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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!

Filtering by Tag: makeup artist

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. 

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.


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!


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!