Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

The Beauty Social 2011: Blogging as a Business

Whew! I’m back home and trying to get into the swing of things again (it’s amazing how just a few days break can make that difficult), but I definitely wanted to recap the panel I was speaking on during The Beauty Social, which was held October 22nd and 23rd at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, presented by Beautylish. There was a full schedule of panels and speakers as well as brand booths for Benefit, CND, Cover FX, Fresh, Makeup Mandy, Sugarpill, Temptu, Urban Decay, and Wella.

It’s a lot of fun to meet and hang out with friends (shout outs to Leesha, Suzy, Lauren, Jasmine, Julie, Marissa, and the Sugarpill crew for being my cheerleaders at the panel) and readers, as well as meet experts and brand founders (like Marissa Shipman from theBalm, Jenny Frankel from Cover FX, makeup artist Billy B.) Even though we live in a world where we are so connected digitally, it’s refreshing to see people in person, hug readers, and get to know more about the people within the beauty industry, from the vloggers to bloggers to editors to the readers that give us the opportunity to have these platforms.  If we took photos, please send it to me! :)

I was invited to be one of the speakers on the Blogging as a Business panel (along with Karen Monterichard, Erika Valente, and Romy Schorr).  It was such a whirlwind panel, but here are a few of the meatier questions asked and my answers (as best as I could remember and elaborated on)!

How do you stay inspired?

I don’t feel like there is ever a shortage of things to write about, because the beauty industry is rather prolific in new products. There are certainly more new products than I can write about! If there’s ever a moment where I’m not sure what to write about next, I look to an ongoing file I have with readers’ requests (which stands at over 6,000). I really look towards my readers to direct the content featured on Temptalia.

How do you balance a full-time job, family, and blogging?

My boyfriend (who is also Temptalia’s web developer) says I don’t have much of a “suck it up” mentality when it comes to many things–except blogging. For example, if I stub my toe, I’ll spend the next hour whining about it, but when it comes to plugging away for twelve hours for blog-related reasons, I’m so there! We all have things we have to do each day, and a lot of those things can’t be minimized. If you work a full-time job, you know you have at least forty hours you can’t get back. You have to figure out how to stay motivated and, well, suck it up. This is why it’s imperative to get the support of friends and family, because they’re often the ones that can lighten your load (at least a little!) or be understanding when you have to cancel plans because a new collection just came out and you need to review it ASAP! Everyone knows that on one of those days, it’s a do-not-talk-to-me-or-I’ll-bite-your-head-off kind of day.

What advice do you have for newer bloggers?

Work hard. I don’t think I or Temptalia would be anywhere close to where it is today without just plain ol’ hard work. There wasn’t a secret recipe, because it’s working hard on every aspect of the blog; from improving photo quality and color accuracy to the user experience to helpful features to discovering the posts readers want to see. It’s about not giving up or focusing on “getting big” but doing it right and with pride. If you take pride in your work, it will show, and that goes for any field, even ones you do not necessarily enjoy at present. I firmly believe that the cream always rises to the top, and if you put in the effort and energy consistently (and have a little patience), you’ll be rewarded.

This past July, I wrote an exceedingly long and in-depth post on beauty blogging, which is the best advice I have to give when it comes to blogging seriously.

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

By Dustin Hunter, Washington, Makeup Artist

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Dustin Hunter has been designing various media since his early teen years. Studying several different art forms, Hunter’s creative background ranges from illustration and photography to fashion and interior design to music production and makeup artistry. As a makeup artist, Dustin Hunter combines his love of music and visual art to construct images of experimental beauty for both stage and photography; creating avant-garde makeup looks for photographers, performers and musicians. Check out his blog and YouTube channel, plus read his full bio.


DIY Halloween Makeup Tips & Tricks

Before my kitchen refrigerator was stocked with fake blood and scab material, I relied on some pretty creative ways to make my own FX supplies. With Halloween just around the corner, some of us may be freaking out and thinking we’ve run out of time to put a costume together, but here are a few DIY tips that I STILL use to this day (even with a fridge full of gore) for last minute costumes:

Matte Eyeshadows | If you’re going to create bruises or dirty, rough, and irritated skin, matte eyeshadows in shades like lime green, mustard yellow, violet, dark brown and blue are must-haves! Any amount of frost or shimmer will give the illusion away in an instant so stick with matte finishes.

