one, buy! one, don’t try!

One Buy & One Don’t Try. 

Below are two products I experimented with recently. One I loved and one just didn’t “do it” for me.


SHU UEMERA Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Oil (camellia oil) 


So, recently I didn’t have access to most of my makeup for about a week. I decided if I couldn’t get cake faced I better make my hair look good, lol! 

Although partly true, Joking aside… Recently I’ve noticed a lot of hair breakage. I think it’s due to a mixture of things. 
1. I wear a lot of tight top knots

2. I have color treated hair

3. I’m a nursing mother

4. I rarely cut my hair

So, for years I’ve bought this Shu Uemura camellia oil and occasionally will put it in the ends of my hair before I go to bed, etc.

I’m never religious with it though. 
Well, yesterday it was Mother’s Day and my husband was taking me out and as I was about to get in the shower I thought… 
“I should do a little mask with this” 
So, I combed about 4 pumps through my hair (middle section to ends) and then put just a tad through the top (where I have a lot of breakage. 

I left it in for about 20 minutes and then showered & washed it out with my regular shampoo and then used Moroccan oil conditioner in the ends of my hair. 
It worked like a dream!! My hair automatically felt silkier and had more sheen. It did not look oily at all, and I have hair that is unfortunately, naturally on the thin/oily side. Thank you, Shu Uemera!
I’m going to start doing this often!

So, for my “don’t try” product… 

Don’t Try:

lights, camera, lashes mascara


I usually use YSL, DIOR, OR CHANEL mascara, but I had my sister grab a mascara at Ulta for me this same day because mascara is one MUST and I didn’t have any with me! I had read good things about this Tarte mascara and I really like some of Tarte’s products, so I decided to try it for fun. It is about $5-10 cheaper than my normal mascara choices which I get at Sephora or Nordstrom and it’s supposed to be good for sensitive eyes. 

It also claims to add length, curl, volume, etc and Tarte’s products are cruelty free and manufactured without a lot of nasty chemicals. 

I was really excited to try, but I did not like this mascara. It did not look natural, it smells like painty mascara and looks like painty mascara. I was so disappointed! 
It did add length and curl after a few coats but it just didn’t look right. It seemed cheap. I’d much rather spend $30 to have a really good higher end mascara or pay way less for a good drugstore mascara. Of course, I’m sure there are plenty of good mascaras in Tartes price point that you can buy, also. I know my sister and a good friend swear by an Urban Decay mascara that is in this price point, I haven’t tried it though. Maybe I’ll have to!
I didn’t like the packaging either. 

It comes in a kind of purple, faux snake skin looking sleeve, which I think appeared cheap. They definitely missed the mark. 
I also didn’t like that the full product was manufactured and assembled in three separate places. I’m sure a lot of people would not mind that, though. 
Anyway, I was so bummed!! 
I love you, Tarte, but I did not love this product. 

I will end this with saying that my lashes looked good enough to wear out. It did lengthen and curl them, but I just don’t think it’s worth the money and although it did what it claims to do… It didn’t do it well.
So, try if you must and leave me a comment if you think I’m way off base! It wasn’t the worst mascara ever, there are just so many better mascaras out there, esp ones with a fairly hefty price tag. 

Beauty Q&A with Maurah Ruiz! 

Maurah Ruiz is a certified makeup artist, vlogger, and pageant winner. 

She was Miss Austin 2014 within the Miss America organization and will be gracing the stage to compete again in 2017! She is poised, cheerful, and has a pearly white smile and hair with endless bounce and shine. She led a worthy petition against Urban Decay Cosmetics earlier in the year, and during her time at Texas State she created a marketing and support organization for the University’s Ice Hockey team, called the Bobcat Ice Babes. 

I wanted to know a little more about Maurah, the pageant world, her personal product faves, vlogging, and more, and she was kind enough to give us some insight and advice. 

Wild Swan: You were Miss Austin 2014 and will be competing again this year for the title. How exciting! What does it mean to you to be Miss Austin? What do you think it means to be a beauty queen? Can you walk us through this process a little? 

