Escaramuza Inspired by Lena Chavez

Here’s a fun shoot I worked on with Bianca Starr in the Mission District here in San Francisco. She styled it and I did the makeup. Liza was our beautiful model. I had a little help from my six month old daughter, Vinia. Bianca was inspired by the style of the all female rodeo style in Mexico called, Escaramuza. Of course she put her twist on it. You can see me wearing Vinia in some behind the scenes photos. What a bonus to be able to bring her along! It takes a village. Blessings all around.


Jena La Flamme by Lena Chavez

I first had the pleasure of meeting Jena several years ago. I did her makeup and hair for her personal branding photo shoot here in San Francisco. Introduced by Wendy Yalom. We had a great time that day galavanting around. I was honored that she called on me again to help her get ready for her wedding day. I arrived at the beautiful ranch style home in the Berkeley hills in the morning. One of my favorite places to be, also the city where I was born. The air was crisp and fresh. There was good energy in the space and it was buzzing with sweetness and excitement. I had been really looking forward to sharing time and space with Jena again. My job is more than makeup and hair. I help to hold the space during these special times. The time just before you make one of the most important commitments of your life. It's a sacred time. 

Jena burning sage to cleanse the space and energy for her and Sachas wedding day.

Jena burning sage to cleanse the space and energy for her and Sachas wedding day.

I was in a very sacred space myself. I was just coming into my second trimester of pregnancy with my sweet rainbow baby. Finally, able to share the joyous news. More about the rainbow baby experience and her older sister in heaven on another post. Needless to say I was floating on my own love cloud! 

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Jena truly embodies the sensual living experience. It was an honor to witness her magical, powerful ways on that day. 

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May your path be blessed Jena and Sacha!

In health and kindness, Lena 


*beautiful photography by Leah Marie at Elle Aime photography

Wendy K. Yalom by Lena Chavez

Wendy and I met several years ago when she was a model for a yoga shoot up in the Marin headlands. I was doing makeup. We stayed in contact via social media and I started working with her shortly after. Wendy is an international leader in personal branding photography and has since been featured in the N.Y. Times among other notable publications. It's been such a pleasure and blessing being able to witness such dedication to her craft, talent, her creative process and meet so many other inspiring women along the way. My personal branding portfolio is all Wendy's work. I've had the opportunity not only to work with her in the greater S.F. Bay Area but also in New York, N.Y. and Miami, Fl. Here's a snapshot of us after completing the last of four days in Miami in December 2014.

The most recent time I did her makeup and hair was for her very own personal branding photo shoot with the talented Robin Clark in S.F. Here's a behind the scenes, in action shot!





Below is one of my favorite images from that day, which was her birthday. It was a rainy day in December 2014, the best part was that it literally stopped raining during the times we were outside shooting. Talk about Divine intervention!

Fun fact: she also did my engagement and wedding photography! 

See you soon guys! 

XOX, Lena

Whitney Nicole by Lena Chavez

I met Whitney Nicole in 2011. You'll see her in my musician and bridal portfolio's. She hired me to do her makeup for her album cover, "100 Strong". Shot by her then boyfriend, now husband, Niall David. We shot at Viracocha in San Francisco, Ca. Meeting this power couple has been so much fun and a blessing. I'm proud to call them friends and colleagues. Whitney and Niall now have a flourishing studio in San Francisco, Songbird studios. Niall and I continue to collaborate on projects now and I still get Whitney ready. The highlight was being able to be there with them on their wedding day at Arista winery in Sonoma County California. What an honor. I did Whitney's makeup and hair for their wedding and had a talented, trusted colleague help me with the bridesmaids. Niall may have had a little anti shine powder too, I don't remember. ;) Here are some photo's of their special day. 


