How to achieve a Flawless face, Beauty do's and don'ts, Co-authored by WikiHow

Cassandra McClure x wikiHow | Co-Author Interview: 5/9/19

Halle

What inspired you to get into makeup artistry?

Cassandra

So my mom was an event stylist. She worked hundreds of weddings when I was growing up. And so I was on site with her for many events and weddings in the Puget Sound, Pacific Northwest area. I also got to go to a lot of wedding shows and at the wedding shows she would set up a booth and hand out flyers. And I was always seeing the brides really excited. I got to see a lot of brides, you know, all glammed up and everything. I always liked beauty and I was always into beauty. 

Anyway, I was wearing makeup from a very young age. I always wanted to look and feel older and I'd always ask my mom and wear mascara and her lipstick and her powders and when I'd go to the store, I would buy whatever, she would give me an allowance and I would spend it on makeup. And naturally I got into photography, I really loved photography and I started taking photos and I noticed that it helps to have a little makeup so I  I would see that, you know, these photographers were taking photos of the bride and the bride always looked pretty. And I really liked the idea of makeup and and it was always very, very tailored for me. So I decided that at my mom's next wedding show I was going to set up a little chair and bring my makeup and brushes and do makeup on some brides and she said okay with it, let's do it. You know, you could set your chair up in the corner and I did that and I booked my first bridge and I was 16 years old and then the rest is kind of history.

Halle   

Wow, that's awesome. So in terms of finding the right makeup, do you have any tips for, you know, finding makeup on a budget without sacrificing quality?

Cassandra  

Yeah, I get that question a lot. So to find a quality makeup, you are going to have to make some sort of investment because makeup that is very low quality is very cheap. So get makeup from the dollar store it might have something defective, if you find it at a discount or it might be old or a secondhand store, you know, it might use or it might be counterfeit, right? You definitely want to go direct to retailers even shopping on Amazon can be iffy because the product on Amazon could be counterfeit, or used or stolen, right? So, you need to be careful, go direct to the retailers and find brands that are reputable that create their products here in the US and goes through testing. So you want to make sure that the company is a certified B Corp, or verified in EWG, Environmental Working Group app. And that'll help determine if that company is ethical, sustainable, cares about its clients, its customers and workers.


And these products, you know your money is going to a good cause. It's going to a good company. It's supporting the US economy. They're not buying things from overseas, and if they are, they're being regulated and all of that, so I would say don't just go out and buy makeup because you want something cheap. Definitely, you know, put your money where your mouth is and invest in products that will last you a long time that perform really well.

Halle   

I love that. What kind of makeup routine would you recommend going through for just a really flawless looking face? Kind of that basic?

Cassandra  

Yeah, so I always recommend my new clients and brides to Beautycounter. They have a system called Flawless in Five. And what it does is get you ready in under five minutes with six core products. Products include a tinted moisturizer or foundation, a touch up concealer pen, a blush, a brow pencil or a brow gel, a mascara, and a lip gloss. And those six things will get you up and out the door. And you can even take them on the go for touch up later in the day if you want to touch up your concealer or your lip gloss or even a second coat of mascara for the evening. But that's where I send everyone. Beautycounter is EWG-verified, they are a certified B Corp, and they're the cleanest products out there.

Halle   

Awesome. For everyday makeup, at what point should you apply sunscreen in that routine?

Cassandra  

So with the skin tinted moisturizer in the Flawless in Five kit, it does contain SPF 20, so you are starting. These can act as a primer, a moisturizer, a FPS and a tint to even out skin tone all in one. And that's why this product and this line is so great and this regimen really works. Of course if you want to treat your skin and you want to get on a skincare system as well, but this really does kind of solve all your problems.

Halle   

Why does primer help makeup stay on longer?

Cassandra  

Primer just gets the skin smooth and ready it fills in any fine lines and pores and help to lock on the foundation that you're about to apply. But it's not completely necessary when you are using a high performing product like from Beautycounter.

Halle   

Do you ever use mineral makeup? Why or why not?

Cassandra  

So, I do use a magnifying powder when necessary to absorb shine and set makeup and sometimes it'll even reduce the appearance of pores and fine lines. But I am very selective on which brands I use because there are a lot of mineral makeup that contain mica and talc, which you really want to try to avoid or make sure that you're coming from a clean source.

