Jun 17, 2012

My blog is moving!  My newly designs website (ok, i'm still constantly revising it, but still!) has a built in blog platform.  I will be posting the majority of my work using that blog from now on.  Thanks so much!

You can find my blog directly at www.cottonrouge.com/blog

Jan 11, 2012

Got the Dry Skin Blues?

This article has been written entire by me. If you wish to use any portion of it, please be sure to credit me, Katie Cotton of Cotton Rouge. (and let me know, so I can check it out!)

Got the dry skin blues? I hear ya! My own skin is incredibly dry and also sensitive to both many ingredients in cosmetics and skin care products as well as adverse weather conditions. In other words…. My skin isn’t exactly my friend. Not fun for a makeup artist! But I will say that it has helped me to provide the best to my clients. Before any product (skin care or makeup wise) goes into my kit, it gets tested on my own skin first. If my skin doesn’t like it, it doesn’t go into my kit. So at least I know that my kit is pretty sensitive skin friendly!

Over the years of dealing with my own skin drama, I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks! Since many experience the dry skin blues this time of year, I wanted to share them with you! Remember that flaking or cracking skin is a sign of DAMAGED skin! Its not just that it’s dry, it is actually damaged. You need to repair the skin barrier. So simply smoothing on lotion isn’t going to do the trick, you are only adding some moisture to some dead skin sells that are still sitting there. So here are some tips to fix the damage without seeing a specialist.

1. Drink plenty of water. This is by far my biggest downfall because I really really really don’t like water. I know, it may be weird, but I just don’t like it! So I must force myself to drink it. Often times in winter and cooler months, your body doesn’t sweat as much, therefore you may not “feel” the thirst as your body becomes dehydrated. You also aren’t using a cool drink of water to help cool your body down from summer heat. But your skin, your poor poor skin IS dehydrated as all that moisture and humidity of the summer is not hydrating your skin and therefore you skin really needs you to drink that water! So get to it. (now reminding myself I better go grab a glass!) OH, and the coffee and even tea that you love to drink in the winter for it’s warm comfy-ness… also not your skins friend. Caffeine is a diuretic. I wont go into all the mumbo jumbo of that, but overall it means your kidneys process more of it out that you retain. It’s definitely not a substitute for water (though how I wish it was!) Same thing goes for smoking and alcohol which luckily for me, aren’t my vices.

2. Considering switching out your cleanser to a non foaming one. Cleansers that suds up have loads of detergents in them to make them bubble and later. Detergents dry out your skin. So while you may feel like those bubbles make you nice and clean, they also dry out your skin. This includes shampoos and body washes, though non suds versions of those are slightly harder to come by.

My favorite for face wash is Aveeno Calming Cream cleanser. If you are breakout prone, try the Aveeno Clear Complexion cream cleanser. For body washes and shampoos, read the label and see if you can find sulfate free products.

3. Exfoliate! Perhaps this should have been listed as number 2, but I really feel like the switch to a cream cleanser that I made years ago on the advise of my dermatologist made a ginormous difference. But exfoliating is also key to removing the dead skin cells that have built up. Use a gentle one and don’t go overboard. The Clear Complexion facial cleanser I mentioned above does have tiny granules in it that will help to exfoliate. I like to swap that out with the non exfoliating ones because I feel like if I am always exfoliating, I expose too much new skin. New skin is the most sensitive. So maybe go on an exfoliate every 3 or 4 days. Find the pattern that works best for you and your skin. We are all different.

4. While we are on the subject of washing… watch all that hot water! I know it feels oh so good in the cold months, but the hot water does nothing for you skin. The hotter the water, the more it wicks away the natural oils of your skin which only makes dryness worse. Same thing goes for long showers. Try to keep them short and to the point and warm but not hot and also avoid over doing like multiple showers and face washes in a day.

5. Make sure to moisturize – and continue to read those labels and look for lotions without sulfate in them. This may seem slightly daunting as so many have sulfates in them, but particularly those with sensitive skin should steer clear of sulfates whenever possible. Also avoid those with alcohol in them as they also can dry out the skin. Personally, I skip the lotions all together! I use pure oils you can find at health food stores or specialty online shops. My personal favorite is Evening Primrose Oil (which is fine in a lot of high quality lotions). After washing I simply put a couple drops on clean fingers and smooth it over my skin. Other great oils to use are Jojoba Oil, which I believe is the closest oil to skins natural sebum though don’t quote me on that! If it isn’t the closest to it out of all oils, it’s at least very close! Hazelnut, Avocado, Grapeseed and Olive Oil are also good options. It is also most beneficial to moisturize on freshly clean skin. If your skin is still damp (not wet and dripping, that will only dilute your moisturizer) you will trap some of that moisture from being damp into your skin.

