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The clean food and beauty connection

Eat cleanEat clean and your skin will thank you with a healthy glow

You may know that to eat clean, whole foods is good for your health but it’s also vital for retaining smooth vibrant skin throughout your life.  Food plays an integral role in how we feel on a day-to-day basis, how much energy we have and also how healthy and vibrant our skin looks.  These are all good reasons to be mindful of the food choices we make.  While it may be difficult to eat a clean diet 100% of the time, aim for an 80/20% ratio and your skin will thank you.

As a professional makeup artist I am often asked by my clients what products I use to keep my skin glowing. Quite honestly I don’t spend a lot of money of skincare.  While I do use clean natural products, exercise regularly, get adequate sleep, pass on processed foods, the rest comes from the clean food I enjoy.  Check out these tips on how to have summer fresh skin.

These are some of the superstars in the food-for-beauty world and the benefits you’ll reap from including them daily or weekly.

Healthy fats-

Wild-caught salmon contributes to whole body wellness, is anti-inflammatory and loaded with omega-3’s making it one of the best beauty foods to consume.  Eating wild-caught salmon three times a week will rival any expensive beauty cream and likely come out the winner!  There are endless ways to prepare this moist fish.  One of my favorites is to dress it with ghee or coconut oil, salt, pepper and a bit of fresh dill just before placing on the grill for 15-20 minutes.  It’s also just as delicious the next day served cold on a bed of greens.  So make extra for quick satisfying meals in a hurry.

Avocado offers many benefits when ingested or used topically due to it’s healthy fat content and phytonutrients.  It’s delicious on it’s own and it’s mild flavor makes it a great addition to smoothies, desserts and even served on sweet potato toast.  Keep extras on hand and refrigerate to slow the ripening process.  Have a few too many overripe avocados?  Whip up a mango/avocado salsa to top fish tacos or baked sweet potato.  Very overripe? Mash and apply to cleansed skin for 10 minutes for an ultra-moisturizing mask.  Rinse well.  For added benefit – exfoliate first.

Complex carbs-

Sweet potatoes are the internal retinoid for your skin.  Their high Vitamin A content signals cells to slough for a fresh layer to appear.  They are loaded with Vitamin C which speeds up collagen production to help maintain skin’s elasticity.  Unlike it’s distant relative -the white potato; the sweet potato is of the morning glory family.  White potatoes are of the nightshade family and can contribute to inflammation -the skin’s enemy!  So while they taste like a sinful treat sweet potatoes are actually the better option.

Carrots eaten daily will give your skin a healthy glow just as they lightly stains fingers and sink upon peeling.  They are loaded with vitamin C making the skin appear more plump.  Carrots have an abundance of vitamin A to strengthen the connective tissues for more toned and taut skin.  Try adding 1-2 carrots to your daily diet by adding to juice drinks or grating over oatmeal laced with raisins, walnuts and honey for a carrot cake inspired breakfast.

Nuts and spices-

Tumeric has a compound called curcumin which is highly anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and antiseptic.  These properties are beneficial used both internally and topically.  Taken internally turmeric will reduce inflammation in other areas of your body making this one of the most potent health promoting foods available.  Take it in whole form by adding it to juice drinks or Indian-inspired dishes.  Powdered turmeric can easily be sprinkled on foods such as roasted cauliflower or chickpeas and is best absorbed with a small amount of pepper.  Capsules are probably the easiest choice for insuring your daily dose of this wonderful, colorful nutrient source.

Pinenuts contain a high concentration of protein making them an excellent choice for healthy hair with strong growth cycles.  While all nuts are good sources of protein pinenuts have the benefit of being especially hydrating and moisturizing due to their high oil content.  The healing properties they provide with skin issues such as psoriasis, eczema, and itchiness makes the oil an excellent choice for massage.  Try grinding pinenuts slightly and adding to jojoba oil for an excellent nourishing exfoliant.  Rinse and enjoy soft supple skin.  Top salads and soups with these tasty morsels as well.


