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Showing posts from April, 2011

Product Review: Kett Hydro Foundation

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I got this product after seeing some raves about it on Youtube. The manufacturer offers sample sizes in shade undertones, which is helpful for a foundation that isn't available in the department stores. Kett is a high-def. airbrush foundation, but the hydro foundation can also be applied with a stippling brush. I bought the Olive sample set and found a perfect shade match in the collection.

Since I've never used an airbrush foundation, I was surprised at how watery it is. I applied the foundation with a stippling brush and was initially impressed with the results. Because the consistency is so fine, it does seem to meld right into the skin. This works well for anyone with minor skin imperfections, but such a watery product can't cover any skin issues such as blemishes.

The problem I have is the foundation never seems to "set." It stays a wet consistency and wears down easily. At work, if I touched my face, I actually saw fingerprint marks and streaking left behi…

Makeup: The Glamour List

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Lorac's Multiplex 3D Eyeshadow Palette


Let me preface this with a disclaimer: I am not a label fiend, and that includes makeup. I grew up in New England, where we pride ourselves on the basics and going as cheap as possible. If I can find something that's affordable, no-name, and works, I am giddy with a sense of having cheated the system.

All that said, there are a few items that I've tried that are worth the money and the prestige around them. They are items that I love well after the honeymoon stage.

They do what a thrifty girl doesn't feel much: They give her a sense of glamour. This is an on-all-cylinders feeling: The packaging is gorgeous, and better yet, the product works and delivers on all of its promises. Most importantly, the feeling doesn't wear off. The products are so good, they quickly hit Holy Grail status.

These are the items:

Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupte lipstick: From the name to the product itself, this item is pure glamour. The gold packa…

How to Navigate a Makeup Trade Show

Having recently returned from IMATS New York, I wanted to give a few quick takeaways for those of you thinking of attending the upcoming IMATS LA or The Makeup Show in NYC, both in May. Also, to clarify, IMATS stands for International Makeup-Artist Trade Show. Despite the name, this show is open to the public. The benefit of a trade show is direct exposure to makeup brands at a discount (running around 25% on average for the public and higher for professionals). I believe IMATS will have separate hours for professionals in LA, which I think is a good idea.

For attendees:

1.) Research the brands that will be featured ahead of time. IMATS directly linked each brand's webpage, so it was easy to go on to the page ahead of time. The benefit of this is you can figure out what items you want and what would be beneficial to have in bulk. Just because of the crowd, it was hard at the IMATS NY event to spend any time at the booths looking at the items and getting familiar with them. Create …

MUA James Vincent Talks Beauty Diversity at Make Up For Ever

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Makeup artist James Vincent discusses the beauty of diversity at Make Up For Ever.



Tall and tattooed, MUA James Vincent is a bull in the china shop that is the makeup world.

And that's perhaps why he does it so well. It's a world that can be pretentious, too polite, and stuffy. Someone needs to cough. Vincent does it well, breaking down myths and explaining makeup in a touchable but thoughtful way.

Vincent taught a seminar, Global Complexions, at Make Up For Ever's midtown New York studio in early March. The seminar addressed the increasing diversity of the American face: No longer one or a few shades, the country's melting pot has forced the hand of many cosmetics companies to address this with their foundation arrays. Make Up For Ever, to its credit, has been one of the top brands to showcase beauty of varying ethnicities and to answer the demographic shift with its product array: Its foundation shades are among the most diverse and reaching on both ends of the spect…

IMATS NY and a Make Up For Ever Seminar

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This weekend was a blur of events. For anyone who loves makeup, it would either make or break that passion, because the amount of it was so overwhelming. A few Youtube gurus were at IMATS NY, including the brilliant Petrilude and the one-of-a-kind QueenofBlending.








Eve Pearl of the makeup brand by the same name.


Make Up For Ever HD foundations


We always want what we don't have, and I don't have lashes naturally. So I was glued to the MUFE eyelash collection. It was so creative and beautiful.


Back to IMATS: the Kett booth. I've tried this foundation, which is designed for airbrush application. It doesn't work for my skin type, but others say it's amazing.


Make Up For Ever's eyeshadow collection

How to Make Over Your Image: Wet 'N Wild Cosmetics

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Swatches from the Lust Palette


This is the brand I cut my makeup teeth on in the 80s. It was everything 80s and everything wrong with makeup: frosty, glittery, cheap and cheap-looking. By the 90s, it was a punchline in the makeup consumer eye.

I completely ignored (or, more to the point, actively dodged) this brand at the drugstores for two decades. Then Emily Eddington had a video blog about the line on her Youtube channel, EmilyNoel83. The comment was that this brand is really stepping up its game: It's looking at what the consumer wants and responding to it.

