professional “on set” actor bags are perfect for at home too! This Pro loves them because they are clear and you can see exactly where your favorite lip gloss is for quick access! Great for travel and perfect for anyone on “the go!” Teens love them and they are essential for any college student living in the dorms!

billybBEAUTY Brush Line: this Pro is always adding to my extensive collection of brushes and Billy B.’s line is amazing! Easy to grip handles make “making up” easy and the quality of these brushes make the investment worth every penny because they will last you for years to come (with proper care)! Your makeup application is only as good as the tools you use to apply your makeup with so why not “go for the gold” and invest in yourself for a change?

billybBEAUTY Lash/Brow: this Pro can’t help myself…look at how great this new gadget is from Billy B. – perfect for quick eyebrow and lash grooming! You can stuff my holiday stocking with several of these! A “must have” on my wish list for sure!

EnKore Makeup’s Brush Roll: do you know Koren? Well, you should because he is a big YouTube star! He is also a pro makeup artist who partnered with another pro artist, Eve Pearl, and created the online webisode series called Be-You-Tified which brings easy, how-to makeup application instructions directly to you in the comfort of your own home! Also, Koren has an online store and makes the cutest brush rolls! Perfect for protecting those precious makeup brushes!

Z Palette: this Pro is a palette junkie because I can’t stand individual product rolling around in my kit or in my cosmetics drawer at home! I found the perfect solution to solve my organizing dilemma at this year’s IMATS convention called the Z Palette and right now they are having a great Holiday Sale! I love the new color collection and will be asking Santa to bring me that zebra palette for sure!

Books: every Pro artist and extreme beauty girl loves to look at gorgeous pictures of makeup and models! I have so many amazing coffee table beauty books that I turn to over and over when I am researching or need a good how-to tip! Here are a few books that this Pro recommends and you can get them through the online store at Makeup Artist Magazine! While you are at it, renew or get a new subscription to the best resource for makeup in the industry – Makeup Artist Magazine is a Pro Must Have!

If you want to give the gift of skincare or cosmetics this holiday season, check out the following Pro recommendations:

SAMPAR: the geniuses at SAMPAR designed the SAMPAR Line Up Box Coffret Anti-Rides ($59), which contains everything that you will need to repair the damage caused by extreme weather conditions. Their Nocturnal Line Mask and Hydrating Fluid will drown your skin in hydration and help restore elasticity! This kit also contains the SAMPAR Skin Quenching Mist that this Pro loves to tuck into her purse and kit when I am on the go. One spritz of this mist and I am able to revitalize my skin and refresh my makeup instantly!

NARS: Francois Nars is one of the best makeup artists in the business so I trust that his product line will deliver high quality products! I rely on NARS cosmetics and carry a plethora of these products in my professional kit and personal makeup bag. Check out the newest Holiday Gift Sets from the Red Hot Holiday Collection:

Bobbi Brown: classy, beautiful, affordable and on the cutting edge, Bobbi Brown always delivers the “goods!” This Pro loves Bobbi Brown’s Pro palettes and carries several in my kit! Great eye, lip and cheek palettes are perfect for anytime! Can’t get enough of this Goldstone Long-Wear Eye Palette, which I use to create an updated smoky eye! Gorgeous cream eye shadows that will last from dusk to dawn!

Eve Pearl Cosmetics: this Pro is always impressed with anything Eve Pearl puts out on the market! I am a lover of her Salmon Concealer, HD Dual Foundations and my newest obsession is with her new line of Dual Performance Lip Colors! They are long-lasting color that stay true and will moisturize your lips all day! Eve Pearl’s 4 piece Lip Color Set #4 City Lights are great colors that will take you right through to New Year’s Eve and beyond!


Start off 2010 with a resolution to take better care of yourself! Invest in a good skincare, sunscreen and cosmetic line that will make you look and feel your best everyday! The Pros at In My Professional Opinion would like to take this opportunity to thank all our readers and to wish each of you a happy and healthy holiday season and a prosperous New Year!

Runway To Real Way!

When some of the most creative and artistic designers are all put under one roof (or tent), an explosion of fabulous fashion and mind blowing makeup are the result. In other words, Fashion Week!

New York Fashion Week is the mecca for all things fashion and beauty related. It holds artists at such a high standard and allows for a true expression of art, whether it be with a needle and thread or a makeup brush.

Pro makeup artists like me keep an “idea” folder that contains a wide array of beauty looks, colors and trends. It’s my Look Book that I go to when in need of inspiration. A lot of the pictures inside of my folder are from past Fashion Weeks and I pull from these looks whether I am working a photo shoot, film or television show.

