When I was headed to New Orleans, I knew I was traveling with a photographer (that’d be Chuck AKA @Chuckstr), I knew I’d be going to some high profile events (hello, Essence Music Fest!) and I’d be doing a photo shoot while in town (hello, Igigi). I also knew it would be like ninth circle of Hades hot and I could NOT handle the makeup situation alone every day. I turned to Twitter and asked for help in finding a Nawlins MUA. And some of my FAVORITE makeup artist friends – SanTara of The Gorgeous Blog and Frances of Revealing Beaute, among others – recommended I contact Maria Barreda, AKA @MariaB_MUA.

There were other makeup artists mentioned and I’m sure they are AMAZING as well, but there was something about Maria that intrigued me. I went with my gut. And I’m so glad I did because she is the BOMB and we totally clicked. I LOVED working with Maria!!!


Maria is a native of Guatemala but now calls New Orleans home. She’s covered in tattoos (her husband is a tattoo artist!), she’s got the most awesome accent, and she’s super wise and sweet – very knowledgeable about her city and her craft. Maria is awesome. Point blank period.

Maria did my makeup for the Igigi shoot, and for Saturday of Essence Music Fest – a busy day where I knew I’d be out and about all day long and into the night, and needed to look my best. These photos are from that Saturday when we first met!


She told me that she could make my makeup last all day and I was like “OK we’ll see.” Because it is SO HOT and humid in New Orleans, I doubted my face would make it through. But my look lasted all day AND all night – and that was the night I met Pharrell, so I was happy to be picture perfect!



I had to ask Maria about her makeup philosophy. She said it’s something she never really thought about. “I just really love to do what I do and to make someone else feel and look beautiful is a reward in itself. I just love to create flawless looking skin and clean looks for anyone who hires me! My goals when I work on a face is hydration, healthy,flawless looking skin, well groomed brows and eye work that will make someone stare. I am also an esthetician so quick fixes aren’t a problem but I also like to educate my clients if and when there’s a concern or a skin condition.”

When Maria worked on me I noticed she was super focused and super organized. I’ve worked with many a makeup artist through the years, and I really appreciate when an artist is professional. Maria was EXTREMELY professional and still fun, and I loved that. I interviewed her about her skills, tips and favorite products. Read on for tips on making your makeup last in insanely hot weather!


Afrobella – Maria, you are awesome! The makeup you did lasted all day and into the night! And that is truly remarkable for hot and humid New Orleans. I was sweating like crazy and the look lasted through that. What’s your secret??

Maria B — I’m so glad you liked it! I saw you a few times throughout the day as we both worked that hectic weekend and you looked flawless and graceful every time!

My secret on your skin type is that I saw that you were most oily in the T-zone area and normal on the perimeter so I first sprayed Embroylisse Flower Essence Toner on your skin, then I dabbed your t-zone with blotting sheets, then applied primer to that area and applied moisturizer to rest of your skin.  I applied cream stick foundation as your highlight and contour. I find that cream foundations work great in hot and humid climates because they’re not heavy and it doesn’t feel like your makeup is melting. Not to mention that I looove the finish on women of color it looks very natural not ashy or grey! After the look was done I applied a setting spray to allow the product to set.

Afrobella — What are your best makeup tips for women of color who are afraid of makeup and want to start experimenting with it? Makeup seems to scare many women I know.

Maria B –  I know what you mean I run into a lot of women that tend to be afraid of makeup or that just don’t have the time! I always like to suggest to start with just concealing the spots that you want to cover to create even skin. Also, before graduating to full foundation — if and when you want to use foundation — I always suggest a  tinted moisturizer. Laura Mercier, Bobbi Brown and MAC have great ones! This gives a natural look and it doesn’t feel or look like anything is on. It’s also buildable so you can cover a little more but I wouldn’t suggest that you use as a full coverage just because then you may feel too “made up.”

Also, for women that want eyes, cheeks and lips done, I say start slowly. You don’t have to touch every part of your face to look good or made up. Find your best attribute and focus on that or let how you feel determine what you will do. For example, If you keep your brows groomed and shaped you’ve already saved time and makeup, but even just defining the brows lightly with powder or pencil is a start. Then apply light tinted moisturizer on the skin, apply bronzer to the apple of the cheeks, curl lashes and apply mascara, then apply your favorite lipstick or gloss and you’re done!! Or if you want to emphasize on eyes you can do all the steps and apply color to the eyes and eyeliner and its done. However I do recommend that if you do a bold lip, keep the eyes light and if you do a bold eye, keep lips light or nude.


Afrobella -. What would you say are the most popular makeup trends where you live?

Maria B – Hmmm! That’s an interesting question!! LOL I say that because we are in the south — the home of big hair, Long nails, and diva brows! LOL! I would say that colorful lids or lips are in here. Women here have no problem with rocking a bold lip.

Afrobella — What are your top five makeup brands?

Maria B —  My top 5 brands are Make Up For Ever, AJ Crimson, Graftobian, OCC, Armani, I can go on!

And this is Maria’s makeup for my Igigi shoot. LOVED it! Love her.


You can visit Maria Barreda’s official site,  follow her Twitter @MariaB_MUA., and you can also like her on Facebook – http://facebook.com/MariaBarredaMUA or on Instagram – http://www.instagram.com/MariaB_MUA

If you have specific makeup questions you’d like to ask, holla at Maria on Twitter or leave a comment below! Thanks for EVERYTHING, Maria you’re amazing!

How do YOU make your makeup last in hot weather, bellas?

All photos by Chuck Olu-Alabi.



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *