Trending topics and questions for Glamma

Each month I will dedicate a segment to trending topics and the questions you have posed.  If you need advice on makeup, styling, or tattoos, please feel free to place a comment in the Ask Glamma section of my blog, or e-mail your thoughts.

From Kathleen in Vancouver, B.C.: “What about doing one on expiration dates on beauty products …. Anyway, it’s just a thought as many often wonder if the expiration date on beauty supplies (and shampoo) is put there to get you to buy more or should it really be listened to.

A: Expiration dates ARE important to pay attention to.  On the bottom or label of cosmetic products there is a symbol (pictured below) for expiration dates. Once opened, you should use the product within the specified time. If your cosmetics begin to smell that is never a good sign. The longer you keep a product, the larger the risk of bacterial infection.

Cosmetic expiration date symbol

Cosmetic expiration date symbol

A general rule to follow: Mascara and liquid eye liners replace every few months, eye creams and facial moisturizers every 6-8 months, liquid cosmetics such as foundations, lip-gloss and lip color annually, lip and eye pencils 1-2 years, and powdered products such as shadow, foundation powders, and blush can be stored for up to 3 years.

From Donna in San Diego, California; “Do I really have to change my mascara every few months? I like the way the mascara goes on my lashes after a few months. …. Is it OK for my friends to use my makeup?”

A: So many girls hold on to mascara for too long, and old mascara is not like aging fine wine.  There are many great a thickening mascaras on the market including my personal favorite Benefit’s Bad Gal Lash.

Benefit Bad Gal Lash Mascara

Bat those thick lashes with Benefit Bad Gal Lash Mascara

Eyes are very susceptible to infection, so I don’t encourage the sharing of makeup such as mascara or lip products. Mascara wands pick up bacteria from your lashes and place them back in to a nice moist dark environment. Not to sound like a nagging parent, but do you really know where your friend’s mouth has been? Sharing makeup is similar to sharing a toothbrush.

From Danielle in Toronto, Ontario; “I have been invited to take part in a makeup event.  I was going to support my girlfriend who doesn’t want to go alone. Is there any obligation to purchase?”

A: Before going to a cosmetic event, take inventory of what you have in your makeup case and write down the top three items that need replacement.  It is easy to get caught up in the “hype and excitement” of a makeup event. It is considered proper etiquette to purchase a few items in lieu of your makeup lesson.  I always equate having an in store makeup lesson to that of going out for dinner. If you choose to have a meal and sample the food, you should be prepared to pay for what you have in front of you. A 45-minute makeup lesson is your appetizer, a drink, and a small salad.

Makeup Etiquette

Plan on attending a makeup event plan on making a purchase. Photo Pamela Detlor

Question from Jamie in Atlanta, Georgia;  “Can you give any tips on how to make eyes “pop” while wearing glasses? I have several friends who wear glasses but don’t want to have to cake on tons of eye makeup just to get their eyes seen.”

A:  Put aside the myth that boys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses. Your peepers are prime for showcasing a wide array of colors. Don’t be afraid to venture in to using vibrant violets, breath-taking blues, or warm bronze colors to create a smokey eye. Just use the technique laid out on creating a smokey eye.Tricks of the Trade: The Smokey Eye Replace your black gel liner and black shadow with a color. Makeup Forever, Stila, and Bobbi Brown have gel liners in colors such as plum, blue and green. So go ahead, and show the girls in the office who can be the alluring girl behind those mysterious specs.

Marilyn Monroe in glasses

Boys will make passes at girls who wear glasses



Tricks of the Trade: Building a foundation

Rupaul sings “Covergirl: Put the base in you walk”, but there is no reason that your foundation base should look like a drag queen. Choosing the correct shade of foundation can be frustrating, and you are not alone when asking “How do I get flawless skin?” Perfection is merely an illusion when achieving a flawless face, and these simple tricks will help narrow the choices for the right formula and tone for your base.

Ru Paul

To find the correct shade dab a small amount of your product on your jaw-line. Blend the color, and if the shade “appears to disappear” your foundation is correct. Take note that most store lighting is not balanced to natural daylight. A color that matches indoors may be a shade off in natural light.  Hands are NOT for testing colors, as the skin on your face is a much different tone.  Most importantly, you should never warm your complexion with a darker foundation. You will appear to have a floating bronzed head, and that won’t draw the attention you are looking for. Foundation should never be noticeable on your skin.

Keeping the skin natural and "flawless"

Keeping the skin natural and "flawless" photo Simon Chu

Once you have a matching shade, your foundation does not need to be worn like a kabuki mask. Just apply your product in the T-zone and areas that need a little more perfecting.  Avoid placing your base on your eyelids, as your shadow will crease and wear off during the day. Choose to use a nude matt base color, or Laura Mercier’s Eye Basics as a shadow base.

