Illamasqua Skin Base: Why it didn’t make my list of Favorites

Okay, I’ve gotten some emails.
After losing my mind over Illamasqua Skin Base… at the end of the year, it did not make my top list of favorite foundations.

You can find the original review here:
There’s only one reason the foundation didn’t make the list: accessibility. It’s nearly impossible to match a foundation online (every time I’ve tried, I’ve failed). It’s just too much to ask (for that price) to guess at a foundation color on such a grand scale. Until it’s available in the states, that is the only reason it didn’t make the list.
Otherwise, I absolutely love it. The finish is unmatched. It blows other alleged ‘HD’ foundations out of the water. It photographs beautifully. It’s a stunning formula.
I just need it to be more widely available.

Favorite Things 2011: Lips

Here are my favorite Lip Products for 2011:

Pencil: Chanel Precision Lip Definer (Nude)

I use this pencil so much… it’s extremely versatile. This pencil is perfect for deepening any given lip color (especially the cool tones that have the potential to go ashy on my warm skin tone), or just cleaning things up. This is a staple for me. I’ve gone through two of these pencils this year… it’s that good.

Moisturizing Lip Stick: Chanel Rouge Coco Shine

I absolutely LOVE this lipstick! Nearly every color is flattering. I’m really impressed by the moisture level, color deposit and staying power of these lipsticks. The formula is so easy to use, you don’t really need a mirror to get the job done. I call them my ‘put on in the dark’ lipsticks. They are simply wonderful.

Matte Lipstick: Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet

These were such a pleasant surprise. I didn’t expect to like these, as I’m not really a fan of matte lipsticks (I’ve found them pretty drying). But this silky formula is such a joy to wear.

Lipstick Pencil (Gloss): NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil

I fell in love with these when they were first released, and continue to love them today. They are simple to use, and really work well under presser. Keeper!

Lipstick Pencil (Matte): NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil

Like its glossy counterpart, the Velvet Matte Lip Pencil from NARS is also easy to use. The color saturation on these pencils is unmatched. They have stellar coverage, and can be  used as both lip pencils, or a full on lipstick.

Those are  my lip favorites for 2011. Ciao for now!

Favorite Things 2011: Eyes

Here are my favorite Eye products for 2011:

Brow Color: Louise Young Eyeshadow in Pom Pom

As much as I initially whined about the price of this palette, I get a LOT of use out of the middle color. Pom Pom is a cool enough brown that it works on brunettes, and doesn’t go ‘red’ like a lot of brown colors do. I use that color (along with Black Bear) more than any other in this palette. I still think it’s too expensive. I wish the shadows were sold as singles…

Eye Liner: Urban Decay, Chanel, Guerlain

I listed more than one brand because I use each pencil for different things. But these are my go to pencils for any given look, with out failure.

Urban Decay 24/7 Eye Pencil in Zero
I use this again and again, use one down to a stump and buy another.  I keep three of these pencils in rotation at any given time. The formula glides on, is non irritating, and lasts all day without transfer. I love it.
Chanel Eye Kohl in Clair
This is really a must-have for me. The flesh color looks good on the waterline of just about every skin tone, and it looks a lot less harsh (and more natural) than a white pencil. The pencil is medium to firm, and glides on the waterline easily.
Guerlain Retractable Pencil in Gold (01)
I need to get another one of these pencils. I absolutely love this thing. I have a backup… but I may seriously need another. I use this pencil a LOT. It’s perfect for adding ‘light’ to my eyes, or serving as the perfect gold shimmer ‘base’ for any given makeup look.
Powder Palettes: Chanel Eyeshadow Quad

Pick a color… any color… and you’ll likely find some of the silkiest versions of that color in a Chanel Eyeshadow Quad. I’ve had incredible luck with these. The formula is always silky, and the colors blend out beautifully.
Cream Shadow: Armani Eyes To Kill Silk Eyeshadow

These CONSISTENTLY blow the competition out of the water! The formula goes on ‘dry’ (with fingers or a brush) – blends out like a cream – and holds all day without help until you take it off. I love these shadows. A little goes a long way… they are totally worth it. Totally.

Mascara: Armani Eyes to Kill Stretch

It figures that the mascara to finally beat out my former favorite (Armani Eyes to Kill), would be an amped version from the same company! Despite my recent acquisition of the new Guerlain mascara, this formula still came out on top. The formula lenghtens and volumizes. I love the way it smells (like roses) and I LOVE the way it performs!
Those are my favorites for Eyes for 2011. Ciao for now!

