Get Hooked!

One of the benefits of being a Pro MUA is that you get to meet and work with other Pro MUAs! Inside the makeup room or trailer you will find us hard at work bouncing tips and tricks off each other, giggling about the latest makeup “trends,” trying to steal product from each other’s kits and of course, gossiping (just kidding!).

This Pro has had the pleasure of meeting so many amazing makeup artists over the past 20 years (has it really been that long?) and I find that I am always learning from them no matter how long they have been in the industry.

As you can imagine, I read several beauty blogs daily in order to research cosmetic and skincare products that have either been requested by an actress/actor for use on a shoot or because a little bird whispered in this Pro’s ear about a specific foundation, gloss, mascara, powder, etc., and I want “real” information on quality, texture, wearability and staying power from total beauty junkies who blog from the “heart” and not from the “pocket book!”

That is how I met Carissa from Hooked On Beauty! I stumbled upon her blog one day and poured through a ton of valuable information on many beauty lines I had written down on a very long list. It was a bonus to discover that she was also a professional makeup artist and works in television much like moi!

Of course I contacted her immediately and started to comment on her blog. I discovered that we shared a passion for many of the same brands like Laura Mercier and Stila, so naturally I asked her to be a guest blogger on IMPO.

Carissa has been a makeup artist for the past 12 years and is a frequent beauty correspondent on Good Morning Colorado. To say this girl knows a thing or two about cosmetics is a total understatement.

She was kind enough to share with our readers some of her favorite cosmetic products that she can’t live without on set and in her personal makeup bag, so without further delay…

“On shoots – I can’t live without my pro palette 3 Custom Color Concealer. The consistency is fantastic and it doubles as a foundation. It covers everything you need and lets skin show through so it’s undetectable. Every single artist was using it backstage at Fashion Week too!

99% of eyes I make up are “tight-lined” using Laura Mercier's Eye Liner in Ebony. It’s meant to be used “under” the upper lash line and that alone makes lashes look longer and eyes really pop! (For more info on "tight-lining see Pro Tips & Tricks section below).

Laura Mercier's Secret Finish is one of those products that doesn’t make sense right away, but once you understand how it works you will love it! Just a little pressed onto the skin with fingertips sets makeup, refreshes makeup and keeps everything from settling into the fine lines and wrinkles. It’s also silicone free!

MAC Twig Lipstick is the perfect pink and looks great on almost everyone!

As for my personal makeup bag, I can not live without Jane Ireadale's Pressed Base. It is an amazing mineral foundation that works for oily or combination skin so it is not shiny like some mineral brands can be.

I don’t always like seeing eyeliner on the eyes, but I like for my lashes to be polished and lengthened so most days I just “dot” Bobbi Brown's Gel Liner in Mahogany between my upper lashes for an instant effect without being over the top.

I can never be without my Shu Uemura Lash Curler, it is the gold standard and lasts forever."

Check out a few shots from Carissa’s portfolio – she is one talented lady:


If you have never heard the term “tight-lining” you are not alone! Once a reserved technique for Pro MUAs because consumer friendly cosmetic brands did not make products suitable for "tight-lining," now anyone can do it using gel based liners.

The benefit of using this technique is that it emphasizes the eyes without looking overly made up because it darkens the lash line. You can "tight-line" both the upper and lower lash lines, but you must practice this technique. It can be very uncomfortable at first and you must use the right product. A waterproof gel liner is best. Bobbi Brown and Smashbox have several shades of gel liners that work great when using this lining technique. You will also need a very thin eyeliner brush.

Remember, you are lining the eye right along the upper lash line from underneath the lashes not on top and right along the waterline in the lower lash line area, not underneath. In the photo below Carissa demonstrates technique and placement on upper lash line area and she is using a flat eyeliner brush. You can also find several YouTube instructional videos on this method.


Up next on IMPO: Just like Lil Mama we want to know, "is your lip gloss poppin?" This Pro has a passion (border lining an obsession) for lip gloss! Check out IMPO's favorite brands and shades!

Last Looks!

There is a term used in the television and film industry called “Last Looks!” Let’s pretend we are on set and you hear the AD shout that phrase, what you would see next are crew members from the makeup, hair and wardrobe departments jump to attention and rush to spritz, tug and primp the actor/actress before the camera begins to roll.

This Pro likes to apply face powder at the time that “Last Looks” are called because that is when the star of the show or movie must look perfect. Face Powders, whether loose or pressed, set foundation and concealer after application and prepare the face for “powder” cheek and eye color. However, the most important job of a face powder is to minimize shine by soaking up oil or sweat produced by the skin. When working under the hot lights of a movie set trying to keep the skin matte can sometimes be very challenging.

The good news is that there are many “industry” face powders that cross over into the consumer-friendly world of beauty and they are available to you for everyday use (you just need to know where to get them). Also, several mass-marketed cosmetic lines manufacture face powders that work miracles and require little touch-up during the day (you just need to know what they are)!

But first, here are the basics…

Loose Powder: dense texture and provides more coverage. Applied with brush, sponge or powder puff. Matte or sheer finish.

