About Me

NEW YORK, NY, United States
Im a freelance makeup artist and skin therapist. www.ginanicora.com


Friday, December 11, 2009


If it sounds to good to be true; chances are it is! So be on the look out for "gimmicky" sales promotions. The best way to know what you are putting on your skin is to first be an educated consumer. The question is "What  ingredients should I be looking for?" and "How do I know how to read the labels?"

First it is important to know that the FDA passed a law in 1966 regulating the packaging of cosmetic and skin care products. The name, address and net quantity and list of ingredients must be listed on the package. The FDA made an amendment to this law by requiring the ingredients to be listed in order from highest to lowest concentration. "What does this mean for the consumer?" If you are purchasing any product that claims it is made with high concentrations of any ingredient or claims to be medical grade, first you want to see where the ingredient is listed in the list of ingredients. 

Second, you want to know what ingredients to look for when shopping for products.  Here is the "Top Ten" List of ingredients to be on the look out for which can create negative side effects and can also be toxic:

1. Diazolidinyl Urea- These are usually used as preservatives. They are the second most commonly used after "parabens". They can cause contact dermatitis which is characterized by a rash. They can also be listed as Germall I. They can release formaldehyde and can be toxic.

2. Methy, Propyl and Ethyl Paraben- These are the most common preservatives. They can cause allergic reactions and skin rashes. Be on the look out for "paraben-free" formulas that are now being offered.

3. Petrolatum- This ingredient is extremely cheap and is most likely used in lip therapy products, lip sticks and glosses. Ironically enough the products that are claiming to soothe and protect lips that contain petrolatum actually do the opposite. It actually causes photo sensitivity and dries out the skin and interferes with the body's  natural moisturizing mechanism. So next time you buy a "lip conditioner" be sure to look for this ingredient.

4. Propylene Glycol- This is  petrochemical which can cause allergic and toxic reactions.

5. PVP/PVA Copolymer- Can cause lung sensitivity.

6. Sodium Laurel Sulfate- This a synthetic substance used in shampoos and hair care products that can cause eye irritations, hair loss and dandruff.

7. Synthetic Colors- They will be labeled as FD&C or D&C. These synthetic colors can be cancer causing.

8. Steralkonium Chloride- This ingredient was originally formulated as a fabric softener but is cheap to use and can be used as a conditioner. This can cause major skin irritation.

9. Synthetic Fragrances- The synthetic fragrances can have as many as 200 ingredients and can cause anything from headaches, hyperpigmentation, rashes, and skin irritation.

10. Triethanolamine- This ingredient is often used in cleansers and can actually dry out skin and hair and cause eye problems.

It is not only important to know what ingredients  are not beneficial to the skin but it is also important to know what ingredients to look for that can actually improve the health of the skin. Stay tuned for my review of Dermalogica  which is a product line that is  not only free of all these ingredients but packed with amazing natural ingredients that promote beautiful skin for all skin types  and conditions.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Today I have had the privilege to work with the most amazing new product line at the exclusive preview of Vapour Organic Beauty at Henri Bendel. I have had the honor to become friends with one of the most talented product developers in the cosmetics market and had the opportunity to work with his latest product line. He has worked with the renowned  Kevyn Aucoin to create Kevyn Aucoin Beauty and served as Creative Director and President. He then went on to work with the brand founder Christina Carlino of Philosophy to create a color line for Philosophy.Now his latest triumph was launching this revolutionary brand of organic cosmetics. Vapour is made from food-grade Certified Organic ingredients and is free of all chemicals, parabens and FD+C color or dyes. Not only are the ingredients all organic but the packaging is recyclable. The organic ingredients in Vapour are not just to give it color and performance like other cosmetics the ingredients are actually beneficial for the skin. After all without flawless skin you can't have flawless makeup! The ingredients offer twice the amount of antioxidants than their leading counterparts. Vapour also contains EFAs ( also known as Esssential Fatty Acids) which are the best kind of fats for optimum health as well as pure vitamins and minerals.

