How to pick the right mascara for your lashes

set of differing mascara wands

When it comes to purchasing mascara you might scratch your head as to which product to buy. There are so many mascaras to choose from! Aside from trial and error, how can we choose a product that is right for our lashes? The answer lies in the type of formula and the wand.

Below are some tips for choosing the right mascara for your fine, sparse, full, or long eyelashes.


Mascara formulas come in waterproof, regular, tube, and fiber. Choose the formula that fits your needs the most.

Tube –This type of formula basically wraps around each hair to form a waterproof “tube”.


  • Tube mascaras are great for people who have allergies.
  • They are very easy to take off (as compared to waterproof mascaras). The “tubes” simply slide off lashes.


  • Tube mascaras do not build up on the lash easily. It’s hard to get a voluminous look.
  • If not washed off completely, the tubes tend to invade the eyes.

Waterproof – Waterproof formulas are created from a mixture of oils (polymers/plastics) which makes them less likely to smear.


  • Waterproof mascara can be worn nearly all situations and stay intact.
  • Good for people who have eye lashes that touch the skin under the eye (some people have bone structure that pushes up the skin under the eye).
  • Good for people who have oily skin types. Oils move around the face and somehow find a way to smudge the mascara.
  • Good for those who have to curl their straight lashes. A waterproof mascara doesn’t contain water (and therefore won’t ruin a curl that is bent into a straight lash).
  • A waterproof mascara is lightweight and won’t weigh your lashes down. .


  • It is difficult to remove. For gentle cleansing, remove with an oil or silicone based makeup remover.
  • Waterproof mascara is made of plastics. These plastics can prematurely break your lashes. Use waterproof mascaras sparingly.
  • It is not water soluble. If a flake gets into the eye, it will not dissolve. People who wear contacts should avoid use.

Fibers – Fiber mascaras contains nylon and rayon fibers that add volume and length to lashes.


  • They make your eyelashes look longer. The synthetic fibers attach to lash tips, elongating your natural hairs.
  • They add volume to sparse lashes. The fibers attach to each other and fill in spaces to create the appearance of volume.


  • The lash fibers flake off VERY easily and invade the eye (and can cause an eye infection).
  • Those who wear contacts should avoid fiber mascara altogether.
  • Flakes can leave streaks on your face.
  • The fibers don’t look natural and can appear very clumpy.

Regular – Regular mascara is made up of wax, pigment and film formers. Regular mascara is water soluble.


  • Very natural looking.
  • Regular mascara easily builds up on the lash with each swipe.
  • Water soluble and easy to cleanse off the lash.
  • Does not flake (usually). If it does flake, it is not detrimental to the eye (because it is water soluble).


  • Rubs off easily (if you tend to rub your eyes).
  • Regular mascara will break down with tears, swimming, rain, sweat, and other water situations.
  • Does not keep lashes curled as well.

As you can see, when it comes to mascara formula, you have to take the good with the bad! Now onto the next consideration for picking the right mascara for your lashes: the wand. Below are the types of wands to choose from.


“The right tool for the job” should be your motto when selecting a mascara wand. The brush you choose has a HUGE impact on how the mascara formula swipes on your lashes.

Twisted wire brush with close-set bristles: These brushes pick up a LOT of mascara and make it easy to swipe on color in a few strokes. The longer bristles make it easy to apply mascara to the base of the lashes, adding a bold effect. Mascara wands with a twisted wire brush are used to add volume and lengthen the appearance of the lashes.

Rubber brushes: This brush is good for people who don’t want to deal with mascara clumps. The brush picks up a smaller amount of product, affording the user more control over the application onto the lashes.  These mascara brushes lengthen lashes without adding fullness.

Fat wands: These brushes tend to be larger in diameter (especially in the center). The thicker wands can be made out of wire brush or rubber brush and are best for building a lot of volume on the lashes.

Curled or hourglass wand: A curled bristle brush and an hourglass rubber brush are perfect for adding a winged effect on your lashes. The curves lift and push your lashes for a dramatic winged effect!

Short, close-set bristles that are very uniform (rubber brush, small tip, or comb tip): This type of wand separates the lashes and coats the hairs very evenly. This wand is great for people who have lashes that are long and thick in density (Lucky duckies!).

