Behind-the-scenes with MUA Laura Costa

Hi friends!

Got a real treat for you guys today! For all the die-hard beauty lovers out there: don’t you dream of getting a peek inside the life (and the makeup bag of course!) of a working makeup artist? Hear their opinions on products & trends? Well, I certainly do and that’s why I was so excited to chat with hairstylist & MUA Laura Costa.

Her resume is quite extensive across various media including publications, fashion photography, music videos & commercials. Her work has graced the covers of Billboard Magazine and The Hollywood Reporter, and she counts Adidas, Cartier, Hasbro, & The New York City Ballet as just some of her clients.

I hope you guys enjoy our chat and find it interesting or helpful! Make sure to follow Laura on Instagram @lauracosta.nyc. (She is repped by ENNIS Inc.)

I’m going to start by being really basic, but how did you start out in the beauty industry as a hair & makeup artist?

I’ve worked in salons my whole life. I started assisting a top-notch hairstylist years ago in Boston on Newbury St. One day a movie was being filmed at my salon (Bride Wars), and after seeing that production I said to myself, that’s what I wanna do! I wanna work in show business. So I moved to NYC to pursue it. I then met a woman who owned a production company in 2009 and she introduced me to her lead make-up artist. That’s where I learned how to do makeup for television and photography. And a whole new world opened to me.

What’s your favorite kind of job to get booked for & why?

I love working on huge productions! I love how they can make an amazing set. Also love award shows! The craziness of the red carpet is so fun. Plus it’s cool to watch the performances 🙂

In a nutshell, how would you describe your hair & makeup style? Do you have a signature look you like to create on clients?

I’m more of a tomboy myself so I believe that reflects in my work. I like to give more of an edgy, sexy cool-girl look rather than something glam or super girly. I’d say my style is more Rihanna than Beyoncé!

Model with natural makeup applied by hair & makeup artist Laura Costa

What are your kit must-haves? Could be certain products or brands.

SKIN
I’m huge on prep, so I love my Embryolisse Radiant Eye Serum and the Lait-Crème Concentre. I also love iS Clinical Hydra-Cool Serum! Wonderful for people with sensitive skin or rosacea. Definitely have to have my Weleda Skin Food as well.

MAKEUP
I love the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter, Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate Palette, and the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder Duo! Definitely looove the Flyliner Liquid Eyeliner by Fenty Beauty, that’s my new jam! From Glossier, the Boy Brow and the Clear Lip Gloss are favorites! Also the Ultra UD Pressed Powder by Make Up For Ever.

HAIR
Elnett from L’Oréal! Best hairspray hands down! Always have it. And I’m loving IGK hair products right now. The Beach Club Texture Spray is sooo good and the 30,000 Feet Volume Powder Spray is amazing. I need Architexture by L’Oréal always!! Combine that with a blow dryer and a Mason Pearson brush, and I can do wonders 🙂

Work of hair & makeup artist Laura Costa

Read this: Drugstore alternatives to Charlotte Tilbury’s Hollywood Flawless Filter

Read this: Video: Glossier Boy Brow vs. Benefit Gimme Brow

What do you think of perfected ‘Instagram makeup’? Do you think it’s a trend or is it here to stay?

Trends are consistently changing especially with make up and fashion. The idea of “flawless“ skin is already changing. One day I’ll go onset and people don’t want their freckles covered; they want bushier, “un-groomed ” eyebrows and dewy skin. The next day I could on a set and it’s no shine at all; matte everything with super-groomed features. I say it’s probably best not to do anything permanent to your face just because you think it’s trendy. Plus, we don’t know what the blading will look like ten years down the road. Things fade.

Read this: A Meditation on “Instagram Makeup”

Speaking of social media, how do you think it’s changed being a hair & makeup artist? Is it easier to book jobs because your reach is greater?

For me, I don’t ever book jobs through Instagram. Honestly it’s just like any other responsibility to keep up. On most of my jobs, we have to sign NDA’s (non-disclosure agreements) so it’s frowned upon to be posting things on set.

Work of hair & makeup artist Laura Costa

What’s the beauty question you get asked the most by your clients?

How to cover under-eye bags! Men, women, models…everyone needs help with their under-eyes and wants to look less tired than they are!

Any advice for budding MUA’s starting out now?

Learn to adapt to your surroundings. Be organized and learn to be able to work with little sleep! I have a strong coffee matcha habit!

If you have any beauty questions for Laura that you’d like answered, pop them in the comments below and I’ll send them over to her!

