Monday, December 30, 2013

New Year's Eve Makeup Inspiration!

I know it is a little last minute, but I wanted to share my NYE inspiration for tomorrow evening's party look!
Beyonce looking gorgeous, a model rocking some serious liner, and Leighton Meester.

The dress I am wearing (ordered from Rent the Runway for the first time, btw!) is silver and black, and instead of going with the typical smoky eye I am going to rock the classic red lip and cat eyeliner look.  I may even add a pair of full false lashes to bring the look to the next level.  My top choices for the evening: MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack and Rouge Dior Lipstick in 999 Ara Red.  

I promise to update this post with a photo of me from tomorrow evening.  Maybe even a tutorial


What makeup look are you planning on rocking tomorrow evening?  Please feel free to comment below:)

Update / photo from NYE:

Me and my husband being goofy at the photo booth:) 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Product Review: bareMinerals Shades of Decadence Collection

First off, I want to apologize about the lack of posts the last week or so.  I am sure you all are busy with the holiday season as well, but I promise I am not being a slacker! I have a couple product reviews coming in the near future, and this is one of them...

For Christmas, I received the bareMinerals Shades of Decadence Collection from my mom (who is also a makeup fanatic, by the way!).  I didn't need more makeup by any means, but I am always happy to try out new and different products that come my way.  This set includes nine eyeshadows and six lip glosses (3 Marvelous Moxie glosses, 3 regular glosses) and comes in a really cute gold box.
The eyeshadow colors are gorgeous, ranging from light, shimmery shades to deeper tones that can double as eyeliner if used with a damp brush. You may even be able to use some of the lighter shades to highlight your face as well.  Although these shadows look gorgeous alone, I would recommend using a eyeshadow primer (Urban Decay Primer Potion is my favorite) to help keep it in place and make the color stand out more.

Shadow colors from top to bottom: Cypress (smoky greenish grey),  Glitz (dark shimmery plum), Atomic Plume (mushroom), Splendid (warm shimmery gold),  Rose Gold (rosy gold, ha!), Aglow (pearly whitish pink), Brave (light gold glitter), Gilt (light gold), and Wink (warm brown)

The lip glosses are very pretty and the shades are wearable.  I have to say that I am a fan of the regular glosses more than the Moxie line, since the latter are a tad too shimmery for my liking.  Still, the lip glosses are nice and would suit most skin tones.  Plus, the regular lip glosses are 100% natural, which always makes me a happy girl.

Lip gloss colors from top to Bottom: Vixen (bright shimmery pink), Temptress (shimmery rose), Tantalizer (shimmery nude), Starfruit (light pink), Wearable Mauve (light rose), Raspberry Truffle (pink).

 The only issues I have with this collection are, a) the eyeshadows are a bit messy, since they are loose powders and b) the 15 separate containers take up a fair amount of space, so they aren't the most portable.
Overall, I think the Shades of Decadence Collection is a good buy, since it is only $39 and comes with so many fun eyeshadow shades and lip glosses.  If you are trying to keep your makeup collection more concise / easy to carry, I would probably recommend skipping it and getting a palette that includes shadows and lip glosses in one compact.

If you have any questions about these products, please let me know.  I plan to do a tutorial with this collection very soon, so be on the lookout!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

My Top 10 Dupes

In case you are not familiar with the world of Pinterest, "dupes" are essentially duplicates or cheaper versions of expensive products.  There are so many great lists already compiled, but I wanted to share some of my personal faves.
1. Prestige Liquid Eyeliner ($4.99) vs MAC Liquid Eyeliner ($19.50
These two eyeliners are very similar in texture, finish, and longevity.  They also both have a felt tip applicator which makes for easy application. At under $5, you can't go wrong trying out the drugstore option.

2.  Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner ($9.99) vs MAC Fluidline ($16.00)
Both of these gel eyeliners are long-lasting and have a deep black finish.  The Maybelline formula is a little smoother in texture, while the MAC is thicker.  Both are very easy to use, but the Maybelline version even comes with a little brush!

3.  NYX Eyebrow Pushup Bra ($9.99) vs Anastasia Beverly Hills Duality Highlighting Pencil ($23.00)
Each of these pencils have a matte brightening formula on one end, which are great for highlighting the inner corner of the eyes as well as the brow bone.  The main difference is the NYX version has a regular brow pencil on the opposite end, and the Anastasia has a shimmery highlighter on the other side.