Halle   

That's super interesting. Why is that? What do those minerals do?

Cassandra  

Yeah, so mica is a...well, so they're both a little bit different. But talc is a clay mineral and it comes in a powder form. And a lot of times the companies will combine it with cornstarch. And it's also found in baby powder. So that's kind of how you can relate it. But it has been related to tumors and cancers to inhale. And so you really do want to make sure that it's coming from a clean source. In its natural form, talc contains asbestos, which causes those cancers when you inhale it. And of course when it's in a mineral makeup, you need to be very careful that it does not contain asbestos and it's going through third party testing. That's why at Beautycounter or any other certified B Corp and EWG-verified lines you can trust and know that the powders do not contain asbestos. 

Halle   

Does mineral concealer or foundation need to applied any differently than other kinds of concealers or foundation? mineral makeup.

Cassandra  

So, I believe that regardless of whether you're wearing mineral makeup, or a moisturizer or a foundation, you need to prep your skin correctly with cleansing, toning, exfoliating and moisturizing the skin. So if you just try to put powder on top of dead skin cells, it's not going to look very pretty. And it will be detectable on the skin. And so with mineral makeup, if you have oily skin and you're looking to wear mineral, you should still be prepping your skin so that the mineral is going to sit pretty on the skin surface. 

Halle   

Yeah. That's great advice. My next question was how can you avoid the cakey look with powder, so maybe that kind of has to do with prepping the skin as well?


Cassandra  

Yeah, it's all about prep to make sure that it's not going to appear cakey. If you are using a brush with build up on it from your oils in your skin, and it's unclean from other products or you use, let's say, an oil based foundation or and then you dip it in your powder that is not oil based, you are going to create that build up, the sludgy look of an inconsistency on the skin, which we want to avoid. So starting with a clean Canvas, clean makeup brushes, and the powder in a very fine knit, finely milled powder that is of great quality, you'll definitely avoid the cakey-ness. 


Halle   

What are the differences between powder balm gel or liquid blushes, and do they give different effects?

Cassandra  

Yeah, so powder is great for layering, or by itself if you just need a touch for photography, but when it's a gel or a stain, it's great because if you aren't sure whether or not it's going to look good on your cheek, you can try to...let's start over. 

So if you get your hands on lip stain, it's great because you don't have to worry about buying a separate lipstick or blush. You can use the product in multiple ways and if you have darker skin tone, you can even use it on your lips to triple as an eyelid eyeshadow. So with a stain, you're really working on beautiful skin. So if you're younger and you just want a flush look or you're going to the gym, or you really are getting real close up photos done and you want to look very dewy and natural like you're not wearing anything, a stain is really where you want to go. And it will also stain your lip so if you're eating and drinking, it's not an actual visible lipstick that you can see, it's actually infused into your lip and will last for several hours. A lipstick is more topically applied on top and you can actually wear it off on any cups or in your food you'll actually ingest it. And then a powder blush is great if you want to put the stain underneath and layer on top to get a really intense effect, but it's better used on that very oily skin where you're using more powder powder. Stick with powders, you don't really want to wear a matte foundation and then, you know, powder foundation and then go in with a balm or a stain because they just do not work well together. So keep liquids with liquid and powder with powder.

Halle   

What about concealer? How do you choose the right version of concealer for your skin type so by version I mean like a liquid concealer, a balm a map stick?

Cassandra  

Okay, most concealers, because are under eye is so delicate we need to usually moisturize that area whether or not we have really oily or dry skin because there's not really coil being produced underneath your eyes. So you'll usually want to use a cream to liquid concealer you don't really want to reach for matte powders or anything too drying because then it'll look a little crepe-y and dry. So you want to moisturize that area when possible. And a touch up concealer pen is great on almost every different skin type every client I've ever had. It works great. So you can usually look for concealers that are a few shades lighter than your natural skin tone to brighten that area if you have that darkness.


Halle   

Talking eyebrows for a minute. So for amazing eyebrows, do you recommend plucking or waxing or any sort of maintenance like that? 

