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Mastering Your Art

Coming full circle.  Giggling with friends.  Learning from an expert.  These are all things that make me feel fufilled, and happy.

I started this blog after being inspired by attending a BE Master Class a year and a half ago.  Up until then, I rarely wore makeup, and I always struggled with keeping my eye makeup on my eyes and not on my chin.  I was one frustrated woman!

I had been trying new things, and collecting a BE stash for about six months when I saw that an expert was going to be in my area teaching a class on makeup.  As an early birthday present to myself, I decided that I was going to attend, and see if I could learn some new tricks.  Boy did I ever!  Since then, I have become a Sparkle Hoarder, and proud of it!

Here we are, 16 months later, and I was fortunate enough to attend my third Bare Escentuals Master Class, with Master Makeup Artist Bravon Pascua.  Bravon, who spend years as a model all over the world, has been working with Bare Escentuals for over 10 years.  He has seen the brand grow from a few shades of mineral foundation to the phenomenon it is today.  Learning from makeup luminaries like the creators of Shu Umuri, he has taken education to a new level.

As I mentioned, this was my third master class with Bravon, and I feel like I learn something new every time.  I would go every month if I could afford it and if Bare Escentuals offered the option!  At this particular class, the focus was on creating a bronzey, summery glowing look using some of the Ready offerings.  This class was extra special for me, as we only had 8-9 beauties.  It was extremely intimate, and a very unique experience.  My two previous classes were wonderful, but there is something extra special about being in a tight knit group of women, sharing, learning and exchanging makeup tips and tricks.

First, after cleansing your face, add your moisturizer of choice.  Bravon recommends warming your moisturizer up in the palm of you hand first – which allows it to sink in to your skin more quickly.  Once your moisturizer is applied, it’s time for face primer.  I personally love the Neutralizing Primer but you can use whatever works.  Again, make sure you warm it up in the palm of your hand before applying so it really covers.

I won’t tell you how to apply your foundation, because if you’re a BE gal you know!  Swirl, tap, buff.  Just remember a very little bit goes a long way.  Because BE works with your natural body chemistry and the oils in your skin, the more you buff the better you look.  One key tip here is to start with a little.  Wait 10 minute and then, ONLY then do you apply another layer.  It’s amazing to watch, but you can see the transformation as you watch a makeunder.  When you’re applying your concealer, you should always post conceal with minerals.  If you pre-conceal, you will buff off the concealer while applying foundation.  I stopped using bisque because it seemed to settle in my lines and look cakey, but I learned that using a Light Stroke brush really makes a difference.  Swirl the bisque in to the brush, and pat on.  Then flip the brush over and use the clean side to sweep and blend.

After foundation (or before, if you’re like me), it’s time for the eyes!  One key element in doing your eye makeup is defining your shape.  If you’re like me, I have hooded eyes and it’s very ahrd to see the lid.  bravon gave some excellent tips for combating this.  First, start with your primer.  Using a brush or your finger, apply eye primer all over your lid, lash to brow..  But also, apply primer over your brows, and to just above your eyebrows.  This gives you a smooth canvas to work with, but also something for the eyeshadow to adhere to.  I’ll get ot the above the brows in a minute.  For this eye look Bravon used The Soundtrack Ready Palette, which contains Rhythm, Louder, Remix and Speaker Box.  These colors are available in the The Playlist 8.0 so if you already have it you’re nearly there!  Rhythm is the only one that is a new color here, and you can easily approximate that, as it’s a light cream color.

For this look, start by taking a light bronzer.  In this case, Skinny Dip.  Using a soft focus eye brush, or a crease defining brush, enhance the crease with the bronzer.  It’s amazing that this one small trick actually makes a huge difference.  This contouring technique will create a deeper crease and make the color pop more.  This helps hooded and small eyes because it creates the illusion of a larger eye by redfining the natural crease.

Next, using your favorite larger brush (he used a full tapered shadow brush), apply the highlight color from the base of the last to the crease.  You will also apply this color above the eyebrows – this is why a primer there helps.  this helps to open up your eye and give you a wide awake look.  Colors like vanilla Sugar, Soul, Cream Soda and Queen Phyllis Matte were suggested.  Don’t use a super sparkly color here though, since that will attract too much attention to the area and distract from other areas.  For this class we used Rhythm.

For the crease, using the crease defining brush, feather the color up instead of sideways.  that means flipping the brush vertically instead of horizontally, and applying Louder up to the crease, but not beyond.  This gives the eyes a pop of light color.  In the outer V of the eye, sweep Speaker Box using the precision eye brush, or a small pointed one.  Then use a brush to soften and blend that out.

