What I Learned When I Took a Professional Makeup Lesson

Empty Nest Blessed by Suzy Mighell
two women looking up at the camera

I think all of us want to do a better job of makeup application, don’t you? I’ve had the blessing of having Bebe Tran, one of Dallas’ most well-known makeup artists, do my makeup for a few of my photoshoots, and I always pepper her with questions during our time together! The last time we were together, she suggested that we do a one-on-one makeup lesson to help me feel more confident when I’m doing my own makeup. I loved that idea, and I’m so excited to share the experience with you today! I learned so much, and you’re going to learn a bunch too. I promise!

Bebe Tran is the owner of B-Lashed Beauty & Bridal Bar, one of the most well-respected lash and makeup salons in the Dallas area. She and her staff provide services ranging from lash extensions and lifts to microblading, facials, and hair and makeup for any occasion. Thanks to this lash growth serum, I don’t need extensions, but I do go to Bebe a few times a year for a lash lift. You can read a post about it HERE (complete with creepy too-close photos of my eyes!).

My Makeup Lesson: How it Worked

Bebe told me to bring my pre-makeup skincare and everyday makeup favorites, and come with a clean face. As you can see in the photo above, I did exactly that! As you can probably tell, I ripped my sunglasses off moments before we snapped this photo! I love that you can see Bebe’s beautiful salon in the background, and you can see her cute 8-months-pregnant belly too! One of my favorite things about her is that she gets so excited to make women feel beautiful, but she believes that true beauty comes from within! She always tells me I’m beautiful before we even start!

When I got to the salon, she had me lay out my products in the order that I use them. I would be doing my own makeup. She would be instructing, correcting, and teaching. Going into my lesson, I was worried that I was going to get in trouble for not using fancy sponges or tools to apply my makeup and that I use my hands whenever possible. To my surprise, she was okay with that! 

My Makeup Lesson: Skin Care

Bebe believes that no amount of makeup can cover up bad skin, so she thoroughly checked out my pre-makeup skincare routine!

My Products: Matrixyl 3000 Serum, followed by City Beauty’s Blue Defense Hydrogel, with Glycolix Elite Eye Serum around my eyes, and City Beauty’s City Lips Lip Plumper on my lips.

Bebe’s Product Recommendations: Bebe is a licensed Cosmetologist, and she got much of her skincare training when she worked for Dior Cosmetics, so she knows what she’s talking about when it comes to skin! After doing exhaustive research, she decided to sell Bioelements at her salon. (Lucky for you, the line is available on Amazon too!) She thought my products were fine, and she especially liked my eye serum, but she didn’t feel like the other products were moisturizing enough for my aging, drier skin. She recommended Bioelements Power Peptides spray-on toner, followed immediately by Bioelements Crucial Moisture cream.

What I Said: I don’t believe in toner. I think it’s a big scam by beauty companies! #sosassy
What Bebe Said: That’s not true! This toner is full of peptides, and it’s best immediately followed by a moisturizer. (Like, put the moisturizer on before the toner dries!) That way, you use less moisturizer, and it locks in the benefits of the peptides in the toner. Bebe used Bioelements Power Peptides spray-on toner, followed immediately by Bioelements Crucial Moisture cream on the back of one of my hands. On the back of the other hand, she used Bioelements Crucial Moisture cream alone. We checked it in five minutes, then again in ten minutes, and the hand with both products was way more moist and supple than the hand with only the moisturizer. #wehaveawinner

back of a womans head as she looks into a makeup mirror

My Makeup Lesson: Prep

Primer

My Product: I’ve tried other primers, but when I first met Bebe four years ago, she recommended Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer. I took her word for it, tried the trial size, and fell in love. I moved on to the standard size, and now I buy the largest size (read that: best value) available or I stock up in the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale every year! It is the best.

What I Said: I love this primer, but it bothers me that when I put on my foundation, I can still see my pores on the apples of my cheeks.
What Bebe Said: I think you might need a pore filler, right in that specific area.
Bebe’s Product Recommendations: When it comes to primers, Bebe recommends Benefit’s The Porefessional Face Primer for people with larger pores. A more budget-conscious alternative is NYX Pore Filler. I don’t have large pores everywhere, and she thinks Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer is the “Rolls Royce” of primers, so she suggested I just add a second layer of that to the apples of my cheeks.

Foundation

My Product: I’ve been faithful to It Cosmetics CC+ Cream Illumination SPF 50 for years! It contains a brightening color corrector, a hydrating anti-aging serum, uses zinc oxide and titanium dioxide for SPF 50+, and it’s full coverage. (Sun protection is huge to me because I have an auto-immune disease that is exacerbated by the sun.)

