Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Product Review; "MAC Fluidline"

Smudge-proof, budge-proof, water-proof. Proof that lining eyes can be effortless, MAC Cosmetics released this creamy liner years ago to wild acclaim and it proves to be one of the best in the business.

Though eclipsed by similar gel liners in glass pots, Fluidline proves time and again to be the one to reach for when it comes to pigment, texture and longevity of wear. While other brands may boast a soft formula and colors, there's something to be said for the dense rich tones offered in this particular range.

Pigments like terracottas, stoney browns, vibrant blues and violets and the classic black are easily applied thin or thick with a liner brush for winged cat eyes, an angled brush for lash-line accent or a shader brush for all over color. Sheerly smudged with fingertips over lids, or even layered under eyeshadow as a base will give all day, crease-proof wear.

How much more proof do you need?

MAC Fluidline; $15.00

Product Review; "Duralash Natural Knot-Free Lashes"

Already an industry staple, makeup artists have relied on Ardell for supplying consistent quality lashes in all forms, but the most popular in their repertoire have remained Duralash Naturals Knot-Free lashes. Perfect for where mascara proves to be too little and strip false lashes can prove to be too much.

Used as an accent on the outer corners or across the lash line, these tiny clusters, available in multiple sizes, are permanently curled, waterproof and practically weightless to create full, fluttery winks that are undetectable to close up gazes. Each individual cluster has a straight edge across the base holding together thin fibers securely without the need for tell-tale knotches.

What are knotches?

Generally, cluster lashes have little "dots" at the ends that gather all the fibers together and, up close, can look like... well, dots. When you run them across or on top of eachother, the result is a dotted line making it very obvious that that flutter is indeed artificial.

Getting rid of knotches completes the illusion of full, natural lashes that flirt with every blink. You can layer them here or there or build them one on top of another to get the biggest, fullest look possible. Without looking like too much, of course.

Duralash Natural Knot-Free Lashes; $3.00

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Essentials; Eyebrows

If the eyes are the windows to the soul, I guess that makes the eyebrows, what... like, curtain rods? When I was first learning about makeup, I recall Kevyn Aucoin's book Face Forward remarking about how eyebrows "frame the face" and draw attention to the eyes. I suppose they are due the attention any good furnishing should.

Recently, thick bushy brows have come back into mode. And while I'm not a fan of the super-thin-over-tweezed versions, big and bushy isn't quite my cup of tea either. But, even if bigger is better, a little maintanence is still in order. Located in Manhattan, Lilibeth offers two salons that specialize in brows and skilled sales people wield their Brow Shaping Tool to wack away any unwanted fuzzy strays to keep even the bushiest brows in line. This slightly serrated swing blade is light to the touch and resembles a mini straight razor. But fear not, the blade is dulled just enough to graze skin without nics or cuts and only catches unwanted hairs keeping big brows looking beautifully groomed. $6.00

For those with big brow envy, filling in sparse spots can mimic density without looking drawn in. FACE Stockholm pencils are made for every part of the face but the stone-toned eye pencil " Molly " is perfect for filling in or shaping up brows that could use a bit more girth. Simply lightly drag it in the desired shape and you'll see the color instantly change according to the shade of your skin. Pale complected blondes will see light traces of yellowish-brown, olive tones will see a subdued deep brown, and darker complections get a hint of stoney brown. Light in formula, you get a trace of color to look shapely without being drawn on. $17.00

If you prefer more density, MAC Cosmetics eyeshadows are packed full of pigment. Coquette is another stoney looking color that changes tone once it hits the skin. Though much denser, it's best to use a lighter hand and an angled shadow brush to beef up brows. Since it's a powder, you can stipple it on or use tiny stroke-like-dashes to resemble hair follicles. For just a hint of color or to add some bulge, use this shadow to induce a little brow envy yourself. $14.00

Fuller thicker brows or pencil thin natural looking ones will indeed "frame the face" or finish off any look from day to night or from soft to sexy. Best to have the right tools before baring your soul.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Product Review; "FACE Stockholm Magic Wand Concealer"

In the tradition of "pen-like" concealers for under-eyes, FACE Stockholm offers a familiar product in it's Magic Wand Concealer but with a finished result that stands out from it's predecessors.

