Product Review: Benefit The POREfessional

 

Pore minimizer

I don’t know what I did to make everyone so mad at me! I used to be able to fly by under the radar. People would occasionally talk about shrinking me down to size but their methods didn’t work. I’ve been splashed with cold water more times than I can count, but that never affected me. After a few half ass attempts at changing who I am, people would generally give up and let me live my life.

Oh, but now! Everyone wants to minimize me! And what an insulting, condescending euphemism for what they really want to do to me–they want me gone forever. And I did nothing to them, other than make them appear a little less smooth. Is that a crime? I don’t believe it is.

My life is now in danger as Public Enemy Number One in the beauty world. Before you try to minimize me (I spit on the person who coined that term) please know that I am who I am, and I wish to cause you no harm.

Sincerely,

Everyone’s Pores

In esthetics school, I was taught that pore size is genetically determined and pores can not be shrunk. I learned that you can make them look smaller by extracting blackheads but nothing can be done to shrink them. That’s not entirely true anymore, but shrinking pores still can not be done at home or without a prescription. A dermatologist or laser tech can perform non-ablative laser treatments, which can boost collagen and tighten stretched pores. Those treatments do technically make pores smaller. Accutane was banned a few years ago, but generic versions still exist and those anti-acne pills temporarily shrink oil glands. That makes the pores smaller while you are taking the prescription. Other than those options, shrinking pore size is not possible.

What you can do is keep your pores unclogged by cleansing daily, using retinol or exfoliating regularly and having extractions done during a facial. Pores are much more noticeable when they are clogged, as they stretch to accommodate the dirt and oil inside of them. When the dirt and oil is exposed to air, it turns dark and blackheads appear. Those tiny black dots are never a good look, right? So clean pores are much less obvious, although they can still allow makeup to settle inside of them.

The other thing you can do–and this is what I’m really here to talk about–is use a pore minimizer. The best one I’ve ever tried is Benefit The POREfessional. If your pores are clean and free of blackheads, this light tan silky balm temporarily fills in pores (and fine lines–bonus!) allowing face makeup to glide over smoothly without settling into those pores or lines. It also mattifies any area you apply it on and does not clog pores.

Benefit calls The POREfessional a face primer. It is one, in the way that makeup applied to any areas with pores or lines applies more smoothly. I don’t use it on the whole face, as most people only have large pores and fine lines on certain areas, so I apply it before primer. (I get the longevity boosting factor from a different primer, because I don’t think the POREfessional really extends the wear of any face makeup applied on top of it.) You can also apply it over makeup to touchup if those pores/lines start showing through later in the day.

The POREfessional is one of the staple products in my pro kit and in my personal makeup bag.  There are many products that don’t do what they claim to, or only kind of do their job. But this pore minimizer absolutely does what it’s supposed to. If your makeup is settling into your pores or fine lines and making them more obvious, I 100% recommend that you try this.

You may be stuck with the pore size you were born with, but because of The POREfessional, no one needs to know that.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

 

 

 

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Just Throw It In The Bag

The best makeup bag that ever did it, courtesy of my fly friend, Necia.
The best makeup bag that ever did it, courtesy of my fly friend, Necia.

It’s been a while since I’ve told you what I have in my personal makeup bag, so I’m sure you’ve been patiently waiting for this post. I’ve done a few of these posts over the years, and some of the products in my bag have never left me (except to be replaced by new, full versions of themselves). Others are new to the crew and may or may not make the cut.

Here’s what we’ve got.

FACE

Neutrogena Oil Free Moisture SPF 15. This moisturizer is affordable, gentle and great for normal to oily skin in the warmer months. I usually switch to a richer moisturizer for the fall and winter when my skin gets dry and flaky, but I don’t know if I’ll need to do that now that I use face oil. Time will tell. Until then, I’m sticking with this tried and true product.

MAC Face & Body Foundations in C2 & C5. I use a mixture of shades C2 and C5, depending on how much self tanner I have on. I absolutely love this sheer foundation (which can be built up to medium coverage by simply rubbing it into the skin for longer). I also sometimes use the darker C5 on my ghostly legs because I don’t feel the need to make people aware that I’m 25% Irish. My freckles and propensity to Irish goodbye a party take care of that.

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer. This is still the best primer I’ve ever tried. I use this when I know the makeup I put on at 6:00am needs to stay strong into the evening. Laura Mercier also makes hydrating and oil-free versions of this primer for dry and oily skin. If you want your makeup to last all day, you have to use a primer. There is no way around that. I think it’s actually a law in most states.

