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 (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.

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.

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.

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


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.

The 2018 beauty discoveries I’m obsessed with!

Hi friends!

Well folks, here are the 2018 beauty discoveries I’m obsessed with! Most of them I have discussed on here or written reviews for, so I’ll refrain then from any lenthy discussion in this post. However, I think it’s good to have everything in one place so if you were curious as to which products I was most impressed by in 2018, you can easily refer to this post. I will link to any previous posts I have on these products so you can deep-dive into whatever you prefer.

When I initially put this list together I had multiple products in each category, but I got a bit strict with myself and set a new rule: one product per category. It was actually more fun to do it that way! So I included the following categories: FOUNDATION/BASE, CONCEALER, MASCARA, EYESHADOW, BLUSH, HIGHLIGHTER, BROWS, LIPS & BRUSHES.

So let’s get into it!


Bobbi Brown SPF 25 Tinted Moisturizing Balm

This is a luxurious tinted moisturizer that offers sheer coverage, hydration and tons of glow, which is my ideal scenario. I did a whole review of this product, which is linked below.

Read this: The best tinted moisturizer for summer?

First runner-up in this category is the Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue.


NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer

This was a hard one. I’ve tried some great concealers this year, both drugstore & more luxury. But after some deliberation, I have to go with the NARS. I never did an in-depth review of this, and I’m not sure why! I did mention it briefly in a blog post about which products I was taking with me on summer vacation. This edged out the Too Faced Born This Way Multi-Use Sculpting Concealer since the packaging is light-years ahead in terms of convenience & ease of use. The NARS is a beautiful concealer that never creases on me & covers redness, discoloration & blemishes very well.

Read this: What’s in my makeup travel bag for summer 2018?

First runner-up in this category is the Too Faced Born This Way Multi-Use Sculpting Concealer.

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly (the lightest shade)
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly (the lightest shade).


Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara

Side note: this was the only product that didn’t make it into the photos for this post, since I currently don’t have it in my collection (I jump around with mascaras a lot!). I’ve talked about this mascara several times on here, so I won’t dwell. Short story: it’s awesome! Volume: ✅. Length: ✅. Drama: ✅. For more detail, make sure to check out the post below.

Read this: My favorite luxe beauty products

First mascara runner-up is L’Oreal Voluminous Superstar X-Fiber Mascara.


Elf Cosmetics Mad for Matte Palettes in either Summer Breeze or Nude Mood (powder);

Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow Sticks in either Taupe or Nude Beach (cream)

Yup, I cheated on this one and allowed myself two picks! Whoops, forgive me. I’ve spoken about my love for these products in separate blog posts that, of course, I’ll link below. But if you want quality drugstore matte shadows in a variety of color schemes, go straight to Elf. And if you’re more into cream shadows, and don’t mind spending a bit more cash, get yourself over to the Bobbi Brown counter. These sticks are probably the creamiest and easiest to blend that I’ve ever used (and I’ve used a lot).

Read this for more Elf: My fave drugstore matte eyeshadows, $10 and under.

Read this for more Bobbi Brown: My top 5 fave cream eye shadows.

Flatlay with Elf Mad for Mattes Palette in Summer Breeze, Bobbi Brown Tinted Moisturizing Balm, Bobbi Brown Longwear Cream Shadow Stick, & Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter
Elf Mad for Matte Palette in Summer Breeze, Bobbi Brown SPF 25 Tinted Moisturizing Balm, Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow Sticks, Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter.


Glossier Cloud Paint in Dusk

Before I tried anything from Glossier, I knew I would like the Cloud Paint. It’s very strange, it’s like I had a hunch or something. So when I finally got my hands on it in the early fall, I wasn’t at all surprised when I became obsessed. I got the shade Dusk, which is beautiful neutral peachy shade that looks very natural on my skin tone. It’s a lovely creamy texture that blends into the skin seamlessly either with fingers, a sponge or brush. Just beautiful. Cream cheek products are definitely my preference.

Watch this: The neutral blush of dreams.

First runner-up in this category is Elf Cosmetics Aqua Beauty Blush & Bronzer in Bronzed Pink Beige.

Glossier Cloud Paint in Dusk
Glossier Cloud Paint in Dusk


Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter

I just did a whole blog post not long ago on the Flawless Filter and some drugstore alternatives that I found. However, I don’t think there’s anything quite like the original in this case. This is just a beautiful, beautiful product that I personally think is worth the price tag. To be honest, I was obsessed from the very first time I used it!

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

First runner-up in this category is the Ohii Beauty Wake Up Pen


Peripera Speedy Brow Cara

I tried a lot of brow mascaras this year, but I picked up this one from Peripera in the later quarter of the year and it’s quickly became my fave! I think it all has to do with the size & flexibility of the brush. You’ll see from the photo below, it’s tiny & very thin; perfect for working through your brows. It’s also water-resistant as well. It deposits just the right amount of color and nicely grooms the brows in place. This just edged out the Glossier Boy Brow, which was a tad too gloopy.

Read this: I went to a CVS Beauty IRL Store & here’s my haul!

