Not Your Mama's Maternity Session: Dark & Sultry Makeup

If I'm honest, I had a hard time wrapping my head around the concept for this styled shoot because I have become so accustomed to descriptions like "light", "airy", "soft", "pretty", & "romantic" when being briefed on the look & feel for 99.9999% of all maternity sessions. So while I was excited to do something new, Breanna (Blooming Images) had to really coax me along; "A little darker lipstick, Christy... come on... daaaaarker". & boy, am I thrilled with the results! I love it & I love that it is different than what I've always done for maternity photos. As for hair, I wanted to showcase the makeup, the florals by Stephanie Yardman, & Cameron's gorgeous face, so I decided to put her hair up high & leave it sort of casual & effortless.

Photos by Blooming Images

Florals by Stephanie Yardman Floral Design

Makeup & Hair by C. Johnson Makeup

Thank you to this beautiful mama; Cameron Storie

Located in Northern New Mexico

Real Wedding

With a background in dancing & pageantry, our gorgeous bride, Carin looked incredible wearing a sophisticated makeup look, emphasizing her natural beauty. I took extra care to keep her makeup very clean & precise, & our team was especially excited to show off her beautiful hair by giving her a sexy, loose curl (which paired perfectly with the elegant neckline of her dress). Carin is undeniably beautiful & her bridal party was one of the most fun groups we've had the pleasure of doing makeup for! Leave it to wedding planner, Maria Socha from Sealed With A Kiss to coordinate a stunning wedding featuring bold red bridesmaids gowns & elegant white flowers amidst the gorgeous backdrop of Hotel Albuquerque. & thank goodness for the immeasurably talented Tony Gambino for capturing it all!

Ultra-Elegant Bridal Hair & Makeup

For this photo shoot I paired bold, elegant makeup with classic, romantic hair. I wanted to make sure that Emily's makeup was noticeable enough to stand up to the beauty of the landscape & the bright, outdoor lighting. Then, I selected the hairstyle with her gorgeous hair in mind. I wanted to simultaneously emphasize the beauty of Emily's hair while allowing it to flow softly in the gentle breezes of our lovely New Mexico landscape. I hope you all enjoy these photos as much as I do & maybe this hair & makeup will give you a little inspiration for your own wedding day or photo session. :) Hair & Makeup: C. Johnson Makeup

Venue: Paa-ko Ridge Golf Course & Event Center

Photography: Emily Joanne Weddings

Flowers: Floriography Flowers

Model: Emily Tafoya

Our Gorgeous New Studio!

We have wonderful, exciting news! We now have a physical location where we are able to host our bridal preview sessions, group makeup lessons, beauty classes, & makeup parties for special events.  Panorama Our space is well-lit & spacious, with plenty of natural light, which we all know is essential to a superb makeup application. I also purchased studio lighting, similar to what you might find in a photographer's set up, for those cloudy days when we'll need the supplemental light.

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We also have a beverage station (yay, Keurig!) because, let's face it... coffee is a necessity.

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Our walls are adorned with canvases from some of our favorite photo shoots that we've done (these canvases are from Blue Rose Photography).

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We'd love to have some visitors & our space is open by appointment only. Contact us today to set up an appointment - we'd love to see you!

Real Wedding: Historic Santa Fe Hotel

Last month, C. Johnson Makeup provided makeup & hair at a gorgeous wedding in Santa Fe, NM at the Historic Hotel La Fonda on the Plaza.  Emily Joanne Photography provided these incredible images to capture how exquisite the bride looked in this gorgeous setting.

The September weather couldn't have been more perfect - from prep to final touches on hair & makeup this was one of our most memorable weddings & we're so excited to share these images.




A gorgeous capture of our makeup on this stunning bride.


We love our real weddings & are happy to travel across New Mexico & beyond to serve our clients on their loveliest days. Please call or email for your upcoming event. (505)715-9490 or Please visit us on Facebook or online at

New Full-Size Luxury Lip Products!

I have some exciting news! We've been working with a NYC cosmetics manufacturer to come up with our own line of lip products for our clients. We have so many brides who request to keep the lip products we use on them for their makeup application, & we just couldn't keep enough extra lip products on hand to fulfill every request. This also means we will now be able to offer FULL SIZE LUXURY MAKEUP products in our bridal touch up kits (instead of sample sizes or generic/drug store products). YAY! (You have no idea how thrilled I am about this.)

