The Soft and Subtle Art of Highlighting & Contouring


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Ever wonder how to maximize your best features while minimizing others? Are you looking through magazines and wondering why some of the celebrities faces look so sculpted?

Well if so ,the answer is highlighting and contouring ! Using  makeup to highlight and contour creates a sense of balance , adding definition to the face.

What is Highlighting and contouring?

Highlighting is a technique used on the higher planes of the face such as the cheekbones, brow bones, nose, chin, cupid’s bow of the lips, under the eyes, and inside the tear ducts.  Highlighting is done with a shade or two  lighter than your skin and is used to draw out or bring your features forward. The idea is to mimic the effect of light on the face.  I find I get a better result using creme makeup for the highlight rather than powder.

Contouring is the opposite of highlighting. A shade darker than your skin is used to hollow or recede, also to slim the face or make more angular.  The key to looking natural is to apply it softly and in the areas that shadows naturally hit your face. You can use either creme makeup or powder for contouring. Matte makeups are best , no shimmers for contouring.

Here is what I’ve done :  light marks = highlight  and  dark marks = contour

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The Steps;

1. Prime your face, eyes and  and apply your foundation as  you normally would.

{Here I used Smashox Photo Finish  Face Primer retail $36  , Laura Mercier eye canvas retail $26 and Makeup Forever HD foundation retail $42, all sold at}

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2. Highlight :

Use a angular brush to apply your  cheek bone highlighter this  will create a nice lift . I do all my highlighting before contouring because I use cream and cream always goes before any powder.  After her cheek bone I went on to highlight her brow bone, tear duct area, center of her eyelid and forehead. Once done applying highlighter be sure  to blend it out. You can use a wedge sponge .

{Shown below I used an angled brush by Royal that I bought from the paint store, Japonesque makes a stiff angled foundation brush that would be perfect for this as well retail $24.50 and for the highlight I used Kryolan Dermacolor Light Cream Mini-Palett retail $35  all sold at }

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3. Contour:

Lightly Brush on the  contour in crease of the eyes , edge of nose ,around hairline , hollows of cheeks and under the neck.  Measure a straight line from the top of your ear down toward your lip,thats the path you should be following to contour your cheeks . Remember to Blend , Blend, Blend!

{For the eyes I used a Laura Mercier Crease brush retail $29.00 sold at and around hollows of cheeks I used Sonia Kashuk Medium Angled brush retail $17.00 sold at . I contoured with MAC sculpting powders retail $15.50}

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4. Add your blush and rest of your makeup and there you go!

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Author: Danielle Minnella

The Easiest Way to Conceal a Cold Sore


It’s just about that time of the year where the season of sharing unfortunately includes colds and viruses! Cold sores can put a serious cramp in anybody’s beauty routine. Enter Abreva Conceal, a clear non-medicated patch that conceals your cold sore and enables you to apply makeup on top, lasting up to 8 hours. It creates a protective barrier that allows air in with MicroAir technology while keeping contaminants out.

Check out the simple steps below as I demonstrate how easy it is to use Abreva Conceal. Since I don’t have a cold sore, which is what the product is intended for, I demonstrated on a blemish.

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  1. Wash your face with a mild soap, and use a fresh towel to pat your cold sore and the neighboring area dry
  2. Open Conceal packaging and remove the contents inside. Peel back the paper tab marked in red with the number “1” (avoid touching the sticky part underneath by holding on to the small rectangular tab). Continue to hold the rectangular tab and peel back the other paper tab, marked in blue with the number “2”. While looking in a mirror, place the round patch over the cold sore. Press down lightly on the center of the patch and hold the patch in place for 15-20 seconds to make sure it sticks to on top of your cold sore.
  3. Gently pull away the applicator tab, at a slight angle away from your face. Voila! Conceal is in place.
  4. Apply makeup on top of Conceal to ensure that the cold sore blends in with the rest of your lips. I found that applying a liquid foundation with a small brush and finishing with powder helps set for flawless coverage. Nobody noticed that I had Conceal on and it stayed put for hours while I totally forgot I even had it on.

Abreva Conceal Logo The Easiest Way to Conceal a Cold Sore Abreva Conceal is a clean, non-medicated patch for cold sores that allows air in, yet protective enough to keep contaminants out.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Abreva via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Abreva.

