Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Younger Looking Eyes - Fast & Easy

As we mature, we all know gravity battles with our bodies to pull everything south. In the eye department, brows droop and the hair takes on a mind of its own. Crows feet form if the skin isn’t cared for to the max. And lids begin to turn outward along the lash line due to droopiness and excess skin accumulating over time.

Quick Tricks to Youth Up the Eyes

Brows – Clean ‘em up quickly with a brow razor (check my blog on brows). Take a close up digital pic or even better, use your video camera and get up close and personal with your eyes. Remove needless hair (including fuzz that we tend to miss) and fill in where hair is missing.

And here is something this Makeup Maven hears all the time - “my brows are thin; they never grew back after I plucked them when I was younger; I don’t want to take away any more hair cause they are thin as they are”. Listen Up – if the hair surrounding your brows doesn’t belong, get rid of it. Brows are the architectural foundation of the face and when cleaned up, shaped and filled in correctly it creates an instant eye lift.

Eyeliner – If you want to knock off 10 years and bring a soft, natural looking drama to your eyes, try this.

Use a gel liner like MAC Fluidline or Bobbi Brown Gel Liner and a thin liner brush and LINE THE UNDER SIDE OF THE UPPER LID. Use an eyeshadow and flat edged angle brush to apply a dark brown eyeshadow as a liner on top of the lid with a smudged approach.

Remember black is for black skinned, blondes use taupe to dark brown shades and everybody in between adjust intensity according to your skin colour.

As we age the under side of the upper lid becomes more exposed and no amount of makeup on the lid will help. But gel or waterproof liner applied to this area immediately camouflages the flesh colour and deletes the aged look. Try it on one eye only and then compare. You won’t go back.

Bonus - The gel liners are waterproof and wear extremely well in this moist area of the eye, yet remove easily with face cleanser.

Top off with a few cluster lashes or a third of a strip fake lash to the outside corner of your eyes and voila – younger, softly dramatic, compelling eyes that are hard to ignore.

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Sharon Danley, Master Artist

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Luscious Lashes

Want fabulous, natural or dramatic lashes - fast and easy? Well your wish is granted. There is nothing faster and more effective than false lashes to give ultimate lengthening and thickening to your peepers from extremely natural to intensified dramatic. They are the often overlooked "pot of gold" when it comes to makeup.

And don't fear, I'm not talking Drag Queen Lashes here . I agree these are best kept in the theatre or for drag shows. But natural strip lashes or clusters is definitely the way to go.

The trick is in choosing the right look for your eye shape, face frame and the event you are dressing up for. Personally, I wear lashes every day. I try the mascara thing when I need to try new products, but my falsies are soooooo much faster and effective for me. And like everything else in life, when you practice a new skill often enough you eventually "master" it.

First Things First - Glue MAC Duo or Ardell Waterproof, Clear are the best on the market from this maven's perspective. Toss any glue that comes packaged with your lashes. And DON'T use coloured glues - they just don't work and remain tackie and don't hold well. Instead, drop a little dark brown eyeshadow along the glue line if you think you'll need it. Besides the glues I mentioned dry clear anyway.

Styles My faves on the readily available market are Andrea, Ardell and Quo invisible bands and they come in a variety of lengths and thicknesses. The general rule is - the more natural - the shorter and sparser you want your fab fakes to be. The more dramatic, then the thicker and longer fun fakes are what to aim for.

Strip Lashes

With either choice it's a good idea to curl your lashes first. If you're using the strip lashes (which should have been trimmed to fit well) apply them next. Press your lashes together with the false ones. When dry, apply mascara under the upper lashes, let dry and for extra oomph curl your own and the false lashes together. Then stand back in awe.

Cluster Lashes

For individual lashes or clusters, curl your own lashes, apply mascara and then add the individuals to the ends first and work your way in until you are satisfied. Add another coat of mascara and you too have peepers to remember. And they come in brown and black in either short, medium or long lengths, as well as under lashes. Short and medium are best for most peeps. Create your own clusters - use the end third of a strip lash and apply on the outer corner of your eyes. Voila - faster and thicker than individual clusters.

A Couple of Other Points First, run, don't walk away from "permanent lashes". I wouldn't put that kind of glue close to my peepers and from every application I've witnessed, I haven't seen any that look natural and where all the lashes stayed in tact.

Second, perming your lashes can be a great trick for the younger femme fatale. But as we age our lashes become thinner and weaker - not smart to be applying perm lotions, potions and neutralizers to these tender few hairs. Trust me the bit of surgical glue used to apply false lashes is much safer, faster, more effective and economical.

It takes no more time for false lash application than using mascara once you hone the skill and they look dreamier and last much better. And they should last up to 2 months of regular wear if you care for them by removing the glue after taking them off, cleaning off excess mascara with alcohol and store them in the tray.

