Connect 2013 Part III: Social Ponderings

In my first post about Connect, I spoke a little about feeling refreshed creatively, but almost as dramatically, I felt refreshed socially and emotionally. I remembered a lot about what makes me who I am and why I got into this industry in the first place.

Growing up, I saw myself as a healer, a source of comfort for those around me. To me, that was the most important quality I held. I thrived in hospitals, homeless shelters, funeral homes. I wanted to work in social justice or the mental health field. I went to college thinking I would work with victims of substance abuse. Much too much for someone so tender hearted. Fields that require tough love, when I was always more into the soft sorts.

At Connect I felt very hyper aware of the people around me and their energy was contagious. I am naturally fairly quiet but I love quality nonverbal communication. A touch on the arm, the right look in the eye, the correct degree of smile for any given moment. People always harp on remembering people’s name and I am almost decent at it, but what is never mentioned is how you can look someone in the eye and have them know that you know exactly who they are, and I think that is far more important than eye contact. I have known a lot of names for people I didn’t really know, and I think that is something people can feel.

Anyway, Connect gave me so much joy it just reminded me that that is what I want to give to my clients. I want to make them comfortable, excited. I want them to feel apart of something. I want them to feel alive and welcome and eager for change. I want them to be fearless.

One thing I thought a lot about this week is how small a percentage of someone’s personality is actually that person, mostly it is how they are reacting to their surroundings, which could result in actions that are quite contrary to how they normally are. I was keenly aware of how my actions could help people have a better day, a better experience, especially the first day of training when there was a lot of nervous energy lingering in the room. I remembered that paying attention to and helping others is one of the most important parts of my job, and that it is one of the reasons that I chose this line of work. It unlocks a part of myself and a part in others that can really change… Everything.

Eyeliner Challenge

Hey everyone, summer is a great time to play around with new looks. One thing I have noticed lately is how eyeliner, more than anything else, seems to get ladies in ruts. There are so many different ways to wear eyeliner. I want to challenge women everywhere to take this month just to play around with different colors, textures and techniques. It seems like women will change blush color, lip color, eyeshadow, try different products on their brow… But however they started doing their eyeliner in middle school, high school or college, that is how it stays until middle age. Life is too short.

If you are me up and try some new methods of defining your eyes, give it a few days before you say yay or nay to the different methods.

A few thoughts on different styles, and inspiration for new methods:

– If you use very crisp eyeliner consider softening it or blending it out with a darker eyeshadow. A soft eyeliner line can make the eyes look less lined, with simply the illusion of longer lashes.

– If you always have soft/smudged liner, try something crisper, like a sharper pencil, a gel or a liquid. Eyeliner pens like Stila or Eyeko are great for people who want to try a crisp line but have trouble with liquid liner.

– Remember, it isn’t a black and white issue. Crisp and soft are too extremes and anything in between is possible!

– Try a different color. If you have light coloring maybe try a brown or charcoal over black liner. If you have dark eyes, maybe pop them with a bright color, or a subtle color like a deep green or blue.

– If you always line your lower waterline, experiment with keeping it natural. You can also line it with a white or peach colored pencil. This will wake up your eyes, draw light to them and give them the illusion of being even bigger. It is also a softer look. If you have always done the lower waterline I would recommend smudging a dark shadow under the lash line just so your eyes don’t feel too light, but this will give you a fresh new look. Personally, I think liner on the lower waterline looks too harsh unless it is supported/balanced by more eye makeup on the top, like a smoky eye. The problem is compounded by the fact that it often doesn’t last well. I always recommend very soft liner or just smudged shadow on the bottom, for a softer, fresher look. Give it a shot!

– Play with shapes. Some people feel like there are only a few options for eyeliner, when there are so many different variations. Some are afraid of a slight wing because they don’t want to have that “retro” look but a slight, soft, smudged wing can extend the eyes without a huge statement. Winged eyeliner can also curve up more or less depending on the illusion and statement you’re going for. If your eyes turn up at the outer corners you can even experiment with letting the line extend slightly downward at the outer corner for a balanced, modern look. So many options.