While some of the looks sported on the runway are not exactly everyday wear, they are excellent examples of ways to flex your artistic muscles and not be bound by the day to day routine. Here are samples and how-to info from a few recent runway shows that we love:

For the sleek, clean and polished look above, which would be gorgeous for a night on the town, it’s important to start out by perfecting the skin. Matte skin is in this season, and this model has a flawless finish played up by fiery red lipstick.

Achieve this look by using a matte finish liquid foundation, like Nars Sheer Matte Foundation. Using a foundation brush to apply it, start from the middle of the face and work out. This will give the most coverage where needed, while still giving your skin a bright radiance that looks healthy and natural.

Red matte lipstick is definitely a product you want to stay put. Blend Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer around your lip line for a smudge-proof, waterproof, long wearing lip color that won’t feather or bleed. Lipstick Queen has a waterproof Lip Liner that is still moisturizing to your lips. Colors Red or Rouge applied all over the lip will ensure a long lasting pout.

Want a little sheen on those lips? Apply Lipstick Queen's Chinatown Glossy Pencil in Thriller over the lip pencil. It is a draw-on gloss packed into a chubby pencil that is great for touch ups.

You should also leave the eyes simple by using one color shadow in a neutral vanilla shade and add a few coats of black mascara, then contour the cheekbones with a light bronzer to define and help structure the roundness of the face.

High fashion makeup always pushes the limits when it comes to bold colors. To wear one of these looks, refer back to your handy color wheel. Wearing complimentary colors on the eye, cheek and lips will fuse the look together and actually bring out the bold bright colors even more.

Overblending can be the downfall of a dramatic look. Blend with the brush containing the color and then take a clean blending brush, preferably smaller, and sharpen up the area. Using a clean brush will help keep the lines of color clear and more defined. And the smaller brush also helps you get in those nooks and crannies of the eye.

Get high impact color by layering cream liner or cream shadow under powder shadows. Nars cream shadows in Zardoz and Nomad would be great bases for the eye look above. Pack on color using a dense and full, flat brush and pat color into the cream before blending.

I prefer cream blushes under powder blush because not only does the color look more vibrant, it lasts longer, especially for those with oily skin. Eve Pearl's new HD Foundation Cream Blush Trio are three gorgeous colors (a peach, pink and bronze) that can add instant warmth to any cheek. These blushes are packed with pigment and are buildable on the face. Blend Gingersnap powder blush from Smashbox Cosmetics over the cream blush to achieve a warm cinnamon glow.

If you want to try a hot pink cheek, like the Marc Jacobs model below, go with the just re-launched Radiance blush from Smashbox. It’s a bold color in the container, but can be worn lightly for a soft flush, or packed on for a "doll" like pink. It is also perfect as an eyeshadow to compliment this look.

Draw out that long liner to the hairline using a liquid liner to create a border. Nars makes a felt tip liner called Eyeliner Stylo that gives a perfect line with ease. Match up M.A.C’s Sketch eyeshadow in the crease with Make Up For Ever’s Lavender 9 eyeshadow as a base.

At the other end of the spectrum, the clean, fresh face sometimes graces the runways. Some may think this requires virtually no makeup or time, but its quite the opposite! It can take longer because any flaw or unblended concealer streak will show.

The model above has a dewey bronze finish. Start out by using a sheer foundation to even out skin tone like DiorSkin AirFlash Spray Foundation, which is a foundation in an aerosol can that gives an airbrushed effect to the skin. Set lightly with a translucent powder in the t-zone.

The naked makeup face is nothing without being contoured. Use a matte finish bronzer, like Orlane Paris Bronzing Powder or even a nude tone eyeshadow two shades darker than your skin and contour below the cheekbone, around the hairline at the forehead, under the chin, tip of the nose, and lightly on each side of the nose from the brow. Complete the look by brushing the brows upward in a natural form and keep in place with brow gel like Anastasia’s Clear Brow Gel.

If looking for a bit of color or shimmer to add to this look, try a light cinnamon toast color washed acrossed the eyelid and a matte lip stain just one shade slightly darker than your natural lip. Try Kevin Aucoin’s Expert Lip Tint in Falon for a perfect nude shade.


To remove all of the above makeup looks in a "flash" use M.A.C. Wipes! Swipes away makeup, dirt and grim in a red hot minute! These wipes contain a M.A.C. cleanser and toner along with Vitamin E to help protect and hydrate the skin.


Up next on IMPO: Think being a makeup artist is all glitz and glam? Well...we've got news for you! Tag along behind-the-scenes of recent music video shoots and see what products the Pros use and how they handle doing makeup in "odd" places!

