The Great Glamour of Gatsby

 

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With the recent release of Baz Luhrmann’s film adaptation of The Great Gatsby, the Roaring 20s are back in, making their splash in a big way.

Home decor, fashion, makeup, accessories and even decorum (in some cases) are reflecting a time in American history where the parties were grand, the homes were extravagant, and the women were glamorous.

Luhrmann did an excellent job of painting a picture and inviting us in to see America enter a prosperous era. Morality was relaxed in the optimism brought on by the end of WWI and the booming of the Stock Market, and this was accurately portrayed by the somewhat eccentric cast.

One of the most exciting things to see in Luhrmann’s interpretation of Gatsby is undoubtedly the clothes – on both the women and the men. Costume designer Catherine Martin (Luhrmann’s wife) and the team of hair and makeup artists must have been thrilled with a project that looked like the ultimate game of dress-up. The suits were beautifully cut, and the dresses seemed to jump out at you from the cover of a magazine.

The well-to-do spared no expense when it came to jewelry, and Tiffany & Co. did a dazzling job of bringing the jazz era to life with their pieces in the film. The costumes came out of the House of Prada, and remained true to the period while throwing in nuances of modernity. 

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Along with their glittering low-waisted dresses, flappers in the 20s expressed themselves with makeup too. They turned to cosmetics to play up their femininity and to empower them as they entered the workplace. Powder, blush, eye shadow and lipstick came onto the scene, and with that, beauty culture was born.

Flapper beauty starts with a flawless, matte complexion. Women of the era chose to use powder makeup because it created a smooth, porcelain canvas with no shine. Skin wasn’t the focal point of beauty, the main attraction was to be the eyes and lips. To get an authentic look, start by applying concealer where needed. Then apply a powder that matches or is one shade lighter than your skin tone.

To finish your flapper skin, apply a pale pink blush to the apples of your cheeks. After the invention of the compact, ladies fell for peaches and pinks. These subtle hues gave them a hint of color while still letting the eyes and lips take center stage.

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To get the sultry yet soft eye look that Daisy Buchanan wore throughout the film, apply a charcoal grey eye shadow from the lash line to the brow, blending it horizontally from one corner of your eye to the other (think windshield wiper motion). This will create a round, feminine shape. Finish the eyes by using black liner and forming a subtle cateye, and top with heavy black mascara.

Complete your Great Gatsby makeup with the iconic 1920s cupid’s bow lip. Start by tracing your mouth with a deep liner, creating dramatic arcs to emphasize the curves in your upper lip. Fill in the area you’ve outlined with your favorite lipstick. Flappers flocked to deep reds, wines and plums, which provided a stark contrast to their fair complexions.

So sport your new look, kick your heels up and Charleston on over to see Gatsby; I promise you won’t be disappointed when it comes to beauty in any sense of the word.

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Blur the line

I’ve been wearing liquid liner the same way since I was about 14. Now, at 26, the brands I use might have expanded but my technique is pretty much the same on most days.

When I want a more dramatic, pin-up, jet black line on my upper lash line I stick with traditional liquid liner. Lately, though, I’ve been mixing it up to create a more subtle, soft look using eye shadow and a small angled brush.

You can choose to use gel, liquid, or pencil eyeliner as your first step. I usually go for black, but this works with any color. You can also use brown, grey, or something different like eggplant or emerald green (Pantone’s color of 2013) for something fun.

  1. Line your eye as you would normally with the color and texture of your choice
  2. When you get the shape you like, go over the very top of that line with your eye shadow using your angled brush. Wing it out if you’d like a lifted, cat eye look. (This will blur the harsh edge of your liner, making it look soft and faded, and it also makes your eyelashes pop a bit more)
  3. Go over the line until you have your desired color depth, then apply mascara and you’re done with the eyes

You can also choose to skip the liquid, gel or pencil altogether and just line your eyes with a darker shadow if you want a very soft and natural look. It all depends on what you’re going for.

I like this particular technique because it’s the best of both worlds– between a defined eye and a smoky look. You have the bottom portion of your liner still pigmented, maintaining the shape of your eye, but as it goes up the color becomes gradient and it’s very feminine and flirty.

