Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Whenever I see a Guerlain compact, it always strikes me with a sense of awe. In the sense that they are some of the most decadent casings, though not always practical. Usually, I have to remind myself that it's really the formulas within that deserve the critique and not just the pretty box.
Ombre Eclat Base Paupieres is a priming base in one such compact that is designed to be swept over eyes after moisturizer and before eye color to ensure that your look lasts all day and night. Available in only one beige shade, this primer also boasts Vitamin E to revitalize skin. Composed mostly of emollients like Candelila Wax and Carnuaba Wax, it keeps skin soothed and hydrated throughout it's wear to prevent any additional aging or drying of the delicate eye area. Included in the compact is an applicator brush, but I found that it's best applied with fingers to warm up the product so it goes on a bit thinner. Ironically, for a primer, it's a bit thick and bunchy if not properly blended.
With a little prep work, I've found that this product lays on skin pretty well but performs best on eyes that are already fairly smooth and wrinkle-free. In some cases I've skipped the lids and placed it around the under-eye areas before concealer if the skin isn't too bunched or wrinkled either. And though I'm not sure I'll be reaching for it for just about every single one of my clients, the case and formula are still beautiful enough to warrant keeping it in my kit.
Guerlain Ombre Eclat Base Paupieres; $36.00
One of the more uniquely packaged and marketed brands, Jouer Cosmetics has also been one of the more well performing brands in my kit. Products like it's Replenish and Protect Hydrating Bronzer SPF 39 to reach for in, the now, scorching New York heat and humidity, prove more than just innovative packaging.
Made with mineral elements that compose a powerful Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 39, this lightweight powder dusts over cheeks and high points of the face without changing tone or leaving splotchy, orange-like streaks. With a fluffy powder brush you'll find this silky powder leaves skin feeling smooth whether in conjunction with foundations in cream or powder formula, or just bare skin. Not to mention it's milled to super-fine texture that refuses to build up when the next heat-wave strikes.
If there was one thing I had to say that wasn't so complimentary, it would be the lack of choice in colors. As in, there aren't any. Currently only available in one shade "Perfect Tan", this "matte golden honey" tone is incredibly complimentary to skin shades from medium-fair to medium-dark. On darker skin tones, it does look pretty nice as a setting powder or highlighter. Very fair tones will find it a bit too red, but if paired with a translucent powder, you get a nice warm flush.
Though I will continue to carry deeper tones from other companies, I hope Jouer does release more tones soon. I much prefer their packaging.
Jouer Replenish and Protect Hydrating Bronzer SPF 39; $32.00
MAC Cosmetics recently put together a meeting with 9 of it's most prominent/obsessive beauty bloggers to create a line of products that reflects their innermost desire when it comes to products not already available on the market. They were provided transport to The Esteé Lauder Companies Canadian Innovation Centre in Toronto, Canada to tour and consult with the brands chemistry team in order to create those items to the bloggers specifications... where do I send my submission for next year?!
"No one loves M∙A∙C more than a beauty blogger. To thank them for their passionate devotion & always honest feedback, we invited nine of our favourites to our lab in Toronto to custom-create their own Eye Shadow or Lipglass. Exclusively online, just like the makeup-mad minds that created them."
Eyeshadow ($14.50 U.S. / $17.50 CDN) (Limited Edition)
Hocus Pocus Dark sooty grey with silver pearl (Satin) (The Makeup Girl)
Jealousy Wakes Seething emerald green with teal and gold pearl (Veluxe Pearl) (Temptalia)
Parisian Skies Muted grey-blue (Satin) (Lipstick Powder N Paint)
Sparkle, Neely, Sparkle! Deep rusty brown with champagne-colored sparkle (Velvet) (Beauty Blogging Junkie)
Lipglass ($14.50 U.S. / $17.50 CDN) (Limited Edition)
All of My Purple Life Deep purple/grape with subtle sparkle (Afrobella)
Caqui Persimmon orange (Beauty Maverick)
Evolution Revolution Warm peachy pink with subtle purple, green, blue micro glitter (Makeup and Beauty Blog)
Nitro:licious 2046 Intense shiny red (Nitrolicious)
Sonoran Rain Deep coral-red with gold and silver pearl (The Shades of U)
Beauty Bloggers Obsession
Available Online Only June 21st, 2011
Monday, May 30, 2011
When MAC first released Haute and Naughty Lash Mascara I was tremedously skeptical that one tube could pull double-duty. Developed to give the consumer the option of either a defined lash or a fuller more decadent lash, this mascara is creamy and dense and coats each hair follicle with precision whether it's piled on or just single swiped.
