Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Make Me Over: An Afternoon Makeover With Karen Duncan

Karen Duncan

Last week I met up with the lovely Karen Duncan (aka the MakUpDiva for all you Twitter-folk) at Me U Salon and Spa in NYC where she works as a make-up artist for Bilkerdijk Cosmetics. Karen worked her magic on my cosmetic-less face (my shades were working overtime that morning!), while we spent some time chatting and I picked her brain about what colors she thought worked well for me and what trends she was digging for the Fall. Karen custom blended both a foundation and powder for me that would work best for my extremely pale skin, including the necessary complexion correctors (green for some of the redness in my skin, for example). The Bilkerdijk line specializes in creating custom-made foundation and powder colors for each client, which I thought was fabulous, considering the fact that I sometimes have difficultly finding the perfect foundation color match. We also discussed the need to pick out the right concealer shade, especially for the undereye area. It is a common misconception to think that we always need to go a shade lighter to disguise dark circles. In fact, going with a color that matches the skintone more (and even mixing a darker shade with a lighter one) might help to conceal better. No one wants the "reverse raccoon" look, as Karen so perfectly put it! You know what I mean, ladies - think those lighter circles around your eyes that can stick out against your darker complexion ;-)

Alright, brace yourselves, everyone! This is a "before" photo of my mug before the makeover. The humidity really did a number on my curly hair ;-)

As we talked, I mentioned to her that I am always drawn to pinks - for blush and lip colors - and she told me that corals might be a better way to go to warm up my complexion, especially for the upcoming Fall season. A coral lip gloss or more of a pink/gold shade to kick things up a notch, perhaps? She was all about the neutral eye with a little liner along the top lashline only to keep things soft - in a shade that wouldn't be too harsh against my fair skintone, such as a metallic brown, sage green, or a pretty grey. A multi-dimensional shimmery loose shadow can also give the the lid area that special "pop." It's also great to apply this in the inner corner of the eye to brighten up the area. She thought that a very simple eye - maybe even just a little bit of liner - could be great on me for Fall, paired with a bright matte orange/coral lip and a soft peachy cheek. I love the look of a bold matte lip, I've just been too afraid to try it! Karen convinced me, though, that I can "make it work," as Tim Gunn likes to say.

So now, for the final look! A picture is worth a thousand words, so check out a couple of the "after" shots. I was very happy with the way it came out. My very white and washed out complexion was warmed up nicely with a beautiful bronzey glow!

Post makeover posing with Karen. She's gorgeous!!

And now for a list of the Bilkerdijk products she used to make my not-so-flawless complexion radiant and beautiful:

Non-alcohol toner and Oil-control moisturizer on the T-zone

Vitamin E cream on the rest of the face

Custom-blend foundation and mineral powder

"Light" Bronzing Powder and "Gold Coast" Cheek Duo to add a bronzey glow

A little "Kalypso Coral" Powder Blush as pop of color on the cheeks

"Buttercream" eyeshadow (from a quad) topped with a little "Sand Beige" loose eye dust

"Marcasite" (metallic grey) waterproof gel liner

Lash thickener/primer

Black masacara (lashes were curled before and after mascara application)

"Tangerine" waterproof lip liner

Lip color softened with a little foundation

#66 (light coral shimmer) lip gloss on top and a little #59 (pinky gold shimmer) gloss in the center of the lip

A few pictures of the make-up up-close and personal!

The wall of Bilkerdijk!

Glosses have me weak in the knees!

The make-up Karen used on me all laid out....

Posing in front of the salon

I had a really fun afternoon with Karen (I think we spent about 2 hours or so together!) She really taught me a lot and gave me a fabulous natural look to boot! I'm definitely going to invest in some corals now ;-)

Check her out! She's on Twitter as the MakUpDiva and she also has a great blog of her own at I promise it's a read well worth it! She's such a sweetheart - definitely no diva here!


  1. omg! How exciting! Amazing pictures! You look gorgeous before and after! Corals definitely are you!!!

    Love this post!!!

    xoxox Sara

  2. Amy what a fabulous post!!! Thanks so much for coming to Me & U Salon nand letting me "play" with your face. It was a pleasure making you look even more lovely than you already are. You'll truly beautiful inside and out! Smooches!!!

    Karen (aka MakUpDiva)

  3. Holy Crap, you look so gorgeous!!!!!!!!

  4. Sara - Thank you! It was so much fun!

    Karen - I had a blast with you! I loved that you were so patient and it was enjoyable chatting with you while you made me look beautiful! Writing this post was fun, too. I got to really take a look back at some of the great tips you gave me. I'm totally game if you ever want to do my make-up again ;-)

    Houston Living - You are so sweet!! Thank you!