Monday, March 28, 2011

A Moment of Pride


Yesterday, I did makeup for a professional photographer for the first time. Today, I got a glimpse of one of her photos: The image's beauty just stopped me cold; my heart swelled. I felt equally proud of the photographer and the subject in the photos: Without all three of us working so well together, the results wouldn't have been so good.

Please indulge me as a savor a moment of pride. Anytime one pursues a creative field, there are dark moments when you doubt you will ever make it, that you're fooling yourself, that maybe you're just not any good.

I've pushed ahead anyway, facing a lot of rejection. I expect plenty more. But right now, just looking at this image, I'm just going to feel happy.

More information about the photographer, Rebecca Brown, is on my page at facebook.com/makeupbyELM. I highly recommend her.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Overrated Beauty Products



These are products that have achieved cult followings or legendary status in some of the major beauty magazines. I've tried them, and I can say with all sincerity, save your money. They don't live up to the hype.

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation: This one is constantly named as the HG of high-end foundations. As the name implies, it's supposed to give you a luminous finish that's almost airbrushed in quality. The foundation is fine: It doesn't smell or cake, but it's not anything that stands out amongst the other foundations on the market. It doesn't give a luminous, glowing finish. In fact, the finish is fairly matte. At $59/bottle and with the prestige around it, this product should deliver more. I've also heard the ingredients are very similar to Maybelline's Dream Smooth line, which I'd believe.

YSL Touche Eclat: This is another cult favorite that's achieved a legendary status. It's a $40 highlighting pen. Does it work? Yes. Does it work better than products that are 1/2 of the price? No. I used Mary Kay Highlighting Pen at $18 and got a much more highlighted, lifted quality to the face than I do with YSL's Touche Eclat. There are probably even cheaper versions at the drugstore that produce comparable results.

SK-II Skin Signature 3D Redefining Mask: I'm a sucker for all things Iman. So when the goddess herself swore by this product for making her look like she'd been "resting for a week," I was fixated on trying it. Yes, it's a whopping $145 for 6 facial cloth masks (I bought this when I had a lot more savings in the bank). The masks work fine: They moisturize and temporarily plump up the skin. So did a L'Oreal Revitalift line a few years back that cost $14 for the same amount of product.

Creme de la Mer: At a growing cost, this product should be upping the ante on what it delivers. At the end of the day, it's a lot of smoke-in-mirrors. The marketing around this brand is that it's a "miracle broth" created by a scientist who was looking to heal some burns he had. The product is extremely dense and moisturizing, but it's not worth $135 per ounce. For most skin tones, it will make your skin greasy and possibly broken out. Save yourself the money and invest in some good plastic surgery down the road, if that's what you choose.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor's Beauty

She was known for having classic Hollywood beauty, but in her later years, she showed her mettle as an activist: She championed HIV/AIDS awareness at a time when people were still hugely unaware and afraid of the disease. She came to the fierce defense of Michael Jackson when he was under fire for alleged child molestation. Whatever you believed at the time, her loyalty as a friend was fiery and touching at once. She lured countless men. She survived countless health challenges. She succumbed today.

Her beauty should be a great reminder of embracing and enhancing your most prominent features, even if they go against the grain. In her most stunning photos, she is the antithesis of the watered down, commercial beauty we see today and the bombshell blondes in old Hollywood: She was ivory-skinned, had thick brows, and kept her hair short and black. Keep this idea in mind when approaching your own sense of beauty and style: Embrace what makes you individual. It's the very thing that will make you unforgettable.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Contests

I got questioned today on the winner of the Urban Decay Naked Palette. The contest was held completely fair and square: I said it was based on two factors - the entry itself and the number of supporters the entry got. Someone miscounted and called me unfair and fake. Ironically, this person's profile pic is of Kim Kardashian.


At the end of the day, a contest is meant to be fun. Still, there are no guarantees you will win. I've entered many contests and not won them. It's life, and no one owes me.


I hold these contests to share items that I like and to give people a chance to participate. I purchase the winning items from my own pocket, so some discretion on the winner is fairly left up to me. If you cannot handle the chance that you won't win, you're a poor sport, or just plain rude and unclassy, please don't participate in these. Also, feel free to unlike my page.


