Thursday, November 24th, 2011

By Sam, Fragrance Contributor

Sam is am 18-year-old freshman at New York University, who is double majoring in Russian Literature/Language and Psychology with a minor in Vocal Performance. Were you to seek him out outside of class, you might find him brushing up on his fencing techniques (épée) at the local academy preparing to try out for NYU’s Division I after a two-year hiatus from a national team. He may be on set at a photoshoot, pursuing his career as high fashion model (you just might spot him walking the runways of NYFW soon!). Or he could be restaurant hopping, hitting up Balthazar for their terrine de lapin, Momofuku for a quick pork bun, and Café Boloud’s lounge side for a cocktail and hideously overpriced dessert. And maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ll catch him belting out “Later” (from “A Little Night Music”) or “Purpose” (courtesy of “Avenue Q”) in the streets or dorm halls. But you can always catch him breaking his diet and sorting though a bag of almond M&M’s, snagging only the blue and green ones. Yellow if he’s desperate!


Must-Have Colognes For a Man Who Likes to Smell Different

It’s becoming a disturbing trend in the fragrance world for companies to rush out new colognes and perfumes simply to have a new bottle in their repertoire. But if you test it alongside other scents you could pull off any shelf, you won’t be able to detect much of a difference. Unfortunately, fragrance producers (as the tricky, conniving beings they are) have found out and distilled what sells to the masses and tend to stick to tried-and-true formulas and notes, throwing in only minor variations that are hardly noticeable amongst the muddled mix of generic woods and too-smooth leathers.

While it may be hard to find interesting, unique fragrances outside of niche perfumery houses or breaking the bank for gilded bottles, there are certainly a few you won’t have to search too hard for that fit this bill. And ladies, take note: although most of these are marketed as masculine colognes, many of them can be worn easily by a confident woman.

Some of these colognes are not going to appeal to many, especially those used to the overly-blended, generic scents that plague the market today.   These few special concoctions will become must-haves for anyone who enjoys taking a risk or simply wants to smell different than anyone else.

  • BVLGARI Black Eau de Toilette Spray ($54.00) | This cologne, housed in an interesting, round phial encircled by a black tire, has notes of black tea, heat, and rubber. It brings to mind contrasting images of hot asphalt and an attic in a summer home filled with old books and wooden chests of curios and mementos collected over decades. This one happens to be one my signature scents.
  • Jean Paul Gaultier Fleur du Mâle ($77.00) | Even the bottle—a well-sculpted male torso—is interesting and different enough. With notes of powdery orange blossom, straw, and something vaguely sweet, this cologne projects sophistication and a subtle hedonism, for a fifties gentleman who enjoys his pleasures and the Italian Piazza.
  • Dior Fahrenheit 1.7 oz Eau de Toilette Spray ($54.00) | An interesting scent that many will dismiss based off of its odd description. And they would be foolish to do so. A powdery, slightly peppery opening smoothly develops into a unique combination of nutmeg and violet. These two intertwine and produce a scent that makes me unfailingly think of an old telephone pole coated in tar on a boardwalk at dusk. There’s a bit of that hot, raw tar smell combined with the saltiness of crushed shells and the warmth of a a setting sun radiating off white sand.
  • Annick Goutal Ambre Fetiche Eau De Parfum Spray ($175.00) | A round, luxurious scent that calls to mind ancient Middle Eastern harems with its syrupy amber notes and smoky incense. Although it is sweet, there is nothing gourmand about this scent save for the slight hint of vanilla that occasionally peeks through. It’s an ethereal, dreamy cologne for those who prefer an more than an edge of mystery and allure.
  • Bang by Marc Jacobs Edt Spray 3.4 Oz For Men ($74.00) | Probably my favorite 2010 men’s cologne release, BANG is a unique, aggressive cologne that screams sex and danger. An opening heavy with spicy cinnamon straight from the bark of the tree develops into a mixture of black, white, and pink peppercorn with a bit of tobacco, reminiscent of extremely expensive cigarettes smoked only by Russian aristocracy in black designer button-downs and indigo wash slim jeans at an exclusive art opening downtown.
  • Philosykos Eau De Toilette ($88.00) | If you own one fig cologne, it should be this. A sweet creamy fruitiness is tempered with earthy greenness that may as well be the soil that lies of the base of the elegant fig tree itself. Or rather, this cologne is simply the experience of sitting below that tree, biting lazily into the soft flesh of the fruit plucked from the branches at the peak of ripeness distilled and bottled.
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

By Leili, Hair Care Contributor

Leili is a 19-year old New Yorker who is obsessed with beauty, chocolate, and celebrity of the trashiest kind. Her drawers look like the stockroom of a hair salon! She’s currently enrolled in her second year of college but still trying to decide on her major. When she’s not worrying about that, she’s either at home with a good book, baking scrumptious goodies for her family, or exploring new restaurants with her friends. Check out her blog, Materialistic Musings!


