Beauty Q&A

Here you will find our *featured* bi-weekly Beauty Q&A’s filled with beauty and health tips from professionals of all ages and from all walks of life. For past Q&A’s, please look in the blog/home page section or click on our swan logo. 

Wild Swan interviews Makeup Artists, Estheticians, Vloggers, Musicians, Models, and more! We discuss beauty, health, cosmetics, skin care, explore different industries, answer reader questions & more!

Please “contact me” with the subject “Beauty Q&A” if you are in the beauty or health industry and would like to be considered for a Wild Swan Q&A interview or if you’re a reader and would like to submit a beauty related question to possibly be answered by one of our industry professionals! 

                Beauty Q&A with Miss Tosh

If you don’t already love the glamorous burlesque performer, Miss Tosh who dazzles audiences while covered in Swarovski crystals, twirls on a carousel unicorn that she literally crafted herself, or because she’s a self styled fashion muse, Perhaps you’ll love her because she fights for a cause close to her heart and is the ultimate modern woman who isn’t afraid to show some skin! 

She has been featured in some of the nations top best-dressed lists and celebrated amongst publications such as Marie Claire, Elle’s Choice awards, New York Times, New York Fashion Decode, and Nylon Magazine, to name some. 

She has hosted fundraisers for organizations that provide transitional housing and support services to homeless lgbtq young adults. Miss Tosh is held in high esteem by The School of The Art Institute of Chicago as a queer artist and a global inspirational figure. She is the Glambassador to the LGBTQ community. 

To me, Miss Tosh is the face of NOW and she was kind enough to agree to do my Beauty Q&A!! 

Wild Swan: One may look at you in awe and wonder how you could propel into the spotlight as a fearless burlesque performer and power lesbian (I hope you don’t mind that phrase – I love the term power lesbian), but I imagine there must have been some struggle throughout your life and career. I know from experience that it’s not easy becoming an entertainer and I imagine that there can be struggles and obstacles being gay. Can you give me a little insight? 

A: Living in today’s world is challenging for anyone who identifies as lgbtq+. I have faced my fair share of struggle and obstacles as a lesbian and entertainer. Growing up I didn’t have any lesbian role models and women in the public that I felt I could relate to. As a child, I suppressed who I am because of fear. Once I reached my early adult life and moved away from home, I was living alone with my self. It was a struggle, but I found that being unique is beautiful. We are all deserving of love and our dreams. There was always push back in my childhood, in college, in relationships, and in the entertainment industry. I never fit the mold, but I decided I was going to do it my way. So I became my own super hero and a reflection of what I want to see more of in the world. I finally felt like me and made a promise to be the most vibrant, brightest, sparkliest, unicorn I could possibly be!   

Wild Swan: To you, what makes a human truly sparkle? 

A: What truly makes someone sparkle and shine is love and kindness. Showing others loving kindness is the best way to sparkle from within. Staying true to your self and having tolerance and compassion for those who are different from ourselves. 

Wild Swan: How did you discover Burlesque, what made you want to be a burlesque performer, and how did you start? Was there anyone who particularly inspired or encouraged you? 

A: I first fell in love with the idea of burlesque when I saw images of Josephine Baker. I was in dance school and Debbie Allen was teaching us about Josephine and how she was a pioneer and achieved her dreams against all odds. It was the first time I saw a woman truly celebrated for her skill and sensuality. She was the rabbit that led me to wonderland where I discovered American Burlesque. I was inspired, fascinated, titilated and thrilled! I had so many fantasies about what these performances must have been like, that I began dreaming up my own. 

When I was 18 I injured my self and surrendered my dream of being a professional dancer in a company. I was also very passionate about art and painting and applied for art university. I went to The School of the Art Institute of Chicago on scholarship. The best thing that could have ever happened to me at this point in my life. When I felt like my dream of being a dancer had vanished, I found a new path. I was accepted into the fashion department where I discovered a new talent for design. My passion for painting, movement, sculpture, art and math all found a home in fashion. 

