Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

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!


The Products That Changed the Life of my Hair

I’m not someone who takes the term “life-changer” lightly, which is why my post references so few things. There are certainly products I love (with a particular emphasis on hair oils and deep conditioning treatments) but for me to claim that something has changed my life, it has to be truly spectacular like what you’ll see here. But don’t take my word for it—try them out for yourself!

Just to recap, my hair is long, extremely oily at the roots, dry at the ends, and reasonably thick and wavy though I don’t have much of it!

Check out four life-changing hair products for long, thick hair!  Continue reading →

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

By Lulle, France, Local Contributor

Lulle was born in France, and she says she came to life so hungry that she was trying to swallow her entire first–and the fondness for food never went away! She wasn’t obsessed with makeup as a teenager or young adult. At 25, she moved to Instanbul, Turkey, where she lived for five years, and this is where the beauty addiction started. When she wandered through duty-free shops while traveling, she discovered a whole new, glamorous world.

Lulle is easy-going, loving, and spontaneous; she loves to enjoy every moment of life. Check out her blog, Beau Miroir!


Life-Changing Beauty Products from France

A few products that changed my life, and the best tip I ever got from my Grandma!

Cicabiafine Crème Hydratante Corporelle Anti-irritations (about €15) doesn’t have sexy packaging or an appealing scent, but believe me, it’s worth a thousand tequila-marshmallow-flavored moisturizers. If your skin is desperately dry in the winter, to the point where it becomes itchy and uncomfortable, this body cream will save your life like it saved mine. It works like magic to relieve extreme dryness and irritation without being too heavy or greasy.  It is unscented, paraben- and coloring-free. Without this Holy Grail, I would have lost my sanity last winter, when the skin on my legs felt like the Siberian desert.

One of the very first pieces of advice I was given at my beauty salon was “Sop using a scrub on your face–it is too harsh–use a gentle granule-free exfoliator instead!”  I wasn’t really convinced, but I bought a tube of Institut Esthederm Osmoclean Crème Douce Désincrustante (around €30) to try it out. I’m glad I trusted my beautician! This gentle purifying cream absorbs impurities and all you have to do is massage it on your face until it thickens and then rinse it. It leaves my skin feeling soft, perfectly clean and refreshed. Since I started using this exfoliator instead of mechanical scrubs, I have noticed that my face looks healthier, clearer, and less oily on the T-zone.  Obviously, aggressive treatments were just harming my skin, which led it to produce more sebum as an attempt to protect itself. This exfoliating cream has been the biggest revelation in my skincare routine since I discovered soap-free cleansers!

Caron is not only one of the greatest Parisian parfumeurs–the brand is also a master in the art of face powder. Their loose powder La Poudre Libre Caron (€44) was formulated in the 1930s, yet it is still the best face powder on the market! The metal box looks luxurious and can easily be manipulated and transported (no mess in your weekend suitcase) thanks to the screw top hidden inside. The powder itself is lightweight, very finely milled, and has a rose scent. What makes it so amazing for me is that it delivers excellent coverage but still looks very natural on my skin. I love the slightly powdery finish that keeps my face looking matte and polished all day long! I wore this powder on my wedding day, and I had a lot of compliments about my flawless, radiant skin. I don’t think I will ever be able to use another loose powder without being disappointed!

When I was a teenager, my grandmother gave me a tip–very simple but extremely efficient and gentle–to exfoliate lips. You want to get rid of dead dry skin and have perfectly soft and smooth lips before you apply your favorite lipstick. All you need is a cotton pad and warm water! Soak your cotton pad in the water for a moment, press it between your fingers to remove excess water, place it between your lips and “bite” for about a minute. The warm wet cotton will soften the dry skin. Then, rub it gently on your lips to remove the dead skin and immediately apply a moisturizing balm. Voila!

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

By Dustin Hunter, 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. He has worked for over a decade as a professional illustrator and his retail interior design concepts have been featured in nation-wide publications, receiving recognition for their uniqueness and creativity.  Check out his blog and YouTube channel!


