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I Learned to Do My Own Hair & Make-Up... (and you can too!)

Being in the public eye as an influencer and on-air personality requires a good amount of “upkeep” … George often jokes that my life “is a balancing act between my workouts and my blow-outs,” and he’s absolutely right! It’s hard to sweat as much as I do in the mornings and also have good hair in the evenings… of course, if that’s my biggest problem in a day, I’ll take it!

But seriously, life in front of the camera requires a lot of planning, and as I walk down a new career path working more on TV, the time has come for me to take control of my life in a new way… it’s time to REALLY learn how to do my own hair & make-up!!

I can do my own glam for everyday things, but every time I make a television appearance I need professional help... there’s a big difference between “every day” make-up and on-camera make-up. I don’t want to always have to rely on others... so to learn to do it myself, I went to the very best.

I worked with celebrity hair & make-up artist, Emir Pehilj, who does some of the biggest names in the world... including my own mama, Joan Lunden.

Emir & my mom, Joan Lunden

We recently did a IG Live tutorial and I learned so much, including all the best products and a step-by-step cheat sheet from skin prep to finishing touches.

As promised, I want to share it all with you guys here, so here goes!

First up: HAIR!!

Wet hair, don't care...

Base products:

I sat my butt in the chair and we got to work! With my hair washed & wet, Emir used MOP Lemongrass Lift, applied at the root. Next, he used Wella EIMI Extra Volume Mousse Strong Hold Volumizing Mousse, applying a baseball sized amount and combing through fully.


He separated my hair into quadrants, blow drying each section using a Elchim 3900 Healthy Ionic hair dryer and a YS Park "G" Series Mixed-Bristle Round Brush. I've always used a "cheater" hair dryer... the kind with a brush attached, so no need for the manual dexterity of a round brush. That type of shortcut is never going to give you the best results, so It's time for me to upgrade.

He explained that to dry each section without frizziness or heat damage, you should make a motion like you’re “vacuuming," moving the hairdryer back and forth over the hair until dry.

*Pro tip: Make sure you use your fingers and partially dry hair first before pulling it taut into sections for the “vacuum” motion.

Learning from the master!

Setting the hair:

Next, Emir took smaller individual sections of my hair and curled them around his fingers, making each curl about three fingers big. He said this is “how all the models and movie stars” do it… who knew?? He used Metal Double Prong Curl Clips like these to clip them onto my head in a set of loose curls after he was done. This replaces the need for rollers and helps add a bit of volume prior to using a curling iron.

Giving my best "why do I look like George Washington" look... #dreamy


Emir unclipped one curl at a time and sprayed it with Biolage Thermal Active Setting Spray to prepare it to hold a curl.

Using a Helen Of Troy Gold Series 1'' Spring Curling Iron, he showed me how to curl:

  1. Start with the iron tip pointed down

  2. Ensure the hand holding the iron is physically in contact with my head (this helped me have some control of the iron and start with it in the right place, versus waving it around like a maniac... which is usually what I do)

  3. One by one, wrap each section around several times, leaving about 1 inch of the end unwrapped to make sure I'd maintain some length (versus “Shirley Temple curls!”).

  4. Hold in place for 10 seconds (so hair is a bit hot without burning, which is always my fear), and gently release.

Cute but.... NO.

Repeat this motion over the whole head, spray whole head with a layer of hair spray. Gently run your fingers through once of twice, give it a good shake, and VOILA!!

Next up... FACE!!

Here's my "before" taken at 9am post-Barry's Bootcamp, so clearly requiring several filters #facts

Base products:

Emir began by stressing the importance of exfoliating, to ensure your skin provides a good “canvas” to apply your makeup. He suggests Beautycounter Nourishing Cream Exfoliator.

I also asked him for the name of the “magic mask” that he’s used on me several times, including before my recent TODAY Show appearance (where he somehow made me look human after waking at 4am and being 8.5 months pregnant!)

Somehow Emir made me look fresh-faced on TODAY... thus proving that he's a genius!!

The mask is Clarins Hydro Quench Masque, and he suggests applying a heavier layer all over your face for the best results (great for when you “look tired” to give your skin a healthy glow!).

Another product he recommends is Clarins Beauty Balm Flash, applied before foundation. It will brighten the skin and it will tighten the pores.