– Play with line thickness by using different brushes or products if they are available to you. A dark eyeshadow and a wet brush will do the trick. A thicker line in the center of the eye gives the illusion of rounder eyes. A thicker line at the outer corner will make them appear slightly more oval.

– Rim more or less of the eyes. You can go a third of the way in, two thirds, all the way along the lashes or even all the way to the tear duct (the last one is not recommended for most daytime looks). I generally recommend following the lash line on top and bottom but keeping the line at the inner corners very thin.

– If you have a more vibrant style, do a darker, neutral liner with a crisp line of color right on top. You can do either color first. If you do the dark liner first with the color on top, it will tone down the darker color.

– Try lining the upper water line. Your lashes will look so long!

Have fun! And remember, there is no one right way so loosen up and experiment! A great way to reconnect with yourself in the mirror.

Post pictures and comment with results!

Here is a picture of Mary with a soft winged liner look. Photo by Megan Gardner.

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My Goals as an Artist

Hello everyone! I thought today was as good a day as any to jot down some of my artistic goals I will be working on throughout the coming year. These are mostly for me to be able to look back at and assess how I am doing, but it also opens the door for others to tell me how I am doing and offer friendly criticism. I would also encourage other hair designers and other sorts of artists to take an honest look at your work and think of productive ways to make it that much better! These goals are mainly for improvement as an editorial stylist, but I find that what I learn from photo sessions also teaches me a lot about other facets of hair styling and even just general design.

Here are the three areas I will be working on this coming year:

1. Juxtaposition. Juxtaposition is something I have always thought about with other forms of art, from poetry to painting to sculpture, but my recent trip to LA with Sebastian really opened my mind up to the idea of juxtaposition as a way to highlight and add emphasis to parts of a style. Strong textures can become muddled without an opposing texture to create contrast.

In the Urban Explorers collection, the Shanghai styles are a great example of what juxtaposing textures can do, adding emphasis in subtle ways. For the Shanghai styles, the models had black or near black hair, which is great for creating an architectural style with high shine. But in order to really showcase the shine, the micro crimper was used to matte areas so the shiny areas can appear shinier and the hair can still have dimension in a two dimensional picture. It is often a problem getting shapes to show up in dark, solid colored hair, which is why certain updos can look much more interesting on blondes, but with juxtaposing textures, it is possible to create dynamic styles even if the hair color is fairly flat.

For me, I do a lot of braid work and waves and just generally love texture. I am working on taking control of the textures in my work and knowing when to add some smooth or tames areas of a style in order to add emphasis to the wilder parts. Otherwise the eyes don’t know quite where to look.

2. Form/Silhouette. The overall form or silhouette of a piece is almost always what attracts me most to a hairstyle. So why on earth am I say meticulous and detail oriented to the point that I completely lose track of what shapes I am building? I get swept away. And I don’t step back enough. It is important to me this year that the overall shapes I create be completely intentional and not just the result of stacking detail upon detail. Part of the problem is I treat styles as if they will be examined from every angle rather than focusing the design on the front (or three quarters view, or back) and letting the side details be secondary.

I think planning and staying dedicated to a plan will be of utmost importance for this goal, as well as assessing my work multiple times throughout the creative process.

3. Efficiently Refining Textures. This is probably the most important goal, as it also applies to bridal clients and other salon work. I want to learn everything I can about perfecting and refining textures…. quickly! Smoothing and taming hair is always a delicate balance between keeping textures organic and free, yet making them smoother and cleaner. It is about precision and getting the texture exactly how I want it rather than just a general idea. I mean curls that are soft and frizz free without going to far and making them crispy. I mean teasing that looks whimsical rather than like a mess. I mean tight braids that are perfect and loose braids that are controlled and clean with well planned wisps.

I want to achieve ultimate control and most of this is about product knowledge, which Sebastian has been helping me with quite a bit. It is about knowing what to grab and when because the wrong pomade in a braid can make it to crisp and the wrong product for taming curls during a comb out can weigh the hair down.

