I’ve got a “one more” addiction in many areas of my life. Let me answer one more email before I go for a run, watch one more episode of Grace & Frankie before I get into bed, read one more chapter of this book before I turn my lamp off, eat one more chip with guacamole before I hate myself. I guess that Daft Punk banger from 2001 really had an effect on me…
Luckily, I don’t have the “one more” inclination with cocktails, which has saved me from many hangovers. I also never “one more” another part of my life–my skincare product application. I know that there are a lot of people out there who think that if they use one more pump of product than instructed or apply it one more time a day than they are supposed to, they will see quicker results. But that’s not how it works, Little Miss Impatient.
Here’s a list of things that can happen if you apply more product than you are supposed to (particularly if the product contains a strong active ingredient) or apply it more often than instructed:
Often times, overusing a product will have the opposite effect and make it not work at all, which is a waste of product and therefore money. Although changes may be happening deep down in the layers of the epidermis, depending on the product and the issue you are trying to improve, it may take 2 – 3 months before you start to see a difference. I know this is a tough pill to slowly swallow when we live in a world where a quick injection of instant gratification is preferred, but some things can not be rushed.
Visible skincare results take time. If you are one more-ing any skincare products, you are likely setting yourself up for failure, disappointment and my voice saying “I told you so!” in your head. If you are using high quality products that are right for your skin type and concerns, you will see results if you use them properly. It’s that simple.
Advice given from non-beauty professionals can often be garbage. Sorry, women’s magazines–I stand by that statement. Sometimes, articles and posts are written to promote certain products from lines that are paying for the placement. And just because someone is a beauty editor or a beauty writer doesn’t mean they have any education or training in skincare, makeup or hair. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read articles that tell me that to get beachy waves, I should go to bed with my hair wet and braided. Do you know what happens to someone with naturally tight, curly hair when they do that? It sure ain’t beachy waves or anything close.
I meet a lot of clients who tell me about makeup myths they’ve read/heard. I mean, they don’t say “Hey, have you heard this makeup myth?” (Although I would love that conversation.) They say it more in terms of what they think they are supposed to do, based off advice from a magazine, website or misguided friend. Like “I know I’m supposed to wear pink eyeshadow because my eyes are blue, but I don’t like the way it looks.” I’m here to crush the most common myths I’ve heard, because you deserve a better makeup life.
I’m going to stick with makeup myths only here, because that’s my forte. Recognize any of these?
Purple Eyeshadow Is The Best For Brown Eyes. I blame this on the Almay “enhance your eye color” eyeshadow trios that came out in the late 90s. (I believe Almay was the first ones to do this, or at least the most popular.) These trios and others like them are based off the color wheel. The idea is that since each color on the color wheel has a complimentary color, using the complimentary color will enhance your eye color. In a general sense, that’s true. But there are other factors that can throw this. For example, if you have hazel eyes and get a tan or spray tan, your eyes will look lighter and often more green. Hair color changes can make your eye color look different too, as can the color of the shirt you’re wearing. And many people have a few colors in their peepers. You may look at someone at first think and “Blue eyed baby,” but upon second look you see hints of green, gray or yellow. Now which trio do you chose?!?! Purple eyeshadow is touted as the best complimentary color for brown eyes, and it can look good on some shades of brown. Because of that and because brown eyes are the most common, I think this myth got real popular. But it’s not accurate. In general, purple is a tough color to pull off on the eyes. It can look garish on some skintones and hair color combinations. It also pulls the purple from undereye circles–even after they’ve been concealed–and makes them look more purple/dark. So yes, purple can look good on some brown eyes, but it’s not going to work on every brown eyed girl.
You Can Wear Waterproof Mascara Every Day. Ooooh, no, no, no. Waterproof mascara is fine on occasion, but it’s tough to remove at night, which means more wear and tear on your eyelashes. What does repeated wear and tear cause? Breakage. If you want to create the potential for stubby lashes, go for it. But if you want to give your window-treatments-to-the-soul the love they deserve, lay off the waterproof.
Smokey Eye = Black Eyeshadow. I think a few of the New Jersey-themed shows from earlier in this decade helped perpetuate the myth that a smokey eye is all black shadows (and maybe some silver if you fancy). A smokey eye can actually be done using any color. A true smokey eye consists of three or more shadows in the same color family. Those shadows are applied in a gradient, with the darkest color at the lashline, the medium color above that on the lids and the lighter color above that (into the crease on non-hooded eyes or above the medium color on the lids on hooded eyes). It also tends to have two or three colors at the bottom lashline, with the darkest being closest to the lashline, the medium below that and the lightest below that. This is not what many people think a smokey eye is, so when a client requests one, I always ask “What do you mean by ‘smokey’?” Sometimes they actually want a darker color in the crease, or a black liner in the waterline. A true smokey eye can be done with any three (or more, if you’re feeling ambitious) colors in the same family. So bring me your browns, your greens, your blues, and I will smoke you up.
You Have To Contour Under The Cheekbones. First of all, you don’t have to do anything with your makeup. But if you do want to go the contour/face sculpting route, the first thing you need to do is identify your face shape as well as the features you want to emphasize. If you already have prominent cheekbones or a thinner face, contouring under your cheekbones will potentially make you look older, gaunt or a little on the drag side (not saying that’s bad, but not what I’ve found the average woman is going for). So before you place that contour product into the hollows under your cheekbones, think “Do I need to do this? Will this bring out what I want to bring out?” Just because a Kardashian does it doesn’t mean you should too. And maybe take that as general life advice.
All Foundations Are Heavy. Back in the day, all foundations were heavy. If I was writing this in 1988, this would not be a myth. (And I’d have more issues than heavy foundation if I were writing something called a “blog post” in 1988. You mean a “chain letter,” lady?) Luckily, there are 23,046 (rough estimate) foundations on the market now, with plenty of sheer and lightweight options. And for me, sheer and lightweight options are where it’s at. I look at foundation as a product that evens the skintone, often with a little help from color correctors and concealers. I’ll never understand the appeal of heavy foundations, because I like skin to look like skin. So if you’re with me, there are plenty of foundations out there for you to chose from.
Match Foundation To Your Hand. If you’ve got no face makeup on at the moment, hold your hand up to your face. Yes, right now. Is it the exact same shade as your face? Probably not. So why would you match your foundation to your grabbers? The best place to match foundation is on your jawline. The center of the face is more likely to have pigmentation (including freckles), so you might choose a shade that’s too dark if you match based off that. Your jawline will give you a better match, and it will help you see how far off your face shade is from your neck shade. Things can get a little complicated if your face, neck and chest are different colors due to a tan or spray tan, but that’s for another post. I do want to mention that sometimes deeper skintones can be lighter in the center of the face and darker on the edges, so in that case, you do want to match separately on each area.
