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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!

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:

Friend Profile - Goddess on the Go

Jessica Varela

Image 1.jpg
 Leora Edut and Monique Reavis of Goddess on the Go

Leora Edut and Monique Reavis of Goddess on the Go

One of my best friends, Leora Edut, founded a workshop – Goddess on the Go – a couple of years ago in New York City and just this month brought her women only daylong “retreat” out here to the West Coast.

 I’ll be honest, even after hearing Leora talk about it these past couple years, I still wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I headed up to LA to experience a workshop for myself.

 According to the Goddess on the Go website, each workshop is led by a group of experts in wellness, spirituality and beauty. “Too often women are busy running from place to place, forgetting to take care of themselves (if at all),” the website states. Goddess on the Go gives women a chance to “reconnect to their essential needs so they can experience life with a full ‘tank’ of gratitude and glow.”

 Goddess on the Go attendees

Goddess on the Go attendees

 Shoe Strology by The Astro Twins

Shoe Strology by The Astro Twins

The website’s description is so fitting because leaving the workshop I felt inspired, reenergized, and blessed. Leora and her team did an amazing job of creating an open, safe, and loving environment for us to connect with other women and reconnect with our selves.

 The workshop I attended featured an amazing Buti Yoga session and a number of dynamic speakers, including Monique Reavis of Goddess Huntress, Britney Castro of Financially Wise Women, and Tali Edut of the AstroTwins.

 Every workshop is different and features a variety of speakers, so if you can, I highly recommend you go to the next workshop! For more information about the next Goddess on the Go LA, visit


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.

Locals Profile - Studio 514

Jessica Varela


Joan Crawford once said that the most important thing a women could have – next to talent – was her hairdresser. I have to agree with Joan. Just like makeup, hair has the ability to drastically change one’s appearance. But unlike makeup, hair cannot be removed or replaced easily, which is why you want your hairdresser to have the most important thing a women (or man) could have – talent.

At Studio 514, the word talent is synonymous with the word hairdresser. Owners Mike and Gloria Taylor, who are also head stylists at the salon, have built a following of environmentally conscious clients who appreciate the salon’s artistic, laid-back atmosphere.

Studio 514 is one of only a handful of salons in San Diego offering organic hair color and hair care products. The salon features a large selection of organic hair care lines, including Italian made Davines, Kevin Murphy, Onesta and Grant’s Golden Brand. The salon is also a retailer for RAEN sunglasses and Brixton accessories.

But, as owner Mike Taylor says, “Studio 514 is more than a salon. It’s a product of the local Oceanside culture.” In addition to offering top-notch hair and makeup services, Mike has made it a priority to ensure Studio 514 is “a place for artists to come and be stimulated by modern creativity.” Clients can walk into the salon at any given time and see local artists featured on the walls.

I have no doubt that if she were still alive; Joan Crawford would be a loyal Studio 514 client.

Makeup Muse - Wonder Woman

Jessica Varela


Comic-Con, the world’s largest comic book/fantasy/character convention, ended a little over a week ago here in San Diego and I must admit all the buzz and hype surrounding the four-day event inspired me to write this blog. Superheroes wear makeup too, and in fact, some would be unrecognizable without their elaborate makeup and getups.

As I thought of how characters and costume relate, I asked myself, “What female comic book/fantasy characters have a good, wearable look? A look that could be worn by almost any woman right now?” A few came to mind…Catwoman, Princess Leiea, Supergirl and of course, Wonder Woman. Of all the comic book/fantasy characters I could think of, Wonder Woman is my favorite. I remember watching reruns of the 1970’s television show as a kid and thinking how cool it was that her alter ego, Diana Prince, could transform so quickly into a lasso wielding, bullet deflecting superhero.

Although a few actresses have played the role of Wonder Woman, to me, Lynda Carter is the best physical embodiment of a character who “triumphs with love, not fists or firepower.”

Who knew conquering evil with love required a skintight bodysuit, red boots and red lipstick? If there’s one thing I learned from Wonder Woman, you can fight like a man and look fabulous doing it.



Want to look like a wonder woman? Smother your lashes with Diorshow by Dior mascara, swipe NARS Fire Down Below lipstick on your lips, and fill in your brows with a new NARS Brow Perfector.

For questions about application technique or product selection, please fill out and submit a contact form. Model: Rebekah Leon Makeup: Me

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.


Raising Varela - Standing Reach

Jessica Varela


In the sport of basketball, height, wingspan, and standing reach are three “measurables” associated with players. Standing reach is defined as “the measure of how high an athlete can reach while standing flat footed,” and is calculated by subtracting the highest point a player can touch while jumping from the highest point a player can touch while standing.

In the 2009 NBA Draft Combine, Connecticut center Hasheem Thabeet, who stood at seven feet one inches (without shoes) and spanned seven feet six inches, had a standing reach of nine feet, five inches. Amazing. But what I find even more amazing is that my 20-month-old could probably school Thabeet at reaching items that seem to be out of reach.

No matter how high (or pushed back) an object may be, she can always reach it. She may cheat a little and stand on her tippy toes from time to time, but she always succeeds. I’ve watched her. She zooms in on her target, juts her arm out, extends her fingers, wriggles her wrist, and before I can even react, she has the item in her hands.

Some days, I feel like I do nothing but constantly move items out of her small, pudgy grip. It's like a game, a game of chess …and she’s winning. Even now as I finish this blog, she’s got her arm outstretched over my dining table trying to grab the keyboard! 

Standing reach should be defined as “the measure of how high a child can reach with lots of determination, curiosity, sticky fingers, and fearlessness.”

Want to know more about my life as a So Cal mom or my work as a makeup artist? Send me an email with your contact information and I will get back to you as soon as I can.  Look forward to hearing from you!

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!