To everyone else, I hope you enjoy and get something out of this page.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mission: Find the Holy Grail of All Beauty Products



I'm going to spend the next month researching and looking for the best item I can find in each category:

1. Facial moisturizer
2. Body moisturizer
3. Sunscreen
4. Deep conditioner/conditioner
5. Anti-aging product
6. Lipstick
7. Blush
8. Foundation
9. Eye shadow palette
10. Anti-acne product

Since I don't get paid by any company to promote their products, my finds won't be influenced by anything other than my opinion. I've started this project and think I may have already found the best sunscreen and anti-aging product. I've read these lists in magazines, but there's always a bit of skepticism on my part because I sense there's a relationship between the magazines and the brands. Feel free to disagree with me, but I hope the list helps you.

I'm also going to do something I've never done as much as I should: Research companies based on their ethics. Do they test on animals? Do they support charitable causes? Are they responsible with manufacturing and disposal? This will likely be a separate article, but it's an area I've wanted to look into more so that I can specifically support the brands that are responsible. I don't like slamming particular brands, so the focus will be on listing the most responsible brands. If you don't see a big name company listed, it may be for this reason.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I Went "Naked" to Work



There are two trends on Twitter: Makeup Madness Monday and Make-Free Monday. Perhaps both are to perk people up a little at the start of the week: One is indulge in buying all the makeup you can; the other is skip it altogether and pretend it's still the casual weekend. The Make-free Monday tweets feature various celebrities and bloggers sporting bare faces (or almost bare faces, complemented with special lighting and good photography). To women who rarely wear makeup or to the men, this isn't noteworthy at all. For a woman who allots about 30 minutes per day wrestling with her facial armor, this will stop you dead in your tracks.

I wear makeup about 80 percent of the time, but I can't remember a single day in the 13 years I've been in the professional workforce that I skipped it entirely. There may have been a couple days when hit the snooze button too much and had to pull some MacGyver tricks to get a quick look together. But walking out the door completely bare-faced to work was like showing up to a meeting without pants.

So yesterday I just did it - or, rather, didn't do it. I skipped makeup altogether. I even went through my purse before leaving the house and pulled out any stragglers - lipstick, a blush, gloss - in case I got cold feet once in the office.

There are studies, probably ones conducted by cosmetic companies, that say women who wear makeup to work earn more than ones who don't. I question how anyone is really able to tabulate this, but it would go through my head as a motivator on days when I wanted to skip it altogether.

When I got into the office yesterday, my coworkers were like a mirror: Only one woman did a slight double-take, but the rest of them didn't seem to notice. As the work day progressed, I forgot about it altogether. Only when I went into the bathroom did I see the difference: Because I've been wearing makeup since my mid-teens, my bare face is almost unrecognizable to me. It feels like I don't know a part of who I really am.

Years ago, I read an article by a woman who knew most doors in her life had opened because she was pretty. In a breaking point, she gained 15 pounds, stopped wearing makeup, and cut her hair. She wanted to know what life would be like without the special advantage. She wanted to get her foot in the door purely on her accomplishments and smarts.

When I skip makeup, I'm less focused on what I look like and use friendliness, humor, and other internal attributes to introduce myself. The lesson from yesterday was a good one: Once in a while, skip the makeup altogether and see what else in is your makeup.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Contest: Be Your Own Makeup Artist

I want to give people a chance to show their own work on themselves and enter to win a prize. Between now and April 2, please post an image of yourself at www.facebook.com/makeupbyELM representing "fresh-faced makeup." Lately, I've been inspired by this idea. I'll leave the interpretation up to you. I'll select the winner based on makeup application and a sense of creativity and fun. The prize is a $50 gift certificate to e.l.f. Cosmetics.

Contest closes at 9 p.m. EST on 4/2/11. Have fun with this and good luck, everyone!

Friday, March 11, 2011

It's the Weekend! Emerge More Relaxed and More Beautiful



The weekend is finally here, and whether you survived a tiring week at work or school, hopefully this is your downtime. Many of us reportedly don't feel more relaxed come Monday: This is largely because we don't "shut off" during the weekends. We either still think about work, or we stay plugged in electronically. The brain needs time to come down from all the day-to-day pressures, as well as the constant feed of media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, texting).

For this weekend, try unplugging completely for one day. Turn off your cell phone for several hours; don't check your e-mail; stay off Facebook. The world WILL survive with you incommunicado for one day. Notify your immediate family and close friends in case of an emergency, but the odds are, it won't happen.

Here are a few more suggestions that are simple but will help you feel and look more rested come Monday.

1. Your hands have likely taken a beating this winter. We often neglect our hands, but they reveal sun damage and general wear and tear very quickly. On Saturday and Sunday nights, apply your favorite anti-aging cream or a thick moisturizer, layer a thin coat of petroleum jelly over it to seal it in, and sleep in cotton gloves. If you can't imagine sleeping with these on, do this treatment while watching a movie (or, better yet, a movie marathon).

