Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

Common Beauty Fixes for Bridal Disasters

Dark Circles

It is important to know what you are trying to counteract; if you opt for something too light, you may get a gray cast to those dark circles you’re trying to conceal. I often find that color correctors are an absolute necessity to really counteracting any discoloration, including dark circles, especially as a prepping stem. Concealer should be a shade or half a shade lighter than your natural color foundation, and it is important that you be patient while applying concealer and do a thorough job. If you have noticeable wrinkling or lines around the eye, I suggest finding a primer that helps minimize noticeable lines by “filling” them in before you apply concealer. My favorite concealer is Kanebo’s Brush-On Concealer–it’s a little pricey, but it does the job well. Other cult favorites are YSL Touche Eclat (also pricey) and Dior Skinflash Radiance Booster (pricey again–see a trend?), but MAC Select Cover Upicon is a less pricey favorite, too.

Tear-proofing

Some brands make eye and lip sealers, which help to minimize the effects that water (aka your tears) will have on your makeup. Mascara is the easiest, as so many come in waterproof formulas these days–some, like Kanebo, have kinds that will only come off with water at a certain temperature (like lukewarm water that you’d wash your face with) and others like Clinique’s Lash Powericon last 24 hours (btw, take the Lash Power Challenge & score a free tube of Lash Power). Liner is tougher, but it can be done, especially if you opt for liquid (Liquidlast by MAC will save your life!). Eyeshadows, blush, and foundation will be the most susceptible to sliding around with too much tearing. Kryolan has a makeup sealer that you can spritz on your face to minimize the effects that works decently. Benefit’s She Laq and Make Up For Ever Eye & Lip Seal can both be effective as well. I do prefer Kryolan, because it holds up better, though, but it is harder to track down.

The most important thing you can do is to layer your makeup, including prepping and priming each area, regardless of whether you routinely do this in your everyday makeup.

Stress Breakouts

Go back to your basic skin routine, and be sure you are absolutely removing all of your makeup each night. It is important that you are getting the right intake of water on a daily basis as well as trying to get at least eight hours of sleep at night–and solid sleep, not constantly waking up. Wedding planning stress keeping you up? Try keeping a notebook by your bedside so you can jot down any last minute ideas or concerns before dropping off to sleep–this way you can deal with those in the morning. Also, reading a fun book may also help relax you (e.g. cheesy romance novels!) and get your mind on something else.

Invest in either Zeno Pro Acne Clearing Device or Thermaclear Heat Enabled Acne Treatment to really banish those nasty zits pretty much overnight. Considering how much the average wedding costs, the cost of either gadget will be well worth it when you see your wedding photos (and much clearer skin). I’ve just found nothing that is more consistent and effective in really reducing and even eradicating that bothersome pimple that decided to pop up right on the tip of your nose two days before the big day. If you can, going to the dermatologist for a cortisone injection is also an option to consider.

Plump Up That Pout

Lining your lips helps to give an appearance that they’re fuller, as well as putting a touch of high shine gloss to the center of your bottom lip. Defining your lips (including accentuating your cupid’s bow) will also help to give an illusion that your lips are bigger than they normally are. Many brands also offer a whole slew of lip plumping products which basically increase the blood circulation of your lips, which then give a bee-stung pout effect. I prefer FusionBeauty LipFusionicon as my plumper of choice, though it is pricey. I found that it plumped well, held it for a few hours, and it didn’t burn like DuWop’s Lip Venom does (I couldn’t take the sting on that one!).

Perfect Photographing

One of the most important pieces of your bridal makeup choice is how it will reflect in photos. These are mementos you will be looking at for the rest of your life, and it is only natural to want to look your best. Part of this is recognizing that certain makeup and products photograph better than others.

As important as SPF is, note that SPF often reflects light in photographs, which will make your face appear lighter than the rest of you (or wash you out). I always advise you to skip the SPF for this one occasion if it’s possible. If you burn easily and have an outdoor wedding, makeup artist Tosha suggests using MAC’s Prep + Prime SPF50icon, because it is a primer so it’ll be layered with foundation and powder without SPF that it shouldn’t reflect light, especially since outdoor weddings do not utilize flash as often (and having to wear SPF is usually a concern for those having an outdoor wedding).