Powder Foundation Is Best For Oily Skin. I get the idea behind this–powder absorbs oil. However, I think that kind of absorption works best in a touchup way. My technique with oily skin is to use a mattifying lotion, liquid foundation, longwear concealer in the T-zone, powder to set and then setting spray. My issue with using powder foundations on oily skin is that the oil can sometimes break through the powder, leaving dark spots or streaks that darken the powder foundation. I will say that tends to only happen with very oily skin, but why chance it?
Concealer Goes On Before Foundation. This myth makes zero sense. The idea of concealer is to mask skin imperfections. Foundation already does that to varying degrees, depending on the foundation type. So why in Biggie’s name would you not put foundation on first? If you do that, it may fully cover or start to cover your areas of concern. Then you go in with concealer for more targeted coverage. Not only do you end up using less concealer–so less makeup on your skin and more money in your wallet–but if you are using a buffing brush to blend your foundation on, you are likely rubbing off some of the concealer as you buff. That’s more waste! Be smart and base first.
Concealers Are All The Same. Concealers can come in squeeze tubes, pump tubes, twist pens, cute little pots and palettes. And that’s because different concealers have different consistencies. Some are thin and liquid-y, some are thick and solid and some are in the middle. That’s because different types of coverage are called for at different times. For undereye concealer, I recommend a thin consistency concealer, because a thick one will cake up on ya real quick. But for blemish coverage, you often need the thickness of a heavier concealer to get the job done. Also, there are both matte concealers and luminizing/light reflecting concealers on the market. The latter are meant for coverage of darkness under the eyes (which you should be using a color corrector for first anyway), as the pigment helps conceal and the light reflecting particles bounce light off the area, which cuts some of the darkness. But put a luminizing concealer on a blemish and all you’ve done is draw attention to it when the light hits it. So the exact opposite of what you want. When you are or buying or trying concealers, keep your coverage goals in mind so you can choose correctly.
Makeup Wipes Remove Makeup. Laziness at its finest! And you know it. Makeup wipes can take some makeup off the surface of the skin, but the ingredients don’t dissolve makeup then remove it, so some makeup can still be left on the skin. I’m a firm believe that the only thing that fully removes makeup is oil (in the form of a pre-cleanse or cleanser). Get rid of the wipes, get yourself some oil, and watch your skin improve.
Bronzer Is Supposed To Be Applied To The Entire Face. Bronzer is a product intended to mimic a tan. And when we tan (for those of us whose sunbathing lives weren’t ruined by seven months in Esthetics school), the majority of the color we get hits the high points of our faces (at the hairline, across the cheekbones, down the bridge of the nose and around the edges of the face). So not all over the face. I notice a lot of women do this, and the ones who admit it to me tell me it’s because they like to look tan. But what it really looks like is that they put bronzer all over their face, and their neck and chest are two shades lighter. If you want to look tan, use a sunless tanner or get a spray tan. If you want a natural, sunkissed look, put bronzer where it is supposed to go. I know some of you don’t like this advice, but I will not lie to you.
Makeup Can Cover Breakouts. Makeup can work wonders bringing out eye color, emphasizing features and making the skintone more even. But it can not cover raised texture. Yes, some pore minimizers can mostly fill in pores and fine lines so that the makeup applied on top of those areas does not sink in and highlight them. But a blemish, scar or bump that is raised can not be covered completely. Because that would mean finding a product that was thick enough to match the rest of the skin to the height (what else would you call it?) of the raised area. That would be the only way to make the makeup all level, if you will. But it would also mean looking like a maniac. What makeup can do though is cover any discoloration on that area so that the eye is not drawn to it. I feel confident that every pro makeup artist would agree with me here, so you should too.
Do you feel like I’ve cleared some stuff up for you? Good! (I’m imagining you said “Yes! Thank you! You’re the best.”) If you’ve gotten any beauty advice that you think sounds a little off, comment away and I’ll give you my take.
“That was a lifetime ago!” I hear myself saying that when a friend says “Remember when I came down to visit you when you lived in West Palm Beach?” or “Remember all of us walking in our white scrubs from Esthetics school to Dunkin’ Donuts during our breaks?” I call different chunks of my life–like childhood, college, my Florida Years, etc.–my “past lives.”
Within those past lives, I have career past lives. I had seven different jobs before I opened my company and four more during the early years at AB Beauty. Other than a job at my family business–which was there whenever I wanted it for part-time work–I never stayed much longer than one year anywhere I worked. I wasn’t happy at any of my jobs, which is exactly why I started my own business.
My first job interview was at a beauty supply store (obviously). I think it was for a sales/cashier position, or it might have been for office help. I can’t remember, but I was crushed when they didn’t hire me. I was 14, and I wanted to work (and I especially wanted to work around makeup). Luckily, my father opened a real estate company soon after that, and he brought me on as his Administrative Assistant. I had zero work experience–unless you consider my smashing success playing my make believe game, “Small Business Owner,” work experience–but my boss was willing to overlook that.
I learned a lot at my first job, as well as the 10 other jobs I had before I was 28. There are systems, ways of doing things, and often ways of not doing things that I still use. Those past jobs all helped me become the business owner I am today.
It’s in my nature to look back, review and see what I learned from different situations. And guess what? Today, you’re along for the ride. Buckle up, girlfriend.
Job: Administrative Assistant at a real estate company (that my father owned).
Length of Stint: Three years part-time during high school, and during breaks and three of the summers I was in college. So, you do the math. (Seriously, I can’t.)
What I Learned: That I absolutely did not want to be an entrepreneur. I saw how hard it was, and how you don’t get health insurance, sick time, vacation days, etc. I was there since Day One, so I witnessed what went into starting a company. Good thing I changed my mind about that…
What I Loved: Having my own desk; office supplies; organizing the office; creating tracking systems; finding listings clients might like.
What I Hated: Realtors and clients who would call and be rude or mean to me. There’s a special place in hell for people who take their anger out on the person who answers the phone (especially when she is 16, but still more professional than a 52 year old cranky sales agent.)
Job: Real Estate Agent.
Length of Stint: Four years, very part-time (during college breaks and three of the summers I was home from college).
What I Learned: The importance of connections and making sure everyone around me knew what I did for a career. This was in the pre-social media days so I did a lot of mailings. I also learned to do things I still do today, like always having my business cards with me and giving small gifts to those who refer people who book with my company.
What I Loved: Seeing inside people’s houses! HGTV was my favorite channel before it was popular. (Whatchu know about the original “Trading Spaces?”) I also loved being able to help make peoples’ lives better by finding them a place to live that suited their needs better than their current home, or helping them sell a property that no longer met their needs.
