Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Foiling... it's not just for your hair!

Mineralized makeup and powder pigments have become BIG sellers over the past few years. As a result, the technique of “foiling” eye shadow has become very popular as well. If you haven’t tried foiling yet, try to grab about 15 minutes of uninterrupted ME time and lock yourself in the bathroom to give it a try.

Foiling uses water (or a mixing medium) to apply powdered eye shadows.  The result is a more vibrant, dramatic look. The eye shadow dries within seconds on the eyelid, but keeps the tin-foil look (which is especially gorgeous if you’re wearing black). If your shadow has lots of shimmer, the mica in the shadow creates a very cool light-reflecting effect. 

Foiling expands the inventory of colors in your eye color collection - - without buying more! If you’ve never used mineralized eye shadow or pigments, it’s worth at least trying a cheaper version... just to see if you like it! Try to view it as getting two colors for every one you purchase – the dry version, and the foiled version. The best part… foiling is easy.

To give you an idea of the difference foiling makes in the color of the eye shadow, I’ve done few swatches of my own mineral shadows. Each swatch below shows the dry application on the left, and the foiled application on the right. See what I mean?
You’ll need a few things:
  • Loose mineral eye shadow or a pigment
  • Water (or a mixing medium)
  • A small stiff eye shadow brush or a sponge-tipped applicator
  • A surface for mixing the shadow and water
Stiff eye shadow brush (Yes, I know. Katherine Heigl is a real distraction from the brush). 
I use a tiny container I have left over from a product sample to mix my water and shadow - -but any clean surface will work. You start off by putting one or two drops of water on your surface and dabbing your brush in the water. After your brush soaks up the water, shake a little of the powdered shadow to the surface. Take your moist brush (it shouldn’t be terribly wet) and dab it in the shadow. It should easily pick up the shadow with a few dabs. The right amount of water and shadow should form a bit of a paste-like texture.  

Now you’re ready to apply to your eyelid. Take your stiff brush and begin to pat the color onto your lid.  Keep it thin at first - if you use little pats from inner lid to outer lid, you’ll end up with a more even coat. Applying with one long stroke can get streaky and uneven. As with anything, practice makes perfect. Remember that makeup is an art, not a science, so play with the water/powder ratio until you come up with the right combo for the brand of makeup that you’re using.

The foiled look can go daytime if you keep it on the
"lighter" side. (Mac's Cornflower pigment & a little liner.)
Here’s a hint for beginners – before you apply the foiled version of the color, take a fluffy brush and apply a dry wash of the eye shadow to your lids and just below the brow bone, then go back and use the foiled application to your lid with the intensified color.

Happy foiling, everyone!

Gettin’ Beauty Schooled,


Monday, September 27, 2010

Getting ZAPPED.

Part of the clinic floor (where client services are performed)

I got zapped this past week.

Remember when you were a child and little boys thought it was funny to take a rubber band and snap it on your hand when you weren’t looking? It was kind of like that. Except, it was an electric rubber band. And, it was on my face. Perhaps I should start at the beginning of the story. 

One of the fun things about beauty school is being surrounded by professional equipment (even if I don't know how to use it yet). During our first tour of the clinic floor, Miss Kelly pointed out that our “8-in-1” facial machines could perform 8 functions (hence the name), including vacuuming the face and services with electricity.
One of our 8-in-1 facial machines (aka the zapper)

Last week one of the cosmetology students walked over to the esthetics side of the building. She came to our practice area and began a conversation that would probably be taboo in most other environments - - in beauty school however, it's as casual as talking about the weather. “Pardon my red lip” she said. “I just had someone wax off my mustache.” She asked Miss Kelly about a pimple on her face, and Miss Kelly asked if she wanted to be zapped. “Well, I got zapped yesterday, so I think I’ll just wait and get it tomorrow" she replied.

I won’t go into detail about what “get it” means… just know it would probably require the use of an extractor, or a sharp lancet.
The extractor

I was intrigued. Apparently, our 8-in-1 machines could zap away zits? Nice.

I woke up on Wednesday to find…. well, a good reason to be zapped. Right there on the right side of my face. This was no normal “congestion” - - you know the kind... about two layers deep and painful. When I got to school, I went straight to Miss Kelly and pled my case for a zap. We negotiated a deal. I volunteered to be her facial example for the other students, in exchange for zit zapage at the end of the treatment (nobody wants to volunteer for their third facial in three days).

Was the zap a success? I was astounded at the results. The next day I woke up and, well… if you really want to know the details, you can send me a message - -I’ll spare the general public. I will say this. If you have a spot of “congestion” on your face, and you need to get rid of it quickly, your esthetician can help. Just ask for a zap. Hopefully I’ll learn the technical name for zapping soon. I’m sure it will sound much more professional.

