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.



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?




Back to Basics: Lip gloss

My recent obsession is going to sound like no big deal. And really, it’s not. It’s been around forever and you can find it anywhere from the drugstore to Bergdorf Goodman. It ranges in packaging, finish, color and price. Of course what I’m describing can be almost anything, but I happen to be alluding to lip gloss.

I used to be, and still sometimes am, a believer in the multi-step lip combination with your standard liner, lipstick and gloss. If I’m feeling particularly adventurous I’ll even highlight my cupid’s bow to give the appearance of fuller lips. This can be done by blending in a light shade of highlight or eyeshadow with some reflective properties, usually of golden or white tone. Along that same line, a light eyeshadow can also be dotted on the center of your lower lip, giving your lips a pouty Playboy look.

Back to my original topic. When we were experiencing our summer preview a few weeks ago, I was spending some time outside. I didn’t take Mother Nature too seriously and ended up with sunburned lips. Ouch. So I decided to forgo lip liner for a few days, but there was no way I was walking around with no lip product at all. So I thought, how about just a simple gloss? It’ll provide some color, shine and moisture. That it did.

My lip gloss of choice lately has been from Revlon, and it’s a Super Lustrous gloss in “Pink Whisper.” I also have “Peach Petal” which is a fantastic milky nude that pairs perfectly with a smoky eye or can be used to tone down a bold color. At first I was wearing only gloss in order to give my lips time to heal (never neglect your SPF!) but I soon noticed that my lips appeared just as full as they did with liner and lipstick, but more youthful and fresh. Not to mention it cut down on my time getting ready in the morning. Hallelujah.

You can wear any gloss from any brand you like; my current favorite is Super Lustrous by Revlon because of its smooth application, creamy consistency, easy accessibility and affordability. It’s around $6 or $7 depending on where you purchase it, and there are almost always Revlon coupons that’ll allow you to snap it up cheaper. The packaging is sleek, portable and easy to use. The gloss is 0.2grams and has an SPF of 15. Lesson learned.

Some other products of note are Tendertones by MAC. These are fantastic little pots of lip balm that are quite moisturizing while giving your lips a hint of color and tons of shine. They are unfortunately discontinued; they were recently re-promoted though in MAC’s Shop Cook collection. Sometimes you can be lucky enough to spot one or two at a CCO, and if you do I suggest you partake. They also have an SPF of 12 and smell like strawberry kiwi. From the drugstore we have Maybelline’s new Baby Lips line. I find these to be very moisturizing, much more so than Revlon’s new lip butters. Baby Lips are offered in fewer shades, but do the job much better. They’re basically a chap stick with a bit of color, and they are more hydrating. They contain SPF 20. Watch out for those coupons and give them a try!


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.

Beauty Q&A: Why do I need two primers and two foundations?

You may have read the above question and thought to yourself, “I didn’t know I needed two primers and two foundations…” This may seem excessive or erroneous to minimal makeup wearers, which is a fair assumption. However, the main reason I advise you to have two of each product on hand is this: Sun Protection. We all know it, some of us love it. Being a fair-skinned gal I rarely ever ventured into the sun, and never touched a tanning bed. Yes, even for Prom, Homecoming, my Bat Mitzvah….never.

Even the young women of my generation are (finally) realizing that the fake orange look is just not appealing and certainly not natural. So that takes care of the tanning beds. But what about the actual sun and UV rays? We all need daily protection from that, even on cloudy days. So it behooves you to have a foundation that readily contains SPF for day wear. For night-time and for occasions where you will be taking photos, I would recommend a foundation that contains no SPF, as it will cause a white cast in pictures. Have you ever looked at pictures on Facebook and thought, “What was she thinking?? She looks like she just came out of the grave!” Well cut the girl some slack, in person she probably looked stunning. It was just that no one told her about the SPF rule. So go out there, armed with this new information and get yourself another foundation.

Or, if you’d prefer, you can do this same thing with moisturizer. You can have a moisturizer with SPF for day wear, and one without for night because obviously SPF is unnecessary if the only thing your face will be seeing is your pillow. If you have a moisturizer with SPF, you can wear any foundation over it, SPF or not, because your skin will have a layer of protection.

In case you haven’t become overwhelmed enough, primer is another step in the beauty routine that does indeed make a difference. It not only provides a barrier between your skin and your foundation, but it creates a blank canvas for your foundation to go over that will make its appearance smoother and prolong its staying power. There are a number of primers on the market, both with and without SPF. My favorite two primers at the moment are Laura Mercier’s Foundation Primer and Stila’s Hydrating Primer. Laura Mercier’s does not contain SPF, while Stila’s has SPF 20. Both are oil-free.

My favorite foundation of the moment that contains no SPF and is fantastic for photos is the Makeup Forever HD foundation. For all of my lovelies who are getting married, keep this one in mind!

As for a base that contains SPF, my current go-to is a drugstore pick; Maybelline’s Instant Age Rewind Foundation. Not only is this beautifully blendable and matches my skin tone perfectly, but at around $7 for a 1 oz. bottle, the price can’t be beat. It made an appearance in my February Favorites and will be fully reviewed soon.