Photos by Katie Luther Photography and Kara Stewart Photography  


Here's a couple snapshots of us :) 

Testament Experience by Lena Chavez

I got the call on a sunny Tuesday afternoon. Was I available to do some male grooming on a two day photo shoot with a local metal band? Ummm, ya! I guess I had a bad phone connection because both times talking with two different people I thought they said I'd be working with "Pessimist". In the middle of getting the guys camera ready on the first day of shooting on Mare island I learned that was not the name of the band. I saw Tiffany a.k.a. Mama Tiff, one the bands managers pull out this leather vest that had TESTAMENT embroidered in white on the back of it. As I'm finishing up with the lead singer, Chuck, I asked her, "Is that the other name of the band?" She answered me, "Yes. Testament." Greeeeeaaat. This whole time, about a week or so I was researching a different metal band! I told them and we had a good laugh. Of course I know who Testament is. Being a native of the San Francisco bay area and having a slew of different friends, some metal heads, I KNOW who Testament is!! Awesome. 

Day 1: Call time 8:45a.m. on Mare Island, Vallejo, Ca. We arrived and set up shop. There was a huge winnebago  with a trailer attached to it. Dean Karr, director/photographer was shooting. After I got everyone camera ready we had a lot of down time. On every shoot I do, lighting is always the reason. It trips me out, so technical. We wait for the magic of the lights to happen. While we were waiting guess what movie was playing...Goodfellas! One of my all time top three favorite movies. After that Talladega Nights played. Mama Tiffany had provided a ton of fresh, healthy food for everyone. There was also Paul the owner of the winnie barbequing some sausages which were also delicious. It felt like we were set up in the middle of nowhere.

Finally, it was time to shoot. Last looks, the guys looked great. Hardcore. Tough. With the smell of fennel and the sound of mini blinds flipping in the wind from a nearby abandoned building, I stood behind Dean the whole time making sure they stayed camera ready, no hairs were out of place etc.. It was really wonderful to be around such creative energy. To see the process and see how his photo assistants worked their butts off was inspiring. There I was, watching Dean's creative process while he was smoking a cigar, snapping photos and making us laugh. He also took some shots with a polaroid camera. We were instructed to put the negatives in some water. Old school.

Day 2: A redwood forest in Guernville, Ca. We all met up in the east bay and hopped in the winnie. Drove about 100 miles. On the drive I'm standing up, bracing myself against a table, taming some wild hair to still look wild. Getting the job done. We arrived in the gorgeous redwoods, with the smell of nature in the air. Paul skillfully pulled the huge trailer into a spot. 

It's time to shoot. Me, the five guys in the band, Mama Tiffany, Dean, the first photo assistant Antonio, 2nd assistant Scott, and Paul the owner of the winnie and our faithful driver go hiking into the lush redwood forest.

Antonio was lugging a super heavy generator that I'm going to guess weighed about 60lbs. That generator was essential in making the flash go off for the fancy the redwoods. We only spoke to the forest ranger once, she was cool about it. Mama Tiffany made sure we all behaved and respected the forest. I had a blast as part of the brigade. After about an hour or so of some spectacular shooting it was time to head to the second location of the day. West Oakland. We all hopped back into the winnie and Paul drives us about 70 miles. 

We arrive at American Steel Studios in West Oakland, Ca. Where a community of artists reside. Here's a couple snapshots of artist Karen Cusolito's work that astounded me seeing up close. 

Venus was in transit. Passing in front of the sun. One of the artists from the studios had a plasma welding mask he shared with us so we could safely see it. It was incredible. For me, magical. Several hours later we were wrapped! Done! Two full days of technical lighting and raw inspiration fueled me. You'll be able to see the photos in Decibel, Guitar World and Guitar Player magazines. Testaments 10th studio album, "Dark Roots of Earth" is scheduled to be released July 30, 2012. It was definitely an incredible, family style, two days. Until next time my friends!!

Fearlessly yours, Lena

Tips Your Mama Didn't Tell You by Lena Chavez

I come from a Mother who wears makeup. She is the beautiful, natural type of makeup wearer. When I first started working in the beauty industry, I asked her if she'd like for me to get her any specific makeup. Her reply was, "Brown eyeshadow please." The first thing out of my mouth was, "But Mama, your eyelids are already brown..." she immediately responded to me saying my full name loudly and telling me she actually has been wearing brown eyeshadow every single day of my life...hence the beautiful natural type. I couldn't believe it! So I got her the brown eyeshadow and have since introduced her to different colors and makeup techniques. Of course she has taught me quite a few tips and tricks along the way as well.  


