I have experienced a few transformations in my life that have been so dramatic I wish I had taken before and after pictures. One of those times was when I went to Super Cuts for a trim and the stylist gave me a pixie cut with a rat tail. Another was when I bought my first professionally fitted bra. And the third was when I started using Dermalogica skincare.
It all started one day when my friend Katie and I went out for drinks. She was telling a story when I realized that even under the harsh fluorescent lights of the bar her face looked dewy and flawless. “Oh my god,” I blurted out. “How do you have such perfect skin?!” Keep reading »
With her fair hair and icy complexion, there’s no doubt in my mind that Amanda Seyfried can pull off just about any makeup look. The “Les Misérables” actress killed it at Paris Fashion Week earlier in the month wearing the season’s perfectly on-trend plum lipstick, but she brightened things up for the Hollywood Film Awards Gala this week in a vivid poppy shade. I love this look ― it’s very old Hollywood with a punchy, youthful twist, and it’s a surefire way to keep spirits aloft in even the greyest, most dismal fall weather. Better still, it’s day-to-night versatile; it makes a serious statement for the 9-to-5 then transforms into pure glamour when the sun goes down, and you don’t even have to do anything. So what are you waiting for? Keep reading »
For all my love of all the makeup, I’m undeniably fickle. I buy and try everything, only to eventually cast it all aside because it isn’t quite perfect. This is especially true when it comes to my lip color ― not only do I need the hottest, brightest orange-leaning red this side of the sun, I need it to be long-lasting (as in, all day), easy to use on the go, and as shine-free as possible without transmogrifying my lips into the Gobi Desert, whether it’s the middle of July or the end of December. (Oh, and pretty packaging never hurts.) My ruthless criteria systematically slays all inferior formulas until only one remains: NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil. A creamy, vividly pigmented lipstick in the form of a chubby pencil, this velvety matte glides on easy, and miraculously manages to look seamlessly put-together even when smeared on with abandon (like, say, on a moving train). I’m partial to Red Square (shown), but you can take your pick of 17 shades, from the palest nude to deep, dark aubergine. Fair warning: you might want to pick up extras, you know, one for every bag. It’s that good. [$24, NARS Cosmetics]
I’m pretty much apathetic in the face of Photoshop. It’s an annoying (and undeniably rampant) practice for sure, but at this point I’m just like, “duh, nobody looks like that.” It’s ridiculous! But if there’s one variety of photo-altering that really, truly baffles me, it’s in the case of beauty advertisements. Are we seriously supposed to look at an ad and say, “Wow, that foundation looks great, I want to try it,” when the model has not only been subjected to hours of professional hair and makeup but has also been Photoshopped to the point of no recognizable human features? Keep reading »
Ever since I got in on the bold lipstick game, I’ve been on the hunt for the most pigmented, longest-lasting color around. It’s fairly safe to say that I’ve tried at least half of the formulas on the market (or at least that you can buy at Sephora, where I am basically the resident squatter), and while I’ve found some that I really love, it’s usually for their moisturizing qualities, ease of use, and, um, attractiveness of the package in my hand, never the bright, true color and lasting power that I initially set out for. Lip Tar, a 100% vegan and cruelty-free product by Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, is unlike anything I’ve ever tried, and it seriously delivers. Keep reading »
Once upon a time, I found myself in Las Vegas with no concealer in my makeup bag. I can say with absolutely certainty that Las Vegas is the worst place in the world to go without concealer, what with the lack of sleep, polluted air, fluorescent lighting, and the small but real chance of meeting Celine Dion and taking a photo with her that you’ll obviously need to have printed on a 5×7 foot canvas to hang over your mantle for all eternity. I couldn’t risk looking less than my best for that momentous occasion, so I popped into Nordstrom, headed to the MAC counter and asked for a recommendation. The MAC ladies plopped me down in a chair, blended a bit of Prep + Prime Highlighter in “Radiant Rose” under my eyes, and handed me a mirror. “Damn,” I said, “I think I’m ready for my photo with Celine.”
I may not have met Celine on that trip (I’ve got a good feeling about next year), but I did find a new staple for my makeup bag. Read on for details! Keep reading »
I’m a longtime makeup fiend, but up until last year I had yet to be schooled in the magic of makeup brushes. Sure, I used the small, tapered type to flick on my gel eyeliner, and a couple of shoddy shadow brushes I had accumulated from long-forgotten palettes, but the numerous varieties and purposes were lost on me. I patted on powder with the stupid sponge it came with and wondered why my face looked so cakey; I applied blush with my fingertips and became frustrated when I could never blend the color properly. On a whim I purchased a $12 set of EcoTools brushes from CVS: it was rudimentary, but it was a start. Keep reading »
To someone who doesn’t, like me, spend a good portion of their waking hours putting on, perfecting, and removing makeup, there may be some confusion surrounding the use of primer. A few weeks ago I set out to clarify what exactly this extra step does for your makeup and why it’s worth taking the time (and, of course, spending the money) to add one to your routine. To review: it smooths out any uneven skin texture, gives makeup a better base to adhere to, makes your foundation and concealer last longer, and more. It’s basically magic.
More people are getting into the primer game than ever, and they usually have Smashbox Photo Finish to thank as an induction into the stuff. It’s a solid choice for sure, and it’s spawned many imitations that mimic that silky, silicone-y finish — but there are so many more out there! So if you’re already familiar with using primer (or plan to make yourself familiar using my Beauty 911 tutorial), allow me to introduce you to these four lesser-known candidates.
What happens when you take four best-selling skincare and makeup products and combine them in a kit that looks like a vintage hardbound book? I squeal with delight, that’s what happens, because Benefit’s new “How To Look The Best At Everything” flawless complexion kit is not only a great makeup combo, it’s adorable. For 30 bucks, you get POREfessional primer, Hello Flawless illuminator, BOI-ING concealer, Hello Flawless powder, and retro illustrated graphics that teach you how to apply each one for a truly flawless finish. This book has definitely earned a place in my makeup library. [$30, Sephora]
“I just bought my first primer and I was so excited to use it, but then I realized I don’t actually know how to use it. Does it go on before or after my concealer? What about moisturizer? My daily regimen includes sunscreen, concealer, powder, and now primer. Could you help me figure out the order in which I should be putting all these products on my face? Thanks so much!” – Primed For Greatness
Oh, Primed For Greatness, you have so much to learn! But not to worry, you have a lot of potential, too — there are plenty of makeup newbies who begrudge the virtues of a good primer in their makeup routine. Expressing a desire to use one properly is the first step in your journey to becoming a primer pro. Keep reading »