Sunday, January 29th, 2012

By Victoria, Theatre Makeup Artist

Victoria is a 19-year old college sophomore who attends school in Massachusetts for Engineering, but she’s an avid Theater Makeup Artist and has worked on a variety of shows, from dance shows (think intense, flamboyant glitter) to periodic musicals. She aims to combine her “nerdy” passions with her artistic ones: to overanalyze the mathematics of reshaping the face, learn the science of why a product works better or worse. She’s a romantic dreamer who enjoys re-imagining herself in a soap opera, pretending one day a prince is going to come riding in on a dragon and take her away. Until then, she’s planning to use her makeup brushes and colors to force her friends to be the stars of her imaginary fairy tale.


How-to: Blushing & Highlighting

As a follow-up to my post on contouring, I wanted to discuss how to finish up your look with blush and highlighter. Blush and highlighter really bring life to the face, giving you that sought-after glow. Highlighter has a secondary benefit of really bringing contrast to the shadows, which brings out more of that lovely bone structure.

When do you need blush, highlight, and contour? For me, the answer to blush is always, but what about contour and highlight? If you’re of a darker skintone, like NC/W 45+, skip the contour and stick only with highlight. Contour colours unfortunately rarely run too dark, and you risk the color looking muddy on the face. On the other hand, if you’re lighter skinned, like NC15 and up, be very careful with balance. A dramatic contour and highlight can really sculpt out your features but beware of the risk of looking skeletal.

What You Need

A good directional brush, with a smaller head, or a head the size of the apple of your cheek. The same brush for contouring works perfectly here, so options like the MAC 165, MAC 109, or e.l.f. Blush Brush work perfectly. As for a brush with the head the size of your apple of your cheek, options like the MAC 119 (for smaller apples) or 120 (for rounder apples) are great.

Your favorite highlighter. For more of a glowy effect, choose shimmery highlighters, like Dior’s Amber Diamond, Elf Studio Shimmer Palette, or MAC Cream Colour Base in Pearl/Hush. These will give you beautiful glowy finish and really bring your face to life. For a more of dramatic effect, to contrast with the contour, stick with a matte flesh-toned shade that is a step or two lighter than your natural skintone. For this, I turn to powder foundations, or back to my trusty MAC Shape powders, which contain a hint of shimmer (but not too much!). You can definitely layer a shimmer powder over a matte lighter powder, but for natural looks I would avoid this, as it tends to read a bit ashy.

What shades should you choose for highlighter? For a natural highlight, its important to match your undertone with the product. Warmer beauties will find products with a golden or yellow undertone to be really flattering, like Dior Amber Diamond, NARS Albatross, or MAC CCB in Hush. Cooler beauties will find pinker or even lavender toned highlights work great. Look for products like Dior Rose Diamond, NARS Miss Liberty, or MAC CCB in Pearl.

Your favorite blusher. If you’re going with a shimmery highlighter, avoid a blush with too much pearl or frost unless you want to compete with a Twilight vampire for attention!

If we refer back to my original diagram for contouring, it makes finding blusher and highlighter placement is easy!  I like to highlight after contouring; generally, highlighting anywhere where you didn’t contour will help deepen the shadows.

Make a line parallel to the contour line on the top of your cheekbone, and along that line is where the highlight should go. Placing the highlight closer towards your ears will widen your face. Highlighting closer to the apple of the cheek will cause the apples to appear rounder. Whatever you choose, the length of your highlight line should not exceed the length of your contour line; stop highlighting wherever your contour stops.  Then, highlight under the browbone to make the browbone pop, and extend out that highlight to join with your cheekbone highlight. This will help deepen and define the socket, as well as define your cheekbones.

Applying blush last will help to gently blend everything together, but don’t overdo it or else your lines will become muddy and unclear! Blush placement helps reinforce highlighter placement, so apply your blush along a parallel line in between the contour and highlight lines. Don’t smile and apply blush! On many face shapes, this will actually cause the blush placement to be too low. Instead, get some extra lift by applying blush higher along that line. However, if you have a wider face, or you want to soften the cheekbones, apply blush lower along the line, as it will give you an instantly slimmer face.

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

By Sheila, 21, Canada, Global Contributor

Sheila is a Chinese-Canadian blogger in her early twenties with a passion for beauty. You can pretty much find her on Twitter at all waking hours of the day. She makes irrational judgments when it comes to purchasing decisions and would choose a $70 foundation over a $30 blouse any day.  For those who wonder, Sheila has dehydrated normal skin that occasionally breaks out. Her foundation shades are MAC NC25, Chanel B20 Beige Tendre and Guerlain #2. Check out her blog, Maddy Loves!


