Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pretty Little Things

Back again! After a stressful week of strutting my stuff in the Strawberry One-Act Theatre Festival in New York City I'm here with some more fun little extras. This past week I also taught another makeup and hair course to the students enrolled in the final week of Ballet Theatre Company's Summer Intensive. I taught the hair-do's and donts of ballet for both studio and stage. I gave an in-depth look at how to properly secure a bun, and the difference between bobby pins and hair pins (the former would be used to secure the hair itself in a bun, the latter to secure the hair net over the bun and to the rest of the head). I also gave a brief lecture about the different curls that can be produced using the same curling iron. For instance:
1. Starting at the ends of the hair, clip the hair to the barrel of the iron and roll the hair under. This produces banana curls (though they would rarely be seen in the everyday)- which are standard for any Clara (The Nutcracker) in the making:
Unfortunate Curls

The banana curls in action with the lovely Rani Vance as Clara in a sickening arabesque

2. OR. Open the curling iron clip -starting nearest the root- and physically wrap the hair around the iron and then shut the clip to secure the hair (Basically the opposite of the banana curl). This creates a more natural spiral:
For makeup I did a soft ethereal look. Which could be used for anumber of ballets, including the corps of Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, and of course Swan lake.
 To get the look I used a Champagne matte color over the entire lid. I then used a soft rose shimmer to wing out the edge and finished with a bright, sparkly white on the browbone and inner corner. I also used a sharp-edged brush (I recommend the MAC 266) to bring some shimmer on the lower lash line as well. This creates a soft angelic look:

NOW! Onto my new favorite segment- "Pretty Little Things" Which in no way resembles Oprah's "Favorite Things"list...soooo yah. These items are my go-to, never-fail, amazing beauty products that I think everyone should enjoy and know about.
It goes without saying that a work of art wouldn't be possible without a fresh clean canvas. Same goes for makeup and hair- If your skin isn't healthy, makeup can only go so far without a clear base on which to be applied. So my first spot on "Pretty Little Things" is about skin care products- most notably, the ones that I use on myself! Obviously you have to use what works for your skin type and I highly recommend seeing a professional to learn what would be best to keep your skin healthy and clear! For me, I have highly-sensitive, combination skin that is prone to break out with the slightest provocation. I literally do not touch my face with my own fingers. EVER. This would induce blockages and redness, and eventual zits. This is the plight of the Irish. Thankfully I have discovered a haven for all things skin related: Susan Perry Skin Care in Plymouth MA! This award-winning skin care and medi spa, gives the most incredibly wide array of relaxing facials from an amazing friendly and experienced staff. But more importantly for the purpose of this blog- they have a brilliant line of products, upon which my skin relies for clarity and supple-ness. This includes the following:
1. The Dermalogue Cleansing liquid ($22)- contains a number of botanical ingredients that helps ease oil-prone skin ( I use it twice a day- its genius and cleans away makeup easily!):

2. The Skin Renewal Creme ($21)- which is ideal for overly sensitive skin, helping it become less reactive to the daily onslaught of bacteria and other skin irritants:

These products combined have made my skin PERFECT! So if you ever have the chance, it would be to your benefit to give the salon a visit.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Spur of the Moment Trip to Mohegan Sun Casino

So after I finished teaching dance class on Friday. I was made aware of the fact the the cast of the VERY makeup and hair-intesive show Jerseylicious was going to be signing autographs at Mohegan Sun Casino. So myself and my roomate Carolyn drove-dance gear on- straight to New London in hopes of catching a glimpse of the smokey-eyed cast. Ater catching a glimpse of the line however, we asked ourselves- "What would the Jerseylicious cast do?" and quickly concluded that waiting was passe and that drinks and shopping were in order instead. So following some tequila we came back to catch a converstaion with Gigi's (one of the members of the cast) mother- who was very nice ( we also learned she used to work for Chanel's makeup department) as well as chatting up one of the interns-Susan, who was working the event.  Susan, in fact, was rocking the feather-extension look the right way, as well as keeping us within the security bounds of the Jerseylicious stars.

After a while, and a trip to the bar-where we carried our drinks out, which is the true prupose of any casino- we headed back to the Jersey-ites. The line had come to an end, and we jumped in last minute and I grabbed some quick facetime to Olivia (aka the star of Jerseylicious)! We snapped a quick, albeit poor-quality picture and had enough time for Olivia  to complement my nails and to tell me I looked fabulous in my dance wear. Let this be a lesson to you: Dont waste time on celebrities waiting for tickets and autographs with the rest of the crowd! You have a better chance to win front row seats or run into them after an event at the back door of a nearby bar- at which point you can actually get serious face time with them. In the time you would have spent waiting you could go out and actually have a good time.

