How Do You Know Your Skincare is Made Safe?

How Do You Know Your Skincare is Made Safe?

As you can probably imagine, I get a LOT of questions about skincare ingredients and skincare products. Since I make my own skincare products and have for many years now, I have to admit it’s hard to answer requests for recommendations for what skincare brands someone should use for their skin. It’s also a challenge, because I firmly believe that every person has unique skin, and doesn’t fall neatly into a generic skin type. But that’s another story (you can learn more about that here and learn how to really understand your skin and what it needs).

Toxic chemicalsTo be honest, these days I get far more inquiries about whether or not a product is SAFE, and how to know if a product is actually as safe as it claims to be. This is also not a straightforward response, because the terms “safe,” “non-toxic,” “natural,” and even “organic,” aren’t clearly defined or regulated terms. We have to look at the ingredient itself, how much is used and for what function, what other ingredients are in the formulation, how has the ingredient been sourced, and so on.

Since thousands of ingredients are used to make skincare these days, you can imagine it’s no easy task to know everything there is to know about each one. It takes time, money, dedication, research, and a lot of organization–and while I don’t have time to do that type of work in my business, I want to be part of the movement towards safer cosmetics on the global scale. I’m really proud to announce that I’m an inaugural supporter of MADE SAFE™, and am partnering with them on their efforts to innovate and investigate ingredients while prioritizing human health.

What is MADE SAFE?

MADE SAFE is a nonprofit organization that makes it possible for consumers to easily find products that are made without known harmful chemicals while also offering brands and retailers a road map to making and selling safer products. MADE SAFE™ (Made With Safe Ingredients) is America’s first certification to screen out known toxic chemicals in consumer products across store aisles, from baby bottles and bedding to personal care, cleaners, and more.

MADE SAFE is the only comprehensive human health-focused certification that screens products across all non-food categories. In addition to certification, MADE SAFE works with companies to:

  • Screen individual ingredients through its Ingredient Diligence service
  • Test ingredients using compound analysis
  • Explore safer alternatives and green chemistry approaches
  • Construct customized restricted substances lists
  • Communicate sustainability efforts
  • Conduct new research on ingredients
  • Educate consumers about ingredients and materials

shutterstock_327349763I chose to partner with MADE SAFE, because they are more than just a database of different cosmetic ingredients, or product safety rankings. There’s nothing wrong with those lists–and I still recommend that people reference them. But rather than just working to scrutinize and rank existing brands, as a formulator and educator myself, I share MADE SAFE founder and executive director, Amy Ziff’s mission to change the way products are made in America and around the world. As a precursor to certification with its Ingredient Supporter program, MADE SAFE works with companies on ingredient research, green chemistry approaches, and innovative solutions to make products as healthy as possible. 

What does it mean to be a MADE SAFE supporter?

As a supporter, I’m giving my own stamp of approval to the MADE SAFE principles. I also support new research and ingredient reviews, and am helping to further our shared mission to change the way products are made for the healthier. I also support MADE SAFE’s efforts to screen select ingredients to learn about human health and ecosystem concerns, and foster green chemistry innovation.

My role as a supporter on this platform is to communicate our sustainability efforts on health and safety to today’s conscious consumer (that would be you!), and also to educates on what it means to make a healthy product – i.e. a product that is made without known toxic ingredients. In my course, Create Your Skincare, I’m also dedicated to teaching my students how to make their products to meet MADE SAFE’s requirements so they can pursue certification for their brands from the start. I’m really lucky to pass this knowledge onto skincare formulators and product designers right when they’re beginning because it’s much easier (and less expensive!) to create products that comply with MADE SAFE standards from the start, rather than having to possibly reformulate down the road in order to earn certification.

MADE SAFE supporter logoIf you’re one of my current or past students, be sure you check for these updates to your course. And if you’re not yet, now is the perfect time to enroll–it’s such an exciting time to learn to make skincare both for yourself and for your business!

I’m proud to be a MADE SAFE supporter, and look forward to sharing the progress we make together to change how skincare and personal care products are made, while at the same time educating on the importance of ingredient safety. For more information, visit

What do you think of MADE SAFE’s initiatives?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

*Images 1 and 2 from Shutterstock.

