#MakeupMonday – Short Makeup Notes July 2014

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LORAC Pro Palette 2

Howdy folks. I’m currently away on business/working hence bloggage has slowed down a tad but I wanted to go back to talking makeup at least a little bit and not promote something for a change*

1 ) LORAC Pro Eyeshadow Palette 2
While I’ve not had a chance to do anything with it yet, I did finally get my hands on this new, coveted palette. I took a look at it at a nearby Ulta and then ordered it from Naimie’s so it should be waiting for me when I get home (pros can get their pricing through Naimie’s).

I have been asked if by folks if they should get Pro 1 or Pro 2. Now that I have seen both live and in person my truthful answer is; it’s up to you. LOL! The Pro 2 palette continues the successful formula of combining a row of matte colors with a row of sheen, shimmer colors. I guess the main difference in my opinion is that the Pro 2 colors are softer overall, which may be more usable to more everyday women. Where the original LORAC Pro eyeshadow palette is a collection of true neutrals ranging from pale all the way to a matte Black and a shimmery deep Charcoal, Pro 2 stays more in the mid-range and includes some pretty pops of color including a pretty plum, a shimmery mossy green and a GORG looking matte Navy that I cannot wait to play around with. While I would still call the Pro 2 a neutral palette, the fact that it stays in the mid tones and adds some “neutral colors” makes this a great palette for personal use, use on brides and “real people” clients, etc. I’m looking forward to getting home and playing around with it!

2) Sonia Kashuk
As anyone who reads my blog regularly knows (or if you’ve studied with me, had a private lesson, etc.) I LOVE the Sonia Kashuk line. I think it is far and away the best of all the mass market brands. Back in the day I wrote this story about the line. Considering about half those products are no longer in the line, I should probably write an updated post. Until such time as I do that, next time you’re in a Target check out the new lip palette and new pro brush collection, both created in celebration of 15 years of the Sonia Kashuk cosmetics line. The Limited Edition Powerful Pout fall lip palette is a range of classic reds, which can of course either be worn alone or mixed to your perfect shade. If you are red-a-phobic this is a good way to stand up to the fear and learn to wear reds. There is a shade of red for everyone! The Limited Edition 15-pc Pro Brush set is a versatile collection includes natural hair (goat and pony) and synthetic bristle brushes and has every brush-type needed for the full face, in a stylish purple color scheme. Personally I am not on board with the colored makeup bristles trend. However I would still recommend these because SK brushes have been an artists secret since their inception. Sonia Kashuk offers very good quality brushes at a very affordable price. In this case it is about $40 for the set. $40! One pro brush can easily cost $40. That’s a great deal.

3 ) Beauty Blender Micro.Minis
I have not yet gotten my hands on the little Beauty Blender Micro.Minis, but I look forward to doing so when I get back from this biz trip. The tiny little Blenders are intended for detail work (undereye, around the nose & mouth, etc). I could also see this helping some folks with blending highlight and contour since the highlight and contour trend doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon. 😐

You can read a great review of the Beauty Blender Micro.Minis on NYC makeup artist Victor Amos’s blog: Pro Beauty Blog And I’ll do my own review after I’ve been able to use them a bit.

4 ) The Business of Makeup
OK I lied. I am doing a little promoting. My upcoming Business of Makeup class is upcoming and I am getting excited. The San Francisco class is happening on Sunday, August 17 and that class is All Systems Go. The Los Angeles class was scheduled for 8/24/14, but due to my work schedule it is being moved back a month to mid-September.


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#MakeupMonday – The Basics: Face Cleanser

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I’ve used the Earth Science skin care brand for years and years…

As Makeup to Go has evolved, my discussion of skincare has increased. Why? You just cannot have good makeup applications on skin that has not been properly cared for. Whether for your own skin or if you’re an artist prepping a client for a makeup application, skincare should be an important part of your makeup routine.