Celery has natural electrolytes essential for all life.  It helps purify the bloodstream aiding in detoxification.  It’s an excellent diuretic relieving bothersome bloat which can be most unflattering when it shows in the face.  A glass of celery juice can instantly reduce uncomfortable bloat and is recommend for defined facial tone.  Because it aids digestion, the nutrients from foods you eat will be better absorbed allowing you to fully reap their benefits.  Celery loaded with almond butter makes a tasty satisfying snack.  Celery is also a great addition to your daily juice drink.

There are many wonderful healthy foods available -too many to list.  These are some silent heros that typically don’t take center stage but should be included for true radiant beauty.  Eat clean and your skin will show it!


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Facial Sculpting with Airbrush Makeup

The art of facial sculpting with airbrush makeup

airpro airbrush contour

Full Facial Sculpting with darker shade indicating contour and medium shade emphasizing areas to highlight.

Facial sculpting can bring the face from flat to fabulous; completely transforming features or softly emphasizing key elements.  If you will be photographed proper contouring is especially flattering as photos are one dimensional and by emphasizing your features with contour and highlight you’ll appear more three dimensional.  Think Kim Kardashian selfie.  She is the queen of contour and while she may have made it trendy, makeup artist’s have used this skill forever.  The operative word when contouring is “proper”.  We’ve all seen the obvious, poorly blended contour that is flat and chalky.  Subtlety is key and the easiest way to achieve a subtle sculpt -especially important for daytime- is with an airbrush.  You’ll not only save valuable time, you’ll avoid the embarrassment of poorly blended edges since the airbrush edge fades off seamlessly.

The skill of proper facial sculpting comes with years of practice –or just minutes with an airbrush

You can either spend loads of time learning how to sculpt your features and then even more time applying, blending …blending some more, or you can airbrush your features to perfection and definition in a matter of minutes.  Yes, it’s true.  After just a few sessions you’ll be applying your foundation, contour and highlight in less than five minutes.  You’ll appear glowing and defined, ready to face the world, or the camera, in all your sculpted glory!  You’ll soon realize you actually are photogenic, all you needed was the right tool. Learn more about how to airbrush makeup here.

Basic contouring

airpro airbrush contour

Contouring 101

This drawing illustrates the basics of contouring and highlighting.  Because everyone’s bone structure is unique you’ll want to modify based on your face.  As a general rule you’ll add contour in the form of foundation two shades darker than your skin tone in areas you want recessed.  For most people these areas include, but not limited to: under the cheekbones, unless you have a thin face and ultra-high cheekbones, (in which case you’re likely not searching the web for sculpting tutorials).  Too much and you risk looking gaunt so this is for anyone looking to pump up those cheekbones.  Other flattering areas include along the jawline, temples and sides of nose.  If you want to go full-sculpt refer to the illustration at the top of this post.  But these basics are a good start and will add tons of dimension to your face.

Highlighting draws on the opposite effect which utilizes a foundation two shades lighter than your skin tone to bring forward these areas.  Obvious choices are the tops of cheekbones, brow bones above and below brows and cupid’s bow just above lip.  If you have an evening event or you’re just feeling a bit glam, add shimmer to really set off a glow.  AirPro highlighter in Champagne Shimmer is perfect for this.

Contouring like a pro in three easy steps

  1. Create a flawless finish by applying airbrush foundation over entire face.
  2. Contour with airbrush foundation two shades darker than skin tone in the areas illustrated above.
  3. Highlight with airbrush foundation or shimmer two shades lighter than skin tone.

Working those curves has never been easier than with airbrush makeup!


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Summer Fresh Skin

Pamper yourself and reap the benefits with fresh skin.

summer fresh skin

Now that winter is officially over it’s time to shed your skin’s winter coat and prepare for your supple summer glow and your freshest skin ever using homemade remedies you can cook up at home.  Natural ingredients are extremely beneficial for fresh skin and oftentimes healthier without the need for parabens or other preservatives to extend their shelf life.  You blend them at home in a matter of minutes using wholesome ingredients sometimes found in the produce aisle.  Consider it a farm-to-face beauty regimen with big rewards.

