General Makeup and Appearance

Q&A – Skin Care Questions

Hello Gang!

On Sept. 6, 2017, I turned 50.  YEP – I’m 50!!!  I feel like its an achievement, a triumph and I am so grateful that I’m still standing!  (Cue the Elton John Song!)  However, as I have moved through my life doing a victory dance, I keep getting hit with the same questions.  “Dawn, how do you keep your skin looking so good?”  or “How do you stay looking so young?”

Well, hummm, interesting questions. I have to be honest, I each of my 50 years etched into the smile lines, and painted on my skin in freckly dark spots.  My under-eye circles are a wonder to behold, and completely unavoidable due to genetics. When I look in the mirror and think, do I look that young?

However, At the end of the day, it’s all about perception and perspective, and for many people, my skin evidently does look “younger than my number.” So, in this post,  I’ll share what I do to sustain, maintain, and manifest the combination of illusion and reality that is my skin.  I’m no dermatologist or beauty guru, so some of my processes may not be “officially sanctioned” by a skin professional.

So without further ado, here’s what I do to my skin.  Note – I’ve included links so you can see and find the products.  I recommend comparison shopping, watching for sales, and using coupons as often as possible to save serious $ on skincare.  Everything I use is considered “Drug Store” priced and though I try to keep the cost down, if I lost it all today and had to rebuy everything, it would be a pretty penny!

A.M. Skin Care Routine

When I get up in the morning, I start my day with about 5 minutes in front of the mirror.  As a creature of habit, I brush my teeth first, then work my way through this quick routine.  I know this looks like a lot of stuff, but I can get these steps done in five minutes.

  1. Micellar Water: I start in the morning by using a micellar water to clean off the skin care from the night before.  I just brush a bit on with a cotton round and make sure that my skin is completely clean.  You will see in a moment why this step is essential – I use quite a bit of stuff before bed.  Because I wear a lot of waterproof mascara when I perform, I buy the blue-lid Garnier, which is quite good for makeup.  I wrote a blog post about Micellar water Here.
  2. Hydration Spray:  I make my own spray that I use liberally because it’s super affordable and easy to make.  It’s 8 parts water, and I use fancy Italian still water, Aqua Panna, 1 part grapeseed oil and 1 part glycerine.  I mix these up and keep a bottle at my sink and a bottle at my workstation so that I can spray throughout the day. But I always give myself a blast as my second step.
  3. Serum:  I have been using Boots No. 7 Advanced Protect and Perfect serum since 2007.  That’s 10 years.  I like the way this feels, and I miss it when I skip it.  My skin is growing dryer by the day, and after I apply this in the morning, it feels more dewy and soft.  I guess I swear by this as a holy grail product!
  4. Sunscreen: I always use an SPF of 50 on my face next.  I’m currently using a sunscreen from CeraVe designed for use on the face.  It’s worked for me for the past three years, and I go through two tubes a year.  If I know FOR SURE I’ll be inside the whole day, I will skip this step.  If I do – and then need to go outside later – I always spray my face, neck, and hands with sunscreen in a mist form so it won’t disturb any makeup I might have on.  For sprays, I buy whatever is sold at CostCo to save some cash.  This year, I’ve been using Neutrogena Beach Defense in SPF 70.
  5. Moisturizer 1: I have pretty dry skin, and I discovered Garnier Moisture Rescue about three years ago, and I love the way it feels.  It’s a heavy dose of hydrolonic acid, which beauty gurus says really plump the skin.  I use it because it feels good to my dry skin.  I completely swear by this “pink goo.”
  6. Moisturizer 2:  OVER KILL TIME –  I use the same moisturizer day and night and I’ve been enjoying the CereVe Night Moisturizer.  The day version has sunscreen in it, and since I use a separate sunscreen, I don’t need sunscreen in my moisturizer. Do I really need two moisturizers?  They do two different “things” so yeah, I’m okay with being a bit extra on the moisturizer front.
  7. Eye Cream: This is my “biggest aging issue” so I’m a huge fan of eyecream.  I’ve never found the perfect formula so this is my area of experimentation.  I’m currently using the Boots No. 7 formula,

During the Day: Ongoing Skin Care

As I move through my day, there are a couple of things that I do that are functional and illusional to maintain the looks of my skin.

