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Shopping for New Product {Pt. 1} – Nashville Makeup Artist, Amy Lynn Larwig

May 8, 2013

When building or refreshing your personal makeup kit, the options for purchasing new cosmetics are endless. The cosmetic industry sells BILLIONS each year, and there are just about as many brands of lipstick to choose from. So how is one to decipher the plethora of stores, sales people, and products?


Let’s start with looking at where cosmetics are available for purchase:

The Drugstore

This includes your corner drugstores as well as larger stores like Walmart and Target. Here you will find many consumer brands and all the products you could need for a full personal makeup kit. There is also tools, brushes, and accessories like false lashes. Everything is categorized by type i.e. eye shadows with eye products, lip colors all together, etc. One of the pros about drugstores is that the items are inexpensive. So if you are trying out a new color or product type, there is little risk. These stores are also open very late, so you can grab something in a pinch pretty much any time of day or night. Biggest down sides to drugstores is that you can’t test anything out before you buy it. So that dream-mousse-whipped-fancy pants-looked nice on tv-foundation could turn out to be a flop, and you just lost your $10. Since there are no salespeople, there is no one available to ask questions about a product either. The other crummy thing is that majority of the brands carried in drugstores are not of great quality. They have a lot of fillers such as talc, so essentially you are paying for chalk and very little pigment. Drugstores are great for temporary products, such as mascara, and for one time use items like hot pink glitter eye shadow for a New Year’s party.  Overall, I wouldn’t build my entire makeup kit from the drugstore.

The Counters

All department stores have a cosmetic section with several counters. Each brand is clearly labeled and carries multiple products in each category. You could build and entire kit from one line, or mix & match from multiple lines. Counters carry brands that are higher quality than drugstores and therefore a bit more expensive. The packaging is nicer and the product lasts longer. Counters are run by salespeople that can aid you in sampling a particular shade or they can give you a full makeover. It’s a great opportunity to try out the items before committing. The problem though, is that counters are run by Salespeople. Their job is to meet a quota set for them by the store so they will try to sell you the newest/holiday/limited edition/whatever works/ items. Chances are, if you are a woman 55 or over who rarely wears much on her eyes and has difficulty applying eye liner, you are not in need of a electric blue liquid liner. But one convincing chat with a salesgirl and you’ll walk out of that store with ten liners in various shades that you will never use. Also, the salespeople tend to be well versed in one line. Which means if there is a better item for you at another counter, you’ll never know about it because your salesperson doesn’t know and wouldn’t tell you even if they did.

Free standing stores

Free standing stores like Sephora are ideal for offering options for every person looking to purchase makeup. They carry several lines and all are of high quality. You can sample products on your own or ask a sales person for help. Scheduling an appointment for a full makeover can involve trying products from various lines all at once. The prices vary between lines, allowing everyone to find a good fit for their budget without sacrificing quality. If you purchase an item and decide later after using it that it isn’t a great fit for you, bring it back! They will refund you or help you find a replacement. The biggest issue with a store like Sephora, is that it can be very overwhelming. There are lots of lights, colors, shiny things that a person can become extremely overstimulated quite quickly. It’s not a store for browsing, but more suited for a hunt. You can walk in, go straight to a salesperson and say “I need…” and they will help you find it. Because they are not paid on commission, there isn’t the pressure of adding items to your purchase to satisfy their quotas.


Nashville has several options for getting the Sephora experience with multiple lines and educated salespeople, but on a smaller more manageable scale. Private Edition, Woo Cosmetics, and Cosmetic Market are a few. All the benefits of shopping at Sephora, but without the inevitable brain explosion. You can also find luxury lines at these locations that command big dollars, but invoke envy from all the other ladies in the YMCA locker room as you powder your nose with Sisley after spin class.

Part 2 of Makeup Shopping will discuss must have basics and the “absolutely do not no matter what” buy list.

For your makeup needs, contact Nashville Makeup Artist, Amy Lynn Larwig, for more information



Guest Post – Nashville Makeup Artist, Amy Lynn Larwig

December 14, 2012

“Break break downnnn….

So what do you do
When somebody you’re so devoted to
Suddenly just stops loving you
And it seems they haven’t got a clue
Of the pain that rejection is putting you through
Do you cling to your pride
And sing ‘I will survive’
Do you lash out and say ‘How dare you leave this way?’
Do you hold on in vain as they just slip away”

Let’s be real. Back in 1998, Mariah Carey wasn’t singing about her lost love. She was pining for mascara that stayed put all day and didn’t leave her with black circles around her eyes by 3pm! Many women face this problem daily and it becomes a source of great distress and nothing seems to be a great fix. Well there are a few reasons your mascara may be making a run for it.

Your eye cream. Many eye creams have oils in them that will eat your mascara. Many mascaras contain lanolin, mineral oil, linseed oil, or a variety of other oils. And since oil breaks down oil, your eye cream may be responsible for the slip and slide happening around your eyes. Look for an oil free formula, or skip the eye cream in the morning.