Twisting the purple base of the wand, when removing from the tube, reveals a thick layer of product to whip the thinnest lashes into full-on flutter. Twisting the pink base of the wand offers up a much softer layering that quickly defines lashes and coats to create drama that is perfect for day or even makeup novices. Applying to the top and bottom lash line has immediate impact regardless of which option you choose and wears all day without fall-out.
The thinner option is great for swiping on and running out the door and has a pretty average drying time. Though, I do find the thicker option a bit too moist. But, provided you give it some additional time to dry, maybe 15 seconds longer than usual, you shouldn't find any transfer. But where most mascaras are in need of multiple coats to get effect, you only need one with this product for either option. Seriously, ONE is enough to make even the smallest lashes stand out. Talk about double-duty
MAC Haute and Naughty Lash Mascara; $18.00
Snog Balm is the kind of thing you see and can't help but think, "how cute!" in the most exclamatory way. Tiny enough to fit comfortably in your pocket, you'd never guess the hydrating power held within.
Loaded up with emollients to keep lips hydrated, this formula doesn't really boast anything different from most balms out there. Ingredients like mineral oil, beeswax and tocopheryl acetate (Vitamin E) are among the usual suspects for lip products, however this product does seem to feel a bit more slick and stretches further with minimal application. Aside from the stretch, you also get the benefits of SPF 15 for sun exposure protection which is something that cannot be said for a good amount of lip products.
Coming in 4 varieties (Naked; unflavored, Cheeky; mint, Virgin Cherry, and Strawberry Tease; coming soon), each balm wears for a few hours before needing the tiniest bit of re-application and are perfectly compatible with lipstick and glosses. A nice product to have handy, this little guys pack more of a punch to puckers than is expected. Plus, they're just really cute.
Snog Balm; $3.50
Friday, May 27, 2011
"Less is more" has always been my mantra when approaching everyday makeup looks. However, conversely, sometimes "more is less" on photoshoots or under certain photographic conditions. The irony is not lost on me.
Being a makeup artist and knowing the difference between creating a look for photo-shoots and one for a client's evening out is an important distinction not only to protect my reputation but that of my client's as well. Many a reporter or blogger will comment on how someone looks when they make a public appearance, but I've always thought about what their date will think.
Growing up around my sisters, cousins, aunts and all their friends shaped my opinion about makeup. Personally, I hated it. But mostly because these were women who were not shy about wearing it. I remember thinking, "why is your face a different color than your neck?", "That black stuff around your eyes is dripping" and "Bleh, don't kiss me please. My cheek will be sticky!".
Men notoriously love when women are dolled up, but rarely understand what goes into that process. Having learned more about the craft and pursued this profession, I totally get it now. Of course, with my previous familial experience, my approach to my job is a bit more cautious. Your date will thank me, I promise.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Finding the right barber is like finding your soulmate; it usually happens when you least expect it. For me, it was a new shop in my neighborhood whose ambiance was a clear sign that attention to detail was a main focus.
First and foremost, cleanliness is a heavy indicator of the work you can expect from the man who'll be handling your head. Not that things should be surgical and pristine, but there should definitely be some effort taken into consideration.
For instance, regularly swept floors insures that no one will be slipping around with a pair of scissors in their hands. Likewise, windows that are cluttered with objects, trinkets or sun-faded posters of hairstyles from yester-year are good to avoid. A shop that doesn't have open windows that peer right in, won't be getting too much daylight coming through either. Tools that are properly maintained might not be as easily detectable, but spotting large glass cylinders of blue liquid called "barbicide" means that there is at least some effort to prevent the spread of bacteria from combs and scissors. When it comes to clippers, they should be layed out on display with cords knot-free and pushed off to the side. Less clutter means fewer chances for accidents.
Once you've given the shop a good glance, the next thing to consider is obviously, "can this guy cut hair?". Well, what does his hair look like? Obviously, not all guys can get the back of their heads as easily as a pro, but does he go to another shop for a line-up or does one if his other barbers hook him up? Merely taking stock of the people who work at a shop will say more than any referral. If the image of the staff isn't of importance, check out whose leaving. Customers walking out the door will be another great indication of handiwork. Especially if you've noticed the same person going in week after week.
But there really is nothing like trying it out for yourself. For those experiencing a bit of hesitation, try a style that isn't as much of a commitment. Personally, I go back and forth between really shaggy and total jarhead, so I don't mind a bit of experimentation. But if you're very accustomed to one particular look, ask for a slightly longer clipper attachment or a scissor cut. This way, you still look cleaned-up, but the style will grow out faster which means less commitment-time. Finding yourself content with the overall look will be a great indication that you should return for a shorter/longer lasting version.
