Nov 11, 2014

Easy Steps to Glowing Skin

Easy Steps to Glowing Skin

Every woman desires beautiful, healthy, glowing skin. Achieving that begins with proper skincare, diet and a healthy mind; NOT makeup. Here are a few basic, but easy guidelines for you to follow to combat the causes and effects of daily stress and the environment. Remember, beautiful makeup starts with beautiful skin.


From the inside out…

Fluids – First things first, drink PLENTY of water; your body weight in pounds divided by 2 will tell you how many ounces of water to consume per day at a minimum. This will flush toxins from your body and cleanse your cells. Taking it a step further, a morning cup of warm water with the juice of ½ a lime not only speeds up detoxification, but aids in weight loss.

Food – Cut down on or eliminate refined sugars, saturated fats, processed foods, alcohol, caffeine and smoking. Eat cleanly by including as many organic fruits, vegetables, proteins and Omega-3s in your diet.

Movement – Exercising moderately for 30 minutes a day will deliver more oxygen to the blood for that “glow” and sweating cleanses your pores, helping to clear blemishes. Endorphins, peptide hormones, are released during exercise, which positively affect your mood; relieving mental stress and therefore bodily tensions.

Positive Vibrations – Think, speak and act in a positive way. This will not only reduce stress and make you feel good, but you will attract the same from those around you, creating a cycle of love and kindness. 5-10 minutes of meditation (watching the birds, praying or simply sitting quietly to calm the mind and body) every morning and evening is a wonderful way to begin and close your day with gratitude and positive expectation.


From the outside in…

Exfoliate – Start by getting a great at-home exfoliating product. Over time our skin cells regenerate at a slower rate, so we have to help that process along gently. Exfoliating removes dead skin cells to reveal softer, smoother skin. And all that money you spend on good skin care products won’t go to waste now that they can actually be absorbed!

Note: 1 teaspoon of baking soda on a dampened face works extremely well and it’s easy on the pocket. Use a circular motion for 1-2 minutes avoiding the eye area. 1-2x a week.

Know your skin type before buying skin care to optimize your results:

* Normal – soft shine occasionally on the forehead, nose and chin. Small pores

* Combination – shiny skin especially on the forehead, nose and chin

* Oily – shiny all over most of the time. Larger pores

* Dry – especially around the cheek area and usually feels and looks dehydrated.  Feels tight

Cleanse – Necessary at night to remove makeup, suncreen and crud from the day; optional in the morning. Instead, lukewarm water will do the trick and will be enough to remove the oils from the night before.

Note: If you wear eye makeup and cleanser is not enough to remove it, use an eye makeup remover prior to cleansing: coconut oil is a great healthy alternative to makeup remover and can be used all over the face. Take care not to stretch or pull the skin around the eye. This area has very thin skin and can age quickly if you are not gentle.

Tone – Optional and a personal preference. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Witch Hazel is an inexpensive, natural and effective toner that will remove the last of any makeup or oily residue for that squeaky-clean feeling.

Serum – The perfect way to deliver a concentrated dose of vitamins, anti-aging, acne clearing or hydrating ingredients. Serums are applied before the moisturizer and not used to replace it.

Moisturize – Use this stage of skin care to balance and hydrate (even oily skin needs hydration) the skin as well as protect with SPF 30; especially in sunnier climates. The sun is the number one cause of premature aging; make sure to slather that moisturizer on the face and neck. Combination to oily skin types should go with an oil free product.


1. Remember that products are absorbed into the skin and therefore into the blood stream. Please read the labels on the items you buy to make sure they don’t contain harsh or harmful ingredients or preservatives. The easiest way to avoid this is to go with a certified organic line.

2. Making facial appointments every 1-3 months helps you maintain your beautiful skin; not to mention a little well deserved pampering is good for the Spirit…


Makeup and Tools Expiration

Although using old or expired makeup, unlike food, won’t poison you, it can make you sick. It harbors bacteria that can cause severe skin irritation, break-outs and infections.

Some products, like food, carry a date of expiration; others a number followed by the symbol “M” or “Y”. If the label says 12M, this means the product is good for 12 months after the seal has been broken or opened. Others have no date; therefore it’s good to know when your makeup should get the toss before it goes bad.

