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?

 

 

 

Nail the look for less: Deborah Lippmann dupe

If you’re a lover of nail lacquers, you’ll likely have a reaction when you hear the words Deborah Lippmann. If you don’t know the name, you should. In the world of nail polish, Lippmann is among the top ranked for formulation, texture, and unique selection. She has designed numerous polishes for the celebrities who wear them, and she’s famous for her glitters. It’s true; no one does glitter like Deborah Lippmann. Or so I thought.

She recently released a shade that’s absolutely gorgeous, not unlike her others in that way. What does make the polish stand out is the color itself. It’s called “Mermaid’s Dream,” and that’s exactly what it looks like. It’s a shimmering sea-foam green that has blue flecks of glitter and silver iridescence throughout it. I’ve been eyeing (or drooling over) this polish since I saw it at Nordstrom, but it’s hard to rationalize spending $18 on a nail polish and I can rationalize almost any beauty purchase. I was seriously considering taking the plunge until I walked into Urban Outfitters today.

A sign in the window that said jewelry was on sale lured me in, as they often do. After I found a few pieces I walked up to the register where my eyes started to browse the lovely opportunities for an impulse purchase. Sure enough I found one. But not just any one. It was a nail polish that looked strikingly familiar. It looked like an exact dupe for “Mermaid’s Dream.”

Upon closer inspection, I learned the polish was called “Sea Dust” and that it was $5. Sold.

Now, I do not own Mermaid’s Dream so I can’t give you a side by side swatch comparison, but below is a picture of the polish and a picture of my bottle of Sea Dust. You be the judge.

From what I hear there are slight differences between the two in terms of opacity in one coat (Mermaid’s Dream wins) and texture (Sea Dust is smoother), but at a price difference of $13, I say run to Urban Outfitters and grab a bottle of Sea Dust if you’re as intrigued by this color as I am.

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.

MAC Tres Cheek Collection

If you’re in the market for the perfect blush, MAC’s upcoming Tres Cheek collection is for you. Tres Cheek features blush and blush alone, bringing us six new and limited edition shades:

  • Pink Tea- neutral beige pink (satin finish)
  • Loveclowd- bright mid-tone pink (satin finish)
  • Peony Petal- bight blue-based pink (satin finish)
  • Modern Mandarin-reddish orange (satin finish)
  • Immortal Flower- bright peach (satin finish)
  • Full of Joy- lavender (frost finish)

The Tres Cheek collection will be available at MAC stores, Nordstrom and select Macy’s stores this April. Which of these tickle your fancy?

Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Fresh & Hydrating Cream Compact Makeup

You read right, there’s a new addition to the Chanel foundation family. Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Ultra Light Skin Perfecting Makeup now has a cream counterpart. The original liquid formula has a very light and natural coverage; it can look like you’re wearing nothing at all. It’s water-based, so you need to shake it extremely well before application or you’ll get zero coverage and a liquidy mess.

For those of you who prefer a medium to full coverage foundation, head to your local Nordstrom counter and try out the new Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Fresh & Hydrating Cream Compact Makeup. I will be doing just that this week.

The formula claims to have a smooth, moisturizing feeling and give a flawless, radiant finish. Keep in mind that the foundation is put out by Chanel so its $58 price tag won’t leave you in too much shock. For that you get 0.42 oz which in the world of foundation is pretty standard. It comes in a range of ten shades and has an spf of 15.

 

It is oil-free, and the complete ingredients list for those with sensitivity is as follows:

AQUA (WATER), CYCLOPENTASILOXANE, ISOTRIDECYL ISONONANOATE, DIMETHICONE, METHYL METHACRYLATE CROSSPOLYMER, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, CERESIN, GLYCERIN, PEG-9 POLYDIMETHYLSILOXYETHYL DIMETHICONE, SORBITAN SESQUIISOSTEARATE, POLYETHYLENE, POLYMETHYLSILSESQUIOXANE, ALUMINUM HYDROXIDE, STEARIC ACID, PHENOXYETHANOL, TALC, SODIUM CITRATE, SILICA, PHYTOSTERYL/OCTYLDODECYL LAUROYL GLUTAMATE, TOCOPHEROL, ALUMINA, [+/- (MAY CONTAIN) CI 77007 (ULTRAMARINES), CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499 (IRON OXIDES), CI 77891 (TITANIUM DIOXIDE), MICA