The Year of No Makeup


I made a, somewhat spontaneous, decision to go one year with little to no makeup. 2019 is that year. The idea came from meeting professional, celebrity makeup artist, Mélanie Inglessis at an industry event in Portland two years ago. Maybe not so spontaneous, after all. The idea has been marinating since then, through all of my skin issues, but I pulled the trigger rather spontaneously. Melanie is a Parisian makeup artist and has never worn a stitch of makeup. And she was radiant, confident and her talent was evident, all with a fresh face. She lead a workshop on red carpet, skin-focused beauty  

Through four posts, over the course of 2019, I will track my journey and any revelations over this year, with photos - even if they are hard to share. Now is the time to make sure you’re signed up for my newsletter so you don’t miss out! I also post more frequent photos/check-ins on my Instagram stories (@mgndvn), so be sure to keep an eye on those as well. Note: This feels like the most self-absorbed venture I could begin. The intent is to help others though. Bare with me. 




I made peace with letting myself use brow gel, mascara, blush, and sometimes a red lip. I consider this still going sans makeup, because I am coming from a place of wearing full foundation, powder and the works. So these few products make me feel like my skin is still breathing and I am not hiding. I feel confident, excited and -with the unpredictability of my skin - a bit afraid of what this year holds.


DAY 35

I have worn a full face of makeup 3 times, and partial makeup a handful of times. This day was full makeup. I feel like I am cheating. By partial, I mean, covering up fresh breakouts on my cheeks with light foundation and adding a touch of blush. The days I chose to wear full makeup included events or jobs and being in environments that I didn’t feel comfortable letting my blemishes show. I have felt a difference in myself between the varied levels of makeup that I wear. Most of the time, I enter a room with more confidence knowing that I have hidden the redness and bumps. Although, there have been days when I feel the same confidence when I have the slightest touch of blush and feel as if my skin looks as healthy as it feels.



DAY 49

I had to wear full makeup. My skin was so irritated, the texture is... unfortunate. This year of no makeup is hard. I feel bad about myself in a way that styling my hair, wearing my favorite turtleneck, AND a full face of makeup can’t fix. I can’t even find good lighting to wash out the texture, in an effort to boost my confidence through a photo. I’m fed up with this acne. Not pictured, is the double fever blister on the left side of my mouth that I tried to hide with lipstick. Nothing kills confidence like a fever blister staring people in the face

I have a pretty strong feeling the blemish flare ups are related to my dairy intake, so I have eliminated that almost entirely from my diet. This breakout was the tipping point. Despite how much I enjoy it all cheese, cream and milk-based anything is not allowed in my body. We’ll see how this goes.



DAY 51

My skin was in the same condition as Day 49, but the light was bouncing off of my apartment building just right, I had just moisturized and my hair was doing a new thing. ✨ So this photo made me feel good. Gotta take those boosts where I can get them on this no-makeup journey. Confession: I wore full makeup this evening for an event.







DAY 66

New haircut. New breakout. I have nearly had NO dairy, and I don’t miss it much. But I still have some fresh blemishes. I held out and still applied minimal product, as a sort of stick-it-to-the-insecurity rebellion, but I definitely don’t feel like I’m winning. I blame this flare up on the fact that I traveled for work, without my normal cleanser, left at the mercy of hotel “facial bar” soap. The only thing scarier than that is St. Ives apricot scrub. *EEK!* I haven’t felt as good as I did on Day 1 of this self-procured journey. I still look back at the photo from that day... the face that launched one thousand ships! Gonna go drink all the water I can find.........



DAY 69

This morning Bryson and I visited a new church, so I already felt uncomfortable and like I was headed face-first into an unknown, unpredictable environment. I wore more makeup than normal (my new normal) all week, and today was no exception. I still feel insecure showing up to jobs and social events without hiding my breakouts. That struggle is real. I have hidden the inflammation, redness, and all around frustration under makeup for so long I have convinced myself that I owe other people that courtesy. Which is a lie perpetuated out of fear of what? Rejection, maybe? After church and lunch, this day, I returned home and removed the foundation and actually felt better than before I applied it all that morning. I even felt a little silly for covering up to begin with. The lip moisturizer helped. Why does a touch of shine there boost a look?