6. Silicones CAN be your friend. They can also be your enemy. Personally, I do love products with silicones. The silicone molecule actually sits on top of the skin, trapping moisture inside. So this is a good thing! However, it can trap dirt and dead skin cells inside as well, which is not a good thing (obviously!) so make sure your skin is clean before applying silicone products and you are good to go! A special note to add is a lot of conditioners have silicones in them as well. Do you get the dreaded bacne (pimples and such on your back or chest)? Make sure that you wash your skin focusing on back and chest AFTER you’ve rinsed the conditioner completely from your hair. I can almost guarantee this will help your blemish problems. Same things goes for your face. Wash your face AFTER rinsing all conditioner from your hair. This will help with any pimples you might get on your forehead and hairline.

7. Now that we’ve chatted about how to get that skin nice and supple from the get go, lets chat about some makeup alternatives to help in the winter months. As mentioned before, a lot of makeup has silicones in them…. So that’s a help. Just as mentioned… make sure they go on clean skin! My 2 absolute favorite traditional foundations (I say traditional because I am using airbrush the majority of the time on set and photo shoots and I wouldn’t want my clients to be thinking… well that’s not what she used on me) is Makeup ForEver’s HD foundation and Face Atelier foundation. Both do have silicones in them and can be quite moisturizing. They also come in a wide color range.

8. Use cream based products when possible. Cream Cheek colors (my personal favorite is the Multiple by Nars. They come in many colors and are just fab. 2nd up would be the convertible cheek colors by Stila. When cheeks are already dry, I find that these just give a little bit more moisture. They also blend beautifully with the above foundations! When applying, rub the color between your fingers (it warms the product and helps it to blend better) and then apply to the apple/ball of your cheek first and then blend up and out with your fingers. Also to note… ring finger is best because it is weakest causing the least amount of pull on your skin.

9. Again with those cream based products… cream eye shadows are great for dry eyelids. I know you don’t think of eyelids as being dry, particularly if you are young, but now that I’ve entered my 30’s I can definitely see that extra dryness there. Another bonus to cream based shadows is they are pretty long wearing. Even in summer months, I often put cream based shadows under shadows to help up the color potency of the dry shadow as well as the long wear. My favorite cream based shadows include Bobbi Brown, Benefit and the MAC paint pots.

10. Last but not least, remember too that dry skin is not necessarily a winter thing. Why does it happen more in winter? For one, the air outside is less humid. But for another… the ways you stay warm (a fireplace, furnace, etc) are adding dry heat to the air which is only furthering your dry skin suffering. I’m not saying just be cold and don’t turn on your furnace! Just be aware of the changes. If you start when winter starts, you’ll have less repairing to do. :D

Well, it was a long winded post, but hopefully these tips will have the dry skin itches gone and you feeling beautiful and radiant!

Nov 7, 2011

I will get better at posting, i will get better at posting...

I feel like i should be writing this across the walls of my home (which we are currently painting... yea for fresh looks!)

But this time I mean it! Ok, I always mean it but as the wedding season winds down I feel like I may actually be able to follow thru. At least a little. :D

I do have some fun news... I recently won the Makeup Artist of the Week award on Model Mayhem. This is my 2nd honoring win. And yes... I will get around to sharing more photos from the shoots below. They were super fun!

I will also be a participating vendor at the U Designs Drop In Bridal Event tomorrow evening (November 8th) at Grace Hall in downtown Greer. I will be doing some airbrush demos, so if you are a bride to be in the Upstate of South Carolina, you should come! Even starts at 6:30!

And one last thing before I go... I am curious to know what my readers are most interested in reading from my blog... seeing photos of work? Tutorials? Product reviews? mix it up?
I want your suggestions afterall without you i'm just typing to the wind!
Send your suggestions to makeupbykatie @ yahoo .com with the subject blog suggestions

Thanks so much everyone!!!

