Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Beauty Breakdown; Emmy's 2010



Genius makeup artist Gregory Arlt has lent his talents to some of the most famous faces in the world from pop superstar Katy Perry to international burlesque icon Dita Von Teese. His work has been featured not only in publications across the globe but on countless covers as well.

Based in Los Angeles as Director of Makeup Artistry for the groundbreaking cosmetics firm MAC Cosmetics, Gregory's work has graced the faces of multiple celebrities making appearance at countless award shows and red carpet events. Today, I was very fortunate to get him to share some of his secrets for creating a look for star of the HBO series "Hung", Anne Heche.

At the HBO Emmy Awards afterparty, Anne glowed flawlessly thanks to the precision of her cream toned dress and flawless face to match;

"Anne is a longtime client and we basically have an unspoken approach to her makeup. I always love to keep her makeup simple, soft, elegant, and clean. Being so fair she can go from "0" to "60" faster than a Ferrari, so less is more. I took one look at her graphic, structured dress and thought uber clean for the makeup. I was inspired by the cream tones, so I used pale icy colors on her eyes. I was also taken by the flowerlike quality of the dress and wanted her cheeks to look stained in pink. We both loved it!"

To duplicate this look, first spend 17 years developing one of the best artistic sensibilities and taking cues from artists like Philippe Chansel and Kevyn Aucoin.

In the meantime, here are a few key items to work with;

SKIN:

MAC Studio Moisture Fix mixed with Darphin "Neroli" oil

Kesalan Patheran #200 UV Foundation

MAC Mineralized Skin Finish Powder in 'Light/Medium'

Cheeks: MAC 'Well Dressed' blush

EYES:

Base: MAC 'Vanilla' and 'Vapour' shadows mixed

Brow Highlight: MAC 'Dazzlelight' shadow

Lids: MAC 'Naked Lunch' and 'Phfloof!' shadows mixed

Crease: MAC 'Era' shadow with MAC 'Quarry' in the deeper crease

Liner: MAC 'Embark' shadow on top, and MAC 'Quarry' shadow on the bottom

Mascara: MAC 'Zoomlash' in Zoomblack

LIPS:

MAC 'Viva Glam V' lipglass with MAC 'Love Nectar' mixed into it

Monday, August 30, 2010

THAT'S how you do lashes!



Damn.

Women are constantly complaining about the clumping, the drying, the flaking, cracking and all around Tammy Faye effect of traditional mascaras. And I don't blame them.

Mascara has got to be one of those things I can't really stand to be bothered with. Not that I don't use it, but I always find that I'm constantly switching it up, using tools to separate them, reaching for alternate wands or even sometimes mixing my own. I don't like it out of the tube and I have yet to find one I do.

But a "whispy, natural" lash is the most common request I get from clients and after seeing this post highlighting Kim Kardashian's makeup at the 2010 EMMY Awards held in Los Angeles, I imagine they'll become much more frequent.

Kim's makeup was understated and flawless with a tinge of pink shine on the lips to exaggerate the shape and definition on the eyebrows to frame the face. But no doubt, the star of this look were the lashes. Long, wispy and feathery, they extended beyond the crease and almost grazed against the brow bone. But with the soft texture, they looked more dreamy and less drag-queen. No thanks to mascara... at ALL!

I have seen multiple varieties of false lashes that purport to have a natural effect, but none like those made famous by another Red Carpet Diva; Jennifer Lopez. Not known to be all too environment-friendly, J.Lo and makeup artist Scott Barnes once made use of mink eyelashes to get that ethereal look. Yep. Mink.

Granted, the website for the notorious lashes now attributes it construction to brushing through the endangered species coat (while still breathing), the method can still raise a few eyebrows... was that a pun?




The Lash Bar Mink Eyelashes "Glamour Long"; $190.00


For those looking for a synthetic option, I'd recommend testing out a few styles before settling on one in particular.

Shu Uemura uses the thinnest fibers possibly and hand crafts them to create a hazy veil over your natural lash. Though just as glamorous, they'll be a little easier on the wallet.



