Makeup Tips & Tricks with Nancy Finnegan

Nancy Finnegan MUA Huntsville

Foundation colors, eye shadow, eye liner, lipstick, blush, finishing—the numbers of makeup colors, options and application techniques are absolutely dizzying! So we decided to ask our local makeup expert, Nancy Finnegan, MUA for her top 6 tips and tricks for all things makeup.


What’s the best advice for choosing the proper foundation color?

Nancy: Foundation should disappear into the skin when trying to match it. The jawbone usually provides a great place to swatch, since it ties the face to the neck, so you don’t have a mask-type look.

Is there a trick or a specific lighting that you should use when choosing?

Nancy: Ideally test swatches near natural light or with a makeup light on your face with white lighting–not yellow, rose or fluorescent lighting. Keep in mind that most makeup and department stores, do not provide the best lighting for makeup.

Nancy Finnegan MUA eyes tips The Scout Guide Huntsville


What should we base our eyeshadow colors on? Skin tone, eye color, or the outfit we are wearing?

Nancy: Color theory is important. Makeup is art, so looking for the opposite color on the color wheel is something to remember. I can geek out on this! When deciding colors, also keep in mind the different finishes of eye shadows.

I would usually look at the skin undertones and hair color when choosing eye shadow for my client, then the eye color. If you have the right tone, then you can make just about any color work–no matter the eye color. Outfit color really doesn’t matter with eyeshadows unless you want to place a pop of color somewhere in your application. Focus more on the face than the outfit.

What about filling in eyebrows?

Eyebrows frame the face. Yes, definitely groom them, fill them in and learn how. Once you learn how to master brows, the rest of your look will follow.

Nancy Finnegan MUA lips tips The Scout Guide Huntsville


What shades are popular right now and which brands/types are great for durability for daily wear? What shades are great for an evening out?

Nancy: Color shade is always going to be a preference and comfort zone. With that said, the colors that are fun and signify Summer are going to be petal pinks, oranges ( a color I wish many people realized they could wear,) corals and nudes. More colors appear in Sheer and gloss form, rather than mattes. 

Going out colors really do not have to be different, but perhaps add lip liner and a shimmery or clear gloss over your favorite color. 

As far as brands or types, that also depends on what texture you like on your lips and the condition of them. A matte on dry or wrinkly lips would not be flattering. Brands…of course some over all seem to hold up better on the general population, but again, your lip condition would be the deciding factor. The brands that I find that are usually my go-to’s are: Rimmel, Urban Decay, Bobbi Brown, Nars, Chanel, L’oreal , Kat Von D and MAC. I carry a wide variety in my caddy. And don’t forget to keep some on hand after makeup application for touch ups during events!

Nancy Finnegan MUA makeup tips The Scout Guide Huntsville


What’s the best placement for those rosy cheeks and how should we spread that color out with brushes or sponges?

Nancy: Apples of the cheek has been tried and true since the beginning of time! Your face shape helps determine how to apply the blush color on those apples. Finding the right undertone in blush to complement your skin tone is best. If you need to mask redness or bring brightness factors into choosing blush color. Using a blush brush is best for powder. For cream blushes, fingers are best.


Is there a magic spray, powder or finisher that excellent for sealing that perfect look? 

Nancy: I love finding the correct product for my client to seal and finish the look. A knowledgeable MUA knows if they should use a finishing or setting powder or a setting spray or combination. The perfect finish is based on the event factors. But then to find what is right for you daily, it takes a makeup lesson to get customized to your needs.


Are there any awesome professional tips you’d like to add Nancy? 

Nancy: Clients that come to me with Pinterest or Instagram looks, which I do enjoy them sharing and very much encourage, should realize that the photo often is filtered, photographed in really good lighting on flawless models without features like theirs (different jawline, eyelids, wrinkles, eye shape, etc). Sometimes the photographs of looks a client wants might need more time in my chair than the allotted time they are booked for. The expectation can be disappointing when I point this out and again when I point out how that look could be awful on them after hours of sweating, dancing, oil etc. and the photo of that look might possibly just look good for the photo and not their duration of their occasion. If you are a bride to be or have a big event to attend and have concerns–book a trial with me. Brides should always book a trial run, and I cannot re iterate that enough!

Another pro tip from me is to get makeup that is customized for you. All good makeup applications have to begin with how you take care of your skin. Hydrate your skin with plenty of water intake and the proper moisturizing formula for you. When coming to me for a makeup service, listen to the advice I give you on how to properly prepare. This is the only thing that I do for a living and I take pride in it and myself. I recognize that getting your makeup professionally done is a luxury and you have expectations. I do as well, so preparing yourself for your appointment with me and providing me with information prior will most likely result in me meeting your expectations and the application lasting. Basically, when you hire me as your MUA–I want you to be a great display of my work as much as you want my work to look great on you!

Nancy Finnegan MUA and The Scout Guide Huntsville Editor Dawn Pumpelly

How are we ever going to learn all of this?

Nancy: The one suggestion is to have a personal makeup lesson. I provide them, and they have started to take over most of my weekly appointments. During those, I often hear my clients saying that they “read this makeup advice” and then they feel they shouldn’t do what they read. With a personal makeup lesson I can take the guesswork out and show you what is flattering as well as techniques and decide which formula might be best and easiest for you to apply yourself.

Thank you Nancy for all of the fantastic information! Like she said, makeup really is art, and we love having a local expert like Nancy Finnegan here in Huntsville! Interested in booking her? Text her directly at 256-970-9234 or email her at [email protected]. You can also check out all her makeup artist skills and work on Instagram and Facebook.

Photography for this article by White Rabbit Studios and B Nicole Photography