No longer is “I don’t have time” excusable.  You really can’t afford not to take good care of yourself, so enjoy a little me time occasionally.  All three of these treatments can be done in less that 25 minutes.  They’re less expense and time-consuming than driving to the spa and nearly as soothing.  Try just one of these treatments at a time or use all three simultaneously.

As opposed to real cooking, none of these recipes require precise ingredient measurements.
Hands on time: 5 minutes
Pampering time: 23 minutes
Optional face massage: 2 minutes

Pampering Tub Soak

Begin running your bath water then add all ingredients listed for Pampering tub soak.  This will fill while you’re blending the Anti-oxidant facial and Moisture hydration mask.  Make sure you’ve gathered all ingredients before beginning.

1.5 cups Epsom salt (natural muscle relaxer)
2 drops neroli essential oil (anti-anxiety)
4-5 drops lavender essential oil (anti-fungal)

Soak for a minimum of 20 minutes then rinse face (if using Anti-oxidant facial) and body in shower before applying  Moisture hydration mask.

Anti-oxidant facial – works for all skin types

1T pineapple juice (exfoliant) Use leftovers in your next smoothie.  Great anti-inflammatory which benefits skin too.
1T Manuka honey or regular honey (hydration & anti-bacterial)
1T pumpkin puree (anti-oxidant) Use the leftovers in your next smoothie.
1 tsp cosmetic clay of choice (pore detoxifier)

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl.  Apply with fingers or a fan brush to face, neck and décolleté.  Soak in a warm tub for 20 minutes preferably using the Pampering Tub Soak or soak of your choice.  Rinse well.  Follow with Moisture hydration mask before retiring for a restorative night’s sleep.

Moisture Hydration Mask – leave on

1/4 cup jojoba oil (non-comedogenic)
1T rosehip seed oil (deep-penetrating hydrator)
1 tsp pumpkin seed oil (antioxidant containing vitamins A and C)
1 drop lavender essential oil (calming)
1 drop neroli essential oil (skin regenerative)

Mix all ingredients and massage over face and body.

If you have 2 extra minutes do this circulating face massage:  Using Moisture hydration mask, massage your face and neck in an upward direction using circular motions.  This will counteract gravity, stimulate your lymphatic system and eliminate toxins.

Don comfy nighty (or not), then slip in between the sheets for 8 hours of restorative, beautifying sleep!

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Beauty Sleep Strategies

Beauty Sleep strategies and makeup tips for faking it.

While it would be ideal to boast 7-8 hours of sleep nightly, for most of us with busy lives, it just isn’t a reality.  Restorative sleep not only benefits your mood, coping capabilities, problem solving skills and overall health; your skin and eyes will noticeably give away your lack-of-sleep making you not only feel bad but look less than radiant when sleep is elusive for more than a few nights a week. This makes us not only feel groggy but we are visually reminded of our previous nights’ tossing and turning every time we look in the mirror.

beauty sleep strategies

Tips and home remedies to help you achieve restful sleep each night

Turn off blue light-emitting electronics at least an hour before bedtime. Or if you absolutely have to work on the computer you can download a blue light filter or try these blue-light-busting-glasses so you’re not sabotaging your circadian clock.

Drink a cup of warm tea such as Chamomile or Nighty Night about an hour before bedtime.  While a glass of wine can take the days edge off, more than one can cause you to wake in the wee hours due to your body burning off excess sugar.  Try this soothing anti-inflammatory drink that not only tastes great but lowers inflammation which will reduce puffiness and redness.

Soothing Anti-Inflammatory Milk  –  Makes 2 cups
2 cups of non-dairy milk of choice
3 star anise pods
2 cinnamon sticks
1 knob of ginger
Add all ingredients to a saucepan, bring to a simmer then let steep for a few minutes. Strain and enjoy!

Make sure you’re getting your magnesium.  If you’ve ever been kept awake by restlessness a likely culprit could be a deficiency of magnesium.  Try Calm Natural Vitality.  Known to induce a state of Calmfulness.  You can thank me later.

