To hire or not to hire a Makeup Artist

By vnunes

Jay Cavallaro Photography

Jay Cavallaro Photography

Many times I come across individuals who question why they should hire a Makeup Artist (MUA) for their wedding or not. Yes, it is another cost. Yes, it can be a bit pricey, but there are quite a few reasons as to why it is a good idea to.

I know what you’re thinking- “Um, aren’t you biased because you are a MUA?”…Even if I wasn’t an MUA, I would still encourage hiring a makeup artist for your wedding and, in fact, I would highly recommend that you include that into your budget initially when establishing one.

Here are a few reasons why my fellow MUA’s, photographer friends and vendors think you should hire one for your big day:

Photos Last Forever- If you’re investing in a photographer, you should invest in the way you look- Photographers are amazing. They are the reason why you really remember your big day. You may also invest a lot of time into meeting with multiple ones to find that match and/or investing a lot of money into one. You will want to make sure you have makeup that not only makes you look flawless, but that makes you look like YOU on your big day.

Flash can be your Best Friend- or Worst Enemy- Without the proper foundation or powder, flash can EASILY make you look washed out or ashy. Makeup artists use special HQ powders and makeup. We also know how to enhance your features i.e. eyes, lips, cheeks, etc. We also ensure that we have a variety of colors to match every skin color out there, which brings me to my next point…

Makeup Artists Invest $$$$ into their Kits- Any professional MUAs all agree- they’ve invested and are constantly investing in their kits. We are constantly looking out for the best quality makeup for our kits and attend workshops, conventions and more to learn about and buy the latest and greatest. I know for myself I have made trips to NYC just to stand in line for 2 hours to buy professional makeup- just for one brand (Make Up Forever). I am always reaching out to fellow MUA’s to find out what products they LOVE and can’t be without in their kits. Not to mention, airbrush?? It’s not cheap and you can’t buy that at the drugstore around the corner.
I’ve also heard “Oh, my friend will do it. She does her makeup really pretty so she can do mine,”- *forehead slap*- yes. There are people out there who do a fantastic job at makeup. Going out for the night? Sure. Let ‘em do it. But, please, not on your wedding day!

- Sweat Proof/Tear Proof/Kiss Proof- Professional MUA’s have products that will ensure your makeup lasts all day, all night, through the sweat, tears and kisses. It also has a lot to do with the makeup application process and understanding your skin and what works best for it.

You Want to Look Like Yourself- Sure, that super sultry smokey look with greys and blacks looks fantastic in person, but in photos? On your wedding day? Not so much. Before you sign any contracts with an MUA, make sure that you schedule a trial with them to make sure they are what you looking for/you like their work. They are here for you and to make you happy- if you tell them to make you look as natural as possible, they will. If you ask for green and orange eye shadow? Well, hopefully they’ll talk you right out of it.

- Quality v.s. Quantity- I may be repeating myself, and may be a bit contradicting, but it IS worth the investment. If your niece’s second teenage cousin agrees to do your makeup for $20 on your wedding day- then you will get a $20 look. If you invest $75+ on a Professional MUA to do your makeup, then hopefully it is worth the investment. If there is a MUA that is just starting out (we’ve all been there) charging you only $40, schedule a trial first before you book them- if they try and are serious about it/have aspirations, why not? Schedule a trial first.  Again, MUA have professional products and are trained to provide professional makeup applications.

-Last but not least- Stress-free!- The last thing you want to worry on your wedding day is makeup. It is YOUR day- have everyone do everything for you, including your makeup. MUA will have it all set up for you and ready-to-go. We’re there for you. Let us be.

So happy hunting and good luck looking for the perfect MUA for your big day!

xo V

Oh-La-La! Boudoir Photo Sessions

By vnunes

Bring out your inner vixen by booking a “boudoir shoot” with a local photographer. Whether it is for you or your loved one, boudoir is the best way to make yourself feel confident, sexy and fabulous- oh and not to mention, it’s you at your best, looking your best! It doesn’t get any better than that ladies!

