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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Amazing Drug Store Cleanser: Biore Blemish Fighting Ice Cleanser, Allure Beauty Award Winner!

So I gotta admit, I am a skin care snob. I'm not a make-up snob, but I do turn my nose up at products that may be in a certain price bracket of low monetary value (shame on me). But I have gone through the ringer with skin care products, brand after brand after brand, to find the right regime for my skin. This exhausting and frustrating task has caused me to get rid of all of my preconceived notions and my "ya get what you pay for mentality" and choose the road less traveled. The drug store.
The only product I've tried from Biore has been those pore-strips that have been a mainstay on store shelves since I was in high school. And I think of Biore as just that, a skin care line for high school girls with their fresh faces on those commercials smiling as they splash their poreless faces with water. What could Biore do for me? Well, it turns out, it can produce a really great cleanser for my dry yet very sensitive and sometimes break-out prone skin. I often shy away from cleansers formulated with acne fighting products because of the fact that my skin is on the dry side and certain ingredients strip my skin and/or cause redness. But I thought I'd give the Blemish Fighting Ice Cleanser a shot when I saw the Allure Beauty Award Winner seal on the packaging. Such a label-whore.

What it Is:
Biore Blemish Fighting Ice Cleanser is a cleanser for acne-prone skin that unclogs pores, removes dirty and make-up, and feels so cool and refreshing on the skin. Salicylic Acid (2%) is what makes this cleanser a workhorse, but soothing ingredients such as lavender are added to keep the cleanser from feeling too harsh and medicinal. This product has consistently made the "Best of Beauty" in Allure Magazine 2008 and 2009.
Why I Really Love This Stuff:
It is SO refreshing. When they say "Ice Cleanser", they mean it. Instantly when the water and the cleanser meet, it produces this crisp, cool, tingling sensation that gives you the idea (or illusion? who cares) that the cleanser is really doing something. 

Doesn't dry out my dry skin. If your skin feels really tight and crying for your moisturizer after you've washed off your cleanser and dried your face, then the cleanser is too drying for you. I thought for sure this is what would happen after using the Biore cleanser but it didn't! Don't get me wrong, I still need a fairly heavy moisturizer but I do have some down time in between cleansing and moisturizing.

It works! It has made a difference with keeping break-outs at bay! It could just be a coincidence but after using this 2x per day for 2 weeks now, I haven't woken up with any unwanted bumps or clogged pores. 

Other Useful Information:
 The price runs around $6.99 depending on where you buy it from.
If your skin is really sensitive to acne-fighting ingredients, you may want to start out using the cleanser only once per day, maybe every other day and work your way up if tolerated. My skin is dry and I can use it 2x per day without feeling like my skin is being robbed of moisture. I have no redness or irritation. 

This cleanser definitely makes MY own personal Best of Beauty for 2011, and that is a list that happens to be WAY more exclusive and noteworthy than silly little Allure Magazine. Just kidding, Allure (Call Me!)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Nail Polish Love: Essie Demure VIX

I'm taking a study break to post this because I am that impressed with this beautiful nail polish from Essie. This is a color (Demure vix) that I've passed up numerous times, a shade that looked like a typical dusty mauve and nothing all that special. I'm glad that I actually picked up the bottle to look at the color because as it turns out, its anything but typical. What makes the shade is the coolest purple iridescence that reveals itself when holding the bottle and this translates to the nails when looking at them in the right light or the right direction. I hesitate to use someone else's photo to show you the polish but I was unable to capture that really cool purple flash quality of the polish on my own nails. I found a photo from another blog in which you can see the dual-toned color in the bottle, but trust me, the nails look much better in real life. Its the perfect combination of a really nice neutral with a little something extra to set it apart from your average pink, taupe, beige category. Demure is most definitely a very unique and must-have shade and I'm so glad I gave it a chance!

Photo Credit for Essie Demure vix

Friday, August 26, 2011

Lack of Posts: On a Little Break! Hittin' the Books!

