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Oceanside, CA

(760) 716-5425

essica Varela is a San Diego based makeup artist with more than 11 years experience creating looks for weddings, special occasions, print, the runway, and television. 


​Jessica Varela's blog is a lot about makeup and a little about more!

Use Protection…Sun Protection That Is

Jessica Varela


Aw, sun. I LOVE the sun. I get depressed when we have one too many gloomy days here in San Diego and to me, there’s nothing better for the soul then a little sun and sand. As much as our world revolves around the sun, we all know by now how harmful it can be, which is why protecting our skin from the sun’s rays should be numero uno!

I think it’s safe to say, most of us know how damaging the sun’s rays can be and well, the stats on skin cancer are staggering. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, more Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every year than any other type of cancer. UV rays are a MAJOR cause of melanoma and other types of sink cancer, report researchers.

And, if you’re someone with a history of atypical moles (like me☹️), you have to be extra careful. According to researchers, individuals with a history of atypical moles have a greater risk of developing melanoma.

But, if that doesn’t scare you into submission, then maybe you should give some thought to how well your skin takes care of you. Our skin is our bodies’ largest organ and works hard keeping us safe and healthy. Besides protecting our insides from the elements, skin also helps regulate body temperature, eliminate waste, and aid the immune system in destroying microorganisms. Our skin does so much for us, so let’s show our skin some LOVE ❤️my friends!

Now we know why we should protect our skin, so let’s talk about how we can protect it from the sun’s powerful sting.


There’s no better protection than to not expose your skin to the sun rays. However, I know you all don’t live in a bubble and to cover every part of your body every day seems a little extreme. Besides, you may not want to.😉 You just have to know: sun exposure = potential sun damage = potential skin cancer.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I’m not super religious about protecting my skin (san face). You won’t find me in a full bodysuit at the beach or pool. I love to be outdoors, lead a pretty active life in a city where it’s sunny year-round, and am not opposed to showing a little skin. So, I wear my bikinis and do what I can to keep my skin protected if I’m not covered up…and you should too.😁


Slather on that sunscreen every morning before you walk out the door, even if it’s cloudy or raining. For those of you who are like, duhhhh, I just have to put this one out there. I’m always shocked at how many people don’t use the screen daily or not at all.

You gotta make sure you’re using it properly, too. Here’s where reading directions is beneficial. Depending on the ingredients, your sunscreen may take 10-15 minutes to take effect.

And, you have to reapply. Again, this is where a quick glance at directions is beneficial. Sun Protection Factor (SPF) varies and is related to the amount of solar exposure, not to the time of solar exposure. As a general rule of thumb, you should be reapplying your sunscreen approximately every 2 hours, more frequently if you’re fair or swimming. 🏊🏽


Finally, you’ve got to make sure you’re using enough sunscreen. Studies have shown some most people only use about ¼ to half the recommend amount. For a 150lb. adult (approx. 5’4”), the FDA recommends using about an ounce of sunscreen for the entire body.

  • Sunscreen on exposed skin EVERYDAY
  • If using a chemical sunscreen, apply 10-15 minutes before sun exposure
  • Reapply the screen about every 2 hours, more if you’re fair or swimming
  • Use at least 1 oz. (think shot glass) of sunscreen for entire body- don’t forget about your lips👄!

Side note: you probably noticed I didn’t talk about the differences between chemical and mineral sunscreens. I didn’t mention this topic, because there’s a lot to talk about – enough for another blog!

I know there’s much talk about the pros and cons of both chemical and mineral sunscreens for consumers and the environment, especially after the FDA released a study on sunscreen ingredient absorption earlier this year. I won’t get into my thoughts and opinion on the subject today, but I urge you to do your research on both chemical and mineral sunscreens. In the meantime, please keep in mind –

  • The FDA’s study did not deem any ingredients unsafe (yet🤔) and because the agency classifies sunscreen as a drug (not a cosmetic), the U.S. has the most stringent guidelines for sunscreen globally.
  • Even mineral ingredients – zinc oxide and titanium dioxide – can be harmful to humans, marine, and coral life if nano- sized.
  • The best sunscreen is the one you’re using.
  • The safest and most effective way to protect your skin is not sunscreen, it’s to cover up.

All the Answers to Your Bridal Beauty Questions

Jessica Varela



You’re getting married (congratulations BTW 🎉) and one of the most important things on your to do list is your makeup, of course! But, as with most wedding to do’s, you probably have a lot of questions about the process. It is only one of THE MOST IMPORTANT and MOST PHOTOGRAPHED days of your life…you want to make sure you are picture perfect. Well, so do I!!

Here are some of the most common questions I get about getting makeup done on the bid day…

Should I schedule a trial?

I believe every bride is different and therefore, I don’t think every bride HAS to do a trial. That being said, I highly recommend scheduling a trial and here’s why - a trial will give you and I the opportunity to design and edit a look before the pressures of the big day. Just think, you’ll have complete peace of mind on your wedding day (at least about your makeup anyhow 😆).

