~ Bronze Beauty ~

March 20, 2010

Bronzer. A simple way to give yourself a sun-kissed glow without the risks of sun and tanning beds. But, how do you choose the right bronzer and how do you apply it properly? Well, it is easier than you think.

First, you have to choose the right formula. Bronzers come in creams, cream-to-powder, liquids, gels, powders ( pressed, loose and baked) and even mousse formulations. If you have dry skin, one of the more emollient types will be best and if your skin is oily or normal, then a powder will do just fine.

Now that you know the formula you need, it is time to choose a color. Yes, bronzers come in many colors with different undertones ( peach, pink, yellow, gold, orange, copper,  etc…) For light skin tones, pink or peach based bronzers work best. Olive skin tones are best flattered in copper undertones and on dark skin – deep shades with gold tones are gorgeous.  Try not to go more than 2 shades darker than your own skin color. Shades that are way too dark will leave you looking like you have dirt on your face instead of that summer glow.

Nexy, you can decide which finish you prefer. Matte or Shimmer. I enjoy both, depending on what I am using it for. If contouring my face, I use a matte shade and if just using it to give myself a glow, I use a shimmer. It really is up to you. 

Now, regardless of what formula you choose, you will want a fluffy brush ( not too large) to apply it with. When using powder , be sure to tap off excess before touching your face. You want to look sun-kissed , not sun-slapped. The biggest mistake with bronzer is using too much. We have all seen it. Not pretty;(  

If using an emollient formula, touch the product lightly ( to avoid picking up too much) and then touch on the back of your hand to see how much product is coming off the brush, and apply when the amount is comfortable for you. 

Bronzer is generally applied to the four main areas of your face that would naturally get the most sun exposure – your forehead, nose, cheeks and chin. The first place you lay your brush down is going to get the most product, and for most of us, that would be the cheeks. 

Lightly touch down on the cheeks, then the forehead, nose and then the chin. Once you have a bit of bronzer in each area, go back to the cheeks and begin to blend. Blend your bronzer WELL and if more product is needed, add more. If you add too much, apply translucent powder to tone it down. 

While bronzer looks amazing and healthy on it’s own, adding a bit of blush to the apples of your cheeks for a bit of dimension and blending it all together can make the look more complete and polished. 

Many beauty brands make bronzers. Some affordable options are PHYSICIANS FORMULA and NYC found at drugstores and  on the higher end NARS and CHANEL have lovely options as well.  My current favorite is “LAGUNA” by NARS which is a brown undertone with a subtle shimmer perfect for daytime and everyday wear.Bronzing Powder

Hope these tips help you out and be sure to subscribe for more updates and visit me on



I get asked all the time ” What makeup do I need?” from everyday women who are confused about all the items available these days. And truthfully, it really depends on you.  For some of us, everyday makeup starts with a foundation and ends with lipstick and for others, a bit of concealer and some tinted lip balm does the trick.

I figured the easiest way to answer this question was to explain what I have in my day-to-day personal kit, and I would suggest just choosing items that you feel you need and will use. Also feel free to submit questions in the comments section below and I will do my best to answer or make suggestions;)

(Please note this does note contain skin/lip care items nor primers.)

So, here is what it is my makeup bag…

Foundation, Concealer, Powder, and Blusher or Bronzer ( or both for some), 

Eyeshadow Quad ( a pallet of 4 colors for everyday – 3 neutrals and one pop of color and one of my shades also doubles as a brow powder) Eyeliner pencil (Black or Brown) and Mascara

Lipliner ( flesh toned matches everything!) and  Lipcolor

And the final result usually looks something like this (minus the flash):

Now, if you find using disposable applicators is not giving you the results you want, quality brushes are a great investment and some brushes can be used for multiple things. For example – I use the same angled brush to fill in my brows as I use for my eyeliner. At a minimum, these are the brushes I use for a full makeup routine – A powder/blush brush, eyeliner/brow brush, eyeshadow shader brush, and eye blender brush. I have found brushes in drugstores that I love just as much as brushes I have from high end retailers, so just know there are affordable options. Feel free to comment for questions about brushes, and note I will be updating with some brush recommendations/reviews very soon;)

Also, some must have tools for me include – Tweezers, a good sharpener for eye and lip pencils and an eyelash curler. And finally, you can never have too much/many disposable wedges, Qtips, brush cleaner spray ( Sephora makes a great one), makeup remover and hand sanitizer. 

You can build your collection from there based on personal tastes and budget, but for me, these are my basics for a full makeup routine. Feel free to comment and share yours!



~ Cool or Warm Tones ? ~

October 4, 2009

Choosing foundation is hard enough. There are so many types; liquids, creams, gels, powders..and THEN determining what formulation based on if your skin is dry, oily, or some weird combination like most of us;)

Now, determining your “undertones”. I know, I know….as IF it isn’t complicated enough already…yet one more tidbit of information needed to pick the right color for your foundation. 

