Down Bottom: Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara Review

(A lot of my blog post titles are from hip hop songs, in case you were wondering. “Down Bottom” is a Ruff Ryders classic.)

Up until about five years ago, I never wore mascara on my bottom lashes. I though it made my already dark, long bottom lashes look too spidery. But then I found a way to do it that struck the balance between no mascara and Tammy Faye Bakker. The only problem was finding the right bottom lash formula. I wanted something that gave more volume than length (too much length and no volume on my lashes = spidery), didn’t clump the lashes together and didn’t smudge. I also found that especially for the bottom lashes, a smaller mascara wand gave me more control. There are all different shapes, sizes and types of brushes now, but there weren’t so many options five years ago.

When the Pixiwoos started using (and raving about) the Bottom Lash Mascara by Clinique, I knew I had to get it. It only took me about a year to get my act together and order it, but I did it. So first, let’s talk about the packaging. It is a travel-sized tube, silver with black outlined flowers. It definitely stands out in my mountain of personal makeup products. The wand is the cutest, tiniest thing I’ve ever seen. (Sorry, adorable babies and puppies of the world, this has you beat.)

I think the wand is the most important part of this mascara. It is the perfect size for bottom lash mascara application, regardless of how short or sparse your bottom lashes are. The product itself uses beauty tube technology, which means the formula encapsulates each lash and can not run or smudge. I like that aspect a lot, as I often use waterproof mascara on bottom lashes to avoid that smudging issue. This mascara is a good volumizer and a great lengthener. Every Clinique mascara I’ve ever used has been phenomenal with the lengthening and the Bottom Lash Mascara is no exception. I found that the lashes can clump together a bit during application, but if you keep a clean mascara wand or lash comb nearby, you can nip that in the bud.

So here’s something you need to know about beauty tube mascaras–the removal process is unique. Eye makeup remover is not going to do it. You need warm water and some patience. Warm water loosens up the product, then you need to kind of pull it off your lashes. The instructions say “press gently,” which I suppose is a nicer way to say it. No matter what euphemism you use, you’ll need to get this mascara off manually. Think of it this way–every individual lash is encapsulated by the product, like tiny little wetsuits for each lash. (In comparison, regular coating mascara is more like a blanket lying on top of each lash.) If you were lying down and had a blanket covering you, it would fall to the ground when you stood up. A wetsuit wouldn’t do anything unless you purposely tried to get it off. Is this helping at all?

Because I liked the Bottom Lash Mascara so much, and because I am a fan of breaking makeup “rules,” I thought I’d try it on my top lashes as well. Bad idea. The overall effect was okay, but the removal was ridiculous. It took me a good 15 minutes to remove the product from my top lashes and I still had some on when I woke up. And the wand, as cute as it is, is really tailored for bottom lashes. Most people’s top lashes are longer, thicker, and more numerous than the bottom lashes. So using a wand that is so small takes more time, and doesn’t give the same effect on top lashes. But that was my dumbass idea, and Clinique named the product just so people would know where to apply it. What can I say, I’m a rebel…

And you’ll love this part–the Bottom Lash Mascara retails at only $10. This is an excellent buy. So if you like to accentuate your bottom lashes and don’t like smudges, you really should give it a try. You can get it from Clinique and Sephora.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Advertisements

Poor Strips: CVS Deep Cleaning Pore Strips Review

They say that nothing satisfies like a Snickers, but I disagree. I think one of the most satisfying things in life is the removal of a Biore strip. Now, I went to Esthetics school and I am well aware that extractions done during a facial are the best way to get rid of blackheads. But Biore Deep Cleaning Pore Strips give you instant gratification for minimum cost.

I had been looking at the clogged pores on my nose for the last few weeks, thinking “I need to do a Biore strip.” So while I was a CVS one day, I decided to pick up a box. But then I saw the cheaper CVS brand (also called Deep Cleaning Pore Strips) and said to myself, These will be fine.

Wrong! They were a weird shape, didn’t stick to my nose and only pulled out a few of the offending blackheads. I was so disappointed! I can do the extractions myself, but I always felt like the Pore Strips could get to clogged pores that were tough for me to reach (some angles are harder than others when you are doing nose extractions on your own face). The Biore Deep Cleaning Pore Strips always work, the CVS ones didn’t get the job done.

So, I took advantage of CVS’s return-opened-beauty-products-for-a-full-refund policy. I love CVS and am there all the time–giddy when I get my Extra Bucks–but I can’t get no satisfaction from their Deep Cleaning Pore Strips, so never again.

Biore, I will see you soon.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Feelin’ So Good

I like feel-good things. For me, that includes funny movies, beach days, soft serve and lunch dates with my mom. It means getting enough sleep, finishing a good run, reading a great book, and gong to happy hour with my friends. It also means wearing the clothes/makeup/hair that make me feel my best. I’ve had an amazing last few years and I feel really good about myself, my business, and my life in general. So I like my outside appearance to reflect that. It’s not a superficial thing at all–it’s quite the opposite.

