Frame Your Face!

Being a professional makeup artist in film and television I see a lot of perfectly shaped eyebrows. My job is so easy when an actress or model sits in my chair fresh from a grooming with her eyebrow guru! However, there are times when I have to shape or clean up an eyebrow prior to makeup application and there are many tricks of the trade that I rely on when using tweezers, razors, brow fillers, tints or gels.

Flawless brows enhance the look of your eyes and face. Following the illustrated guide below, perfect brows should start above the inside corner of your eye and end at the outside corner. The arch happens just outside the iris of your eye and should be natural looking.

Tweeze – at home plucking is something this Pro recommends for maintaining a professional tweezing by an expert brow specialist. Your arsenal should contain tweezers (Tweezerman or another reputable company), small eyebrow scissors, magnification mirror and a spooli brush. If you are a “tender” girl or boy and you tear up or sneeze when extracting hair, try using a a small amount of Ambasol to numb the brow area prior to tweezing. Only tweeze the underside of your brow, pull the hair in the same direction as hair growth and be sure to extract the hair from the root.

Razor – an alternative to tweezing and completely non-invasive. However, you should have your brows professionally groomed and utilize this method only for at-home maintenance. This Pro likes to use a razor for quick clean up when on set because tweezing causes redness and swelling and I can’t afford to spend precious time allowing the skin area to settle when working on a fast-paced production. I use Eve Pearl's Tri-Fold Razor, but there are alternatives like the Tinkle razor found at professional industry beauty salons like Cinema Secrets or pharmacies. I love Eve's because it folds up for safety and it is compact for travel. These razors are also great for quick beard trim maintenance.

Waxing – is quick and easy, but you should not have your brows waxed if you are taking certain medications or using certain anti-aging skincare products. As with all invasive hair removal, waxing can be painful and leave your brow area swollen and red for several hours or even days after the procedure. This Pro personally experienced the unfortunate occurrence of some of my skin being removed from my upper brow bone area, which left healing scabs that were hard to cover up with makeup! Thank goodness the heavy bang was in style!

Threading – this method is newly popular in the United States, but it is a centuries old technique in India. Threading is when a practitioner uses thin, twisted cotton thread and rolls it over the untidy hairline, which “plucks” the hair at the follicle level. Unlike tweezing where you are removing a single hair each time, threading can remove an entire row of hair resulting in a straighter line. The top layers of your skin are not traumatized so threading is recommended as an alternative to waxing and if you are a Retin-A or Accutane user, this method is highly advised. Our Marketing Pro heard of this technique and was able to experience threading at the recent MakeUp Show in Los Angeles. She is not a good candidate for waxing and always plucked but never attacked her upper brow line. After watching several demonstrations, she gave it a go. With speed and clean accuracy, the esthetician downsized and shaped her brows dramatically. Like waxing, there is a bit of pain, stinging and swelling. However, it was well worth it and this Pro is a convert! The esthetician explained that threading hair removal lasts for approximately four to six weeks and that it does not pull on the skin so over time, there is less damage to the eyelid area where sagging can occur after years of waxing.

Laser – this method is incredibly expensive and over time is permanent . It is the leading-edge solution for eyebrow hair removal, especially if you tend to have very course, thick, heavy brows (some men prefer this method). Laser is absorbed best by dark hair so if you are blonde, light brown or red haired, you may need several sessions before you see results if any. There is a warming or sometimes burning sensation during your treatment, which is targeted to your lower sub-dermal tissue region. Your hair absorbs the laser energy, which overtime can alter the growth chemistry and disable hair’s natural growth. It takes several treatments before your hair follicle is totally altered and costs will vary depending on your esthetician’s establishment. You should not be able to grow your eyebrow hair back once your treatments are complete so observing eyebrow “trends” will be impossible.

Elke Von Freudenberg – this lady is one of the “eyebrow guru’s” referred to in the opening paragraph of this post. She specializes in custom brow shaping, correction and redesign. Shape is crucial and Elke thinks “your eyebrows should be as fashionable as you are.” You must check out her many “how-to” videos and instructional guides on her website This Pro recommends purchasing her easy to use eyebrow kit and bookmarking her site for future reference. If you are lucky enough to be in the New York area, book an appointment with Elke personally at Janet Rufin’s Parlour or at Slope Suds Salon in Brooklyn. Many celebrities rely on Elke’s eyebrow expertise and this Pro utilizes her step-by-step methods when I need a refresher course in brow shaping, plus her easy to follow guide has helped me personally when my own eyebrows need some TLC.

