Monday, July 15, 2013

Products I Would Put in My Bathroom Fridge

You read a lot of tips in the summer about stashing beauty products in the fridge to make their application more refreshing.  I admit I kept my eye cream in the fridge for about a week, but having to remember it was there, remember to use it, and keep answering the question "what is this" from my husband.  Not to mention, it's crowded in there!  So if I were to be totally decadent, I would have a little mini-fridge in the bathroom.

But you might ask, why?  Why keep products in the fridge?  Ironically, the temperature in the bathroom is actually bad for most products.  When they're exposed to extreme heat or humidity for a long time, their appearance and formula can actually change.  Just like how some medicines need to be kept cool, beauty products can actually work better if they're kept chilled too...or at least out of the humidity of the bathroom.

Here are some products worth keeping in the fridge (the big one in the kitchen or your decadent mini-fridge in the bathroom).

  • Eye Cream:  First and foremost, applying chilled eye cream feels good.  The chill also helps combat puffiness (a little bit, I found, don't expect a miracle).  Also, keeping face products in the fridge, ie - a cool, dark place, prevents the heat from changing the formula.
  • Nail Polish: I've always read the best place for polish is in the fridge.  Turns out, it's true.  According to Michelle Phan's blog, high temps can activate the formula's solvents giving polish that thick, melted consistency.  Store it in the fridge to extend shelf life and keep the lacquer smooth and easy to apply.
  • Moisturizer: Similar to eye cream, it just feels good to apply it cool.  Self Magazine says makeup and moisturizers are "particularly prone to oxidation reactions since that contain oils that can turn rancid."  Keeping them in the fridge slows down the oxidation process.
  • Sunscreen:  Some things I've read said keeping sunscreen in the fridge could separate the formula, but I think it'll help keep you cooler longer when you go outside.  If nothing else, stash that bottle in the cooler at the beach.

Do you keep any beauty products in the fridge?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Mastering Subtle Summer Makeup

Summer is the perfect time to master subtle makeup!  It looks effortless yet polished and is perfect for almost any daytime or outdoor event.  Whether pool party, bbq, or strolling through a street fest, you won't sweat your face off, but you'll still look perfect in all those Instagram snaps.

Here are ways to master the subtle makeup look:

  • Pick the Right Base: Nothing says "I have on a LOT of makeup" like melting foundation and caked in lines.  Go with as light of weight foundation you prefer.  Many ladies love swapping out full foundation for a BB cream or tinted moisturizer.  If you're blessed with perfect complexion you can probably get away with concealer only.
  • Buff in your Cheek Color: Cream blush is the best choice when it gets warm as it will last longer and not cake up if you sweat.  Try one with a hint of shimmer for a purposeful glisten, I like E.L.F.'s Shimmering Facial Whip in pink and applied with a stippling brush.  No matter what your blush, make sure to buff in your color using small, circular motions and a buffing brush so the edges fade seamlessly into the rest of your makeup.
  • Less is More Eyes:  For wide open eyes, just a touch of shadow is all you need.  Sweep on a beige-y nude from lash line to brow then gently shade in your crease with a light taupe or brown.  If you want to line your eyes, do so with a wet eye liner brush and stamp on a brown (or playful purple) color as close to lashes as possible.  Mascara and filled in brows is still a must for definition, just use a waterproof kind if you'll be by water or are prone to sweating.
  • Pick Lip Balm for Lip Color:  Lipstick can be too heavy and melt-y while gloss can get sticky when it gets warm, so opt for a tinted lip balm.  They go on easily and add just the perfect pop of color, plus most contain spf - a summer must (lips can get burned too).  I'm loving a bright, punchy pink right now.
Want to see the products above?  Click here.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

How To...Use a Beach or Ocean Spray: Hint, it's not just for the beach

Summer is officially here!  We've had 80 degree days and it's past June 21st!  That means beach spray, sometimes called ocean or salt spray, is having its moment.  According to Allure Magazine, ocean spray started before the Emmy Awards in 2000 when Jennifer Aniston's hair stylist filled a bottle with water from the ocean and spritzed it in her hair.  But now, even if you're not near the ocean or spending the whole day at the beach you head to your local beauty salon and grab a bottle of beach spray for yourself!  Not sure how to use it?  Don't fret, read this blog to get you going!  Here are some tips for using beach spray:

  • First thing is first: beach spray is not JUST for applying at the beach.  Sure, you can use it to freshen up your locks if you're on the beach, but you can use it anytime, all year long.
  • Apply it on damp or dry hair and scrunch it with your fingers.  Pair it with a great bodifying mousse for extra oomph.
  • For curl or wave challenged ladies, dry your hair for a few minutes with a hair dryer fitted with a diffuser to bring out the curls.  Flip your head over so your hair is upside down for part of the drying time.
  • If you want a little extra texture, after it dries pull a dab of sunscreen through the length of your hair.  "You're basically faking what happens to you at the beach," says Jennifer Aniston's hair stylist Chris McMillan.
  • Mess up your part and let waves take their natural shape to really mimic the beach look.  You can also pull your hair into two uber low pony tails for an unkempt, yet playful look.

My favorite beach spray - okay, confession...the only I've used, but I love it - is Sexy Hair's Soy Renewal Beach Spray (read all about my first time in this "I tried it" here.) You can use it wet or dry and it adds texture without getting sticky.  Bonus?  It comes in a small, travel size bottle too - perfect for touch ups.

What's your favorite beach spray?