I’ve come up with a list of beauty/fashion related things that make me feel my best, and I encourage you to make your own list. Why? Because it’s fun!

I Feel My Best When:

* My hair is wavy and big. Magazines tell me I’m fighting nature and should lovingly embrace my curly hair, but I don’t like the way it looks it on me. (Funny how they never tell people to embrace their naturally oily skin or emphasize their rosacea, isn’t it?) I like my hair best when I’ve straightened it with a round brush and blow dryer, and let the ends curl. And I am big hair girl for life. Volume at the crown (not the sides) is the most flattering for my face shape, so I say tease it up.

* My lashes are black and thick. I was lucky enough to be born with somewhat long, thick lashes, but I like them even more when they are coated in mascara. I can get a good fake lash effect from the layering of a few different mascaras, but I also love falsies. I tend to only wear them when I’m going out, but I always love the look when I do.

* My skin is tan. Although I am mostly Italian, my skin is light. I lived in Florida for a few years and had quite the tan going, so I know I can get much darker than I am, but I refuse to do that to my skin anymore. The risk of skin cancer and the guarantee of skin damage/premature aging has caused me to give up sunbathing (those beach days I referred to always feature me covered in SPF 30 or higher, frequently re-applying). I do, however, have a great airbrush tan woman who I go to when I’m feeling a little too pasty. She does an amazing job and if I keep up with daily moisturizing, the tan fades nicely.

* My clothes are form-fitting. I have what is, I am told, a curvy, petite figure. If I wear outfits that are loose or shapeless, I either look lost in them, or ten pounds heavier. So I’ve found that clothes that skim my shape–not cling to it for dear life–look best on me. I tend to go for pencil skirts and 1940s style silhouettes. Skinny jeans, shorts, A-line dresses, and cap sleeves are styles that don’t work on me, so I avoid them. It’s not about hating parts of my body, it’s about wearing clothes that flatter the areas that I like.

* My hair has layers. Without layers, my long hair just looks blah. But if I cut the overall length too short, it doesn’t work with my bone structure. So the happy medium is long hair, lots of layers. It also gives it a style without me having to do much to it, which is wonderful.

* My eye makeup is contoured. I have several makeup looks that I love, but I have to admit that the most flattering eye makeup look for my eye shape and size is a contoured look. I have pretty big eyes, so accentuating that seems to work well on me. A darker color slightly above the crease (because my eyes are deepset), dark at the lashline and off-white liner in the waterline does good things for these peepers.

* My toenails are red. During my Florida years, I of course always wore opened-toed shoes. I used to switch up the polish colors whenever I felt like it. One night, I was out with some friends, and my toenails were painted red. Whatever jackass I was talking to at the bar said to me “I like the red polish. A girl should always wear red polish on her toes, I think it’s sexy.” I remember nothing about this guy, never dated him or ever saw him again, but for some bizarre reason, that comment stuck with me. Since then–and we’re talking about seven years here–I have only worn red polish on my toes. I think it had nothing to do with what he thought, and more that I agreed with the statement. If another guy says the same thing to me this summer, but he says it about pink polish–guess what? I’m still wearing red. It’s my signature toenail polish color.

* I’m at my high school weight. This is not a crazy statement, because I have only ever weighed 12 pounds more than I did in high school, so we are not taking about some unattainable number here. I feel best when I’m at that weight because that happens to be the number I hit when I am eating clean and exercising regularly. For some people, their high school weight might not be a number that is healthy for them now. I know people who were too thin in high school, and to get back to that now would not be good for their body. But for me, my healthy, strong, feel good weight happens to be the same that it was a decade plus ago. Two pounds more, I’m still good, and two pounds less, I’m still good. If I go any more in either direction (and keep in mind I am pretty small, so two pounds is more like eight pounds for some people) and I know I need to reevaluate what I’m doing.

* I’m wearing a perfume I love. Like Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue, Thierry Muegler Alien, DKNY Green Apple, Vera Wang Princess, or Cacharel Amor Amor. Our sense of smell is the sense most closely tied to our memories, so that could be why I love these perfumes (and I love each one for different times of day, events, moods, etc.). A spritz or dab of one of these is usually the last part of my beauty routine before heading out, and it’s the little step that makes me feel completely “done up.”

* I have a shellac manicure. It doesn’t really matter what color, I just like the look of polished fingernails on me. Even if I’m wearing yoga pants, a white tank, and a baseball cap, I feel more put together if my nails are done. And shellac is the way to go! Shiny, chip-free, no maintenance nails? How could you not?

