Jul 2014

Beauty secrets from my makeup artist


Today I want to introduce my good friend and personal makeup and hair artist, Melissa Hoffmann. Melissa has been doing my hair and makeup for my photo shoots, videos, and special events since we met when I first moved to San Francisco 3 years ago. After working with her, she is the only one I let touch my face. I loved the way she did my makeup and hair so much that she suggested a lesson to teach me how to do it myself.

After my lesson with her, I started getting tons of compliments on my makeup and hair, which felt amazing.

Melissa and I have a shared beauty philosophy, that beauty comes from the inside but it doesn’t have to stay there, and every woman deserves to feel beautiful. Something amazing happens to our energy, our spark, our self-confidence when we spend time pampering ourselves and use products that make us feel good. 

I’m so happy that I get to introduce her and share some of her wisdom with you today. Make sure to check out her blog for her weekly beauty tips on how to be your most beautiful self.

Melissa is going to walk you through how to go from Drab to Fab, both in how you look, and how you feel.

melissa hoffmann

Go From Drab to Fab.

Have you ever woken up, looked in the mirror and felt like you didn’t look hot? Maybe you are having a bad day, or feeling down and discouraged. Or maybe you feel like this every day because you are too busy in the morning to do your hair and makeup and end up leaving the house feeling frumpy. Or you feel guilty about spending an hour or more on your morning beauty routine because it feels superficial and frivolous. You feel like you should be doing something more productive, like taking care of the kids, or working on your business.

As a Makeup and Hair Artist who works with hundreds of women, from entrepreneurs, to new moms and brides, to models, I hear this a lot (yes, even from the models!). They tell me that they often feel drab and unstylish, or don’t know how to do their hair or makeup so they think, why bother. And believe me, there are plenty of days that I feel frumpy too.  Don’t let it keep you down, sometimes you have to fake it until you feel it, and I can help you with a few easy tips (and some words of encouragement).

The best way to do this is to do your makeup and hair (and wear a fabulous outfit, but I’m going to let Melanie Kluger handle that next month). I know sometimes the last thing you want to do is spend time getting ready. But let me tell you why this is so important:

Doing your makeup and hair can bring out your inner confidence. Think of how you feel after you leave your hairstylist’s salon with a new haircut and color. You feel amazing, right? Now don’t you want to feel that way every day? You can just by taking an extra 30-60 minutes (or more!) to pamper yourself. And there’s nothing vain or wrong with wanting to feel and look pretty. If you hear that negative voice in your head telling you this, make sure you tell it “I am beautiful and I am worth it!

When you start your day with your makeup done and your hair looking great, you’re going to feel more confident, be in a better mood, and show up as your true self at work and in your daily interactions with others.

Here are some simple tips to help you look like you’re on top of the world.

1. Have a beautiful, glowing complexion. Nothing looks more polished and pretty than having beautiful skin. And even if you weren’t born with clear skin, there are lots of ways to look like it. Use a tinted moisturizer or foundation to even out your skin tone and cover up any redness, dark circles or blemishes. You can use a concealer too if you need extra coverage. Don’t forget to apply a pretty blush to your cheeks. I love Nars Orgasm, there’s a reason why it’s a cult favorite. Extra points if you use a highlighter on the tops of your cheekbones and a bronzer for a sunkissed glow.

2. Do a soft smoky eye. This is Sarah’s favorite personal look (you can see a before and after of her below), and it looks amazing on everyone. There are many different ways to do a smoky eye, but this is a simple way to achieve this pretty look. Start with a light bronze eyeshadow swept all over the lid and into the crease. My favorites are Toasted from the Naked Palette (Urban Decay) or Mulch from MAC. Make sure to blend all your edges with a clean fluffy brush so there are no hard edges. Take either a dark brown, charcoal or black kohl pencil and line the top lashes and a little into the bottom lashes. Rather than lining under the lash line, put your pencil into it and and dot in between the lashes. It doesn’t have to be perfect, because you’re going to smudge it. Now you can take a qtip or a smaller stiff brush and blend your liner back and forth on the top and bottom. This is what gives smokiness to your eyes. You can use your bronze shadow on your small brush to help smudge the liner even more. Now finish with 1-2 coats of your favorite mascara.


3. Wear a fun lipstick. The color can be your choice of either natural or bold, but do wear color on your lips. Not wearing anything on your lips can make your makeup look unfinished, and this is all about looking fabulous. I love wearing a hot pink, coral, or sexy red when I’m feeling drab. I instantly feel pretty and better about myself, and people will take notice. It shows confidence, even when you’re not feeling it. If you don’t have one, I recommend splurging on a ridiculously expensive one from a premium cosmetic line. And what better way to squeeze in a little retail therapy that won’t break the bank. For the ultimate in treating yourself, I’d go with something from Chanel, or Tom Ford. For a more affordable treat, I love the fuchsia Girl About Town from MAC or Sarah’s favorite, So Chaud from MAC, a beautiful orange red. Now I know the “rules” say you’re not supposed to wear a bold lip with a smoky eye, but makeup is art and an expression of how you feel, so throw out the rules and do what makes you feel good!