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My True Loves: Products I cant live without


I get asked this question multiple times a week “so what are your favorite items in your makeup  kit?” As a makeup artist I have spent countless dollars on makeup and it could take a lifetime to tell you all the products I love however there are several  over the years that I seem to mostly gravitate towards. I buy them repeatedly and they have seemed to be tried and true. These items I cant live without! 


Smashbox Photo Finish Eyelid Primer  It glides on so smoothly and effortlessly leaving a nice finish on the lids.I usually recommend applying it with a cream brush like Laura Mercier creme brush.Your eye shadow will last all day. This is a must if you wear eyeshadow and even if you don’t your lids will  look smooth and flawless. Retail $20

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Laura Mercier Sheer Creme Eye Shadow  I am a huge fan of creme shadows. Can I just say this is by far the best creme shadow I have come across. So delicate and pretty. Never runs, not too heavy or pasty. Works on any woman, any age range. Retail $22

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Yaby Eye Shadow If your going for powder shadow I find the Yaby eye shadows to be wonderfully pigmented and very true to color. You can even customize your own palette. Try wetting them for more of an intense look. Eye shadow color in every imaginable shade. Retail $3.15 for refills

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Maybelline Gel Eye Liner {color: charcoal} Charcoal is the new black and I love using this shade on any eye color..really defines the eye and the gel formula is fantastic. Comes with a nice small brush too. Hands down this liner will last you the whole day. no running, smudging or cracking. Retail $10

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MAC Pencil {color: Naked} Now even though this color is marketed as a lip pencil I use it in the water line of the eye..really opens up the eye with this gorgeous flesh tone . Retail $15

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Loreal Voluminous Waterproof  Volume Building Mascara I love, love, love this mascara. It does not budge. I really love the waterproof formula I feel it curls the lash and doesn’t feel too heavy or weigh them down . STAYS put and brush applicator is not too big nor too small. Retail $8.00

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Smashbox Photo Finish Face Primer This is great alone or under your foundation to smooth outlines and reduce appearance of pores. Its oil free Has a velvety feel. Retail $36

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Laura MercierTinted Moisturizer I use this almost daily on clients if they just want a light natural coverage. Evens out redness . Very light weight formula. Comes in Oil free as well. Spf15 which is a nice touch. Retail $43

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Makeup Forever HD Foundation This is medium coverage. Even though its is a heavier coverage than a tinted moisturizer you still barely feel it on your face. It is very light weight. I like to apply it with a wedge sponge or a foundation brush. It is great for camera and you will look photo ready in no time! It’s my ultimate go to foundation when I’m working with clients on camera or for an everyday photo look. Really leaves a smooth finish. I love the pump bottle. Retail $42

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Makeup Forever HD Blush  I adore this product! Its very pigmented however it looks so natural on the skin. I use it with a crème blush brush. Retail $26


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Author: Danielle Minnella

Hold Your Head High: My Teenage Bullying Experience


Beauty is something more then makeup, skincare, hair, weight, clothing, etc… Beauty is within us and all too often that message can get lost.

Here at A Beauty Loft, we focus on outer beauty related issues, but I want to take a moment to discuss our belief that beauty starts on the inside. Bullying has become an epidemic and has singlehandedly been the culprit of pulling the inner glow and beauty from within individuals. Bullying has the power to drive them to self destruction, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, depression, isolation… the list can go on and on. In one sentence- bullying is causing individuals to hurt themselves and others… we have to find a way to stop it. This is a very serious matter that is close to my heart so I would like to do my part in attempting to help stop it by sharing my story and how I rose above my bullying experience:

I personally was at the receiving end of torturous bullying for over 3 years in high school. Now as an adult, I think back to how juvenile it all was and can brush it off, but it was quite the contrary as a teen. I was bullied by 7 girls in the grades above me from 9th grade through 11th. To this day I can name each girl and each moment they affected me.