As I have evolved – aka gotten older – my own skincare has also evolved. I have had oily skin with some form of acne all of my life so for the vast majority of my life my skincare philosophy has been drying my skin out in order to keep my skin clear. The result? Oily skin which still broke out, with a superficially dry top layer that resembled crepe paper :-|. Over the years, I have become less about aggressive skin treatment and more about gentle, restorative treatments. While I still use an acne treatment face cleanser to this day, I stopped using any kind of soaps ever on my face. I also became more conscious of keeping my skin moisturized, eventually leading me to the use of facial oils. One day I realized: You know what? My skin barely breaks out anymore! πŸ˜€

The fantastic skincare blog Skin and Tonics recently wrote a fantastic article about the importance of maintaining the moisture balance and acid mantle of your skin. I won’t re-tread the article since it’s already perfect, I just suggest you go read it for yourself. Without consciously trying to do so or even knowing I was doing it, I stumbled onto this formula of success. I already wrote about fantastic face oils, and I had a way-back article on moisturizers you can read here and which I will revisit soon. For now let’s start with the anchor of your skincare routine: your face cleanser.

A few things to take note of:

– I don’t really buy expensive cleansers anymore. There are so many fantastic cleansers in the low-to-moderate price range, it’s really not necessary to pay the extra $. I’d rather my money be put to use in the form of moisturizers, oils, serums, etc. where the extra buying power can and does really make a difference.

– I tend to prefer innocuous cleansers. With the exception of my acne wash, I want cleansers with as few “active” ingredients as possible. Firstly because my own skin can be sensitive and reactive and secondly because when I choose skincare for my makeup kit, I select products with the most sensitive of skins in mind. Lastly, a lot of the benefit of active ingredients are washed away as soon as you rinse off the product.

– For the purposes of this post, I am differentiating between Cleansers and Scrubs. All of the products listed below are non-scrubbing Cleansers. I can only use scrubs very occasionally, otherwise they irritate my skin. And I would *NEVER* use a scrub on a makeup client.

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1. Earth Science – Clarifying Cleanser
My ‘gangsta boo’ cleanser which I’ve used for nearly 20 years now. Cleanses gently yet thoroughly. This light gel cleanser is chock full of skin-luvin’ ingredients such as aloe, sodium hyluronate, allantoin and kelp. This cleanser leaves my skin fresh and clean but never tight and dry. The original has a soft herbal-y scent and if you are sensitive to scents, there is a new fragrance-free version available. PH: 5.5* Honorable Mention: A-D-E Creamy Fruit Oil Cleanser. An oily, non-foaming cleanser that rinses clean leaving skin super-soft but not greasy. Great for drier skin or for makeup removal.

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2. Neutrogena – Fresh Foaming Cleanser
I am fairly lazy when it comes to my skincare routine. I WILL ALWAYS practice good skincare habits, but I am not one of these folks that will do 6 steps in the morning and 10 steps at night. Therefore when I started wearing BB creams on the regular, I had to find a cleanser that also removed makeup in one step. The Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser is a one-step makeup remover and face cleanser in one, and it really does work. I was as skeptical as anyone when I first bought it but I’ve tried it when I was just wearing a BB cream and/or mineral powder and I’ve used it when I’ve had on a fully made up face. In both instances the Fresh Foaming cleanser got it done, thoroughly, in one step WITHOUT leaving my face tight or dry feeing. PH: 5.5*
(Honorable Mention: Neutrogena Naturals Fresh Clean + Makeup Remover. This is from Neutrogena’s green-washed semi naturally derived skincare line. While certainly not as “green” as a brand like Earth Science, this does have some very good ingredients and it gets the job done both as a cleanser and a makeup remover.)

