Expert Makeup Tips for Moms

I'm a mom who likes makeup; the problem is that being a mom doesn't always lend itself to wearing makeup. Can I get an amen?

Have no fear my bare-faced beauties, celebrated makeup artist Noel Nichols took a break from creating beautiful faces in fashion, advertising, television and film to answer moms' most frequent makeup questions. 

Let's get started!

A lot of us moms are simply too busy to bother with makeup.  For those of us who wear minimal makeup, what are a few simple steps we can take to make a dramatic (and easy) date night impression?

Most women are afraid of a smokey eye, but it can be very simple and easy to do.  If I have very little time and need to vamp it up for evening, I turn to my trusty kohl pencil.  There are a few lines that have great kohl pencils; I recommend Laura Mercier, Stila or Sue Devitt. Smokey eye doesn’t have to mean a heavy black eye. When in doubt with color, a deep, rich chocolate brown is always flattering. On brunettes I usually use black or dark grey.  Blondes and redheads look great in navy and khaki green. 

To apply: 

1. If you have time, use an eyelid primer on lid first, to absorb oil and to keep your makeup from creasing.

2. Take pencil and gently sketch around eye entirely, using slightly more pressure on the outer corners on both top lash line and bottom lash line.

3. Then using either a smudge brush or finger, blend upwards on your top lid fading the color towards your crease. On the bottom smudge going horizontally back and forth until the pencil is blended evenly under the eye. 

4. Curl lashes (very important!) with a good curler, a Makeup Artist favorite is Shu Uemura, available online and at Sephora.

5. Finish with your favorite mascara. My favorites are L’Oreal Voluminous, Dior Show and MAC Zoom Lash.

For those moms who like to experiment with makeup, any bold and trending date night suggestions you can offer?

For those of you who like to experiment with makeup for evening and have a slightly more skilled hand, I think a classic black liner cat eye is always in style. I like to use a cream liner such as MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack with a stiff slanted synthetic brush. If you have a hard time with it, try drawing your line first lightly with a black pencil then trace over it, and rest your elbow on a counter top. I like to wear it with a multiple use product like Stila Convertible Color on both my lips and cheeks for a fresh look.

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What are some of your favorite cheapy drugstore makeup finds?

My favorite drugstore finds are endless! I like so many cheapies, including  Maybelline Volum Express Mascara, Almay Eye Makeup Remover Pads, Aquaphor Healing Ointment for dry skin (which I use on lips), Ardell Lashes (my favorites are the short black natural style clusters) and I love Revlon nail polishes. Splurge on foundation and concealer at the department store or Sephora.

We all love dewy skin, but I haven’t been able to achieve this look without looking oily, any tips?

Dewy skin is achievable for all! I always make sure I have exfoliated my skin well and used moisturizer before applying makeup. If you have drier skin, try a cream or liquid highlighter on your cheekbones, on your brow bone (don’t overdo it) down the bridge of your nose and a touch on your cupid’s bow. If you have normal/combination skin try an illuminating tinted moisturizer (I love Laura Mercier), you can mix with your regular foundation if it’s too much shimmer all over. If you have oily skin, then you probably don’t need much, just a mattifying product on your t-zone to balance out the shine on your skin.

Moms are always tired, but we certainly don’t want to look it!  What can we do to hide undereye baggage and deep dark circles?

This is the most commonly asked question that I get as a makeup artist! 

Your absolute best defense against under eye circles is:

  1. An illuminating eye cream to reflect light.
  2. A killer under eye concealer! I love Amazing Cosmetics Amazing Concealer for combatting serious darkness. It has highly pigmented coverage and all you need is a tiny bit. I like to apply mine with my ring finger tapping lightly then setting with a brightening powder.

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Just as there are crimes of fashion, there are crimes of makeup.  What are the most common makeup mistakes you see in everyday life?

I definitely see makeup crimes on a daily basis, but my pet peeves are over tweezed eyebrows and too light of under eye concealer! I can’t stress enough how important eyebrows are. They can completely change the look of your face if not shaped properly. If you don’t think your brows are up to their potential, then look up a good brow place in your area and have them done professionally. Even if you don’t want to frequently have them done, they can start you out with the right shape and you can clean them up yourself at home afterwards. 

As for the under eye concealer, I see that a lot of young girls way over doing it right now. When done properly by a professional the under eye area can be highlighted and brightened to bring out the bone structure. But when you go too overboard it looks like a reverse raccoon.  Check yourself out in some photos to see if you’re using a color that’s too light.

Let’s get personal. Where do you find your makeup inspiration?

I find makeup inspiration everywhere!  I look on the internet of course - I love, love Italian Vogue’s website (, and beauty and fashion blogs. Inspiration comes in all forms to me, Old Hollywood, movies, fine art, music, nature, interior design, books, people I see on the street - you name it.

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About Noel:

Noel Nichols enrolled in makeup school at the age of 17 and has been creating faces ever since. Working with beauty industry leaders such as Aaron De Mey and Fiona Stiles in her career taught her not only skill, but the importance of passion and professionalism. Her undeniable affection for makeup and optimistic disposition keep her busy with clients in commercial print, music videos, editorial and celebrity work. Noel is based in Los Angeles and lives with her husbands and two cats. View samples of Noel's makeup artistry here and follow her on Twitter! For booking information, please contact The Rex Agency.

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