What I Hated: Working on commission. At that point in my life, I craved the stability of a regular paycheck. Luckily I was able to do this job in combination with part-time office work at the same company (and l didn’t have many expenses at the time anyway), but I knew that I was not cut out for a sales job.
Job: Weird Sales Job. (Yup, exactly what I had already learned I hated. I wasn’t what you might call “smart” in my early 20s.)
Length of Stint: One week.
What I Learned: Some jobs are legit scams. For this one, I had to stand outside grocery stores and coffee shops and try to sell people crappy kids’ toys, luring the parents over by saying we were doing free fingerprinting for missing children identification kits. I think we said the kits would be sent somewhere to be put in a database–which I doubt they were–and then we would try to sell them toys that we had out on our tables. The job I applied for sounded much different than what it actually was, and I didn’t know what I was getting into until I started. One day I made $20 total after 10 hours of work, said “Fuck this,” and quit.
What I Loved: I made friends with a coworker, Shannon, who I am still good friends with now.
What I Hated: The overall scam; being tricked into it (the owner apologized when I bumped into him a year later); making zero money. But I mean, how Early 2000s Florida was this type of job? Some of you know exactly what I mean.
Job: Office Manager at an environmental consulting firm.
Length of Stint: Nine months.
What I Learned: How to use Quickbooks; project management; the importance of using Outlook reminders to make sure everything got done; how to schedule appointments; how not to treat the people who work for you.
What I Loved: My coworkers. We had a really awesome group at this company (I even got Shannon a job there!).
What I Hated: That my boss was extremely hot or cold. His temper was scary, and after he punched a file cabinet next to my desk so hard it dented, I–along with 90% of the company–made my exit plan. Within three months of that terrifying incident, we had all left the company.
Job: Office Manager at a real estate appraisal company.
Length of Stint: Nine months.
What I Learned: How to use appraisal software; what goes into appraisals and what they are used for; how to deal with a boss who clearly did not want to own the company.
What I Loved: My commute kept me off of 95 in South Florida, so my life was no longer in jeopardy every weekday rush hour as it had been at my last job.
What I Hated: Working out of someone else’s home (oh, did I mention their home office was inside their garage?); that the owners would jet off to Miami for a couple days, leaving me to deal with phone calls from angry people who rightfully wanted their overdue appraisals; that they illegally hired me as an Independent Contractor so I wasn’t able to collect unemployment when they laid me off out of nowhere because the wife’s sister got in a car accident. (You’re right–that doesn’t make any sense!)
Job: School Secretary.
Length of Stint: 13 months.
What I Learned: Some advanced Excel skills (took a class while I was there); the importance of confidentiality (I filed student behavior reports and was privy to staffing issues); that I have impressive willpower (there was a basket of candy on my desk and I did not touch it once during a three month cleanse I did).
What I Loved: The people (both the students and the staff)! I became friends with Dan, one of the teacher’s assistants, and we are still good friends 11 years later.
What I Hated: Waking up early; how I couldn’t go to the bathroom without getting someone to sit at my desk to buzz people in and answer the phones; being bored due to lack of work.
Job: Office Manager at my father’s real estate company.
Length of Stint: 13 months. I did this part-time most days after leaving my School Secretary job.
What I Learned: I actually learned this early on working for my father, but I’ll put it here: I learned how to treat the people who work for you. My father has always been incredibly kind, understanding and accommodating with everyone in any company he has owned. He taught me that you have to let your team know that you recognize and appreciate their work, and you have to make sure that you are paying them fairly and not expecting them to do work outside of their job description without being compensated for it.
What I Loved: The two minute commute; being able to make my own hours; working with fun people.
What I Hated: That it was in Worcester. I really wanted to go back to Newport after my Florida Years, but I had to live at home and save up first (my parents very nicely let me live with them rent-free).
Job: Waitress at a small BYOB restaurant.
Length of Stint: 10 months. A good chunk of this time was during my seven months in Esthetics school. I would go to school during the day and waitress on nights and weekends.
What I Learned: The restaurant scene is too dramatic for me. Lots of coworker hookups, gossip and accusations of stealing money. And yes, hothead chefs are a very real thing. Calm down, you know? It’s just food.
What I Loved: My regulars. Because this restaurant was a small, neighborhood spot, I saw a lot of the same people every few days. They liked me, I liked them, and towards the end of my time there, when most of the rest of the servers were shitty at their jobs, my regulars used to ask me which days I was there and would only come in during my shifts.
What I Hated: For starters, I was trained for one shift, then they fired the waitress who was training me so I was left to figure things out on my own. One of the owners called it “trial by fire,” but it was more “poor staff training.” When I started, there were three owners, and one of them was awesome (we are still friendly today). One was a complete asshole–I’ll at least give him props for showing his true colors from the start–and the other was nice at first, then really had it out for me for no reason. He eventually fired me because the waitress after me did not pass on a phone message I left for him (exactly, makes no sense) then apologized for doing that a year or two later when we bumped into each other. In the end though, my business is thriving and their’s closed down soon after I left. So, I feel good about that.
Job: Restaurant hostess at established restaurant.
Length of Stint: Three months.
What I Learned: That I could pick up on things quickly. This was late 2008, when the job market was real bad, and even with my Bachelor’s degree and years of office experience, I couldn’t find anything for several months. I took this part-time hostessing job while I was searching for a full-time job (and getting my business up and running). I realized that even though it was a different restaurant than the first one and was run completely differently (better), I was able to catch on quickly.
What I Loved: I made friends with coworkers Gretchen and Mimi, both of whom I stayed in touch with for a few years after I left.
What I Hated: I wasn’t there long enough to hate anything!
Job: School Secretary. (Ding ding, Round Two! Different school, different state, a lot of similarities.)
Length of Stint: One year. I did this job while doing weddings and trials on nights and weekends.
What I Learned: I was at a Head Start and it gave me a glimpse into the lives of parents who had financial hardships, behavioral or health issues with their children and some overall tough situations. I think any job that allows you to see life through a different lens gives you the opportunity to be a more empathetic and understanding person. Those qualities have helped me a better business owner and boss, and hopefully a better person.
What I Loved: It was easy and stress-free. I became good friends with two coworkers named Jill, and later ended up sharing an office for AB Beauty with one of those Jills once we both had our own companies. I’m still friends with the other Jill too, and even got to do her wedding makeup.
What I Hated: The low pay (I qualified for many of the assistance programs offered by the community program Head Start was part of); being chained to my desk (another case of “can’t leave my desk to use the bathroom if I don’t have coverage); the hours (I’ll never love waking up at 6:00am) and the boredom. I was overqualified and consequently bored to tears at this job. It was there that I created “tapefoliation,” which what I called using pieces of Scotch tape to exfoliate my arms and hands. Another tactic I used to combat my boredom was to take huge piles of documents I had put in order to file away, then accidentally-on-purpose drop them so I would have to pick them up and re-file to kill ten minutes of time.
