bSMART Guide

Makeup artist, beauty expert, TV host, and author, Carmindy has been changing the way women see themselves since she first worked at the Merle Norman counter when she was 18 years old.  As a child who struggled with being overweight and not her beach town’s definition of a classic beauty, she knew first hand what it felt like to be the subject of bullying and teasing.  At first using makeup and bangs to hide her face, Carmindy eventually learned how natural and subtle makeup techniques could enhance her unique beauty and her confidence followed.

After years of working with models and celebrities, Carmindy discovered her true passion as the makeup artist on TLC’s What Not to Wear showing women how they can celebrate their uniqueness with natural makeup using her tips and techniques.  Now the author of four books and a recurring TV host, Carmindy is sharing how women of all ages and skin colors can apply the 5-minute face to bloom into the unique and confident woman they were destined to be.

Click here to learn more on and click here to purchase her best-selling books and products.


I learned how a stroke of a brush and a positive word can change the way we feel about ourselves.


Growing up Glamorous

How can makeup help us embrace and emphasize how we’re unique?

Makeup can enhance and celebrate how we're unique because it’s about what I call ‘feature focus.’  I wrote my book Bloom: A Girl's Guide to Growing Up Gorgeous to give girls the tools to recognize what’s uniquely beautiful about them.  That’s when makeup becomes fun.  Makeup should always be used to enhance your natural beauty and not to paint on someone else’s idea of what’s beautiful.  Everything about us is unique and special.

There’s a famous quote by Charles Darwin that says, ‘If everyone was cast in the same mold, there would be no such thing as beauty.’  What I try to instill in women is that all of us have something that is completely different.  It’s like flowers - there are cactus flowers, daisies, tulips, daffodils and they’re all completely different and unique, but they’re all beautiful in their own right.  We need to look within ourselves to find that unique beauty.

How can we use makeup to be taken seriously as young professionals?

We can use makeup to be taken seriously as young professional women because it’s about projecting self-confidence.  When you look polished, pulled-together, and on top of your game, people are going to take you more seriously.  If you walk in and your hair’s a mess, you don’t have any makeup on, you threw on the first thing you found in your closet - it’s not giving the right message.  I’m not talking about overdoing it and walking in like a painted vixen (that’s the opposite of what I’m talking about).  I’m talking about polishing your natural beauty.  Using makeup to enhance those great features and feel confident

When you take a few minutes to pull yourself together, people are going to notice.  You’re going to walk a little taller and your confidence is going to be lifted.  I tell women, if you’re going to an interview or meeting, put on a bold lipstick.  Nothing says confidence better than a bold lipstick.  Having the confidence to wear a lip color like a red, orange, tangerine, or raspberry shows you know what’s going on and you feel good about it.  Just make sure you balance the rest of your makeup so it’s only that one feature that stands out.  When you walk in that polished, people are going to notice.

What are your beauty basics and daily routine we should follow?

There are a few beauty basics all women must do (and it’s what I do on a daily basis) called the 5-minute face.  The 5-minute face was something I created on What Not To Wear after years and years of working with women of all races, ages, and skin types.  It includes a well-groomed brow, an even complexion, highlighting or Carmindizing the face, line and define the eyes, and a little color on the cheeks and lips - it’s that simple.  I wrote a book about it called The 5-Minute Face: The Quick & Easy Makeup Guide for Every Woman and it’s 5 easy steps any woman can do.  You can groom your brows yourself or have them professionally done, but a well-groomed brow sets the stage for your beautiful eyes and face.

To apply the 5-minute face, start by evening out your complexion whether it’s a tinted moisturizer, BB cream, or liquid foundation and make sure your skin-tone is even.  Next is the Carmindizing highlighter: highlight underneath the brow, inside the corner of the eye, and on top of the cheek bones - those three places celebrate your unique beauty.  It brings light to your cheeks by lifting them, your eyes sparkle, and when you put highlighter under your brow the lids look naturally defined so you don’t have to wear extra eye shadow.