First of all, taking a beauty break is not my idea of a good time. I just started my full-time graduate school schedule while still maintaining my position as full-time mommy of two. While my free time was once spent writing about beauty stuff and watching YouTube videos about beauty stuff, it is now spent doing much less entertaining activities. I hope to be able to post again here and there because I'm using so many good products I want to talk about! Until then, keep checking back and don't forget about me!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

New Mascara Love: They're Real by Benefit

This mascara is pretty awesome. I don't really like Benefit mascara but this one is my new love and I intend on sticking with it for a long time to come! It's very unique compared to other mascaras and the reason why is the design of the brush. The end of the brush is just as, if not more, important than the actual wand. Because of the little spikes on the end of the brush, you can achieve separation and extra lift. At least the way I apply the mascara. And this stuff stays on SO well for being a non-waterproof mascara. I don't generally prefer a non-waterproof because they don't hold the curl as well and they tend to be prone to smudging and flaking. With that said, you do have to work a little harder to take off this mascara because the formula is definitely long-wearing. I will say that you have to practice with this wand a little bit before you really get it down. And the brush is some kind of weapon if you go hold it too close into the root of the lash so you do have to be careful that you aren't too aggressive, especially when using the end of the wand. You don't want to stab yourself! The mascara only comes in a glossy jet black, and its a very beautiful black at that. They're Real sells for $22 and its worth every penny! And its all over the place too, I've watched two YouTube videos from a couple of my fave gurus today, not even looking specifically for the mascara, and both girls mentioned having purchased the mascara followed by nothing but praise for the product.

Benefit Puts the Mascara to the Test With a Panel of Women:
  • 94% Say they saw dramatic length and volume
  • 90% Saw base-to-tip curl
  • 94% Saw visible lift
  • 100% Saw long-wearing results
The Best Way to Use the Mascara:
To each his own, but I find that going through and applying a coat of the mascara using the entire wand like you would any mascara and then going back and applying it using the end of the brush, is the best way to go. And when I say the end of the wand, I still apply it on its side and not head on, if that makes sense! Like I said, you may need some practice. Those little spikes can be scary when you're holding it up close! Go through slowly on the bottom lashes with the end of the wand so that it separates without smudging. I use many coats until it gets clumpy so I know where my limit is and what point not to cross when building on the lashes. If you do too much of this mascara, you will have some clumping, just make sure you are really using the tip of that wand to separate and lift the lashes as you go. 

Photo Credit (above)

Is Benefit They're Real as Good as False Lashes?

Well, in my opinion, nothing looks better than false lashes if it comes down to it versus mascara but if there is a next best thing, then this mascara is it! Because like false lashes, the look stays put! You don't have to worry about your lashes not holding the curl throughout the day and getting all droopy.You get volume, length, and separation all in one product.

Benefit They're Real VS Benefit Bad Gal?
Not even close. They are two entirely different mascara from the wand to the formula to the performance. The wand with Bad Gal is more of a typical mascara brush but really large. Bad Gal is more for volumizing than anything else and so I do feel that your results are limited in comparison to They're Real. And in my opinion, Bad Gal doesn't wear nearly as well or as long as the new Benefit mascara. If you're looking for more of a typical every day mascara, then you may prefer Bad Gal but if you're looking for something different that gives more of a wow factor, definitely go with They're Real!

Check out MakeupByTiffanyD on YouTube, talking about her own personal love for the mascara. Watching the video will give you a better idea of what the mascara looks like, rather than seeing photos.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Attention (Unnatural) Blondes! Cheap Toning Shampoo Alert: Jhirmack Silver Plus Ageless Shampoo

I picked this up recently after seeing it in the drugstore for around $5. I have tried the John Freda purple toning shampoos for blondes and I wasn't overly impressed. I never seemed to notice that it did any brightening or brassiness eliminating. So rather than purchase a really expensive salon brand, I thought I'd give Jhirmack a try. I will preface this by saying that I will only use this shampoo once a week because of the sulfates. I already give my hair a run for its money with all the coloring and heat tool usage, I don't need to add fuel to the fire. Bottom line though, I like this stuff.