4. Try a new hairstyle. Getting out of your hair rut can really help you fake a good mood that can turn your day around. Stalk Pinterest for inspiration and just play with your hair. You can add some loose waves with a curling wand, a fun hair piece like a headband or clip, or put in a braid or two for a fun, boho vibe. Get rid of dull, greasy bed head with some dry shampoo, teasing or flipping your head over for a good shake and a light shine spray and you’ll be a new woman.

5. And last but not least, don’t forget about showing a big smile. If you take care of your yourself every day, your smile will come naturally.

Trust me, doing a little extra TLC for yourself when it comes to your hair and makeup will do wonders for improving your self-confidence. In the comments below, let us know what beauty secrets you have for faking it.  Even better, post a picture on Instagram of you modeling your beauty tip and hashtag #fromdrabtofab, and don’t forget to tag @sarahejenks and @melissamariemakeup so we can see your fabulous self.

If you want to learn more about working with me to find your signature beauty style, or for free makeup and hair tips, visit my blog and sign up for my weekly Beauty Bites at www.melissahoffmann.com.

Stay beautiful,



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  • Thanks Sarah and Melissa! I will definitely try out some of these tips, and may even try lipstick – I haven’t used it since I was a teenager!

    I was wondering, do you have any tips for make-up that is natural, organic and chemical free? A few years ago I learned what we put onto our skin is absorbed into our bloodstream, so I cut back on wearing makeup when I was having trouble with acne and just trying to cover it up. Since then I’ve used diet to clear my skin, but have had a hard time finding products with simple, natural ingredients.

    Any help is appreciated!

    • Hi Meredith! Great question, and yes, you are correct, what we put on our skin is definitely absorbed into our bloodstream. There are some great brands out there now that don’t use harmful chemicals and are high quality makeup lines. Some of my favorites are Tarte, RMS Beauty, Josie Maran, and 100 % Pure. I also discovered a nail polish line that is clean and has great colors called RGB. 🙂

  • Jennifer

    love the make-up tips….especially the lipstick!! I find that the best way to look amazing is to start with great skin ..i use Rodan and Fields products ..and wow has this made a difference .. combined with great make up..AMAZING

    • Hi Jennifer,

      Yes, great skin is key! If your skin looks great, you don’t need to wear as much makeup because you don’t have anything to cover up. 🙂

  • Linda

    This is such a fun blog, just today I decided to take my lmwl knowledge and spice up my makeup and hair before heading off to work. I wanted to smile from inside after having had a fabulous pilates class to get me going. I styled my hair a bit differently, added extra eyeliner and while a was a few minutes late to work (oh well, I usually work extra hours each week so it’s a wash, hope my boss thinks so 🙂
    And when I walked in to work my co-workers each commented that I looked happy and healthy and wanted to know if I had a date or a job interview? Ha ha. Neither I told them I just wanted to smile from inside and out. So thank you Sarah for the motivation and then the perfect timing blog Love ya!

    • Linda, I love it! Thank you for sharing this, and way to take action and put what you learned from LMWL into practice!

    • Sarah Jenks

      LOVE this on so many levels, Linda 🙂 Beautiful and so proud of you!

  • Desi

    There is a lot of good info here. By chance do you have any suggestions for brown skintones? The orgasm blush and anything in the fainter peach/pink range are barely visible on darker skin.

    • Hi Desi,

      Thank you for asking this! Yes, deeper skin tones will need more vibrant colors to show off their glow. Sticking with Nars, Seduction, a beautiful sangria color or Exhibit A, a bright orange red would look fantastic on you! Exhibit A looks a little intimidating, but trust me, it looks gorgeous on deeper skin tones. I also love Frankly Scarlet from MAC. 🙂

      • Desi

        Great, thank you! I will check these colors out.

  • Karen

    I don’t always wear makeup when I’m hanging around the house (which is most days, since I work from home!) but just trying a few of your tips instantly made me feel prettier and more confidant. My husband definitely noticed, too! It makes such an impact when we remember to give ourselves time and care.

    Also, I’ve been wearing ‘cooler’ toned eyeshadows lately, thinking it fit with my blue eyes…but wow what a difference a bronzed tone makes! MAC Mulch is amazing — I’d recommend it to anyone!

    • Karen, this makes me so happy to hear! Taking time for ourselves to pamper or feel prettier is so important! I’m so glad you loved Mulch, it is one of my favorite bronze eye shadows. And it’s totally natural to think cooler tones would look better on blue eyes, but warm, gold and bronzes really bring out the blue in your eyes. Thank you for sharing this!

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