Our Luxury Matte Lipstick is available in 23 shades & will retail for $17.50 each.

This lipstick features an extreme long-wear, waterproof formula. This transfer-proof lipstick is perfect for wedding-day wear, clocking in at about 7 hours of color staying power! Unlike most other long-lasting lip colors, it is super-soft as it glides on the lips for a precise application.As always, we are committed to using gentle, safe products so, of course, it is approved by the FDA & is paraben free! Made in the USA.


To accompany our new lipsticks, we will also be offering Waterproof Gel Lip Liner. This awesome, long-wearing lip liner will be available for $16.00 each.

This Waterproof Gel Lip Liner is also extremely long-wearing. It is made with a waterproof formula that glides onto lips for transfer-proof, non-feathering color for up to 7 hours. The super soft texture allows for a precise application & then sets for a professional, all-day look.

Paraben free. Made in the USA.


Gel Lip Liner

Check back after October 1st for swatches of our new lip products! or

Pro Beauty Haul. LORAC, TEMPTU, MUFE & more...

Haul!!!! I recently restocked some staple makeup items & also got a handful of new products to try out (I can never resist!). IMG_5114

Temptu Pro Foundation S/B Makeup Starter Set This is a versatile set with 12 foundation shades with what looks like a good variety of cool, warm, & neutral tones; with this amount of variety they are very easy to custom blend for the perfect shade for any client.. The bottles are only 1/4 oz. each, however when it comes to airbrush foundation, this is sufficient for many, many makeup applications.

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Beauty Blender Sponge Cleanser (blendercleanser) This cleanser smells like lavender essential oil, however the bottle lists "fragrance" as an ingredient, so changes are it is artificial. The bottle also says that it is great for makeup brushes, however I recommend against using brush shampoo because the amount of water needed to get all of the shampoo out of the brush will inevitably cause the glue in the handle to fail & ruin your brush. (I suggest using an alcohol based spritz cleaner/sanitizer instead). This cleanser works very well & gets sponges clean almost immediately. It doesn't suds up, so it rinses out very easily. The only drawback is that the lavender smell is noticeable even after the sponge is clean, & I worry that it may irritate some clients (although probably not many).

Dirty Beauty Blender :(  (Before blendercleanser)

Clean Beauty Blender!

Make Up For Ever Sponge Shampoo The bottle makes a compelling sales pitch about using natural mint oils, & even though it does contain some spearmint leaf extract, the second ingredient listed is Sodium Laureth Sulfate, so it can't be that gentle on delicate makeup sponges. The fragrance is very light which is nice because some clients can be very sensitive to the smell of makeup products. This cleaner works exceptionally well, getting sponges looking like new very quickly. However, you do have to use A LOT of this cleanser to clean the entire sponge thoroughly. It gets moderately sudsy & is very difficult to rinse out of the sponge completely, which is concerning because Sodium Laureth Sulfate can be VERY irritating to most people's skin. The scent is extremely light after being rinsed. In the future, I will be purchasing the Beauty Blender Sponge Cleaner instead of this product.


LORAC POREfection foundation This product is oil-free, paraben-free, & fragrance-free, which I love. I am a huge fan of their original foundation formula so I thought I'd give this one a try as well. This foundation does contain SPF 20 though, so I am concerned about 'flash back'. I'll keep you posted as I continue to use it. Overall, it is very smooth & easy to move around with a sponge or brush, which means that it must be set well with plenty of setting powder.


LORAC Lip Luxe 8 hour lip color. I purchased this item in the shades  "Orchid" & "True Red". Lorac offers this lipstick in six shades total so it isn't the most versatile line of lipsticks however these are VERY pigmented & packed with bold color. They feature an understated glossy sheen with a significant stain quality. The texture is very nice; it doesn't harden or get sticky like a lot of other long-wearing lipsticks. This means that the glossy, high pigment lipstick quality will fade leaving behind the appearance of a stain. Chances are, this lipstick will smudge, smear, or transfer as well.

