Girls with a makeup obsession advise you on your next beauty purchase

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Summertime Makeup Issues, Cont'd

So, sometimes when I am feeling especially motivated, I drag myself out of bed at 5 a.m. and go running before I shower and get ready for work. (By "sometimes," I mean once a week, maybe, if I'm lucky.) The problem is that during the summer, it is so hot and humid even at 5 a.m. that after I get back home and shower, I am still sweating. Gross, I know. And it makes it nearly impossible to put makeup on, so I wind up going to work red and blotchy. I would love to find a powder foundation that I can use instead of my regular Bobbi Brown tinted moisturizer on these days, but I have yet to find one that even makes a dent in my splotchiness. I have even tried the mineral makeup, to no avail. Since having to show up to work looking like I just had a chemical peel enters my mind as a potential excuse not to exercise in the morning, I would love to find a solution and give myself one less reason to hit the snooze button.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Lip Product Woes

I have a drawer in my nightstand that is completely filled with lip glosses, lipsticks, and lip palettes. It is embarrassing how many different lip products I have. However, despite the massive quanitites of money I have invested, I have only ever found two lip products that I truly love. I don't know why I have so much trouble landing on a color/texture combination that I love. The first product that I love is Chanel Glossimer in Barely Fig. I bought it in 2004 and have been using the same tube ever since. It is almost empty, which makes me sad because although I can't bring myself to check, I suspect that Chanel no longer makes it. It looks really dark in the tube but is a gorgeous color and isn't thick or gloopy at all. The second product is Fresh Gloss Absolute in Dahlia, which Laura gave me for Christmas last year. It is the perfect color and texture, and now that I have been introduced to it I don't think I can ever live without it.

I have tried buying lipstick in lieu of lip gloss, but I just can't pull it off. I think maybe when I turn 30 (next year, gah!) I will give lipstick another try. Until then, I will stick to my trusty old favorites and hope that I can stretch my Glossimer out until next June.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Liquid Liner

I really want to love liquid liner. I love the way it looks on other people -- so crisp and elegant. I love the 1950s cat-eye effect (think Sophia Loren, not Amy Winehouse!) and would kill to be able to pull that off. But when I try to apply it on my own eyes, it inevitably looks like I let a 4-year-old play connect the dots on my upper eyelids. I bought YSL liquid liner (in two colors!) this year because Laura had such good luck with it, and I was hopeful the small brush would be the answer to my liquid liner prayers. But alas, I had no better luck with the YSL than the liquid liners of my past. If anyone has some good advice on applying liquid liner (ahem, Laura!) I would greatly appreciate it. For now, it sits in the bottom of my makeup case, unused and unloved.

Friday, July 11, 2008

It's not the Mascara

To follow-up on the last entry- the Shu Uemura eyelash curler is God's gift to eyelashes. No exaggeration. I've had many people ask me what mascara I use. And the truth is, I am a mascara junkie. I am never faithful to one kind, I always need to try new ones. I am like that more with mascara than any other product. My eyelashes always look good though, pretty much no matter which mascara I am using at the moment. This is really only because I ALWAYS use the shu uemura eyelash curler. That is my secret. Even using it when you don't put makeup on is a good idea. It completely brightens and widens the eyes.

Laura Mercier Touched my Eyelashes

Yes, it is true. Alexis and I went to Nordstroms in King of Prussia, PA when Laura Mercier was making a personal appearance. I was sitting in a chair and a makeup artist had applied makeup to me and Laura came over to critique her. All I remember is her actually touching my eyelashes, and saying "very pretty, do you curl them?" Five words - Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler.

We were even so starstruck that we took a picture of her Lincoln towncar as she was leaving the event. I love how we didn't take a picture of her, just her car. ha.

Summertime and the Living is Easy

During the summer, I like to have a simplified life. I use less makeup and like products that have a dual use. I travel to California every July, and packing for the trip is always difficult. Even when I make an effort to pack less, I still bring too much. But this year I am turning over a new leaf. I will be traveling with a baby in tow, on his first plane trip. And I am NOT going to bring too much, I want to make my trip as simplified as possible.

My favorite moisturizer currently is Kate Somerville's goat milk cream. It is amazing and I don't want to give it up, but it has no sun protection in it. I have to use spf in the summertime, and even in the wintertime. In the winter I usually put a light sunscreen on by mixing it with my lotion. Or I will put a tinted moisturizer with spf in it on top of my normal moisturizer. Yes, I know what you are thinking: man, this girl is pale and really does have dry skin. It's true.

In the summer though, I don't want all these steps, and all these products. I went into a local baby boutique recently and they had a display of natural and organic baby suncare by California Baby. I purchased the Everyday/Year Round SPF 18 Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion (in a convenient pump) and the SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion in a tube. I bought it for my son, thinking he has my sensitive skin and he currently breaks out if we put any sunscreen on him, even baby brands. Well, this stuff is great. He doesn't react to it at all and it has a nice, light texture and a pleasant smell. So I thought, hey, maybe I should try it. I have found that I can use just the spf 18 moisturizing lotion, and not even my normal lotion on top of it. It is so moisturizing I feel like I only need this one product. It is so much faster to get ready in the morning, and I feel like I don't have to pile on tons of products before I even get to applying makeup. I highly recommend it!!