I still hadn’t come out to my family, and felt like I could truly express my self until I discovered an amazing night life scene in Chicago. The Drag queens saw me for who I am and pulled me right in. When my dear friend asked me to perform with all the queens at one of Chicago’s notorious queer clubs I said “Yes!” Plus you should never turn down a Queen. Later on, I became the Artistic Director of a show called “LQQKS” where we had many of the now drag superstars make their debut. It was a wild time where we all had the freedom to do the craziest things on stage and people would line up down the block in the snow to get a peak. This is where I developed my iconic “Peeling” act. It was the queer community and audience that encouraged me to go for it. And Ive been on this amazing journey ever since. 

Wild Swan: Do you feel like you are always developing and changing your image or are you past that at this point in your career? Who or what inspired your look? 

I’m definitely getting some Marilyn vibes!

A: I alway feel like I am in transition and evolving. I embrace opportunities for change. I love experimenting with my look and collaborating with other artists. The first time I dyed my hair I went for a fearless hot pink! It was so fun and changed the way I felt about my hair forever. I have always been obsessed with the art of transformation and creating glamour. I do however have a signature look that acts as my foundation to build from. My signature platinum hair and red lipstick is always my go to because I love a strong, graphic, and classic look. Hair for me is like sculpture and I am always aiming to make the waves and shape so dramatic that it feels like the hairdos of my favorite cartoons.

For beauty and hair I am inspired by starlets of the past like Jayne Mansfield, Jean Harlow, Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable. I am also very inspired by the badass looks in pulp comics and hairdos of Tex Avery cartoons. Style inspirations for me are classic eccentrics like Marlene Dietrich and Issabella Blow. I adore the swag, vibe and wit of Missy Elliot, Mae West and Maya Angelou. 

Wild Swan: What are some beauty products or cosmetic brands that you can’t live without? Do you have any to die for beauty secrets? 

A: I am by no means extravagant when it comes to beauty products. The looks I create are absolutely attainable and do not require fancy brand name products. I create my looks with mostly drugstore products. I dye my own hair with bleach from sally’s beauty supply and use the basic purple shampoos. I love wet&wild liquid eyeliners for creating my eye shape and bobby brown gel eyeliner with the thin brush. I love vivid colors with high pigments not for the faint of heart. I am a red lipstick connoisseur always hunting for the perfect blue reds. I love Russian red and ruby woo from mac and the Sephora brand red. I also love the Kat Von D long last red liquid lipstick. I like to line my lips with a darker shade of red or even magenta to make my lips look three dimensional. I absolutely cannot live without coconut oil! The jumbo tub from the grocery store. I use it fore everything as makeup remover, lotion, hair treatments, cleaning my brushes. Its the best ! For long, healthy, platinum hair only heat style for stage or special outings. Wet set for longer lasting hair looks. Treat your hair with coconut oil once a week and keep it in all day. These are the days I wear hair wraps or turbans. For skin care use Cerave’ products because they are unscented and super gentle. I just started to use a retinol cream from Paula’s Choice and Im really liking the effects. I wear sunscreen regularly, even at night when I go out.


Best beauty secrets: Beauty comes from the inside, literally! A big part of my beauty ritual is how I take care of my body. Every day I take my vitamins and start my day with a green smoothy or acai bowl. For vitamins I take a dissolving capsule of b12 which saves me when I have jet lag! I also take multi vitamin, calcium, d3. Always consult your doctor before taking supplements, because what works for me might not work for you!

Wild Swan: I’m blown away by the fact that you basically fully design and produce your own shows top to bottom! Talk about a one woman show. Is that hard? Where do you find inspiration? Also, please tell me all about building or creating your famous carousel unicorn! Literally, I’m in awe. 

A: Thank you! I design everything in my performances from lighting, to music, choreography. I engineer and build all of my props while I design, pattern, sew and embellish my costumes. I do all my own beauty from nails, hair and makeup. My carousel unicorn prop began as a fantasy five years ago. I had the vision in mind and it took a few years of planning, saving, and researching to engineer what you see today. The first few prototypes I performed on were not solid and probably pretty dangerous to be swinging around on. But through trial and error I came to the design you see today. After a lot of sanding, painting and pounds of glitter, Nayonce’ was born. A lot of people will ask if there is power that makes her spin but she moves with my momentum which take a lot of acrobatic strength for her and I to twirl so smoothly. 