  1. CC/BB Cream – Because I feel that my biggest “aging” issue is hyperpigmentation aka age spots, I like to wear a BB or CC cream to even out the tone of my skin.  There are dozens, if not hundreds of products available on the market today, and it’s most important to buy a product that is good for your skin type and matches your skin tone. Two formulas that I like for my dry, pale skin are Garnier’s BB  cream and the Pur Cosmetics CC cream which is REALLY pale, so good for me in winter.
  2. Color Correction for Dark Eyes – While I don’t do this if I’m staying home for the day, if I’m heading out for a typical day I always take a moment to use a peachy concealer around my eyes.  Lately, I’ve been using the Nyx Dark Circle Concealer for daytime wear.  When I’m doing stage makeup, I get much more intense with concealer and use a Concealer Wheel from BH Cosmetics.
  3. Liberal Use of Hydration Spray – When my skin is feeling a little dry, I hit myself with a mist of hydration.  While I make my own, I actually am constantly refilling a travel size bottle that originally contained the Mario Badescu formula.  I loved that, but I’m all for saving some cash with an equally good DIY version. Of course, the small bottle is the bomb and I carry it with me in my bag everywhere!
  4. Hand Sanitizer Spray – I am a “face toucher” and I frequently hold my phone to my face.  To keep my hands and phone clean on the go, I carry around Dr. Bronner’s lavender hand sanitizer.  Is this overkill?  Probably – but I find that it reduces breakouts and blemishes.
  5. Hand Lotion – Hands give your age away.  My hands are not as pretty as they once were, but to keep them looking their best, I moisturize frequently.  I carry around hand lotion with me constantly.  I’m not loyal to any particular brand, but I pick up sample and travel sizes and keep them in my bag at all times.  A big jar of Eucerin Intensive is on my desk.  I think the real key to hand lotion is to get into the habit and have it with you at all times.  If you choose a formula and scent that you like, you are more likely to reach for it and use it.

P.M. Skincare Routine

I’m a night-time shower-er so this routine is predicated on my preferred shower-time.

  1. Makeup Removal:  Depending on my day, this can be as simple as the Miceller water I mentioned earlier for standard day-time makeup.  On an ordinary day I might wear BB/CC Cream, eyeliner, Mascara, lip balm.  But then there are performance nights.  For those nights, I will start with makeup remover wipes.  I currently buy the Kirkland brand from Costco.  Then I will go over my face Miceller water to work on the stubborn waterproof products I prefer to battle performance sweat.  If that’s not enough, I will dip into a liquid makeup remover to help with the most stubborn stuff.  I don’t have a preferred makeup remover, I just buy what’s on sale, and someday, I might have a favorite.
  2. Cleanse Skin: After all the makeup is off, I do a cleanse in the shower, I wash my face with a microfiber washcloth using CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser.  There are lots of cleansers out there and I recommend you experiment until you find one that works for your skin type.  Because my key issue is dry skin, I found that this cleanser leaves me feeling clean, not dry, tight and stripped of all moisture.
  3. Scrub: 3 times a week I use a scrub on my face.  As I’ve aged, I find that my dry skin needs a little help with exfoliation, so I give it a little help along.  Currently, I’m using a product I like, but is not quite at Holy Grail status, Neutrogena Healthy Skin Booster.   The last tube of scrub I used I might like a tiny bit better it was the Aveeno Positively Radiant.  Because I can’t decide, I will probably flip-flop between the two until something catches my eye.
  4. Mask: Opposite days from scrubbing, I will use a face mask.  I am not a huge fan of sheet masks, so instead, I go for classic formulations that include kaoelin clay.  This is another arena where I experiment a lot with different products and I’m currently working on a tube of the St. Ives Mineral Clay Firming Mask.  When I have the time to get really hands on a gooey, I like to use mix-your-own Aztec Secret: Indian Healing Clay which is Bentonite clay and really lovely.  It’s super affordable too, ya just gotta do the work to mixmaster your facial together.
  5. Toner: After I’ve done the cleanse and either mask or scrub, then I go over my skin with witch hazel.  There are may professionals that have abandoned witch hazel for being too strong.  But I like the way it feels and looks on older skin with large pores.
  6. Retinoid: Differin Gel is sold as an acne treatment but is nearly as strong as Retin A that needs a prescription.  I think using it for anti-aging is “off label” but I don’t care!  It’s cheaper and easier to get than a prescription.  Retin A or Tretinoin is the gold-standard for antiaging and if you have access to it – it’s amazing!  I give this some time to completely dry before the final round of moisturizers.
  7. Serum: Here’s a repeat from the morning with Boots No 7 Serum
  8. Moisturizer 1: Garnier Moisture Rescue – same as the morning
  9. Moisturizer 2: CeraVe Nightime – same as the morning.

