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Expert Advice

We’re not all born with a sixth sense for shadows, creams and application methods, and even the best at-home wand-wielders find themselves at a cosmetics impasse every now and again. And sometimes, well, sometimes we just want a second opinion or a fresh set of eyes. Enter our Beauty Stylists. These skincare and makeup professionals are well-versed and experienced with all the lines we carry, and they have a client-focused, nuanced approach to helping you look and feel your best.

Case in point: Patricia Wolfkill, a 55-year-old former model and longtime fashion industry multitalent. Wolfkill visited Beauty Stylist Kristen Lawson at Nordstrom Bellevue Square and we were there to document what went down.

The goal: “I think as women age, the days of no makeup and/or too much makeup end,” Wolfkill told us. “I think the biggest concern for women of a certain age is to use a light hand, but in such a way as to create some of the facial contours that diminish with age. In addition to the issue of sagging or drooping skin, the texture of the skin changes. It’s key to use makeup products that help restore—or appear to restore—that healthy, hydrated, smooth skin of our youth. That’s the goal. At least that’s my goal.”

The stylist: Kristen Lawson, whose gorgeous bottle-blond locks and of-the-moment, partially shaved ‘do are a sort of calling card for her modern, fashion-forward approach to beauty and makeup.

The strategy: Lawson wanted to give Wolfkill a sophisticated, dewy look for evening. By creating this special-occasion glow Lawson could introduce our consultant and fashion-marketing instructor to a suite of products, and Wolfkill could edit or dial back the options and ideas for regular, everyday wear from there.

First steps: Lawson says she often asks her clients to bring in their personal makeup bag; this allows her to take a look at the customer’s existing collection and suggest not only updates and additions, but new ways of utilizing those current products as well. The focus here was on introducing Wolfkill to some new tricks and tools, however, so after Lawson and Wolfkill spent a little time gabbing about moisturizing, cleansing and general beauty routines, our pro went off in search of a few of her favorite things.

The essential prep: Clarisonic’s Opal just couldn’t come with a bigger and heartier endorsement. Lawson likes to see it used with Osmotics Eye Surgery. She gave Wolfkill a good workup with the tool, pointing out that this time of year—cold season, that is—the eye massager also works as a lymphatic drainage booster. “Oh yeah, this feels good,” said Wolfkill as the Opal hummed along.

The essential moisturizer: Perricone MD Face Finishing Moisturizer

The essential primer: Laura Mercier Radiance; “Glow without the sparkle, which just isn’t right for a woman like Patricia.”

The essential tool: A mirror. “I always give my clients a hand mirror so they can follow along,” Lawson said. “It’s pointless if they can’t go home and replicate the process.”

 

 

Creating the look: Again, it was all about the glow—and to this end Lawson had a great point: The dewy, glowing look always trends in summer because it’s relatively easy to achieve. An afternoon of gardening or farmers’ market shopping in the sunshine and you’ve got it. But in the cold months, we really want and need to mentally and physically combat the doldrums. It just takes a little more effort.

Foundational: YSL’s Youth Liberator and Touche Éclat with a NARS eyeshadow base—”The best in the world.”   

Pivotal: Chanel Soleil Tan. “Just a little,” Lawson warned. “You can’t be doing Kim K. everyday.” But for just-right contour, both Lawson and Wolkfill—already a card-carrying fan of the product—agree. This is it.

Colorful: From there Lawson’s routine included 12 more products and applications, including La Prairie Cream Blush, NARS Larger Than Life Eyeliner in a nude shade—get this, pro tip!—on the inner rim of the lower lid, Dolce & Gabbana Passioneyes Mascara and Estée Lauder’s Nude Lip Pencill—”The very best nude.” There were lots of pencils, pots and sticks on the desk when she was finished, but it’s all about exposure. Lawson wants her clients to see the wide and colorful range. And a price range, too. There’s certainly no expectation that all of the appointment’s elements will go home with each client, and she says she actually loves the process of talking them all through and deciding what’s right for now and what can be revisited later. What does always go home with the client is a face chart—a handmade map of what was used and where, annotated and fully cross-referenced.

