Proper skin care should be as important as eating healthy and exercise.  Taking care of your skin is crucial in the anti-aging process and should be a part of your daily skin care regime!

As a professional makeup artist, skin is my canvas.  I cannot properly apply makeup and achieve the look I want unless the skin is properly cleansed, exfoliated and moisturized.  Exfoliating might seem unnecessary, but it is an important step because it removes the top layer of dead skin cells and makes a huge difference in how the complexion appears with or without makeup.

The exfoliation process does not need to be harsh.  Scrubs with smaller grains are all you need once or twice a week to make your skin have a healthy glow.  Large grains are usually found in body scrubs and can damage facial skin so make sure that you do not use a “body” exfoliate on your face!

Because we are an equal opportunity blog, men should exfoliate too!  This process is typically done after every shave and helps to keep the skin more youthful-looking.  You can also exfoliate prior to shaving, but make sure to use a very mild, gentle exfoliant.

You should also exfoliate your neck and décolleté weekly.  In fact, the neck skin is not as fragile as the face, but it can be a sensitive area so use a gentle exfoliant.  Exfoliating the neck area will help to stimulate cell rejuvenation and keep the skin healthy.  Also, getting rid of dead cells that block the effectiveness of moisturizer and other products applied to the face and neck area will be a huge benefit in your fight against anti-aging.

As we age, skin needs the opportunity to rejuvenate itself and exfoliation provides critical skin cell renewal.  There are two types of exfoliation…”mechanical” method, which involves using a slightly more abrasive scrub and a “chemical” method, which means using a skin care product that includes a chemical exfoliant like alpha hydroxy acid or beta hydroxyl acid to remove the dead skin cells.

The Skin Care Resource Center says to “think of a chemical exfoliation like stripping off old paint from a piece of furniture!”  The higher the percentage of chemical ingredient, the deeper and more powerful the exfoliation will be, so do your research and get a grip on your individual exfoliation needs prior.

Sensitive skin will have a definite reaction to exfoliation whether done DIY (at home) or by a skin care professional in a salon or spa.  Usually, an oily skin type will benefit from a daily exfoliation while a more normal to sensitive skin will only need this process once or twice a week.

Personally speaking, my skin fits into the traditional “normal” category (not dry and slightly oily in the t-zone).  I use a very gentle exfoliant every Wednesday and Sunday.  It helps me to map out specific days to exfoliate in order to make sure that I am getting the most out of my anti-aging routine and skin care products.

There are three types of primary methods used in at home DIY style products and will be found in most consumer friendly exfoliants; fruit acid (AHA) creams, retinol creams and mircrodermabrasion creams.  According to my research, products with up to three Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs or Fruit Acids) will give you the best results.  Look for products that contain Lactic, Glycolic and Pyruvic acid for superior results.  This type of exfoliant also works well with other skin care products such as peptide creams.

Retin A and other retinol creams work by removing the top layer of dead skin and can help the skin produce more collagen.  As we get older, our skin can stop producing collagen and that is what causes wrinkles and lines.  Again, if your skin is sensitive to retinol, use a product that is fruit acid based as mentioned above or try a microdermabrasion cream.
Microdermabrasion cream can make the complexion glow.  Make sure to use a product that is a gentle formula and has small grains.  Used day and night, you should see results in 4-8 weeks.

As always, you should protect your eyes from exfoliants and you MUST wear sunblock daily and always after using an exfoliant.

Don’t forget that the body also benefits from a weekly exfoliation.  Preparing for summer exposure and pampering the skin prior to wearing a cute sundress or bathing suit can boost your confidence.  I exfoliate my body weekly around this time of year because I am beginning to use self-tanners and this process helps to get the best tan possible out of my self-tanner because my cells are free from blockage.

I also use a Dry Brush method when exfoliating my body.  The skin is the most important eliminative organ in the body and it’s responsible for the body’s detoxification each day.  As a matter of fact, over one pound of waste acids are released through the skin in an average adult.  So, it makes sense to clean out those big body pores right? Right!