(The Hollywood Reporter image courtesy @tawnibannister)

Xo, Erica

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Go behind-the-scenes with hairstylist & MUA Laura Costa! Get the scoop on her kit must-haves, her opinions on trends, how social media has changed the business.
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Tour my pink eyeshadow collection!

Hi friends!

I’m having a little love affair right now with pink eyeshadow. Not sure why to be honest, but I’m feeling all the rosy, blushy vibes and it isn’t anywhere close to springtime yet! I’ve been experimenting with all different tones on my eyes too, from brighter pinks to blush pinks to cool pinky-mauves. And since Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, I thought what better time to give you guys a virtual tour of my current pink eyeshadow collection.

There’s a nice array of tones, textures and price points here so let’s get started! I’ll start with the more expensive shadows, and go down the line to the most affordable.

URBAN DECAY NAKED3 PALETTE

  • Who’s this for? Anyone who loves cool-toned pinks and who wants the variety a large-scale palette like this offers.

A classic to start with, of course. This was the first palette I got years ago that really introduced me to the spectrum of rosy neutral tones. These shadows are so beautifully blendable and wearable just as you would expect from Urban Decay; you can go light or create darker, smokier looks. It’s so versatile and you have a variety of different finishes to play with (mattes, shimmers, metallics). My favorite shades are probably Limit, Nooner, Burnout & Buzz.

Shop the Naked3 Palette here.

CHARLOTTE TILBURY PILLOW TALK PALETTE

  • Who’s this for? Anyone looking to splurge on luxurious, high-quality but very wearable blush pink shades.

Full disclosure, I literally just got this palette over the weekend! I thought this was limited edition when it first debuted last September, but I guess it’s not? Anyway, it’s currently in stock on Charlotte Tilbury’s website (I don’t think Sephora carries this particular palette). It’s the prettiest little quad with soft pink shimmers & mattes, perfect for daytime wear. (I also think this would be beautiful bridal makeup.)

So folks, I’ve used this palette everyday since I got it and I don’t know what sorcery that Charlotte conjures but these shadows are a-maz-ing! The mattes apply like creams: instant pigment, instant intensity, and they basically blend themselves. You can’t really mess ‘em up. Totally, totally beautiful!

Shop the Pillow Talk Palette here.

Urban Decay Naked3 Palette & Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Palette
Left: Urban Decay Naked3 Palette. Upper right: Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Palette.

Read this: Charlotte Tilbury is now in Sephora! My shopping guide.

MAC IN MONOCHROME COLLECTION / SOFT TEDDY & DEAR TEDDY SINGLE SHADOWS

  • Who’s this for? Anyone looking for soft & wearable blush pinks & shimmers similar to the Charlotte Tilbury shades, but do not necessarily want a palette.

I was fully inspired to purchase these two single shadows after reading the beauty & fashion blog Style on Film, who showcased the whole MAC In Monochrome Velvet Teddy Collection in a recent blog post. We have a very similar complexion, and when I saw these two shadows on her eyes I knew I needed to have them!

Soft Teddy is a beautiful matte mid-tone blush pink. Very wearable; it’s much more of a neutral than a true pink so don’t be afraid. Dear Teddy is a deeper pink frost with purple shimmer and a little glitter as well. I love them both. They apply brilliantly and wear nicely throughout the day. Just be warned that Dear Teddy will give off a little glitter fall-out.

Shop the Velvet Teddy Collection here. (I’m not sure how long this collection will be in stock, so if you’re interested I’d hop on this quick!)

& OTHER STORIES Single eyeshadow in QUILT JAM

  • Who’s this for? Anyone looking for something bolder, brighter & more fun at an affordable cost.

Yes that’s right, clothing retailer & Other Stories do a whole line of beauty products from makeup, to skincare & bodycare! I feel like no one talks about it, and I follow/watch a lot of bloggers, vloggers & beauty influencers.

Anyways, I picked up a few bits recently from one of their NYC locations and this single eyeshadow in the color Quilt Jam just jumped out at me. At first glance you may think, that’s a blush color! And it still could be (I haven’t tried it on my cheeks yet but I should), but when you pack this color all over your lids, watch out! It’s a beautiful, highly-pigmented, bright warm pink. This is for my true pink lovers out there who aren’t afraid to wear something a bit bolder. I’m not saying this is my new everyday shade, but I’m definitely digging it for something a bit more fun.

Shop for Quilt Jam here.