DAY 77

I remember feeling particularly good about myself this day. Then I saw this photo and my confidence went way down. However, as I am posting this 10 days later, I feel good about the overall appearance of my skin. There are a couple of red scars, but I feel like they’re so small in comparison to how great the rest of my face looks. This shows me that I may not be giving my body enough credit for its ability to heal and thrive. The health of my skin has come a long way... and I’d like to take this moment to shout out my good friend, Kris Astroff, who has poured effort, love, research and great amounts of time in helping me tackle this. I struggled for a v long time before she jumped in, and I was not doing it well with out her. Y’all be sure to follow her (@kristalksskin) on IG for the most helpful skin tips on the internet, in regard to aging, sun protection, and really anything skin-related. She also posts #TuesdayTalks that focus on a specific topic or ingredient. So informative!



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DAY 79

Proof that hoop earrings make us prettier! I truly have worn the silver off of these since downshifting on makeup. Earrings, making sure my hair is styled, and being intentional with my wardrobe choices have made all of the difference in this Year of No Makeup journey. It’s pretty interesting. I notice the difference in how I feel depending on the jobs that I’m working, since my wardrobe varies from client to client. I feel least confident on long term productions, like movies or commercials, because often times I am surrounded by a bunch of dudes. My set uniform is a band tee, with or without a flannel/hoodie, and sneakers. I probably have my hair pulled off my neck. It’s just not a “cute” look. This day was not one of those days, though And I felt pretty good once I brushed out my hair and put on those magical silver hoops.


Many people have found it interesting that a makeup artist would choose to go makeup-free. I have several thoughts on this. One is that I have been on a long road of skin problems as an adult, and I haven’t been happy with myself because of them. First and foremost, this Year of No Makeup challenge for myself has been just that - for me. Secondly, makeup is not good for our skin! My face was never given a chance to heal because I was congesting the pores and it wasn’t able to breath under the layers. Not to mention I am oily/combination. So even with no makeup, my pores are struggling to stay clear. Add in the creams, liquids, powders, more creams, mica + shimmering highlights... no wonder my skin was so aggravated! In addition, the foundation of my makeup beliefs is great skin. If my client doesn’t have great skin (read: if my prep and treatment isn’t executed well according to the state of their skin) the rest of the makeup won’t look great. I realize I have a bit of an alternative way of thinking about makeup. Many people may not agree with me, however, I hope my Year of No Makeup inspires you to slow down, lighten up and love yourself a little more. After all, can we really love others if we don’t love ourselves? 

My next update will be released at the end of Q2. Until then, let me know in the comments how you feel with no makeup, or why you love makeup! I’m here for a conversation.  



Top 4 Mascara Picks

In a recent post about natural makeup, I skimmed over the topic of mascara brands. It goes without saying (but I'm gonna say it) that I am frequently asked about my favorite brand of (insert product here). People mostly want to know about mascaras, and this is a relatively easy one to tackle given that it generally does not depend on your skin type , what undertones you have, etc.

However, choosing a mascara is still a considerably personal experience. I, for one, do not hate my eyelashes, so I want my mascara to show off what I do have. I may not have the same goals as someone who wants a little 'oomph' in their lash life. Regarding the fact that I see a multitude of different sets of lashes, I need to replace my mascara quite often. Not that I am double-dipping - MASSIVE NO-NO - but I am introducing more oxygen into that tube of mascara, since I am applying it to 3-10 different people within on one day. 'Pumping' air (bacteria) into the mascara dries out the product quicker, therefore needing to be replaced more often.


If you are using your mascara regularly (read: more than 3 times per week), you better replace that tube every 3 months. Mascara has a shelf life of 6 months, but that does not apply to near daily, or daily, use.  We have microscopic bacteria that live around our eyes that:
A. Sometimes do not get along well with another person's body chemistry.
(Limit sharing)
B. Get in the current tube each time you place the wand back inside.
Take care of yourself and the only eyes you will ever have, and replace your mascara every 3 months, honey!  

You may be wondering why I only list my top 4 favorite mascaras. The answer is simple: I am very particular, and I really only love four out of all of the brands that I have tried. This list is not a rating scale, 4 being my least favorite and 1 being the most. It is simply my four preferred mascaras. Note: All but #4 are available in black and brown. Each photo will act as a direct link to the site where you can find the product, so just give them a click! 

top 4 mascara picks #btsfaves



     Why we love it:

  • Not sticky, or shiny
  • True black
  • Great hold
  • Brush is great for coarse, thick lashes
image source:

image source:



      Why we love it:

  • Lightweight
  • Strong hold
  • Lifts lashes
  • Brush is great for separation and lighter lashes
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image source:



      Why we love it:

  • True black
  • Light hold
  • Hypoallergenic 
  • Buildable
image source:

image source:



     Why we love it:

  • Strong hold
  • Unique brush for separating lashes
  • True black
  • Buildable
image source:

image source:


What are some of your favorites that I should try? Let me know in the comments!


