A Perfect Pick Me Up Lip: Revlon ColorBurst Balm Stain Review

You know that accessory you have that makes every outfit instantly look better? (Mine is a Biggie Smalls necklace.) The makeup version of that is a bright or intense lip color. I personally go for bright over intense, because with my light skin and black hair (with blue at the ends) anything vampy or dark makes me look like Elvira. I love the idea of a vampy look and am a huge fan of an oxblood or black cherry lip on a blonde or redhead, but on me, bright usually works better.

To get my bright lip fix, I used to automatically go for orange reds, like MAC Lady Danger. But a while back, my cousin, Saint Maria Goretti, gave me a Revlon ColorBurst Balm Stain in Rendezvous, a pretty coral (more on the orange than pink side of coral). It instantly turned me into a coral lip girl. Rendezvous has become a staple in my personal makeup bag. I wear it at least once a week. I find myself reaching for it when I either a) Don’t have much time but want to look like I put effort into my look or b) Am feeling blah and need a pick me up.

Circumstance A happens a lot when I’m crazy busy working on a shoot or during wedding season. During those days or months, I don’t have much time to put on makeup. But Rendezvous, in combination with my My Super Quick Everyday Look, makes me look pulled together even when I’m so busy I don’t know what day, month or year it is (I’m not exaggerating–I once thought it was August in November). In case you missed it, here’s how I do my Super Quick look: https://allisonbarberamakeup.wordpress.com/2015/04/09/my-super-quick-everyday-look/

Circumstance B happens for most of the winter. When it’s mid-February and there is no end in sight to the short days, daily snowstorms and bitter cold, I have to fake myself into thinking summer is near or I risk losing my shit completely. When I’m on the verge of a seasonal breakdown, I often bring out the Jergens Natural Glow, a turquoise eyeliner or now, my Rendezvous Balm Stain. I do this in hopes that my summer makeup fools my brain into thinking it’s warm out, even if only for two seconds.

The ColorBurst Balm Stain is a gel formulation. Rendezvous has a sheen to it and feels pretty moisturizing. You can easily build up the coverage, and the color payoff is good. It’s reasonably long-lasting, which surprised me as even decently longwear products can be tough to find at the drugstore level.  This is one of those big lip crayons, like a Clinique Chubby Stick, so you’re not going to get a precise line with it. (I like more of a blurry line on my own lips, because I think it makes them look bigger, so I like this aspect.) When it starts to wear down, you just twist the top to bring more product up.

I found this to be an easy, wearable and inexpensive (retails between $6.80-$8.99) lip product. This particular shade may not be for everyone, but they have several colors in the line. Even if you are not usually into a pop of color on your lips, why not give it a try? It’s spring time–have some fun! ;) I think it really is worth experimenting with a brighter lip color. The right color can brighten up your face and bring out your eye color. And if you buy it at CVS, you can return it as long as you have the receipt. So you have nothing to lose! At least consider it for me, would you?

Have a beautiful day :)

My Super Quick Everyday Look

To those of you who are under the impression that makeup artists are always in full perfect makeup, I hate to burst your bubble but…we are not. In fact, the busier the artist is, the less likely they seem to consistently wear full makeup. I personally always do for weddings and for most other jobs, but on the days when I don’t have clients, I am Low Maintenance Lucy.

On my non-job days (which usually means I am in front of my computer and/or doing business errands all day), I often do the same 5 minute makeup. This makeup won’t necessarily work for everyone, but if you are like me–have combination but blemish-free light skin, some darkness under the eyes and eyebrows that don’t need to be filled in–this could work for you.

Here’s what I do:

1)  I apply moisturizer all over my face. The exact one changes by season and skin status, but I often find myself using Cera Ve in the fall and winter and Neutrogena Oil Free Moisturizer in the spring and summer. If they don’t contain sunscreen, I apply that first.

2) MAC Select Coverup in NW20 goes under my eyes. (This goes after a very thin layer of moisturizer, which I allow to absorb for about 20 seconds.)

3) I blend the Select Coverup with a MAC 224 brush, then use whatever is left on the brush on my eyelids up to my browbones. The skin on my eyelids is so light and thin that you can sometimes see little veins if there isn’t some coverage there. Thank you, Irish genetics.

4) I use L’Oreal Carbon Black Mascara on my top lashes only.

