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Tag Archives : makeup

Questioning Yellow Based Foundations

Having worked on thousands of women, I can often identify certain brands of foundation solely based on their distinct yellow hue on my clients’ skin. Many luxury brands offer a sea of different variations of yellow. Though yellow tones work well on Asian women, most of my clientele is Caucasian and with few exceptions have more pink in their skin. Ideally, an equal amount of pink and yellow is needed for a balanced, healthy glow.

Foundation 101

I have been custom blending foundation formulas for over 20 years, and currently add fuchsia toner to almost every single one because it cuts the yellow in the skin and subtly adds pink, which looks healthier and less jaundice-like. Almost every woman that sits in my chair has a yellow formula foundation like I am describing. When I remove it and show them the difference that adding pink makes, they are stunned! The problem is there are far too many formulas on the market that shouldn’t be available to anyone. Because of this, purchasing foundation at a department store is very risky. So much so that only one in ten of my clients is wearing a foundation that is appropriate for her skin tone. I also like to go a tiny bit on the darker side to give clients a little more color in addition to adding pink which achieves a rosier bronze glow.

Bonzers and Powders

The same is true of bronzers and translucent powders so I have created one that is more pink-toned as well. When worn over my custom blended foundation it adds another layer of subtle color correction. The pink hue cuts the yellow undertone in the powder. This is especially helpful for blondes who already have a lot of yellow tones in their hair. Pink brightens and lifts the skin without having to depend on an orangey bronzer that might not be the right shade for you.


The one place yellow tones are appropriate is in concealer. Usually the skin color is a little lighter under the eyes, and when you go too light on the concealer it ends up highlighting dark circles and drawing attention to them—AKA the raccoon look. A yellow based concealer blends into the skin more easily and should disappear to look like you are wearing nothing at all. My Beauty Ammo Kit includes three secret weapons for a flawless eye area.

Next time you are on your way to the overwhelming world of department store makeup counters, head to M.B. York instead and have a color custom blended for just $45. Book and appointment at Jo Paris Salon, 14202 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85258.

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Natural Looking Makeup Application

I wanted to share my thoughts on makeup application, and what men really think about it. Having worked with thousands of women, I have heard the same things over and over, so I can say with certainty that most men don’t like a heavily made up look.

Enter The Kardashians…

Bringing theatrical makeup application to daytime with millions of girls following, I can’t help but wonder why women would follow their lead over listening to the men that love them, whether it be their fathers, husbands or boyfriends. I know there are men out there that love their wives no matter what their makeup or lack thereof looks like, but I have also had men whisper to me that they hate it, and words to the effect of “they think know better!”

I also can confidently say that there have been countless times I have done someone’s makeup, and the client tells me later that the minute they walked in the door, their husband commented on how great they look. They even go so far to say, go back and buy everything she put on your face. That is my testament to the fact that men don’t hate makeup, they just hate bad makeup, and unfortunately they rarely see what they would consider a good makeup application.

A Natural Look

We all know, men like you to look natural! They want to see you, and notice your beautiful eyes, lips, and cheekbones, and not worry that if they lean over to kiss you they will end up with orange foundation on their collar, smeared lipstick on their lips, and look like a drag queen themselves when half of your makeup application is transferred onto their face when they kiss you. If you are going for the “look but don’t touch” effect, and want to put up a wall between you and a man, this is a great way to do it!

What Your Makeup Application Says About You

Which brings me to dating, and what your makeup application says about you. For starters, anything that is bright or bold is going to compete with the attention you want focused on getting to know you! Do you really think strip eyelashes or caked on mascara makes you look confident? Maybe it looks like you are trying too hard, or that you have been on a 3 day bender, not bothering to apply fresh mascara and have been building it up over several days time. Lining your inner rims also looks dirty, makes your eyes look beady and smaller, and although you may feel edgy, he feels like he wishes he could take a napkin off the table and wipe it all off so he can see what you really look like. All the while, he is secretly thinking, “What on earth does she look like without the mask on? What is her skin color under the thick orange foundation and cake powder?”

OK, maybe I am going to far, and he isn’t thinking any of this through, but subconsciously you are saying, “Hi. I am a very high maintenance woman. I spend hours getting ready to go out, and looking flawless is more important to me than getting to know you.” I also get that you feel you have to stand out when you are maybe on Match.com and any potential date is getting 3 possible new matches during your first coffee or dinner date.

So What’s a Girl to Do?