First runner-up in this category is the Glossier Boy Brow

Peripera Speedy Brow Cara
Peripera Speedy Brow Cara


Flower Beauty Mix n’ Matte Lip Duo in Honey Nude

I’m so glad I discovered this in 2018! Totally beautiful in texture & color, plus it won’t break the bank. I did a blog post comparing this side-by-side with Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillow Talk Lipstick. Short story: they are very similar. Check out that post for much more detailed info (linked below).

Read this: A drugstore dupe for Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillow Talk Lipstick?

First runner-up in this category is a 2018 rediscovery: Clinique Chubby Sticks!

Flaylay with Peripera Speedy Browcara, NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, Glossier Cloud Paint in Dusk & Flower Beauty Mix n Matte Lip Duo in Honey Nude
Flower Beauty Mix N’ Matte Lip Duo in Honey Nude, Glossier Cloud Paint in Dusk, NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, & Peripera Speedy Brow Cara.


IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe 6-piece Travel Brush Set + Case

I hadn’t really shaken up my brush collection in ages before this year. It was all MAC & Real Techniques. Now I have several beautifully soft brushes from IT Cosmetics that I got in a gift bag when I attended a L’Oreal event this fall. I’m so obsessed now! These brushes are very good quality; they blend your products amazingly well and are a joy to hold. They feel slightly weighty but in a very appealing, luxurious way. In this kit you get a foundation brush, powder brush, concealer brush, crease brush, eyeshadow brush & an eyeliner/brow brush.

Read this: A night with L’Oreal in NYC

IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe 6-Piece Travel Brush Set. Pictured from L to R: eyeshadow brush, crease brush, eyeliner & brow brush, powder brush & concealer brush. Foundation brush not pictured.
From L to R: eyeshadow brush, crease brush, eyeliner/brow brush, powder brush, & concealer brush. Not pictured: foundation brush.

What were your beauty discoveries & obsessions of 2018? I’d love to know!

Xo, Erica


Check out my 2018 beauty discoveries from NARS, Charlotte Tilbury, Elf, Stila, Glossier, Bobbi Brown & more!

Blogger Rewind 2018! My favorite WP posts from this year

Hi friends!

I’ve been on WordPress (WP) for about 8 months now, and as you would think I’ve read a lot of blog posts. From beauty, to lifestyle & DIY, to travel, to cooking, and inspirational & wellbeing blogs. I like to keep my Reader feed both varied & dynamic. There’s a wonderfully diverse group of talent here on this platform, which is informative & inspiring to me. So as the end of 2018 rapidly approaches, I’d like to give back a little love & recognition to those bloggers & to those blog posts that I particularly enjoyed this year.

So forget YouTube Rewind, let’s have the Blogger Rewind! (Sorry, I couldn’t help it!) I hope you enjoy and that you discover some new bloggers in the process! Please make sure to go check them out, and give them some love ❤️.


Photo by Kaboompics .com on

Makeup and Beauty Blog by KarenThe Easiest Way to Wear Red Lipstick

Blushy DarlingUrban Decay Born to Run Palette | Review

Polished and InspiredThursday Chats Beauty Brands & Social Media

Always, CleiaMUR X Emily The Wants Palette | Review + 3 Looks

SUPERNOVABEAUTY1920’s Flapper Makeup and Mani Tutorial | Halloween 2018

THERAGEFFECT [MISC] 6 Cutest K-Beauty Product Packaging

Aleeya AzimullaA Very Simple Makeup Look Using Only 6 Products

Beautyholics1013 Products I’ve Changed My Mind About

Forty, Flirty & Fabulous’s WeblogAnatasia Beverly Hills Norvina Palette Review

Jeans & GemsThe Detox Market Grand Opening in NYC


Photo by Daria Shevtsova on

Blessings by MeCrochet Chemo Caps

Garden Full Of DreamsAwesome Impact Award: Finding the Blessing Amidst Sorrow

Bushra’s LifestyleBest Information With Great Resources To Improve Your Blog

Hunida’s BlogShows I’ve Recently Watched #4

Lifestyle Adventure BeautyBake Off, Halloween Special

Emma KernsteinMocha Pupdate – 6 months!


Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on

The TravellerDay Trip to Salzburg


Photo by Ella Olsson on

Taste N Talk with ThousifHomemade with Love – “Moms Kitchen”, Doha, Qatar

In Diane’s KitchenPeanut Butter Cookies With Chocolate Stars

LibarahChicken Fried Rice


Photo by Gustavo Tabosa on

Sunshiny SA, KavithaThe Road Not Taken

Fabulous Fifty FiveLiving With Chronic Pain – How I Learnt To Thrive

The Wellbeing BloggerThe Powerful Healing Effects of Color

What are your favorite blog posts from this year? Please link them down below, I’d love to know!

Xo, Erica


Check out the blog posts that I loved this year, from beauty, to lifestyle/DIY, to travel, to cooking/food, to inspirational/wellbeing!

Video: A thank you!



I’d love it if you’d check these posts out if you haven’t already! They are some of my personal favorites from September 😊.

– Want to know how ColourPop became so successful? Read this.

– Instagram images that inspired me this week

  • Vol. 2 is coming tomorrow!

– Joah Beauty has launched at CVS Pharmacy!

– Has CVS brought us the future of drugstore beauty?

And please leave me some of your favorite blog posts in the comments below so that I can show them some love too! ❤️

Xo, Erica