Monday, June 24, 2013

3 Ways to Use Hair Oils

Photo credit

If you're like me, when you first saw hair oils in the beauty aisle you just skipped over them because you didn't know how to use them.  But after getting to know argan oil, it's really nothing to be afraid of.    Moroccan Oil was the first to burst on the scene and gain popularity, so a lot of people are using it or an argan oil.  If you just know people who use oils, change that and try a bottle today.

Here are three easy ways you can use a hair oil today:

1.  As a Leave-In Conditioner
As long as your oil contains argan, jojoba, olive, or sunflower, it's going to be hydrating.  A little goes a long way though, so two or three small drops will do you.  Run it through the length of your damp hair and then style as usual.  If your ends need a little extra tlc, you can rub an extra drop over the bottoms.
2.  As a Protectant
If you're undergoing a hair repair challenge (like I did earlier this year), you'll want to protect your strands as much as possible.  Slick on a little hair oil before taking a dip in a pool!  It will create a thin barrier that protects your hair from uber-drying chlorine.
3.   As a Shine Enhancer
Love shiny locks?  Oil will make your hair a little healthier and a little shinier.  Jojoba oil is said to be the best at creating shine as it contains the same lipids as your scalp's natural oils, so it can create a natural, healthy looking sheen.

If you're not sure what oil to start with, check out this blog by Beautylish that breaks down oils by hair type.

Other things oils can do?  Hydrate skin, calm redness, and treat acne.  Try creating a sugar scrub with an olive or grapeseed oil, sugar, and lemon juice.  You won't believe how smooth your skin will be when you rub it off.

Have you tried and loved any oils for your hair or otherwise?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

4 Ways to Beat Summer Hair Frizz

Warm summer nights, longer days, al fresco dinning, frizzy of these things doesn't have to be involved in your summer!  Try these tricks for maintaining frizz-free summer hair.
  • Always apply anti-frizz: There are some wonderful anti-frizz products out there, so slather some on after you get out of the shower and before you dry or style.  Oils like argan or Moroccan also can help smooth your hair strand and strengthen your locks.  Always apply anti-frizz products on damp hair whether you're letting it dry naturally or using heat.
  • Blow-dry down: After using a heat protectant spray, angle the blow dryer down towards the ends of your strands instead of up.
  • Embrace your natural texture: When all else fails, just go with it.  If your hair gets frizzy and wavy when it's humid and you try to straighten it, spritz in some curl spray and go for that wavy, unkempt look.  
  • Create an updo: If your hair just isn't working, save yourself the stress and pull it into a messy ballerina bun (like this one, tips here).  Or try two low, messy pigtails.  If you keep them low, pony tail elastic at or below your ears, you'll look grown-up instead of girly.
How do you beat summer frizz?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Duck Bill Clips for Healthy Curls

Perfect for summer...a curled style that doesn't require a hot curling iron!  You know those silver clips the hair salon always uses?  If you head to your nearest Sally Beauty Supply or beauty store, you can grab a package for yourself and create stress free curls for your hair.  If you set them damp and let them air dry, you'll get a casual and cool look or old hollywood style finger waves.  Give it a try, following these three simple steps from Self Magazine.

For Casually Cool strands
1. Mist clean, damp hair with a salt-based texturizing spray to get that full, rumpled look and to keep strands from falling flat, says Jen Atkin, a stylist for Clear Hair in Los Angeles.
2. Lift top sections, spritzing underneath at the roots. This gives hair "windblown" body without the help of actual wind.
Hair Unplugged
3. Secure hair in two low pigtails. Divide each in half and twist the two pieces around each other, tying ends. Wind; pin twists against head. (Check out this picture at the right -- this is how your mane should look. Tip: Try securing strands with fabric hair bands, which won't leave weird ridges.) When hair's dry, unravel and run fingers through it.

For an old hollywood feel, follow these three steps:
1.  Rub a quarter-sized blog of medium hold hair gel between your hands, then rake fingers through damp strands, starting an inch below roots and pulling to ends.  Create a side part.
2.  Twist 3-4 inch sections of hair around your index finger, pinning coils to your head with duckbill clips until all your hair is up.
3.  Let hair air-dry, then remove the clips and "brush" through the coils with your fingers, pulling gently to loosen the curls.

Friday, May 31, 2013

My Favorite Cruelty-Free Cosmetics

If you haven't heard, I'm pledging to go cruelty-free with my makeup!  There are so many fabulous beauty brands out there that make high quality, ethical products and they need your support.  As Yes to Carrots says, "beauty shouldn't hurt any living thing."  Since I don't want to support companies that hurt animals, I'm going cruelty-free!

Will you go cruelty free too?  Start small, there's no need to throw out your current stash, but when you go shopping for replacements or new products, look for a cruelty free label or symbol on the product.  Need a place to start?  Here are some products I've tried and liked!  See the full list and links here.

Do you have a favorite cruelty free product?  Leave a comment and let us know or share on our facebook page!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

I'm Trying It: Going Cruelty Free with Makeup

Ever since I adopted my adorable puppy, Ella, I've been thinking more and more about the kinds of products I've been using...mainly, are they tested on animals?  I couldn't imagine my sweet little puppy being subjected to the horrors of painful tests just so I could put color on my face.  Then when the European Union banned the whole of cosmetic animal testing (read more here), I thought why not me?  Hopefully the US follows suit, but until then I'm trying it: going cruelty free with my makeup!

Going cruelty free is easier than you think.  While you will have to swear off big box brands that are available everywhere and take out glossy full page ads in your beauty magazines...there are a lot of brands out there that ARE cruelty free!  Good news for your wallet, they're not all expensive.  Using PETA's Beauty without Bunnies site, I rounded up as many brands as I had heard off.  To be on this list, companies have to take the pledge to not test on animals and not purchase ingredients tested on animals.  Unfortunately, some brands don't test on animals themselves, but buy ingredients that have been.  PETA's list is updated frequently, so check back often and encourage brands to take the pledge.