A: Being Miss Austin 2014 within the Miss America Organization was a huge honor. What I loved about that position was being able to inspire others to give back. I actually received the Miracle Maker Award at Miss Texas 2015 which is awarded to the contestant who raises the most money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. There were over 50 title holders across the state so that’s something I’m really proud of. Now I am competing in the Miss USA system which inspires women to be “confidently beautiful”. It empowers women to develop themselves and be their own personal best. They encourage their contestants and title holders to make real change, first with our local community and working towards a global audience. Research has shown the #1 obstacle for women to overcome in reaching their potential in any endeavor is a lack of self-confidence. The Miss USA and Miss Universe organizations inspire women to be confident.

Being a beauty queen to mean means being more than a pretty face. It’s important to work out, eat healthy, and present yourself in a way that you are proud of, but to me true beauty lies within. I love this quote “People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” That is the true essence of what makes a beauty queen- someone that is beautiful inside and out. 

The process to win a title is first applying for a local pageant! I will be competing in Miss Austin USA. After that there is paperwork, paying your entry fees (typically paid for by sponsors in your community), and attending rehearsals. After that, the day of competition is what determines the winner. Competition in the Miss USA system is divided into three categories: Interview, Swimsuit and Evening Gown. Judges will be looking for an overall winner. After you are crowned then you begin preparation for Miss Texas USA which will be the same competition categories but on a much larger scale. There will be preliminaries and then finals. After that, Miss Texas USA goes on to compete for Miss USA!

Wild Swan: What advice can you give to women who may be considering competing in pageants? Is there anything you had to learn on your own that you wished you knew starting out?

A: The best advice that I can give to someone who is interested in pageants is first and foremost finding the system for YOU. There are all different types of pageants. Finding one that you love and is a place where you can grow and develop yourself is ideal. I had to learn everything on my own as I started pageants later in life, but the one thing I wished I knew starting out was to not be so hard on yourself. You might not win your first time, second time, or even fifteenth time, but if you work hard and improve your performance every time, THAT to me is what it’s all about. I would also have to say to look in the mirror: That’s your competition. Not the girl to your right, or to your left. You’re competing to be the best version of yourself you possibly can be. Strive for that and the rest will fall into place. 

Wild Swan: What is unique about “pageant makeup”? What are some pageant makeup DO’s and Dont’s (something you see women doing wrong a lot)?

A: Pageant makeup is stage makeup. That was kind of a shock to me when I first started. My first pageant I thought I was wearing enough makeup but then I saw pictures and realized I was way off. It needs to be heavier than normal to accentuate your features. A great example of pageant makeup is The Perfect Face Cosmetics; they are a brand that is calibrated specifically for stage. I also like MAC for stage makeup. The one thing that I see women doing wrong a lot for pageants is not filling in your brows. If your brows need to be filled in, this is a MUST for stage if not they will drown in those bright lights.

Wild Swan: If you had only 5 minutes to do your makeup before taking stage to compete in a Pageant, what would you do? What would be your makeup musts?

A: First, I would like to hope that never happens to me, because 5 minutes is simply not enough! But, if I absolutely had to, I would put blush, eyebrows, and eyeliner on with a pink lip color. My makeup must for stage is a setting spray! For a budget price I like NYX matte setting spray, for a splurge product I like Kat Von D’s Lock It spray. Before I knew of setting sprays I actually used hairspray. I wouldn’t recommend that to anyone over an actual setting spray since obviously hairspray shouldn’t be on your face, but it’s an old trick my cheer coach used to use for our competition makeup (glitter) so that it would stay throughout our routine. Good to know if you forget your setting spray!

Wild Swan: Earlier this year you started a petition against makeup giant, Urban Decay, to have the title “druggie” removed from an eyeshadow shade in a particular palette called “Afterdark”.
What made you want to petition against Urban Decay? What was your motivation? What was your ultimate goal? What was the outcome? Tell me a little about this.

