Let’s Be Real

I’m not posting these celebrities-without-makeup photos in a mean way, or even to say “Look what makeup can do for you! Call Allison Barbera Beauty today!” I’m posting these pictures because I want girls and women to know that the celebrity images we see are unattainable. The print ads and editorial spreads are re-touched like crazy, and that’s after a professional makeup artist has worked their magic on the subject. Actresses  have the advantage of being filmed in flattering light, using specific camera angles, with a makeup artist on standby to touchup frequently. And before they even get that far, they’ve spent sometimes several hours in a makeup chair. Celebrities often have access to high end products and skin treatments that are not affordable for the average women, and let’s be honest, cosmetic surgery is pretty common in the entertainment industry.

I have a big issue with print ads and editorial, as the women in them are airbrushed beyond belief. Everything from undereye darkness to facial symmetry to teeth whiteness is changed to look “perfect.” There have been uproars about this in the past from celebrities themselves, saying “That is not what I look like.” But many of us females compare ourselves to the images we see, and come up short. Of course we do! Like I say, Eva Longoria (or any other female celebrity) doesn’t even look like Eva Longoria.

Makeup is a great tool because it’s a way to express ourselves. Yes, it can be used to cover minor flaws, but I don’t consider that the main focus of makeup. I see it as something that shows our inner beauty and gives people more confidence. Makeup can be something that helps us feel good, and I see nothing wrong with that. But retouched celebrity pictures do not make us feel good, they make us feel inadequate. (At least some of us!)

So next time you flip through a magazine or watch a television show, know that the model or celebrity doesn’t really look like that. Not to say that she isn’t beautiful, but she very possibly has the same dark circles, fine lines, or blemishes that you pick apart on your own face. And then go focus on something else, because looks aren’t everything! Yes, I’m a makeup artist, and I’m saying that.

Because most of us have no control over what images are put out there, and how much they are retouched, the best thing we can do is be aware that what we are looking at in most celebrity pictures is not real. If you feel the need to compare yourself to a celebrity, look at the no makeup pictures of celebrities, and compare away…

Have a beautiful day 🙂

A Somewhat Deceiving Name: NARS Sheer Glow Foundation Review

I’ve always been a NARS fan. I find the line to be high quality, and I love that they carry a wide range of gorgeous colors. NARS has created many of the cult favorites in the beauty world–Laguna Bronzing Powder, Turkish Delight Lip Gloss (Kim Kardashian’s favorite), and of course, their Orgasm Blush. I have my own personal favorites, like the Eyeshadow Duo in Madrague and the Semi Matte Lipstick in Jungle Red, and many clients I work with tell me about their NARS must-haves too.

As you might know, I get a lot of my recommendations from the Pixiwoos. I have watched all of their YouTube makeup tutorials and when I see something they use that I think looks good, I give it a try. I find them beyond talented and they have a lot of product knowledge, so it’s like taking a product recommendation from a trusted makeup artist friend. Sam and Nic have used the NARS Sheer Glow Foundation in several of their tutorials, so I felt good about trying it.

I ordered the shade Fiji, which is for light skin with yellow undertones. I like that these foundations are classified by undertones, because that is the system I have gotten used to with my Make Up For Ever HD Foundations. I was ordering online, but I am certainly light-skinned, and sometimes so yellow that I think I have jaundice, so Fiji seemed like the right choice.

Let’s start with the packaging. I love NARS’ simple, sophisticated packaging, and the Sheer Glow Foundation is no exception. It comes in a glass bottle with a black cover, and boy, does that cover stay on. Once you twist it so it lines up with the shape of the bottle, you can feel confident that it is not going anywhere. Once open, the foundation is poured through the mouth of the bottle, which I don’t really care for. I prefer a pump foundation, which makes it easier to control the amount of product. With pour foundations, I often end up dispensing more product than I need.

The first time I tried it–approximately 30 seconds after I opened the shipment–I used a foundation brush. I had moisturized an hour or so before, but had nothing else on my face. My first impression was “Wow! This is good ish!” (I actually said that out loud, while I was by myself.) The color match was great, and my skin looked flawless. I put some concealer under my eyes, and nothing else on top of the foundation. I wanted to see how it felt and how long it lasted.

It felt like very lightweight. This could be because I am used to wearing and trying different foundations, but I have used some that felt heavy, and this definitely wasn’t one of them. It lasted for the remainder of the day, and that was without a primer. We were off to a good start.

The second time I tried the foundation–a few days later–I had a different experience. I thought that it looked cakey in areas, and considerably more yellow than it did the first time. I tried applying with my hands and mixing in moisturizer, but it still looked cakey and almost powdery in some spots. Determined to make this foundation work, I used a trick I learned from the Pixiwoos–I sprayed my face with MAC Fix + (I will blog about this wonder product soon) first, then applied the foundation, using a brush. I applied it little by little, and with that kind of damp base underneath, the foundation did not cake at all. It even somehow looked less yellow. So that’s the trick, at least for my combination skin type. This would also be a good technique for those with normal to dry skin.

As far as this foundation being sheer…it’s not. I found it to be medium coverage, nothing like a Face & Body or similar sheer foundations. I have freckles on my cheeks, and this definitely covered a majority of them–something a truly sheer foundation can not do. It does give a glow to the skin though, which is unusual for a medium coverage foundation. It was somehow matte and glowy at the same time, which I like. Because of the potential for cakey-ness, I can’t say I’d recommend this foundation for very dry skin, but it is suitable for normal, normal to dry and combination (using Fix + first) and normal to oily skin.

When applied correctly, this is a nice foundation and one that I will keep in my personal makeup kit. You can buy it at NARScosmetics.com, Sephora and Sephora.com, or type your zip code in that field in the “Locations” link on the NARS website.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

A Good Base: bareMinerals Prime Time Review

I review a lot of eye primers because a) I find eye primers to be essential and b) I seem to get a lot of eye primer samples. My most recent eye primer sample was the Prime Time Eyelid Primer by bareMinerals. I have to admit, I am not a huge bareMinerals fan, so I had low expectations. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but if I can’t be honest on my own beauty blog, where can I be?

To test this primer’s effectiveness, I tested it against my control primer, Too Faced Shadow Insurance. Shadow Insurance has long been my Holy Grail of eye primers, but I am always open to trying something new. What kind of makeup artist would I be if I wasn’t? So for a few days, I wore Prime Time on one eye, and Shadow Insurance on the other, with a variety of eyeshadows and liners applied over.

And what did I find? Well, first off, Prime Time is an excellent wear-alone primer for those with pale skin. If you’re light like I am, this primer would be considered flesh tone. I have light skin and visible veins on my eyelids (I feel gross just typing that) and this primer covers them up without making it look like I have eye makeup on. In this wear-alone situation, it beats out Shadow Insurance. I think it has something to do with the heavier consistency, although it’s not so heavy that it looks cakey.

As far as the longevity factor, it is equal to Shadow Insurance. The eyeshadows and liners I used stayed on just as well on both eyes.

Eye primers are supposed to intensify the colors applied over them, and Prime Time does an excellent job with this. Every time, my eye makeup on the Prime Time eye was slightly more intense after several hours.

But when it comes to avoiding creasing, Shadow Insurance wins. The Prime Time eye was not completely ruined by creasing, but at the end of the day each time, there was creasing there, but not on the other eye. Some people like creasing, so this may not be a negative for everyone.

Overall, this is great eye primer and I would recommend it for sure. You can buy it at Sephora or wherever bareMinerals products are sold. It’s $18, and one tube will probably last you 2-3 months.

Have a beautiful day 🙂