Makeup Companies that DON'T Test on Animals
Arbonne International
Bare Escentuals
Bath & Body Works (select brands)
Burt's Bees
CO Bigelow
Hard Candy
Kiss My Face
NYX Los Angeles Inc
Physicians Formula
Pur Minerals
Tarte Cosmetics
The Body Shop
Too Faced Cosmetics
Urban Decay
Victoria's Secret (select brands)
Whole Foods 365
Yes to Carrots

Do you support any of these brands already?  Check back on Friday for a few of my favorite cruelty free products!


Monday, May 20, 2013

My Love/Hate Relationship with Primer

By now you've probably heard how fabulous primers are for your skin and your makeup routine.  Why use one?  Glamour Magazine lists six reasons:

  • Smooths the skin's surface and evens out the skin tone
  • Helps to better disguise blemishes and lets you blend your concealer/makeup in more evenly
  • Makes your foundation stick around for longer
  • Fills in fine lines and wrinkles
  • Reduces shine
  • And finally, like I said before, it doesn't clog pores!

I've tried a handful of primer products, some I love and some that were relegated to the bottom of my stage makeup kaboodle.  I don't use one everyday, I find I have to remember to use it, and the good ones are expensive, BUT it is great for days when you have to go from 8am to 11pm and need your base to look fabulous.  Selection isn't limited though, there's everything from generic face primers to primers for eyes and lips and color correction, you name it.  Primers have become increasingly popular and more readily available, most drug store makeup lines (as well as prestige brands) have one now.  If you're looking to try a primer, here are four facial primers and one lip primer I tried and my thoughts:

  1. e.l.f. Studio Mineral Infused Face Primer: I tried this one in the clear color, but it also comes in green, purple, and beige.  I wasn't a big fan of this one, it was a bit overly greasy and made my cream foundation more difficult to apply, but the $6 price tag was what lured me.  I normally love the e.l.f. products (they're cheap and cruelty free!), but this one I wouldn't buy again.
  2. L'Oreal RevitaLift Miracle Blur: It's not quite a primer, but it works really well for smoothing skin.  It makes your foundation go on super smooth and now comes in a small .05 ounce trial size for under $10, full size $24.99.  Read more of my thoughts on this product on my "I Tried It" post here.
  3. Laura Mercier Foundation Primer - Radiance: I tried this great primer after winning a Pinterest Contest and loved it!  The pearlescent tint gives it a flattering look on the skin, and the super silky formula goes on smoothly and has a matte finish.  Of all the primers I've tried, this is my favorite. It made my foundation and blush look great all day.  A full size tube is $32.
  4. Smashbox Photo Finish Color Correcting Foundation Primer - Adjust:  I picked up a trial size of this great primer in an attempt to correct some of the redness on my cheeks.  The green color helps cut redness a tiny bit, but it doesn't take the place of concealer as I had hoped it would.  It goes on smooth and lasts all day, but is a tad more greasy feeling than the Laura Mercier one.  $38 for a full size bottle, or $15 for a trial/travel size.
And finally, a lip primer.  I tried Mary Kay's TimeWise Age-Fighting Lip Primer, which worked wonders when paired with a lip scrub for making lipstick stay on a little longer.  It's super smooth and slick to put on and you barely notice it's there.  Just let it sit for about 30-60 seconds before slathering color on top.

Have you tried any primers?  Did you love them or hate them?  Leave a comment and let us know!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

3 Brushes with Multi-Tasking Power

Buffing is a makeup must - after applying product, buffing it into the skin (with small back and forth or circular motions) helps skin look radiant and keep product looking natural and well blended.  Instead of using a separate brush, save time and use a brush that applies product and buffs at the same time.  Here are three of my favorites that I use everyday:

  1. Real Techniques Expert Face Brush: Perfect for applying foundations and blending effortlessly.  It works fabulously with a cream foundation and is great for sweeping flakes out from under your eyes.   Bonus: it's flat base lets you stand it on the counter between uses.
  2. EcoTools Buffing Brush: The dense, flat head is thicker than a Kabuki Brush but easier to use than a powder brush.  I love mine for applying powder and circling over the apples of the cheeks after blush for extra blending.
  3. Real Techniques Stippling Brush: This brush changed my life in regards to apply blush!  It works great for cream foundation and cream powders when stippled on (small tiny dabs) and then buffed into place with small circular motions.  It's bristles are duo fiber, which means it can be used with powders, creams, or liquids.
Try one - it may just shave time off your morning makeup routine.
Full Disclosure: I also work for a company who has both these brands as a client, but I purchased these brushes all on my own!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Makeup & Beauty Rules it's Okay to Break

Photo Credit

I'm a pretty straight forward, rule following girl...but when it comes to makeup, there are a few rules I break on a fairly consistent basis.  While some rules are good: save the black smokey eye for evenings and weekends.  Some are okay to break: like the following four makeup rules that I tend to break:

