Quick, Classic Nude Lip

It seems that no matter the season, the classic Brigette Bardot nude lip is in. It’s important to keep in mind that everyone’s definition of nude is different, and it depends on skin tone and personal preference.

I’m not a big fan of MAC’s Myth or the like that serve to entirely blank out your lips, making you resemble a corpse. Those type of lipsticks can be used to tone down deeper colors or manipulate shades, but worn alone they’re quite terrifying.

My idea of a nude lip is more of a neutral lip, and can be worn with any eye look be it smoky and dramatic or soft and natural. Most of the time I lean either true nude, peach, or pink.

When I’m rushing out the door on my way to work, I rarely have time for the 3-step liner, lipstick and lip gloss routine. Lately, I’ve been just using a lipstick and gloss and my lips are still nicely defined.

I use Maybelline’s “Afternoon Tea” and Revlon’s “Peach Petal” to create a quick and pretty pout. I love the smell of Maybelline’s lipsticks, and I don’t quite know why. It’s not offensive or strong, though, if you have an aversion to cosmetic smells.

Afternoon Tea is a pretty, slightly rosy, neutral shade. The shape of Maybelline lipsticks makes it almost so you don’t need a liner, as the product comes to a rather sharp point. It allows you to glide over your lips with a clean line. The formula is creamy and smooth.

To lighten the color just a tad and add some shine, I use Revlon’s Peach Petal lip gloss. I’ve talked about Peach Petal and Revlon’s Super Lustrous glosses before and I’m still in love them with to this day. Wait until they’re on sale and snatch one up in every color if you haven’t already.

Give these two products a try and let me know what you think. Remember, if you don’t like either color, have a little swatch fest until you find what works for you.

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Game Changers

Throughout our cosmetics lives, we delight in the moments where we find our holy grail products. The best mascara, the greatest concealer, the perfect shade of foundation. This is one of the main reasons the beauty industry is a multi-billion dollar business; we’re all constantly on the search for the next best thing.

Over the past year, I’ve come across some products that were game changers for me, products I’ve used every day since I bought them and will never be without.

While I’ve tried some great things that are certainly now part of my beauty arsenal, most of the time they become part of a rotation rather than a staple. The products/techniques below are ones I won’t soon forget.

  • beautyblender
  • corrector
  • nude liner
  • mixing foundation

Each of these probably deserves its own review, but I’ll give you a quick run down as they are important enough to be in my every day lineup.

beautyblender: While to some it may be simply a makeup sponge, and an overpriced one at that, I will tell you that it’s worth every penny.

To use it properly, run the sponge under water and squeeze out the excess. When the sponge is damp, you can roll or bounce foundation onto your skin. The result is a flawless, airbrushed finish. It’s unlike any other applicator I’ve ever tried.

The egg shape allows for seamless blending in every area of your skin, including around the nose and under the eyes. It can sheer out full coverage foundation on your good skin days, and still make full coverage foundations look natural on not-so-good skin days.

The beautyblender is sold at Sephora and Nordstrom, among other online retailers, for $20. If you take care of it and wash it regularly, it will last you a long time. If you frequent beauty.com and have products on your wish list, they are holding a promotion giving you a free beautyblender and mini cleanser when you spend $40, plus they offer free shipping on orders over $25. That offer is good until 4/30/13.

Corrector: There are all sorts of products labeled as “correctors” when it comes to cosmetics; essentially every product can be viewed as a corrector in some way, can’t it? Although I prefer to think of them as enhancers.

The corrector I’m referring to here is for under eye circles. For those who are plagued with blue tones peeking out under your eyes in the morning, look no further than Pixie, Bobbi Brown and Armani who all offer orange or peach based “correctors” to counteract those colors.

At first, I thought this was just another ploy to get us to buy another product we don’t really need. Au contraire.

I am a firm believer in correcting before concealing, especially if I skip a day. It’s a noticeable difference. If you just conceal, you will still get a slight shadow peeking out, making you look made up but still tired; no one wants that. If you first correct the blue tones, THEN go over with concealer, you will have a smooth and even canvas making you look bright-eyed and awake.