Using bonding agents like lecithin to create a soft, pliable and hydrating formula to soften lines and nourish skin, this concealer offers medium coverage in 4 tones to mask darkness and brighten complections overall. Apply with the included brush to banish dark circles, over the bridge of the nose and over cheekbones to highlight or around the lipline to create a sharp pout. You can even tap it over blemishes and let it set before blending to soften discoloration.

Even though it's made with purified water, I find the formula a bit drier than usual. Not "dry" so much as "drier". Though you still get a moist feel, it doesn't stay moist on skin, causing shifting or crinkling into fine lines. Perfect for quick touch ups that can be done in haste.

Unlike the more traditionally moist formulas out there, you'll find much more significant staying power. I'd stay that's enough to stand out from the rest.

FACE Stockholm Magic Wand Concealer; $32.00

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Product Review; "MAC Magically Cool Liquid Powder"

Summer is coming, I swear.

In anticipation of the sweltering heat, MAC has made preparations by giving skin a bit of relief and comfort with the RE-release of one of it's most intriguing products; Magically Cooling Liquid Powder. You may remember this product when it was first introduced into the MAC arsenal as part of the Venomous Villains Collection last Fall.

Though the packaging is no longer emblazoned with the image of Dr. Facilier, the product remains the same silky texture and refreshingly moist-like feel. Layered on top of foundation or bare skin will give preternatural highlights and a dewy fresh glow to complexions with little to no weight. No longer limited edition, this product will join the permanent range starting May 5, 2011 in 3 colors;

"Truth and Light - Sheer shimmer that reflects silver and pink

Cajun - Sheer bronze shimmer that reflects gold

...and the newest to join the range;

"Honey Rose - Sheer rosy beige with multi-dimensional shimmer"

I'm generally not a fan of loose powders because they don't travel well. And even though these powders are only available in loose form, you'll find that one application is enough to last all day, so there's no need for touch-ups. But that refreshing cooling sensation can be pretty tempting and I wouldn't be surprised if you get the urge to dust again once the heat strikes.

Remember, Summer IS coming.

MAC Magically Cooling Liquid Powder; $29.00

Monday, April 11, 2011

Field Trip; "INGLOT Cosmetics Chelsea Market"

The Chelsea Market Concourse, located at 15th street and 9th avenue in New York City, is home to a wide variety of businesses from culinary fares and hard-to-find toiletry items to Food Network Studios and MLB Baseball Corporate offices. The ground floor is expansive, stretching across an entire city block, and houses many a gelato stand, specialty grocery, clothing boutique and bakeries. But if you inquire at the entrance near the elevators, you'll find access to an equally impressive space on the 5th floor selling a wide range of color cosmetics from Polish makeup firm, INGLOT Cosmetics.

Also located within the crowded masses of Times Square, INGLOT's newest location not only increases it's presence in the city, but also offers a wider range of services like event hosting, a photo studio and even a "mixing station" where you can create your own specially designed foundations, eye shadows, lipsticks and eyeliners. Though not visible from street level, the services offered make this location a destination for the more savvy consumer who wants to spend time with a salesperson in a no pressure enviornment.

Developed in Poland by chemist Wojtek Inglot, the brand boasts a huge array of colorful products available in what they've coined "the freedom system"; an opportunity to pick, place and match eyeshadows, lipsticks, concealers and other products into your own customizable palette. Free of excessive packaging, the products can be collected on magnetic boards at each station as a template for your final palette that fits anywhere from 5 to 40 items. With price points as low as $5 for lip, skin and eye products, you're likely to fill more than one board.

And just like any professional counter, sales people are available to assist in matching, coordinating and recommending tones to suit your look or even sit you down at one of the many makeup stations to try an entirely new one. Though unlike other counters, you'll find the time to experiment, ask questions or just wander about without having to deal with pushy street-level crowds. No wonder they hid this shop on the 5th floor.

INGLOT Cosmetics
Chelsea Market Concourse
5th floor

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Breaking News!!; "Bacon Cologne"

So this is a real thing. No, really.