Products I use:

  • Maybelline Line Stilleto liquid liner in “Blackest Black”
  • MAC eyeshadow in “Espresso”
  • Sonia Kashuk angled eyeshadow brush

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theBalm Nude ‘Tude palette- Sale!

Eyeshadow palettes seem to be taking over the world of cosmetics as of late, in fact palettes are in general. Women seem to like the idea of having everything in one compact and the portability factor doesn’t hurt.

One of my favorite eyeshadow palettes is from a line called theBalm that used to be carried at Sephora but it is now only online and at a few select boutiques here and there. I wanted to let you know of the Nude ‘Tude palette now because theBalm is being featured on HauteLook today so you can snap it up for half price! It’s free to sign up on HauteLook and you can find some great deals on brand name items ranging from cosmetics to clothing to home furnishings.

The reason this palette is my favorite and most reached-for in my collection is because of the variety and quality of the eyeshadows it contains. They are smooth and incredibly pigmented, and blend together seamlessly to create beautiful gradient looks. The shades range from a deep smoky burgundy (my favorite) to a pure white, which I like to use to highlight my brow bone and tap on the inner corners of my eyes to brighten them and give some lift. It makes for a great travel palette as you have almost every color you’d need to create a look, plus it’s fun to pull out of your makeup bag. This palette is unique because of its ability to give you a neutral or colorful look, while most palettes are exclusive to one or the other. There is also a mix of matte and shimmer which is a nice surprise.

The packaging of this palette and of the line as a whole is beyond adorable, and I’m quite gullible to marketing efforts and product design. That being said though this palette delivers on quality as well as aesthetics which makes it all the more enjoyable. It features vintage pin-up girls as a display for each color with names like “Standoffish,” “Sophisticated,” and “Sassy.” There are two different palettes, one called “Naughty” with the pin-up girls, the version that I have, and one called “Nice” which is a vintage living room setting. Both contain the same shades, it’s just about your packaging preference.

You get 12 shades and a brush for $36, but as I said you can get it from HauteLook for $18 if you’re interested and act quickly. The offer is available through Friday 5/18 but this line tends to sell out quickly so check it out.

What’s your favorite eyeshadow palette? Or do you prefer singles? Do share!

 

J’Adore Dior…usually

I have a few favorite Houses when it comes to designers, and the House of Dior is in my top 5. I won’t get into couture and my irrational love of it, but rather concentrate on the subset of Dior that the average woman can get her hands on: the cosmetic line.

Dior cosmetics and fragrances are sold at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s and the like, but I prefer to have my swatch fests at Sephora. I was doing just that and fell in love with the spring collection, specifically the Garden Palette.

This palette was love at first sight. Well I suppose you could say it turned out to be lust because I got the palette home and was totally over it. While the five shades of soft pastels look beautiful in the pan, there is absolutely no color payoff when applied to your eyelids. The palette contains a pink shimmer, buttercup yellow shimmer, pale green shimmer, golden green shimmer and teal green shimmer. Note how they all end in “shimmer” because that they are, so I would not advise using only this palette to create a look. They are embossed with a rose print that’s undoubtedly gorgeous and makes you not even want to use the palette, which is exactly what would have happened had I not returned it. Sephora thankfully has a great return policy.

I bought the palette because when I heavily swatched them with my fingers the colors looked pigmented and felt smooth. But when I got home and applied some shades, it just looked as if there was shimmer all over my eyelids. This is fine if that’s the look you’re going for, but there was no color distinction at all. So at $59.00, this palette went back. It’s too bad because the colors are unique and beautiful…if only they actually showed up when applied.

I haven’t tried any other Dior shadows so I can’t offer a comparison…but I’m hoping this was a one-time fluke.

Urban Decay at a Discount

Be careful not to assume that Nordstrom Rack’s inventory is confined solely to last season’s undesirables. Quite the contrary, not only does Rack carry trendy clothing and accessories but it also offers great beauty finds from time to time. I experienced one of these times yesterday. While I was browsing the accessories section, a favorite pastime of mine, I stumbled across loud and colorful packaging that screamed Urban Decay. I struck cosmetic gold.