Stores are flooded with products that can be used to fill in sparse brows or if you’ve got wicked with the tweezers and over plucked! Shadows, pencils, tints and gels are at your disposal and purchasing a waterproof formula is highly recommended to prevent fading during the day, but make sure you get the advice of a professional about color matching. This Pro's technique is to use up to three colors of shadow in the same pigment family, but in varying degrees of depth when filling in eyebrows. In theory, your eyebrows should be at least one shade darker than your hair color to give your face definition and in some cases, three shades darker is flattering.

This Pro discourages at-home bleaching of brows and strongly advises that this method only be administered by a professional. If you are drastically changing the color of your hair (i.e., candy apple red or hot fuchsia pink), then it is recommended that you take advice from celebrity icons like Pink, who constantly changes her hair color, but keeps her brows neutral.

Up next on In My Professional Opinion: False Lashes – let’s get it on!

* Photos courtesy of: Elke Von Freudenberg, rtvchannel, Grace n Glamour, Profaces,, Marie Claire, Mail Online,, Shu Uemura.

Spring Fling!

Spring has finally sprung and it is time to refresh your makeup bag! Just as you would your wardrobe, start cleaning out all of your old, broken, smelly, expired and drab cosmetics and purchase some products that liven up your face.

Cosmetic lines jump on the spring bandwagon and always release products that are colorful, flirty or bold this time of year. All over the pages of the current fashion and beauty magazines you can find everything from warm golden peachy tones to sweet and saturated pastel colors (a la Easter eggs)!

Whatever you choose to embrace, remember that you are updating your look for this season and that purchasing an entire cosmetic bag full of new makeup is not necessary. Always keep that smoky eye palette, nude lip gloss and shimmer highlight because those never go out of style!

If you adore Fashion Week as much as this Pro does, then you will know that the runway always brings consumers a variety of interesting new looks because makeup gurus like Bobbi Brown, Pat McGrath, Gucci Westman, Dick Page and all those incredible MAC Pros spend hours creating, testing and implementing looks for the hottest designers. Sometimes entire cosmetic collections are created during those “test” periods and we benefit from all their hard work and effort!

Allure Magazine reports a peachy glow is hot for spring and I think they said it best when recreating that look by advising, “most shades of peach are pretty on the cheeks and lips, but avoid looking theatrical and stick to brownish versions on the eyes!” I totally agree and you don’t want to look monochromatic by having a peach tone all over your face! Matchy, matchy isn’t the trend for this season.

If you love color then check out W Magazine’s review on pastels! Clinique, Estee Lauder, Shu Uemura, Guerlain, Prescriptives, Nars, MAC, Revlon, Dior and OPI have designed some beautiful colors and Gucci Westman reports, “pastels are coming back in and are more refined instead of tacky, it’s not a disco anymore!” I love the pink hues and aqua-teal colors that will make your eyes really pop!

The Beauty Biz says that bright, bold neon colors are “back with a bang” and that eyelashes will be “longer and thicker than ever before!” The Biz also wants you to look for rich, intense colors that range from bright oranges to the hottest of pinks to vibrant greens! Please don’t attempt to wear all of those colors while pitching to your big wig clients in the boardroom (unless you work at Vogue), but maybe spice up those after work cocktail mixer meetings with a wash of fuchsia stain on your lips!

Want to have some fun? Then wander over to Bionic Beauty's website and check out her “rainbow lip” creation. Two-toned lips were all the rage on the spring runways (two-toned lips = one color on top lip and a totally different color on bottom lip) and Bionic wanted to try out this look, but took it up a notch or five by inventing a rainbow lip. You will want to investigate exactly how and what she used for this application because it may surprise you! I can totally see wearing this beautiful look out to a dance club! Keep the other makeup neutral and let your lips do all the talking!

We also observed that platinum and metallic shades are very “hip” this spring with shimmering colors from pewter and silver to bronze and coral! Heather hues (purple tones) made their mark as well and combined with a wash of silver will make eyes sparkle.

Here is a list of this Pro’s favorite spring colors:

Nars: Night Sun single eye shadow is a wonderful gold-yellow tone that would add an amazing shimmer to your brow area. Combine with the Hula Hula Duo eye shadow that features strawberry and hazelnut colors and you will have one hot spring eye look! This Pro also loves the Orgasm/South Beach Multiple Duo, which compliment any skin tone.

MAC: Sugar Sweet collection just screams spring! Tricolour Lipglass is three shades in one with a pearlized finish. It is a limited edition, so get yours immediately! This gloss comes in four different shades with our favorite being Consume Me!

L'Oreal Paris: Juicy Lip Gloss in Peaches-n-Crème is a gorgeous warm tone that will brighten up your face. Great shine and good staying power! Combined with the Nars collection listed above and you will have an updated spring look immediately!