Job: Office Manager at a construction company.
Length of Stint: Ten months.
What I Learned: More Quickbooks; how to use Google calendar to run shit (I still do this); how to create order tracking systems; how to process information needed for payroll; the importance of W9s for Independent Contractors.
What I Loved: The freedom. I could leave my desk to use the bathroom, check the mail, run out to my car, etc. without first finding coverage. My boss was also great about letting me take time off to do weddings and commercials. My company really started taking off right around the time this company started closing, so the timing worked out perfectly. My boss was really great to me though and I learned a lot from him, so that meant as much to me as the freedom.
What I Hated: It was really hard to be two plus years into my career and not yet be ready to do it full time, but to watch my boss (who is a little younger than me) and my friend (who ran a salon and wedding beauty company from the second floor of the building I worked in) do it was extra hard for me. I REALLY wanted the freedom that full time entrepreneurship brings and I knew I was close, so I wouldn’t say I was jealous, but I would see them with that freedom and think “I want that! And soon!”
My 11 career past lives taught me a lot about systems, protocols, policies, inventory, organization and basic accounting. And each boss I had ran their company or department in a different way. I took the things I thought they did well and later incorporated those things into my business. I also took note of the things they did that I didn’t think were smart, kind, fair or in some cases, legal, and stayed away from doing those things in my business. I may have dreaded Mondays, hated my boss or struggled financially when I was working some of my past jobs, but I’m glad I didn’t like them enough to stay. None of those positions were in fields I was passionate about, so although I may have had a chance to have a stress-free job that was financially comfortable enough, I know I wouldn’t have been happy.
If I had to go back and change anything about my pre-AB Beauty jobs…I wouldn’t. They taught me a ton, and they gave me the bad experiences that help me appreciate how good I have it now. If I’m annoyed with something at my company, I try to think “At least I’m not dealing with disappearing home-buying clients, asshole chefs and having to get coverage to leave my desk.”
My career path has been bumpy, painful and aggravating at times, but my past lives brought me to my current career life, and it’s the bomb. I hope you’ve got a good one too. And remember–tapefoliation is for hands and arms during times of extreme boredom only.
It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these “getting to know your blogger” posts. And because I’m an introspective, open book person who loves writing, this idea came to me. If you’re a regular reader of this blog or follow me on Instagram, you know that I’m an entrepreneur and a makeup artist. You also probably know that I love Biggie Smalls, tequila and Charleston, SC. But maybe you don’t know about my minimalist tendencies or how well I fare in a directions situation, or some of the other things I’m wicked good at (and notoriously bad at). So I present a small sampling of my strengths and my weaknesses.
Getting Rid of Stuff. I donate, throw away or recycle things I don’t use on a weekly basis. You will not find expired medicine in my house, nor will you find a shirt I bought three years ago but never wore. If I don’t actively use it or enjoy looking at it, it’s out. Junk drawer? I don’t think so, homey. If I can’t remember the last time I used or wore something, it’s gone. The only knickknacks I have in my house are things that were given to me as gifts and have sentimental value. (And after a few years, many of those get the boot too.) I get so happy getting rid of stuff I don’t need or love. It feels like it gives me clarity in my life, and who doesn’t want that?
Planning.I am the illest at planning things. It doesn’t mean I love it, but I am damn good at it. My brain has a very easy time figuring out what needs to be done when, then actually doing it. I’ve planned more parties than I can count, and if there is a trip I’m going on with other people, I am the one booking the Airbnb, researching and making restaurant reservations and emailing the group (then inevitably following up with them) to see if they want to do any of the fun outings they spewed out of their brains then left there for me to organize. It doesn’t happen often, but when someone else takes the lead on plans (“I’ll buy the comedy show tickets,” “I got us in for brunch at 12:00pm on Sunday,” “I booked a car to the airport”), I want to cry tears of joy. But because I’m good at planning and the people around me know it, it usually falls on me. We all have our lots in life.
Proofreading. Give me a restaurant menu and I will find at least one typo, inconsistency or unnecessary capitalization. (I love cheese, but I would have a difficult time eating “Spring salad with goat Cheese.”) I proofread my blog posts, social media posts and emails several times before I publish/post/hit send. Sometimes I miss things–which I think happens when you read the same thing 19 times–but if I notice a typo after I’ve posted, I always go back and correct it. My mom is an Eagle Eye too, so she’s my backup proofreader. How did I do with this post, Beensa?
Reaching Small Things That Fall Behind Bigger Things. The good Lord blessed me with five inch wrists and child-sized hands, so I am the go-to girl when something falls behind the couch at my parents’ house or behind the vintage dresser we use as a makeup station at my studio. I’ve got a slim ulna and a svelte radius, so I will retrieve the lost object for you. You can thank me by giving away that juicer you bought and never used or making sure your professional copy is beautifully typo-free.
Being On Time.Nay, early. I was born early and I like to say I’ve been early to everything since. I spend a lot of time waiting for people, and the chronic Lates in my life either get it together when they have plans with me, or we don’t really hang out anymore. I think being on time shows that you respect the other person’s time, and you don’t think your time is more important than their’s. And being early is just leaving a little buffer for traffic/getting lost/your underestimation of travel time. I’m going to stop this one here so I don’t go off on a tangent.
Identifying The Years Golden Era Hip Hop and R&B Songs Came Out.The ten year span from 1996 – 2006 had some of the best hip hop and R&B music. (That’s a fact.) That decade also eclipsed my high school and college years, when (at least for me) everything was so intense. Just like how I feel like I’m at The Rhino Bar with my best friend, Jess, in 2003 whenever I smell Victoria’s Secret Love Spell, I am transported back to 1996 when I hear “Return of the Mack,” sitting in the backseat of my friend Heather’s sister’s boyfriend’s car while he drove endless loops through downtown Worcester. Or to my cute but palmetto-bug infested one bedroom apartment in West Palm Beach in 2005, listening to “Let Me Love You” by Mario while getting ready to meet Shannon at Blue Martini. Popular songs and songs I love are so strongly tied to my memories from my teens and early 20s that it’s easy for me to think, Who was I hanging out with? Where did I live? Which joker was I dating? when I hear a song from the past, then easily figure out what year that would have been.
Reading Maps, Retracing Steps & Anything That Requires a Sense of Direction.I’d like to think I have a moral compass, but that’s where my sense of direction ends. I am so bad with figuring out where I need to go that if my gut instinct tells me to turn right, I know that means I should turn left. I use Waze for driving new places and Google Maps for navigating a new area by foot, but it takes me embarrassingly long to figure out how to get around areas I have been to several times. My brain is missing that directional section, so I try to befriend people who have it.