4. L’oreal Voluminous Mascara ($7.99) vs Lancome Hypnose Mascara ($27.00)
Rumor has it that these two brands are manufactured with the same formula.  I happen to LOVE cheap mascara, and the L'Oreal performs beautifully.

5. Revlon Colorburst Kissable Balm Stain ($8.99) vs Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Color Balm ($17.00)
Each of these lipstick balms are glossy and easy to apply, but you can try out more shades without spending as much with the drugstore option.

6. Real Technique Brushes ($6.00 and up) vs any expensive brush (ie: MAC, Sigma, etc)
Real Techniques brushes are excellent quality and offer lots of professional types of brushes that you may not be able to find in other inexpensive brand offerings.  They are all synthetic, which is a plus if you are into animal-friendly products. 

7. Maybelline Magic Lumi Highlighter ($12.99) vs YSL Touche Eclat ($40.00)
Both of these highlighting pens are amazing for disguising dark circles or highlighting the cheekbones.  At less than $15, the Magic Lumi is a steal.  The con for the inexpensive version is the shade offerings are not as extensive.

8. Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo 24hr Cream Gel Eyeshadow ($6.99) vs MAC Paint Pot ($20.00)
Cream eyeshadows are amazing for using as a base or adding richer color to eyemakep.  The Maybelline version peforms wonderfully and lives up to the 24 hour name.  MAC Paint Pots, however, come in a larger array of shades and finishes.

9. Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips (Nude) Palette ($11.99) vs Urban Decay Naked Palette ($52.00, comes with brush)
The Physicians Nude Palette offers similar shades and hues to the Naked Palette, at a fourth of the cost.  The Urban Decay palette comes with a handy dual ended brush. 

10. Sally Hansen Double Duty Base and Top Coat ($4.99) vs OPI Start to Finish 3 in 1 Treatment ($12.95)
Sally Hansen's Double Duty Base and Top Coat keeps manicures fresh for up to a week.  The OPI version is technically a 3 in 1, so you may benefit a little more from the added strengthener, but I happen to love the inexpensive version.




Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tutorial: Red Lips (and otherwise natural makeup)

After posting this photo to my Instagram account (@ericabasha, if you want to follow)  I had a request for a tutorial / product information.  This is a typical weekend day look for me, since it is quick, easy and looks put together.  So here it is!

1.  Apply moisturizer to the face as normal.  I also use a tinted moisturizer over my regular moisturizer.  I like Bare Minerals Skincare Tinted Moisturizer because it doesn't make me break out and it has sunscreen in it.  There are SO many formulas out there, including many drugstore brands, so just use what you like!  A BB Cream would work also.

2.  Apply under eye concealer and spot conceal any red areas.  I use Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer for the under eye area, and Bobbi Brown Face Touch Up Stick for the rest of my face.  I recommend applying the under eye concealer with your fingers (helps blend it better) and a synthetic brush for everywhere else (helps it stick better and wastes less product). 

3.  Apply Bare Minerals foundation (or any mineral powder foundation you like) with a big brush.  

4.  Apply bronzer (I like Nars Bronzing Powder in Laguna, but anything will work as long as it is not too shimmery) in a "3" motion on both sides of your face (so it hits your hairline, cheekbone, and jawbone) and over your nose.  

5.  Apply blush to the apples of the cheeks.  I almost always use Nars Orgasm, but any peachy blush will work.  

6.  Fill in eyebrows with the product of your choice.  These days I am using MAC eyeshadow in Omega and a angled brush, then adding a little of MAC's eyebrow pencil in Fling.  Comb through with a spoolie brush.

7.  Put on some mascara.  I obviously have some recommendations on this site:)  

8.  Now this is the more precise step.  Make sure your lips are clean and moisturized (flakey lips never look good) and then line the perimeter of them with a lip liner.  You can use nude, clear, or red liner.  Because the finished look is more natural, you do not have to exaggerate your lip liner or draw a harsh line.  The liner really just acts like a barrier to the lipstick and prevents bleeding color.

9.  Apply the lipstick! I usually just use the tube and apply directly, but you can always use a lip brush (helps with precision) instead.  I used Nars Matte Lipstick in Heat Wave, but any matte red lipstick should suffice.  

10.  This last step is completely optional, but I added a shimmery highlighter to the inner corners of my eyes and to the brow bone.  I used Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Duality, which is a fat pencil with one matte highlighter and one shimmery highlighter.  A good dupe is NYX Cosmetics Eyebrow Push-up Bra.

