Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Cleopatra Makeup

Monday, July 22, 2013

Where There's Smoke....

Products used:

Foundation: Nars Sheer Glow
Bronzer: Physician's Formula Bronze Booster
Lipstick: Cover Girl Lip Perfection in Sultry
Eye Shadow: Urban Decay Naked 2
Mascara: L'Oreal Full Definition

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

"No Makeup" Makeup

I wanted to do a look that simply enhanced Allison's natural beauty. When I see her, I see someone authentically happy with herself and life. Physically, she has radiant eyes and china-bone facial structure.

This "no makeup" look is to draw your attention to her features and not her makeup. I stayed with neutral tones on the eyes: Revlon Not Just Nudes for the overall lid and Urban Decay's Naked 2 palette in the crease. Her lashes were enhanced with a lengthening and waterproof (she was heading to the beach right after) mascara. Toffee lipstick and a coral cream blush finished the look.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Can You Be Too Pretty?

I recently worked with an intern so stunning that men tripped over themselves to assist her...with everything but work-related tasks. The odd thing was she took work seriously, was professional, and didn't flaunt her beauty.

Still, it was all the men seemed to see when dealing with her. I later wondered if her beauty - though it may fade in time - would haunt her more than help her through her career. Despite her hard work and dedication to work, any reflection on this woman's, um, assets was purely focused on her physical assets. She was definitely smart, but people didn't recognize that. She was hard-working, but people didn't mention it. The glaring memory was of her beauty.

At work, unless you're a model, can being beautiful or handsome create its own prejudice? Do people judge  you as smarter or dumb, as if you're riding on your looks, as if you can't be taken seriously?

Years ago, I read an article where a woman knew her looks got her in most doors. Like an echo, she constantly heard in her mind, "You only have this because you're pretty." To test her theory, she gained 20 pounds, wore glasses, and eschewed makeup for months. The scales evened a bit for her, and even she felt reassurance that any professional strides she made were purely of her own doing.

When I get ready for work, I walk a fine line: wear makeup and look presentable, but don't put in the elbow grease it takes for a date. No one is supposed to judge me on my looks, for better or worse. When I think back on the intern, I remember that she felt a double-edged sword: Her beauty probably wasn't her biggest asset, but no one took the time to look beyond that. And as she works to build a career in a male-dominated industry, it will hinder her as much as help her.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Recent Beauty Discoveries

I've found a few gems in the last couple months that are worth checking out.

Olay Line Filler: Not a treatment, this product binds with your moisturizer and instantly minimizes the look of wrinkles and recessed areas. The precision applicator makes it easy to apply to specific problem zones. Instantly, your skin looks more youthful. It's a great equalizer after a bad night's sleep or if you have areas that chronically could use some plumping.

L'Oreal Voluminous Full Definition Mascara: The gold-tube mascara in the ever-expanding Voluminous line creates longer and fuller lashes with a single stroke. It doesn't clump and the results are clean and polished. This is the best mascara I've tried in a long time and one I'll repurchase.

Urban Decay Naked2 palette: I once thought this palette was too similar to the original and too cool-toned for my skin. The steel packaging is a step-up from the original Naked palette and the variety of shades make for endless possibilities of eye looks. My only complaint is UD seems intent on making the palettes far more shimmer-based that matte, but the shade line is unique, varied, and dazzling.

L'Oreal Ceramide Hair Mask: After adding golden highlights about ten times lighter than my natural color, I was on the search for a product that would help it from the brink of breakage. This hair mask is relatively cheap ($6), comes in a generously sized tub, smells decadent, and truly does restore the look of healthy hair.

Victoria's Secret blush in Fresh Love: A peach-toned blush that doesn't disappear into my olive complexion. It's well pigmented, so I don't need to keep applying to get color payoff. Every time I wear it, someone compliments me on the color and asks what it is.

Dr. Lewinn for Kinerase Scult and Lift Serum: It's interesting to me when a once high-end brand is available in drugstores. This hyaluronic-based serum is so light it literally feels like water upon application. But you can instantly feel the hydration and firming. Skin looks refreshed and more lifted upon application. It retails at $33.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Review: Viviscal Hair Filler Fibers

Is it the end of the comb-over? Not quite, but this product gives the appearance of a full head of hair for those suffering from minor balding. Viviscal, a brand which first created buzz for its hair-growth vitamins, has launched a product used to fill in bald patches and disguise thinning hair.

Because I currently don't have either, this was a tricky review: The product comes in a shaker-top plastic jar, filled with small fibers that match your hair color. For about a week, I looked at the product with both curiousity and a little trepidation: Images of clearly balding scalps made me wonder how I'd do a real review. I tried to think of a friend with dark hair (no luck) and how to test it on her or him without insult (no way). I finally tested it by applying it to my scalp where the part is.