  1. Never Wear Full Foundation: Since the advent of the BB, CC, and now (yes!) DD creams, full foundations have been getting a bad rep.  Especially this time of year, magazines and beauty blogs tell us to ditch the full foundation for a tinted moisturizer or BB cream.  Well guess what, I don't!  I proudly rock my full foundation year round.  As long as you apply it with a great brush (See my current fave here) and blend, blend, blend, you can wear it all year round!
  2. Always Use Primer: Unless I have a really long day, I usually skip the primer.  I still haven't found the perfect one and while it is great for creating a base for makeup to stick to and helps makeup last longer, it's not a necessity for me.  I will use it on days I want my makeup to last longer or look a touch better, but there's no need to prime for day to day makeup if you don't want to.
  3. Apply Concealer Last: Convention and makeup gurus all say to save concealer for the very end so you don't over use, but confession time.  I apply some of my concealer first!  To cover up redness that just won't go away or if you have a pimple, it's okay to use a thin concealer under your foundation.  It saves me some foundation!  I do save the thick, creamy under eye concealer for last as it helps cover up any tiny smudges left from fall dark eye shadow.
  4. Always Put On Blush Last:  Blush should always be a graceful transition from your eyes to your lips, but on days when I'm feeling my skin looks a bit sallow I'll apply my blush first.  Or or if I'm not sure what kind of eye makeup I'm in the mood for, sometimes applying blush before eyes can help inform your decision.
What beauty rules to you break?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Lipstick Tricks to Try

Photo from Tumblr

Take it from someone who hasn't always taken care of her make your lipstick look extra gorgeous, you have to take care of your lips and apply a few tricks.  Here are some lip tricks that have worked for me:
  • Exfoliate: Use a gentle lip scrub to keep lips smooth and flake free.  You can also use a soft tooth brush or wash cloth, but a scrub works wonders, especially in the winter and when you'll be wearing a really bold, matte color.  A favorite of mine? Mary Kay's, pop it on, let it set, and then wipe it off.  
  • Pick a Pretty Color: If you're going nude, make sure the tone matches your lip color, if you go lighter it could look "off."  For colors, berries are always a safe bet too.  When in doubt, try it one.  Just make sure to use a q-tip at a makeup counter than sterilizes their samples or shop from someplace like Ulta, that will let you bring back opened products you don't like.
  • Create a Custom Color: This is a trick pro makeup artists use all the time.  Use more than one lip color!  Blend one, two, or even three colors together to create the perfect lip color for you.  
  • Skip Summer Gloss: Shiny gloss can look great, but in the summer it's more hassle than it's worth.  Glosses can also magnify UV light, eek!  So avoid a sticky, hot mess by opting for a balm instead.  Bonus: matte lips are in this season.
  • Use a Brush: If you want your lipstick to look extra thick and more detailed and crisp, apply it with a lip brush and use a liner.  Pick a matching color or try one of those new fancy clear liners. Another lip brush tip?  It's a handy gadget to have for getting that last bit of color out of a worn down tube of lipstick.  I like this new one by EcoTools since it comes with a cover for purse popping potential.  

What's your favorite lip color?

Monday, May 6, 2013

I Tried It: Silky Sexy Hair's Conditioning Styler & Soy Renewal Argan Oil

As part of my ongoing quest to repair and strengthen my hair, I tried two new products: Silky Sexy Hair Conditioning Styler Lite and Healthy Sexy Hair Soy Renewal Argan Oil.  I'd used the agran oi for a couple weeks and then swapped it out with the silky sexy product for a few days to see how I liked it.  And of course, I used the "lite" version for my thin tresses.  Here's what Sexy Hair says about both products:
Conditioning Styler Lite is a lightweight leave-in conditioner with styling properties for fine/normal hair types.  Its silk-infused formula delivers a lightweight hold and conditioning properties to leave hair soft and silky.
Soy Renewal is a nourishing styling treatment made with Moroccan Argan Oil that addresses moisture, frizz, smoothness, elasticity and shine concerns.  Also protects from environmental stresses and reduces drying time.

The verdict?  I liked them both, but the conditioning styler not as much as the argan oil.  It's easy to use and glides on easily.  It also works well with other products and doesn't build up a residue, but it just didn't feel as nourishing as the soy renewal.  It's really nourishing and helps with frizz and the same time, although is can be greasy, so I'm always careful to apply only a small amount.

Both products would be great for giving your hair an extra dose of tlc.  Which one do you prefer?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Flower Inspired Makeup and Beauty Buys

Happy May 1st!  Since April showers bring May flowers, I thought it only appropriate to oogle pretty, spring floral inspired makeup finds on the first day of May!

From left to right:
MAC 'Pearmatte - Baking Beauties' Face Powder
EcoTools Fresh & Flawless 5 Piece Brush Set
Viktor and Rolf Flower Bomb Perfume (My go to scent!)
Makeup Forever Pro Mushroom Flower Brush
Stila 'Awesome Blossom' Lip Glaze
NARS 'Cactus Flower' Cheek Color
Paul & Joe Pearl Foundation Primer

What are your favorite spring and floral inspired products?  Want clickable links?  Check out the Polyvore Page here.

Monday, April 29, 2013

What to pack for a Wedding Weekend

It's wedding season!  Spring and summer always sees each of us with at least one wedding invitation, and if you're like me, the first thing you think of is what to wear!

The Wedding Attire: If not listed on the invitation or wedding website (ie - Black Tie Optional), look to the style of invitation, the location and time of day of the reception for clues as to what to wear.  Often engraved invitations and evening receptions point towards a more upscale event.  If you know the bride, ask her about her dress.  If it's a tea length or flow-y cotton frock instead of a ball gown, it's safe to pick a similar length.  When it doubt, dress up...and don't wear black, white, or ivory!  It's always better to be over dressed than underdressed!

The Makeup: You'll no doubt end up in one or two professional photography shots, not to mention a ton of Instagram photos or even a photo strip from a reception photo booth, so it's okay to glam it up!  Wear a little extra makeup than you usually would: finished, filled in brows, a touch of extra blush, and maybe even false eye lashes will make sure you look fabulous in photos.  Don't forget to pop your lipstick in your clutch for touch ups.  Throw in a covered lip brush for extra measure if you want too.