Shu Uemura Smoky Lashes; $27.00

Mattese Elite also offers up a synthetic version, but with a bit more girth, they'd be best suited for someone with thin lashes to begin with.



Mattese Elite Natural Lashes; $9.00

If you're like me, you like to dig for a real bargain. Just visit your local urban beauty supply for these hidden gems.



Red Cherry Basic Lashes; $1.49

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Let's get BALMED!




Out on the town, swigging the booze, feeling a bit flirty... She's looking your way, man. You've got that swagger down and you beckon her to come closer. Nice clean shave, perfectly coiffed hair, clean pressed shirt, not to mention you just popped a strong breath mint. You're good to go.

Her hand brushes up against your side as you lean in to whisper into her ear. She likes it. And as your eyes come into contact she realizes that this meeting is long overdue. With little hesitation, her lips come forward to caress yours and you lean in to reciprocate...

DENIED!

That razor sharp flake of lip skin has sliced open her pucker and she screams with a fresh wound spurting blood trying desperately to escape your vampiric embrace!

Now you're alone again with only your dry-chapped lips to blame. If only there was some way to keep them from drying out!

Duh.

Properly moisturized lips will prevail every time. Sometimes, it's really the only thing you need to concern yourself with... besides bathing and clean underwear, of course. But, fear not, you shall not die having never been kissed. Like any other skin concern, you want to first address the problem and then search for the appropriate solution.

If your wallet keeps weighing you down, By Terry can help lighten your load. Boasting a unique blend of Rose Flower Extract and Pastel Oil in combination with familiar emollients like Shea Butter, this luxurious balm will set you back $52. But it's guaranteed to fill in deep lines with it's Hydroskin Complex and Vitamin E, giving you a fuller, more alluring pout. Don't forget the benefit of SPF 15 to keep those two-lips from wilting in the sun.




By Terry Baume De Rose; $52.00

If you're getting bits of steak lodged between those scales on your pucker, you might consider a bit of exfoliating action. Carmex uses Camphor and Salicylic Acid to invigorate the skin, and slough away dead cells, preventing the accumulation of excess skin and that frost-bitten look. Not to mention Menthol and Phenol for a germ-free spit-swapping session. Try the cherry flavor for a shared flavor experience.



Carmex Cherry Lip Balm; $1.49

But you're a manly-man, you say? Roses are for Valentines day and cherries leave you feeling a bit... fruity? Not to worry, Every Man Jack keeps even the burliest of men in kissing condition. This Phalate, Paraben, dye and fragrance FREE formula is packed with Shea Butter and Aloe Vera in a wax base that has a dry texture to seal in moisture without shining under the disco lights. I mean, not that you go to a "disco" per se... Ah, don't hit me!



Every Man Jack Lip Balm(2pack); $5.00

Being a little more secure in my masculinity, I almost always reach for lip products from Alba Skincare. These little tubes are filled to the brim with nutritious ingredients like Jojoba Oil, Coconut Oil and Aloe to keep lips overflowing with moisture without the need for greasy Petrolatum. Almost completely organic, there's no cause for alarm should they be ingested. Take your pick of Passion Fruit, Coconut or Pineapple and expect to get devoured.


Alba Lip Balm; $2.99

Product Review; "Jordana Color Effects Powder Eyeshadow"



If you are unfamiliar with Jordana Cosmetics, you may not be alone. Being the beauty detective that I am, my eye is trained to look-out for new products or ones that may not have the following that bigger brands do. Usually for that reason alone. You never know what you'll find until you take the time to dig deep.

Don't get me wrong, I have been known to frequent department stores when I feel inclined to gander at what luxury brands have to offer, but there's really nothing quite like the feeling of finding something great that you know most people haven't. Who would turn down buried treasure?!

During my trip to Duane Reade a few weeks ago, I happened to squat down in the middle of the cosmetics aisle to find a cluster of single eyeshadows displayed along an acrylic display case in some really vibrant colors. Who could resist? Especially when I saw the price tags; $1.99!!