Keeping Plants Alive. I’ve never been able to do it! I like the look of plants so I wish I was better at this, but I’m not. My mom has a real green thumb, but I didn’t inherit it. At one point, I was even putting reminders in my calendar to water a plant someone got me, and I still killed it! Maybe self tanner fumes are toxic to plants?
Remembering Scenes From Movies. There are several movies I have seen multiple times, but with the exception of Grease and The Godfather, I remember nothing more than the basic plot (and sometimes not even that). My sister-friend, Danielle, will often quote or reference something from a movie we watched a million times as kids, and 95% of the time, I will look at her with a blank stare (or a “?”over text). Then she’ll say “Spaceballs!” or “Back to the Future” or “Opportunity Knocks!” I envy Danielle and others like her. My film amnesia is bad, but I can sometimes redeem myself with my Rain Man-like memory of Golden Era hip hop and R&B song release identification. (Catch my film reference? Give me props!)
Calculating Tips.I always tip at least 20%, and I know that means $10 on a $50 check and $20 on $100. Everything else though is just guesses. I completely zone out when I tell someone I’m not good at calculating tips and they say “You just move the decimal…” Whatever I do come up with using my own techniques (based roughly on the fact that since I know how to divide numbers in half, then 20% is less than 50%, so I can get close), I add $2 to account for my probable miscalculation. If you are my server, you will always be over-tipped. If you are my accountant, you will be baffled.
Taking Photos.I fail at this, both in terms of quality and remembering to do it in my personal life. It’s weird, because back in the day I always had a disposable camera on me. I have photo albums from each year of my life from 7th grade until about 2008. Part of this weakness may stem from the fact that I hate being in pictures (most unphotogenic person ever), and it feels like everyone wants to take goddamn selfies with their friends all the time. I would also just rather enjoy hanging out or being in the moment when I go somewhere new instead taking pictures, seeing if they are good, editing them and posting them. Too much work! But, I do like looking back at old photos and remembering good times, so I should try more with this. (I won’t.)
Closing Drawers Fully. I don’t do this on purpose, but I have a tendency to not completely close drawers. I don’t leave them sticking halfway out, but it’s like when my eyes see that my hand has closed a drawer 80% of the way, they say to my brain, Good! Shut it down. I have been doing this since I was a child, so I think it’s just part of who I am. I’m sorry to anyone who has ever gotten an ankle, knee or hip bruise due to my gross negligence.
I could add lots more to this post (especially to the Weaknesses list), but six for each category seems like a solid amount. Do you feel like you know me better now?
I hope you’ve liked reading this one. It was fun to write!
The point of this “Pretty Addiction” blog is to give you tips, tricks, how to’s and recommendations to improve your beauty life. Several of the posts I’ve written have been upon request, and I hope they have been helpful. So I gots to know, what kinds of posts would you like to read in the upcoming months?
Please, comment on this post or on Facebook, Instagram or wherever you see this and tell me what you want, what you really really want. Which of the current categories do you dig the most? These are the options:
Boss Life. These posts are all about that entrepreneur life. I talk about my experience and things I’ve learned as a small business owner. Have a question as a business owner or aspiring business owner? I’d be more than happy to give my take on it.
Decades of Beauty. A series covering looks from the 1920s – 2010. Each decade has had several different popular looks, so I could go more into detail about a specific look or looks if that’s what your little heart desires.
Look Breakdowns. I find photos of popular looks or looks I love and give my best guess as to what products and techniques were used. If you want me to do a breakdown of a particular look, send me the photo and I’ll have at it.
Makeup Looks. Here’s where I talk about different looks (i.e. natural, 5 minute makeup, dewy skin) etc. in detail and explain how you can do it (and if you should). If you have a look you want to know more about or try, the suggestion box is open.
My Other Ramblings. If you want to read my rant about Instaglam makeup or know what I’m loving lately, you’ll find it here. And if you have a request for a post that doesn’t fit into one of the other categories, it would go here.
Pro Tips. Similar to the Makeup Looks posts, but more broad. For example, a Makeup Looks post might be about an Old Hollywood red lipstick look, but a Pro Tips post would talk about red lipstick in general, and how to choose the shades and textures that might work well on you.
Product Reviews. Self explanatory, I hope.
I want to hear from you! Please let me know what you want to read about so I can grant your wishes. I’m here to be your personal beauty expert, so you tell me what you want. I am nothing if not accommodating….
A few things I like: 1960s styling, Italian people and signature makeup looks. Add those all together and you come up with Sophia Loren, every time. For this Look Breakdown, I’m honoring this bombshell and the makeup look she is known for.
I started a regular Look Breakdown for this post, but I found this tutorial, which explains it better than I could. I think especially because the liner and lashes are tricky, it’s much easier to watch someone do it than read how to do it. So thank you, Lisa Eldridge! I know I’m cheating a little by just giving you a video to watch, but I really think you’re better of with this.
Summer goes by way too fast! Why does that happen? June comes along, then you blink once, Fourth of July. Blink twice, mid-August. If only miserable things would go by that fast…
Summer is my favorite season, and I’ve got some new favorites to go along with it. Read on to find out what I am summer lovin’.
Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops. I have been on a quest for the perfect self tanner for years. The Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops, which you add into your face and body moisturizers, deliver the glow. I am giving them my pale girl stamp of approval. For more details, read my review of them here.
The Anniversary Love. I started Allison Barbera Beauty as a one woman show back in the summer of 2008 and it’s grown to be a 17 person team that is doing 100+ weddings this year. I did my first wedding on 8/2/08, so even though I had the structure of the business up and running before that, I consider August to be the AB Beauty Anniversary Month each year. I posted about it on Facebook and Instagram recently, and I am really feeling the love and support. That makes this little entrepreneur very happy. Thanks, everyone!
“Nanette.” Have you watched Hannah Gadsby’s “Nanette” comedy special on Netflix? If you haven’t, go watch it. Yes, right now! If you have any sense of humor, it will make you laugh. And if you have any empathy, it will make you cry. Hannah is an incredible comic and, I think, person in general and she deserves all of the recognition and praise she is getting. (I was in an elevator with her at the Montreal Just for Laughs Festival last month, and I’m kicking myself for not telling her how awesome I think she is.) She doesn’t have a website, but if you want to show her some love on Facebook, do it to it.
Sol De Janeiro Copacabana Bronze Glow Oil. Yup, talking about my tan obsession again. I bought this product before the Isle of Paradise drops and it works well on its own (but looks even better over my fake tan from the drops). It’s a bronzing oil that you apply to your body and it comes off in the shower. It is a little sticky (though not horribly so) but it smells great and gives a true bronze color–not orange or yellow–so I think it’s worth it. This is by far the best bronzing oil I’ve ever tried. It’s limited edition, so cop it and cop it soon at Sephora.
