May Favorites (2013)

This month, the list is ‘stripped down’ to the basics that I feel I must have — to function in truly flawless fashion.

Salux Cleansing Cloth.
Okay, I know that this is a regular staple in China and Japan, but I’m just discovering it and I LOVE IT! My baby sister insisted that I must get this cloth, and she was so right. I can’t live without it now. It exfoliates so beautifully, that it preps my skin to completely absorb the next treatment. I especially love using it before a Habibi Body Scrub. My skin is like SILK afterwards. Totally inexpensive, and totally worth it.

Asheida Face Sponge.
I absolutely love this sponge for removing makeup. I use it in two steps: first to take off the initial layer of makeup, and second to cleanse. I find it less messy than  my Clarisonic (which I still use religiously every night before bed) and easier to clean when removing makeup. It’s a fabulous little addition to my makeup removing routine.

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil.
This is  my new ‘go to’ for removing makeup… especially  heavier foundations. The oil interacts with the oils in my skin (and the makeup) to cancel the latter out, and my makeup just slides off! I love it. Right now it’s on sale – so now is one of the best times to try it out!

Sunday Riley Start Over.
I’ve been using this eye treatment religiously since discovering it last year. It is fantastic for targeting any puffiness or darkness around the eyes. Continued use has left my eyes brighter and ‘puff free.’  It’s not the most moisturizing formula on the planet, so I think it’s better suited to oilier skins like mine.

Hourglass Lip Treatment Oil.
I really didn’t expect to rely on this formula the way I’ve come to. It’s really wonderful. I love the idea of a ‘serum’ for the lips, and I love the way it perfectly preps my lips for lipstick application, without the ‘slick’ of a traditional lip balm. I’ll definitely be keeping this one in heavy rotation.


Tom Ford Shade + Illuminate.
This rather pricey, but fantastic addition to my ‘skin kit’ is a must have if you can swing it. The double contour/highlight cream formula imitates ‘skin’ in a way that leaves the skin dewy, but not greasy or glittery. Perfect for both a ‘no makeup’ makeup… or a full on  makeup. A complete review is coming.

MAC Riri Woo Lipstick.
Say what? I went from being skeptical about this lipstick to hopping on board as a full on fan. Wow, I love it. I really do. The matte formula is friendly enough to wear without any other real embellishment on the face, which is rare for this kind of finish. It will totally pull your face together with just a bit of mascara and a groomed brow. But it also works incredibly well as part of a full dramatic look. MAC did extremely well with this lipstick, and they deserve major kudos.

Diptyque Eau Moheli Perfume.
I think I may have found my ‘summer staple’ fragrance. Eau Moheli uses an insane amount of ylang ylang to set the base note for this unusual floral. This fragrance plays so well with others, it’s amazing. I’ve been layering it like crazy with other scents (even traditionally masculine fragrances), to see what I can come up with. Right now, my absolute favorite combination is Eau Moheli, layered over Habibi Body Balm in Pink Grapefruit. Every time I wear it, someone asks me what I’m wearing. It’s that amazing.

That’s it! Those are my faves for the month of May. Ciao for now!

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February Favorites (2013)

I’m going to continue with the monthly ‘favorites’ list. I think it forces me to really sort through my makeup and skin care and gauge performance (and $$ worth) in a practical way. So here are my favorites for the month of February:

Sunday Riley JUNO:

I know, I know! I initially hated this oil (I’m still not a fan of the smell), but it has gone so far to heal my broken skin, that I can’t rave about it enough. I’ve used my original bottle up, gone through a couple of samples, and am now due to purchase a fresh bottle. I mix it with my regular skin moisturizer for daytime, and wear it alone at night. It’s been wonderful for this skin. I am in love with it now.

Koh Gen Do Moisture Foundation:

This has become such a staple. What I love most about this foundation is that it imitates ‘skin’ so it looks incredibly natural. I apply it with my fingers, set it with a light dusting of Secret Brightening Powder and I’m good to go. Easy Peasy.

MAC Lovecloud Blush:

I’ve been using this blush every day for nearly a month. It’s incredibly flattering, and brightens my complexion without making me look too ‘done.’ It’s a perfect pinky coral on my skin, and it lasts all day, until I take it off.

Chanel Or Rose Eye Pencil (top):

This is another staple. Like Lovecloud, it brightens my entire eye, and opens it up. Unless you look closely, it doesn’t even look like I’m wearing it on my waterline. Now that I’ve been wearing my glasses more often than not, this is the perfect eye opener for me. I use it just about every day, no matter what kind of makeup I’m doing for the day.

By Terry Or de Rose Lip Baume

I keep one of these in my purse, and one in my kit. The wand applicator is the best thing By Terry did for this shimmering balm. I can put it on without looking, and it just kind of lights my lip area. The rose gold flecks add just enough color to give my lips some definition, and it feels absolutely wonderful on. Love it.

Those are my top picks for February 2013! Ciao for Now!