Your concealer. Under eye darkness is one of the biggest concerns I hear about. So of course, many ladies opt to use concealer under their eyes. Unfortunately many concealers act the same way as eye cream by using their oils for evil, smudging mascara all over. Make sure after you apply your concealer, you powder that area to set it and provide a barrier from your mascara.

Oily lids. Some ladies just have oily skin, which means their eye lids turn to creasy greasy messes. If you notice creases on your top lid and mascara smudges underneath, this could be you. Using an eye primer will provide a matte surface for your eye products and keep that oil from coming through.

Crummy mascara. I am not a proponent of spending $30 on mascara. Drugstore brands are just fine for daily use. But if you find a particular brand consistently slides on you, but others don’t, then by all means, switch brands! Waterproof mascaras should only be used when the possibility for crying, intense sweating, or water activities is inevitable. It is too tacky for everyday use and will end up breaking your lashes if you wear it too often. Regular formulas are best for daily use and there are definitely some solid brands at your local drugstore.

After examining which of these culprits could be leaving you raccoon eyed, it’s easy to see what steps to take to eliminate the problem.

For your makeup needs, contact Nashville Makeup Artist, Amy Lynn Larwig, for more information // Image by Phindy Studios


Guest Post – Nashville Makeup Artist, Amy Lynn Larwig

August 7, 2012

Bronzer is a summer must have to give you that sun-kissed glow, without the risk of sunburn! Here’s some info on how to choose the correct one for you.

In general, you want to stay away from sparkly bronzers. The sparkles can quickly give off a metallic sheen that appears greasy, not fresh. Also unless you are 14, glitter is better left on your kid’s art projects, not your face.

Look for shades that are peachy or pink if you are fair skinned. Richer browns can be a little too strong and since the goal is a gentle whisper of sunlight across your face, darker tones can overwhelm a fair face. But if you are medium to dark skinned, earthy  colors can really warm up your face.

There are several different formulas available to try as well. Most of us are used to using powder bronzer, which is applied with a large fluffy brush. Swipe across the tops of cheeks, forehead and down the nose for a soft glow. Try Tarte Matte Waterproof Bronzer in Park Avenue Princess. Mineral bronzers are applied like any other powder bronzer, but I had to mention one all star. Smashbox Halo Hydrating Perfecting Bronzer. Beautiful on any skin tone and gives a truely healthy radiance.

Creamy sticks can be applied anywhere on the face and are easy to blend into naked skin or foundation. Use a cheek brush or your fingers to buff into the skin. Try NARS Multiple Bronzer in Cap Vert for a matte finish.

Liquid bronzers are best applied slowly, as a little tends to go a long way. The also leave a dewy finish. A drop or two on your fingertips should take care of your entire face. Try Josie Maran Argan Bronzing Oil.

Add a little blush to the apples of your cheeks, after your bronzer, to give a gentle pop of color.

Amy Lynn Larwig – 2 Minute Tutorial – Natural Warmth from Mark Brown on Vimeo.

For your makeup needs, contact Nashville Makeup Artist, Amy Lynn Larwig, for more information


Guest Post – Nashville Makeup Artist, Amy Lynn Larwig

July 5, 2012

Summer time is fast approaching and most local pools will be opening this weekend. But if you’re like me, hanging out in public cannot be done without a little face lovin. So how does one keep looking fabulous through the heat, sweat, and chlorinated water?

1. Tarte Matte Waterproof Bronzer– Not only is this bronzer matte, with no shimmers to overpower our already shiny summer skin, it is not going to melt away. A mineral based product, with no yucky chemicals, it gives your face a perfect sunshine glow. Apply with a powder brush along the tops of cheeks, forehead, bridge of nose and tip of chin.

2. Makeup Forever Aqua Cream– One of my all time favorites. This versatile cream can be used on eyes, as a highlighter, cheek or lip color. The trick is blending it before it sets, because once that baby dries, there is no moving it. This stuff will not budge no matter the conditions.

3. Makeup Forever Aqua Eyes– If you’re a lady who gets raccoon eyes after squinting in the hot sun, then this liner is for you. Smudge proof & water proof, and available in a large range of colors, it applies just as a pencil. Try bronze green or iridescent navy for a fun change of pace from your regular black.

4. Smashbox Limitless Lip Stain & Color Seal Balm–  It seems odd to wear a full lipstick when enjoying beach volleyball, so a whisper of color is best. This lipcolor boasts an 8 hour tint of color. It looks like a felt tip marker that you apply to the lips and use the balm to keep your lips from feeling too dry. Guava, a bright coral, would be a fantastic pop on your pretty pucker.

5. Waterproof Mascara- Mascaras are one of those things we all have an opinion on. Which ever brand you choose, be sure to select the waterproof version. No one looks cute with black streaks on their cheeks.

WIth these products, you can build a full look that has true staying power for the entire summer!

For your makeup needs, contact Nashville Makeup Artist, Amy Lynn Larwig, for more information