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Changing My High School (Beauty) Life for the Better

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!

Tightlining: Why it’s life-changing

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?

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5 Things You Must Know about DNA and Beauty Products

By Nicki Zevola, Pennsylvania, Skincare Expert

Nicki Zevola is a beauty expert and the founder of FutureDerm.com, where she provides clear, well-researched information about beauty+skincare, fashion+style, nutrition+fitness, and personal development from a different perspective from most in the blogosphere. Named one of the top beauty bloggers since 2009, Nicki is also a medical student (M.D.) with an estimated graduation date of May 2013. Continue reading her full bio


Photo by mira66

5 Things You Must Know about DNA and Beauty Products

It’s been almost a decade since the human genome has been sequenced, and all of a sudden, it seems everyone wants to get in on the hot biological terminology. From sequencing to splicing to cloning, you can’t walk into a Sephora without having someone ask you about your genes (and sorry, honey, we’re not talkin’ about your Sevens). Unfortunately, while some industry insiders are utilizing the technology to make skin care bravely go where no product has ever gone before, others are, unfortunately, being a bit deceptive in their approach. Here’s what we know about the technologies:

1. There is no such thing as a single “Youth Gene.”

A product that shall go nameless recently advertised that it is clinically proven to turn on the “Youth Gene.” Unfortunately, the Human Genome Project has affirmed there are 19,599 protein-coding genes (Ornl.gov), and it is likely that the expression of nearly all of them decreases with age. Furthermore, there are likely hundreds, if not thousands, of genes targeted towards manufacturing proteins that can help make you look younger. It is the decrease of function a number of genes, not just one, that contribute to aging. So beware of any product that claims to target a single gene. It may have other redeeming factors, but this should not be your primary reason to buy.

2. The secret to red wine is not just resveratrol.

Want to know why people are so excited about resveratrol? Although resveratrol is a noted antioxidant, its main benefit is that it may upregulate proteins called sirtuins, which in turn prolong the life of your skin’s collagen-producing fibroblasts. Sirtuins do this by turning off unnecessary gene expression, so when the fibroblasts aren’t expending more energy than they need to on unnecessary tasks, they will theoretically last longer. This means that your fibroblasts enable you to make collagen naturally for more years than if you did not treat your skin with sirtuins.

Unfortunately, numerous studies suggest resveratrol does not influence sirtuin production, including a 2005 study in the Journal of Biological Chemistry2009 study in Chemical Biology and Drug Design, and 2010 study in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. It is also hard to know for sure if sirtuins in skin care products are able to diffuse through the your skin’s cellular and nuclear membranes to affect the genetic material within in the first place. Preliminary data from companies like Avon, who feature the ingredient in their Ultimate Age Repair Elixir Serum and Night Cream, seem to suggest that sirtuins applied topically may have an effect. However, there may also be confounding variables, as the other ingredients in the products have previously been proven beneficial for the skin. Clearly, more research needs to be done.

Three more facts you NEED to know! 

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