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3. First Aid Beauty (FAB) – Face Cleanser
This is a new addition to my arsenal and I am digging it. First of all, it. Is very nice to have a creamy cleanser which is not oily. Sometimes your face needs a little extra TLC, but if you are an oily-head like me you’ve got to stay cognizant of the amount of oil you’re using on your face. I would rather save my oil allotment for my facial oils. In lieu of oils, this cleanser contains skin-happy ingredients such as aloe vera, NAPCA, and several soothing botanicals, while leaving out such potential undesirables as parabens, sulfates and phthalates. Secondly, the Acronym of their brand is FAB. What more needs to be said? πŸ˜‰ Makeup Artist Note: Due to the fact that this is gentle, creamy and also removes makeup I have a tube of this in my Pro kit as well. PH: 5*

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4. CeraVe – Foaming Face Cleanser
I used to use the Hydrating Face Cleanser – which is the original formulation – back in the day. It is excellent, but it was a bit much for my oily/acne-prone skin (too many and/or too high a concentration of ceramides can be problematic for acne-prone skin). However, it was the one cleanser that I could use when everything else was upsetting and irritating my skin. The newer Foaming Face Cleanser for normal to oily skin is equally innocuous and gentle in a formulation better suited for my skin type. PH: 5.5*
Honorable Mention: The original Hydrating Cleanser. All of the fabulousness plus ceramides and emollients which are beneficial for drier skin.

* PH figures are taken from both online sources and my own PH testing at home. Results are approximate. Testing conditions may vary and as such there is usually a PH range for any given product.

Flower Beauty and Cosmetics by Drew Barrymore

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I generally like to take my time with reviews and see how products act over time and in different situations, therefore I do not necessarily review things right as they come out. When I first read about Flower Beauty and Cosmetics by Drew Barrymore in an Allure magazine cover story on Drew Barrymore, I was immediately intrigued. This is a woman whose own face has been tended to by some of the best makeup artists in the world and who has access to the finest products in the world. In short, this is someone who should know a lot about how makeup should feel, act, wear and respond. Indeed according to that Allure cover story Drew Barrymore was very hands-on in the creation of Flower Beauty. Like the Target-stores exclusive Sonia Kashuk Cosmetics – which I overall love – the aim with Flower Beauty is to bring high-quality cosmetics to the mass-market. As someone who is a bit of a snob with regards to mass market cosmetics, here’s what I found from my investigations.


– Has a full cosmetics range from foundations, concealer and powder to mascara to cream blushes and cream eye shadows.

– Has a good color range in the foundations/concealers for a wide array of skin tones and complexions.

– Attractive packaging.


– It’s at Walmart (more on that to follow)

– Products need to be shrink-wrapped

– Not all items available at all Walmart stores

There is a saying amongst makeup artists that you should spend on your skin and save on your color cosmetics. This axiom holds true as I was definitely least impressed with the foundations/concealer/powder elements of the line. Currently Flower offers a liquid foundation, a stick cream foundation, a full coverage cream foundation, a tinted moisturizer, a BB cream and a powder foundation as well as an illuminating concealer and a regular concealer. In my opinion they would be well served to pare-down and make a few GREAT face products instead of going the “something for everyone” route. I was impressed with the fact that, in the liquid foundation and stick cream foundation formulations, they have a good color range that incorporates all skin tones.

Belle of the Ball: “Skincognito” stick cream foundation. Not too much coverage, not too little, allows skin to show through and to breathe. Comfortable to wear. Good “everyday” foundation. I would not, however, recommend this for photographic use.

Amongst the better offerings in general are the Flower lip products. Here Flower offers two different formulations of lipstick called “Kiss Sticks” (Velvet and High Shine), “Lip Service” lip butter, “Shine On” lip gloss, “Sheer Up” & “Lip Suede” lip crayons and the “Kiss Me Twice” lip and cheek stain sticks. First of all, the packaging of the lipsticks and lip glosses is very attractive and looks high-end. The color payoff on all of these products is excellent, the colors are rich and true. Most of the products – except really for the “Sheer Up” lip crayon – lasted a reasonably long time with the “Kiss Me Twice” lasting quite a long time. And in fairness given the formulation, I would not really expect the “Sheer Up” crayon to last a long time. I found the “Kiss Sticks” (both formulas), the “Lip Suede” lip crayons and the “Kiss Me Twice” lip/cheek stain felt a bit dry on myself and when I used them on talent they all did seem to dry out the lips a bit. This can obviously be rectified with the use of a lip moisturizer before applying the color, but if you’re like me you like your lips feeling soft, so that is a consideration.

