1990s Beauty

Ah, sweet victory. It was late August of 1994 and I had won the biggest battle of my life so far: my parents had finally allowed me to wear makeup to school. And wear it I did. I did not go with a “no makeup-makeup” look. I had been stocking up at CVS for years and I was ready to show the world that I was someone who could and would wear makeup (and lots of it). The 1990s was my new favorite decade.

This Beauty Decades post is the first one I can write about from experience. I was born in the 80s but as a child, I didn’t really know what was going on with hair and makeup trends. (Which is fine, because I wouldn’t have wanted my formative beauty years to be based in 80s looks.) But my teenage years–aka when you try all the makeup and make all the mistakes–were in the 90s, a decade that my brain still thinks was about 8 years ago.

In the early 90s, matte makeup was the thing. Brown and wine colored lipsticks were in (I’m looking at you, Revlon Coffee Bean and Blackberry), and lipliner was a must. I’m talking two-shades-darker-than-your-lipstick lipliner. There was also a trend of wearing dark lipliner with a light beige lipstick and I was definitely feelin’ that one. By the late 90s, lipsticks were frostier and lip glosses were everywhere.

Foundations had improved since the 80s, but the majority of them still had a pink undertone. Although more and more formulations hit the market every day, they were usually matte and medium or full coverage in the early and mid 90s. Tinted moisturizer become popular in the late 90s, finally giving an option to women who wanted some coverage but not a full face of foundation.

Blush didn’t get much love in the 90s. It was probably because most of it had been striped on people’s cheekbones in the 80s, or maybe snorted up by accident.

Early 90s eyeshadows were primarily warm matte browns. Black eyeliner was the go-to color. In the mid to late 90s, shimmery white and opalescent shadows were popular, particularly with teens and young women. And if you went to high school between 1996-2000 and claim that you never wore white eyeliner on your top lashline, you’re lying.

Colored mascara had its moment, but other than that, there wasn’t a huge emphasis on lashes. False lashes were not popular and although lash extensions were invented in 1916, they didn’t hit the mainstream market until after the 90s.

Thin eyebrows were the bomb in the 90s. Sure, you saw the occasional Cindy Crawford full and arched brow, but most were tweezed into thin little lines. It personally was too much work for me to get my brows that thin, as they are robust, Italian brows, but looking back at my photos from middle school and high school, I see that many of my friends were tweezer-happy. Brows got thicker and more stylized in the late 90s but were still on the thin side, at least compared to today.

Bronzer of the Oompa Lompa variety was popular in the mid to late 90s. A rise in the popularity of tanning booths soon followed. Those evil machines have been the cause of so much skin cancer and skin damage and are surely one of the most deadly and damaging beauty trends of the 20th and 21st centuries. I understand the desire to look tan and I definitely went in tanning booths before proms and spring breaks. But I didn’t know how bad they were, and I cringe at the thought of them now. On the positive side, this obsession with looking tan forced the market to create better self tanning products, bronzers and the spray tan. Jergens Natural Glow was created in the 90s and it’s still a popular product today.

The grunge scene had a huge impact on makeup, particularly in the early 90s. It was all about dark, thick, smudgy eyeliner rimming the eyes and in the waterline and greasy or bedhead hair. Mascara was swiped on like the wearer was in a rush to go to a Pearl Jam concert. If foundation was used it was the same color or slightly lighter than skintone. Blush and bronzer did not exist in this world. Lips were either bare or dark and matte.

The hip hop culture of the 90s heavily influenced the beauty and fashion worlds (at least in my life). Dark lipliner around the lips filled in with light lipstick was a big look, as Kim Mathers can attest to. The black pencil eyeliner at the lower lashline was about the same thickness as the popular over-tweezed brows. High, tight ponytails gave an instant facelift. Curls were gelled to within a crunchy inch of their life.  Baggy jeans and a tight top or an oversized Fila or Looney Toons t-shirt really brought the look home, in case you want the full picture.

Skincare became more important in the mid to late 90s. Facials and spa treatments–once reserved for wealthy women only–became more accessible. Estheticians and dermatologists were frequently interviewed for magazine beauty articles and the general realization that good skincare was key emerged.

Nail polish was big in the 90s. Hard Candy and Essie were crazy popular and the Chanel Vamp shade was often sold out. Deep, dark colors were in but really any matte color had its moment. Acrylic nails and French manicures were for the classy ladies. And you want to put some rhinestones on those claws? Do it to it, homegirl.

