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Check Me Out – What I’ve Been Up To

26 Jan

So I mentioned in this post that I’m super busy with my hands in EVERYTHING lately. There was one thing that I wanted to keep under wraps for a little while. I wanted to really settle in and feel comfortable where I was before I shared it with you all. I’mguest writing somewhere else on the internet! However, if any of my readers are super sleuths, which I’m sure some of you are, you might have figured it out already —

I’m currently a beauty intern for Refinery29!

I am loving my new role – I have so many writing opportunities (which is unusual for an intern!), am surrounded by so many creative, fashionable, and friendly people, and am working with a really wonderful editor. I am very happy and very, very lucky to be in such an amazing environment. It’s been a while since I’ve gotten a chance to return to editorial and I’m delighted (enthralled, really) to be back.

Another reason I waited to let you guys know about this is because I wanted to be able to have a post that I was really proud of that I could share with you – today is a weird day, because not only was an article that I am SO happy with posted, but a street style slideshow with me in the lineup happened to go live as well.

Without any further ado, me via Refinery29: Chanel’s Spring 2012 runway makeup and Street Style Winter Coats (I’m slides #18 and #19)!

PS – does that nail polish look familiar in the second link? 🙂

Pretty New Year – My Beauty Resolutions for 2012

3 Jan

Happy New Year, readers! I can’t believe it’s already 2012! To be honest, I have no complaints about moving on to this year. I don’t know about you, but I’m in dire need of a fresh start. Do you make any New Year’s resolutions for this year? I’m pretty terrible at keeping resolutions myself, but I figure that if I make them beauty related, that I’ll be more likely to stick to them. (We all know that even if I intend to start working on my fitness, keep my room clean, or improve my math skills, somewhere around February my resolve to do any of those things will peter out.) Are you the same way? If so, here are seven pretty New Year’s resolutions that I’m going to stick with that will be good for me in the long run – some fun, some challenging – and feel free to take them for yourself!

Resolution No. 6: Play with My Hair

Resolution No. 6: Play with My Hair

  1. This may be a little gross, but I have a tendency to pick at my skin, often for no reason (i.e., even if I have no pimples). Sometimes I really can’t help myself. I’ve gotten a lot better at controlling this, but I am going to stop picking, poking, and squeezing this year. I have nice skin! I should leave it alone. (Science fun fact: this is called dermatillomania.)
  2. This is another bad one: I am not great at remembering to take my makeup off before I go to bed. Especially with the advent of so many makeup removal wipes on the market and the fact that I received a limited-edition Clarisonic Mia for my birthday this year, this is inexcusable behavior. (And the more regularly I remove my makeup at night, the better my skin will be – therefore, the less I will have anything to pick at. Good habits beget more good habits!)
  3. Moisturize with more regularity/frequency. I guess the importance of this is especially apparent to me in winter, when parts of my face (I have combination skin) are flaking off like a sfogliatelle and the rest of it is just drier than usual – but my face is the only part of my body that I give any moisturizer love to because of its high visibility. I need to moisturize my whole body ALL the time. I recently read somewhere that I should keep my moisturizer in the shower so I can apply it as soon as I towel off – and I’ve started doing that. I’m pretty forgetful, but this has worked out pretty well so far!
  4. Start an anti-aging skincare regime. I’m in my early twenties, sure, and I am very lucky that my skin is in the shape that it is, but I am getting a little anxious about my skin. I especially need to start taking care of the area around my eyes, my forehead, and around my mouth, because I am highly expressive. Related: I need to find my ultimate everyday SPF facial moisturizer. Recommendations, anyone?
  5. Switch up my beauty routine! I completely love the beauty look I have now, but sometimes I feel like I’ve taken the easy way out and that I’m too comfortable with it. I know there’s the whole adage, “find what works for you and stick with it,” but beauty is an art – and artists should take risks! I wear “crazy” lipstick shades often, but in high school I used to wear bright eyeshadow shades with way more frequency than I do now – I’m going to try to get back into doing that, at least once in a while.
  6. On a related note to the last, I NEVER experiment with my hair. I don’t mean cutting it all off, because I’ve had short hair, long hair, bangs, layers, and everything in between. My hair is ALWAYS straight, however, and I never take the time to curl it or make it wavy, so I want to play with my hair more this year. And I’ve never dyed my hair and I keep thinking about taking the plunge, or at least with semi-permanent dye – is this my year?
  7. Drink more water. You might be thinking this is an easy one, but only in the past year have I started to drink more water. I am really proud of myself about my hydration habits and this year, I’m keeping it up! I drink maybe three or four glasses a day, so I’m going to attempt to up the ante a little bit. It’s so good for the body and the skin – and I get migraine headaches, so I’m hoping that drinking more water will help them.

Okay, everyone – what do you think of my New Year’s beauty resolutions? Am I going to stick with them? Do you have any advice for me to help me keep my resolutions (I would love the help!)? Are there any on here that you are going to try to keep yourself this year?

Thank you so much for reading my blog in 2011. I’ve really appreciated all your visits and comments, and I hope you stop by in 2012!

A Plea for (Hair) Help and Advice

19 Sep

I’ve never claimed to know everything about beauty. I love you guys too much to not be honest with you. For heaven’s sake, I told you that I’ve attempted to give myself a Brazilian (and I don’t learn from my mistakes sometimes because I tried that two more times…)! My greatest weakness in the industry, friends, is hair. I have an embarrassing gaping hole in my knowledge about haircare, styling, products, you name it. I do have some limited knowledge! – but it’s not much. I can take care of my own, and I’m pretty lucky that I’m even capable of doing so. But I come to you now seeking advice.

A few months ago, a friend of mine casually dropped a bombshell that one’s hair texture changes every decade or so and that this is totally natural. She said hers was now super curly. I kind of scoffed at her. “There’s NO way,” I said. “My hair’s been like this since I was born. My mom’s hair has always been the same.” My mom has always had straight hair and I got that gene. My hair kind of does what it wants (which is do nothing but lie there), but that’s fine, because I don’t know how to do anything with it anyway.

About two years ago I went through some severe stress, which I don’t think has really stopped since that point. A LOT of my hair fell out, but I’m pleased (and grateful) to report that by now, most of it has grown back, though I didn’t think it ever would. HOWEVER – it seems to have grown back in a different texture.

Guys, what the hell? A lot of my hair is coarser and kind of wavy. How do I deal with this? Do I style the same way (which is not at all)? Is my hair going to be like Kim Kardashian’s (someone say yes)? Is it eventually going to grow in crazy curly like a poodle? What am I supposed to do here? I haven’t been handling this all that well. I’d just been pulling out some of the weird, abnormal hair, but I realized that at least 45% of my hair is like that now so I can’t really get away with that. Please help!

I appreciate any and all advice that you guys can give, and am anxiously awaiting your comments. Thank you.

Top Ten: Beauty Tricks I Wish I’d Learned Earlier

1 Sep

Sure, I have a beauty blog, but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped learning about makeup! I’m learning new things all the time! I always thought in college that the professors who felt that they knew everything about their subject were (a) full of it and (b) usually wrong in this belief. There is always more to learn about your favorite subject. Well…maybe if it’s Latin…

Anyway, today I have a top ten of beauty tips and tricks that I wish I’d discovered earlier in my beauty career. Some may be glaringly obvious to you (perhaps #3 in particular), but hey, life is a learning process! Read on and learn from my happy surprises and frustrating mistakes!

10. Salespeople are called SALESpeople for a reason. They’re in the store to get that cash out of your wallet and into the cash register. Some are quite honest, some will convince you to buy the wrong shade of foundation in order to make a sale. Trust your own opinion (or a trusted friend’s) first.

NARS Night Star

Bummer...NARS Night Star eyeshadow, picture from kaboodle.com

9. On a similar note: in all department stores and higher-end beauty stores, the lighting is designed to highlight the product’s appearance, but not necessarily how it looks on you. I learned this the hard way in high school (before Sephora’s new and AWESOME return policy) when I bought NARSNight Star eyeshadow. I was seriously into sparkle then, and in-store, Night Star appears to be a flashy, glittery nude. At home, it was a mild, pearly match for my skintone. Lesson learned: try on what could be a fabulous product, and go outside into natural lighting to see if it is as wonderful as it appeared to be inside.

8. Olive oil is a great, inexpensive moisturizer that you probably already have in your kitchen. Be sure to use SPF if leaving the house!

7. Feeling like a yeti but can’t place why? Trim your eyebrows. Brush them up (with a toothbrush if you want), trim with a manicure scissor, and return them to their original position. Fill in your brows with matching powder or pencil as needed – there, you look well groomed with a crazy amount of ease.

6. Most people that know me are well aware that I’d rather stay up late and hit the snooze button (fifteen times) instead of go to bed early in order to seize the day. I only learned a few months ago that if I go to bed with wet hair and wake up with a rat’s nest on my head the next morning, I can blow it out straight with little difficulty and a paddle brush.

Visine

You again?! Visine rules. (picture from crazycouponsavings.com)

5. Did your pot of cream eyeliner dry out? Add a few drops of Visine and stir with a toothpick – it’ll be as good as new. I did this with my Smashbox Jet Set Waterproof Eyeliner and it was like I had only bought it a few weeks ago. (And from now on, put the cap back on or place the pot upside down on your vanity between application to each eye to prevent the product from drying out!)

4. Letting your skin soak up a moisturizer before you apply foundation makes all the difference, but combining that with a foundation brush for the first time is pretty much a religious experience.

3. You really can’t – and shouldn’t – give yourself a Brazilian wax, no matter how high you think your pain tolerance is. It’s not that high. Sure it is when you’ve paid for it, but not when you’re the one applying the wax. Leave it to the professionals, even though you may not want to spend the money: some things are worth paying for.

3a: Things generally worth paying (prestige) for: good tools (eyelash curler, tweezer, brushes), skincare, intensive waxing and spa treatments. And, in my opinion: lipstick, eyeshadow, and blush.

3b: Things generally not worth paying for: foundation, mascara, nail polish, lipgloss, bronzer, trend items, minor waxing and spa treatments.

3c: Ambivalent: fragrance, eyeliner

2. (Continued from 3b) Once you master precision with your non-dominant hand, you can give yourself a much longer-lasting manicure (and pedicure!) than anyone could ever give you. And, oh yeah, it’s free. (Get someone else to give you the massage.)

1. If you wear crazy makeup – or even no makeup at all – with all of your confidence, I guarantee that you’ll be the most gorgeous one in the room.

Yes, I know that #3 was a bad idea. Sigh. Do you have any late bloomer beauty tips you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

Top Ten: Beauty Pet Peeves

17 Aug

Happy hump day, readers! You’re halfway there!

As you may be able to tell already, I’m a highly opinionated lady. This has gotten me into trouble in the past, but I think that it’s better to have strong feelings about things than go through life feeling blasĂŠ about everything. Clearly, I’m passionate about beauty products and grooming, but there are some things that I could go through life without seeing ever again.

Pamela Anderson, bad lipliner

#10. Pam - I get what you're trying to do, but... picture courtesy of pixiwoo.blogspot.com

10. Dark lipliner, light lipstick

I think this trend that has died in most places but still fights to hang on where I live, like some sort of horrifying endangered animal. It seems to be, at long last, on its way out as it was ‘cool’ here 20 years ago. Our friend Pamela Anderson here isn’t even going to the extreme that I see regularly – dark brown lipliner with beige frosted lipstick. This is a failed trick to make your lips look bigger than they actually are. If that’s what you want, try this instead. Use a color lipstick that’s close in color to your lip, a liner that is SLIGHTLY darker, and carefully line just outside the lip – don’t go to the extreme that Pam did. If you need to use a heavy hand on the liner, keep it to the middle third of your bottom lip. Add some clear lipgloss to the middle of your lip and done! (You could highlight the cupid’s bow, or that little v in the middle of your upper lip, if you like.) Bigger looking lips. Or try a plumping gloss. I’ve had the best results with FusionBeauty Lip Fusion and InFATuation – go for a natural, glitter-free shade!

9. French manicures and pedicures

On fake nails in particular, this one is wearing thin. (Premiere nail bloggers, like Scrangie and AllLacqueredUp, despair about this frequently.) I’m not talking about funky Frenches, I’m referring to seriously unnatural-looking manicures that are supposed to look natural. Just use the French manicure pink or beige shade (like my favorite, OPI Bubble Bath) without a white line! Not only is it very pretty and flattering, it’s cheaper than the French – that white line costs extra if you’re paying to get your nails done.

8. Oompa Loompa tans

Tanning is bad for you. I understand why people tan, and I’ve been guilty of it (I’m just so frustratingly pale!), but luckily (maybe), spray tanning was invented for this reason. It wasn’t invented  to turn orange. Be judicious with self bronzing. If your teeth look scarily white against your skin and you’re ruining clothing with spray tan, you may have gone too far. If you want to naturally turn orange, eat a lot of carrots! This may take some time, but it honestly does work.

7. Bad highlights

Deena Cortese from the Jersey Shore, awful highlights

#7. Deena from the Jersey Shore and her questionable highlights, picture courtesy of wetpaint.com

I see these more often than I care to admit. It’s especially disheartening when girls with dark brown hair ask for thin, blonde highlights. Kind of zebra stripey, and definitely fake-looking. Dark hair is so beautiful (and usually quite thick, which I envy)! Enhance it with a gloss treatment instead of highlights. If you actually want to be blonde, go blonde! Stop trying to have your cake and eat it too.

6. The Jersey Shore “blowout”

I covered this in my men’s product article. Just no.

5. Too much cologne or perfume

You may have noticed that older women in particular can have a problem with wearing too much perfume – did you know as you age, your olfactory glands weaken? But if your nose is in fine condition, please don’t choke me with cologne on the bus in the morning, especially if it comes from a spray can (AXE, anyone?). Two spritzes should do it.

4. Paisley eyebrows

Unfortunately, Google could not provide me with a picture for demonstration purposes, but you may know what I’m talking about already. It’s an extremely skinnily-tailed eyebrow with a highly-rounded arch (also skinny) that grows into a wide teardrop shape close to the nose. It’s hard to fix eyebrows that are unruly or have been overly tweezed. It definitely takes a lot of patience. It could also potentially benefit from items like Peter Thomas Roth Brows to Die For or Latisse (prescription product!), which Fergie uses on her brows.

3. Mismatched foundation

Though it is close to the top of the list, I understand how hard it is to find a foundation. I have a lot of trouble matching my skin tone to products, especially with the lighting that stores use (Sephora, I’m looking at you). A lot of department store makeup artists and the like aren’t necessarily good at helping either – I’ve bought a few products that salespeople have picked out for me, gotten home, and been sorely disappointed. I recommend going to the MAC counter for this one – they have a great range of foundations and concealers, and their artists are more than qualified to help. Or, if you’ve found one that you kind of like but think you could do better, check out Temptalia‘s Foundation Matrix. It’s highly extensive and can help you find your shade.

Chipped manicure

#2. This is an intentionally chipped manicure - um, aren't the chips supposed to come from the bottom? Photo courtesy of stylelist.com

2. Chipped manicures – or worse, pedicures

I understand that chipped manicures are sometimes a fashion statement. I don’t think they say anything particularly fashionable, but I suppose that’s up to the wearer. People even pay for pre-chipped manicures. Try a crackle topcoat if you want an unusual look. But chipped polish on toes? Feet kind of freak me out, and unkempt feet are even scarier. This is why I don’t post pedicure pictures. (I know people out there who have serious podiaphobia (fear of feet!), so why make it worse for them?) Since feet and toes are kind of strange as it is, why would I want to see them with a shoddy pedicure? I feel like naked toenails are almost as bad.

1. Clipping your nails in public

Everyone who knows me is aware of how much I love New York. BUT ATTENTION, NEW YORKERS. STOP CLIPPING YOUR FINGERNAILS ON THE SUBWAY. Are you even serious? You’re using a nail clipper and you’re just letting little parts of your body fly all over the place? You shouldn’t be allowed to have a Metrocard. Please do this in the privacy of your own home. Or at least clip your nails into a plastic bag. AT LEAST.

Okay, everyone! What do you think of my pet peeves? Are they reasonable or am I crazy…or do you feel like “both” is the right answer? Let me know in the comments – and I’d love to hear what your beauty pet peeves are!

My First (Not My Last), My Everything – MAC Snob Lipstick

16 Aug

It’s the home stretch, readers! You’ll be on your way to a happy hour in no time. Just a few more hours left of work to go!

MAC Snob Lipstick

MAC Snob Lipstick

Everyone remembers their “first” for a lot of things – first crush, first kiss, first car, first apartment – you get the picture. Today, I’d like to share my first MAC purchase. For many makeup-crazies, this is an equivalent to a first love. Ever since I bought MAC Snob lipstick, I’ve been handing out money to various MAC stores like I’m dealing cards in Vegas. It’s totally disturbing, expensive, and compulsive, but I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way.

I remember being in grade school when I passed by a MAC counter and saw Electric Eel eyeshadow for the first time. It’s a vivid turquoise – ridiculously pigmented and eye-catching. “Mom! Look at that!” I tugged on my mother’s sleeve. “That color is crazy,” she said, and we kept going. MAC opened my eyes to the world of “crazy” beauty products and shades. Discovering that there were other people like me, who loved unusual makeup, was comforting. I didn’t start wearing makeup until middle school and by then, MAC had been pushed to the back of my mind. I received MAC lipglasses one year for the holidays from a friend, but it wasn’t until college that I bought something from MAC on my own. (Yeah, I’ve always been a late bloomer.)

In 2007, LancĂ´me released a collaboration lipstick with Proenza Schouler known as Proenza Pink. When I realized there was no chance I could ever get my hands on a tube, I was crushed. Desperate to find an acceptable substitute, I scanned the internet. I believe it was Specktra that told me Snob was a close match.

Me wearing MAC Snob Lipstick

Me wearing MAC Snob Lipstick

This lipstick changed my life and my attitude. Last week, I talked about how some men react to cosmetics. This one gets tons of comments from both genders, positive and negative. It’s one of those colors that I like to call “almost normal,” which is my favorite kind of color – it makes people do a double take when they see it. As a result, “that lipstick is really…pink,” is the one I find that I receive the most. And it is. It’s a ballerina pink with a touch of lilac and a wonderful satin finish – which, in my opinion, is MAC’s best lipstick finish. This was the first lipstick to make me realize that I don’t have to speak to make a statement. From here I bought lipsticks like NARSSchiap, a screaming hot pink, and MAC Morange, a shade that I like to think of as “construction ahead orange.” People will stare and make comments if you wear colors like this, but who cares? If you can’t get over what people think about you, you will never be able to live your life the way that you want.

Thanks, Snob. Besides emptying my wallet, you helped open my mind. If you don’t have it yet, buy MAC Snob here – you won’t regret your purchase. You can also find it in most Macy’s stores, Saks, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf’s, Bloomingdales, Lord and Taylor…

Crazy author’s note: I thought I lost this product today – and, as a result, spent 45 minutes hysterically looking for it. I knew my day would be ruined if it were truly lost. Come on! It’s my first MAC purchase.

Who out there is a MAC Snob fan?! Has a beauty product ever changed your life like Snob changed mine? Tell me in the comments!

Product Spotlight: Lashing Out Against Maybelline Great Lash

16 Aug

Good morning, everyone! Did you have an okay Monday? I discovered a new – well, not new, but unwatched by me – TV show, and I feel an addiction coming on. Who watches Dexter? It’s made me a little stressed out, I have to say, so maybe that’s where this post is coming from.

Maybelline Great Lash Mascara

Maybelline Great Lash Mascara, photo from womansday.com

You may have heard a lot of beauty buzz about Maybelline Great Lash mascara lately. (Or always, which I typically feel is the case.) The ol’ pink and green tube celebrated its 40th birthday this past Sunday, and milestone birthdays are always a reason to celebrate. Besides, Great Lash is the number one mascara in the United States. I read a ridiculous statistic somewhere once saying that a tube of Great Lash mascara is sold every 1.6 seconds in the U.S. It’s also the favorite of many makeup artists, besides being the holy grail mascara for all those people buying it. If the United States had a makeup bag, it’d be in there.

IT’S NOT IN MINE.

I hate Maybelline Great Lash. Can someone PLEASE tell me what’s so great about it? Before you ask, yes, I’ve tried it. Many times, actually. Every few years, I think to myself, “all of those consumers can’t be wrong.” Then I get frustrated that I’ve made the same shopping mistake, because it is just as bad as I remember it to be. I will admit to liking the packaging, but that’s the only arena where this product wins with me – which is why I am disgusted with myself for kind of wanting the limited-edition birthday packaging. Other mass-market products should be so lucky to get fashion designer collaborations (Max Azria, Vivienne Tam, and Tracy Reese in this case).

Maybelline Great Lash Limited Edition tubes (Tracy Reese, Max Azria, Vivienne Tam)

Maybelline Great Lash Limited Edition tubes (Tracy Reese, Max Azria, Vivienne Tam), photo courtesy of makeupforlife.net

Why don’t I like it? The two things that contribute to the quality of a mascara – the brush and the formula.

I’ve worked with cosmetics chemists in the past on developing mascara formulas. The first thing I learned was that even a so-so formula can be improved with a fabulous brush. The brush used with Maybelline Great Lash is a small spiral brush, meaning it should be good for getting every single lash, produce volume, and hold a curl. I will give the brush credit on getting lashes, but when I buy a mascara, I don’t want one out of three things to be “okay.” I don’t find that Great Lash creates drag queen lashes or holds your curl. I know that you might suggest that I try the Maybelline Great Lash with the big, fluffy, pink and green brush, but the brush is not the main problem here.  The brush in the original product might be able to accomplish its goals if not for the formula.

This formula is the worst one that I’ve ever encountered. The mascara itself is SO WET. You want a lipgloss to stay wet, that’s the whole point. Mascara, not so much. The other big thing I learned about mascaras while developing them was dry time, which is SO hard to get right. If it dries too quickly, you can’t layer enough product on, but if it dries too slowly, you’ll mess up all your hard work when you blink. Maybelline Great Lash has THE SLOWEST DRY TIME I’ve ever experienced in a mascara, no matter how little I put on. If you’re a “bigger is better person” when it comes to your lashes (as I am), then your lashes will take forever to dry. In fact, I’m not convinced they ever fully do, because my lashes have felt sticky to the touch after using Great Lash. But if all you want is a natural “my lashes but darker” effect, you will still leave little mascara smears around your eyelid area after application. And if you have allergies and your eyes run? Good luck.

Maybelline is a great company that makes wonderful products. Hell, since the Falsies came out I’ve been using it pretty much as my exclusive mascara, which says a lot. But Great Lash is not one of those wonderful products, and I advise you to steer clear. Just because everyone else is wearing it doesn’t mean you should too. Remember that Mom expression: “if everyone else jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you jump too?” What she was trying to say was – be an individual! Buy a product that isn’t so overrated, one that doesn’t get sold every 1.6 seconds. It’s likely that those consumers have never tried a whole menagerie of mascaras. Once I’ve acquired all my victims test subjects competitors, I’m going to put the top mascaras to a death match just for you guys. (And for me, too.) But Maybelline Great Lash lost the battle years ago in my book.

What do you think? Do you completely hate me for bashing your favorite mascara of all time? Or do you agree with me and think it’s overrated? Let me know in the comments.

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