2. Sleep in deep conditioner: This may sound uncomfortable, but if tie your hair together and wrap a small towel around it, you will be able to sleep comfortably. The difference of leaving conditioner on for several hours, and not just minutes, will amaze you. For added benefits, mix a little Moroccan or olive oil into your deep conditioner.

3. Give yourself a relaxing facial in the shower: Shut the bathroom door and run the shower on hot for a few minutes before getting in. This will create the steamy atmosphere you want to open pores (make sure to turn the water down to a comfortable temperature before getting in). Once in the shower, gently exfoliate the skin with a finely-milled product (harsh abrasives will only irritate your skin), rinse, and follow up with a vitamin-rich mask. Wear the mask for the remainder of the shower. The heat and surrounding moisture will help the ingredients sink in. Once out of the shower, apply a moisturizer or anti-aging cream to skin while it it's still damp and warm. The ingredients will penetrate more deeply.

4. Try meditation: This isn't exactly cosmetic, but stress and anxiety do affect our skin. The more we integrate even small periods of relaxation into our lives, the better our entire system - including our skin - functions. If sitting in silence feels awkward, try downloading a relaxation or guided imagery session onto your MP3. Listening to it right before bed means a more restful night's sleep.

5. Add green tea, a couple extra glasses of water a day, and a vegetable-heavy meal to your weekend: These small changes will make you feel and look better sooner than you think. If you can eliminate caffeine and alcohol for at least one weekend day, try it. Alcohol causes bloating and aggravates anxiety. Caffeine has similar effects, dehydrating the body and keeping us feeling jittery.

Most importantly, make sure to really enjoy your weekend. Come Monday, you'll feel a world of difference.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

When You're Young, Anti-Aging Products are a Waste of Money

I know of a Youtube beauty personality who's very popular among young women and teens and pushes a lot of expensive anti-aging products, claiming they will "prevent" wrinkles. They won't. The tendency to get wrinkles is a combination of genetics and lifestyle. For anyone under 20, putting a lot of thick anti-aging products on your face will likely only make it break out. You will literally be washing your money down the drain.

Many anti-aging products target two things: skin cell turnover and collagen production. Products like retinol and alpha hydroxy work by stimulating these in the skin. When you're in your teens and 20s, your skin is naturally very efficient at both cellular turnover and collagen production. Adding a product to artificially boost this process won't preemptively stop the natural aging process from occurring.

The biggest thing I emphasize for any teenager is broad spectrum sunscreen (a chemical blocker) or sublock (a physical blocker). Look for UVA and UVB protection on the front and wear at least SPF 15 on your face and neck year-round. Salicylic acid products, which are associated as an acne fighter, have the added benefit of exfoliation.

Once April comes, I recommend increasing the the protection to SPF 30. Especially in the summer when you're at the beach, be diligent about sun protection: These are the years when most of the sun damage you'll see as an adult accumulates. SPF lasts about three hours, so make sure to reapply. Also, hit the areas people tend to forget: Ears, tops of feet, and hands (make sure to wear a lip product with high SPF). Even if you have dark skin and don't tend to burn, wear sun protection. You are equally susceptible to skin damage; it's just less visible immediately.

If you're young and have dry skin, invest in a moisturizer you like. You don't need to spend more than $15 for a product, and applying more of it won't make it work better.

This is the age when you can get away with spending very little on skincare. The one thing this Youtube personality says that I agree with is, "Prevention is key." I just think that prevention should include not spending $50 on a high-end anti-wrinkle cream.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What I Look for in Anti-Aging Products

I'm not a dermatologist and don't claim to be an expert in the area. This is simply what I've learned that works best for me.

1. I focus on brands that have less hype and advertising around them: The brands that advertise a lot or put their products in fancy bottles will mark up their price to compensate for this. I focus on brands that seem self-sustaining without much advertising: Roc retinol products are a favorite. The retinol is high potency for over the counter, combined with ingredients that work in harmony with it, and is packaged in a way that protects the ingredients. I also recently tried a brand called Exuviance that I really like (and will review shortly).

2. I don't just look for words like "vitamins" in face creams; I look at the concentration level and the packaging. Vitamin C needs to be listed as stabilized, meaning it won't oxidize as quickly, and the potency needs to be at least 10%. Also, the packaging should be opaque to protect the concentration. Many products will claim to have vitamins in them, but if the packaging is bad (offers exposure to light and air easily) and the concentration is low, it's pretty much useless. I also look at brands that combine anti-oxidants, like C and E, so that they can work in synergy. A favorite brand is Philosophy: Higher end, but it's no-frills and delivers.