MASCARA – 3 Months

When it starts to clump or smell, throw it out. Twisting instead of pumping will prevent your mascara from drying out too quickly. And absolutely NO SHARING! You will spread germs, guaranteed!


Have you noticed the color changing or liquid separating? Time to buy a new one.


LIPSTICK – 12 Months; LIPGLOSS – 18 Months

If they start getting dry, goopy and thick, most likely they’re done.


Pencils last longer because you are constantly sharpening off the bacteria to expose new, clean product. Cream and liquid liners, much like mascara, only last a few months due to the double dipping; lots of bacteria!

POWDERS (Eyeshadow, Blush, Bronzer, Loose, Translucent…) – 2 Years

Powders last the longest of all makeup products since they are dry. But it is still essential to use clean sponges and brushes.


TOOLS: Sponges – 1-2 Months; Brushes and Metal Tools – No Exp.

Considering that you are washing your sponge after every use, or at least every few uses, you can keep it for a couple of months. Washing your brushes once every week or two will not only cut down the bacteria on your tools but also on your makeup. In between uses, mist with alcohol and you will be sure to keep any grimy germs from breeding out of control. For your metals, simply clean with alcohol before and after use.



  1. If it smells funny, trash it.
  2. If it dries out, chuck it.
  3. Keep a travel-sized bottle of alcohol to mist your products (yes, powders too) and tools after each use. This will keep bacteria to a minimum.
  4. Keep your makeup out of the heat. It will spoil if exposed to the sun and UV rays for extended periods of time.
  5. To reduce the growth of bacteria and extend the shelf life of your cream products, use a stainless steel makeup spatula and scoop out what you need for each application and work from the back of a clean hand. Remember to disinfect spatula with alcohol BEFORE and after each use.
  6. Store your makeup in a cool, dry place. Keeping some of your products in the fridge can extend their shelf life for up to 6 months.

Oct 18, 2012

Taking It Back!: 2009 Plus Model Magazine Interview with Tara Taylor

The Simplicity of Brilliance...An Interview with Makeup Artist Tara Taylor; December 2009

Photographer: Luke Jones
by Suzette Banzo

Most of us put on makeup every morning the same way we put on our clothes, in the familiar uniformed matter we learned long ago. Blush on the apples of the cheeks, lips lined carefully and filled in, eyes the typical highlighted brow, darkened crease, and a neutral color serving as a base. A few whisks of the mascara brush and voila, we are done.

The difference between most of us and Tara Taylor is the difference between functionality and a work of art. It is the difference between a life skill and a life style. She is a high stylist of makeup, the creative out of the box visionary who consistently strives to take her art to the next level. A bare face is not just a canvas to her, but an opportunity to provoke a conversation about beauty, individuality and relevance.

[Suzette] Do you know that to many of our Plus Model Magazine readers you are an integral part of building their portfolio?

[Tara Taylor] (laughing) That is very kind of you to say. I still have SO much to learn.

[Suzette] We always need to learn more to become better at what we do, but what kinds of things do you want to learn more about as it pertains to makeup?

[Tara Taylor] I would like to take a course on a more creative Avant Garde style of makeup; using lots of colors and abstract designs.

[Suzette] Which makeup artist's technique do you most admire?

[Tara Taylor]: I love Pat McGrath. She is an extraordinary British makeup artist who creates runway makeup designs for many of the high-end designers like John Galliano, Dolce and Gabbana. She is one of the best! She does a lot of eyebrow blocking, glitters, colors; all very high fashion. I wish I could take a course with Pat McGrath. I want to learn her techniques and the inspirations behind her designs; she is an artistic genius. My makeup tends to be on the safer, softer side because my niche is in Plus Fashion. I have had opportunities to get creative when working on Plus Model Magazine editorials, which has been liberating.

Maddy has been wonderful in that she gives me full creative freedom 95% of the time. I like to run things by her but she always encourages me to go for it! That kind of trust has truly helped to build my confidence. I do the research and usually go with my gut feeling. When it comes to art, it is very important to follow your gut, which is when you produce the most spectacular creations. I believe that is how Pat McGrath works: imagination, confidence and intuition. It is important to not be too safe.