Make Up For Ever Sculpting Kit in Shade 2. Shade 2 of this powder highlight and contour duo suits my light (but not super fair) skin. I’m not big on highlighting my own face, so the contour powder gets more love. I don’t like a strong contour, but I was in the wrong line for “good bone structure” when features were being given out, so I can use a little help. (I did, however, accidentally get in line twice for “tiny feet” and “thick hair.”)

MAC Powder Blush in Pink Swoon. This matte, soft candy pink powder blush really brightens up my face. I use this particular shade on a lot of clients too. If you are tired, sick or hungover, an even skintone and a pop of pink blush will make a world of difference. So unless you are a teetotaler who always gets eight hours of sleep and never even catches a cold, you should have good pink blush in your makeup bag.

Benefit the POREfessional. This pore minimizer is a must for She of the Large Cheek Pores. I also use it to blur the slight forehead lines that have developed in the past few years (from wisdom, obviously.) I have been buying this product since it came out and I don’t intend to stop. If you have no visible pores or lines on your face, you probably don’t need POREfessional. Also, we can’t be friends.

Clarins Multi-Active Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 20. I don’t use this every day, but if I’m going for a walk or run during the day in the summer, I apply it first. It doesn’t leave a white cast (my sunscreen pet peeve) or break me out like many others. But it does smell similar to the Raid I once used to kill a bee from 10 feet away (I’m allergic and it was in my house! Not sorry), so I get a little flashback anxiety when I put it on.

Rimmel Stay Matte Powder in 001 Transparent. This pressed powder has been with me since AB Beauty makeup artist, Jen, recommended it to me. It does a good job of setting my foundation and eliminating shine without caking. I would like it even more if I didn’t consistently drop and break the cover within two weeks of buying it. That’s not Rimmel’s fault though. That’s on me, rushing around in the morning and knocking things over with my butt (apparently I got in line for that twice as well).

MAC Pro Longwear Concealer in NW20. My undereye coverage godsend. This stuff masks my dark circles, lasts for hours and doesn’t cake. I use this concealer on clients as well for those reasons. It’s not thick or dry and as long as you prep the undereye with a little moisturizer first, it applies smoothly. It’s a real winner.

Charlotte Tilbury Mini Miracle Eye Wand. I usually use the MAC Pro Longwear Concealer for undereye coverage, but this two-sided pen–moisturizer to prep the area, concealer to do its thing–saves me about 10 seconds because it’s an all in one. I sometimes I feel like that will make a difference in my day. You either know exactly how I feel or think I’m crazy for saying that, but either way, I’m doing it.

Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Marine Boosting Mist. Someone gave me a sample of this spray which is supposed to be a primer, setting spray, hydrating mist and skin refresher. That’s too multi-use for me to believe, so I use it as a skin refresher. That means I spray it on if I think my foundation is looking cakey (not Face & Body, but sometimes when I try a new one). It helps dilute the foundation so it doesn’t catch on dry patches. I won’t buy a new one when it runs out, but it’s nice to have until then.

EYES

Too Faced Shadow Insurance. My Holy Grail of eye primers. Without this, my eyeshadow fades and creases within hours. (One more thing I got in line for–oily eyelids.) Whenever I do my eye makeup without applying this first, I regret it.

MAC Eyeshadow Quad. I bought a MAC empty quad duo and filled it with Brun, Espresso, Wedge and Brule (all matte formulations). Brun is a muted blackish brown I use for shadow liner and to fill in my brows; Espresso is a muted golden brown I use for the lid, outer V or as a shadow liner; the soft beige taupe Wedge is my crease go-to color but also sometimes my all-over lid color and Brule is a light creamy beige shadow I use on my lids. These four shades work well with my brown eyes, which I like to pretend are hazel.

MAC Eye Kohl in Costa Riche. This dark brown shade of pencil liner has red undertones, which help bring out the green in my eyes. (The other thing that somehow makes them look more green is crying, but that’s not as pretty.) I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect brown pencil eyeliner since Topshop discontinued my beloved Sable, and Costa Riche is my latest attempt. It goes on smoothly–no tugging on the lid–and is easy to blend out, as a kohl liner should be. Plus, I love that it brings out my green like Sable did (it had tiny reddish glitter flecks which did the job). I haven’t experienced any undereye smudging or crease transfer and the color payoff is great, as is the case with most MAC products. I wish it was maybe a tiny bit darker, but that’s a preference thing, not a product downside.