For the first time since my teens, I looked at the Wet 'N Wild display in the drugstore. What I saw was impressive: They've launched a series of eyeshadow palettes in varying sizes (singles, trios, six-palettes and up). The palettes of six shadows are my favorite: They are so smartly designed in both color assembly and an equal mixture of shimmer and matte tones. Beyond that, the color density is extremely rich an…

The Next Makeup Challenge: Bronze Makeup

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I loved the fresh-faced makeup contest and seeing people's interpretation of the look. Since summer isn't far off, I'm thinking about sun-kissed, bronze makeup looks. This means a look achieved though makeup, not self-tanning products, tanning beds, or laying out.

The next contest involves posting a "before and after" photo of yourself: The before photo can be with makeup, but should show your actual skin tone. The after photo will show a bronze look achieved solely through makeup. Please list steps used to achieve the look, but products used is optional: This isn't meant to be a promotion for certain makeup brands.

The winner of the contest will get a $50 gift certificate to Sephora or Ulta. Contest closes on April 29, 2011. Winner will be announced at 3 p.m. EST on April 30. Good luck!

Contests are open to U.S. residents only.

Kevyn Aucoin: What Would He Have Done Today?

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His books are the only makeup artist books I've bought (the rest I rent out from the library). I stared at those books for hours on end and still refer back to them regularly. His critics said he had a tendency to "gild the lily." Everyone has a critic, and it's OK. He was an incredible talent and pioneered the industry. I hate the reverence some makeup artists get, but in his case, it's no hyperbole. To this day, I wonder what he would be doing if he were still alive. I imagine it would continue to move the industry forward.

He did a lot of celebrity makeup, but he also did a lot of makeup on everyday people, including those who didn't fit the mold of traditional beauty. I once saw him do work on a group of women who felt terrible about their looks. Many of them cried when they saw themselves afterward: They said they had no idea they could look beautiful. What impressed me so much was how humble and kind Kevyn was in response.

For his book, Face Forward, h…

What is Fresh-Faced Makeup?

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The winning entry by Rhi Mendez


I've always loved the idea of this, partly because it marries the concepts of bare-faced and made-up. It utilizes makeup techniques and visible makeup to enhance the look of someone who's healthy and happy.

I wanted to see how others viewed this concept, so about a month ago I posed this question to the people on my page and asked them to be their own MUAs (I was simply tired of looking at my own makeup work, too).

The winner has been chosen based on makeup technique and a strong interpretation of the concept. Rhi Mendez will get $50 in her choice of cosmetics from e.l.f. Anyone who knows this brand knows $50 will buy you a lot of makeup.

Rhi's look epitomizes fresh-faced: In the image, she looks like she'd slept 10 hours, taken a relaxing bath, then applied a little makeup to enhance her good mood. Her application technique was simply great and took my breath away.

Still, it was really tough to pick just one winner. A second prize will…

Mistakes Some Youtube Makeup "Gurus" Make

When I scan Youtube looking for new makeup artists to follow, I look for one main thing: talent. I also look for the ability to explain concisely, teach effectively, and come across as authentic and approachable.

There are many on Youtube who are doing it wrong: If you don't know how to clearly present a product or explain a technique, rehearse off camera. When I was a journalist, I once read a tip that stays with me to this day: "You have to earn your audience." In other words, there are 10,000 distractions people have, so don't waste their time. Earn it.

I turn off videos constantly: The minute a tutorial turns into a rambling session, when an artist spends more time playing with her hair and fidgeting, I get irritated that she didn't practice and move on. I watched one video tutorial where the woman's face was out of camera shot the entire time: Obviously, she didn't check the video before uploading. I kept watching to see if there would be a moment sh…

Not Your Mother's Mary Kay

My first memory of makeup was my mother's pink-bottle collection of Mary Kay in our bathroom. Since we are a family of hoarders, the bottles sat in the closet for close to a decade. I avoided the brand for years with this traumatic childhood memory.

I still think Mary Kay could upgrade its brand image. The company doesn't advertise, since it depends on the Mary Kay representatives to promote the products and company. The packaging could modernize, and the brand could begin targeting younger consumers, similar to how Avon has done with its spin off Mark. line. If you catch an audience young, you gain a loyal following. Teens and young women are the biggest cosmetic consumers.

That said, this is one of the more underrated cosmetic brands. The products have a consistently good reputation among buyers, but it still doesn't get the press many other cosmetic companies do.

As I reviewed earlier, the Mary Kay primer is the best I've tried. When Smashbox Photo Finish became pri…