And there you have it!  It seems like a lot of steps, but I promise it is a quick process.  If you try it out, please let me know what you think in the comments section.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Inspiration of the Week: Hot pink lips

For some reason I have been into bright pink lips lately.  It is a great alternative to a red lip, and looks chic and pretty.  A bright pink lip looks best with some black liner and lots of mascara.  If you are feeling up to it, false lashes help amp up the look.  Depending on your skin tone, the shade that looks best will vary (anywhere from a reddish pink to a purply pink).

Different shades of beautiful bright pink.  From top to bottom, all via Pinterest:  Ne-uw Tumblr, All Things Makeup Tumblr, The Glitter Guide Tumblr (Collage created in Pic Collage)

Me rocking the pink lip (Nars Satin Lip Pencil in YU) and false lashes for a holiday party.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Peak Inside My Vanity

I posted this photo on my Instagram account a couple days ago, and it seemed to draw some interest, so I figured to share it on the blog as well:)  This is my vanity drawer!

From left to right: Assortment of makeup brushes (mostly from MAC, but a couple are Smashbox, BareMinerals, and Sigma); Eyeliners and lip liners (MAC, Urban Decay, Marc Jacobs, Tarte, Nars, Stila, NYX Cosmetics, Tom Ford, Smith's Rosebud Salve); Complexion products, eyeshadows, mascaras, primer, etc (Naked 2 palette,  Benefit Dallas Bronzer, Dior Glow Blush, Nars Orgasm Blush, Nars Laguna Bronzer, Buxom Bronzer, BareMinerals foundation and tinted moisturizer, Aquaphor, Urban Decay Eyeshadow Potion, Nars Concealer, YSL Touche' Eclat, Bobbi Brown Concealer Stick, MAC Omega Shadow (brows), assorted mascaras (L'Oreal, Buxom, Dior). 

Obviously, I have a bit of a product problem:)  However, I use most of these products and what I don't end up using either is given away or makes its way into my freelance kit.  The greatest thing about makeup is that it is relatively inexpensive (depending on the brands of course) and works so well as an accessory to any outfit.  It is always helpful to look at reviews, pins on Pinterest, Instagram, etc, but find what works for you and go with it.  Makeup should enhance your own features, rather than making you look like another person.  Buy and use what suits YOU and rock it!

If you have any questions about any of the products seen here (or anywhere else), please let me know in the comments section. 

 *I also wanted to mention that I am not given any free products to review (I am not big time enough yet!).  If I mention something I love, it is something I have actually purchased and use.  

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Quick Lesson on Highlighting and Contouring

I know a thousand Pinterest pins, YouTube videos, beauty blogs, etc cover the concept of highlighting and contouring, but I am doing my own version:)
The general concept of highlighting and contouring is to add brightness/lightness to areas of the face you want to bring attention to (or draw forward), and to create depth in areas you want to create a shadow (or recede).  So remember, light = highlight/"pop" and dark= shade/recession.
When you see all the crazy face charts available on social media, you will notice that generally the highlighted areas are the middle of the forehead, the brow bone, bridge of the nose, under eye area, top of the cheekbones, cupid's bow, and depending on the shape of the face, the chin.  Contoured areas are usually under the cheek bones, the perimeter of the forehead, the sides and tip of the nose, and the jaw line.
Highlighting and contouring can be done very subtly (e.g.: swiping bronzer or contour powder to contour, highlighter powder or cream on the planes of the face to highlight) or very dramatically (e.g.:  the typical Kim Kardashian look, which is done with a lot of concealer and foundation in various light and dark shades).  My esthetic tends to lean toward a more natural look, so my preference is to leave heavy contouring for photo shoots and special occasions.  In person, heavy highlighting and contouring can look jarring and unnatural.  It is totally cool if you are feeling the more dramatic look, I am just giving you a heads up!

I realize this is a very popular topic, so I thought I would do a photo tutorial (my first!).  Here we go!

1.  This is me with my typical eye makeup, brows done, and a light layer of liquid foundation (brand is Face Atelier, which I use in my kit).  I do not normally wear this foundation, as it tends to make me break out if I wear it too frequently (contains silicones, which look great but can make sensitive skin reactive).  Ok, back to the topic at hand! I don't have under eye concealer on, since I am going to add it in the highlighting step.  None of my photos are retouched, as it defeats the purpose of real life makeup.
I am not feeling my hair color here, oh well!  
As you can see, the foundation makes my skin look a little flat.  Highlighting and contouring will bring some depth and life back into my face.  Since my nose is not the smallest, it will also help to shape it to appear a little narrower.  