Saving Money on Skin Care

WHEW – it took much longer to type all that in than to actually perform these steps.  Skin care is something that I take seriously, but, at the same time, I try to save money on. As you can tell by the list, I’m not a slave to one brand, but often, I have two products in a line so I can take advantage of BOGO sales to get one at half off or even sometimes free with purchase.  While all of these affiliate links lead back to Amazon and help support my blog, I highly recommend you comparison shop.  I like to buy my products from stores where I have points adding up, like Ulta or Walgreens where I have accounts that are growing from making purchases.  When I buy on line, I always use EBates to save cash with things I’m already planning on buying.

When you know what products you like, try to buy everything on sale in advance of running out, so I don’t have a mad dash to the store to buy something at full price.  I try to buy one or two products each month to spread out the expense of this full regimen throughout the year.  For the product categories where I am still experimenting, I am always sure to read reviews from sources I trust.  I’m less likely to be disappointed when it’s been recommended to me by someone with similar skin care issues and tastes as my own.

I hope that this post gives you a little peek into my habits for keeping my skin clear and smooth.  Remember, it’s never too late to start taking care of your skin.  While this might seem like a crazy high-maintenance routine, it only really takes a few minutes in the morning and at night.

I wish you the best of luck in your own skin-care journey!
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
October 10, 2017

Belly Dance General Makeup and Appearance Publications

What is the Belly Dance Bundle & Zill Contest?

Hello Gang,

I just heard about a “thing” that is happening here on the web in October, the release of “The Bellydance Bundle.”  You may have seen the ads on social media, in emails from your favorite dancers, and you might even be involved!  This project is the brainchild of belly dancer Tiffany Noro, who’s married her love of belly dance and her career in social media to create this great “deal” for belly dancers world-wide.

Is the Belly Dance Bundle good deal?

I’m sure most of us check our belly dance budget and ask the question can I afford to XYZ.  Although at first glance it’s unclear what is included in this bundle, these products are coming from a collection of an exceptional group of performers and instructors.  I asked myself, would I take a workshop by these ladies at a workshop?   Even looking at this partial list of dancers – the answer is a resounding YES!

It’s a Belly Dance Event in Your Own Home!

One of the ways you can look at this collection of digital information as a belly dance festival in your own home.  ONLY, unlike a big event, you can ACTUALLY participate in everything and at your own pace.  Unlike a multi-track event, with multiple teachers presenting their material at the same time, you don’t have to choose which one to invest in.  Instead, you can, quite literally, do it all!   One of the other things that happens to me during big festivals, is that I often wind up “missing something” when I’m having lunch or dinner.  With all of these online classes and digital workshops, you select the time that works best for you.  No more dancing through a workshop unable to focus due to hunger, thirst, or in my case, the need for a nap!

Last minute surprise – I’m joining the bundle!