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Morphe Blush Palette 10B & Morphe Blush/Bronzer Palette 10D. They both have that unfortunate "cheap makeup" smell when you first open the package which I personally find off-putting, but I think I paid $11 each, so I really can't complain that much. The colors are vibrant & well pigmented, however they seem to fade easily & will require a makeup setting spray or good primer to stay on for a full day. My other complaint is that is appears that many of the shades are duplicated throughout the palette & there isn't as much variety as I would have expected from a 10 shade palette (particularly when talking about the blush palette- 10B). There is a variety of matte/shimmer options, however there seems to be no rhyme or reason to this... some are shimmery, some are not. The bronzers are pretty, however I am  afraid many of them may be too "orangey". Overall, I think there are only 3 or 4 shades between the two palettes that I might use regularly. I'd recommend these to anyone just starting out with makeup & not wanting to invest too much money, but I wouldn't recommend them for professionals.


LA FRESH Travel Lite makeup remover wipes. I used this to wipe off all of the makeup I swatched all over my arms for this post & they work well. They leave a soft feeling, but no greasy feeling or residue. They aren't very moisturizing, but they also aren't drying. They contain mineral oil, but also Isobutylparaben which kind of negate each other as far as moisturizing/drying & unfortunately it is in the paraben family which are known to be potentially unhealthy, disruptive to human hormone levels, & skin irritants. The wipes do smell a bit like baby changing wipes, which I find unappealing, but I know most people don't really mind. They only makeup the wipe didn't easily remove was the LORAC Lip Luxe 8 Hour  Lip Color, it left only a minor remnant of the stain, so that's pretty darn good. The single wipe packets are very convenient & easy to stash in the car, purse, backpack, pocket, wallet... where ever.


Ardell Invisiband Wispies, Ardell Natural #110 : I am a fan of Ardell lashes & have been for quite some time; the band is flexible, so they fit snugly against the lash-line no matter how curved the eyelid is (just bend them a while before application). These lashes (particularly the #110's) look nice & natural, not shiny or plasticy. I personally find them easy to wear (however some people find them to be too heavy & distracting. This is usually an issue with strip lashes in general, though, not this brand specifically). The Wispies are some of the more dramatic lashes I use regularly & are great for clients who are looking for a more 'glam' look, but not too over the top.




KISS EVER-EZ Lash #11, KISS EVER-EZ Lash #03, KISS EVER-EZ Trio Lashes: I'm not as familiar with this brand as I am Ardell, however, so far, I'm happy with these. In general, I would say they're very similar to the Ardell lashes. The #11's are similar to the Ardell Wispies, but are very dramatic & will probably only work on clients with large eyes. The #03's are very similar to the Ardell 110's & are going to work on just about everyone for a natural eyelash definition. Finally, the Trio Lashes are nice for clients who have a hard time wearing full strip lashes. I haven't had anyone mention any kind of discomfort with them yet. On a side note - I generally stick to using individual lashes because it completely avoids the issue of discomfort & they can be customized for as natural or dramatic a look as the client wants.



Have you tried any of these items? Am I missing out on any awesome products? Disagree with my comments? Let me know!

Pro Tips for Foolproof Foundation

I'd like to answer one of the most asked questions I get! How to apply foundation in a way that looks like clear, smooth skin (& not cakey makeup!). First of all... I use a variety of foundations, from traditional formulas, minerals, to airbrush foundation. My personal preference is traditional foundation - I feel that they are the easiest to get (there are many adequate drugstore brands), & they're the easiest to apply & blend. Traditional foundations come in liquid form, or cream/wax based formulas. Choosing the perfect foundation type for your everyday use will depend on the results you want to achieve & your skin type. If you happen to have very oily skin, a powdered mineral makeup might just be your best bet though!

For a creamy, luminous look with easy to apply, sheer results, look for a cream based foundation like the one shown below. This is a pro palette from Graftobian. This type of foundation is excellent for those with dry skin or fine lines & wrinkles & minimal discoloration. It is super blendable & easy to work with, but will slide on oily skin & must be set well with setting powder.

C. Johnson Makeup

To get the most natural looking foundation I suggest mixing more than one color for the perfect match. Some days you may need a bit of the darker shades & other days you might find a better match with a fairer shade.

Tip! Two light coats of foundation will always look more natural than one thick layer. If you don't achieve your desired level of coverage with the first application, lightly apply another layer of foundation & blend well. Focus the second layer of foundation only where you need a full coverage! Blend, blend, blend, blend blend... oh & did I mention, blend!