 Following this, we headed to Sephora. Obviously. While testing out products and trying to touch up, we came upon the Liquid Aqua Liner by Makeup For Ever. Which I must say packs a serious punch of color and solid lining technique which has been the look as recently as spring:

Meanwhile, I was approached by a rather inhebriated woman with two toddlers in tow. She informed me she was on the way to the Rihanna concert that night- she was clad in rocker-chich leather and jeans who asked me (even though I dont work at Sephora) to apply false lashes and fix her eye makeup. So I applied flared, winged tipped lashes- Sephora brand, cleaned up the liner and mascara she had on, and let it dry. . To finish the look, I then applied liner and new mascara, curled the lashes into the false ones and applied a pale wash of violet over the lids. Let it be known I did all this with sample brushes and makeup in the middle of a crowded store- now THATS resourceful.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Midtown International Theater Festival+ Fun Stuff

HELLO! I'm back with news of my latest hair, makeup, and gay-lebrity experiences! This past Tuesday I was the hair and makeup artist to the cast of Mistress Ilsa- one of the plays of the Midtown International Theater Festival. . To make a long story short- the play was about dominatrices. AWESOME. So I got to work on the lead- makeing hair that would look sharp, unforgiving and edge-y:

Essentially I parted the hair, taking a sharp line that followed the edge of the eyebrow to the back of the head to the crown. I then straightened it, making sure the ends looked unfinished and a little bit fried, to give the look a harsh feeling. I then pulled all the hair off to one side and secure with bobby pins. The other half of the hair I teased and tossed over to the side, covering one of the actresses eyes to add a bit of mystery and edge. Makeup was a basic smokey eye using silver on the lid, accented with white shimmer on the brow bone and winged out black on the outer corner. Finished with a liquid eyeliner wing and deep burgundy lips all that was left was the face: basic foundation and finishing powder and blended with white eyeshadow to give a goth-y sun-deprived appearance.

The other actresses were simple to do in terms of makeup. Kept the eyes dramatic, lips gloss-free (to avoid hair stickage) and blush heavy to avoid stage wash-out.

Carolyn aka The Snake:
Hair was curled over the entire head using two curling irons with differently-sized barrels. The front section of hair was teased into a bouffant and pulled back to meet the back section of hair pulled up in a french twist. Curls were allowed to flow over the top and spill over for some high-styling hair thats ready for the world's most elegant dungeon.

Renee Cole:

Miss Cole, America's premier Lady Gaga Impersonator, was styled simply... until I decided to give her a hair bow after the show over two-for-one Martinis uptown...

This of course followed the premier party of a music video I performed in, for artist Brian Kent, directed and shot by celebrity photographer Mike Ruiz. The filming of the video AND the release party were all featured in episodes of The A-List New York on Logo. LOOK FOR ME! The party of course was a smattering of gay-list visibles including a red carpet, TV cameras, and photographers abounding. Rubbing elbows with Logo celebrities (including Rodiney and Mike Ruiz of the A-List, and Pandora Boxx of Rupaul's Drag Race: Cycle 2) set the tone for an amazing post-makeup and hair filled evening- with myself getting to bed at 6 am...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What is Your Damage, Feather?!?

So...I love the new feather extensions that have flooded the scene over the past few months. But, in my opinion there are ways to wearing them. These accessories should be worn as extensions, I personally feel that their appeal is that they are a natural and earthy way to vamp up a look, but most importantly they should almost appear to be actual hair- they should BLEND. They look best when they suggest a pop of texture and color without being over the top:

HOWEVER, it is when the feather looks like, well, a huge-right-off-the-seagull-feather, it begins to border on tacky. I remember a day when rocking a single bold feather on one ear meant that you were going to meet your boyfriend Patty at the Lilith Fair for some good old fashioned cats-and-crafts pottery class (Ellen, can you hear me?). So to avoid this fate, or appear as if you are some sort of Native American mystic, lets keep this look on the subtle side, n'est pas?:
What NOT to do. Calling chief Little Dove!