Sep 16, 2011

Makeup for the Weekend Tips

Once upon a time... (ok, 1 time) i posted a makeup tip on a Friday. I had quite a few people suggest I do it every friday. Welllll... since Friday's are my prep day for the weekend wedding warrior (AKA, me) sometimes i forget. But I do love the idea!

I posted on Facebook asking if anyone had a question and got 2 right away... SO, i'm going to answer both. :D

Question 1: How do you put on eyeliner without looking like a goth girl?

I had to silently laugh about that one! The biggest thing, is that you probably arent using the right eyeliner. Now i'm not saying you have to go out and spend 20 bucks on an eyeliner, but if it doesnt say smudge proof or waterproof, chances are you going to look a little bit like you belong in Blondie.

Typically, eyeliner pencils like to "melt" when they get warm. And unfortunately, skin gets warm so therefore, the liner smudges down a bit further than you'd like by midday.
I most often use a cream based eyeliner and a brush. This sets far more quickly and it's going to run away from you. Lots of companies make these now. Even Maybelline has one (that i havent tried, but i've heard good things). My preference is MAC's fluidline in blacktrack for a seriously all day stay. 2nd up is Stila's smudgepot in black.

Is you dont feel coordinated enough to use a cream liner and a brush, try setting your eyeliner with a bit of dark shadow. It doesnt have to be a black shadow, a very dark brown will do the trick (my fav is Showstopper from MAC). You can use a small brush and pat the shadow on top of the eyeliner. This will set it. Think of it like you set your foundation with powder so it stays put. :D

Question number 2: "What is the best way to cover up blemishes so that they don't look like makeup caked scabs?"

OMG you guys are funny! Well, here's the first thing... don't pick at blemishes to create scabs in the first place! I know i know, it's hard, but really, try to leave them be so you dont get the crusted blemish. Because as much as you can do to cover color, there really is very little to cover texture.

The first part of my answer, really isnt going to help you do it on your own. But i have to put it in there for those who hire me to do their makeup! I cover all blemishes with my airbrush. It's the absolute best for longevity and without the oils and such that normal concealers have, the airbrush foundation truly STICKS to the blemish and doesnt wear off like other concealors. Whats more, is because the airbrush sprays such a fine thin layer (i feel an article about airbrush coming on!) and it's buildable, it doesn't add texture and it has full cover coverage.
SO, stressed out brides and models... you can relax a smidge because I can fully cover those uninvited guests so that they are unnoticed on your big day or photoshoot!

Now, for those wanting to take care of those pesky buggers at home. As already mentioned, STOP PICKING! And really truly resit the urge to just pick the scab off so that you have a smoother surface to cover with makeup because you are only going to give yourself a little scar which will just be a darkened area of skin that will last 3-4 times as long as that blemish will.
Wash the area well each night (with an exfoliator, but dont OVER exfoliate) and then put a good moisturizer on. Be really focus on moisturizing the blemished area so that it doesnt dry out and get so scabbed.
Next when doing your makeup routine, if you can get away with just putting a dense powder over it, it will look less cakey. If that isnt an option, or you really need more color coverage, apply the concealer with a small brush in a dotted fashion. You can pat around the edges of the blemish with a clean finger to fade out the concealer. This gives a better texture plus the brush strokes will just take the makeup right back off where you have applied. Then dust a powder on top (lightly again, just pat it over). These steps will help the concealer last longer and also will help it to not look so crusty. :D

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Sep 2, 2011

A lot going on with Cotton Rouge!

Where in the world has the summer gone? Well I know that I have certainly been busy with lots of weddings, photo shoots and the like. Not to mention the fact that summer time means no school for my kids so I did try to spend as much time as possible with them at the pool and just outside having fun in between consultations, shoots, weddings and such! It was definitely a fun but busy busy summer!

Now that school is back in session, my working schedule seems to be busier than ever with fall weddings! I'm so thrilled to be a part of these ladies lives on their important day!
Luckily, fall also means school for my boys so my hopes are to be a lot better about updating my blog! But as always, i do get the chance to update my Facebook page more which has gotten to over 500 likers so thanks so much fans!!!