Dry Brushing benefits:

* May remove cellulite
* Cleanses the lymphatic system
* Can strengthen the immune system
* Can stimulate the hormone and oil producing glands
* Tightens the skin preventing premature aging
* May tone the muscles
* May stimulate circulation
* May improve the function of the nervous system
* May aid in digestion

Here are a few exfoliating and dry brushing products I love and use both personally and professionally:

Votre Vu Royal Treatment – this product is not promoted as an exfoliant, but it does the trick.  It is extremely gentle and it feels like a masque on the skin.  Reduces redness, softens, calms and cools skin.  I use this product twice a week.

Embryolisse Crème de Soin Exfoliante – when I want a little more boost I reach for this exfoliant – very gentle, but a tad bit more abrasive feeling than the Votre Vu product.  This is a luxurious cream with tiny micro-beads that will resurface, smooth and nourish the skin with Vitamins E and F.

Billy Jealousy Liquid Sand Facial Cleanser – this product is promoted for men and is used before shaving to exfoliate the skin, but everyone can use it and I would guess that it would be a great, mild exfoliant for those with uber sensitive skin.  Less penetrating than a scrub, but more powerful than a face wash, this product will remove all dead surface skin cells, dirt and grime!

Bella Bronze Body Sea Kelp & White Volcanic Scrub – I received this product as part of my BeautyFix package and I love it – only used on the body – this scrub will sloth away all dead skin and leave you feeling smooth and ready for summer!  Use prior to applying a sunless tanning product.  I use this product once a week in the shower to polish my skin.

Eight Dry Brush Systems – I met Vicki Weaver-Payne at a launch party in Hollywood a few months ago and I listened to the history of her product.  I jumped at the chance to volunteer for an Eight dry brush treatment and was gifted the system in Lavender afterwards.  I love the way this product makes my skin glow (even though it took some getting use to).  If you suffer from dry, itchy skin this product is fortified with essential oils and natural ingredients.


When my skin is in need of some major exfoliation, I leave that up to the professionals.  Brenda Druilhet is my esthetician and she is located in the San Fernando Valley in California.  Brenda does a very unique exfoliation treatment on my skin called a Dermafile

This process lightly polishes the skin by hand removing the top layer of dead skin cells.  Currently, this application can and should only be administered by a professional, but I am hearing through the grapevine that at some point an at-home version will be available to the consumer.  Dermafile is a safe, natural, holistic alternative to chemical peels and microdermabrasion.

Dermafile exfoliation helps:

*Build collagen and smooth fine lines
*Remove sun damage and pigmentation
*Lessen ingrown hairs
*Smooths away dead skin cells and rough, bumpy, dry patches of skin

Microdermabrasion is a process that sprays microcrystals across the skin’s surface, blasting away the top layer of dead skin.  It usually takes several treatments to be effective and can be expensive.  Also, finding a good technician that you feel comfortable with when under this high-powered machine can be a concern.  Irritation caused by the microcrystals can happen if they are not completely removed properly.

Dermafile is an alternative that has the same effects as mircrodermabrasion, but is a safer, more cost-effective way.  It is a resurfacing and polishing tool, manufactured of stainless steel and finely crushed cosmetic diamonds.  This tool can be used on the face, chest and back.  Again, finding a qualified professional is key and Brenda is available for both professional esthetician training and for customer treatments.  For more information on this product or to schedule an appointment with Brenda, please email her at: bcdruilhet@sbcglobal.net.


Tested on Film Stars not Animals!

I have been a huge fan of Tara Smith for quite sometime!  She is not only an amazing hairstylist, but also an entrepreneur clawing her way to the top of the hair care industry and she is doing it naturally!  That is no easy feat!

Tara is a pioneer in my industry because film, television and the like are not exactly eco-friendly environments.  The carbon footprint left behind can sometimes make the cast and crew feel less than “green!”

Tara says, “It was important to me to develop a salon-quality product line based on natural plant ingredients and accessible to everyone at a realistic price tag. I have made sure my products are as natural as they can be without having to keep them in the fridge because I believe that what we put on our body is as important as what we put in it!”

I knew I was going to love this product when I read her tag line...“Tested on Film Stars not Animals!” Kudos Tara!  I am sure that all those celebrity clients did not mind being your test subjects!