The next step is to line and define your eyes.  Put a little smudge of eyeliner on the upper lash line for definition, add one sweep of mascara for fun flirty lashes, then add a swirl of rosy pink blush to the apples of your cheeks and finish off with a rosy lip tone.  All of these colors are universal.  They work with all women of all ages, skin types, and tones.  You just have to pick the right foundation color for you and everything else is universal.  A champagne highlighter works on everyone, chocolate brown eyeliner works on everyone, black mascara works across the board, and rose on cheeks and lips works for all skin types too.


When you look polished and pulled-together, people are going to take you more seriously.


What is your advice for shopping and applying beauty on a budget?

I know times can be tough and money is important to all of us and blowing a wad of cash on something you have to replenish is not a smart idea.  There’s a time to splurge and a time to save when it comes to your beauty products.  Drug stores have finally caught on and they create amazing products in certain categories like mascara, skincare, and lip colors (you don’t want to blow $50 on a lipstick when the trends change so quickly!).  You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a self-tanner either - the ones at the drugstore are amazing.  For brushes, we used to spend $40 on a blush brush whereas now, not only can you get them at the drugstore, but they’re cruelty free, so they feel like real hair and you’re being responsible.

There is a time to splurge and that’s when it comes to specified skincare.  If you’re acne prone then using a company like Proactive is probably a good idea for you.  If you have short eyelashes and want them to grow, Latisse is a product you want to spend money on.  You’ve also got to spend money on a really good liquid foundation.  It’s hard to try on a foundation at the drug store, but you can try them in a department store or a shop like Alta or Sephora.

There are a lot of three-in-one products or two-in one products like the blush / lip combo that help you save money by buying one product that acts as two things.  There are warm up powders that can be used as a bronzer, blush, and an eye shadow.  Highlighting creams and powders are great because you can use them on your body, under your eye, on the inside corner of your eyes, and on your lips.  It’s a great product to go in many areas without spending a lot of money.

Brows are one category you can save on.  There are really great brow pencils at drugstores and you don’t have to spend a lot of money going to a professional salon to have them threaded or waxed.  You can find tutorials online that show you exactly how to groom your eyebrows properly.  There are many ways to save money and have beauty on a budget.

What is one essential beauty habit to transform how we feel on the inside?

One thing you can do before going to school, starting your job, or running out the door is to look in the mirror at your favorite feature.  Say it’s your skin, eyes, or lips.  By playing up that one individual feature – it’s going to make you feel more confident throughout the day.  Say you have beautiful skin, but you have a little breakout.  Go ahead and take the time to smooth on a little foundation and powder and you’re going to walk out of the house feeling confident.  

If your eyes are your main focus, take the time to sweep on a little black mascara and a highlight.  That’s all it takes and you’re going to have fun, flirty eyes and you’re going to feel good.  If you’ve got beautiful lips and you really want to showcase them, swipe on a gloss.  You can do it on the subway, on a bus, or in a car at a red light.  The key is to take one beautiful feature and take a second by playing it up so you feel confident and beautiful.


Watch Carmindy's bSMART interview here!

Because I was able to overcome my insecurities, I’m able to help other women do that.


Blooming Boldness

What is the biggest confidence challenge you have had to overcome?

I was not always as confident as I am now.  I struggled with insecurity issues and self-esteem issues stemming from when I was a kid.  Growing up in southern California in a beach community, I was the overweight kid.  I was teased and made fun of.  I was bullied and it happened for years.  So of course my self-esteem was in the toilet and I played what I call the compare and despair game.  I would look at the pretty girls and think, 'I don’t look like them, so I’m not good enough.'  Then being teased and bullied, I started going within myself and not doing the things I wanted to do like join Junior Lifeguard or go surfing or do things at the beach because I’d have to be in a bathing suit.  One day I asked myself, 'Why am I stopping my life?  Why am I limiting myself to do the things I love to do because of other people’s opinions?' 

That’s when I started getting into makeup, and reading fashion magazines.  My mom was an artist, and I started thinking that there’s a way I can learn about beauty.  I’m seeing it in all forms, and I can also start using it to empower other women.  By learning how to do makeup, and doing makeup on my friends and family members, I learned how with a stroke of a brush and a positive word, we can change the way we feel about ourselves and the way other women feel.  