Burgundy Lipstick | Highly pigmented, dark red lipstick not only mimics the look of blood quite well (particularly for scraps and small cuts) but also stays where you place it, making it a good choice for long-wearing blood effects.

Luffas and Bath Scrunchies | If you don’t have access to a stippling sponge, a cut up Luffa or tightly-wound bath scrunchie will work to create the look of broken capillaries. Dip the edges into your dark red lipstick and stamp onto the skin.

Food Coloring and Light Corn Syrup | Add several drops of red and just a smidgen of blue for realistic fake blood! Add a small amount of water if you really need the stuff to flow, or if you know your way around a kitchen, you can reduce the mixture over heat (to the “soft ball” stage) for some pretty snazzy homemade scab material! Remember, blood comes in different shades of red (arterial blood is brighter than the blood from veins), so mix accordingly.

Eyelash Adhesive | It’s actually liquid latex. Spread a thin layer onto the skin and start picking and scratching it–be careful though, it’s still your skin you’re scratching at! Fill in the “holes” in your skin with that dark red lipstick to create a nice “road rash” effect!

MORE Eyelash Adhesive and Cotton | Thin strips of cotton (pulled from buds or cotton balls) can be placed on the skin over your lash glue. Set those strips with another layer of glue and you’ll have instant raised scarring!

Hairspray | If you do something cool, you’ll want to make sure it sticks around by using a makeup sealer. I love Final Seal by Ben Nye (Benefit’s She-Laq is nice but pricey). But if you’re in a pinch, reach for the hairspray. A light mist will do the job; just don’t tell your dermatologist I told you to put it on your face.

If you can stomach it, do a few image searches in your favorite search engine for words like “bruise,” “broken capillaries,” and “scrapes and cuts” for inspiration. The best way to learn how to create something realistic looking is to see how it looks… in reality.

See more photos! Continue reading →

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

This post was written by Renée Rouleau, who is a skin-care expert and celebrity esthetician who has been helping men, women and teens attain healthy, glowing, beautiful skin for more than twenty years.

Her philosophy is simple: With the proper tools, effective products and a disciplined approach, anyone can have great skin.  Her skincare line embodies this same approach and follows her dos and don’ts.  In relation to this post, I fully recommend her AHA/BHA Cleansing Gel!

She provides regular skincare advice and tips on her blog, too!

Will my skin care products go bad if left in the heat?

During the summer months, when temperatures are anywhere from 85 to 100 degrees depending on where you live, you might accidentally leave your skin care products in a hot car and wonder if the heat will affect the safety and performance of the product or worse, ruin them. Or, if you order your skin care products online, you will open up your mailbox or see them sitting outside on your doorstep and discover that because of the hot temperatures where you live, your products will be warm to the touch. Because of the heat, you may notice that a gel cleanser, a cleansing lotion, or a moisturizer will have a thinner consistency than normal. These scenarios may leave you wondering if the heat has affected your skin care products. The answer is no.

Heat should not affect the performance of your skin care products. The reason for this has to do with when products are made. When a new product is made in the laboratory, chemists will put it through the “oven test.” This is where a product is put into an oven with temperatures around 115 degrees Fahrenheit with 70 percent relative humidity, and is kept in there anywhere from six weeks to three months. The purpose of the oven test is to determine if a product can stay stable and maintain its integrity, since products can be left in hot cars or in other less-than desirable conditions. Heat can also mimic the long term shelf life of a product to determine if the product will remain constant for a two-year shelf life, and if the ingredients will separate or change consistency. All of the Renée Rouleau products go through this oven test, exposing them to heat over long periods of time to ensure their safety, performance and longevity, so certainly a hot car for a day or two or a hot mailbox for a few hours should not affect the product at all.

Note: The oven test does not factor in UV light, so if your product sits out for long periods of time in UV light or sunlight, this most likely will weaken the performance of ingredients such as antioxidants (which tend to break down in sunlight). So definitely keep your products in a closed cosmetic bag and try not to subject them to long periods in the sun.

Sunday, September 11th, 2011


Autumn Must-Have Makeup

As summer winds down and the temperatures begin to decline, autumn enters, along with a shift in must-have makeup products (or trends, since I didn’t make specific recommendations).  Here are my three for this fall:

The Dark Lip is a fall trend that never gets old and never goes out of style. It must be the cooler temps that make us reach for those cooler, darker berries and plums–and for those of us who are more daring, our truly vampy shades. There are two essential tricks to wearing and pulling off a darker lip: confidence and technique.