I also run my own production design company, N.E.Thing Goes with my partner. I am always working on multiple projects at once, but I really love what I do so much. I am naturally very ambitious and fueled by passion. I will wake up in the middle of the night from a dream I had about a new idea and begin sewing or drawing it immediately. I get very excited about creating that when an idea comes, it pours out onto paper. My productions are so elaborate now that I have the privilege of working and hiring amazing artist, creatives and production individuals to be a part of my team. 

Wild Swan: Tell me about yourself as a designer! I know you design your own costumes, which are stunning, and occasionally release clothing you’ve designed. Do you have a favorite piece? Where did you learn design? 

A: I am a fashion designer and pattern maker by trade. I studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I created some fun collections while in school. My favorite is my sound and motion sensitive dress I made my first year. My favorite burlesque costume has to be my Stardust costume that pairs with the unicorn. It is so decadent and fully encrusted in Swarovski crystal. I have been working on new costumes and props for the past year that I am really excited to debut!

Wild Swan: How long does it take to embellish an entire corset? Do you think you’ll ever release a crazy lingerie line, or have you? 

I would go crazy for that! 

A: The Stardust costume took six months to complete and that is from concept to conception. I hand set every large stone into their setting and individually apply every crystal. Its very labor intensive. Since debuting the Unicorn act, I have had interest from students to intern and am considering offering an apprenticeship. 

I have also been working on a few collections that I have kept secret for some time now. I have been working on a ready-to-wear clothing line and lingerie collection with a very exciting twist! I am aiming to release pre-sales before the holiday season. 

Wild Swan: Do you have an exercise regimen or any particular type of diet you live by? What’s your secret to maintaining that perfect pin up/burlesque type figure?

A: The unicorn keeps my in pretty good shape. Lifting her steel base and practicing on her is a great workout. I am always building, lifting and working in my studio which keeps me very strong. My costumes are very heavy and weigh about 40 pounds when I am fully dressed. I stretch and practice yoga at home and love to do things that keep me active, but don’t feel like working out. I like to go on hikes in nature, go roller skating at the roller rink, and ballet class. I would really like to take up horse-back riding. My work is so active and labor intensive that I don’t do much else. 

I think the key to looking good is feeling good. Eating things that make you feel great. I like to start my day with a fresh juice or green smoothie. I take my vitamins and eat a clean diet fruits vegetables, and grains. I don’t count calories or limit my self to what I indulge it. It is all in moderation and keeping a balanced diet. 

Wild Swan: Are there any particular Fashion Designers or clothing brands that you absolutely adore?

A: I am an avid collector of vintage clothing and love shopping for treasures. My go to vintage haul is the Rose Bowl Market in LA. I love vintage designers like Lili Anne and Cecil Chapman. Its also important to me to support small businesses and independent designers rather than large commercial companies. My favorite lounge wear company is Department of Curiosities. They make the absolute best silk dressing gowns and beach pajamas. Every thing is made in house at their atelier in Chicago. I usually wear there garments backstage before a show or out for a sexy casual look. I am really excited about my new clothing collection because I was able to make the fashion staples I wish I had but can never find. Things that are comfortable, exciting and statement pieces. 

Wild Swan: If you could travel back in time and be at one burlesque performance in history, who’s or what would it be? 

A: I would have loved to have seen Sally Rand perform the first feather fan dance at the 1933 World’s Fair. She created the act out of necessity. She couldn’t complete her costume for the act she planned on performing so she made a fair of white ostrich fans and showed up in the afternoon performing in the nude with the giant feather fans. Talk about scandalous! I always believe our most creative moments come from fewer means, problem solving, and play.  

Wild Swan: How do you stay looking so flawless and glamorous between shows, travel, design? 

A: Travel and touring glamour is an art of its own. I keep as organized as possible and have glamour travel uniform that is easy and chic. Traveling by plane or arriving to a show my hair is in a relaxed updo, powdered face, sunglasses, and red lipstick of course. 

If I am traveling by plane I love to wear a fitted jumpsuit, long jersey dresses and ballet flats. A beautiful coat or trench always sets the tone of a glamorous jetset look. I pack smart and keep my immediate needs in a large handbag. My change of clothes, a pair of stilettos and other things I will need when I land are in my carryon bag. The trick to always looking your best on a long flight is planning ahead. When I land I go to the restroom to change, reapply my makeup, and touch up my hair.  