Going back and forth about a lip color? Not sure if false lashes are for you? Think you want a bronzed goddess look but don’t normally wear much makeup? If you’re on the fence about what look you want, you most definitely will want to book a trial!

P.S. Expect your trial to take about 2 hours.

When should I schedule a trial?

I recommend scheduling a trial at least one month prior to your wedding. I’ve learned from experience, the closer you get to the date, the harder it will be to take time for yourself. If you have an engagement photo session in the books or a bridal shower coming up, this would be a great time to schedule your trial.

Do I need to bring anything to the trial? What about the day of?

No! You won’t need to bring a thing to your trial but your pretty self! I will provide everything, including luxury brand products, lashes, skincare, and professional lighting! If you have certain products you absolutely can’t live without, feel free to bring them along and I’ll be more than happy to use them.

Same goes for your wedding day, you won’t need to worry about bringing anything! 🙌🏼

Will I need to touch up my makeup?

Although I use products designed to last, you may need to touch up your makeup just a little. Your skin type, the weather, how much you cry (lol!), and time between makeup and ceremony all affect makeup longevity.

There’s no need to worry, though! Before I leave, I’ll do a final touch up on you and your bridesmaids to make sure everyone is picture perfect. I’ll leave you with any instructions you may need to touch up and a touch up kit if your package includes one. If you’d rather not have to worry about touching yourself up, I offer touch-up and day rates. 

Should I do makeup or hair first?

I may be the lone wolf when it comes to choosing whether hair or makeup comes first, but really, you can do whatever you want! 💯 I can do makeup before or after your hair is done – it’s totally up to you!

How long will it take to do makeup on me and my bridesmaids?

To make sure the day runs stress-free, I always allow 45 minutes for each bridesmaid and 1 hour for the bride (if a trial has been done). If we haven’t done a trial, I allow 1 hour and 15 minutes for the bride.

And, just so you don’t have to worry about a thing, I’ll send you a timeline before your wedding so you can get a clear picture of what the day will look like for makeup.

Do I or my bridesmaids need to do anything to prepare for makeup on the day of?

Yes! I provide all of my brides a wedding day skin prep guide. 👰🏻 At the trial, we’ll go over it in depth and discuss exactly what you may or may not need to do to get wedding day ready. I’ll also let you know how your bridesmaids (or anyone else in your bridal party getting makeup done) can prepare.

Will you come to me on my wedding day?

Yes! I will come to you on your wedding day no matter where you are getting ready. 😄

*Please note: travel fees may apply.

Can you cover tattoos, tan lines, and scars?

Yes! I can cover tattoos, tan lines, and scars. If you’d like to have a tattoo or scar covered, please let me know in advance so we can discuss this at your trial. I know tan lines can be a whoopsie, so as soon as you know, let me know too and we’ll talk about the extent of coverage you need.

*Please note: an additional fee may apply depending on the size and level of coverage you need.

Do you offer body makeup application?

Yes! I do offer body makeup application for you or anyone in your bridal party. If you’re interested in having body makeup applied, let me know at the trial and we’ll talk about the process and fee.

How soon do you need to know the total number of people in my wedding party?

It’s best I have the total number of people in your party at the time of the contract signing, but I also know weddings don’t always work that way! I’ll always do my best to accommodate your party, however I can’t guarantee availability or amend a contract if changes to the total number of clients is made less than one month prior to your wedding date. 

What products do you use?

My kit is a smorgasbord of luxury brand products like Nars, Laura Mercier, Makeup For Ever, Anastasia Beverly Hills, MAC, Tatcha, Smashbox, and many others! If you’d like to know specifics about what products I use, feel free to shoot me an email. 💗

Do you airbrush?

I don’t airbrush for weddings and here’s why: in my experience, I’ve found traditional foundation gives me and you more options in texture, coverage, and delivery (i.e.liquid, powder, cream). Traditional foundation allows you to be choosy about how you want your skin to look – dewy, matte or satin – and feel.  

Should I wear false eyelashes on my wedding day?

Should you wear false eyelashes on your wedding day? The good news is, there’s no right or wrong answer to this question! The decision to wear false lashes is a personal one and every bride feels differently. 😃

I must say, however, about 99% of my brides do wear them and I do recommend them! I’ve found that natural lashes get “washed out” in photos and just don’t look the same as they do in person. Also, you have to remember…there is an almost limitless variety of lashes available to choose from! I always have a variety of lashes on hand – wispy, full, piecy (a word that only exists in the lash world ha, ha), etc. – to create almost any look you want.

How many people in my bridal party can you accommodate?

As many as you want! Ok, so I personally wouldn’t be able to do every person in your party if there are more than 6 people. For parties larger than 6, I’ll bring an assistant (or two) to make sure every person in your party is pampered properly.