& Other Stories Quilt Jam Eye Colour, MAC Dear Teddy & Soft Teddy, and Elf Cosmetics Summer Breeze Mad for Mattes Palette
Counter-clockwise: MAC Dear Teddy, & Other Stories Quilt Jam, MAC Soft Teddy, and Elf Mad for Matte Summer Breeze

ELF MAD FOR MATTE PALETTE IN SUMMER BREEZE

  • Who’s this for? Anyone looking for both soft/wearable pinks & slightly brighter ones as well, but on a budget.

You guys probably all know by now (cause I’ve talked about it a gazillion times already), but I loveeee Elf’s Mad for Matte Palettes. Quality, pigment, blendability…all amazing for just $10.00. And Summer Breeze will give you all that rosy neutral goodness on a much smaller budget. I won’t drone on and on here about the awesomeness of this palette cause I’ve already done before. Feel free to check out the linked blog post below for more info.

Shop for Summer Breeze here.

Read this: My fave drugstore matte eyeshadows, $10 and under

What is your opinion on pink eyeshadow? Would you wear it? Do you have any have any favorites? I’d love to know!

Xo, Erica

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I’ve been loving pink eyeshadow recently! Right in time for Valentine’s Day, I’m giving you a little tour of my current collection of pink shadows, featuring bits from Urban Decay, Charlotte Tilbury, Elf, & Other Stories, and MAC!

New launch! Pat McGrath’s FetishEYES Mascara

Hi friends!

Big news, Pat McGrath’s FetishEYES Mascara is about to launch this week! This is the first mascara release from her eponymous makeup range, and if you know anything about her cosmetics, this is bound to be both dramatic and luxurious. I haven’t really been excited about a new launch since the Maybelline Made for All lipstick range late last year, so this is exciting!

Read this: Maybelline’s new Made For All Lipstick Collection

There isn’t a whole lot of information right now on the Pat McGrath Labs website, except for some before and after photos and a waiting list sign-up. But beauty editors from the likes of Allure and Fashionista who had exclusive sneak peeks of the mascara, have already published their reviews online (spoiler: all of which are glowing).

Read this: Pat McGrath’s New FetishEyes Mascara Is Here, And It’s Perfect For Those Who Love Drama

“Designed to entice the beauty obsessed, this haute hardcore mascara was developed for makeup artists by makeup artists and was relentlessly tested both backstage and on set,” said McGrath in a release announcing the product’s launch.

Fashionista

Supposedly this mascara formula is lightweight and very buildable, so you can customize your level of drama from light slick all the way to downright doll-like. The more layers you build up, the more of a falsh-lash effect you will get with tons of volume and length. If you look at any of the visuals on either the brand’s website or their IG, you’ll see just how dramatic this can get.

Visual showing Pat McGrath’s FetishEYES Mascara on model
Image source: patmcgrath.com

The brush looks large with tons of bristles, which is my personal favorite cause I think it gives the lashes the most volume and drama. I’ve used plenty of mascaras with plastic combs or bristles, and while I think they are good, I will always prefer traditional bristle brushes.

Before visual Pat McGrath’s FetishEYES Mascara
Image source: patmcgrath.com
Visual showing Pat McGrath FetishEYES Mascara after application
Image source: patmcgrath.com

The FetishEYES Mascara launches this Thursday, February 14th on patmcgrath.com, and will retail for $28. For Pat McGrath, that’s extremely affordable, believe it or not. I, for one, have a queue already filled with mascaras waiting to be used and tested so I will refrain from purchasing right now. However! I am very intrigued to give this a try in the future. And when I do, you guys will be the first to know!

Read this: Review: Pat McGrath Labs Limited Edition Bronze Ambition Palette

What do you guys think of the FetishEYES Mascara? Would you give it a try? I’d love to know!

Xo, Erica

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New launch alert! Pat McGrath’s FetishEYES Mascara is releasing this week! This is the first mascara launch from this uber luxurious line, and it promises mega drama!

Review: Morphe Jaclyn Hill Dark Magic Palette

Hi friends!

I’m very excited to bring you a review today on the Morphe Jaclyn Hill Dark Magic Palette, which is available at Ulta now. This is one part of the larger Vault palette release (which I believe was either 4 or 6 palettes) that debuted last year. The release got completely shrouded in controversy pretty quickly both online and on social media, with reports of chalky, poor-performing shadows and tons of customer returns.