You gotta have the confidence to rock the bold lip–this means throwing out any preconceived notions you have of how you look in a dark lip. We get stuck seeing ourselves in a certain way, but trust me, others see us in less of a box! You look killer in your crushed berry lip stain! (And if you need to build-up your confidence level, wear it around the house and good friends.) Secondly, technique is important; you want to take your time and apply a darker lip color with a lip brush when possible, and lining around the lip (with a colorless lip liner or concealer) and on the edge of lip will give you a very crisp, precise lip look as well as longer-lasting color that’s less prone to bleeding. Keep in mind that adding gloss on top of a dark lipstick often increases the chance it will bleed.

The Plum Blush adds color but also definition to cheeks–and it’s an interesting way to switch-up your usual makeup routine. It’s also nice way to embrace some of the more somber tones of autumn that we see so often on lips but on the cheeks. On cooler complexions, I love pinkish plums, while on warmer complexions, brownish plums work well. It can be applied heavily or softly, depending on your preference, and softer, finer textures allow for a really blendable, sheered out looks, while denser products will yield greater intensity in a single pass.

The Matte Lip is back with a vengeance this fall, but we’ll be seeing different twists and takes on what exactly matte means. They’re just not your old school dry-as-a-bone kind of mattes any more. Thank goodness for the improvements in formulas, ingredients, and technology, because we can now achieve matte lips without chalkiness, dryness, or excessive pulling and tugging. Keep your eyes open for some of those new formulas launching in the next month or so!

What are your must-have products for autumn?

Friday, September 2nd, 2011


Back-to-School Quickies

The alarm went off… a half hour ago.  You only have five to ten minutes before you have to head out the door–these are my favorite ways to look and feel good when time is short!

  • Neutral + Dark Crease: Pop a flesh-toned neutral all over the lid and add pop and oomph with a much darker crease. On warmer complexions, an eggplant purple adds definition and color without being over-the-top. On cooler complexions, navy and charcoal blues work well.
  • Bright Eyeliner: Whether you line the lower or upper lash lines (or both!), using a brightly colored eyeliner can give you a really fun look without a lot of work!
  • Find Your Duo: One of my favorite eyeshadow duos is Hourglass’ Gypsy–it just works well for me–and I reach for it regularly when I’m in need of some color on the lid but don’t have a lot of time to think about what I want to do. Whether it’s neutral or not, totally up to you, but finding a duo, trio, or palette with a never-fails combination is essential for those mornings you wake up late!
  • Bold Lips: Don’t be afraid of bold lip colors! Especially as we head into fall (officially, at least!), darker lip colors are always in style. You can add an instant brightness to your face by using a bolder, darker lip color. Plus, darker lip colors tend to last longer on lips, which means less reapplying.
  • “No Makeup” Makeup: Classic, polished, and easy to do once you figure out what products you love most for the look. Ideally, you want to add depth and brightness to the eyes as well as defined lashes; soft glow and natural color to cheeks; smooth, “flawless” skin; and your my-lips-but-better lipstick/lipgloss–look out for plums, mauves, and plummy-pinks.

What’s your go-to look when you only have a few minutes?

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011


More Money for Beauty with These Money-Saving Tips!

A college student’s budget for their favorite beauty products can be a difficult animal to wrangle, especially for incoming college students, so I thought I’d offer up some of my personal tips and tricks on budgeting with a beauty enthusiast’s desires in mind–save money…. so you can have a bigger beauty budget :)

DON’T LET TEXTBOOKS WIN.

There is probably no bigger drain on the budget than the outlandish costs of textbooks. This goes for all levels of post-secondary education (I paid $250 for a b-school textbook a year or two back–are you serious?). When and wherever possible, obtain books outside of your school’s bookstore and try to get them gently used. I’m totally with anyone who can’t handle a book owned by voracious highlighter, so I always kept an eye out in the used book’s description about it. You’d be surprised that you can find gems that were virtually untouched (and probably read minimally by that darling A+ student who already knew it all) for anywhere from 20-80% off the list price. I loved Amazon, personally, both for buying and reselling textbooks.

It’s a good idea to start off with a textbook price comparison site (like bigwords.com), and then go from there. Check out what sites offer free shipping, see where they’re located (e.g. if you’re buying a week before class, you might not want to buy from somewhere across the coast–unless you’re paying for quicker shipping). Then check out coupon sites for any existing coupons (free shipping, 5% off, etc.). If you want the best deals, make sure you start hunting earlier rather than later. The market for used books is like anything else; you’re not the only one hunting for a good deal. Plus, you want to give yourself enough time receive the book.