No-Fail Natural Beauty Products for Women and Men

Thinking about my Holy Grail products and my everyday easy, no-fail beauty tricks got me wanting to empty my makeup bag, which I refer to as my “car bag,” (because I like to think I’m manlier than I am) to see what I had in there and what I would freak out about if I lost.

These products and tips are good for women AND men who want to focus on a natural makeup look. I have found these techniques and products reliable and easy to work with (I use these on myself almost every day):

Highlight Pens

Everyone makes one (think YSL’s Touche Éclat), and they are all different. Some are heavy like a concealer, some aren’t. Some come in correcting tones, some come with shimmer. They work wonders for brightening the inner eye area, along the brow bone, just below the dark circles on your eyes, or around the nostrils and mouth. Anywhere you show fatigue is where you want to use a product like this–to “wake” you up.

Eyebrow Pencil (Powder, Brow Set, etc.)

Ladies: I always see you overlook your eyebrows (they are one of the most important parts of your face). I like them full and soft, groomed but never over-plucked. Brow products are right up there with mascara in terms of “if you only have time for one thing in the morning, make it this…”

Fellas: MAC’s Brow Set (comes in multiple colors, $15) is the one product I lose it over if I can’t find it. If you have light facial hair and want to fill in your sideburns or beard a little more (so it doesn’t look creepy and clear), you can brush one of these over the hairs to instantly (and naturally) transform your look. I started going grey in high school – I used to dye my facial hair. I use this now instead.

Powder? Yes or No?

Ladies: If you are going for a more natural look you want to be able to see the texture of your skin. Don’t over-powder. If you have a hard time with this one, make luminizers your best friend! Strobe Liquid pressed into the high points of the face will give you back the glow (and some of the texture) that you lost after you powdered your face.

Fellas: If you want to look like Divine, go for it! If you want to look more “natural” then don’t powder AT ALL! If you need to, use blotting films as an alternative. Focus on skincare to take care of your face instead of looking for something to cover it up. I have seen far too many tutorials on men’s makeup that use mineral and other powder foundations. STOP! A matte face will be your biggest tell! (That and blue eyeshadow of course.)

Know Who You Are

More important than any other tip or trick you’ll ever learn from any makeup artist, magazine, book or YouTube tutorial: You’ve got to know who you are and be comfortable with yourself. Regarding makeup, this is important because you need to really know your skin: the pros and the cons, what works for you and what doesn’t. You also need to consider your natural habits (especially when choosing tools). People ask me all the time, “What’s the best blending brush?” My reply is always the same: “That depends, are you light-handed or heavy-handed?” There’s no one answer that is going to work for every person – not in life and not in makeup.

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

By Chelsea Nusbaum, Fragrance Contributor

Chelsea grew up in Los Osos, California, which is a small coastal town. She completed her undergraduate degree in Literature/Writing at University of California, San Diego. She recently completed her master’s degree in Rhetoric and Professional and Technical Writing. Chelsea currently works as a proposal editor for a local defense company. She loves to freelance and edit, but between her full-time job and awesome pets, what little time she has left she devotes to fragrance!


Red-Hot Romance: Serge Lutens Rousse

Rousse explores cinnamon’s spice aspect. The top notes are candied–think Hot Tamales–with the composition getting drier and spicier as it wears, until it is ultimately warm and creamy at the base with the scent of cinnamon starring throughout. The official notes are listed as mandarin, cinnamon, cloves, spices, floral and aromatic notes, fruit, cinnamon wood, precious woods, amber, musk, and vanilla. If it sounds gourmand, it isn’t. It is, in fact, quite dry. Dry, spice-centric fragrances can feel like an big, empty cathedral on a cold day. Rousse hangs some curtains on the cathedral’s windows, carpets the floor, and cushions the pews with some throw pillows.