Now that your eyes are done, it’s time to add the eyeliner!  The best tip that I learned from a National Artist last year, since I had huge troubles with the Big & Bright liners travelling, is to sketch the liner on your hand first.  Make this a pretty heavy sketch, but then use an eyeliner brush to pick up the color.  In the case of the B&B liners, I dipped my brush in Weather Everything.  With the Round the Clock liners, you don’t need to do this since they set up on thier own.  Apply the 8ppm liner to your upper lashline, and smudge in to your lower lashline.   Don’t forget to do your brows!  The primer you applied earlier will help the color to stick.  you can also use a clear brow gel.

Finally, you apply your favorite mascara and you have defined eyes to die for!  But, wait!  There’s more!  The hot trend for fall is full, glossy and sparkly lashes.   How do you get this?  Start by applying a coat of regular mascara.  But then, using a clean disposable mascara wand and a clear brow gel, dip the wand in the gel, then dip in your favorite sparkly minerals.  this is a lot of fun for a special look and you can really use any color.  Glittery reds and greens are going to be right on trend for holiday!  If you just put the clear coat on top, you will have glossy and lush lashes.

Now that your eyes are done, we can go back and review the foundation.  Is it still looking good?  Better?  If you need to, apply another layer.  But, let’s define your face using bronzer and blush.  With an angled face brush, use the bronzer in a sweeping motion.  Point the tip up, and sweep the bronzer over your cheeks.  This actually deposits color just above and blow the apples of the cheeks, giving you great definition.  You can also do this on your forehead, and jawline, with the tip of the brush up.   Taking your faovrite blush (we used The Aphrodisiac), swirl the color in to the apples of your cheeks, sweeping up to the hairline.  Then take a Maximum Coverage Foundation brush and pull the color down in to your face.  It sounds odd, but it really blends the color in nicely.

Finally, apply your favorite lip colors and don’t be afraid to blend!

I’m sorry to say I forgot my camera but the finished look is a soft and polished summer look that is great for anyone.

I can’t wait to practice these tips and learn new ones at the next class!  Thank you Bravon for always teaching this old dog new tricks and reminding me that there are so many ways to use brushes and products.  I hope Bare Escentuals will continue these classes and add new ones!  Bravon is a master artist but is also a passionate brand ambassador.  He loves to play as much as we do, and is a fabulous teacher, and has a heart of gold.  He will go out of his way to answer questions or offer suggestions for your specific issues.  If you have a chance to attend a master class, I would not miss it!  You never know what might happen.

Stay tuned to looks based on these tips!




Please pass the Periwinkle!

When I was younger, my favorite color in the crayon box was Periwinkle.  It’s the subtle purple, mixed with blue that just gets me.

Know that I’m a grown up (ok well sort of) my crayon box has turned in to a makeup box!

As luck would have it, one of my favorite brands – Bare Escentuals, was hosting an artistry event, in conjunction with a Master Class taught by my new friend, Bravon Pascua.


A Bare Escentuals Master Class was a new experience for me, and I went, fresh faced, eager, and full of cold medicine.  Unfortunately, my immune system’s timing was not the same as the event’s timing but I wasn’t going to miss this sucker.  For those of you who don’t know, a Master Class is where you get to sit down with an expert, in this case THE expert, and learn new tips and tricks of the trade as well as the latest in color trends.

In our one hour session, Bravon and fellow attendee turned model Michelle showed us some of the latest trends in color, as well as his favorite tips and tricks for applying makeup.  Yay!  Since I’m really a re-beginner when it comes to makeup, but have become totally and completely obsessed, I jumped at the chance to attend.

Lucky for you, I took notes!  And pictures!

So here goes…the products linked are the ones Bravon used in this demo.

Michelle before

1.  Always prep your skin.  After cleansing, you should always use SOME form of moisturizer, even if you have oily skin.  The Bare Minerals Purely Nourishing Moisturizer is great for every day.  Bravon suggests that you warm the moisturizer in your hand a bit before applying it, because body temperature product will absorb faster.  Otherwise, you’ll be waiting for 10 minutes for it to soak in, and who has that time in the morning?

2.  Using a facial primer will help your makeup stick, as well as helping it last all day; this is especially true of mineral makeups.  Similarly to the moisturizer, use 2 pumps of the Prime

Time foundation primer, and warm it in your hand before applying.  There are three formulas:  Original, Oil Free and Brightening.

3.  An eye primer is essential for making colors last, and stay put.  BE makes several:  Original, Brightening, and Brightening Pearl.  Each one has a slightly different effect.  You can apply the primer with your finger or a brush, but once you apply it, let it set for 2-3 minutes; that way, it becomes tacky but not sticky, and the minerals can adhere better.

