Monday, July 18, 2011

Working the Poll; "Does sex sell?"

I understand slinky gals in lingerie for Victoria's Secret. I understand buff dudes baring next to nothing for 2(x)ist
. I even understand the sex-obsessed Samantha Jones (Kim Cattrall) for I Can't Believe it's Not Butter. But when it comes to cosmetics, why do I need to be titilated?

Though there does seem to be a pretty common thread; products like Axe Body Spray and Tom Ford's premiere men's fragrance feature beautiful women reacting provocatively to their formulas. So it must be for dudes. Always those one-track minded dudes.

Do women have the capacity to react the same way? If Matthew McConaughey had a tube of lipstick hanging out of his zipper, would you want it? Sure, he's the spokesperson for D&G "The One", but that's also marketed for men. A certain kind of man, but men nonetheless. Unless I'm mistaken... are women buying this fragrance?!

Product Review; "Clinique M Protect SPF 21"

I tend to recommend a tinted moisturizer when skin tones need to be evened out and could use the benefits of hydration with sun protection. However subtle the coverage, it does seem to help improve the look and feel of skin though Clinique has taken the liberty of making a hydrating and sun protective lotion that improves skin tone, without the aide of coverage.

M Protect has multiple moisturizing properties that easily glide over complexions while the SPF factor protects against harmful UV rays. Even as slight an amount as 21 may seem, a daily SPF is crucial to keep skin from incurring the kind of damage received from everyday sun exposure. Whether it's walking outside to run errands or running in and out of the office, staying guarded is always best.

Fortunately, not only does it protect, but the hydration factor is pretty remarkable when it comes to addressing repair. Using emollients like Sunflower Oil to coat damaged skin, M Protect also has a nice helping of Cucumber Extract, Barley Extract and Algae Extract to soothe irritated skin and provide some antioxidant protection.

The irony of these ingredients is that they aren't intense so they're great at keeping the minerals of an SPF from looking too thick and giving that tell-tale white glow on skin that screams "I have cream on". You get the benefits of hydration and sun protection that will keep skin looking and feeling healthy and, with daily use, will keep it from incurring any further damage. All this, without coverage.

Clinique M Protect SPF 21; $23.00

Product Review; "Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm"

Made for the man who despises frills, Jack Black was born of cosmetic company veterans looking to build a brand that addressed men's issues and avoided their frustrations.

If there's one thing that has always bugged me about lip balm it's that it constantly has to be reapplied. However thick it may be at first application, doing a few swipes during the day seems innevitable to keep chapping at bay. Though, familiar, frequent reapplication inducing, greasy ingredients like Petrolatum and Beeswax are NOWHERE to be found in Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm.

Instead, we find ample amounts of Shea Butter, Avocado Oil, and Vitamin E to soothe, calm and hydrate lips all day in a concentrated form that is anything but "greasy". This surprisingly rich formula, melts onto lips from even the smallest amount applied then grabs hold as it sinks in to create a protective barrier that is smooth, not sticky.

Each tube is small enough to fit in your pocket, loaded up with broad spectrum SPF 25 and comes in 5 different formulas to address any specific concern. Try Grapefruit and Ginger to refresh windburned lips or Natural Mint and Shea Butter to help freshen breath.

But regardless of the variety you choose, each is so potent in enough moisture to grip even the roughest lips without shining, slipping or wearing down too soon. Especially if you hate reapplying as much as I do.

Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm; $7.50

Product Review; "Anthony Logistics Continuous Moisture Eye Cream"

Smile lines, otherwise known as "crow's feet", occur around the outer edges of the ocular cavity and can be creditted as the most immediate characteristic of aging. Squinting or smiling repeatedly in front of a mirror will show those lines appear and disappear... or appear and fade softly... or appear and stay visible depending on the moisture level of the skin around eyes.

Anthony Logistics has many products to fight the traces of aging by addressing them with moisture levels to suit skin types, particularly for men, and Continuous Moisture Eye Cream is just as effective when it comes to "crow's feet".

Using tremedously effective emollients Jojoba Oil, Shea Butter and Squalene, this surprisingly serum-like "cream" feels almost like a small bubble of firm water. Applying the size of a small bead to the top of my hand is more than enough for both eyes when transferred with your ring finger. Under the eye and around the outer edge, you'll feel a slight cooling sensation for a moment but almost immediately you may feel that finger start to drag. Don't be alarmed, this only means that all the moisture you need has absorbed into skin leaving behind absolutely no greasy feel.

Once all-in, Vitamins A, C, and E protect skin from further damage while Cucumber extract soothes and repairs any you might have already incurred. Not only will you see "crow's feet" fade over time, darkness will diminish and elasticity will return. Making any and all of those fine lines, and subsequent signs of aging, bounce right back.

Anthony Logistics Continuous Moisture Eye Cream; $32.00

Product Review; "NARS Illuminator"

Amid the search for Summer favorites, highlighting products seems to be the most longed for to elude a cosmetic collector's grasp.

NARS highlighting powders have always been among some of my personal faves, but in extensive heat, powders can have more density than comfort can tolerate. NARS Illuminator on the other hand is a light-weight blend that includes unique ingredients like Black Currant and Raspberry Seed Oils that absorbs immediately into the skin leaving behind a light layer of micro-particle shimmer that reflects hints of color.