Less shimmer means better photography. Flash just interferes with everything, doesn’t it? Shimmer may look fab in person, but it can often reflect too much in photos, causing you to have white spots or look washed out/too bright. It may accentuate wrinkles or problem areas, too. Opt for “adult shimmer” if you must, which is mostly ultra fine shimmer that goes on evenly and subtly.

Test, Test, & Test Again

This is your big day, and there is no reason to decide on makeup the night before. Practice the look you want, especially if you’re doing it yoruself, but more importantly, to test to see how it will hold up under reality. Mist yourself with water to see what happens if you sprung tears all over the place! Wear it for hours and see what it looks like–did your foundation slide around? Wear it out in hot conditions if you’re having an outdoor wedding! Eat a meal and check to see how much re-applying you have to do. Also, if you take take test shots of your makeup either with your own camera or the hired photographer’s–do it! This is totally going to help you determine how you’ll appear in photographs, especially candid shots. If you take these measures, you will be able to fine-tune and create a dream makeup routine that you know will work for your big day.

Most products are available at Nordstrom.com and Sephora.com. Stay tuned for bridal makeup tips for your skin, eyes, lips, body, and even nails!

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

Many of us use only one facial cleanser, but is it doing a good job? Put your favorite cleanser to the test! After using it, take a cotton pad with a liquid makeup remover on it (like Lancome’s Bi-Facil), and see if your cleanser left any makeup behind. Now, look at the cotton pad: what do you see?

If you found that after half of your face, you really needed a second cotton pad, that is a very bad sign. Some of you will find that you do see residual dirt/makeup (especially foundation), and it may shock you to realize how much product you have left on your face every night. Did you find nothing on that cotton pad? Congratulations, you are getting the most mileage out of your cleanser (and be sure to share it in the comments, so other readers can benefit from your experience!).

Reason to Use More than One Cleanser

  • You wear a lot of eye makeup–whether that’s intense shadow, heavy mascara, or waterproof liner. Lots of eye products can be difficult to remove with a typical cleanser, simply because there’s a lot of it, and many products are waterproof and break down best with oil-based cleansers. Additionally, pigmented shadows can stain lids without targeted removal.
  • You wear foundation–if you’re good about application, this means that you get close to your hairline, and you get a little on your jawline/underneath your jaw (sort of on your neck). This area is easy to miss when you’re cleansing and rinsing your face (honestly, how many of you cleanse your neck every night?). I know that when I’m rinsing my face, I no doubt miss spots near my hairline!
  • You wear lipstick/lipgloss–it may not stay on when you’re eating and drinking, but using a regular facial cleanser doesn’t always break it down.
  • You’re acne-prone–you want to be sure you remove any dirt and residue from your face to reduce acne, especially when you know your cleanser does leave something behind.

What to do when your cleanser fails:

Makeup Remover Wipes–these are available through an assortment of brands from drugstore to high-end. A cult favorite are MAC wipes (there is a special fondness for their scent, too), but you can go the drugstore route and come out okay.

  • Pros: Remove a lot of makeup at once
  • Cons: Can tug more at eyelids and skin

Makeup Remover (Liquid, Gel, Mousse, etc.)–think Lancome Bi-Facil, MAC Cleanse-Off Oil, etc. These are products that are specifically geared to take off your makeup, and they are tested to truly break down makeup products. Some products you can apply and lather, others are meant to be used in conjunction with cotton pads, swabs, etc..

  • Pros: Removes makeup very well, leaves minimal residue behind
  • Cons: May leave a residue behind, feel oily, sting eyes

Change Your Routine!–we all love that one product that can do it all, but maybe it’s just not cutting it. Maybe that stubborn acne isn’t worth it and could be cleared up with more stringent cleansing habits! Let me share with you what I have found really works well…

  • Makeup Removing Wipe: when I wear something really, really heavy for eye makeup or still have the majority of my lipstick/gloss on, I use a wipe to take it off. I go gently, don’t tug much, and never try to remove it all using just a wipe.
  • Facial Cleanser: After using the wipe to get off the initial bits and bobs of makeup, I’ll use my normal facial cleanser, which does a pretty good job of breaking down makeup, but it just isn’t perfect.
  • Makeup Remover: I take one cotton pad and tap some liquid makeup remover (I use Lancome’s Bi-Facil right now) then go along my face, paying attention to the hairline, jawline, skin underneath eyes, and around my nose (any crevice that might be susceptible to makeup buildup or being missed during cleansing).