In other fun news, I recently connected with a new company, PageantDesigns.com! Pageant Designs is a division of Dimitra Designs, which is a company that many of my past brides had told me about after purchasing their dressed and or accessories from them. Let me tell you, they have GORGEOUS items! But Dimitra Designs of course isnt all bridal, they also are one of the biggest suppliers for Proms, Pageants and other special event wear! Now with their new website, PageantDesigns.com is definitely South Carolina's source for elegant evening gowns and other pageant accessories.
They haveTony Bowls pageant dresses and other pageant dresses that are just beyond gorgeous! But truly, whatever you need is, from the dress to the shoes to the jewelry and more, they have you covered!

You can also check out some of their blogs, Brides and Beauty and DressProm.net for more inspiration no matter what your occasion is!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!!!

Jul 24, 2011

A little bit of my photography...

So as many of you know, I have been dabbling in photography for the better part of a year now. I will never ever ever leave my love of makeup and never intend on leaving makeup artistry as my main business, however I have loved playing with the camera!

Recently, I have a bridal client who was not going to be getting bridal portraits or engagement pictures done. Her photographer is a family friend who is not even from this area. He will be coming in and taking photos of the wedding and everything but nothing prior to that.
I know all of this because I was careful to find out this info prior to saying, well I'll take some for you! I would never want to step on any toes!!

Anyhoo - I did do Bobbi Jo's makeup and hair before her engagement shoot and then we headed to Greer City Park to take a few fun shots. Given that close to sunset photography is not something I've had a lot of practice in, I felt the shots turned out ok and I decided to share them here! :D

We started in downtown greer...

And then it was time to get some more personality into the photos...

I broke the ice first by telling Jack's (my 5 year old) favorite joke. It worked!
Here's the same location... the shot i'm showing now has a bit of color processing which i just love to do. The photos are all being given to the couple in standard editting as well. :D
Next we changed the scenary a bit and went to the grassy knoll area in front of the clock tower...

Hehe, i was determined to get this shot.... we actually got it a few different ways. :D

Then we moved over to a small pond area... i love the shot below because to me it looks like a clip from a movie. :D
Walking along the tracks
And now for some really fun shots...
Bobbi Jo really loved fountains and wanted some shots with the fountain in them.
After we were done shooting... I asked if they minded getting wet! Both thought it was a very fun idea (i think the bride may have thought it was a little more fun than the groom! ha!)
The shots we got were so fun!

And after the fun pretty shots, we had fun!

Then after a lot of fun shots of them totally getting wet... i got a shot which may be one of my favorite pictures i've ever taken! Now if i could just decide my favorite edit of it!
I think my favorite is the middle... the color processed one... because i just love that look, but the older photo look kinda steals my heart as well! Which do you like?
just another fun shot of the soaked couple!

So thats it! My first ever engagement shoot which a super fabulous couple!
I've already done some bridal pictures of Bobbi Jo, but I cant post those until after her wedding in August. Wouldnt want the groom to see early!! Just in case!

Jul 15, 2011

Fashion Shoot with Brian Miller Photography

Recently I had the honor of doing a super fun fashion shoot with Brian Miller Photography and Jennifer McAbee in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

When I was first contacted by Brian to do the shoot, he told me the direction he wanted to go with Jennifer. It was just a fun, edgy, and a little bit rock idea, as Jennifer (a fab model) had a lot more of glam and pinup style in her portfolio and we wanted to shake things up a bit.
Then... the idea of a mohawk came into play (i think it was Jennifer's idea). Brian says to me, she has really long hair, can you make a mohawk? Oh yes... yes i can.

Introducing as I have dubbed it... the Rock the Hawk shoot!
Here's a shot after i had finished the makeup and I was at work getting that MoHawk up there!

Here's another favorite...

And here's another one after a wardrobe change... i love the change of feeling to punky and free to lost and lonely!

And anyway you turn that head... the mohawk stays! Thats fun too!

So since most of my followers are other makeup artists and models... the biggest question i got after posting these to my facebook fan page was how on earth did you get it to stay?!
A bunch of teasing, hair spray and manipulating until I had it how i wanted it. I did try a few hair products first, and I decided, just using up the can of hair spray was the best bet. The other products added too much weight to the hair. It was easier to just layer the hairspray on!
It also helped that Jennifer has bleached her hair, um, at least once so the hair itself is very porous and took to the hairspray well. :D The sides were french braided back and then flitered into the back side of the mohawk. :D