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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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.
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.

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.
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.
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!

Favorite Things 2012: Shahada’s Little Helpers

I thought I’d start the ‘Favorite Things’ series with some of the things that I truly feel have helped this temperamental skin of mine. Through detoxing and messing around with this face for no freakin’ reason… several things have come to my rescue.

The EVE LOM Rescue Mask is amazing.  My sister actually introduced me to it when my skin was really at its worst with the detox. The camphor in it (it smells like medicine) really went to work on my skin, and it looked better every time I used it. I went through my first jar pretty quickly (I probably  used too much), and immediately went out and bought another jar. This is excellent stuff. I love it.
Coral Actives makes a spot treatment with 6% dose of Benzoyl Peroxide. Since my detox meant an inhuman amount of cystic pimples, this stuff quickly became my best friend. It’s powerful stuff, so I had to use it very sparingly. I’d put it on before bed, and wake up to find my pimple sizes reduced  by half. Now I use it whenever I get a minor flareup, and it takes care of the problem right away. This stuff made a believer out of me. Love it.
I’ve been using the REN Bio Retinoid Anti Ageing Concentrate for a while. I use it at night as the final installment in my skin care routine, and it has consistently delivered. I always wake up looking refresed, brighter and a with a more even skin tone.

This stuff is GOLD. I mix Sunday Riley Good Genes with everything: cleansers, masks, moisturizers. I even ‘layer’ it under a drawing mask to really push the serum into my skin. This is the ultimate booster. Ever since I discovered it, I’ve been a true believer. Good Genes is Good Stuff.

Sisleya Eye & Lip Contour became a staple when I started taking hydration seriously, especially around my eyes. Since I have oily skin, I never really paid attention to ‘extra’ hydration. This is a pricey formula, but I find it highly effective. Plus, a little goes a really long way. My little jar has lasted me a year. Seriously.

That’s it! Those are my favorite ‘helpers’ for 2012.  Ciao for now!

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!

POLL: What’s your Favorite Mascara?

We all have our favorite brands. We like them for performance, staying power… even smell. What’s your favorite mascara brand? I’d love it if you guys participated by voting in the new poll (in the blog sidebar). If your answer is OTHER, please post your preference in the comments box for this post.


Thanks you guys!

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!