How does your cleanser hold up? What cleanser are you using?

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

If you’re living in a naturally warmer climate (cough, California!), it’s easy to confuse spring with the beginning of summer as blue skies dominate and the sun shimmers down. But whether you’re jonesing for a touch of summer in your life or are already breaking out your booty shorts, bronzers are often turned towards for a subtle, sunkissed glow that is an earmark of summer and fun.

1. Flirt! Bring on the Bronze Bronzing Powder ($12.00) comes in two shades, Foxy Bronze and Golden Minx. What I like about both shades is that neither is too dark, which makes it easier to go natural rather than overboard. I loved Golden Minx, just because it is a really great shade of peachy-bronze that is perfect for summer. The packaging is interesting and unique (slides out, flips up), but I found that I felt a bit like I could easily break it.

2. Face Atelier Ultra Bronzers ($30.00) have three shades, ranging from a medium bronze to a deeper color bronze. Face Atelier uses micronized pigments wrapped in silicones to make a bronzer that lasts longer on the face and doesn’t emphasize fine lines or wrinkles. It is incredibly soft, smooth, and it has decent buildability. It is also meant to be moisture, heat, and sebum resistant. I personally found it wore well throughout the day with noticeable fading.

3. Cover FX ‘Bronzed FX’ Bronzing Powder ($28.00) uses “micro-nutrient” technology, which is Greek-speak to me, but it is wax-free, oil-free, paraben-free, and fragrance-free. What I really liked about this line of bronzers is that it comes in five shades, but not all of them are just “bronze” colors. They have Garnet and Pink Topaz, both which look like blushes with golden sheen. Gold and Bronze are more typical of the bronzer family, while Golden Peach reminds me a lot of NARS Orgasm, with more gold shimmer.

4. Jane Iredale Moonglow & Sunbeam ($46.00) are compacts that have four colors inside them. The shades feature bronze and copper shades to be used alone, together, or in combination thereof. It is a bronzy highlighter to help warm up skin in a natural way. In case the price tag made your heart stutter, the gold shimmer is the result of 24 karat food grade gold flakes. You can use these all over, because it doesn’t contain and FD&C dyes or irritants.

Make sure you didn’t miss part one or two!

Find these bronzers and more at Nordstrom.com or Sephora.com.

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

If you’re living in a naturally warmer climate (cough, California!), it’s easy to confuse spring with the beginning of summer as blue skies dominate and the sun shimmers down. But whether you’re jonesing for a touch of summer in your life or are already breaking out your booty shorts, bronzers are often turned towards for a subtle, sunkissed glow that is an earmark of summer and fun.

Estée Lauder ‘Bronze Goddess’ Soft Matte Bronzer ($29.50) is part of their summer Bronze Goddess launch. It’s a smooth, silky bronzing powder that minimizes oil to keep skin looking more matte throughout the day. The compact comes with a contoured brush, which I adore. I don’t love sponge applicators, and usually, that’s what you get in a compact. Instead, you can tote this easily transportable compact with a fabulous little brush inside for last minute touch-ups.

Dior Essential Bronzing Powder ($40.00) is very much like your typical bronzer, though I will say it goes on like velvet and feels like silk. It also blends incredibly well with my natural skin tone so that it really does create a subtle bronzed look without being too heavy or unnatural.

GlowFusion Micro-Tech Intuitive Active Bronzer GlowFusion ($39.00) is Fusion Beauty’s answer to giving you glowing skin. It is supposed to help fill in fine lines and wrinkles to help give the appearance of healthier skin that glows. There are “soft-focus luminzers” to help give you that bronze color by their InvisiSkin complex. With all their techy and patent-speak, it makes me skeptical. I actually happened to get this when I attended a Nordstrom Beauty Trend Show a season ago, and while it is deliciously smooth and feels like silk on skin… I can’t say that I would ever splurge $39 on it.

