Red Carpet Manicure: Gel Polish


Gel nail polish, by Red Carpet Manicure (RCM), is one of my favorite things right now. RCM provides a protective coat which helps natural nails grow longer without filing down or damaging the nail, unlike acrylics. Most importantly, the polish stays put (without chipping) and yields a gorgeous manicure for 2-3 weeks!

Although I am a professional Aesthetician, I’m by no means a professional manicurist. Because of this, I know you too will be able to tackle the RCM with ease. The directions are easy to follow and the manicure itself takes under 30 minutes to achieve– that includes dry time… well, there is virtually no dry time and the polish finishes nice and hard, as opposed to traditional nail lacquers; we’ve all meticulously painted our nails only to find the lacquer smudged, dented, or chipped as a result of mundane actions. Once the gel polish is cured, it really is set.

Here are a few tips (and pics) from my nail experience:

securedownload

1. I started with clean, dry nails. Before applying polish, RCM suggests shaping the nail, pushing back cuticles, and roughing up the nail itself.

securedownload-1

2. Roughing up the nail does not mean filing it down. Instead, you’re gently buffing away the nail’s natural shine in order for the polish to adhere more successfully (please pardon the soon to be tamed cuticles).

securedownload-3

3. The base coat takes 30 seconds to set and each layer of colored polish takes approximately 45 seconds to cure. Although the directions say the color takes 45 seconds, an RCM representative and I agree that 1 minute works best when using the RCM LED light–just to be safe. In addition, I like to leave nails under the light for 1 minute when curing top coat (Brilliance). The above color photographed a little darker than it is in actuality. However, RCM’s Oh So 90210 is quite comparable to OPI’s Strawberry Margarita.

sally-hansen-extreme-wear-nail-polish-white-on

4. I like French nails and found this effect relatively easy to achieve with RCM. Upon fully completing the gel manicure in Tre Chic (this includes top coat application), I swiped Sally Hansen’s White Out across the nail tips and allowed the polish to dry for 15 minutes. Finally, I applied RCM’s Brilliance and cured for 1 minute to set my French nails.

securedownload-5

A trick that I recently learned from my manicurist, to prolong white tip longevity, is gently swiping acetone across the nail to remove dulling agents. This tip is only good for use on gel or acrylic nails and should be done in a swift, singular motion.

Enjoy 🙂

Advertisements

Reader Write-In: Mineral Makeup (In Memory of Joan Oliver)


Dear Ashley Evelyn,

Help! I need a new liquid foundation and powder! I’ve been using Mary Kay but I’m just not feeling it anymore and my aunt isn’t selling anymore. I’m in between normal and oily skin. And I like to hide my blemishes! I bought cover girl powder and it made me break out, so I need a good brand please and thank you!

-S.B.

Dear S.B.,

In my opinion, mineral makeup is the greatest thing since sliced bread and is good for all skin types. Not only does mineral makeup provide an array of coverage (from light to heavy), but it also allows the skin to “breathe.” However, the skin doesn’t breathe like our lungs do. In a nut shell, when properly functioning, the epidermis is constantly regenerating cells, sloughing dead cells, and expelling impurities. When dead skin cells, dirt, and excess oils are trapped within the follicle (pore), the tribulation of the common blemish occurs in three stages: Comedones arise (blackheads); white blood cells rush to fight underlying infection and form Pustules (whiteheads); finally, Papules (cystic acne) develop as a result of severe infection. Good skincare practices such as cleansing the skin, twice daily, and developing frequent exfoliation regimens can lessen these occurrences. However, switching to a mineral foundation also helps the skin to breathe easy– and function as intended.

view_of_what_causes_acne_poster-rc6ed34761aa0419f8f7a20a3a27d581d_g13_400

Making the switch from liquid foundation, to mineral powder, isn’t always easy for users. Before I became an Aesthetician, I suffered from severe cystic acne and loaded my face with thick, liquid foundation on a daily basis. When my Aesthetician suggested that I switch foundations, I told her that I couldn’t rely on mineral makeup to cover up my blemishes. She countered with the fact that my makeup wasn’t doing me any real favors in that department (the jig was up– my face was covered in pustules & papules) and my formula of choice perpetuated the problem.