5) Benefit POREfessional goes around my nose/front part of cheeks and on my forehead.

6) I apply Rimmel Stay Matte in 001 Transparent under my eyes with the 224 brush.

7) I apply a light wash of the Stay Matte onto my lids and up to my browbones. It says transparent, but it has some very light pigment that matches my skintone, so it really evens out the area.

8) I apply L’Oreal Carbon Black Waterproof to my lower lashes. I am prone to lower lash smudging, so this works best for me.

That’s it! When I get into my car or to my office, I usually end up applying whatever lip balm is there, but no lipstick or gloss.

I love doing a full makeup on myself, but it saves me time to to this Super Quick look. There are many things one might say I have too much of–lipstick, yoga pants, Biggie paraphernalia–but one thing I don’t have much of is time. So if I can save 15-30 minutes a day by doing a 5 minute makeup, I gots to do it.

Have a beautiful day :)

 

 

My Thoughts on Mascara

I was a Diorshow Girl for a long time, and I recently made the switch to L’Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black. (Read the post here: https://allisonbarberamakeup.wordpress.com/2015/02/16/lashing-out-2/ ) After reading my post, few other Diorshow Girls I know told me they were planning to buy tubes of Carbon Black. Strangely, I started to mildly panic. I stand by my views and have made the switch, but I’m also someone who a) has naturally thick, decently long black lashes and b) likes an inkier, black look for myself and for clients who are being photographed. Some people have thinner lashes, so they may prefer a drier formula like Diorshow to give them some extra texture. And not everyone likes a more dramatic black look for everyday wear. (There are also some application tips for any mascara that I will write a post about soon that influence my views on different mascaras.). I should have mentioned those things in my original Carbon Black post–sorry about that!

So I feel like I need to explain myself. When it comes down to it, mascara is such a personal thing. What works on me and/or many of my clients may not work on you (which is really true about any product). For every person who loves the Urban Decay Naked Palette, there is one person who hates it. Lady Danger lipstick by MAC is a cult favorite, but I’d bet money there are people who think it’s hyped up. Mascara–or any other product–that I love or recommend is not going to be a everyone’s favorite, but I do think my experience allows me to recommend products that work well on more people than not.

So if you don’t like Carbon Black or any other product I have recommended, I am sorry! But according to the feedback I’ve gotten, most of the recommendations I have made have worked out for people. And if you try something that I have raved about and you don’t like it, let me know. It might be a matter of technique or how it interacts with the other products you are using. I’m here to help!

Have a beautiful day :)

1960s Beauty

Because of the multitude of different looks, the 1960s is my favorite decade in terms of beauty. If you have any memory of high school history class, you know that the 1960s was an era of big changes. Civil rights, women’s rights, the sexual revolution, the start of America’s involvement in the Vietnam War–this was not a quiet decade. Political and social changes happened at a rapid pace, and the younger generation was heavily involved.

In terms of beauty and fashion, the sexual revolution and the re-emergence of the feminist movement strongly impacted the average woman. By the mid 60s, she no longer felt as constrained by the male’s definition of what she should look like. Hot pants and bikinis became popular, marking the first time women routinely showed that much skin in public. Many women felt they no longer needed to wear what their fathers or husbands deemed appropriate for them, so whether that meant miniskirts and go go boots or bell bottoms and paisley tunics, they didn’t all conform to a man’s standards.

The re-emergence of feminist movement effected women in two ways in regards to beauty. Some revolted and didn’t wear makeup at all, while others embraced makeup and wore it as a badge of honor, like many suffragettes had done some 50 years before.  In the 60s, it was finally up to women what they wanted to do. There were of course still trends, which many blindly followed, but it was unlike past decades because women did not feel they only had one or two options.

“The Single Girl,” a fashion photography look, was meant to represent movement. The Single Girl was young, single (duh), independent and active. She didn’t have to depend on a male for her financial or emotional needs. Empowering, right? Except for the part where she was also supposed to have an almost adolescent figure. Model Jean Shrimpton popularized this look.