It opens with a blast of cinnamon. As it mellows, tendrils of vanilla and musk creep in. This is also where I smell the juicy orange of the mandarin, a bright spot of orange on a pallet of muted maroons and russets. A woody heart keeps the cinnamon nice and hot and out of bakery territory. The vanilla, musk, and amber gradually intensify until they’re on nearly equal footing with the spices. By the drydown, they’ve eclipsed the spices altogether. Rousse is warm, but feels sheer rather than heavy, so you could wear it year-round, although I find it works best for fall.

What makes this fragrance particularly intriguing is a left-of-center lipstick accord, which is waxy and vaguely floral. I can’t help but think of a bold, matte red lipstick on a smoking hot redhead. Think Christina Hendricks in full retro glam makeup as Mad Men’s Joan. What could be better for Valentine’s Day?

If all this red doesn’t rev your engine, Frederic Malle Noir Epices is a similarly spicy unisex perfume that dials down the cinnamon and swaps Rousse’s creamy base notes for patchouli, cedar, and sandalwood.

Bombshell imagery aside, this scent is squarely unisex. Released in 2007, it is part of French perfume house Serge Lutens’ export range (meaning it is available outside of Europe). House nose Christopher Sheldrake composed it. Lucky ducks who live in Paris can go to the Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido to sample Rousse or buy a bottle. The rest of us can buy samples at The Perfumed Court and The Posh Peasantt and full bottles at ucky ScentBeauty Habit, orAedes. for $120. Parfum 1 sells it for $108. Some Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, and Neiman Marcus stores carry Serge Lutens exports.

Monday, January 16th, 2012

By Makeup Morsels, Teen Contributor

Makeup Morsels is a pseudonym, and if that seems a little bulky, just call her MM! She resides in California and on her last year of high school. She has black hair, brown eyes, and pale skin (think NC15), and often has people tell her she looks like a corpse! She’s guilty of having a slight obsession for both sunscreen and lipstick (both of which she says she needs to stop hoarding). You’ll typically find her stalking drugstore aisles for bargains or lurking around high-end makeup counters to window shop. MM also enjoys cooking (and eating), food photography, reading, and exploring the world of makeup. Check out her blog, Makeup Morsels!


Changing My High School (Beauty) Life for the Better

Over the past few years, I’ve tried a lot of different things with my makeup and beauty routine. From maximizing my limited morning time to making up the game of “pet the brush because I don’t have a dog” (only kidding!), I’ve come across several tips and tricks that I still use today. I spent a lot of high school figuring out what works for me and what doesn’t, so today I bring you three tidbits of wisdom that changed my high school beauty life.

Nail polish. By the time junior year of high school rolled around, manicures were my go-to activity in times of stress. Neatly painting polish required that I hold the brush still. Holding the brush still required that I take a deep breath, calm down, and remind myself that the world was not going to end if I couldn’t figure out a Calculus problem. In fact, after a quick 10 minute polish session, I would return to my homework and sometimes experience a moment of epiphany. A useful tip: quick drying top coats such as Out The Door ( 4.99) speed up the process tremendously.  Just to clarify, I’m not implying that painting your nails is going to deliver epiphanies or get you straight As (that would be nice, wouldn’t it?)!  What it will do is give you a breather before you go back to tackling those math problems and hopefully cheer you up.

Skincare. These days, my makeup of choice is often no makeup at all (give or take a couple of exceptions, see below for more details). The reason I feel comfortable walking out the door with nothing but sunscreen and moisturizer on is that I simply don’t need foundation. While I’m no skincare guru and can’t give you the magical recipe for good skin, what I do suggest is that you think about your specific skin type (is it oily, dry, sensitive, combination?) and read up on skincare bloggers with similar skin issues. Removing your makeup every night is always a good bet, as is wearing sunscreen, staying hydrated, and getting plenty of sleep (I’m still working on that last one).

