20 Things About Me

“Things About Me” lists are a popular blogger thing to do, so although I can’t imagine many people would be interested, I’ll jump on board. I’m going to include personal things that I don’t think I’ve mentioned much or at all on this blog before. A lot of people do a list of 25 or 50 but I won’t put you through that eye strain.

So if you want to know a little more about this blogger/entrepreneur/makeup artist/Biggie fan, read on.

  1. I swear I lived a past life in the 1920s. When I see a show or movie from or based in the 20s, it seems so familiar. I felt something close to nostalgia when I watched Boardwalk Empire, and the party guests in The Shining always looked familiar to me. Even my company logo was inspired by a 1920s Art Deco ring. If I had to guess, I would say I owned a speakeasy or was the madam of a brothel (but a high class one).  1920s
  2. I have a weird obsession with the South. The accents, the weather, the music, the big hair. I’m really into it.
  3. I am super close to my family. I communicate with my mother, my father and/or my brother almost every day. I lived in Florida for two years after college and talked to my parents nightly. I couldn’t have asked for a better family and I’m grateful for them every day. I am very aware that I more than lucked out in this area.
  4. I can not drive with a coat on. I feel constricted in layers.  I am my best self in a dress and sandals (or bare feet if I can). Layers weigh me down physically, which makes me feel sluggish and bummed out. I feel happier and lighter when I can dress for warm weather.
  5. I think birthdays are a big deal. Saying “Happy Birthday!” is really saying “Hey! I’m happy you were born!” If the existence of someone you love or like is not a reason to celebrate, I don’t know what is.  Go Shawty
  6. I believe if you combined Lesley Knope and Amy Schumer and added a pinch of Liz Lemon, you would get me. I won’t pinpoint the traits I share with each, because I like to cultivate an air of mystery.
  7. I have a bad habit of not closing drawers completely. Writing this, I see two partially open dresser drawers in my room. I don’t do it on purpose, but I guess I have bad follow-through in some areas. Or, maybe I’m making things a little easier for Future Allison Who Needs Something Out of a Drawer.
  8. I chew gum or brush my teeth after I eat anything. Those Trident commercials in the 90s really affected me. 
  9. The only people I am judgmental of are judgmental people. If someone walks into a room and your first impulse is to comment on how they look, my first impulse is to consider you an asshole. If you think people should or shouldn’t live a certain way, even though it’s not hurting anyone, I don’t have much respect for you. So that’s how that works. Don't Judge
  10. I’m a huge bookworm. I haven’t owned a TV for 13 years, but I read every night before bed. I would like a home library some day, although my family and friends won’t see me much if that happens.
  11. 112 is my lucky number. I see it almost every day in different ways. 112 likes on a post, 112 word count in a Microsoft Word doc, 112 on a license plate, etc. A psychic once told me 112 is the number of manifestation so if I see it a lot, it means I am manifesting the things I want. I like that theory.
  12. My go to cocktail is vodka (preferably Three Olives Cherry Vodka), club soda, splash of cran. But I will very rarely turn down champagne.