Here is a little inside information on Tara:

She is one of the most respected celebrity hairstylists in the industry.  Her famous clients include: Demi Moore, Marisa Tomei, Rosario Dawson, Neve Campbell, Lucy Liu, Patricia Arquette, Lindsay Lohan, Sting and Matthew McConaughey, to name just a few.  Her recent film credits include: Happy Tears, Grindhouse and SATC (the movie – L.A. crew).

She received the 2009 Celebrity Hairstylist of the Year award in the UK.  English-born, Tara began working alongside her mother at her salon, which was originally her grandmother’s at a very young age!

More of Tara’s philosophy, “hair, makeup and clothes are our most expressive assets.  A great haircut should enhance your facial features while accenting your personality.  I think many hairdressers try and fit a person into a style.  Personally, I believe it should be the other way round!”  How true that statement is and I believe the same from a makeup artist’s perspective.

Recently, I was sent a few of Tara’s incredible products to try personally and professionally.  Tara’s belief is that “the hair is a plant that needs to be fed,” and so it requires regular hydration and nutrients.

My hair is colored, probably like many of my readers, and can suffer from environmental elements.  Plus, during seasonal changes my hair can become greasy or extremely dry and brittle.  And who doesn't put their hair through major styling distress; blow dryers, hot rollers, curling irons, straighteners, etc., can reek havoc on all hair types!

Tara has a wide range of shampoos and conditioners for all types of hair, but I have been using Tara’s C Curls Shampoo and Conditioner and I love how it combats harsh frizzes! Its key ingredients are Rosemary and hydrolyzed Soybean.

According to Tara’s website, Rosemary is prized for its revitalizing and tonic properties which when combined with the hydrolyzed Soybean, energize the hair and keep the cuticle flexible to improve the hair’s feel and shine.

I have also been using her Base Coat Serum, Rock On Hard Hold Styling Gel and Top Coat Glosser.  All of which have helped me manage some pretty unruly, naturally wavy hair!

In fact, I used to straighten my hair daily using a round brush, blow dryer and straightener because I was unable to find products that would allow me to wear my hair wavy and/or allow my hair to air dry without getting frizzy.

It seemed no matter what serum, styling gel or other accouterments I used in the morning, my hair looked worse and worse as the day progressed causing me to put my hair up into a ponytail or clip!
I hated my natural wave and swore that I would never show my true hair self to the public!  Then along came Tara’s products and I have a new burst of hair confidence!  This product line has given me the ability to have hair that is versatile.  I can choose to wear my hair wavy or straight and have the faith that it will look great either way all day long!

Plus, as a Pro makeup artist in the television and film industry, I have to admit that I do feel guilty when I am constantly throwing away sponges, orange puffs, cotton balls or when I am spraying aerosols into the air.  Tara’s product line helps to minimize the pollutants that cause environmental destruction and can alleviate a client’s allergies to different chemicals and fillers used in hair products.  Totally recyclable packaging!

Below is a great article about Tara:

Tara has also made her hair care products extremely affordable with a prices ranging from $5.95-$9.95.  Remember that when hair care products are naturally based, they do not contain the traditional chemicals that will make massive amounts of lather, so if they feel a little different at first, that doesn't mean the product isn't working or cleaning your hair!  

Tara’s products are currently sold at Duane Reade stores in and around NYC or online at Amazon UK and  www.tarasmith.com.

Pro Tips and Tricks:


Come One, Come All to the Makeup Artist Event of the Year!!

The Powder Group and the Metropolitan Pavilion Proudly Present the
5 Year Anniversary of The Makeup Show in New York City!
If you are a professional artist then come join the party!
Sunday, May 16 and Monday, May 17, 2010
9 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily
Metropolitan Pavilion
125 West 18th Street
New York City

To celebrate this milestone, The Powder Group has pulled out all the stops with appearances and hands-on workshops from some of the biggest names in the country! This is a rare opportunity to learn from the best in the biz and get experienced, professional advice from makeup artists who are trailblazers in this industry. The forums, insider tips, and workshops alone offer information that no text book can ever teach you!

Hear from Keynote Speakers such as Make Up Forever Creator, Danny Sanz, Charlie Green (“Blush” and “Project Runway”). Avatar’s Tegan Taylor and Joanna Schlip (celebrity artist extraordinaire and creator of RCK Body Glow). Also, catch Special Effects Artist Louie Zakarian from “Fringe” and “Saturday Night Live” as he speaks on transforming celebrities and creating our beloved characters on SNL for the past 15 years.