Dior Diorshow Mascara. This is my true homegirl of makeup products. Maybe we don’t talk for a bit (aka I try a new mascara) but we always reunite. She is simply the best. And I know Diorshow is a She because a He mascara would be much more flaky and wouldn’t stay around as long.

Clinique High Impact Extreme Volume Mascara. This is my current top layer and bottom lash mascara. I like how black and inky it is, but it does sometimes smudge a tiny bit under my eyes. I generally really like Clinique mascaras for my top layer and bottom lashes, so I’ll try a different one next.

Ardency Inn Punk Eyeliner. I’m not usually a liquid eyeliner gal, but someone gave this to me so I’ve been using it. It’s a liquid liner pen with a hard tip. It’s more of a gray black than an inky black, which I don’t care for. It doesn’t move once it’s dry, but it also fades quickly. Once I’m through with this one, we’ll part ways. (Also how I approach dating.)

Topshop Waterproof Eyeliner in Ebony. “Blackest black pencil eyeliner and waterline best friend.” That would be this eyeliner’s epithet. If I’m being honest, the liner splits its time between my makeup bag and my handbag, because waterline eyeliner is something that needs to be touched up. It’s waterproof and sets quickly so I don’t like it for lashline liner (I like something I can smudge a little), but for the waterline, it’s bomb.

MAC Chromographic Pencil in NC15/NW20. It’s technically an eyeliner pencil, but I’m also technically in my mid 30s and have blue streaks in my hair, so I’m not really one for doing things the way you’re supposed to. I use this off-white color on the waterline to make my eyes look bigger or more awake. True white is too obvious, but off-white gives the desired effect in a natural way.

LIPS

Too Faced Lip Injection. I have very little top lip to speak of. So when I want to temporarily make my lips fuller and am in the mood to endure five minutes of stinging, I apply this plumping gloss. Say what you will, but this ish works. It has a rosy tint to it, which I don’t love because straight rosy tones don’t look great on me, but I apply the color I want after the Lip Injection has absorbed.

Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillowtalk. There is something about this pinky-peachy nude lipliner that allows me to slightly overdraw my lips without looking cray cray. The shade and velvety texture work better on me than any other lipliner I’ve tried. It’s a keeper or, as Charlotte herself would say, it’s “divine.”

NYX Soft Matte Lip Creme in Istanbul. This was an impulse buy at CVS. You know, when you go in for contact solution then you see what looks like the petal pink lip color you’ve been after for years. It turns out it wasn’t the exact color I thought it would be once it was on my lips, but it’s still decent. I find it to be a little too drying and slightly sticky, so I mix in a tiny bit of Glossier balmdotcom to make it more comfortable to wear.

Clinique Chubby Stick Intense in Heftiest Hibiscus. I had a client who was looking for a specific lip color for her wedding day, but it needed to be in a moisturizing formulation because her lips get dry easily. I knew Chubby Sticks had a good reputation for being comfortable to wear and I saw one in the color she loved so I grabbed it. I also grabbed one in Heftiest Hibiscus, a pinky red, for myself. I don’t operate on a one-for-you-one-for-me philosophy–I would have never turned a profit as a freelance artist if I did that!–but I needed to make sure the formulation was comfortable to wear. So I tested mine out for a couple weeks and it passed the test. I really love this product and will definitely re-purchase it when I run out.

Revlon Colorburst Lip Stain in 040 Rendezvous. This is one of my summer go-to colors. It’s on the orange side of coral, so I use it when I want to brighten up my look. Crayons are easily to apply, and this formulation is comfortable to wear. No complaints here.

Korres Lip Crayon in Delight. And then sometimes, I want a light pink shade. This one delivers on that desire, and I do wish it hadn’t been discontinued. Life can be so disappointing…

Lipstick Queen Rouge Sinner. This baby is my go-to fall red. (My summer red, MAC Lady Danger, is still in my purse, because I’m holding on to the last days of summer.) It’s what I call a vintage red. It’s got a slight rose tone to it, but in a muted way. If it was 1948, this color would be sold out everywhere. Every LQ lipstick I’ve ever tried is long-lasting, pigmented, non-drying and has beautiful packaging. Owner Poppy King truly knows lipstick.

Tom Ford Lipcolor Sheer in 10 Rose Soleil. My cousin, Saint Maria, gave me this beautiful rose pink that’s shot through with shimmer. It’s the perfect every day polished-but-not-high-maintenance lipstick. I love how it looks layered over the Pillowtalk lip liner (as I mentioned, pure rose doesn’t look great on me but works when it has other tones mixed in). And I want to live inside that white with gold-trimmed packaging.