Belle of the Ball: “Lip Service” lip butter. This “more than a balm, not quite a lipstick” formula is smooth and creamy, has a nice shine and rich color, and wears well without feeling drying. 2nd Place: “Kiss Me Twice”. I saw some folks comparing Kiss Me Twice to NARS Multiples. I don’t know about all that! LOL! But it is a bendable and smooth formula with great color payoff.

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Flower Beauty “Kiss Sticks”

The eye products are all fairly standard issue with the collection consisting of a selection of mascaras, pencil liners, liquid liners, powder eyeshadow, eyeshadow “chubby stick” pencils, and cream eyeshadows. Alas, many of the colors will not work on deeper skin tones because they just are not pigmented enough. Texture-wise, I found the “Shadow Play” powder eyeshadows a bit dry as less-expensive eyeshadows often can be, however they did blend reasonably well. I would think a primer would be necessary for long wear on the powder eyeshadows. The “Eyes on the Prize” eyeshadow chubby is more like a cream-to-powder formulation so in my opinion they have better blend ability and staying power. The colors are also a bit more “true”, so they are more usable on a wider array of skin-tones. I was very impressed with the texture, finish, build ability and long wear of the “Color Play” cream eyeshadows. If you search the web you’ll see numerous reviews of people successfully wearing these colors for eight hours and more with no creasing or slippage without the use of a eyeshadow primer, and that was my experience as well when I used them on a photoshoot. I hope they increase the color range and pigmentation of this product, they’d have a real winner on their hands if they do.

Belle of the Ball: “Color Play” cream eyeshadows

The blush products were the most just OK (aside from the “Kiss Me Twice”) of the color cosmetics products. Most of the products were too shimmery, and the color selection too narrow and not pigmented enough. I was most interested in the cream blushes but I could not actually try them for reasons I go into below (see: Con – It’s at Walmart).

Belle of the Ball: “Glisten Up!” Highlighting chubby pencil. A sheer, pretty highlighter in a pencil form which makes application easy-peasy.

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Lastly I feel I should offer a word about Flower Beauty being exclusive to Walmart. Note to Flower: PLEASE hire some Flower reps to go to stores and maintain the product displays. The caliber of the product and the quality of the packaging of the product, etc., is definitely undermined by the shabby presentation I found at most of the Walmart stores I visited.

The first Walmart I visited the display was so disgusting (opened product, smeared product all over the display, etc.) I was scared and I left, period. I went to a different Walmart and the display was much cleaner however you can tell that the product has been tempered with. I wanted to try some of the cream blushes & cream eyeshadows however there were clearly finger marks and swipes on the product.

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swiped product for sale at Walmart. #ewww

I was concerned about trying anything that was not shrink-wrapped which left me with few options of what I could try. The store nearest me in Los Angeles was actually the cleanest and had the nicest visual display but they had the least amount of selection (likely due to the color palette not really working for the demographic of that store). I ultimately did my purchasing via Walmart.com and that would be my suggestion for those interested in trying items from this line. I would suggest going to LOOK at the colors in the store but then order from Walmart.com so as to ensure the product is fresh and unopened plus you’d have access to the entire line at once instead of searching for items at individual stores.

Overall I think Flower Beauty and Cosmetics by Drew Barrymore is a fun new consumer cosmetics line. There is not much I would work into a professional makeup kit, but for a woman who wants an inexpensive commitment to some quality cosmetics and/or to try “trend” colors without spending a lot, I would definitely say Flower is worth a look.

#MakeupMonday – Makeup for Breakout Prone Skin

Confession time: I have breakout-prone skin.

