Ask a MUA: Tips + Tricks from Michanna Murphy

Jun 9th 2020

Michanna Murphy is a full time freelance makeup artist in Washington, DC whose clients range from Real Housewives celebs like NeNe Leakes and Gizelle Bryant to thought leaders like Fiona Hill. Michanna shared with us some of her go-to makeup tips that are easy enough to try at home, her most requested look by her clients and her favorite trend this season!

When did you discover your passion for makeup?

Through the performing arts around the age of 11 or 12 I discovered my passion for makeup. My mom is a performing artist and I loved watching her apply makeup and get ready for performances - she transformed herself through makeup, lashes, hair and costumes.

Once I became old enough to wear makeup, I wanted to transform myself the same way for my own performances. I guess you can call it ‘love at first lipstick!’

Is there a makeup look that your clients request most frequently?

Most of my clients want a makeup look that’s natural and enhances their own features, skin tone and overall beauty.

For my clients that request a natural, but slightly enhanced makeup look, I love to focus on skin! My go-tos for this look are the Kosas Tinted Face Oil, Saint Concealer under the eyes, a nice cream blush from Rituel de Fille, a setting powder on the t-zone and a lipstick or gloss. I also love defining the brows with a brow pomade, applying bronzer as eye color and adding mascara to the top lashes for day time looks. This routine is great because it works on all skin tones and only takes about 10-15 minutes to complete!

Is there a makeup trend you’re loving this season?

The pastel eye makeup look! But with more people working and socializing from home, the “Zoom call makeup look” is all the rage! Guess what, it’s the natural but slightly enhanced makeup look I just described which look great on your zoom work conference calls or happy hours with friends.

We can get behind the pastel look and have been loving this trend. Has this been your favorite color palette recently?

Yes! I am such a sucker for cool toned pastel colors! I love lilac, mint green and baby blue.

What’s the one product that you must have in your makeup bag at all times?

Lipgloss! I love lipgloss especially ones with a smooth buttery texture that offer hydration as well as a high-gloss finish.

Saint Jane CBD Microdrose Lip Gloss is great for exactly that reason! The CBD, sunflower, chamomile and aloe nourish and hydrate lips and has a high-shine, silky finish.

What’s your own go-to makeup look for the season?

My go-to look would have to be simple with a bold or nude glossy lip. I define my brows, apply bronzer or face powder to my lids, and at least three coats of mascara. If I’m doing a presentation or want to ensure that I leave a lasting impression, I’ll wear a classic red lipstick. If I want a more casual look, I’ll wear a soft nude or pinky nude gloss.

One of the questions we get the most is about under eye coverage. Can you give us tips on the best way to apply concealer and the best shades to choose?

Depending on the day, I’ll either select a color to match my foundation or select a lighter shade. When I want the best coverage I can get, I’ll apply a concealer that matches my foundation and then will apply the shade lighter one right on top. If I’m doing a no-makeup makeup look, I’ll only use one shade that matches the foundation.

What are concealer mistakes you see people making?

The most common mistake I see people make is not really in the color selection, but the application. I like to follow the upside down triangle rule because it looks great in person and on camera.


To do it successfully, take your concealer wand or brush and apply the concealer under the lower lash line in the shape of an upside down triangle. I like to let the concealer dry down for 15-30 seconds before I blend it out because that gives you more coverage.

One concealer that I don’t own but want is the Kosas Revealer Concealer! I’ve felt it on the back of my hand and it had a beautiful finish with amazing coverage!

Agreed! We can attest that the Kosas Revealer Concealer lives up to the hype. This concealer blends skin care with makeup by adding brightening caffeine, soothing arnica, plumping peptides and hydrating hyaluronic acid. You get creamy and coverage in one.

Do you recommend different foundation finishes for different skin types?

Absolutely! For people with oily skin I prefer satin, semi matte, or matte foundation finishes and I love dewy or satin finishes for people with dry skin.

For more details on different foundation finishes, check out our blog post, The Foundation Breakdown: dewy vs. matte where we break it all down for you!

What other makeup tricks do you swear by?

I love adding liquid highlighters to the foundation to give them a luminous finish. I also will do that with under eye concealers to add an extra brightening effect.

This is a great tip if you want a luminous finish without the dewiness! The LXMI Goddess Glow liquid highlight is, not only illuminating, but also moisturizing with hydrating Nilotica reserve and red algae.

Bronzer as an eyeshadow is a great trick and pulls the look together. I also love adding lipgloss to the center of the eyelid to make it pop. For someone who has super oily skin applying a light layer of loose powder before liquid foundation is really helpful as it helps to absorb oil, keep foundation from separating, and helps to conceal large pores.

How can friends stay in contact with you and hear about your services?

I have been doing virtual makeup classes with private clients using Zoom or Facetime and we have a ball! Most of my clients who want a virtual class contact me via my instagram page @michannamurphy or via email michanna@makeupinblackandwhite.com


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