The show starts the moment you arrive! Making an entrance is the start of the performance and I never want to provide the full fantasy. Keeping integrity in your aesthetic doesn’t have to be high maintenance.When I arrive to a show I always wear a wrap dress because it is easy to remove and I can wear it while I get ready. No need to pull anything over my head and ruin my hair or makeup. I keep my every day products at home and always have a packed travel bag of all my showgirl essentials. That way if I need to travel last minute I am already packed. When I am not wearing my costume it goes back in its trunk and all my props break down into neat containers and crates for easy travel. Effortless glamour is achieved by being well prepared and paying attention to the little things that will make your job run smoothly. Working in showbiz I always leave room for mistakes and accidents. So I give myself and my team ample time when we arrive to a venue. This way I have time to enjoy my backstage rituals and a glass of champagne. 

Wild Swan: Do you have a background in dance or choreography?

A: I am trained dancer and spent 14 years studying ballet and other techniques in dance academy. I had the privilege to study under Debbie Allen and her amazing dance mentors. I auditioned for her academy and received a scholarship. I would take the public bus every day after school and on the weekend to dance. It was a rigorous education where we would train 48 hours a week! I remember finishing home work in-between dance classes or at lunch at public school so that I could focus on dance. I learned 13 styles of dance from around the world. My favorites were flamenco, dunham, african, modern, swing, and ballet of course. It was a wonderful dance education that kept me focused and disciplined. It is amazing how all my training has filtered over into all aspects of my life. 

Wild Swan: Do you do your own hair styling? If so, how do you achieve such a perfect, retro, bouncy, curl? Does it take forever?

A: I do all my own hair styling for stage and every day. Being a dancer we would have to do all our own hair and makeup for stage. I think of hair like sculpture and have been practicing that retro hairdo for most of my life. As a little girl I would sponge roll my hair and try to mimic the different hair looks I saw in cartoons. I am completely self taught, before there were any youtube tutorials to follow. I definitely had many bad hair days in high school trying to figure out retro hair sculpting. Practice makes perfect!

Wild Swan: How do you achieve the perfect retro winged liner?

A: The first thing about eyeliner is to think of them as sisters not twins. Your eyeliner should look alike, but don’t burden your self with making them identical. I like to look down into a hand mirror which makes a world of difference. I will alter the placement and size of my wing depending on how much drama I’m calling for. 

Wild Swan: Tell me a little about the work you do within the LGBTQ community. I know you are very involved in helping homeless LGBTQ teens, which is so admirable and so beautiful. 

A: Supporting the LGBTQ+ community is very important to me, because it is my community. I remember as a kid I didn’t have many role models that I could relate to and I never felt a sense of community. So I tried to become my own super hero and hope to be a positive example for young people. I really feel like love and hope is needed more than ever! There are great organizations and community centers for the lgbtq+ but still so much more work to be done. In the past I have held fundraisers to create halfway housing for displaced and homeless lgbtq+ youth. I have worked with the human rights campaign and events like Turn Up For Change. My partner and I are working together on a campaign called “Love & B Loved” to encourage positivity, and love within our global community. All proceeds from shirts sold go to support the Trevor project, an organization that offers support to distressed and suicidal lgtbq+ youth. We are working with youth on an upcoming mural and fashion projects that we hope with inspire youth and build a stronger sense of community. 

Wild Swan: Thank you so much for talking with me! Is there any advice you’d like to leave my readers with or anything you’d like to add? 

A: Thank you so much for the thoughtful interview. I really enjoyed speaking with you too. If I can leave you with anything today it is to be kind, be bold, take risks, never take yourself too seriously – and most importantly have fun through all your trials and triumphs!

            Beauty Q&A with Jade Alexandra 

 Child model turned mannequin, Jade Alexandra is an alluring force.

An angelic voice paired with young, edgy lyrics and a face that look as if she has a permanent snapchat filter on it makes for something as bright as Jades pink hair and strobed cheeks. 

Jade is a talented songstress, model, and makeup artist and makes a statement everywhere she goes.

I don’t just love Jade because she’s my sister, but because she is complex and fierce. That’s why I decided I needed to ask her all about her beauty regime, etc. 

Wild Swan: Jade, you are talented special fx makeup artist and one of my makeup muses. How did you get into it? Do you have any special fx secrets you can share?