Cassandra  

Yeah, so when you wax, over time, your skin loses elasticity and you should be careful because your skin around the eye is so sensitive and delicate that you will eventually cause damage to your eyelid. And also it can lead to sagging eyelid, drooping eyelids. So if you can pluck your eyebrows, that is definitely recommended. You can also if you have a unibrow style, like a lot of hair on your face, I recommend getting a laser done to remove the hair permanently. And if you have a little bit of hair like me, is then I recommend getting threading done too because that doesn't pull as much and it doesn't cause the damage from the wax on your actual skin. It concentrates on only the hair. So waxing, you know, anywhere in your body is definitely going to be damaging over time. If you can do laser, I highly recommend all my clients to do that. 

Halle   

Wow, I've never even heard that. But I knew I hated eyebrow waxing. So my intuition was correct.


Cassandra  

It causes you to bleed and dry out and get really red for hours. Obviously your skin is irritated and trying to tell you something

Halle   

Totally. So for those that fill in their brows, how can you avoid overfilling or going too dark?


Cassandra  

So there's a couple different things you can do to avoid over filling your brows. And that was starting with a lighter pencil and staying inside of your hairline. If you start to shade outside of your brow, it'll start to look fake, but if it's inside the hairline, then it'll look a lot more natural. If you like me have over plucked your eyebrows over the years, or you are aging and you start to lose hair in that area. I highly recommend microblading because microblading cuts little tiny cuts into your skin and actually help to regenerate hair growth. And you can actually grow your hair back that way. Another great way to avoid over filling your brows is to use a flake proof cold brew, eyelash growth gel. So with an applicator that's really small, that's going to hit all of those hairs and just accentuate the ones you already have. And then create little micro hairs that a brow pencil can't really do because it's a sticker. And unless you sharpen it to a point, but even then you're not going to get those little micro hair fiber look like you would from a gel. So combining a pencil and a gel together and being very intentional with all of your hair strokes is going to get a very natural look. If you're doing your eyebrows five feet away from the mirror, you're definitely not going to be as precise.

Halle   

Have you ever tried making an eyeshadow primer at home or doing a sort of DIY version of it?That's okay if you haven't, and if not just what do you think is the purpose of eyeshadow primer? Do they really work? How might you recreate that?

Cassandra  

Yeah, so an eyeshadow primer is another one of those products that's marketed to make you feel like you need it. Not everyone does. For example, I have dryer eyelids, and I don't really need a primer because my eyelid holds shadow very well. And if you are to go and use a glitter jelly or a liquid or cream eyeshadow, then you definitely don't need a primer because most primers are based with a clay or some sort of balm, right? So if you're doing liquid on liquid, then it will only mesh together. And eye primer is really good, like if you get a mattefying one for an oily skin tight, then that might work for you a little bit better. I have used a primer from Gabriel cosmetics, that's pretty good that I can use on oilier skin type that works pretty well. But not everyone needs an eyeshadow primer. It's an extra step, similar to a skin primer. It's the same sort of thing with a makeup primer, not everybody needs it and not every single day. It's for special occasion. And also for those days where you know it's going to be a really long hot day in the Bahamas.

Halle   

Wow, I want one of those days. Okay, so when it comes to eyelash curlers, do you recommend using them? And if so, how? What's the best way to use it to really get what you're supposed to get out of it?

Cassandra  

Yeah, so with an eyelash curler, you want to warm it up if you can, whether using it in between, like putting it in between your brush for putting it in between your hands to warm it up, or using your blow dryer to speed it up for a few seconds. You can also find heated eyelash curlers, which are really fun too, just turn them on and after a few seconds to get a little warm. And that helps to heat up the metal. And when you heat metal and apply it to hair as we know it's a similar effect to a curling iron and curling iron curls our hair and it lasts longer than if we were to wrap our fingers around our hair right? So, what we'll do is heat it. And then we want to make sure to use the eyelash color book for any mascara. If you use it after mascara, you can potentially get the glasses and the mascara stuck to the curler and rip your natural eyelashes out. So you want to make sure to do that after your eyeshadow is done. Because you don't want to, you know, the brushes will kind of mess with it. So it's a last step to your eye area to use the lash curler. Warm it up and then start at the base. So as close as you can get to your lash follicle like where your hair grows out of your lashes. So it's close to the base as possible. Start there and hold for about five to ten seconds or more if you can, and then release and go out a centimeter or so. And fold again. And that's going to curl your lashes naturally, with like more of a "C" rather than an "L" because if you do it only one time at the base, your lashes will just stick up. They're not really have a curve to them, and an eyelash color is meant to be used from root to end.