The result? That, friends, you can see for yourselves.

 

To make a free, no-pressure appointment with a Beauty Stylist near you, or to consult with one by phone or Live Chat, visit our Beauty Stylist page.

Images by Brooklyn Benjestorf

M·A·C shares the trade secrets and products behind the looks they designed for the runways at Fashion Week.

MAC-Fashion-Week-Recap-2

At Rolando Santana, Director of Makeup Artistry Romero Jennings was inspired by the idea of a glowing, daytime smoky eye. Using eyeshadow creams, he created a satiny lavender shade that swept over the upper eyelid and wrapped around the outside corner of the eye to the lower eyelid. Vanilla Pigment was the star product for the skin. He accented cheekbones by buffing the product to reveal its pearl finish.

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M·A·C Senior Artist Gregory Arlt introduces the Brooke Shields Collection with an easy-to-follow tutorial using products from this down-to-earth new line.


The Brooke Shields for M∙A∙C Collection is perfect for creating a look that is simple, modern and beautiful. These easy-to-use shades can be used in endless ways. Below, you’ll find my interpretation and step-by-step instructions for creating an iconic look for yourself with these gorgeous shades.

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Kate Fannin, our beauty trend editor, dishes on her favorite new product from Armani—and its surprising versatility.

When we meet with vendors to see all of the great new products for the upcoming season, I keep a running list of must-get-as-soon-as-they-launch items. The waiting is truly the hardest part, since we often see products many months in advance! One of the products on my cannot-come-too-soon list for fall is Giorgio Armani’s new Eye & Brow Maestro. This one’s a game-changer for sure.

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M·A·C Senior Artist Cynthia Rivas introduces the new A Novel Romance Collection with a how-to guide for re-creating three different sultry looks, inspired by the tongue-in-cheek campaign imagery.

All three looks are focused around subtle pops of color against beautiful and natural looking skin, so begin each look by applying your favorite foundation and perfecting the skin. I recommend a lightweight, natural foundation, like M·A·C Mineralize Moisture SPF 15 Foundation, set with Mineralize Skinfinish Natural to give skin a romantic glow.

If you need more coverage, you can conceal any imperfections with (my secret weapon) Pro Longwear Concealer.

Once your skin is perfected, you can then focus on the rest of the look.

Seduction of a Scot

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A look to make the eyes pop—for someone who isn’t afraid of color.

1. Start by applying Fluidline Eye Pencil in ‘Deep Blue Sea’ all over the lid, from lash line to crease. Blend the edges with a soft fluffy brush like the 217 Blending Brush.

2. Blend Electric Cool Eye Shadow in ‘Switch to Blue’ over the lid, then soften the edges again with the brush.

3. Apply a healthy coat of black mascara. Finish by lining the waterline with Eye Kohl in ‘Fascinating’ to make eyes appear larger.

4. Apply Powder Blush in ‘Animal Instincts’ to the apples of the cheeks.

5. Define your lip shape with Lip Pencil in ‘Hip ‘N’ Happy ‘ and gloss them up with Lipglass in ‘Reckless Desire’ for the perfect kissable lips.

Scandal on the High Seas

A focus on the eyes using neutral tones.

1. Smooth on Pro Longwear Paint Pot in ‘Indianwood’ from lash line to crease.

2. Start with the ‘My Fantasy’ color from the ‘A Novel Romance’ Eyeshadow Palette all over your eyelids. Contour your eyes with Eyeshadow in ‘Wedge’. Line the top lash line with Fluidline Pencil in ‘Earth Sign’ to help create a fuller lash line.

3. Finish by curling lashes and applying Mineralize Multi-Effect Lash on both the top and bottom lashes.

4. Give cheeks a perfect blushing tone with Powder Blush in ‘Fun Ending’.

5. Define lips with Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in ‘Etcetera’, followed by Lipstick in ‘Myself’. Add a pouty effect by dabbing a small amount of Lipglass in ‘Pure Fiction’ to the center of the lips.