I recently teamed up with the talented Julie Turner from Jewel Photo for a boudoir photo shoot. The model, Patricia, was a natural beauty and wanted a romantic and sexy look. We easily achieved that through soft makeup with an emphasis on her eyes (achieving those sexy “bedroom eyes”).


What I love about boudoir makeup is that you can switch looks up just by amping up a lip color or adding lashes. The most important thing to remember when it comes to boudoir makeup is to accentuate your features with the help of some makeup:

Lashes- Go big or go home! Lashes will make your eyes POP and add that sultriness to your look. I personally love Ardell lashes, which you can pick up at your local pharmacy such as CVS or RiteAid. If you’re willing to spend a little bit extra money, Faux lashes are my number 1 choice. They’re easy to apply and can be reused!

Lips- As we all know, I am a fan of Pin-Up makeup. Personally, I LOVE red lips, but if you’re going for a more romantic look, a soft pink with a coat of gloss looks absolutely stunning. Because Patricia had red lingerie as one of her outfits,  decided to apply a sheer red gloss to her lips.

Skin- When booking a boudoir shoot, look into booking a makeup artist as well. It is well worth the investment, most importantly because we have the best quality makeup specialized for photography and photo shoots. I airbrushed Patricia’s foundation on and contoured along her jawline. She had a gorgeous cafe skin color, which I accentuated with bronzer on her cheekbone and hairline. I also applied shimmer to her décolletage to accentuate her curves as well.

Other features to accentuate- If you’re not used to filling in your eyebrows on a daily basis, you’ll want to fill them in for the photo shoot. Your eyebrows, especially if they’re light or thin, can easily be washed out- it is well worth the investment to purchase a good quality eyebrow pencil or eyebrow powder (apply with an angled brush).

Remember, during your boudoir shoot, make sure to have fun- be yourself- be confident!


The Daily Routine

By vnunes

I apologize for the lack of updates- I am still alive! It’s wedding season, my favorite season, and work is in full swing! I made this fun little video (starring my pup, Tucker) on my daily routine. Below you will find a list of products that I use on a daily basis and in the video. Happy viewing!

Products Used:

Korres- Pomegranate Mattifying Face Primer
Makeup Forever- HD Foundation- #120
Beauty Blender Sponge
Benefit- Erase Paste- Medium
Stila- Perfecting Concealer- Shade C
Clinique Stay-Matte Sheer Pressed Powder- Stay Golden
Tarte Cosmetics- Double Ended Shadow and Blending Brush
Clinique- Quad Eyeshadow- Discontinued- a pale yellow shadow & matte vanilla colored shadow will do
Urban Decay- Naked Palette-Dark Horse
Urban Decay- Naked Palette- Virgin
Urban Decay- 24/7 Glide on Pencil- Zero
Urban Decay- 24/7 Glide on Pencil- Bourbon
Josie Maran- Argan Color Stick- Peony
Bdellium Tools- Professional Antibacterial Makeup Brush Studio Line- Duet Fiber Powder Blending 958
Benefit Cosmetics- Blush- Dandelion
Benefit Cosmetics- They’re Real Mascara- TIP: put mascara on last to ensure that powder doesn’t stick to the mascara!

Going Au Natural- Body Moisturizer

By vnunes

When I heard that our skin absorbs 60% of everything we put on it, I started to think “What exactly am I putting on my skin?”. I’ve started to reconsider what I’ve applying- especially as a moisturizer, which I apply every day- twice a day. Now, I am not an esthetician, but I know what works on my skin. My skin needs more moisture than average, and often times, especially in the winter, craves it. Well, I think I found the answer and guess what, this product is good for you both inside and out!

coconut oil

My MUA friend recommended I try coconut oil. Yes, a food ingredient. I found mine on from Trader Joe’s, but you can pick up coconut oil at any health grocery store. Because it is essentially an oil and takes longer to absorb, I apply this on my face and body at night. Coconut oil has tons of benefits, such as healing cuts, minimizing scars, healing eczema and more. To find out more about coconut oil and its many uses, visit They have a fantastic infograph that lays out many health and beauty benefits of this oil.

