Favorite Things 2012: Lashing Out

I came across some of the coolest formulas and little ‘additions’ for making your lashes utterly fabulous this year.

Here’s what topped my list:

Mascara: Chanel Le Volume de Chanel

Did Chanel REALLY surpass Armani in terms of a quality mascara? My answer is yes. The Volume de Chanel Mascara is, in my opinion, the best mascara Chanel has ever dreamed up. It not only lengthens and builds volume, it also ‘curls’ your lashes! Seriously, I can put this mascara on without curling first, and still end up with long, lush curly lashes.

Individual Lashes: MAKE UP FOR EVER Individual Lashes

These Make Up For Ever Individual Lashes have been a life saver! It takes a little practice, but adding individual lashes can become about the simplest thing in any given beauty routine. I’ve used a ton of these to open up clients eyes without the drama of a strip lash. They work beautifully and look totally natural. You can use them alone or with a little mascara. I highly recommend these babies.

Strip Lashes: VELOUR Mink False Lashes

This is a lovely way to add a little luxury without breaking the bank. What I love about Velour Lashes is that they’re so light and comfortable! And, they don’t cost an arm an a leg. Most mink lashes can run you in the hundreds of dollars (no, seriously). Plus, you can use these up to 25 times with proper care. And for those of you worried about the lovely little minks that these lashes came from… worry not; The hairs for these lashes come from the what the animals naturally shed when they are brushed.

That’s it! Those are my top ‘lash’ picks for 2012. Ciao for now!

Favorite Things 2012: Blush

This was a hard category to nail down, so I thought that I’d separate the blushes by finish to really narrow the focus on what I think stands head and shoulders above the rest.

POWDER MATTE:

For an amazing matte finish blush, you really can’t beat MAC. For years, MAC blushes have been my go to for strong matte color payoff and staying power. I’m a fan of all of the matte formulas, though I might be partial to sheertone blushes. I like them best because I can layer the color to the intensity I like without worrying that I’ve done too much.

POWDER SHIMMER:

I think you’d be hard pressed to find a  better shimmer formula than Chanel Joues Contraste. Their mattes can be hit and miss, but they knock the shimmer formulas out of the park every time. With the exception of maybe ONE color, most Chanel shimmer formulas are more shimmer and less glitterbomb. I find them subtle and elegant, and a lovely way to wear shimmer without going over the top. The color payoff is above average, and the staying power is excellent.

CREAM:

NARS makes the best cream formulas, hands down. What makes them particularly wonderful, is their lack of ‘slip.’ These formulas warm only to the touch… but once you apply them to the skin, they set right away. They work on bare skin (even oily skin), over makeup… and even over powder (if you need to intensify a bit after powdering the skin). I am absolutely in love with these blushes.

LIQUID MATTE:

I’m just going to file this under ‘liquid’  because it’s thin enough to come out of a pump. It’s got a gel-like creamy consistency… but still. These formulas simply defy expectations. A very little bit goes a long way, and there is a shade for every skin tone. Like the cream blush, you can use this blush on any skin type. It sets nearly instantly and imitates a natural ‘flush’… like you were born blushing that way. Love.

LIQUID SHIMMER:

By Terry Rose de Rose is the best shimmer liquid blush I’ve ever used… period. The teeniest amount adds a natural flush, and ‘light’ to the skin. It sets right away and wears beautifully. Plus, it smells divine. Every single time I use this on a client (for some reason, typically their eyes are closed) they catch a whiff and immediately want to know what I’m using. This stuff is amazing. I love it.

That’s it! Those are my Favorite Blushes… Ciao for now!

Favorite Things 2012: Contour & Highlight

This is a very short list. Two items made the top of my list for contour and highlight. I think you guys already know…

Chanel Sculpting Veil in Notorious simply defies everything we know about contour. It works on just about every skin tone under the sun, and doesn’t add color. It just adds ‘shadow.’ It’s amazing. The only crime about this product is that it was limited edition and sold out fairly quickly. I am completely in love with this product. If you can get it, don’t hesitate.

Kevyn Aucoin Highlighter in Candlelight is considerably easier to get. I love this stuff. You use such a little bit to add a whole lot of light to a wide range of skin tones. It just gives the skin a bit of a glow, like it’s bathed in candlelight.

That’s it! These are  my go to contour and highlight. I use them on myself and clients… they are absolute must haves for me.

Favorite Things 2012: Flawless Beginnings

I’m a firm believer in a flawless base. I feel like no matter how skilled you are with apply eye colors, blending and drawing the most fabulous lip line on Earth… if I can ‘see’ discrepancies in your base application… the entire effect is lost.

I spend a lot of time (and money) researching the perfect bases that do more than just cover your skin. I’m particularly fond of formulas that work ‘with’ your individual skin type, draw the eye away from imperfections, and look more like ‘skin’ and less like foundation.