The individually wrapped plastic cases were in silver with a basic screw-top lid. The product itself is in a .05oz tin comparable in size to pretty much any other department store eyeshadow such as those from MAC or Smashbox. And, through further inspection, in pigmentation that is just as impressive, although not as in depth in range.

Now, Jordana is a smaller range of color choices but is no less as functional as those from other brands. Although sometimes I feel like you can really gauge the quality of a product when you're testing the most basic shades, like neutral tones, as opposed to the more vibrant, eccentric colors, like blues and vivid greens. The colors I decided to go with were "Creamy Vanilla" (light beige-satin finish), "Supernatural" (golden beige-pearl finish) and "Over the Taupe" (medium taupe-pearl finish).

The color payoff is pretty deep which means you don't have to layer the product too much to get the tone you want. They blend well with each other and seamlessly flowed into my palettes once removed from the container. As far as staying power, the formula feels very light and is not prone to creasing or bunching during longer sessions of wear. But I couldn't figure out exactly why...

If there was one thing I could say that I didn't quite care for, it would be that I couldn't find the ingredients listing for these shadows either on the packaging or the website. Although this isn't a terribly important critique, it's always on my mind just to have when considering price points and wear-longevity. Certain ingredients translate to longer staying power and others don't. But judging from the way they've been wearing, I'll pay $1.99 to give em a shot! Considering I could leave the drugstore with the entire collection of 42 eyeshadows for the price of 2 department store lipsticks.




Jordana Color Effects Powder Eyeshadow; $1.99

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Friend or Foe?; Petrolatum




Petrolatum is one of the most common ingredients listed in skincare products sold on every continent. You'll find it in just about every product that markets itself as being "healing" or "protecting" including familiar ones like Chapstick and Vaseline.

In it's raw form, it was accidently discovered by oil rig workmen who would use this refinery by-product to seal over wounds and burns. Petrolatum was taken from it's raw form and refined by chemist Robert Chesebrough which made his previous project of distilling whale oil obsolete. Many forms have since been adopted to range in uses from treating burns, wounds, chapped skin, and wind burn to other uses as an overall, all-purpose humectant.

However...

The moisturizing property of petrolatum is a bit deceptive.

The molecular structure is quite large. Too large, in fact, to permeate the skins surface structure. Which means, it does NOT dissolve into skin. Instead, it just rests on the surface creating a moist-like texture, like a lubricant.

Before the advent of water-based lubricants and latex condoms, products with petrolatum as the key ingredient were used for sexual lubrication. Of course, these products should never be used for this purpose now, as petrolatum has absolutely no compatibility with prophylactics and is not safe for use inside the body. Although, it can cause no immediate health risks, further studies need to be done regarding ingestion. Someone should tell all those beauty queens to quit rubbing it on their teeth.

So, why is it considered "healing" and "protecting"? When petrolatum goes onto the skin, it immediately begins melting, thus stretching over large dermal surfaces and creating a shield against foreign elements like dust and pollution. Mostly, these foreign agents never get a chance to sink through and affect the skin beneath. But skin is full of tiny little holes called pores that secrete sweat and oils produced by the body. So if these oils have nowhere to go, they stay in limbo between the skin and the petrolatum. These are the true moisturizers.

Imagine this collaboration like putting a lid over a pot roast. Your skin is basically marinating in its own juices.

Which, again, isn't so bad. Especially if you want to be savory... I guess.

For this reason, petrolatum is ideal for use when "healing" or protecting against infection is the goal. Such as for tattoos and diaper rash, cuts and small wounds or excessively dry skin.

One thing I've always noticed about these kinds of products is that they're awfully inexpensive. Mostly because the process of making petrolatum isn't terribly difficult or costly. Or, for that matter, terribly intentional. Let's remember, it's a by-product of crude oil. That stuff used to make plastic, rubber, polymers and gasoline. Which always makes me wonder why anyone would be able to charge much for products with petrolatum in it. It's cheap. Really cheap, in fact. Retail value of 1oz of white petrolatum is about $1.