If there is a day of time constraint, it may be necessary for me to bring an assistant to get your party (of 6 or less) ready. But, there’s no reason to think about details you don’t have to, right? We’ll talk about how many bridesmaids you have at your trial so I can plan out a timeline for you and discuss whether or not you’ll need another artist.

How do I book you?

Once we’ve decided to work together 🙌🏼, I’ll send you a contract outlining my business and cancelation policies. To secure your wedding date, all you need to do is send me a signed and dated contract and a $100 deposit (non-refundable).

What forms of payment do you take?

I take payments via cash, check, credit card (+3%transaction fee), and Venmo.


Jessica Varela


I want your skin to shine as bright as you, but if you’ve been feeling a little selfie shy lately, maybe it’s time for a check-up - a skin check-up that is.

Our skin is loaded with a number of tasks…not only does it protect us from the elements and other yucky stuff, it also regulates our body temperature and allows us to feel things (hot, cold, etc.). With so much to take care of, it’s important we take care of it.

So, how the heck do you know if your skin needs some TLC? Or maybe you’d like to get to know your skin better? Either way, I’ve discovered a super simple way to help you determine what’s going on with your skin. Start by asking yourself 3 questions -

Is my skin blemished, red, dry, flaky, patchy or rough?

If you answered yes to the first question, congratulations, you’re not alone! According to the American Academy of Dermatology, more than 85 million Americans suffer from some type of skin disease (i.e. acne, dermatitis, inflammation, etc.).

Now, for the good news…most skin conditions like those mentioned can be treated! Read on for some help on treating common skin conditions, but please note: I am NOT a medical doctor or esthetician. (👇🏼see below).

It’s also important to remember: the skin is complex and I HIGHLY recommend seeing a dermatologist or skincare professional on a regular basis to address any concerns you have, especially when it comes to abnormal or irregular moles and/or skin.


Throughout the many years I’ve done makeup, I’ve found one of the most common causes of persistent acne to be overuse of acne treatments. A lot of acne treatments strip the skin of natural oils and moisture, which can lead to overproduction of oils and ultimately, more acne.


If you’re experiencing redness or dryness, it’s likely your skin isn’t getting enough moisture. But, in some cases, redness can be caused by other skin conditions like rosacea. Best to get it checked if you’re experiencing a lot of redness that just won’t go away.


Rough or flaky skin is commonly caused by a build-up of dead skin cells. If you’ve noticed either of these, it may be time to exfoliate. When exfoliating, I always go with a mild chemical exfoliator first before trying a topical exfoliator like a scrub.


Feel like you’ve got darker patches popping up all around your face? These patches are most likely hyperpigmentation or melasma. A number of factors can contribute to hyperpigmentation like pregnancy, certain medications, and sun exposure. For mild to moderate hyperpigmentation, look for skincare with brightening agents. And, remember to protect your face from the sun!

Is my skin shiny or matte when I wake up?

On to the second question…is your skin shiny or not shiny?? There’s no right or wrong answer here, this is simply a prompt to help you determine the state of your skin on a daily basis. Our skin can change on the daily and maybe today you need more moisture then you did yesterday. Healthy skin has some shine to it naturally, so a little sheen is ok. Excess oil or matte skin may mean its time switch up your daily skincare regimen.

Does my skin “bounce” back when I gently touch my face with a finger?

And finally, does your skin bounce back when you press it gently? Skin that doesn’t bounce back or “collapses” can be a dryness indicator. Healthy skin will “spring” back almost like a sponge.

Skin isn’t just an accessory, you’re stuck with it for the rest of your life! So, go do your skin check-up, don’t forget to wear sunscreen, and when in doubt, see a dermatologist!


Thank you for visiting my personal blog! My blog is for informational purposes only. The opinions expressed here are my own and are not affiliated with any company, advertiser, affiliate or group.

Although I do my very best to provide the most accurate information available, please understand I am not a medical doctor or esthetician. Please don’t consider my opinions as a substitute for sound medical advice.

The information I provide may change without notice and is not guaranteed to be up-to-date, correct or complete. Use of the blog is at your own risk and you assume full responsibility for any resulting loss.

If you have any questions or concerns about this disclaimer or my product reviews, please contact me anytime at


Senior Portrait Beauty Essentials Featuring We Heart Studio

Jessica Varela


The crazy talented duo of We Heart Studio, Jacob and Christin Willis, have elevated the status of the high school senior portrait. Gone are the days of awkward poses and less than flattering backgrounds. We Heart Studio produces gorgeous, fashion like portraits that any parent, family member or friend can proudly display on their wall. In addition to creating art gallery worthy portraits, the studio provides clients with an unforgettable experience. Before getting snapped, high school seniors can get their hair styled, makeup professionally applied and outfits styled. 

As you might have guessed, I come in where the makeup part begins. Although every client can request a specific look, most love the look we have come to describe as “The We Heart Seniors look.” This look is a classic beauty look consisting of glowy, natural skin, neutral eyes, and soft pink cheeks and lips.