* I’m wearing heels. Most of the clothes I like to wear call for heels. And besides that, they make my legs look better. It’s the truth! I workout and eat healthy and I’m accepting about what I look like, but I can’t hate on that little boost I get from heels (no pun intended). Plus, anything that is going to make it easier for me to reach things is okay by me.

* I have good accessories on. Sometimes this means my hoop earrings, my Biggie necklace, or the sparkly ring my friend Carina gave me. But I’ve found that one or two accessories can really make an outfit. It’s the little things in life, isn’t it?

That’s my list! It’s a big day or night when I have all of these things going on, but I feel freakin’ great when I do. None of these things would make me happy if I wasn’t already happy, but for me, they are just a few more sparks of joy. The reason I say that is because I don’t believe that looking great alone will make you happy, and appearance isn’t the most important thing in life. But if it reflects what you feel inside, and/or gives you a little shot of confidence, why not go for it?

Have a beautiful day 🙂

The Case of Shadow Insurance vs. Smudge Proof Shadow Base

Unless I’m doing a photoshoot or film that requires an eyeshadow change, my first step in the makeup application process is eye primer. A quality eye primer will create a base, help eyeshadow stay on longer, prevent creasing and intensify color. Eye primer is one of my favorite “inventions” of the last ten years. I find the iPhone to be considerably less impressive.

My go-to eye primer for the last few years has been the defendant, Shadow Insurance by Too Faced (the original formula in the blue tube). It’s a creamy product, and it currently comes in one color. I’m not going to say flesh-toned, because that presumes we all have the same color skin, so I will say it is a color comparable to a light skintone. However, it blends into all skintones without a problem. You only need, as Too Faced says, a “raindrop-sized” amount of product to cover the entire lid. It comes in a squeeze tube (great for makeup artists, and for keeping your product sanitized) and has no discernible scent. It absorbs easily, doesn’t feel heavy or sticky, and does all the things a quality primer should do.

As much as I love Shadow Insurance–and this is probably why I wouldn’t make a good girlfriend–I have to see what else is out there. What if there’s something better? As I’ve said before, I wouldn’t be doing my job as a makeup artist if I only used certain products and never tried anything new. So when I had the chance to try the Smudge Proof Shadow Base by NARS (one of my favorite companies), I went for it.

The Smudge Proof Shadow Base comes in a chic black and white tube. It has a doe foot applicator (the classic lipgloss type applicator), which I don’t love. As a makeup artist, I find it much easier to squeeze product out of a tube than grab a minute amount with a doe foot applicator, swipe on my palette and repeat several times. The product itself is white and I did notice that when first applied, it paled out the skin a tiny bit. It has a very faint plastic scent, but nothing I found off-putting. It absorbs quickly and feels very lightweight and there is no stickyness factor.

Now, how do the two compare? On a few different days, I wore one primer on each eye, then did my eye makeup as usual. I put each primer on my right eye one day, my left the next, and used the same eyeshadows to be as fair as possible. And the verdict is–Shadow Insurance is the bomb. Order in the court! The shadow intensity levels were close, although there was only slightly less fading with the Shadow Insurance. What did it for me was the creasing. The Smudge Proof Shadow Base definitely didn’t do as good of a job preventing creasing. There was no creasing with the Shadow Insurance, but I can’t say the same for the Smudge Proof Shadow Base.

I love NARS, but this is not a product I can recommend. But I am happy to tell you that the Shadow Insurance is cheaper ($19) than the Smudge Proof Shadow Base ($24). So I’ll pretend I’m doing some kind of public service here…

You can get Too Faced products at Sephora or Sephora.com.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

1930s Beauty

In the 1930s, the country was dealing with the aftermath of the Great Depression, but the film industry continued to grow. And along with it came new beauty icons. More than ever before, the public needed distraction–and films delivered. Remember, this was a time before television and Internet, so film stars were really the only public figures that everyone could see.

Looks changed as the decade went on, and certain film stars had their own signature look, but there were some similarities and trends that are thought to be classic 1930s. Eyebrows were very thin, rounded, usually drawn on and extended down towards the temples. Many women tweezed or completely shaved off their eyebrows, drew in new, thin brows and applied a layer of petroleum jelly to make them shine. The petroleum jelly was also sometimes used on bare lids to give a sheen to the area. But eyeshadows themselves were still matte. The classic Hollywood look used shadows in natural colors to highlight and contour the eye, but “everyday” women often wore shadows in shades that matched their eye color. A slightly downturned, sleepy eye was a popular shape for onscreen sirens. One mascara trend was to use brown on the lashes, with black added on the tips. False lashes were popular and they tended to be long, light and feathery as opposed to dark, full and heavy.