Leili’s Must-Have Hair Products for Oily Hair

Asking me to pick my must-have hair items is a bit like Sophie’s Choice for product junkies like me, but I finally succeeded in narrowing my list down to my absolute Holy Grail products. Just about everything here is tried and true—things that I have been repurchasing for ages and have stood the test of time. In some small way, they’re almost taken for granted because I use them so consistently that I no longer get excited over the results, but without them, my hair would be a mess of epic proportions.

Batiste Blush Dry Shampoo ($7.99) | I, like so many people, have come to be extremely reliant on dry shampoo—no wonder this stuff’s been around since the ‘70s. I don’t think I’ve gone a week without spraying a bit into my roots since I’ve started using this product. As someone with almost unbelievably oily hair, I use a quick blast of this between shampoos to freshen up, or to add some volume when my crown looks particularly flat. These days, with midterms basically robbing me of any showering time, I rely on dry shampoo more than usual so people won’t know I’m not exactly clean. (And let’s fact it, showering is really something you do for other people!) I’ve tried (and am still trying) all sorts of dry shampoos, but this is the one I always come back to. The only other one that might match the Batiste is the famous Klorane with Oat Milk. But although Klorane’s powder is slightly, slightly finer, I prefer how the Batiste ones are scented—Blush is the prettiest almost perfume-like floral. Besides, considering how often I use dry shampoo, Batiste is $10 cheaper.

Alterna Anti-Aging Caviar Working Hair Spray ($28.00) | As much as I love perfectly styled hair, I have bizarre issues with how it feels and hate the stiffness any product with real hold creates. I’ve tried a lot of hairsprays and while I liked the L’Oreal Elnett for a while, even that was crunchy and didn’t quite “disappear at the stroke of a brush.”  A hair stylist used this on me a couple of years ago to set my curly prom up-do, and two days later my curls looked only mildly rumpled and were smooth and soft to the touch. Not only is a can of this absolutely huge, the product itself is a lovely dry mist that never leaves your hair feeling sticky or clumped together—I’ve never used anything like it. The aerosol spray in particular has also been really thoughtfully designed because you get a nice wide range of spray that comes out in a very fine mist. (This might be a bit of a problem for anyone wanting to spray a narrow area, but works fantastically for larger sections or over the entire ‘do). It is very definitely a workable, flexible spray perfect for maintaining a style worn over a few days or just for anyone who doesn’t like stiff hair. Best of all, this hairspray is paraben, gluten, synthetic color, DEA, TEA, mineral oil, PABA, paraffin and animal testing free! What’s not to love?

Check out more of Leili’s must-haves!  Continue reading →

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

By Laura, 40s, New York, Skincare Contributor

Laura “came of age” in the 80s, so she considers a survivor of some very disturbing fashion and makeup trends, like shoulder pads, acid-washed jeans worn unironically, streaky blush, and thick eyeliner that we softened with a lighter before putting it on–don’t even get her started on what women wore to the gym in those days! She now works in a more conservative field, and she’ll get an odd look or two if she wears crackle nail polish (and she expects we’ll look back on that trend with the same disbelief we now reserve for horizontally-striped leg warmers).


Making Skincare Affordable: Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser

One thing I find difficult about my middle-aged skin is that it doesn’t tolerate rough treatment as well as it did when I was in my 20s and 30s. I used to be able to stay out late, fall into bed leaving all my makeup on when I slept, and wake up with nothing worse than a wee bit of puffiness under my eyes, if that. Not anymore. Now, if I want to skin to look presentable at work in the morning, not only do I have to be a lot more careful about my diet, but I also have to be absolutely fastidious in making sure I care properly for my skin before I go to bed.