Makeup: For Art or for Cover?

Makeup: For Art or for Cover?

Makeup: for art or coverI’ve been thinking more about makeup a LOT lately, especially since writing my post about makeup shaming. Writing that post also is part of what moved me to start a separate blog category for these deeper, more spiritual issues, because it seems I have quite a lot to say about them! Hence Spiritual Skincare Sundays.

Makeup itself seems like something so simple and such a surface issue–but, like skincare, I believe makeup represents something much deeper. I’m not going to get into the whole wear makeup/don’t wear makeup debate here–so if you’re a proud member of Team No Makeup, don’t worry, I’m not trying to convert you 🙂 Instead, I wanted to explore reasons why some people do choose to wear makeup, and why makeup shaming can be even more hurtful to them because of those reasons.

Makeup for art

Many people consider makeup a form of artistic expression. Their clean face, a blank canvas; their brushes and applicators, paint brush; and the actual makeup itself, paint. These people have a great love for the process of choosing their colors, and put a lot of thought into each stroke of the brush. Whether they’re aware of it or not, close attention is paid to visual composition. There is often a single focal point-the eyes or the mouth, and the rest of the face, cheeks, forehead, chin, etc. makes up the background. There’s also close attention paid to precision and symmetry–eye makeup and brows should match on both sides, both sides of the face should have the same intensity of color applied, and lips–whether they’re symmetrical in reality or not, are often made symmetrical with lip pencils and color.

My latest Halloween makeup art :)

My latest Halloween makeup art 🙂

Whether these people consider themselves makeup artists, or practice makeup artistry by trade isn’t what’s important–what’s important is that they’re using makeup as a way to express their own innate creativity. This expression might not even be part of conscious thought, but it’s necessary. I believe that creativity is something every person possesses, because we are all physical embodiments of creation itself. The same force or energy that created us always remains part of us, and unless we find ways–consciously or not–to express it outwardly, I believe it can make us sick. Creativity is such a powerful energy, that when repressed, it has the capacity to magnify other emotions and come out in unpredictable and often negative ways.

When a person who expresses their creativity on a regular basis through the focused, artistic, and precise application of makeup, their finished look is their painting–their masterpiece. And just like any other artist, when their art is misunderstood or criticized, it hurts. In terms of makeup shaming, would you ever criticize or shame an artist for being an artist? Would you ever tell them they’re wrong for expressing or wanting to share their art? If you’ve ever been to art or design school (and I have–I have a degree in architecture), you know how crappy it feels to have work that you’ve spent a lot of time and effort creating judged, questioned, and criticized by people who just don’t “get” it. You know how it feels to have to defend your own creation. It’s not fun, and it can hurt.

Makeup for cover

Other times, the decision to wear makeup has nothing to do with art. It comes from the want—or need–to cover something up. Whether it’s acne, uneven pigmentation or texture, scarring, or another reason having to do with one’s physical features, many people wear makeup to make themselves look and feel what society has defined as normal. They apply layers of concealers, foundations, and powders before they even feel they have what could be considered a blank canvas. And when they see that canvas, they still see shadows of what they’re trying to cover–feelings of imperfection, inadequacy, wrongness, incompleteness, ugliness, and self-loathing. And no matter what they apply on top of that cover, what’s underneath doesn’t go away–it simply gets smoothed out or changed enough for the time being, so that person feels good enough to face the world that day.

1396801367_a3cef011e3_zAnd then that person gets asked by someone, “Is there something going on today? What’s with all the makeup?” Or she sees a seemingly innocent-looking article about makeup application on Facebook, starts scrolling through the comments, and sees things like:

“People who wear makeup are fake.”

“People with bad skin who wear makeup make it look even worse.”

“People should be focusing on proper skincare so they don’t need to wear makeup.”

And then her cover is blown. Not to anyone else in particular–but to her. She’s reminded again of all the things she’s worked so hard to cover, and now whether anyone’s actually directing comments to her or not, she constantly feels like they are. And all she wants to do is hide. Or cry. Or both.

Both reasons for wearing makeup are personal to me.