Shopping Guide for Canadian Beauty Products

If you find yourself shopping for cosmetics in Canada, here is a guide to help you find the brands and products you are looking for. The two main places you should visit are Shoppers Drug Mart (Pharmaprix in Quebec) and Loblaws (or Real Canadian Superstore). These stores offer the widest selection of Canadian beauty and cosmetic products. You will find brands such as Marcelle (one of my favorites) and Annabelle at any of these stores. You can also find Quo, which makes high quality makeup brushes, at all Shoppers Drug Mart locations, as well as Cover FX, Lise Watier and Vasanti. Loblaws/Superstore offers Joe Fresh Beauty exclusively, as well as at Joe Fresh Boutiques (including the one to open on 5th Avenue in New York).

If you happen to have some additional time and you’re in Western Canada, also check out London Drugs, which has extensive cosmetics departments and offer brands such as Lise Watier and Vasanti.

Some websites that ship Canadian beauty products include:

  • Marcelle is one of my favorite beauty brands, and they’ve just recently opened their online store, which ships to Canada and the United States. They offer free shipping for orders over $50, or if your order is under $50, then shipping costs $14.95 to the US and starting from $7.95 within Canada.
  • eBeauty offers a very wide selection of Canadian beauty products that you cannot find elsewhere. They only ship within Canada and they normally offer free shipping with orders over $75, but they often have promotions where free shipping is offered with orders of $25 or more.
  • Vasanti Cosmetics’ online shop ships worldwide! They have their entire lineup of products available online with very reasonable shipping rates starting at $7 for Canada and the US and $13 for international. Their lip products are highly recommended, as well as their Liquid Cover-Up foundation and concealer in one.

 

Generally, prices in Canada for non-Canadian brands are anywhere between 10-40% higher than the United States for the same product. If you are going to be visiting the United States, I would recommend waiting to purchase the products there. We also tend to get products later than the United States, so not everything that is out in the US is already out in Canada!

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

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!


Transform Your Glow by Mixing Illuminators with Foundation

No matter what time of year it is, I find that most clients always want to accomplish a natural “glow” with their look. I personally have always liked a nice healthy, glowing complexion when doing my makeup on a daily basis, so I love trying out new products that would be me achieve this. An awesome tip that I tried once, fell in love with and kept it within my normal routine, is mixing a good illuminating product with foundation.

When you think of “glow,” most would reach into their beauty bag for a bronzer, which is perfectly fine. I tend to use an illuminating lotion rather than a bronzer because, for one, it blends into your foundation for a more seamless glow, and two, it looks more natural and tends to look a little more radiant.
When choosing and illuminating products, it’s best to use something that is sheerer (so that it doesn’t alter the color of your foundation), light, and doesn’t have a ton of shimmer, to give a more natural effect.

Think about it; when you “glow” naturally, your skin doesn’t produce large particles of glitter, right? Something with just a hint of shimmer will do the trick. There are many products out there that would help with this trick, but after trying numerous products, there are two in particular that I just love and can’t get enough of:

Smashbox Artificial Light Luminizing Lotion ($26.00) comes in three shades: Diffuse, which gives off a nice pearly effect, Flash, which has a hint of soft pink, and Glow, which is a soft, golden bronze. These are all great shades because of the lightweight feel and consistency of the lotion.  They also do not change the color of your foundation. I have found that “Flash” works on many of my clients, no matter their skin tone, and I reach for it all the time. All you need is just one to two pumps of the product and you get an awesome glow. I like to mix the lotion with foundation before applying to the face. This is definitely something that I keep in my personal kit as well as my professional kit.

This is another great product that will beautifully transform your foundation and give you a subtle glow, but make a great statement. This NARS Illuminator ($29.00) comes in four shades; a soft pearl shade called Copacabana, Laguna, which is a soft brown with golden shimmer, the best-seller, Orgasm, which is a peachy-pink lotion with a little shimmer, and Super Orgasm, also peachy-pink but with more of a golden, shimmery finish. All of these are great, but I have discovered that Copacabana and Orgasm looks amazing on just about anyone I apply it to. Just a very small amount of this product is needed to achieve a beautiful glow. Again, mix with foundation before applying to the face for maximum results!

With all of the illuminating products out there, what are some that you have tried and fell in love with? I’d love to know!

Friday, January 27th, 2012

By Polly, Local Contributor, English

Polly is a 22-year old recent graduate who hails from England. She studied East Asian studies, so she learned some Japanese and even spent six weeks in Japan last summer–she loved it and hopes to return one day.