3. I avoid a lot of bells and whistles: I see face creams more for their prevention than correction possibilities. This is why I focus on products with topical anti-oxidants and retinol. With all of our advances in this area, face creams are still very limited at reversing major signs of skin damage. Any product that promises you the world with little science to explain how is a red flag.



Me at 35

Monday, March 7, 2011

Beauty Tips Courtesy of Makeup Artist Wayne Alan Goss

1. Contrary to what we've all been taught, don't apply blush to the apples of your cheeks while smiling: Once you stop smiling, the cheeks drop and the blush is lower on your face. This actually ages the appearance, according to Goss. While applying blush, don't smile and run the blush along the cheekbones, sweeping upwards. He calls it an "instant face lift."

2.) Match your foundation to your neck, not your face. The neck is typically a little darker than the skin tone of the face.

3.) People with oily skin don't ever need moisturizer. You have enough natural moisture in your skin.

4.) Anti-aging creams "don't work, or there would be no such thing as botox and face lifts." He recommends simply wearing a broad spectrum sunscreen religiously and using a vitamin A derivative product. As an aside, please always talk to your doctor about the safety of certain topical products while pregnant.

For more tips like these, you can find him at Gossmakeupartist on Youtube. He makes sure to cover makeup tutorials on women of all ages and ethnicities. He's underrated, brave, honest, and so talented.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Product Review: Chaz Dean's Wen



I first saw the infomercials for this product because I'm an early riser during the week and watch television while getting ready for work. The ads feature Chaz Dean, touted as a longtime celebrity hairstylist, talking about the product with actress Melissa Gilbert (or, in more recent ads, actress Alyssa Milano).

Wen is featured as the non-shampoo: It doesn't lather, but it reportedly cleans your hair as well as a traditional shampoo. Dean explains in the infomercials that lathering agents actually strip and damage hair. He likens the effect on hair to the fading you see after washing your clothes several times.

He claims to have formulated the product with "astringent and antibacterial properties" for cleansing, thereby replacing what he says is the main damaging ingredient, sodium laurel sulfate. The product has a number of natural agents, which are said to condition the hair.

I tend to judge a product based on the first five ingredients listed, which are usually the ones with the highest composition: 1.) water 2.) Glycerin 3.) Cetyl Alcohol 4.) Cetearyl Alcohol 5.) Chamomilla Recrutita. Since I'm not a scientist, I won't try to dissect the product composition. On initial review, Cetyl Alcohol is classified as a surfactant, which is contrary to Dean's advertising claims that his product is free of this.

At the time I first ordered this product (close to a year ago), I was highlighting my hair. The idea of a gentler product intrigued me. It was such a new idea that I also bought the product out of sheer curiosity.

By ordering Wen through Guthy-Renker, users get a one-month supply of the product (eventually shipped in 3-month installments) at a price of $29.99. This includes the Re Mask Intensive Hair Treatment (a deep conditioning mask) and the Styling Creme.

Expensive? Yes, considering most drugstore shampoos and conditioners on the market cost around $4. Would I say that the product works and your hair resembles the non-model spokeswomen in the ads? Yes. Is it worth the $25 price increase/month for your hair? Some women may see a difference that they consider worth it: These women would likely be people who color-treat or style their hair frequently. I imagine this product is very polarizing: people either become totally devoted to it or think it's a waste.

The directions are to saturate hair in the shower in cool water, then squeeze out excess. Going section by section, apply 4-5 pumps to each area of your hair. Massage the product into your hair, then leave it on for the remainder of the shower before rinsing it out. For women with shoulder length hair, this would mean approximately 12 pumps per shower.

The immediate downside to the product is that this is a lot of product use per shower. I've used the product according to the directions and gone through it much quicker than the monthly installment (cutting my hair helped cut down how quickly I go through it). A woman with very long hair could easily use half the bottle in three to four showers.

Wen has made my hair softer and shinier, but I've come to regard it more for its conditioning benefits than cleansing benefits. If I've gone a few days without washing my hair, it doesn't cut it for cleansing, and I'll revert to a lathering shampoo. If I'm washing daily or every other day, it seems to do the trick.

The product comes with a 60-day money back guarantee for first-time users, so it's worth a try for anyone curious about it.