Laughing Cow Creamy Swiss Cheese. These little wedges of soft cheese heaven aren’t new to me, but I seem to forget about them for months at a time, then they become a mainstay in my fridge for a while when I do rediscover them. They are delicious and only 50 calories per wedge, so a perfect small snack. I’m not going to fact check this, but I think most grocery stores have them.
This Bomb Ass Arm Workout. I’ve been doing an arm workout with free weights for years, but it seemed like it recently stopped having any effect. I found this video on YouTube and I shit you not, my arms starting looking a little more toned after I did it three times. Maybe that’s my wishful thinking or a positive kind of body dysmorphia, but I can definitely feel the workout as I’m doing it and I swear I see the results, so I am sticking with it.
Celeb Luxury Viral Blue Colorditioner. I have had blue balyage on the ends of my hair for five years. I like my blue to be vibrant, but it has historically faded pretty quickly. Jennie Kay Plumb, one of the hair stylists I go to (of course I go to a few) suggested the Celeb Luxury Viral Blue Conditioner to extend my color between touchups, and it has made a huge difference. I use it as a regular conditioner when I’m pinched for time, or leave it on dry hair for 20 minutes when I can. With both techniques, my blue is revitalized, but the 20 minute technique yields better results. They make this conditioner (and its shampoo partner) in a variety of colors. Jennie told me not to buy it off Amazon, so your best is to get it from a salon. This stuff is so good that I haven’t had to do an actual blue touchup since I got it. I think I can now get away with just using this conditioner for touchups between my twice-a-year appointments for the balayage.
Queer Eye. I mean, how awesome is this show? I binged the second season when it came out on Netflix in June, and I am in love with the Fab Five. Jonathan, the groomer/beauty expert on the show, might be my favorite person ever. I watched him do a live podcast at the Just For Laughs Festival and he was like a gorgeous ray of sunshine. The guys from the Fab Five seem like they have great hearts and truly care about people, and the show seems to really help people. I can’t wait for the next season.
V Clear EPs 7630. I can not get sick, especially during wedding season. I don’t have sick days, and I can’t send anyone to cover me for many of my jobs. My miracle worker MD/ND, Dr. Abbas Qutab, told me about V Clear (previously called “Vira Clear”) a few years ago. I take it as soon as I started feeling any symptoms of a cold or flu, and I end it the day after I stop feeling symptoms. I swear it has saved me from getting full blown sick many times. My whole family takes it, and we call keep it stocked up. It comes in a dropper and tastes like a strong cough medicine, but you can handle it. It’s out of stock on Amazon, but you can get it here. (Disclaimer: It looks like they only make a cherry flavored one now and I have it but haven’t tried it yet, so it may taste better than the original flavor.)
Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Body Butter in Vanilla Apricot. Smells amazing, softens my skin, and is vegan, cruelty-free, synthetic-fragrance-free, paraben-free, GMO-free and formaldehyde-free.. What else can you ask for in a body moisturizer? It does leave a non-sticky sheen to the skin, so if you like fast absorbing, matte moisturizers, this may not be your jam. But I think a lot of people would love this. Here’s another one for Sephora cart.
Pandora Comedy Stations. I know, it’s not cool to listen to Pandora and I’m old. Don’t care. This one isn’t new to me, but I’m a huge comedy geek and I’ve found myself listening to more of the Pandora comedy stations I like (the Sarah Silverman, John Mulaney and Chris D’Elia stations are my favorites) lately. I put these stations on the way other put background music on. What can I say? I love to laugh.
Sleeping In. On one hand, I love the days when I naturally wake up before 7:00am, because I get SO MUCH work done before it’s even 10:00am. But on the other hand, how good does it feel to sleep in? One of the perks of owning my own business (and, I suppose, not having kids or pets) is that if I don’t have any morning clients, meetings or appointments, I can wake up whenever I want. We are having a record-breaking year with team size, wedding bookings and revenue so I am working stupid long days. (I haven’t had time to eat dinner until 10:00pm the last two nights, if that tells you anything.) So when I can, I reward myself by sleeping late. Of course I feel some guilt for doing it, but I’m not the best entrepreneur, friend, relative or makeup artist I can be when I’m tired and dragging.
Ice Cube On The Face Trick. Sometimes I wake up with a puffy face, undereyes or eyelids. It’s not cute, but there is a way around it. Lisa Eldridge explains it best in this video. I’ve been doing this a lot more lately, and it really does make a difference.
That’s all for now. It’s back to work for me, but I would love to hear some of your faves!
Foundation has gotten a bad rep, and some of that is justified. For a long time, all foundations were super heavy and had a pink undertone to them, which gives the skin a lovely mask-like effect if you don’t have pink undertones in your skin. And many foundation lines don’t offer a full range of shades, which is messed up. That’s gotten better but is still not where it needs to be.
However, you can find lines that cover a full range of shades and undertones, and do not feel or look heavy on the skin. Those are the foundations lines I stock my kit with.
Foundation is the starting point for the rest of your makeup. I view foundation as a product to be used sparingly to even out the skin. I strongly prefer using a sheer or at most, medium, coverage foundation. I then apply concealer if more coverage is needed on certain areas. I think a lot of people don’t like foundation because they think it’s heavy and unnatural looking, but that’s not how all foundations are.
My foundation love of my life is MAC Studio Face & Body. I have been using this on clients and on my own face since I started doing makeup. It’s a water-based sheer foundation that changes into a medium coverage foundation the more you rub it into your skin. It gives a little glow without getting super shiny (although I do normally use MAC Oil Control Lotion under it on oily skin). But this post isn’t about my beloved F&B. It’s a how-to for using liquid foundation.
And here we go!
Step 1: Dispense product onto a palette or the back of your hand. The exact amount you need will depend on the foundation you use. If you are using Face & Body or a similar foundation, give it a good shake first. Start with the smallest amount (half a pump, if it’s in that type of packaging) and dispense more if needed.
Step 2: I do this differently on clients, but on my own face, I like applying foundation with my hands. I start by putting a good sized dot of foundation on the center sections of my face–center of forehead, center of each cheek and center of chin. I do not put a dot on my nose, because nose skin is a different texture on most people, and too much product directly applied there can get cakey. But don’t worry–we will get to the schnoz. The reason I apply foundation on these areas first is that most people need coverage on the center of their face more than the outer edges. So applying it there then blending it outwards allows the majority of the product to even out the areas that typically need it most.