She currently lives with her family and waitresses while trying to decide on her future career. Polly is fortunate to have a wonderful boyfriend who spends countless hours with her at Boots and makeup counters–even if it is done so begrudgingly! Check out her blog, Beauty Mish Mash!


Pink Gold, Charcoal, Gold Iridescent,
Fine Glitter Dust in Silver, Old Gold, Winter Berry

How Barry M Dazzle Dusts Changed my Life – and 5 Ways to use Them

The title may sound a little melodramatic, but I always wonder whether my life would be just a little different if Barry M’s Dazzle Dusts (£4.59) hadn’t sparked my make up obsession. Would I be like the rest of my family, who can all fit their make up collection in one small, neat, fuss-free make up bag? What would I have done instead of spending hours obsessively searching for swatches on the computer? And, perhaps the most painful question of all, how much money would I have saved? Whatever the answers may be, if I could go back in time I certainly wouldn’t tell my 16-year-old self to carry on walking past the pretty, sparkly colors at the Barry M stand.  I still can’t tell my 22-year-old self to keep walking either, no matter how empty my purse is!

So, in a tribute to Barry M’s Dazzle Dusts, I am going to dedicate this post to them and share five ways in which I use them!

1. Eyeshadow

There are so many colors to choose from that I can’t imagine running out of new combinations for the eyes! And despite the image that Barry M is all about bright colors–as I have come to know the brand–I’ve realized that there are quite a few subtler ones that you can easily use for everyday! In my look below, I used Dazzle Dusts in Gold Iridescent and Old Gold to create a really basic, toned down look.

2. Eyeliner

It is so easy to make any eyeliner color imaginable by using a mixing medium (I use Illamasqua Sealing Gel (£10.50)) and combining it with a Dazzle Dust. Use an eyelining brush to apply the mixture for your very own customized color of eyeliner! My favourite colors to use are bright blues or rich chocolate browns. I used the Charcoal Dazzle Dust to make the eyeliner in my look below!

3. Blusher

The Pink Gold Dazzle Dust makes for a beautiful rosy glow on my skin, as it is a peachy-pink with a lovely gold sheen–you can see it applied as a blusher in my look below. If you want a really glittery highlighter, try the Gold Iridescent Dazzle Dust!

4. Lipgloss

To make a colored lipgloss, simply take a clear lipgloss and mix it with a Dazzle Dust. There are so many pinks and reds to choose from. In my look below I used Winter Berry, which makes a gorgeous vampy shade for the lips.

5. Nail Varnish

You can use Barry M Dazzle Dusts/Fine Glitter Dusts with nail varnish to create an effect like the one shown below. I used Barry M Cyan Blue Nail Varnish (£2.99) and then blew Barry M’s Fine Glitter Dust in Silver (£4.59) over the base of the nail.

I hope you enjoyed reading about the five ways I use Barry M’s Dazzle Dust! I’d love to hear about your favourite colours from the range, or if you’ve ever tried any of these methods!

Check out swatches and see these in action!  Continue reading →

Friday, January 27th, 2012

By Sam, Teen Beauty Expert

Sam is 14-years old, lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her mom and two (of three!) older brothers. She was born and raised in Georgia, but her family originally hailed from Illinois. You will find her busy meeting new people and enjoying teen soap operas/dramas (like Vampire Diaries)–and of course, she’s madly in love with all things beauty. When she’s not playing around with makeup, you’ll find her with headphones on listening to everything; from classical to rap, pop to heavy metal, and almost everything in between (though she favors rock!).


Sam’s Teenage Acne Must-Haves

Almost every teenager goes through breakouts and even some adults still deal with it. It happens. And it sucks.  I could go on and on about how frustrating it is to wake up with a surprise on my face, but you probably already know how that goes!

A little history on my experience with acne: I had my very first breakout when I was around ten-years old. I’ve never heard of anyone breaking out as young as me, even though they were far and few in between. I was around twelve when I started getting worried about my skin. My breakouts were on the moderate side but becoming more frequent. I would drag my mom to Walmart or CVS to buy a new cleanser every few weeks. I literally tried everything I could buy at the drugstore.  Usually the product would work fine for about two weeks, give or take, but then my skin would tolerate whatever I was using, and just like that I was back to square one.

I’m almost fifteen and  I’m still struggling to keep my skin tame, but from trial and error, I have learned a few things that I want to pass on to readers, teenagers or not, who relate. I really wish I had some “before” pictures, but either the camera washed me out or it was taken too far away and you couldn’t see it at all!

Stay Confident No Matter What

Self-confidence isn’t a product you can buy at the store or a topical treatment you apply to your face or a prescription a dermatologist can give you. It comes from with in, and trust me, it helps!

