Ever notice how one of the first things to disappear from your makeup look is your blush? What a shame since blush is the balancing act between your eyes and lips and what really makes you look alive and healthy while giving a bit of shape and dimension to your face.

Here are a few tips to make sure that healthy look stays all day…and maybe even into the night for you super social butterflies…

First, make sure that you are always applying a PRIMER before applying foundation to make sure that the products you apply afterward have a base to adhere to. SMASHBOX makes an excellent primer, and drugstore brands work as well. RIMMEL is a good example of a brand that is easily accessible and affordable.

Once foundation is applied, do NOT set it with powder just yet….

Now, for this next step you will want to invest in a good cream blush or cream color base.

My Pick: MAC makes an excellent cream color base that I prefer because I have oily skin. I find that the cream blush is more slick and best suited for dryer skins but that is only my experience and preference.

Using your clean fingers, touch a small bit of product to the apple of your cheek and blend in slowly and evenly. The heat from your skin will warm the cream and help this process.

Thought: Try this process out on a day off or weekend to give yourself a little practice before attempting this half awake and getting ready for work in a rush;)

If you overdo it (it happens!) simply take a damp cosmetic sponge and gently dab off the parts that have excess and/or swipe the edges that may have gone a bit too far. If you have REALLY overdone it, use a bit of your foundation on the sponge to clean up and around the area;)

Once satisfied with the amount and placement, you can apply your favorite powder blush shade…

My Picks: MAC TENDERLING is a great pink shade for light skin tones, SECRET BLUSH by MAC is one I recommend for medium/tan skin tones and MAC FLIRT & TEASE is a great plummy color for dark skin tones. 

Just touch the blush brush onto the color  but do NOT swipe it back and forth or you will likely end up with too much product. It is always easier to add than take away;)   Now, tap off any excess and gently TOUCH the color down onto the apple of your cheek. With the same gentle touch-down motion, work your way back and slightly up toward the temple. Then blend it in well.

Go slowly with even strokes. Be mindful that you aren’t moving it all over your cheek so you don’t end up looking like you are ready to perform in a circus event;) We have all done it. We have all witnessed it. Not pretty…;)

Now, you can set it all with a setting powder. I prefer BEN NYE translucent set powder and MAC also makes a wonderful translucent set powder. For you mineral lovers, BARE ESCENTUALS’ Mineral Veil is also a wonderful option.

And there you have it! Blush to last all day;)

Layering is an age old trick to achieving long wear in makeup and blush is no different. For natural looks, using a cream colored base in a very neutral light color will allow your blush color to be natural and last longer. Using a darker cream color  base with give more depth for a more dramatic or evening look. 

Now, less touch ups through the day, less makeup to haul around in your bag and more bang for your blush-bucks. Smile! You saved money and didn’t even have to switch to Geico!

Kristine Marie


I have been asked this question so much, and so often that I decided to make a post dedicated to the topic and some of the products I use and prefer. Substitute the products you are comfortable with. I will try to include products from both ends of the financial spectrum.

Always begin with clean hands and be careful not to get products of any kind into your eyes. Since I believe that clean hands are the best tools for blending skin care on your OWN face (not clients), I will describe the steps in this way. 

1. Use a cleanser that is appropriate for your skin type. (ie: oily, dry, combination or normal) Work it into damp skin in an upward motion and make small circles. Then rinse well.

My Picks – DERMALOGICA makes excellent cleansers, and at drugstores I prefer NEUTROGENA brand. 

2. If you have noticeable pores, a toner/astringent may help to reduce the look of your pores and also more deeply cleanse and reduce topical oil. I have combination skin and some visible pores, and I do this step every other day.

My Picks – I prefer WITCH HAZEL as a gentle toner  and NEUTROGENA also makes a pore reducing toner.

3. A good moisturizer is ESSENTIAL for everyone. No matter your skin type, understand that ALL skin needs hydration for proper function. If you have oily skin, you can choose from a wide variety of OIL- FREE products and always use an SPF of at least 15-20. Prevention is priceless with your skin.

My Picks – I LOVE LOVE LOVE PROACTIVE moisturizer, but also DERMALOGICA and NEUTROGENA brands. 

