Foundation Fundamentals

makeup foundationHello Beauties!
You may not have perfect skin, but nobody has to know, all you need are the makeup foundation fundamentals. The right foundation should make you look like you have flawless skin while making you look like you are not wearing any foundation at all. There are many different foundation formulations, which means there’s at least one that’s perfect for you! If you are someone who struggles with finding the right foundation, these tips will help you choose that perfect formula.

First, determine your skin type. Do you have oily, dry, sensitive, normal or combination skin?

After you’ve determined your skin type, then you need to choose the color that’s best for you based on your skin tone and your undertone. This is normally where most women go wrong. A general rule of thumb when trying to determine your undertone is- if you have yellow, orange or a red-orange undertone, then your skin tone is considered warm, which means your perfect foundation should have a yellow base;  if you have blue or a blue-red undertone, your skin tone is considered cool, which means your foundation should have a slightly pink base; if you cannot identify your undertone, it’s safe to use a yellow-base foundation. The majority of people have yellow undertones in their skin.

Makeup artist tip:  Always test foundation in natural light. Match the foundation color that closley matches the collar bone or chest. You can also match your foundation at your jawline. Swipe a line of foundation along your jawline and if it disappears quickly (2-3 swipes), it’s the correct color; double-check on the forehead. Some women have darker skin on the forehead and if the foundation matches here, it should work for the whole face.

Your makeup foundation color and/or formulation should change during the seasons (typically summer and winter). Generally, your skin darkens in the summer which will require you to change to a darker foundation. In the winter, your skin will lighten and you will need to change to a lighter foundation. Also, the formulation may need to change during the seasons. In the summer, you want to wear less because of sweating. During the summer, it’s a perfect time to use a tinted moisturizer. Tinted moisturizer is a combination of foundation and moisturizer, so you get the best of both worlds. There are some that are formulated with SPF so you also get sun protection. Tinted moisturizer can create flawless skin with minimal makeup. One of the best tinted moisturizers is Laura Mercier. Giorgio Armani Face Fabric is also a favorite.

Makeup artists spend a lot of time mastering foundation, so no matter who sits in their chair, they can successfully achieve a flawless look. If the foundation isn’t right, everything is off. Foundation selection can be challenging, but if you apply the tips and suggestions given, you should have no problem securing a foundation that’s perfect for you and will give you a flawless, natural look – each and every time!

Have you tried any of these foundation tips? What did you think?



Contributor | Holly Miller
Holly Byrd Miller, owner of Makeup By Holly is a 15 year makeup artistry veteran. Located in Richmond, VA her services include Bridal, TV, Runway, Fashion shows and Photo shoots. Holly also freelances for Giorgio Armani and is a Certified Makeup Instructor


Eyes that Pop!

As a professional makeup artist, 100% of the women who sit in my chair tell me the thing they want more than anything else is to have eyes that pop! Even women who don’t typically wear makeup will make that request. Of course, I’m never surprised by their request and I simply smile and nod as if I’ve never heard it before.

The eyes are the focal point of the face and when they look bright and open, it’s very appealing. Not only can bright eyes make you appear more attractive, but they can also make you appear younger.

I love highlighting the eyes. Even if you are someone who doesn’t typically like to wear makeup, wearing minimal eye makeup and utilizing some quick and easy tips that I will share with you can really make your eyes pop!  For example, did you know pressing eyeliner and/or matte eyeshadow into the lashline (base of upper eyelid) can make your lashes appear thicker? Makeup artist do this trick all the time, to create the illusion of thicker lashes. See for yourself.


Lift your eyes at the lashline and using an angled brush, press a matte eyeshadow or an eyeliner (should match your eyelash color) into the base of the lashes. Gel liners also work really well and generally won’t smudge.

Define your brows. Fill them in with eyebrow pencil/shadow (apply with an angled brush). Note: choose two shades of eyebrow pencils/eyeshadow (one close to the color of your hair and another 1-2 shades lighter). Use the darker pencil/eyeshadow to make short hair-like strokes from the beginning of the eyebrow to the arch. After the arch, switch to your lighter pencil/eyeshadow. With soft strokes, finish the ends of the brow; use eyebrow brush or empty mascara wand to soften the pencil/shadow (will soften any noticeable lines). You can even follow-up with brow gel (also clear mascara will work) to keep the brows in place.

Defined Brows before and after

Curl your eyelashes.  This will make the eyes appear lifted and the lashes appear fuller and thicker. Eyelash curling tip:  Make sure your lashes are completely free of mascara. Start at the base of your lashes and make sure to get all lashes in the eyelash curler. Hold for 3 seconds. Don’t hold any longer or it will crimp the lashes instead of curling them. Curl the lashes in 3 sections:  at the base, middle of the lash, then the tip of the lash to get a natural curl. To separate the lashes, follow with your favorite mascara.