I’ve shed my fair share of tears over my skin and that’s totally fine! Acne can really take a toll on one’s self esteem, if they allow it. Sure, sometimes it may seem like you’re the only one among your friends who’s breaking out. But you’re not alone in this! I’ve watched all three of my older brothers go through it, and now it’s my turn.

Staying positive is key! Look in the mirror and list a few things you love about yourself. You’ll feel better instantly and having a good attitude will make a world of a difference! If you focus on the negative, you’re only battling yourself and nobody wins. That isn’t worth the time or energy, now is it? Remember that having acne isn’t the end of the world!

Check out three products Sam uses to help with her acne!  Continue reading →

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

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

I’ve always believed that the best colognes are those that create an experience, not just emit a cloud of scent. I don’t just want to smell the tar and heat; I should be able to see the pier, with its slatted wooden footing worn smooth from years of fishermen’s shuffling, the slightly rotten posts at the end spotted with tar and what appear to be mollusks in a nearly deliberate pattern as if it is stricken with some sort of Rorschach-ian disease, the viscous smoke emanating from the small boat that refuses to start. (For those of you curious, Dior Fahrenheit inspired this description.)

Unfortunately, I had had to be content with imagining and fleshing out these scenes to suit what I was used to colognes giving me: at best, murky, amorphous images that only came together with a rather startling amount of effort from myself, and at worst, just an aura of various smells to walk around in for a few hours. The English and Classics majors of those reading this may wonder at my use of pluperfect tense—“had had”—and rightly so. I recently stumbled upon a cologne so powerful and evocative that it is able to create with scent what words and illustrations often fail to.

What Annick Goutal Ambre Fetiche ($125.00) sets in motion upon the first spray is a journey. You begin perched beside the driver of a rather large wagon, perhaps the largest in this caravan. The man holding the now-coiled whip beside you doesn’t stir as the fierce winds snatch at the ends of the rough cloth, colored so as to fade into the surrounding sands, that encircles his entire face, save for his eyes. Having finished accosting the man, the winds force their way into the covered wagon and rattle the bottles within, filled with thick syrups from the north, tinctures so alcoholic that they evaporate within seconds of being uncorked, and resins from the greater forests to the west that somehow do not solidify. You’ve been surrounded by these powerful scents for days now, so that you’re sure your clothing, and even your hair, is sure to evoke their memory for days after you reach the city.

You reach the city within the week. Having snuck off from the caravan the previous night, you wend your way through the snaking streets—unpaved dirt and sand-packed hard by the thousands who crowd the city’s poor district—towards the inner ring. Sunlight glints off the domes of the palace. You absently think of how the gold leaf from even the smallest of them could keep you in luxury for months.

Having presented your writ of passage to the guard at the main gate, you now follow the escort—whose wickedly curved sword looks fresh from the whetstone—to what appears to be the center of the estate. The silken slippers you were made to exchange for your soft boots before you entered cause you to pitch forward ever so slightly with each step. You are unsure of how the turquoise and ivory tiling of the floor is meant to provide sufficient footing for anyone. The escort stops rather sharply and reaches for the bone handle of a door that is otherwise indistinguishable from any of the numerous others you’ve passed. He pushes inward with no apparent force and bows, making it obvious that you are meant to enter alone.

Your eyes tingle from thick, dry smoke wafting from the candles standing in mirrored stands along the wall, noting that they must be laced with something to produce such a miasma. A thick carpet patterned in intricate scroll work and worked heavily in gold thread steadies your stance. Having adjusted to the heady incense, you notice the countless fringed pillows strewn about the floor, seemingly meant to take the place of formal chairs. The privacy screens, painted with exotic birds and flowering trees, nestled in the corners of the room seem to be in mocking contrast to the twelve or so men and women in diaphanous pants or robes standing languorously against the walls. Your cheeks burn as you notice that they are bare save for those nearly transparent trappings.

All but two hold trays, some laden with silver pitchers filled with steaming, syrupy coffee, others with small cakes infused with vanilla and smoky black tea. The last two, standing at the back of the room, are attending small braziers supporting a shallow bowl filled with a thick, resinous liquid. You realize quickly that it’s amber, its melting producing a cloying, opulent haze that seems to fill your head with wool. You find your way to one of the larger pillows towards the back of the room, taking care not to ogle the hand-servants as you pass by. As you settle yourself, you see the door open, the light from outside flooding into the dim room. A voice used to being obeyed barks out from the glare, and you smile, signaling one of the men to bring over two of the cups of the rich coffee. It’s time for a chat.