Nude liner: This is so essential that I never leave the house without it. It’s an instant brightener for your eyes, literally. I have used Stila’s Topaz and Tarte’s EmphasEYES Inner Rim brightener, and the latter is my favorite. I use it on the lower lash line (waterline) where some women tend to put black. Black closes off the eyes, making them appear smaller. When you use a flesh or nude color liner, it makes your eyes appear bigger and brighter. It also conceals any redness you may have from lack of sleep or stress. It’s a quick fix to swipe on and go!

Mixing foundations: As someone with very fair skin, finding the right shade of foundation is somewhat of a challenge. Not to mention the formula, although we have a lot more choices than we used to. I usually just look immediately to the far left, where the lightest foundation in a line sits.

While the foundation may be the lightest shade offered, it might lean golden or pink. I prefer foundations with neutral undertones, and this isn’t always easy to achieve.

So I decided to play artist and start mixing colors until I found the right one.

Luckily for me, this shade is reached by combining two inexpensive foundations, the price of which together is less than one high-end bottle. I mix Maybelline’s Fit Me foundation in 110 (golden) with Maybelline’s Dream Liquid Moose foundation in Porcelain Ivory (pink).

The two together provide a natural, satin finish that is a dead on match for my skin tone. If you find yourself in a similar situation, think outside the box a little bit and start mixing.

There are also lines like Illamasqua, sold at Sephora, that offer a white mixing base that serves to lighten any shade of foundation.

 

Hopefully you find these as helpful as I do! What are some of your holy grail products?

 

 

 

Ole Henriksen’s 3 Little Wonders

In hopes of making updates to this blog a more regular occurrence, I’ll keep the ball rolling with a product review. Well, a 3-in-1 product review in attempts to make up for lost time.

In the past 4 months, I’ve completely fallen in love with Ole Henriksen. And if you’re wondering as much as I was, his name is pronounced Ooo-Lah not Oh-lay. You also might be wondering who he is, or rather how good or bad his products are.

Last December, I was in the market for some new skin care and I had heard great things about Ole Henriksen and his thoughts on ingredients for glowing skin. I had my eye on the 3 Little Wonders kit. It features 3 generously sized products for $70, so essentially you’re getting to try a full-size product for free since the kit is valued at $101.

The kit includes:

  • 1 oz Truth Serum
  • 1 oz Invigorating Night Gel
  • 1 oz Sheer Transformation moisturizers886358-main-hero

It’s hard to say which product in the kit is my favorite, because I’ll they all play a part in visibly improving my complexion. They are all oil free, and formulated without Parabens, Sulfates, Phthalates, GMO and Triclosan. Now I don’t know what most of those are, but they sound bad so I don’t necessarily want to be rubbing them all over my face.

The first item in the kit, and possibly the front runner, is the Truth Serum which is loaded with Vitamin C that promotes brighter, healthier skin. It has a slight citrus smell, and its consistency is very thin. The bottle has a pump which is great for sanitary reasons, but sometimes it sticks and is a pain to get the right amount of product out. I use this first in my night time routine after removing my makeup and cleansing my face, but I use it in the morning as well after cleaner and before moisturizer.

Next up is the Invigorating Night Gel. This is basically a chemical exfoliant, (which I find more effective and more gentle than a physical one) so I only use it 2-3 times a week depending how my skin feels. I’ve never tried anything like this particular product, and it does make a difference. It might cause your skin to feel a bit tight and tingly at first, but that quickly dissipates when moisturizer is applied. It does wonders for evening skin tone and preventing breakouts. I use this product only at night, hence the name. My one qualm about it, and also about the moisturizer which I’ll talk about next, is that both come in jars rather than having pump applicators. Sticking your fingers in the product then on your face then back in the product night after night just screams for bacteria that is likely causing the problems you’re trying to avoid or correct in the first place.