Apparently the concept was put into fruition in the 1920's so it can't really even be considered "breaking news" as the popularity of John Fargginay's signature blend of essential oils with bacon fat (yes, bacon fat) were wildly popular until the formula was lost in a fire in 1924. But lucky (yes, lucky (?) ) for us, the once lost recipe has been rescued from the hickory smoked rubble and brought back to life and implemented into two (yes, two) signature fragrances now gaining wild popularity.

The original or "Bacon Classic" is

"... a sophisticated spicy maple fragrance with just a hint of bacon ... crafted with the pure essential oil blend of bergamot, orange, lime, grapefruit, black pepper, cedar wood, vetiver, guaiacwood and two pinches of Bacon salty goodness. "

while "Bacon Gold" has a

"...sizzling citrus aroma with an ever so slight hint of bacon...lovingly crafted with a pure essential oil blend of mandarin, bergamot, grapefruit, lemon, nutmeg, pimento berry, black pepper & a touch of sweet, a smidgen of savory, and one pinch of Bacon salty goodness..."

Both retail for $36.00 for 30mL and are available for purchase on the company website.

As Seen on TV: "Love Lust & Makeup"

"When I put on red lipstick my husband instantly thinks of blow jobs. Men correlate red lipstick with their penis" -DebiMazar

"Love Lust" is a series on the Sundance Channel whose one-hour episodes;

...will unravel the origin and evolution of various fashion items that we LOVE/LUST. Blending snappy, evocative visual elements with the perspectives of professional commentators and public personalities, LOVE/LUST delivers an entertaining and definitive account of how life’s cultural innovations progressed from novelty to ubiquity.

One particular segment entitled "Love, Lust and Makeup" explores the ins and outs of cosmetics and the influence it has had on the modern world. Offering annecdotes from fashionistas and trend forecasters, the episode follows the recent timeline of innnovations in cosmetics including new technologies and the proliferation of the color red to trends embraced by the people as a result of the economic climate they lived in.

Highlights also include the stages in cosmetic evolution of items like lipstick; from chemist Max Factor who created the first tube to Hazel Bishop who made it smear proof and Charles Revson's Fire and Ice ads that cemented it as a must have beauty item for any woman who wanted to invoke prestige and sex appeal. On the flip side of the spectrum we also get a glance at pioneers in the industry like Bobbi Brown who established the "no makeup look" and made matching the right products to the right skin tone ideal for a woman who matches beauty with strength and confidence. With plenty of visuals citing styles of eras long gone, the viewer can take a journey to see first hand the winged liners of the 50's, 70's andro-punk glamour and even the most recent decades celebrity trends from the likes of Halle Berry and Lady Gaga.

The series also examines the personal relationship women develop with their makeup (sometimes valuing it above health essentials like toothpaste), it's survival in periods of economic disparity (often considered "recession-proof") and even, as Debi Mazar made bluntly apparent, the visceral response it can invoke in men.

To experience the chronicles of the last 100 years of cosmetics, catch "Love, Lust and Makeup" on The Sundance Channel or click here for a viewing schedule.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Product Review; "NYX Cosmetics Mega Shine Lip Gloss"

Loading up at the beauty supply on my block didn't quite end with lipstick and blush. While increasing my stock on a few shades from NYX Cosmetics, I found the selection of their other products just as enticing and opted to give their Mega Shine Lip Gloss a try as well.

Available in alluring shades like deep plums, pale champagnes and vibrant pinks, they are offered in a sheer formula with high sheen and comfortable wear. Regardless of the tone, all colors are sheer-medium to medium coverage and can be layered over lipstick or pencil without gaining much girth or feeling heavy. Thanks to a heaping dose of shea butter in the formula this gloss has a creamy feel that helps moisturize as well as provide brilliant shine. Add grape seed oil to the mix for a nourishing element that holds at bay any further drying of lips and refuses to allow for any sticky residue once removed.

Adding to the benefits of the formula, high shine property and agreeable choice in colors, I've found that for only $5.50, I've got another reason to visit my local beauty supply besides blush.

NYX Cosmetics Mega Shine Lip Gloss; $5.50

Product Review; "Josie Maran Argan Oil Moisturizing Stick"

Argan Oil is one of the better emollients suitable for just about any skin type and has experienced a tremendous amount of popularity in the last few years. But with good reason.