4.  For Foundation, always remember that less is more!  First of all, make sure you match your color based on your undertones.  Bravon used the Matte formula.  Tap about 1/8 of a tsp in to the lid to start.  Start small and build coverage because there is nothing worse than looking like a powder hound!   Tools are very important.  Bravon used the Heavenly Face Brush, which was originally designed for blush, but works fabulously for foundation!  I already have this brush from an older kit, and I’ll start using it more now.  Swirl your brush fairly aggressively, since you shouldn’t see any in the lid.  All the minerals should be in the bristles.  Tap off any excess and get to buffing!   Mineral makeup really comes to life about 10 minutes after you apply it, since it works with your body temperature and natural oils in your skin, so don’t apply to much in one go.

5.  Concealer - Bravon really likes Original Bisque, but you can use any Bisque that matches your skin tone, or Well Rested.  I love well rested for red areas.  There aren’t any rules to applying bisque.  you can do it before your makeup or after your makeup, but use the Maximum Coverage concealer Brush (the little one).  Apply it very gently, and don’t rub it in.   Blend the edges in to the foundation.  If you’re having one of those days, or if you need some extra TLC, a really cool trick is to take some PTFE and some Bisque and make a little paste.  Apply this to your tough spots with your finger or a brush.  Voila!

Press and Roll baby!

Another great trick for areas that need additional coverage, like freckles, or rosacea spots. but you don’t want to use a concealer on, is the Press and Roll technique.  First, with the Maximum Coverage Face Brush (the big one), take ONE side of the brush and swirl it in your foundation.  with the minerals side DOWN press in to your skin, and ROLL it side to side, applying the foundation.  Blend out with the opposite, clean side of the brush.  You can also use bisque with this trick.  It simply applies a bit heavier application of coverage, which si great for discolored areas and dark circles.

6.  Warm up your skin / contour – Because of the SPF in BE foundations is due to the Titanium Dioxide (which, by the way is how they make white paint **BRIGHT** white), you can sometimes look a wee bit chalky.  This is normal, but you should use some color to warm yourself up, and maybe contour a bit.  All Over Face Colors (AOFC) are great but can be scary.  I have had a jar of warmth for a million years because I think I use too much and get freaked out.  A TINY bit goes a LONG way!  Just brush a touch over your forehead, down your nose, contour your cheeks.

7.  If your eyes look a little pink after you apply your color, use the Heavenly Liner Blender Brush to apply Well Rested ( a yellow eye shadow / multi tasker) under your lower lash line to take the red out.

8.  Eyes – One of the things I love about BE is that you can use ANY color ANY where.  In this case, Bravon used Coffee Bean Liner Shadow as a deep crease defining color.  Other great browns are Cashmere or faux mink.  Use the double ended precision eye brush or another bullet tipped brush to apply the color precisely.  Don’t worry if it looks really dark – by applying the darkest color first, you can blend it out more easily as you apply the contour and base shadow colors.  Following the natural contour of the crease, apply Coffee Bean, and blend out with the Crease Defining Brush (aka the Windshield wiper brush).

Now, Bravon applied High Shine Glisten.  he patted this on Michelle’s eyelid just below the crease color.  This is a neutral golden undertone which softens the dark Coffee Bean.

Next, add a pop of color with Chameleon, a bright, green blue wonder, was swept over the eyelid up in to the crease.

Line the eyes with the liner of your choice starting from the center, using short feathery strokes outward.  Stay as close to the lashline as you can, and then blend it out with the Heavenly Liner Blending Brush.

Highlight the browbone using Trophy Wife, and blend out and above the brows.

Add Snowflake over the entire lid to soften the look.

8.  Don’t forget your brows!  The Brow Minerals are special and adhere to the hairs of the brow instead of your skin.  Follow the natural contour of your brow and fill in.  blend it out, and seal in with brow gel.

9.  Lips – Line the lips with Natural lipliner and fill in to blend.  Add French Pastry lip color using a brush in the center of the lips.  This seasons trend is to keep a heavy lipline, and fill in the center with a lighter color, so to be trendy you should keep the line.  Add some 100% Natural Lipgloss in Chiffon for a shine.

10.  Cheeks – using the Angled Face Brush, add blush (in this case Joyous Jennifer) to the top of the cheekbones.  Use a pressing motion instead of blending, to highlight the cheeks.  Blend up and high on the cheekbones with the full coverage conceal brush (big one).  Apply Flawless Radiance to the apples of the cheeks and blending on to cheek bones to tone down the blush, and add a luminous glow.

11.  Apply mascara by pushing up and out.

12.  Finishing touches – apply mineral veil in a light patting motion to add that final touch to set the makeup.

ta da!  I’m sorry to say I didn’t get the final “AFTER” shot of Michelle because I was too busy getting my own makeover, but – hopefully someone did and can share!

Editors Note:  Join the Facebook Community to see more great pics of Bravon’s work


Next up:  My Makeover with a Trophy Wife!