Ill be back soon with fun new looks from my makeup/hair instructional course for Ballet Theatre Company's summer dance intensive! <3 Alex

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I'll Get Him Hot, Show Him What I Got... THE GAGA HAIR BOW

If you need to know any one thing about me, it is that I worship Lady Gaga. Call me a stereotype but she is nothing short of a goddess to me. Her musical talents have reopened the door for those with REAL talent in the music industry, and moreover her signature style has re-incorporated shock-rock-glam-pop fashion into the mainstream. One of her signature looks of course is her classic bow, seemingly made out of human hair. Though hers is most likely synthetic, with a little finesse and practice, you too can achieve this look!
The One- The Only
Little Monsters be warned:: There are, not surprisingly, strict rules to rocking this look to any Gaga event- and must be followed closely, lest the fanatics tear you apart with their paws. Stipulations (which I found on a website many months ago, its location currently escapes me) are:
                          1. The bow must be one complete piece of your own hair- no extensions.
                          2. The bow must span the width of your head.
                          3. The bow must be off-center to the midline of the head.
                          4. No visible pins or clips should be utilized
                          5. The bow should be at least 3 inches tall depending on the thickness of your hair- and must stand up straight (not lie flat) atop the head.
My fellow dancer Karis Oasan, who I styled before our spring dance concert
 To Get the Look:
1. Separate hair into half-up, half-down sections, making sure the upper section has more hair, leaving enough in the lower half to span the width of the neck. Secure upper section with a hair tie ensuring the ponytail created is slightly loose (So that the ponytail can be flipped forward).
2. Split ponytail into two sections, this will create the two "ribbons". Alternately tease then smooth the middle of each section to ensure tat the sides of the bow will stand taller than the middle.
3. Bend the sections to meet the hair tie, creating a loop:

                     Pin to secure at the midsection (where the hair is teased) and at the base of the ponytail.
4. Repeat with the other section. Once the basic shape has been created tease the edges of the loop with a pick- this will create more height.
5. Take a third section of hair from the lower half and wrap around the midsection of the bow to finish the look. Secure with bobby pins. Finish with hair.
6. If there are any gaps, or if you are having trouble finishing the look, follow this link. Trust me, this style takes a bit of finesse and practice but  makes a huge statement when done correctly!

My loverly sister Triona on her way to The Monster Ball Tour-- style was completed herself with the instructions you see here

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Using my friend dancer/actress Carolyn Paine's crazy textured hair as inspiration, I took it above and beyond by teasing it to perfection and creating this featherd updo nest perfect to be paired with a peacock inspired smokey eye.
To get this high-fashion inspired look :
1. French Braid  hair while wet or damp the night before to ensure beach-textured waves the next morning.
2. Separate braids and begin to back-comb in small sections over the entire head to acheive somewhat of a heavily-textured afro, ensuring that no hair forms visible peices or strands- the goal is to get it to look wooly.
3. Beginning at the nape of the neck twist hair, gradually gathering more into somewhat of a french twist.
4. At the crown of the head gather hair and begin to swirl in an unkempt counter-clockwise spiral, pinning sections to give a loose and wind-swept hold, giving the appearance of a nest.
5. Tease out any remaining strands of hair and bangs and sweep back into the rest of the hair. Finish with Hairspray ( I use Got-2-Be Glued Freeze Spray).
Be advised: This hairstyle begs the use of hair accessories, feathers, vintage syle fascinators, etc. To give it a Victorian high-fashion flair!

Peacock Inspired Make-up:
-Apply an eye-makeup primer (Primer Potion by Urban Decay) over the entire lid.
-Sweep a pale green matte shadow over the entire lid up to the crease to the outer corner
-Apply a cobalt blue shadow (I reccomend "Plumage" by MAC Cosmetics) over the center lid
 - Cut the crease with a bright purple shadow, winging it out at the corner.
-Highling the inner corner and browbone using a light green shadow with a lot of sparkle!
-Finish with marcara and a blue eyeliner pencil

On Stage-CONNetic Dance's Grimm's Fairy Tales

Even though I was dancing in the show of Grimm's Fairy Tales with CONNetic Dance, I did the hair and make up for most of the cast including a fierce, malicious look of dramatic eyes and a faux hawk ponytail with purple streaks for The Evil Queen (Ashley Fichera). Check out the company's facebook page to see more pictures from the show!
I also had done the hair and make up for the promotional photos and posters.

Faux Hawks Rock

I love faux hawks!! For a rocker look: section hair in layers down the mid-line of the scalp working from the nape of the neck upwards to the crown of the head. Using small clear plastic elastics make tight small messy ponytails. These should be tightly secured and smoothed back with styling gel or Spike-It (by Beyond the Zone hair line.) Tease each pony individually and then tease them together to get the texture of a solid mohawk shape. Finish with lots of hairspray.
Model Ashley Fichera with my hair and make up design. Photo by Nick Caito.

Forever Young Fashion Show

Recently I did the Make-up for the Forever Young Fashion Show in Hartford, CT featuring the line by Rachel DeCavage of Evergreen Design. The show featured over 100 outfits from her clothing line which "seeks to educate and inspire people to make more sustainable choices without having to dish out wads of cash." Here are some images from behind the scenes and the runway.