Still, despite my having to take a few more minutes in my bedtime routine than I used to, my skincare routine is pretty simple, and I’ve developed one habit that might surprise some people: I don’t use a lot of department store skin-care products. I’ve found after many years of trial and error (more than I care to admit!) that while expense isn’t necessarily inversely proportional to effectiveness, my skin does not necessarily look any better when I spend more money on it.

On the contrary, some of the best products I’ve found are in the drugstore, not at the cosmetics counter. This rule holds particularly true for facial cleansers; I’ve found that there’s absolutely no reason to spend megabucks on any of them. A lot of department store cleansers are very fine.  Sometimes I use Clinique Extra Mild Liquid Facial Soap ($16.00) when I’m feeling flush, but I’ve never found them markedly different from the skincare products you can find easily at Rite Aid or CVS. (I’ve found myself using certain department store products regularly because the drugstore brands don’t make a comparable product – Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm ($27.50), for example – but that’s for another post.)

Of course, there are some cleansers I can’t use because they happen to have ingredients that irritate my skin, but in that regard, I’ve found that the expensive stuff is just as likely to be an offender as are the less-expensive brands. As just one example, I know a lot of people love Philosophy’s Purity, which is $20 for an eight-ounce bottle, and I wish I could love it, because I do love the scent and texture. However, it drives my skin insane and not in a good way. I also haven’t found that cleansers work any better if they have gold-plated ingredients like antioxidants, salicylic acid, and so forth. After all, those ingredients touch your skin for only around a minute before you literally wash them down the drain!

I’ve tried dozens of different cleansers since I was a teenager, and I always come back to Neutrogena in one form or another. The company has, of course, changed its formulations over the years, but right now, my favorite is Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser ($6.50). It not only cleans beautifully, but also removes my makeup–even my eye makeup–thoroughly. I buy it for around seven dollars at Rite Aid. And I live in New York City, so you’ll probably be able to get it even cheaper.

I have another opinion that I know will raise a few eyebrows: I don’t believe in eye creams. But that’s also for my next post!

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

By Nita J., Virginia, Makeup Artist

Nita J is a strong advocate that true beauty lives in each and every individual. To her, makeup just enhances beauty and should never be used to mask the beauty that a person was born with. With her knowledge of makeup, cosmetic brands, marketing and the beauty industry, Nita J hopes to contribute as much as she can and instill in the minds of others that confidence and true beauty is soul-deep. You can check out her portfolio and her blog!


5 Makeup Artist Must-Haves from MAC

As you can probably guess, a major part of the journey of a makeup artist is the wonderful (and sometimes overwhelmingly frustrating) process of testing out products, falling in love with products, purging products and revisiting products. It sure can get exhausting but in the midst of it all, you come to realize what works and what isn’t so great when it comes to what products to include in your kit. Now, I do understand that we are all not makeup artists, but please keep in mind I am a makeup addict myself and this process also helps me decide what to keep for myself.

On my beauty blog, I am working on a series of makeup products, by cosmetic line, that are great for both personal and professional kits. Since MAC is a universally popular brand, let’s start by looking at five AMAZING products:

Eyeshadows

MAC’s eyeshadows ($14.50), although they are more expensive than other brands, have amazing quality and minimal fall-out, which I love. Worn with or without a primer, these eyeshadows tend to stay true to shade and pigmentation. The more neutral shades are normally the most popular staples found in many kits such as Satin Taupe, Patina, Espresso, Rice Paper, and Naked Lunch, just to name a few. Their staying power is what has me hooked!

Pigments

MAC’s pigments ($20.00) are so multifunctional and easy to work with! For simple use, you can take your favorite shade and dust it over your lids for a quick pop of color or use to stain your cheeks. You can even get super creative by mixing with clear lip gloss or MAC’s Mixing Medium to create more artistic looks. The possibilities are truly endless with pigments. I suggest stashing at least one or two in your kit!

Fix+

This is another awesome product that gets lots of buzz. MAC’s Fix+ ($20.00) is a skin-refreshing spray infused with lots of goodies such as vitamins, green tea, cucumber and minerals that calm the skin and finishes your makeup look to help it last throughout the day. It truly does feel great on the skin and has an amazing, fresh fragrance. For added makeup staying power, I like to spray this product on a client’s skin as a foundation primer when I don’t want the heaviness of a moisturizing cream.