Pale skin and foundations with a pink tone were in vogue. In the early 30s, light pink cheek colors were most common, but the colors got darker as the decade progressed. The popular lip shape was an overdrawn top lip that was rounded and extended at the corners. This elongated bow shape, most dramatically worn by Joan Crawford, was referred to as the “Crawford Smear,” “Rosebud Mouth,” or the “Cruller.” The vampy purple reds from the 1920s were traded in for light rose, raspberry and later in the 30s, red shades.

When it came to hair, gone were the bangs of the 1920s. Hair was slightly longer, styled in waves and usually pushed back from the face or side parted. Finger waves were popular throughout the decade. Jean Harlow, the first platinum blonde, started a frenzy for lightened locks. Hair color formulas were far from perfected at this point, so many women damaged their hair using harsh bleaches and color kits. When brunette Hedy Lamarr came on the scene in 1938, women started to color their hair brown to emulate her. Just thinking about the drastic hair changes many women made in the 30s makes me want to deep condition my hair…

Nails were often painted to match dress colors. Sometimes a silvery topcoat was added. The polish was applied to the center of the nails leaving the half moons and tips bare. (A girl like me who has no visible half moons at the base would have had to fake it!) Towards the end of the decade, women started painting the nail tips as well.

Compacts became popular, so women could openly touch up powder and lipstick while showing off an accessory. There were many beautiful compacts made and I love the look of them. I think there is something so ladylike and classy about the vintage compacts. To me, modern makeup packaging just doesn’t have that “ooh la la!” factor.

There was a luxurious feel to the 1930s beauty looks, thanks to the Hollywood stars and starlets of that decade. It was the beginning of the Golden Age of film, and the actresses who defined it were glamorous, sultry, beautiful and alluring. There was nothing low maintenance or natural about these looks, but who says that’s bad thing? 🙂

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Your Lips Will Love It: MUFE Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick Review

I’ve found that a lot of women, especially those in their 20s, prefer lipgloss over lipstick. I don’t know if it’s because glosses are generally easier to apply, they don’t like much pigment to their lip color, or they associate lipstick with feeling “heavy.” But I recently tried a lipstick even the anti-lipstick contingency might like.

It’s the newest lipstick from one of my favorite companies, Make Up For Ever, and it’s called Rouge Artist Natural. The lipsticks in this line are meant to be sheer and moisturizing. (Their Rouge Artist Intense line, which came out first, is a heavily pigmented line of lipsticks.)

I tried two of these new lipsticks, in N35, Iridescent Orange Pink and N50, Aubergine. N35 is the perfect summer color–I got excited for frozen drinks and beach days just looking at it! And N50 is absolutely gorgeous. This is the the perfect aubergine color. Sometimes lipsticks that try to be aubergine are a little too purple or brown, but Make Up For Ever got this one just right. Makeup artists, take note!

The packaging is simple but eye-catching. Black with silver, one word written on each side of the tube (“MAKE UP FOR EVER”). The caps snap into place and stay on, which those of you who have ever had to deal with rebellious lipstick caps in your purse will appreciate. These lipsticks have the traditional lipstick scent, which product purists will love 🙂 And I appreciate this little detail–for the lipstick shades with iridescence (shimmer) to them, there is a subtle shimmer printed on the shade sticker on the bottom of the tube. So if you’re sorting through the selection, trying to figure out which ones have shimmer, just look at the little sticker. Smart.

So this is all good, right? But does the Rouge Artist Natural lipstick actually deliver? The answer is…yes! The lipsticks are sheer, but not so sheer that you think “Did I actually pay money for this?” MUFE has mastered the balance between translucent and noticeable, which is a tough thing to do. And as far as the moisturizing factor, they are right on. My lips are chapped right now from being dehydrated (damn stomach flu) but these lipsticks feel great. They are definitely not drying, and I daresay they moisturize better than some lip balms I’ve tried.

The shine factor is there, but unlike many glosses, it doesn’t come with the sticky-ness factor too. I only tried those two colors, but my guess is the shimmery colors have a little more shine and slide to them. But out of the two I tried, the more matte one was just as comfortable and moisturizing.

Sheer lipsticks have a tendency to wear off quickly, but the Rouge Artist Natural lipsticks have great staying power. And since they are sheer, they are easily to reapply when you do need a touchup. You can apply straight from the tube, no brush needed. You can use a lipliner if you want, but for everyday use, I think these look best on their own. They also work well as a lip stain–apply from the tube, then pat the color in with your finger.

The Rouge Artist Natural lipsticks have the ease, shine, and natural look that many people seem to seek in a lip gloss. But these have longevity, absolutely no sticky-ness, and a wide range of colors. The lipsticks are $19 each, and the tubes will last a while. If you’re sick of trying to find the perfect gloss, or if you just want a low maintenance version of a lipstick color you love, check these out!

Image

You can get Make Up Forever products at Sephora, Sephora.com, the Make Up Forever studio at 8 East 12th Street, New York, NY 10003 and the Make Up Forever studio at 132 South Robertson Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048.