Look gorgeous but not like you are wearing anything at all. Just a little light lip, dewey skin, and soft mascara with a smudge of liner. I know the “how to get the look” in the major beauty magazines tell you to do just that to look like the supermodel on the cover, but as an expert, I can tell you they are leaving out several steps, and to pull off a natural look, you want you skin to look flawless first and foremost.

It’s Not All or Nothing!

It seems to be an all or nothing option most women think they have. Either they wear none, because they don’t know how or don’t have the confidence to apply it or they go over the top with the wrong colors and technique and are married to it for years on end. Everyone can relate to the department store make-over where they leave with hundreds of dollars worth of products and clueless about how to apply it.

Lady Diana or Lady Gaga?

My goal is to teach you how to apply makeup like the girl next door, not the hooker next door. Think Princess Grace, or Princess Di, not Lady Gaga. Men don’t want to take the circus to dinner. Think more Lady Di than Lady Gaga.

Eye Makeup for Dummies

My Paint by Numbers Eyeshadow Kit teaches you, with all the tools included, how to do a flawless eye makeup application. 6 shadows, 3 brushes, a fool-proof diagram and the confidence you need for your true self to shine! Also, consider a custom blended foundation. You need a color matched perfectly to your skin so only you know you have it on. Your pores should show through, and your skin tone being evened out ensures that your beautiful eyes will have center stage.

So tone it down a little, but expertly and watch the men in your life fall in love with your confidence!

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Brenda Christian Interview Pt. 1: The Universal Brow Definer

Always worth a revisit: Our exclusive interview with female entrepreneur and brow guru, Brenda Christian – founder of Brenda Christian Cosmetics. Her revolutionary Universal Brow Definer is an all-time best seller – and for good reason! It perfectly enhances any and all brow shades from blonde to black. Read about how she created this dream product.


Interview with Brenda Christian

President and CEO, Brenda Christian Cosmetics, Inc.

Brenda Christian founded her eponymous cosmetics line in 1982 to offer women unparalleled solutions to their skin care and makeup needs. The company develops products based upon voids in the cosmetics industry that Christian identifies through client interactions.

We talked to this inspiring female entrepreneur about her journey, creating her own line of products and much more!

What inspired you to develop your cosmetic products?

B.C.: Though my business is now 32 years old, it seems like yesterday that I made the decision to become a professional makeup artist. I was young and energetic, and within a few months was booked solid, traveling and doing fashion show work. Still, my greatest love was teaching a woman, one on one, how to apply her makeup…everything from how to hold a makeup brush correctly to selecting shades she could wear to achieve her best look. When I began developing products, I did so out of necessity.

Regarding my brow products, that is quite a story!

Early on I became the go-to person for brow shaping in Houston. I adored working with my clients, but felt weak in adding to eyebrows to fill voids, or even more terrifying, creating an eyebrow where absolutely no hair existed. I could not find a product that worked well, and felt insecure about my work.

About that time, I enrolled in a three day course for experienced makeup artists offered by Maurice Stein, a well-known Hollywood makeup artist. The first day of the course, he tested each student. After the practical testing, Maurice pulled me away from the rest of the class and asked me why I was working in Houston and not California! I explained that my goal was not to become a television and cinema makeup artist, but to develop products formulated to work in extreme climatic conditions, like the heat and humidity of Houston. I told him I was working on a product to create eyebrows on women that had none.

For three days, Maurice worked with me, teaching me separately from the rest of the class, how to create beautiful eyebrows on women that had none. At the end of the class, Maurice asked me if I would show the products that I had been working on to Harry Blake, Director of Makeup for NBC Studios. I was happy to do so! Both men were excited about the potential of the new wax I had developed and encouraged me to share the products with them upon completion. Today, I am honored that Maurice sells my eyebrow products in his Cinema Secrets store in California, and I have always been grateful for his artistic training.

Your Universal Brow Definer is legendary. How is one brow pencil shade really universal?

B.C.: As I worked with my clients without brow hairs – due to genetics, a bad tweezing or waxing experience, or loss of hair through aging – and as a perfectionist, I would attempt to create an eyebrow that looked just as natural as real hair. I tried working with pencils and brush-on brow products, but couldn’t accomplish a natural looking brow. I began to work with different types of materials; oils, gels, clays, pastes, etc., trying to develop a “three dimensional eyebrow”.

I worked with literally hundreds of clients trying to create an eyebrow “hair” that could not be distinguished from the adjacent actual eyebrow hairs. As I tested different materials, I noticed that one material in one color would actually change color depending upon whether my client had very dry skin or oily skin around the brows. I mention this because the wax would not change color anywhere else on the body.