Conclusion? If zapping found it's place in politics, there's no question - I'd be pro-zap. It's not as much fun as Clinique bonus week, but it's by NO means intolerable – and totally worth the results.   

What’s that saying? Oh yeah. Beauty is pain. 

Gettin’ Beauty Schooled,


Thursday, September 23, 2010

MAXIMIZE Your Makeup Buys #1 - SMASHBOX

I’ve been ridiculously excited about applying for student discounts for my favorite makeup brands. While I’ve slaved over applications and basked in the thought of a “backstage pass” on products, I’ve also thought about all the ways I’ve discovered to save money and maximize my makeup buys over the years. Since pro discounts are only available to makeup artists, licensed professionals, and the lowly beauty school drop-in, I decided to incorporate a series in my blog about some of the ways I’ve found to get something for nothing (or at least get a great deal).  

So, let’s start things off by talking SMASHBOX.

Smashbox ( is a high end “artistry” makeup. We can thank the great-grandsons of legendary makeup artist, Max Factor for this stuff. It was designed as "photo-ready" makeup. It’s an AWESOME line that I like more and more every time it shows up in my mailbox. If you don’t have a Sephora or Ulta in your hometown AND you didn’t watch the last couple seasons of The Hills (Lo works there... don't judge me!), you may not be familiar with Smashbox. Fear not! You don’t need a store to get the goods, and one of the best perks about ordering from them online is the free shipping (in the US)… on EVERY order - no minimum purchase required.

Here's the skinny - 

My Smashbox orders always make me feel a little devious guilt - - kinda like I’ve robbed the place. In addition to free shipping, every order has free “jumbo samples” which you get to select when finalizing your order. Another important hint about ordering from Smashbox… only order from their site on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9AM – 2PM Pacific Time. Smashbox has this great feature called, “Let’s Do Lunch” where you receive a FREE FULL SIZED product with ANY order made during these times. Here’s a link to the promotion for details - . The free products usually range in value from $15 - $26. I always wait for the high value products to show up as the free item. By the way, if you're thinking of working the system and separating items into different orders, it won't work. Only one freebie from "Let's Do Lunch" a day. 

Also, don’t forget to check out the “Curtain Call” section. This is for discontinued products and colors. Curtain Call is not like other brands that discontinue colors and never actually mark them down (I’ll refrain from naming names). Smashbox discounts their closeout items by 50% most of the time, and sometimes even more. You can even use a Curtain Call item as your purchase to get the free “Let’s Do Lunch” item.

As if this wasn’t enough, Smashbox also has their “Pretty Points” program. The program is free, you simply sign up for it when you register or order online. Pretty Points has many benefits which includes free stuff on your birthday, but what I like the most is that Pretty Points gets you an extra jumbo sample with EVERY order. Good grief!

So, in summary – here’s your Smashbox strategy:
  • Order online for free shipping
  • Only order on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 9-2PM Pacific for the free full size item
  • Pick your own “jumbo samples”
  • Always check the “Curtain Call” section for discounted items, and even use a really cheap item to get your free full sized item  
  • Sign up for Pretty Points and get an additional free jumbo sample with every order

Of course, if you want to try a half-dozen or so Smashbox products, you can always go for the gift sets which are always offered at a significant savings than buying each item separately. 

So, these are my favorite methods for Smashbox buying. If you have any methods that you use for Smashbox, please feel free to comment below and share the love. Also, if you'd like to see more of this kind of thing in addition to all my beauty school shenanigans, please comment on FB or here and let me know!

Gettin’ Beauty Schooled,


Monday, September 20, 2010

Meet Dan! (And other facial discoveries)

The Dans. Chillin' before class starts.

Meet Dan.

Just like cosmetology students get those crazy heads on a stick with real hair, aesthetics students receive a “Dan” with a belt.  The belt is used to strap this bodiless representation of a person to a facial bed. Then, as you probably guessed, you practice all your cleansing techniques and facial massage movements on Dan.

Yes, Dan gives all of us a little of the heebie-geebies. He's a little smaller than the average person and he strangely resembles one of the pre-cogs from the movie Minority Report.  
This is pretty much my view of Dan during facial movement practice.

We began the cleansing portion of facials last week. I did a cleansing for one of my classmates and she did the same for me. There is one technique in the cleansing we're learning called “scissor the lips"… meaning that you take your first and second finger and run the first one above the lips and under the nose, and the second finger below the lips. Get it? Scissor the lips. Anyway, the first time Tasha did this on my face, we both couldn’t help but giggle like we were kids sitting in the last pew at church. We quickly composed ourselves and got back to cleansing.