Ethereal Escape

A soft, romantic look for every day.

1. Apply Cream Color Base in ‘Pearl’ to eyelids, and also to cheekbones for highlighting.

2. Press Electric Cool Eye Shadow in ‘Love Power’ all over eyelids and blend Eyeshadow in ‘Wedge’ into the contour/crease of eye, creating a softened look.

3. Curl lashes and apply Haute & Naughty Too Black Lash to both top and bottom lashes.

4. Apply Powder Blush in ‘Fun Ending’ to cheeks, smiling while you do so to get the cheekbones at that angle. For lips, create a kissable, stained lip look by mixing Lipstick shades ‘Myself’ and ‘Good Kisser’, and press onto lips with fingers.

Follow Cynthia on Twitter for daily beauty tips and how-tos: @MAC_Cynthia_R.

How to create the perfect smoky eye? Our friends at Jouer are here to help with a step-by-step tutorial on achieving sultry, smoldering eyes — and their Crème Eyeshadow Crayon makes it all a breeze.

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Step 1. Using the Jouer Crème Eyeshadow Crayon in Abstract, lightly glide this product from the inner corner of the lash line towards the outer corner of the eye. (No need to feather this product, it’s as smooth as butter.)

Step 2. Gently lift the eyelid to expose the space between each lash and smooth the crayon in between the lashes to fill in any space. Tip: This is much easier to do before mascara is applied.

Step 3. Using the Eye Definer Brush (No.5), gently sweep back and forth over eyelid, making sure the brush is gradually blending upwards in order to give the “smoky” effect. Repeat until the Crème Eyeshadow Crayon is softened and spread out.

Step 4. Lastly, glide the Liquid Shimmer Eyeliner in your favorite shade, starting at the inner corner of the eye and working your way outward along the base of the lash line. Make sure to flick the liner brush to give it that perfect point!

Step 5. Finish the look with Jouer Everyday Effortless mascaraHydrating Lipstick in Meredith, and lip gloss in Nude.

Kate Fannin, our beauty trend editor, knows how much we all covet a terrific tan during the summer. Here, she explains how to get that beach babe bronze without the harmful side effects.

Me soaking up the rays during my swim team days.

Remember when you were on the neighborhood swim team and were more concerned about your cheesy one-piece than the long-term effects of the sun? (See my 15-year-old self above for reference.) What I wouldn’t give to have that perfect tan shade again, albeit in a much SAFER way. Good news—you totally can, and with no chlorine or kickboard required. Here are some quick steps and picks for achieving the perfect “swim team” tan without risking serious sun damage:

1. Get Ready: Use a great body exfoliator or soap in the shower to prep the skin (shaving also helps). Some good options include Kate Somerville ‘ExfoliKate® Body’ Intensive Exfoliating Treatment or Fresh Seaberry Exfoliating Soap.

2. Get Set: Use a lotion or cream around areas that are susceptible to absorbing too much product (i.e., the often-dry parts) like heels, ankles, knees and elbows. A few of my faves are Estée Lauder ‘Nutritious’ Energy Lotion, L’Occitane Almond Milk Concentrate and Clinique Deep Comfort Body Moisture.

3. Tan!: With so many new formulas available, there’s definitely one for everybody—and every body! (Or face!) Check out Xen-Tan ‘Absolute Luxe’ Dark Lotion. It’s non-greasy and has no icky self-tanner odor—it even has Scent Secure technology to make sure. Also, St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse is a good bet—you can’t argue with an Allure “Best of Beauty” winner AND 5-star customer ratings!

One last tan tidbit…

If you’re in a hurry or traveling, try one of my “hall of fame” self-tanning favorites: Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pads—travel-friendly towelettes that exfoliate AND give a gorgeous tan all in one! Use at night (after shower and before bed), and by morning, you’re gorgeously tanned and guaranteed to score compliments about your glowing skin! Best of all, they come in both face and body options.