Now that you have all the facts, the question is " With a million and one cosmetics out there, is there really a difference?" ABSOLUTELY!! As a self diagnosed product junkie I have tried almost every brand on the market as both a consumer and as a professional. The foundation and primer is like NOTHING I have ever experienced before. Not only does it  go on like silk but it covers flawlessly and seamlessly and looks like skin but only better. It feels weightless and is hydrating and soothing. It's like having a makeup and spa experience in one! It's organic formulation that does not include water means it doesn't even need to be set with powder as it almost magically sets itself. I'm on almost hour 12 and it hasn't moved and still looks and feels great which is a miracle because I have the world's most hypersensitive skin. The lip gloss: simply my new addiction! I must have put it on 100 times today; not because it doesn't stay on but because it is so luxurious and smells and tastes delicious. It's made from all-natural lemon balm, essential oils and fruit essence. My lips were so chapped from the weather change and now they are completely healed and moisturized. The blush and eye shadows go on like the foundation. The colors blend softly for an almost airbrushed effect. The best part is everything is in a twist tube so its easy, neat and compact. I also love that you don't even need brushes you can use your fingertips to blend everything! It really follows my philosophy as a makeup artist:  flawless glowing skin, soft colors, a beautiful/less is more, no makeup look that subtly enhances the beauty and camouflages the imperfections with ease! It's truly the fabulous 5 minute face! I give Vapour Organic Beauty 5 lipsticks(that's  5 stars in makeup artist lingo)

Visit www.VapourBeauty.com and check out Eric on www.ShopNBCTV.com to check out a live presentation October 27th!!


Lasers are becoming more advanced by the minute! They are the wave of the future for anyone who wants to turn back the hands of time without the cost, dangers and downtime of plastic surgery and they can also treat a multitude of skin concerns that are not part of the aging process. I have been consulting with one of the best laser companies on the market and the verdict is in: the GentleMax Nd-Yag/Alexandrite by Candela can eliminate fine lines and wrinkles, tighten sagging skin, rejuvenate sun damaged skin and actually remove sun spots and age spots. In addition it also removes hair on all skin types including dark and tanned skin. It doesn't stop there. It also can remove birthmarks, facial lesions, leg veins, warts as well as melasma, also known as the pregnancy mask. It is the fastest and most powerful laser on the market and is able to perform treatments in less time and is unmatched in its hair removable capabilities.

I'm looking forward to training with this laser company and working with this laser. Stay tuned for where, when and how much to get the best laser treatments on the market!

Sunday, September 27, 2009



The truth about most over the counter "Fountain of Youth" creams is they just can't produce the  same results as a medical grade product. Most products you can purchase at a department store counter or at your local Duane Reade don't have a high enough concentration of the the ingredients that can actually give the results they claim. The FDA requires that all cosmetic and skin care products list all of their ingredients in order from the highest to lowest in concentration. Most of the ingredients that are actually active in the product are in the  first five ingredients and the ingredients they boast about being the "wrinkle cure" are at the bottom of the ingredient list.  The most effective ingredients that can actually treat the  skin discoloration caused by sun damage, fine lines, wrinkles and even deeper wrinkles known as fissures which come with age are AHA, BHA  and TCA acids.  The AHAs are known as alphahydroxy acids  which include glycolic and lactic acids. These acids help unclog pores, help with deep exfoliation and cell renewal as well as hydrate the skin, promote collagen production and improve tone and texture. The BHAs are known as betahydroxy acids,  also known as salicylic acid which are much gentler than glycolic acids and are excellent for people with sensitive skin and acne who are looking for the same results as glycolic acids but are more sensitive to their  effects. The TCAs are known as trichloracetic acid which is a more  which can be used as a deeper peel and are particulary good for darker skins and skins with more damage and need more intensive results. In order to actually penetrate the deeper layer of the skin know as the dermis,  where collagen and elastin production happens, the concentration of these acids needs to be high enough. In addition to over the counter products not having high enough concentrations of the active ingredients the products have lots of other filler ingredients which can actually irritate and dry the skin when used on a regular basis. The other downside is that most products are pricey and use a marketing trick known as "puffery"which is packaging products in a larger package but the actual amount of product is not as large as the package. 

The question is " So how can I get optimum results without spending so much money?" The best way to get results is to get a medical grade peel done by a licensed professional several times a year at a reasonable price for optimum results. As well as follow up with a treatment program at home that is specifically designed for your skin.

I recommend PCA Professional Skin. They have been in business for over 20 years. They were the first cosmeceutical company to provide professional treatments to medical and clinical aestheticians. The founder of PCA Skin, Margaret Ancira, helped create professional formulas only available to doctors and licensed skin care  professionals. The chief scientist, Jennifer Linder M.D., is also a Dermatologist and Skin Cancer Surgeon. 

The peels are  medical grade but are gentle enough to address acne, psoriasis ,hyperpigmentation, rosacea, fine lines and wrinkles without irritation. They also offer follow up skin care products to enhance the results of the peels at home. All of PCA's products are fragrance,  color , alcohol and oil free as well as free of any harsh ingredients that can sensitize the skin. The PCA peels can only be administered by a licensed  PCA Certified professional. The PCA at home products are also only available through physicians and licensed professionals and are not available at the retail level.