Jade: well, I first started with body painting when I was younger and wanted to get tattoos all over my body… hence I started drawing tattoos on in pen and then opted for a less permanent option and started playing with body painting. As for the more gory stuff I do, that was me drawing from my secret infatuation with old horror films like The Wizard Of Gore mixed with my love of sci-fi films like Blade Runner and A Trip To The Moon.

Wild Swan: If you were stranded on a tour bus in the middle of nowhere and could only have two beauty products on board what would they be? 

Jade: I think the first would be this coconut argan oil, because I don’t like moisturizers with a lot of chemicals or alcohol in them, I like to keep it natural so argan oil is perfect for me. Plus it smells like coconut so it doesn’t get better right?… The 2nd would be a toss up between bronzer or hot pink lipstick… 

Wild Swan: What’s one current fashion trend you can’t live with and one you can’t live without?

Jade: one thing I love is a classic highlighted to the gods kind of thing like #Blinding. So strobing I would say is what I couldn’t live without. A trend that I can’t seem to get with though is glitter roots… I just can’t feel it – to me it looks like dandruff no matter who wears it or what color hair you have… I just don’t like it. 

Wild Swan: If you could steal one celebs style who would it be and why?

Jade: Miley Cyrus Bangerz phase or Michael Jackson.  

Wild Swan: In 2 sentences how was it growing up in the entertainment business from a fashion and musical standpoint? 

Jade: I think from a fashion standpoint we got a great advantage because people the around us were very unique wether a musician wearing a purple velvet vest, a roadie wearing chains and a Aerosmith t shirt, or the women in the crowd wearing gypsy rock inspired outfits, we learned that you didn’t have to dress like everyone else. Seeing as much of the music/ music business as we have, you learn that everyone who plays music for a living must really love playing music and sharing it with the world, because nobody is in the music business because they love the music business.

Wild Swan: If you could walk in one fashion show who’s would it be?
Jade: well, my long time dream was to walk in the Victorias Secret fashion show with my sister Aja… plus come on pink haired sisters for a VS Pink… 

Wild Swan: What’s your one go to beauty look?

Jade: I say when in doubt, black glitter smokey eye, and of course I love a bold lip… I’m a sucker for hot pink… also I think a big smile always looks nice.

Wild Swan: What’s the secret to looking like a flawless Barbie doll complete with on fleek liner and how did you come up with the concept? 

Jade: I always say if you want flawless skin: drink your water and use your Argan oil… good skin starts on the inside. The trick to cracking the cat eye is practice. My first cat eye was far from #OnFleek.

The concept for The Alexandras was actually from hearing about the abandoned Prada store in Marfa TX… I just imagined going there and seeing all these broken mannequins with pink hair, wearing ripped Prada clothes…something about the thought of how mannequins have that sad expression, but they’re always dressed up and posed reminded me of myself. 

Wild Swan: What your favorite lyric from one of your songs? 

Jade: Hello little barbie doll take me to nirvana, fine champagne, birthday cake, and dreams.

best friends Dolce, Louis, and Prada. 
Hot and Sweet like syrup in your sheets. 
(From the song; Like Syrup)

               Beauty Q&A with Kayla Hagey 

I first discovered YouTube Makeup artist, Kayla Hagey when I was searching for a review of a particular palette that I had been considering ordering, which wasn’t available in stores near me. I wanted to be able to see it in action. The look Kayla did with this particular palette was so stunning and unique. I instantly ordered the palette that I had been going back and forth on for weeks!

Kayla has over 90k YouTube subscribers and over 50k Instagram followers. Talk about a massive following! She has done almost 300 YouTube tutorials and reviews showcasing her amazing work. One of my favorite things about her makeup is that she makes even the boldest looks look pretty. 

Kayla quickly made her way into my list of top 5 favorite beauty vlogger/Instagram mua’s and I’m so excited that she was kind enough to be my beauty Q&A guest this week! 

Wild Swan: What is your beauty background like? Are you a self taught or certified MUA or aesthetician? 

A: I’m self taught – but I learned pretty much everything I know by watching YouTube tutorials! 

Wild Swan: I love that you add lots of pops of color to your online makeup looks, but always keep it looking pretty and wearable, or at least not too crazy. What’s the secret to creating a fun, yet wearable look?