Pressed Powder: same properties as a loose powder “pressed” into a compact. Applied with brush, sponge or powder puff. Less coverage because it dispenses small amounts of product on face. Matte or sheer finish. Best for touch-ups.

Color: like foundation and concealer, face powders are sold in a range of colors to match the skin tone. Translucent powder is invisible and is preferred by this Pro.

Ingredients: the most common ingredients in face powders are talc, cornstarch mica and zinc. If you are allergic to any of those elements, we recommend switching to mineralized powder products, which may be better for you.

Tools: a powder brush is large and dome shaped picking up less product and allowing for a sheer application. Use a powder puff to apply a heavier amount to face and gently blot or press into the skin; sweeping the puff will cause a “streaking” effect on the face. The sponge is used in the same manner as puff and applies a sheer amount.

Other: very oily skin can change the color of powder. If you use a colored face powder, choose a color that is 1 or 2 shades lighter than your foundation to allow for oxidation.

Issues: most women suffer from cakey powder application and one of the most common misconceptions is that too much powder was applied. While that could be true, it is more likely that the skin was not prepped properly: either not enough or too much moisturizer was applied to the skin. That situation can cause the face powder to have too much “grab” and where the build up of product occurs is most likely where the moisturizer application was uneven or not absorbed properly prior to makeup application.

Here is a valuable tip: prep skin with all accoutrement (serum, moisturizer, eye cream, primer, etc.) and allow 10 minutes to absorb. Fold up facial tissue into a square and “blot” excess product and oil off skin. Now begin application of cosmetics.

Another common problem is flakiness after powder application, which is caused by the skin being too dry and solved by simply bumping up the amount of moisturizer used in skin prep (but not too much because you will have the Cakey problem above). Tricky huh? But, with practice and over time, you will discover your inner makeup artist and kiss those issues good-bye!

Here is a list of products that this Pro recommends:

Cinema Secrets Translucent Powder - typically an “industry” product perfect for setting foundation. Finely milled, clump-free, antiperspirant powder. Translucent formula or available in several warm shades. Purchase on line at

Tricia Sawyer Beauty’s The Powder– loose, colorless setting powder made of finely milled cotton for maximum absorbency and controls shine throughout the day. Sheer coverage and works on all skin tones. Available online at or

Visiora PC Powder Compact - this is Dior's "industry" line and is incredible to set foundation or used on bare skin. Heavier coverage with a matte, satin finish. Good for all skin tones and types. This is the choice of many Pro MUAs. Available online at

Graftobian Face Powder – works with all skin tones and types and provides a soft, matte finish. Minimizes shine. Available online at

Make Up Forever HD Microfinish Powder -
a universal translucent finishing powder can be worn alone to reduce shine or applied to set foundation. Completely evens out the complexion and is made of 100% mineral silica powder. Available online at

Smashbox Halo Hydrating Perfecting Powder – this powder reduces fine lines and wrinkles in 10 minutes! It is the first anti-aging powder with skincare built in. Available online at or

Eve Pearl Photo Finish Pressed Powder Neutral – apply with powder puff in rolling motion across the face to set foundation. This is a light-diffusing, sheer pressed powder that eliminates shine and to defuse skin discolorations. Perfect for travel. Available online at

MAC Blot Powder – this is an industry standard with many color ranges to perfectly match your skin tone. Provides shine control without adding noticeable color or texture. Absorbs excess oil and reduces shine. Available at or at fine retailers.

Purely Cosmetics’ Finishing Powder – this mineral makeup line does not use fillers, preservatives or irritating ingredients that can cause breakouts on the skin. This product line is quickly becoming the preferred mineral line for all age groups and works especially well for women with more mature skin. It aids in oil absorption and adds a smooth, matte finish to skin. This powder is colorless and is made of 100% pure silk. Perfect for those seeking a natural mineral cosmetic line. This Pro also recommends this product for young adults and teens. Purchase online at

“All right Mr. De Mille, I’m ready for my close-up.” And so will you! Before you step out of the house, or into the office for the big interview, or answer the door for that hot date, don’t forget to take a “Last Look!” A final set of powder will help your makeup stay put through life’s big moments!

If you suffer from extremely oil skin try using blotting papers before or in between face powder touch ups. This will help to avoid powder buildup in areas around the nose and mouth. Also, if powder tends to cake in the fine lines and wrinkles around the eye area, then avoid excess powdering in that area. Set foundation and concealer placed under eye and do not touch-up frequently during the day. If you feel you have excess eye oil and find that your eye shadow and liner fade during the day, try using a eyelid primer such as Urban Decay’s Eye Shadow Primer Potion available at Sephora.

Up next on IMPO– guest blogger Carissa from Hooked on Beauty! She is a Pro MUA and has a great product review blog. Find out what cosmetic and beauty products she can’t live without personally and professionally!

*above photo credit:

Glow Baby Glow!

There are several “staples” you will find if you are ever lucky enough to dig into a professional MUA’s kit, like incredible skin care, false lashes, industry concealers and foundations, flesh tone pencils, liquid liner, cake mascaras, the perfect nude lip gloss and of course…bronzer!