To add drama, fill out what nature has taken away, and save time, fabulous fake lashes are the best things you can add to those pretty peepers. Try a pair - you won't go back. And if you have trouble just drop me a line.

Check out YouTube/TwoMinuteTips Demos

Sharon Danley, Master Artist
Premier HD Makeup & Hairstyling

Monday, July 20, 2009

Airbrush Makeup - The Facts & The Fancy

Like any good makeup, the airbrush approach can leave a beautiful, long-wearing "Photoshop" finish - or it can look thick, mask-like or shiny. And its worth repeating - all, and I do mean all, those magazine "airbrushed" pictures are done with Photoshop (or its equivalent) - literally. Everything is touched up in editing and truly manipulated to sell, sell, sell. So that said here are the facts and the fancy.

The Facts:

Its important to be aware that airbrush has not been FDA approved! In fact, a television station in Toronto recently decided to stop using this process when they discovered all the equipment in the makeup room had broken down as it had been coated with a build up of makeup from the airbrush particles that are airborne during the application process.

Tiny pixels of either water, alcohol, polymer, or silicone based foundation is sprayed through an airbrush hose and gun onto the skin at a low and tolerable airflow. Hmm...polymer, silicone - need I say more? Its very important to keep your eyes closed and hold your breath while the gun is firing. And like with any kind of "painting" work in a well ventilated room.

Airbrush is nothing new - modelers have been using it for years as it gives a higher quality finish and body painting has been applied this way for decades too. In fact, walls, machinery, manikins garden furniture and just about anything paintable can be done with an airbrush.

This method can't be done on yourself with any degree of satisfaction for obvious reasons - that's where a good artists comes in handy.

The Fancy:

For body work its definitely the preferred method - why even Michael Angelo would have been envious of the spectacular examples available.

Many of the SFX (special effects) artists use airbrush as ONE of the tools in their arsenal for creating spectacular characters, aging actors, constructing memorable monsters or fashioning over the top fashion forward looks.

As a finishing layer over tatoos, port wine stains, or Vitiligo (de-pigmentation in patches of skin) it gives a flawless finish, but this is a skilled technique.

Great Gam coverage for those summer days with short shorts. Airbrush can camouflage spider veins, discoloration, etc. beautifully - and this you can do yourself.

So from this makeup maven's pov - its great for body art or camouflage and occasionally for the face for special occasions. There are other products when used with the correct techniques can give you the same "Photoshop" finish. Its the artist and application of the tool that makes for a beautiful, flawless and natural looking finish - not the tools or product alone.

For Information, Lesson Manuals or Services

Sharon Danley, Master Artist


Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Truth About HD Makeup

There is a lot of hype about "HD" makeup - some good, lots not so. Check out this recent article. And yet another article on examples. Like everything new, the cosmetics industry is full of false claims jumping on the band wagon to sell, sell, sell to the unsuspecting public and it hurts companies and products that do what they say they do.

Be careful who you listen to and what you read. Just because an artist claims to have done say the "Geminis" for instance, doesn't mean they were the key or have years of experience, or can do more than the easy fresh, unblemished skin of a model. A great example is many articles I see in magazines touting the use of black mascara and eyeliner for Caucasian skins - yikes - who are these people and how do they achieve "expert" status?. If you're looking for "fashion forward" ok, but fresh, elegance? Run, don't walk away, from this kind of advice.

OK back to what works well for that "HD" look. Here's the deal - its simply looking fresh, flawless, natural - you know, the same old, same old. And what does that mean - "natural" most often takes more work than the drag queen approach to a finished look. What's really important is to achieve a fresh clean canvas (skin). Taking good care of it is #1 - but more on that in an upcoming post. So your choice of product and its application is next.

For this Maven's money here's what I use for TV, bridal, photography, film - and yes, myself. But first MATCH YOUR SKIN COLOUR EXACTLY checking at the jaw line. And remember if your face is a different colour that your decolletage due to sun exposure then match with the area that will have the most public exposure.

My Faves -

  1. MAC Face and Body, topped with Dermablend or Kett Sett finishing powder (white in colour) or MAC Blot Powder.
  2. Revlon Colourstay Softflex liquid foundation, topped as above.
  3. For more coverage, I use Cinema Secrets cream foundation (requires a light spray of water), topped with a finishing powder as above, Audrey Morris Dual Powder or MAC Studio Fix.
  4. For full coverage (including tatoos, Capillary vascular malformation/Port-wine stain), Dermablend and sometimes mixed with Cinema Secrets is fabulous. Topped with the finishing powder, which, by the way, waterproofs the makeup and lasts all day.
The trick is in the application with these or any other product that work for you.strokes so as not to disturb the fine hair on the face using either a triangle makeup sponge (which absorbs a bit of the product) or a foundation brush. Thin layering working from the center of the face outward, using a brush or sponge is the trick. Pay special attention to around the nose inside corners of the eyes and under eyes (if required). Makeup sure to clean your brush or sponge weekly with a light shampoo and air dry for perfect performance.

put cream or liquid on the eyelid if you want your eyeshadow to last all day. Use a primer or simply the dual finish powder works fabulously as a primer. However, cover the lid if you're not intending to use a shadow and only if your lid colouration needs the coverage.

