FOTD: Soft Pink & Gold

This was a quick look with blusher doing double duty as eyeshadow to help things along…

MAC Face & Body (C 6)
Bobbi Brown Pressed Powder (Golden Orange)
Laura Mercier Blush (Violet Orchid)
EYES
Laura Mercier Blush in Violet Orchid (inner lid/under waterline)
Laura Mercier Eyeshadow in Baroque (center lid)
Armani Eyes To Kill Silk Eyeshadow in Lust Red (outer lid/under waterline)
Mac Eye Pencil in Smolder (waterline)
Clinique High Impact Mascara
LIPS
Lipstick Queen Lip Gloss in Creation

(Lots Of) Lip Service: Ardency Inn and Laura Mercier

Okay, this is a long one… so strap in!

Instead of breaking this up into two different posts, I decided to combine them. These are my new two favorite lippies. I love them for unique presentation, ease of use, and … for the moment … lack of competition.

I’ll start with Ardency Inn.

The ‘punk’ inspired makeup line features the classic items needed for the perfect punk look: smoked out eyes and natural lips. Ardency Inn features a cozy range of lip pencils, for the perfect nude for any skin tone. My color is Essex… which is a bit of a rusty brown color:

It looks more warm than ‘nude’ on me, but I found that it perfectly compliments my skin tone. The color above (Houston) is a bit too light, and tends to go a little ashy on me.

Essex is a perfect match for my skin tone. It is so moisturizing. You can apply it directly on dry lips, and it moisturizes them beautifully. The color is so flattering that you don’t need a mirror or perfect lighting to put it on. I do believe that’s the point… as most ‘rocker’ looks tend to be on the effortless side. I absolutely love how easy it is to use this pencil. And there’s no sharpening required; simply twist the bottom of the pencil to roll up more product. Easy… effortless… love.

Laura Mercier came out with a ‘weightless’ lip color that actually works. Most weightless colors tend to leave my lips on the dry side… and when I found out that these formulas were ‘wax free’ — I was even more concerned. Pure pigments that don’t leave your lips feeling like you’ve been rubbing sand on them… I had to find out more.

What really made me fall in love was the ‘sheer’ nature of some of the lip colors, despite their rather daunting bullet colors. I just HAD to have the color in ‘Sin’ — which looks black-based purple… but swatches closer to berry.

I was so surprised by this lip color. I love it. It’s very sheer, so it wears more like a lip gloss, and it is indeed truly weightless. You can’t exactly put this one on in the dark, but you don’t have to really pay attention to application to get it perfect. Like Ardency Inn, this lip color leans toward an overall effortless looks and feel.

Both of them are getting lots of love these days. You can find both lovely lippies at Sephora.

Glow On: Laura Mercier ‘SpellBound’ Face Illuminator

Even if you think you don’t need another highlighter (I certainly don’t need one)… the Laura Mercier SpellBound Face Illuminator is worth a swatch. Designed with a ‘warmer’ palette in mind… the shimmery highlighter is mostly golden, with just a hint of rose tossed in for good measure. I fell in love with it the minute I saw it. The visual texture in the pan is like scrunched satin… with all of the light-catching nuances that such a thing would bring.

Pictures simply do not do this thing justice. It is so gorgeous.

You can find out more about Laura Mercier SpellBound Face Illuminator HERE.

Quick little FOTD

I had just a few minutes to get ‘glammed up’ for a mixer… so I decided to just focus on the eyes and keep things simple.

FACE
Gleam Bronze Gold Gel (as foundation)
NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Ginger (under eyes and under browbone)
EYES
By Terry Ombre Blackstar in Gold (lids)
MAC Eye Kohl in Smolder (waterline/lashline)
Volume de Chanel Mascara
LIPS
Laura Mercier Lipstick in Belize
Lip Fusion Lipgloss in Goddess

FOTD: PHAME Expo 2013

The first PHAME (Professional Hair and Makeup Expo) got underway today. Now that IMATS has morphed into… well… something else, this pro-invite event lured several hundred makeup adventure seekers to Pasadena to see what’s what.

Now, it’s 100+ degrees these days (no… really), so I was not interested in wearing anything that would crease, run or otherwise make me look like a melted ice cream cone. So I kept it clean:

FACE
EYES
Elizabeth Arden Smoky Powder Pencil in Black (waterline/lashline)
LIPS

June Favorites (2013)

Hey Beauties!

Here are the things making my list for the month of June.

Kusmi makes some of the best tea I’ve ever tasted. BB Detox is supposed to help your skin glow with a shot of grapefruit. I don’t know about all of that (I’ve been drinking it for months with no noticeable change to my skin due to the tea), but it is so good! It’s refreshing and perfect either hot or cold. I have a cup a day. Love it.

When I started doing peels for The Skin Regime, I realized how ‘thin’ my skin could get. During a mishap that we shall not talk about (the burn man… the BURN), I did some damage to one side of my face. One of my friends gifted me with this expensive little miracle, and it made SUCH a difference. I was able to repair the damaged portion of my face within 3-5 days, with no residual scarring. Barring any tragedy, I may never have to use it again (I’m much more careful now). Here’s hoping.

This stuff is a lifesaver! Since starting The Skin Regime, I’ve learned a lot about why you should NOT pick (especially with those peels). I’ve had much fewer breakouts (like one pimple… maybe two a month), and I’ve been using this stuff to take care of them. I scar with benzoyl peroxide, and this has tea tree oil in it (which I use anyway), and yarrow oil to deal with discolorations. Plus, I can dab a little on, let it dry, and put foundation over it, and you’d never know it was there. It creates a barrier between the offending pimple and makeup, and works all day without me looking like a dork wearing zit cream.