*NOTE- There are those out there who have strong allergies to cocoa butter/ coconuts- please do not use this product if you do!

lush creamI’ve always heard about the all natural cosmetic company LUSH Cosmetics, but unfortunately, because I live in Connecticut,  Inever really had access to a store to try out their products. Lucky for me, I had a gig in NYC a few weekends ago and wanted to pick up some goodies that I couldn’t get at home. LUSH was the first store that came to mind. I needed a day-time moisturizer, and wanted something that was healing for my dry skin as well.I tried out a few moisturizers, but nothing really stood out- not until I tried LUSH’s Dream Cream on the back of my hand. The cream felt extremely soothing and cooling, due to the oat milk. The cream also has lavender and chamomile- both smell lovely and both have calming capabilities to skin as well.

Any recommendations for an all natural face cream? That’s my next venture and I need to know what works best for you!

Beauty Advice- I work the night shift and I have bags!

By vnunes

My friend Tess emailed me this question a few days ago and I’m sure many readers, including myself, can relate:

Being a night nurse is really taking a toll on my eyes. I constantly wear makeup to hide how tired I look but I am having a hard time covering up the bags under my eyes bc of my light skin! Any suggestions in how to cover them up?

This is a challenge for many, no matter what your age. From long nights studying, to working, to crying, to partying- we’ve all been there!
The trick to hiding those bags is to start with a tall glass of water and a good moisturizer. Water will help flush out the toxins and revitalize your skin. Great skin starts from the inside out and water is the number- one solution to de-puff skin.



Using the right moisturizer can help with those bags as well. Moisturizers with caffeine can help reduce puffiness.  Estée Lauder’s Idealist Cooling Eye Illuminator will do the trick. Besides caffeine, this eye cream has sea algae, magnolia extract and Vitamin C.

E6XT_lIn order to immediately hide those bags, you will need the right makeup and conceal the shadow, NOT the bag itself. Bobbi Brown’s Creamy Concealer Kit is well worth it. The dual concealer helps hide both bags and dark circles. Use a concealer TWO shades lighter than your actual skin tone- remember, try first, then buy. ALWAYS ask for a sample before you invest.


Apply the concealer to the shadow that the shadow creates- just under the eye, where the bag is. Don’t go above the shadow of the bag or else it’ll draw attention. To get a precise application, use a concealer brush,such as Bdellium Tools Precision Concealer Brush (Bdellium has AMAZING brushes and I’ll let you in on a little secret- they’re cheap and amazing quality. I’m in love with these brushes and quickly filing my collection with them.). Do not apply TOO much product to the brush, dab it on the shadow, blending it in with your ring finger. Apply brush a powder brush translucent shadow to lock in the concealer (making sure it lasts).

Have beauty questions? Feel free to reach out via the Contact page or on Facebook!

What’s in your bag?

By vnunes

Though I have my professional makeup kit, I also have my own personal makeup kit with items that I use on a daily basis. As a makeup artist, I’ve learned how to find staple items that I’ve loved for years and have consolidated my kit. I am still discovering new products every day and continuously researching. If you are interested in trying out a product, specifically a foundation, lipstick, or cream, you can ALWAYS get samples- in fact, I always try before buying if I am able to. Makeup is an investment, so make sure it is a wise one.

Here are the staples of my kit/my go-to products:


Primer- After moisturizing, I apply Korres Face Primer. This absorbes quickly and helps my foundation stay put.

Foundation- Because my skin color changes with the seasons (literally), I switch up my foundation. I currently mix two foundations on a palette and apply it with my Beauty Blender (make sure to moisten the sponge first).

Clinique BB in Shade 2
Makeup Forever HD Foundation in #127
Beauty Blender

Concealer- I am a concealer-a-holic. I have SUPER dark circles and have tried everything to get rid of them (the moment I find something that cures it I’ll be sure to post it here!). As a result, I layer one concealer to cancel out the color and another to blend it in with my foundation. If you want to learn more about my process to cover dark circles- check out my guest post here at Erin Marzilli’s Beauty Blog.

Stila Perfecting Concealer in Shade C
Benefit Erase Paste in Medium

Powder- Because I use a powder for my blush, I included it under this category, but there are some great cream blushes out there!