TIP: Allow your skin to soak in the moisturizer. One of the biggest mistakes people make with makeup is applying foundations and primers to freshly moisturized faces which dilute the product and make it less effective. Give it about 5-8 minutes. This is a good time to do your hair, make a call, switch the laundry or any other small task you need to do. Be sure to REWASH YOUR HANDS if you have moved onto other activities while waiting. 

4. If you use a PRIMER, now is the time. A small bit goes a long way, so don’t overdo it. Use it on main areas such as forehead, cheeks and chin and blend outward and evenly. 

My Picks – SMASHBOX makes a great primer ( also has one with an SPF) and Monistat Chafing Gel ( I know it sounds weird, but trust me!) is also known to be an affordable and effective base for makeup application.

Now you are ready to apply your makeup;) 

Skin care and proper preparation are the beginnings of beautiful faces. Be sure to take your time (MAKE time!) and make skin care your top priority in your daily routine. You never get a second chance to make that first impression;) I will post my full skin care routine soon for those interested. Keep updated!

Questions can be submitted via the comments section or by email.

Kristine Marie

~ MAC FIX +, A Review ~

July 13, 2009


Ahh, the debate of MAC Fix + …

Some call it glorified water and others (like me!) have completely fallen in love with this product. Here is my myriad of reasons…

1. It is a perfect refresher spray on No makeup days. Yes. On the 7th day, even I rest the makeup and let it all (my skin anyway) hang out and breathe! 😉 After a gentle morning cleansing, a few spritzes sets me until afternoon;) On warm summer days or dry winter days, I touch up with a few spritzes at lunch, and always, ALWAYS at bedtime;)

2. What a wonderful way to treat the “Too much sun” situation. Now, while I NEVER burn ( good genes!) I have fair skinned children who do, and this works wonders at cooling the irritated skin and providing a bit of sunburn relief;) The Vitamin E and Cucumber soothe and promote healing. Yay!

3. It is a perfect setting spray for makeup. I use it on my own face and 99.9% of clients. It makes makeup last longer , look more natural and takes that powdered look down. Everyone seems to enjoy the properties, the results and yes…the scent! Inexplicable, but heavenly all the same…

4. A wonderful after-shave spray for us ladies and our sensitive legs and yes..even the boys;) A simple easy post-shave step for men that isn’t overpowering nor does it burn. Very soothing and comforting;) Who doesn’t love that idea?

5. Soothes bug bites, minor skin irriations, etc. Healing properties of Vitamin E and soothing cucumber and other extracts make this a very easy and all purpose way to ease the discomforts of everyday skin issues.

6. Acts as a toner AND moisturizer. Yes. It does BOTH without the goop of several products. A locking cap makes it travel well too;) Bonus!

7. Did I mention how yummy this SMELLS!?

8. I spritz a bit of this on my foundation brushes when I want to sheer out a look and make the skin come through. Perfect for summer skin looks when you don’t want to drown the skin in product;)

9. Dampen brushes with this before applying shadows for a more vibrant color packed with healthy skin stuffs:) Adds staying power as well, and minimizes fallout. Also use for powder shadows to create a more natural liner look. 

10. I use this spray for everything. Literally. I was eating BBQ for lunch the other day, and dampened my hands down afterward and with a quick swipe of a napkin, my hands were non-sticky and clean. Love it. 

Call me a victim of marketing. Call me whatever you like, but call me happy with a bottle of Fix + in sight;) The only thing I am NOT happy with is the price hike in the last year, but even for as much as I use it, it seems to last a long while and for myself, and my clients…it’s worth it!

NOW retails for $17 USD at MAC stores and counters. Experiment and enjoy!

Kristine Marie

Yes it is that time again…SENIOR PORTRAITS are coming soon!

I vividly recall the skin issues of teenager-dom and the anxiety over photos when the time came, but keep a few things in mind in the weeks preceding your photos.

1. Drink plenty of water to keep skin hydrated and flush your system of toxins. It sounds simple, but it does help if you are diligent. 6-8 glasses a day or the equivalent of 3-4 bottled waters a day. 