C. Johnson Makuep

The tools you use are just as important as the foundation itself. Cream & liquid foundations may be applied with a brush or sponge. Sponges generally provide a more sheer, smooth result (& I think they're easier to use). Just make sure you sanitize your sponge regularly... bacteria loves to grow in damp sponges (yuck!).

TIP! Wet your sponge & squeeze out the excess water before use. Generously apply the foundation to your skin & then blend with a clean, damp sponge for the most flawless results. Bonus! A damp sponge absorbs less makeup, saving product & money!

C. Johnson Makeup

Purchase 2-3 different foundation shades in your skin tone range. This allows you to customize your foundation color & adjust it as you tan or lighten throughout the seasons. Applying a slightly darker foundation to your forehead, chin, & temples mimics the natural color variation in our skin. (Using a single foundation shade, without any other added color causes the skin to appear washed out & monochromatic.) If you're not ready to shell out the money for more than one bottle of foundation, use highlighter & contour, or bronzer to add a dose of healthy looking color.

C. Johnson Makeup

The best (& most important) advice of all! This is good info for everyone, but especially those with sensitive skin: look for foundations that are fragrance-free, oil-free, paraben-free. To avoid acne, clean & sanitize your tools regularly (brushes & sponges) & wash your hands before application to prevent blemishes.

Of course there is (always!) so much more to know. If you have specific questions I'd be happy to answer them. Feel free to visit me on Facebook or For more in-depth information, I'd be happy to schedule a custom makeup lesson with you in person or via Skype. Talk to you soon!

*All photos were taken by Christy of C. Johnson Makeup. Please email before copying these photos.

Engagement Photo Session: Hair & Makeup.

We absolutely loved working with this naturally beautiful bride. In preparation for her wedding day, we provided her with a hair & makeup trial on the day of her engagement photo shoot. Any good photographer will tell you that a professional makeup application is critical for excellent photos, even if the desired look is very natural. A good photo-ready makeup application should obscure any dark shadows, highlight the cheekbones, and emphasize the eyes. We always lightly fill in the eyebrows & add some color to the cheeks because bright lighting & camera flash can cause the natural color in our faces to become washed out. We wanted this gorgeous girl's natural beauty to shine through & we made sure to highlight all of her best features (Hello BOMBSHELL EYELASHES!). Bridal makeup and hair. C. Johnson Makeup

Bridal and engagement makeup. C. Johnson Makeup. Albuquerque, NM.

The happy couple. Albuquerque, NM.

Hair & Makeup by C. Johnson Makeup. Old Town, Albuquerque, NM. Photo by Blue Rose Photography.

Bride, Groom, & Daughter/Flower Girl at their Engagement Photo Session. Albuquerque, NM. C. Johnson Makeup.


Isn't this a gorgeous family? We are so excited to see them get married & to be part of their wedding day.


C. Johnson Makeup is located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We offer on-location bridal hair & makeup for the entire bridal party, including the mother of the bride, mother of the groom, Jr. bridesmaids, and flower girls. We specialize in all-natural options for clients who have sensitive skin, & also offer airbrush & traditional makeup options.

Bridal Makeup: Moroccan-Themed Wedding.

Bridal Makeup by C. Johnson Makeup. Gown by Bridal Elegance by Darlene. Flowers by Flowers and More. Styling by Sealed with a Kiss, LLC. Photography by K. Mari Photography

Bridal Makeup by C. Johnson Makeup.

Place Cards, Menus, Table Numbers, Invitations, Etc... by Funky Olive Design Co.

Bridal Makeup by C. Johnson Makeup. Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Styled by Sealed with a Kiss, LLC.


Gown by Bridal Elegance by Darlene

Flowers by Flowers and More
Venue: Hotel Andaluz, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Jewelry from Chloe and Isabel/ Representative Heather Garrison
Models: Heather & Eric Garrison
Stationary, Menus, Invitations, Etc...: Funky Olive Design
Vintage/Moroccan Props: The Antique Co-Op

Get that "Happy Bride Glow"

Last week, my client, Candace, came in asking for a moderately smokey eye & a beautiful natural looking lip for her engagement photo session. In preparation for her loveliest day (her wedding is coming up in the winter of 2014), Candace wanted to try out a makeup look similar but subtler than the look she envisioned for her wedding. Because Candace already had gorgeous skin & loooooong, enviable eyelashes, I focused on giving her the iconic 'happy bride glow'. I used my favorite highlighter from Victoria Secret - the very subtle pinkish tone gave Candace the most youthful, 'lit from within' look. Lorac's Pro Palette also came in very handy for rimming her eyes in the shade "Pewter". Typically, I avoid lining the bottom lashes, but because we were working on an engagement session & not a wedding (where we risk the bride crying off all of the bottom eyeliner), I went for it! & let me tell ya, the bottom liner MADE THIS LOOK; it was the perfect final touch.