What It Claims to Do (as quoted from
"Jhirmack Silver Plus Ageless Shampoo For Gray, Blonde, Bleached or Highlighted Hair With age comes wisdom and now thanks to Jhirmack®, so does luxurious hair! Jhirmack® Distinctions Silver Plus is a complete hair care regimen that will revitalize your gray, blonde, bleached or highlighted hair. For better results use with other Jhirmack® Distinctions Silver Plus products. Silver Plus Ageless Shampoo features a unique formula rich in antioxidants that boosts texture and softness with a natural anti-aging properties. This color-safe shampoo also neutralizes brassy, yellow tones while enhancing highlights and improving your hair's elasticity. Green Tea Extract and Folic Acid help strengthen and condition your hair, while CoQ10 helps shield hair from color fading, and damage caused by styling and environmental stressors"

-I noticed that my hair looked brighter after just one wash. I noticed that my blonde was brighter and blonder in certain areas like closer to my scalp. 

-I like the smell. I think its a love/hate smell though as its fairly fragrant. The scent lingered in my entire bathroom too. 

-Price! For around $4.99, you get a whole lot of shampoo. This bottle will certainly last me a while.

-After I rinsed out the shampoo, before I conditioned, my hair was drier than a pile of straw on a 100 degree day. Wow, SO dry! But let me qualify this statement by saying that I'm not used to shampoo that lathers and suds up. I have been using the Wen Cleansing Conditioner for a few months now and therefor have gone lather-free for quite some time. This product may not be as drying on those that are used to normal shampoo. However, once I put a conditioner on, and did my usual styling routine, it wasn't dry at all. 

-It's not Sulfate-Free :(

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Drugstore Haul + Nail of the Day + Sally Hansen Crackle Experimentation

I'm a posting machine as of late. I have around 10 more days of freedom until I have a full-time graduate school load and probably won't even have time to read anything other than school material, let alone write a blog post. So sad but it must be done! I actually think my husband may be pleased to learn how little time I will spend shopping during the next few months because between this full-time graduate school gig and two children, I fear my makeup collection is going to stay the same size as it currently is. So I picked up four things today at the drugstore. Two of them being necessities and two being something I purchased with coupons! So it was virtually free. 

Its either 1987 or I'm just crazy because I bought a shampoo from Jhirmack, Silver Plus. Jhirmack! Do you remember that brand during the 80's? Right along with Final Net and Pert Plus. But I am in need of a shampoo to use once or twice a week that will take away the brassiness I endure for having bleached blonde hair. I have already tried the John Freda and wasn't totally sold so I'm giving old Jhirmack a try. Normally I would frown upon using a cheap-o drugstore shampoo that is loaded with Sulfates, but I figure once or twice a week won't totally kill my hair. Plus its kinda silly to be all for the once a month root bleaching while looking down on using a sulfate infused shampoo a few times per month. Just don't make it a habit though people. Sulfates are bad. 

SO then I picked up the JulieG nail color from Jessie's Girl. If you don't know JulieG713, she's one of the better known YouTube makeup gurus. She was one of the trailblazers to the whole phenomenon actually. She's a celebrity makeup artist too! But I only learned that after watching her for like two years, which made me like her even more because she is so humble and sweet! She's a total class act all around and so so talented. So the brand Jessie's Girl, sold at Rite Aid, created a coral/pink nail color in her honor because she used their products quite frequently during her nail tutorials and coral is her personal fave color. So I wanted to try it!

I ran out of my Nivea Milk and Honey lip balm so I picked up another. I love it. I love anything honey scented or flavored, most of all the Nivea lip balm!

And lastly, a Prestige Waterproof Eyeliner in the color Suede. I've heard great things about their liners and and other products in their line as well. All for cheap yet effective makeup. And I love to share! Prestige is more of a dark taupe-brown than Urban Decay Whiskey which seems to have a tint of red to it. The textures are very similar though. So I'm currently putting it to the test on my right eye while simultaneously wearing the Urban Decay 24/7 liner in Whiskey on my left eye.. ooohhh the suspense, how will our little drug store find fare against one of the most popular eyeliners known to man? We will soon find out... 

Prestige liner in Suede on top, Urban Decay 24/7 in Whiskey on bottom
And my nail of the day, Essie Wicked, that I mentioned the other day picking up at Target. I'm liking it, its a close race between Wicked and OPI Lincoln Park After Dark for my favorite dark polish shades of all time. But the OPI quality far surpasses that of Essie, just thought I'd throw that out there. And I did a little Sally Hansen Crackle polish experimentation by using the black shade over a few different colors to see how it looked. Its kind of sloppy but I was just playing around.. 