So, here is a tip that may help you.

Take a look at your wrists. Are the veins BLUE? If so, and you have some degree of pink in your skin,  you are most likely cool toned. Cool toned ladies also tend to look best in Silver Jewelry and sunburn easier than others.

If those veins are more green and you see hints of yellow in your skin, you are warm toned. Warm toned ladies tend to look better in Gold jewelry and do not sunburn easily.

If you don’t find that you can easily relate to either, you just may be a lucky “neutral” gal.

So, that is one quick and easy way to make a determination when choosing shades of foundation, color cosmetics, or clothing.

You can also visit a makeup counter and let a MUA color match you, though make sure not to buy ANYTHING until you have see it on your skin in natural light (outside). 

* I personally feel for daily looks that going with your natural skin tones is a good idea for foundations, powders and blushers. If you want to create a contrast, then go with the opposite toned colors on your eyes and lips. 

For more helpful tidbits, makeup reviews and more,  visit often for updates. Questions and comments always welcome;) You can also Subscribe by clicking the last link on the right side of this page. —->

Kristine Marie

We have all done it. You, me, and that girl over there——>

 We have ALL held onto some of our cosmetic purchases just a bit too long. While it seems harmless, in all actuality this can be a serious problem and if you are having skin issues that you cannot pinpoint, here is the place to start looking:


Yes. Your cosmetic bag!

 Firstly,  all cosmetics have a life span. Some more than others but a life span nonetheless. Higher end cosmetics included. Paying more for an item doesn’t mean it can go beyond the recommended life span of more inexpensive brands.

 Second, during the manufacturing process, all items are exposed to a certain level of bacteria ( mostly harmless) but after a certain period of time and use this bacteria can become dangerous and cause irritation and possible infection. For example – Your mascara wand is introduced to bacteria from the moment it comes out of the tube. Continuous opening, exposure and pushing back into the tube pumps more bacteria into the product. So, remember – The clock begins ticking the moment you open any product.

 The best way to track when the time is “up” on a product, is to count forward from the purchase date to the estimated expiration (see guidelines below)  and mark on your calendar when to toss specific items, or put a small label with the expiration date on your product. This way, there is NO question and much less risks.

 Knowing the life span of your cosmetics is a good start to getting the best result from your investment as well as avoiding other , more serious issues. Here is a list of basic cosmetic products and the post opening (from the time you open it) life span before it needs to be replaced.

  • Eyeliner/Lipliner pencils- 12 – 18  months (sanitize and sharpened often)
  • Liquid Liner- 3 months maximum
  • Liquid Products – 6 -12 months
  • Cream Products – 6-12 months
  • Powder products – 18-24 months 
  • Mascaras- 3 months maximum

*Please keep in mind these are  basic guidelines provided you are sanitizing your products on a regular basis and using excellent hygiene and storage methods. While opinions may vary on this topic, I am merely suggesting this information as told to me by Dermatologist/Dermatopathologist. I urge you to take great care and concern in your research when determining guidelines for your safety.

 ** All-natural brands may have a shorter life span. Please  consult the manufacturer or package for more information.

“AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION IS WORTH A POUND OF CURE” Here are some tips to guide your way:

WASH YOUR HANDS: One thing you can do to get the most of the life span is to ALWAYS make sure your hands are clean and sanitized before handling your cosmetics. Keep a bottle of sanitizer on your makeup table or in your beauty bag and use it, every time.

 STORAGE: Store your makeup properly in a cool, dry place. Do NOT leave makeup in handbags, cars, or humid bathrooms. These are all breeding grounds for bacterias.

 AVOID SHARING: Do NOT share makeup, EVER and  avoid testers at cosmetic stores and counters. Do not participate in makeup swaps on used items. You don’t know how many hundreds of hands have touched that eyeshadow, mouths have tried that lipstick – or where those hands and mouths have been.

 WASH YOUR TOOLS:  Dispose of disposables..do not try to use those cosmetic wedges all week long. There is a REASON they are disposable. Also, WASH your puffs, brushes and other tools once weekly in a gentle or antibacterial soap and lay flat to dry. Bacteria infested applicators will affect your entire product.

 DON”T ADD WATER: Never add water to products to “refresh” them or extend life as water carries bacterias too, and sealing it into a product bottle will only make things worse.

 SANITIZE PRODUCTS: You can properly sanitize certain products and tools with an easy, inexpensive method to get the most use from your cosmetic investment. A bottle of Isopropyl Alcohol ( at least 70%) and a small 4oz spray bottle is all you need and you can find these items at any dollar type store.

  • Use common sense here – Do NOT spray alcohol into liquid products, or mascara tubes/wands, liquid eyeliners, foundations, or loose powder products like powders and shadows.
  • Do lightly spritz eyeliner/lipliner pencils, solid dry products in pans, tweezers, sharpeners and mascara curlers (remove pad first, replace when complete). A light spritz from 6-8 inches away should do the trick. Alcohol dries quickly and you can replace the caps and the job is done.

