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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? 🙂

OPI Ski Teal We Drop

30 Aug

Hey readers! It’s such a nice afternoon here in New York City – I hope it is wherever you are!

I’ve made my opinion on fall perfectly clear – it needs to get here stat. It feels like the weather is starting to cool off somewhat (or maybe that’s just psychosomatic on my part), so I’ve started to bust out the fall nail shades! The one I’m sharing with you today is one of my favorite nail polishes of all time, so I’ve mentioned it on the blog before in my top ten favorite nail polishes post.

OPI Ski Teal We Drop nail polish

OPI Ski Teal We Drop nail polish

OPI Ski Teal We Drop is a beautiful teal creme that looks wonderful against my pale skin, but I can see it looking fabulous against any skin tones. It pairs as well with the rich fabrics of fall as it does with denim, which makes me curious…could it be a dupe for Les Jeans de Chanel?

Les Jeans de Chanel

Les Jeans de Chanel polishes, picture courtesy of temptalia.com

In the first picture, Ski Teal We Drop takes on such a strong green cast that I didn’t think it was likely. But on the nail, it’s far more blue.

OPI Ski Teal We Drop swatch

OPI Ski Teal We Drop swatch, direct sunlight

There were no swatches of Les Jeans de Chanel available when I wrote this post, but it looks like that Ski Teal We Drop could be a possible dupe for Chanel‘s Blue Rebel. Peter Philips and Chanel have created some awesome, lustworthy nail polish shades in the past (I am still furious at myself for missing out on Jade), and I own a few bottles myself – but I’ve found the quality of the nail polish to be embarrassingly poor. Sure, it’s a great way to get in on the designer action, but I expect no chipping in the first few days of wear for a price tag of $25. I won’t be buying any of Les Jeans de Chanel – not just because of the poor formula quality, but because the colors aren’t terribly innovative this time around.

But Chanel isn’t who is on trial in this post – it’s OPI Ski Teal We Drop!

Pros: I have practically no complaints about this polish. It’s nearly a one-coater, but I did two. Dries beautifully, the color is unique in my collection, and is shiny without a topcoat!

Cons: My only gripe would be that if you leave it on too long (because it doesn’t chip easily), it can stain your nails – I seem to have the most trouble with blues/greens and discoloration. I really wouldn’t recommend leaving it on for more than a week.

OPI Ski Teal We Drop nail polish

OPI Ski Teal We Drop nail polish swatch, indirect sunlight

Though this nail polish came out last year in OPI‘s Swiss Collection, they must have made it permanent as it’s available to “try on” on their website. You can also get it here on drugstore.com (they show the wrong polish in the picture there – don’t worry, it’s frost-free)!

Do you have this one? (If you don’t, I recommend you pick it up!) What do you think – is it a dupe?

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 blasĂ© 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!

That Girl Is So Dangerous – MAC Lady Danger Lipstick

11 Aug

Good afternoon, gang! It feels like Friday to me today for some odd reason – just one more day!

After yesterday’s post featuring red lipstick, I thought I’d tell you about the one I wore yesterday – MAC Lady Danger.

MAC Lady Danger Lipstick

MAC Lady Danger Lipstick

As I’ve explained, I really enjoy bright, unusual, and eye-catching shades of lipstick. If you’re looking for showstopping red lips, this is a great option! Of all my lipstick shades, I would say that this is in my top five of the being asked “what lipstick are you wearing?” category. I know in the picture that it appears orange, but I promise it is not (I have other options for you). MAC describes it as  “a vivid bright coral-red,” which I would not agree with. If you’ve seen beads made out of cinnabar, that would be a serious match, but if you’re unfamiliar, think of a nearly ripe tomato. If you’re looking to get into the orange lipstick trend that has been oh-so-popular, this is a great way to ease yourself into it if you’re not ready to paint your lips the color of a traffic cone. There is nothing subtle about this lipstick, which is exactly why I like it.

Pros: Great, heavy pigmentation. It’s a matte shade (no shimmer or glossy appearance), which is one of my favorites. And just because matte has historically been a drying finish doesn’t mean this one will dry you out – I’ve found that MAC produces mattes that apply smoothly – like buttah! A few other brands I’ve tried have matte lipsticks that are so devoid of moisture that it’s like putting chalk on your lips. Gross. I’ve also found that it generally wears evenly, even through eating.

Cons: Like most matte reds, once it’s on, it’s staying on. Most people look for that in a lipstick, which is totally reasonable, but that also means that if you apply a little crookedly, it’s going to take a lot more than a tissue to fix your error. (Tip: remove as much as you can and then apply a concealer over it with a concealer brush or q-tip.) My only other complaint is that this color is not that innovative. If you’re all about red lipstick and hoard them like I hoard all beauty products – sigh – then you might have something comparable in your collection. Double check!

Lady Danger looks great all year round, but I especially love her in the summer. (P.S. This lipstick looks great with Nantucket Red shorts!) However, she’ll carry over well into autumn as well – red lipstick is a major trend for fall. Check her out here on MAC‘s official website.

Me Wearing MAC Lady Danger Lipstick

Me wearing MAC Lady Danger lipstick

Do you have MAC Lady Danger? Is it one of your must-haves? Or do you have a dupe for it in your own lipstick stash? Tell me in the comments!

Argan Oil: You Won’t Be Hard Pressed to Find an Alternative

10 Aug

Good morning! Did you sleep okay last night? I’m kind of tired, to be honest. Any suggestions on how to be less tired all the time?! But let’s get right into today’s topic of discussion: argan oil.

What it is: Though slightly less prominent in the trendy ingredient spotlight these days, argan oil has received a lot of press for being an amazing and natural alternative to moisturizer. You can use it on your hair, lips and cuticles besides your skin – face or otherwise – and it’s supposed to help clear up acne and other skin troubles.

Who: It became popular through model-turned-beauty-entrepreneur Josie Maran, whose entire product line is based on argan oil. It started with just bottles of organic argan oil (with a dropper in the cap), and has since expanded to mascara, lip gloss, eyeliner – you name it. A fraction of the proceeds of her line go to women in Morocco, who harvest argan oil – and all argan oil sold around the world is produced by a women’s cooperative benefiting the women of the Berber tribe. A lot of celebrities are fans of argan oil, including Eva Mendes, who uses Kahina Giving Beauty‘s argan oil, available here on Bergdorf Goodman’s website.

Josie Maran Argan Oil to Go

Josie Maran Argan Oil to Go, picture from josiemarancosmetics.com

Where to get it: A lot of people sell argan oil, but I purchased Josie Maran’s at Sephora (the smaller size) to see what the fuss was all about.

How to use: All you really need is a few drops – more than that and you’ll overdo it.

Why use argan oil?: Well, I have to say that I don’t see a major advantage. I do like products that give to charities, and it did make my skin surprisingly moisturized while being non-greasy, but here’s the thing about argan oil – it’s a first cold-pressed oil. (This refers to the method of extraction – in order to extract the oil from the argan seed, it’s not heated above a certain temperature – thus retaining as many nutrients as possible.)

So is olive oil. Extra-virgin olive oil, in particular.

Olive oil has been used as a moisturizer for centuries, particularly those who live in the Mediterranean. I’m half Italian, and when I asked around, members of my family recalled those from older generations using olive oil on their skin. Why not? It’s readily accessible and inexpensive. Many brands have products using olive oil as the featured ingredient, including Perricone MD, Carol’s Daughter, and L’Occitane. Check out your own moisturizer – there’s a good chance that olive oil (aka huile d’olive or olea europaea) is in it! But either because it’s been around since ancient times or because it’s just no longer “cool,” olive oil has been forsaken for argan oil.

Like I said, I appreciate products that donate to great causes. And I often find myself really liking products that celebrities use. But if paying up to $96 for four ounces of argan oil sounds less desirable than paying around $25 for 68 ounces – or digging something you probably already have out of your pantry – then I would check out my choice, extra-virgin olive oil.

Do you use argan oil or olive oil for a moisturizer? Why?

Beauty Trend: Clumpy Lashes

9 Aug

I am often a huge fan of beauty trends. Crackle and matte finish polishes? You bet. All those taupey, grey-violet (“griolet,” ugh) nail polishes you see out there? I own most of them. That Pepto pink lipstick you’ve seen on runways, a 60’s trend reborn with a Lancome Proenza Schouler collaboration (that I missed out on, ARGH!) and again today on Nicki Minaj? I own at least five, including MAC’s Pink Friday. (This particularly lipstick was limited-edition, available only online on four Fridays. After realizing they sold out within an hour, I stayed up late with five browser windows to ensure I got one in my checkout basket. I did, and I’ve rarely worn it. This happens.) I support trends and generally welcome them into my life with open arms.

Fall is fast approaching, and the runways are dictating which trends to inflict on others through my face and outfits. I have to say, Fall 2011, you are not doing much for me so far. The fashion trends I’m hearing are making a comeback are bootcut jeans and BACKPACKS. I can’t even talk about the backpack thing – it hurts too much. But I love my skinny jeans – I’m short and anything with a wider leg will make me look even shorter – so I will not be giving those up. (The 90’s are BACK, baby! Can I get boy bands back in my life too?)

Beauty is a little less painful to discuss, as it is the love of my life. So far, strong lips and strong brows are what I’m seeing, and – here where it all goes wrong in my opinion – clumpy eyelashes. Whatever makeup artist Pat McGrath says, goes. See below, Gucci Fall 2011 RTW beauty. (For more pictures, go to Style.com.)

Gucci Fall 2011 RTW Beauty - Clumpy Eyelashes

Gucci Fall 2011 RTW Beauty - Clumpy Eyelashes, photo from style.com

Let us all take a moment to let that sink in.

Now, I’m all for drag queen eyelashes, which I have mentioned in past posts. I’m currently waiting for some packages to arrive so I can do an EPIC mascara post in which drugstore and prestige products will battle to death to win my heart. Hell, I was even hired to help develop mascara formulas based off of what is good but could be better out there. But I’m struggling to reconcile this clumpy lash trend with my own lash beliefs. I appreciate that these lashes seem to be natural (unlike the false eyelashes you see in every mascara commercial), and I understand this trend’s mod roots (Twiggy, anyone?) but I know what this looks like to me.

Everyone has done this, even though it’s a beauty sin. Everyone has used a tube of old mascara that was way past its prime because they are too stubborn to get a new one right then and there or because their favorite product got discontinued (original Chanel DramaLash, sob). Yes, I’ve done it too. And that is what those lashes look like. Especially if you happen to use waterproof – which I don’t recommend, and will talk about in another post. If you use old mascara, your lashes will clump together and you will have to fight to define them. (Not to mention, you risk an eye infection because liquid products are great breeding grounds for bacteria.) And, what particularly stresses me out about this, is that when your lashes stick together so much, older ones (that are going to fall out soon) shed even sooner! And it will be harder than usual to take off, and you’ll inadvertently pull some out.

I love Pat McGrath. It’s easy to find inspiration in her work and she gives great tips. She has created amazing products during her collaborations with brands like Dolce and Gabbana, CoverGirl, and Max Factor, but I don’t think these lashes are sexy. She used CoverGirl NatureLuxe Mousse Mascara to get this look. (I’ve tried this product – I have a strong feeling she layered it on top of another mascara. The results of using CG NatureLuxe mousse on its own looks way more natural than this, no matter how many coats I pile on.)

So what do you think? Do you like this trend? Ready to buy CoverGirl NatureLuxe Mousse Mascara and layer away? Or do you agree and think that a Tweezerman metal lash comb needs to be taken to this look?

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