[Suzette] Would you consider a leave of absence to try to work with Pat?

[Tara Taylor] ABSOLUTELY! Pat McGrath or Sam Fine...I am there!

Photographer: Luke Jones
[Suzette] I can see why the editorials are very important to you. In fact, let's talk a little about the one you did with model Emily McKenzie. You transformed her into different nationalities a few months ago. What inspired that concept and how did you select Emily?

[Tara Taylor] The concept for the editorial with Emily had been brewing for a long time. It was my first editorial for the magazine and I wanted to do something different, something that had not been done for the magazine before. The concept wouldn't have been as effective or challenging if I used five models from each culture. Instead, I wanted to use one model who I could transform believably, but not too easily. This country is made up of so many cultures. I thought it would be nice if I created something many readers could relate to or even see themselves in, which is why we called it the Essence of Culture. It wasn't meant to be accurate, but rather to embody the spirit of a particular culture.

[Suzette] How did you select Emily as the model?

[Tara Taylor] She is an excellent hairstylist and we met while working on a PMM shoot. As we worked together, she mentioned that she also modeled. That was when I really looked at her face and realized she would be perfect for my editorial concept. Emily was the best choice because she had the perfect bone structure for the transformations. Her hair was dark enough; eyebrows full enough; skin smooth and milky enough; easy to darken; her features sharp and well defined; an all around a good candidate for the transformation.

I remember when we were doing the "Valiant" transformation I was praying that it would work. I wasn't sure how the dark makeup would sit on her skin or if the application would be smooth. However, as I applied the makeup I realized that not only did it go on well but also she looked very Ethiopian. I thought to myself, "Wow! She makes a stunning black woman! Like a plus sized Iman!"

With each change, Emily was very good about capturing the feel and mood of the look. She did her own research and truly became that woman for those few hours. She was wonderful! It took three sessions to complete the editorial as each look was so time consuming.

[Suzette] Let's get to your eyebrow fetish; how did you become such a master?

[Tara Taylor] Eyebrows! Yes! Properly groomed brows not only open up the face, they make my makeup look cleaner. That is something I picked up from Sam Fine who is my makeup idol! There are many women in my family that were generous enough to trust me with their brows at just about every family event: birthdays, cookouts, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, etc. My family would cook while I tweezed eyebrows. That is honestly how I got so good. The next step was waxing! The first time I used the wax on myself, I took off half of my eyebrow! The first time I used it on my cousin, I took off half of hers! God bless my family for believing in me and giving me another chance! That could have been the end right there!

Practice, practice, practice on different faces and eyebrow shapes. The point is not to thin the brows but to just clean them up and give them shape. Thick brows are a sign of youth. The thicker you can keep them the better.
Photographer: Keith Majors
[Suzette] What do you recommend for someone with over tweezed brows?

[Tara Taylor] Leave them ALONE!!! Go to someone who knows how to shape them rather than going to the corner nail salon just because it is two steps from your front door. When you see someone with eyebrows that you like, ask them where they go for grooming. Sometimes the hair follicles become damaged from years of tweezing and waxing so you may need help. Sephora and the web have a few products that aid in the regrowth of eyebrows. Try it out! I find that the women who have their eyebrows threaded have great shape.

[Suzette] How did you get involved with working in the plus community?

[Tara Taylor] Craigslist has been my very good friend. When I started testing, I responded to a Craigslist ad posted by then plus model Anna Kujawski. At the time, her significant other was an aspiring photographer and they were looking for an aspiring makeup artist with whom to test. They were a team very much like Luke and Maddy and I worked with them for two years. All of the models we worked with were plus sized. Anna referred me to Maddy and the rest is history. It was a match made in heaven. It was also good for me to focus on one area of makeup. The industry is huge and one can easily get lost in its variety. I knew that finding a niche would be the fastest road to building a successful career as a new makeup artist. The plus side of the fashion industry was small in comparison and word of mouth could spread a little faster. I also didn't know of any other makeup artist that focused solely on plus. That would work in my favor as long as I did exceptional work.