This Pro’s kit is packed with several variations of bronzer in shades ranging from light to dark. I can’t do a television spot or film project without them and I rely on bronzers for correcting and creating natural beauty. My favorite types are matte colors (no sparkle) because I use them to sculpt the face, jaw bone, nose area and correct flaws or create illusions, which ultimately trick the viewer’s eye into thinking the actor or model's face is completely flawless.

Bronzer should be primary in your makeup bag as well to give your face a sun-kissed glow and to wake up tired, pasty skin. Finding the right color for your skin tone is crucial because you want to be able to wear a bronzer all year around.

Here are a few guidelines:

Fair Skin: peach/pink bronzers

Light: beige brown with a hint of pink

Medium: Browny pink with a touch of cooper for warmth

Olive Skin: copper shades

Dark Skin: dark shades with a touch of red or blue if you are deep dark skin toned.

Avoid orange shades, which will immediately give you an unnatural look and leave you feeling like one of Willy Wonka’s Oompa Loompas or like one of those overly spray tanned actresses (who shall remain nameless).

My preference is powder-based bronzers applied with a fan brush, but there are also several cream- or gel-based products that work well for dry skin and should be applied with a sponge, which I do use now and then on certain television and film projects.

This Pro uses the following application technique when contouring and correcting: apply bronzer to jaw line, under cheekbone, down sides and tip of nose and at the temples. Always blend into the skin for the best results. To help illustrate, check out the great contour/highlight chart below:

For everyday application apply bronzer lightly to the areas of your face that the sun would naturally tan; apples of cheeks, chin, forehead and down the nose area.

Bronzer can replace the need for blush color, but feel free to add a shimmer highlight just above your cheek bone directly under your eye area. Complete your look with eyeliner, a coat of mascara, add a pretty gloss and you are ready to take on the day! Bronzer is magic and looks best on the days when you don’t need a ton of coverage from foundation or concealer.

Self-Tanners are also used to warm up the complexion of the skin on the body and face, but if applied wrong or excessively can lead to disaster. However, if you are not a sun worshiper or if you are completely conscious of sun damage, then using a self-tanner is a necessity for you during the year.

If applying self-tanner on the face, be sure several hours have passed before makeup application and make sure to apply the tanner to your neck and ears and wash your hands throughly after. Self-tanners come in cream, gel and spray formula usually mixed with a moisturizer for easy application and best results. Don’t forget to wait the recommended time limit before getting dressed and most products take an hour or more to develop color on skin.

Here are a few Bronzers and Self –Tanners that this Pro can’t “glow” without:

Nars: you can find several shades of Nars Powder Bronzers in my professional makeup kit, as well as a few of Nars’ Multiples. Powder shades include: Zen (matte), Irresistiblement, Casino, Laguna – Zen is a Nars blush color, but I use it as bronzer. Multiples: Rapa Nui, Malaysia, Tuomota.

Dior: love these shades from Dior, they are incredible on the skin and give a very natural radiance! Shades: Honey Matte 002 and Amber Matte 003. Dior’s Bronze Original Tan in Healthy Tan 01, Honey Tan 02 and Amber Tan 03 can be found in my personal and professional makeup arsenal. I also use Dior Bronze Self-Tanner Natural Glow Face and Body.

Shu Uemura: beautiful color for lighter skin tones in Light and Warm.

Calvin Klein: sunkissed, healthy glow for medium to olive skin tones in Sun Dance and Sun Drenched.

Laura Mercier's Bronzing Duo: perfect harmony for medium, olive and dark skin tones. Choose Bronzing for olive tones, Pink Bronze for dark skin and Coral Bronze for medium skin.

Mystic Tan: self-tanner for face and body is an aerosol formula that will give you a deep, even application. It is alcohol-free and it dries quickly.

Bliss, A Tan For All Seasons: this is a great self-tanner infused with antioxidants and aloe vera. Amazing color and no gross odor!

Speciality Products: Tarte’s Glam Gams Leg Bronzing Stick can be used when you are not able to self-tan or if you want to faux glow your legs (and arms). All Tarte’s products are packed with fruit complex like goji, acai and pomegranate. Lucy B. Bronzing Body Shimmer Oil is made from organic coconut, jojoba and sunflower oils. Use all over face, body and hair to achieve a fresh sun-kissed look!

Most product listed above can be purchased at except for certain Nars bronzer shades and Lucy B. products can be found at

If you are going to wear bronzer to the pool or beach, check out Cargo's newest line of waterproof bronzers. This product stays put no matter how much you get wet or sweat!

Remember, a little bronzer goes a very long way so use a light touch and build the color onto your face and body! If you find your bronzer leaves your face looking too matte or flat add a pop of color with a pretty blush color.

One more trick up my Pro sleeve; if you are very fair skinned you may want to try using a powder foundation color instead of a bronzer. Look for a shade that is one shade darker than your usual foundation color.

Up next on IMPO – The Loose, The Compact and The Mineralized - all about face powders!