I'm very excited about becoming trained and certified with this company in November. Check back for information on peels, skin treatments and packages I will be offering soon!! Stay tuned for "HOW TO READ PRODUCT LABELS. " COMING SOON!!


A very Nouveau Riche concept of "more is more" was the inspiration for the couture shows in Paris. The look is very Hollywood glam from Bardot to Barbarella. Tom Pecheux (who is one of the most sought after makeup artists in the industry and one of my true inspirations) created a dramatic smokey eye paired with either a nude lip or for a very sultry look he used crimson on the lips for the Jean Paul Gaultier show. Pat Mc Grath (who has been named one of the most influential make up artists by Vogue magazine) went for a more bold fifties inspired look for the Dior show. She created dramatically arched brows and exaggerated liquid liner with bold bright lips in shades of red and fuchsia.

So the question is: How do I take these dramatic runway looks from catwalk to sidewalk?
A great way to stay current and follow the trend is to pick one element of the runway look and focus on either eyes, lips or brows. 

Here I chose to focus on Morgan's lips for a soft yet bold glamorous look. I started with  flawless skin by using Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation. I also used Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer Illuminating highlighter to sculpt and highlight the face www.GiorgioAmrmaniBeauty-USA.com. I created the bold red lip using  Blazin Red by  Yves Saint Laurent  www.YSLBeautyUS.com

One of my new favorite reds is Devil  by Dolce and Gabbana.  The new Dolce and Gabbana line was launched at Saks Fifth Avenue by none other than Pat McGrath. This lipstick is definitely a splurge priced at $50 but it is totally worth it!!! The color is gorgeous and the gold case and embossed D+G logo on the lipstick is simply FABULOUS!! Every woman needs a little something special in her going out makeup bag!! www. DolceGabbanaMakeup.com

Some other helpful tricks to use when creating a bold red lip in addition to choosing  the right red lipstick are smooth lips, long lasting color and a precision application.

 I like to use both a lip  exfoliant   and a lip primer from Smashbox Cosmetics www.Smashbox.com. The exfoliant  is an emulsion of sugar granules as well as lip conditioners like Shea butter which gently exfoliates and conditions lips at the same time. The primer helps to keep lips from feathering and keeps the color in place longer. The primer is definitely a "must have"! It's not only a lip primer but a 2 in one product. One end is for the lips the other is for the eyes for $24.00.

Another "must have" when doing a bold red lip is a precision liner and a lip brush for a perfect application. Dolce and Gabbana has another 2 in one product- one end is a liner and the other end is a lip brush for $30 www. DolceGabannaMakeup.com

Monday, September 14, 2009


Photo# 1 Backstage @ Maria Grachvogel

Photo#2 Toni Maticevski Runway@ Altman

Photo#3-4 Backstage@Toni Maticevski

Photo#5 Finale Toni Maticevski


I've had the privilege to work with this amazing photographer. We have shot a beautiful fashion spread together and just finished our first New York Fashion Week show working together backstage. She was the key photographer for the Purple Event for the runway and the red carpet. Keep your eye on her because she is one of the newest rising stars!!

Photo#1 Maria Grachvogel Runway@ The Altman

Photo#2 Rachel Zoe @Thakoon already workin it on the blackberry

Photo#3 Rad Houvrani Runway@ Milk Studios

Photo#4 Julian louis Runway@ Milk Studios

Photo #5 Karlie Kloss@ Thakoon

Photo#6 Chanel Iman@Thakoon


The look for Spring 2010 is soft and feminine. The skin is clean and luminous. Cheek color is used more to sculpt the face rather than as cheek color. The tones are soft neutral beige and pink. Lips are matte neutral pale tones. Eyes are also soft neutral shades of browns, beige, gold tones with some shimmer and some matte finishes.

The look that I designed for The Purple Event was a soft chocolate smokey eye with a pale pink cheek and a soft beige matte lip. The look was sponsored by Mac Cosmetics.


PREP: Crealine H2o Hydrating toner to cleanse the skin www.TotalBeauty.com
Embryolisse Moisturizer to hydrate the skin http://www.Embryolisse/
Fast Response Eye Cream to  prep under eye http://www.Maccosmetics.com/
YSL Touch Eclat Pen to highlight the cheek bones, the brow bone and bow of the lip http://www.YSLBeautyuUs.com/

FACE: Mac Face and Body http://www.Maccosmetics.com/
Studio Moisture Cover Concealer

EYES: Mac Paint Pot Quiet Natural as a base for the eye swept up to the crease and underneath the lash line, then layer Constructivist Paint Pot over Quiet Natural, blend up to crease then sweep Chocolate Brown pigment in soft feathering motions, then line water line with Teddy kohl pencil, then use Shu Uemura Lash Curler http://www.ShuUemura-USA.com/ and black Dior Show Mascara http://www.Dior.com/ and clear brow gel and brush up brows to finish the look.