A: Well first I definitely have to share how I am huge into marketing and packaging. If you’ve ever watched my YouTube channel you would know that I’m so into that. When I initially heard of this palette I was ECSTATIC. I drove 30 minutes to my nearest Sephora to get it. I was swatching the colors in store and loved them, then I noticed one of the shadows was named “druggie”. The outside of the palette had the words “After Dark, Anything Goes” and then the words “druggie” appeared on the inside. As you can see, the marketing message here is very clear. It was disturbing to me that Urban Decay, a brand so many young women love, would market drug use in a glamorous way. I thought about approaching the Sephora manager to say something about this but I didn’t know if I was being overly sensitive. I drove home and did some research on their Instagram and Facebook and found out I wasn’t the only one upset about this. That’s what motivated me to create the petition- to have a platform for everyone who was upset about this to speak up and have their voices heard. 
I think that companies have the right to produce whatever products they want, and we as consumers have the choice to purchase whatever we want, but I also believe that if you are a company that is a household name (Urban Decay is owned by L’oreal) you have a responsibility to use your voice in a way that is moral and sound. I won’t support companies that think marketing drug use to young woman is okay.

I partnered with Facing Addiciton, a national non profit dedicated to finding solutions for the addiction crisis facing America today, to help spread my petition. The story got picked up by local and national news sources, KVUE, The Huffington Post and Global Cosmetics News. Ultimately, Sephora apologized and did the right thing and did not reorder the palette. We never received a response from Urban Decay.

It was a good lesson for everyone. I’m just an individual who created a platform for people’s voices to be heard. The whole success of this petition is credited to Facing Addiction and every single person who signed that petition and shared their story. 

Wild Swan: How do you think becoming a certified makeup artist has helped you in your craft? What were the biggest things you learned? Has it made you more confident in doing makeup?

A: Becoming a certified professional makeup artist has helped me immensely in my craft! There are little nuances that only a tenured artist can really spot, and those are the little things that have really helped me elevate my skills. The biggest things that I learned is that the actual makeup application is only a part of being a makeup artist, you have to have marketing and business skills to be successful as well. It has definitely made me more confident in doing makeup especially with a variety of skin tones. 

Wild Swan: Are there any particular makeup artists who inspire you?

A: Yes! I love Goar Avetisyan, she is an artist based out of Russia. She is so talented and always has these cute entertaining before and afters that showcase her work. I also like the artist behind the Instagram Paint Dat Face! His looks are bold and sultry and are far from what I normally do on my clients but usually do for myself. Love them.

Wild Swan: What beauty products are you currently obsessed with and what are some of your all time “go to” products?

A: Currently obsessed with Tarte Shape Tape! It’s a great full coverage concealer that glides on easily and is easy to work with. My all time “go to” products have always been anything Elf cosmetics. They are SO inexpensive and relatively good quality for what you pay for. Before I could afford the high-end brands Elf was my staple.

Wild Swan: Do you swear by any day or night creams, serums, facial cleansers, lip scrubs? Describe your beauty & skin care routine. What helps beautify you and what is your skin type?
*Readers, it is so important to use products that are aimed towards your particular skin type*

A: My skin care regimen is all Skin Medica products. It is medical grade skincare and I love it! My routine is different for the morning and afternoon. I cleanse and exfoliate with AHA BHA exfoliating cleanser. For mornings I use Skin Medica TNS Essential Serum, HA5, and tinted Total Defense and Repair sunscreen as my base/moisturizer before my makeup. At night I use TNS again, .5 Retinol, Rejuvenating Hydrator and TNS Eye Repair. My skin type is normal.

Wild Swan: Aside from your flawless skin you have bouncy, shiny Pantene commercial-like hair. What’s your secret? A special conditioner, glaze, or style? How do you keep it looking so healthy?

A: You’re so sweet! Well, I always shower at night to let my hair dry naturally then style it in the morning. I always use a heat styling protector, currently I’m using the AVEDA damage remedy. It instantly repairs and protects from heat styling. My salon recommended it to me! I also sometimes use the OGX Coconut Milk Anti-Breakage Serum on the ends of my hair. It’s a good product and you can get it at Target for only $5.79. It also smells pretty good; I like that coconut smell.

Wild Swan: Name one current beauty trend that you can’t live without and one you couldn’t live with?

A: Live without: Highlighting, I love to have shimmer on my cheeks that highlight my cheek bones. Couldn’t live with: Ombre lips. Beautiful, but not my style!

Wild Swan: Any favorite makeup brands, high end or “drugstore”? If you could only have three types of products in your makeup bag what would they be?