Bobbi Brown: The Platinum Collection is so hot you will want to use it all year round! These colors make an incredibly strong statement and provide just the right amount of shimmer for a smoked out, cool-toned eye! This Pro fell head over heels for the Platinum Pink Shimmer Brick, which is now a staple in our makeup kit and for the Long Wear Cream Shadow in New Heather, which is a perfect pale purple color that looks great as a lid color or as a liner.

Estee Lauder: Peach Nuance powder blush is the perfect color if you need to warm up your skin tone. Gorgeous as a contour to create a cheekbone or in place of bronzer on the apples of the cheek creating that perfect sun kissed look.

Yves Saint Laurent: Palette D’Artiste is a quartet of amazing color! Pale yellow, tender pink, sage green and deep violet dress up your eyelids and will make you feel like a work of art! So lovely and perfect for your spring adventures! Hurry because this is a limited edition palette.

Now that you have your spring makeup list, get out there and start shopping! The good news is that these cosmetic suggestions won’t leave your wallet empty and they will give you more spring-fever energy!

Try a wash of pastel colors all over your eye. Purple tones for brown or green eyes and lime green for blue eyes! BAM! You are ready for the dance floor, Easter dinner or spring break vacation! Or if you are shy about these bold colors, get them in an eye liner instead and make a statement this season!

Up next on In My Professional Opinion: Eyebrows – the bold, the arched and the beautiful! Plus alternatives to waxing – don’t miss this informative post!

Go Naked!

In My Professional Opinion twisted the arm of our friend and fellow makeup artist extraordinaire, Jose Teneza, until he agreed to guest blog! See, Jose is one of the most knowledgeable artists this Pro knows and he works at...well, we can't tell you, but it is a very large, cosmetic retailer and we knew that he would have the inside "scoop" on natural moisturizers. Check out his review...

Go Naked!! All right…not exactly what you’re thinking but it seems everywhere I turn skincare and cosmetic lines are trying to go “natural!" “Minerals” this, “No Parabens” that, 87% Natural…am I supposed to be comforted by that stat? WHAT’S IN THE OTHER PERCENTAGE?

Working in the skincare and cosmetic field you notice trends - essentially what has been happening is that our skin is becoming more sensitive to ingredients either from allergies or accumulated usage.

Skincare companies have perked their green-colored ears up to this demand, and so it begins…the hunt is on for natural skincare alternatives without controversial ingredients, which can cause irritation and allergic reactions. Is “natural” better? Well, there is definitely something to be said about making sure that your skin will benefit in the long run as opposed to suffering from an accumulation of synthetic binders, sulfates and chemicals that could lead to a reaction.

We are also hearing a lot about peptides, but what exactly are peptides? Peptides are links of amino acids that are essentially natural to our skin. In theory, they are like invisible messengers that send a signal to the lower layers of the skin to create more collagen! Collagen is the structure underneath our skin and as we age, it breaks down producing lines and wrinkles.

Here are two “natural” moisturizer alternatives that have produced results.

Bieux Skin 24 Hour Moisturizer: claims to provide intense hydration and deliver collagen-rebuilding ingredients that immediately firms and soothes skin while preventing lines and wrinkles. What makes Bieux Skin 24 Hour Moisturizer amazing? It’s what is not in it that’s great: No parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, synthetic dyes, and petro-chemicals. It also has an exclusive peptide complex to smooth and build collagen under the skin (all the better for anti-aging, my friends!).

TECH TIME: For all you tekkie’s out there (that is, those who tend to be obsessed with ingredient lists like I am), here is the run down on all the super high-tech ingredients in the Bieux Skin 24 Hour Moisturizer: Saccaride Isomerate (which helps the skin to retain moisture and intensely hydrates) Hematite Extract (which purports to firm the skin and build collagen), Alpha Arbutin (to even out skin tone and hyperpigmentation gently), and Trylagen complex (a blend of active peptides and proteins that protect and boost the skin’s collagen).

I’ve been test-driving this moisturizer for several weeks now: I have oily skin that gets hideously dry in winter and try as I might, even in humid weather, I have dry patches on my forehead and jawline (I use a 1.0% Retinol treatment every other night and have eczema). Just applying this once a day, I felt an absolute difference on my skin – my skin felt perfectly moisturized with little to no dryness/flakiness or tightness. Layering this under sunscreen did not produce any breakouts, which I found astounding given the thickness of the cream and its ability to really hydrate. My skin looked even and plumped up, minimizing my fine lines and wrinkles.

