Great makeup starts with amazing skin. And amazing skin starts with taking care of our bodies from the inside out. There's that saying "we are what we eat" and our skin reveals a lot of what we put into our bodies.  When we put colorless foods devoid of any nutrient value our bodies can react with our skin becoming problematic. Consuming healthy foods that nourish our body will balance out our hormones and improve our moods. Besides having more restful sleep resulting in our mood and energy levels being more positive and consistent, our skin will glow, look radiant and we'll be able to showcase amazing looking makeup. Feeling healthy and beautiful from the inside out makes it easier to apply perfect makeup. Here are four tips to follow.

1. Get Enough Sleep

Our circadian rhythm is essential to our overall health. Restful sleep can have many benefits to having a more successful day with better moods, energy levels and productivity. It is important to put your technology down at the end of the day and spend time without electronics on. Relaxing by light stretching or meditating for a half hour before bedtime can be helpful. By going to bed and waking up at the same time everyday it will help keep your circadian rhythm consistent.


2. The Skinny on Healthy Fats

Want to know the skinny on healthy fats? Here's an amazing fact...60% of our brain is fat! It is important to feed healthy fats to our bodies and brains to keep our cognitive functions on point and balance out our energy levels throughout the day. Some great healthy fats can be found in avocados, nuts, fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, lake trout albacore tuna), ghee, coconut oil, and olive oil to name a few. Consuming enough of these healthy fats will leave us glowing and feeling satiated. Some may even find their moods elevate and may even result in weight loss. Here's a link to support the evidence of the importance of healthy fats and how it helps our hair, skin, nails and mood.

3. Natural vs. Processed Sugars

The dangers between natural and processed sugars are becoming more controversial regarding our health. It is important to try and eliminate processed and refined sugars. These sugars tend to cause blood sugar levels to spike leaving one feeling sluggish and tired. Natural sugars like stevia, raw honey and pure maple syrup are a much safer alternative as sweeteners. In addition to being safer, natural sweeteners such as maple syrup contains calcium and honey is known for it's antimicrobial properties. How we metabolize sugars is essential to our bodies health. By reducing refined and processed sugars we decrease the risks of diabetes and cancers according to Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

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4. Why go NON-GMO?

The reason for going NON-GMO is simply due to the chemical glyphosate (Round Up Ready pesticides). Crops such as corn, soy, and wheat are grown in nutrient depleted soil and then sprayed with this dangerous chemical, a known neurotoxin and stomach disrupter that will eventually damage us from the inside out.These toxic ingredients are being used in our shaving creams, beauty products, toothpastes, or sweeteners. To learn more about GMO's here is a link to an evidence-based examination about genetically modified crops and foods.

Try to keep it au naturale, folx! Our bodies weren't made to process crazy amounts of chemicals and man-made substances. When we consume these toxic ingredients in the very many processed "foods" available to us today, our bodies will react with skin breakouts, cancer, diseases, and all sorts of illnesses. The U.S. healthcare system loves it and thrives off of our sicknesses. Spend a little more money on higher quality foods and it may cost you less in the long run with fewer medical bills. So get your beauty sleep and consume more natural whole foods and products with less chemicals. Not only will your body thank you for these things but your makeup will look more flawless!

Skincare and Makeup Tips for Mature Skin

I have clients who ask me what are the best skincare and makeup tips to create looks that are elegant and glamorous for mature skin. Try to take good care of your skin when you are young but if you haven't been too attentive to your skin, it's a good time to start now. Here are some of my favorite tricks for youthful and radiant looks.

1. Gently Cleanse, Exfoliate & Moisturize

Great skin is the canvas for your finished look. Use a gentle cleanser. Many women I encounter use harsh cleansers which strip their skin from its natural moisturizer. This forces the skin to overcompensate by producing too much oil which makes the skin have that tight/dry, but oily skin effect. No bueno! If your skin feels tight and try after rinsing off your cleanser, it means your cleanser is too harsh for your skin. I love a good cleansing oil which breaks down makeup and cleans your skin in one step. You rinse off the oil so there are no breakouts. I've been using cleansing oil for at least a decade and my skin loves it. I recommend it to all of my clients -- it will change your skin for the better and make your face feel like a baby's butt. My favorite brands are Shu Uemura, DHC, and my own private label cleansing oil from my studio.