Happy Lashing,


Never Goin' Back Dallas Premiere - Oak Cliff Film Festival 2018

                image: Clay Grier

                image: Clay Grier

Last Sunday, a feature film I worked on had it's hometown premiere at the Oak Cliff Film Festival, in Dallas! Never Goin' Back directed by Augustine Frizzell, starring Maia Mitchell and Cami Morrone, is a teen comedy (rated R) about two girls just trying to make it to the beach. I was the head of makeup for this independent movie, which filmed around the metroplex in the hot, hot Texas summer of 2017. Movies require a great deal of manpower, team work and skill. Every film I work on is different, but a few things remain the same: From pre-production until the camera rolls on Day 1, butterflies take up residence in my stomach. I wrap the project feeling like I have grown my family by 30 people. Thirdly, I cry the first time I see the finished movie, every time. All of it is reason enough to continue on this chase after my creative dreams. The first bit of exciting news that we received about Never Goin' Back was that it was accepted into Sundance Film Festival, earlier this year. That was exciting in a major way! Check out what they wrote on it, here (with a brief shout out to the makeup department head towards the end).

On films, I really get to work closely with my director to create looks for each of our characters. These particular looks changed according to what each character was going through over the course of the storyline. Though, I won't give away too much of the story, nor will I go in to too much detail about how their looks change - here is what I created for our two leads, Angela (right) and Jesse (left) 

Maia Mitchell  as Angela

Maia Mitchell as Angela

Cami Morrone  as Jesse

Cami Morrone as Jesse

It was really important for Angela and Jesse to feel like they are real people, not Maia and Cami, causing a ruckus in Garland, Tx as you read this. Obviously, both actors are naturally stunning, so making them appear any other way was nearly impossible. And I wouldn't really strive for that, anyway, not for this movie. We wanted to play up their youthfulness, while not creating something too character-y. Avoiding glittery eyelids was a real struggle! (Any 90s kids out there?).
I had a few points of interest that were most important to me. Firstly, anyone who has worked with me, knows that I am all about skin. If someones skin isn't in the right place, it's hard for me to believe the rest of the makeup. Even as the makeup changed, skin was priority. I also kept the eyebrows on both girls full and natural, to further embrace their youthful characteristics. Cami actually has very dark brows, naturally, so I ran a touch of an ash blonde brow gel through her brow hairs to imitate more of her new growth near her scalp. 
Which takes us in to another big player these character looks - hair color. Yep! Anastasia Strattan came to the rescue there, and interpreted exactly what we wanted. She is a color master, folks - and part mindreader, I think. The biggest transformation was on Cami (Jesse), I love her 'Jesse' hair the most. Anastasia created a naturally platinum, sun-bleached set of locks, growing into more of a mature, sandy blonde. The grown out platinum hints that she has outgrown her innocence and purity. Something so subtle to our viewers, but makes a massive subconscious impact! Its like poetry to my heart. Maia (Angela) had some color treatment as well, to give her rich brunette hair a bit of dimension, which really shows in just the right light. Because brunettes like to have fun, too, y'all! 

image: Clay Grier

image: Clay Grier

Never Goin' Back hits theaters August 3, 2018 nationwide! I am so excited to share this project with everyone. Though this is a rated R film, there was a high standard of professionalism set from the time we touched down on the first day of filming. We had a hilarious time behind the scenes! I am very proud to say that this crew was respectful, mature and considerate of each other, especially our talent, regardless of the movie's content.

I want to give a shout out to the visionary and our director, Augustine Frizzell, whose boldness has started a wildfire of inspiration. I am overwhelmed with gratitude to have worked on a project that meant so much to her. I am honored to be listed among our extremely talented cast and the hard-working crew that brought this script to life. I wouldn't trade those 27 days on set for anything. I have already seen the completed movie, and cried, and I hope you will, too!

Until it's release, view the official A24 red-band trailer here - 

Love and light, beauties! xx