Every November I start sifting through all of the holiday gift sets. Obviously, it’s one of my most favorite pastimes! Then I narrow it down to the best of the best and start my holiday shopping. Naturally as I’m curating, I always find a couple of gems that find a home in my vanity no matter how hard I try to gift them!! Anyway, let me be your Santa’s helper and share my favorites:

FOR YOUR SISTER: Not sure if Charlotte knew these were my three favorite shades, but I squealed when I got my hands on (1) this mini set of lipsticks in Penelope Pink, Bitch Perfect and So Marilyn, and so will your sister! She’ll also love (2) this gorgeous set of ten mini polishes and its adorable presentation if she’s especially girlie.

FOR YOUR BESTIE: She will love (1) this Tarteist contour palette because it literally is a paint-by-numbers slenderizing genius and has shades for all skin tones. She will also die for (2) this scrumptious, high pigment, high gloss set in the prettiest shades ever.

FOR YOUR MOTHER: If your mom is anything like my mom, she is a fanatic about hand cream. So I know she will love (1) this limited set of 5 greatest hits that she can keep all over the house, in the car and in her handbag! Also, your mom probably doesn’t know about (2) this magic in a bottle and will forever thank you for introducing her to it. You can get the smaller one and she can buy the bigger one for herself when she becomes a convert. It keeps her skin ultra-hydrated and she’ll get complimented all day long that she’s glowing. Just be prepared to want to borrow it constantly!

FOR YOURSELF: It’s hard to believe that Viktor & Rolf’s Flowerbomb came on the scene ten years ago and the best way to celebrate is with (1) this truly-special piece-of-art limited edition bottle. It makes your bathroom so feminine and smells divine. And (2) this Parisian-inspired limited edition palette is just too hard to not keep for yourself! It has 18 of my favorite eye shadows, Better Than Sex mascara, my favorite eye shadow primer, a pretty pink longwear liquified lipstick, two bronzers, a blush and a highlighter for a ridiculously-low price.

So now that you know mine, what are yours? Please share any gift sets or limited edition palettes or cult favorites in the comments below!




All day long I can’t help myself from noticing everyone’s makeup. Occupational hazard I’m sure, but I find I do a quick once over the same way a dentist must look at everyone’s teeth and a tailor must look at everyone’s clothes. I don’t judge, I just notice. And mostly I notice that people are wearing mascara but it’s barely there and not doing what it’s formulated to do. Why? Because a couple strokes of the wand isn’t enough! It’s just not. If you don’t believe me, try it tomorrow morning. Do a couple coats and look in the mirror. Then do 30 quick strokes per eye and look in the mirror. Night and day. What I’m suggesting takes one minute total, 30 seconds per eye. Your lashes will thank you. Let’s walk through it:




Yes the lashes are more defined than the before shot. But wah-wah. Snoozefest! That’s mostly what I see all day long among my peers. We can do much better, ladies! Keep scrolling:



Now that’s what I’m talking about. Just gorgeous, coated daytime lashes. Doesn’t matter if you have short or long lashes, just rock what you got making the most of what you have! I’m not talking about long precise strokes. No one-mississippi, two-mississippi… more like 1, 2, 3… quick brisk strokes.


For inquiring minds, this is the coppery eyeshadow palette ($) I used, this is the eyeliner ($$) and this is the lipstick ($$) in Mocha.




This little quick tip is much more powerful than you might think. If you only shade over brow hairs, you are filling in but you’re missing the chance to also define. But if you move the brow hairs temporarily by brushing them down, you expose the skin behind them, giving you the chance to draw directly on it. Then you simply brush the hairs back up and the illusion is done! Here’s how:


  • A Dual-Ended Brow Brush — Look for one that has a spoolie (looks like a clean mascara wand) on one end and a stiff angled brush on the other end, like this one ($$) used on Brook above or this one ($).
  • Brow Shadow — My favorite brow shadow palettes are these ($$$) but you can also use this one ($).


  1. Here’s the trick! When you get to the arch, brush all those hairs downward with the spoolie. This exposes the skin so you can draw directly on it.
  2. Now load up the angled brush in the brow shadow and draw the arch directly on this skin.
  3. After you’ve drawn it in, switch back to the spoolie end and brush the hairs back up.
  4. Now finish filling in the tail.

For the fashionistas out there, this is the cozy chunky knit sweater ($$$) that Brook is wearing above but this one ($) is on sale!




By now you know I like to streamline my kit often. Like quarterly. Okay, monthly! Ten years ago I had two big suitcases filled with everything and the kitchen sink and lugged them from job to job out of insecurity. Then as the years passed and my confidence in my skills grew, I felt comfortable enough to narrow everything down to the best of the best. And now I have one suitcase small enough to carry on the plane! But I still  love to go from counter to counter to see what new products have come out that just might be better than the staples in my kit and when I find one that is extra special, I swap it in. So without further ado, here is a list of the makeup that I’ve found exceptional this year that made my work so much better (my mother always says “we’re only as good as our equipment!”), as well as more budget-friendly versions and my favorite four breakthrough innovations:



  • Foundation (Splurge) — this one goes with me everywhere… in my purse! By Terry Light Expert Click Brush is so innovative because it comes in my favorite By Terry shades but I can do touch ups with just one click in my car, at work or in the bathroom of a restaurant. It has saved my life!
  • Foundation (Steal) — Covergirl Ultra Smooth Foundation comes with an innovative applicator that helps smooth over fine facial hairs and any tiny bumps.
  • Contour (Splurge) — Pur Minerals Cameo Contour Stick is a creamy formula that sets as a powder. It makes contouring and highlighting foolproof and comes with a blending sponge.
  • Contour (Steal) — NYX Wonder Stick also makes contouring and highlighting easy and comes in four shades. Technically, it’s $11.99 so if you want one under $10, try this one ($)!
  • Highlight (Splurge) — Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Palette is a limited edition that I plan to have and cherish for a very long time! It has three candlelit strobe highlighters, two blushes and a bronzer that make all together make you glow like you never have before.
  • Highlight (Steal) — Revlon Highlighting Palette comes in three palettes to look gorgeous on all skin tones and is sooooo pretty in a “I look sunkissed and healthy” kind of way!
  • Blush (Splurge) — Chosungah 22 Real Cheek Smoother Blush has fruit extracts in it, comes in three shades, is portable and really hydrating. I just love the way it looks on my clients and brings their canvas to life.
  • Blush (Steal) — Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Cheek Flush is also portable and instantly gives a pretty flush that looks real like my clients are in love and happy! And this powder blush ($) is always a staple in my kit.



  • Eye Shadow (Splurge) — Charlotte has been an idol of mine for years. She’s responsible for Kate Moss’s rock n roll looks, Amal Clooney’s wedding day makeup and many of the best runway looks ever. So when she came out with her own makeup line last year, I was first in line to get my hands on it. And quickly swapped out many of my eye shadow palettes for her Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Palettes.
  • Eye Shadow (Steal) — I created the Amy Nadine Renewing Nudes Palette for a couple reasons. I almost always wet the brush before applying eye shadow on my clients so it’s more intense and lasts longer on the red carpet, but I can never get my clients to do it when they’re at home. Either they think it’s a pain to have an extra step or they don’t want a wet brush in their makeup drawer (I totally get it!). So I formulated these to be incredibly pigmented to go on as intensely as if they had wet the brush (but don’t with these!). And I wanted it to work with their skincare formulas instead of against them so I added bamboo silk, red raspberry seed oil, bilberry seed oil and clover flower extract to hydrate, smooth and power up with antioxidants. The palette retails for $40 but on the link above you can grab one for $15.99 even if you don’t have a membership (just leave that part blank when checking out!). You’ll love applying them with your fingers because they’re like nothing you’ve ever felt before.
  • Eye Liner (Splurge) — In 1995 I asked for Kevyn Aucoin’s The Art of Makeup book and started dreaming of living a life like his. So I’m not sure why it took me 20 years to get my hands on Kevyn Aucoin’s The Eye Pencil Primatif but better late than never! They blend and glide beautifully and I now use them on everyone.
  • Eye Liner (Steal) — I love L’Oreal Infallible Silkissime Liner because it glides on like silk then lasts for 16 hours. And I use this one ($) on the inner waterline.
  • Mascara (Splurge) — I’m so happy the Benefit Roller Lash was invented because it’s the first curling mascara that I’ve ever tried that actually curls the lashes then stays curled. I can’t keep them stocked enough in my kit because my clients always want to take it home with them LOL.
  • Mascara (Steal) — Rimmel ScandalEyes XX Treme is awesome because the wand builds volume and length. The formula dries very quickly though so don’t wait in between coats! And I love this black primer ($) on everyone!



  • Lipstick (Splurge) — I’ve yet to find another lipstick that beats Tom Ford Lip Color. It’s the most luxurious formula I’ve ever tried and I love offering my clients the best of the best.
  • Lipstick (Steal) — The L’Oreal Collection Prive Doutzen Edition is one of the prettiest nude collections out there and such a steal.
  • Lip Stain (Splurge) –Everyone that I’ve given the Chosungah 22 Dual Lip Tint & Gloss to has died over it as much as I had. It absolutely will not budge until you wash it off.
  • Lip Stain (Steal) — Ulta Double Duty Lip Stain & Balm isn’t drying like a lot of lip stains and the balm on the other end makes it feel really good too.



  • Cover Fx Custom Cover Drops — This magic bottle is filled with a super-concentrated and incredibly-thin liquid that comes in 24 shades and I add a few drops to anything I want to add more coverage to (foundation or tinted moisturizer) or to make my own foundation, I add it to a primer, serum, lotion or face oil. Or sometimes I use it as a spot concealer on its own. There is nothing out there like it.
  • Chosungah 22 Brow Maker — it looks like a magic marker but the wand has bristles that you can use to tint the hairs by brushing it through them and a pointed end that you can draw with. It comes in four shades and I keep all of them in my kit.
  • Cushion Compacts — Such an innovative product that I wish I would have thought of! So portable and such thin formulas. I love this one ($$$) and this one ($$).
  • Vera Mona Dry Brush Cleaner — Obviously clean brushes are a must for me in between clients and jobs. But sometimes I try a color and want to use the same brush immediately for another color. Instead of washing it and having to wait for it to dry, I just swirl it around this cleaning system and it’s instantly clean and dry!