We’ve all been there—all geared up to experiment with a trendy new beauty look, when suddenly you realize: You have no clue how to do it. Sometimes a girl just needs a demo. And while having a personal makeup artist on call to guide you through the process sounds like a pretty lofty fantasy, it’s essentially become a reality—with the help of YouTube, at least. Now a bona fide phenomenon, YouTube’s makeup and hair video tutorials hit that sweet spot where the super-informative meets the charmingly entertaining (and insanely popular—just note the massive view numbers on some of these clips).
Turns out, Washington counts a beauty vlogger among its very own: Meet Claire Ashley, a McLean-based, self-taught makeup artist who’s been generously sharing her enviable talents via her own channel since 2009. Claire’s YouTube channel now has more than 70,000 subscribers—not to mention the staggering 12 million video views. Wondering how to create an office-appropriate makeup look? Or maybe a bronzy summer face? She’s got a tutorial for that (and 128 more looks, too). Claire’s cache of videos even dabbles in DIY fashion projects and shopping hauls. Read on for more about Claire’s rise to YouTube success and her fave beauty tip, then check out a video tutorial she created just for Shop Around readers.
Tell us about how you became a makeup artist.
I didn’t know becoming a makeup artist was in the cards for me, because I never went to cosmetology school. I received my bachelor’s degree in psychology, but I found myself with a passion for beauty. I’d make frequent trips to beauty counters—MAC cosmetics especially (definitely overstayed my welcome quite a few times)—and asked endless questions about products and learned techniques from different artists.
The hands-on experience really started when I assembled a portfolio of the makeovers I did on my sisters and close family friends. Before I knew it, I was doing wedding gigs and photo shoots and quickly realized that this was my calling.
What inspired you to start creating YouTube tutorials?
I played college soccer for two years and decided to hang up my cleats to refocus on academics and my other interests. All of a sudden I had more time on my hands. That’s when I discovered the large beauty community on YouTube. I watched hours and hours of girls applying makeup and talking about beauty, which is what I did with girlfriends or in my bathroom on my own time anyway, so I thought, “I can do this too.”
It’s probably safe to say Ada Polla was born into beauty. The daughter of a cosmetic dermatologist and a biomedical researcher, Polla moved to Washington in 2004 to launch her family’s Swiss-based skin-care line in the United States. Nearly a decade later, her company, Alchimie Forever, is a skin-care powerhouse that’s carried in spas, specialty boutiques, and doctor’s offices worldwide and is renowned for its focus on the anti-aging power of antioxidants. Naturally, Polla is a skin-care guru—and a product expert. We checked in with her to get the scoop on her personal favorites.
1) Trish McEvoy High-Volume Mascara Jet Black
Ada says: “After years of searching for the perfect mascara, this is the one for me. It doesn’t clump, doesn’t smudge, and tubes off easily. I buy this twice a year at one of my favorite clients, Beauty & Main, in Hingham, Massachusetts.” $31 at Bluemercury.
2) CND Solar Oil
Ada says: “Applying this to my nails every evening gives my hands a hydrated, freshly manicured look in the morning. That and some clear polish (love the Deborah Lippmann one), and my hands look good with minimal effort!” $3 at Blissworld.
When we get word that there’s a hometown contender in a competition, we can’t help but want to cheer her on, no matter what. And in this case, it’s well deserved: A health nonprofit worker by day and beauty blogger by night, Chevy Chase’s own Ashley Weatherford is sitting pretty as a finalist in Allure’s beauty blogging competition, which is being judged by the likes of Lauren Conrad, model Coco Rocha, and Revlon’s Gucci Westman. Now that three of the five challenges are complete, Ashley stands against seven other national beauty bloggers in the race for top ranking. Voting for this week’s challenge, which focused on lazy-day beauty, ends on Friday, and two more contestants will be eliminated on Monday.
We caught up with Ashley recently to get her top five favorite products. Read on to see her picks, then head over to Allure’s website to cast your vote!
1) Make Up For Ever Pro-Finish Multi-Use Foundation
Ashley says: “This can be applied wet (with a damp sponge) or dry. Either way, it makes my skin look like it’s been Photoshopped.” $36 at Sephora.
2) Clinique Even Better Eyes Dark Circle Corrector
Ashley says: “Part treatment and part concealer, Even Better Eyes Dark Circle Corrector is one of those rare eye creams that live up to their name. I noticed results in about two months.” $39.50 at Clinique.
You hear the term again and again this time of year: the “spring glow.” A seemingly endless list of products and skin-care routines claim to be just the formula to achieve this coveted look, but our quick, trusted method requires only one product: the perfect highlighter.
In its many forms—creams, powders, sticks—the highlighter works to reflect light off skin, imparting a flirty, sunkissed effect, while the golden nude and soft pink shimmering hues offer a universally flattering upgrade to your look, day or night. And have we mentioned how easy they are to master? Just swipe (once! a little goes a long way) along the top of your cheekbones, the bridge of your nose, the inner corner of your eyes, and the browbone, then blend. You’ll love the difference it makes.
In celebration of Earth Day (today!), honor the planet with ten of our favorite eco-approved beauty picks, each of which donate a portion of the product’s sales toward a leading charitable cause. Thank Mother Earth for everything she provides us and buy one—or perhaps all ten—of our finds. Bonus: You’ll get to enjoy the warm feeling of giving back—and beautiful skin, nails, and hair, too.