What I Said: I love this foundation, but I’ve been wondering if the SPF in it is causing my face to appear kind of white-ish in some of my photos.
What Bebe Said: Probably! The same SPF that reflects the sun’s UV rays during the day also reflects the light of a camera’s flash, or even the natural light you’re utilizing for photos.
Bebe’s Product Recommendations: For a nighttime foundation, or if SPF is something you’re willing to forego for a short time, Bebe’s favorite foundation is Make Up For Ever’s Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation. If you want lighter coverage, she likes Make Up For Ever’s Water Blend Foundation.

Concealer

My Product: I use Make Up Forever’s Self-Setting Concealer. I like it because it’s hydrating, buildable, and it doesn’t crease. I also like the sponge applicator. After applying, I tap ¼ of a Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheet under my eye to absorb oil, to prevent mascara smears.

Bebe’s Product Recommendations:  Bebe thinks the one I use is the very best for under the eye. ???? For areas that are oily or need extra coverage, she recommends Make Up Forever’s Full Cover Concealer. She loved my idea of tapping ¼ of a Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheet under my eye to absorb oil and said she was going to start using that trick with her clients. (The idea that I taught the makeup artist something made me ridiculously happy!)

What I Said: Am I doing this right? (As I swiped concealer under each eye.)
What Bebe Said: No. Use the applicator to apply your concealer in a triangle, with the long side of the triangle by your eye and the point going downward. Then pat it in with your ring finger. Patting sets it into your skin with a much smoother application, and you’ll require less product. The ring finger is the weakest of all the fingers, so it will apply the least amount of pressure and pull in that sensitive area.

woman applying makeup during a makeup lesson

My Makeup Lesson: Brushes & Tools

Bebe believes that makeup brushes are a matter of personal preference. She has fancy-schmancy ones from Japan that she uses on her clients but says Make Up For Ever brushes are great. Her budget-friendly recommendation was this set by Sephora.

woman applying makeup during a makeup lesson

My Makeup Lesson: Face

Highlighter

My Product: Based on Bebe’s past recommendation, I use Make Up For Ever’s Pro Light Fusion Highlighter.

What I Said: I highlight and contour every day! As I’ve gotten older and things have started to droop, I find it’s a great way to boost things up! But which should I apply first—highlighter, blush, or contour? And what’s the best way to blend?
What Bebe Said:  Apply your highlighter first, followed by contour, and then blush. Apply highlighter along the very top of your cheekbones. Continue up onto your temples and to the sides of your forehead. Then pop a little on the tip of your nose and at the bow of your upper lip.

Contour

My Product: Based on Bebe’s past recommendation, I use Benefit’s Hoola for contouring. It comes in four shades! I use Hoola Original.

Bebe’s Product Recommendations: If you want to try highlighting and contouring for the first time, try a mini palette like this one from Benefit.

What I Said: I don’t want too much! I just want a slight shadow to create and boost my cheekbones!
What Bebe Said: For cheekbones, use your brush or finger to draw an imaginary line from mid-ear to the corner of your mouth. No contour color should go below that imaginary line (or your face will look droopy). In the image below, we’ve drawn a red line to indicate where you should place your “imaginary” line.

woman getting makeup done with red line on her face to show where to contour cheekbones

What I Said: When I was younger, I used to smile, apply my blush on the apple of my cheeks, and go! As I’ve gotten older, the apple of my cheek has fallen, so now it’s too low if I do that! #ivefallenandicantgetup
What Bebe Said: That’s right! Don’t smile when you apply. Instead, use your cheekbone as your guide, and apply it higher than you think, swiping up and out. When you’re finished, use your hands to blend your highlighter, contour, and blush.

woman looking into makeup mirror during a makeup lesson
What I Said: Help! I need recommendations for eyeshadow! I might wear it more if I felt like I had foolproof, easy-to-apply products!
What Bebe Said: Your everyday product is excellent alone or as a primer! When it comes to adding eye shadow on top, don’t use too much product! You can always add more.
Bebe’s Product Recommendations: Bebe’s salon is one of the premier lash salons in Dallas. She and her staff use and sell Xtreme Lashes products. The products are gentle and compatible with both natural lashes and extensions. (Again, lucky for you, the line is also available on Amazon!)
  • EyeshadowXtreme Lashes creme to powder eyeshadows have built-in sharpeners and glide on easily! (Suzy: “Ohhh, kind of like crayons!”) Bebe recommended “Sienna” for my lid (“Caramel” if I want a deeper look), “Nude” for my browbone, and “Chocolate” for my contour. (These come in a four-pack right on Amazon!)
  • Mini-Facelift – (Bebe’s words, not mine!) For a “mini-facelift,” Bebe recommended a dot of the Champagne eyeshadow in three places:
    • In the very center of your upper lash line.
    • Just under the arch of your brow.
    • Just above the arch of your brow.
  • Eye Liner – The Xtreme Lashes liquid eyeliner goes on like an ink pen, is full of peptides, and it has a dual tip that’s perfect for anything from lining your lashes to creating a dramatic winged look.
  • Eye Pencil – Based on Bebe’s recommendation, I’ve used Xtreme Lashes eye pencils for a while now. I love them because they’re long-lasting, soft, and they come in 13 Vitamin E-enriched shades. I use “Plum” to make my brown eyes pop! ???? (Bebe says it’s a softer, gentler look than a black pencil!) I also highly recommend the no-mess Xtreme Lashes Glideliner Sharpener.