Most natural blondes have finer hair and drier skin and most redheads have even drier skin. This affected the color of the Universal Brow Definer wax as I applied it to the skin. Clients with oilier skin would cause the wax to become very dark. It had very little to do with how much pressure was placed on the eyebrow. It had to do with the reaction of the formula itself, creating a specific color base on almost every eyebrow. This material was a tinted wax, and when applied on a blond, it would literally turn golden blond or ash blond to mimic the client’s actual hair color. The same color would turn a reddened tan shade when applied to a redhead, and amazingly on myself, with very deep brown hair, it would turn dark when it touched my skin. The wax was actually reacting to the pH of the skin’s surface.

This in itself was fabulous, but the strokes – whether I poured the wax into a pencil and applied it or used it with a brush – were flat, and I wanted a three dimensional appearance. In order to accomplish that, I had to thicken the wax base of the colorant (now Universal Brow Definer Pencil®) and apply it in extremely thin strokes, which meant I needed to design a special blade to provide an angled edge on the pencil. Knowing that some of the best knives came from Germany, I visited with a sharpener company and they developed a special blade to provide that very specific edge to the pencil. Next, I needed to provide the three dimensional texture that would have each stroke look like a brow hair. To do that, I needed to work with light to catch facets of the strokes. I developed a demi-matte gel which, when applied, intensified the color of the wax base of the pencil but absorbed and refracted light and simulated a circular appearance in the brow hair stroke. Because it refracted light, it also reflected the actual hair color that the client had on her head, causing the eyebrows to be truly perfected. Thus, the first eyebrow gel was born; I called it Perfect Brow®.

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Makeup and Foundation Tips From MB York

Foundation Information: Wear It Well

Maybe you’ve been going light on makeup and foundation over the warmer summer months, as we have, but as we transition into fall weather here are some great tips from M.B. York on getting your foundation and eye makeup just right.


To Wear Or Not To Wear?

Foundation is one of the most important steps of makeup application (after my Beauty Ammo Kit – more on that in a bit). Getting the color right is crucial. If you are trusting the wrong lighting, wrong salesperson, or wrong formula, there is a lot of room for error. In my 20 years of custom blending foundations, here is what I’ve found:

Many formulas are too yellow. One way to correct this is add a small amount of fuchsia toner to a foundation. Ideally, you want an equal amount of pink and yellow in your skin, and I often have to “de-orange” women’s foundation.

Most women don’t want to look too pale, and there can be added issues like rosacea or freckles, on top of fair skin. Do you go lighter like the base, darker like the freckles or somewhere in between?  Most women want some color in their skin, and look best with a slightly darker formula.

I prefer an oil-free liquid formula: They are easiest to apply and look most natural.

How To Apply

Another mistake women make is blending foundation in their fingers. It ends up looking and feeling too heavy on the skin, and if the color isn’t perfect to begin with, it will sit on top of the skin. It’s best to use a sponge to blend foundation in. You want to get the coverage you need while looking like you have nothing on. Dot the foundation formula on your nose, forehead, chin and on each cheek, and then blend it all in with the sponge. The right color liquid foundation, correctly applied with a sponge, is the secret to beautiful skin. When your skin looks great, you can get away with wearing a lot less make up. One more secret? My Beauty Ammo Kit.

Beauty Ammo Kit: Your Eye Area Arsenal

My 3 step Beauty Ammo Kit is all you need for a flawless eye area. Here’s why:

Most eye creams just absorb into your skin. If you follow with concealer, powder or foundation, the makeup collects in the fine lines and actually makes your wrinkles more pronounced.

  • Step 1 of the Beauty Ammo Kit, Collagen Eye Mask, is a thick, rich base that stays on all day. It contains collagen and shea butter to provide serious hydration.
  • Step 2, Line Putty, goes right on top of the Collagen Eye Mask, and fills in fine lines while it soothes skin with chamomile and witch hazel.
  • Step 3 is my Dual Action Concealer. Once you have the rich base provided by steps 1 and 2, you can use a lot more concealer to get the coverage you need without worrying about it caking, creasing and making fine lines look worse. You can also use the concealer on your eyelid as a great base for your eye shadow.

Be sure to check out the rest of the Travel Beauty Blog for more tips on getting great-looking skin.


M.B. York’s Beauty Ammo kit is really as fabulous as it sounds. We have many clients spanning 25 – 92 (no joke) that swear by this simple regimen, not to mention a list of celebrities that go on and on.

For more makeup tips from M.B. York, click here.

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