Meet Elena O'Byrne

With over 14 years experience in the skin care profession, Elena O'Byrne is a licensed esthetician and makeup artist. With an eye for detail, she works closely with her clients to achieve the look they are wanting and has been collaboratively involved with my stylized photoshoots, high school seniors and headshots for several years. It takes incredible talent to be able to execute both dramatic and natural look makeup looks. Elena can not only do both, but she does so with extreme professionalism.

Elena's Salon

I hope you enjoy the questions I posed to Elena in the blog! She was gracious enough to take time to answer some questions about her profession and give some helpful tips. If you have more questions for Elena, please let me know and I will be happy to get with her for a AMA on Instagram or do a "Part 2" of the blog on makeup artistry.


I already know how to do my own makeup, why do I need a makeup artist for photographs?

A makeup artist will choose makeup that will photograph the best. Some makeup can look really pretty in person, however may be reflective with a flash or look blotchy. Flash can also wash you out where a little more definition may be needed for your features to stand out in the photographs.

Makeup artist does spring look

Elena designing our Spring Makeup look.

What's on trend?

Tell us about two season makeup trends you find interesting…

Tons Of Pink Blush is interesting to me because it’s different from all the contouring and highlighting that has been trending in the past. I like how soft and feminine it can look. Another trend is Brushed Up Brows. Brows have been a statement for several years now. I like that the fullness of the brows stays with maybe less pigment applied. It’s easy to do yourself by using some brow gel and brushing those brows more so straight up!

Our Spring Stylized Photoshoot-Elena's makeup artistry really set this look apart!

orange eye-shadow with watermelon lips
liquid eyeliner, pink and orange eyeshadow
false eye lashes, pink and  orange sherbet eye-shadow liquid eye-liner
false eye lashes, pink and  orange sherbet eye-shadow liquid eye-liner, watermelon lip
Floral head-dress, false eye lashes, pink and  orange sherbet eye-shadow liquid eye-liner, watermelon lip

The final look!

If you could only use five products on a person to do their makeup, what would they be?

I would choose a concealer to use in places that need any lightening or to even out skin tone. A brow product to define the brows which help shape the eyes. A matte eyeshadow or a powder that is a couple of shades darker than the natural skin tone. I would use it as an eye-shadow to define eyes and contour the face. A cream blush that can be used on the cheeks as well on the lips. And last, but not least mascara.

What age do you think it is appropriate for a young woman to wear makeup, and what advice would you give to a young person who wants to start wearing makeup?

I think it reasonable for any girl in middle school or high school to start exploring makeup if they wish to. My advice to a young lady is to start light. Maybe a coat of mascara, a light application of blush and a lip gloss to start with. Avoid harsh lines! I see young makeup mistakes with too dark brows, thick black eyeliner and not blended contour quiet a lot.

Do you give makeup lessons?

Yes, I do! No makeup lesson is the same. Makeup lessons are very individual. It’s a great way to learn what to do to enhance your features or to try a new look you have been curious about.

Elena did a soft, subtle and natural look for this photo-session.

How often, when and how should a person who uses makeup clean their tools/applicators?

Eye shadow brushes should be cleaned every 2 weeks. Facial Makeup brushes should be cleaned about every 7 to 10 days to prevent bacteria buildup that can cause breakouts. I find Makeup sponges like the beauty blender kind should be cleaned after every use. It’s usually used wet, and it’s a sponge, a perfect place for bacteria to grow. The easiest way to clean you makeup brush or applicator is to get it wet with warm water first, place some shampoo, baby wash or a facial cleanser that gets nice and sudsy in the palm of your hand and with small circular motions rub out all the makeup. Rinse, gently squeeze out any water, reshape your brushes and tools and lay them flat to air dry.

This classic makeup look was also done by Elena. Because of last minute model replacement, our concept for this session had to change completely. Elena, a true professional, was able to modify plans at the last minute, without a single issue, and the makeup turned out beautifully!

Stylized Photoshoots-Makeup by Elena

How does one decide on a suitable makeup look for themselves? 

It’s the look when you see yourself in the mirror that makes you feel confident!

A famous singer recently decided not to wear makeup ever again. She said it just wasn’t for her. It prompted a discussion about makeup among those who love it and those who don’t. Some see it as mask or something to hide behind. Others see it as a way to be confident and feel empowered. What are your thoughts?

The beautiful part about makeup is that it’s a choice. It’s your choice to embrace your natural beauty or enhance it just a little with makeup or use it as an art form and a creative expression. Just like a lot of people like to express their mood and style with clothing, shoes and accessories, same can be done with makeup. It can be clean and free, subtle, or bold and bright. It is up to you!