Win a Free Makeover for an Upcoming Event

If you live in Massachusetts and would like a free makeover for prom, graduation portraits, your wedding, or any upcoming event in your life, please send me an e-mail at elm914@gmail.com and explain what look you'd like. I'll do a prep makeover prior to your event. If you like the look, we'll go for it for the actual event. No cost of services, but additional makeup expenses will be incurred by the winner.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Shared Tips for Prom, Graduation Portrait, and Wedding Makeup



As we approach that time of the year when these three milestone events occur, it's good to think about your makeup approach. My biggest piece of advice for all three is to try to avoid a makeup look that will date you: In other words, you don't want to be like my generation and know that our prom occurred in the early 1990s just by looking at our hairstyles and makeup. Same goes for so many wedding and graduation pictures I've seen.

Think that you can't do makeup to reflect your time period? Think about Marilyn Monroe or Audrey Hepburn: Their makeup looks are still relevant and copied today.

When approaching your makeup for all three events, go for timeless and classic. For graduation and wedding makeup, think understated. For prom, you can be fun and out there, but it's often more flattering to have a look that doesn't compete with your dress or detract from it.

For prom:

1.) Don't be concerned with matching your makeup colors to your dress. It's too literal. Focus more on the makeup complementing the dress' style and flattering you.

2.) Don't wear anything light-reflecting: i.e. highlighting creams or powders or very shimmery eyeshadow. A lot of flash photography will occur, and those light-reflecting pigments will glare in the photos. Before going out, take a few photos of yourself on your digital in different lighting to test the makeup.

3.) Look your age. You're young once, so enjoy this time period and be recognizable to your classmates at prom. Try to avoid going so overboard with makeup that you age yourself by 10 years. Down the road, you won't recognize yourself in the photos.

4.) Even if you don't have oily skin or problems with makeup smearing, this is the event where application should focus on lasting power. With all the dancing, there is bound to be sweating. Don't waste your time at prom fighting for mirror space to do touch-ups. Apply an oil-free primer to skin before you applying foundation. Use a setting powder to help the makeup stay. Also, use eyeshadow primer on your lids, then apply a light dusting of translucent powder over your shadow. There are many setting sprays on the market now: Urban Decay has created a variety, and people like a brand called Model in a Bottle.

For graduation photos, similar themes apply:

1.) You want to look like yourself in the photos, not like you went to a glamour studio. Keep the makeup as classic and understated as possible. It's more flattering as time goes on and you can't date the photo back to the decade you graduated in.

2.) Similar to prom, avoid anything with light-reflecting properties. Unless your photos will be outdoors, the photographer will most likely use flash.

3.) Go more matte with the makeup. Use additional face powder, as any shine from your nose and forehead will be captured in the pictures. If don't like face powder, you can use a mattifying product to inhibit shine.

4.) The most flattering graduation pictures I've seen utilize what's known as invisible makeup: This style is done to enhance all features while not being apparent to the naked eye. This typically includes tight-lining the eyes (applying eyeliner to the waterline of top and bottom lashes), sticking to one coat of mascara, applying a soft rosy blush with a light hand, and using a lipstick that is one shade deeper than your natural lip color.

5.) If you have problem skin, begin to focus on an anti-acne skincare routine a couple weeks prior to the photography date. This is a lot easier than focusing on concealing blemishes on picture day. Also, talk to your doctor about possible dietary changes, allergies, or antibiotics you can take orally to fight acne.

For weddings:

1.) Avoid the urge to alter your look dramatically. This is the most important event where your makeup should be classic. You simply want to look like your best self. Think of Grace Kelly in her wedding pictures.

2.) Avoid bright or dark lipsticks: Even with sealants, the lipstick will smear and wear off with all the kissing you'll be doing. Keep your lips a natural or light shade. It's more flattering on most of us, and as the lipstick wears off, you won't look dramatically different.

3.) Keep mascara off your bottom lashes, and use waterproof mascara on the top. Do I need to explain why?

4.) This is a good time for long-wearing, transfer resistant foundation. Again, you'll be hugging and kissing a lot of people, and you don't want your makeup rubbing off on them or your dress. The wedding and reception usually last a good six hours. Especially if you're getting married when it's hot out, you want a foundation that will hold up.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

How to Budget Your Beauty Spending

I don't covet purses or shoes, but I lust for anything related to makeup or skincare. This is my kryptonite. Like many women, I've gotten myself into trouble with too much beauty spending, only to get a very unpleasant surprise when the credit card bill comes or I feel like I'm swimming in unused and disappointing beauty products. Beauty spending tends to be an emotional exercise: We use it to perk ourselves up or to reward ourselves. To a limited degree, this can be perfectly fine. But in excess, it's a distraction and will harm us financially in time.