I began wearing makeup for cover, and then after being criticized for wearing it “wrong” or looking like I was wearing a mask, I decided to actually study it as an art. I didn’t attend any makeup school–my cousin’s old school Victoria Jackson videos, department store makeup counters, and Kevyn Aucoin, Bobbi Brown, and Francois Nars’ books* became my school. I practiced on myself, I practiced on my friends, and then I practiced with the different brands I worked with later on. Through that observation, study, and practice, I developed a deep love for makeup as an art.

So when I see or hear makeup shaming comments, whether generalized, directed at others, or even directed at me (and there are plenty of people who tell me I wear too much makeup), I’m affected both from the perspective of wanting to cover up and as an artist.

Of course there are plenty of people who wear makeup for other reasons–and we’ll get into those in future posts. But today I want to leave you with this thought:

I believe makeup is, and should be respected as a spiritual practice, whether someone is applying for art or for cover. 

What do you think?

Share your thoughts-2If you wear makeup, what are your reasons for wearing it? How do you feel when you experience or observe makeup shaming? If you don’t wear makeup, what do you think about these ideas? Feel free to comment below, or come on over to our private Spiritual Skincare Sundays discussion group on Facebook and share there.

*Affiliate disclaimer

**Image 3 by Orin Zebest.

4 Halloween Skincare Tricks and Treats

4 Halloween Skincare Tricks and Treats

Halloween-skincare-tricks-and-treatsI’ve ranted written about my distaste for what’s become of Halloween in this country in the past on Holistically Haute:

And I’ve offered some great tips on how to make lemons out of lemonade, and make this holiday healthier without sacrificing the fun.

Today, we’re taking the fun to a whole new level, because we’re making Halloween about skincare!

You might be wondering, don’t I mean “makeup,” not skincare? Well it wouldn’t be Halloween (at least not for me) without makeup–especially since my younger daughter is dressing up as a Monster High doll (yet again) which will require my hand at girly monster makeup. You probably already know that I don’t use any of those costume store makeup kits–no coal tar dyes, heavy metals, or parabens for my kids. Nope, I just use the same mineral makeup or makeup ingredients I use for my own face–and I have a great tweak for full-face colored makeup that I’ll share below (and it has to do with skincare!). Believe it or not, I’ve uncovered some Halloween-specific skincare needs, and also how to address them safely and naturally.

Here are my top 4 Halloween Skincare Tricks and Treats

Sprite and I last Halloween

Sprite and I last Halloween

Makeup remover. Yes, there’s the makeup–but there’s also the concern of taking the makeup OFF. Drugstore (and even department store) makeup removers contain petrochemicals and other industrial strength solvents that really don’t belong on a child’s (or adult’s) skin. Yet black eyeliner, face paint, and even natural Halloween makeup might be a little too big a job for regular facial cleanser–unless you use a cleansing oil, that is! The Oil Cleansing Method works INSANELY well at removing even the most stubborn makeup. Watch this video if you don’t believe me. I highly recommend jojoba oil as a safe, natural, and super-effective Halloween makeup remover.

Lip balm. Lip balm is one of the easiest and cost effective natural skincare products you can make. You can make it with as little as two ingredients (beeswax and coconut–or another type of oil), or you can get fancy and add more oils and a drop or two of essential oils for flavor. I’m not suggesting you use lip balm as Halloween makeup (although it can certainly be used a base for lipstick or tinted lip balm), I’m suggesting you make it to give out to trick-or-treaters or as Halloween party favors. Seriously! This super simple recipe makes 6 or 7 full sized lip balm tubes. Full sized tubes are fine for party guests, but you can give out mini sized tins or pots of lip balms decorated with fun Halloween stickers to trick-or-treaters. Mountain Rose Herbs* has a ton of great organic ingredients and supplies,  and you can even get most of your stuff on Amazon. Kids love lip balm–trust me on this one!