MAC Bronzing Powder ($20.00) come in three shades that have a touch of shimmer (very fine, very subtle!) to help highlight and color naturally. I only own one bronzer by MAC, and it will probably last me a lifetime. I think the shade I own is Golden Bronze or something like that. Each summer, MAC launches their summer skin/bronze line, and that’s usually a great place to pick up a bronzer.

Stay tuned for part three (did you miss part one?)!

Find these bronzers and more at Nordstrom.com or Sephora.com.

Monday, March 24th, 2008

If you’re living in a naturally warmer climate (cough, California!), it’s easy to confuse spring with the beginning of summer as blue skies dominate and the sun shimmers down.  But whether you’re jonesing for a touch of summer in your life or are already breaking out your booty shorts, bronzers are often turned towards for a subtle, sunkissed glow that is an earmark of summer and fun.

Urban Decay Baked Bronzer ($24.00) looks very much like a the famous MAC mineralize skinfinishes, so if that’s your bag… you should definitely get your butt to your nearest Sephora to check this out! What I like about the Baked bronzer is that you can use it either wet or dry, and using it wet won’t ruin your product or leave a wet stain/spot behind. I actually tried a coming-soon shade in Gilded, which will is part of Urban Decay’s Summer 2008 launch. Original shades Baked and Toasted are fairly uniform in color throughout the product, but Gilded has gold spun through it (very much reminiscent of MSFs!).

Clinique True Bronze Pressed Powder Bronzer ($23.50) is an ultra lightweight powder compact that goes on so smoothly and lasts awhile. I like that it comes in four shades, which gives possibilities to different shades to go for subtle bronzing or deeper color as they please. The compact is sleek and transportable, which is great for doing makeup on the run as I know many of us will be spending plenty o’ time outdoors once weather permits.

Xen-Tan Perfect Bronze Perfect Bronze ($28.00) is a velvety smooth bronzing powder that is designed to “never look orangey or pink, even on fair skins.” Unfortunately, as I’m nowhere near fair, I can’t report on the accuracy of that statement, but it does give me hope for those who have been hesitant about getting into bronzer because of the orange-effect.

Guerlain Terracotta ($42.00) is a luxurious bronzer (hello, it’s Guerlain) that is moisturizing and lasts all day. The powder is also supposed to help protect your skin against free radicals. According to Guerlain, “neutral bronze” is suitable for all skin colors, though the product does come in four shades. If you’re a fan of this brand and have extra cash in your wallet, this isn’t a bad item to splurge on. Though I personally find that for bronzing, since I rarely use straight bronzers by themselves, that I do not need a product like this (then again – it would last me eternity!).

Stay tuned for part two, with even more bronzers to choose from!

Find these bronzers and more at Nordstrom.com or Sephora.com.

Monday, March 17th, 2008

Looking for product recommendations? Expect several reviews of self-tanning options from sprays to creams to gradual to intense over the coming weeks!

Maintain It | So you spend all this time and energy on creating the perfect faux tan, but how are you going to keep it looking good? Unfortunately, self-tanning does not give you a tan that will last you months, but you may be able to get a good three days with a few additional days of decent tan if you make sure you take the proper steps.

Moisturize daily! Because self-tanners dye the first layer of skin cells, as they dry and flake off, so will your tan!

Exfoliate sparingly, and when you do, lightly! As mentioned earlier, the self-tanner only affects the top layer of the skin, so body scrubs and exfoliants will cause the tan to flake off faster. It is important to exfoliate every two or three days, though, because it will help the tan to “fade” naturally.

Avoid chlorine and excessive baths/showers, because these can strip the top layer of the skin and limit the effectiveness of your tan and its lasting power.

Gradual self-tanners work really well to help minimize the fading effect of tans, and I have found that they can extend the life of my tan by two to four days, depending on how well moisturize my skin is.

Expect your tan to last a week or less. Most people will find that they will need to re-do their self-tan within a week, and even if you happen to go outside of that, ten days is pushing it. When the time comes to re-do, make sure you go through all the steps of prepartion and application all over again!

Part 1 — Preparation, Part 2 — Application

Feel free to share your tips, horror stories, and advice for self-tanning!

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