Accelerate your career, network with fellow artists from around the country, and improve your technique and marketing skills with over 40 seminars and hands-on workshops to attend!

Hands-On Workshops will be offered at an additional cost and are filling up quickly. If you would like to reserve your space to learn in a concentrated setting from incredibly talented artists like Orlando Santiago, Johnny Lavoy, Kathy Aragon and Jon Hennessey visit the website below for more information on booking and availability.

All the usual suspects (and amazing makeup artists) will also be in attendance; Kevin James Bennett, Eve Pearl, Sarah Lucero, Lori Taylor, Val Hernandez and dozens of others!

This just added: The Powder Groups own Michael Devellis will discuss two of the most important ways of promoting your work so you won't want to miss Portfolio & Website Focus forum.  Learn from a master!!!!

Also, Director of Artistry for the Powder Group, James Vincent, will present Kit Focus!  This workshop will include information on how to make the most of your professional kit and ensure that you have the exact product you need to be successful in all genres of artistry!

Bring a big tote bag because the discounts are hefty, the pro-only offers are one of a kind, and the new product launches are all items you will want to take home and put in your kit! 

With the biggest brands and over 70 exhibitors, including show sponsors Temptu, Make Up For Ever, Inglot, Alcone and Smashbox Cosmetics, artists will be able to update their kits with the most technologically advanced and quality cosmetics to apply to any field of makeup, be it high definition TV/film, special effects, print, or bridal work.

Hurry! There are less than 5 days left to purchase your advance tickets. One day ticket is $50/Two day ticket is $80 - student tickets available online with 10% discount/student ID must be shown at the door. Go to www.TheMakeupShow.com to purchase tickets and for more information and schedules.

Quick Fix!

In the world of professional makeup artistry, regardless of the genre you work in, there comes a time when you need a “quick fix!”  In my world I have seen it all!  Every skin sin and irritation, those sun damaged divas, age that seems to march across the face, sleep deprived or depressive skin, the overly caffeinated and dehydrated beauties, obsessive tattooing and those unfortunate souls with self inflicted wounds that need hiding!

It is not my job to judge, discriminate or lecture…it is my job to make my clients look beautiful and feel confident (even in their out of control worlds).  So, I thought my blog post today would be about a few products which give my clients the “quick fix” they need to make it through their day and these products carry over into the “real” world which can help you get through yours!

Let’s start with skin…sometimes when I am in my makeup room waiting for my client to arrive, I fantasize about a world where everyone has gorgeous skin!  No one has to ever scrub, exfoliate, slather or endure hours of laser treatments, but alas I live and work in a world of imperfection and so I will grab the following products to help skin regain its happiness…

Embryolisse Lotion Micellaire is a product that gently cleans, softens, soothes and tones the skin without needing to be rinsed.  It does it all and it does it quickly!  It removes eye makeup, face makeup and preps the skin instantly to receive primer.  Basically, if my client is coming into the makeup room for a quick change of makeup or is arriving from a long night where most of the makeup is still on his/her face and there is no time to properly cleanse…this product saves the day!

Talika Eye Decompress patches are a model, actress/actor and my best friend!  Instantly revives tired eyes!  It is an eye treatment or a therapeutic eye “mask” if you will that nourishes the eye area and minimizes bags, fine lines and dark circles.  So soothing that I have actually fallen asleep during the 7 minutes it takes to activate this product!  Truly refreshing and a quick pick-me-up for the eyes!

SAMPAR Paris Prodigal Pen is a gift straight from the skincare gods!  I use this product to treat pimples or skin irritations caused by infected or cheap makeup, poor skincare regime and diet.  The essential oils in this product immediately calm the affected area which aides in the success of concealing.  Used over night and by following the manufacturer’s instructions of applying 5 times a day, it will heal most skin issues.  I have seen it work on blackheads, bug bites, rashes and on razor burn!