Yikes, it is pretty sloppy, but has potential.
Essie Wicked, slightly chipped after 1 day of wear. Nice.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mini Review: Laura Geller I-Care Waterproof Eyeliner in Cafe Mocha

I am disappointed completely with this product. I was excited to try it after having seen it presented on QVC not too long ago. I purchased the liner in Cafe Mocha which is a nice dark brown. A color that seemed to only be present for maybe an hour before it disappeared. There are two pro's to this eyeliner: 1. The twist-up application mechanism, no sharpeners necessary and 2.The way it applies is very smooth and lovely, no tugging necessary. But that,my friends, is where the happiness ends and utter disappointment begins.

Laura claims this stuff is waterproof. I highly doubt it. Now, I didn't go swimming so I can't say for certain but if something doesn't last while in air conditioning all day and zero strenuous activity, then I don't have hope for more challenging surroundings. And it isn't like it smudged and got all messy under my eyes, because that would imply that there was product there to smudge. It was the weirdest thing, as though the liner just kind of evaporated. You could see it fading lighter and lighter throughout the day until there was not much left. 

I don't need my eyeliner to be waterproof. I just want it to stay put! Its kind of like buying a house that claims to be "Tsunami- Proof" but yet can't survive a common rain storm. Like, stop with the big bold claims and just give us something that lasts the day and stays true to its original color and placement. Come on now Laura Geller, you can do better than this.

Retinol 101: General Overview and How to Get Started!

If you are over 30, you need to be incorporating a Retinol product into your daily skin care routine. No matter how amazing your skin is, it will not always be this way. Sorry to burst your bubble. 
Retinol can act as a pre-aging mechanism just as well as it acts as a current anti-aging product. You may have heard horror stories about how drying and harsh this stuff can be and some of those stories are definitely true. But using Retinol doesn't have to be a scary thing. There are so many products out there that don't tear your face apart or leave you relegated to "homebody" status for weeks on end. Like I said, if you're over 30, listen up! And if you're over 40, my God, drop what you're doing and give me your full attention for a few minutes.

What is Retinol?

Retinol is a form of  Vitamin A. It is one of the animal forms of Vitamin A, to be exact. There are three generations of retinoids, used for various things, but you need only to concern yourself with the first generation which includes: retinol, tretinoin (Retin-A), retinal, etc. Retinol started out in the use of acne treatment, as far as Dermatological uses go, and it still is used as a powerful component of moderate to severe acne conditions. But then doctors started to notice that Retinol was also doing something for anti-aging. Being that this derivative of Vitamin A goes beneath the skin to increase skin cell turnover, it aids in shedding the old stuff to reveal a fresher, brighter, appearance (i.e. new skin cells). Its kind of like an exfoliant on speed. We all exfoliate, right? Well, this stuff does it quicker, more efficiently, and minus the grainy texture. Retinoids are used in a variety of other ways as well, but we are only talking about its anti-aging abilities here.

When and How Do You Use Retinol?

Typically, they are used as part of your night time skin routine. Why? Because they make your skin more vulnerable to sunlight. Prescription Retin-A and things of this nature should never be used during the day. On the other hand, there are plenty of daytime Retinol products that can be used during the day along with an SPF. Essentially, these are products that have low concentrations of Retinol and therefor are safe for day use. Depending on what product you are using will determine how you use it as far as its incorporation into your skin care regimen. Most of the type, the prescription Retinols are used on their own after you've cleansed, toned, and applied your serum(s). Again, it depends which product you have.

What Kinds of Products are Available?

There are two kinds of Retinol categories. Prescription and non-prescription. I have used both. Prescription Retinol products such as Retin-A, Tretinoin cream, Retin-A Micro, Refissa, Atralin, etc. are stronger and much more potent. Typically they are used nightly (or however often your skin can handle it, some cannot do a nightly application) as the last step in a skin routine. To make them work better, you are supposed to forget the moisturizer and let the Retinol do its thing. I have tried a few in this category and they were just too powerful for my sensitive skin. To put it mildly, it tore my face up with incessant peeling, redness, stinging, burning, you name it. This is why you should start slowly and work your way up when your tolerance is built up. There are varying strengths of the prescription Retinol products, starting from .025% up to the strongest which is 1%. If you've never tried a product like this, I would suggest using an over the counter version first to measure your tolerance before heading into the big leagues.