Want that Jlo Glow? Lightly dust a soft shimmer powder over checks and collar bones.

Use 45 sunblock as a moisturizer (my personal fave is Umbrelle #60) under dual powder foundation and achieve a spectacular glow while also protecting your skin.

Information, Lessons, Manuals, Services

Sharon Danley, Master Artist


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Carving Out Personal Time

Jackie Kennedy adhered to a routine of devoting 2 hours per week to her personal care regime. This was when she would have a great soak, facial, manicure, pedicure and re-organize her wardrobe (or at least instructed others to - now that’s a treat).

Two hours a week for self indulgence
, organization of personal space and image skill development, is essential for self care (physically and mentally), improved proficiency and confidence, and an excellent investment in time and life management. Its important to commit to a specific time and place every week and then take action! If new and improved regimens are not practiced they simply remain nothing more than just plans.

The key word is implementation! Whatever skills you may need to develop to enhance your image could be studied during this time. Once expertise is honed and you are well organized, use these occasions for the more relaxing, self-awareness, creative or de-stressing activities. Make this commitment and take the action and I promise that you will reap tremendous rewards.

Little Self Indulgences
  • Buy one of your favourite cut flowers - or a whole bouquet - definitely something visual!
  • Use candles - even in the middle of the day if that’s your designated “self indulgent time”.
  • During your 2 hours play some favourite music (preferably something relaxing), use aroma therapy, and wear something that makes you feel wonderful. If necessary, buy an item just for this purpose.
  • Don’t answer the door, your iphone, cyber-beckonings or those from family members (unless it’s a dire emergency).
  • Make sure all your senses are involved for stronger associations.

Buy some special note paper and write, yes write, a letter of appreciation to someone afterward while you are feeling soothed and de-stressed and transmit it the old fashioned way with an envelope and stamp. Or journal your feelings - this activity is one of the best self-mastery activities you can indulge in. After about 4 or 5 “self indulgent” sessions, the music, flowers, candles and clothing will become a positive trigger and serve to reinforce the positive results you are creating.

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Sharon Danley, Master Artist


Monday, June 29, 2009


Great looking brows are never neglected whether thick, thin or anything in between. They look best about 2 shades lighter than your hair colour, except for fashion forward looks where, of course, anything goes, except a Groucho Marx or Marlene Dietrich look these days.

Eyebrows are the architectural foundation of the face

A good brow shaping that's well maintained, will gain you full advantage in the beauty department. Just follow these simple guidelines and your brows will always look fab and be correct for your face shape.

Need a thicker or thinner brow?

You can redesign a uni brow, fill in ones that are over-plucked or correct ones that are poorly shaped. Its simple by using an eyebrow stencil by placing it over your own brow and tracing it in with a brow pencil or eyeshadow and a flat edged angle brush. Then pluck all the hairs outside of the stencil lines away and fill in the interior using one of the following methods. Here's a step by step guide that answers many brow problems - Beautiful Brows with a number of online illustrations.

Try an eyeliner sealant (there are lots available - my fave is Cinema Secrets) and a powdered eyeshadow. A taupe shade works well for gals on the lighter side of the human colour wheel and dark brown for those richly coloured beauties at the other end. Dip an angled brush lightly in the sealant and then into the eyeshadow and apply in short hair like strokes moving in an upward and outward direction replicating the way your own brow hair grows.

This method creates (in feather-like strokes) a thicker, natural looking brow by filling in where necessary and elongating as desired. Simply top with a clear mascara and voila you have all day brows that are water resistant - Magic!

Another method is to use a brow pencil and eyeshadow with a flat edged angle brush for good definition. As a pencil is a waxed based product it can get shiny or melt in heat. But using an eyeshadow mixed with the pencil will seal it. A couple of my fave waterproof eye pencils are Annabelle and Rimmel - cheap, cheerful and a "can buy everywhere" product.

For those blessed with luscious thick brows – a simple grooming tool is a disposable mascara wand – go figure.

Now for a really, really quick clean up (especially for the peach fuzz often missed at the back end of the brows) a simple single blade brow and face razor often found in Chinatown or now at Sephora, is a fabulous and quick answer. Oh, and for the over 21 set that starts to sprout those pesky little hairs above the lip or on the chinny, chin chin - a swift stroke with this tool and voila - sleek, clear skin. And no, the hair doesn't grow back thicker!!