That’s when I started my life long goal to bring beauty to every woman I touch.  I found working with models and celebrities that they suffer from insecurities too.  I’ve worked with cancer survivors, mothers, retirees (you can’t imagine how many women I’ve worked with) and I find beauty in all of them.  Because I was able to overcome my insecurities, I’m able to help others do that.  A lot of times, these women feel so incredible after working with me or after learning some of these techniques, that their whole life changes and they manifest all of the beauty and abundance that they truly know and deserve and change their perspective on themselves.  If I can do it, anybody can do it.


The true secret to happiness is doing what you love and then the money comes.


What advice do you wish you had when you began building your career?

When it comes to building a career, the most important thing you can remember is to truly be yourself, go after what makes you completely happy, and don’t think about the money or what other people think.  The true secret to happiness is doing what you love and then the money comes.  That’s what happened with me.  I found my calling.  For me it was early in life.  Some women find it later in life.  Meditate on what makes you truly happy and go for it.

When I started off in the makeup field there wasn’t social media, or online resources, there wasn’t such thing as a makeup artist.  It was a scary, out of my reach, career.  What I did was start by asking a lot of questions.  I found somebody who knew somebody who was a makeup artist and I sat them down and asked questions.  Then I picked up the phone and said I’m going to apprentice for anybody who wants me for free.  I cleaned brushes, got coffee, and just wanted to be on set.

If you don’t know how to go about a career, start by asking a lot of questions and volunteering yourself to apprentice, intern, and do as much as you can just to learn.  That is the best education you can get.  Do it from the heart, don’t do it for the money.  Never do it for the money.  That happens later in life.  That comes when you’re truly successful at what you do because you love what you do.  Meditate on what it is that makes you happy.  You can do anything.  The resources are out there more than they’ve ever been before because we have everything available on the Internet.  Be clear, be concise do what you love and happiness will come.

How can we overcome negative pressure for beauty standards in media?

There is a way to overcome the negativity we see for beauty standards in the media.  One of the things you have to realize is that we are society.  It’s up to us to change the game.  We say, 'I see are airbrushed pictures in magazines and people telling me I should look like this or that,' but you have your own mind and platform.  We are society and we can be the media – especially with social media.  It’s up to you to make a change.  You can’t just complain about it, you’ve got to do something about it.

Start what I call contagious compliments.  Hashtag #contagiouscompliments if you see a woman, any woman, and she has something beautiful like her hair, lips or smile.  We’re so busy tearing each other down, whether it be in reality shows or from jealousy.  Start practicing #contagiouscompliments and you’ll see what happens.  Women will start feeling good about themselves, it’s going to make you feel good, and it’s contagious because then they’re going to do it for somebody else.

This is how we can start changing the negativity we see in media about the pressures of being beautiful.  When you start complimenting women who aren’t conventionally beautiful about something they have that’s gorgeous, their self-esteem soars and then your self-esteem soars because it is contagious.  It’s really about owning your uniqueness, using your social media platform to empower and uplift women, and then you’ll see the negative pressures are no longer pressures.


We are society and we can be the media – especially with social media.


How can we use social media to empower a positive self-esteem in others?

If you want to use social media to empower self-esteem in others, I go back to something I’ve written about in my books, which is sharing #contagiouscompliments.  Telling women they look beautiful instead of telling them they look terrible or stop gossiping about them, watching reality shows where we celebrate women tearing themselves down, or buying magazines with captions: ‘Celebrities without makeup or celebrities with cellulite.’  Stop playing into those media platforms, stop buying those magazines, stop watching those reality shows.  Using social media to compliment one another is the way to use your power and platform for good.  #Contagiouscompliments is about telling somebody she’s beautiful.  If you see a woman who has beautiful hair, gorgeous skin, great shoulders - tell her!  You don’t know what kind of day she’s had and that one compliment is going to make her day so much better and it’s going to make you feel better.  Hashtag #contagiouscompliments to empower self-esteem in others and be part of the movement.