Bare-Escentuals

At the time, Bare Minerals Makeup was known as Bare Escentuals– and only available through QVC. Today, the line may be found at department stores across America and specialty makeup stores such as Ulta. However, the Ashley Evelyn of yesterday picked up the phone and ordered the Bare Minerals starter kit. I was amazed by how beautiful my skin looked and felt under mineral makeup! No longer did I feel like I was wearing an oily mask of paint to the world. Instead, the light formula allowed my clear skin (forehead, nose, and chin) to shine. The concealer brush added heavy coverage where I needed it most (cheeks). And, because Bare Minerals foundation acts as a dual concealing medium and foundation in one, my blemishes virtually disappeared upon application.

Today, Bare Minerals appears in its traditional loose powder (my medium of choice), but is also found in pressed powder and liquid form.

HONORABLE MENTION:
1. Jane Iredale Makeup
2. Pur Minerals

aef77a49-1ce7-4761-a35f-bfffddb7ea3a

This post is dedicated to the late, Joan Marie Oliver. She taught me how to be a great Aesthetician and provided me with skincare when no one else wanted to–or thought they could– help my problem skin. I am eternally grateful to Joan for her help and insight. Rest in peace, Joan. And, thank you.

Santa Brought Inspiration for Christmas!


I’m back! I hope you all had a beautiful holiday; I know I did. Since last posting, I’ve made what’s called an “interstate move,” from Orlando to Nashville, and been busy settling down– only to plow right through Christmas.

207856_10151210972657730_1849103_n

Santa Claus knew I had everything a girl could dream for: A loving family, a beautiful Lily Dog,  and a new winter wardrobe. However, he also knew that my beauty closet was MISTAKENLY packed away in portable storage units– including my professional brush sets– and I was suffering miserably. So, he took a trip to Ulta and got me several makeup GEMS.

Devout readers know that I’m a fan of Carbon Black Mascara, by L’oreal over expensive brands. However, Benefit’s They’re Real Mascara is my new favorite! The formula itself lengthens and thickens lashes, but the wand proved amazing as well.

Image

I’ve generally avoided non-traditional wand styles, but this one separates lashes like a dream and coats evenly. In addition, the egg shaped ball at the tip of the wand creates the perfect tool to lengthen lashes with vertical strokes. I really like this product and encourage everyone who is frustrated by their mascara formula to grab a tube!

Image

My second cosmetic introduction, of the season, was to the Australian originated line by Napoleon Perdis. I am in love with the neutral metallics shadow palette– and might have to go back for the purple one too! Sometimes, I feel like metallics look a little…funky. In a bad way. However, these finely milled pigments spread evenly and produce a glimmer suitable for a day at the office or a night on the town.

Image

Aside from the gifts Santa Claus brought, I would also like to mention the makeup brushes I recently picked up at Target. E.L.F. brand brushes are a must have for anyone who wants a nice brush set, but doesn’t want to pay an arm and a leg for them! In fact, I like them better than some of the “professional” brushes I’ve purchased in the past. The selection is decent, the quality is good, and the price is right as they range from $1-$5 each! I especially love the contouring brush. This is a testament, once again, that you don’t always have to pay high dollar for quality tools and cosmetics; one often finds themselves paying for the brand name as opposed to the product’s actual value.

So happy to be back blogging! What fabulous cosmetics did Santa bring you this Christmas?

Good Read: Robert Jones’ MAKEUP MAKEOVERS


There are a lot of makeup books and tutorials out there, but none that I’ve seen can compare to the sage wisdom Robert Jones shares in Makeup Makeovers. For those who are unfamiliar with his work, Robert Jones is an amazing celebrity makeup artist; he’s worked with one of my personal favs, Cindy Crawford (remember what she taught me about eyebrows) and done makeup for all the major magazines. For those who want to simply take my word for it, the man knows what he’s talkin’ about, Willis.

The book is divided into three parts and consists of a collective, twelve chapters. Part one is a bit of a vocabulary lesson and focuses on the meaning behind makeup terminology. What different cosmetics do and how to apply them– and what purpose the tools serve. Part two discusses the individual and is where the book really heats up. He neatly describes skin tone classifications and the contrast between warm versus cool tones. In addition, the book discusses face shape and contouring with simplified diagrams. During the third part, appropriately titled, “Putting it all together,” Jones discusses how the reader can take what they’ve read and apply it to their specific face.