2. Wash daily but do not OVERWASH your skin. Yes, it IS possible to overwash. If you are doing this, you will strip your natural oils and your body will begin working overtime to produce MORE oil to compensate. Avoid this cycle by washing ONCE in the evening before bed and rinsing well in the morning or vice/versa. Choose a cleanser with properties for YOUR skin type. Gels usually work best on oily skin and Creams usually work best on dry. For those with noticeable pores, a light toner applied over skin (after washing) with a cotton pad will help ease the appearance.

3. ALL skin NEEDS moisture! Yes, EVEN YOU OILY SKIN PEOPLE (like me!) I personally use a very affordable oil-free moisturizer by NUETROGENA and I also like CETAPHIL,  PROACTIVE Moisturizers as well as products by DERMALOGICA. 

4. A deep cleansing mask once a week is sufficient and a once a week light exfoliation. ( I do one Monday and one Thursday) It will keep your skin clean and renewing itself thus showing off the newest, brightest & freshest skin your face has to offer. 

5. When applying makeup, go as light and natural as possible. Conceal ONLY the areas that need coverage and let the rest breathe. Caking on a lot of makeup to cover all your skin often results in uneven skin texture, and if products aren’t chosen carefully… a ghostly white face;(  Also make sure to NEVER sleep in your makeup..always remove it before bed or when it is not needed. I prefer MAC makeup wipes, but any will do. PONDS, ALMAY and EVERYDAY MINERALS  make very gentle makeup remover wipes that are very affordable.

And finally, BOYS can get makeup too! I am happy to do spot concealing on boys who are concerned about skin discoloration and blemishes. It is very common and NOTHING to be embarrassed about. 

Your pictures will last forever. Don’t you want to look your best? If so,  see the “looks” section of my site for examples of some of my work and contact me if interested in sampling my work  for FREE before your photos. No cost and no commitment. Parental permission required for all those under the age of 18. 

Good luck !

Kristine Marie

Check out some recent looks here:


I purchased this 8 well palette about 3 weeks ago from a Theatre and Costume supply store close to my home. I recognized the BEN NYE  brand and always associated it with Theatrical style makeup, but hadn’t taken time to explore BEN NYE in terms of everyday makeup. After reading a few reviews of some of the eyeshadows, I decided to explore some other products in the line. The rouge palette was one of them…


With 7 blush colors and a designated contour shade, I have found this palette to be very versatile and useful for my makeup artistry on a number of clients so far, and the feedback they have given is quite positive. At a purchase price of  about $43 USD, I feel it is a bargain in comparison with MAC blush, which retails for about $15 USD per pan. When comparing 8 BEN NYE shades to 8 MAC shades, the cost difference is about $75 USD, not to include what you will pay for a MAC palette.

But, for me, when you can find what you need at an affordable price, you tend to skip the marked up name brands and go with what works.

As far as quality, I couldn’t be more pleased. Unlike some dry blush, it does not take several “swipes” to get product onto the brush. I learned this the hard way when experimenting on myself;) It only takes one “touch” to the color well and the color payoff is AMAZING. You can build color by adding more. I was skeptical about the RED and FUSCHIA in the palette, but amazingly, they are very useable shades when applied properly.

Another great thing is the palette is crafted of an  EXTREMELY durable hard cardboard. Not flimsy AT ALL and no worries of breaking a hard plastic palette. This palette can handle being tossed in and out of makeup bags and still protect the valuable pans of color inside with NO PROBLEM.

It is also refillable with single color shades from BEN NYE that average around $6 USD. So, if you prefer to design your own custom palette, you can purchase an empty 8 well for about $6 USD and pick the shades you want/need. How convenient!

Another plus – The contour shade in this palette is simply named “CONTOUR 1” and it is FABULOUS.  It blends well and provides perfect contour on light to medium skin tones.  The color is a bit lighter than MAC BLUNT (which when swatched side by side the MAC  appears more of a deep reddish brown). So, if you have found that MAC BLUNT is just a tad too dark to contour with, then BEN NYE Contour 1 is a great shade to try.