Now, it is part of my job to teach the tips and tricks I've learned over the years. To help to empower you!  I'll fill you in on a few tips I think you'll benefit from the most.

First of all, take care of your skin. If you don't your makeup will not look as good (I like a natural looking face makeup) as it has the potential to. Make it a ritual for yourself. Night and morning. At night think of the dirt and car exhaust you've walked through just by walking a short distance down the street or from your car to work or school. That stays on your skin until you clean it off. Not to mention the makeup you've worn that day and the oil your skin has naturally produced. You don't want to go to sleep with all that on your face, smear it on your pillow and rest in it all night...hello, that's the perfect recipe for pimples. So cleanse, moisturize your face and use eye cream. If you're like me then you like to use a bit of concealer under your eyes. If that area isn't hydrated the concealer will look dry and flaky. In the morning you can splash some water on your face or cleanse it again if you feel oily.

Next tip, this shocks some people, you need to replace your mascara every six weeks! The reason why is because bacteria builds up in that tiny little magical tube that helps to enhance your eyelashes. Also, when your mascara is old it flakes down onto your face when you wear it. Not cute.

This final tip is a big one for me. I get clients all the time talking about how a certain mascara or eyeliner smudges. Well, guess what. It's probably not the product. This is why. Do you use eye cream? It's probably getting too close to your eye. Apply it to the top part of your orbital bone, pictured below, and just a tiny bit during the day.


What will happen is the eye cream will move on your skin, so applying it to the orbital bone is sufficient for during the day. Now at night time, you can use a little more eye cream and get it closer to your lashes. Using eye cream will also help your under eye concealer from looking dry and flakey because the skin under your eyes will be hydrated.

Now you have a few tips to use so your makeup won't end up looking like this...

OK I know that's a bit much, but you know what I'm saying! Until next time my friends.

Fearlessly yours, Lena


A Soolip Wedding by Lena Chavez

Back in February 2012 I participated in A Soolip Wedding event at the Bentley Reserve in San Francisco. The gorgeous, grand, captivating venue in the financial district. I was asked to represent Laura Mercier at the Nordstrom bridal suite booth. Part of that was to be on an expert panel. I was with Andrea Wasserman the Nordstrom National bridal director and Jin Wang, a local bridal dress designer. The three of us were to speak to an audience of about fifty brides.

In the weeks leading up to the expert panel I was super excited and honored I would get to share my knowledge with such a large audience at once. Thank goodness I took that speech class in college. When it was finally our turn to go on stage I couldn’t feel my arm. A little nervous. I hate to admit that, I’m just being real. I just kept smiling and breathing. Paying attention to the questions and trying to act normal and comfortable. I felt like I was on Oprah! All the fancy lighting, the video cameras, the host with the microphone, and us speaking into the mic. Jin was inspiring. She had the type of relaxed energy as if we were in her living room. I think she rubbed off on me a little because I did hold it together pretty well.

The host asked me how to keep makeup looking fresh all day. It all starts with skincare. Taking care of your skin is 75% of your makeup looking good. Using a primer and a loose setting powder with a puff to set your makeup are a couple of the key steps to ensure the longevity of your makeup. A primer helps to lock in your skin care and helps prevent your makeup from going into your pores. The setting powder helps it to last until you’re actually ready to take it off. These are a couple steps to a long wearing makeup look.

Another subject I spoke to was about having a makeup trial, or as I call it a "preview session". It is very important to have a preview session for your wedding day makeup. Not only to try the makeup look and figure out the best style for you but also to meet your makeup artist and see if you two are a good match. After all, you will be sharing a part of your special day with this person.

One of the other questions I was asked is if I saw any bridal makeup trends. I recommend thinking twice about trying anything trendy on the day of your wedding. Think about the photos that will be going down in your family history. Do you really want to look back and see a turquoise eyeshadow? I’ve learned classic and timeless is where it is for bridal makeup, maybe with a little twist. It also comes down to your personal style too. Take the little things and expert opinions into consideration for an amazingly memorable wedding day experience. 

Here's a link to the view the interview  here, which is about 21 minutes or catch my segments at 6:10 and at 14:37! Enjoy! 

XOX, Lena