I was planning on buying this bundle, saving the cash, when in the 11th hour, I was invited by the organizer to join this event!  Every bundle will include a complete copy of my recent book, “Zills: Music on your Finger Tips.”  So if you choose to invest in the $147 bundle, a digital version of my book will be included.  This is .pdf format is a “Bundle Exclusive” and the only way that Zills is available as a digital publication.  Every day over the next few weeks, the value of the Belly Dance Bundle is going up.  So as of this moment, the “Value” or the combined price if you bought everything separately, is at about $900.

Feel Like a Winner?

Turquoise International has contributed some sets of their beautiful finger cymbals that are being given away this week.  If you click on the link below, you can enter to win a mini-bundle that includes a set of zills AND a workshop hosted by Nadira Jamal, The Belly Dance Geek.  It costs nothing to enter, but you have the chance to win big!   As you know, I LOVE finger cymbals, their history, legend, and lore, and Nadira is a fantastic instructor that I am happy to recommend!

But where’s the dancing and shopping?

Okay, so unlike a festival you won’t get the opportunity to feel and touch a bunch of costumes or see a lot of live dancing.  But that is really where the rest of the internet comes into play.  Between sessions, you can shop online at your favorite dealers, browse Pinterest for idea shopping for future costumes, and even spend some quality time on YouTube enjoying some great performances.

Ultimately, let your needs as a dancer and your budget guide your decision.  If you look at that list of instructors and see a tasty buffet of educational opportunities, then click on one of the images above for a quick link to the Belly Dance Bundle website where you can sign up for the mailing list, and when the sale opens, order up your own private festival to enjoy in the comfort of your own home.

I’m really looking forward to these classes!
Come Join me on FB for discussions about the classes,

Dawn Devine ~ Davina
Sept. 25, 2017


General Makeup and Appearance

Five tips: Belly Dance Makeup for Photography

Hello Gang!

Belly dancers at every level strive to document their journey through dance. Amateurs can get by with selfies, phone snap shots, and hand-held video.  However, if you want to up your dance game and how you’re perceived by the dance community, invest in a photo shoot with a good photographer.  High-quality images are a necessity for business cards, publicity images, social media, and websites.  Over the last four years, I have participated in more than 100 photo shoots.  I’ve worked with professional photographers and talented amateurs, and have taken many images myself. When I’m directing or styling, I find myself giving dancer/models the same few pieces of advice over and over.  When it comes to makeup, here are my top tips for getting the best results at your next photo shoot.

1 – Take Care of Your Skin

In the weeks before your photo shoot, take extra good care of your skin.  Invest in masks, scrubs, peels, or any other treatment that soothes and satisfies your skin’s needs.  If you have a special super-hydrating face mask or expensive moisturizer that you save for special occasions, this is the time to pull those items out and use them.

2 – Talk to your Photographer

When you are planning your photo shoot, be sure to talk to your photographer about the kinds of images that you are hoping to achieve.  As you plan and practice, you will want to keep in mind what type of lighting your photographer will be using. If you know, then you can choose the appropriate cosmetics for the situation.  At right, dancer and curve model Nicole Simone arrived at a photo shoot with a base-face, prepared for the artificial 5000k lights in my studio.

3 – Plan your Makeup Look(s)

Once you know how much time you have with your photographer, select your wardrobe.  Consider the colors that will coordinate and complement both your costume(s) and your features.  I like to move from biggest choices to the smallest. Start from a dance gown or bedlah set and skirt, and then choose your prop(s) and hair style(s).  Next, plan your jewelry and accessories selections. Once you’ve taken care of all that, it’s time to pick eye shadow, lip and cheek colors.

4 – Practice your Makeup Techniques

Now that you’ve selected your wardrobe and have planned your makeup looks, now is the time to practice. If you have three different looks planned, practice your base look first.  Once you have it perfected, add more colors to morph it into your second look and so on.  Take selfies of each of your finished looks for reference on the day of your photo shoot.  I also recommend laying out all the makeup products, tools, and supplies that you will need on the day of the shoot. Snap top-down flat-lay style photograph to use as a reference to help remember your product choices.

