Beauty // July 21, 2014

Not every artist uses paper and paint. Some use a guitar or a cupcake tin. Brandy Allen uses a mascara wand. A professional makeup artist to the stars, with clients including model/actress Jessica White and singer Marsha Ambrosius, Brandy Allen uses her passion and her pursuit of all things pretty to make people look as beautiful on the outside as they feel on the inside. Her work has transformed some of our favorite stars and graced red carpets everywhere. Recently, she was featured in Essence Magazine. We caught up with this beauty expert and had her break down some of our favorite celebrity looks.

Makeup Made Easy With Celebrity Makeup Artist Brandy Allen


Brandy Allen: The inspiration behind Uzo Aduba's (Orange is the New Black) look was red carpet ready. Soft neutrals with a smokey eye.

Step 1: Skin
- Prep the skin with an oil controlling moisturizer and a mattifying gel.
- Apply Keyvn Aucoin Liquid Airbrush Foundation and powder the skin lightly in shiny areas.
- Use Iman's Clay Bronzer around the face for a soft glow and highlight.

Step 2: Eyes and Cheeks
- Apply Bobbi Brown 'Charcoal' Eyeshadow all over the lid and around the bottom lash line.
-Add a small wing liner at the top with Stila's 'Stay All Day Liquid Eye Liner'.
- Use Anastasia's Brow Wiz in 'Ebony'.
- Add individual lashes with Loreal Volume Million Lashes mascara.
- Add Bobbi Brown Shimmer Blush in 'Coral'.

Step 3: Lips
-Use MAC's Chestnut lipliner with Viva Glam V lipstick and gloss.


Brandy Allen: The inspiration behind Michelle William's look look was a bright lip with bronzy skin.

Step 1: Skin
- Prep and moisturize the skin.
- Apply Cover FX Full Coverage foundation on the face, this can also be used as a concealer under the eyes and on any blemishes.
- Highlight under the eyes, forehead, nose and chin with Ben Nye's Banana Powder.

Step 2: Eyes and Cheeks
- Apply MAC 'Texture' and 'Bamboo' on the lid and crease, conceal the brow bone.
- Use Anastasia's Brow Wiz in 'Ebony'.
- Add Dior Show Mascara top and bottom.
- Add NARS 'Taj Mahal' blush.

Step 3: Lips
- Finish this look with Maybelline 'Fuchsia Fever 140' with clear lip gloss.


Bandy Allen: The inspiration behind Angela Simmon's look was a classic red lip and bronzed skin.

Step 1: Skin
- Prep the skin with an illuminizing primer (MAC Strobe Cream). This hydrates, preps and smooths the skin with an iridescence.
- Apply Dior Nude Skin with a double fiber blending brush. Conceal any pigmentation with Cover FX Full Coverage.
- Dust Iman's Clay bronzer around the face and on the contour of the cheek.
- Highlight the cheeks, nose and chin with Benefit Cosmetics High Beam.

Step 2: Eyes and Cheeks
- Apply MAC's 'Woodwinked + Teddy Kohl eyeliner.
- Use Anastasia's Dip Brow in Dark Brown.
- Add your favorite lash strip, I used Whip Your Lash 'Fancy' with Younique 3-D Fiber Mascara.
- Add NARS Orgasm blush to the cheek.

Step 3: Lips
- Finish this look with MAC Ruby Woo Matte Lipstick.



Brandy Allen: The inspiration behind Mya's look was a fresh, clean face with minimal makeup. I wanted her to look perfect and angelic.

Step 1: Skin
- Prep the skin with an illuminizing primer (MAC Strobe Cream). This hydrates, preps and smooths the skin with an iridescence.
- Apply Dior Nude Skin with a double fiber blending brush. Conceal any pigmentation with Cover FX Full Coverage.
- Dust MAC's Mineralized Skinfinish as a bronzer to add dimension and glow. On the highlights of the face, add Smashbox's Artificial Light Luminizer.

Step 2: Eyes and Cheeks
- Apply MAC 'Amber Lights' on the lid, 'Espresso' in the crease and Teddy Kohl Eyeliner top and bottom.
- Use Anastasia's Brow Wiz in 'Ebony'.
- Add your favorite lash strip, I used Whip Your Lash 'Fancy' with Chanel Volume Mascara top and bottom.
- Add NARS Orgasm blush to the cheek.

Step 3: Lips
- Finish this look with MAC Snob Lipstick and Viva Glam V gloss.


Published in Beauty
Monday, 14 January 2013 09:12

Made Music | The Return of Greatness

New Music // January 14, 2013

Thursday, January 10, 2013 started off like any other day.  I woke up feeling a little under the weather, hit up 3 different stores looking for flavored coconut water in an attempt to hydrate, failed miserably at finding any at all (really, LA?), then arrived at work unable to find parking.  This, my friends, is clearly the life.