Sheer Transformation is a light weight moisturizer that feels quite nice when applied. It makes skin noticeably smoother, or at least it does in when used in conjunction with the other products in the kit. There is no heavy scent, and it has not caused any irritation or a single breakout. I don’t think it was heavy enough for me in the winter months (for that I stick to my trust Clinique Moisture Surge) but I can tell this will be a staple for me come summer.

All in all, the 3 Little Wonders kit is a great introduction to Ole Henriksen’s line and it’s a great value. I will say that I have purchased the kit twice now, and it is a bit irritating that you don’t necessarily finish all the products at once so there is some overlap, especially with using the Invigorating Night Gel much less than the other two products. It is worth it though, at least for me, to try a new skin care regimen that actually performs the way it promises to.

Skin care is a sensitive area, and what works for me might not work for you and vice versa. As someone with very fair and sensitive skin, I will tell you this line has done no wrong for me so far in the four months I’ve been actively using it. If you’re interested, ask for some samples from your local Sephora. I also recommend introducing each product into your skin care routine one at a time, this way if you do suffer a reaction, you will be able to pin point the culprit rather than playing a guessing game.

Ole Henriksen is sold at Sephora, sephora.com and olehenriksen.com.

Covergirl & Olay Simply Ageless: Foundation Fail

I’ve been wanting to try out a crème foundation lately, for the mere facts that application is fast and easy and they’re supposed to be hydrating. I didn’t want to run out and spend $50 on one if I wasn’t sure I’d like the formula, so I started browsing the aisles at Target and came across a collaboration between Covergirl and Olay. I picked up the Simply Ageless foundation which is supposed to smooth fine lines and wrinkles, and is infused with a skin care serum that is visible in the pan, but not on your face. It can cost anywhere from $11-$13 depending on where you buy it and if you have a coupon. The plastic pan contains 12 grams of product and it is unscented. It’s not exactly travel friendly, as the crème is contained in one side, and the other side twists off to reveal a sponge for application. The sponge isn’t terrible, but it will give you heavy coverage so keep that in mind.

I want to tell you I loved this product. I want to tell you it was everything I was looking for and more. But I won’t. Because I hated it. I still hate it and will forever glare at it as I walk by any Covergirl display ever. It’s really too bad, because in terms of the smoothness of the cream and the color I loved it. It matches my very fair skin perfectly and doesn’t oxidize throughout the day. I got shade 205, the lightest they produce. It’s quite emollient and blends flawlessly into the skin. However, some ingredient, and I don’t know which one, wreaked havoc on my skin. Keep in mind that my skin is pretty sensitive, so if you don’t have that problem this foundation could very well work for you. But after my experience, I will be staying far away from this one.

I wore it for one day, about 8 hours or so, and I thought it wore quite well. The coverage is medium-full depending on how much is applied. It’s easy to get heavy-handed with crème products but try to avoid it because the end result will be a cakey mess. A few hours into the wear time, my skin began to feel itchy. I looked in the mirror and noticed little red marks on my skin accompanied by a blemish. RED FLAG. As someone who prefers flawless skin, I was mortified. And furious.

I went back to my normal liquid foundation and my skin calmed down within a few days, but I won’t be trying that again. I’m assuming it was the Olay anti-aging serum in the product that caused my skin irritation, but I’m not 100% sure. If you have sensitive skin, proceed with caution. Or not at all.

Summer on the Nails- Van D’Go

My nail color of choice for the last few days (which says something about wear, no chips yet) has been Essie’s Van D’Go. It’s a gorgeous, creamy shade of coral that looks stunning on medium skin tones, but it’s not terribly offensive on my fair skin.

Depending on the light, the color can lean more orange or more pink, but the important factor here is that it looks beautiful no matter what light you happen to find yourself in. The formula can apply a bit streaky, not unlike another favorite of mine by Essie: Fiji. This can be remedied either with some patience and repeated application, or my preference which is applying a matte base coat like Essie’s Fill the Gap. This polish provides a smooth canvas for any nail color to go over. It’s fantastic for reds and darker shades because it prevents any staining of the nail bed, and it’s perfect for pale pastels that may be streaky because it’s a strong base that holds onto color.