Luckily, I have my whole career to strive for perfection in styling. When I am satisfied that I am taking each of these elements into consideration for every style I will make more goals. I know each of these will be a never ending journey to perfect, but as long as I can keep them at the forefront of my mind during this year, so that I can continue improving and evolving, I will consider my goal met.

Stocking Noir Catalogue Shoot: Jardin Noir Collection

Hello! My friend’s stocking company has just launched its new collection: Jardin Noir. Check out it out online.

Today I wanted to feature some behind the scenes shots from my shoot with them and tell you what I used to create the looks. Photos by Maria Palermo with Barlow Black styling Elysia’s new collection. Model is Alli Frasier of Taxi Management.

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On her face:
Prepped with Embryolisse and a spritz of De-Slick from Urban Decay
Face Atelier Ultra Foundation, mixture of shades 1 and 2
Face Atelier Ultra Sheer champagne adjuster for brightening
Graftobian Warm #1 foundation palette for highlight/contour
Graftobian cream blush palette
Urban Decay Prime Potion for eyes
Lime Crime China Doll Palette (used black for eyeliner)
Ultimate Face eye shadow palette
Lip tar
All brushes from Sephora and e.l.f.

On her hair:
1″ Hot Tools marcel iron just to touch up natural curl
Whipped Creme from Sebastian Professional to polish curls/tame frizz
Shaper from Sebastian Professional

Sunset Hair

Here is a color I did in early May. This is my friend Nita and she had an ombre done about six months ago and her hair has been growing out. She has had several variations on red/brown since then and the ombre has been covered at times but always comes back. She has a lot of color build up on the midshaft so I mixed some deeper brown into her regrowth formula then diluted and added more red to the formula (and waited fifteen or so minutes) before applying to the midshaft, then emulsified at the sink for a few minutes. I used the ColorTouch line from Wella with Emulsion.

Formula: Wella ColorTouch: .2 6/75, .2 6/35, .1 8/81, .3 6/7, .2 4/6, .2 44/65, .2 6/4 with double Emulsion

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OCC Stained Gloss Lip Tar in New Wave

I was dying to try the new lip stains from OCC, and I must say, I am in love with New Wave, which is a bright pink shade (but sheer and glossy enough for every day wear). I also have the color Meta and it is more of an orangey pink. Very pretty! Not quite as every day for me, pinks are a little easier for me to incorporate into my makeup routine, but it is very nice and great for people who wear more coral tones.

First off, while very pigmented, they are not as intense as I expected. They can be layered to become brighter but they certainly don’t have the punch of the original lip tars. They are quite sheer, which disappointed me a little at first and then five minutes later I was ecstatic. They are the perfect pop of color for summer. My main lip stains I used prior are the Vincent Longo stains and Benetint. I expected the OCC stains to be very similar to the Vincent Longo stains based on the description (like stained glass) but I am finding them more similar to my Benetint, although not quite as sheer. I am curious if the darker colors would be more like my Vincent Longo stains, since the ones I ordered were brighter. I would probably still prefer my Vincent Longo stains for formal occasions.

My favorite thing about the OCC Stained Gloss is the texture. I hate gooey gloss and I have to say, these have a nice sheen without being sticky at all. They make my lips feel naturally moist, and that is very important to me.

The color lasts very nicely, too. Similar to my Benetint, it will subtly fade over the course of the day without flaking or peeling. It is sheer enough I am fine to just dab it onto my lips with or without a mirror over the course of the day if I want it to stay perfectly bright. However, even though there is some fading it keeps a nice color all day. It doesn’t fade to any strange tones. At the end of the day (14-16 hours later) my lips are still pink, just not quite like they were in the morning.

These will still be too bright for some people (those that like a very nude lip), but I absolutely love them. And it makes me feel great to know how natural and conscientious the brand is.