[Suzette] You do Tara! The photoshoot you did with Fluvia for Monif C's fall collection was dramatic. Did you collaborate with Monif, the photographer or was it your vision? Tell me about how that developed.

[Tara Taylor] The shoot with Fluvia was all Monif's vision. She knew exactly what she wanted and came with pictures. She did give me a little flexibility. I was able to tweak the looks to fit the model's face as well as the clothing. Not every makeup design looks good on every face. Sometimes you have to vary it slightly to fit the model. With this shoot, it was about the product, which was the clothes, but of course, I like to make the model look flawless. If I have to alter the makeup to do that, I will. If I can make a woman feel beautiful, even if it is just for one day, I have done my job.

[Suzette] You really captured my attention with a photo you posted of Marilyn Monroe. I wondered why you posted it. I thought it was Marilyn or maybe Anna Nicole, I did not realize you had done the makeup on a model.

[Tara Taylor] (Laughs) That was for the Flawless Calendar that Chenese Lewis produced two years ago. Each model portrayed a different icon for each month of the year. That model was Tiffany Heller; many people do think it is Anna Nicole Smith. Tiffany is a brown haired brown-eyed woman. This is where all the styling elements must work together. She wore a blond wig, blue contacts, and the stylist was remarkable. I did plenty of reconstructive makeup using foundation to create a blank slate and contouring to give shape. The contouring is really what gives the face its dimension. I had to give Tiffany's face the dimension of Marilyn Monroe. I printed several pictures of Marilyn and used them as my guide.

[Suzette] I just realized we have been talking about creating these different looks and I overlooked asking you something so basic; how did you become a makeup artist?

[Tara Taylor] Oh, that is really basic! I was an actor before shifting into the world of makeup. I needed to do something on the side to supplement the acting income so I took a quick course in 2002. It was not the best training but it gave me my starter kit and was enough to get me going. I can't do the 9-5 thing. I decided on makeup because I draw and I recognized that makeup was just drawing on a three dimensional surface. After practicing for four years, I decided I wanted to make a career shift. I searched out the best school in New York for makeup, Make-Up Designory, and applied. Once accepted, I paid the hefty tuition and I knew I was in it to win it! It was the best experience! I did the "Journeyman" course, which was beauty and character with light EFX. I learned to be very precise in my execution, mix foundation to match every skin tone, and maintain a sanitary makeup environment. I have not done much with the EFX training. I really did it just to have the skill. Beauty makeup is much more fun to me and it's "pretty". Haha!

Photographer: Krista Svalbonas
[Suzette] Your contour work is incredible! You did my makeup for a headshot when I was 25 lbs heavier. My face looked so sculpted and thinner than it actually was. I had to drop weight just to live up to that contouring!

[Tara Taylor] Contouring is my favorite part of the makeup process!

[Suzette] If you could do makeup for any five people...who is on your wish list?

[Tara Taylor] In no particular order: Michelle Obama, Rihanna, Halle, Pink, Sandra Bullock, for events such as the Oscars and the Grammy's.

[Suzette] Sandra Bullock?

[Tara Taylor] Yes, she is one of my favorite actors. I love her and I think she is beautiful! She is not your typical Hollywood glamour, rather a very pretty "girl next door". I love Reese Witherspoon too and she would be number six on the list. I eventually want to be a celebrity makeup artist, that is where the money is and I can truly receive the return on the investment for my father. My father has been a rock in my life and my number one supporter. He was the reason I was able to go to makeup school. He paid for all four years of college and then turned around and paid for makeup school. God Bless him for believing in me. My mother passed from breast cancer when I was 14 but I still feel her presence and love. My father became both my father and mother; he has been an unbelievable father and good man; we are very close.

[Suzette] If you had a vision board, what images would I see on it?

[Tara Taylor] I do have one and you would see images of couples in love, Greece, Italy, a $2,000,000 bill, a woman with a fabulous body in a bathing suit, celebrities I desire to work with and many positive affirmations and words of gratitude. I have been very blessed. I am waiting to see what my next step should be. I have put it all out there. Now I am just listening...

For more on Tara Taylor visit