Sitting on a display were Urban Decay’s Book of Shadows Volume IV (the brand’s most recent Book of Shadows release) and a 24/7 eyeshadow pencil set. The best part? The discounted price tags. If you’re a beauty junkie like me (my condolences) you know that cosmetics rarely, if ever, go on sale. I snapped these up pretty quickly and I suggest you do the same. The Book of Shadows Volume IV originally sold for $64 and I paid $28. The eyeshadow pencil set was originally $36 and I paid $11.

I neglected to purchase the Book of Shadows when it came out originally because the packaging was bulky and quite frankly, unnecessary. Its design is elaborate, and comes with a speaker system that you can hook an iPod to if you choose. I won’t be using it for this purpose. The more important component here appears when you open the drawer to reveal 16 gorgeous eyeshadows. There is a nice variety of wearable brights and neutral shades. My only complaint is, and this seems to be true of most of Urban Decay’s palettes, there are almost no matte shadows. This proves difficult if trying to create a look using just this palette, as using ALL shimmer and/or glitter on your eyelids is almost always a no-no. The colors are beautifully unique and they look just as vibrant at the end of the day as when you first applied them in the morning.

Besides the shadows, the palette also comes with a travel-size eyeshadow Primer Potion, a travel-size SuperCurl mascara and a full-size black liquid liner. These three items are just bonuses as I mainly wanted the shadows, but not bad extras to have. I do like the mascara; its light-weight formula allows your eyelashes to hold a curl for hours.

The eyeshadow pencil set certainly isn’t a must-have, but it’s mighty convenient for on-the-go application. If you’re a no muss no fuss kind of gal, these might be for you. There are three neutral shades and two vibrant ones that offer a fun pop of color. I tend to make use of the brighter colors by smudging them under my lower lash line for a subtle brightness to my look. They are amazingly pigmented and don’t crease throughout the day. In terms of blendability they’re not the best, but using your fingers rather than a brush helps a lot. At a little over $2 a pencil, the set is well worth it!

The Eyes Have It

There’s big news in the beauty world again, and the buzz word is eyeshadow. One of the brands that’s known for it is Urban Decay, and that’s exactly who is headlining recently. Urban Decay is the notoriously edgy company that was one of the first to release excellently pigmented eyeshadows in shades other than run-of-the-mill browns, greys, pinks and taupes. It has been sold at Sephora for as long as I can remember, and used to be one of the only truly innovative and exciting brands there.

Over the years Urban Decay has become famous not only for its eyeshadows, but for its palettes. In my opinion Urban Decay was instrumental in creating the palette craze that has taken over the cosmetics industry, steering customers away from purchasing a single eyeshadow for $18 when they can buy a palette of 6+ for anywhere from $40-$50. Customers are getting more product, more variety and convenient packaging while (seemingly) saving a buck. Although we all know that we set our minds to just spending that $18 and wind up shelling out more than double, but my previous reasoning is almost always our justification. That and they’re pretty.

The point of today’s rambling is to let you know of Urban Decay’s recent reformulation of its single eyeshadows, claiming to be smoother, more pigmented and more blendable than ever. Urban Decay has released a total of 68 shades for us to choose from, all coming in 5 possible finishes: satin, duotone, shimmer, sparkle and matte. With the variety of finishes and shades, you’re sure to find one that you like. The best part, however, is that you can choose 6 colors to place in your very own Urban Decay palette.

Customization is another sizable trend in the industry right now, and hats off to Urban Decay for making it even more enticing. Not only can you select whatever 6 shades catch your eye, but they are easily popped into the palette without any anxiety like that of depotting a MAC eyeshadow. With Urban Decay’s product, the eyeshadow has a magnetized backing that clicks into one of the 6 slots in the palette. This is quick, painless and interchangeable, so don’t think you have to limit yourself to ONLY choosing 6 shades.

You may have to restrain yourself.

All 68 eyeshadows ($18 each) and the palette (sold separately for $18.00) are now available at urbandecay.com and will be available shortly at Sephora.com and in Sephora stores. And never fear if a beloved shade of yours has been discontinued, Urban Decay has a dupe/suggestion list to give you a similar look. Go have yourself a swatch fest!

It’s a Too Faced Summer

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To go along with the impromptu summer we’re experiencing, at least here in Chicago, Too Faced has released photos and information about its summer 2012 collection! I’m quite excited to try many of the new products which include a new … Continue reading