Apply mascara. There are some really great mascaras on the market.  For those of you who don’t want to appear as if you are wearing mascara, but want the benefits, don’t fret, as there are clear mascaras on the market that hold the curl really well. Some mascara suggestions are:  ELF lash and brow clear mascara, Maybelline Falsies, L’Oreal Voluminous mascara, Lancome Definicil, and Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill

Line your lashline.  I recommend lining with waterproof eyeliner, a liquid eyeliner or gel liner. For those of you with oily eyelids, to prevent under eye smudging, try this tip: after applying the eyeliner, apply a matte black eyeshadow or whichever color coincides with your eyeliner, apply on top of the eyeliner (apply with an angled brush) and set with a translucent face powder, under the eyes.    Tip:  if you have small eyes, don’t completely line the top and bottom lashes, as the eyes will appear closed.

eyeliner_before and after

Add eyeshadow primer and/or eyeshadow base. These products will allow your eyeshadow to last all day. Primer and eyeshadow base suggestions:  Urban Decay Primer Potion is fantastic! Lorac eye primer.  MAC Paint Pots are incredible! NYX Jumbo Eye pencils.

After you apply your eyeshadow primer and/or eyeshadow base, follow-up with your eyeshadow(s) of choice.  Here’s a guide to help you choose YOUR best eyeshadow colors, based on your eye color:

  • Warm blue eyes are blue-green. They may have flecks of light green or yellow in them.  They look great with blue-green colors (like turquoise) and fuschia eyeshadow.
  • Cool blue eyes are vibrant blue. They may have flecks of white in the iris. Use complementing colors such as oranges and corals. Other colors such as ash, taupe, gray, heather, slate and lilac are also favorable.
  • Warm green eyes have slightly more yellow in them. They are enhanced by green shadows with a yellow, chartreuse color. Tip: green is a fall trend color, so are navy and plum which also look great.
  • Cool green eyes have more blue or brown in them. They are enhanced by green shadows that contain blue or brown. They are also enhanced with contrasting pinks, as well as taupe, plum or violet. Additionally, yellow-toned beige, camel, heather, moss, and slate are favorable.
  • Hazel eyes are a combination of brown, green and gold. They are best enhanced with yellow-green or brown-green shadows, as well as purple shadows.  
  • Warm-hazel eyes contain large amounts of yellow. They are enhanced by gold to almost pink-brown. They are intensified with deep green, gold, lavender or plum shadows.
  • Gray eyes are enhanced with grays, earthy browns, plums, violets, periwinkle, navy blue, or deeper brown shadows.
  • Warm brown eyes are lighter in color with a slight amount of yellow. They are enhanced by blues, teals, greens, and purples.
  • Cool brown eyes have more red, black, or mahogany. They are intensified with contrasting colors such as blue and slate, as well as other colors such as cement, sable, mocha, khaki, stone, and bark.

 I saved the best eye enhancing product for last ….white eyeliner. I know it sounds so ‘80’s, but there are many things you can do with a white eyeliner pencil to accentuate the eyes and make them pop. Here’s what white eyeliner can do for you:  Highlight the inner corner of the eyes. Highlight the brow bone. Add to the waterline to make the eyes appear brighter.

 There you have it…tips for eyes that pop every time! So, there’s no excuse to have boring, ineffective eye makeup ever again!!!! Give these tips a try and let me know how they work for you. Until next time….stay beautiful!



Holiday Makeup Collections are Arriving!

holiday makeup

Hello Beauties,

I was walking through the department stores the other day and I could not control my excitement as I saw them putting out their holiday makeup collections! This excites me more than you know because the cosmetic brands come out with the most beautiful collections of the year…in my humble opinion.

The timing of the holiday makeup collections is perfect because soon the holiday party announcements will be appearing in your mailbox and your Inbox, and not only should you be considering which outfits you should wear, you should also consider which makeup looks you will wear to compliment those outfits. Yes, the outfits are vitally important, but so is the makeup. It ties everything together (visually).

Often times, the collections are packaged together in palettes which not only make for a good value, but are already color selected. If you don’t know how to color match cosmetics, they’ve already taken the guesswork out of it for you.

I am so pleased with what I’ve seen thus far with this year’s collections and I couldn’t wait to share them with you. They are still coming in to the department stores, but here are a few of my favorites thus far:

  • Divine Night Holiday Colour Collection by MAC.
  • Laura Mercier Holiday 2013 Holiday 2013 White Magic Collection – currently available at Laura Mercier counters and coming soon to the Laura Mercier web site. This collection is packed with colors that will give you “fresh and luminous looks, with light-diffused pastels for eyes and brilliant high-shine colours for lips.”
  • Giorgio Armani Holiday 2013 Eccentrico Collection – currently available at Giorgio Armani counters and coming in November to the Giorgio Armani web site. This collection is comprised of the most beautiful sheer palette blush I’ve ever seen, electric nail lacquers, and colorful maestro lip colors.

Here are a few of my favorite products that will give you beautiful party makeup looks and you can purchase them from your favorite drug store or cosmetic store:

So, whether you are going to a company holiday party, a family gathering or a night on the town over the holidays, with any of these suggestions, you will be ready for the occassion. The holidays are the perfect time to “put your best face forward!”

If you try any of these suggestions, please leave a comment and a picture.