Ever Wonder Why…

Could a kid growing up in the 90s love hip hop as much as she loved mystery book series? Damn straight. I was into Biggie Smalls, Li’l Kim and DMX as much as I was into Babysitter’s Club Mysteries, Encyclopedia Brown and Nancy Drew. The former because those flows though and the latter because I like a good mystery solved by a pro.

And I’m in still into both. People come to me with their makeup mysteries and I solve ’em (often while listening to hip hop). I’m going to tell you about some cases I’ve cracked so you can look even more fly.

  1. Why do my lashes look so much longer after I put on mascara? You may think well duh, it’s the mascara. Part of it is product, but if you see a major difference with any mascara you use, it’s probably because the tips of your lashes are blonde. Even if your lashes grow in dark, the very ends of them could be blonde. So if you’re a brunette and your lashes are mostly dark, you can now nod your head knowingly when someone says “Blondes do have more fun!”
  2. I wear the same foundation as my sister but her’s stays on so much longer. What the hell? I’m pissed. Chances are your skin is more oily than your sister’s. Oil breaks down makeup so if your skin is producing more oil than your sister’s, your foundation will fade faster. Try using primer first and setting everything with a setting spray, like Urban Decay 24/7 All Nighter.  Primer gives the added benefit of making your foundation apply more smoothly, so now you’re winning the foundation game. Not that sisters ever keep score.
  3. The lipstick that I loved in the tube looks way different on my lips. What am I doing wrong? You’re doing nothing wrong, boo. It’s just that your lips have their own color which effects the color you put over it, especially when you use a sheer lip color. The more matte (opaque) a formulation is, the more it will cover your natural lip color. But if your natural lip color is darker than the lip color, even a matte lip color might not do it. If you want the true color in the tube, run a tiny bit of foundation or concealer (like the amount left on your brush or sponge after applying to your face) over your lips prior to applying lip color. There’s your blank canvas, just waiting for its perfect lip color soulmate.
  4. Why do I get dark circles when I’m tired? Annoying, right? You’re already tired from binge-watching Master of None and you look like hell? Life is so unfair. There is of course a biological reason why this happens and ways to hide your dark side from the world, which I’ve addressed in this blog post. https://allisonbarberamakeup.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/i-got-plenty-of-sleep-last-night-or-how-to-make-undereye-circles-disappear/   And next time, don’t “Just one more  episode” yourself. I know how you do.
  5. I’ve been using face oil but it’s making my makeup slide off. What’s the deal? You’re either using too much, not massaging it into your skin enough or applying makeup immediately after. Typically, 1-3 drops is enough for oily skin, 2-4 drops is good for normal skin and 4-6 drops is ideal for dry skin. Apply it after your moisturizer has absorbed but at least 5 minutes before primer or foundation. I prefer to really massage it into my skin which revs up circulation and helps it absorb more quickly, but go with a patting motion if you’re on the oily side.
  6. Why does liquid foundation always look so weird on me? I think I know what  you mean by “weird.” If you went from nothing or a tinted moisturizer to a full coverage foundation, you probably aren’t used to seeing your skin without the variations in skintone, lack of redness, freckles, etc. Backtrack and try a sheer foundation like MAC Face & Body, which will let your skin show through.
  7. I tried prescription retinol but it made my skin peel. What should I do? This shit was not cheap. Don’t give up yet! Read my blog post and watch your life improve. https://allisonbarberamakeup.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/forever-young-my-retinol-journey/
  8. My undereye concealer gets really caked up, no matter what kind I use. How do I make that never happen again? First things first, dab a little moisturizer under your eyes prior to applying your concealer. That primes the area and keeps product from gathering on those tiny bumps of skin. Let it sit for a few seconds, then apply concealer. A rice-grain sized amount should be enough to do both undereyes. Concentrate your concealer in the center and towards the nose, as that’s where most darkness is. After about 5 minutes, apply a very light layer of translucent powder to set the concealer. If you are not using too much concealer, this process should eliminate your problem. My favorite undereye concealer is MAC Select Coverup and Rimmel Stay Matte Powder in Transparent is my favorite translucent pressed powder.
  9. Why won’t my eyeshadow stay on? Is it afraid of commitment like every guy I date? I’m not sure what’s wrong with those jokers, but if your eyeshadow is fading fast and you’re not already using one, get yourself an eye primer. Too Faced Shadow Insurance is the gold standard, says this girl. And know that in general, drugstore eyeshadows don’t having the same staying power as higher end brands. MAC eyeshadows are fantastic and when they are paired with Shadow Insurance, you’re talking all-day strong.
  10. Why don’t I look glowy when I use the products magazines tell me to use? Because this: https://allisonbarberamakeup.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/the-truth-about-the-dewy-look/

Now you can go about your day with a better grasp on the beauty world. It makes it less intimidating when you know how to navigate it, right?