Favorite Things 2011: Brushes

Hey Guys,
I thought I’d wrap up the year with a series of posts about my Favorite Things, in the world of makeup and skin care. We’ll start with Brushes:


I found two real gems this year, the most recent just last week. Topping my list of favorite foundation brushes are the Cover FX Powder Foundation Buffing Brush, and the Tom Ford Cream Foundation Brush.

I like them both for different reasons. Both require a minimal amount of product to deliver maximum results. Both have essentially the same shape, and are made from the same material (goat hair), but differ in size. I love the Cover FX version for ‘all over’ sweeping coverage. I love the Tom Ford version for precision coverage. Both offer an ‘airbrushed’ finish with cream and liquid foundations. I imagine the Cover FX one would also work with powder foundation, as I believe that’s what it’s actually designed for. But I love them both… and to tell you the truth… I may never go back to a traditional ‘flat’ foundation brush again.

Bobbi Brown Powder Brush

This was one of the first professional brushes that I bought (back in 1997) when I decided to get serious about my craft. I still have it. It’s phenomenal for precision work, and delivers just enough powder to specific areas. I prefer it to ‘fluffy’ powder brushes because I can really deposit product where I need it, without worrying that it’ll end up somewhere I don’t want it.

Haughty Cosmetics ‘Put Your Game Face On’

This brush blows away it’s better known competition (see: Shu Uemura and Chanel) for two reasons: Density and precision. The ‘curve’ of the bristles (they go ‘in’ instead of splaying ‘out’) allows me to deposit color right where I need it. And because the brush head is so dense, I pick up a ‘lot’ of product on the first try. No need to layer.
Plus I love the name. Put Your Game Face On… indeed!

Armani Brush in #14 (small head)

This is listed as a ‘concealer’ brush, but I find it works well with pigments and for precision work with powder and cream eyeshadows.

Armani #21 (medium head)

Love this brush for sweeping color across the lids. Does well with blending too, thanks to its dense head.

Chanel #11 (large head)

I’m not even sure if they make this brush anymore. I love it for getting a lot of product on a wide space. It covers much of the lid (and part of the crease) nicely.

Armani #27 (crease)

The head on this brush is much smaller in person, and really gets into the crease. It’s replaced my former favorite (MAC Pencil Brush)  because the hairs are softer and easier on the eyes.

MAC 210 (liner)

I  have yet to find a better liner brush than this. I’ve had mine for YEARS, and it never disappoints. The line is always sharp and precise. I love it.

By Terry Angled Brush (brows):

I don’t know how By Terry did it, but while many of my angled brushes have begun to fray… the hairs on this brush remain stiff and highly precise. I use this brush more often than not… it always gets the line sharp and right where I need it.

Armani #22 (fluffy crease brush)

 I like this one because despite its ‘fluffy’  nature, my blending always comes out very precise with this brush. I use it to soften hard lines or blend colors together. Love it.

Shu Uemura 6M

Now, I’m pretty sure that my brush is sable. This one (in the picture) is synthetic. I think that Shu Uemura may have changed their brush heads over the years. Mine is more than 10 years old… LOL But it still performs beautifully.

Chanel #10

Like the By Terry brush, the angle on this brush continues to stay sharp. It always gives me the perfect contour, on myself or clients. Despite the many many MANY times I’ve used and cleaned it, it’s never lost its shape.

NARS Ita Kabuki Brush

This is a recent discovery. I had no idea that this brush would work so well for highlighting. But I find that brushing ‘down’ the highlight with this flat brush (instead of blending ‘up’ like most people tend to do), puts the highlight right where I need it, and keeps it from traveling too far into the eye area, or covering the actual apples of the cheeks. It’s very precise, and it’s definitely one of my favorites.

That’s it! Those are my top picks for Brushes for 2011. Ciao for now!

POLL: Your Favorite Things: 2011


I’m compiling my list of ‘Favorite Things‘ for the end of year, and I want to get you all involved! I’m going to put out my personal list, but I’d be honored if you shared your personal favorites as well!

What is your favorite FOUNDATION BRAND for 2011?

If your answer is OTHER, then please select that option and WRITE IN your selection in the comments under this post. That way I can still include it in the final count.