By breakouts, I mean acne.* I have battled with it my entire life right up to this current moment. It is overall much better now but my skin can still go from fabulously perfect and radiant to woefully broken out in seemingly a moment’s notice. Whether you are suffering from teenage acne or if you are like me and you are having “adult” acne, it sucks. That said, with proper care, product and makeup technique you really can lessen the impact of acne. Here then are some tips on skincare and makeup for breakout prone skin.

1 ) (Mostly) Everything You’ve Heard Is True
All the basics you have heard over the years about NOT PICKING at acne breakouts, keeping your skin clean, keep your hands off of your face, changing pillow cases, etc. are true. Additionally – and you should do this whether you have acne-prone skin or not – keep your makeup tools clean. Also, eating well and adequate hydration is always the basis of good skin care, acne or no. (Science says that it is a myth that certain foods cause acne. I’m not a doctor so I will not go there, but suffice to say my skin begs to differ.)

2 ) Cleanse Well but Do Not Over Do It
One thing people with acne prone skin often tend to do is go overboard trying to “dry” their skin out. As a makeup artist it is very common for me to see skin that is both oily and dehydrated. You need something that thoroughly cleanses, but does not strip the skin.

When Not Broken Out –
When I’m in maintenance mode, I like a non medicated cleanser like Alba Botanica’s Good and Clean Daily Detox Foaming Cleanser. Clears away excess sebum (oil), lessens redness and irritation but leaves the skin feeling refreshed and not overly tight. Good for sensitive skin as well (which my skin also can be).

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#MakeupMonday – Milani Cosmetics

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array of cosmetics supplied by Milani

Did she say “Milani Cosmetics”? Yep, sure did.

Regular readers of MTG will note that I do not largely discuss mass-market/”drugstore” cosmetics brands because I do not generally use these brands. I am not default 100% against these brands (I use and have talked about some Maybelline and NYX products, for example), but I hold ALL cosmetics – regardless of price point – to a certain standard of performance. Therefore if a product line does not work or if they “work OK for the price”, I will likely not be discussing it here. The Makeup to Go mantra has always been and always will be “how well does this product work when used in a Real World application?”.

This past weekend I had the pleasure of working on an event called “Turn the Beat Around” which was a benefit event for the Jenesse Center (read below for more info), and the cosmetics sponsor for the event was Milani Cosmetics. I have known of the Milani line for a long time, since both the product and the branding were quite different. They were always pretty good, in fact I had one cream eyeshadow from the original line that I clung to for dear life for a number of years. While I was not looking, however, Milani has gone from being pretty good to Pretty Darn Great. For the show we were given an array of products. The Milani line is quite comprehensive now including everything from Brow Kits to Bronzers, so I won’t go into detail on every single item. I will instead focus on those items I ended up using for my final look.

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Smooth Finish Cream to Powder Makeup
If you know me at all, you know that I am going to judge a cosmetics line by it’s foundation/skin products because IMO that is the most important part of a makeup. I was pleasantly surprised with these foundations. They do NOT give as much coverage as a Pro foundation, so if you are used to the coverage of a MAC, Make Up For Ever, Inglot, etc. foundation, this is not the one. In my opinion this product gave good “everyday” coverage. As far as application, I applied it with a brush and it went on evenly and smoothly, it was very blendable and I was able to create contour and highlighting with it, and it lasted nicely and did not crease up, cake up or go crazy as the night went on. Comes in a range of colors suitable for all skin-tones.

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Secret Cover Concealer Stick
Of everything I tried, this was the most “eh” product of the group. It was certainly not bad, it just wasn’t great. I am definitely more used to the coverage of a professional level concealer. I thought this was a bit too sheer/lacking in pigment to act the way a concealer should. It is build-able, however, and it did last well. Comes in a range of colors suitable for all skin-tones.

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Brow Fix brow kit
While it was not great enough to make me switch away from Sonia, I was quite pleased with these Brow kits. I think the most impressive aspect is that they include two colors so you can blend to get the right color for you AND the colors are not too red overall. They even include a teeny-tiny set of tweezers.

