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

 

Down Bottom: Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Long Lash Time: Clinique High Impact Mascara Review

Best Supporting Actress is still an impressive award!

It’s no secret that I love a good mascara. So when I had a chance to try to Clinique High Impact Mascara–a favorite of my beloved Pixiwoos–I of course went for it. I love big, full lashes, and mascara with staying power. Did it pass the test and make an impact on me? It did, but more as a Supporting Actress than the main star.

I originally reviewed this product in 2012 and had a few things about it that I didn’t love, but those have changed. It’s become a mainstay in my personal makeup bag as my second mascara (layered over Dior Diorshow).

Let’s talk about it.

First off, it’s got a standard wand. None of this spiky ball or rubbery wand nonsense. Just a good ol’ mascara wand. It isn’t big like the Diorshow wand, but I like that, because I use it on my top and bottom lashes, so it gives me control at the bottom lashes since the wand is smaller.

High Impact is super buildable. It might actually be the most buildable mascara I’ve ever used. So whether you want a barely there look, or a full on look, High Impact can take you there.

It is an excellent lengthener. I have found this with other Clinique mascaras too. They know how to make a girl’s lashes look long. That is one of the main reasons I use it. I love Diorshow and it gives some length, but I find it’s better for volume. I want both length and volume though, and I’m fine with having to use two mascaras to get there.

According to my post from seven years ago, High Impact used to lack on the inky black factor, which is the other reason I use a second mascara. But at some point in the last few years, the pigment was changed into a blacker black (or my eyesight is going). So now I’m happy.

When it comes to end of the day removal, no battles here. High Impact washes off easily. A little cleanser, some eye makeup remover and we go our separate ways.

I’ve been using High Impact as a second mascara for a couple years now. I’m happy with it and think you might be too.

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 🙂

Making Tammy Faye Proud

I adore mascara. I regularly wear at least two brands, layered up, to reach ultimate length and volume capacity. I could achieve a similar effect with false lashes, but why make things easy? Plus, on myself (and for some client/model looks) I want the texture of mascara. Smooth, clump-free lashes are beautiful, but slightly clumpy, mascara-loaded lashes are fun.

I’ll admit that this look is not for everyone. If you’re a natural girl, skip it. If you like perfect makeup, move on. If you prefer to not spend 10 minutes removing your eye makeup, don’t even try it. But if you’re a mascara lover like me and you like imperfect makeup looks, you’ve gotta rock this.

I accomplish this look using Dior Diorshow topped with Clinique High Lengths Mascara. (If your lashes are naturally straight, you’ll want to curl them first to avoid impairing your vision with loaded lashes.) I work the Diorshow into the roots first, then paint lashes, small sections at a time. The smaller end of the wand works best for this kind of sectioning. I do a normal application for the High Lengths layer.

I like this look either with a flesh toned or light eyeshadow color on the lid, or a chocolate brown shadow on the lid, blended slightly into the crease. I skip filling in the eyebrows when I do this, because good God, woman, that’s enough eye makeup. I keep the lips more natural–matte or glossy is fine–and tend to like a slightly shimmery blush with this (but you could go with whatever you want, as long as it’s not too much cheek color). It becomes dated and tacky if you add full eye makeup, brows, contouring and a strong lip. But if you leave the lashes as the focus, it looks modern.

Again, not for everyone, but this is a trend I’m loving.

Have a beautiful day 🙂