The Accessories: Make sure to pack a wrap incase it gets chilly, a fantastic hat for an outdoor wedding, and a small clutch to keep your lipstick and stash your place card in for your scrapbook at home.  What not to bring with you?  A gift - ship it to the address on the bride and groom's registry before hand so you don't have to worry about it getting stolen.

Don't forget to have fun!  A wedding weekend is supposed to be a fun time.  Pick your outfit, jewelry, and shoes and try them all on once before you go.  Make sure your shoes are comfy!  Don't forget to smile, take a lot of photos, and say congrats to the bride and groom!

Want to know what products are shown above?  Click here.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Getting a New Hair Cut: The Consultation (what to know before you go)

Patrick during a new client consultation.

Getting a new hair cut can be exciting.  A new look often gives you a new lease on life, but it can also be scary.  Fortunately, if you have a fabulous stylist (like Patrick) they'll ask the right questions to make sure you get a hair cut that looks great and is easy to maintain.  

A couple months ago, I took my mom to see Patrick for a new hair style.  She'd wanted something a little different and since her last hair stylist retired (literally...retired.  She moved into a retirement home), I convinced her to come to the city and give Patrick a try (spoiler alert: she loved it!).  Since I went with her, I was able to watch her consultation and pass on the questions Patrick asked her.

So here's what to know before you go: These questions are all things you should be able to answer when you're getting a new hair style or switching stylists.

  • What is your daily hair routine? (Think how do you usually wear your hair, how often you shampoo, how often you blow dry, etc.)
  • What products do you usually use to style your hair?
  • How long do you spend each day doing your hair?  How long do you want to spend?
  • What is your goal: what do you want your hair to do for you?
And if your stylist doesn't ask you some questions before your first cut or color with!  Wondering how my mom's hair turned out?  She loved it.  Patrick listened to all her concerns and ideas and created a new style she was totally happy with.  Here it is:

He recommended two products to style her light weight, low maintenance 'do: Short Sexy Hair  Rough and Ready Styling Gunk and Shatter Finishing Spray.

Do you have any successful consultation stories?  Any first time new stylist horror stories?  Leave a comment and share your story!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Color of the Moment: Turquoise

Need a little color inspiration?  Try turquoise.  It was Pantone's color of the year in 2010 and brings to mind frothy oceans, summer time, and robin eggs.  Wear it as a pop of color on your eyes with a liner or easily on your nails.

Not feeling turquoise makeup?  Use it as an accessory!  Ulta put together a cute collection of turq-cessories complete with lip balm, makeup brushes, card cases, and oh, what's of our favorite products: Healthy Sexy Hair!   Who knew your hair products could double as color of the moment accessories!  

What are your thoughts on turquoise makeup?

Want to learn more about the products shown above?  Click here.

Monday, April 1, 2013

How to Look Fabulous (When you feel like crap)

3 steps to looking fabulous

We've all been there...tired, hungover, sick, whether from too many glasses of champagne or staying up too late to binge watch The West Wing on Netflix.  It leaves you looking and feeling less than fabulous.  The best cure is to apply some cream, drink some water, and keep watching Netflix, but on days when you just have to go outside, here are some easy ways to look fabulous when you're feeling like crap.

  • Wear oversized shades and a great coat.  Especially if you're just running errands or in and out of the doctor and pharmacy, all you need is large sunglasses and a great coat.  Think like an "I don't want to be noticed" celeb and pick out your biggest sunglasses (no need for eye makeup) and tailored coat means no need to think to hard picking out your clothes.
  • Conceal conceal conceal.  Being tired or sick usually equals blotchy and red skin, so use a concealer on trouble spots like under eyes and on cheeks.  If you're looking overly red, use a green based concealer or primer to help cut the color.  Apply your concealer under foundation and then apply another layer to any spots that are still bothering.  
  • Use blush and lip color.  Swiping on a bit of blush will do wonders for lifting your face and making you look awake.  Pick a pale pink cream color (I like Maybelline's Dream Bouncy Blush) and buff into skin.  Then apply a pinkish lip color to draw the attention to your lips.  Steer clear of nude which can make you look tired.
What tricks to you use to look good when you're feeling less than fabulous?

Shown Above: Nina Ricci cateye sunglasses  / Laura Mercier concealer / Tarte lipgloss

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I Tried It: L'Oreal Revitalift Miracle Blur

One of my favorite things about subscribing to beauty magazines are the beauty product coupons and new product samples that come tucked inside.  When flipping thorugh a recent Allure issue, I came across a sample of a new product: L'Oreal Paris Miracle Blur.  What is it?  I had to look as I had no idea, but it sounded fun.  The postcard the sample was attached to claimed it was a "30 second miracle."  Here's what the L'Oreal site says:

What is Miracle Blue?  It's NOT a moisturizer, it's MORE than a primer; it's the first of-its-kind Instant Skin Smoother. 

What does it do?  Miracle Blur instantly erases the look of lines wrinkles, and pores.  Skin instantly looks and feels smooth, leaving a velvet soft matte finish.

When should I use it?  Apply daily after moisturizing as the final step in every woman's skincare routine.  Wear alone for a matte finish, or wear under makeup for smoother application and wear.

My review?  Their description is surprisingly accurate.  It's thick, really thick, silky and leaves a velvetly finish that sits on top of the skin (even more so than a primer.)  It's smooth and not at all greasy and was indeed matte.  Although it didn't help with my redness at all, it seems like it would be great for wrinkles.