In terms of hair and beauty, the early 60s looked like the late 50s, as is the way with the beginning of any decade. Just because the ball drops on New Year’s Eve doesn’t mean new hair, makeup and fashion trends immediately begin. So early 60s makeup brought in the black winged liner of the 50s, as well as the popular late 50s frosted eye shadows and coral lips. Hair, makeup and fashion were still very ladylike, inspired by women like Jackie Kennedy and Ann Margret. By the mid 60s, lips were often light, almost white beige. (They got darker at the end of the decade, with brown reds becoming popular.) There was a trend of pink lipstick on the bottom lip and red on top, but it didn’t become a huge look. Foundation was still used, but not as heavily as in the 50s. Blush was normally light pink or peach, but it wasn’t a standout part of most women’s looks.

The cut crease eyeshadow look was popularized by British model Twiggy, with her white shadow on the lid and dark shadow in the crease. Black eyeliner was used on top and bottom lashlines and was usually winged out on top. Mascara–often tube mascara but still sometimes block form–was loaded on top and bottom lashes, and sometimes bottom lashes were painted on with eyeliner. False lashes were extremely popular and used on both top and bottom. White eyeliner was often used on the bottom waterline to emphasize this doll-eye look. This cut crease, heavy-lashes eye makeup look was very popular in the mid 60s.

When it came to the all important eyebrow, some women threw out the brow pencil and went with a more natural look, while others did the opposite by shaving their eyebrows off and penciling them back in. From my research, it looks like more women (thankfully) chose the former. In the 1960s, you didn’t see much of the highly arched brows that were popular in the 50s.

French Actress Brigitte Bardot had a different take on 60s beauty. She did her own twist on a smokey eye with blacks and browns. Her skin was tan and not caked with foundation. Her cheeks were a light peach, and her lips were a pale matte color. She wore her hair long, wavy and teased. She was the sexpot of the 60s.

Another look that was en vogue for a lot of the younger population was the hippie look.  Hippies didn’t typically wear much (or any) traditional makeup, but often drew colorful flowers and peace signs on their faces. Their hair was usually long, straight and center-parted and maybe topped with a flower crown. The completely naturally hippie look, demonstrated by people like musician Janis Joplin, was a true no makeup-makeup and wash-and-go hair (with the washing part optional for some).

As far as the beauty industry, Max Factor, Revlon, CoverGirl, Coty, Maybelline and Yardley were the big players in the American market. Welsh clothing designer, Mary Quant, created a cosmetic line for her “miniskirt wearing customers.”Helena Rubenstein, Estee Lauder and Elizabeth Arden continued to rule the luxury cosmetics sector.

Polished, perfect hair reigned in the early 60s, but it was much bigger than it had been ten years before. Vidal Sassoon introduced the bob in 1963. Beehives (updo or half up style) and bouffants remained popular until the late 60s. Straight, center-parted hair (literally often ironed on an ironing board–ahem, Mom) became popular in the mid-late 60s. Wigs were popular, as were hair pieces to help pump up the volume. Many African American women started wearing their hair natural, and the Afro peaked late 60s through the early 70s. Head scarves were popular for much of the decade.

There was a drastic change in beauty and fashion from 1960 to 1969. The television series Mad Men did an excellent job of showing this transformation. The drastic changes in appearances coincided with the drastic changes in America at the time. There was upheaval  in many areas, and it was both an exciting and scary time for the country.

But I’m not historian (just a bit of a history geek, if you can’t tell), so I’ll stick to what I know. As a makeup artist, I love doing 1960s looks both on clients and on myself. Big hair, black eyeliner, lots of lashes, pale lips–I can’t get enough of that Priscilla Presley look. There is some element of 1960s beauty that will appeal to almost anyone. So take some Swinging 60s inspiration and apply it your look. It’ll be boss, man.

Have a beautiful day :)

*Double click on the images above to see them in greater detail*

Meet The AB Beauty Team HAIR STYLISTS

You met our makeup artists last week, so now it’s time for me introduce you to the hair magicians of Allison Barbera Beauty.

Alexandra Eisemann, Hair Stylist

Oceancliff hair and makeup

 

I can’t say enough about Alex’s work. She is so talented and the styles she creates are Pinterest-worthy. She is a master of not only duplicating styles from inspiration pictures, but creating a look for a client who doesn’t know what they want. Alex is in super high demand for weddings, and she does a lot of photoshoot work. She has done StyleWeek Providence, and her work has been featured on The Rhode Show. She also has her own one chair salon in Warwick, where she does cuts and color  for many loyal clients. Alex is so easy to work with and all of our clients enjoy having her around. She is reliable, flexible and hard working–the kind exact type of person I want representing my company. Alex is a huge asset to Allison Barbera Beauty, and I am so thrilled that she is on the team.