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Balayage Highlights with Illumina, Plus a Beautiful Textured Cut

Earlier this week I was honored to be the first professional to color Nichole’s hair. I wanted to start her off with something that required minimal commitment and a definite, yet natural, change. I chose to go with balayage highlights using our Illumina color line.

Illumina is Wella’s new color line and it works beautifully on blondes. It has a violet base, giving a cool and unique tonality that also cuts some of the warmth. Even the warm tones have bite of cool, giving a complex tonality. Illumina imparts incredible shine and keeps hair as close as possible to its virgin state. It does not lift or cover grey as much as Koleston Perfect, Wella’s other permanent color line, but neither of those issues were relevant to Nichole. With her hair texture it would not be difficult for her hair to lift.

Her formula is: Illumina .2 8/81, .2 9/60, .4 10/36 = 40 vol

I painted on Nichole’s color with a medium small brush and did a balayage technique using Saran Wrap, based on the method from our class last month with The Doves,

Next we cut! She lost about five inches of length for a summery new look with lots of interior and exterior layering. Nichole has a great texture and density; even though she has fine hair she can handle a lot of layering without looking sparse. I did a variation of Sebastian’s Jagged Edge cut, throwing in more layering with a back cutting technique.

Styled with Volupt Soray, Trilliance and a little bit of Matte Putty.

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8 Makeup and Skincare Tips for Dealing with Redness

Today I want to talk about skincare and makeup solutions to redness. I have compiled a list of tricks and not all of them will apply to each person with redness issues. There are many reasons for redness, some are based internally and some are related to what you are putting on your skin. These ideas should be experimented with, none of them are magical cures, just things to try. Even if you do your makeup in a dark bathroom, make sure you are experimenting with natural light to see if these tricks will work for you!

1. Drink more water. Take your vitamins. Watch for food triggers for redness. Be good to yourself, that is always the first step.

2. Reassess your skincare. I see a lot of women that had troubled skin as teenagers but have never stopped using acne products. A lot of times this is because their skin is not clear when they look in the mirror, but sometimes it is more from redness and irritation than from pimples. Products with a lot of salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide can cause splotchiness and uneven skin tone if they aren’t needed. Also, some people exfoliate with products that are very harsh, or too frequently. I, personally, exfoliate every morning with a gentle exfoliant (Microdelivery from the Philosophy skincare line), but many skincare professionals would say that is too often. I would discourage exfoliating more than once a day. Experiment, see what works for you, but please, at least try using a gentle cleanser, and give it a fair chance (a month or longer).

3. Experiment with different moisturizers. Your skin might not be getting enough nourishment. Please moisturize every night, at the very least.

4. Wash your face/body with cooler water. You don’t need to torture yourself, but sometimes the difference between hot and scalding can be huge, and the difference between warm and hot can be enormous.

5. Watch out for oxidizing foundation. If you have ever put on your foundation, felt it was a perfect match, then got to work and felt like it had darkened and turned orange, you’ve been a victim of oxidation! Many popular mineral foundations are horrible for oxidation. I can’t give out a list, because something may oxidize on you, but not on me, but bear this in mind when you are trying something new and take a foundation back if it isn’t working. This is the enemy of fair, sensitive skinned individuals! Liquid foundations can be culprits, too. Sometimes a primer will completely fix this problem, or at least hold it off for awhile.

6. Speaking of primers... Look for green primers such as Smashbox and Make Up For Ever. They look much greener in the bottle than they are on the skin. Stila also has a one step corrector that brightens and reduces redness. These work wonders.

7. Green correctors are another option. These are great for pimples or more extreme redness and come in a variety of consistencies. They are often part of palettes with a peachy tone for brightening (undereyes!) and a yellow to take away darkness.

8. Try a yellow based foundation or tinted moisturizer. This is my preferred method of correcting the problem with makeup, but use caution! I mainly only use liquid foundation around my nose and cheeks, my areas or redness, and then I blend outward and cover my whole face with a fair, neutral powder. If I use liquid foundation on my whole face I use a custom blend. Always make sure you check yourself in natural light when you are experimenting with undertones.