A: That’s a tough one. There are certain brands that I like for makeup artistry like RCMA foundation palette or Makeup Forever setting powder but prefer other things for my own personal makeup. I like the Tarte brand a lot. If I could only have three products it would be mascara, concealer, and brow pomade. 

Wild Swan: I appreciate the fact that your Vlog (video blog) isn’t done with crazy editing, halo lights, posing. Don’t get me wrong, I love a high production video, and think the perfect lighting can really help, but I like that your videos showcase a real, human perspective on makeup and also show women that it’s not so hard to start a beauty channel. You just have to enjoy doing it and you have to go for it. You have time to grow and worry about it looking “perfect”. What are you thoughts on this? Any advice to my readers or aspiring vloggers?

A: That’s exactly the point I’m trying to make with my blog, it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be you! Lots of my subscribers tell me they enjoy watching my videos and I make them laugh. It’s not my intention to be funny I’m just being myself but am so happy I can make them smile! Advice to aspiring vloggers is to just START. Everyone starts somewhere and my channel is a true testimony to that.

Wild Swan: What’s the best piece of beauty advice you’ve ever received? Do you have any to leave our readers with?

A: The best beauty advice I have ever received is to make sure to use SPF every single day. It doesn’t matter if you have plans to be in direct sunlight or not, we sit under fluorescent lights at work, all of these things can effect your skin. If you don’t want to add the extra sunscreen step just get a foundation that has SPF in it. I recommend at least 35 SPF.
And of course, beauty is only skin deep. Everyone has physical beauty; it is up to you to develop a beautiful heart.

Lastly, I asked my readers what one question they would ask Miss Austin or a Pro Makeup Artist if they could have answered just one beauty related question.
My reader Alexa came to me with a great one especially considering your skin is flawless, Maurah.

Alexa asked: How do you get a flawless face? Is it the foundation, the applicators? I splurge on expensive makeup and still feel like I can’t do my makeup as perfect as I’d like.

Wild Swan: I personally feel like achieving a flawless look starts with moisturized skin.
If your skin isn’t moisturized your makeup can flake. Then a good primer is key (I swear by Josie Marans light Argan oil) before applying makeup (which will also help with moisturizing) and then be sure you’re using the right foundation for your skin type and for what you are looking to achieve. I like to apply foundation with a good old fashioned foundation brush.
What about you, Maurah? What advice would you give Alexa so she can achieve a “flawless” look?

A: Hi Alexa, thank you for your question. The first thing that I definitely want you to know and understand is that often times the images we see of models and on social media are often edited or photoshopped. With that being said it’s a slippery slope to compare yourself and your skin to the ones you see. Makeup can’t fix texture, at the end of the day your skin is what your skin is and will be. The only way to address having clear and smooth skin is to see a dermatologist. Often times you will find that your “expensive” or “designer” makeup is actually not good for your skin. I find myself always improving my technique and skills to achieve the best makeup look that I can but also recognize that this is reality and we all don’t walk around with filters. Something important to note about makeup application is that you should always start with a base/moisturizer. This is the most important step as it is the foundation for your other makeup. Let your skin soak up all that goodness for about a minute then proceed with your application. Skin prep is my final answer for a flawless face! 

Glamorous Glow

Do you find it hard to achieve a dewy, glowing look due to acne, redness, etc?
I think the key is knowing that although you want to look dewy, achieving a dewy, glowing look is about placing and layering the right products in the right places. 
You can’t just apply an illuminator and expect flawless looking skin.

I wanted to try a glowing look worthy of the red carpet!

Here are the products I used on my face!

As you can see, there are eight products! 
Step one: I used the Josie maran illuminator as a base all over! (Bottom right) 

Step two: the YSL concealer under eyes, center forehead and on blemishes!

Step three: small amounts of a light foundation blended around “problem areas”, mine are my chin and around my nose.

Step four: NARS concealer under eyes.

Step five: contour blush shade on cheek bone hollows, then opal from the Kat Von D Alchemist pallet on cheek bones!

Step six: powder under eyes, under hollows of cheeks, and sides of forehead or anywhere with a bit too much sheen.

Step seven: I place my brighter colored illuminators over my nose, cheekbones, forehead, Cupid’s bow, brow bones. 