Streaky highlights were so 90s. The Rachel, the cut Jennifer Aniston had on Friends, was everywhere. Frosted tips on short hair–for women and men–were in. Zig zag parts were super popular, as were plastic accordion headbands and blingy (I hate that word) barrettes. In the early to mid 90s, there were a lot of scrunchies and baby barrettes being sold.

I think the 1990s is when our culture became truly celebrity-obsessed, which had a major impact on the beauty industry. Between magazines and the new Internet thing, people were seeing more celebrity faces outside of film and television. Celebrity endorsements of beauty products became commonplace and instead of models on magazine covers, you saw actresses. In interviews in women’s magazines, it was pretty standard that an actress would be asked about her beauty routine. Whether she answered honestly or not was one thing, but you better believe if Jennifer Lopez said she used a certain bronzer, that company’s sales were about to go through the roof.

As cheesy as some of the looks were, 90s beauty was in my opinion–which is correct–a lot better than 80s beauty. It was more flattering and less-in-your-face than the previous decade and product technology improved in a huge way over those 10 years. There was a marked difference between the foundation choices available in 1999 versus 1990.  And the beginning of the shift towards taking care of your skin instead of just using makeup to (try to) hide imperfections and damage was a game changer.

I hold a special place in my heart for the 90s, my coming-of-age years. This was when my childhood love for beauty products blossomed, as I finally had a small income and was allowed to wear makeup to school. Most importantly, I was able to experiment with different looks. The past few decades had made this possible. If I was a teen in the 40s, I would have had pretty strict rules about which colors to wear, which haircut was best for my face shape, how much makeup a “classy” girl wore, etc. But the country changed in the 60s (read about it here http://wp.me/pZuuY-v1), allowing women to have some choice over a lot of things, including how they looked. That continued into the 70s (http://wp.me/pZuuY-vB), where the free-spirited hippy and later disco cultures encouraged people to play around with their looks. That brought us into the 80s (http://wp.me/pZuuY-AJ), where self expression and an anything-goes take on colors was the norm. I’m grateful that I grew up in a decade where I had the freedom to try different looks and figure out what worked for me. (Frosted blue lipstick and shimmery lilac eyeshadow does not.) So thank you 90s for this and for what I consider the Golden Age of Hip Hop.

Have a beautiful day 🙂




Jergens Natural Glow for Face Tips

Genetics are a funny thing, aren’t they? I am 75% Italian and only 25% Irish, but I’m usually the second or third lightest shade in a foundation line. Throw my dark hair and eyebrows into the mix, and I look even lighter than I am. (When I’m wearing black, my father likes to call me Elvira. Can’t say I like that.) I’m not saying light skin is a bad thing–look at beauties like Julianne Moore, Emma Stone and Dita Von Teese–but I think I look best with a little color on my face. I don’t sunbathe or use tanning booths, and I don’t find it practical to spray tan regularly, so I use Jergens Natural Glow. I use the face and body versions, but for this post, I will be talking about the face version.

I’ve picked up a few tips along the way that I thought might be helpful. Here goes:

Exfoliate. Before your initial application of the product, exfoliate your face and neck. Any kind of tanning product will work better if you have sloughed off the dead skin cells first. If not, the product may “stick” to the cells, leaving you with a very attractive patchy look.

Moisturize twice each day. Jergens Natural Glow for face will last longer if you moisturize morning and night. This is a skincare essential anyway, so unless you are targeting a specific issue that requires more or less moisturizing each day, two times is the magic number.

Avoid applying to smile lines, if you have them. I’ve found that any product I put on my face will eventually settle in to my smile lines and something about the shimmer and pigmentation in the Natural Glow accentuates the lines. It’s any easy fix though–just don’t apply it to those areas. Smile lines–this is the punishment we get for being happy, huh?

Mix with moisturizer when applying to your neck. Necks are tricky. Many of us have some lines or creases there, and much like the smile lines, this product can settle into those lines. Applying a thin layer of moisturizer first takes care of the issue.

Apply it at night, or well before makeup. I don’t use this as pre-makeup moisturizer because I don’t think it’s moisturizing enough, and I’m not sure it will react well to all face makeup. It’s not a problem if it’s completely absorbed, but if it’s still tacky, wait a little longer. That’s why I tend to do it at night.

Adjust your foundation/tinted moisturizer. This is a tanning product, so your foundation shade is going to change. That’s one of the reasons I always suggest having a couple of foundations in your makeup bag. That way you can darken and lighten the shades (by mixing them) if your skin changes from sunless tanner or the sun. It’s not a drastic change with Jergens Natural Glow for Face, but you might go up a half a shade or a full shade.

