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?

 

 

 

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.