Step 3: I use my hands to blend the foundation into my skin. I do this in a smoothing type of motion. Starting at my forehead, I’ll spread half of that foundation dot across the right side of my forehead, and half across the left. I make sure it’s blended up to my hairline and above my brows. (And this is why I do brows after foundation–because sometimes foundation will touch your brows as you apply it, so it makes more sense to do the brows after so you don’t mess up your hard work.) Then I spread the dots on each cheek, going downwards and outwards, over the jawline. I make sure I bring it all the way to my ears. On my chin, I spread the foundation to the right and left and under my chin. By this point, I have a little foundation on my hands, so I run a hand over my nose to deposit some product. I do not apply foundation under my eyes because I use a concealer for that, as my undereyes have a different undertone (one might call it “purple”) than the rest of my face.
Step 4: Next, I press my hand on each section of my face for 5-10 seconds. I find that the body heat from my hands helps the foundation melt into my skin better. I don’t always have time to do this step, but when I do, I swear my makeup looks better.
Step 5: I take my Real Techniques buffing brush from the Flawless Base Set and gently buff over all over my face. This gives a final blend, ensuring that if I got too much product on any area, it’s gets blended out. I then pick up what’s left of the product from the back of my hand and apply it down my neck with that brush. Necks are often a different color than faces, so I always do this on myself and on clients. I run what’s left on the brush over my ears, because those can also be a different color (especially on some people when they blush or get hot, so doing this minimizes the redness flush if that happens).
That’s it! I really broke it down for this post, but my whole foundation process typically only takes around five minutes. You don’t need to wear foundation, but if you want to even your skintone–which makes you look more awake, polished and younger, if that’s a concern–foundation is the way to go.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ve probably pieced together my philosophy on beauty in regards to makeup. It comes through a little at a time in most of my blog posts. But today, I’m going to share with you the five tenets of my beauty philosophy.
Am I doing this because I know I can crank this post out somewhat quickly and if I don’t do this now I won’t have time, and I don’t want to ruin my perfect streak of one blog post per week since January 1? That’s in the realm of possibility.
The Five Tenets
Skincare is Queen. If you are not taking care of your skin, your makeup will never look its best. You can buy all the makeup that MAC can make (props if got that TLC reference), but if you don’t regularly cleanse, moisturize, exfoliate and properly treat your skin, you can only get so far. Yes, it takes some effort and some cheddar to make sure your dermis is living its best life, but it is more than worth it.
Do You. If you want to try a makeup trend because it looks fun, by all means, do it to it. But if you want to try a makeup trend because you think you are supposed to have very thick eyebrows or matte lips, stop right now. The only thing makeup is supposed to do is enhance what you already have and give you an outlet for self expression. If that means you rock a thinner brow because it’s more flattering to your bone structure, or you like a bright pink lip gloss when the trend is a wine matte lipstick, GO FOR IT. Don’t let what’s in right now dictate your look.
Branch Out. A lot of people get into a rut with their makeup routine. It’s great to know what works for you and what you like, but there are probably a lot more looks and products out there that would work on you than you think. Sometimes you’ll be shocked about what looks good on you. If you’ve always wondered if you could wear an electric blue eyeliner or a liquid foundation instead of your trusted Bare Minerals, stop wondering and start playing around. Here’s the great thing about makeup: it washes off. So you’ve got a world of possibilities and no real reason why you can’t explore them.
Know Thyself. A lot of choosing the right makeup comes down to knowing what you need and what would be most flattering on you. Figuring out your skin type, undertones, eye shape, face shape and eye color (that last one should be easy, I hope) will make the beauty world a little less intimidating for you, because that knowledge will allow you to choose the type of products that will work best on you.
Don’t Be a Hoarder. Still using that mascara you got for Christmas…two years ago? THROW IT OUT. When I do makeup lessons with clients, I have them bring their makeup bags so we can see what’s salvageable. These bags almost always contain at least a couple crusty old products. Beauty products have expiration dates for a reason–they lose their efficacy after a certain point. And some products, like mascara, can collect gross amounts of bacteria after a while that can cause irritation if applied to the skin or eyes. Get rid of the products that are old, never worked for you or you just don’t like, and you’ll have a fresher perspective on your makeup routine.
I think I’ve covered all of my basic core beauty values, and I’ve finished this post in time. I am feeling oh so productive.
Genetics are a funny thing, aren’t they? I got my dark, thick, naturally curly hair and giant deep set eyes from my 100% Italian father’s side. (I also got the Sicilian temper, which does not serve me well in traffic.) I’ve got the same build as many of the women in my father’s family, as well as some of the characteristics of my 100% Italian maternal grandmother. Three quarters of my DNA is Italian, and I think that’s pretty obvious when you look at me or notice my absolute inability to talk without my hands flying around.
But then there’s my skin color. That’s where my 25% Irish side comes in. I have light skin with freckles. I’m not the lightest of the foundation shades, but no one is calling my skintone “medium.” I can (and have) tanned to a solid Medium before, but my time in Esthetics school combined with having some biopsies and pre-cancerous moles removed over the past eight years made me put an end to my beach days. (I also know that sun damage is the number one way to speed visible signs of aging on the skin, so vanity plays a part in my decision.)
The problem is that I love the look of a tan on me. I feel like with my very dark brown hair, almost-black eyebrows and hazel eyes, I should have darker skin. I think I was meant to have a darker skintone, but there was a glitch. With my hair, brow and eye coloring and the fact that people who look like me often have medium skintones, it only seems right that my skintone is bumped up a few levels.
And oh, how I have tried to get there. I’ve used self tanning lotions, sprays, gels, mousses, gradual tanners and towelettes. I’ve done spray tans, both the airbrush and machine kinds. I’ve been orange, I’ve been streaky, I’ve been patchy and I’ve smelled like I bathed in DHA. I’ve gotten good results from airbrush spray tans, but I hate the way they look when they start wearing off. Until recently, I’ve relied on Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizers (one for the body, one for the face). I’ve been using the face one in particular regularly for years, as my arms get a little color when I’m out for a run or walking around, but I keep my face sunscreened up at all times, so I need to make it match my body. Anyway, I recently realized that Natural Glow seems to be making my face break out, so I started the search for something new. (No breakouts from the Jergens Natural Glow body moisturizer, but I was open to trying a new one there too.)
I checked with my friends at the Newport Sephora, and they directed me to the Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops. You add these drops into your regular face and/or body moisturizers and they tan you up. They come in Light, Medium and Dark shades. I went with Medium, because that’s the skintone I was meant to have, remember? I’m no fool, so I asked for a sample before committing.
I did a patch test of the product behind my left earlobe that same night. (I specifically always patch test there because I normally wear my hair parted on the right side and swept over my left shoulder, so my hair covers my left ear.) I checked the next morning and saw that a) the color had developed into a nice, brown (not orange) tan and b) I had no breakouts or irritation.