The book is somewhat repetitive, but this angle works well for the purpose of a how-to. His consistency assures the cosmetic novice and inspires makeup savvy girls. Although Jones’ writing is clear and helpful, the greatest testament to his skill is in the before and after photos. Amazing. The women in the before photos could be Walmart, Publix, or Dollar General shoppers. The results, however, reflect a sophistication projected by women in the media. The faces depicted are “real” people. That proves how good “we” can look and showcases Jones’ skill. And, of course, he shows how gorgeous ridiculously, pretty women (models) are when all glammed-up.

I hungrily blew through Jones’ book in an evening and enjoyed his perspective. His take on natural beauty is refreshing–and so is his makeup style. Wether you’re a working Makeup Artist, like myself, or are newly curious about cosmetics, Jones’ methodic book offers a strong education.

Halloween Makeup and the Dollar General.


Still up in TN & wishing I hadn’t left FL so quickly; I forgot my makeup kit and all my Halloween, latex pieces. I’ve seen so many new, awesome looks I’d like to try! Really, though, I’m just jonesin’ for the salon. This is the first time in seven years that I haven’t done anyone’s Halloween makeup.

The town that my boyfriend and mom live in, Goodlettsville, is quaint. However, shopping is rather limited in comparison to Orlando. My funds are similarly limited due to lack of work this week. In an effort to pick up a little makeup, without breaking the bank, I took a trip to the Dollar General Store. During my visit, I also appeased my inner-Makeup Artist.

While perusing the makeup aisle (which was more impressive than expected), I ran into several other last-minute Halloween makeup ladies. One woman asked which eye shadow I liked better and I ended up giving a consult during which her skin type was assessed. Another woman asked, of the Dollar General assortment, had I ever tried any of the mascaras– and if so, which was my favorite? I’d tried them all, but directed her back to the “Old Faithful,” Maybelline’s Great Lash. Great formula. Great wand.

After telling everybody their business, I picked up a set of false lashes for myself and headed to the register. A blonde clerk, in her early 20s, eyed the lashes and held them in her hands for a few moments after ringing them up. She said, “I overheard that you’re a Makeup Artist…have you ever used fake lashes before?”

“Sure. I use them a lot.”

“I’ve always been too scared to try them… but I wanted to get some when I get off work.”

My eyes glazed over. I gave her my previously mentioned LASH TUTORIAL and she seemed empowered to give the lashes a shot. Even though I didn’t actually apply any makeup, I did have fun helping the ladies of Dollar General.

Happy Halloween, y’all 🙂

Proudly Accepting & Administering the Liebster, or “Most Favorite,” Award.


My blogging friend, Kirstiie, author of Tribe of Mannequins has nominated me to receive the Liebster Blog Award (thanks, sugar!). I learned from K that the title’s meaning translates from German to English as “Most favorite.”

I am happy to accept my first blogging related award and am excited to nominate several other blogs: 2 Gliterary Girls, The Eye of Faith, Vintage Reflection, Eccentric Owl, and Help With Your Life.

Here’s How It Works:

1. Post eleven facts about yourself.

2. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you and create eleven questions for people you’ve nominated.

3. Choose eleven people to give this award to (with fewer than 200 followers) and link them in your post.

4. Go to their page and tell them.

5. Remember, no tag backs.

Kirstiie’s Questions for Me:

1. What inspired you to start a blog?

I’m a fiction writer and am always interested in exploring new avenues with my writing; I’ve always wanted to do an especially beauty-focused writing project.

2. What is your favourite past time, other than blogging?

As a Florida girl, raised at the beach, my favorite thing to do is enjoy the beauty the Sunshine State state offers—but, I always remember to apply/reapply sunscreen every 45 minutes

3. What is your profession?

I’m a professional Aesthetician, Lash Stylist, and Makeup Artist.

4. What did you want to be when you were growing up?

My secret dream was to work in the salon industry, but I always thought I’d be a large animal vet. I grew up riding horses and, when they were sick, we took them to the horse hospital at UF. The staff was so good to me and always let me sneak into the observation room to watch live surgeries!