It’s especially important to know how much time you will need between looks for changing out of a costume, into the next one, and styling your makeup hair.  As you practice, time yourself.  Practicing will give you a much more precise time estimation so the photographer and any crew won’t be standing around waiting.

5 – Pack your kit with everything you will need

Like camping and traveling,  the rule of thumb is to pack only what you need and will use. Resist the urge to take everything along.  Make your makeup kit choices ahead of time and reduce your stress between looks. Three things that I recommend dancers try to keep their look in tip-top condition during long photo sessions include:

Hydration Spray

Without a doubt, this is my favorite tool in my photo-shoot styling kit.  A fine mist of water with a hint of glycerine in it will help set powders that may appear a little too powdery under bright photo lights.  It’s also a nice pick-me-up, like a spa in a bottle experience. It is super refreshing to the model who’s been under hot lights.   I make my own, but if you are looking for a nice product to buy, check out this rosewater & glycerine spray.  (Link Here)

Blotting Paper

Photo lights range from warm to smoking hot.  For dancers who are exerting themselves, sweat is a very real concern.  Pausing to freshen up with a quick mop-up with a piece of blotting paper will take down the sheen of perspiration.  Blotting paper can also help refresh product by adding a fresh light dusting of powder to the surface of the skin. (Link Here)

Mattifying Balm

The latest addition to my touch-up kit is a mattifying balm. This product category came onto the makeup scene a few years back and is still fairly new. It is a silicone primer-like product in a pan or stick format.  If your makeup is settling into fine lines and wrinkles, a touch up with a mattifying balm with smooth the problems out.  Just remember to press, not rub, so you don’t accidentally move your makeup. (Link Here)

Of course, there are thousands of other tips and tricks for preparing for a photo shoot.  If you are inspired and want more information on the topic, I recomend these two books:

Lindsay Adler’s, “The Photographer’s Guide to Posing: Techniques to Flatter Everyone” is a great guide to posing. However, she also talks about makeup, wardrobe, lighting and of course, posing. It’s written for photographers, but it’s a good read for models and stylists too.  (Link to Amazon)

I also recommend the latest title from Dita Von Teese, “Your Beauty Mark: The Ultimate Guide to Eccentric Glamour.”  Dita has included everything from posing techniques to glamor makeup, all from a show-girl perspective.  It’s filled with images of her and her associates, so if you are a Dita fan, this book is essential reading! (Link to Amazon)

Good Luck with Your Next Photos!
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
August 4, 2017


General Makeup and Appearance

First World Problems!

Hello Gang!

Whew – it’s been a challenging week!  I’ve been unable to accomplish any single task, and have spent the week jumping like a frog jumping from lily pad to lily pad.  Only I’m not a frog, and instead of lily pads, I was moving from problem to problem.  It’s been a week of learning and lessons in patience.  Technology was not my friend, and the result, I’m a bit behind on my #bellydancemakeupchallenge.

We Pause this Challenge for Technical Difficulties

My iPhone updated and my camera developed some unusual problems.  This most recent video was shot last week Friday, but there were obvious problems with the camera.  It fell into slow motion, at random throughout the clips I made!  So I shot a “makeup” makeup video the following day, and the video clips all had the same problem, patches of random slow motion.  I turned my phone off and on, I updated all my software and then shot the third video.  And… unfortunately, it failed again!  It was quite a frustrating three days!

Saving the Video Footage

I downloaded all the video clips to my computer and began to experiment with the problematic footage. After many hours of experimentation, I wound up cutting the video clips into tiny bits, and then I adjusted the speed of each one until it ALMOST sounds normal.  I have learned so much about iMovie, and I couldn’t have gotten this video made without the help of the O’Reilly book, “iMovie: The Missing Manual.”   Not every feature of iMovie is intuitive, so I have been very happy with this book.  I bought my copy over on Amazon.  This video has about 12 hours invested in it!  So much time that I decided to ditch and reshoot the two other compromised videos.