Considering all the factors that make a good barber will lead to one of the best relationships you can hope for and the effort will be totaly worth it in the end. After all, a good barber is hard to find.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
I grew up in Gilroy, California. Most famously known as the "Garlic Capital of the World" and home to the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival. You can imagine the stench.
Though the scent of garlic (now) inspires a twinge of nostalgia, being around (and eating) it everyday did eventually leave a noticeable...fragrance. Mostly due to natural sulfur compounds in garlic known as Allyl Methyl Sulfides. These sulfides do not absorb into the body and instead are deemed as waste and forced through the pores. So the resulting sharp scent is actually a by-product of the digestive process. Fortunately, for everyone's noses, other compounds can also produce this by-product with a more pleasing result.
Geraniol is also secreted by skin but is reminiscent of citrus and rose-like aromas. Most commonly found secreted by bees to signal the entrance to hives or to nectar baring flowers, it's main use in cosmetics is as a constituent in essential oils like ylang-ylang and citronella converted in formulas like traditional perfume. Harnessed by Cosmetics Design Europe it's been introduced it into sugary sweets.
The Japanese have already created chewing gum with a similar property, but CDE opts to develop something that will last for hours on end. The residual effects would even be able to leave a lingering floral-like taste in the mouth, potentially enhancing the flavor of foods you eat later in the day. Maybe they should set up a booth at the Gilroy Garlic Festival.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
And not because Philippe Chansel, developer of Ready To Wear Beauty, is one of my dear friends and one of the best artists in the beauty business. What I'm truly infatuated with is the way this product wears so effortlessly on skin.
The Translucent Self Correcting Powder came as part of the Beautifully Baked Collection, along other new favorites, but stands out as being a go-to product when doing any kind of natural and light-weight looking makeup for ANY lighting situation. This product transitions easily from day to evening, runway to sidewalk. Use it alone as a touch up to create glow on cheekbones and reduce shine over t-zone or pair it with foundation of any coverage from sheer to full.
Baked on a terracotta tile and hand polished in Italy, this powder has the smoothest and luxurious application with no flakes or fall-out and leaves absolutely no seams on skin or tell-tale lines.
Coming in one tone to suit most shades of skin, this translucent powder actually does double duty as a sculpting powder for very fair complexions. Anyone in the range of olive complexions will find it a great illuminator and perfect for softening bronzing lines while those who have very light pink-tone complexions have found the perfect soft tinge of color that mimics a healthy flush.
Also great dusted over eyelids, shadows of any color will glide and blend with the greatest of ease. Or use it over lips before lipstick to make pouts look glowier and fuller. Not really much this powder can't do.
Ready To Wear Baked For Beauty Face Powder; $24.50
The newest addition to the already impressive arsenal at MAC Cosmetics, this season brings us Big Bounce Shadows; a smooth, mousse-like textured eye color in a variety of shades.
Coming in a small glass pot, this watery-like substance reacts to the touch with a bounce-like effect that holds it's shape even when turned completely upside-down. Applied ideally with the 242 shadow brush and stippled as opposed to swiped over lids, you get a sheer wash of product that builds easily to medium coverage and can be paired with standard powder eyeshadows or set with transluscent powder. Though not entirely necessary, powder does seem to improve longevity of wear and colored powders do dim a bit of the natural shimmery effect.
With a tremedous amount of colors to choose from, feel free to mix and match to create your own shades or layer one over the other for multi-dimensional shine.
MAC Big Bounce Shadows; $16.50
Monday, May 9, 2011
Dungeons and Dragons ("D&D" for you civilians) is a game of strategy mastered by only the top tier of intellectuals who have spent many a Friday night honing their craft in their mom's basement filling out their character cards without leaving Cheetos colored fingerprints. But what better opportunity to showcase that supreme mastery of the game than with a signature fragrance boasting essential oils that clearly define your character.
Be you Half-Elf (white sandalwood, beeswax, white tea leaf, and musk) or Rogue (black leather, hemp, and rosi) or Rogue Half-Elf (combine the two) there are limitless possibilities at The Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab that you can acclimate to suit. Choosing and blending these 5mL bottles ($17.50 each) of extract that follows your Race, Class and Alignment will allow you to specify your distinctive scent with your distinctive character. Best used once you've reached your desired status, feel free to purchase more than one as you advance or shift characters.
Easily distinguishable to the savviest of players, there shouldn't be much keeping you from swiping the keys to dad's Oldsmobile and hitting the bars. Have a hard time telling a potential mate you're a Level 15 Assasin in casual conversation? No need to be nervous, now you smell like one.
Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs
When Jeff Haddad saw his daughters put temporary tattoos on their lips for a charity function, it became the basis for his new company Violent Lips. Offering temporary tattoos that can be fitted, molded and customized to your own pout, Violent Lips are temporary tattoos that exceed expectations from traditional lipstick.