A: I think the secret to creating a ‘wearable’ colorful look is to just start out with a little bit of color if you’re not used to it. The more comfortable you get with wearing color, the more you can start to incorporate it into your looks, and soon it just starts to feel normal or wearable! But I will say when I want to avoid it looking too crazy or out-there, I’ll just focus the majority of the color on my eyes and keep my lips a neutral color. 

Wild Swan: What are your favorite eyeshadow primers and what are some of your favorite eyeshadow palettes? 

A: I’m actually super lazy when it comes to eyeshadow primer so I just use concealer! I feel like concealer does the trick really well. My favorite eyeshadow palettes change pretty often, but as of right now I really love the NYX Ultimate Brights palette, the SugarPill pro palette, and the Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance. 

Wild Swan: How important are the makeup brushes we use? In your opinion, what are some of the best ones?

A: I didn’t realize it until a couple of years ago, but I think the makeup brushes we use are really important! When I started using better-quality makeup brushes I found that I got a LOT better at blending and my confidence increased in my abilities. Not that there’s anything wrong with cheaper brushes – I think there are definitely some out there that can do the job just as well – but I think if you’ve been practicing and practicing and not noticing much improvement, you may want to invest in some better brushes (especially for the eyes). My favorites are from Smith Cosmetics, specifically the 230, 232, 235, 247, 253, & 256. Those are my must-have eye brushes.

Wild Swan: What are your current beauty product/cosmetic obsessions?

A: I’ve currently been really into light-weight foundations (this hot weather in SoCal makes it feel like my face is melting off if I’m wearing too much heavy makeup). I really like to mix a bit of moisturizer or the KVD primer with my Tarte Rainforest of the Sea foundation to sheer it out a bit. And I’ve also recently jumped on the Tarte Shape Tape train – I love it for undereye circles. I love this foundation + concealer combo and wear it pretty much every day. 

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

A: [without] Hmmm, probably glowy skin! I feel weird if I forget to put on some liquid or powder highlight. And as far as one I couldn’t live with…probably using random (and slightly dangerous) household objects to contour your face. I know it’s just for Instagram, but c’mon!

Wild Swan: What are some of your all-time favorite “go to” products?

A: Tarte Rainforest of the Sea foundation, Shape Tape concealer, Kat Von D Trooper liner, any style of House of Lashes, Makeup Geek eyeshadows, & Ofra Cosmetics liquid lipsticks!

Wild Swan: How long did it take you to build a dedicated following, and what advice do you have for aspiring makeup artists who may want to get into YouTube, Instagram, etc? 

A: I’ve been making YouTube videos for 3-4 years now. I think my best advice is to get a decent camera (even some iPhones take great photos) and make sure you have good lighting, whether it’s a fairly cheap ring light from Amazon or natural lighting in front of a window. As far as content, just be yourself and try not to do something just because other people are doing it. Find a niche if you can that sets yourself apart from others. Consistency is key, too – try to upload a video or photo at least once a week! Your audience will grow as long as you keep posting. 

Wild Swan: What are your favorite cosmetics brands, high end to drugstore and everything in between? 

A: I’d say my favorite drugstore brand is probably NYX – they have such a wide range of products and I like almost everything I’ve tried. My favorite higher end brand is definitely Kat Von D for the same reason! 

Wild Swan: What is your skin care routine like? What really removes all the crazy makeup? What products do you love and what is your skin type? 

A: My skin care routine is pretty minimal. I just use makeup remover wipes (or sometimes coconut oil if my makeup is being especially stubborn) and then to wash my face I use a bar of African Black Soap. To moisturize I use Sky Organics jojoba oil which I really like – it makes my skin feel super hydrated. I have lots of skin issues (dermatitis, dryness, redness, breakouts, etc.) so I try to use pretty natural skin care products for the most part. 

Wild Swan: What would you say are the most important products to “splurge” on if you could only have a few higher end products? 

A: I’d say skin care first and foremost, especially if you’re having troubles with your skin! But I actually do really like a lot of drugstore products – I think you can find pretty good foundations, concealers, eyeliners, and various other things for pretty cheap. That being said I usually choose to splurge on higher end eyeshadows and liquid lipsticks because I feel like for the most part, I haven’t found any eyeshadows or liquid lips at the drugstore that I like as much. 