    Three Olives Cherry
    My go to cocktail
  13. I can remember the year many Golden Era hip hop songs came out but often can not remember where my car is parked in a big lot. I am okay with this trade-off. 
  14. I hate when people are  late. I’m not talking about 5 minutes late, or the person who got stuck in traffic because of an accident.  I’m talking about when someone texts 5 minutes before they were supposed to arrive to say “Just leaving now,” and they live 30+ minutes away. Or doesn’t let you know at all until you check in. I find it extremely rude and inconsiderate. Being chronically late tells me someone is either horrible at prioritizing or time management—not qualities that I admire. Or, they think their time is more important than other people’s, a thought that enrages me so much I need to end this section.
  15. Sometimes my dreams literally come true.  I’ve dreamt of friend’s engagements, pregnancies, car accidents, moves and other big things, only to hear the next day that they have happened.  I don’t have premonition dreams often, but enough that I’ve been requested to tell my friends when they appear in my dreams, even when it’s some crazy shit like “You and I were in a jungle, but it was your house or something. Anyway, Joshua Jackson was there and he was going to do a concert…”
  16. My wrists are 5 inches around. Most bracelets look stupid on me but that doesn’t stop me from wearing them. It’s amazing that I can do a push up without immediately collapsing.
  17. My one true regret in life is that I sold my ticket to see Eminem at the Worcester Palladium in 1999 so I could buy my Junior Prom dress. It was a small venue at the beginning of his career and I missed it. My only consolation is that not only do I still fit into that dress, but it’s now big on me. (That’s me in the red.) Jr Prom
  18. I am an overcommunicator.  Whether it’s with my friends, family, clients or team, I normally give more information than is needed. It’s because I like to be prepared and would rather have too much than not enough information, but I’m sure some of these people could do without my novel-length texts and emails. I’m like the human version of Mapquest, telling you how to get out of your own driveway.
  19. I graduated from college magna cum laude. But make no mistake–I was equal parts geek and partier. I think it was the one time in my life I had balance.
  20. If I wasn’t a makeup artist and entrepreneur, I would be a writer. I write to communicate, to clear my head, to figure out how I feel and because I love to. There is something that takes over when I write and it focuses me in a way that only one other thing can. The other thing is doing makeup. This blog allows me to combine my two passions, and it’s a damn shame I can’t get to it more often.

Now you know everything you need to know about me! I’m sure you feel fulfilled and have a renewed sense of purpose as you go through your life. (#21 would have been “My second language is Sarcasm,” but it I wanted to keep the list to 20.)

Have a beautiful day 🙂

 

 

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Slough It Off

Exfoliators

Regular dental cleanings. Oil changes every 3,000 miles. Monitoring my bank accounts and credit card statements for fraud. These are a few of the things I do consistently to keep my body, my car and my financial life in good shape. Are they fun or exciting? Nope. But they are part of what I do to keep my life running as smoothly as possible. I figure that if I can stay on top of the routine stuff, I’ll be much better equipped to handle the inevitable unexpected challenges that will be thrown my way. I’m a big proponent of having your shit together so you can better weather life’s storms.

If you want your skin to have its shit together, you have to consistently take care of it, as I discussed in The Basics https://allisonbarberamakeup.wordpress.com/2016/04/01/shes-so-basic/. I said then that I would elaborate on exfoliation, since it’s a key player in good skincare. And I never make a promise I can’t keep.

Exfoliation is the removal of the oldest dead skin cells from the outermost layer of the skin. When those dead skin cells are left on the skin, they can make skin feel rough, cause makeup to cake and prevent skincare products from absorbing properly. If buy good quality moisturizers or serums but don’t exfoliate, you are wasting money. That’s real talk. I don’t sugarcoat things on this blog, my friend.  Products can’t penetrate the layers of the skin like they need to if they are being blocked by dead skin cells. Also, unexfoliated skin often looks dull and makes it harder to blend makeup. Makeup looks considerably better on regularly exfoliated skin–that’s a fact. Unless exfoliation is contraindicated for you–which I will get to–you should be doing it 2-3 times a week.

There are two types of exfoliation–physical (or mechanical) or chemical (or enzyme). Depending on your skin type and preferences, one type may be better for you.

Physical exfoliation involves using an abrasive product or tool to manually remove the dead skin cells off that top layer of skin. You apply product, rub it in, then rinse off (or use the tool as directed) to shed the dead skin cells. Physical exfoliants include microfiber cloths, scrubs made with sugar, salt crystals or other granules, microdermabrasion and tools like the Clarisonic. Microbead exfoliants were popular for several years but have been banned because the beads pass through sewage treatments without being filtered out. There are some scrubs that contain crushed apricot kernels or almond shells, but I recommend avoiding using those on the face, next, chest and hands as they can cause microtears on the delicate skin of those areas. (I’m looking at you, St. Ives Apricot Scrub). Repeated microtears make the skin’s texture rougher and uneven looking. It’s fine to use a more abrasive scrub like that on the rest of the body where the skin is thicker, so don’t go throwing all of your products away. Physical exfoliation may sound harsh, but it’s not when done correctly. However, any type of rubbing the skin–even in a gentle way–can be irritating to truly sensitive skin. If that’s what you have, chemical exfoliation might be a better choice.