If you can’t find it used, do price comparison shopping at major retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. My mom always had a BN membership, so I frequently bought new books there that I couldn’t find cheaper used (often English novels and the like), but just as often, I bought off of Amazon. (And if you’re a student, consider the Amazon Student program where you essentially get Amazon Prime benefits–free two-day shipping–for six months at no cost.) Free two-day shipping (and just $3.99 for overnight) has saved my butt SO many times when I’m down to the wire and class has already started!

More tips:

  • Ask friends who have taken the class previously for their books (you might even offer to pay or take them out for lunch/dinner).
  • Ask the professor if you can use a previous edition of a book (90% of the time, it’s totally OK) – if you don’t want to ask, look to see what the time lapse between editions was; the larger the gap, the more likely they made more revisions–but if they put out a new edition every 9 months, you could probably get away with the old edition.
  • Rent your textbook! This was only just bubbling up when I had gone through most of my classes, so I can’t weigh in, but it might be a viable option!

MAKE TEXTBOOKS WORK FOR YOU.

When class has wrapped up, be quick about reselling your textbooks! I can’t emphasize this enough, because it’s something I very often failed to do. Whether you bring a box to your school’s bookstore or you sell them yourself (I always used Amazon), do it right away. Editions change frequently, so you don’t want to get too behind. I have some law school textbooks that were $200+ when I purchased them but are worth $20 now. When shipping out books, use media mail if possible, and if you use USPS, try to cram that book into a flat rate box if you can’t use media mail. If your book wasn’t worth much to begin with or it’s not worth much now, factor in costs to ship and whether it’s worth it.

EAT OUT LESS. OR AT LEAST SAVE ON DRINKS.

Unless you’re scarfing down fast food everyday, eating out is generally more expensive than cooking something for yourself or using the dormitory food plan if you’re on campus. We would always grab fruit, muffins, etc. to take with us, too (my school let you take one item plus one drink cup out) for in-between class snacks. If you want to eat out, use sites like restaurant.com, which offer big discounts on dining out. If you live in a pretty populated area, you can luck out for some good restaurants at a fraction of the cost–but make sure to read all the fine print about minimums. The cost of buying drinks during a meal add up, and this is a big money maker for restaurants. I’m not in school any more, but we cut out drinks (and stick with water) years ago except for the rare occasion. $3 for lemonade or soda can add up!

More tips:

  • Find out if your school has any partnerships in place with local restaurants.
  • Look for reward cards–like Pinkberry has a stamp card, Starbucks comps extras like soy milk if you use a reloadable card, etc.
  • Happy hour doesn’t have to mean just drinks; a lot of restaurants do half-off appetizers.

PLAN YOUR SHOPPING SPREES.

Whether it’s for clothes, shoes, or beauty, watch for big sales. For clothing/shoes, these are much more frequent, and I always liked to partake in back-to-school sales the most. If you love a particular store or brand, get on their email list so you can find out about upcoming sales before they happen. When it comes to beauty, sales are less frequent, but one that most of us anticipate is Sephora’s Friends & Family sale in November. This is an excellent time to stockup on your staples; your moisturizers, concealers, primers, foundations, etc.

DON’T LET CREDIT CARDS ABUSE YOU.

This will save you money (and stress) in the long-run, but a motto I like to live by is to live within my means, so I don’t get to use a credit card and rack up charges that I can’t pay for out of my bank account.  Be fiscally responsible and think of credit cards as being convenient, but they’re not there so you can just borrow money like it’s water.  They’re good for emergencies, when you’re in-between paychecks, or when you can find a good financing deal (like paying for your laptop in 12 monthly installments with no interest–but just make sure you are on top of those payments so you don’t incur past interest charges if you don’t pay in full by the end of the financing deal date).  I had a friend in college who managed to get herself into $20,000 credit debt, and after hearing about that, it’s not something you want to get yourself into.  For most, the interest rates in credit cards is ridiculous, so please take care and don’t buy a $3,000 purse you know you can’t afford.  Credit cards are no doubt tantalizing, but don’t let them abuse you!  Besides, aren’t the student loans daunting enough?

Do you have any money-saving tips for our students?