MAC Powder Blush in Enough Said (color discontinued)
Benefit Blush in Dandelion
Clinique Stay-Matte Sheer Pressed Powder in Stay Golden

Eyes- I always switch up my eyeshadow colors (I have quite the collection!) but these products are my hands-down go-to products.

Urban Decay 247 Glide-On Pencil in Zero, Bourbon and Uzi
ModelCo Fibre LashXtend Mascara

It’s not about quantity, but quality of the products. What products do you use on a daily basis and swear by? I’d love to hear what you use!

- V

Makeup 101 by Rachell Ventura

By vnunes

Happy New Year! To kick off the New Year, I asked my MUA friend Rachell (check out her Youtube- awesome videos!) to be a guest blogger on my page! Rachell is currently a student at my alma mater, Russell Sage College and is a lover of all things makeup!  She provided some great tips on how anyone can achieve a great day to night look in less than 10 minutes! 


Hey beautiful people! Happy New Year! What’s better than spending starting off the New Years with great outfits and make-up looks to match it? Today I’ll be showing you how you create a day to night look in less than 10 minutes!
First thing you’ll need to do is start with a fresh clean face! Make sure you moisturize right after washing your face, I used Jergins face moisturizer. [Quick tip: Rinse with cold water to help close pores, especially if you have oily skin!]
After you let your moisturizer set in, apply face primer. I am applying MAC creme matifiante

While I let that set in, I apply MAC painterly paintpot for my eyelids, this will help my eyeshadow color last longer and appear more vibrant!

brows1Next, I’m going concentrate on my eyebrows eyebrows! With a spooly brush, I’m going to comb my eyebrows in upward direction, line my eyebrows using MAC Eyebrow Pencil in the color Spiked.
I will need to “shade” in my brows to make them appear as realistic as possible. Towards the front of my brows, I’m going to take the MAC shadow in Carbon and apply it lightly towards the front. Then I will apply concealer around my brows for a more sharp and clean look.
To finish the brows, I apply brow gel and comb them in upwards direction to keep them in place.
For my eyes, I’m going to take a nude/goldish color on my lids with a flat brush. On my crease, I’m going to take the Mac shadow in Carbon and apply with the fluffy blending brush.
Taking any gel liner (I used NYC liner), I lined my top lids to create a cat eye. I then applied mascara (I recommend LORAC mascara).
For my face, I am using my MAKE-UP FOR EVER HD foundation and my MAKE UP FOR EVER concealer, to conceal any dark spots.
cheeksFor my cheeks, I used my ELF compact blush and bronzer platte with both an angled brush and a blush brush.
Using MAC studio powder, I pat this lightly on my face to set my foundation and blush.
I finish off with lips using a nude gloss  (I love LORAC Lip Gloss).
Want to intensify your look for the night time? All you need to to do apply dark brown eyeshadow towards the bottom of your lids and apply a Burgundy/black eyeshadow towards your cheeks! No need to change lip color- just reapply your gloss!
Hope you enjoyed!
Xoxo Rachell Ventura

The Remedy

By vnunes

Living in Connecticut i.e. the Northeast in November, the weather is all over the place. Two weeks ago we had a rather large hurricane hit the region and just last week we had 2 inches of snow. Today it was 60 degrees out. My skin has been on the fritz, unsure of how to adapt. Right now, it’s been very dry- so dry that it hurts.

I have had eczema since I was a toddler, so I’ve tried it all. I’m almost sure that I had every single beauty line that Macy’s carried in my medicine cabinet at one point- trying hard to find a cure for my sore dry skin. Finally, I have found products that I swear by and use in my daily skincare routine. Some I’ve recently discovered and some I’ve been using for years:

Philosophy Purity Made Simple Facewash 32 oz. – This has been one of the few makeup-removing face washes that hasn’t dried out my skin. This gentle cleanser removes all my makeup without stripping the natural oils from my skin. I still do exfoliate two times a week, but this is a part of my daily routine. I have had the 32 oz. size for 4 months now and I’m not even close to running out- thank you Philosophy for making that size!