Tinted Moisturizer:  This foundation contains moisturizing properties and is perfect for every day use to even out the complexion. This is the lightest weight of foundation, and creates a sheer “dewy” effect. It can be layered, but will not completely eradicate imperfections. Tinted moisturizers do not sit in fine lines, which is great for a dry complexion or mature skin. Application: Feather with a synthetic brush or finger tips. Sponges will absorb more product.

Powder Foundation:  Most powder foundations can be used wet or dry.  If you use your powder foundation wet, the overall effect will be quite sheer. If your complexion is dry, avoid powder foundation, which will only sit in fine lines. For added coverage, wear a tinted moisturizer first, and apply dry powder foundation with a brush. Application: Use a velour puff, or disposable sponge to press the foundation in to the skin for added coverage.  For sheer coverage apply with a flat powder foundation brush. Circular motions will “buff” and blend the powder.

Powder foundation brush

Powder foundation brush

Liquid Foundation: Liquid foundations have two formulas: water-based and containing oils.  A true water-based foundation needs to be mixed, since it separates from the suspended pigment in less than 24 hours.  Foundation containing oil will not cause acne, as skin requires some oils to regulate.  If you strip your face of all natural oils, glands over produce causing skin to be problematic. Liquid foundations are for complexions requiring a bit more perfecting.Application: Feather with a synthetic brush or finger tips.

Synthetic foundation brush

Synthetic foundation brush

Crème Foundations and Stick Foundations:  If you are looking to hide visible imperfections, this formula offers the fullest coverage.  Crèmes foundation can be worn sheer, or layered to achieve a more flawless effect.  They are not the best choice if your complexion is oily, as they may “slide off”. Application: Feather with a synthetic brush.  Use a translucent powder to “set” with a velour puff or tap in to the skin with a domed powder brush for longevity.

Dome powder brush

Dome powder brush

Final Note: Wash your tools on a daily basis to avoid a build-up of bacteria. Foundation will not cover acne scars or large pores. Talk with an esthetician about microdermabrasion , or your doctor about fractional laser therapy to diminish the appearance.

Makeup Advice for Men

In response to an e-mail from J.A.:

“Do you recommend men to use some makeup before doing any headshots? If so, what would you use? Minimal concealers? What?”

Let’s face it boys, don’t we all want to look good in pictures? Not to upstage the ladies and take away a bit of the spotlight, but it’s also nice when the light shines on us.  My advice: keep it simple. With the quality and clarity of digital film, if you see makeup on your face in the mirror it will show on camera.

"KISS" obvious makeup goodbye

"KISS" obvious makeup goodbye

We all know what it is like to ask for directions, but rules are different at the makeup counter. The ladies are generally more than happy to battle the other sales associates to take a few moments to help you. Go in to the department store with a purpose and a list. As coy as these cosmetic femme fatales may be, they can sniff out inexperience and a credit card with space. Start by finding a lightweight tinted moisturizer that matches your skin tone. You need a color that matches your face NOT YOUR HANDS. Choose a shade that “appears to disappear” on your jaw-line. Generally a tinted moisturizer is enough to even out the skin, but if you have other areas that need a little help such as blemishes or razor burn, a matching concealer can be used. Do NOT use a light concealer, especially under your eyes. You will look like you’ve spent the day on the slopes with a pair of goggles on.

With the skin tone even, I also like to add a gel bronzer such as Tarte’s Sunkissed Gel Bronzer.  Apply the product lightly to the boney features of your face such as your cheek bones, forehead, nose, and a small amount on your chin. Ensure that you blend the product to appear that you have a light tan. You are not trying to achieve a George Hamilton tan.

If your eyelashes are light, you can apply a light coat of mascara to enhance your lashes, such as Kiss Me Mascara in black. Tube mascara will not run or smear on your eyes, and they are easy to remove with soap and water. If you find that your skin is too shiny, apply a light amount of TRANSLUCENT powder in your t-zone to blot the shine.  You don’t need to invest in brushes. Just purchase disposable sponges from your drug store to apply the powder.

Finish the look by adding a bit of moisture to your pucker. Nobody wants to kiss lips that feel like sandpaper.  Use a lip balm, such as Dr Haushka for an intensive daily lip treatment. It helps renew and protect rough, dry, cracked lips without encouraging product dependency.