Old Favorites

No matter how much makeup I collect, I always seem to go back to my old favorites. Waaaaaay back in 2001 I bought Laura Mercier pan liner in bleu marine, cream color in shell, and shimmer shadow in rose. 7 years later, I still wear that same color combination at least once a week. It is perfect - I can apply it in minutes, it looks sleek and elegant, and the colors are incredibly flattering. I hit a bump in the road earlier this year when I discovered that Laura Mercier had stopped manufacturing shell cream color. I had to resort to eBay, where I was able to find a new-in-box tube. So I am safe for a little while, at least. But I don't even want to think about the day when my eBay tube runs out.

It's not just that these colors look great - although that is definitely a big part of it. I have a tendency to develop sentimental attachments to makeup. I know, it sounds ridiculous, but certain makeup reminds me of specific days, specific places, specific people. I bought these colors when I was living in New York, making next to nothing, and living in a fourth-floor walk up. Wearing them reminds me of how much fun I had living in the city, and what it was like to be 22 with nothing to do during my lunch break except walk up to Henri Bendel's and buy makeup!

Kate to the Rescue

Let me start this post by saying I have a 6 month (wow, almost 7 month) old son, James. Now, I was one of those crazy pregnant women who researched everything you should/should not use/do, etc. while you are pregnant. My personality by definition could always be termed "a worrier." Now, multiply that by 1000, and you get pregnant Laura's worrying capabilities. My major hangup was being careful regarding the chemicals in my skincare/makeup. Don't ask me why. It wasn't like I didn't already have enough to worry about. The below link discusses common chemicals in skincare and their use during pregnancy. Doctors do contend that many of the chemicals I was determined to avoid are only dangerous if used orally, not topically. So my crusade to avoid them topically was a bit crazy, I do admit.

The point is, I neglected my facial skin. Now, I am lucky and can count the number of breakouts I have had in my life on one hand. And by breakouts, we're talking a pimple or two, not really a real breakout. I have always had drier skin and my problem has always been trying to keep my skin from drying out and being dull. As a result, it was pretty easy to avoid skincare with salycilic acid and retinoids in it. However, by avoiding good quality skin care my skin was blah city. It was dull, dry and just really disappointing to me. I let it go for a few months after my son was born, because frankly, you have other things to worry about. But I was tired of looking tired. Sure, I'm tired, but I don't have to look that way. I wanted to feel good about myself again.

Enter Alexis. She had always been telling me about skincare products by Kate Somerville. I listened, and was interested, but just never got around to it. Well by March I was literally sick of my face, and needed a whole new skincare regimen. So I went crazy, in a good way this time. I ordered the enzyme scrub and mask, quench hydrating serum, line release under eye repair and the goat milk cream.
I am really jonesing for the clarisonic brush.

Voila!! This stuff is seriously amazing. One week of use repaired 12 months of neglect. My skin is supple and better than ever. Good skincare makes makeup look even better, bottom line.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


First of all, let me say that my obsession with all things makeup began when my mother and I went shopping for my makeup that I was going to wear on my wedding day. We had absolutely no clue to as what we were doing. I had been a poster child for too thin-over tweezed eyebrows, too metallic eyeshadow, and too heavy concealer in my college days. Combine that with the fairest skin you can imagine, and you get the picture. It was bad to say the least.

We were wondering around the makeup section in Nordstroms, and a visiting artist from Smashbox approached us. The rest is history.

She did an amazing job, and we got everything she recommended because it really did work with my coloring, etc. The first thing I noticed with the packaging of Smashbox, as well as some other higher end cosmetics, is that there were no applicators. How in the heck are you supposed to apply the stuff, I thought.

At first when I found out you had to buy brushes, and that they were expensive, I was annoyed. Well, more than annoyed, really. I was pretty convinced that it was a scam and we were going to get ripped off. Yes, I am the paranoid sort.

My mom was very generous and treated me to my makeup AND brushes. I know, my mom is great. But after using and caring for my brushes for 7 years, I now know that brushes are integral for great makeup application. In fact, I think the makeup can only be as good as the tools.

I own brushes by Smashbox, Laura Mercier, Bobbi Brown, Stila, Bare Essentials, Chanel and sephora. The one brush I couldn't live without has got to be the Smashbox blending brush #3. It is amazing. So amazing I named it Simon. Ok, well, not really. I just named him for this blog.

You can basically accidentally dump dark eyeshadow on your lid and still blend it out successfully without washing your face. It is the only brush I use for my eyeshadow. Different sides/sections of it are tapered, and you can really use it to apply shadow anywhere- crease, lid, or brow.

What needs to be said though is that there are only a few brushes you really need. A powder brush, an eyeliner brush, and this blending brush and you could be set. As much as I do really think brushes are important, people have 10 of the best tools for makeup already on their hands.

Aside from that, Smashbox just makes some amazing brushes. They are still as great as they were brand new 7 years ago. I purchased the starter kit for the bare essentials mineral makeup last fall. It was a great deal, it came with several products and two or three brushes. Whenever I would try to use the brushes, the bristles would come off and STICK to my face. There really isn't anything worse than having your friends pick bristles off your face while you are at work.

I really enjoy all of my brushes from Bobbi Brown, Chanel, and Laura Mercier as well. I think it is important to buy a few really great quality brushes and not waste your money on a full set of cheap brushes. And if you are going to get a eyeshadow brush that will have multi uses, do yourself a favor and get one of Simon's siblings. After you start using it, you won't want to live without it.