So much so that Josie Maran Cosmetics has built it's brand on the ingredient for it's healing, soothing and regenerative properties as well as it's ability to be so effective and remain on the "organic" spectrum of makeup. Originally, Josie Maran offered it in it's natural liquid form but with the demand in market, they've released Argan Oil Moisturizing Stick. Still just as effective as the serum, this stick seems to serve more as a convenience. Easily rolled up you can use it on lips, dry patches on hands, around sensitive areas of the body or all over face and under eyes. Though it is a bit dense, used sparingly and massaged into skin, you'll find that a little goes a long way and will last you quite a long time.

Ideally, I've kept it in my kit for touch ups in winter months around noses and flaky areas. Once blended in with a brush, foundation can go on top of it to maintain a dewy glow that will soak up and hold all day without getting slick. With Summer quickly approaching, I'm getting accustomed to it for it's ability to soothe burns from sun exposure and the natural antioxidant properties are great for reducing inflammation and UV damage.

Add me to the reason for it's popularity.

Josie Maran Argan Oil Moisturizing Stick; $22.00

Monday, April 4, 2011

Product Review; "Giorgio Armani Smooth Silk Eye Pencil"

Rich eye pencils that are too firm can cause more damage than you think. Available in 6 basic shades, Giorgio Armani Beauty offers up a pencil that feels like a cream but wears like a powder eyeshadow. Gliding onto lashlines effortlessly makes Smooth Silk Eye Pencil ideal for creating precise or diffused lines without tugging the delicate skin. No more tears, ladies.

Though the formula is very creamy, there's a sheerness in texture that can be multi-purposed as all over color or as a base if used over lids and buffed before applying powder eyeshadow. The colors offered are all sophisticated and have a warmth that gives color reminiscent of crushed velvet. Absolutely no loud tones and all paired with a smudger brush on the end for blending or quick fixes. The wood encapsulating the product is soft as well which means sharpening comes with great ease.

No detail left un-examined, this versatile pencil pairs with just about any look from everyday to dramatic. Use it in conjunction with basic eyeshadows or vibrant hues to get eyes looking their very best without the fret of irritation. Though you may still feel eyes getting a little misty, this time, they're tears of joy.

Giorgio Armani Smooth Silk Eyepencil; $27.00

The Essentials; Eyeshadow

It's been said that "the eyes are the window to the soul". That kind of honour deserves some appropriate drapings.

Personally, I prefer the bright, wide-open, well-rested eye look to something overly dramatic and attention grabbing. But regardless of which look I'm going for, I almost always start by loading a large fluffy shadow brush with NARS Albatross Highlighter. This very refined, shimmery powder looks white in the compact but reads as a sheer wash of dimensional gold. Starting at the brow bone, stamp the product and use a back and forth motion to distribute it under eyebrows and graze the residual in the eye-crease to ensure proper blending. Take another dip and dab right on the inner corner of the eye for an instant brightener. After moments of application, you'll have the look of hours rested. $26.00

To create a little bit of dimension and frame to the lid, use the same brush and dip into #35 Pearl Eyeshadow from FACE Stockholm and buff from the lashline to the crease. The neutral beige tone will offset redness, create shape and add further illumination to tired eyes. Though not particularly shimmery, this tone will catch light and mimic the appearance of fresh, almost dewy skin for very light to medium skin tones. For medium dark to dark complexions, try #17 Pearl Eyeshadow. The golden bronze will deplete darkness and raise your focus; call it an affordable eyelift. $19.00

Stop here and run out the door with a bit of mascara unless you need a little more "umph". MAC Cosmetics offers eyeshadows in rich pigments perfect for lining and giving eyes a dash of drama. Take a short, soft, firm shadow brush and smudge the top and bottom lash lines with Coquette, a muted stoney/taupe color. Deeper skin tones should try Charcoal Brown, a dense but warm earth tone with a sharpness that blends away easily. Get a subtle "smokey" effect by adding layers of the same color and buffing halfway up the lid. $14.50

From this point, feel free to continue to layer and add other colors or even eyeliners of all shapes and styles. Though there are more intricate eye looks to create, starting with these few basics will give eyes a basic, dignified and refined appearance. Your soul certainly deserves no less.

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