Tart cherries contain melatonin and are anti-inflammatory -a winning combination for sleeping throughout the night.  Oftentimes I will mix a tablespoon of tart cherry juice with Calm for an effervescent and tasty sleep aid.  Frozen tart cherries also make a guilt-free evening snack.

Dark and cool is the best way to keep your bedroom for optimal sleep.  Black out curtains are excellent when you live in the city and setting your thermostat between 65 and 70 degrees is best for deep sleep.

Diffusers or cotton buds filled with lavender or ylang ylang will dispense a calming scent throughtout your room and promote relaxation.  This diffuser is as beautiful as it is useful.

When beauty sleep isn’t an option use these makeup strategies to give you a wide awake appearance  …even when you’re not.

Puffy eyes are women’s biggest complaint and are largely due to allergies and water retention especially if they dissipate within a few hours of being up.  To speed up the deflation process try keeping eye cream in your refrigerator or a set of spoons and apply for a few minutes before proceeding with concealer.  The cooling effect will de-puff by constricting blood vessels and diffusing fluids.  Another option, try 100% Pure eye cream with coffee bean and green tea.  It smells as good as it works and is exactly what the name implies -100% pure.

Dark circles are the most obvious and problematic result of not sleeping well.  Banish them with a peach tinted concealer which counteracts the blue tone around the eyes.  Be sure to blend concealer up into the inner corner on the side of the nose and only use where needed to avoid creasing in outer corners.

Open up your eyes by curling lashes and concentrating mascara on the middle lashes.  This makes eyes appear rounder and more open.  Try a product with a round spooley on the tip for detailing or use these disposables with your favorite brand -with the added benefit of keeping your pricey mascara germ-free longer.

Get the red out with a neutral liner applied along the lower rim of the eyes.  Lack of sleep can cause redness in this area.  Try this product to brighten the inner rim and revitalize tired looking eyes.  Stick with lighter eye shadows as darker tones can add to the sunken appearance.

Keep it peachy on the lips to cancel out the blue tones under the eyes.

May you sleep soundly tonight.   zzzzzz

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Easy fixes to revitalize your Mane Attraction

Easy fixes to revitalize your mane attraction with inexpensive products you probably have on hand.

hair beauty recipesMake your Mane Attraction all it can be!

Let’s face it, our tresses are what define us.   Spiky pink-tipped or long, beachy waves say a lot about who we are.   Without ever speaking a word you can make a major image statement and give huge insight to the viewer about your personality.  That’s not to say we should be judged by our exterior but it is something that everyone notices within seconds of laying eyes on us.

So we should all strive for healthy looking hair whether you wear yours in a short layered bob or with long luscious locks.  Dry, brittle, over-processed hair ages us and over styling, sun damage and poor quality products can all reek havoc on even the healthiest locks.  Here’s some tips on how to regain bouncy, beautiful hair and bring back the shine and lustre of youth with products you probably already have at home.

If you haven’t heard this by now it’s time you try it.  Coconut oil is amazing!  This stuff is wonderful, inexpensive (at least compared to some pricey hair products) and it’s all you need to revitalize dull hair.  Depending on the texture of your hair is how you’ll use it.  Coconut oil is heavy so I’ve created several recipes you can use depending on your hair type.   If you have an oily scalp you may fear that this will only exacerbate the problem. Quite the opposite is true.  It will actually help control the sebum production by removing excess product build-up and dead skin cells balancing the skin’s natural oil production.

Recipe for happy scalp if you have thin, fine hair with an oily scalp

2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil available here
4-5 drops of essential grapefruit or lemon oil available here and here

Melt the coconut oil.  This can be done bit by bit with small amounts warmed in your hands then adding a couple of drops of essential oil of your choice.  Rub this mixture on your scalp paying attention to distribute evenly and then pull through to ends of hair.  Now massage your scalp for a few minutes.  Not only does this feel remarkable it also increases circulation promoting hair growth and removal of excess sebum.  If time allows let it saturate for a minimum of 15 minutes but longer is more beneficial.  This recipe is best used during the day as the grapefruit and lemon are invigorating and do not promote sleep.