The shaker made me feel like I was seasoning my head. The fibers come out in small volumes, like actual pepper. What I did immediately notice was that the visible flesh in the part area was filled in and looked natural. After a few minutes, I ran my hands through my hair and got no black, spidery residue.

As the day wore on, the fibers didn't come loose and appear on my clothing, a potentially embarassing scenario that would be hard to explain. I even slept with the product in and saw no residue on my pillow. The product works by attaching to existing hair strands, so I doubt it would be sufficient for large bald spots or a fully balding customer. However, if your hair is thin in smaller patches or you can see your scalp through part of it, this product quickly and easily disguises it.

Viviscal Hair Filler Fibers
Size: 15 grams (approximately one month supply)
Price: $24.99
Colors include: Dark Brown/Black, Light Brown, Blonde, Grey and Auburn
Available at RiteAid.com; use promo code VIVISCAL to receive $5.00 off!
Per the updated FTC guidelines, I received the sample products with compliments from BeautyStat.com, but my review is my own objective opinion.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Art of the Cosmetic Sale

Last week, I was walking through the mall when two men holding small packets asked me if I'd like a sample. At first, I gave the reflexive decline. On my way back, they waved the packets again. I glanced at the storefront, which resembled a Godiva shop. I figured they were offering candy, so of course, I caved.

From there, it's a slight blur. The sales manager held up the packet - which ended up being a disappointing hand cream - and backed his way into the store with me close behind. Within seconds, I was bombarded with both flattery and "don't take this the wrong way, but...."

"You have great genes," he cooed. He even asked me to furrow my brow, suspecting I've had botox. Seconds later he was observing sun spots and undereye bags. That's the art of the sale: Flatter the person, but make her feel like there's still room for improvement.

The brand is Orogold, which touts real gold in its ingredients for anti-aging properties. This allows the company to market face creams as high as $250. I never told him I write beauty reviews; I hate using that card to try to get freebies.

The oddest thing of all was that even with my reticence, he gave me two full-size products as gift with purchase. He marked down the eye serum I bought by $70, even flashing their webpage to prove the actual prices.

I looked around the store periodically to see what other fish were cast in the net: The women were all within 10 years of me and professionally dressed, too, wearing a slight expression of skepticism mixed with curiosity.

As slick as he was, he was a talented salesperson who made some valid points. He demonstrated the difference in product absorption of skin that's been exfoliated vs. skin that hasn't. A cream rubbed over his exfoliated hand melted right in; the hand that hadn't been exfoliated stayed milky white no matter how much he rubbed. The exfoliant - one of the full size freebies - sloughs off dead skin like a dream.The eye serum depuffs my bags no matter how little sleep I've had.

"Your makeup looks good, but it's a little cakey," he said in parting. "Focus more on skincare so that you don't have to apply as much."


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Current Beauty Favorites - February 2013

Anatomy of a Makeover

Tammy's youthful look belies her age (38); she still often gets carded when buying alcohol. Now a stay-at-home mom to two boys, an alpaca, three sheep, and countless chickens, she rarely wears makeup. I wanted to show how someone can look refreshed - and even younger - with makeup. A friend for 20 years, she is probably the most genuine and kind person I know, so the goal was to simply enhance that quality without changing her overall appearance or masking anything.

Tammy sans any artifice

The night before her makeover, I used a box color with golden highlights to brighten her overall look.
Believing that prepping the skin in crucial, I started with Time Balm face mask. With blueberry and white tea extracts, it gently exfoliated and moisturized the skin.

I then used a moisturizer before applying Mary Kay Timewise Luminous-Skin Foundation. It lasted all day and left her looking dewy, not a bit shiny.

I combed her brows, applied Maybelline's Bad to the Bronze as a primer, and dusted her lids with a golden-brown shadow (to bring out her blue eyes). Her cheeks were dusted with Cover Girl's Instant Cheekbones blush in peach, and a nude/pink lipstick finished the look. False lashes accentuated her eyes.

Friday, January 25, 2013

What's Been Going On

I've had the toughest two months of my life: Lost my job, was hospitalized, etc. Along the way, I've learned how many people are struggling, suffering, hurting. If you are, you're not alone and you will get through it.

I plan to get back to beauty blogging soon, but right now my life has been chaotic.

What's been saving me: Reading a lot of Eckhart Tolle, watching sunsets, having faith. What I know is life throws us curveballs (usually in 3's), and sometimes it takes a lot of things to fall apart in order to be rebuilt.