5. What is your favourite trend this season?

I keep seeing more and more women coloring their hair red for fall/winter. I think it’s a nice transition color and is a little less harsh than trendier dramatic, dark hair. As a natural redhead, I think we should carry on the revolution!

6. Who is your beauty icon?

I’d have to say that I feel in love with Audrey Hepburn at an early age, but Bettie Page stole the show.

7. Tell us a secret

I sleep in a hair masque 2x/wk.

8. What do you look for in a good blog?

Good writing. I’ll read blogs, of which I would seemingly have no interest, if they’re written well.

9. Do you advocate non-animal tested beauty products and anti-fur, I hope so!

Of course, but I don’t necessarily exclude products which have been tested on animals.

10. Are you For or Against faux tan?

I’m totally for faux tanning if done well. As an Aesthetician, I know the #1 aging factor is the sun’s rays and look for opportunities to look good without completely frying my skin!

11. What past trend do you hope makes a comeback?

I was recently looking at my Mother’s photos from the 1970s and am diggin’ the bell-bottom look. I think they’d be a fun look for fall paired with a form-fitting, long-sleeved shirt and a cute pair of boots, clogs, or the right heels.

MY Questions to Nominees: 

  1. What’s the #1 beauty product you can’t live without?
  2. What does beauty mean to you?
  3. Which beauty look do you like, but struggle to achieve?
  4. Which men’s trend of 2012 do you wish a man in your life would try?
  5. Which celebrity’s style do you like, or emulate?
  6. What characteristic do you especially look for in a blog?
  7. What’s the first blog you fell in love with?
  8. Who is your favorite Femme Fatale?
  9. We’ve all had beauty/fashion “oopsies.” What’s your oopsy?
  10. From time to time I write about my friends and family. How do the people in your life respond to the idea of themselves as subjects?
  11. In your opinion, what is the one book that should be read and re-read?

Beauty Runs in the Bloodline.


I was obsessed with lavender, peel-off nail polish as a child. I willed the lacquer dry so that I could “jazz hands” my way around the house– and do my nails again. As an adult, I probably paint my nails 2-3 times/wk. To me, there’s something therapeutic in dragging glossy pigment across my nail bed.

Apparently, this is a familial trait. My second cousin, Baby Lyla, challenges my status as “Girliest Girl” in the family. I’m not passing the torch yet, but I try to be a good example to my younger family by impressing on them what’s most important in life– at least in relation to boys & beauty.

When I really care for someone, I beg, “Please don’t over pluck your eyebrows! Let a professional [such as myself] do them for you.”

Lyla’s eyebrows  still qualify as “baby brow fuzz,” so that advice can be postponed until a later date. However, the simplest advice I can offer a little girl with wet nails–or a woman of any age– is, “Keep your fingers out straight, sit still, and don’t touch anything.” I looked her in the eye and repeated, “Lyla, don’t touch anything until your nails dry.”

Her mommy (my delightful cousin, Jane) invoked the genius “kitten claws method” to while away the time. Somehow, a toddler, who wouldn’t move up to her big girl bed for four more days, managed to relax and let her nails dry. I thought about all the times I’d fudged a manicure or a pedicure due to impatience. A child understood the bain of the nail tech’s existence…she listened and her nails looked fabulous for it!

P.S. Her favorite color is purple– can you tell?

Reader Write-In: False Eyelashes


Dear Ashley Evelyn,

I want to wear fake eyelashes but I can’t get them to go on right and if they do stick on they never stay on. How do I know what kind to get because they are always bigger than my eye? Help!!!

–A.T.

Dear A.T.,

False lashes appear tricky to master, but it’s much more simple than you think. Promise.

1. Gently remove lashes from the tray with a pair of tweezers.

2. Hold lashes to your eye to measure. You want them to basically match up with your natural lash bed. If lashes are too long for your eye, trim off a section or two until you reach the desired lash breadth.

3. Run a thin line of lash adhesive along the band and allow to dry for 30-60 seconds. This is the real secret.

4. Don’t apply the lashes to your eyelid. Rather, press into your lash line.

5. Repeat for other eye.

6. Finish the look/lock lashes in place by curling and swiping with mascara.

Asking a Makeup Artist to give you a discount, because you own makeup, is like asking a Surgeon for a price cut because you have your own Bandaids.