If you’ve been craving an easy, soft, and classic makeup look (no matter what your age!), this is for you. When recreating this beauty look, you will definitely want to make sure you have my five high school senior portrait beauty essentials:

Ardell Demi-Wispies and Demi-Pixie eyelashes

Ardell Demi-Wispies and Demi-Pixies are some of the most natural looking and most comfortable false eyelashes ever. often has the best prices on Ardell lashes.

MAC Viva Glam V

MAC Viva Glam V lipstick has just the right amount of color. If I need to darken the lipstick color, I just grab a darker lip liner and blend.

MAC Fluidline Blacktrack

I would be lost without my MAC Fluidline gel eyeliner in Blacktrack! It has great staying power and doesn’t dry out too quickly.

NARS Orgasm blush

NARS Orgasm blush is the perfect combination of pink and gold tones, and it looks amazing on almost any skin tone. If this isn’t in your makeup bag, it should be.

Makeup For Ever Pan Stick Foundation

Makeup For Ever’s Pan Stick Foundation has become a must-have for me. It’s a very versatile foundation. If you want sheer coverage or full coverage, this foundation is what you want it to be.

Got questions about products or how-to-apply? Don’t be shy, contact me! I’d love to help with any of your beauty-related questions! Like to see more of my work, please click on my portfolio

Wedding Day Beauty Prep - Eyebrows

Jessica Varela

We can't all have Poppy and Cara Delevingne's perfect brows, but we can sure try.  Photo - Telegraph UK

We can't all have Poppy and Cara Delevingne's perfect brows, but we can sure try.

Photo - Telegraph UK

One of my colleagues used to say, “If the eyes are the window to the soul, then the eyebrows are the frame.” She was right. Brows frame your face and “support” the structure of your face. If shaped correctly and groomed regularly, you can literally change the structure of your face…and look put together (with or without makeup)!

As you can see, eyebrows are an important component of your makeup routine and if they are this important every day, they should definitely not be neglected for THE most important day of your life – your wedding day! As you’re putting together your bridal beauty to-do-list, don’t forget to pencil in a brow appointment. And, don’t put it too far down on the list. You may need a few months (or more) to get your eyebrows picture perfect.

 To help you get your brows in tip-top shape, here are a few key eyebrow shaping tips I talk about in my Brow Counseling class: 


 If you need hair growth, no touchy, touchy! I know how hard it is to fight the urge to tweeze, but do whatever you have to do to resist grabbing those tweezers! Have your maid of honor hide your tweezers, throw them away or cover them in peanut butter… just don’t pluck!

Your eyebrows are hair and should be treated like your hair. Massage a little conditioner in them when you’re in the shower and comb them regularly with a brow brush. I like MAC’s 204 Lash Brush.

Sometimes you need help, so when the going gets tough, try a brow growth serum like nueBROW or Rapidlash. 


 WHO is shaping them? Listen carefully…just because someone waxes/threads/tweezes brows does not mean they know how to shape them! Shaping is an art and in my opinion, only a few are true artists. Best bet: Find someone who has a shape you like and ask them for a referral.

WHAT are they using? Are they using wax, threads or tweezers to remove hair? A good eyebrow guru will do what’s best for your brows at the time of your appointment (hint, it may not always be a waxing).

WHERE are they removing hair? You and your eyebrow guru should come to an agreement of what shape is best suited to your face and where hair may or may not need to be removed before any hair is removed.


What’s your brow goal? Lusting after the bigger, bushier brows of the moment or are you crazy about Jean Harlow’s razor sharp arch? Let your goal determine what and how much eyebrow maintenance you need.

With the right help and minimal effort, you and your brows will be more than ready for your wedding day! 

If you'd like to have some brow counseling yourself, shoot me an email or sign up for one of my Brow Counseling classes - it's free!

Bridal Makeup – Most Frequently Asked Questions

Jessica Varela



It’s the most important and most photographed day of your life. You want to make sure you and your bridal party are picture perfect. So do I. 

 I know you’ve got probably got a million questions about getting your makeup done and please, ask away! To get you started, I’ve compiled the questions I get asked most frequently about wedding makeup.

 Q. When should I schedule a trial?

 A. You can schedule a trial whenever it is most convenient for you! If you have an engagement photo session in the books or a bridal shower coming up, you can schedule your trial the same day and take advantage of the session. If you can, I always recommend scheduling a trial at least a month before your wedding. Keep in mind, the sooner you book a makeup trial the sooner you can secure your wedding date.  

Makeup: Jessica Varela

Makeup: Jessica Varela

Q. I’m interested in airbrushing. Do you airbrush?

 A. I don’t use airbrush for bridal makeup. Airbrushing is great for certain makeup applications, but in my experience, weddings aren’t one of them. Traditional foundation gives brides more options in texture, formula, and coverage. For example, some brides may prefer (or need) a full coverage foundation or a bride with a drier skin type may need a creamier formula than a bride with an oily skin type.