So as you can see, there’s A LOT put into getting that “just woke up this way” glow!
I also used Tarte, Stila, Smashbox, YSL, Anastasia, & Lancome to achieve the full look. 
My new red Smashbox lipsheen smells amazing and is a gorgeous color with lots of dimension. Definitely high maintenance though!

In person there are so many glowing shades when the sun or light hits my face. 

What do you think?

If you’d like to know how I achieved my eye or subtle two tone lip look, leave me a comment!

💝 thanks for reading!

Mac at Ulta!

So, I just heard that Mac cosmetics will be carried at Ulta soon! This is crazy. I love MAC and always have. It has been my go to makeup for 15 years. At times it’s been a hassle. Always having to go find a MAC counter or store, but it did add some mystery and glimmer. I mean, every girl likes the chase, lol! 

I was always fortunate enough to be able to shop at MAC, but I knew plenty of people who couldn’t afford to spend what Mac was asking on cosmetics. They are pricey. Not to mention there are probably plenty of people with no MAC store near them. 

So, recently I’ve noticed more and more limited edition collections and super trendy, fad products coming from Mac. 

A Trolls line, Caitlin Jenner line, Selena line. Don’t get me wrong, Mac has had limited edition collections like viva glam etc, for a long time, but it seemed we were seeing more and more of this and with more focus. 

They also started a VIP type club on their website. 

I believe they have even slightly lowered some prices this past year. 

All these things made me wonder… 

Does Mac need a little push into the limelight again? 

If you ask me, no brushes compare to Mac. Their lipsticks are phenomenal, eyeshadows are so rich and so pigmented, and I love bright pops of color, but cosmetics everywhere are just getting better and better and more products are trending. 

You can go to Ulta right down the road and easily buy an Urban Decay or Tarte palette that you will really like and that will be trending on social media. Get some points to use towards your next purchase. Get other products from other brands you need that are in the same store. 

I will say, I would expect MAC to be carried in Sephora, with higher end products like YSL & Lancôme, but thats the point, that would probably defeat the purpose of what they are doing to some degree. 

Things are changing in the world and in the world of cosmetics. There is a lot on the market, we live in a land of Instagram “dupes” and reviews. Products are becoming more green (look at brands like Tarte), and people want more “in” products to talk about. Mac may be loved by Mua’s and entertainers, but the everyday girl may not be looking for such full coverage foundation or crazy shadows. 

I remember how horrified I was when Mac stopped carrying my favorite contour shade of blush (Strada). The girl at the counter told me that Mac discontinues a lot of their more timeless colors to make room for their ridiculous number of crazy hot pink (or whatever crazy color) blushes. 

I did find a similar shade in the end though along with a bronzer she recommended that was again, a very trendy shade. 

Well, I’m excited to see Mac in Ulta stores and I think MAC is amazing at what they do best. I wonder which products Ulta will carry or how extensive the MAC section will be. I hear they will have everything from (my fave) Ruby Woo lipstick, to eyeshadow palettes. You can swatch the palettes next to other brands palettes and see how they compare, etc. I’m excited that Mac will be easier for some people to check out in person or purchase, but I really never thought I’d see this happen! 

What do you guys think?

Does it make Mac less exclusive? 

Is obtainable cool? 

Are you excited? 

I wish Shu Uemura would’ve done something like this instead of closing down all of their US counters (not that I hear MAC is facing that in any way). I just mean, it’s nice to have products in front of you that you don’t have to order or make a super special trip for. 

Makeup for all!! 

Old Money, Old Concept? 

This morning I was putting on my makeup and I decided on blue eyeshadow with a pink sparkle lip. A little much, maybe, but fun! 
Ironically my night gown was blue and my lips and eyes tied into my pajamas perfectly.
I write this, because when I was younger, someone I knew who was very old money & high society told me you NEVER match your eyeshadow to your gown (dress) and I’ve carried that with me always. I’ve seen celebrities etc over the years do this here and there though. Sometimes it’s cute, sometimes it’s drab. It can definitely go south if not done as tastefully as possible unless we are going super avant Garde with lots of layers, texture, colors which in that case it’s art so, it’s a different story. 
Anyway, my question is… 