Post written by Cathi Singh - freelane makeup artist, Smashbox Cosmetics representative and Contributing Pro for In My Professional Opinion blog. All cosmetic product listed above was purchased by Cathi for her professional kit or given as gratis for her to use on her clients.

All Hallows Eve!

It's that time of year again and it is our favorite time of year here at IMPO...Halloween! According to History.com, Halloween's origins date back to ancient Celtic times, over 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland. Originally, this day marked the end of summer and the beginning of the cold, dark winter (which was the time most associated with human death).

The history goes something like this: on the night of October 31st, the Celts celebrated with a Samhain festival because that is when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth! The Celts would dress up in costume, which mainly consisted of animal heads and skins and would listen as the Celtic priests would make predictions about the future. These prophecies were an important source to the Celts as they would bring comfort and direction during the long winter.

By the 800's, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands and November 1st was designated as All Saint's Day or All-Hallows and the night before began to be called All-Hallows Eve.

Dressing in costume on Halloween has both the Celtic roots (as explained above) and European influence. During those long, cold winters, it was believed that ghosts would come back to the earthly world, which made people afraid to leave their homes. Legend says that people would wear masks after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits and leave them alone. People would also place bowls of food outside their homes to appease the ghosts and prevent them from attempting to enter.

As the Europeans began to settle in America, they brought along with them their tradition of Halloween. "Trick-or-treating" probably dates back to the early All Souls' Day parades in England when poor citizens would beg for food during the festivities and families would give them pastries called "soul cakes" in return for their promise to pray for the family's dead relatives.

The story of the Jack-o-Lantern is from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed "Stingy Jack." The folklore says that Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him and true to his name, Stingy Jack didn't want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack kept the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form.

Jack would trick the Devil many more times and would bargain with him over and over. Eventually, Jack died and God would not allow such a unsavory figure into heaven nor would the Devil allow Jack into Hell, but instead cast Jack's soul into the darkness with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth in his ghostly state ever since. The Irish refer to him as "Jack of the Lantern!"

The Pros have been busy putting the finishing touches on costumes, makeup looks and hair styles for both our clients and ourselves! What are you going to be for Halloween this year? Do you embrace the traditional, unconventional or both a la Heidi Klum?

"Witch" ever character you choose to be this Halloween please post a picture of your creation on our Facebook page! We love to be inspired by your creativity all year long and if you are having trouble finding a costume that suites your mood, here are a few great how-to Halloween videos from YouTube to get you in the "spirit!"

Watch MAC get freaky:

Watch Pixiwoo transform into a sexy Vampire:

Let Makeup Geek inspire the Hippie in you:

See MisChievous transform into the Corpse Bride:

Let Beauty by Sarah bring out your inner Zombie:

Go Goth with HollywoodNoirMakeup:

Let Petrilude turn you into a big pussy cat:

Creepy Skull makeup by KingHuman:


The only Pro tip and trick we have for you this Halloween season is to have fun, but be safe! Spooky things happen on All Hallows Eve and we hope all of our readers enjoy this holiday in a responsible manner.


Up next on IMPO: New York Fashion Week is over, but you can recreate the makeup looks that many of the designers sent down the runway this year! From avant-garde to barely there faces, the Pros from IMPO have your “how-tos!”

Are You Aware?

Directly or indirectly, breast cancer affects all of us and that is why October has been designated Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

There are many events you can participate in this month and many institutes accept donations to help fund the necessary research needed to find a cure for breast cancer, but the Pros wanted to do our part and write a very special post dedicated to our Granny June, who passed away from breast cancer and other medical complications many years ago! We have faith that a cure for this disease is in our future and it starts with proper education.

According to the National Cancer Institute, having a high-quality mammography is the most effective tool currently available for breast cancer screening. A digital mammogram records x-ray images in computer code instead of x-ray film. The images can be enhanced by lightening or darkening and enlarged so radiologists can take a closer look. Plus, images can be stored and retrieved electronically so that doctors can easily consult with other specialists.

I hope that if you are reading this blog and if you are 40 or over or if you have a history of breast cancer in your family that you are having an annual digital mammogram! Since breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death amongst women in the United States, it is imperative you consult with your doctor immediately if you detect a lump or other symptoms which may include: thickening in or near the breast or underarm, nipple tenderness, itchy or scaly areola, discharge (fluid) from the nipple.

Currently, there are over 2 million breast cancer survivors, but let us be perfectly clear when we say that this disease does not discriminate. This cancer does not care how many times you go to the gym in a week, how wealthy you are or if you are famous or not. What it does care about is that you seek treatment immediately and lower the risk for our future generations!