 Q. Do I need to bring my own product?

 A. No! I provide everything. I have it all, including moisturizers and false eyelashes. However, if you have a product you cannot live without and must use it on your wedding day, I will be more than happy to apply it.

 Q. On the day of, should I do hair or makeup first?

 A. It’s your day and you can do anything you want! I can do your makeup before or after your hair is done. It’s up to you!

Makeup: Jessica Varela

Makeup: Jessica Varela

Q. Will I need to touch up my makeup?

A. I use products that are designed to last, but you may need to touch up your makeup. The weather, skin type, how much you cry (ha, ha – but really), and time between makeup and ceremony are all factors that can have an effect on makeup longevity. Don’t worry, though. You shouldn’t have to apply any more color or blend your eye shadow. What you might need to do, however, is blot your skin and freshen up your lipstick. I will give you a list of products I recommend you purchase to touch up with and I will also provide you with a touch up kit. If you would rather not have to worry at all about touching yourself up, I do offer touch up rates!

Q. How long does each makeup application take?

 A. I usually allow 45 minutes for bridesmaids and other members of the bridal party. If a trial has been done beforehand, I allow an hour for the bride.

 Q. I’ve never worn false eyelashes. Should I wear them for my wedding?

 A. I recommend to all of my brides that false eyelashes be worn on their wedding day, but it is by no means a requirement. The reason I do recommend brides wear lashes is because the natural lash tends to get “washed out” in photographs. I carry a large variety of lashes – natural, wispy, chunky, etc. – for brides to choose from so any look can be achieved.

 Just remember, you must feel comfortable on your special day and if that means not wearing false eyelashes, then so be it! There are several techniques we can use to “thicken” the lash line and give the appearance of a fuller lash. 

If you have any other questions about bridal makeup, please do not hesitate to contact me by email or phone – 760.716.5425. Can’t wait to hear from you! 

Chisel + Chain Photo Shoot

Jessica Varela

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Got my hands on these pictures from a photo shoot I did last year for Chisel + Chain jewelry. I darkened the eyes to add a little drama, but overall, kept the makeup soft and smoky. We wanted the jewelry to be the “jewel” of this shoot!

MODEL: Gloria Sheik Taylor


HAIR: Christine Pierce

JEWELRY: Chisel + Chain by Angela Herrera

MAKEUP: MAC Smolder Eye Liner, MAC Carbon Eye Shadow, MAC Charcoal Brown Eye Shadow, NARS Sertao Blush, MAC Stripdown Lip Liner, NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Belle De Jour

To see more of my work, visit my portfolio page. You can also like me on Facebook or follow me on Instagram. 

Product Profile - Feeling Parched?

Jessica Varela


If you haven’t struggled with dry skin this winter season, consider yourself lucky. If you’re like me and so many people I know, you’ve been feeling parched lately.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, parched is defined as, “very dry, especially because of hot weather and no rain.” Insert laugh. The Merriam-Webster dictionary described Southern California’s winter to a tee.


I can’t do anything about the heat, but I can help you get your skin hydrated! These two moisturizers have been lifesavers and I can’t imagine making it through the season without them: Weleda Skin Food and Na-Pca hydrating spray. Another awesome moisturizer to try is CV’s Skinlabs Restorative Skin Balm, which I just discovered thanks to Goddess Huntress.

Three skin goodies that are on my “must try” list include, RMS Raw Coconut Cream, RMS Beauty Oil, and Honest Co.’s Healing Balm. As an eczema sufferer, I’m especially excited to try Honest Co.’s Healing Balm, which is safe to use on eczema patches.


Almost as important as what moisturizer you’re using, is when you’re using it. Make sure you apply your moisturizer within two minutes of leaving the bath or shower. Your skin is still porous after exiting a bath or shower and products absorb better.

I’ve got one more (hydrating) trick up my sleeve…drink plenty of water! Water not only hydrates, it also helps rid the skin of nasty toxins.

Happy moisturizing!

If you have tried any of the products on my “must try” list, I would love to hear your feedback! You can contact me anytime of the day or night by submitting a contact form.

You can also find more information about the moisturizers I’ve listed on my Facebook page.

Carrie’s Family Photo Shoot Makeup

Jessica Varela


This is Carrie. She has stunning eyes and a smile that lights up the room. Lucky for me, she is just as beautiful on the inside and was a delight to work with.

 Carrie wanted a look that kept the focus on the eyes and the lip color soft. I swept MAC Bronze eye shadow over the entire lid and added a little bit of MAC Carbon shadow for depth. Inglot Matte Collection AMC eyeliner gel in 77 and L’Oreal Mascara finished the eyes.

 I buffed NARS Orgasm blush onto the cheeks and contoured with a little bit of MAC Refined Golden bronzer. I filled in Carrie’s lips with MAC Spice lip liner and applied MAC Viva Glam V over the liner.