Van D’Go immediately inspires thoughts of spring and summer, and it adds a lovely and unexpected pop of color to any ensemble. I’m wearing it today with grey, if you can imagine. If you’re looking for a more wearable, softer shade of orange, this may be the one for you. I usually recommend starting off with more of a coral like Van D’Go before making the jump to a true shade of orange, but if you’re ready take the plunge!

Van D’Go premiered with Essie’s Spring 2010 collection, but I believe it is now a permanent shade as I have seen it at Ulta. Essie is also now carried at Target and Walmart if you’d like to peruse the nail polish section. Go out and have a look if you’re interested, and don’t forget your Ulta coupon for $3.50 off a $10.00 purchase this week.

Happy shopping!

Product Fail: Maybelline Dream Nude Airfoam

When I saw promotional photos for Maybelline’s new Dream Nude Airfoam foundation I couldn’t wait to try it. Many companies are jumping on the bandwagon of air brushed looking makeup, with Maybelline and Revlon leading the pack.

I’m usually a big fan of Maybelline foundation, as the color range is usually a good match for my skin tone. I’m always the lightest shade offered in almost any foundation, and this one was no exception. I picked up the Dream Nude Airfoam in 110 Porcelain Ivory (I’m the same shade in Maybelline’s Dream Liquid Mousse which I love). I wish I could tell you that I loved this foundation because positive reviews are much more fun…but no fun here.

This product was a major disappointment for me. As far as pigmentation and coverage, this foundation offers neither. The product dispenses rather quickly out of the aerosol can, which needs a good shake before application. It comes out just like the name implies, a foam. When applied to the skin, it blends out into almost nothing. I was left with a very dry feeling which was the only indication that there was anything on my face. The foundation is oil-free, and from what I remember there was no detectable fragrance. The product has since been returned, to give you an idea of how much I didn’t care for it.

Revlon’s version, PhotoReady Airbrush Mousse Makeup is much better in terms of coverage. It dispenses out of the can the same way…so you can’t really control how much product you’re getting. I found that one pump can cover your whole face and then some so it’s a bit wasteful. I recommend pumping the foundation onto the back of your hand and then applying it with a stippling brush to pat it into your skin. It blends relatively easily and my color match was good, but I was still left with a very dry feeling. For reference my skin is relatively normal, slightly more dry this time of year.

All in all I do think the concept of airfoam makeup is an interesting one, and if the formulas can be improved I can see them being great sellers. For now, though, I’d stick with liquid, cream, or mineral powders of your choice.

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

Bobbi Brown Sparkling Nudes Collection- Spring 2012

While the beauty/fashion industry promotes collections seasons in advance, here is a collection for you to peruse that is available right now. Bobbi Brown is the queen of top quality neutrals, and in her spring collection she puts a new spin on the traditional browns and champagnes.

The Sparkling Nudes collection includes four new shades of Sparkle Eyeshadow, a Brightening Finishing Powder and Brightening Lip Gloss.

The Sparkle Eyeshadows impart a subtle shimmer and shine on the lids that will brighten any eye color. I haven’t swatched any of the shadows myself yet, but Bobbi Brown’s shades are notoriously pigmented and buttery smooth.

Shades include:

  • Silver Moon- Light silvery glitter
  • Mica- Deep heather grey
  • Ballet- Light pink glitter
  • Sunlight- Warm golden glitter

The Brightening Finishing Powder features six shades that blend together to give the skin a luminous and healthy appearance. It boasts a silky texture and has skin perfecting qualities that give the complexion a soft-focus finish. Its ingredients include mulberry, grape, Scutelleria and Gentian Root extracts, and it is said to feel very light-weight on the skin. Its sturdy compact makes on-the-go application a snap.

Brightening Lip Gloss:

  • Lilac Pearl- Lavender pink with pearl
  • Pink Opal- Pink with opalescent pearl
  • Pink Lilac- Pale icy pink violet