Photos by the amazingly charming Alena Swanson (who also happens to be one of the finest Wedding Planners in the biz!). 

Aren't these photos gorgeous (& gee whiz, doesn't he look HAPPY? Maybe I should have called it the "happy groom glow" ;) )



We just adore this couple! Thank you Candace for allowing us to be a little part of your love story. 

Updated Head Shots

In the upcoming months I'll be presenting at a handful of different Bridal Shows & Expos & needed some updated head shots for marketing materials, handouts, business cards etc... I wanted to make sure everything was polished, pretty, & up-to-date so I sought out after some awesome new photos! The amazing Alicia Lucia Photography met me for a mini photo session. I am not usually the one in front of the camera so this was a fun new experience for me. Alicia has a great way of making the photo taking process easy & comfortable. Here are some of my favorite images from the session: alicialuciaphotography-18alicialuciaphotography-36 alicialuciaphotography-39

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For more info on this photographer, please visit

To book C. Johnson Makeup for hair & makeup services for your next event please visit

Behind The Scenes: Hair & Makeup/ Sultry Boudoir Photo Session

Makeup & Hair Styling: C. Johnson Makeup. Christy Johnson & Merideth Baxter Photos: DreamSpirit Portraits


Initial prep: old makeup removal & skin prep. We used jojoba oil & a cotton round to gently wipe away any left over mascara. We also used jojoba oil as to moisturize the rest of the face to help provide a smooth foundation application.



Merideth begins curling the hair from the bottom layers to the top, working in small sections & gently spraying with hairspray after each section.


Before & After photos showing the hair & makeup transformation. Natural/dewy skin finish. Pink/natural lip color. Light, smokey grey cat-eye.


Here's the final product from the photo shoot.



Quick Look: Natural, Effortless Makeup for Senior Portraits

Photos  by: Alicia Lucia PhotographyMakeup by: C. Johnson Makeup



Congratulations to the smart, kind, & lovely Emma on her upcoming graduation from NMSU. The following photos are from her senior portrait session with Alicia Lucia Photography.


Congratulations Emma; thank you for being a wonderful client & a beautiful canvas (you wear the makeup so effortlessly). & a big thank you to Alicia Lucia Photography for allowing me to share your gorgeous photos.

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For more information on pricing or makeup application packages please visit my website

To find out more about Alicia Lucia Photography visit her website

First Impression: Ole Henriksen, Ole La La (Look at Her Glow Set)

I recently purchased the Ole Henriksen Ole La La, Look at Her Glow travel set. This set includes truth serum collagen booster, pure truth youth activating oil, truth to go wipes, & African red tea foaming cleanser. 20140108_083436

Having recently turned 28, I am now more concerned with preventative skincare than ever. I selected this set because it had good reviews, it was reasonably priced, & it offered a handful of products to try. I received the set  yesterday & here is what I thought upon first use of the products:

Truth To Go Wipes:


First of all, I didn't use the foaming cleanser yesterday. I worked out really hard two days in a row & by the end of the day I was feeling tired, sore, & frankly, LAZY. So instead, I used one of the Truth To Go Cleansing Wipes before bed. The package says "Gently cleanse and remove even the most stubborn eye makeup with these luxurious cleansing wipes." I have to say, upon first impression... this is not true. The wipes did a poor job of removing makeup. I wouldn't purchase these wipes on their own; they didn't get all the makeup off & had an odd texture that felt like it dragged against my skin in a weird way. I think the wipes could have been a little more moist to work better. The smell is pretty strong, & I think some people might not like it. The scent is very citrusy & natural, but also with a strange chemical undertone.