Ana Araujo, Hair Stylist

Ana 2

 

Ana has been with AB Beauty for longer than anyone else in the company–she was the second person I ever hired. When I got her resume, I noticed that she had worked at a salon where another stylist I knew worked. So I contacted that stylist, and she gushed about Ana. That was absolutely justified–you can’t say enough good things about Ana. She is a consummate pro–there is nothing she can’t handle. Braids were a huge wedding trend for a while, and Ana was the queen of that trend. She is meticulous with her work and listens intently to her clients’ wants and needs. Many of our reviews about Ana mention how she is such a calming presence at weddings. It’s so true. If Ana gets frazzled, which I doubt, it certainly doesn’t show! Ana’s portfolio is beautiful. Any time a potential client looks at it, they are sold. In addition to working for AB Beauty, Ana has a steady stream of clients at The Hair Studio, the salon she works at in Tiverton. You can’t go wrong booking hair services with this superstar.

Emily Buffi, Hair Stylist

RI bridal updo

Emily was with AB Beauty for a few years when we first started and quickly became very popular with brides. She also did a lot of photoshoot work and became a photographer favorite. Emily wowed everyone with her ability to create anything from beachy waves to 1930s Hollywood Glamour looks to elegant updos. She left for a while to focus on her jewelry company, That Hippie Chic (thathippiechic.etsy.com or follow on Instagram at thathippiechicaccessories) and is now back with us for this wedding season. I was SO excited when Emily said she would like to re-join the team. Besides being mega-talented and professional, Emily is laidback, easy to work with and fun to have around. There’s a reason people were still requesting her a year after she left! I’m so excited to see more hair masterpieces done by Emily this year. (Photo credit: Peter Silvia, http://www.petersilvia.com)

Kerri Bakalalis, Hair Stylist

Ashley 4

 

Kerri came highly recommended by another beauty pro, so I knew she would be a good fit. Kerri joined us last fall and she has been a great addition to our team. She is the ultimate polished professional, and could not be any nicer. Our clients always love the beautiful hair styles Kerri creates, and they always say “She was so nice!” Kerri is dependable, genuine, easy to work with and super talented. She really takes the time to listen to what each client wants and works with them to make sure they are 110% happy. It’s obvious that Kerri takes her job as a hair stylist very seriously, even though has another job as a dental hygienist and is a mom (When does this woman sleep?). Since Kerri is new to the company, I don’t have any pro pictures of her work yet, but the one above was taken at a bridal trial. I’m psyched to have Kerri on the team and look forward to seeing the hair styles she creates at the many weddings she is already booked at this season.

Lindsay Cardinale, Hair Stylist

Lindsay Cardinale
Photo credit: Julie Furtado. RI

 

Lindsay also came highly recommended from another beauty pro/salon owner who I have known for years. Lindsay loves weddings. Loves loves loves them. Whether it’s 6:00am or 1:00pm, Lindsay shows up happy, energized and ready to work (this is especially impressive when you learn she has a young child at home!). Lindsay is big believer in making the wedding day hair services a true experience. She often gives her client a shoulder massage while chatting them up. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into a wedding job where Lindsay was already with a client and thought “Oh, she must know that person.” Nope! She is just super friendly and makes everyone feel at ease. Besides creating gorgeous wedding styles for AB Beauty, Lindsay works at Newport salon, Natural Creations. (Photo credit: Julie Furtado, Rhode Island)

Liz Tucker, Hair Stylist

Liz

A couple of years back, I was having trouble finding a new hair stylist. I asked around and a hair stylist/fellow beauty services company owner I know recommended Liz. I saw pictures of her work and was sold. Liz is confident, experienced and efficient–all musts for wedding and event jobs. She makes creating the perfect updo or “Oh my God, I love it!” downstyle look effortless. There are many times I have been beyond impressed with Liz’s work, and one time was this past summer. It was a rainy, humid July day and the mother of the bride had naturally curly, frizzy hair. Liz gave her a super sleek blowout and it stayed the whole day (I saw the pictures that prove it). Liz is a great communicator and easy to talk to. When not with AB Beauty, Liz works at Eden XO in Cranston, where she has a loyal following of regular clients. Liz is a true pro and a definite asset to the Allison Barbera Beauty team. (Photo credit: CC Design Studio www.ccdesignstudio.com)

I don’t know how to create the gorgeous wedding styles Alex, Ana, Emily, Kerri, Lindsay and Liz do, but I know enough to recognize how talented they are. It is not easy to design a hair style that works with a client’s hair type, length, color, face shape and their dress, but these stylists do it every time.