Have you ever put on a really expensive facial moisturizer and then found that your makeup needs to be constantly touched up because it feels like it's been moving around? Petrolatum. Over $100 an ounce of product is literally sliding around on your face.

Because of it's low melting point (75 degrees Fahrenheit as compared to the body's stasis point of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit), petrolatum will continue to melt throughout the day. Particularly on hot ones. That would be the "greasy" feeling on your hands after applying lotion to your... whatever.

Most body care products use this to their advantage because it creates the sensation of being doused in moisture, but again, it's a false sense of satisfaction. There are products that have petrolatum as it's key ingredient, and that's fine, but I'd recommend seeking out products with true emollients the body will recognize and absorb like an essential oil. Although, you might find, since they're more difficult to cultivate, the price points of such items may be significantly higher.

If you're ever curious about what products contain petrolatum, simply flip over the package of whatever skincare item you happen to have. If it's in the first 5 ingredients listed, kindly check the price and you'll know if this product is a bosom buddie, or a frenemy.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Product Review; "REVLON Beyond Natural Cream to Powder Eyeshadow Quad"



On a Friday night, what else is there to do but loiter around the cosmetics aisle at Duane Reade? Really?

While wandering around Hell's Kitchen in Manhattan this weekend, I decided to make a pit stop in the local drug store to pick up a bottle of water before meeting up with some friends. After studious examination of the wide selection Poland Springs had to offer, I took a detour through the next row to gander at some lipstick shades.

Generally, I don't find myself buying much drugstore makeup. Mostly because, there usually are no testers. It's a difficult choice to make when you can't play with the actual product to see how the colors read on skin, how they feel, how they blend, how they dry down, etc... So, I find that, unless they're sent to me for review, I almost never give them a chance. But, on the upside, drugstore makeup is usually fairly inexpensive and most retailers have a pretty forgiving return policy.

But lipstick tends to be very unforgiving, so I passed on that idea. But, there were plenty of other products to consider and I always like keeping an eye out for what companies are coming up with. So, with my attention officially diverted, I came across the Revlon display and their "Beyond Natural" line.

At first I didn't even realize that this product was "cream to powder". When I hear that phrase, it usually brings up a notion of some kind of material that's going to really dry out over time and create a "cakey" feel to the skin. Which is particularly uncomfortable on the sensitive eye area.

After a few swipes of this creamy shadow, I noticed how the texture maintained for quite some time with no "slippery" feel and a soft demi-matte finish. Something similar to Cream Colour Base but without as much of a "moist" feel.

The wear time was a good few hours before I started to notice a bit of creasing, but it was very slight. The pigment in "Spice", the color palette I chose, was pretty and most suitable for skin tones from fair to medium. On darker skin, they would read as a really nice highlighter with no noticeable definition.

If you're looking for something really basic for a quick makeup look, these would be perfect. The compact is very discreet and the product can be applied with your fingers.

I'd probably recommend these even as a base for powder eyeshadow if you want a stronger look since the formula isn't too moist and has a bit of color to it already. I mean, it's worth giving it a chance, right?




REVLON Beyond Natural Cream to Powder Eyeshadow Quad; $7.99

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

BREAKING NEWS!; "Zac Efron is attractive"



Even when he busts out the teal nail polish.

At the 2010 Teen Choice Awards held on August 9th, the High School Musical star showed up wearing chipped teal nail polish to coordinate with his equally casual scruffy face and perfectly disheveled hair. But was this an intentional beauty choice or just a guy feeling like adding a dash of color to his outfit?

According to Allure.com, Zac was wearing lacquered hands as an homage to his girlfriend, Vanessa Hudgens who sports the same style while performing in the latest production of "RENT" at the Hollywood Bowl.