While I was patching, I read through Sephora reviews of these self tanning drops in Medium. I had a bad reaction to the popular self St. Tropez self tanner a couple years ago (after I neglected to patch), and I had the recent breakout from Jergens Natural Glow Face Moisturizer, so I was specifically looking to see if any of the reviews mentioned allergic reactions or breakouts. I figured if I found several reviews mentioning either of those things, I would proceed with caution, but I didn’t see any with that specific negative feedback.
Still, I waited 24 hours after patching to make sure I didn’t have a reaction. I didn’t, so on Night 1, I added one drop of the product to my Neutrogena Oil Free Moisturizer and applied it to my face, neck and ears. I noticed a slight smell, but it wasn’t horrible and didn’t linger. It did feel sticky on my skin, but it was also a humid night so that may have had something to do with it.
When I woke up the next morning, I was tan. Not orange and not streaky, and a good shade for my skin. I didn’t put face makeup on that day, because I wanted to have plenty of opportunities to inspect it and see if the color developed more (and I think it did, a little).
On Night 2, I went with two drops mixed into the same moisturizer and applied it to my face, neck, ears and chest. It deepened my color, but still felt a little sticky. The next time I used it on the same areas, I mixed it in with my SPF35 version of the Neutrogena Oil Free Moisturizer, and then my skin felt only the tiniest bit sticky after. So the moisturizer you mix with the drops definitely impacts the sticky-ness factor.
Before I continue, let me explain the drops thing. My Sephora sample came in one of the mini-spray bottles that they use for perfume samples. The Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops are a serum consistency, so don’t try to spray them out if you get a sample in the same packaging. If you are trying them as a sample–and you really should–and you get them in that bottle, you’ll have to unscrew the top of the packaging and dispense the drops directly from bottle. This method will dispense bigger drops than you get using the dropper that comes with the actual product, so that’s something to keep in mind. When dispensing from the perfume sampler bottle, I recommend you pour it slowly into your moisturizer.
I got four uses out of my sample, and I was sold. I went back to Sephora and bought the full size bottle. As far as packaging goes, A+. I like the design, the top stays on securely and the dropper works. No complaints there.
Once I had the full size bottle, I began applying the tanner to the rest of my body. I’ve mixed it in with my Palmers Cocoa Butter and my Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Butter in Vanilla Apricot, which are the two body moisturizers in my current rotation. Both have their own scent, so that masks any self tanner scent. Again, I haven’t noticed much of a scent anytime I’ve used the drops, but I’ve been self tanning for years, so maybe I don’t smell DHA anymore unless it’s crazy strong. But that’s another reason for you sample it yourself.
The Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops instructions say to add between 1 – 12 drops to your moisturizer. That’s a huge range! My suggestion is to start with one drop, see how it develops, then add two the next time, three after, and so on until you find your perfect mix. I am currently using four drops to every pump and a half of face moisturizer (which is the normal amount of moisturizer I apply to my face, neck and ears. For my body, I first dispense enough of that moisturizer to cover one arm. Then I add six drops of the product to my moisturizer, mix it together and apply. I match the amount for my other arm. Then do the same amount of moisturizer and five drops of the product to apply to my stomach and back. For my legs, I dispense the amount of moisturizer I would normally use for one leg and foot and add six drops of product. Then I repeat on the other leg.
A few suggestions I have for you after you patch test:
Exfoliate First. If exfoliation is not contraindicated with any skincare you are using, a good exfoliation before you apply the self tanner will help it look more even as it develops, as it won’t catch on any dry patches or dead skin.
Start Small. Again, start with the minimum amount of drops and add more each day until you achieve the color you want. It’s important to start with the minimum, as the few bad reviews I read seemed to be because the reviewers jumped right in with five or six drops and it sounds like they also didn’t use enough moisturizer.
Keep It Up. To maintain the color, I would alternate days of your moisturizer alone with the same amount of drops and moisturizer you used to get the tan. The moisturizer alone with help keep the skin hydrated so the tan doesn’t get patchy as you shed dead skin cells, and the every-other-day application of the self tanner and moisturizer will keep your shade of tan as is so it won’t fade.
Mix It Up. You need to realllyyyyy mix the self tanner drops into your moisturizer. If you don’t do that, you will get an uneven tan. After the moisturizer and drops are in the palm of your hand, stir them together with your other hand or rub your hands together for about 15 seconds to ensure they’ve melded into one product.
Don’t Be Stingy. Once you have your self tanner moisturizer cocktail ready, make sure you apply a generous amount everywhere. The best way to get streaky is to use only the little that’s left on your hands to apply to an area. When you can feel it dragging as you apply, you are making the streaks happen. I know better, and I still did that one night while using these drops. I dispensed a little less moisturizer then I meant to, so although I evenly covered my face, I didn’t get enough on my neck (and my neck is notoriously bad with self tanner to begin with). I woke up to some patchy areas on my neck where I hadn’t applied enough moisturizer. Did the same thing on one arm too. I think with any type of self tanning lotion, it’s best to use a little more than you think you need to ensure that it gets everywhere.
Take Your Time. Spend some time rubbing the cocktail in. I haven’t noticed any transfer on my sheets, even though I usually tan right before bed, and I think that’s because I spend a lot of time rubbing in the product so it really absorbs into my skin. I massage it in until I can’t feel anything on my skin, which usually takes several minutes. But I think it is a key factor in getting an even self tan.
The Easiest Part. Wash your hands after applying. This stuff will stain your palms if you don’t.
As far as color, the Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops give me the same type of color I have when I used to get real tans. Not orange, not olive, not red. Just 24 Year Old Allison tan. I don’t know if the drops react with your body chemistry and give you the type of tan you normally get, or if the color they give happens to be the same color I tan, but they work perfectly on me. I do want to add that I have a very yellow undertone to my skin, which could impact the color. If you are concerned about the color, you could try a bigger swatch of color on your stomach or somewhere that isn’t visible when you have on your everyday clothes to see how the color develops on you. (I realize this can be a tough one for those of you who participate in bathing suit season.) My point is, I can only give you my experience with this color, and that may be impacted by my undertone and the way my skin looks when it really tans. But judged off the many reviews I’ve read and pictures I’ve seen, the Medium shade in particular seems to work on a lot of people.
The Medium drops have a green tint, which they claim is color correcting, as green cancels out redness. I don’t typically have any redness in my skin and I’m not convinced you can get color correction from a self tanner, but I can’t say for sure since I didn’t have any redness to start with. So jury is out on the color correction.
I really don’t have anything bad to say about this product! As long as I apply it correctly, it gives me exactly the type of tan I want. I am loving the Isle of Paradise Self Tanning Drops and may end up crowning them my Favorite Product of Summer 2018. You can get them at Sephora for a cool $29.