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):
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.
With new brands and products coming out fast and furious, the competition gets tougher and tougher each year. Brands need to stay on their toes if they want to hold the attention of the beauty community. This year is exemplary of that as cosmetic and award-winning giant MAC lost some key categories, such as Best Brand of the Year, and new-for-2011 Tarte Amazonian 12-Hour Clay Blush made impressive inroads against long-time favorite NARS Blush.
The products on the shortlists are all good products overall; readers wouldn’t have nominated them in droves if they weren’t. Sometimes our favorites don’t win, and sometimes they don’t make the ballot, but maybe they will next year. There are always a few surprise nominations and winners. I always look forward to the shortlists, because it gives me an opportunity to see what readers are loving and try out products I haven’t tried before.
Nominations certainly show a trend of who is going to win what. If a product doesn’t make it onto the shortlist, it doesn’t make the ballot, which means voters will vote for the best of what is listed (and some will vote other, which is what we encourage unsure voters to do).
However, the amount of nominations does not always indicate who is going to win. For instance, in Best New Product of 2011, Urban Decay Naked 2 Eyeshadow Palette won with a fair lead ahead of competitors, but it was third in nominations (and the third place winner led the nominations by double the second nomination leader). The same trend occurred in Most Surprisingly Amazing Product of 2011! With some of these year-based categories, I suspect that many of us forget what debuted during the year but the shortlist reminds us.
The most controversial category remains the Best Indie Brand of 2011, because the term “indie” seems hard to capture. How small is “indie”? How wide can distribution be if it’s “indie”? In my beauty bubble, I could tell you I hear about Sugarpill and Inglot much more than theBalm, but theBalm used to be in Sephora, though it’s still a very small company that’s not part of any large conglomerate; its founder is its owner who still creates and develops the colors and product stories. Inglot is primarily available online and in a few boutiques around the country but did recently get space in Macy’s. Is “indie” an objective standard or is it subjective? Is it a certain type of spirit or does it boil down to numbers? And if so, how can we judge that aspect when profits are carefully guarded?
I know it sounds cliche, but every vote counts–there are categories that don’t get decided until the last minutes of the voting period. Sometimes the difference is as little as a single vote. There are definitely some categories with huge winners that aren’t going anywhere and leap out in front from the get-go, but there are others where two or three products will jockey for first until the last few days when finally a clear winner comes forward.
Thank you for all of your nominations and voting! 🙂
Next year’s awards will see several categories cut. The following categories are up for removal based on high number of individual nominations and small majorities/high “Other” votes: Best Face Exfoliator, Best Facial Cleanser, Best Daytime Moisturizer, Best Evening Moisturizer, Best Body Moisturizer, Best Body Scrub, Best Shampoo, and Best Conditioner. It’s not unsurprising, and I’ve been considering removing these categories for a couple of years now, as skincare and hair care are very individual. If you really think any of these should stay, please weigh in with a comment!
Are there any additional categories you’d like to see in the future?
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 Scent, Beauty Habit, orAedes. for $120. Parfum 1 sells it for $108. Some Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, and Neiman Marcus stores carry Serge Lutens exports.