*Pro tip: Emir suggests warming this one up between your palms before applying.

Primer & Foundation:

After we were all exfoliated & moisturized, we started with YSL Touche Eclat Blur primer, using one pump all over the skin.

He told me a funny story... Joan Collins used to tell her director to smear a thin layer of VASELINE(!) on the lens to help "blur" her appearance, including fine lines and wrinkles! Luckily today, we have products like this to help instead...

Next we were ready for foundation - for this, Emir used Giorgio Armani Silk Luminous foundation, the color he used on me was #5.25. He applied on large areas of my face (cheeks and forehead) and blended towards my nose, lips, hairline and neck with his fingers. He likes to use his fingers because he’s a true artist and has a feel for it, but said a retractable foundation brush like one carried by Beautycounter works great too for blending.

He encouraged me to take a good look at my face, and notice where there are shadows. To address this, he used the YSL Touché Eclat All Over Brightening Pen #3, applying anywhere he wanted to brighten. For me, it was the inside corner under my eye area and around my nose & lips. Use fluffy brush like this one by MAC to blend it.

Highlighter, Contour, & Blush:

Using highlighter & contour is a fun way to give your face dimension. Highlighter should be applied “anywhere the sun would hit,” so cheekbones, brow bone, bridge/tip of nose, and chin. Contour is applied to give definition in places like underneath the cheekbone and the jawline.

Emir recommends using Beautycounter Illuminating Cream Highlighter products, and using the Beautycounter flat complexion brush for blending creams.

  1. Use the “Pearle Glow” color to HIGHLIGHT, applying on the upper part of cheek bone, brow-bone, bridge of your nose and chin.

  2. Use the “Bronze Glow” color to contour, applying under the cheek-bone, on the edge of your jaw line and underneath blending toward your neck.

  3. Use the “Rose Glow” color to finish, applying on top of cheek apple, following your cheek bone towards your hairline.

Finally, use the YSL Blur Powder, applying with puff or powder brush concentrating on your T-zone (forehead down to nose bridge) and sides of your nose around lips and chin. Make sure to set all the make up before you start using any powders, blushes and bronzing powders.

Finally, Emir used Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush, again applying over my cheek apples following the cheek-bones up towards the hairline.

Eye Make-Up:

I love a good smoky eye with a bit of drama, so that’s what Emir gave me! Here’s what he did:

He started by using the Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Cream Eyeshadow Rose Gold, applying it to the lid, concentrating it next to my lash line and then blending it with his fingers, smearing it out towards my brow-bone.

Next, he opened up his Beautycounter “Romantic” Eyeshadow Palette. It had beautiful colors in it, and he explained how it’s non-toxic and affordable because the packaging is a simple classy paper stock instead of fancy packaging that ends up costing a fortune.

  1. “Dusk” eye shadow: apply on brow-bone starting on outside corner and blend toward outside of the eye.

  2. “Smolder” eye shadow: apply on the outside corner of eyes and along the eyelash area. From above the eyelashes, blend towards brow-bone on the outside corner

  3. "Moto" eye shadow: apply with small brush along the lashes, concentrating next to the lash line.

I love a good eyeliner, so Emir used the Beautycounter Precision Liquid Eyeliner in black, applying next to my eyelashes, using the eyelashes as support and keeping the line very thin. He made a small “wing” the outside for a touch of drama.

Next, he used the Beautycounter Color Outline Eye Pencil in black. On the bottom, I like it applied inside the waterline (the area where your eyelids meet to close your eyes), but some prefer it on the outside.

Finally, no look is complete without a dramatic BROW! He used the Beautycounter Color Define Eyebrow Pencil in Dark, applying in light stroking movements to make a nice arch shape.


Annie said it best: You’re never fully dressed without a smile! We finished the look with the perfect pucker, using:

  1. Laura Mercier Lip Pencil (color: Natural Lips)

  2. Beautycounter Shear lipstick (color: Twig)

  3. Beautycounter Lip gloss (color: Buff).

Hope this was helpful guys - I know I learned a lot! Make sure to follow Emir at @emirbeauty on Instagram, and if you want more information on Beautycounter products, check out Emir’s consultant page on the site:

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