The MAN-icure is not a new practice. In times past, men used to buff out their nails during the shave and haircut process. Appropriate for a special night out. What is uncommon is using a nail color. Unless you're also into guyliner, it's not common to wear most color products, but rather something that will just polish up your style without looking too obvious.

Might I suggest, a strengthening coat with an undetectable matte finish? Keeps the nails in great shape without really trying too hard.



Orly Nails for Males; $6.99

But before you start painting, buff out those cuticles and rough edges. If you're into details, that is.



Sephora 4-sided Nail buffer; $3.99

While we're at it, the next time you reach out for Vanessa, Zac, make your touch feel that much more special.



FACE Stockholm Healing Hands Cream; $22

Monday, August 9, 2010

Product Review; "MakeUpForever HD Microfinish Blush"



Nah.

They're pretty good and all, but there's something I'm just not feeling about these blushes.

First, there's the packaging which is a miniature version of the HD Foundation bottle (another product that kind of put me off in the past but I don't want to get side-tracked). And then there's the product itself which I find to be a little "wet" initially, but then dries down to a really satin-y finish. Which is ideal for High Definition television, but there's this texture to the skin afterwards that makes me think the product almost needs to be ground into the skin.

The key ingredient in the formula is Isododecane, a solvent that increases the "spreadability" of products. With this being such a major part of the formulation, in addition to an intense amount of pigment common to MakeUpForever products, a little really does go a looooooooong way.

If there was one good thing I could say, it would be about the color. Most definitely.

MakeUpForever certainly doesn't skimp on pigment and is certainly staying true to it's roots as a destination product line for makeup artists and industry professionals. The colors range in shades from deep plums to pale pinks that really do show true to what you see in the packaging.

The color below is aptly named "truth or dare"... Truthfully, I might dare.

Again, I'm digging the colors completely, but as you can see from the images below, the packaging is really killing me. The first image is one pump of product and the second image is how far it would stretch.





Use sparingly, obviously. One drop is enough for multiple faces. It's very possible that I need to go back and revisit them at another time like I have with products in the past, but I'm not seeing myself loading these into my kit for the time being.



MakeUpForever HD Microfinish Blush; $25

Sunday, August 8, 2010

the Boy-Beat!




There is nothing MORE attractive than a guy wearing makeup.

That being said, there is nothing LESS attractive than a guy wearing makeup.

There are times when it is imperative to wear even the most limited amount of products (awards ceremonies, on camera interviews, hot date) whether or not you're male or female, rocker or roller, civilian or politician. But, I would say, these instances are indeed few and far in between.

"Masculinity" in the American culture is idealized by the lack of effort it actually takes to look strikingly handsome. When we spot an attractive man, we are hit with images of muscles, swagger and a confidence too mysterious to explain. We don't think about their standing appointment for brow tweezing. But that could very well be the secret to maintaining those bedroom eyes.

Effortlessly handsome is the goal, but can be achieved various ways. Personally, I prefer to focus on skincare and cleanliness. It's the best way to prevent any opportunities for breakouts, redness, dark circles and color loss in the skin. All things we address with color cosmetics. If you do the former, you'd probably have no need for the latter.

But, life isn't always so simple. Even with all the preparation in the world, there will be times when you may not get enough rest, or sun, or vitamins to counteract all the damage that comes from the world around us. Yes, even I get the errand pimple here and there. If this occurs, there are very simple ways to address it without looking like a boy wearing makeup.

Properly hydrated skin can evoke thoughts of youth and vitality. Growing old gracefully is fine and all, but not if you look like you've been prepped to be made into a saddle. Try alba Skincare After Sun Lotion. It has Kona Coffee to undue sun damage and excellent emollients like Shea Butter, Macademia Nut Oil and Borage Oil to nourish dry skin. Best of all, it's for face and body!



Alba After-Sun Lotion; $11.95


But don't forget the lips. Prepping for an important event with that special gal (or guy) isn't really worth it unless you get a kiss goodnight, right? Anthony Logistics Sun Stick SPF 15 is infused with Vitamin A and E, making this moisturizing lip balm ideal for under the eyes or over the bridge of the nose for added protection.