Use these tips for any day or night that you want to impress the best. Embrace the metro-sexual in you and a whole new bevy of beauties clamoring for your contact info.

putting your best face forward

Tricks of the Trade: The Smokey Eye

For decades the illusion of mystery, and a seductive gaze could be achieved by creating a classic smokey eye. The look is timeless and has been worn by many Hollywood starlets, socialites, and even first ladies.  Flip through magazines and you will see Madonna, Malin Akerman, Rihanna, Beyonce, and even the First Lady Michelle Obama wearing the look. Once reserved for the bad girl, society is reinterpreting the image to that of sophistication and refinement.

Madonna, Beyonce, First Lady Michelle Obama, Malin Akerman, and Rihanna

Madonna, Beyonce, First Lady Michelle Obama, Malin Akerman, and Rihanna

There are several techniques to achieve the look, and every artist has their own. I like to keep the application simple, and the number of steps a minimum.  Intensity of the shadow color will determine the specific effect.  A soft veil of color can be applied for day, and building intensity will achieve a more dramatic evening look.

For this look you will need the following items: Products: Thickening mascara, Black water-proof gel eyeliner, black eye shadow, nude base color eye shadow, flesh-tone shimmer eye shadow. Tools: Lash Curler, Liner Brush, Base Color brush, Blending brush, Smudge brush (optional)

#1. With your liner brush, draw a line along the top of your lashes with the gel liner. Using your finger, or a smudge brush blend the liner inwards and upwards until the color blends mid-way to your crease.  The color should fade from dark at the lash line to lightest towards the crease.

Step 1: Line with gel liner

Step 1: Line with gel liner

Blending with a smudge brush

Blending with a smudge brush

#2 With a damp base color brush, saturate the hairs with your black shadow.  Keep the bristles flat, gently picking up color on both sides of your brush.  Test the color saturation on your hand before applying to your lids.  If you want a deeper tone, just use more shadow.  Tap the color along the base of your lashes, using the gel liner as a guide.  Blend the shadow inwards and upwards mid-way to your crease. 

Using a damp brush for added color saturation

Using a damp brush for added color saturation

#3 With your blending brush, blend the shadow from the mid-crease to the crease of your eye. Using the same inward and upward motion, blend the color back and forth like a windshield wiper until the color is blended. 

Softening edges with a blending brush

Softening edges with a blending brush

#4 Use your liner brush with a damp shadow to apply color under your bottom lashes.  Blend the color, pulling downwards towards the inner corner of the eye, and then blend downwards toward the outer corner of your eye.  Create a cross-hatch blend to soften the color.

Applying liner with a damp brush

Applying liner with a damp brush

#5. Apply gel liner to the inside rim of your eyes with the liner brush.

Using gel liner on the rim of the eye

Using gel liner on the rim of the eye

#6. Use a natural base color under your brow.  Using a frost or shimmer under the brow will give the illusion of a hooded brow-bone.  A very light dusting of a shimmer is OK on the brow, just be careful not to date your look.  Frosted brow bones went out of style in the 1990’s. Dampen your blending brush and apply a nude shimmer to the inside corner of your eyes. This will help brighten a smokey eye.

Damp brush application of a nude shimmer

Damp brush application of a nude shimmer

#7.  Curl your lashes, and finish your smokey eye with a good coat or two of mascara.



Considering a tattoo

There are some things in this world we should not have to look back on and regret doing.  Getting a tattoo is one of these decisions. Think before you ink.

 Trends:  “Is the tattoo I am about to get a trend?” Several clients I have spoken with were inked with tribal designs in the 90’s, and have since wished that they had another design. They have been researching cover up, or removal of their original designs.  Trends will always be around, and the media as well as celebrities enhance the hype surrounding trend tattoos.  Don’t get a tattoo “just because Britney Spears has a new tattoo, or your favorite band is sporting some hot design.”  You don’t want to regret a decision that is hard to undo.  The entertainment industry changes, people change, and so do trend tattoo designs.

 Names, Words, and Lover’s Names: Consider not getting your lover or partners name tattooed anywhere on your body. A tattoo should be for life, and your relationship may not be.  Long after the butterflies have stopped twirling in your stomach, that tattoo may be the bane of your existence. You may want to honor a fallen family member, memorialize their name, or tattoo their favorite passage.  If the words you are choosing are a reminder of tough times, it may be hard re-live the events in script.

Age and What Others Perceive: Maturity is a factor to consider when getting your design.  There are decisions we make when we are young that we may not make as we mature. Remember that with age, our outlook, style, decisions, opinions, and minds evolve. Get a tattoo for yourself and not for someone else.  Don’t worry what a partner may say or think about your work. Be proud of who you are, stand true to your design, and display your ink with pride.  

Placement and Size:  Do you want to see your art on a daily basis, or if you would rather glimpse your design as you pass a mirror?  If the design has a lot of detail you may have to go for a larger piece.  With time small detail can get lost or blur if you do not take care of your ink.