Voting closes on December 28th. I’ll put the results up on December 31st!

Emmys 2011: Woman In Red

Well, I’m all recovered from my Emmy madness (I slept like a ROCK last night) and got a chance to really take a look at some of the dresses/hair/makeup featured among the guests for this year’s show.

What I noticed was a lot of color… specifically RED. Love that! Some folks wore black, and others wore variations of champagne/gold … but red was the color of choice for some of the more daring Divas. Here’s who I thought wore it best:

 Sofia Vergara KILLED in this dress! I  notice that the dress is being described as ‘coral’ but it came across red on my television screen. If it is coral…it’s a reddish coral. Regardless, she’s ending up at the top of the post because OMG. Look at that dress! Vergara truly knows how to dress for  her body type, and she knows what colors/shapes work best on her. She looked absolutely stunning, with fabulous hair and makeup to boot. Hands down, she was my favorite look for the night.

Kerry Washington was understated from the neck up, and all out daring from the shoulders down. I was on the fence about this look until I saw it in motion (her walking across the stage). That dress is NOT for the faint of heart. It’s got a classic shape with a full on modern interpretation of construction and texture. I like that she paired such daring dress with very classic hair and makeup… very Old Hollywood. I don’t know that this look would have worked for everyone, but it certainly worked for  her.

Kate Winslet opted for classic lines and COMFORT above all. And honestly, I can’t even be mad at her. Sometimes, there are more important things in life than teetering around in shoes that pinch and a dress that you cant sit down in… more important things like… say… WINNING the Emmy. I like Kate Winslet, and I respect her priorities. She’s all about the work, and it shows. If I had to complain, perhaps I’d let the dress out a bit in the middle… or get a better shaping underthing. I’m just saying.

Special mention goes to Jane Lynch (whom I had no idea could sing). She did an amazing job hosting, and she looked great. She looked elegant, and comfortable, and confident. I love that. Fashion is great… but when it comes to practical application — if you’re not comfortably strutting down a runway in a size 0 — don’t try to do it on the red carpet.

IMATS: The Overall Effect

I took 201 pictures… so I’m uploading in pieces. This is the overall ‘spectacle’ that is IMATS. I basically just held the camera up over my head and shot the general environment…

That’s the line. That is all.

New Year’s Resolutions

In 2011, I RESOLVE TO…

-Stop cussing. I dropped an f-bomb while I was on the phone with my sister (some little ankle-biter jumped out of his father’s car while it was still moving… and slammed the door into my car!). I was totally mortified. Sorry little sis. I’m going to behave more like a lady in the coming year (and the coming decade).

-Make more time to be on time. I am ALWAYS RUSHING SOMEWHERE. I’m one of those people who try to do too much in too little time. My migrane last night was due to downing a glass of cranberry juice in the morning, and forgetting to eat for the rest of the day ’cause I was too busy running around doing errands.

-Get Organized! Why am I always cleaning my brushes at 10 minutes to MIDNIGHT before a gig the next day? SMH. I will do better. There is no reason why I should take over the dining room organizing two makeup kits and about a billion brushes, when I really need to be getting some *damned* sleep. What? It’s not 2011 yet. ONE MORE cuss word for the road!

-Deal with my website madness. My company website is just dated all to be damned, and my makeup website has yet to be completed (I’m looking at YOU little sister! Hmph… this is why you don’t do business with family). I need to dedicate some time to getting my head out of my proverbial ass (one more cuss word! Don’t judge!) and getting my online presence ship-shape.

-Spend less money on makeup. Wait… that’s a lie. I’ll probably spend even more in 2011.

What are your New Years Resolutions? Share ’em with the class!

Contest Update and Looking Ahead

Hey Guys,

Just an update on the final gift in the Holiday Giveaway. The winner will be selected and announced tomorrow (New Year’s Eve). Perfect start to the New Year (and the new decade)!

Here’s the prize… you guys know the rules.
And after this … don’t worry! There are plenty of giveaways coming in 2011! There are the Cargo Lumieres Palettes, and a little Chanel, a little MAC,  some Guerlain… and that’s just for starters!
I want to take this opportuinty to thank EVERYONE who follows my blog, whether you comment or not. Even if you’re just hanging around to notice me slapping on makeup and taking pictures… I appreciate the support! I really do.