Anthony Logistics Sun Stick SPF 15; $16

Then again, maybe you're on the opposite side of the spectrum and have to deal with too shiny of a complexion. Not to worry, MAC Cosmetics Blot Powder has got you covered. Designed to pick up moisture without leaving any color or powder-y residue, this discreet compact can easily be slipped into your pocket to relieve a shiny nose, forehead and chin.



MAC Cosmetics Blot Powder; $22

If you've got a little something to hide, I'd suggest a cream concealer like FACE Stockholm Neutralizer Concealers. Coming in 3 tones to counteract darkness under the eyes, they can also be used sparsely to cover blemishes or even shaving nicks.



FACE Stockholm Neutralizer Concealer; $26



By sticking to these key products, I guarantee you'll maintain that enviable, effortlessly handsome look. Just stay away from the guyliner.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Product Review; "Cozzette Makeup Brushes"





After the initial shock wore off from my traumatic trip to Alcone I did my best to recover by testing out some of the new brushes they had to offer. A company called Cozzette by makeup artist Roque Cozzette had a new line of brushes being launched that are some of the softest I have ever felt. The display was a wire-rack turnspot that hung each brush in individual dense plastic sleeves that had a button-snap enclosure. The handles were firm and varnished in a purple laquer with clearly printed numbers in silver paint.

The price list next to it didn't look so bad either. Ranging from $10 to $32, these brushes were well worth the cost as they are very obviously of expert craftsmanship. Plus! the fibers are all synthetic. No joke.

The brand touts itself as being 100% vegan and cruelty-free. In their own words they have "devoted our energy toward the development of beauty products that honor all living things".

Having recently been featured at IMATS, Cozzette uses it's superior construction in drawing parallels from makeup brushes to current airbrushing techniques. And I would have to agree.

Each brush is made with incredibly soft fibers that pick up the perfect amount of product and blend flawlessly on skin. The only comparable brushes with similar quality I could think of would be those from Hakuhodu. Actually, the similarities are almost uncanny. The shape and size of the S100 Cozzette brush is identical to the S100 Hakuhodu brush. And, no, that wasn't a mistake. They share the same name; S100. Although the main difference would be that Hakuhodu's is made of Goat hair and costs $72. So, I wouldn't suspect plagiarism just yet. But since we're comparing, there's the S125 Cozzette brush that reminds me of the S102 Hakuhodu brush, but again, Hakuhodu's is made of Blue Squirrel hair and costs $111.

I'm really shocked with the range of brushes offered by Cozzette in the best possible way and really look forward to picking up a few more since the price points and quality are so agreeable. So agreeable in fact, I decided to splurge and pick up the S165 as well. An oversized crease brush ideal for powder eyeshadow or blending creams in a "soft focused application".

When I removed the brushes from their sleeves, I did notice a bit of a manufacture-ish type smell, but once I washed them with a bit of shampoo, it was gone. I think the company uses some kind of sealing product before packaging so the shape of the brush is maintained on the display. A great way to make a product look it's absolute possible best. Which they all did.

But looks are clearly not decieving.



S1oo Angled Powder Brush ; $32




S125 Powder Brush; $30



S165 Eye Contour Large; $18

Monday, August 2, 2010

BREAKING NEWS!!; Alcone Sponges discontinued?!



Right?

After I went into my fit of rage at Alcone Co throwing eyeshadows and banging my head against the wall, a tranquilizer dart hit me in the neck and successfully sedated me. Good aim, shop-keep!

What caused this dramatic scene?; I asked the sales girls for a bag of my favorite cosmetic wedges and her face went a bit sullen as she opened her mouth to tell me about the letter taped to the front of the package;

"You are probably noticing a difference in our sponges. There is a worldwide problem affecting all of us and we wanted to take an opportunity to explain the situation."

No. NOOOOOOOO!!!!