That’s it! Not too complicated, right? I think it’s worth it and I really do love the product. After a few days of using it, I always feel like my skin looks good enough to forgo face makeup if I want to. The shimmer that it contains is subtle, but true to its name, gives you some glow. And something about being tan seems to even out the skin (although a real tan actually does the opposite, in the long run). If you are feeling winter pale or feel like your skin is looking dull, give this a try.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

The Ten Skin Commandments

Ten Crack Commandments
The commandments template I use.

One of my favorite Biggie songs is “Ten Crack Commandments.” I don’t personally have any experience in that area, although I feel like I do, thanks to Frank White. But there is an area I think I am qualified to create commandments for. (Actually, there are two areas– but I’m afraid Orange Leaf will blacklist me if I publicize my Ten Soft Serve Commandments.)

So let’s get this thing started. It’s time for a beauty pop quiz. Are you ready?

Skincare: Good makeup as

a) Telescopes: Banking

b) Spam: Cupcakes

c) Water: Gardening

d) Logic: A Real Housewife cast member

If you guessed “C,”–always guess “C,” you must know that–you are correct! Skincare is an essential part of good makeup. You can use all the high quality makeup products on the market, but if you don’t take care of your skin, your makeup can only look so good.

(Extra credit to anyone who can find all of my hip hop references in this post. There are several of them, so if something sounds a little off to you or you don’t get it, study up on your 90s and early 2000s hip hop.)

As someone who often gets complimented on their skin (I’m talking about when I have no face makeup on), I feel I can drop some knowledge here. In honor of The Notorious B.I.G, below are my Ten Skin Commandments.

1) Find a cleanser that works for your skin type and use it every night. If you think you can get away with always using makeup remover wipes, or you (gasp!) regularly go to bed with makeup on, you’re dead wrong. Don’t be a Lazy Lucy. It takes under five minutes to wash your face–you can find the time. Oh, you got no time for face cleansing? But you just beat a level on Candy Crush? Busted.

2) Use an oil-based makeup remover followed by a cleanser, or use an oil-based cleanser. Especially if you wear face makeup, I really think you need an oil-based makeup remover or oil-based cleanser to fully remove your makeup. No, oil-based products won’t automatically make you break out or cause your face to go from normal to oil slick. I have oily skin and I use an oil-based cleanser every night, and my skin has actually gotten less oily since I started using it. But if you are hesitant to do that, at least use an oil-based makeup remover before your normal cleanser. Good skin is clear, right? And can we agree that sleeping in your makeup or not fully removing it causes breakouts? Then please please please take this oil-based makeup remover/cleanser idea into consideration. My favorite oil-based makeup remover is Dermalogica Precleanse, and my absolute favorite cleanser for all skin types is Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil.

*Note* I do not recommend using oil-based  makeup removers or cleansers to remove eye makeup. Your best bet there is a gentle makeup remover, like Bioderma Sensibio H20.

3) Exfoliate exfoliate exfoliate. Do it three times per week and your skin will be a better person for it. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells, making skin feel softer and look brighter. If you have oily skin, it will help remove some of the surface oils. Dry patches? Sloughs them right off. Dull skin? It’s going to help give you that glow you crave. I recommend ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment by Kate Somerville and Gentle Cream Exfoliant by Dermalogica.

4) Rule number four, I know you heard this before: exercise regularly. It gets the circulation going, which immediately makes your skin look more alive. If you are the type who gets very flushed after a workout, you may disagree with me, but Coolio down first, then re-evaluate. When I miss a bunch of workouts in a row, my skin looks blah. As soon as I get back to it–I’m talking the first workout back–I can see an obvious difference.

5) Use an SPF moisturizer every day. It’s common knowledge that the sun causes signs of aging (wrinkles, pigmentation, uneven skin tone) to accelerate, so you’ve got to be shithouse crazy (or 730, if you prefer) to ignore every knowledgeable makeup artist, esthetician and dermatologist out there who says to wear sunscreen on the daily. (Let’s not forget about the very real risk of skin cancer, too.)

6) Don’t just slap on your moisturizer. Take a few extra seconds to really massage the product in and you will see instant results. When I was in Esthetics school, we spent what felt like 1 million hours on facial massage techniques. There really is something to be said for massage and how it increases the circulation. To massage your moisturizer in, use the pads of your four fingers (stay back, Thumbkin) and make small circles around your face. It really works!