Hand sanitizer. Don’t get me started on hand sanitizers. Well I guess I got myself started, so here goes. First of all, they stink. Seriously–I can smell Purell from like 500 feet away. Whether it’s Purell or one of the fruity-smelling ones from a bath and body store, these products contain synthetic fragrances, which are responsible for the majority of irritant and allergic skin reactions that occur. They’re also linked to respiratory issues, asthma, and other health concerns. Plus, the most common antibacterial ingredient, triclosan, is downright toxic. Then there’s the whole kids getting drunk on hand sanitizer problem. And that’s all besides the fact that studies have shown that they don’t kill viruses (cold and flu are viruses not bacteria), and aren’t effective against all bacteria and fungi. Still, when kids are out and about trick-or-treating, handwashing isn’t always possible (even when they’re not out and about, handwashing doesn’t happen enough), so having a safer hand sanitizing option is a good idea–and when you make your own, you can add hydrating ingredients like vegetable glycerine to prevent the overdrying of the skin that’s so common with hand sanitizers.

Here’s a simple recipe:

  • Mix 50% glycerine and 50% the hydrosol of your choice, add 20% 80-proof-or-higher vodka, and 3% essential oils (I particularly like lavender and tea tree oil for hand sanitizers).
  • Pour into full size or mini spray bottles (also available on Amazon*), close tightly, add a fancy label, and voila!
  • Use within 3 months.


Some pretty iron oxide pigments to make natural face paint with!

Make your moisturizer into makeup. If your child’s (or your) costume requires a full face, opaque application of white, gold, brown, blue, or another color, instead of using face paint, you can convert a natural moisturizer into face paint using zinc oxide powder and natural iron oxide pigments. Essential Wholesale has a great variety of these mineral ingredients. All you do is start with a small amount of your moisturizer, and start adding zinc oxide 1/4 teaspoon at a time until you get the level of opacity you want. Then add tiny amounts of your pigment until you get the depth of color you want. You might need to add a little more moisturizer to make it more spreadable. Use this technique to create an entire palette of safer Halloween face paints!

I hope you love these Halloween skincare tricks and treats as much as I do.

CYS for the Holidays logoSkincare really makes great gifts for any occasion. If you’d like to learn more ways to make skincare into amazing gifts to delight everyone on your list for every gift giving occasion–be it Halloween party favors, Christmas gifts, Father’s Day, teacher gifts, bridal showers, you name it–I can teach you how! I offer an online workshop called Create Your Skincare for The Holidays where I teach you how to choose the right types of ingredients, products, accessories, and packaging to match the personality and preferences of everyone on your list–and then Catherine Pooler and I teach you how to create your own gorgeous paper-crafted product labels and gift tags! This course is awesome and is full of amazing recipes, videos, and downloads–and it’s only 97 dollars! Learn more and sign up HERE.

*Affilate links

In Defense of Entrepreneur Barbie

In Defense of Entrepreneur Barbie

Entrepreneur BarbieOh, Barbie. The now 55-year-old lady who’s held more than 150 “jobs” and has been on the receiving end of ten times that many attacks from feminist and positive body image promoting groups is at it again. Only this time, she doesn’t have a new job. After being an astronaut, deep sea explorer, and presidential candidate just to name a few; there isn’t much left to choose from in terms of a conventional career. Instead, she’s decided to do her own thing and become an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurship is something that’s near and dear to me, obviously, since I also chose that route after years of feeling unfulfilled in corporate America. So when I got my Barbie Collector catalog (yes, I get that catalog) in the mail and saw Entrepreneur Barbie I was both pleased and intrigued. I was pleased because, well, I’m not an astronaut, so I could relate to this Barbie. But I was intrigued because I knew this would spark yet another stream of debates in conventional and social media about whether this latest incarnation is a step in the “right” direction for women, or is it sending us right back to the 1950s.

Overall, the media views Entrepreneur Barbie in a negative way.

Mattel put a good deal of thought into the development of Entrepreneur Barbie. These efforts included assembling a team of eight real-life female entrepreneurs to serve as chief inspiration officers” to the project and share their thoughts on how today’s female entrepreneur should be portrayed.

a4674881e6c9179b5f72e980243b4502Criticism is nothing new to Barbie, and I’m sure by now she’s developed a rather tough skin, which is a good thing since most of the articles I read about this latest version haven’t been supportive. A recent article on shows how though the team behind this project intended to spread the message of a confident, tech savvy woman who’s going after her dreams. However others disagree, stating that “Entrepreneur Barbie is modern woman with her smartphone and her tablet stuck in a sexist, outdated, dangerous representation of femininity.” This, of course pertains to her anatomic proportions (which aren’t realistic, though they are much more realistic now than they were in the beginning), as well as her hot pink sleeveless, fitted shift dress and accessories. 