Final notes:

Most mascaras state on their packages the properties of their formula as well as the type of application a wand will result in. Pay attention to the keywords the package lists. A good rule of thumb is to pick a mascara wand based on its shape and the final look you desire. For example: A fat brush will give you fat lashes, a curled brush will help push up your lashes, a small brush with short tips that are uniformly spaced will uniformly coat and separate your lashes. In other words, what you see is what you get!

For the expert mascara junkie I suggest combining your mascaras! You do this by first applying your mascara with a brush that adds volume and then follow it with another coat of mascara with a wand that lifts and separates. This technique is pure MAGIC!

Another hot tip is to save one of your older mascara tubes that are a little dried out (not too old!). The minimal product makes it easier to apply the right amount of mascara on the lower lashes. You will have less mistakes of clumps or smudges with an older tube of mascara.

Remember to dispose your mascara and brush after three months! Once a tube is older than three months you risk getting an eye infection.

This article was written by: for

Please click either link for more information about Louisville hair stylist and makeup artist Jennifer Lee Johnson.


10 Reasons to hire a professional makeup artist for your wedding

Louisville makeup artist Jennifer Lee Johnson providing the final touchups on bride in an elevator

Jen putting the final touch ups on a bride.

Wedding planning can be stressful and expensive! It’s no surprise that brides second guess hiring a professional makeup artist on their wedding day. Here are some factors to consider:

  1. Perfection: You want the “wow” factor, right? Most brides spend a lot of time and money buying a dress. Do you trust yourself to manage your makeup that day? Hiring a professional means you get to consult one-on-one with an artist who will create a look that is perfectly tailored for you. 
  2. Convenience: Having a professional makeup artist come to your hotel room reduces stress and provides a convenient way for you and your party to get ready. The peace of mind knowing that everyone is getting ready in a central location is priceless. 
  3. Fun! Girls love getting ready for a big event. It can be quite the bonding experience for everyone and hiring a professional adds to the ease of the atmosphere. Your bridesmaids will love the attention and pampering and the Mothers will love being a part of the girly excitement!
  4. Cost: Do you want to spend a hefty amount of cash on a bunch of makeup that you will likely use once? When you hire a professional makeup artist you are also renting their entire kit of premium tools and products. Do you really want to buy an airbrush and air compressor? A makeup artist has thought of everything and at the end of the day you will be glad to have their kit at your disposal.
  5. Time: A really good makeup artist will keep a party on schedule. Getting ready can be chaotic, especially when there are a bunch of girls running around worrying about their hair and makeup. A professional will ease things by creating a timeline and sticking to a schedule; ultimately getting you to the ceremony on time!
  6. Technical skill: Do you really know how to do a proper makeup application? Do you understand color theory? Have you mastered putting on false eyelashes? Do you have a steady hand? A professional makeup artist trains extensively and can handle every detail.
  7. Better products: Professional makeup artists use products that are of a higher quality and longevity. In fact, there are brands professionals use that you probably never heard of! Thousands of photos will be taken of you that day, don’t you want your makeup to last?
  8. Photography: Photography makeup is different than everyday makeup! You want your features to stand up to the camera, flash, and big white dress yet still look natural when grandma comes close for a kiss. In other words, a professional knows how to apply makeup that is both camera ready and beautiful in person. Your pictures are the only souvenir from the wedding day so you might as well look good!
  9. An advocate: A great makeup artist is also someone you can talk to; an “outsider” who is quietly by your side offering you strength through a time of chaos. A professional makeup artist can keep things calm and be a buffer between you and that one “crazy” wedding attendant.
  10. Luxury: It feels amazing to have your makeup done professionally. Who doesn’t want to feel special on their wedding day? A good makeup artist will boost your confidence and make you feel good about being the center of attention.

If you decide that you are the DIY type, consider hiring a professional artist to teach you a lesson about how to apply the makeup and what makeup you should buy. Professional makeup artists usually offer hourly lessons that are tailored to each person’s needs.

This article was written by: for

Please click either link for more information about Louisville hair stylist and makeup artist Jennifer Lee Johnson.

How to grow out your eyebrows painlessly!

Brows define the face. In fact, a good brow can make a face look great without makeup. I am totally guilty of over plucking my eyebrows. I have been doing it wrong since high school. It all started my freshman year: I got my brows waxed for the first time and I looked AMAZING! Unfortunately I thought I could keep up with the look by myself and started to tweeze the stray hairs as they grew in. BIG MISTAKE! It took me 25 years to realize that eyebrows are “sisters”, not “twins”.