When one visits their doctor, they either face co-pays or pay out of pocket for the price of the office visit and additional tests. I happily pay my doctor for her services because I know she’s gone through a lot of schooling to become an expert in her field. Because I appreciate her judgment, and despite owning an array of medical supplies for work and home use, I trust that the products and implements she uses to treat me are of high quality and are of select purpose.

The same is true of Professional Makeup Artists.

As a professional, I purchase products with my clients’ best interest in mind. I consider quality, effect, purpose, and cost. In this way, I maintain high standards for makeup, lash, waxing, and tinting clients. Professional means professional products.

But, what about when clients also have access to “professional” makeup lines such as Urban Decay, Too Faced, or MAC? If clients bring their own products to makeup appointments, shouldn’t they get a discount?

No.

Yes, a Makeup Artist’s kit does factor into his or her overhead. However, they more specifically charge for their skilled service.

In essence, asking a Makeup Artist to give you a discount, because you own makeup, is like asking a surgeon for a price cut because you have your own Bandaids.

Reader Write-In: How to diminish the look of puffy eyes?


The time has come for my first Reader Write-In response. In my treatment room, all information shared by my clients, concerning their body or otherwise, remains confidential. In the interest of maintaing a sense of privacy, I will keep Reader Write-Ins anonymous.

Our fellow follower, who is in her twenties, writes to us with one of the most universal–and fixable problems pertaining to beauty and the body. She writes:

Dear, Ashley Evelyn

Can u do a post on puffy eyes? I have perpetual bags (so I’m good at concealer) but sometimes when I wake up the lids are so puffy it changes the whole shape of my eye! It was the worst it has been in weeks this morning… I pretty much looked like Rocky at the end of the first movie! Haha!

–SS

We all suffer from puffy eyes from time to time. Swelling often occurs as a result of: Staying out late, alcohol consumption (dehydration), stress, crying, allergies, and lack & surplus of sleep. Sometimes, under-eye inflammation seems to happen for no reason, but a closer look at our diet usually acts as our first step toward skin health.

1. Hydrate & Limit Sodium: Often, external problems are due to the result of an internal imbalance. Sufficient hydration reduces swelling and increases cellular & organ function. Remember, the skin is the largest organ in the human body! Likewise, limiting salt & alcohol intake reduces the body’s need to hoard its water supply. Although 8, 8oz. glasses of water/day is the generalized minimum, About.com has a hydration calculator which is more specific to individual needs.

2. Spooning: This is one of the easiest and cheapest methods of soothing puffy eyes and was passed down to me by my grandmother (she also advised that Preparation-H reduces the size of under-eye bags, but I’m not necessarily condoning this). Before bed, place 2 metal spoons in the freezer. When you wake, place the curve of the spoon under your eyes for about 5 minutes. The cold reduces inflammation and constricts blood vessels– just like when we ice sore bodies after working out.

3. Facial Cleansing: Once you’ve applied the cold compress spoons to your eyes, execute your morning cleansing routine with cold water. Cold cleansing reduces inflammation and reinforces the spoon method, but also shrinks the size of dilated follicles (pores). When pores are contracted, they create a nicer finish for makeup application.

4. Cucumber Slices & Tea Bags: This remedy is similar to spooning, but is boosted by the power of antioxidants. Cut several cucumber slices and refrigerate–or, moisten 2 tea bags and let them chill instead. Apply to the eye for about 5 minutes or until the bags reach room temperature. Tea contains, tannin, a natural astringent proven to tighten the skin and reduce inflammation.

5. Aloe & Vitamin C/E: Aloe is one of the best sources, natural anti-inflammatory relief. Although it is soothing to the skin, aloe oxygenates and increases blood flow. Vitamin E protects the skin from free radicals and pollution which can age the skin over time & also works as a natural anti-inflammatory. Vitamin C, my favorite, stimulates collagen production & increases blood flow.

Image Skincare’s Vital-C Hydrating Eye Recovery Gel works beautifully and is what I use on my own skin.

If your swollen eyes cause pain, discomfort, or blurred vision, please contact a doctor; you may have an eye infection or condition requiring medical attention.

Do you have a beauty or skin related question? Email me at LashesOrlando@yahoo.com