 Photos are by the super talented and super nice Christin Willis at We Heart Glamour. You can view Christin’s gallery at

Don't forget to visit me on Facebook and if you'd like to chat about makeup, you can reach me anytime of the day here:

Mascaras are like Men

Jessica Varela


Mascaras are like men. Not one is the same and one is not necessarily better than the other – each has something unique to offer. Choosing just one can be difficult, but how you choose depends on a number of factors: looks, what you want out of the relationship, and just maybe, the type of day your having.

The GTL, Ford Mustang type – Loud and showy, maybe even a little bit excessive.

TRY: Benefit They’re Real Mascara

The courteous, man’s man type – All around good and always dependable

TRY: L’Oréal Voluminous Mascara

The romantic, sensitive type – Attentive and full of surprises 

TRY: Flower Zoom In Ultimate Mascara 

The funny, life of the party type – Makes an impression and grabs your attention

TRY: Dior Diorshow Mascara


For tips on how to make your, ahem, mascara perform better, shoot me an email. I’ll respond as soon as I can. If you want to know more about me and my work, follow me on Facebook.  


Product Profile – Davines Authentic Formulas

Jessica Varela


Using organic and natural ingredients to make health and beauty products is not just a trend anymore – it’s a revolution. I don’t know too many people that aren’t concerned (or at least aware) of what products they are putting into and onto their bodies, and many cosmetic companies have caught on to this organic revolution. We have more organic beauty options today than we ever did before.

I must admit, though, finding GOOD organic (or at least safer) products can be challenging, especially when it comes to skin and hair care. Over the years, I have tried a number of organic moisturizers and shampoos. Some are horrible, some are okay, and most are just not up to my standard. Recently, however, I was introduced to a product line called Davines.

Davines produces an Authentic Formula line, which consists of a Cleansing Nectar, Moisture Balm, Nourishing Oil and Replenishing Butter.  All four Authentic Formulas contain at least 98 percent naturally derived ingredients and are free of silicones, artificial colors, parabens, sulphates, and Polyethylene glycol (PEG). It gets better; all four products can be used on the hair, face, and body!

Although all of the formulas are awesome, my personal favorite is the Authentic Replenishing Butter. The name suits the product well – it goes on like butter, but unlike many creams, does not leave behind an oily residue. The replenishing butter absorbs quickly and leaves behind a soft, satiny texture. I have been using the butter as a daily moisturizer and love, love, love the way it looks under makeup.

My second favorite is the Authentic Moisture Balm. The moisture balm turned my fried hair into silk with just one use. The girls over at Studio 514 told me it makes an amazing makeup remover too, so I will be testing the balm’s removing powers.

Who said you couldn’t have your (organic!) cake and eat it too?

If you have questions about how to incorporate Davines Authentic Formulas into your regular beauty routine, don’t hesitate to contact me! For more information about the Authentic Formulas line from Davines, click here.

How Eye Shape and Eye Shadow Relate

Jessica Varela


When I tell people I’m a makeup artist, more often than not, they point to their eyes and ask, “How should I be doing my eyes?” There is not one right answer to that question - many women can wear shadow many ways.

That said, knowing what your eye shape is will help you create a look that best complements your peepers. Think of your eye shape as your map - a guide to getting you to your destination: flattering, flirty eyes.

Eyes come in many different shapes and sizes, but the most common shapes are: deep set eyes, prominent eyes, shallow eyes, hooded eyes, and almond eyes.

Deep set eyes sit further back into the face, which places a lot of emphasis on the brow bone. To “bring forward” deep set eyes, dust a light colored shadow like MAC's Shroom over the entire lid. Next, wash a medium toned shadow just above the crease towards the brow. Stay away from dark colored shadow in the crease. You don't want to darken natural shadows.

Prominent eyes have lots of lid space and an almost bulging appearance. To downplay a prominent eye, brush a dark shadow like NARS Bali all over the lid and blend into the crease. Dark tones recede space and size, so don’t be afraid to apply eyeliner generously along the lash line.



Shallow eyes have almost no crease, which makes the brow bone less prominent. To give a shallow eye more definition, apply a dark shadow along the lash line and blend up onto lid. Using a medium skin toned color like MAC's Charcoal Brown, brush over edge of darker eye shadow and blend up towards the brow. Highlight brow bone with a light colored pencil or shadow.


Hooded eyes have a layer of skin “falling” over the lids, which can make the lids seem smaller than they really are. To lift the eye visually, line eyes with a kohl pencil and diffuse edges with a smudge brush. Add a medium colored shadow over pencil and then blend outwards towards the outer corner of the eye. Avoid dark shadows in and above the crease.