As far as lasting power, well…BEN NYE was created for the stage. You know – The Stage of a Theatre with it’s hot lights beating down and actor perspiration from being under those hot lights. I figured if it worked for those folks, it would work for Bridal to everyday looks. I figured right;) 

I would suggest this to anyone who seeks a variety of blushes, excellent quality and color payoff, convenient and durable storage and an affordable price.  For personal use, or for the makeup artist kit , you simply can’t go wrong with BEN NYE ROUGE. I have also included a link to the location where I purchased my palette as well as other BEN NYE items.


Questions or comments? Let me know, and as always, feel free to subscribe for auto email updates;) 

Kristine Marie

Always on the hunt to stay updated on what is out there, I decided about 2 months ago to finally make a small investment in the SIGMA makeup brushes.  I am often asked to make affordable recommendations on brush sets and this was one of the sets I had not yet tried. (More to come on others later)

Since the full set  (12 in total) was not available and hasn’t been for some time,  I settled for purchasing the FACE & EYE brush set for $49 USD just so I could test the overall quality.

It consists of 6 brushes in total. They are:

SS-150 Large fluffy face brush – for all over face powder products or blusher/bronzers

SS-187 A Stippling brush excellent for liquid foundation application and can also be used for blush or powder face products

SS-239 is an all purpose dense eyeshadow brush but works especially well for packing on color to the lid

 SS-219 is a pencil shaped eyeshadow brush that can be used for defining that Outer “V” shape, packing color into the crease, lining the lashlines and smudging eyeliners. 

SS-224 Is a fluffy blending brush perfect for light application of color to the crease as well as blending and contouring of some areas.

ss-182 Kabuki brush is a multi-purpose brush that can be used for mineral foundations, any type of face powders and as an all over blending brush.

Now, I found the idea of naming their brushes after the MAC brushes rather un-original, but for the sake of recognition and marketing I am sure they  ( SIGMA) thought the idea was perfect. Personally, I wouldn’t like it if someone took my idea for profit;( 

As far as the quality of the product ( what realllllly matters) I have personally found them to be quite comparable to the MAC brushes they are named for. I have used them quite a bit recently to really break them in and washed them a few times ( I use SOFTSOAP moisturizing handsoap) and they have not shed or bled color in the least. The hair used is very soft and claimed to be natural bristles (meaning real hair and not synthetic).

What I do not like about them is that the handles seem to be thicker…not that it is a big deal but when you wear a brush belt or have a brush holder, it is a pain when your brushes wont fit. The larger of the brushes (ss150, 187) stretch my brushbelt and brushroll and wear them down faster. 

In defense of SIGMA, they do have their OWN brushroll, and one even comes with a full set  but if they were going to copy the MAC name and capitalize off of remaking their brushes, why not make them fit the MAC brushrolls and belts too? Just one of those little things I suppose.

So, all in all, they do the job and in comparison to MAC prices, they fit into the budget for most. If you are a beginner  and need a starter set or seasoned makeup junkie and need a backup set , these brushes (so far) are more than worth the investment.

Kristine Marie

To the folks at SIGMA MAKEUP, please be more consistent about your stock. While the price may be nice, the wait is enough to make the eye wander;) Especially for those of us with a continuous need for brushes.  Also, the inconsistencies  are enough to make some question your business ethic. For example – I find it odd that the full set is available when you opt to pay more for the one with the brushroll, but is “out of stock” when you opt for the less expensive set that doesn’t have the brushroll. So, the question is – Do you have the full brush sets or not?

**Please see updated SIGMA info on price increase in the sidebar—->)

~ Teen Date Night ~

July 9, 2009

This 17 year old young lady was a volunteer for my blog update project. She was a great sport, though she normally only wears eyeliner and mascara on a day-to-day basis. I enjoyed her company and time, and sincerely  thank Miss “H” for allowing me to create this “Date Night” look;) We kept is mostly neutral and soft with a hint of depth in the eyes.

Here is the before and after. We had a full day at the ” House of Pretty” , so sorry for the incomplete details. Full update and product list coming soon!


