Monday, June 30, 2014

Product Love: Facial Sprays

Facial sprays seem pretty unnecessary if you have never tried one.  However, a good facial spray can  help tone, refresh, and moisturize the skin in a quick and very easy step.  

I have been using Mario Badescu's Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater ($12) to set my powder foundation if it is feeling a little cakey.  It is also awesome as a refresher after being outside in the hot, humid weather.  Plus it smells SO good!

On my clients, I have been using Caudalie's Beauty Elixir  ($18) to tone and/or set makeup.  This facial spray contains essential oils (herbal-smelling) which help boost radiance as well.  The Beauty Elixir is formulated without synthetic fragrances and colors and contains no parabens, sulfates or any other junkie stuff.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lip Tip

If you want to create the perfect nude lip shade but don't want to spend the time and money to buy a new product, just take a neutral lipstick (I think is safe to say that must of us have a light pink or rose color lying around) and add a tiny bit of your concealer to it.  Mix it around and apply.  Add a small amount at a time, so you can control the amount of pink to nude ratio.  By using your concealer, you will have the perfect shade of nude that suits YOUR skin tone, since your concealer should coordinate with your skin to begin with.  Plus, you can save some cash!

If you really like what you come up with, buy a small plastic jar with a lid and create a bigger batch of the shade so you have it on hand the next time you need it.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Tutorial: Easy Summer Makeup

Generally in the summer, we don't feel like piling on makeup.  Most of us are a little tanner and don't feel like we need as much makeup, plus we don't want to worry about makeup melting and sliding off of our faces.  We also would rather enjoy the nice weather rather than spending a long time getting ready.  Here is a very quick and easy summer makeup look that anyone can pull off.

Just wanted to point out that the eyeshadow pencil I used in this photo is on SALE for $5 on the Urban Decay website!!!  The color I used was "rehab."

1.  Apply your favorite moisturizer (regular or tinted).

2.  Conceal under eye area and any redness on the face.

3.  If you prefer, apply a mineral powder foundation to even out the skin tone.

4.  Apply bronzer where the sun naturally hits the face- around the hairline, on the top of the nose and cheekbones, and along the jawline.  A lot of makeup artists will say to use a number 3 motion on the sides of the face, starting at the hair line then swooping down to the cheeks and then the jaw (on both sides of the face).

5.  Swirl on your favorite blush.  This look is especially pretty with a cream blush.

6.  Apply your favorite highlighter on the top of your cheekbones.

7.  Using a soft eyeshadow pencil in a gold or bronze shade, swipe all the way across your eyelids (lash line to crease) and under the lower lash line.  Then using a blending brush to blend the shadow pencil all over, concentrating on really buffing it into the crease.

8.  Line the waterlines (top and bottom) of the eyes with a waterproof eyeliner pencil.

9.  Curl lashes and apply your favorite waterproof mascara.

10.  Fill brows and use a little gel to keep them in place.

11.  Apply a bright pink lipstick to your lips and blot.  I used Nars Semi Matte lipstick in "Funny Face".  A good dupe is Maybelline Color Sensational Lip Color in "Fifth Avenue Fuchsia".

Done and done!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Quick Lesson: How to Conceal a Zit

One of my best friends requested that I write a post about concealing zits, since unfortunately this is a beauty issue most of us face from time to time.

Depending on whether you use a powder or liquid/cream foundation formula, you will change the order of these steps slightly.  If you use a powder foundation (i.e.: mineral foundation), you will conceal prior to applying foundation.  If you use a liquid or cream foundation formula, you will conceal after you apply the foundation.

You will need four products aside from your favorite foundation: a small, pointed makeup brush (like this one), a small blending brush, a creamy concealer that matches your skin tone, and a loose powder.  I personally use Bare Minerals Correcting Concealer Broad Spectrum SPF 20 in Light 2 and Mineral Veil (original).   If you have spots that are very red, you may also want to use a green color corrector prior to the concealer, which will neutralize the redness.

1.  Dip the brush into the concealer.  You only need a little bit of the product on the very tip of the bristles (no need to waste product!).  Apply directly to the zit using a stippling motion, making sure not to conceal the area around it.

2.  Using your finger, lightly tap over the concealed spot.  This helps to press the product into the skin (so it does not look as if it is sitting on top of the skin) and will give the most natural look.

3.  Using a small blender brush, apply the loose powder directly to the concealed spot to help set it. Use a delicate touch so you do not uncover the concealer you just applied.

4.  Repeat as necessary for additional zits/red spots.  

There you have it- pretty simple.  The most important thing to remember is that makeup will only help conceal the redness or discoloration; it will NOT change the texture of the skin (i.e.: erase bumps/inflammation).  To help zits heal quickly, do not pick and use your favorite spot treatment daily.  You may want to try hydrocortisone cream, which I find helps speed the healing process.  I also rub an ice cube over the inflamed area to help reduce the swelling (for those painful cystic acne spots).