What do you do about it? We all know that to stop tweezing those itty bitty stray hairs are easier said than done. I don’t know anyone that can stand the feeling of that one hair out of place. Personal restraint from pulling that little hair screaming at you is like dieting during the holidays. It’s torture.

Here’s my tried-and-true method for dealing with the awful phase of re-populating those precious little hairs:

  1. STOP TWEEZING! At all cost. Don’t do it. This is your intervention.eyebrow safety razor
  2. Use a safety razor meant for small areas on the face (see picture). This is the holy grail of growing out your eyebrows! Use the razor to closely cut the little stubbly hairs that are desperately trying to gain real estate on your brows. Be gentle, go slow. Wet the area you intend to shave with water and a little facial lotion. You don’t want to give yourself razor burn. Be careful not to accidentally shave the hairs that are already long and happily living in the right place. With this technique you will have smooth skin with no visible stubble for nearly 24 hours. YOU CAN DO THIS EVERY DAY until you have populated enough hairs in your little eyebrow farm.Anastasia clear brow gel
  3. When you are ready to see the fruits of your labor, let those little sprouts GROW! Within two weeks you will have hair
    long enough to fill in with a eyebrow pencil and powder. I promise, you will feel human again. With an angled brush, use a brow powder to create the shape and an eyebrow pencil to build wax on the hairs that create volume.
  4. Brush the hairs and use an eyebrow gel to hold the brows in place. I love Anastasia brow gel. It’s very sticky yet doesn’t coagulate like glue. At $22.00 it’s worth every penny, I promise.

The most important thing is to remain patient as your hairs grow out. They will grow out weird, but will eventually straighten themselves out. If you must remove the hairs that seem to grow on your eyelids, go ahead, pluck away. For the fine and fuzzy hairs that come in LEAVE THEM BE! If you must shape your brows use your safety razor. At least your eyebrows will still be there and you won’t be consistently damaging each of your hair follicles. And while they are goofy, you can at least count on brow gels and makeup to support your endeavor until they grow out in the correct direction. Expect your hairs to be back to their fullness and normal shape within a year. Then find yourself a proper eyebrow artist to maintain a crisp shape because you probably cannot be trusted to be your own “hair maintenance manager” from now on! Good luck!

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Choosing the right shade of lip color

hot pink lip poutA full pout is a sign of youth and a hallmark of beauty. Unfortunately, as we age our lips loose some of their color and definition. Therefore, choosing the right shade of lip color is a great way to alter a face as well as highlight your beautiful smile!

For an everyday use, choose a lip color that enhances the natural shade of your nude lip. A great trick is to pick a hue two shades darker than your inner cheek. You will find that the color naturally mimics the color found in your lip. You’ll know the shade is right if you look good wearing it without any other makeup on!

Pale lips: Use pastel shades. Deep tones appear very dark on pale lips so apply with a light hand. Try beige, sandy pink, light coral, pale pink, and bright red!

Medium lips: Brown, rose, pink, orange, warm red look great on a medium lip.

Dark lips: Dark lips look best with a lip color that has a blue undertone. Dark lips also need to be very saturated in color. Pale shades look gray or ashy on dark lips so stick with the browns, deep red, plum, deep chocolate, deep raisin and berry lip colors.

Two-toned lips: Two-toned lips can be either dark with pink inside the lower lip or one lip darker and one lighter. To even out the lip tone you can:

  • Fill in lighter areas
  • Pale out darker areas

Use a sheer lipstick as the base on whichever area you wish to conceal and then apply other lip color.

Two-toned lips look best in chocolate, blackberry, deep plum, deep raisin, and deep red colors.

Hot tips:

  1. If you want just a wash of color, just use less and distribute it evenly.
  2. Don’t be afraid to mix mediums such as a lipstick with a lip-gloss or a lip-gloss with an eyeshadow.
  3. Layering one sheer color over another sheer makes the lips appear fuller because the lips appear to have more depth and volume.
  4. When you are ready to try something more dramatic, a color with an undertone similar to your neutral/natural shade will be very flattering.
  5. Luckily makeup washes off so it is okay to make mistakes! Ultimately it doesn’t matter what lip color you choose, as long as you wear it with confidence and style!

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Best eyeshadow for each hair color

Choosing the best eyeshadow for your hair color is key to bringing the most attention to your gorgeous face! Follow these guidelines to help you choose the shades that best suit you!

*For best results and ease of application, use lighter colors for light skin, medium colors for medium skin, and darker colors for dark skin.