Available in recognizable cult favorite shades like Orgasm and Laguna, the newest release also offers Copacabana (glistening pearl tones with a 3D finish) and Super Orgasm (a heavier flush of the original). All are designed to give skin luminosity but, because of the thin formula, can be paired or mixed in with foundation or tinted moisturizer to create full on glow for months outside sunshine.

The only issue, I seemed to have with the product is the impact it actually has requires very little in application. Packaged in a convenient squeeze tube, just a pinch of the casing releases plenty for one application. Though I may have found that perfect Summer highlighter, every time I reach for it, I have to remind myself to loosen my grip.

NARS Illuminator; $29.00

Monday, July 11, 2011

Breaking News: "MAC-Me-Over Winners"

The MAC-me-over campaign got it's start last November when thousands submitted their entry videos for a chance to become one of 6 above faces to promote the new MAC Cosmetics Fall 2011 collection set to release August 25th. Open to women and men, consider the above video a "before" shot and stay tuned for the "after"'s.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Working the Poll; "Makeup Movies"

Many feature films offer the kind of poignant introspection that changes your thought process and forces you to confront your emotional state. Others are only made to be seen.

I remember gazing dumbstruck at Nomi Malone's overdrawn lipliner and breeze-inducing lashes for the 128minutes she mutilated the English language in 1995's "Showgirls". But I also remember being deeply moved when John Cameron Mitchell ripped off his wig and smeared his lipstick in the closing sequence of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch".

Whether the script was tight, the lighting hip or the characters developed, these five featured films would have been nowhere without makeup.

Dreamgirls (2006) chronicled multiple transformations of the trio loosely based on The Supremes from early 60's monotone skin to the glitz and glam that succeeded the summer of love. See the girls change shape in character and form with contour to match.

If Christina Aguilera wanted to go from farm-girl to stage-siren, she had to forgoe her trademark winged liner and red-lip and get back to basics with satin skin and nude gloss before becoming the star of Burlesque (2010) sporting lashes so heavy they gave her instant bedroom eyes.

Even documentaries need a little making-up. Trantasia (2006) chronicled the lives of genetically born men competing for the title of "The World's Most Beautiful Transsexual" in Las Vegas. And whether they were pre or post-op, sometimes "every boy has a dream" that can only be achieved with the right shade of lipstick.

Already painted before she hit the Las Vegas strip, Elizabeth Berkley's portrayal of a girl-on-the-run had to pile on the product before taking off her top next to the likes of Gina Gershon. Reknowned as one of the 25 Movies So Bad They're Unmissable, Showgirls serves no other purpose than a cheap thrill and inspiration for drag queens around the world.

Hitting high notes and living low ones, Hedwig (formerly Hansel) left East Berlin to live a decadent Western life only to learn that all the glitter in the world couldn't hide the darkness of betrayal. Laquered and layered, she worked every trick in the makeup drawer to become a rock n'roll icon with her Angry Inch in tow.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Field Trip; "NORY Make-Up Studio"

I had been coaxed into going to Brooklyn to meet with a client and his restauranteur buddy for an evening of private label 10 year old bourbon and all the tapas I could shovel in my mouth. Settled on 3rd avenue in the area known as Bay Ridge, Vela Restaurant would prove to be an excellent diversion and much needed release after having regretably wandered into NORY Make-Up Studio.

Also on 3rd Avenue in Bay Ridge between 93rd and 92nd streets, this small boutique has a full window-front display peering into the location with a view of it's products and what seems to be a designated makeup station. I noticed immediately the cases within showing an array of products and thought I'd take a peek inside. Once I entered, I was greeted with odd stares and an abrupt, "Can I help you?". Though I understand that my tall and (what has been described to me as) masculine facade can seem a bit out of place, I simply responded with, "I've never seen your brand before". Intrigue still fresh, I walked over to a counter of compacts and lipsticks and asked, " are you only available here?".

Mixed responses from the 3 sales people sitting in a cluster engaged in conversation, I only heard one voice loudly exclaim,

"Why? Are you in need of some makeup?! (laughs)".

Stunned at her response, I stood facing her and said, "yes, I'm a makeup artist" to which she replied,

"You don't LOOK like a makeup artist!".

Now fully shocked, I tried to keep my composure and give her the opportunity to regain the conversation, but the snickering behaviour had pretty much ruined any interest I might have had remaining and to be perfectly honest, I had noticed something that made me lose any remnant completely.

The packaging of NORY's products are a whitish silver tin that felt really flimsy. A compact I picked up, I noticed scuffed very easily and looked similar to that of a prototypical branding I had been introduced to years ago called Your Name Cosmetics; a branding production line offered to salons who want to have their own products without formulation.

Basically, it's generic. Sort of like those bags of cereal at the grocery store called Marshmallow Mateys®. Sure, they look like Lucky Charms®... but they ain't.

I'd like to go into detail about ingredient listings and product details, but after being spoken to with such incredible disrespect, I simply turned, said "thank you" and walked right out the door without looking back.

I continued on down 3rd avenue still feeling offended when I was stopped on the street by a colleague sitting outside the Little Cupcake Bakeshop. She offered me a cupcake (delicious, btw) having noticed how upset I was. "What are you doing in Brooklyn?", she asked.

"Certainly not shopping at NORY Makeup Studio", I answered.

NORY Make-Up Studio
9216 3rd Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11209

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