In the 9th grade I was walking down the packed halls of my small, suburban, mid-west high school with a girlfriend and heard some commotion behind me. I looked over my shoulder to see a group of girls laughing, but thought nothing of it. Moments later, I was being pushed down a stairwell only to crash at the bottom along with the multiple classmates I had taken down with me. At the top of the stairs I saw the same group of girls laughing, but again, really thought nothing of it. Not more then 5 minutes went by before I was cornered at my freshman locker by these very same girls that, at the time, I couldn’t name if you paid me. I had no idea why they were there, who they were or what they wanted with me. They kept screaming in my face things like “do you know who I am b*#!h?” along with every derogatory name they could muster up. Conveniently, this happened during class change, so you can imagine the plethora of faces I had staring at me.

I would like to backtrack for a moment and mention that the night before this all happened, I had unexpectedly lost my great grandmother. She was one of the dearest and most special people in my life, one that to this day I mourn the loss of daily. Needless to say, when these events took place I was in no position to put up a fight. I was completely baffled and already so drained; they ‘smelled the blood’ and came in for more.

I do not recall how the screaming and shoving at my locker stopped, but it didn’t stop for long. About 15 minutes later, the girls appeared in the locker room as I was changing for gym. They, along with a few faces added to their posse, cornered me to continue with the screaming and name calling. I broke down and I started to cry. I wanted to know why were they bothering me and who they were. The fact that I finally shed tears excited them. I begged them to stop. At this point a friend of mine had chimed in something along the lines of “leave her alone, she lost her grandmother last night”, but they thought this was hysterical. I very clearly remember one of them saying “good, now she doesn’t have to deal with you anymore”. I cannot remember another time in my young adult life that I was more confused and alone then in that locker room.

From that day on, I walked the halls of my high school in fear of what was going to happen next. Often, they screamed awful things at me with full hallways. They threw their lunches at me, followed me to sporting events after school and harassed me there too. I, at one point, had an entire stall in my high school bathroom dedicated to calling me awful names. I would often hear from friends that there was a new phrase or curse referring to me. Many times, the school would paint over the black permanent marker, but it would be back in just a few days. I often missed school or went to the nurse’s office just to get away from it. My parents came to the school, my mom came with me to the sporting events, my father threatened to sue, but it did nothing. The girls started coming into my work where they knew I had to be kind to them. There, they would make their comments knowing I had to smile through it for the sake of my job.

One day it did stop. After 3+ years, I finally had enough. While I was walking the empty halls, the ‘ring leader’ of this girl posse was perched on a railing with one of my male classmates. She pulled her usual name calling routine, but this time I did not just keep walking and hang my head. I finally screamed back. I let it all out and let me tell you; the look in her eyes showed her fear. This look was no doubtably the same look they saw on my face the day this all began. The difference between her and I? I didn’t get pleasure out of her fear. I simply wanted to be left alone. This was they day it all began to stop. Word must have spread amongst the girls because the bullying dwindled quickly. When they got brave and tried for a bit more, I fought back with a vengeance (figuratively, not physically).

In the middle of my 11th grade year, I was finally free. It stopped. I still get angry when I think of all that they did to me, but I am grateful. Their torture made me stronger and taught me to be heard; to stand up for myself. I went to years of therapy to gain back the confidence they so successfully took from me and can now look back with pity for them. I might get angry on occasion, but I wish them well. We were kids and obviously their parents did not teach them compassion and kindness. I sincerely hope they never have to comfort their child who is at the receiving end of bullying.

Following my run with these girls in high school, I participated in a group called Project Love that worked to bring awareness to bullying. I spoke at convention centers to teens, did TV shows and mentored others going through it. This was 10 years ago. I am saddened that it has taken this long for those at the receiving end of bullying to finally find a voice. I could not have gotten through this rough time without the help of my high school social worker/counselor Beth, my family and the few friends who stuck by my side. I want children/teens to understand that there is help out there and, while it might feel like it, they are not alone. Children and teens are getting hurt, they are harming themselves, they are harming others. It has to end and the severity of bullying needs to be heard. The only way this will stop is to talk about it. I am a stronger woman today because of my experience, but not everyone comes out that way.

Beauty begins inside of us, not with mascara or lipstick- those delicious indulgences are just there to help make our smile and the twinkle in our eyes stand out more! icon smile Hold Your Head High: My Teenage Bullying Experience


My sincerest ‘Thank You’ for reading,





The picture above is me at 15, the age my bullying began. I was just a kid! If I only knew then, what I know now icon smile Hold Your Head High: My Teenage Bullying Experience

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