Chemical exfoliants break down the “glue” that binds dead skin cells to the outermost layer of the skin. Once that glue is dissolved, the dead skin cells fall off. I consider chemical exfoliants to be the passive exfoliant because typically you apply them to the skin, wait for a specified amount of time, then rinse off. Chemical exfoliants usually contain some type of acid or combination of acids (like alpha hydoxy, beta, lactic, glycolic and malic acids) or fruit enzymes (papaya and pineapple are two of the most effective). As mentioned above, chemical exfoliants are generally a better choice for sensitive skin (just do a patch test first). They are also better for acneic skin because rubbing or massaging the skin can spread oils from acne, causing more breakouts.

Oh, you want me to shut up and give you my pro recommendations? I see how it is. I’ll do it, not because I am a pushover but because I want to help you get your skin in better shape.

For physical exfoliants, I recommend Dermalogica Skin Prep Scrub http://www.dermalogica.com/skin-prep-scrub/10,default,pd.html?cgid=exfoliants&start=5&cgid=exfoliants

For chemical exfoliants, I like Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant http://www.dermalogica.com/gentle-cream-exfoliant/9,default,pd.html?cgid=exfoliants&start=3&cgid=exfoliants. It’s technically a mask but it is an exfoliating mask, so it still counts.

For the indecisive types, I recommend Kate Somerville ExfoliKate. It is a scrub that contains fruit enzymes so you can use it as a physical or chemical exfoliant. http://www.sephora.com/exfolikate-gentle-exfoliating-treatment-P232925?skuId=1201763&icid2=search_search_p232925_image

There are some contraindications to exfoliation, so take note.

  1. Waxing. On its journey to eliminate hair, waxing also removes the dead skin cells from that outermost layer of skin. If you exfoliate prior to waxing, you are exposing the equivalent of a fresh layer of skin, which is more sensitive. Using hot wax on that area can cause burns. If you exfoliate right after a wax, you will likely cause irritation to that sensitive layer. I recommend doing any exfoliation 48-72 hours before waxing or 48 hours after to avoid burns, irritation and redness.
  2. Retinoids. Products containing retinoids naturally exfoliate the skin. As a regular prescription Retinol user, I do not exfoliate my face. Doing so can cause irritation and redness.
  3. Accutane*. This anti-acne prescription makes the skin thinner so exfoliation can be especially irritating.
  4. Double Exfoliation. I don’t know if this is technically a contraindication, but I’m including it here. Don’t use a physical exfoliant followed by a chemical exfoliant or vice versa to get extra exfoliated. It’s not going to make your skin glow or feel softer any quicker and is likely to have the opposite effect. There is no “get rich quick” equivalent in skincare. Exfoliation works best when it’s done consistently but with enough time in between exfoliation treatments to prevent irritation.

I hope that I’ve convinced you that exfoliation should be an integral part of your skincare routine. It really makes a huge difference in the look and feel of skin, and it is not especially time consuming or expensive. Any dermatologist, esthetician or makeup artist would agree with me on this. So listen to us, okay?

Have a beautiful day 🙂

*Accutane now only exists in generic versions, but this is the name most familiar to people.

 

Celebrity Makeup Looks: A How To Guide

It’s helpful when a client shows pictures of celebrity or model makeup they want for their wedding or an event. The pictures are sometimes all over the board in terms of similarities, but with a proper breakdown, I can always pinpoint what they have in common (i.e. glowy skin, black winged liner, berry stained lips, etc.) In this way, inspiration pictures are great because a client may not know how to explain what they want in makeupese but I can figure it out from the pictures and a thorough consult.