My verdict?  The $20-$25 price tag seems a bit steep, but I like the product.  If I was looking for a new priming or line filling product, I would definitely pick this up.

Have you tried it?  What products do you use under your makeup?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Color Inspiration: Grey Makeup

Spring is right around the corner, but in Chicago we still have a few gloomy, cold days ahead of us.  Beauty blogs and magazines are all touting the new must have spring colors, bright pink, aqua, etc.  Anyone else think it's not quite time for those yet?   I think nothing goes better with a dreary March day than a sophisticated grey palette.  Here are some of my favorite ideas for going grey with your makeup.

  • Try grey liner as a fresh alternative to traditional colors.  It's less harsh than black, but more interesting than brown.  Pair it with a subtle nude on the rest of your eye for subtle polish.  Make sure to amp up mascara too.  Since grey is subtler than black, you can wing it out during the daytime.  Pair it with pale pink cheeks.
  • For a slightly more dramatic look, apply a cream grey color from lash line into your eye crease and line lids with a black pencil liner.  Want to amp it up even more?  Blend in a slightly darker grey or light black into your crease.
  • Try grey nail polish!  It's a professional hue that also looks a little fun, much better than boring beige.
  • Things to stay away from?  Grey lips and anything too sparkly or silvery.  Save the sparkles for nights out on the town or that bachelorette party.
Have you gone grey?  See the products shown above here.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Healthy Hair Swap: Hairpins instead of bobbi-pins

If you've been following the blog this year, you know I've been undergoing a "hair repair challenge," in an attempt to get healthier, happier locks.  You can check out the rest of the healthy hair posts here.  The major rules were no wet updos and no more bobbi pins.  According to Patrick, bobbi pins smash hair follicles by clamping down on them which causes breakage.  Using them on wet hair amplifies the bad effects, which was the bad habit I was used to doing: Hi, I'm Kirsten and I'm a bobbi pin addict.

So what was this updo loving girl to do?  I made a healthier hair switch - to hair pins.  Those little "U" shaped open pins that are a wig and hat attaching necessity back stage work pretty well as a bobbi pin substitute.  It took some getting used to, but they do work and feel much better when sliding them into your hair.   For things like buns, they actually work better and give you more control while pinning up a curly, loose style is a snap.

Patrick gave me the all clear to use a bobbi pin or two, so on occasion I'll pop one in if I'm having trouble keeping things in place.  Mini bobbi pins work wonders too if you only need to tuck a small section, but hair pins have made me happy.

So next time you're at the store, grab a package and give hair pins a try if you're looking for a healthier alternative to bobbi pins.

Monday, March 18, 2013

I Tried It: Covergirl BlastFlipStick Lipstick

A well known makeup artist trick is to apply more than one shade of lipstick, creating a custom blended color.  I do this a lot, so I was pleased to be invited to try the new CoverGirl Flipstick for free as a part of BzzAgent.  I received three different colors (Perky, Minx, and Stunner.  The last of which I gave to my coral loving mother in law).

Each tube comes with a color on each end, one matte-ish and one with a pearl-iscent shimmer.  It's awfully convenient, having to only flip the wand back and forth to mix colors.  Although I found the shimmery color too shimmery for my taste.  The best look I found with them was to apply the matte color on the whole of the lips and then the shimmer shade on the cupid's bow and very center of the bottom lip (it makes them look a bit more plump).  The quality is what you would expect from Covergirl: decently intense color, smooth application, although not overly long lasting.  And the taste (because let's be honest, we all end up eating our lip color accidentally) isn't offensive.

The verdict?  Not a do over for me as I prefer an uber matte look for lips (on tap for Spring 2013 trends), but if you like playing with colors try them out.  They'd also be perfect for travel or schlepping back and forth in your bag to save space.

Have you tried the flipstick?

Monday, March 11, 2013

I (won) Tried it: Laura Mercier Makeup

I won a Pinterest contest!!!  My first ever from Laura Mercier and Marie Claire.  I "Pinned it to win it" from their Project Runway Allstars Season 2 board and they gifted me with makeup from the winning look of the Project Runway Finale!

Not going to lie...I was pretty pumped, and it was really exciting to open that box full of makeup when it came in the mail. I've had limited experience with luxury makeup brands, save from the occasional Lancome and Elizabeth Arden, and  I've never tried Laura Mercier, so I was looking forward to giving it a go.

Here's what was in my winning package:
moisturizer with spf, primer, foundation, two types of concealer, powder, blush, eye liner, eye shadow, and a tube of lipstick.

My thoughts? It's great makeup!  The foundation is rich and creamy, the concealer colors are great and easy to apply, and the powder disappears perfectly.  I found myself using less powder eye shadow than I usually did, but I was most impressed with the primer.  I'd only tried a couple primers and didn't care for them, but Laura Mercier's primer went on like a dream.  It was creamy, but not overly so, didn't feel like I was smearing silicone on my face, and let my foundation slide on easily.  I can definitely see its appeal for long days and keeping makeup in place, although it does take a little getting used to as it's an extra layer I wasn't used to applying.

At left, my new stash!  The potted concealer and lip color are my favorite.  Their packaging is also extra lush, it has a nice weight and texture and almost all of the compacts come with mirrors.  It looks like the eye liner could be refillable too.  No doubt I'll be looking for upcycling ideas when all the makeup is gone, it'd be a waste to recycle such gorgeous packaging.

Check out the look I created with my Laura Mercier!  Not included for my daily makeup look was mascara and an eyebrow tint/wax, so I added those and the only other makeup I added to my look was prepping my eyes with a shimmery nude shadow.