That’s it (for now). I realize I have more products than the average person, but what did you expect? If this post only included a tube of Maybelline Great Lash Mascara and a Clinique lipstick I bought in college, my clients would be in trouble. Part of being a good makeup artist is trying new products. The ones that pass the test get purchased (brand new, of course) and introduced to a million new friends in my pro kit. The ones that don’t pass the test get tossed in the trash, never to be spoken of again.

Maybe this post will help you if you are looking for new products for your own makeup bag or will inspire you to take a good hard look at what you currently have. Or maybe it will help you kill time waiting at the dentist’s office. Either way, thanks for reading.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Song that played in my head as I wrote this: https://youtu.be/zJOeXh6HyvU

 

Make a Wish: Benefit Dandelion Review

benefit_dandelion

You did that thing with dandelions when you were a kid, right? Snatch one out of the ground, make a wish and blow on it. Nature’s birthday candle or some shit. I don’t remember any of those wishes coming true, but as an adult, I’ve found a dandelion that actually does something. It’s Benefit’s Dandelion cheek color, and I love it.

Benefit calls it a pressed highlighting powder, but I mainly use it as a blush because I am a rebel. It’s a gorgeous pale pink with a little bit of shimmer. It’s not bright, but not so light that it doesn’t show up. I find it to be really flattering on light and light-medium skin tones as a blush and on medium skin as a subtle highlighter. It’s not the best color for dark skin, unless you only want a very, very subtle highlight.

I also think it is great for light skin with pink undertones and for people with rosacea on their cheeks. A bright pink blush on someone with pink undertones or rosacea can emphasize the pink/red tones, but Dandelion doesn’t have that effect because it is such a soft pink. Because it is meant to be a highlighter, it is subtle, so it’s also a good choice for someone who is wary about cheek color or likes a very natural look.

My only gripe with the product is that it fades more quickly than other powder cheek colors, but that’s nothing a little touchup can’t fix. And I have noticed a big difference with Dandelion’s staying power when I use a primer under my foundation and a setting spray on top. When I do that, I really don’t even need to touch up.

Benefit makes several boxed blushes/highlighters/bronzers, and I have liked all of them that I have tried. They used to have covers that completely came off, but now the covers are attached, which I like. I am prone to losing caps and covers, so if you are too (or if you like to have your blush with you for touchups), the cover is a good feature. All of the boxed products come with small square brushes, which I don’t recommend using, unless you are really in a pinch. The line of bristles is thin and the handle is short, so it’s easy to end up with a line of product on your face. You’re better off using a fluffy brush or contour brush, depending on what you product you are using and what effect you are going for.

The packing is cute and fits the image of the product, which is something Benefit excels at. There are many lines that have the same packaging for all of their products, but Benefit tends to customize the packaging for each product. If you like to use products that look good on your skin and are pretty to look at, this is a great line to check out.

Dandelion is $28 and can be purchased at Sephora. The product would probably last for 8-12 months, depending on how often you use it. If your wish is for a subtle, soft pink cheek color, give Dandelion a try.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

 

 

Winter Skin Warrior

Combination skin–the best of both worlds, right? Us combo girls shine in the summer (literally) and flake out in the winter (hopefully not literally). Every year, two things happen to me when the weather starts to gets cold. 1) I beat myself up for deciding to move from Florida back to New England several years ago and 2) My skin starts to dry out and flake off. The drying out is typically concentrated on my chin and forehead, but my whole face usually feels at least a little dry and my skin looks dull.

But not this year! I have a new skincare regimen that has saved me from the woes of winter skin. My secrets? Read on…

Every morning, I use Lancome Bienfiat Multi-Vital moisturizer. It’s thick but it absorbs quickly–no sticky-ness or tight feeling. It is quite perfume-y, but because it works so well, that doesn’t bother me. If you are sensitive to heavily scented products, another good moisturizer for dry skin is Total Moisture Cream by Benefit or Lait-Creme Concentre by Embyrolise.

I play with more dramatic makeup looks in the winter, but that has nothing to do with my skin. The only skin-related makeup change is that I need less powder touchups during the day. I also tend to use cream blush more often in the winter, because my skin is less oily, so the product stays on longer.

I cleanse once every day, at night, and I use Fine Herbal Cleanser True Geranium & Lavender by Farmaesthetics. An esthetician friend of mine recommended this for my combination skin and I love it. In years past, I have switched over to a creamier cleanser during the winter months, but I have not needed to do that this year.