An interesting tidbit about facials… did you know that your aesthetician should always remain in some type of physical contact with you throughout your entire facial? It’s just good aesthetics etiquette. While this sounds easy, it really is a challenge. Anytime we need to “refill” our hands with something (water, a cleanser, etc.), we have to keep one hand touching the head or face of the client and use the other one to get whatever it is that we need. So - - what happens when you need both hands to open up a container or reach for two sponges? I’m glad you asked. It’s what I call the “lean in” technique. You lean your body towards the client so that they feel your “presence” and grab whatever stuff you need as quickly as possible. J Luckily your client’s eyes are closed for almost the entire time, so they’re pretty oblivious to some of the chaos that can happen around them during the process.

In summary, I’m giving my first shot at non-Dan facial cleansing a 7.6! We have a short time for feedback when we finish a facial. My classmate only had two pieces of feedback for me - to use heavier pressure on the face and to be extra cautious with a couple of my movements that potentially cut off nasal airflow. What??  

Gettin’ Beauty Schooled,

Thursday, September 16, 2010

"So, you'll want to stop shaving..."

Even celebrities have "hairy moments" .... guess who?

“So, you’ll want to stop shaving.”

We all had the same reaction. What did she say? What do you mean… stop shaving? Stop shaving what?

Miss Kelly just smiled, “Stop shaving anything… and everything.”

When you sign up for aesthetics school you mentally glamorize the idea that you and your classmates will spend most of your time lavishing each other with skin treatments and fabulous makeup. In your vision, it’s kind of like a 10 month long Mary Kay party. Never once did I consider required “growth time” in our education. That’s right – growth time. Growth time is the time that you have to spend growing out ¼ inch of hair so that you can then wax it off and enjoy 4-6 weeks of a hair-free surface. Last night, Miss Kelly informed us that in order to prepare for week four (when we will begin our work in waxing) we must stop shaving…. anything and everything…. now. I’m no fortuneteller, but I believe I see lots of pants in my future.    

“Miss Kelly” is our primary teacher and she is a walking wealth of skin information! I’ve probably learned more about skin in the past two days than in my whole life. My classmates are super-fantastic. We’re already starting to appreciate each other’s personalities. One of the gals is already a working makeup artist and has been passing out tidbits of info every night. Don’t worry, I’ll be sharing this kind of info very soon!!

We’ve been told to expect to have at least two facials performed on us weekly at NBU (as we are learning). This would probably put stars in the eyes of most women, except for this follow-up statement from Miss Kelly...  “So, be prepared to experience some breakouts.” I had to laugh. So not only are we all going to begin to resemble a Sasquatch, but it’s also going to appear as if we’re going through our second adolescence. J Miss Kelly comforted us by telling us that all this would subside and that we are going to love our skin after the fact.

While all this sounds challenging, I’m truly enjoying the first week at Nashvegas Beauty U. I’ve GOT to get a small point & shoot camera so you can see the layout of the school and the clinic floor!

Gettin’ Beauty Schooled,


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Orientation! Here's the rules.... I mean, "guidelines"

I had Sterling snap a "first day of shool" pic as I was running out the door!
Several of us arrived at NBU early and were sitting in the waiting area. I began to play a game similar to the one I play at the airport when I’m traveling alone. I sit down, look around, and analyze who else is traveling solo and might end up sitting next to me on the flight. On the plane I usually just want to be left to my own silence. This version of the game was slightly different. I wanted conversation… even an instant connection… after all, this time I was looking for the person that would be my companion in the foxholes of learning to wax off body hair. This was serious stuff.

As it ends up, there are six students in my aesthetics class - - I LOVE the small number. I’m also loving our teacher, “Miss Kelly.” After encouraging us and telling us that we will make lifelong friends from our classmates, she also added, “And before your time here is over, you’ll know each other’s skin inside and out.”

There are a few things that will take some getting used to at NBU. Like any school, NBU has rules. Except at NBU, more negative words like “rules” are often called something more positive, like “guidelines”. Some of the alternate words are rather comforting - - for example, at NBU, students don’t make mistakes, we make “discoveries”. Thank God for that. Although, I’m not sure many clients would respond well to a bad chemical peel being called a discovery.   