Truth Serum Collagen Booster & Pure Truth Youth Activating Oil


After wiping my face clean, I applied the pure truth youth activating oil followed by the truth serum collagen booster. I liked these immediately because they are oil based & that is my personal preference for moisturizers. They feel great going on the skin & I only needed to use one pump of each to cover my entire face & neck. My criticism though is that it isn't really clear how they're meant to be used. I wasn't sure if one was intended for morning & the other for nighttime or if they were meant to be layered, or mixed? The instructions on each bottle simply say "Apply evenly to face and neck daily".  So I just layered mine & it seemed to work just fine.

These seemed to work well & if I were to repurchase any of these items, it would definitely be either of these products. My skin felt very soft right after application. The oil penetrated my skin quickly & didn't leave an greasy look or feeling. Just like the wipes, these oils smell pretty strongly, but because it mostly smells like orange peels, it was tolerable.

The following morning my skin felt normal, but had a little bit of a dewy look. The packaging claims that the Collagen Booster is clinically proven to instantly brighten and significantly improve skin's radiance in just 7 days. So far, so good.

My overall impression is that the wipes are a bit of a throw away, but the oils are great if you can tolerate the strong scent.

My Top Tips for Awesome Skin

Good morning friends, It's getting chilly here in New Mexico so I'm bundled up in front of the computer looking over recent emails & Facebook posts & I found something interesting that I wanted to share. I think it will be helpful to a lot of you out there. So, I hope you're all staying nice & cozy wherever you are & I hope you enjoy the following blog post containing excerpts from a recent email conversation I had with a friend.

This friend of mine contacted me because he needed help clearing up his facial & body acne. He emailed saying that he had tried Proactive & his skin only got worse. I could totally relate! I had the exact same experience using Proactive. Now I will say that I know Proactive has helped a lot of people, so I don't want to say that it's a terrible product, but it was definitely way too harsh for me personally. Many of my clients say the same. For those who are able to tolerate the harshness of the product, it seems to work well, but for those of us with any sensitivity, it can wreak absolute havoc. For me, Proactive caused burning, extreme dryness, & then, as a result, an intense over-production of oil as my skin tried to compensate for how Proactive stripped all the sebum from my skin.

So here is my best tip when it comes to skin & skincare products: You don't have to "FIGHT" with your skin. I know that sometimes it feels like a battle, but your skin isn't trying to do you harm. Blemishes, oil, dryness... they are all your skin's way of trying to balance itself out & sometimes it just needs a little help. Listen to what your skin is trying to tell you & work with it to achieve the beautiful, flawless complexion you're dreaming of. If a product seems to be too harsh, stop using it, even if everyone else seems to think it's a miracle in a bottle. We're all very different & so is our skin; it may take time, but just keep looking for what works for you specifically (samples are awesome for this reason!). New complexion regimens take about 30 days to produce visible results so buy in small amounts until you find exactly what your skin needs, but absolutely do not put up with increased sensitivity or irritation; those are not signs of a beneficial skincare product (skincare should heal & soothe).

I also recommend using as many natural products as possible. While it is still possible to have an allergy or sensitivity to natural products (just as many people have allergies to plants) it is a  lot less likely. Not to mention it is comforting to know exactly what you're using & that it isn't full of crazy chemicals that have who-knows-what kind of side effects. In the past six years of working with all-natural products I have only ever had one client who had a negative reaction to some of my suggested (lavender & tea tree oil, which caused a mild allergy-like symptom, so we simply omitted those from her skincare & found some other things that worked well).

Finally, (& you'll probably know this one already) I suggest drinking lots & lots & lots & lots.... of water. Very few of us actually drink the recommended amount of water per day so even though this is a suggestion that we all hear often, it's worth repeating. Staying well hydrated supports all functions of our bodies & especially healthy skin. It helps keep us looking glowy & smooth from the inside out & supports the cleansing functions of our bodies allowing the toxins to escape through normal elimination rather than being pushed out of the skin in the form of blemishes. For an added boost, squeeze a bit of lemon in your water for the benefit of Vitamin C & citric acid which also helps get rid of acne. (Citrus is awesome for getting rid of acne, by the way!). If you workout or have an active job where you sweat a lot make sure to wash up quickly (sweaty skin is bacteria covered skin) & replace all the lost moisture with plenty of water.