Every night, I use Garnier Skin Renew Clinical Dark Spot Corrector. I don’t think it makes any difference in terms of my combination skin (but it is an AMAZING product for lightening pigmentation), but I am including it because it is part of my nightly routine. After that has absorbed, I apply Garnier Ultra Lift 2-in-1 Wrinkle Reducer Serum + Moisturizer. This product feels amazing and I do think it makes my skin softer.

But the biggest change I have made to my skincare routine is consistent exfoliation. I exfoliate with the Laura Mercier Face Polish every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and I have not seen one patch of dry skin on my face this fall/winter. It’s a miracle! I’ve always recommended consistent exfoliation, but I am ashamed to say I don’t always practice what I preach. In the past, I sometimes only remembered to exfoliate once each week, or once every other week, Although that made a difference, my newfound commitment to exfoliation has really paid off.

If you have dry skin and it’s driving you nuts, give this routine a try for a few weeks. I think you’ll notice a difference.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

The Truth About The “Dewy” Look

As a makeup artist, I get a lot of repeat requests. Smokey eyes, bronzed skin and blacked winged liner are three of the most popular. Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of requests for “dewy skin.” So I suppose this is perfect time to tell you the real scoop on that look.

The idea behind dewy skin is that it looks young, fresh and not made up. But like most makeup looks that people think look “natural,” it actually takes time, the correct products and a few other factors you may not have access to to get it right.

The best way to get the dewy look is to have a good base to start with. And by that, I mean good skin. Dry, uneven or dehydrated skin is not going to work here. If you regularly cleanse, exfoliate (this is huge) and moisturize, then you have a better chance of achieving the look. This is a good habit to have whether you want the dewy look or not, so get to it!

Before we go on, I want to preface this by saying that if you have oily skin, this is probably not the look for you. Adding shine to an oily skin is going to make you look, well, greasy. If you have oily skin and you’re using–but not over-using–oil absorbing and mattifying products, you probably still have some of your skin’s natural oils coming through anyway, so you may look dewy without trying. If that sounds like you, you can stop reading right here (unless my writing has you entranced).

If your skin is dry, normal, or normal to dry, and you have a consistent cleanse-exfoliate-moisturize routine, read on. If you have dry skin, you can start with a moisturizer for normal to dry skin (like Benefit Total Moisture Facial Cream or Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre). Normal or normal to dry skin, just use whatever moisturizer works for you (Ole Henriksen makes great moisturizers for a variety of skin types and concerns). You could also start with a serum like Tarte’s Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Illuminating Serum. This stuff gives some serious luminosity. I would avoid oil-free moisturizers for this look.

The next step would be a luminizing lotion or primer. Illamsqua makes a fabulous primer for dewy looks, called the Satin Primer. The Tarina Tarantino Pearl Glow Primer in Pearl is a good one too. Wonderglow by Charlotte Tilbury is another great choice.

Next, you’ll want to use a sheer foundation. I recommend MAC Face & Body Foundation. It leaves the skin with a very dewy finish, and feels lightweight.

Apply a liquid or cream highlighter to the cheekbones and browbones (and above the Cupid’s Bow, if you’re feeling daring). I like Benefit Watts Up for light to medium skin and MAC Cream Colour Base in Improper Copper for medium to dark skin. Use translucent powder only under the eyes and on the nose. You don’t want to over powder, because you’ll mattify the skin, which is the opposite of the dewy look.

Use a cream blush for cheek color, as they tend to have more of a dewy finish than powder blushes. I like the Make Up For Ever HD Blushes for this.

On lips, use a sheer gloss like Lancome Juicy tubes. You want something lightweight and almost watery looking, if that makes sense. I’d skip lipliner if you want to stay true to the look.

Since the rest of the face has that glowy, dewy quality, I prefer to “anchor” it with defined eyes (as Hayden and Camilla did in the pictures above). You can go dewy all over, like the model above did, but I don’t think that look translates well in real life for most people (it’s different for runway or editorial, which I’ll get into). So for eyes, I would go with a slightly shimmery, natural color or a metallic shadow in the brown or gold family, and black liner at the upper lashline and waterline. Go ahead and contour the eye with a matte color slightly darker than your skintone. (If you have hooded eyes, skip this step.)