This season’s infatuation with all things pastel extends to nails, and we’re particularly loving the slightly brighter versions, which rework the soft hues into cheerful polish palettes inspired by sweet treats like cotton candy, sherbet, and pretty pastries (to which we say: YUM.). Our favorite interpretations? The tooth-achingly sweet shades of Estée Lauder’s and Butter’s spring collections, shown above and appropriately dubbed Paris Macarons and Sweetie Shop, respectively. Dip a toe—both literally and figuratively—into the mint trend with the soft green hues, or try the lilac lacquers, which feel like a cheerier extension of the winter’s ever-chic dark plums. (We’re also partial to the cool, tropical blue hues.)
Attention, beauty junkies on the hunt for the next best thing: CC creams have finally made it big stateside.
Last year, the BB cream (that stands for beauty balm, or blemish balm), a tinted formula that multitasks as a moisturizer, serum, primer, foundation, and sunscreen, took the beauty market by storm, rapidly becoming a must-have for the busy beauty connoisseur.
Rockville native Jamie Greenberg has made up many a famous face since jetting off to Tinseltown. With a celebrity client list that includes such stars as Rashida Jones, Katherine McPhee, and Kirsten Dunst, she’s no doubt a busy woman—but that doesn’t mean she can’t make time for her hometown. This week, Jamie stopped by our fair city to visit family (talent must run in the genes: her brother is Baltimore weather reporter Lowell Melser), and we caught up with the makeup guru to get her must-have beauty loves—including a few local gems.
1) Mark Touch and Glow Shimmer Cream Cubes All-Over Face Palette
Jamie says: “This product livens up my skin every day. You can use it as a highlighter, bronzer, blush, or eye shadow. It’s versatile and goof-proof—so many products in one!” $16 at Mark.
2) M-61 Hydraboost Eye
Jamie says: “I love Bluemercury! Last time I was in Maryland I discovered the M-61 Hydraboost Eye serum, and now I’m hooked.” $78 at Bluemercury.
Brow-sculpting genius and cosmetics guru extraordinaire Adrian Avila is Nectar Skin Bar’s in-house makeup artist. Trained by the one-and-only Erwin Gomez, Adrian’s worked his magic on a laundry list of boldface notables, including Cynthia Nixon, Katherine Kennedy, Rosario Dawson, and Keyshia Cole (to name-drop just a few). And Adrian’s artistry isn’t his only skill: One of his services includes a makeup bag checkup, during which he’ll paw through your collection to check expiration dates and analyze your colors in relation to your skin tone, then toss the missteps and give you a checklist of what you really need to get. Pretty useful, right? So obviously Adrian’s formed some opinions on what a girl needs, stat. We asked him to divulge his top five essentials—read on to see his picks.
1) Becca Luminous Skin Color Ultrasheer Foundation
Adrian says: “This is a lifesaver as the seasons start to change—with SPF 25, vitamin B, and coconut oil, it will help keep your skin soft and smooth. Always match the shade to your neck.” $42 at Sephora.
With a cult following of beauty editors and celebrities already established in New York, the luxe waxing and threading salon Shobha will test the Washington waters when it opens its doors at 1730 M Street, Northwest, the first week of June. The DC location—Shobha’s very first outside of New York city lines—will offer the salon’s signature brow, body, and bikini treatments, including threading, sugaring (the formula is the owner’s family recipe), and waxing, as well as an assortment of at-home hair removal and skin-soothing products.
“We have a surprising amount of clients in Manhattan from Washington that have been asking us to open here for years, so it really felt like a natural progression for us to come here,” says Shobha Tummala, the salon’s founder, who herself relocated to DC in recent months.
Read on to get the first scoop on the upcoming Dupont store, Shobha’s signature services, and Tummala’s plans for world domination.
Why did you decide to open a Shobha salon in DC?
I started this company 12 years ago in New York when I saw a need in the market—a need I had myself—and we quickly grew to four salons throughout Manhattan. When I came to Washington a few years ago, I saw the same need, right as DC really started coming into its own on the retail/fashion/beauty front. I thought then that the time was right to start making plans. We’ve been so well embraced by the fashion community in Manhattan, and I feel like DC is, in many ways, a kindred spirit on the beauty front. This is a city full of gorgeous women who take impeccable care of themselves, and yet this is a need that is barely being addressed.
How is your salon different from other waxing salons?
From the remarkable quality of our treatments and products to the immaculate cleanliness of our salons, we believe in perfection—and in the continual improvement of everything Shobha. We strongly believe in educating ourselves and using what we have learned to evolve and grow so we can provide our clients with simple and practical ways to maintain their hair removal routine, because life can get hairy enough on its own.
As part of our company culture we have been committed to furthering the lives of South Asian women and children. We have sponsored the college education of ten women through Sarada Kalayan Bhandar and have contributed to School-on-Wheels, which converts old buses into mobile classrooms in Mumbai and Pune for street children, offering them an alternative to begging and teaching them that education is their way out of poverty. Most recently, we made a $100,000 contribution to Shobha’s Home for Girls & Women, which is dedicated to my grandparents. The home supports 60 girls and young women who range from preschool to college age. The home is run by two retired professors who value education and are making sure the orphans are cared for and able to attend school. It is our hope that these early philanthropic steps will lay the groundwork for a full-fledged nonprofit organization in the years to come.