Remember, like a correct frame enhances a piece of art - your eyebrows are the framework of your face.

Information, Lessons, Manuals, Services

Sharon Danley, Master Artist


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Spring - Its Makeover Time - Inside and Out

Its Spring and makeover, spruce-up, clean up, clear out, re-design and perhaps re-define time. Sooooo, here's a fresh idea to go with those fresh cut flowers you bought yourself just cause.

Given the current economic challenges, and as important, an ethical perspective, how about taking 10% of the money you'd normally spend on (often unnecessary) cosmetics and buy a self help book, something inspirational, David Chilton's best selling "Wealthy Barber" or Suze Orman's publications on smart, common sense money management.

OK I'm going to say it, in my professional, experienced opinion, the cosmetics industry continues to bilk billions of buckaroos on the backs of women's socialized low self esteem by keeping them addicted to thinking that "if I just buy a better shade of whatever then my life will be better", my lover WILL come back, I can knock off 10-20 years, get a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T, a raise, the dream job and the dream man. DAH I say. Oh and guys, just cause you aren't marketed to in this arena, don't think that NO attention to your "personal packaging" wins favour with the lasses or bosses.

This Makeup Maven says its nothing more than the Emperor's New Clothes in the fashion and cosmetics industries and nothing could be further from the truth. (I know its a bit of an exaggeration, but work with me here.) However, that self help book, internal makeover or simply doing random acts of kindness will do just as much for your mug as well designed and streamlined makeup will - and far more than these often inexperienced or objectifying artists and money grubbing "fashion gurus" will.

So here's the BIG tip this week. All you gals need to keep yourself fresh, glamorous, inspired and achieve a beautiful healthy "look" is no more than one zip lock size bag of makeup. Yes, that's all!! I promise. It will take you from the bedroom to the board room to the ballroom and back to the bedroom. And guys, polished skin, groomed brows and hair and manicured hands goes a long way to giving an impressive impression too. Back to the gals.

Example - you never need more than 6 lipcolours - one each dark warm and dark cool, medium warm and cool, and very light warm and cool. With this combination you can be ready for anything, any time, anywhere. Now how many do you have hidden away in drawers, bags, boxes - especially the ones you've bought and used once or twice or NEVER. Yikes. See where you could be saving lots-o-coin?

And of course, its not how much you pay for product, its what it does for you, and that its manufactured in an environmentally responsible way without testing on creatures weaker than us.

I'll be giving my best kept secret tips on this blog over the next months, so let your gal and guy pals know to check in. You can also stop by at my website or visit for a more well rounded approach to personal packaging and a gallery of some of my clients and miraculous makeovers with simple, streamlined products.

And feel free to send me your questions through my site at And while you're there take a stroll for more beauty info, to view pics of celebs, distinctive looks and some glam or follow the links to other related services.

In the meantime - a Happy Mom's Day to all you women that do, and have done, the most important job in this world - raising a child/ren. A tip of the chapeau to you - oh, and me too. Sharon Danley
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Sharon Danley, Master Artist


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Wacky World of Wigs

As promised on twitter, I took the Jessica Simpson wigs for a test run (short straight and 10" curly). Overall they're a great addition for a curly haired look that stays (the curl memory is built in to the synthetic fibers). However, I've discovered other ways to use these great hair tools. (Not completely enamored with the straight one - yet, so its going back to pit for a re??? whatever the car jockeys do in the pit. Check it out on YouTube.

For those with thin hair, I find putting your hair up into a pony tail above the crown, attaching the wig, undoing the pony tail and then letting all your hair down over top is a better use of the wig and is more comfortable to wear. Of course, your own hair should be pre curled rather than curling after the wig is attached - you could catch some of the wig fiber inadvertently and find yourself hurling forth verbiage like - "I'm melting, I'm melting" that will no doubt be heard through the roof tops.

Its easy to wrap your own hair into curls using bobby pins, small sponge rollers or rags - yes, I said it, rags. They are comfortable, easy and give a great curl.

Another point - I find wearing the shorter curly wig high on the crown allows the sides to hang longer than the back of the wig giving it a current, more sophisticated approach. However, worn as instructed works just as well as a pretty casual look. Ah the choices.

Overall Rating
Comfort - decent (for synthetic hair) Ease - fairly good Styling Options - 3 (more than 1 is aces in this maven's book) Next - I'm going to cut some wefts out of the wig and create individual extensions to see if they feel more comfortable - like my straight extensions do.

Time for some caffeine and check to see if this first post works.
Would love your feedback.

Information, Lessons, Manuals, Services

Sharon Danley, Master Artist