Strobe Cream

MAC says that Strobe Cream ($30.00) “enhances the effects of light on all skin and in all lighting conditions from sunlight to spotlight.” That’s exactly what it does!  It gives your skin a quick wake-up call with antioxidants and botanicals that refreshes and rejuvenates the skin. I personally fell in love with it the first time I used it under my Studio Fix Fluid Foundation. It just gives your skin that extra oomph!

Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing Powder/Pressed

I really like that Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing Powder/Pressed ($23.00) not only controls shine, but it minimizes lines and imperfections. This easy-to-use product can be used as a quick fix on the go, even if you are not wearing much makeup for the day. Us makeup artists LOVE our multifunctional products!

What are some of your FAVORITE MAC products that you can’t live without? What are some that you would like to try? I would love to hear your comments!

Friday, November 18th, 2011

By Kimberly Nissen, Australia, Global Expert

Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, Kimberly started her working life early at the tender age of 15. For most of the past 10 years, she has worked for some of the biggest media corporations her sunny country has had to offer. She always wanted to become a writer, but with no training and never having finished high school, it didn’t look like it was going to happen, but then she created The Plastic Diaries and The Styleless Diaries. She also co-founded the first niche-specific blogging event in Australia, the Australian Beauty Bloggers Weekend.


5 Australian Beauty Product Must-Haves

In my first Temptalia questionnaire I touched on some of my favourite Australian beauty brands and products. Limiting myself to just five favorites with only a couple of words to explain why was torturous. I am a beauty loving blogger, I need to rant and rave! Today, we are exploring that topic a little deeper (phew!), and I am excited to share with you my current 5 must-have Australian products. These are the products I believe each person should receive as they disembark the plane when visiting Australia. They make us proud.

Blush Patrol by Napoleon Perdis

I only recently discovered the amazing-ness of baked powder (aka Mineralize) products, and very few Australian cosmetic companies had ventured into that booming corner of the market until recently. My first experience with a baked powder was with this blush by Napoleon Perdis. The recently revamped Blush Patrol was already a smash hit for the brand. The mix of frosty bronze-pink and milky pink-crème colours makes it wearable for most skin tones. It is a shimmer overload but of the highest grade, and there is zero fall-out which should be expected of a baked product. This is my go-to, don’t need to think about it, goes-with-everything blush.  Available from Napoleon Perdis, $50

Eyeshadow Primer by Australis Cosmetics

Like most girls in the world, I love Urban Decay’s Primer Potion for keeping eye shadow on my lids. Unfortunately, it isn’t the most budget-friendly product and unless you are in the USA, it is just about impossible to get. Luckily, we have our very own dupe UDPP dupe from Australis Cosmetics. The primer comes in a pink ‘lipgloss-style’ tube with a doe foot applicator. The formula is quite creamy but not as creamy as UDPP. It appears to be a sheer cream color at first but blends out on the lid to virtually clear. I have oily lids that crease easily, and this lid primer turns any eyeshadow into vibrant, long-lasting color without a hitch.  Available from Australis Cosmetics, AU $12.95

Face Base Primer by Face Of Australia

We all know the importance of face primers but finding the right one is essential. I love Face Base because it sinks into the skin rather than sitting on the surface. It leaves the skin feeling smooth and hydrated, instead of silky and oily like most silicone-based primers can.  It is a no-fuss, affordable product that I cannot recommend enough.  Available from Fashion Addict, $11.95

Tinted Daywear SPF30 + by Invisible Zinc

If there is one thing I believe in more than anything, it is that sunscreen is the most vital part of any anti-aging regimen. In Australia, that belief couldn’t apply more. In our sunny country, UVA is just as damaging as UVB so it is important to be protected from both at all times. Invisible Zinc is a brand that prides itself on doing just that.

My current pick of their products is the Tinted Daywear, which has all the goodness of their moisturizing sunscreen plus the additional goodness of a tint. I find this particularly important because usually sunscreen as strong as this one usually leaves me looking a little extra white, so having the tint means I am protected without looking like a ghost.  It comes in two shades, Light and Medium.  Available from New London Pharmacy, $42

Lanolips Lip Ointment With Colour SPF15 in Mulberry

Every girl needs a good lip balm, and the love of my life at the moment is a new release from Lanolips just for Christmas. Black mulberries happen to be my favourite fruit. Lanolips must have known this when they decided to juice them for a limited edition ointment. Lip Ointment With Colour has been a staple for many Lanolips fans, but this new release smells amazing and leaves your lips tinted a luscious, dark berry hue. The colour is so spot on that it actually reminds me of how dyed my lips looked after eating a bucket full of freshly picked mulberries. It also contains the protection of SPF15 which is an essential to keep lips looking young.  Available from Adore Beauty, AU $13.95

 

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

By Rae Chen, Canada, Global Expert

Rae, the easily-distracted Canadian blogger behind theNotice: a beauty blog, is neither the brains nor the beauty of the operation. (The subjective existence of either has yet to be determined – we’ll get back to you on that one.)