Bare Escentuals RareMinerals Purely Nourishing Facial Moisturizer: excludes controversial ingredients like parabens, sulfates, petro-chemicals, synthetic fragrances and dyes and Phthalates. It also is totally free of GMO’s, triclosan and does not test on animals (call PETA!). Just like the Biuex Skin moisturizer, it has a patented delivery system to hydrate the skin inside and out! Curiously this is not an oil free moisturizer – it has natural oils, which moisturize and absorb into the skin without causing irritation and sensitivity.

TECH TIME: In addition to natural moisturizing oils, bitter orange and licorice extract to tone and brighten, the new Purely Nourishing Moisturizer has an electrolytic delivery system to hydrate with the star ingredients being trelahose and myrothamnus flabellifolia extract (from an African tree – a “resurrection“ plant). Allegedly these ingredients are antioxidant rich and form a protective layer around cells so that they replump and reform when they are sufficiently hydrated, even after being dehydrated . There is also honeysuckle flower extract and soy, which helps to boost moisturization within the skin for better hydration and moisture retention. Company press says it is “clinically proven to optimize your skin's ability to absorb and retain moisture for plumper, firmer, brighter and healthier-looking skin."

I confess, I was skeptical when this first premiered however, I tried it out and promptly started selling it to EVERYONE! It is a PERFECT companion if you use a powder cosmetic or mineral makeup. But more so, I have found that this absorbs quickly and hydrates beautifully without being greasy or slick. It is also whisper light! I was a little cautious because it has natural oils and minerals in it, but so far the client feedback has been amazing! It is a highly recommended product worth every penny!

And like a certain tax preparer, I too have people! I gave this moisturizer to a friend of mine who frankly doesn’t pay attention to her skin, but knows enough to know that most moisturizers feel heavy to her and leave her feeling oily and shiny. She also complained that most of the over-the-counter moisturizers broke her out. I believe she has been using Purely Nourishing for several weeks – she noticed that her skin feels smooth and hydrated, and she found that unlike other moisturizers, she is less oily later in the day than with other lotions she has tried. I myself have noticed that her skin is brighter, dewier and clearer!

NOTE: The writer, while having 7 years of retail experience in the makeup and skincare industry and as a working makeup artist, is NOT a doctor, and this review should not be taken as or in lieu of actual physician endorsed advice and/or medical advice. If you have a persistent skin condition, seek the advice of a licensed and practicing physician as opposed to self treating with over the counter products.


Up next on In My Professional Opinion: Spring must haves!

The Apprentice!

Recently, In My Professional Opinion has been receiving emails requesting information regarding beginner professional makeup kits. Questions we have been presented with include: What should an apprentice carry in their kit? Which products are good bang-for-your-buck and work in all types of genres? Where can I get a sturdy, but inexpensive makeup case? Where should I concentrate spending most of my money?

So even if you are not planning on becoming a professional makeup artist, are a YouTube How-to Star, novice, just curious about what is in a Pro’s makeup kit or if you love a good bargain, you will benefit from this blog post – so keep reading!

The Pro’s decided to use these questions when shopping for and testing products at the recent Makeup Show in Los Angeles and here are our suggestions for the Apprentice:

Makeup Cases: there are a few online companies that carry extensive selections of makeup cases made especially for the professional (and the novice if you are a huge beauty junkie). has a complete line of professional makeup artist cases and cases for everyday use. This Pro’s case is from Yazmo and is called the Pro Aluminum Makeup Case in Silver that sells for $169.95.

This case is able to carry all of the product this Pro uses on any type of professional shoot and comes with many trays and compartments you can customize to fit product or brushes. The case is on in-line skate wheels, which make it easy to maneuver and has a telescopic handle. The lower storage compartment is deep and can hold bottles, palettes or hair needs (blow dryer, etc.). Other online companies include: Alcone, which has a wide variety of set bags and Japonesque. If you are working with a very low budget you can always try a fishing tackle box or gardener’s tool bag – not very glamorous, but they get the job done!.

Brushes: it is the opinion of this Pro that a large chunk of your professional makeup budget should be spent on brushes. Please review the archive post called “Brush Off” for a listing of brush lines this Pro recommends. Remember, these are your “tools” to create a beautiful face and having the right tools makes all the difference in your application. For those on a tight budget check out Crown Brush, which has the largest selection of brushes for you to choose from in prices ranging from $1.99 to $15.99. Whether you decide you want to be a film, television, runway, theatre or editorial makeup artist, having the best brushes you can afford will help build your confidence and technique! Again, this is not the area in which to be frugal – you can take the time to build your brush arsenal by purchasing a few good brushes at a time. Take care of them properly and they will last you 20 years!