Mascara

My Products: I use Lancome’s Cils Booster Lash Conditioner and Primer to condition, lengthen, and thicken my lashes before my mascara. It goes on white, and you let it dry clear before applying mascara. It’s helped strengthen my lashes, and it keeps my mascara from flaking and smearing. When it comes to mascaras, I’ve tried lots, but I keep going back to Lancome’s Hypnose Drama Instant Full Volume Mascara. Also, the waterproof version is absolutely the best on the market. I recommend keeping it on hand for occasions when you might need it. (Think weddings, funerals, eye doctor, etc.!)
Bebe’s Product Recommendations: Bebe is a fan of mascara primer too! Being a former Dior girl, she usually recommends Dior’s mascara primer. (She did tell me that she thought I was smart to use Lancome’s primer with Lancome’s mascara since brands design their products to work best together.) #makessense

My Makeup Lesson: Brows

My Products: I use the same growth serum on my brows that I use on my lashes, and I think it’s helped with fullness! Rather than a brow pencil, I use Benefit’s 3D BROWtones to define and enhance my brows. It uses a mascara-like wand to coat my brows and get into all the spaces evenly.

Bebe’s Product Recommendations: Bebe liked my products, but suggested Xtreme Lashes Long Lasting Brow Pen for anyone who needs to cover grays or wants more definition.

My Makeup Lesson: Lips

My Products: For everyday wear, I use Covergirl’s Outlast All Day Lip Color. I don’t use a lip pencil to line my lips first! Instead, I use the pointed end of the applicator to line my lips before filling them in with color using the flatter part of the applicator. (I thought I was going to get in trouble with Bebe for this, but she was great with it!) I like this lip stain because it stays put, it comes in a bunch of shades, and it’s inexpensive! ???? On top, I use one of City Beauty’s City Lips Lip Plumpers for hydration, smoothing, and plumping.

Bebe’s Product Recommendations: For long-wearing lipstick, Bebe swears by LA-Splash Cosmetics Lip Couture Lipstick. She uses it on all of her bridal clients and me when she does my makeup for photoshoots. The shade she uses for me is called Latte Confessions. We love it because it somehow morphs to blend with whatever I’m wearing!

 

My Makeup Lesson: All Done!

Many thanks to Bebe and her staff at B-Lashed Beauty & Bridal Bar, for my makeup lesson! MIne was complimentary since I was writing this post, but typically Bebe charges $100/hr., and a typical lesson takes 1½ hours. (She can do them over Skype or FaceTime if you don’t live in Dallas!) I learned so much, and I hope you did too! If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments, and either Bebe or I will get back to you with an answer.
 
I hope you learned a lot, got some new ideas for products, and feel ready to glam it up for the holidays! For your convenience, scroll to the bottom for this post for a boutique of every single product  I mentioned.⬇ Click on any item for more information!
two women looking up at the camera

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Suzy Mighell

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4 Comments

  1. GREAT TUTORIAL! Especially appreciated the look at basic skincare before makeup… I’ll go back and read this article several more times. There’s a lot to absorb here.
    ~ Suzana Barton

    1. Suzana,
      It is so sweet of you to let me know that you liked the post and found it helpful! Yay! Thank you so much!
      xoxo
      Suzy

  2. Hi Suzy!
    With my busy last week, I just got around to reading this post. I really enjoyed it, and you look great! I like the mix of using some pretty expensive products along with things we can get at the drugstore! Unfortunately, I’ve developed some sort of allergy to personal care products in the last 6 months to a year, so I have to really cut down on what I put on my skin and minimize my makeup or else I get a horrible rash around my eyes. My dermatologist suggested getting a skin test, but it lasts for about 5 days and seems to be a real pain, so for now I’m just cutting back on things and seeing if I can self-diagnose!???????? She suggested trying to use as many one-ingredient products as possible, such as coconut oil as a makeup remover and moisturizer, and unscented Dove soap. Amazingly, even though I think I look a little older without wearing primer or foundation, my husband thinks I look great with a little less makeup! And to me, that’s really all that matters!❤
    So glad you enjoyed your Thanksgiving with your parents!

    1. Betsie,
      Wow! I am so sorry to hear that! Isn’t it tough when something like that develops suddenly! I have heard that Physicians Formula products are good for people with sensitive skin, but I think your doctor’s advice makes a lot of sense!
      Hugs to you! I’m so grateful for all of your sweet comments and support! ????

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