Recipe for healthy scalp free of dryness and flaking and luxurious shiny strands for course, thick hair

2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
1 tablespoon baking soda
3 drops tea tree oil (optional) available here

Melt the coconut oil and mix in the baking soda and tea tree oil, if using, creating a paste which you’ll then apply to your scalp.   It’s okay if some of it gets in your hair but you want to focus the solution on the scalp.   This recipe works because the coconut oil sooths the scalp by creating a moisture barrier and the baking soda exfoliates the scalp of product build up and eases dandruff by killing the yeast and fungi that cause the itch.  For added effectiveness add a few drops of tea tree oil which is a natural anti-fungal.

 Why dry shampoo may not be your best friend after all.

If you reach for dry shampoo more than once a week you may want to reconsider.   Many of us have come to rely on dry shampoo as a stand-in to daily shampooing thinking it’s perfectly healthy and convenient.  The latter being true, the sad fact is that it’s not so good for your scalp.  How healthy your scalp is sets the tone for how healthy your hair is since that’s where it originates.  Diet and genetics play a role too but that’s a topic for another blog.  By using a dry shampoo regularly you are suffocating the hair follicle which over time can completely clog the follicle leading to thinning and slowing of hair growth.  If you shampoo less, every other day is optimal for most people, your hair will eventually quit overproducing oil in an attempt to compensate for your daily stripping with shampoo and harsh chemicals.  There will be an adjustment period but it may just be a matter of getting used to yourself with your own“natural” hair product rather than squeaky clean hair.

These days most of us have limited time for beauty regimens.  I think you’ll find these hair tips beneficial and easy to do just in minutes by keeping the products on hand and easily accessible.


Paula Mayer is a makeup artist and hairstylist and founder of AirPro Makeup.  She’s shares a studio with photographer, husband and business partner Seth Mayer in San Diego, CA.

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Homemade Toner Recipes

Three Simple Homemade Toner Recipeshomemade toner recipe

Support the inherent vitality of your skin with these simple and inexpensive two-ingredient recipes.

Sometimes the simplest things can be the best things for us.  As is the case with skin toners.  There’s an array of prepackaged products on the market to choose from.  Some with long ingredient lists containing things that may actually cause more harm than good.  That is not always the case but why spend a lot of money on something when you can quickly whip up a batch in your own kitchen using inexpensive, natural and organic ingredients that you probably already have on hand.  Here are three of my favorites and you can experiment by adding a few drops of essential oils if you prefer a scent.  I use mine morning and night so I prefer to keep it unscented.  Read the article and get recipes here.


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Beauty tips for glowing skin

Beauty tips for healthy glowing skin

Perhaps you have a momentous event just around the corner,  are having a professional photo taken, or want your skin to look it’s best for a new job.  Here are some tips that will get you glowing and pay back your skin for all the wonderful things it does for you; like act as a barrier against dirt, germs and harmful toxins.  It absorbs energy from the sun converting it to Vitamin D, which is actually a hormone.  Then it sweats when you’re over heated removing toxins from within.  That’s a lot to ask of your largest organ so why not treat it with the respect it deserves!

healthy skin care

Here’s how you can show your skin some love.

Use oil as cleanser

As strange as it may sound oil dissolves oil and is a great pre-cleanser to your regular wash and can even be the only product you need on those no makeup days when it’s mostly dirt and pollution that needs to be removed.  There are many ready made versions on the market such as Dermalogica precleanse, Origins clean energy, & Shu Uemura cleansing oils to name a few.

Not all oils are created equal.  There’s the good ones that are nourishing and because they’re derived from seeds, kernels, nuts and plants they possess numerous skin benefits that help to restore barrier lipids that can be depleted in harsh environments or from over washing.  They’re loaded with antioxidants that protect your skin from the environment.  Good ones to look for are grapeseed, olive, sweet almond, jojoba and apricot kernel.