So, here are a few guidelines at Nashvegas Beauty U that you might find interesting. Keep in mind, based on my research, these aren’t exclusive to NBU. These are fairly standard “guidelines” for beauty schools.
  • All black clothes
  • No open toed shoes
  • No ponytails (huh?)
  • No personal involvement among students (no romantic stuff)
  • No bad attitudes
  • Personal challenges among students have to be addressed within 24 hours
Overall, my two hour orientation flew by! I’d say the NBU guidelines are reasonable. What makes the guidelines so easy for a control freak like me to accept? It’s the fact that NBU shares them with a smile. You can’t help but feel the positive energy from the teachers and other students. Sure, there are a few things that I’ll have to get used to (like clocking-in and out, and asking the teacher before I take a potty break), but in a way, beauty school orientation is still similar to that airplane experience. Nobody really wants to listen to all the rules from the flight attendant - - but it’s a formality, so you gotta give her credit for saying them with a smile… and just try to enjoy the ride. 

Gettin' Beauty Schooled,

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The "GLAMOUR-LESS" but necessary evil: FINANCIAL AID.

Ahh... the price we pay for beauty (or beauty school at least). I had my financial aid appointment this week. The waiting area of Nashvegas Beauty U was lined with sexy-curvy black benches. As I planted myself on a bench, I watched the cosmetology students run around. I had a passing thought - - pretty soon I’ll be calling bangs “fringe” and using other salon jargon. The music was pumping (cause that’s how NBU rolls), and I couldn’t help but smile. As I meandered around looking at the fancy shampoos and skin care, I considered a question that I’m sure every beauty school student ponders at this stage - - I wonder what kind of discount I’ll get on this stuff?

About that time, Shawna interrupted my daydream. “Are you ready?” she asked with a smile. I followed her through a sea of black clothing…. the required dress code worn by all the students at NBU. I felt a little self conscious in my blue jeans, white top and flip flops. As a rule, I typically rebel against being told what to wear, but since beauty schools are known for their student drama, I decided I should keep my civil disobedience to a minimum and be thankful that my go-to color is black anyway.

Shawna looked to be about 50 years old, and she was a heart-warmer. She told me about how much she hated the printer in her office, and how her life away from work was Titans football. I never would have guessed! Anyway, she answered all of my relentless type-A questions and talked me through my financial aid paperwork. She even printed out an enrollment letter for me. (Which I learned is not standard procedure, but hey, it IS required for all the student discounts I plan on apply for with makeup companies... Oh yeah).

The grand total for my aesthetics education? $8,500.00. This includes the cost of the aesthetics kit that I'll use throughout my training ($700.00). Once I receive my kit, I'll take a few pics to give you a better idea of how far $700 goes in the world of makeup and skin.  

I exited Shawna’s office and proceeded back down the hallway. I was passed by several young ladies, all dressed in black. They each greeted me. It was like I had joined a 
sisterhood, and we were all gonna figure out this beauty thing together. Ok. Perhaps that’s a bit dramatic - - but just like when you're in high school, it felt good to belong. 

All in all, it was a good day. I’m $8,500 poorer (essentially), but I’m holding fast to the belief that the price I’ll pay NBU is less costly than the regret of an unexplored opportunity.

Gettin’ Beauty Schooled,

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Beauty School Adventure Begins...

I’ve learned that we always come back to what excites us - - especially those things that excited us as a child.

There was something about clothes and makeup that got me starry-eyed from about six years old. It was about this same time that I began a feverish relationship with the violin. Financial support is everything when you’re SIX, and let’s just say my parents were far more excited about spending their hard earned cash on violin lessons than buying me a Caboodle or a pair of Jordache Jeans. The violin claimed victory over my childhood and adolescence, and while it has forever earned a very dear place in my heart, I still get that flighty feeling in my belly every time I walk past the MAC counter or pull the latest edition of In Style magazine out of my mailbox.

On September 13, I'll begin classes as a part time aesthetics student at "Nashvegas Beauty U". I’ll go to class four nights a week from 5-10 PM, and my program will last about 10 months. I’ll have to balance school with my full time job and my marriage. Lucky for me, I’ve got a husband with a big “S” on his undershirt.

Have I considered the fact that 75% of my classmates will be 10 years younger than me? Yes. Does that excite me? No – and yes. Younger people always breathe a little extra life into me - - it doesn't seem to matter if they’re babies, teenagers, or super-hot 22 year old gals with haircuts that are way cooler than mine.

So, I hope you enjoy this journey with me. For all you ladies that genuinely get excited when you learn a new trick with your eyeliner, this blog is for you. And for the men who take notice when your woman comes home and has done something new with… her makeup? her hair? Perhaps you don’t know exactly what it is… but you still enjoy the view… in a weird way, this is for you, too...

Gettin’ beauty schooled,