And you’re done! Feeling dewy? No? Well, let me tell you truth about dewy looks…

When you see a dewy-faced actress onscreen, please know that she had the advantage of professional lighting, camera lenses, and a makeup artist to touch her up after each take. That celeb on the red carpet? She spent hours with a makeup artist beforehand and may even have one with her to touch her up throughout the event. And there’s a good chance she has the money to spend on high quality skincare services and products. Same deal with models, who are also often genetic freaks with amazing skin.

And the models and celebs you see in magazines? Please, they have it made. A pro makeup artist, photographer, and lighting, constant touchups during the shoot and Photoshop after. Anyone can look dewy after all of that.

So my point is, don’t think you’re doing it wrong if your dewy makeup doesn’t come out like Hayden’s or Camilla’s. Just use this post and those pictures as guidelines and do your best. You’ll do great!

Have a beautiful day 🙂

My GTL

I think too much. Often times when I call someone for business or personal reasons, I am already having the conversation in my head before they’ve picked up. On our way into a restaurant with my friend recently, I was talking through my possible drink choices and the pros and cons to each one before we were even in the door. And it’s common for me to spend a whole cardio workout thinking of what I will do when I win the lottery some day, right down to what color I want the walls in my third guest room in my beach house to be. (As you can imagine, falling asleep can be quite difficult–my brain does not want to shut up!)

So when I can do something without really thinking, it’s amazing. This often happens when I’m doing my own basic day look makeup, which I call my Go To Look (GTL). This changes due to the time of year, what my skin is doing, my mood, etc., but I tend to use the same products for a month or two at a time, letting the makeup part of my brain run on autopilot.

My GTL lately has been:

1) Benefit Total Moisture Facial Cream. Usually, my skin starts-a-peeling at the first mention of winter, but this cream has saved me. It is thick, but doesn’t feel heavy on my skin. It absorbs almost immediately and doesn’t leave a residue or any sticky-ness. Love.

2) Too Faced Shadow Insurance Eye Primer. Even if I don’t plan on wearing any eyeshadow or liner, I use this because it does a little camo action on the tiny veins you can see through my fair skin. And if I do wear other eye makeup, I know it will stay on longer and not crease with the Shadow Insurance underneath.

3) Dior Diorshow Mascara in Black. Still the best volumizing mascara I’ve ever used. I use this first, on top lashes only, because I find it tends to smudge on my bottom lashes (but never the top–so weird).

4) Clinique High Lengths Mascara in 01 Black. It took a little while to get used to the semi-circle comb-like applicator, but I’m cool with it now. The black, inky-ness of this mascara rivals Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash, and it is a phenomenal volumizer and lengthener. My two mascara combo has caused more than one person to ask “Are your lashes real?”

5) MAC Select Coverup. This is the only concealer I’ve ever liked for under my eyes. It’s a liquid that dries to a powder but it sets quickly, so you can’t be dillydallying around while you apply it. Once it’s on, the coverage is amazing and it doesn’t cake as long as you prep the area with a tiny bit of moisturizer first.

6) Make Up For Ever HD Foundation + Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer. I mix my two shades together for a slightly less heavy coverage than the HD foundation. I mainly do this because in the winter, it’s the only way for me to get my perfect shade, but any extra moisturizing on my dry winter skin is a good thing.

7) Make Up For Ever HD Powder. In the summer, I reach for the MUFE Super Loose Matte Powder to control shine, but this time of year, the HD Powder is where it’s at.

8) Make Up For Ever Sculpting Kit #2. I use the darker color to contour and it really makes my bone structure look so much better. It’s not too orangey or too dark, even on my light skin.

9) NARS Blush in Orgasm, MAC Powder Blush in Peaches, or Sonia Kashuk Beautifying Blush in Flamingo. My blush changes depending on what colors I’m using on my lips and cheeks, but these have been the three I reach for most.

10) Lipstick Queen lipglosses from the Peacock Alley collection. The ones I have are sheer with a hint of color and some glitter, so just enough for me to feel polished without doing a lipstick or more intense color.

11) MAC Eyeshadow in Brun to fill in my brows. It matches my coloring and I love the MAC eyeshadows for filling in brows.

That’s about it for my most basic makeup look. Now when I say basic, I don’t mean I wear this to go for a run, or to walk to the mailbox down the street. But if I have to head over to CVS, or the bank, or the library (oh, do I love the library!), I’m usually wearing my Go To Look. It makes me feel polished and put together. I just feel better when I have makeup on, like I’m being true to myself. (Some people feel the opposite way, in which case I say, rock on!) Some people drink coffee–I can’t, gives me the heart palpies–but my Go To Look is what I need to really start my day.