Needless to say, I was very intrigued to try one of them out for myself when I passed the Morphe counter at my local Ulta recently. And the Dark Magic Palette, with its smokey greens, blues & pewters, really spoke to me.

Now, I don’t care a fig for Jaclyn Hill personally. I don’t watch her videos nor do I follow her on social media, so her celebrity in no way factored into my decision to buy this palette. I just wanted to see what all the hype and controversy was about. So now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get to the review!

Shop the Dark Magic Palette at Ulta here.

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

Show your dark side with the 10 creamiest, sultriest eyeshadows to burst onto the midnight scene. Jaclyn Hill is giving you the code to a killer vault where she’s stashed some of her top-secret shades with this badass Morphe x Jaclyn Hill Dark Magic Eyeshadow Palette. JACpot!

Ulta.com

SHADES / SWATCHES

Poof (matte cream)
Power Cut (metallic silver)
Shhh (matte dusty taupe)
Trickery (sparkling emerald)
Diversion (shimmering gunmetal)
Potion (matte avocado green)
Busted (matte ocean blue)
Inside Job (matte dark jade)
Mojo (matte smoked hickory)
Temptress (glinting pitch black)

Ulta.com
Swatches of first row of Morphe Jaclyn Hill Dark Magic Palette
From top to bottom: Poof, Power Cut, Shhh, Trickery, & Diversion
Swatches of second row of Morphe Jaclyn Hill Dark Magic Palette
From top to bottom: Potion, Busted, Inside Job, Mojo, & Temptress.

My THOUGHTS ON PACKAGING

Nothing special here, to be honest, but nothing too offensively cheap either. But I will say it’s quite small, sleek & lightweight, so perfect for travel if that means anything to you.

RATING: 4 / 5 ⭐️

MY THOUGHTS ON APPLICATION

While testing this palette for review, I dipped into every single shadow to use on my eyes in some capacity. And I have to say, nearly all of them applied & blended very well. The only shade I had a little bit of trouble with was the matte army green called Potion. It got a little patchy on my lid when using a fluffy brush, so I had to go back in and pack some color on with my finger. Other than that, I virtually had no issues.

RATING: 4.5 / 5 ⭐️

Read this: Review: Juvia’s Place Eyeshadow Palettes

MY THOUGHTS ON COLOR RANGE

Interior of the Morphe Jaclyn Hill Dark Magic Vault Palette

(Quick disclaimer: It was really hard to get all the color tones to show up in this photo. I realize it all just looks dark, but I can assure you the bottom row is not just a row of black shadows!)

There’s no way around it, this is a smokey, sultry color story. Most of your looks are probably going to end up dark. But you kinda should know that going into it considering the name is Dark Magic. I love how this palette favors more matte textures over shimmer & metallics. But that being said, I would have loved one more mid-tone transition shade in the first row. Shhh applies darker than you would think, and Poof is too light to be a transition.

If you’re interested to know, my favorite colors in the palette are Diversion (the shimmering pewtery color), Potion (the matte army green), and Busted (the matte blue).

RATING: 4 / 5 ⭐️

MY THOUGHTS ON PIGMENTATION

Pigmentation is awesome in this palette! All the shades, even Poof, show up pretty true to color without very little effort. The only thing I will say is that Trickery, the shimmery dark green, loses it’s punchiness as you sheer it out. So after blending, it kinda just looks like a grey or charcoal color, not a green.

RATING: 4.5 / 5 ⭐️

MY THOUGHTS ON LONGEVITY

I didn’t notice any fading on any of the colors throughout the day. One exception is, again, Potion. The color didn’t fade, but it did slightly crease on me within just a few hours of wearing it. (For reference, I always wear a eye primer before laying down powder shadows.) But truthfully I love that color so much that I’m willing to forgive it!

RATING: 4 / 5 ⭐️

MY THOUGHTS ON PRICE

This palette is just $15.00 for 10 shadows. I think that’s a very fair price for the quality you’re getting here. Just think of it as a slightly more expensive drugstore palette.

RATING: 5 / 5 ⭐️

Read this: Review: Urban Decay Born to Run Eyeshadow Palette

FINAL THOUGHTS

Pushing last year’s controversies aside, I really had a great time experimenting with this palette. I found it quite easy to put different looks together, and overall the shadows were very user-friendly. I guess whatever issues Morphe had on the production side have been solved at this point. Not sure. I did notice that Morphe is no longer selling the Vault palettes on their site. So if you’re in the U.S. and are interested in this palette, you’ll have to go to Ulta.