~ Teen Fun Look ~

July 9, 2009

This young lady is a 15 year old who is spending her summer enjoying the much needed break and having some fun;) Tonight was *Skating Night*, and she really wanted to stand out in the dimly lit skating rink. She mentioned liking bright colors like Aquas, Blue and Purple as well as a lot of shimmer…and luckily, some handy URBAN DECAY Pallets are just perfect for that… 

Her main concerns were her pale complexion, her skin texture (acne) and some blackheads and pores around her nose and cheek area. Also , significant redness.

Many of us can recall and sympathize with those teen years when our skin did crazy things, but we were able to take some time talking about good skin care, correctors, concealers, primer and a good foundation can help create the canvas we want to add the colorful fun makeup to;)

We began with a clean, toned, moisturized face and here is the before…















And here is the final “FUN LOOK”…


















It’s been a jam packed day, and I will be updating the product lists for this look very soon. Stay tuned, subscribe for automatic updates and thanks for visiting!

Kristine Marie

A good friend of mine stopped in today and we decided to do something fun while catching up…makeup! While “J” is a conservative type when it comes to makeup, she doesn’t mind kicking it up a notch for the evening out. Her skin is a combination skin with some oily and some dry. There are hints of redness and pores around the nose.  Forgive photo quality. We had a LOT of sunlight coming in;) Here is the before:














We prepped her face with MAC wipes and a spritz of MAC’s Fix+ to tone and moisturize “J”s sensitive combination skin in a simple step. We also applied a moisturizing lip balm. “J” is not a big fan of heavy daytime looks, so we went very simple and clean. Here is her “Daytime” result…













SMASHBOX photofinish primer


BEN NYE Neutral Set Powder

MAX FACTOR Colorgenius Blush in SPICES


TWO FACED Shadow Insurance

MAC shadow in SWEET JOY all over lid

MAC shadow in GENTLE HEAT in crease

MAC eyeliner in STUBBORN BROWN to top and bottom corners of lashline

MAC Shadow in EMBARK to fill in brows



MAC lipstick in BLANKETY

MAC lipgloss in VIVA GLAM V


As you can see, “J” is a beautiful lady who doesn’t need much. Small hints of  neutral colors really bring out her best and make for a softer, natural look.

When the daytime look was complete, we added a few touches to show an easy transition to a more evening look with just a few additions… Here is the result and product list.

jamieeveninglookJamie Evening Look











Added to the daytime look was..

MAC eyeshadow in REAL DRAMA to the outer V

MAC fluid eyeliner in BLACKTRACK

RIMMEL Sexy Curves Mascara in Extreme Black


Just a simple, easy transition from “DAY” to “EVENING” with only 3 easy steps! With such great eyes, this transition was easy to do and the result was beautiful;)

Enjoy and thanks “J” for stopping by!

Kristine Marie

The young model in this look is preparing for a Dance Recital. In this trial, we chose a standout pink & purple look by MAC on the eye to go with the costume she will be wearing and kept the rest light, feminine and super pretty! Keep in mind that since it is a stage performance, the makeup is not standard of what most 11 year olds would wear for everyday;)

We began with a freshly wiped down face ( MAC WIPES) , some MAC Fix+ spray (as a moisturizing toner), a light application of  MAC Prep and Prime moisturizer to ready the skin for makeup…as well as a light coat of MAC tinted lip conditioner in Petting Pink… 
























MAC STUDIO TECH Foundation applied with a damp sponge in cheek/forehead area

MAC Invisible Set Powder


Mac Mineralized Skin Finish in REFINED to highlight


Two Faced Lock Down Cream Eyeshadow (infused with primer) in BONDAGE

MAC shadow in DA-BLING all over the lid 

MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack on top lashline

MAC Mineralized shadow in RICHES in the outer V and slightly blended into the crease. Also used over the BLACKTRACK liner as well as to line the lower lashline.

MAC Mineralized shadow in BRIGHT SIDE to highlight the browbone, inner corner and outer edge of V.

MAC shadow in EMBARK very sparingly used to fill in the brows.


VIVA GLAM V lipstick (very sparingly)

VIVA GLAM V lip gloss to finish

Now, we had a lot of fun talking about the Recital and completing this fun MAC PINK & PURPLE  look. We will be updating soon with a suitable everyday  pre-teen look featuring todays friendly model.

Kristine Marie