Whew… THIS STUFF IS AMAZING. If you’re looking for full coverage that does not move, this foundation has me sold six ways from Sunday. It’s insanely effective. When I did Alakazia’s show, I wore this with the Hourglass Primer, and sported a perfectly flawless foundation for 9-12 hours. No joke. I can’t say enough about this foundation. And even with the full coverage and amazing setting power, you don’t look like a flat canvas. The finish of this foundation is ‘radiant’ — even for us oily girls. And if a little oil manages to seep through… no worries. It just adds to the overall glow on your face. I can see this being a problem for drier skins, so a healthy dose of moisturizer is recommended for you beauties. But oily girls will love this. It’s freakin’ amazing.

 
And if you really want to take that natural (not shiny) radiance to the next level, dust a bit of the Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Powder over it. It has absolutely no shimmer, but still works to make the face look as bright and alive as possible. It comes in four shades (plus a highlighting powder). The shade in 01 matches my skin perfectly, so this powder would work better as a matte bronzer for fair skinned beauties.  

Chanel Blush in In Love is not new… but it remains one of my favorite peachy blushes of all time. I’ve been using it so much lately, that I wonder what caused me to set it aside in the first place. It’s a perfect compliment to a ‘fresh’ makeup… it livens up any look without making me look too ‘done.’ I’m so glad this wasn’t a limited edition color. I feel like this is one of the best blush colors that Chanel makes, to suit a wide range of skin tones.

Keeping with Chanel… I feel like they have finally mastered mascara. Volume de Chanel is the best mascara they’ve ever made. Period. It’s amazing. I’m on my second tube (and I rarely repeat buy mascara) and I’m more in love with it than ever. I hope they keep this around forever (and maybe even do away with some of their earlier attempts). It’s that good.

This has easily become my favorite Burberry lipstick of late. Golden Peach is so flattering… I can put it on without a mirror and go on about my life. It’s completely effortless. It’s been getting tons of play lately, especially since my schedule has picked up and I can no longer dedicate a significant amount of time to doing my face on a regular basis. I can put this on as a final touch, and run out the door looking like I spent more time than a little bit getting it right.

That’s it! Those are my favorites for June. Ciao for now!

Laura Mercier Custom Artist Portfolio (For Home & Away)

This practical offering from Laura Mercier will make consumers and pros alike swoon. The new Custom Artist Portfolio is worth the hype. I took a closer look at it recently, and it is a beauty/makeup multi-tasker’s dream.

 
Small Portfolio: $68

Large Portfolio: $98
The portfolio comes in two sizes: Small ($68) and Large ($98). The smaller size holds travel sized brushes, and has zippered mesh bags on either side to hold whatever you need. It also comes with a small refillable pro-palette.
The large will hold long handle brushes, and has four mesh pouches. It comes with both a small refillable palette and a large one. I personally think that the larger case is a better value. For $30 more you get twice the packing space, and a large palette. Totally worth it in my opinion.
The case isn’t completely hard… but it’s not totally soft either. It’s made of a textured plastic with fabric trim (to accommodate the double zipper). It’s slim enough to fit nicely in a suitcase, and big enough to hold both makeup and travel sized cosmetics.
For the money, this is highly practical. It’s durable, easy to clean, and easy to pack. The palettes that it comes with are empty… they can be filled with Laura Mercier Pro Pans, and they’re totally interchageable. So you can pack shadows, liners and I believe even blush colors to suit your needs.
You can find out more about Laura Mercier Custom Artist Portfolios HERE.

FOTD: Coral Flush

Quick look today. I had to get out the door quickly and just wanted to look ‘fresh’…

FACE
Burberry Sheer Foundation in Trench #10
Burberry Concealer in Sand Beige
Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Powder (01)
Chanel Blush in Malice
EYES
Haughty Cosmetics Eyeshadow in Peace (lids blended up past crease)
Haughty Cosmetics Eyeshadow in Devotion (layered over Peace)
Clinique High Impact Mascara
LIPS
Lipstick Queen Lipstick in Saint Coral

January Favorites

I thought I’d start a ‘favorites’ series for 2013… and highlight one item from each category of any given beauty routine.

So here are my January Favorites:

Skin: Koh Gen D Oriental Plants Balm

 

This stuff is so good. I use it for just about everything now, from emergency eye cream and lip balm, to a little TLC for clients with really dry skin. It’s amazing. It’s light and versatile and has become an absolute keeper for me.

Foundation: Dior Skin NUDE

 

 My skin has been up, down, and all around the briar patch… and it’s just not behaving right now. Dior Skin NUDE foundation keeps it looking hydrated and smooth. And because I’ve been dry lately (instead of my normal oily self), it stays put with no problem.

Powder: Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder

 

I’ve made no secret of my absolute love for this product. A little bit goes such a long way. It sets my foundation without ‘adding’ to anything on my face. Definite keeper.

Mascara: Chanel Volume de Chanel Mascara

This stuff is amazing. I seriously can’t believe how awesome this mascara is. Chanel really hit this one out of the park. They need to just discontinue all those other formulas and just keep this one. It’s absolutely fabulous.

Lip Gloss: Haughty Cosmetics Polish It Off

I’ve been using this stuff nearly every day, like it is just going out of style. Polish it off is the most perfect nude… ever. Although it’s a gloss, the formula is totally opaque so my lips don’t shine through. And it’s completely weightless. I love this lip gloss. At the rate I’m going, I’ll need to get another tube soon. Just this gloss and a little mascara… and I’m good to go.

Those are my January Favorites! Ciao for now!

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!