For more pictures of the AB Beauty team’s hair styling work, check out www.allisonbarbera.com

Have a beautiful day :)

Meet The AB Beauty Team MAKEUP ARTISTS

In the early years, Allison Barbera Beauty was Allison Barbera Makeup Artistry (Facebook still won’t let me change the damn name). It was a one-woman show–just me, just makeup services. By the end of my third wedding season, I was turning down more weddings than I was booking. Why? Because due to unfortunate quantum physics restraints, I can only be in one place at a time. Also, brides were booking larger and larger groups–an average of eight people at that time–and some did not want to start as early as I would need to to do all eight services myself.

It broke my entrepreneurial heart to have to turn down business because I couldn’t do two weddings at once and to lose clients who just wanted another makeup artist. So I hired Marissa, a makeup artist and hair stylist. Hair stylist, you say? So I could accommodate more brides–the ones I was losing because they wanted to book hair and makeup with the same company? Done. (Marissa is not with my company regularly anymore, but still does a few weddings with each season. She is a fantastic artist and stylist who has a great sense of humor and had a lot of patience with my changing policies as I figured out how to grow the company.)

I now have a top notch team of professional, talented, punctual artists and stylists who are passionate about what they do. They are all independent contractors–which means they have other jobs outside of AB Beauty–so they book up very quickly. All of my artists and stylists get along well and work together seamlessly. There is no gossip or bad blood. I would like to think I have good intuition, and I know from the first interview whether or not an artist or stylist would fit in with the team. If I have even a little bit of doubt about that, no matter how talented they are, I don’t hire them. I want the AB Beauty artists and stylists to enjoy working with each other. If they don’t, clients are going to pick up on that and possibly feel uncomfortable. That’s just not something I am willing to risk.

If you like our Allison Barbera Beauty Weddings Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/AllisonBarberaBeautyWeddings?ref=hl , you have probably seen statuses about and portfolios of the artists and stylists. But I think they deserve a proper introduction. Each artist and stylist has their own style and techniques, but they create beautiful work across the board. I’m going to break this down into two posts–one featuring the makeup artists and one featuring the hair stylists. I’ll start with the makeup artists.

Ready to meet them? Here we go!

Alexis Frankian, Makeup Artist

Rhode Island wedding makeup

 

Alexis is a talented, highly skilled makeup artist. She has 13 years of experience and her beauty product knowledge is obvious to anyone who speaks to her for even five minutes. She got her start at CMU College of Makeup Design in Toronto, and later worked for Shiseido and Estee Lauder. She was an assistant instructor in Makeup Design at John Robert Powers and did training with Dany Sanz, founder of Make Up For Ever. Alexis currently works as a Beauty Consultant and Fragrance Expert at Sephora. Alexis is a huge believer in skincare products and always recommends what she thinks will work best for our clients. She is honest but tactful and really wants to help people not only while she is doing their makeup, but before and/or after the service. Although she is very modern in her approach to makeup, Alexis loves vintage clothing and retro makeup looks. Alexis also offers airbrush makeup for our clients. If you want a knowledgeable, polite and professional makeup artist, Alexis is your girl!

Ashley Onges, Makeup Artist

Airbrush wedding makeup

 

Ashley is a triple threat in the beauty industry–she is a makeup artist, a nail tech and an esthetician. Beauty is in her blood–her mother is a salon owner in MA. Ashley does beautiful work and can handle a high volume of clients without blinking an eye. She really loves doing weddings, and it shows. She is friendly, easy to talk to and always on top of new trends and techniques. Ashley also offers airbrush makeup for our clients. Besides doing wedding work with AB Beauty, she works at a JF3 Salon at Celebeautique in Newport. Ashley has been with AB Beauty since 2011 and I’m so glad she is a part of the team.