I'd definitely recommend their makeup.  I'm not sure if I'm ready to spend $43 on foundation, but I am tempted to try out some of their other products.  If you're looking to start with their line, check out their awesome Flawless Face Finder, an interactive quiz to match you with their products.

A huge thank you to the ladies at Laura Mercier for all the makeup!  More looks sure to come.  Have you tried Laura Mercier?

Monday, March 4, 2013

I Tried It: Using Blush as Eye Shadow

I've read a couple of times that you can double blush as eye shadow in a pinch and was always skeptical, so I thought I'd give it a try.  I used my Heather Pink blush from Laura Mercier (that I got free in a Pinterest contest) and applied it with my normal eye shadow brush.  It worked...alright.  It took several layers of color.  The formula was a little crumblier than I was used to, so I had to sweep fallen blush out from under my eyes a couple times and rinse out my contacts that had gotten little pink flecks stuck on them.  But the end result looked good.

The verdict?  Not a fabulous idea, but works okay.  If you're in a pinch or desperately need a color it would work, but I'll stick to eye shadow from now on.

How'd I create this look?  I swept on a shimmery nudish-pink shadow on my brow bone from nose to outer corner, then applied a couple layers of the blush powder on each eye from lash line and into the crease.  Then I wet the brush and applied 2-3 more layers to get a really poppy pink color.  I lined my lids with a wet angled eye liner brush dipped in grey shadow and piled on mascara.

Have you ever tried blush on your eyes or multi-tasked a makeup product?  Leave a comment and let me know how it went for you!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I Tried It: The Rocket Volum' Express Mascara

I'm always in search of the perfect mascara...and I've tried a lot.  My most consistent favorite has been Lancome's Hypnose, but I only buy it on occasion as a special splurge.  I've tried and found flaws with lots of mascaras...Covergirl's Eco Mousse version (too smudgy), Maybelline's Great Lash (didn't give me enough volume),  Lancome Defininils (again not enough volume), that big orange Lash Blast tube by Covergirl (the brush was just way too big), NYC's Show Time (actually not too bad).  So it was a shock to me to pick up this weirdly named tube of mascara and actually like it.

Correction.  I love it: Maybelline's The Rocket Volum' Express Mascara.  It applies effortlessly, it's easy to apply a coat or two and doesn't flake or get too crusty.  The large brush has lots of tiny bristles that make wiggling it to coat the base of your lashes super easy and it works on bottom lashes really well.  A small feature that's actually really cool?  The top of the brush is actually flat, so when you pull it out of the tub and have to wipe off the excess, it's really easy and mess free to do.  I opted for the waterproof version since my eyes tend to water a lot and all the non-waterproof mascara I've used just end up messy.  Oh, and did I mention it's easy to take off at the end of the day?

I think this will be my new go to mascara for a while.  What's your current favorite mascara?

Monday, February 25, 2013

I Tried It: A (Healthy Hair) Pinterest Updo

As I've been embarking on my Hair Repair Challenge, I've been trying to wear my hair down as much as possible, but as I was headed to ballet class, I needed an updo.  Since I created a Pinterest board to help me with some healthy hair style and updo inspiration (check it out here) and I decided to take a stab at creating one of my pins.  The style (shown at left) seemed simple and looked great.  Here were the instructions that came with it:

Try this. 2 elastics. 1 at the scalp: high pony second at the end of the hair. Join the ends into the center of the first and pin. Do this all too often, get compliments all the time.

Seemed easy enough.  So I grabbed two elastics and some hair pins and got started.  After drying my hair I used an anti-frizz serum and spritzed the pony tail with some dry shampoo and a few sprays of beach spray to give it some texture, then did a touch of back combing at the base with a small, packed bristle brush for volume.  I used five hair pins (the open, "U" shaped kind, NOT bobbi pins...Patrick has banned me from those).  Since I would be dancing, I wanted it to stay in-place, but if you're creating this look for "normal life" you could get away with one or two at the point you tuck it in. Then I sprayed the crap out of it with hair spray.  It was easy enough to create, but didn't look as fabulous as the photo.  I think the model in the photo was blessed with MUCH thicker hair than I (at least that's my 

Here's what I ended up with.  See, the blonde chick above has WAY more hair than I do.  But, it's not too bad don't you think?  Have you ever tried a hairstyle you found online or on Pinterest?  How did it go?  Leave a comment and let me know! 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Embrace Your Inner Child: 80's and 90's Inspired Beauty

Growing up in the 80s and 90s, I came into make during a time of bright colors and bold looks.  If the winter blues have got your feeling blah and left your makeup routine feeling stale, why not embrace some beauty tips and products from your childhood or teenage years?

  • Pump up your lips.  There's no better makeup pick me up than popping on a bright lip color.  Matte pink will be having a moment in Spring of 2013, so get started on the trend now. 
  • Bring color to your eyes.  Try lining your lids in electric blue for a subtle way to stand out.  Or why not try a shocking eye pigment color?  Try purple, it looks good on most skin types.  If your'e nervous, only apply color to the lids, not the crease.
  • Pop a retro chapstick in your bag.  Remember that fake yet delicious smelling Dr. Pepper Chapstick?  They still make it.  Check out your local Target or Walmart, you'll find it tucked in with the Hello, Kitty makeup.
  • Stash your stuff in style.  My favorite 90s trend was definitely the Kaboodle!  They're poppy, pretty, and usually pink or purple.  I've had four throughout my life so far and still have two of them.  I store my stage makeup in a glittery purple one and it makes me smile every time I pull it out.
  • Nail it.  Bright nail colors are one of the easiest ways to carry off the bright makeup trend.  Try shocking yellow or neon pink.  Conservative work environment?  Opt for baby blue.
What's your favorite childhood makeup product?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Nail Repair: Weeks 2-4 for Healthy, Natural Nails

Photo from

Have you started on an adventure to make your nails healthier?  Congratulations!  You made it through the first and hardest week.  Now continue on your journey.  Here are Patrick's tips for the next three weeks.