Almond eyes are slightly upturned at the outer corners, but are otherwise symmetrical. Almond eyes are one of the most coveted eye shapes and rightly so, those blessed with this shape look good no matter how eye shadow is applied. To achieve one of the most classical eye looks, swipe a light colored shadow over the entire lid and under brow bone. Next, wash a medium skin toned shadow like MAC's Soba into the crease. Finally, apply a dark shadow in the outer corner of the eye in the shape of a “c.” Blend dark shadow well into crease and lid color.


Keep in mind, no matter how you apply your eye shadow, every eye shape can benefit greatly from a little brown or black eyeliner placed in the roots of the lash (a technique commonly referred to as tight line) and a couple of coats of mascara.

Having trouble deciding what eye shape you are? Don't hesitate to email me, call me or comment me with your eye shape questions! I will get back to you as soon as I can.


Bridal Makeup Trends for 2013

Jessica Varela

 "Barely there" makeup. Makeup by me.&nbsp;

 "Barely there" makeup. Makeup by me. 

Can’t believe it’s that time again – wedding season...and what better time to discuss bridal makeup then in the height of wedding season. Many brides opt for traditional bridal makeup (satiny champagne eye, and pink cheeks and lips), but the most popular bridal makeup trends for 2013 offer options to brides who are looking for something a little less traditional.

According to Elle magazine, the no makeup makeup look continues to be a favorite among brides. At Vera Wang Bride, models sported fuller brows and matte skin, with little to no color on any feature of the face. Flawless skin, contoured cheekbones, and lots of mascara are hallmarks of the “barely there” look. 

No makeup makeup look at Vera Wang Bride. 

No makeup makeup look at Vera Wang Bride. 

Colored eyeliner is another popular bridal makeup trend for 2013. Eyeliner applied to the upper lashes in a color (e.g. turquoise, purple) is a creative, yet wearable way to make a classic look unique. For brides who want to try this trend, but want (or need) definition along the lash line, apply colored eyeliner along the edge of black or brown eyeliner.

Turquoise eyeliner. Makeup by Emily Cheng.

Turquoise eyeliner. Makeup by Emily Cheng.

Neon red lips at Amsale.&nbsp;

Neon red lips at Amsale. 

Red lips on brides is not a new trend, but many brides are opting for brighter or deeper, almost burgundy reds. At Amsale, models walked the runway with neon red lips and last year’s trend of opaque, deep berry colored lips is becoming more popular with brides this year.

However, no matter what trends exist, it’s important to remember that trends are just that – a general direction in which something is developing or changing. Let the current trends inspire you, but ultimately, choose a makeup look that makes you feel both comfortable and beautiful on your special day.

For bridal makeup inspiration and to see more photos of my work, please visit If you would like to contact me, please click here.


Going to the Chapel - Carly's Engagement Photo Makeup

Jessica Varela


I was so excited to be able to do my sister-in-law’s makeup for her recent engagement photo session with the talented Chris Nelson. Because of time constraints, Carly applied her foundation before I arrived and I just did color (eyes, lips, and cheeks). Here’s a breakdown of what I used to get her camera ready:

On Carly’s eyes, I applied a sheer layer of Smashbox Cosmetic’s Limitless 15 Hour Wear Cream Shadow in Topaz from lash line to brow and brushed Gleam Lustre Shadow onto the lid and inner corner of her eye. I then applied a touch of Electric Eel shadow in the center of her lid and blended it towards the outer corner of her eye. Print shadow was added to the very outer corner of Carly’s eye to create depth and finally, black gel-eyeliner was applied to her upper and lower lash line. (Unless otherwise noted, all shadows listed are by MAC).

I brightened Carly’s cheeks with Nectar blush by Bobbi Brown and added just a touch of bronzer to contour her face. After lining her lips with a neutral lip liner, I gave her lips a generous dose of MAC Pervette lipstick (her favorite!), and topped it off with a sheer candy pink gloss.  

So excited for Carly and her hubbie to be, Danny! Can't wait for the wedding guys!

If you would like to know what brushes I used to achieve Carly’s engagement photo look or have any other questions about her makeup, please don’t hesitate to contact me using the form located on my contact page!

Best of Tokyo Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2013 Makeup Trends

Jessica Varela

Red lips at Hiroko Koshino Autumn/Winter 2013

Red lips at Hiroko Koshino Autumn/Winter 2013

Many of the designers at Tokyo Fashion Week opted to send their models down the runway in what seemed to be the most popular beauty trend for Fall 2013 - the bare face. Variations of the “no makeup” makeup look were paraded, but for the most part, models’ faces were kept clean and contoured. Two collections, Hiroko Koshino and Theatre Products, featured what I think, was the best of the bunch.

At Hiroko Koshino, lips were the focus. Models’ lips were painted a bright red in various skewed shapes, eyes were accented with a black winged liner, and skin was matte and almost white. Think modern day geisha girl.

To replicate the lip color seen at Hiroko Koshino, line and fill in the natural shape of the lip (unless your adventurous enough to replicate one of the shapes seen on the models) with NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dragon Red.