THE LOOKS*

*These are not the only looks I’ve created with this palette.

I used Power Cut all over the top lid, into and above the crease. Then I blended Trickery on the outer corner and slightly into my crease; I also took that shade along my lower lash line and really smudged it out. Lastly, I smudged just a bit of Mojo along my top lash line, but just at the outer corner.

I used Poof all over my top lid, and then blended a mixture of Shhh & Potion very lightly into my crease. I then smudged Mojo along both my top & bottom lash lines, at the outer corners.

I applied Diversion all over my top lid, into & above my crease. I also blended it all along my lower lash line too. I then smudged Temptress along my top & bottom lash lines (in the outer corners).

I applied Potion all over my top lid, into & above my crease. I then smudged Shhh along my lower lash line.

Have you tried any of the Morphe Jaclyn Hill Vault palettes? If so, what did you think? I’d love to know!

Xo, Erica

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Check out my in-depth review of one of the infamous Morphe Jaclyn Hill Vault Palettes: the Dark Magic Palette!

The drugstore brow gel you need in your life!

Hi friends!

So I discovered this awesome drugstore brow gel from Ardell that’s been rocking my world recently. So of course I have to tell you guys about it, cause you all need this stat! (Just kidding, but you know what I mean. I hope.) It’s the Brow Confidential Brow Duo, and just as the name would imply, this is a dual product: one end has a powder, the other end has a clear brow gel. To be completely honest, I could ditch the powder side but the gel…the gel, people. Well, it’s the best.

I picked this up from one of my favorite spots to shop for makeup lately, Sally Beauty. They’ve been killing it with their beauty offerings recently! First it was the COL-LAB eye palettes, now it’s this Ardell brow gel. To boot, Ardell is very modestly priced and this gel was no exception: only $8.99.

Read this: My Sally Beauty haul featuring COL-LAB!

Flatlay with Brow Confidential Brow Duo in Medium Brown

THE GEL

So you probably want to know by now, why I think this is the best brow gel I’ve ever tried. It’s very simple: it holds my brow hairs in place 100%. Ain’t nothing getting these guys down until you want to remove your makeup. All the other drugstore brow gels I’ve ever used only do a half-assed job in the hold department.

The brush is extremely thin and has just the right amount of product on it. No clumps or anything. The gel is clear as the whole idea is to use the powder first to bulk up your brows, and then comb the gel through to hold them in place.

Since I really don’t use the powder much (I’ll get into that in a sec), I like to brush my brow hairs straight up with this gel to make them appear bigger. And I let them dry completely without running a clean spoolie through them. Once they’re dry, you’re good to go and you won’t get any white crispies throughout the day. Added bonus!

Gel brush on the Brow Confidential Brow Duo from Ardell
Look at how thin that brush is! P.S. my gel has turned a bit brown since I often layer this over other tinted brow products.

THE POWDER

Full disclosure: I’ve only used the powder end of this product once, maybe twice. There are two reasons that it’s not my favorite. Firstly, I choose the wrong color (which is really my fault). Medium Brown is unfortunately much darker than I thought it was going to be. I’m not used to seeing myself with dark brows, so I looked a bit angry when I had this on (in my opinion).

Ardell only offers 4 color choices, so I should have gone with Taupe, the lightest color in the range, but hindsight is always 20/20. The darker shades must be really dark if Medium Brown was dark, so just be forewarned.

The second reason I haven’t gotten on with the powder is it just gets everywhere. When you unscrew the nib and take it out of tube, powder flies everywhere. And there’s a decent amount of fall-out on your face after you apply it to your brows. And keep in mind I do my brows as the very last step in my routine, so the powder falls down onto my base. Very annoying.

Powder nib of the Brow Confidential Brow Duo from Ardell in Medium Brown
The powder nib. It carries too much product in my opinion and gets everywhere.

So the moral of this story is, I really, really, really like one-half of this brow duo. I’ve finally found the product that gives me that brushed-up editorial brow-kinda look. Going forward, I will look into purchasing just a brow gel from them and not the duo, since I’m not using this product to its fullest potential. But you may be able to use the powder more than me. (I’m going to try it a few more times to see if I can fall in love with it or not.)

You can shop this product and others at Sally Beauty here.

Have you ever tried the Brow Confidential Brow Duo? What are your favorite brow products? I’d love to know!

Xo, Erica

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I recently discovered this drugstore brow gel from Ardell Beauty...and I think I finally found thee one! Read this post for more info!