Embryolisse Baume Secours Essential Dry Skin Balm is another miracle coming to the SOS rescue for those with chronic dry, dehydrated and flaky skin.  It is like a lip balm for the face (and lips if needed).  It restores moisture instantly and I use it around the nasal labial folds, chin, forehead, etc.  Kiss that peeling, sunburned skin goodbye too!  Shea Butter, Cotton Butter, Apricot Butter and essential fatty acids along with vitamins A and E invigorate the skin.  This product is a tad bit shiny, so make sure you allow time for the skin to absorb this product and you can also blot with a tissue prior to applying other skincare or makeup.

Eve Pearl Anti-Shine Mattifying Gel is a quick, oil absorbing, sheer cover that is ideal for face, hairline and scalp (bald heads only please).  If you suffer from out of control oil or if you have an extremely oily hairline area, than this product will work wonders for you!  The best part is that it is a tinted gel that can be used alone or under foundation without altering the color.  My only complaint is that I wish this product came in a bigger tube!  I have a few bald, male clients that require this treatment prior to HD television shooting and I go through this product quickly!

Eve Pearl Tri-Fold Eyebrow Razor is a perfect tool when I need to fix a client’s eyebrows quickly!  I have also used it to groom the lip and bikini line area, trim inside the nose and ear areas, even out sideburns and to prep smaller skin areas prior to placing false tattoos (like on the knuckles of the fingers and toes – I know, I know…my job is weird)!  This tool is better than plucking because it won’t leave the area red and inflamed!

CoverBlend Leg & Body Makeup conceals a plethora of flaws!  I have used this quick cover on age spots, stretch marks, veins, bruises, birthmarks, wine stains on the face, rosacea and other skin discolorations, scars, sunburns, scratches, rashes, healing wounds and I have used it to cover tattoos (uncolored).  This product is safe to use all over the body, including the face.  It is ideal for swimming or sweating because it is water and smudge resistant.  I layer and build the color using a brush or stipple sponge and I set immediately with a loose powder and makeup fixative spray. It is suitable for all skin types and it comes in 4 colors.

CoverBlend Concealing Treatment Makeup also works well for the same conditions I stated above however, it has an SPF 20 and is light reflecting so I can not use it for HD television, but it works great for “real life” and provides all day coverage and protection.  It is a heavy coverage and thick in consistency straight out of the container, so thin it out with moisturizer or use a damp sponge when blending and build the coverage and it looks more natural on the skin when applying in this fashion.

A few quick fixes that accompany me to the set in every actor bag are M.A.C. Cleansing Tips, which are pre-saturated with a gentle eye makeup remover that soothes and calms the eyes, they are individually packaged and they will quickly fix any smear.

Jao Anti-bacterial Hand Sanitizer completely disinfects without drying the skin or smelling like chemicals.  Will leave your hands clean, moisturized and not sticky, plus it is safe to use on other parts of the body!  Bye, bye smelly arm pits, feet or…other unmentionable areas!!! 

Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets quickly soak up oil without adding more powder.  They are perfect for in between touch ups and help control product buildup around the nose, chin and forehead.  You can find them at your local drug store and they are inexpensive!  Keep them in your car, personal makeup and gym bag!

In the hair department (which I rarely blog about) are two products that I use constantly!  Sometimes on lower budget shoots, I am also the hairstylist or I need to change hairstyles during a shoot.  I do not have any formal training in this department, however after 20 plus years as a makeup artist, you learn a few things here and there from the hair Pros!

Batiste Dry Shampoo, which I recently received as gratis to try, is a waterless, dry shampoo that refreshes and revitalizes hair in between shampoos.  The key to this product is to shake the can very well and apply in spurts.  Then gently massage into the scalp, leave for a few moments and then brush out.  It’s great for very active people and takes away all the grease or oils.  Bonus is that you can purchase it from any drug store and it comes in a variety of scents and travel sizes!

Leonor Greyl Eclat Naturel is a styling cream that I like to use on hair that is already dry.  It helps detangle and sculpt hair and tams all fly-aways.  It is great to use to shape the hair with fingertips, scrunch for more curl or to smooth and straighten with a round brush and blow dryer.  Completely reconditions the hair and helps protect against hot styling tools.


To instantly whiten red, tired, irritated eyes I use Collyre Bleu Eyelights by Verseo.  These drops are individually packaged to ensure that the drops are kept fresh and sterile.  These drops also eliminate the yellow-ness in the white part of your eye area.  NOT RECOMMENDED FOR CONTACT LENSE WEARERS!