I sometimes go back later in the day to add on some eyes or lips and night makeup is a whole different ballgame. But during the day, if I don’t have a lot of time or am feeling lazy, I turn to the Go To Look. And now I need to Go To bed. Can’t wait to hear what my brain wants to talk about tonight…

Have a beautiful day 🙂

A Little Bit Of This, A Little Bit Of That: Part 2

More beauty sample reviews:

Sample 1: Girl Meets Pearl highlighter by Benefit

I love a good highlighting product. I think it adds a little something extra to your look and there are so many out there to choose from. There are liquids, powders, creams and highlighting products that come in stick form. Girl Meets Pearl is “liquid pearl for the face.” Now that’s not something you hear every day. (Unless you work at Benefit.)

It’s a very pretty highlighter and definitely more on the subtle side. I took a picture of myself when I had it on (by itself, with no other makeup) and it seems to be photography-friendly. I love the smell of it–I don’t know if that’s the raspberry and chamomile that they tout, or something else. It does feel heavy on bare skin and seemed to take a while to absorb. I don’t mind that too much for myself, but I don’t like to use anything that feels heavy on clients. It also has a lot of parabens listed in the ingredients and I try to stay away from them. But this may be a great product for some people, I’m not knocking it.

Sample 2: Jack Black Double-Duty Face Moisturizer SPF 20

I’ll just get right to it–I really like this moisturizer! It’s lightweight and absorbs immediately, but definitely moisturizes. It says it does not contain fragrance, but I think it smells like soap with a hint of men’s shaving cream at first, then it smells more herbal once it absorbs. Jack Black is “the grooming label for guy’s guys,” but I’m not going to let that stop me. The description says it does not contain parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, etc., but the ingredients label lists “methylparaben” as an ingredient. Yes, the jury is still out on the effect of parabens, but it seems weird to me that a product would claim to be paraben-free, then list one in its ingredients. Or maybe I’m missing something…

Whatever the case is, I do like this moisturizer, and I think it’s a good choice for a guy’s guy or a girl’s girl.

Sample 3: DERMAdoctor Wrinkle Revenge Rescue & Protect Eye Balm

Sounds badass, right? I don’t have any wrinkles, but I believe the key is using anti-aging products before you start visibly aging. I know it can be hard to justify purchasing products when you can’t see results, but if you don’t have wrinkles and use a product but don’t see any change in how you look, that is a result. Do you follow me?

I have an eye cream that I love, but I’m always trying new things just in case there’s something better out there. I tried the Eye Balm on three different nights, and here’s what happened.

Night 1: I applied it, and it made me feel a little itchy, but I had also put on some night face cream first, so I figured I just got some of that near my eye. I applied it to one eye area, because I planned on using it all week and wanted to see if I could tell a difference between the eye cream eye and the non-eye cream eye.
Night 2: I forgot about my one eye experiment and applied to both eyes. No itchiness. It’s all good.
Night 3: Repeat of Night 2. But when I woke up in the morning, I had red marks on the corners of both of my eyes. They looked like chemical burns to me and I have gotten them from other eye creams before. It took 5 days for them to fade and about 5 seconds for me to throw the rest of the sample in the trash.

I try a lot of samples, and I very rarely have a reaction. So in a survey, I’d have to say I Strongly Dislike this eye cream.

That’s it for now. The samples never stop coming, so this will be an ongoing type of post.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

My Go-To Summer Look

Like everyone else on the planet, I’ve got no time. So as much as I’d like to spend an hour on my makeup every day, I can’t. But I like to at least look polished when I leave the house. I’ve been doing this summer makeup look a lot lately, because it’s quick, easy and looks like I put more time in than I did. Here’s the makeup recipe:

1. Apply any SPF moisturizer to face and neck using a foundation brush.
2. Apply Too Faced Shadow Insurance or preferred eye primer to entire eye area, using your finger to apply and blend.
3. Using the same foundation brush, apply Make Up For Ever HD foundation or liquid foundation of your choice to entire face, blending down onto neck.
4. Under the eyes, apply a dab of moisturizer or liquid eye brightener, like the Smashbox Photo Op Under Eye Brightener and very lightly blend it in. (Optional)
5. Then apply MAC Select Coverup, or the concealer you prefer and blend with a fluffy eyeshadow brush.
6. Apply several coats of Diorshow to top lashes.
7. Buff Make Up For Ever HD powder or loose powder of your choice all over the face, using a Kabuki brush.
8. Apply a matter bronzer, like Hoola bronzer by Benefit, to cheekbones, center of forehead, bridge of nose and chin, using a blush or powder brush.
9. Apply Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash to top and bottom lashes.
10. Apply a coral blush, like Benefit Coralista, to apples of cheeks.
11. Apply a sheer lipgloss in any color to your lips.
12. If desired, apply a shimmery bronzer, like Guerlain’s Terracotta bronzer, to cheekbones.