The strongest non-prescription Retinol that can be purchased over the counter is a .15%. I personally think this is a good place to start. It seems like everything skin care related has some sort of Retinol in the ingredients. And that's because it works. Its not a fad, a passing phase, or some type of trend. Retinol is a proven, tried and true, Dermatologist recommended, anti-ager. I have some recommendations of things I've used that I should have started with before using the harder stuff. If you have really sensitive skin, you should be able to tolerate these but like I said, start slow, and work your way up. Try using a Retinol product a couple of times per week at night and see how your skin reacts.

Over the Counter Recommendations:

Neutrogena Anti-Wrinkle Cream SPF 15:
This is an Allure Magazine beauty award winner! I have been using it for a while and find it very gentle and effective in presenting a youthful appearance. I use it during the daytime. This may be a good place to start!

Philosophy Help Me Nighttime Retinol Cream:
If you're looking for something stronger that isn't prescription strength, this product contains the strongest (.15%) Retinol that you can get over the counter. Its only to be used at night because of this! It does wonders for pore minimization (over time) and is very highly rated. Another beauty award winning product, I find this to be a happy medium between the prescription products and the weaker OTC alternatives.

More drugstore rec's?  Try the brand Roc, they make some retinol infused products specialized for sensitive skin as well.

Philosophy On a Clear Day Retinol Clarifying Lotion:
This can be used during the day or night. For those that don't have a problem tolerating it, you may use the Help Me at night and the On a Clear Day for daytime. This product is supposed to reduce the discoloration of post-acne skin problems. Being that many Retinol products can be drying, this lotion has moisturizing qualities to prevent this and be able to soothe and calm the skin instead. I have this product but haven't used it yet. I know that it is a favorite among those that have acne scars and those that have current problems with acne as well as those that want the anti-aging qualities that it possesses.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ulta Haul: Laura Geller Free Gift With Purchase + Triple Points w/ Ulta Card!

I recently wrote a post about my frustration with a trip to ULTA the other day but I am pleased to be able to write a new post where everything comes out smelling like roses. Or scented lip gloss. I took my chances and went back to ULTA to try to get the Laura Geller free gift w/ purchase that included a mini eye & lip spackle duo (love that she puts both in one compact!) and a mini Bronzed -N- Brighten. And this time I was minus one child and in much better spirits. While there, I signed up to come back on Friday when their Too Faced rep. is in house to do makeup (i.e. make you feel like you need every single item that they put on your face because it is better than what you are currently using, in every single way.) Oh, check out Ms. Geller below during one of her QVC trips. I enjoy watching her when she is on because she is entertaining, funny, and loves to share what she knows.

Back to the original point, my goal was to spend as close to $25 as possible without going over. I wanted the free gift more than the items I had to purchase to get it. I've been wanting to try B & B forever and this was a great way to be able to do so. Thankfully, ULTA has recently stocked their Laura Geller section to feature more than just a few basics and therefor I enthusiastically picked up the "I-Care" waterproof eyeliner. I will say that I have very very little expectations when it comes to (pencil and/or twist up) eyeliners that claim to be smudge proof, waterproof, and life proof. I think these claims should be amended to say something like "Urban Decay 24/7 liner, unless you live in North Carolina" or "Laura Geller Waterproof Eyeliner, unless its summer". Much more believable than actually thinking an eyeliner is going to stay in the exact same condition as it is when its first applied. Hell, it wont even stay in the same condition AS I'm applying it, most of the time. Even with an eye primer, my lids start to get oily at the very thought of stepping outside into the Creamatorium known as summer in the South. 
Yikes, I digress! So, I picked up that liner in "Cafe Mocha", a nice rich dark brown, and that was $17 so I had to buy something else to reach $25. There was nothing particularly cheap to make up this difference besides a $15.50 blush brush (not impressed) and a $16 lipgloss. Course, I chose the lipgloss, the Ultimate Lip Shine, in "Skinny Dip". A very pretty shimmery nude shade. Surprise surprise. 
The famous Laura Geller Bronze -N- Brighten
And by the way, I got the VERY LAST free gift they had (sadly, the Bronzed -n- Brighten was shattered beyond recognition inside the compact). On a lighter note, everything is triple points right now on your ULTA beauty card, a program that pales in comparison to the Sephora Beauty Insider program. I have over 800 points at ULTA and I have yet to get anything besides $4 off my next purchase. As in the NEXT purchase I make besides the one from today. If I had that many points at Sephora, I'd have had an awesome makeup palette of some sort or dozens of 100 point perks. Well, almost. You get the point.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Contouring 101: How to Slim, Sculpt, and Create What's Not Even There, With Makeup!

