Practice Makes Perfect

No Photoshop Necessary

By Naomi Ratner

Achieving a flawless complexion and the perfect smoky eye is not as easy as the simple touch of a Laura Mercier makeup brush; just ask anyone well versed in Photoshop of the art of airbrushing. Come on, Megan Fox is hot, but not flawless.

Stef Stretch, a junior communications design major, explained that learning the art of makeup application takes patience, practice, and a whole bottle of makeup remover. But with creativity and a passion for artistry, she has mastered the art of sexifying eyes with a smoky appeal.

With lustrous blonde hair and glowing skin, Stretch looks ready for an Allure photo shoot on beauty essentials.

“Makeup isn’t for decorating, it’s for accentuating,” says Stretch. “I like a basic natural look. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun every once in a while — bright, bold colors are great when the time is right.”

From glitzing up her friends for high school dances, to pouring over fashion and beauty magazines, the artist was continuously doing makeup, looking for inspiration, and releasing her creativity one mascara applicator at a time.

“I love doing makeup because it gives me a chance to break out of my everyday schoolwork and really do something for myself that I enjoy,” says Stretch.

Studying at Syracuse University allowed Stretch to further pursue her passion, as students are often in need of an experienced makeup artist. She frequently does models' make up for student photography projects, photo shoots for on-campus publications, fashion students’ senior collections, and fashion shows for the fashion design program.

“[Inspiration] also comes from what the vibe of the collection looks like,” says Stretch. “I also really like vintage fashion magazines — the makeup that they used to do was really different from what we typically see today.”

Stretch is a firm believer in a fresh face, but that doesn’t mean bright colors shouldn’t make an appearance; especially when it comes to costume-crazed holidays like Halloween. All Marie Antoinette make up tattoos (traditionally hearts) and Lady Gaga poker faces are welcome.

Whatever the Halloween costume of choice, Stretch has a number makeup tips that work for any getup. “If you use bright, thick colors, definitely use a primer because it helps the color stay vivid,” says Stretch. “Plus, always apply eye shadow before anything else because that way, there won’t be any remnants of the shadow on your face and you can wipe your cheeks off before applying foundation and everything else.”

Take a cue from her fresh outlook on cosmetics, and stretch your limits.

For beauty advice or to book an appointment with Stretch for a project, photo shoot, or fashion show, email

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