Apparently a company by the name of "Spongetech" had bought out many small sponge companies and began involving themselves in questionable business practices until finally filing for bankruptcy amidst defrauding investors and shutting down production. The remainder of stock at Alcone was all the company had to offer and to make matters worst, about an hour before I came into the store, some movie production had been there and purchased ALL the remaining stock of the original formula sponges.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Alcone Cosmetic Sponges are an industry staple among makeup artists and are the hottest selling item for the company. Everyone loves them including Shiseido's Artistic Director, Dick Page and the gals over at Allure. I guess I've got to be the bearer of bad news.

But there will be an opportunity for redemption soon as Alcone "will continue to try to get our new manufacturer to create the same wonderful sponge you are used to. We should have a new batch of sponges and will be returning the bad batch. We know that you need something so we kept some stock. We will keep you informed when the sponge problem is resolved."

Light at the end of the tunnel? I sure hope so.

But they were right, I did need something and the sponges they had weren't so terrible. They're significantly more porous in texture but remain firm. The sponge soaks up more product but still blends well on the skin and bounces back to it's original shape.

Not a horrible product, but definitely not the one you're used to.



Alcone Company Non-latex Sponges; $2.50

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Product Review; "FACE Stockholm Healing Hands Cream"



"Neurotic" would be the kind of word that describes me on a good day. Other days, I'm not sure there is a word for it on this planet...

My skincare regimen would be admirable if it weren't so specific. Or maybe, you're into that kind of thing? I cleanse my skin with only a select few products that I have been faithful to for years using a time tested method. Don't ask. From head to toe, I am drenched,on a nightly basis, using particular serums and moisturizers without fail. If for some reason, I'm not at home for the evening to initiate this ritual, I go without. Completely.

I don't care where I am or what I've been doing, if I don't get to use the things that I am already accustomed to, I won't use a damn thing. It's just my way. I would rather marinate in filth than clean up with sub-par products.

Having said that, it's not likely that I will introduce anything new into my ritual very often. But, the other day, I happened to realize that I was a little over-due.

For some reason a puzzle has presented itself that I haven't yet pieced together. In my kit, I've kept a tube of FACE Stockholm's Healing Hands Cream for the use of models, actors, key grips or the errand production assistant who felt like they needed a little bit of moisture for their hands. After relying on this product for so long, I've started taking it for granted, knowing that it was good for keeping hands from feeling dry, cracked or irritated.

What completely escaped my grasp is right in the title; "healing".

I had somehow developed the strangest cluster of bumps on the inside of my wrist that I attributed to a reaction from some other product that I haven't yet identified. But it could be from a multitude of things; maybe from resting my arms behind my head while lounging in front of the T.V. (hair product transfer?), keeping my hands buried in my pockets during my subway commute(filthy handrails) or even from swatching makeup on my wrists (larger surface area). But, in any case, they itch like crazy. Which is a bit worrisome but not the kind of thing I'll let myself obsess over... cuz I will.

I tried a few things to soothe the irritation (that I was already familiar with) including Calamine Lotion and A&D but these only proved to be mildly effective. So, at the risk of starting some kind of quest for a product that would help, I turned to a familiar tube.

And boy, did it help!

The formula is touted as being able to instantly relieve dehydration (a common reason for most "itching") with the help of heaping amounts of Shea Butter as well as invigorating the skin with the scent of Verbena. What I discovered, however, was that, in addition, the formula boasts Allantoin and Glycerin, both with soothing properties that are highly effective in calming irritation and discomfort when applied topically.

I feel soothed, indeed. Not only my wrists, but that nagging neurotic part of my brain can breathe a sigh of relief. No need to go on the search for some product that will only disrupt our regimen and put a strain on normal functioning. I can easily incorporate this cream into my routine whenever needed. Which is, indeed, soothing. Although, there is no true antiseptic quality to this product, I'm not too concerned since I'm a frequent hand-washer.

Yea, like you're really surprised.




FACE Stockholm Healing Hands Cream; $22
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