The Real Girl Romantic: a Valentine’s Day makeup tutorial with Merrady Wickes

Today we are thrilled to share this guest post with you from the very beautiful and talented makeup artist, Merrady Wickes.  She has created an absolutely gorgeous Valentine’s Day makeup look that will be perfect for a night out with a special someone, brunch with your girlfriends, or hanging out at home and ordering dinner in.  Read on below for Merrady’s step-by-step instructions (and video!) on how to achieve this look using all green beauty products.

Guest Post by Merrady Wickes

Merrady is the youngest of 7 kids. She was a bruised knees, bleeding heart, day-dreaming, bookworm kind of kid who was bossy and loud and also fiercely sensitive and shy.

She spent her teenage years reading every beauty book her local libraries had to offer, and landed her first makeup artist gig for an independent film when she was only 15.  After several years in the industry, between editorial, beauty counter, film, and TV (she also moonlighted as an indie musician), Merrady learned that her real passion was in her connection with the woman underneath the rouge. “Anyone can make a 16-year-old model look beautiful,” she says. “I’m interested in the everyday woman and what makes her feel her best.”

Fast forward and here she is with over 10 years experience as a makeup artist. She loves making women (and men!) feel their best through the power of good skincare and makeup they will actually use and enjoy. She loves the power of transformation. She loves beauty rituals passed down, and beauty rituals discovered. Beauty is meditative for her. It is an important part of her self care and creativity. She says that it’s also fun, and something anyone can do with practice.

Merrady Wickes Guest Post The Real Girl Romantic

Valentine’s Day is swiftly approaching. I have a special fondness for the love-themed holiday—the candy, the crafts, the kitsch. And while I’m not a personal fan of sitting awkwardly in a restaurant surrounded by dozens of couples eating from a pre fixe menu hovering over a vase holding a single red rose, I have been known to throw an epic Valentine’s Day party, or make a lovely meal for two at home.

Whatever your plans may be, I created this look to capture your inner romantic. The dewy skin, flushed cheeks, and softly defined eyes are the stuff of romance novel heroines, but will also work nicely for a date, a night out with your friends, or even a wedding (calling all brides!). Read on for details to achieve the look.

Step 1: Skin Prep

Merrady Wickes tutorial skin prep products

This time of year, after months of grey days and relentless dry air, skin can feel dull and sallow. Skip the self tanner, and reach for skin care with a heavy dose of Vitamin C to encourage natural radiance. While skin is still damp after cleansing, massage a pump of La Bella Figura Modern Radiance Concentrate into the skin, followed by the La Bella Figura Crema Supernova. To smooth and brighten eyes, you can add a little La Bella Figura Under Eye Repair Serum to your orbital bone, patting in with a ring finger. Be sure to prep the skin a few minutes before you apply makeup so it has time to soak in.

Step 2: Complexion

Merrady Wickes tutorial complexion productsMerrady Wickes Tutorial Cheek Products

The Gressa Minimalist Corrective Serum Foundation makes it easy to get a no-makeup makeup look. Be sure to give the bottle a good shake to mix the formula, then blend a few drops onto the face with your fingertips. Add a very small amount of the uber-concentrated Hynt Beauty Concealer on any darkness around the eyes, blemishes, around the nose, and anywhere else you need extra coverage. For makeup that lasts, and invisible pores, dust the Ilia Fade Into You Powder over your T-zone and anywhere else you applied concealer.

Add dimension and warmth with a touch of W3ll People Bio Bronzer strategically applied along the cheeks, bridge of the nose, hairline, and chin. You can also sweep bronzer into the socket of the eye to add depth and create synergy with the face.

For dewy, candlelit skin, tap the Root White Gold Illuminator onto the tops of cheeks, cupid’s bow, center of the face, and the inner corner of the eye and brow bone. Don’t go too crazy! Less is more. You can also brush your highlighter onto your collarbones and throat to catch the light.

Step 3: Eyes

Merrady Wickes Tutorial Eye Products

Use a neutral taupe shadow like the RMS Swift Shadow in Garden Rose GR-12 to add shape and shimmer to the eyes without looking heavy. Blend all over the lid up to the socket, and on the lower lashline for a halo effect. Next, dampen a fine liner brush, dip into the Kjaer Weis Eyeshadow in Onyx, and brush along the upper lash line, and lightly along the lower lash line. Using shadow instead of a pencil liner adds soft definition. You can also tightline the upper waterline to make your lashes look thicker. Smudge the edges with a small shadow brush to further diffuse.

Next, curl lashes, and generously apply the W3ll People mascara in black. The plastic wand isn’t everyone’s favorite, but I love how it can build volume, while still defining every lash.

Brush brows straight up with the Zuzu Luxe Clear Mascara for a deliberately unkempt look. Once dry, if you need a boost in the brow department, apply the Ecobrow pomade in short vertical strokes and brush through with a spoolie. This creates a soft, full effect. Clean the edges with your concealer brush if you color outside the lines too much.

Step 4: Lips & Cheeks

Merrady Wickes Tutorial Lip Products

Lastly, you want a bright pink cream blush—my favorite is the Kjaer Weis in Lovely. Tap onto cheeks in an upside down triangle shape on the apple of the cheek to create a natural flush. Don’t be shy! This look is all about the blush. A cream formula will melt into the skin for a seamless effect.

Prep your lips with a balm like the S.W. Basics Citrus Lip Balm. If you want to cheat fullness, lightly line the edge of the lips (I used Jane Iredale in Spice). Then tap the Kjaer Weis blush in Lovely into lips with your fingertip for a sheer rosy finish.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


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*All photos and video in this post are courtesy of and belong to Merrady Wickes

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