Above all else, listen to your skin & don't over do it with harsh products. Even cleaning with gentle, all-natural products too often can be bad. Your skin wants to be balanced & healthy, so give it a little space to do that. Follow these guidelines & spend some time figuring out what works for you. If the products you are using now aren't giving you the results you want, discontinue them all & then start slowly, using one new product at a time, giving each about 30 days to see the results.

I welcome questions & comments & love to share what I have learned about skincare so please don't hesitate to strike up a conversation!

Best wishes!

Do You Think You Have Sensitive Skin? You Probably Don't. Here's Why.

I regularly work with many different clients and the one thing I hear most often is "I have sensitive skin". No matter the skin color, ethnicity, sex, or age, skin sensitivity is something that continues come up in conversation in my consultations. Throughout my time as a makeup artist & also from my time working at all-natural day spa, I learned that most people simply do not have sensitive skin, they actually have sensitized skin. For more information on what it means to have sensitized skin, pick up The Complete Beauty Bible by Paula Begoun & check out the science behind the term. NAHV_0004

From my studies & experience I have found that many external factors have a huge impact on the sensitivity of our skin. Just take a couple minutes to look around your bathroom or vanity & consider how many products come into contact with your skin on a daily basis. Then consider how many of those products contain chemicals; many of which you may have no idea what they do. A majority of the chemicals in makeup & skin care products have absolutely no benefit to the skin, but are added only to enhance the color, smell, thin the product & make it cheaper, or work as a preservative. Now think about the other external factors your skin might be battling regularly from UVB rays, air pollution, dry or cold climates, wind, or typical day-to-day dirt & grime. Washing at the end of the night isn't necessarily sufficient to combat all of these skin stressors, especially when we're adding to them by using products containing harsh chemicals as well.

My mother used to say to me "If you can't put it in your mouth, you shouldn't put it on your skin" & my advice is still basically the same. Our skin acts like a sponge, soaking up the substances we put it in contact with. Here are a couple scary statistics: According to, women absorb up to FIVE POUNDS of chemicals per year from our lotions, makeup, hair care, & other beauty products. Yikes! That isn't including the 1,500 grams of lipstick, lip balm, or lip gloss that we typically ingest per year. It might be frightening to think of all the chemicals we are ingesting without even thinking about how they're affecting not only our skin, but our overall health.


Personally, I feel that removing all makeup, skincare, lotions and so on from our daily routines is not plausible or realistic. However, I do know that there are some really wonderful & effective alternatives to using so many chemicals. I try to remove any unnecessary chemicals from my beauty routine by looking for natural alternatives. For example, I wrote a blog recently about many homemade beauty remedies using coconut oil (find it here).

Removing even only a few chemical laden items from your daily routine can have a positive effect on the condition of your skin. I know that when I began my apprenticeship as a makeup artist I had painfully dry skin that would overcompensate terribly for the lack of moisture by producing so much oil that by mid-day I'd have an oil slick throughout my T-Zone. To help combat the oil, I'd apply oil-controlling powders, makeup, astringent & while attempting to resolve one issue, I'd be creating many others. I'd get home at night & feel terrible about how my makeup had smeared or started to break down from the oil. I'd wash my face & then feel tight, dry, & sometimes even a burning feeling; then I'd go to bed & start the cycle again the following morning. I was desperate, frustrated, & nearly hopeless after trying nearly every product I could find (& wasting soo so much money). Little did I know that all the products were doing more damage than good.

It wasn't until I started eliminating skin care products from my routine & replacing them with simpler & more natural alternatives that I started to see a huge improvement in the condition & feel of my skin. I began using one cleanser made from the ash of plantain peels (African Black Soap. Available online or at Sprout's Farmers Markets) & Jojoba Oil. The oil cleansing method described in my blog on coconut oil is also miraculous for sensitized skin because it reduces skins contact with hard water. I also stopped using foundations filled with chemicals. Now, I use a custom blend mineral makeup & the only additives found in it are green tea leaf powder, licorice root powder, zinc, or grapeseed powder depending on the individual skin care needs. I personally use green tea leaf powder for it's antioxidant & anti-inflammatory properties.

Now, I never suffer from burning dryness, inflammation, itching, or 'general sensitivity'. I will occasionally test out products that previously would have sent my skin into a tail spin, without any trouble. Please leave me a comment with your thoughts; I'd love to hear what you think.