7) Get glow, get glow. I use Jergens Natural Glow for Face year-round. In the summer, it gives my skin enough color for people to believe that I live in a beach town (I use the body one during the warm weather months too). In the winter, when I can turn translucent if not careful, it gives me a slightly sun-kissed look so I don’t resemble, as my cousin Jack would say, “one of them day-time vampires.” It comes in formulations for fair to medium and medium to tan skin tones. I don’t want to call it shimmer, because that may make you think of a disco ball or a stripper, depending on your frame of reference. So I’ll just say it contains something that gives glow and radiance to the skin. It’s subtle, but it makes a difference. I feel like I look healthy when I’ve been using this for a few days. Not like a day-time vampire at all, whatever the hell that means…

8) Don’t eat bad shit. For me, bad shit is the stuff that my stomach is sensitive to. I started eating clean a few years ago for health reasons and my skin has had remarkably few breakouts since. SO MANY cases of chronic acne are actually due to food allergies/sensitivities. I’m no doctor, so do what you need to do figure it out. But as someone with an extremely sensitive system, I do suggest trying to listen to your body. If your body does not like something you are eating, it’s going to tell you. It might be in the form of stomach irritation, migraines, eczema, or breakouts, but it will find some way to give you the message. So listen up, it’s got a story to tell.

9) Number 9 shoulda been number 1 to me: don’t skimp on your beauty sleep. There is a huge difference in my skin when I get enough sleep, and I know I’m not the only one effected by sleepless nights. When I walk into a room to do wedding makeup, I can immediately tell if the bride slept like a baby or tossed and turned between nightmares of table assignments gone wrong. Yes, you can see tiredness on many people when you look at their eyes (dark circles or puffiness), but I’m referring to the skin. If you are rested, your skin looks bright and smooth. If you are tired, it looks dull and uneven. I personally notice it on myself after a nap. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve woken up from a nap, looked in the mirror and thought “What amazing product did I use today?” 9 out of 10 times, I realize I don’t have any face makeup on. I know cell turnover and repair happens during a full night’s sleep, but I swear even a 30 minute nap does something magical to my skin. I am convinced that lack of sleep wreaks havoc on the skin. Sorry, new moms, please don’t hate me for this one.

10) When your skin needs an extra boost, try one of these miracle products. (These work considerably better if you’re following the other commandments.) The Radiant Serum by La Mer hydrates and adds radiance to the skin. It’s pricey, but I’m not in charge of your budget. Beauty Flash Balm by Clarins gives a temporary brightening and tightening effect (no lie, you can feel it happening) and creates a smooth base that allows foundation to apply beautifully. If you’re tired because, say, you have been going out like a 21 year old recently (guilty), meet your new best friend. It’s great for mature skin–I use this on most of the mothers and grandmothers of the bride who I work with–and it can be used as a mask as well. I wouldn’t use any of these miracle workers every day because I do think the skin gets used to them, but when your dermis needs a pick me up, they are there to help.

I could add some other commandments, like “Thou Shalt Not Pick at Blemishes,” and “Stress Less” (or “Just Break Up With Him Already”), but I’m sticking to the tried and true TEN Commandments format. It seems like a lot when it’s all written out like this, but I promise you it is very do-able. And I’m a big believer in the 80% rule. If you follow a good skincare regimen 80% of the time, your skin will probably look pretty fantastic. Supplement as needed with specific products to target any problem areas (i.e. rosacea, fine lines, hyperpigmentation, acne scarring, etc.) but I think these commandments will give you a really good base to start off with.

Gotta go, gotta go, more blogs to write up.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

I Simply Remember My Favorite Things…

Did I get that song in your head? Try searching YouTube for Saigon’s version. (That’s my favorite version, but WordPress doesn’t like to let me link.)

I’ve been the worst blogger ever this year–business has been BOOMING, so it’s hard to get to the many blog posts I want to write–but I’m trying! Today, I’m going to do something a little different. I’m going to talk about a few of my favorite things from Summer 2012. Some are new (or new to me), some are old standbys, and they are not all beauty-related. I know this is a beauty blog, but I’m trying to be well-rounded…

In no particular order, I am loving:

Exfoliation. I have always been a big proponent and user of exfoliators. Three times per week seems to be my skin’s magic exfoliation number, so I try to make it easy for myself and exfoliate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. My absolute favorite face exfoliator is ExfoliKate by Kate Somerville (Sephora). It’s both a physical and enzyme exfoliant, which means you can use it to either manually exfoliate, or you can let it sit on the skin and it will do the job itself. It doesn’t feel sandpapery, but it makes a huge difference in the look and feel of my skin. It ain’t cheap, but it is AWESOME.