The other thing to do is to share a quote or a saying that helps us feel good everyday.  I call them ‘mirror mantras’ and I’ve been doing them for years.  If I look in the mirror and feel bad about myself (we all have those days) and think, ‘My skin looks terrible' or 'My eyes are getting wrinkled,’ I start practicing mirror mantras.  Look in the mirror and say something positive to follow up every negative thought and pretty soon you change that record of negativity stuck in your head.

Take a lipstick and write on your mirror.  Write, ‘I am beautiful,’ so every morning when you wake up and you’re getting ready, it’s in your face that you’re beautiful or have a great smile or that you look gorgeous today.  Write it on your mirror and then it will start sinking in and pretty soon that ‘Oh I feel fat today’ or ‘Oh look at my dark circles,’ starts being replaced with, ‘I look amazing. I have a hot smile. I’m radiant today.’  You can also help build self-esteem in others by putting mirror mantras on social media.  Start sharing encouragement and compliments and you’ll see it blooming all over the world.

How can we be smart with beauty like you?

If you want to be smart with your beauty, like I had to learn, you have to remember that you should be celebrated.  The definition of celebrity is one who is celebrated – celebrate yourself.  Don’t look outside yourself to find who it is you’re supposed to be or what you should look like.  Celebrate yourself.  Become that iconic woman you were destined to be.  You can be fearful, but do it anyways.  That’s the key.  It’s about doing it even if you have that fear.  Conquer that negativity.  Celebrate yourself.  It’s not about ego.  It’s not about bragging that you’re better than this or better than that.  It’s about owning it and having that beautiful power from the inside out.

We’ve been using makeup for thousands of years as women.  The more advanced we’re becoming as women, the more insecure we’re becoming, which I don’t understand at all.  Thousands of years ago women used makeup as a form of empowerment and power.  They used makeup for fertility.  They used makeup to attract wealth to raise standards to change all kinds of things, but they used it in a powerful way.  Now we use makeup to hide who we are and paint on somebody else’s idea of beautiful.  If our eyes are too small we try to make them bigger or if we don’t like our complexion we try to contour it and make it into something else.  That’s not what makeup should be used for.  We’ve got to think like our ancient sisters.  We have to use makeup as strength and as empowerment to feel good and that’s the way to be smart about your beauty.


The definition of celebrity is one who is celebrated – celebrate yourself and others.




Become that iconic woman you were destined to be.


Spotlight on Carmindy 

Neighborhood: Fidi

Occupation: Makeup Artist, Beauty Expert, Author, TV Host, Owner and CEO of Carmindy Beauty

Women I Admire: My mother Julie Bowyer, Oprah, Malala Yousafzai, Lizzie Valesquez, Elizabeth Arden and many others who are strong, overcome their fears, take chances, believe in themselves, inspire and empower other women and still stay happy!

Dream Mentor: Mary Kay

Look of the Season: Boho Chic

Ultimate Accessory: My gold Ippolito bangles

Favorite Store: Warm in NYC

Go-to Outfit: Always a bohemian dress

Must-have Shoes: Gold Greek or Indian sandals

Favorite Nail Polish: Whatever my wonderfully talented Japanese nail artist Etsuko Cup blends together.

Can't Live Without Product: My Carmindy Beauty Game Changer Foundation (Coming soon!)

Salon Recommendation: Color: Shannon Forman at Cutler Salon Soho. Cut: Ted Gibson at Ted Gibson Salon.

Signature Scent: Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanille Coco

Beauty Essential: Creme De La Mer

Cocktail of Choice: Tequila, club soda and fresh squeezed lime juice

Best Date: A tiki torch lit dinner on a tropical beach at sunset eating lobster

Travel Destination: Greece, Africa, South Pacific and Carribbean

Current Craving: Dark chocolate is never far from my mind

Best Advice: 'Never look to a man to be absolutely everything you need. That's what you and your girlfriends are for.' - My mom who's been happily married for over 48 years.

Favorite Quote: 'If we were all cast in the same mold there would be no such thing as beauty.' - Charles Darwin

De-Stress Technique: Power walks

Latest Gadget: My iPhone

On My Playlist: Don't laugh but right now the Xanadu soundtrack from 1980

Favorite App: The Lose It App




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