As I rode the elevator up to my office, I asked myself if I should just throw in the towel and write Thursday off as a loss, because things were obviously not going to go my way.  But then.  THEN!  I logged into Facebook, and saw a status update from Beyonce.  I felt my mind slowly unhinge as I read the following simple, beautiful words: “The first original Destiny's Child music in eight years!  Pre-order it at http://smarturl.it/dc_lovesongs_amzn“ I excitedly logged into Gchat to voice my excitement to anyone online that would listen, one of my friends retorted, “As if Justin Timberlake’s announcement about his new album wasn’t enough.”  Wait, what?  JUSTIN.  TIMBERLAKE.  NEW.  MUSIC. ???  Clearly the universe is trying to give us all a collective heart attack.  It’s almost too much to handle.  Did Justin and the DC ladies get together and say let’s freak out the entire world today?  OK everyone, why is this such a big deal?  If you need any sort of reminder on how momentous this is, let’s recap:

Destiny’s Child:

From No, No, No to Bills, Bills, Bills, Destiny’s Child (Beyonce Knowles, Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams, LeToya Luckett, LaTavia Robertson) proved they were awesome at repeating themselves and also dominating the airwaves.  From the very beginning, Beyonce always stood out as the star, and after four albums and a string of hits, it didn’t really hit anyone as a major shock when the group disbanded in early 2001 to embark on solo projects.  Michelle Williams achieved success in the gospel circuit, while Kelly Rowland had some hits domestically (most recently, “Motivation”) and achieved even greater success internationally.  I don’t really need to say anything about Beyonce.  We all know everything she’s been doing because her career skyrocketed and she became one of the biggest superstars in the entire universe, with incredible success in music, movies and everything else you could possibly succeed in.  Fans of the group have longed for a reunion ever since they split up officially in 2004, but it didn’t seem in the cards up until very recently.  There was a period when it seemed like the girls weren’t really close anymore, and it wouldn’t be hard to imagine some resentments between them.  I mean, would you want to stand in Beyonce’s shadow?  Yikes.  However, the girls have been increasingly publicly friendly and supportive of each other the past few years.

With Beyonce planning her big return to the music scene following some time off to birth the next ruler of the world, aka Blue Ivy, with hubby, Jay-Z, and a hugely anticipated Super Bowl halftime performance in the works for February, this seems like the perfect time for a Destiny’s Child reunion.  Their new single, Nuclear, leaked on Friday and that track plus a slew of their hits will be released into an album called Love Songs on January 29th.  The single definitely has a 90’s vibe about it, and it’s a smooth sounding mid-tempo track that should make for a sexy, fun performance during the Super Bowl.  So get your popcorn ready, the “writings on the wall” (sorry.) are telling me this sh*t is going to change your life.  Or at least entertain you for a few minutes.  





Justin Timberlake:

Much like Beyonce always stood out in Destiny’s Child, Justin Timberlake was arguably the spotlight hog in N’Sync.  N’Sync had a crazily successful run, selling 50+ million albums together over the course of their career together.  But in 2002 the band said Bye, Bye, Bye to each other (are we sensing a pattern here?) and Justin wasted no time getting to work on his solo material.  Can you remember when his first solo single, “Like I Love You” hit the radio?  I sure do.  I was one of those girls who was so anti-boy band. Then I heard the track and grudgingly admitted to myself that I straight up loved it.  His first album solo, Justified, was a huge success.

There was no denying that JT knew what he was doing, and his follow-up album, Future/Sex Love Sounds cemented him as a solo star sex god from the heavens.  After touring to support the album, Justin, now at the absolute top of his solo career, did the only logical thing he could do at that point.  He said, “f*&k this, I need to act now.”  He announced his hiatus from music in 2004.  Since then, he’s been in several movies and occasionally pops up in other people’s songs, but he has shown no interest in putting out his own material.  In fact, the man always seemed rather annoyed when people would ask him about it.  His claim that he just wasn’t ready or inspired enough was repeated so much that his fanbase couldn’t help but write off his return to music as a pipe dream.  Which is why the short video he put on YouTube Thursday culminating with him standing at a mic saying, “I’m Ready,” then flashing to a countdown leading up to Sunday, 1/13 at 9PM PST was such a huge surprise.  Maybe his marriage to Jessica Biel was the inspiration he needed to get back in the booth.    



I logged onto Twitter at 9 on the dot last night and saw Justin share the link to his new song right on time.  The song? Suit & Tie featuring none other than Jay-Z.  The song doesn’t break any new ground for Justin; it’s the vintage JT/Timbaland combo we all know and love.  Not mad at all at the premise -- what woman doesn’t like to get dressed up and go out with  a guy in a fresh tux?  Jay-Z blessing the track is the icing on the cake.  Justin sent out an open letter to his fans with the song, saying he started creating what’s shaping up to be his next album, The 20/20 Experience, back in June, and he promises a “big 2013.”  That’s all he’s sharing for now.  I, for one, can’t wait to hear what else he’s got for us. 

Published in Current