We've all heard of contouring right? Well, at least we have seen it on others whether we are aware that that's what they've done or not. What I mean is, we've seen the illusion of slimmed down noses, higher cheek bones, and more sculptured jawlines . All created with the use of a few items that most of us have in our makeup collections: bronzer, powder, highlighter, etc. These tools can be very useful in aiding in the minimization of our flaws without having to go under the knife or get any other type of procedure done. But how do we do this contouring thing? Basically we are using a few products that most of us already have, to create strategic light and dark areas on the face. We use "light" to bring things forward and fill things in and we use "dark" to suck things in or pull things back. I'm going to share a few easy ways (because I don't know how to do or explain the complicated ones) to enter the world of contouring.
What You Will Need:

Matte Bronzer or a face powder that is at least 2 shades darker than you are
Highlighting product, either matte or shimmer, cream or powder
Concealer that is lighter than your skin tone
Powder that is 2 shades lighter than your skin tone 
    A palette especially made for contouring

Slimming Your Nose:
Take a small brush of some sort, it can be an eyeshadow blending brush or something similar. Whatever brush it is, it needs to be able to create a defined line down either side of the bridge of your nose. Do you see where that location is in the photo below? You can either use a MATTE bronzer or a foundation or powder that is a couple of shades darker than you are to create this look. You must try not to create a harsh line though or this draws too much attention and takes away from the original purpose which is to make your nose look slim.

Now that you have done this, take either a matte highlighter, concealer, powder (that is lighter than you are) or something similar to create a straight line down the bridge of your nose in the middle of where you just created the bronzer lines. Make sure your lines look soft and not like you're a lifeguard whose just applied a thick layer of zinc to his nose.

What does this do? By bringing attention to the skinny part of your nose with the light powder, you are fading away the excess with the bronzer. Light brings things FORWARD and dark sucks things in. Same with cheekbones.

Three basic areas of the face that are popular for contouring and/or bronzer placement
Defined and Heightened Cheek Bones:
Look again at the diagram. Do you see how she has a strip of light, a strip of dark, and then another strip of light on the below? Once again, we are using light and dark powders to bring parts of the face forward while sucking in other parts. I would prefer you use a matte powder or highlighter for that bottom strip. Shimmer that far down on the face just doesn't sit well with me.

First, if you can't really see where the natural hollows of your cheeks are, then suck them in and take a look in the mirror. This is where your darker shade goes. You can choose which type of product you use to create this look. The easiest way to go is with the matte bronzer again. This way you know its going to be dark enough to create the right look. I'd go with a blush brush to apply the product. Reason being that you are going to need to apply the powder in a concentrated location. If the brush is too fluffy or large, you run the risk of not having enough definition. Contouring is creating definition! Take your light shade of powder and apply it above and below your bronzer. I think you can either choose a matte or shimmer highlight for the strip across the cheekbones. The higher you take that lighter shade across the top, the higher your cheekbones will look. Once again, remember to blend so it doesn't turn out to look like three stripes. See the diagram for proper placement.

Camouflaging a Double Chin:
Bronzer (or, darker than you, powder foundation) along the jawline! By doing this, you are creating a more structured look and, esentially, directing the eye where to look. It's kind of like drawing an outline of the shape that you want. Bronzer can not only streamline that double chin, but it can help you to slim your face overall. Take the bronzer down on to your neck like in the picture below so it doesn't look like you have put someone else's head on your body.
Another tip for diminishing that chin area is to place more emphasis on the eyes rather than the lips. If you are trying to take the heat off of your double chin, why ruin it by drawing extra attention to an area that is dangerously close to where you are trying to draw the eye away from? And if you could care less than you have a double chin, then by all means, bring on those red or fuschia lips!