Done! The look is a slightly bronzed face, with lots of lashes. Not doing eyeshadow and eyeliner saves tons of time, so this is a quickly and easy look.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

A Little Bit Of This, A Little Bit Of That: Part 1

As a makeup artist/product junkie, I get a lot of samples. And while sometimes I can tell a lot by a sample, I often need more product to make a judgment call. So I will attempt to do sample blogs whenever I can to share what I have learned about the products. I’ll compile a bunch of mini-reviews and we’ll go from there. Sound good?

(When I went to review all of the samples that had piled up in my house, I realized the post would be too long, so I’ll have to split it up.)

Sample 1: Ole Henricksen Truth Revealed Super Creme SPF 15

I’ve never bought a full sized Ole product, but I always love trying them. This face creme is light but moisturizing and it doesn’t get sticky or leave a residue. It also smells strongly like Necco Wafers, which is odd…but not bad (at least in my book). It’s an anti-aging creme and contains collagen boosting micro algae, wrinkle fighting tripeptide-5 and omega 3 “happiness concentrate.” So maybe it’s not Necco Wafers I smell, it’s happiness. Some might say it’s the same thing (and by “some”, I mean Necco Wafer fanatics).

It’s $65 for a 1.7 oz jar, so I think this one is somewhat of a splurge for most people. But happiness (concentrate) in a jar? You can’t put a price tag on that.

Sample 2: Shiseido Refining Makeup Primer

I’m a big fan of makeup primers, especially for those with oily or seasonally oily (me, from June until October) skin. Oils from the skin are quick to break down any face makeup, but primers step up and say “Oh, no you don’t!” So if it looks like you have no face makeup on by about 2:00pm every day, you may want to try a primer.

Should you try this one? Well…I didn’t love it. The primer is pink, which I found a little strange. Pink based foundations can make the skin look mask-like or, well, pink, so the primer color concerned me. Pink is not a color corrector (like green is for redness in the skin) so I’m not sure why they chose pink. The Shiseido website said the color of the primer is flattering on every skintone but in my experience, that’s not accurate.

I applied the primer to my slightly sunkissed skin and it washed me out. It pretty much turned white and muted my tan, which I didn’t like. My skin color looked okay once I put my foundation on, but the primer did make me look a little paler than I was. The product looks like Calamine lotion, and strangely even smells like it. It feels heavy going onto the skin, which did not yield the smoothest application, but it does absorb fairly quickly. As far as length of wear, my makeup stayed on slightly longer than without a primer. It’s not a horrible product, but I can think of other primers I’d recommend first.

Sample 3: Benefit The POREfessional

This lightweight peachy-beige cream claims to minimize the appearance of pores, and it does. It’s an instant mattifier and it absorbs before you can say “I need some powder.” The formula is silky smooth and has that same scent that many Benefit products have. I can’t pinpoint it, but I know I would identify it in a blind beauty product scent test (I’m sure those happen all the time). I like this pore minimizer so much that I am going to buy the full sized one! That’s big time.

Sample 4: DDF Advanced Firming Cream

As with many anti-aging products, this cream is probably something you’d have to use for a while to see results. The product description says you will see instant anti-aging results. So I applied it, walked out to my kitchen and then back to the mirror and nope, still looked my age.

The first thing I noticed about this cream was how “natural” it smells. I go to a homeopathic/Eastern medicine doctor and this cream smelled like his office. To me, that’s a good thing. Many people who have allergies to pollen, trees, flowers, etc. also have reactions to beauty products that contain natural ingredients, but I’m not one of them. So while products like this may not be the best for some people, I like them.

The cream felt somewhat thick but absorbed quickly. No residue, no stickiness, nothing weird. And it made my skin SO SOFT. That’s the instant effect I saw/felt. I don’t know what ingredient or mix of ingredients did it, but my skin felt like silk after.

At $130 for a 1.7 oz jar, you might look young, but your bank account might look empty. Good tradeoff, says this beauty junkie.

All of these products can be purchased at Sephora.

That’s all for now! Have a beautiful day 🙂