NOTE CHANGES: In smell, texture and color. If you see signs of breakdown in any of these areas, best to be safe rather than sorry. Toss it!

 Finally, at the sign of  any irritation/infection, dispose of all products, sanitize your makeup areas and skip makeup purchases or application until the infection clears. It isn’t worth the discomfort, appearance, embarrassment, doctor visits, cost  or anything else to insist on holding onto that eyeliner or mascara.

 A truly beautiful woman is a smart, healthy woman who knows when to say “No More” to that lipstick she wore to Aunt Megs funeral in  ‘84. Buying new makeup is fun, and your health is the best excuse to explore new products, brands and looks. Enjoy!

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In this Part Two of Bridal makeup tips, I will give tips & tricks on creating a flawless foundation for those who are braving the mission of self makeup on the Big Day. Please view my post on Bridal Skin Care tips as a starting point:


After all, no amount of makeup in the world will compare with healthy radiant skin;) Ok, here we go….

Know your skin type:

The first step in choosing a foundation is knowing your skin type. Is your skin very dry and flaky? Is is very oily with a lot of shine? Is is a little of both in certain areas?Sensitive/acne prone?  Is it just fine and dandy aka normal? Knowing the type of skin you have is essential to choosing the right formulation of foundation for that special day.

Know your undertones:

You have heard the terms “Cool” and “warm” used in describing skin tones, right? Well, if you aren’t sure what undertone you have , take a look at your wrists. Yes! Your wrists. If the veins appear to be Blue and you have other factors such as being likely to burn in the sun and pinkish color in your face or chest area..then likely you are a “cool”. If your veins are more Green and you have good luck in the sun ( tan well) and have more hints of yellow or peach in your skin , it is most likely you are a “warm”.

See full size image

Pink or yellow undertones?

Know what you want:

It is essential to determine what kind of coverage you will want for your wedding day. While most automatically think a full coverage is a no-brainer, it simply is not necessary for many. Full coverage foundations can often feel heavy and cover the true radiance of your natural skin. In doing this, you look less like yourself, and more like someone who is simply covering up with makeup. Unless you need a full coverage foundation for excessive skin damages or flaws, consider a medium , lighter coverage or sheer coverage foundation.  Skin is in!

You will also need to consider if you want  cream or liquid, or powder.

* I STRONGLY suggest a cream or liquid foundation for long wear and a natural look.

Also consider the “finish” you desire. Finishes vary from Matte ( no shine at all) to Dewy ( think morning dew!).

Getting the perfect match:

Armed with this information, I would HIGHLY suggest going to a makeup counter to be “matched” for a foundation for your wedding day. It is certainly easier than spending hours in drugstores trying to guess, and a heap of dollars in products that you later find don’t really work. There is nothing worse than bridal photos of a beautiful woman with a face that is clearly an unnatural color, texture or doesn’t match the skin on her neck and body at all.

Counter intelligence

At the counter:

Tell the advisor matching you what you want  (sans SPF if possible as SPF tends to have negative effects on flash photography) and also get a concealer (if needed) to compliment the foundation. Try it on and go outside in the natural daylight to make sure it blends seamlessly. Department store lighting can be deceiving.

*Options vary, but Estee Lauder, MAC and Clinique offer excellent foundations in a variety of colors, coverages and finishes.

Before applying foundation:

After cleansing, pat dry gently and apply moisturizer all over the face in upward strokes. If needed, apply an eye cream as well for extra hydration in that area. Then apply a lip balm. Allow about 10 minutes for your moisturizer to really set into skin. Avoid products with SPF as the properties in them can cause an adverse effect with flash photography.

Next, you will want to apply a good skin primer to your skin as it will give your foundation a good base to hang onto providing smoother application and longer wear. Apply a dot to forehead, cheeks and chin and blend well.

* Among industry favorites are primers such as Photofinish by SMASHBOX and Mac Prep & Prime


Now, apply your foundation. You can use whatever method you like best. Foundation brush, cosmetic sponge, stippling brush, kabuki brush, fingers, blender sponge…whatever works best for you.

*I prefer a large stippling brush ( also known as a skunk brush due to the 2 tone colors of black and white bristles) as it offers a lovely airbrush effect to liquid foundations. For cream foundations, a kabuki style brush offers a lovely finish.

Next, apply your concealer. Do not overapply. Simply press in with your fingertips to areas of concern and pat lightly to blend. Use a light sweep of powder on an eyeshadow blending brush to gently set the concealer. Do not powder the rest of your face yet….

*Using the fingertips is great because the warmth of your skin will warm the product making blending seamless. A light powder is essential to make concealer last. I prefer BENEFITS powderflauge or MAC Prep+Prime powder for this.

I hope these tips prove helpful and I will be following up with Part 3 in this series very soon. It will address blush, setting powder, filling in brows and highlighting. Stay tuned;)