2.   For highlighting, you will want to use a cream or liquid concealer or foundation (your choice!) in 1-2 shades lighter than your actual skin tone.  For contouring, you will want to use a concealer or foundation 2-3 shades darker than your actual skin tone.  You will also need a synthetic concealer or foundation brush to apply the product and a cosmetic sponge to blend the products (Beauty Blenders are amazing for this, but pricey).
For highlighting, I used the Temptu Concealer Wheel in the lightest shade.  For contouring, I used the darkest shade.  

3.  Apply the highlight shade to the areas of the face you would like to "pop" or illuminate.  For me, I did the areas previously listed. If you want to be really fancy, you can also use the light shade to "carve out" your eyebrows.  This basically means to clean up your eyebrows with the makeup product to make them appear neater/more even (especially along the upper brow).
 Then apply the contour shade to the areas of the face you wish to sculpt.  I chose to sculpt out under my cheekbones, the sides of my nose (going up and slightly underneath the bottom of the inner part of my eyebrow), the tip of my nose, my jaw and my hair line.
Everyone looks like a weirdo during this process! It will look good  in the end, promise.

4.  Blend out the light areas with the cosmetic sponge.  It usually works best if the sponge is slightly damp, so that is what I did.  You want to kind of press or dab the color to blend rather than swiping or rubbing it.  After you are done with the light areas, go ahead and do the shaded areas.  Be sure that there are no harsh lines, and that your jawline area is blended well.  
This is with everything mostly blended.  I thought my nose needed more contouring, so I added it after.
This is with the nose contoured more to my liking.  Sorry that the lighting is a little different here.

 5.  If you want, you can add an actual highlighter to your cheekbones.  I did use a powder highlighter (Tarte's Exposed blush).  You can also add bronzer if you prefer (I did not in this tutorial).  Add blush and then set everything with a loose powder and a big fluffy brush.

The finished product!  

And there you have it!  This is a look that takes some practice, and some getting used to, depending on how much makeup you wear on a routine basis.  Please let me know if you have any questions about this tutorial:)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Winter Skincare Update

With the winter weather in full effect, most people must adjust their skincare routines to the colder weather and dryness (induced by the heat).  I wanted to share my current routine, since certain products that are awesome in the warmer weather (COR Silver Soap, for example) are a tad drying now.  I have not given up the Silver Soap entirely, but I only use it a couple times a week.  Instead, I am mostly using Cetaphil's Gentle Skin Cleanser, which is a great, inexpensive product.  Rather than moisturizing once a day (in the morning), I am applying my Mario Badescu AHA and Ceramide Moisturizer twice a day.  Please note that this is a lighter weight moisturizer for oily/acne prone skin, so if you are on the dry side, you may require a thicker formula.  I even used my Clairsonic brush to exfoliate last week, and it didn't seem to make my skin freak out, so I am going to try it weekly now (instead of daily like before).  
On my lips, I love Aquaphor ointment (cheap and effective).  My hands are usually in the absolute worst condition in the winter (extremely dry, cracked, and red), and my newest find is Yu-Be Cream.  This cream is made in Japan, and supposedly contains no sulfates, petrochemicals, synthetic dyes or fragrances (awesome!).  It is formulated with glycerin and vitamins E and B2, and is very absorbent and not greasy or sticky at all.  The smell kind of reminds me of the old school Blistex Medicated formula, and it works like a charm!  
What changes have you made to your skincare routine?  Are there any new, great products you have found lately?  Please share your thoughts, suggestions, etc in the comments section:)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Inspiration of the Week: Bold Brows

If you have yet to notice, bolder brows are big (literally) this season.  Over are the days of over plucked arches, and in place you will find clean-yet-full brows.  There is something about a full set of brows that gives off a youthful, fresh vibe.  This look is fairly low maintenance; just pluck stray hairs between and underneath the eyebrows.  If your brows could use a little inflating, try filling them with a powdery brow pencil (try Hourglass's Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil or NYX Cosmetics Automatic Eyebrow Pencil), or one of the new enhancing gel-mousses (like Benefit's Gimme Brow).
Another great tool to achieve this look is a spoolie brush  (the Hourglass pencil actually has one on the opposite end of the wand).  A clean toothbrush will work in a pinch.

From the top: Cara Delevingne (aka Eyebrow Queen), Unknown model, Lily Collins, and Camilla Belle.  All photos from Pinterest.  Collage made with PicCollage.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Product Obsession: Gift List

Since I am still under the weather, I am gonna wait on the tutorials with photos.  Instead, I am going to tempt you to check out some cool products for the holidays (for yourself, or for a gift!).