Another opinion I found on, by Liz Tilatti, isn’t as much concerned with Barbie’s anatomy or the idea that she’s overly sexualized or a poor representation of feminity. Rather, the author is more concerned that Barbie doesn’t project a realistic image of a day in the life of an entrepreneur. Instead, her image is much more corporate, and too high-end for a start-up business owner; and therefore is sending mixed messages. She feels that “if entrepreneur Barbie were dressed up in a casual t-shirt, jeans, and came with diverse wardrobe pieces and accessories allowing the girl buying her to dress her up and accessorize her as she pleases, that would best represent female entrepreneurs.”

Here are my thoughts as an entrepreneur who’s also an image coach:

My typical work "uniform."

My typical work “uniform.”

When I worked in corporate America, I too, had an array of expensive suits, heels, handbags, accessories, and the latest gadgets (I rocked a Sony Clie handheld device back then, and a FLIP phone–oh yeah!), with my makeup and nails done everyday. I dressed that way because, yes, professional dress was expected where I worked–but also because it made me feel pretty, sleek, confident, and abundant. I knew I was working for someone else, but I was always taught to dress for the job you want, not the job you have; and I was very ambitious. The politics didn’t do it for me, and I had a hard time working my a$$ off and spending my Universe-given creative talents for someone else’s benefit; so when I left that atmosphere to be a stay-at-home mom, I knew I’d never return.

Fast forward several years of being a mommy, then returning back to school once (for aesthetics) and then again (for holistic nutrition); and lo and behold, I’m now an entrepreneur. My days consist of writing content for this website and others, my social media outlets, upcoming books, webinars, speaking engagements, and courses. In addition, I continuously experiment with new skincare formulations, and take as many aesthetics and nutrition continuing education courses as possible. I also have a thriving health and image coaching practice where I offer women one-on-one support via phone or Skype on how they can look and feel amazing and build a solid self image from the inside out and outside in. Oh yeah, and I’m a mother of two very active little girls (who play piano, train in classical ballet, and play soccer and lacrosse), a wife, and a homeowner. Most of the time, like Liz Tilatti, I’m not dressed in overly dressy or corporate attire–most of the time I’m not even in jeans–I’m in yoga clothes.

However, when I have a Skype client, teach a class in person, have a speaking engagement, attend a conference or trade show, do a book signing, meet with investors, or have any other in-person contact with anyone at all in a business setting; I do dress more like Entrepreneur Barbie–in a suit, or a dress, with accessories, makeup, nails, handbag, you name it. I also have the latest technology in terms of my computer, an iPad, and an iPhone, because I’m often on-the-go, and I need to work from wherever I am whether it’s home, on the lacrosse field, or at an airport.

What I might wear when out representing my brand.

What I might wear when out representing my brand.

Even though I (and most entrepreneurs) don’t dress fancy when working from home, running around, or doing anything else behind the scenes, you better believe that when I’m representing my business I do dress the part. Even if entrepreneurs don’t need to dress a certain way “at work,” many of our clients or other people we interact with for business, do. Dressing up is not only a representation of my own professional image and the Holistically Haute brand, but it’s also a sign of respect to those with whom I do business.

I realize that other people might have different definitions of professional image than me and that’s fine–it all depends on what you’re trying to project and and who your audience is.

This is why I actually think Entrepreneur Barbie sends a positive message.

She’s dressed pretty much how I dress when I’m representing myself as an author or Holistically Haute as a brand. Yes her dress is pink and fitted, but it’s not showing cleavage or too much leg, and I think her accessories are tasteful. She’s dressed similar to how some of my entrepreneurial mentors like Marie Forleo or Melanie Duncan might dress in their videos, interviews, and when representing their brands.

In terms of Barbie’s anatomy, honestly, I don’t really care. In the past, Barbie’s body was the embodiment of the “Bombshell” standard of beauty made famous by the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Liz Taylor. Today, her body reflects a standard of beauty that’s not necessarily realistic for most women–but then again, she’s a DOLL–a toy. She’s not meant to be realistic–though I will point out that she’s much more realistic than some of her competitors like Bratz, Ever After High, or Monster High dolls–and she dresses more appropriately. I’m much more concerned with unrealistic images created by altering body shapes and proportions via digital retouching than I am with that of a plastic and rubber toy.

So while the image projected by Entrepreneur Barbie might not represent every type of entrepreneur out there, I feel it does represent a necessary aspect of entrepreneurship–professional image. I also don’t feel that it poorly represents feminity either.

Should Entrepreneur Barbie have options to change out of her dress and into jeans and sneakers or yoga clothes (or even pajamas) for when she’s working from home or having a casual mastermind session with other entrepreneurs? Absolutely! I’m all for it. One of the most powerful aspects of being an entrepreneur is having the freedom of CHOICE.

Comment BelowI’m absolutely dying to know how you feel about Entrepreneur Barbie.

Leave a reply in the comments below, and don’t forget to share this article!

*Image 1 from Amazon. Image 2 from





Color Analysis: How to Improve Your Skin without Makeup!

Color Analysis: How to Improve Your Skin without Makeup!

I had an awesome experience this week. In preparation for an upcoming HHWebinar, I went to see Rachel Nachmias of Best Dressed, for a Professional Color Analysis. A Professional Color Analysis is an in-depth comparison of different color “seasons” to determine which colors are most flattering against someone’s skin tone and coloring.

My own personal history with color analysis

I had a mini-version of this done in my high school fashion design class when a “Color Me Beautiful” consultant came to class with a variety of different fabric swatches and draped us students with them to show how certain “seasons” of colors were more flattering than others, and how the results differed for each student. For example, colors that flatter a “winter” type might make an “autumn” type look, well, physically ill.

color printingI found this fascinating, and learned more about the concept of different skin tones, temperatures, and seasons years later when I worked in the cosmetics department at Bloomingdale’s for Prescriptives. Prescriptives is known for “color printing,” which is a technique used to match a person’s skin to one of their hundreds of different foundation colors pretty darn perfectly. The skin tones and foundations were divided into categories like “yellow orange,” “red orange,” “red”, and “blue red.” Depending on your color family, you could choose certain other families for a more natural look and others for a more dramatic look, whereas others just don’t look good at all. Just to clarify, while I like Prescriptives’ Color Printing technique and appreciate their wide range of foundation colors, I no longer use or recommend their makeup due to controversial ingredients on their labels. Moving on…

Change your clothes, enhance your skin!

While breaking down different color seasons and skin tones might seem complicated, it’s all just manifestation of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition‘s term “bioindividuality.” When referring to food, this means that one person’s food is another person’s poison; but with color and skin tones, it means that what makes one person look glowing and luminous might make another person look like a corpse.

No makeup, neutral gray garb--not including the iPhone of course ;)

No makeup, neutral gray garb–not including the iPhone of course 😉

The work Rachel does is like Color Me Beautiful on steroids. Instead of four seasons, there are 12. Instead of haphazardly draping students with colored swatches, I was instructed to come without makeup or earrings, and was dressed in a neutral grey smock and bonnet (I looked like a pioneer woman space cadet), and sat in her studio which combined natural lighting from the large window and professional light boxes. In this controlled environment, I was draped with fabrics from all of the different seasons, all with different hues, tones, and levels of saturation in an effort to determine what my season was.

It was incredible how the appearance of my skin changed dramatically from one season to the next. Certain colors made me look like a sick hospital patient while others made me look like I had just enjoyed a long, relaxing walk outdoors on a warm day.

With my Dark Autumn makeup colors (I LOVE the lipstick--it's a color I'd have NEVER chosen!) and swatch book.

With my Dark Autumn makeup colors (I LOVE the lipstick–it’s a color I’d have NEVER chosen!) and swatch book.

After more than two hours of draping, comparing, and contrasting the different colors, we determined that my season is Dark Autumn–which is different from my old high school result (I think I was a Winter back then, which shows the importance of controlled lighting since Winter colors actually look HORRIBLE on me!).