Cupcake Wine. My friend Julie and I discovered the Red Velvet one last fall, and we were hooked. I’m not a big drinker, but I would find myself thinking about how good that wine was for a few days after whenever I drank it. It tastes like dessert, but somehow not in a super sweet way. I can’t write anymore about it because it’s making me want a glass and it’s 8:15am.

Pinterest. I’ve been on this website for a while, and it has become one of my staple sites. I don’t go on it every day, but usually at least once a week. It’s a great place to post ideas for my clients and for photoshoots, and I created a “Quotables” board that I love. I fill it with positive quotes, and sometimes I read them when I need a little mood boost. If you’re not on Pinterest yet and are thinking about signing up, just be warned–it can get addicting! 30 minutes can go by very fast when you are pinnning. And 30 more minutes won’t hurt…

Brazilian Blowout. I know, I know–formaldehyde. But I’ve had it done four times, and I feel fine! 🙂 It really has made a huge difference with the way my hair feels. I still have to round brush straighten my hair every three days, but the Brazilian Blowout makes my hair dry quicker, it almost completely eliminates frizz, and my hair just looks prettier.

Orange Leaf. Oh my God, this place. I have a soft serve addiction and Orange Leaf is my dealer. These self serve, soft serve frozen yogurt places are popping up all over the country, and I am thrilled. They switch the flavors out so you get variety, but my favorites so far have been Peanut Butter, Hazlenut, Coconut, and Wedding Cake. There are a ton of toppings (which I don’t use, because I’m a soft serve purist) and you can sample any of the flavors. So.friggin.good.

“Anatomy of the Spirit” by Caroline Myss. I am big time into the connection between our emotions and how consistent negative thinking can cause disease, and this book thoroughly explains those theories. I borrowed it from the library and liked it so much that I bought a copy, because I knew it was something I would re-read many times.

Shellac Manicures. They are long lasting, they don’t chip and they stay shiny. To me, that’s the Holy Trinity of manicures, so I will look no further. I feel so much more polished–no pun intended–when my nails are done, and the no-maintenance upkeep for the shellac manicure fits right into my lifestyle.

The Diamond Ultrasonic Toothbrush. I bought one a few months ago with a Living Social deal and I love it. My teeth feel so clean, and I feel very futuristic using it. It took a little getting used to, but I caught on fairly quickly. It’s timed to turn off after a few minutes, so I don’t even have to think when I’m brushing.

Blueberry Vodka & Lemonade. This was my favorite drink during the summer, and I don’t see why I can’t carry that through the fall. My tastebuds don’t change just because there are leaves on the ground. I realize it’s not low calorie, but I typically don’t have more than two drinks per outing, so I’m cool with that.

Subdue Styling Cream by Minardi. I use this product before blowdrying, to get a smoother blowout and on dry hair as needed, to smooth it down when necessary. It smells good, isn’t sticky or heavy, and a little goes a long way. It is the only product I consistently use in my hair. I used to buy it from my hair stylist but she carries a different product line now, so my next tube of Subdue will probably come from Amazon.

LARABARS. I’m gluten-sensitive hypoglycemic and have a job that doesn’t always allow for sit down meals (or the whey protein shakes that I usually have for breakfast and lunch) so I am a nutrition bars girl. A few years ago, I was big on Zone Bars, then I switched to Luna Bars and I recently discovered LARABARS. They are dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free, and never contain more than 9 ingredients. Best of all, they taste GREAT. Some of my favorites are Peanut Butter & Jelly, Blueberry Muffin, Banana Bread and Coconut Cream. When I’m on a film or photoshoot set, I sneak them between takes and during setups and they are my saving grace after wedding jobs where I haven’t eaten for hours.

Jergens Natural Glow. I tried this self tanning moisturizer years ago when it first came out and every few years, I remember how much I like it. I got back into it this summer, both when I had my normal pale skin, and as my maintenance lotion during a spray tan. This stuff really works. Yes, it has a slight self tanner smell, but I think they all do. But it doesn’t really get streaky, and the gold flecks in it really do give a “glow.”

So, those are some of the tangibles that made my summer a little more enjoyable/prettier/easier. What are your favorites?

Have a beautiful day 🙂