I don't know about you, but I always check out Sephora's website to see what new and exciting products are available.  I don't necessary need anything, but I love makeup and I like to see what is out there.

Today I stumbled upon Tarte's LipSurgence Collector's Set, which includes 15 of the brand's awesome chubby lip pencils.  These pencils are super hydrating, come in a multitude of colors (some shimmery, some matte) and leave lips feeling and looking great.  The set seems a little pricey ($175), but for a bunch of gorgeous shades that are formulated without parabens or phthalates (i.e.: yucky chemicals), it may be worth it!

I also love Benefit Cosmetics Little Love Potions gift set, which contains 10 minis of some of the brand's most loved products, including my highlighter faves (Watt's Up and High Beam!) At $36, it is a great deal and a good way to test out the line's products without purchasing the full-size versions.

Last but not least, I would highly suggest Urban Decay's Vice 2 Palette, which I already own, but can't stop raving about.  This palette contains 20 eyeshadows, including matte, shimmery, dark, light, bright/bold, and neutral colors.  Urban Decay's shadows have amazing color payoff and there is such a variety that you could seriously try a different combo every day for a month without repeating.  The brand also released the Naked 3 palette, but I am telling you, the Vice 2 is way more versatile!  It even comes with a double-ended brush (shader on one side, blender on the other).  This set is $59, and is worth every penny!

A glimpse at the gorgeous colors from the Vice 2 Palette by UD. 

Which products are you most excited to try out for the holidays?  Are there any cool beauty-related gifts you plan to give?  Please let me know in the comments section:)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

How to look healthy (when you are not)

The last few days, I have been battling a brutal cold.  My nose is red and raw, my lips chapped, my eyes watery.  I have been resting at my house, but if you find yourself in a similar situation and need to be out in public, here are a couple tips to help you look healthy when you feel like death.

1.  Make sure to moisturize- Moisturizing your face will help your skin look plump, hydrated and healthier; dry skin NEVER looks healthy.  My personal favorite is Mario Badescu AHA and Ceramide Moisturizer.

2.  Un-chap those lips (and noses)- Apply a thick layer of Aquaphor or Vaseline to your lips and nose to prevent flaking and dryness.

3.  Depuff eyes-  Apply a cooling eye gel (love Mario Badescu, Aveeno, and Oil of Olay's eye gels/creams) to the under eye area. If you have a little more time, you can always apply some cucumber slices, frozen spoons, or a cold mask for a few minutes too.  I tend to stick with the eye cream only.  Then, slick on some brightening under eye concealer to camouflage dark or puffy under eyes.  Try Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer or Yves St Laurent Touché Eclat.

4. Conceal redness-  A dead giveaway to appearing under the weather is redness around the nose. Make sure to apply a moisturizing concealer to those red spots!

5. Brighten eyes-  There is not a lot that can be done to reduce watery eyes, but you can make them appear healthier with a coat or two of mascara (waterproof to combat the wateriness!) and a little dab of highlighter on the inner corners.  Any light, slightly iridescent eyeshadow or highlighter will work.

6.  Reduce pallor-  If the color has drained from your face, swipe on a peachy blush on the apples of your cheeks to give a radiant look.  A cream blush, like Stila Convertible Color, will work even better if your skin is dry.

I am not including photos of myself in this post, as I look and feel like death:)

Give it a try and let me know if you think these tips help!  Please share your comments, suggestions, etc in the comments sections below!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Inspiration of the Week: Dramatic Cat Eyeliner

So, if you know me (or follow me on Instagram or Pinterest), you probably are already aware of the fact that I am OBSESSED with cat eyeliner.  Right now, I am into a even more dramatic cat eye with little eyeshadow and flawless skin.  I tend to go back and forth between a felt tip liquid eye liner (try Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner (prestige) or Prestige Cosmetics Liquid Eyeliner (drugstore)) and a gel eyeliner (try MAC Cosmetics Fluidline or Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Gel Liner with a stiff angled or pointed brush (like Sigma's E65 Small Angle brush).  Liquid and gel formulas give a more precise, defined line, than pencil formulas.  Try resting your elbow on a table or vanity while you draw the line, which helps keep your hand steady.  Getting the perfect line and flick takes practice, but once you learn, it is pretty simple.  Something else that makes this look easier to achieve?  Pointed cotton swabs and some eye makeup remover to help clean up any mishaps and make the cat eye flick as precise as possible.

All photos from Pinterest (original sources unknown) and collage created in Pic Collage.

Oh, and don't forget to fill in those brows!