Wild Swan: You did a YouTube video on a $6 concealer you found at Walmart by Hard Candy. Is it really as great as you say? How does it compare to your other favorite concealers that may be higher end? I know everyone’s always looking for a great concealer, esp., at $6!!

A: Yes! I still love that concealer, but I don’t wear it as much because it’s super heavy duty and like I said, I’m more into lightweight coverage at the moment. I do think it’s probably a concealer that most people would love but some might hate if they’re more used to thinner consistencies. The coverage is similar to the Shape Tape but it definitely feels a bit heavier. But I would definitely recommend trying it out if you’re looking for a cheap one!

Wild Swan: Something I notice about you in your videos is that your skin appears perfect and porcelain. Any tips on how to achieve a flawless looking foundation or face makeup application? 

A: Oh, thank you! But it’s definitely far from perfect! I think one of the most important steps is to make sure you’ve properly moisturized your face before applying foundation, and make sure you give it at least 5 minutes to set in first. I also love my Beauty Blender & Real Techniques sponge to apply my foundation – I’m not a huge fan of using brushes alone because I feel like most of the time they’ll leave weird streaks or apply too much. I also really like to use the Pixi Beauty Glow Mist to spray over my foundation because I feel like it makes my face feel more hydrated and less cakey. 

Wild Swan: What is your every day makeup look like and if you only had 5 minutes to get ready everyday, what would you do or what products would be most important to you to apply? 

A: Oh man, honestly my every day makeup look is no makeup! At least lately it has been. When I’m just working around home I’m way too lazy to do anything to my face unless I have to go outside and run errands or something. If I only had 5 minutes to get ready every day I would probably have no idea what to do because I usually do a full face of makeup if I have to go out anywhere! But I think I would just apply a little more Shape Tape than usual to conceal everything, bronze up my face with a Marc Jacobs bronzer and also just use that to add some color to my eyes. Then maybe a brow gel and a tiny bit of mascara, some lip balm, and I’d be good to go!

Wild Swan: What are your thoughts on the crazy contour craze? I feel like every where I look these days I see cheekbones that could cut ice and blind you at the same time. What would you say is too much, what’s too little, what’s just right? 

A: I think that it’s definitely become a trend over the last few years especially to get the most chiseled cheekbones possible (and I’m definitely guilty of applying way too much contour in the past). Personally on myself I’ll either cream or powder contour but I’ll hardly ever do both together – that’s when I feel like it can go overboard fast. But I do think that some people rock the heavy contour and some people look amazing with no contour as well, it just depends!

Wild Swan: What are a couple of your personal favorite YouTube looks you’ve posted so far? 

A: I think my favorite recent look I’ve done is this Jewel toned makeup. A subscriber of mine came up with that idea and I thought it turned out pretty good! I don’t use those deep jewel tones too often so it was nice to get a little bit out of my comfort zone.
Wild Swan: How long have you been on YouTube for and how did you decide to start doing these videos and tutorials? 
A: I’ve been on YouTube for almost 4 years, I think. I was in college when I decided to make my channel and I didn’t expect anything to come of it – I just wanted a fun hobby to distract myself from the stress of being a college student. I watched a ton of makeup videos and tutorials and thought it looked fun, so I decided to give it a shot! 

Lastly, my reader question for you comes from Jane. 

She is looking for a great under eye concealer, one that will look good on camera, and she says something with more natural ingredients or less chemicals, would be amazing. 

Wild Swan: I thought perhaps something by Tarte, I know a lot of You-tubers use Tarte Shape Tape for full coverage and Tarte leaves a lot of nasty chemicals out of their products. What do you think Kayla?

A: I bet you can guess what I’m going to say from my other answers! Haha I would definitely recommend Shape Tape! I love that they don’t include those nasty chemicals and I think the product itself is truly amazing and worth the hype.

Wild Swan: Thank you for bringing a little bit more beauty to the internet! It’s so amazing that women of all ages can easily learn about great and new products and how to apply makeup better because of YouTubers/MUA’s like you! 

Kayla: Thank you so much for having me on your blog! YouTube definitely helped me out so much when I was first starting out so I’m happy that I may be able to do the same for other people!

Now go check out Kaylas amazing videos on YouTube including my personal fave

Kayla tries out and reviews the Alchemist palette here, and it is stunning!

               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 youve 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 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 esp 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!