 PRIMERS:
I’ve not always been the biggest fan of primers, but with time… I’ve come to appreciate their value.
By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra Primer tops my list because I feel like you can use it on just about everyone. The formula attracts moisture from the air and onto your skin (which even oily types need, believe it or not), and it leaves a matte finish. It smooths out the skin, and sets it up for perfect foundation application.
Laura Mercier Eye Canvas is my favorite for prepping the eyelids. Just a teeny bit works to matte out the lid, so that eyeshadow can really grab it. I have no issues with creasing (or lumpy finishes, like with some other primers) with this formula. I’ve nearly hit the bottom of my little pot… I use it so much. Soon it’ll definitely be time for a new one.
FOUNDATIONS
I’m ever on the hunt for the next greatest foundation formula. I’ve tried so many different kinds… and I have to say this next group of formulations have earned my respect. I consistently reach for them for myself and clients, more than any other.
Oily Skin: 
 Sunday Riley Liquid Light is one of those strange foundations that looks like it won’t do much, until you put it on. It goes on kind of sheer, but it reflects light (so you don’t need much at all) and kind of tricks the eye into thinking the skin is flawless.
Urban Decay NAKED Foundation has a cult following these days… and it’s really no wonder why. The formula really ‘grabs’ your skin, and it doesn’t budge until you take it off. It’s a great foundation for medium coverage for oily skin types. The ‘only’ drawback for me on this foundation is the ‘feeling.’ I sometimes feel ‘too’ dry when I wear it. But honestly, the formula is so good, that I’ve kind of gotten over it.
Armani Maestro Fusion Makeup continues to amaze me. I’ve now expanded the color range in my kit, because it works so well on so many different skin types. Pros… take note: this formula is insanely easy to blend, if you need to get a perfect shade for an ‘in between’ skin tone. My favorite thing about this foundation is that it imitates ‘skin’ so perfectly. The formula is really thin… and sets almost immediately. Oily skin types don’t need to worry about blotting much with this foundation. It’s nearly perfect. Now, if they come up with shade #9, then it truly will be perfect.
Combination/Dry Skin:
This next group of foundations I find have worked well on a wide range of skin types, but work best on combination or dry skin.
Nars Radiant Tinted Moisturizer is still about the best that I’ve ever come across. The incredible shade range just makes it all the more attractive. It’s got the feeling of a tinted moisturizer but the coverage of a foundation. And it wears beautifully, especially on drier skin types.
YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat quickly rose to the top of my  list for medium to buildable full coverage. This foundation is exquisite because it both covers and reflects light all at once. And it feels wonderful on the skin. It’s truly luxury in a bottle
Not to be outdone, Dolce & Gabanna The Foundation is also really luxurious. This formula is more of a full coverage foundation. The creamy consistency works very well on dry skin types. I’ve even had clients tell me that it feels like I’m ‘nourishing’ their skin with a heavy cream. It sets beautifully and really makes the skin glow.

CONCEALER 
This is one of those handy little things that you should consider, even if you think you don’t need to. Concealer is not just for those with dark undereye circles, or blemishes. It can add light to specific areas of the face, and make you look like you’re naturally radiant. I’ve been using concealer for years, long before someone might think that I actually ‘needed’ to. It just helps to really bring a look together.
Armani Maestro Eraser, much like the makeup, has just blown me away. The formulation is very thin, and needs to be ‘patted’ on. The colors are a little scary… they seem to run from light to white. But it turns out that you can actually use them on a wide range of skin tones. A little goes an extremely long way, and it just adds light wherever you put it, without looking like you’ve done anything at all
Chanel Eclat Lumiere is one of those ‘go to’ products because it’s incredibly easy to use. Like the Armani formulation, a little goes a very long way. You can even carry this little gem with you for quick brightening ‘touch ups’ if you’re taking your makeup from day to night. I’ve found it to be rather indispensable. In fact, I’m on my second pen.
CORRECTOR
 
Anyone who’s been reading my blog for a while, knows by I swear by the Bobbi Brown Corrector. Not much has changed. It’s still the most user friendly, most effective color corrector I’ve ever used. You don’t have to be a pro or have some special skill to use it, and a little bit simply tricks the eye into thinking that the blemish you’re covering doesn’t actually exist. This stuff is priceless.
POWDER
I go around and around and AROUND about powder. Sometimes, formulas that I think are great end up being not so great over time. They react wrong with certain foundation formulas, or give me that dreaded ‘flashback’ which translates into good old fashioned ashy on my warm skin tone. But one powder has consistently delivered: 
Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder is head and shoulders above the competition. It sets my makeup perfectly. The color in #02 is a bit yellow, which is perfect for my skin tone. There is no flashback, and a little goes a long way. My only complaint is that I wish it came in a bigger jar. Other than that, it’s perfect.
That’s it! Those are my top choices for getting a truly flawless finish. Ciao for now!