Rachel then gave me a book of color swatches to keep in my purse to use whenever I shop for clothing or makeup, and then did my makeup (and I RARELY let anyone do my makeup…just saying’) in my colors. She also took a super close-up photo of my eye to show all of the different colors and patterns that make up the brown in my eyes and explained how that works in relation to the colors.


Kinda loving my eye.

Kinda loving my eye.

We then spent the remaining minutes of the consultation draping me in luxury Dark Autumn fabrics and taking selfies.

Again, this is a color I'd have previously walked right past in a clothing store. Now, however, I'll at least try it on!

Again, this is a color I’d have previously walked right past in a clothing store. Now, however, I’ll at least try it on!

I don’t know what I expected from today’s consultation, but I was completely shocked how certain colors made every shadow, acne scar, and uneven pigmentation spots pop while others made them nearly disappear and evened out my skin tone without a stitch of makeup on my face. I was also surprised how certain colors I thought I’d never choose actually looked better on me than colors I’ve chosen in the past.

We’re all gorgeously different, inside and out, and I think it’s incredibly refreshing to know that people can improve the appearance of their skin just by changing up their clothing colors. I think that Professional Color Analysis definitely belongs under the blanket of holistic skincare.

Black Eyeliner for Less Than Steady Hands

Black Eyeliner for Less Than Steady Hands

I’ve always been lover of black eyeliner. Ever since I started wearing makeup back in junior high, I was rarely seen without it. Sure there are certain looks I wear today that are eyeliner-free, like my version of the Five Minute Face, but most often when I wear makeup, the look is defined by black liner on the top lid.

Why the fascination with black eyeliner?

I think it started when I fell in love with Audrey Hepburn. She’s one of my favorite role models of all time. I did a book report on a biography of her in junior high and to this day I have yet to find a lady who exemplifies true class, glamour, elegance, kindness, and humanity like Audrey. Plus she was a wonderful actress and Breakfast at Tiffany’s (as politically incorrect as it was) is one of my favorite movies of all time.

Breakfast_at_TiffanysBlack eyeliner of course didn’t begin with Audrey–Cleopatra was known for her signature overdrawn kohl-rimmed eyes–and in the 20th century, black eyeliner wasn’t seen on everyday women until the roaring ’20s and then again in

rachael-headshot-lgthe ’40s through the ’60s. While the typical “bombshell” look associated with Marilyn Monroe included black eyeliner (and of course her signature red lips), my favorite black eyeliner look is the early ’60s look with a more neutral/light pink lip (as seen in my photo below) and with the super contoured, neutral palette seen on the more mod Audrey.

Black eyeliner can be a challenge.

Since I’ve been rocking black eyeliner for the greater part of my life, I’ve gotten a pretty steady hand over the years. I can do a great line with a pencil, liquid liner, or cream/cake liner with one of those teeny tiny brushes; but my absolute favorite technique involves a flat tipped eyeliner brush, water, and black eyeshadow.

eyeliner brush and eyeshadow

This is actually how I was taught to apply black eyeliner correctly for the first time at a makeup counter at Nordstrom when I was a young teenager. Instead of trying to draw on a perfectly straight line with the correct thickness with a pencil or teeny tiny pointy brush filled with cream or liquid liner with shaky hands, all you do is load up either side of the dampened flat-tipped, square eyeliner brush, and simply tap it on. I was shocked with how simple this was and how little hand-eye coordination was actually needed!

Check out the video below for my black eyeliner tutorial:

Another benefit with this technique is that you can use any color eyeshadow you want. While I prefer black, I’ve been known to wear a deep plum, hunter green, navy, or brown line; albeit rarely.

Vintage black eyeliner lookMy main suggestions are to use a brush made with synthetic fibers and a high quality, triple-milled eyeshadow. My brush is the GloTools – Eye Liner/ Brow Brush from GloMinerals, and the eyeshadow I used is the black one in Youngblood’s Pressed Mineral Eye Shadow in Starlet. See this quad in action in this post.

Triple-milled shadows will stay on the best and be less likely top flake off. Speaking of flaking off, it’s helpful to dust some translucent powder under your eyes to “catch” any loose liner that might fall during the application process–you simply brush it away when you’re done.

Now it’s your turn!

Watch the video above and go out and try this technique yourself. Let me know how it goes in the comments below!

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