To recreate the winged liner, use a gel-based eyeliner. Most gel-based eyeliners are waterproof and easier to apply than liquid. I always compare applying eyeliners to applying paint. Imagine painting with watercolors (liquid)…the color is sheer and the edges can easily become diffused. Now imagine painting with oils (gel-based)…the color is opaque and you can create a crisp, clean edge. 

Not all products are built the same, however, and I highly recommend splurging when purchasing a gel-based eyeliner. MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack is a must-have! You will never find me without one in my kit. 

Sheer coral lips at Theatre Products Autumn/Winter 2013

Sheer coral lips at Theatre Products Autumn/Winter 2013

Considering it was an autumn/winter collection, the models’ makeup at Theatre Products was surprisingly fresh and light. Eyes were washed with a soft tan shadow and lined with just a touch of eyeliner.  Skin was slightly dewy and cheeks glowed with just a hint of color. A soft, sheer coral was applied to the lips and brows were neatly groomed. To duplicate the Theatre Products look, wash MAC Pigment in Tan on eyes, line with NARS Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner in Via Appia, swipe cheeks with Tarte Cheek Stain in Tipsy, and color lips with NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil in Happy Days.

Hope you all have fun trying these looks and as always, if you have any questions about these looks or about my work as a San Diego makeup artist, send me an email today!


Four Products I Must Apply Before Leaving My House

Jessica Varela


Ok, so I would be lying if I told you that I never left my house without makeup, but I just don’t feel like myself unless I take a few minutes to apply/use the following four products: eyelash curler, mascara, bronzer, and lip gloss.

First things first, I MUST curl my lashes. My stick straight eyelashes benefit greatly from a few pumps of a good lash curler, and, yes, I do curl after applying mascara. But that is another topic for another day. 

Next, I apply jet-black mascara to my lashes. Starting at the roots, I brush back and forth (with force) to the tips. After zigzagging through my lashes, I brush them upwards with several root to tip strokes.

After mascara, I sweep a bronzer on my forehead, nose, brow bone, jaw, neck, and in the hollow of my cheeks. I like to maintain a more natural texture to my skin, especially when I’m not wearing a foundation, so I use a cream product when bronzing. NARS Multiple in Palm Beach is my go to product for glowing, sun-kissed skin.

Lastly, I swipe on a little lip gloss in a natural, neutral color. Currently, my go to glosses are NARS Sweet Revenge lip gloss and MAC Prrr Tinted LipGlass.

The whole routine takes me about 5 minutes and is well worth the effort. My husband doesn’t have to fake telling me how pretty I look and I can walk to the mailbox with confidence. Wink, wink.

For questions about application techniques and/or products, or to just say hi, please send me an email and I will respond shortly. Check out my portfolio by clicking here.


Best of Paris Fashion Week Fall 2013 Makeup Trends

Jessica Varela

Tippi Hedren inspired makeup at Mugler

Tippi Hedren inspired makeup at Mugler

I know it may be hard to think of fall when spring hasn’t even begun, but the best makeup trends at Paris Fashion Week (Fall 2013) can work just as well for spring and summer as they do for fall. In fact, what seemed to be the most popular beauty trend of the week –the “no makeup” makeup look – can be worn year round.

Looks featuring color stood out among the drones of barefaced beauties on the runway. Louis Vuitton and Véronique Branquinho showed versions of dark, red stained lips, and Cedric Charlier’s models walked the runway with a red graphic eye. But I think the prettiest and most wearable makeup looks at Paris Fashion Week were seen at Mugler and Givenchy.

At Mugler, key makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury drew inspiration from 50/60’s Tippi Hendren – creating a “bushy brow, matte coral lip, and glossy eye.” According to, the eyes were washed with a layer of MAC Camel Coat Paint Pot and then coated with a sheer layer of MAC Lip Glass. Individual lashes were applied to top lashes and cheeks were brightened with a matte peach blush.

Want to duplicate the look? Pick up NARS Niagra lipstick and NARS Gina blush. Also, don’t forget to darken your brow with a brow pencil matched to the darkest shade of your hair.


WIne-stained eyes at Givenchy

WIne-stained eyes at Givenchy

At Givenchy, key artist Pat McGrath worked her magic creating a look that perfectly complemented the models’ crazy neon colored helmet hair. Glossy wine-stained eyes and natural lips kept the look simple. Keep in mind, when recreating wine-stained eyes; choose a shade that complements your skin tone. Red-based shadows and creams can turn wine-stained eyes into sick, tired eyes if the right shade of color is not chosen. My pick for the eyes – NARS Multiple in Malibu. Finish the look with a sheer matte foundation buffed into the skin and a thin coat of MAC Lip Conditioner on the lips.

Please note: Camel Coat Paint Pot will not be available till Autumn/Winter 2013. Recommendations are based on a light to medium skin tone. 

If you have any questions about duplicating these looks or would just like to say hello, send me an email and I will get back to you as soon as I can!