Monday, June 16, 2014

Easy Special Occasion Makeup Tutorial

Considering we are in the midst of wedding season, I thought I would share a relatively simple makeup tutorial.  This look is perfect for any special occasion and should not take a long time to replicate.  You can easily change the look with different eyeshadow, eyeliner, and lipstick combinations.  The key is to look put together, fresh and pretty, but take it up a notch by adding some false lashes to the mix.   If you are scared or do not like the idea of applying false lashes, you can skip that step- do not fret!
Below you will see a photo of the finished look, which is a pretty typical style for my brides and bridesmaids.

This is the final look- the look we are aiming for! Defined eyes, natural but defined brows and even, natural-looking skin.  

Step 1: Moisturize your face and under eye area based on your skin type/concerns.  For most of clients, I normally use Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre ($16), which moisturizes and primes in one step. 

Step 2: Prime skin if necessary.  Apply primer to eyelids and under eye area as needed.  Apply lip balm to moisturize lips.  

While your moisturizer and lip balm is absorbing, you will start your eyeshadow application*.  For the look in the photo, I used a combination of different grays and taupes from Inglot Cosmetics and Smashbox Full Exposure palette ($49).  I recommend either using a gray or brown/taupe/bronze color palette because it is generally the most flattering, and because they are neutrals, you have a little more leeway with the rest of your makeup.  Also, try to use eyeshadows that are not too shimmery or sparkly.

Step 3:  Apply your base eyeshadow color all the way across your eyelids, from lash line to crease.  Next, apply a lighter shadow on the inner corners of the eyes.  Lastly, take the deepest shadow and a blending blush to lightly define your outer corners and crease of your eye (outer "v" area).  I typically also take a small pencil brush and apply the medium or deep shade along the lower lash line to add definition, but it is up to you.

Step 4:  Apply black eyeliner pencil in a very fine line all the way across your upper lash lines.  If you prefer to add a wing/cat eye, wait until Step 7.  I really like MAC Powerpoint Eye Pencil in Engraved ($16) because it is waterproof and is easy to apply.  If you prefer, you can also add liner to the waterline, lower lash line, etc.  

Step 5: Curl your lashes and apply your favorite mascara (mine is Loreal Voluminous Waterproof formula $7.99) to upper and lower lashes. Continue to step 6 if you would like to try false eyelashes.  Otherwise, skip to step 7.  

Step 6:  Using a good quality set of false lashes, hold up to your eyelid to ensure the width of the lashes is not too wide or long for your eyes.  If necessary, trim a tiny bit off of each of the lash bands; this is extremely important for the lashes to look natural and feel comfortable while wearing them.  Using a pointed cotton swab, apply a good clear lash glue (I love DUO, $9) to the band of the lashes.  Wait about 30 seconds for the glue to get tacky (makes it easier to apply).  I prefer to use tweezers to place the false lashes onto the base of my eyelid and push into place.  This also allows you to secure the middle of the lashes first, then each corner.  This is MUCH easier than any other way I have tried previously.  A good video tutorial can be found here.  

Step 7:  After allowing the glue to dry, use a gel eyeliner and a small brush to cover the band of the lashes.  You can also create any eyeliner shape you prefer.  I love MAC Fluidline ($16).  

Step 8:  Clean up under eye area from any eyeshadow fall out*.  This is why we did eye makeup prior to complexion makeup!  Apply for favorite under eye concealer.  Lately I have been using Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer ($8.99) applied with a blending brush.  Set with a little powder or setting spray.  Make sure you blend well and go all the way up to the lower lash line.  If you applied lower lash eyeliner, you can always go back with your eyeliner and touch up as needed after concealing.  

Step 9:  Apply your favorite liquid or cream foundation using a damp sponge.  You know I love the Beauty Blender!  Make sure the foundation is blended well, especially around your jawline, neck and ears.  For my clients, I usually use Face Atelier Ultra foundation ($34).

Step 10:  Swipe on a light layer of bronzer around the hairline, temples, underneath the cheekbones, and on the jawline.  Next, apply your favorite highlighting product on the cheekbones.  Lately I have been using Nars Bronzing Powder in Laguna ($38) to bronze and MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Soft and Gentle ($32) or RMS Living Luminizer ($38) to highlight.  

Step 11:  Apply a cream blush with a stippling brush (or the fat end of the Beauty Blender) onto the apples of the cheeks.  You can also layer this with a powder blush for extra staying power.

Step 12:  Fill your brows as needed and set with a wax or brow gel.

Step 13:  Apply lip liner (if preferred/necessary) and a long wear lipstick.  I tend to use rose or muted pinks since they look good on most folks and don't look as washed out in photographs (like say, a nude color, would).  I recommend Rimmel Lasting Lipsticks ($6) because they are inexpensive and really last.  

Step 14:  Apply powder and/or a makeup setting spray all over the face.  Right now, I like Skindinavia Makeup Finishing Spray (Bridal formula, $29). 