Exfoliate all the dead skin 2-3x a week to reveal fresh, polished skin and then moisturize before applying your makeup! Some great brands for physical exfoliants and scrubs are Laura Mercier, Dr. Brandt, & Guerlain. We also have an amazingly effective microdermabrasion scrub with fine particles available at the Maria Lee Makeup & Hair Studio. It's one of the best I've tried and I use it regularly in the shower.

2. Use Primer

A radiant, water-based primer can give your skin a lit-from-within look. It will also help smooth out the skin and prolong your makeup look. Primer also prevents makeup from absorbing into your skin so your makeup will look fresh all day. Try the regular or radiance primer from

3. Use a Dewy or Natural Finish Foundation and Cream Blush

A foundation that is too matte can settle into fine lines. Pick a finish that is more on the dewy side or with a natural, skin-like finish to make the skin look more youthful. My favorite is the Face Atelier pro foundation which is silicone based and buildable -- it can be found at For more sheer coverage, I love the Sheer Glow from Nars found here. I also love using cream blush which looks like the color is coming from within the skin and oh so natural! After setting the cream blush with a little powder blush, the color will last a lot longer because the powder blush will have more to adhere to. There are several amazing, smooth and non-sticky cream blushes in a variety of colors available at Maria Lee's studio in San Francisco. 


4. Choose the Right Lip Color

Pick nude shades that aren't too nude, think of a "my lips but better" rosy or pinky nude to keep the lips from looking too thin or washed out. Use a lipliner first to line your lips and then apply all over the lips before applying lipstick, liquid lipstick, or gloss. In addition to just getting some awesome creamy, waterproof lipliners we also have in stock some new liquid lipsticks packed with vitamins C and E for great antioxidant protection and moisture! My clients and I love them. :)

4. Use Eye Makeup to Lift and Smooth Out Features

Strategic placement of eye shadow and eye liner can actually give the appearance of larger, more lifted eyes! Darker colors all over the ball of the eyelid or at the outer corners of the eyes can upturn or lift the eyes. This is a great trick to de-emphasize sagging eyes as well as uneven eye shapes. If you have any questions or would like to order any products, you can make an appointment to drop by the studio by emailing For more info on taking a makeup lesson in San Francisco, please click here!


Best Holiday Sets of 2016

The holidays are right around the corner, and I'm sure you are just as excited as we are for the incredible gift sets! We've pulled together a list of the some of our most wanted sets for this season. Great as a gift for a loved one, split into multiple stocking stuffers or to treat yourself!

1. Bite Beauty The Perfect Bite Set ($25.00)

This is an incredible value for 4 travel size Amuse Bouche lipsticks in a wide range of neutrals. These lipsticks are incredibly creamy and pigmented. They are also organic and gluten free! Available at Sephora.


2. Laura Mercier 'Layer Up' Caviar Stick Eye Color Collection ($38.00)

Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks are always a must have for my kit. This is a beautiful range of neutrals that is perfect for day to night looks. Caviar Sticks are perfect for a quick on the go wash of rich, metallic color, or a beautiful base for your nighttime smokey eye that will stay on all day. Available at Nordstrom.

3. Marc Jacobs Beauty Up All Night Five-Piece Petites Le Marc Lip Crème Collection ($49.00)

This set contains 5 deluxe size Le Marc Lip Creme lipsticks with a keepsake makeup bag. This is a great price for a range of wearable shades that will look beautiful through the holidays and all into the New Year. Available at Neiman Marcus.

4. Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush Palette Color Wheel ($44.00)

This palette contains 10 full-size blush and highlight colors. For some light-medium skintones this could be a great all-in-one face palette to contour and highlight the face as well. In years past the holiday blush palettes from Tarte have always sold out, so this will also be a must have! Amazonian Clay Blushes have great pigmentation and all-day staying power. Available at Sephora.


5. L'Occitane Advent Calendar ($55.00)

Gift someone with surprises all month long with this advent calendar. This set contains some of L'Occitane's best bath and body products including their cult-favorite hand creams and shower oil. Available at Nordstrom.