Under Eye Concealer. Quite honestly, I don’t think I could have gotten through the past three-and-a-half years without this stuff. On days when I’ve accumulated enough sleep debt to look like a panda that’s been walloped in the eyes, a dab of concealer does wonders. I instantly look 10 times more well-rested (when in fact, I am about to fall out of my chair), and friends no longer ask me if I’m okay because I look”disheveled and kind of like a corpse.”  Because my dark circles tend to have a purplish cast, I like to use salmon-toned concealers to neutralize the shadows, concentrating the product on the inner corners of my under eyes. My holy grail dark circle concealer is from Skin Food ($12.99), which does the trick without appearing overly orange on my pale skin.

See more photos! Continue reading →

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

By Sarah, Makeup Artist

Sarah Cormier is a self-taught makeup artist in Cincinnati, OH. She mostly does wedding makeup but also has experience working on various photo shoots, fashion shows, and films. In addition, she is a freelance artist for her favorite line, MAC!

When she isn’t busy with makeup, she teaches Spinning classes at her local gym, and also attends Body Pump, Pole Fitness, and Cardio Kickboxing classes. Her other hobby is shopping, favorite stores are Nordstrom, the MAC store, Lucky Brand, and White House Black Market. Sarah is happily married to her wonderful husband of two years, Nate. Check out her blog, Sarah C. Makeup and sarahcormier.com.


Photo by Melloveschallah

Tightlining: Why it’s life-changing

Many of us have experienced those moments where we discover a new technique that changes everything in our beauty routine, or at least, puts things into perspective. One such moment for me was when I saw the difference the simple act of filling in/reshaping eyebrows made to just about any face. It forever changed my approach to makeup because of how much it brightens the face, lights up the eyes, and creates an overall more polished look.It was like finishing a favorite outfit with the right shoes/purse/belt, etc.

But there has been another technique that trumped my eyebrow epiphany. It is the one trick in my back pocket to that puts the finishing touch on any type of look, from the smokiest eye to the “no makeup” makeup look. It works for all clients, regardless of age, race, eye shape, gender or skin tone. With the right tools, anyone can do it in two minutes or less. Ladies and gentlemen, the miracle move that I am speaking about is none other than tightlining.

Tightlining, for those who are not familiar, is where you apply eyeliner directly to your lash line, preferably from the underside of the lash line. Once you get good at it, you can do it within seconds. Tightlining is great for enhancing a smoky eye, but also if you prefer a very natural look and want your eyes to look brighter, bigger, and more awake. It can also make your lashes look longer and fuller. I consider tightlining to be somewhat of a miracle move because its such a minuscule effort but makes such a tremendous difference in your look.

The technique itself is simple in nature but could take a little practice for those who don’t have the steadiest hands. With one hand, gently lift your top eyelid so you can see your upper water line. With the other hand, apply liner into the underside of your upper lash line. There is another method for tightlining that involves sitting at your vanity with a mirror lying flat in front of you and looking down at it with your eyeballs while keeping your head up. I personally find the latter more difficult, but it is ultimately up to the individual to find which one works for best them.

Regardless of your preferred method, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of placing the product into the lash line (as in where your eyelashes grow out of), versus the waterline, which is the thin wet area of skin directly below the lash line. Granted, you can certainly line your waterline and also achieve a lovely result. But doing so is not considered tightlining. Lining the waterline can cause the product to transfer to your lower waterline since the area is wet. Because the lash line is dry, tightlining yields longer lasting, cleaner, and more defined results,.

Tightlining can be achieved with various types of eyeliner products including gels, pencils, and liquids.  One of my favorite products for tightlining is Laura Mercier Tightline cake eyeliner ($22.00), which requires a simple flat topped brush such as the MAC 212 or Nars #2 (my two favorites) and a little bit of water. Having been a MAC addict my entire life, I only recently discovered the Laura Mercier cake liner, and let me tell you, it changed everything! I am going to be filling my kit with it the first chance I get!

What about you? What are your favorite makeup techniques? Have you tried tightlining? What did you think of it?