Have a beautiful day 🙂



Christmas Gift Haul

Makeup wrapping paper

Every Christmas and birthday,  I receive at least one Biggie Smalls themed gift, one vodka gift and one beauty product gift. The trifecta of Allison-perfect gifts. I have of course already tried out all of the beauty product gifts I received this Christmas, so let’s talk about them.


Samples are part of the game with most beauty product purchases now. Due to their size/amount of product given I can’t always get a thorough review, so these are more like first impressions. Here are the ones I got with my gifts this Christmas:

Charlotte Tilbury Goddess Skin Clay Mask.  I love Charlotte and her products but I knew this one wasn’t going to be a great fit for me. Clay masks work best on oily skin because they absorb oil. I have combination skin and have been dry dry dry lately, so I didn’t have much oil to be absorbed. The mask felt fine when it was on and was easy to wash off. My skin felt super clean after (clay also lifts impurities out of the skin) and I could see that the pores on my nose, which I noticed looked a little clogged the other day, were significantly unclogged. But my skin did feel dry and tight after, as I expected. This is probably a bomb mask for oily skin but that’s just not me right now. http://www.charlottetilbury.com/us/goddess-skin-clay-mask.html

Glossier Moisturizing Skin Primer. I have used this one before but I don’t think I have written about it. It feels great going on and it does make my foundation apply more smoothly. But as far as extending the wear of makeup, I haven’t noticed any difference. It doesn’t claim to make makeup last longer, but I think that should be a primer’s responsibility. To me, this is an excellent non-SPF moisturizer (great to wear if you are being photographed). https://www.glossier.com/#!/products/priming-moisturizer

Roses de Chloe. I don’t know much about perfume, but my nose says this one is floral and not overpowering. I think it’s a pretty daytime scent. I looked it up and it has notes of fresh cut roses, bergamot, rose essence, magnolia accord, white musk and amber if that helps with my lackluster review. http://www.sephora.com/roses-de-chloe-P384710?keyword=CHLOE%20Roses%20De%20Chlo%C3%A9%20P384710&skuId=1569326&_requestid=297052

Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.NG Lipstick in Bitch Perfect. I have a Charlotte Matte Revolution Lipstick that I love, so I was excited to try this sample from her K.I.S.S.I.N.G line. It looked a little orange in the packaging, but went on pinky nude and gorgeous. I immediately texted a friend who has been on the hunt for the perfect nude and told her to check this one out. I’m normally not much of a nude lip wearer because my lips are thin and my skin is light but this had enough pink to actually work on me. It feels moisturizing and did not dry my lips out.  http://www.charlottetilbury.com/us/k-i-s-s-i-n-g-bitch-perfect.html


Glossier Balm Dotcom Universal Skin Salve. I have been using this on my chapped lips, elbows and a small curling iron burn on my hand and it is good ish. It is unscented and not greasy, which I love. This one is going to take up residence on my nightstand. Lips, burns, elbows and cuticles could benefit from daily use. I will probably buy one when it runs out.  https://www.glossier.com/#!/products/balm-dotcom

Korres Twist Lipstick Raspberry Trio. The shades of the three lip crayons in this collection are Delight (a pale pink with a slightly frosty finish), Grace (a brown-rose pink) and Charm (a vibrant peachy pink). They are easy to apply, decently pigmented (not too sheer, not too opaque) and give a shiny finish. I really like these lip crayons for quick, polished lip looks.  Korres seems to have a new Raspberry Twist line but the colors are different. You can find the colors I have in a set with three other colors or sold individually on eBay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/KORRES-RASPBERRY-TWIST-LIPSTICK-TRUE-COLOR-SHINY-FINISH-IN-6-SHADES-/251720161648?var=&hash=item3a9bb0d970:m:mFByaRN11rASZ9UCUbq08TA