Offered in multiple styles from "Pink Snake" to "Red Fishnet" these vitamin enriched applique's have about 4-8 hours wear time depending on skin-type and care and contain no animal by-product. The pigments are full coverage and should be measured and cut to your own natural lip shape to ensure maximum effect. The finishes are something like you would expect from a temporary tattoo but soon the line will be expanding into more festive ones when the "Glitteratti" collection is released.
You get 3 applications with every purchase for around $15.00 but each use is one time only. So technically, a bit more expensive than lipstick, but not nearly as inventive.
Saturday, May 7, 2011
While browsing the cosmetic brands at SpaceNK in Soho, my first impression on the line of Ellis Faas products was that they were lined up like a chambered round of bullets. Then the sales girl mentioned that all the packaging was designed after the shape and structure of bullets... interesting.
The Ellis Faas Skin Veil Pen, though weapon-like in appearance, has all the characteristics you'd expect from similar pen-like units (aside from the hint of danger) but with some useful attributes not so common. For one, you can remove and refill the foundation cartridge once it's been used up making it easy to clean the attached brush without creating unnecessary waste. The cap is more secure than I've been accustomed to as well, so there's no worry about it coming undone in your travel bag.
Designed for all over the face, this medium-full coverage foundation is lightweight but dries down to a powdery finish. I anticipated something a bit silkier but the coverage makes up for what it lacks in texture. Under photographic conditions, it's ideal, makes for an easy product to manipulate and is undetectable but in daylight it seems a bit off. If you don't match up the tone perfectly, it tends to read really fake under conditions around the city like sunlight, overhead lighting and other not too flattering situations.
Best used over moisturizer I slightly prefer it in conjunction with a cream highlighter, blushes or anything else with a bit of a creamy finish so it doesn't lock up. If it's left too dry without the aide of a lubricant, you'll have a hard time getting it to perform well. Ironically, the same can be said of a chamber of bullets.
Ellis Faas Skin Veil Pen; $65.00
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Above is a video by some of the best production people I have ever had the opportunity to work with. Versatile Studios is a full service production house specializing in pre and post production as well as photography, lighting and anything you want to make editorials look amazing. We shot this video to expand on the fashion story for the Seattle based, MF Magazine.
If you'd like to see the full editorial story you can check it out in the makeup section of my facebook page.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Sometimes, there just aren't enough items in my 60lb makeup kit to suit every issue I come across. Maybe it's just the science geek inside me aching to get some attention, but I tend to create many a concoction when on set to suit the needs that, for one reason or another, the makeup I have just doesn't quite address.
Every now and again, I'll get someone who has a pretty pale, translucent complexion with a slight blue undertone. If you put too much converage onto this kind of face, it can very easily look like a mask. So I'll generally mix 1 part Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint in "Glow" (an orange-y beige tint) into 2 parts Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation SPF 15 in "Alabaster" (a pale pink beige with medium coverage) to create a luminous sheer glow that undoes darkness and adds just enough coverage that still looks like fresh natural skin. The combination of the glowing particles in the tint and the flat coverage of the foundation create a dulled luminosity that catches light without sparkling and fakes the appearance of imperfections when under photographic conditions.
At times I've found myself wanting a rich deep red lip but find some lipsticks too flat or too dense and many glosses just way too sticky. So once again, I'm reaching into my bag of tricks to come up with something that is rich and creamy enough to hydrate and glide onto lips without being thick and tacky. First I take (the now discontinued) Trucco Pro Lip Pencil in "Blood" and scribble on my hand until it's melted down to the nub. Then I scrape a tiny dollop of Josie Maran Argan Oil Stick and add it to a dollop of L'Oreal Color Riche Lip Gloss in "Rich Nude". Mix all three together with a clean lip brush and soon enough you have a burnt red liquid lipstick with enough hydration to keep lips plump with no sticky texture.
If you've ever had your hair highlighted, you know that no matter how well it was done, those eyebrows are always a dead give-away to the process. Rather than go back for more bleach, I'll usually take any clear brow gel (usually found for $2 at your local beauty supply store) and smush the wand on the inside of my wrist. Then I'll take a tone that suits the highlights of your hair like FACE Stockholm Pearl Eyeshadow in "#17" or "#35" and scrape the tiniest bit into the mascara. To mix the two, I use a spooly wand like the MAC 204 Brush and softly graze against eyebrows for a bit of shimmery tint that coordinates perfectly with your new haircolor.
Many, many times I find the need to play around with what I've already got and come up with things I keep wishing someone had already made. But then I realize the multitude of products that would engross and how heavy carrying around all those items would be. 60lbs is enough, I think. Better to just keep mixing.