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Twenty-Something Beauty with Yoli Cotray

October 18, 2014 Written by | No Comments

Yoli hard at work on a photoshoot.

Yoli hard at work on a photoshoot.


Yoli Cotray and I met a few years back, when her beau (and one of my closest friends) introduced us at a NYC bar. My immediate reaction as we shook hands was “Wow, this girl has really great eyebrows!” I guess that is something only a girl obsessed with makeup products would think. The thin patchy baby caterpillars that rest on top of my eyes, pale in comparison. I had to know her secret! I wondered if it would it be weird to ask her what eye pencil she used 15 minutes into meeting her. I told myself I would avoid the awkward eyebrow talk for the time being and inquire about the story of how the lovely couple met.

Fast-forward to the day I was assigned to write a blog post. My professor told the class that we must include an interview in our first post. My immediate thought? My chance to ask Yoli how in the world she does it! Yoli and I have known one another for about two years now, and I have yet to see the girl look anything less than air brushed. After a twelve-hour workday and when most women I know look like melting Crayola crayons, she is a woman that appears to have stepped out of a magazine advertisement. She is a woman that has recently exited her twenties, but because of her youthful complexion will still likely be carded for the next couple of years. Yoli works as a makeup artist at NARS cosmetics andhas worked for countless beauty brands. As we sit in an Upper West Side restaurant, we sip our champagne cocktails and she eventually lets me pick her brain:

Yoli's work on a young model.

Yoli’s work on a young model.

As a makeup artist, you spend all day working with clients of all ages. What would you say is the biggest difference between the way you apply makeup on a woman in her forties or fifties and a woman in her twenties? Are there differences in products/colors/application?

“As a makeup artist with 13+ years’ experience in working with clients of all ages, the biggest difference between the makeup application for women of different generations would be the process (ie. The steps taken to achieve the desired end result) due to the tightness of the skin or lack thereof.  For a woman of wisdom, I would “put everything back where it belongs” then dress it up by accentuating her best features.  With a woman in her 20’s, things are usually in place, and at that point, I can just be creative.”

What is one fall beauty trend that all twenty-something girls should try and one that they should avoid?

“One fall beauty trend that I am obsessed with now (for any age!) is a rich shade of brown lipstick.  With the right undertone and formula (sheer, satin, cream, matte, etc.), this can be a very sophisticated and chic look.  Avoid- skipping lip liner!”

Kat Dennings sporting the trend.

Kat Dennings sporting the trend.

In your opinion, what is the biggest mistake twenty-somethings make when applying their makeup?

“In my opinion, one of the biggest mistakes women in their twenties make when applying their makeup is not properly prepping the skin with skin care.  A great eye cream, face serum and moisturizer can go a long way in what I like to refer to as the “preventative years”.  It can also improve the overall look and wear of a makeup application.”

Yoli's work on a young model.

Yoli’s work on a young model.

If you could go back and tell your twenty one year old self one thing related to beauty, what would it be?

“If I could go back in time, I would tell my twenty one year old self”only allow a professional to groom your brows’.  I specialize in eyebrows now, but back then… next question.”

Yoli's work on a "Pretty Woman" photoshoot.

Yoli’s work on a “Pretty Woman” photoshoot.

What do you believe is the number one product all women in her twenties should own?

“I cannot emphasize this enough, EYE CREAM!!!  And not only should they own it, they should commit to using it day and night.  How else would we remain Forever 21?”

Yoli working on a bride.

Yoli working on a bride.

Describe the perfect office beauty look for a woman in her twenties.

“One of my favorite work appropriate makeup looks for young professionals begins with a polished complexion.  A foundation/concealer with the proper level of coverage can camouflage imperfections. Next, find a blush that would mimic an actual pinch to the cheek, this will bring a healthy glow back to the skin.  Deep Gray or Dark Brown eyeliner to *thinly* define eyes- this can distract from any puffiness around the eyes (no one needs to know when you have been up late!) Mascara is a must, and a matte rosy toned lipstick can complete the office look.  There is something about the finish and color that says RESPECT ME, respectfully.”

Describe the perfect date night look for a woman in her twenties.

“One of the easiest (and flirtiest!) date looks for a woman in her twenties is a traditional Cat Eye styled liner.  This look can be used with a bold lip color for those who dare, or something softer for a casual finish.  Whether pencil, liquid, or gel, make sure the eyeliner is long wearing just in case it ends up being a long night!”


I leave the interview, and immediately feel an urge to step into Sephora. My new shopping list includes a dark brown lip color with matching pencil. (So 90’s!), an eye cream and a black eyeliner to create a cat eye. Now, if she would only come over every time I needed a cat eye. Ah! Blog post idea. The perfect cat eye, by Yoli Cotray. Who wants to see that next?

Categories: Advice and Tips · cosmetics · Diana Kozak · Interview · makeup · MUA · Yoli Cotray