We also tend to lose control at the cosmetics counter, as many purchases tend to be impulse buys, rather than well-researched and planned spending. I recently asked a group of women if they keep track of their beauty purchases: All of them said no. A few said they'd like to, but the majority said they'd find it "depressing" and would rather not.

Like anything related to money, we need to take ownership of this type of spending. I don't mean this in a critical way, but rather as a constructive suggestion to give us a sense of control and empowerment over how we manage our money. The cost of cosmetics is only going up, and the economy is still shaky, so now is a good time to learn some skills for managing your spending.

Here are a few suggestions:

1.) If you're going to a store where you tend to lose spending control, keep your credit cards at home. Allocate a set amount of cash to buy a couple items. Without the credit card, you can't keep going.

2.) Track your monthly spending. Like a diet journal or anything else, this keeps you accountable and helps you see where you're going overboard. If you're not looking at these actual expenses, you can't see how much they're adding up to. You may be shocked, and that could be a good motivator to cut down.

3.) See cosmetics like a car (or any major purchase): When you purchase a car, you usually do some research on what you're buying ahead of time. You look at reviews. You ask around. Most of us also plan ahead and don't buy the car until we can afford it. Then we budget for it. See beauty spending the same way: It's usually an expensive purchase in sum. Research the products in advance by reading user reviews. Find out the return policy if a product is a disappointment. Then actually return that product if you are disappointed.

4.) Use the reward system, but to your advantage: There is nothing wrong with rewarding yourself with cosmetic purchases. We're all driven by different motivations, and if this is yours, make it work for you. Create a monthly budget (through Excel or any of the online budgeting tools) to figure out how much you can afford to spend on cosmetics after paying all other bills and contributing to your 401K and any other investments. Keep a tight reign on spending in the meantime, knowing you can indulge once you have the money and have paid everything else off. Think of it as the diet where you eat healthily five days a week and stay on track, knowing you can indulge a bit on the weekend.

Product Review: Urban Decay's Naked palette

I originally saw this palette in Sephora several months ago, looked it over, and actually passed. Yes, passed. The colors looked a little muted to me. Also, I figured neutral palettes are a dime-a-dozen.

Well, after about 6 months and a buzz around this product so loud it's sparked eBay hikes like it's on the black market, I changed my tune. Slowly. At first, I began wondering what was so special about this palette. It's a mix of neutral shades, one dark, one blue-toned silver, some gold, and highlighting shades. That answers my own question: The composition of the palette is what's made it stand out in a market flooded with eyeshadow palettes. The assembly is smart; the packaging is eye-catching; the shadows themselves are beautiful (incandescent without being a bit sparkly) and can be mixed in a variety of ways to create both natural and dramatic looks.

I used the palette over the weekend while doing makeup on someone for pictures. What I loved was the versatility: I initially went for a natural look on her, then I built upon the colors using the darker shades for a dramatic eye. The palette fit the bill in both cases. The lighter browns like Naked and Buck could easily be duped. What I haven't yet seen from other brands are the textures and tones of Virgin, Half Baked, Sin, Sidecar, and Toasted. Virgin especially has a buttery undertone and looks gorgeous as a highlight color. That is what makes the palette so coveted, it's been described as the Tickle-Me-Elmo for women: Everyone wants one, and they're so hard to get now, there's a waiting list (and maybe some tears).

As for a downside, I've heard from one user it's easy to go through these shadows quickly. I haven't had the palette long enough to personally comment. Urban Decay recently increased the price by $2 to $48 and has replaced its dual-ended eyeliner with an eyeshadow brush.


Urban Decay Naked palette, natural look


UD Naked, dramatic look

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

70s and 80s Makeup: A Flashback

The 70s and 80s tend to get skipped over in makeup retrospectives. I'm oddly inspired by the decades' excess, extravagance, and all sorts of current-day rule breaking. My inspirations for these images were some of the late 70s/early 80s models: Gia Carangi, early Janice Dickinson. Their makeup was marked by dark earth tones, sculpted cheeks, and a lot of eyeshadow. For the 80s, I tried to do a fresh take on the baby blue eye makeup and frosty pink lipstick: I used navy blue to line Lauren's eyes and went with a more subdued nude color on her lips.

Lauren, 80s makeup










Allison, 70s makeup