Medium skin with brown hair and eyes. Golden brown eyeshadows and pink berry lipBROWN HAIR

Light brown hair looks best with a natural flesh color base (for a natural look), all taupe, yellow brown, medium to dark gray brown, light green, yellow green, eggshell, buff, and cream hues work perfectly as well!

For medium brown and dark brown hair use the same hues as the above but in a darker shades!

red head beauty close upRED HAIR

Red hair looks good with a natural flesh color base that can stand alone or with any of these colors added: all taupes, deep greens, dark warm browns, powder blue, brick, copper, eggshell, buff, cream, and pale reds. You can also use iridescent or matte shadows in yellow, red-orange, copper, bronze, warm brass, strawberry, and red-gold.


Auburn hair looks great with a natural flesh colored base that can stand alone or with any of these colors: all taupes, fair greens, light to medium warm browns, all gray greens, strawberry, rust, terra cotta, adobe, eggshell, buff, and cream. You can also use iridescent or matte shadows in reds, yellows, rust-golds, and orange.

Hair and makeup by www.jenniferleejohnson.comBlack hair
Black hair looks good with a natural flesh color base that can stand alone or with any of these colors added: all cream colors, all eggshell colors, dark gray browns, flat steel and gunmetal colors, periwinkle, midnight browns, onyx and blacks, and all dark iridescents.
Makuep and hairstyling by Jennifer Lee JohnsonBlonde hair

Blonde hair looks good with a natural flesh color base that can stand alone or with any of these colors added: cream, light to medium gray, light to medium buff, light powder blue, light powder green, iridescent pearl, iridescent yellow-gold, antique gold, and all taupes.

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How to clean your makeup and brushes

 Chicago Makeup Artist

Occasionally I work with talent that brings their own makeup. Sometimes they bring their own out of fear that an artist will not be available or out of personal preference for their specific brand. Often, their bags look very dingy and in need of some major tender loving care. This article is dedicated on how to clean your makeup and brushes.

I got to thinking about how we treat our pretty makeup packages after we glowingly come home with them and ceremonially place them in our caboodle or bag. It doesn’t take long before we toss them around, drop shadows on the floor, keep products we don’t use, and apply them with dirty brushes! I myself have a bag covered in a film of broken powders and eye pencil remains and I am guilty, guilt, guilty of hoarding makeup I don’t like! I am also given quite a bit of makeup for free from companies that I have worked with. I can’t possibly use all of this stuff before it expires. I know you’re thinking, HEY! GIVE YOUR EXTRAS TO ME! Visit me in my salon and I have have a little basket of free samples and goodies for clients to sift through. Moving on…

How do we keep our makeup supplies neat and tidy?

Here are a few steps you can take to live a happy and sanitary makeup life:


makeup you have not used within the last 6 months. That “tinker bell” glitter you have been holding onto since grade school has probably had its day in the sun and shouldn’t be renting space in your beauty supply closet.


broken packaging. Tape, pin, rubber band, or MacGyver your way through those broken pieces of plastic. If you want to take it a step further, depot your shadows into a Z-Palette. The Z-Palette saves space and makes it easier to see what colors you own in a pretty display. Click here for instructions how to de-pot your makeup. If you want to repair broken powders, you can press it back together with a few drops of 99% alcohol or Beauty So Clean. I don’t personally like doing this with my broken powders because it messes with the integrity of the oils in the makeup. I prefer to place broken powders loosely in new containers.


all surfaces with a baby wipe damp with alcohol. A paper towel damp with alcohol is also sufficient.


I cannot stress how important it is to clean your brushes. It is unsanitary to reuse a brush as well as ineffective in applying makeup.It is unsanitary because once you touch your brush to an area where there is inflammation or lesion on the skin (such as a pimple or acne), you risk transferring the same bacteria to other areas of the face that are otherwise healthy. A dirty brush is ineffective in applying makeup because it muddies the true color of the product. For example, you cannot use a brush dipped in black and brown and then try to swipe a cream or light pink over the lid with the same brush! You are an artist and the tools your use on your canvas should be clean so that you get the best results! For the average consumer, I recommend cleaning your brushes with a hair shampoo. It is gentle on the brushes and very effective. If you want to splurge, purchase Cinema Secrets brush cleaner or MAC Cosmetics brush cleanser. I tend to use a bar soap found at the art store called the Masters Brush Cleaner.

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