You have to be brave enough to stand up to this cancer and if you think you are alone, think again! We have listed a few famous breast cancer survivors below who were not afraid to battle this disease head on:

Edie Falco, Melissa Etheridge, Gloria Steinem, Olivia Newton John, Jaclyn Smith, Suzanne Somers, Christina Applegate, Kylie Minogue, Cynthia Nixon, Robin Roberts, Sheryl Crow, Anastacia, Carly Simon, Betsey Johnson and Sandra Day O'Connor.

We all want to find a cure for breast cancer, but I love how Glamour Magazine recently stated in their current issue, “wouldn’t it be even more exciting if we knew how to never get the disease in the first place?”

Glamour reports that Dr. Susan Love of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation is working on a breakthrough concept of “understanding what makes the environment around your breast cells (and other cells) toxic or healthy – it is called epigenetics.” Dr. Love also states, “through epigenetics, we’re going to know a heck of a lot more about how to prevent breast cancer!”

The Glamour article also lists some great tips on How to Lower Your Breast Cancer Risk by 25% - they include the following:

1. Exercise – lowers your odds of the disease. The American Cancer Society advises women to get at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week.

2. Watch What You Drink“alcohol is a double-edge sword, it has been linked to lower risk of heart disease but an increased risk of breast cancer,” says JoAnn E. Manson, M.D.

3. Know Your Own Breasts – we now know that teaching women how to do a monthly breast self-exam (BSE) does not lower the risk of dying from breast cancer, but it lowers anxiety and follow-up tests like biopsies. What a BSE does do is make women feel comfortable in examining their own bodies and bringing possible issues to a doctor’s attention more rapidly. Most women do find their own cancer lumps and it is usually accidental.

4. Make Smart Reproductive Health Choices“too much estrogen probably plays a greater role in the development of breast cancer than anything else,” according to Dr. Coyle. Here are three well-documented risk factors: starting your period before age 12, reaching menopause after 55 and having your first child after 30. Those all steep breast cells in estrogen for a longer-than-average amount of time. Here is how to lower your risk: breast-feeding and if possible, time your pregnancy by having your first baby in your twenties. As for the pill – this oral contraceptive does slightly increase your risk, but pill users under 40 shouldn’t panic. Risk of developing breast cancer in your 20's or 30's is very low. Older women who need to be on some type of contraceptive may want to steer toward an IUD if possible.

5. Get More Vitamin D – no diet has been proven to lower your risk of breast cancer, but a growing number of studies point to Vitamin D as especially beneficial with a possible 35% lower risk factor.

The Pros here at IMPO like to “think pink” in October and support breast cancer programs all year around and that is why we were excited to support The Estee Lauder Companies, which is dedicated to raising awareness that early detection of breast cancer saves lives.

In 1993, Evelyn H. Lauder founded The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, as an independent, not-for-profit organization, which funds clinical and translations research worldwide by donating proceeds from the sale of selected products from The Estee Lauder Companies.

Here is a list of participating brands that support The Breast Cancer Research Foundation:

Aramis, Aveda, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, Bumble and bumble, Clinique, Darphin, Donna Karan Cosmetics, Estee Lauder, Jo Malone, Lab Series Skincare for Men, La Mer, Michael Kors Beauty, Ojon, Origins, Prescriptives, Sean John Fragrances and Tommy Hilfiger Toiletries.

Recently, this Pro received a gratis product from The Estee Lauder Companies in order to help promote their plight of raising breast cancer awareness. I was sent Ojon’s Revitalizing Mist to use personally and on my clients.

This product is a weightless, pre-styling, leave-in conditioner that detangles, refreshes and preps hair for styling and it allows for a more even application of styling products.

This Pro used the Ojon Revitalizing Mist on several clients at a recent video shoot by applying it on hair that was not freshly washed as a “pick me up.” It helped alleviate product build-up and prepared the hair to readily accept all other styling product such as serum, hair spray and paste. The mist also helped manage “fly-aways” without weighing the hair down and it helped prevent the hair from looking “greasy!”

During the month of October, Ojon will donate 20% from the sale of this product to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (up to a maximum of $35,000). Available at Sephora, Ulta and online at www.ojon.com.


This Pro hopes that all our readers take extra special care of themselves this month (and all year long) and to help lighten the mood around here, I am posting a great video from Aerosmith!

It doesn't benefit the awareness of breast cancer, but it is titled "Pink" - maybe Steven Tyler and the gang could donate an amount for every "click" this video gets from IMPO! I am sure Aerosmith is all about "saving the ta-tas!" Hey! Yo! Steven...we need to talk! So blast your volume and dance around to this great video (it will help with your 30 minutes of exercise)!


It's that time of year! Halloween! Up next on IMPO: incredible how-to videos to get you into the spirit!