Mr. Bean Coffee Bean Scrub. This body scrub that I was gifted contains ground coffee beans, coconut oil, vitamin E and sea salt. It smells incredible and man, does it make your skin smooth. It will temporarily stain your skin coffee color if you don’t scrub it off but you should be fine if you use exfoliating gloves. Caffeine is supposed to help with cellulite (not sure how scientifically sound that is) and any exfoliation helps with dry skin. It’s sold out on their website right now but you might be able to find it elsewhere: http://ausnz.mrbeanbodycare.com/products/mr-bean-coffee-scrub-coconut

Charlotte Tilbury Film Star Bronze & Glow in Light to Medium. I have been coveting this powder bronzer/highlighter duo since it came out. The bronzer is neither too warm nor too cool, so it can work as both a bronzer and a contour. It blends beautifully into the skin. The highlighter gives a champagne colored candlelight glow–nothing too obvious or glittery. The packaging is gorgeous and the product is, as Charlotte would say, “divine.” http://www.charlottetilbury.com/us/filmstar-bronze-and-glow.html

My Christmas was wonderful, not because of the gifts (although they were all awesome) but because of the people I was able to spend it with. I hope everyone else has had a happy, peaceful and love-filled holiday season.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

All The Small Things

Stuck in a makeup rut? Need a quick change from work makeup into happy hour makeup? Want to try something new but only have 5 minutes? Don’t panic, girlfriend. Makeup isn’t always a time-consuming, detailed process. There are some small makeup changes that you can do that will make a big impact.

Try one out!

1) Eyeliner Magic. Want to make your eyes look bigger or more awake? Apply on off-white eyeliner or concealer pencil to your lower waterline (I like MAC Chromagraphic Pencil in NC15/NW20). An instant day-to-night eyeliner trick is to apply a black pencil eyeliner, like Topshop Kohl Pencil in Coal, on your lower waterline. Instant sexy eyes. What’s up now, Megan Fox?

2) Lipstick Love. Changing your normal lip color and/or texture can brighten up your face, make your outfit work or pull your makeup together. If you normally wear a fresh pink lipstick, try a berry lip stain. If you’re a matte red lip girl, try a creamy nude. A 30 second lip change can bring your look from innocent to vamp, retro to modern, polished to playful, etc. There is more than one lip color that works on each person, so play around!

3) You’re Blushing. If you don’t normally wear blush, you’ll be amazed by what a small amount of cheek color can do. And if you do wear blush, try something new. Switch from a powder to a cream or vice versa, or swap your normal petal pink for a pretty peach.

4) Contour Time. Try using a contour powder to shape your face. Once you know what you are doing, you are looking at about a two minute change. There are a shitload of contouring how to’s on YouTube, so check them out. (Pixiwoos, Lisa Eldridge and Charlotte Tilbury are my favorites for all makeup tutorials.)

5) Bat Those Lashes. But first, apply another coat of mascara to top and bottom. I prefer an inky black mascara, like Dior Diorshow Extase, when applying on already-coated lashes.

A little change can amp up and refresh your look. None of these take more than two minutes, so no excuses. I know you have two minutes–your Facebook Newsfeed can wait.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Your Lips Will Love It: MUFE Rouge Artist Natural Lipstick Review

I’ve found that a lot of women, especially those in their 20s, prefer lipgloss over lipstick. I don’t know if it’s because glosses are generally easier to apply, they don’t like much pigment to their lip color, or they associate lipstick with feeling “heavy.” But I recently tried a lipstick even the anti-lipstick contingency might like.

It’s the newest lipstick from one of my favorite companies, Make Up For Ever, and it’s called Rouge Artist Natural. The lipsticks in this line are meant to be sheer and moisturizing. (Their Rouge Artist Intense line, which came out first, is a heavily pigmented line of lipsticks.)

I tried two of these new lipsticks, in N35, Iridescent Orange Pink and N50, Aubergine. N35 is the perfect summer color–I got excited for frozen drinks and beach days just looking at it! And N50 is absolutely gorgeous. This is the the perfect aubergine color. Sometimes lipsticks that try to be aubergine are a little too purple or brown, but Make Up For Ever got this one just right. Makeup artists, take note!