She is, however, a rather relentless makeup junkie with a camera, a lack of a filter, and a writing style that’s rather more snark than sycophant.


A Few Canadian Beauty Product Must-Haves

When I think “Canadian products,” my mind goes promptly to Annabelle and Marcelle, gets stuck in a rut, and refuses to move on. It’s probably the result of some sort of secret frontal lobe damage, but I’m just going to pretend it’s because they really are stellar lines. (Which they are – but I’m long overdue to check out more Canadian products! This is clearly ample justification for a trip to Shopper’s.)

Must-haves for… Lips

If you’re a gloss girl, you have to check out Annabelle’s. They do three different formulas (Le Gloss, Le Gloss Star, and Volumelip), and honestly, all three are worth checking out. Basically: they’re scent- and flavour-free, ridiculously shiny, less than $9 apiece, and non-sticky. I’d love them even if they weren’t Canadian drugstore products!

My other lip love at the moment are Marcelle’s cream-finish Rouge Vitality lipsticks, which pack a ridiculous amount of pigment, a buttery, moisturizing finish, and scent-free, paraben-free formula. Most of the shades wear best on neutral-warm skintones, but the brights would make a gorgeous statement lip on just about anyone! (They’re really lovely on the cheeks, too – I tend to use mine as 3-in-1 lipsticks, lipstains, and cream blushers.)

Must-haves for… Eyes

Marcelle’s Waterproof Eyeliners are often compared to Urban Decay’s 24/7 Eyeliners, and while I can see the similarities… for me, these ones come out on top, every time. The formula’s more solid, so it’s easier to create a sharp line – and, unlike with the Urban Decay pencils, I can get all-day wear with absolutely no transfer or smudging. (They don’t apply well to the waterline, but that’s a price I’m willing to pay!)

I’m head over heels for Marcelle’s Lux Liquid Eyeliners, too, in both the Diamond and Metallic formulas. I adore the Diamond ones, but they really are just your traditional glitter liner – the silver one’s an exact dupe of Annabelle Plutonium (a Glitterama liner), but in better packaging ;) The Lux Metallic liners, however, are something I’ve never seen before. Instead of chunks of glitter, they deliver a gorgeous, liquid-metal sheen – not quite opaque on their own (not in one pass, at least), but absolutely stunning when layered.

The Quick List

Lips: Annabelle Le Gloss Lip Shine ($8.95  CDN) Annabelle Le Gloss Star Lip Shine ($8.95 CDN), Annabelle Volumelip Plumping Gloss ($8.50 CDN), and Marcelle Rouge Xpression Lipsticks ($11.95 CDN).

All four formulas are scent-free, but the Volumelip and Rouge Xpression lines are paraben-free, as well. I’m particularly fond of Annabelle’s Flash Dance (a shimmery medium-rose Le Gloss Star) and Cherryoké (a bright, sheer cherry red Volumelip), and find myself reaching for Amour, Cleopatra, and Paris Rose a lot (the three Rouge Xpressions in these photographs – a semi-matte true red, a bold violet-fuchsia, and an intense pinked-coral, respectively.)

Eyes: Marcelle Waterproof Eyeliners ($10.50 CDN), Marcelle Lux Diamond Liquid Eyeliners ($11.95 CDN), and Marcelle Lux Metallic Liquid Eyeliners ($11.95 CDN).

These ones are all paraben-free, too, and they’re quite gentle on the eyes. My favourite Waterproof Eyeliner shade is probably Indigo (a rich, shimmery navy blue), and I get a lot of wear out of the Pure Gold Lux Diamond eyeliner. (They look amazing together, actually – I’ll do a small kitten flick with former, then outline it with the latter). Jade is probably my favourite Lux Metallic shade, but honestly, they’re all knockouts!

See more photos & swatches! Continue reading →