Halle   

Great advice. Advice of heating it is so smart. I've never even thought of it. 

Do you have any tips for keeping eyeliner intact all day long?

Cassandra  

Yes, liquid eyeliner is going to be your best bet to keep your eyeliner impact all day long. Powders just aren't going to hold up. Waterproof, if you're going to be in the water or anything like that, definitely look for a waterproof liner. Same thing goes for mascara. But be careful to only use those on special occasions where you're out in the sea, you're in a humid climate, because you don't want anything melting and going into your eyes. But even you know, for me, I can wear a liquid eyeliner, even a non waterproof and it'll last me all day even if I sweat or go to the gym. Find a really good one. And honestly, the Beautycounter Precision liquid eyeliner is amazing. And it really is very precise. And you want to look for something that isn't a hard kit, you want kind of a movable end, so that you know create the wing and you lined some thick to thin, but this is a long wearing formula that lasts up to 12 hours.

Halle   

Wow. How do you determine what makes an eyeliner high quality?

Cassandra  

So again, I look for clean products that really perform and I've tested hundreds on the market. And I like to try them on a few different clients. So someone that's normally someone that has more combination skin, and then someone who has a little bit on a drier skin type. And me I have the dryer skin so I am an easy case most of the time. So I have to you know, get my friends around that have oily skin to see what works for them. And like I said, like the liquid eyeliner usually is their go to because anything that's powder or in a pencil tends to, you know, wear off faster.

Halle   

What's your favorite way to apply eyeliner for kind of a dramatic look?

Cassandra  

So liquid liner is pretty simple, you can start with where you want your line to end. And so a lot of us want the cat eye look because we pair our look with lashes. And so we sort of start and make sure that we're not creating a line that starts to point downwards. Because if we were to follow the natural curvature of our eye, most of us would start to angle the brush to go down and we don't want our eyes to incorporate that we are having a droopy eye, we kind of want to naturally bring our hand up and flick it upward. And you want to start with a thin line and then increase that line to make it a little bit more sic. If you have a lot of space, eyelid space to work with, if you have an Asian eye or an eye with only a little bit of socket space, you don't want to do too thick of a line or you will completely lose your eyelid space that you have. And so you might want to just stay with a centerline. And honestly thin is in right now with eyeliner you don't want to go too thick because natural...I mean radiant natural skin is in and of course that's paired with a simpler eye look that just enhances the natural lash line. Eyeliner was designed to enhance our eyelash line. And so keeping it thin, just enhancing it with a thin line is really your best bet.

Halle   

And then the final question, is have you ever dealt with the concept of makeup shaming, in which you can be criticized or judged for simply wearing makeup? And if so, how would you advise young girls or people experimenting with makeup to deal with that kind of judgment?

Cassandra  

Yeah, I mean it depends, but I think if someone was to say to you that you were wearing too much makeup, you know, you have to remember that that person is coming from their own world with their own opinion for their own reasons, not because of you. And so maybe they had a bad experience wearing makeup, maybe they break out from Makeup, maybe they don't know how to apply makeup themselves, maybe they don't know what makeup to buy and they feel like they are jealous of anyone wearing makeup. Or maybe they're coming from a place of simply not understanding makeup or it's not allowed in their culture. So you never really know why someone is makeup shaming but I think that sometimes we do see makeup that's over done and that is done incorrectly which can give makeup a bad name. And of course you have your animal lovers that will shame anyone wearing non-Leaping Bunny certified cosmetics because they really don't believe in animal harm to wear makeup similar to the fur industry. So it depends there's a lot of different reasons why makeup is given a bad rap. And obviously there are toxins like you know, we discussed talc and there's formaldehyde, there's different fragrances that are known to be carcinogenic, contain endocrine and hormone disruptors. And frankly, cause cancers and vision loss, which I personally experienced that are really damaging. And so you do have the critics out there that say, hey, these particular lines of makeup, if you're wearing these aren't good, and you should reconsider what you're wearing. You know, I tell my friends every day to look at their ingredients and see what they're applying to their faces and protect themselves because the industry is not regulated. So of course, you know, there's different different levels of, I wouldn't necessarily call it shaming, but I think it depends on what you're talking about.