Blushed: Sunday Riley Blush in Rush

I’ve expanded my curiosity about Sunday Riley Makeup in the direction of blush. First impressions: They are VERY pigmented. A little goes a very long way. There are shades for just about every skin tone. I finally settled on the coral shade called ‘Rush.’

The pigment level on this blush is insane. It’s totally possible to overdo it. I recommend a very light hand.

You can find out more about Sunday Riley Blushes HERE.

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!

FOTD: Shiseido Winter Pink n’ Brown

I dug back into the Shiseido Tropicalia Palette. This time I layered the pink over Brown(ish) cream shadow:

Urban Decay NAKED Foundation (#8)
By Terry Hyaluronic Face Powder
Chanel Blush in Rose Initial
Shiseido Shimmering Cream Shadow in BR709 (lids)
Shiseido Eyeshadow Trio in Tropicalia:
Shimmer Pink (lids)
MAC Eyeshadow in Brun (outer crease)
MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack (lashline)
Chanel Eye Pencil in Taupe (waterline)
Sunday Riley Lipstick in Rebel Rose
By Terry Baume de Rose

Lip Service: Sunday Riley Rebel Rose

This is my first foray into the Sunday Riley ‘color’ makeup line… I decided that the shocking pink lipstick called ‘Rebel Rose’ was an appropriate introduction.

I fell head over heels in love with this magenta-tinged pink. These colors look amazing on my warm skin tone, and this lipstick is no exception.

Thanks to Stephanie at Space NK, I learned how to use this lipstick. She found out that it’s kind of ‘dry’ and has to really be pressed onto the mouth. BUT, I think that the exposed tubes of lipstick on the display, are just dried out. This lipstick is on the dry side, but not nearly as dry as the display. I applied it to very dry lips, and found that it went on just fine, and even plumped my  lips a bit.

It’s not an incredibly moisturizing formula, but it’s not awfully dry either. This was my favorite color in the collection. Stephanie is fond of this shade’s darker cousin: Stereotype. It goes on deep red-fuschia on her. But on me it just looks like a pinky-scarlett. Not very exciting. This color was a much better choice for me.

The other thing that’s noteworthy about this lipstick is that the color deepens over time. It tends to act like a ‘stain’ on the lips, and the color gets deeper (and more vibrant) as you wear it. Pretty good stuff.

You can find out more about Sunday Riley lipsticks HERE.

FOTD: Riviere

I dug into the new Chanel Illusion d’Ombre in Rivere, and was happy to find that it stayed a distinct teal color on me…

Sunday Riley Liquid Light Foundation (140C)
By Terry Loose Powder in Apricot Sable
Chanel Blush in Fleur de Lotus
Chanel Eyeshadow in Beige Lame (lashline to crease)
Chanel Illusion d’ Ombre in Riviere (lids)
MAC Eyeshadow in Brun (outer lashline/outer crease)
Chanel Eye Kohl in Blue Aerien (waterline)
Chanel Intimitable Intense Mascara
Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited in Beige

FOTD: Sunday Riley & By Terry

I mostly just wanted to do something with the new By Terry Lipstick (although I’m not sure that it was the right color choice), and take the Sunday Riley Foundation for a spin…

Sunday Riley Liquid Light Foundation (140C)
Chanel Blush in Fleur de Lotus
Chanel Rives Quad: 
Light Brown on Lids
Medium Brown in Crease
Dark Brown on Outer Lashline and Under Waterline
Chanel Intimitable Intense Mascara
By Terry Lipstick in Carnal Attraction

Flawless Finish: Sunday Riley Liquid Light Foundation

Foundation Type: Liquid
Skin Type: Normal to Oily
Coverage: Sheer to Medium

This is one of those ‘where have you been all my life’ daily foundations, that lets you wear makeup without you actually looking like you’re wearing any. My oily/acne prone skin fell head over heels in love from the first application. One of the things that makes this foundation special is the ingredients. It’s chock full of skin-saving goodness, including Vitamin C, Bamboo, and Magnolia Bark. The combination is supposed to soothe inflamed skin, help correct blemishes, and plump fine lines and wrinkes. Oh, and offer ‘skin perfecting’ coverage that’s light (sheer) and breathable. All that in a foundation? Sign me up!

One more plus for this product, is that the color range accounts for undertones. There is a C range (cooler/neutral) and a W range (warmer). 140C is a match for me, believe it or not, despite its incredible light color in the bottle.

See how the foundation looked a little light going on… then merged in and adjusted to go nearly invisible? I am really impressed.
Now, this is a sheer to medium coverage. If you’re looking for full coverage (or even a solid medium coverage) then this foundation is not for you. I’m a fan of the fact that it leaves your skin in better shape than it was when you put it on. And if I’m worried about any extra coverage, I can always grab a color corrector to hit the hot spots.
What’s really got me jazzed about this foundation is that it falls firmly in the ‘makeup as skin care’ category, and REALLY gives By Terry a run for its money… particularly because this foundation is $52 (as opposed to the comparable By Terry version at $112). Yeah.
You can find out more about Sunday Riley Liquid Light Foundation HERE
*pr sample