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Win It! Blast From the Past Pack o’ MAC #6 ($100+ value)

Win It! Blast From the Past Pack o’ MAC #6 ($100+ value)

As promised, another prize package of limited edition MAC!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

To enter & read official rules… 

3 Essential Nail Lacquers that Suit Everyone

By Edith (Edie) Bryan, Nail Care Expert

Edie is 27-years old and hails from the beautiful country that is Wales, in the UK. She’s an esthetician and has been trained in all aspects of beauty, from waxing to skincare, but she specializes in nails. She discovered her talent for nails at 17 and worked as a junior technician. In 2005, she started her own business running a nail salon in her home town. She found creating beautiful nails was the perfect way to combine her natural creativity and her obsession with fashion and beauty into one. Check out her blog Touch Beauty and follow her on Twitter!


3 Essential Nail Lacquers that Suit Everyone

With such a huge array of nail polish shades and effects to choose from, it can be difficult to choose the right shade for your skin tone.  This is made even more difficult by the fact that polishes can look completely different once applied to the nails than how they appeared in the bottle!

I think there are three basic polish shades that every girl should keep in their collection: a nude, bright red, and rouge noir (or dark burgundy). Here are three recommendations of polishes that will suit everyone. I chose three crème shades, as they can always be layered under shimmers or glitters, or worn alone, depending on the occasion. I applied each polish over CND Stickey Base Coat and sealed with a swipe of Seche Vite Top Coat.

Nude

OPI polishes have exceptional quality for the price, and out of their collection of nude shades, this is one that will work for everyone. It is a rich and opaque nude-pink-brown that applies easily and wears well. Nude polishes are great for wearing to the office or for job interviews, and they will match any outfit in your wardrobe.  They can be glammed up for an evening out with a swipe of glittery polish on top. OPI Dulce de Leche ($8.00) is a great investment shade from OPI’s Classics collection.

Bright Red

Revlon Revlon Red ($4.79) is an absolutely iconic shade of nail polish–it is glamour and gorgeousness in a bottle. I have always found Revlon polishes to be very hard-wearing, but they do tend to have a thin and runny consistency, so have some Q-Tips ready for any boo-boos you might make during application. This shade of red is almost exactly between cool and warm. I would say it has the tiniest bit more blue than yellow, but in such a fabulous bold red, that is forgivable. This shade is a winner for me and will work on any skin tone.

Rouge Noir

Jessica Street Swagger ($7.50) is a fairly new polish on the market, it is part of the Jessica Rebel Glam collection for fall 2011, and I believe the only crème shade out of the six. Jessica’s polish formulation is definitely in my top five, being so highly pigmented and super smooth. Two coats of this delicious, dark wine-red gives perfect opaque coverage and superior wear. Sophisticated, glossy and it even gives the illusion of longer nails. I often find that dark red polishes are particularly difficult to judge when in the bottle, but this is a true blackened red, both in the bottle and on the nail.

Check out swatches! 

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Working with Sensitive Skin

By Dain, New England, Skincare Contributor

Dain is a freelance editor and writer, who graduated with a Bachelor of Art in English. She expected to pursue an academic career but found her interests straying elsewhere–like beauty! She has dry, sensitive skin and is always looking for ways to keep her skin hydrated.  When she isn’t writing about beauty, she loves to play video games, cook (and eat!), and read.

Check out her blog, Ars Aromatica!


On me: a reaction to a magnesium abscorbyl phosphate serum, a derivative of vitamin C

As a rule, you don’t treat sensitivity so much as avoid it. Unfortunately, because irritants are completely specific to the individual—for example, essential oils don’t bother my skin, but I can’t go near a scrub.  People with sensitive skin must learn to read ingredients lists and identify irritants before they start. If you do trigger a reaction, it is time that heals your skin, rather than any products. Nevertheless, it is possible to alleviate some of the symptoms of sensitivity with skincare, though they are not quite as effective as your skin’s ability to heal itself.

If you’re experiencing damage…

It should resemble severe dehydration, perhaps accompanied by pain and redness: the skin’s surface should be rough and dry to the touch, dead many layers down. This is generally the side effect of detergent-based cleansers, over-exfoliation, retinoids, and dermatological peels, but it can also occur if you are exposed to a harsh climate. Unless you’re on a retinoid (follow your doctor’s instructions), it’s best to stop all treatments and switch to a basic regimen of mild cleanser and moisturizer generously applied while fresh skin grows back. When it’s nearly done healing, a gentle exfoliant will buff away the dead, damaged surface.

If you’re experiencing an allergic response…

Allergens are unique to every individual. An allergic reaction can be characterized by redness, heat, inflammation, hives, and itchiness. I prefer to wait it out, because it dies down on its own without any further ill effect, but you can apply oatmeal or cortisone to problem areas. Depending on the severity of the reaction, may want to consult your doctor before proceeding.

If you’re experiencing inflammation…

Sunburns fall under this category, as does acne, some forms of rosacea, and contact dermatitis. Certain ingredients, such as the vitamin C on me shown above, can sometimes trigger an immune response that resembles acne, because the pores are aggravated, inflamed, and filled with pus. If you are acne-prone, it is advisable to approach your skin as if it were sensitive and not provoke already reactive skin with harsh skincare that can turn a mild condition into a severe one. There are a number of anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as salicylic acid, bisabalol, aloe vera, oatmeal, calendula, zinc oxide, and the essential fatty acids in many plant oils—and yet, some of these can be irritants themselves, depending on the individual. Always do a patch test.

If you’re experiencing physical sensitivity…

Though anyone may encounter inflammation, damage, or allergies, thin skin is largely a physiological condition. Some people also encounter physical sensitivity when they’re on retinoids. This is a deficiency in the skin’s barrier function, so there is a higher incidence of the other kinds of sensitivity. You can reinforce the barrier with moisturizer, built up in several layers: a humectant solution in direct contact with the skin to aid penetration; a lipid barrier in direct contact with the environment to prevent moisture loss and any further damage; and an emulsion sandwiched in between. Look for ingredients like shea butter, plant oils, mineral oil, and anything that forms a barrier. It’s not the same as healthy, resilient skin, but it helps buffer thin skin from the elements.

How-to: Blushing & Highlighting

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.

Shopping Guide for Canadian Beauty Products

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!

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