Removal:  Ink should never be applied if you have thoughts of future removal. Depending on the depth and the color of the ink, the design may still be visible.  Removal services require several appointments, 4 to 8 weeks apart to diminish the design. Tattoos done by an amateur artist may require 4 to 6 treatments, while professional tattoos can take up to 10 treatments or more. A design that is only 1 square inch can be over $150 per session. If you think a tattoo is uncomfortable to get, the pain associated with removal is much higher.

Do as much research as you possible can on design.  Search on-line, go through magazines, spend hours in a bookstore, and admire as many tattoos that you can.  Try to picture yourself with the design.  It is possible to place temporary designs if you are unsure of placement.  A temporary stencil can be applied for a nominal fee that will last a few days, giving you an opportunity to see what the design will be like. 

Red Alert

No need to send out the fire trucks unless you need a little eye candy.  Take the world by control and step out with a red pout.  Economic times are tough, and staying within budget is on everyone’s minds. If you going add one new color to your makeup kit this season, make it a red lipstick. 


Marilyn Monroe Life Magazine

Marilyn Monroe Life Magazine

Coco Rocha

Coco Rocha


Screen siren Marilyn Monroe wore Chanel No. 5 to bed, but chose ruby lipstick for all other occasions. In the past, red was reserved for fall, but this spring the fashion world is embracing the color. Today, fashion icons and celebrities such as Coco Rocha,  Dita Von Teese, Anne Hathaway, and Kate Hudson have been seen wearing a red. Confidence is the key when wearing a bold color, so remember the following tips:

Healthy skin looks much better when you balance your complexion. Even out your skin tone with foundation before adding a burst of color.  A flawless complexion, bronzer, fresh light eyes, and mascara will complete the look. You can also apply a small amount of lipstick on the apples of your cheeks for blush.

Red may “bleed”. To prevent this, use a pencil in the same shade.  Fill in your lips with the liner, and blend in the pencil before applying your lipstick. The pencil helps longevity and keeps your color from traveling. If you have a steady hand, use a stain such as Benefit Cosmetic’s Benetint, or Stila’s Lip Rouge. If your lips are thin, avoid deeper reds.

There is nothing worse than lipstick on the teeth.  To avoid this, after applying the color place a finger in your mouth, purse lips slowly, and remove. Excess product will be on your finger and not your teeth. 

Tips and Tricks


Moisturizer: It is important to wear a good SPF. Find one that will protect your skin from UVA (protects against aging) and UVB rays (protects against burning). When you come out of the shower in the morning, make sure you treat your skin to a good moisturizer. Keep your skin fresh and young day and night. Take the time and remove your makeup at the end of the day. Clogged pores are not happy pores. Use a gentle exfoliant to slough dead skin cells and refresh your skin.

Foundation: Finding the correct shade is important. Do not warm your complexion with a darker foundation. You can always add a gel or powder bronzer for added warmth. If you are unsure of your skin tone, test the color on your jaw-line. A foundation that “disappears” on your skin will be your shade. No need for a full face of makeup when you find the correct color. Even out your skin through your T-zone, taking care to not apply foundation on your eyelids. The shadow will crease throughout the day and not wear as well. Tinted moisturizers will give your skin the lightest coverage, liquids medium coverage, and crème makeup full coverage.

Concealer: Similar to finding a foundation, find a shade that matches your skin tone. Do not date your look by using a concealer that is 2 shades lighter under your eyes. If it matches your foundation, your skin will look flawless. A shade too light will appear ashy on the skin, and enhance discoloration.

Eyes: Find shadows that you can use wet or dry. Wet shadows will wear longer and stay where you put them. When shadows are used wet, the pigment will also be a bit deeper. Base shadows are also a great way to keep your shadow on all day. Use a base shadow that does not contain shimmer. A matt shadow will be easier to blend. Use a warm peach to brighten your eyes.

Eye Liner: Use a waterproof liner such as Stila smudge pot, or Makeup Forever’s gel liner. Great for contact wearers and people who do not have time to check their makeup several times a day. A navy blue liner will brighten whites, and help during those days your eyes are a little tired. Black is perfect for everyday use.

Cheeks: “Pop” the life back in your skin with a hint of color. Apples of the cheeks will give a youthful glow. The day of the 80’s racing stripe should remain in the past. Blush is used to create the illusion of health and youth. Soft peach tones are great for the spring season.

Bronzer: Diamonds sparkle, but make bronzer a “girls best friend”. A stain or gel will leave the skin with that extra little glow and give the radiance of a sun kiss. Winter spring summer and fall; a bronzer will finish your look.

Lips: Avoid the rogue seagull flying above your lip. Match your liner with your lip color. Blend in your lip line and your products will last longer. Stains are great for long wear.