Look at this photo for contouring that jaw and neck line.
Using the Forehead to Create Structure/Balance:

Once again, we want to create a slimmer and more sculpted face by using bronzer and a highlighting powder, concealer, etc. You want to apply the bronzer on either side of the forehead at an angle. You know how you used to draw houses when you were little? With that triangle roof? Applying bronzerbronzer. Again, we are bringing the center of the forehead, forward to create not only create the illusion of a slimmer face, but to balance your forehead area.

Lift the Brows! Take a Few Years Off....

Old eyes are sagging eyes, unfortunately. Happens to the best of us. We wake up one day, only to find that our arches aren't as high as they once were. So let's fake it for as long as we can! Most of us highlight under the brow bone as a part of our every day makeup routine right? I find that using a matte highlight color rather than a shimmery one creates a more natural and lifted brow look. And a really good brow arch helps too so make sure you are grooming those brows! It does wonders for how young (or old) you can look. After we have done that, let's take a highlight cream or light concealer and apply it directly above the brow arch. Doing this just adds to the lifting process and further directs the eye where to concentrate. Its probably best to not use one of your eyeshadows to create this illusion but rather, something liquid or cream.

Sagging Or Drooping Eyelids?

Some of us either experience sagging eyelids due to age and some of us just naturally have hooded eye lids. What this means is when you have skin that hangs over your eyelid in a way that diminishes the look of a defined crease. There isn't a whole lot you can do about this, short of a surgical procedure. But if you use a really light and/or shimmery eyeshadow color in the middle of the eyelid, you can create the look of having larger lid space and ultimately looking brighter and younger. Make sure you are already choosing a lighter shade for the eyelid area anyway because dark can make your eye appear more closed. Then go back and place an even lighter shade (like a champagne or something in the ivory family) on the center of the eyelid. Again, we are using light to bring the part forward that we want the eye to concentrate on.
Another way to achieve this is by taking an eyeliner in a really light shade (like Stila Topaz or another pinky/beige) shade that some people would use to line their waterline, and instead use it on the top lid. Plenty of brands like Benefit and even Maybelline make one of these "highlighting" sticks for that lower lash line to create a look that is fresh and awake. You are going to borrow this concept but use it on the upper lid, either by applying it on your entire lid space or just in a really thick line like you would line your eyes.

This photo will give you an idea of the general areas of our face where we use light and dark
Alternate Highlighting Areas:

Cupids Bow: Highlighting this area slightly creates a more defined lip area. All you have to do is put a little of your highlight shade in your finger and dab it in that little "v" above the center of your top lip.

Chin: Dab highlighter on center of chin area. This works in combination with that jawline bronzer, face slimming exercise.

Tops of Cheekbones: This is the area that was mentioned with the cheek contouring above. The higher up you apply the highlight shade on the cheekbones, the higher your cheekbones will look. Either shimmer or matte both work for this task.

Inner Corner of Eyes: Applying even a really light eyeshadow to the corner of your eyes will just make you look awake, bright, and beautiful. Even if you don't have time for much eye makeup, don't skip this little trick.

Above and Below the Corners of the Lips: In the second diagram from the top, she has concealer or some type of light cream under the corners of the lips. I've actually seen makeup artists do this trick above and below rather than just below. This creates a lifted appearance and is especially useful for those whose lips are starting to kind of droop downward. This is also where the use of the lighter shade is filling things in and bringing the area forward. My choice is to use a concealer for this part, of course a liquid one.

Anywhere You Have Lines: And finally, just start throwing a light concealer anywhere that you want to fill some lines in. Especially those marionette lines, or smile lines. Make sure if you are using a concealer to do this  that you don't choose a really thick one that can appear cakey. An alternative product that is excellent for this job is a highlighting or illuminating cream that isn't too shimmery. These have a thinner texture than a concealer and can create the same look.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Should Your Manicure and Pedicure Polish Shades Match?