The problem comes in if the client expects me to make them look exactly like the celebrity/model in the picture. Sometimes the client has a completely different skintone, eye color, eye shape, bone structure and/or hair color, so even the exact same makeup used on that celebrity/model is not going to look the same on the client. And beyond that, that celebrity/model has access to or income for things the average person does not. Let me say that again–celebrities/models have access to or income for things the average person does not. It’s unfair and pretty ridiculous to compare yourself to someone when you are not starting out on a level playing field.

Still convinced you can look like Gigi Hadid? Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine. I’ll tell you how you can get there.

  1. The Basics. You have to do all of these things. https://allisonbarberamakeup.wordpress.com/          Consistently. These are do-able, but what follows probably isn’t for most people. You’ve been warned.
  2. Open Up Your Wallet. I don’t believe most celebrities are totally honest about their beauty regimens, but sometimes you get a peek into what they do. I recently read an article about a 16 part face and body anti-aging skincare treatment that Jennifer Aniston does. This is some of what it includes:
    • Pre-treatment skin evaluation
    • 45 minutes wrapped in a full-body heating pad to sweat out impurities
    • Cleansing and facial massage
    • Hydrotherapy tub treatment
    • Body massage
    • Wrinkle-reducing LED therapy
    • Skin-firming collagen mask
    • Body contouring treatment to smooth cellulite

    Each session takes about three hours, costs $900 and should be done once a week. That’s $3,600 a month.

    So when you see celebrity makeup/model you like in a picture, on TV or in a film, remember those many of those people have access to treatments like that as well as the Botox, fillers and cosmetic surgery they don’t talk about.

  3. Hire a Team. If you see an editorial photo, be it in an article or ad, know that the woman had her makeup done by a pro artist who might have taken 2-3 hours to do it–which is more time than most people want to budget for their wedding or event makeup. If she is an actress or model, she may have started out with genetically good skin (many models do) and/or have access to stupidly expensive beauty treatments like mentioned above. A makeup artist is there for constant touchups during the shoot. The lighting and film is used to further flatter the actress/model. Then, the picture is passed on to someone who retouches it. They might enlarge eyes, whiten teeth, make lips look fuller, make cheekbones more pronounced, make pores disappear, straighten a nose, etc. What many people think is makeup is actually Photoshop. The cost for this team will make your $3,600 monthly skin treatment budget look paltry.
  4. Maybe It’s Maybelline? Doubtful. The makeup that is used on celebrities and in advertisements is usually high end. If you want to look like Jennifer Lawrence did at the Oscars you are not going to get there with all CoverGirl makeup. I find that a lot of people want a celebrity makeup look but they want it on a budget. Here’s a secret–they often don’t use the makeup from that line in the ads that you see for drugstore makeup. And it gets edited like crazy anyway. I have a few drugstore products I like but overall, the color payoff, longevity, texture and packaging is not as good as higher end products.

So when you see celebrity makeup you like in a picture, on TV or in a film, remember they have access to high end skincare treatments, lighting (don’t underestimate the power of this one), frequent touchups from makeup artists and some serious retouching if it’s in print. Even if you are consistent with your own skincare routine, you can’t compare yourself to the Beyonces and Scarlett Johanssons of the world if you aren’t doing what they do. I’m not suggesting that you do, I’m just saying it’s an unfair comparison.

I understand wanting to have the clear skin or full eyelashes that you see on a celebrity/model, but remember that it took effort and money for them to look like that. If you can’t put in the same effort and money, then you don’t compare yourself. I know I am being repetitive, but that’s because I don’t think most people really understand these huge differences.

And can we as a society stop trying to look like certain celebrities or models? How about we applaud true talent and sure, appreciate beauty, but not try to look exactly like them. I think it’s much more interesting (and genuine) when someone has their own look and doesn’t follow trends. I say take care of your skin, play with makeup until you find what looks good on you and then be done with it. Be happy that you can walk outside with no makeup on and not end up on the cover of a magazine with the headline “Is She Dying Today? Sure Looks Like It*.”

Have a beautiful day 🙂

*That would be me on less than 6 hours of sleep or the morning after I’ve had three drinks.