Jennifer Smith, Makeup Artist

Newport RI wedding makeup

 

Here’s a true success story. A few years ago, I was looking for another makeup artist to join the team. I was interviewing, interviewing, interviewing but no one fit the bill. I finally put a status up on my personal Facebook page, in the hopes that someone would know of a makeup artist. A contact of mine, Caitlin, said that she knew a girl named Jennifer who wasn’t a professional makeup artist but seemed to do great work. Caitlin gave me Jen’s Facebook page, and after I saw her pictures, I contacted her right away. Talk about natural talent! This girl has it in spades. I got in touch with her to see if she would be interested in training with me then working as a makeup artist for my company. Turned out that was her dream job! We did about four months of intense training, and then Jen started doing bridal parties. Everyone, from other artists to clients to photographers, was impressed with her work. And me? Blown away. Jen was born to do this. She has a serious passion for makeup, always trying and buying new products and researching makeup classes. And how’s this for full circle? She did Caitlin’s wedding makeup last summer. I can’t imagine not having Jen on the AB Beauty team.

Jessica Puleo, Makeup Artist

Newport RI bridal makeup

 

When I describe Jessica to someone, I always say the same thing: She is really good. Not really good, but really good. The first time Jessica did a wedding for me, I was contacted by a bridesmaid from that group the next week–she wanted Jessica to do her wedding makeup. That bride already had a hair stylist, and Jessica did the wedding makeup at that hair stylist’s salon. Soon after that, the salon owner contacted to me ask if Jessica could come in to teach makeup classes for their clients. And that is how things work with Jess! Her talent speaks for itself. She worked for MAC Cosmetics for several years before leaving to pursue a freelance career. Jessica has done weddings, films and photoshoots and I have no doubt she will succeed at any other area she decides to pursue. She is a kind, funny, free spirit and a true artist. Jess left AB Beauty at one point to work for Laura Mercier, but now she is back with us and I couldn’t be happier. She also does astrology charts and readings (she did mine–it was great!) so if you are interested in that, I would be happy to connect you. If you are a looking for flawless makeup done by an experienced, well-loved makeup artist, Jessica will not let you down. (Photo credit: Peter Silvia, http://petersilvia.com/)

Shaley Teeter, Makeup Artist

Indian wedding makeup

 

Shaley came to me while she was in esthetics school. She sent me pictures of some makeup work she had done, and I could see her obvious talent. I don’t know if it is in her gene pool–both her mom and uncle work in the beauty industry–or if she taught herself, but she just has it. Shaley trained with me for several months before doing weddings for my company, and although she was already very good when she started, she has become an awesome makeup artist. Shaley does beautiful makeup in a natural, modern way and her personality makes her a blast to be around. When I hear someone laughing at a wedding job, usually I turn around and see that they are getting their makeup done by Shaley. And she is not just a great makeup artist and funny girl–she’s also a fantastic singer! Shaley is a vocalist in a band, Dr. Slick, that does shows in Rhode Island. They are really good (I’ve been to a show) and of course Shaley’s stage makeup is always perfect :) (Photo credit, Armor & Martel, http://www.chris-martel.com/)

I feel lucky that I have such a kickass team of artists. They all bring a lot to the table, and I think their other jobs and interests only enhance that.

To see more photos of everyone’s work, check out www.allisonbarbera.com

Have a beautiful day :)

 

 

Brides Across America

Planning a wedding is time-consuming. And expensive. The venue, the photographer, the flowers, the music, the hair and makeup (call Allison Barbera Beauty for that!) and of course, the dress. The dress is such a key part of the day. Whether it’s a mermaid gown, a princess gown, a retro lace gown or anything in between, every bride has a picture in her mind of the dress she wants to wear on her wedding day.

Now imagine not being able to go dress shopping because you are serving in the armed forces and are deployed. Or your fiance is deployed, and the financial hardships of planning a wedding make it too difficult to buy a wedding gown. Enter Brides Across America.

My friend, whose husband is in the Coast Guard, told me about this organization, and I think it is wonderful. Brides Across America, partnering with bridal salons, holds events twice a year where they give away donated wedding gowns to military brides. If you are a military bride who is in need of a dress, or a woman who has a wedding dress that you would like to donate, it’s definitely worth checking them out.