And that’s my (tan) take!
—Kate

Nordstrom Rewards members!

During Anniversary Sale Early Access, you can shop loads of Beauty Exclusives—like these M·A·C Look in a Box sets—while supplies last (opens to the public July 18). As a bonus, M·A·C Senior Artist John Stapleton describes how each gorgeous palette makes it super-easy to create a fresh and fabulous look.

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M·A·C Look in a Box Face Kit / All About Beige Read More

Kate Fannin, our beauty trend editor, is constantly asked which beauty products she recommends when preparing for travel. Here, she counts down her top 10 travel essentials for summer adventure.

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Me hiking Mt. Abraham, the 5th-highest summit in Vermont

Last week, a friend told me about her upcoming 6-month South American adventure that she’s embarking on with her husband. (Color me jealous!) They’ve been budgeting for it for several years and have one simple objective: “Explore what’s out there and enjoy the adventure.” (Color me very jealous.)

When she asked for some travel-friendly beauty suggestions, I realized how often I’m asked for recommendations about good/easy/packable products. So here’s my top-ten list of simple items—many are multi-taskers and some even unisex. Let the summer travel adventures begin!

Yves Saint Laurent ‘Touche Éclat’ Radiant Touch

#1. Great as a light concealer or highlighter or for quick touch-ups, and it’s super-portable too—a cult classic for a reason.

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Jane So, a Nordstrom Beauty Stylist from Montgomery Mall in Maryland, shares her guide to flawless, radiant skin.


My mom and me

Growing up, I always admired how beautiful my mother was. She is my greatest inspiration: a fashion designer and artist who always rocked her own unique style. I was inspired to embrace my own kind of beauty and not be afraid to stand out. After exploring different positions in retail, I fell in love with being a beauty stylist. My goal is to bring true beauty from within. I want to inspire people to be their own kind of beautiful and feel confident in their own skin, just like my mother taught me.

I love being a beauty stylist because it allows me the freedom to not only express my creativity but to customize beautiful looks for every customer. As a beauty stylist, I can share my knowledge and teach people how to be their very best! I love that I’m able to provide personal product recommendations and create a one-of-a-kind beauty. I am your ‘go-to’ girl, your best friend for beauty and someone you can trust! I will be there whenever you need me and you can count on me to make your day an amazing one! I love what I do because it embraces all that I am and gives me the chance to share my beauty secrets and bring true beauty within everyone. Today, let me share my secret to flawless, radiant skin!

“Be the best version of you!” This was a fun one-on-one beauty master class I had with my customer Michelle, where we focused on achieving radiant skin.

Want to glow and shine bright like a diamond? This season is all about healthy, glowing skin, and I want to share with you some of my favorite products!

First, I cleanse by gently massaging Erno Laszlo ‘Phelityl’ Pre-Cleansing Oil into the skin. Then I dip my Erno Laszlo ‘Sea Mud’ Deep Cleansing Bar into warm water and massage the bar directly onto the face, rinsing with warm water after a few minutes.

Once the skin is cleansed, I protect with Clarins ‘Double Serum®’ Complete Age Control Concentrate before applying any makeup products. This powerful serum is made up of 20 pure plant extracts and potent, high-tech molecules. You will get firmer skin, reduced wrinkles, more even skin tone and less visible pores in just four weeks.

To add radiance, I use Laura Mercier ‘Radiance Bronze’ Primer to give skin a smooth, glowy surface. Wear this fabulous product alone or under your foundation for a sun-kissed glow. Hydrating, water-based gel preps skin with radiance. It’s formulated with a blend of jojoba oils and vitamins A, C and E to keep skin healthy.

Lastly, I touch up the face with CHANEL ‘Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour SPF 15′ powder to add a soft contour around the frame of the face. This is a beautiful product that will enhance, brighten and bronze for a custom glow with a sheer, luminous finish.