Do you think this concept of not matching your eyeshadow to your dress is a thing of the past? An old rule or “uptight”?
Along the lines of not wearing brown shoes with a black belt? Which is also a rule that’s being broken. 
Do you think it’s ok in certain instances? 
I’m very torn when it comes to this concept or rule. I think on a rare occasion it may be okay and with certain colors and looks more than others. Like, maybe a very subtle or very over the top look. Then again a simple eye with any dress is gorgeous and sometimes less is more and a stand out eye with a black dress is very chic and happening and creates contrast. All one color can look strange to the eye. 
I’d love to hear any serious thoughts on this! 🙂 

Connect The Dots (the drawn on freckle trend)

I come from a big family where I have 6 brothers and sisters. The three youngest girls have the cutest freckles, inherited from my mom, but two of these sisters have spent most their lives covering them up with makeup. 
My sisters aren’t the only people I’ve known who dislike their freckles. I know lots of people dislike them on themselves to the point of using creams and lasers to remove them.

That’s why the new trend of drawn on freckles is so interesting. People are actually drawing and in some cases having freckles tattooed on! Isn’t that how it goes? You also see this phenomenon a lot with women who have curly hair wanting straight hair and women with straight hair wanting curly hair. 
Drawn on freckles hearken me back to the drawn on mole craze. You know, the supermodelesque, Cindy Crawford mole strategically drawn above your lip. 
I remember years ago my mom put on her favorite John Paul Gaultier military/dominatrix inspired skirt suit after having put on a full face of makeup equipped with red lips and a mole. Everyone at the event she attended raved about how phenomenal she looked. Some people had even tricked themselves into thinking she had the mole all along and that she must’ve gotten Botox or changed her hair. 

Funny what the mind can do. 
I guess the look was a hit, although I don’t recall her ever doing it again. It was just a moment of fun for her. 
So, I’m unsure of how I feel gearing up to paint spots all over my face, but we will see… 
I’m going to try the pencil method of drawing on freckles today. I want them to look “Peppermint Patty” or “Strawberry Shortcake” like so I’m going to use a brown eyebrow pencil that has a slight tint of orange. My goal is to look playful, not totally authentic. I lined my cheekbones to draw attention to them & make them pop a little. 

I think after trying this I feel the same way as I do about the mole trend. 
It can be cute, fun, an adventure. 

Sometimes it’s fun to “play dress up”. So, maybe you would try fake freckles here or there. I honestly had a lot of fun seeing myself with freckles. 

I don’t think this trend is for me though.  

I love drawn on freckles for a Halloween costume like little red riding hood or even for a sexy maid, or with crazy barrel curls and big false eyelashes to go out on a date with my husband, or for a photo shoot, or maybe even on a fun girls vacation, or a picnic with braids and a sun dress, but definitely not for everyday! 

What do you think? Do I look like a modern peppermint patty? 

Pastel EyeshaDO

Another makeup look that is trending right now is pastel eyeshadow.
I cant get enough of the subtle pastel eye look. It makes me feel like I’m a 70’s era doll, or Alice having tea with the mad hatter, or in the Louis Vuitton ice cream shop ad’s. 
Remember the Covergirl ads in the 70’s? 

A housewife with pastel blue eyeshadow on the advertisement “Covergirl invents 9 hour eye polish”!
Or the Maybelline kit “For a girl on the go”.
So edgy! So cosmopolitan. 
A historical pastel shadow look that I love is twiggy in a bright blue with a massively dramatic black crease. 

Today’s pastel look is more subtle and leans in favor of the unicorn trend.
Makeup brands like Lorac, MAC, and Kat Von D, to name a few have come out with 9-16 shade pastel palettes. 
I like the femininity & ethereal nature of the pastel shadow craze. Blues, pinks, greens, purples. 
I would LOVE to be able to get my hands on Chanel’s Spring 2010 collection so I could rock pastels all over and do it right.
Think I wouldn’t wear pastel eyeshadow with a pastel Chanel suit or dress and a bow? I’d even add their costume jewelry. 
What do you think? 
I didn’t have any pastel palettes so I had to mix a lot of greens, blues, purples and pinks with white shadow & my Holographic palette. 
I think it worked out pretty well!