Apprentice Kit: every prepared apprentice should show up to the set or backstage with a kit that contains skin prepping products (moisturizers/primers), foundations, concealers and correctors, powder, color products, mascara, liners, lipsticks or gloss. Also, you should pack your kit with disposables such as orange puffs, q-tips, cotton puffs, wipes, lip wands, mascara wands and sponges. Don’t forget to have some brush cleaner and tissues. Your Department Head or Key Makeup Artist will look over your kit and decide which actors/actresses you are able to work on from the contents in your makeup case. The more prepared you are, the better chance you will have to assist with lead characters. If you have a sparse supply of cosmetics, that is okay too, you will most likely work with extras and that has its benefits – remember that all work is good experience and builds your resume!

Bang-for-your-buck: check out the professional industry’s beauty supply companies like Cinema Secrets, Frends, Naimes or Alcone, they will have products with good pigmentation such as lip liners, eye liners, lip sticks and color products at lower prices.

You should have a few palettes of eye and cheek colors in your kit too. Check out Coastal Scents or La Femme (carried at the stores listed above) for great matte and iridescent shadows and blushers. Cinema Secrets’ Translucent Powder will be sufficient for starters and mascaras such as Cover Girl Lash Blast or Max Factor 2000 Calorie work just as well as higher end products. Look for foundations, concealers and corrector lines that provide more than one color in a container, such as MUD (Make-up Designory) foundation and corrector/concealers, which come in palette form and are good if you end up working in HD. If you skimp on foundation or concealers, you will regret the coverage a drug store foundation will provide.

As you become more comfortable working in a professional environment and start making money as a freelance artist, you can begin to fill your kit with higher-end product that work miracles and are prestigious. To be honest, it does make a difference to some actors, actresses and models which cosmetic and product lines you choose to stock your kit with, but don’t let that discourage you. Just set aside a few dollars after each job and begin to build a makeup budget and then attend shows like The Makeup Show or IMATS for great deals on product lines such as Make Up Forever, Temptu, Eve Pearl, Gerda Spillman, Ve’s Favorite Brushes, and Smashbox or you can shop for brands like Dior, Benefit, Nars, Stilla, Cargo and Urban Decay at Sephora. Major cosmetic brands like MAC and Nars offer Pro discounts of up to 40% when you are able to meet their criteria as a professional, make sure to apply for those discounts.

Don’t forget to ask a photographer for a few professional pictures for your portfolio or bring a camera with you to the set (but be careful when snapping photos – some actors/actresses don’t like it and you can be kicked off the set.) Use your common sense and ask your Key Makeup Artist if it is okay to take photos first. Be professional, work quickly and efficiently and remember that no job is “off limits!” If you are asked to help with hair, wardrobe or even craft service – do it! Watch your language and don’t be obnoxious – remember you want to leave a good impression so that you will be asked to apprentice again. If you make a mistake, admit it, ask for help in correcting it and move on. If you are asked to clean the makeup room or trailer that is part of your job as an apprentice and remember, we all started out in your position!

Up next on In My Professional Opinion: Guest Blogger Jose Teneza, professional makeup artist in Baltimore, Maryland says he wants everyone to “Go Naked” or at least have the right information when seeking out natural moisturizers – if you are a natural product lover, you won’t want to miss this informative post!

Photo Credit: Kit photo above borrowed from The Education Blog.


The Makeup Show - Los Angeles is a gathering of Who's Who in the professional cosmetic and makeup artist industry! The Show is presented by The Powder Group and sponsored by Make Up For Ever, Temptu, Alcone and Crown Brush. There were dozens of cosmetic brands, educators, professional artists, and other businesses related to the cosmetic industry in attendance, not to forget the hundreds of students and consumers that walked the floor as well!

In My Professional Opinion was deep in the thick of this show and wanted to bring you a few highlights of our experience. We networked and attended workshops and lectures by iconic beauty industry professionals: Ronnie Spector, Ve Neill, Eve Pearl, Billy B., Elke Von Freudenberg and Sharon Gault and tested dozens of products, which we will showcase in later posts. Also in attendance were legendary industry names like, Marvin Westmore, Joe Blasco, Maurice Stein and Dean and Davis Factor, as well as many professional makeup artistry schools such as MUD, Blasco Makeup School, All About Face Academy and the Westmore Academy.

MUA-TV launched their website, which is the exclusive, most elite live streaming webcast for professional makeup artists, hair stylists, skin care specialists, special makeup effects artists, makeup students, cosmetology students and cosmetic retailers. Also in conjunction with MUA-TV is, which is offering online professional makeup seminars!

Please enjoy the photos below and send the Pro an email for more information about vendors from this event.