CHEEKS: Blush Baby blush used as a contour. Start at the top of the cheekbones and sweep into hairline www.Maccosmetics.com

LIPS: I used Mac Lip Erase in pale to nude out the lip, and then Bamboom lip paint dabbed on with a finger and no liner for a soft romantic look www.Maccosmetics.com


Sunday, September 13, 2009



Dear Diary, "How do I get that flawless makeup look?"

Flawless makeup starts with flawless skin. In order to get that smooth luminous glowing makeup look you need to start with a good canvas. Beautiful skins starts from the inside so you want to start by making sure you are getting the right nutrients. Beauty Scoop is the latest development in skin care supplements. Beauty Scoop is a beauty cocktail created by a renowned New York plastic surgeon, Dr. Michelle Yagoda. This formula contains peptides and lipids that are key for optimum skin health. Beauty Scoop has been featured in In Style, Bazaar and New Beauty Magazine. I love it! I've seen a major difference in my skin in just a month! If you order a 3 months supply you receive a free gift with purchase and free shipping. Go to www.beautyscoop.com.
Another key to a good canvas is clear skin. I have suffered from sensitive acne prone skin all my life and when I was in my 20's I literally must have tried every product on the market to no avail. I eventually gave in and went on Accutane which did clear up my skin but gave me awful side effects such as migraine headaches, depression, fatigue and super dry lips. Now that I'm in my 30's, I started dealing with hormonal changes and started experiencing breakouts again, nothing like in my 20's but still enough to want to find a solution that would work without all the side effects. I found an amazing product for $ 9.90 (yes under $10 dollars!!) It is a natural vitamin spray made from vitamin B3 and pure aloe vera. I know, it sounds crazy but it works like a charm and  has no side effects. You can order it online at www.naturallyclear.com. This is a "must have!" 

The next step for a good canvas is smooth and hydrated skin. If your skin is dull, dry and flaky, foundation will not go on smooth or look luminous. The key is to exfoliate gently but thoroughly and make sure your skin is hydrated. My favorite exfoliant is from Dermalogica. The  Daily Microfoliant is gentle enough to use everyday. It is made from a rice based enzyme powder and also contains salicylic acid as well as green tea, ginkgo and colloidal oatmeal to help calm skin so it's great for sensitive skin and all skin types.  My other life saver is also by Dermalogica which is the Skin Hydrating Masque. This mask is an amazing treatment to use before a big night out before putting on makeup or whenever you need a boost. It is also for all skin types and restores suppleness to the skin, calms redness and inflammation and contains anti-oxidant vitamins C and E. You can go to www.dermalogica.com to find a location near you.

Now that you have some of my "must have" skin care treatments stay tuned for " The Flawless Makeup Look Part II" for the step by step flawless face complete with my favorite makeup products, tips and tricks.


Monday, August 31, 2009

Dear Diary, " Is Purple the New Black ?"

It will be Thursday September 10, 2009 at the Sony Atrium when The Purple Event kicks off New York Fashion Week. The Purple Event is a fashion event to benefit the Anita Kaufman Foundation.  The Purple Event is hosted by Jillian Harris of  The Bachelorette with special guests Elliot Yamin of American Idol, Anna Ortiz of Ugly Betty, Alex McCord of The Housewives of New York City, Alan Faneca of the New York Jets and his wife Julie. The event will include a silent auction and runway show  featuring purple looks from over sixty designers from Max Mara, Nicole Miller, Nanette Lapore, Eli Tahari, Michael Kors and Project Runway's winner Leanne Marshall just to name a few. The makeup for the show is by yours truly! The proceeds from this event go to the 5th Grade Epilepsy Program. I'm very excited to be part of this event for such a good cause. Go to www.akfus.org to purchase tickets or become a sponsor. Check back for photos, video and "How to get the Look" where I will feature the makeup look from the runway show so you can take it from catwalk to sidewalk.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


My name is Gina Nicora. I'm a NY based freelance makeup artist and skin therapist. I'm excited to share my expertise with you on everything you wanted to know about beauty, inside and out. I will share  the latest cutting edge skin care information; everything from  skin care products and treatments to  anti -aging nutrition.  I will also share the latest makeup trends and technology as well as tips, tricks and my "must haves". It doesn't matter if you are in your 20's, 30's, 40's or 50's you can be fabulous at any age. Now more than ever in these uncertain times you can look good and feel good all without breaking the bank. Beauty on a budget!! Check back for my first Diary entry coming soon!