Well, what do you think? Do you match your fingernail polish to the polish on your toes? What's proper nail etiquette? This very question was posed to a beauty editor in the latest copy of my Lucky magazine and some of her answers were surprising to me. To answer the question simply, no, you do not have to match your mani and pedi color choices. Well, I could have told you that, being that the world of fashion has pretty much turned into a no holds barred approach to mixing prints and genres and color blocking, etc. This "anything goes" attitude would of course translate over to the nail art world right? But here's were the aforementioned beauty editor lost me. She said that unless you are wearing Essie Fifth Avenue (a classic red) or Chanel Vamp (a classic deep wine shade), you should NOT match your nails to your toes. In orther words unless you are wearing red or wine, please do not match. In fact, the editor was horrified at the thought of matching something like a french manicure or a mint green on both the nails and toes. Again, the only acceptable shades for matchy matchy are red and deep vampy shades. 

Call me conservative and closed minded, but I don't like the idea of mismatched mani/pedi shades. I'm not saying that the shades have to be identical but they should at least be in the same genre. Like if you are doing a french manicure on the nails then I think you should have some shade of pink or nude on the toes. I personally don't understand why matching french to french or mint green to mint green is forbidden but its OK to match red to red and wine to wine. Matching is matching lady so either its OK or its not OK. Personally if my toe nails don't semi-match or match my nails its not because I'm following the "nail etiquette" professed in the latest issue of Lucky, but rather, its because I'm too lazy to re-do either the mani or pedi so that they present a cohesive design. So what do you think, yes to matching? No to matching? OK sometimes and not others? Tell me!

By the way, I picked up Essie Wicked today @ Target. I'm feeling my deep dark nail colors again. I'm trying to will the beginning of Fall to hurry up. Essie Wicked is a dark burgundy/wine shade, very popular to the line.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

An Ulta Haul Attempt Turned Rant+ Laura Geller Free Gift w/ Purchase Info, Sort Of!

This is going to be a quick post. I recently saw in the Ulta ad that if you spend $25 on a Laura Geller item that you get a free gift. The gifts consist of her eye spackle and lip spackle (primer) in a duo together + a mini Bronzed -N- Brighten, a very well loved product of LG if you are familiar. Coincidentally, I was in Ulta today to check out the LG section and hopefully find something to spend $25 on because I wanted that free gift. The downside to this trip was that I had my two daughters with me. One is a 20 lb one year old that I was carrying on my hip and the other, a 5 year old obsessed with makeup and tugging and pulling at me to go to the "cheap makeup" section so she could get a lipgloss.

Anyway, I wanted to make things short and sweet so I asked an Ulta employee if they had the free gifts for the Laura Geller $25 purchase. Instead of the answer, I received a blank look which prompted further elaboration of the original question, on my part. I told her that this same sentiment was expressed in their recent ad that I had received yesterday. She said, in these exact words, "Well... if the ad says it, then we probably do, unless we ran out" OK dumb-ass, do you want me to go next door to TJ Maxx and ask them or am I wrong in assuming that I should ask an employee of ULTA about a product sold at ULTA that was featured in an ad sent from none other than.... ULTA? And what's worse is that the ad stated that this weekend they were having a couple of in-store Laura Geller events. Events that seemed to have been totally lost on those that are said to be participating in them. 

Sadly, I never did get the answer to my obviously ridiculous and puzzling question because my mood turned sour and the motivation to delve further into new makeup exploration had dissipated when my oldest daughter threw a fit in the NYX section when I turned down her proposal that I buy her a fuchsia jumbo lip pencil. Regrettably, we walked out empty handed and no more educated in the area of Laura Geller free gifts than we had arrived.

A sad sad Saturday in the world of a mom that just wanted to get out of the house and look at pretty things on an extremely humid and rainy day.

Oh, and right now, Ulta is giving you triple points if you purchase select merchandise. My child tore up the ad but I am pretty sure there was Tarte for True Blood products and some Laura Geller stuff on there, along with the new Urban Decay Anniversary eyeshadow palette. My advice is to find the ad online because right now I am about as useful as the young lady I encountered earlier.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

July Contest for MAC Semi Precious Prizes is OVER, Winner Revealed!

Congratulations to Ofbaublesandblushes!! You are the lucky winner of the three fabulous prizes from the MAC Semi-Precious collection!! I Left you a message on your blog, please contact me via the email address I supplied or comment in this post, leaving your email address!