Try this homemade recipe for precleansing – Use 1 Tbsp per application

1/4 cup sweet almond oil
1/4 cup jojoba oil
1/8 cup olive oil
5-6 drops essential oil (optional)

Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate

Exfoliating is key to keeping the dead skin cells from piling up and clogging pores.  It should be added to your routine at least once a week and for those over 40 2-3times would be optimal.  Nothing perks up tired skin better than a lactid acid exfoliant or powder version ground from seeds, kernels, or oats.  Remember, the finer the grit the more gentle and it needn’t be harsh to work.  Find one that works best for you and use it!  The body benefits from a salt scrub enhanced with a few drops of essential oil.  Skip the oily versions if you don’t have time to wash the tub after as it can create a slippery mess.  Good for the body, bad for the tub.

Nourish your skin and body

It is important to nourish your skin from within by adding plenty of nutrient rich oils to your diet which will feed the fat layer of your skin making it appear firmer and fuller.  Coconut oil is a medium chain fat and is excellent for the heart and a great source of energy so add a dollop to the blender when making your favorite green drink.  Another excellent choice is olive oil loaded with antioxidants and oleic acid.

It is also important to feed your skin from the outside with quality oils and moisturizers derived from natural sources and preferably without parabens which can be disruptive to hormones.  While parabens can serve to keep nasty pathogens out of your facial skin care items, on the largest area of the body you’re better off sticking with shea butter, jojoba oil or even castor oil.  Try adding a few drops of your favorite essential oils such as lavender in the evening to help you drift off to Planet Z or grapefruit in the mornings to awaken your senses.  Your coworkers will appreciate the soft scent over a heavy perfume as well.

Treat yourself to a facial

This can be an at-home version although a spa treatment will be a mental treat as well and will help to circulate the blood and drain the lymphatic system reducing puffiness and bloating in the face.  There are many at-home facial  masks on the market designed to deeply nourish such as Caudalie cream mask which harnesses the polyphenol in grapes to treat dry skin or Dermalogica multivitamin masque concentrated with vitamins A,C, E and F.  These can be used in the convenience of your home and usually in less than 15 minutes a week.

healthy skincare

Try this recipe made with ingredients from your refrigerator – Makes one application

1/2 avocado mashed (eat the other half)
1 tsp honey
1 Tbsp ground oats
1/2 tsp lemon juice

Mix all ingredients, apply generously to face and décolletage,  find a quiet spot, relax and reflect for 20 minutes before rinsing.

Soon you’ll begin to enjoy the rewards of naturally glowing skin with a fresh even tone and texture that requires minimal makeup.



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Airbrush vs brush

Airbrush beauty makeup

Airbrush beauty makeup

Give your brush the brush off and make the switch to airbrush

You may be considering investing in a personal airbrush system but you haven’t fully convinced yourself to take the plunge due to price or intimidation.  The initial cost of an airbrush system can set you back a few hundred dollars, depending on the quality, but quickly pays for itself due to less foundation waste that is left in your sponge or bristles after traditional application and are so simple to use that if you can spray an aerosol you can quickly master an airbrush …and have fun doing it.  If you’ve invested in good brushes in the past and have taken good care of them they probably still have years of useful life left but let us fill you in on the advantages of airbrush over cosmetic foundation brushes and soon you’ll be singing the praises of airbrush too.

Seamless finish
The biggest advantage by far is that you can apply a seamless foundation in a matter of minutes with far better results than with 10 minutes of meticulous blending of traditional applications with a brush or sponge.  The credit goes to the fine pixels of color that are softly propelled from the airbrush tip creating a skin-like appearance yet in the best shade of “flawless”.  In the same time it would take you to blend and smooth just your foundation with a brush you can apply bronzer, highlighter, contour and blush with your airbrush.   There’s no need to clean your airbrush after each color change; simply add your next color and spray onto a tissue until you see the shade change, then apply where needed and continue until you’ve completed all the steps you choose.  Most mornings a quick overall spray will do the trick but on those special days when you want to look outstanding you can still add contour and highlight in less than 5 minutes and be red carpet glowing!  Click here to learn more

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