Embryolisse Filaderme- This moisturizer was actually recommended to me from a fellow MUA. I use this on not only myself but on my clients- it works on ALL skin types and keeps skin moisturized all day. This cream also absorbs rather quickly into skin, so there is no problem applying makeup shortly after.

Clinique All About Eyes- This sounds weird, but my eyelids get extremely dry. Though this product is used for reducing circles and puffs (which I have yet to find the cure for my circles), it’s a great moisturizer for the delicate eye area. I’ve been using this for over 10 years and I keep going back to it again and again.

Labello Classic Care- This is a classic staple in Latin America and works better than any other Chapstick I’ve used. I stock up every time I go to Mexico and now I’m excited to find that it’s sold on Amazon. This Chapstick has been curing my dry lips since I can remember and I keep one in my purse and one on my dresser (clever thinking on the 2-pack!).

Besides the cold, dry weather, a surprising cause of dry skin is the heat in your house/office. Yes, heating utilities. These units remove moisture in the air and moisture in your skin. Besides continuously moisturizing your skin, investing in a humidifier is also a great remedy.

What works best for you? I’d love to hear about products you swear by to cure your dry skin during the winter months.

Maquilla de Dia De Los Muertos / Makeup of Day of the Dead

By vnunes

A few weeks ago I had the honor of working with the wonderful and talented Gina and Charlie Slyer from A Slyer Image Photography to work on a Dia De Los Muertos look. They are so much fun to work with and up for anything!  I’ve never done this look before but was very eager to try it out. My model, Katie, had the perfect look for the photos (especially with those rockin’ tattoos!) and my good friend, Jessica Mcenaney from Dang, That’s Cherry! provided the wardrobe for the shoot.

Coming from a strong Mexican background, I am very familiar with Dia De Los Muertos. Growing up, we received Sugar Skulls from my grandmother from Mexico. I always admired the artistry that went into the skulls themselves (and yes, I resisted not to eat them!) Not until this year did I really discover the beauty of Sugar Skull Makeup. I picked up a few items for the look but used items I already had as well. To check out more photos from the shoot, please visit my Facebook Page!


I used the following products (shown from L to R):
Ben Nye Clown White
Eve Pearl Loose Setting Powder “A”
Urban Decay Alice in Wonderland Limited Edition Palette
MAC 210 Precision Eyeliner Brush
Ben Nye Rainbow Makeup Wheel
I purchased some rhinestones from a craft store (on sale for $.50 for 30!) and the glitter was actually the model’s (she purchased it at IMATS and you can purchase it here) and it worked like a charm!

First and foremost- give yourself at least an hour to do this look (especially if you use rhinestones like I did). The rhinestone application is a bit tedious and we wanted to get good photos before the sunset- hence why I applied the gems to only half of the eye. I first applied the clown white to the model’s entire face and neck. I had to apply a few layers of the clown white to her face and faded down to her neck. I then applied the black from the Rainbow Palette around her eyes using my MAC 210 brush.
From there, I added the shadow around her eyes (I used  the color “Alice” in the Alice in Wonderland palette but any bright eyeshadow will work). I then used the glitter set to outline the shadow and add yet more dimension. The rhinestones were applied one by one with eyelash glue (this takes time so keep that in mind!). I contoured her temples with the color “Queen” from the eyeshadow palette,.
I purposely did the swirls a little unperfect and messy to add some edge to the look. You can do clean swirls if you want, just make sure you take a step back every now and then and make sure each side is symmetrical. Top it off with some fun lashes and you are  done! I’ve seen other looks add more dimension to the face to make it look more “skull like”. You can achieve this with grey and black shadow and blending into the liner.

 My friend Stacey and her girl friend did 1/2 face Sugar Skull makeup- this adds a glamorous edge to the look and I love the drastic contrast between the glamour and art.

What I love about this look is that you can be as creative as possible- the possibilites are endless with colors, patterns, even elements used to the face (you can use sequens, more glitter, etc.).

I can’t wait to do more looks like this next year- Halloween costume for 2013, perhaps?

New Website

By vnunes

Welcome to my new website! I am very eager to share my experiences, advice and ideas with you via this site. Feel free to look around and do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions!


- V