For more information, click here: http://www.bridesacrossamerica.com

Have a beautiful day :)

Lashing Out

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I refuse to be put into a box. Like I told one jackass I dated, I’m multi-faceted. I’m not just an Entrepreneur, or Makeup Artist, or Biggie Fan. I’m also a Vodka Drinker, a Half Assed Runner and a Diorshow Girl. I have been using Dior Diorshow (the original) for eight years. I’ve mentioned it in several of my blog posts, and wrote this post about it in 2010: https://allisonbarberamakeup.wordpress.com/2010/07/12/my-lashes-dont-go-out-without-it/

But don’t think I have refused to try other mascaras once I found Diorshow. I would be a crappy makeup artist if I never tried new products and honestly, trying new products is one of the best parts of my job. When I open a new product, I have so much hope. Will this be the one that blows all of the others out of the water? I think, heart pounding in anticipation. Sometimes it is. But with mascara, I have never found anything that even came close to Diorshow.

Until now.

I had heard about L’Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black for years. Many of the veteran pro makeup artists I look up to recommend it. My local drugstore usually only carries the original L’Oreal Voluminous, so when I saw Carbon Black in stock, I grabbed one. After years of trying disappointing mascaras, I knew better than to get my hopes up. But at the same time, in the back of my mind I thought If Billy B likes it, it must be really good!

And you know what? It friggin’ is. I tried it first on its own, then up against Diorshow (Carbon Black on one eye, Diorshow on the other–the only way to compare). It volumized, lengthened and my top lashes didn’t smudge. (My bottom lashes did smudge a tiny bit, but I have found that happens with any non-waterproof or non-beauty tube mascaras). When I compared it to Diorshow, I could hardly detect any difference.

It’s got a standard wand and the formula is slightly on the inky side. I didn’t experience any clumping, nor did it flake off during the day. It removed easily–no fighting or lash casualties to report. And at $7.99 per tube, it doesn’t break the bank.

I’m still kind of in shock that I found something as good as Diorshow. I think I may actually make the switch to Carbon Black when I finish my current Diorshow tube. So yeah, I 100% recommend L’Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black.  This is big, folks. But your lashes will be bigger.

Have a beautiful day :)

Nearly Newlywed

In an ideal world, I would do nothing but eat pomegranates and watch Shark Tank for the majority of my waking hours. That may seem like an odd combination, but everyone has their thing. And mine happens to be enjoying a low calorie, antioxidant-packed fruit while watching successful, creative entrepreneurs (and some, um, interesting ones) pitch their products/services to the sharks, in hopes that they can win over one of the mega rich investors.

While watching Shark Tank recently, my ears perked up when Jacqueline Courtney of Nearly Newlywed came into the tank. As the owner of a beauty services company that specializes in weddings, I am always interested in products and services that may be useful to my bridal clients. If there is something new or different in the industry, I love to be able to share that with my Allison Barbera Beauty brides. And Nearly Newlywed definitely falls into that “new or different” category.

Looking for a wedding gown? Nearly Newlywed has gowns designed exclusively for them, as well as sample and pre-owned gowns at 50-90% off. Their selections include gowns from designers Monique Lhuillier, Vera Wang, Valentino and more. Whichever gowns you choose are shipped to you, which is great for those brides who don’t have the time or desire to visit several bridal boutiques. Nearly Newlywed gives you five days to try on your dresses, and whatever you don’t like, you send back for a flat $25 fee.

Want to sell your gown? Simply take your measurements, send photos and a description of the dress and pay the $25 listing fee. (If you bought the dress from Nearly Newlywed, it is already pre-approved for listing and you won’t pay the listing fee). They handle the transactions with any potential buyers and notify you when your dress has sold. Then you ship it to them and receive 75% of the sale price.

Jacqueline didn’t end up getting a shark to invest, but hey, that’s their loss. As someone with 6+ years in the wedding industry and hundreds of weddings under her belt, I think this is a really smart business idea that will continue to gain momentum. Check out the (very gorgeous) Nearly Newlywed site here: http://www.nearlynewlywed.com/ And here’s the Allison Barbera Beauty site, for all of you brides-to-be: http://www.allisonbarbera.com

Have a beautiful day :)

 

1950s Beauty


Ava GardnerAudrey Hepburn Debbie Reynolds Elizabeth Taylor Grace Kelly Jayne Mansfielddoris_day_1955-226x300Marilyn Monroe

The 1950s saw a boom in economic prosperity and business. America had proven to be a major world power in the past 50 years, and times were good (well, if you were a middle class or wealthy white male, anyway.) In terms of beauty and fashion, the 1940s, especially during the war, were very understated and no-nonsense for the average woman. In the 1950s, a huge increase in  marriage and birth rates turned the American woman’s focus back to being a wife and mother. Not just a wife and mother, but a model wife and mother.