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Pressed Powder
This is a good, basic pressed powder. Nicely milled so it goes on silky and not cakey. I do wish, however, that they had a neutral/colorless option as colored powders can be a bit tricky. I primarily used the #9 – Golden powder which brought some luminosity to my makeup similar to how Ben Nye’s “Topaz” powder works.

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Liquid Eye Liquid Like Eyeliner
Formerly called “Liquif’Eye” eyeliners, these are likely the product that began the Milani revolution. Why didn’t anyone tell me before?!? These eyeliners can take the Pepsi Challengeβ„’ with Urban Decay’s 24-7 Eyeliners any day of the week. And this is coming from someone who LOVES the Urban Decay liners, I’ve said many times that the liners are my favorite product from Urban Decay. Well, these liners are every bit as good at 1/3 the price. In doing some online reading, the vote seems to be split as to whether they last as long as Urban Decay’s 24-7 Liners. I used the #1 – Black pencil in the Waterline and I’ve got to say it was smooth, creamy, super Black and lasted all night. Am I going to abandon my Urban Decay? Nope. Are the Liquid Eye Liquid Like Eyeliner a great option to have? Absolutely.

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Shadow Eyez 12-Hour Wear Eyeshadow Pencil
Absolutely fantastic. FANTASTIC. The beautiful jewel tone colors were rich and true, blended beautifully and once set the smudge-proof, water resistant formula lasted all night. Great for personal or professional use.

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Eye Tech Bold / Eye Tech Extreme / Ultra Fine liquid eyeliners
The Eye Tech liners are – again – Fantastic. Super rich, dark, true Black color in a smooth liquid formula that stays put once set. The felt tip allows for precision application for those clean liquid lines we all love. While no problem for personal use, the felt tip is a sanitation issue for Kit use so be sure to alcohol the tip and allow to dry before re-inserting into the tube.

The Ultrafine liner is a sparkly liquid liner. I found it not quite opaque enough to stand alone, but it was fab layered over my eyeshadow to add more sparkle, depth and dimension.

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Huh, I wonder what product this might be based off of? πŸ˜‰
Well like its more expensive cousin, this is a very good all-over bronzer/highlight. It is quite shimmery but this shimmer is nice and fine so it give a pretty, subtle luminosity as opposed to being “sparkly”. I used it on both face and body and it applied evenly and smoothly and lasted throughout the night.

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Baked Blush
The texture of this blush really is silky smooth and it applied flawlessly. This is really important because what generally does not work about less expensive blushes is that they are too powdery, they do not blend well and they do not last. Milani really got the formula right on these baked powder Blushes AND the blushes come in colors suitable and pigmented enough for deeper skin tones. The only drawback is that all of the shades are shimmery. It would be great if they introduced some non-shimmer colors into the mix.

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Glitzy Glamour Gloss
Milani has a number of lip color products amongst its offerings. The Glitzy Glamour Gloss has good texture and weight (not too liquid-y, but not too sticky) and lasted impressively well for a lipgloss. I did not have to touch my model up until after she ate.

The result;

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Pre-show BTS shot. Sorry for the blur, this was shot back in the Blackberry days…

This is my model before wardrobe (hence before lips) and before a few other finishing touches. She stayed in tact all night, needing only minimal touch-ups even after a wardrobe change and a meal break. For anyone aspiring artists who are looking to build their kit, or anyone who wants good quality cosmetics at a great price, Milani color products definitely fit the bill. I’d have to test the foundation/skin products in more photographic situations before giving them the kit thumbs up, but on this night at least I was impressed.

Again, the event I was a part of was a benefit for the Jenesse Center, Inc. Domestic Violence Intervention program. Their mission is to;

“…provide victims of domestic violence with a comprehensive, centralized base of support to assist them in addressing their immediate crisis and changing the patterns of their lives. We seek to prevent and end the cycles of domestic violence through education, research, resources and advocacy provided to individuals, families, the community and agencies throughout the nation…”

To find out more about supporting this vital cause, please visit The Jenesee Center website. Thanks so much to Milani Cosmetics for supporting this important cause! πŸ™‚ .