Week Two 

Do these steps three times a week:
1. Hydrate - This will happen when you shower or bathe and can be helpful in the process.
2. Moisturize - Any oil base will do. If you have a cuticle oil, place on nails prior to getting ready each morning.
3. Exfoliate - Use a buffer, make sure you only exfoliate the cuticle area and don't buff the nail bed.
4. Apply a Top Coat - Patrick likes Incognito by wHet daily.
5.  Once a week remove the top coat and apply base coat like Turn back Time from Deborah Lippmann followed by top coat.

Week Three
Once a week, do the following:

1. Hydrate - This will happen when you shower or bathe and can be helpful in the process.
2. Moisturize - Any oil base will do. If you have a cuticle oil, place on nails prior to getting ready each morning.
3. Exfoliate - Use a buffer, make sure you only exfoliate the cuticle area and don't buff the nail bed.
4. Apply a Top Coat - Patrick likes Incognito by wHet daily.
5.  Once a week remove the top coat and apply base coat like Turn back Time from Deborah Lippmann followed by top coat.

Week Four

Congratulations!  You've made it to maintenance and once a week care!  Your nails should be looking much better now!  Make an appointment with Patrick for a check up and a manicure (and a pedicure too, you deserve it!).  Then once a week:

1. Hydrate - This will happen when you shower or bathe and can be helpful in the process.
2. Moisturize - Any oil base will do. If you have a cuticle oil, place on nails prior to getting ready each morning.
3. Exfoliate - Use a buffer, make sure you only exfoliate the cuticle area and don't buff the nail bed.
Steps 4 and 5 Patrick will do for you the first time at the Salon.
4. Apply a Top Coat 
5.  Once a week remove the top coat and apply base coat.

Repeat each week until nails are completely healthy! 

Are you venturing your way to healthy nails?  Don't forget to upload a photo of your progress or ask any questions you might have on Patrick's facebook page!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine's Day Makeup

Whether you love or hate Valentine's Day, there's no better excuse to look fabulous and spend a little more time on your makeup than a holiday.  Valentine's Day gives us the perfect excuse to look a little extra feminine and glam it up in pink, whether you've got a hot date at a fancy restaurant or are drinking champagne and catching up with Downton Abbey on your DVR.  Here are some great ways to indulge your feminine side:

  • Today is the day to try the monochromatic look - go for pink from eye shadow, cheeks, and lips, just keep it in similar tones and pick one feature to amp up the intensity.
  • Try a blush with a bit of shimmer built in or mix in a luminizer/highlighter in with a cream blush for extra glow.
  • Play up your pout with a crayon like lip stain.  While it will rub off on your champagne glass, it has great staying power even after cocktails.
  • Want a more subtle eye look?  Shade your eyes with a shimmering nude and then use a poppy pink liner on top paired with black on bottom.  Follow it with a couple coats of mascara or false eye lashes if you're feeling extra fancy.
  • Show off your decolletage by sweeping on some bronzer or shimmer powder.  Use a small setting brush or a fan brush for the best coverage. 
What are your Valentine's Day plans?
Want to know more about the products above?  Click here to see the polyvore board complete with links.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Nail Repair: From acrylics to healthy, natural nails

Stripped of acrylics and in need of love
Meet Leslie.  She's been wearing acrylic nails for 26 years and has decided to stop. Why?  Although she loved the hard core nature of her acrylics and their ability to bang away on key boards non-stop, fierce un-chippability, and relatively low maintenance,  the winter woes she went through was just too much.  Every winter, Leslie's acrylics would lift from the nail surface resulting in lots of pain and salon visits for repair.  So she's about to venture on a nail repair regime to get back to her natural, healthy nails.

She's currently on week four and feeling much better.  "The first week was awful, the nail bed is soft and my nails are sensitive to almost everything."  But weeks two and three were much easier, and at week four, Patrick was finally able to file and paint.  "I'm adhering to his plan, and every day they look better," she says.  

Want to embark on a nail repair care journey yourself?  Here are Patrick's suggestions to help you with the process.

Patrick says: It is important to keep the nails well groomed and cared for during your process. 3 easy steps to healthier, happy, stronger nails.

1. Hydrate 
2. Moisturize 
3. Exfoliate

Products to use
  • A cuticle oil - if you have this already use daily.
  • Cuticle remover - Blue cross/Blue shield makes a great one.  Apply prior to step three in process below.
  • Moisturizer - Use your Moroccan Oil. This is awesome for the nails and the cuticles on both hands and feet.
Leslie's nails after week one, moisturized, manicured, and ready to heal!

Get Started - Week One
Go see Patrick at Nomi Spa and tell him you want to venture your way to healthier nails, he'll get you started then you can follow these daily steps for the first week:

1. Hydrate - This will happen when you shower or bathe and can be helpful in the process.
2. Moisturize - Any oil base will do. If you have a cuticle oil, place on nails prior to getting ready each morning.  Moroccan Oil is great for this.
3. Exfoliate - Use a buffer.  Make sure you only exfoliate the cuticle area and don't buff the nail bed.
4. Apply base coat - Turn back Time from Deborah Lippmann followed by top coat - Incognito by wHet daily

Check back next week for your nail care steps for the following weeks, week 2-4!  Good luck on your healthy nail journey!