The 1950s, more than any past decade, were about being the perfect housewife. There was an strong focus on femininity. Influenced by the pin up girl look, clothing was about creating the illusion of a narrow waist and a high, rounded bust. Corset-like undergarments became popular again. Women wore heels, not flats, even around the house (at least while their husbands or guests were there). Those stilettos meant there was a lot of baby-step walking going on. Dainty and ladylike was the ideal.

Makeup, seen as visual indicator of femininity, was not used sparingly. Most women used cream, liquid or pancake foundation, flesh toned setting powder, blush (then called rouge), eyeshadow, eyeliner, eyebrow pencil, mascara, lipliner and lipstick. If primers and setting sprays had been around in the 1950s, you can bet those women would have included those in their daily regimens.

A pale complexion was en vogue, and the idea was to create and mask-like base. Rouge–usually soft peach or pink–was used sparingly. Lipstick was often a bold or bright color. Pink reds, true reds and corals were the most popular. The average woman used lipliner to follow their natural lipline but some actresses slightly overdrew their top lip. Women often matched their nail polish to their lipstick. The most common nail shape was oval, and long–but not too long–fingernails were considered classy and ladylike.

Eyeshadow was applied just to the lids, with contouring mainly used on actresses. Pastel shadows, particularly blues and greens, were popular. Frosted shadows entered the market in the late 50s. Eyeliner was normally black or brown and applied in a winged out line at the top lashline. The thickness of eyeliner lines varied, with the more natural look women tending towards thin lines and a smaller flick. Lower lashline eyeliner was not popular. Tube mascara was invented, although some women still chose to use cake or block mascara, which was applied with a small brush. Mascara was applied to top lashes, but not usually to the bottom lashes.

Eyebrows were thick to medium thick. They were groomed and generally highly arched, tapering at the ends. The inner corners were sometimes rounded, sometimes squared off. Some women preferred the thick, straight across brow a la Audrey Hepburn. No matter which brow shape they chose, brow pencil was often used to darken or thicken.

Revlon, Max Factor and Pond were the leaders in the beauty industry (in what we would today call the drugstore sector). Estee Lauder, Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubenstein were the big luxury product lines.

1950s hair was typically very “done”–the opposite of today’s desired beachy waves and bedhead looks. There were several popular looks. Shorter hair (chin length or above) was most common. The Italian Cut, inspired by Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida, was a short, structured cut with soft curls. High ponytails, with the ends often flipped out, were all the rage with teens. Pageboy or brushed under bobs were considered classy, while the gamine or pixie cut was more edgy. The bouffant became popular in the mid 50s, but didn’t reach the height of its popularity–pun intended–until the early 60s. Chemical relaxers became more readily available in the 1950s, which popularized straight hair for African American women. The 50s had one interesting hair fad that I was unaware of–temporary gold and silver streaks.  Metallic powders or spray were used to create these. Fake hair pieces for chignons and other styles also had a spike in popularity.

Hollywood actresses continued to have a major influence on hair and makeup looks. There was a divide between the looks of the decade–I call it The Good Girl vs The Bad Girl. On the Good Girl side of the spectrum, you had the more natural, girl-next-door actresses like Debbie Reynolds and Doris Day. Blonde Good Girl, Grace Kelly, was the ultimate in understated but elegant glamour. Audrey Hepburn was the brunette Good Girl, girl-like but womanly at the same time. Elizabeth Taylor was more of the glamorous Good Girl. On the Bad Girl side of the spectrum, you had the gorgeous Ava Gardner (she’s kind of my favorite), drinking, swearing and having a scandalous affair with and then marriage to Frank Sinatra. Italian star Gina Lollabrigida had that temptress thing going for her, and Jayne Mansfield did the blonde, sex kitten version of it. While the Good Girls wore pretty dresses that nipped in at the waist and flared at the hips, the Bad Girls favored styles that hugged the body. Marilyn Monroe had a look all her own. She was more done up than a Good Girl, but not as overtly sexy as a Bad Girl.

If I had to chose a word to sum up the look of the 1950s, it would be feminine. Whether a look was done in a cute, girl-next-door way, an elegant understated way, or a sultry, glamorous way, it was womanly and polished. At least one of these looks will speak to you, so why not give it a try?

Have a beautiful day :)