Emmys 2012: Top Beauty Picks

I worked much of the morning and afternoon, getting clients ready for the Emmy Awards on Sunday. But I did make it home in time to see the Red Carpet arrivals, and get a good look at who really pulled their ensembles off effortlessly.
My top picks contradict some of the more popular opinions, but I don’t care. I like what I like. Here is who blew me away this year:

I don’t think that the ‘critics’ quite knew what to do with this ensemble by Hayden P., But I LOVED it. I loved the idea of the blue over gold (unusual color choice), and I thought she wore it beautifully. Her hair is up and simple, and does not clash with the dress, and the makeup is effortless. If you’re going to wear a complicated dress, the rest should simple. Clearly, Hayden got the memo. I thought she looked absolutely gorgeous.

Tina Fey got slammed for this outfit… not because it looked bad, but because it looked like every other strapless number she wears on the red carpet. So what? She knows what works, and she sticks with it. Kudos to her. I thought this dress… particularly the color… really offset her hair color. Love the embellishment at the bodice, the earrings, the hair and the makeup. She looked comfortable, effortless, and absolutely beautiful.

Sophia Vergara is another woman who sticks to what works. She celebrates every curve in body conscious styles that showcase her best assets. I loved the color choice (a departure from her typical ‘primary color’ choices), and even the insane amount of sequins didn’t bother me. Sophia was channeling her inner Mermaid. I say kudos.

Hellooooooooooooooooooo NURSE! Is that Edie Falco? My goodness, I thought she looked amazing. Even though the cut and style of this dress is unusual, it worked on her because it showed off the fact that she hasn’t been slacking on the workouts. I love that she kept the makeup minimal and the hair off her face for the most part (I don’t remember ever seeing Edie Falco with a bang). She’s come a LONG way from Carmella Soprano.

This is one of those ensembles that either goes really right or REALLY wrong. But on Lucy Liu, it really worked. I don’t know HOW she pulled it off (I mean.. that’s a LOT of silver and a lot of sequins), but she did. It probably helps that she’s so petite and can wear just about anything. I loved this look on her. I thought she balanced that massive amount of metallic with simple hair and makeup. I love that she kept the ponytail soft because it balanced the severe cut of the dress and her clutch. The whole look came off soft and structured all at once, I and I thought she pulled it off beautifully.
That’s it! Those are my Emmy Beauty picks for 2012. Ciao for now!

AGENDA Magazine: August/September 2012

The new issue of AGENDA Magazine is up!

In the Beauty Section:

A Review of the best makeup removers
http://www.agendamag.com/content/2012/08/clean-sweep-the-best-makeup-removers/
An interview with the man behind Per-fekt Beauty
http://www.agendamag.com/content/2012/08/perfect-finish-per-fekt-beauty/
A closer look at Peter Thomas Roth’s Unwrinkle Pads
http://www.agendamag.com/content/2012/08/30-days-30-nights-a-wrinkle-in-time/
You can find those stories (and more) at www.agendamag.com

HAPPY READING!

Met Gala Gorgeous!

I took some time to watch the Red Carpet arrivals for the Met Gala in New York. Some of the looks REALLY stood out to me. Here are my favorites:

Carey Mulligan
As one of this year’s hosts, Mulligan simply SPARKLED in Prada. Her makeup was just to die for. She never wears bold lines or colors on her face. I was so happy to see her with a top heavy, dramatic eye. It looked absolutely amazing on her. Her face was balanced with a soft cheek and nude lip. Just Stunning. She was, hands down, my favorite of the night.
Rooney Mara
Rooney Mara is really getting the hang of this ‘glamour’ thing. I think that after shocking audiences with a very different version of ‘expression’ in The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo, Mara has gone out of her way to soften the lines of her face and feminize her style. I thought she looked edgy but elegant, and I loved the idea of pairing a rich lip with what may easily become her signature top heavy eye.
Solange Knowles
It’s not easy to pull off yellow. It’s even less simple to pull of a pemplum-style dress, but somehow Solange managed to do both. On the rack, I don’t know that I’d be a fan of this kind of style. But Solange managed to pull off a brighly colored, pemplum-styled dress and pair it with big hair and the most fabulous bracelet that I’ve seen in some time. She was smart about the makeup, and kept it soft and very polished. Loved her look from head to toe. Kudos.
Camilla Belle
I was pleasantly surprised to see Camilla Belle making the most of her beauty assets. Belle likely has the most formidable brows on the planet… but she never shies away from playing them up. She also doesn’t allow them to be the focus of her face. Belle looked stunning with glowing cheeks and a blood red lip. She balanced the look with an ethereal gown and minimal accessories. I thought she pulled the whole look off beautifully.
That’s it! Those are my absolute favorites from the Red Carpet at the Met Gala. Ciao for now!