Whew! Done and done:)  

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Favorite Products- My Must Haves

"What is your favorite (eyeliner/lipstick/etc) product" is one of the questions I am most frequently asked.  Behind that is "what brand do you use?"  To be honest, I use whatever works well to get the results I want! I do not use any one brand for all of my products, and I am not opposed to using drugstore buys.  I am not paid by anyone to review these products, so these are my own honest opinions based on my experience/use.
Below you will find a list of my personal favorites for different categories of makeup products.

Foundation:  Face Atelier Ultra Foundation Pro ($31.99) is a silicone-based formula which imparts a beautiful glow to the skin and does not require a separate primer.  It is a must for my brides.  Unfortunately it is only available online, so shade matching may be difficult.
For my own use, I prefer Bare Minerals Original Foundation ($27) which does not make me break out and helps my skin look more even.  Plus, the added SPF is always good.

Concealer (under eye):  For my kit, my current favorite is Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer ($9) (just reviewed in my last post) because of its coverage and non-cakey finish.  I also love Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer ($29), which offers a larger shade range than the Maybelline.  It also provides good coverage for the under eye area and does not look cakey or exaggerate fine lines.

Eyeshadow Primer: I used to be 100% loyal to Urban Decay's Original Eyeshadow Primer Potion ($20), but recently picked up the Nars Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base ($25) which also performs beautifully.  Both keep shadows in place all day so there are no smudging or creasing issues.

Eyeshadow:  Urban Decay's Naked 2 Palette ($54 -includes brush) has been one of my favorites for awhile, thanks to the range of wearable neutrals.  Maybelline's Eye Studio Color Tattoo Eyeshadow ($6.99) works wonderfully as a base or all over as a shadow, thanks to the creamy, long-wearing formula.

Eyeliner: For a pencil formula, I love Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Pencil ($20) because it is waterproof and does not come off until I whip out the makeup remover.  Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner ($9.99) is a great dupe for more expensive gel formulas and is easy to use (with a angled brush).

Lipstick:  Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencils ($25) are worth every penny, with the broad range of colors available as well as the lasting power.  It is the only product (in my opinion) that continues to look good while it wears off- hours after application, of course! A less expensive option that I keep in my kit which works similarly is Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm ($8.99).  Another great thing about both products is the pencil applicator, which negates the need for a lip liner.

Mascara: I am a cheapie in this category- I love L'Oreal Voluminous Volume Building Mascara ($7.99) and Voluminous False Fiber Lashes ($8.99).  Both work just as well as high-end, more expensive brands of mascara for a fraction of the cost.

Blush: Nars blushes ($30) are my all-time favorite.  In my kit, I keep BH Cosmetics 10 Color Professional Blush Palette ($12!) which contains beautiful colors, similar to those offered by Nars, that look good on a variety of skin tones.

Bronzer: Nars Laguna ($38) all the way.  I have yet to find a comparable alternative, so this is in my personal stash as well as my kit.  The formula is not shimmery and not too orange, which means the finish looks natural.

Lashes:  Ardell Demi Wispies ($4.99) are always stocked in my kit.  They are glamorous yet natural, and look good on almost everyone.

Brows: Senna Brow Book is my kit fave.  Senna also offers smaller palettes for personal use.  For pencil products, I love Anastasia Brow Wiz ($21) and Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil ($32).

Most of the products listed above

If I left something off the list that interests you, please let me know and I will add it in.

Monday, June 2, 2014

June Faves

Considering the damage I did just a month ago at the Makeup Show, I should not be shopping for makeup and hair products.  BUT I am crazy and love beauty products, and sharing my thoughts about them with you- so here we are again!

After reading some other blogs, I decided to buy RMS Living Luminizer, which is a gorgeous, natural looking (not glittery/too shimmery) cream highlighter.  It is a little pricey ($38!), but you only need to use a little at a time, so it should last awhile.  It imparts a beautiful, healthy-looking glow to the skin.  Apply with your fingers or a brush to the high points of the face (tops of cheekbones, brow bone, cupid's bow, etc).  This is a great summer product- something that looks fresh, pretty and can be applied quickly and easily.

The last few months I have had issues finding a shampoo and conditioner that keeps my frizzy hair tamed and at the same time does not make it lifeless.  I was recommended Davines Beautifying Shampoo and Conditioner ($26 each), and have to say I am very impressed.  Both products smell AMAZING and the formulas seem very balanced.  The shampoo is creamy but gentle, and the conditioner is rich and thick.  In fact the shampoo and conditioner are for all hair types, which initially scared me since my hair is on the dry side, but my hair has been well-behaved since I starting this regimen.   Oh, and they work well for when I wear my hair both wavy and straight, which is another plus.  I highly recommend this line based on my experience so far.

Now, for a inexpensive drugstore buy! Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer is pretty dang great considering it is under $10.   Obviously, this is marketed for mature skin, but it works well on anyone.  It is creamy but does not crease or settle into fine lines and blends easily into the under eye area.  Unfortunately, the shade range is not great (4 shades, plus one brightener and one neutralizer), but women with darker skin tones may be able to use this product as more of a highlighting product.

Please let me know what you think if you try any of these products, or if you have a product you have been liking lately and want to share.