Day 8 – Extreme Eyeliner (hooded eyes)

Broken iPhone? Tech support to the rescue!

So I talked to a tech support dude about the problems I was having with my phone. He talked me through a process that involved backing up, resetting, and reloading it. I’ve done a few test clips to test how well the camera is doing. Not only is the video fully functional again, my camera is now shooting much cleaner, crisper photos!

Resuming the Makeup Challenge

Because I spent SO much time on trying to make this video work, I’m behind in my “real” work, so I’m in catch up mode, and I will resume the #bellydancemakeupchallenge on Saturday!  In the meantime, I’m working on lovely pink and purple belly dance costume.  This is the preliminary sketch, with some notes about construction.  I plan on sharing more photos as I make progress on this costume.

This particular costume will ultimately be composed of a bra and belt set, a chiffon skirt, and arm accessories. For me, the most interesting part of the costume is the skirt. This is a zero waste skirt style that I’m making with a lovely floral border print. Watch for more details about this costume!

While it’s a bit discouraging to have my challenge interrupted by technical difficulties, we’ll resume soon!

Dance Well, Be Well, Sew Well!
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
June 14, 2017





General Makeup and Appearance

30 Day Belly Dance Makeup Challenge – 2017

Hello Gang!

It’s been nearly a year since I tackled the challenge of putting on a full face of belly dance makeup every day – and vlogging about it on YouTube.  That was last year in July, and I was new to vlogging, uploading videos on a regular schedule to YouTube, and it has been many years since I was working as a pro dancer and putting on performance makeup multiple times a week.  I flew by the seat of my pants making it up as I went along.  Some of the vlogs are interesting.  Many of them are informative.  A few of them contain questionable content.  Here is the playlist from last year, in case you would like to check it out again, or watch it for the first time.

Prompt List – No flying “Seat of the Pants”

This year I thought I would pull from the lessons learned last year and be a bit better prepared.  The first step was to brainstorm a list of concepts to use as a springboard for coming up with new belly dance makeup looks.  I’ve seen many a challenge list over on Instagram and so I crafted my list of 30 prompts and created a graphic to share around social media.  


A few pieces of equipment

I’m still filming on my iPhone 6s+ which continues to serve me well.  For my holiday gift last December, I requested both makeup and a microphone.  I was pleased to score a Kat Von D Metal/Matte eyeshadow palette, which is now out of production and is selling for 100+ dollars on eBay, as well as a Blue Snowball microphone with stand and a spit guard. Over the course of the next several weeks, I will be putting both of these new treasures to use!

I also bought a few affordable clamp lamps to light up my work table for top-down video production. Between the new lights and the new mic, I’m looking and sounding better this year.

More Palettes – More Colors – More potential

Last year I was really on a quest to learn as much as I could about the makeup industry, the ingredients within cosmetics and how they reacted on my skin.  I’ve watched hundreds of hours of YouTube makeup guru’s, perhaps it’s even thousands of hours at this point!  I’m not a makeup artist or YouTube guru, but I am fairly competent within my niche of belly dance, and I want to share with students of the dance the how and why of belly dance makeup.  While I stuck to a small assortment of products, this year, I’ve got more to choose from in my collection, so I will pull from my full selection of makeup.  I’m going to try to be more informative explaining my why and how I intend to use the items in my makeup hoard.

Day 1 – Go-To Belly Dance Look

The first vlog of the channel is now up on YouTube! The new playlist has been made and the game is afoot! I hope you will take some time this month to watch a few of the posts. I’ve started a playlist where all the videos will be posted as they are finished.

June is going to be fun, but a lot of work!  I’m hoping to streamline the video process and learn new editing techniques, as well as getting more and more comfortable in front of the camera.  Nothing like having a daily challenge to keep you motivated!

To beautiful makeup and costumes!
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
June 1, 2017