The packaging is simple but eye-catching. Black with silver, one word written on each side of the tube (“MAKE UP FOR EVER”). The caps snap into place and stay on, which those of you who have ever had to deal with rebellious lipstick caps in your purse will appreciate. These lipsticks have the traditional lipstick scent, which product purists will love 🙂 And I appreciate this little detail–for the lipstick shades with iridescence (shimmer) to them, there is a subtle shimmer printed on the shade sticker on the bottom of the tube. So if you’re sorting through the selection, trying to figure out which ones have shimmer, just look at the little sticker. Smart.

So this is all good, right? But does the Rouge Artist Natural lipstick actually deliver? The answer is…yes! The lipsticks are sheer, but not so sheer that you think “Did I actually pay money for this?” MUFE has mastered the balance between translucent and noticeable, which is a tough thing to do. And as far as the moisturizing factor, they are right on. My lips are chapped right now from being dehydrated (damn stomach flu) but these lipsticks feel great. They are definitely not drying, and I daresay they moisturize better than some lip balms I’ve tried.

The shine factor is there, but unlike many glosses, it doesn’t come with the sticky-ness factor too. I only tried those two colors, but my guess is the shimmery colors have a little more shine and slide to them. But out of the two I tried, the more matte one was just as comfortable and moisturizing.

Sheer lipsticks have a tendency to wear off quickly, but the Rouge Artist Natural lipsticks have great staying power. And since they are sheer, they are easily to reapply when you do need a touchup. You can apply straight from the tube, no brush needed. You can use a lipliner if you want, but for everyday use, I think these look best on their own. They also work well as a lip stain–apply from the tube, then pat the color in with your finger.

The Rouge Artist Natural lipsticks have the ease, shine, and natural look that many people seem to seek in a lip gloss. But these have longevity, absolutely no sticky-ness, and a wide range of colors. The lipsticks are $19 each, and the tubes will last a while. If you’re sick of trying to find the perfect gloss, or if you just want a low maintenance version of a lipstick color you love, check these out!


You can get Make Up Forever products at Sephora, Sephora.com, the Make Up Forever studio at 8 East 12th Street, New York, NY 10003 and the Make Up Forever studio at 132 South Robertson Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048.

All I Want For Christmas Is…

I recently got a request to do a Christmas Wish List of beauty products (thanks, Erika Milliun!). Great idea, right?  I’ve included essentials that I’ve mentioned over and over again, awesome products that I use but haven’t talked about and ones that I’ve heard great things about but haven’t tried yet.

Here we go!

1.)  Too Faced Shadow Insurance Eye Primer: I won’t put eyeshadow on a “naked” lid because it usually won’t stay. I consider eye primer to be an absolute essential, and this is the one I reach for most often. It helps shadows and liners stay on, stops shadows from creasing, and covers any tiny veins or discoloration on the lid.

2.) Illamasqua Liquid Metal Eye Color in Solstice: This highly pigmented cream shadow is perfect for the holidays. It’s hard to find a gold shadow that is pigmented and long-lasting, but this meets both important criteria. If you want to try something new and fun for a holiday party or night out, but are afraid to go for a bright color, you’ll love this.

3.) NARS The Multiple in Copacabana: Use this shimmery pearl highlighting stick on eyes, lips, or cheeks (just not all at once!) for a pretty glow.  I love doing a holiday party look with red lips, silver eyeshadow and Copacabana on the cheekbones.

4.) Make Up For Ever Lash Fibers I haven’t used this product, but I heard a positive review from a trustworthy source–and I adore this company–so I’m going to recommend it.  It’s a white mascara-like product that you apply before your mascara.  It lengthens and thicken the lashes, so the mascara adheres to that.  And who doesn’t want bigger lashes?

5.) MAC Pro Longwear Fluidline in Blacktrack: Consider this black gel liner to be like your favorite pair of jeans.  It’s a classic that you can wear with lots of different looks. It goes on smoothly, stays put and the little jar will last you a while. Just make sure to close it tightly each time so it doesn’t dry out.

6.) Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Blackberry:  This is the time of year to go for berry lipcolors, so give it a try! I’ve found this shade to be flattering on most people and you can’t beat the price. So if darker lipcolors are out of your comfort zone, at least you can try it on the cheap (and if you buy it from CVS, just return it if you don’t like it–they accept even opened makeup returns).

7.) Tarte Cheek Stains: You know that flushed cheek look you get from being outside in the winter?  Well, you don’t have to freeze your ass off to get it. These gel blushes give you that same look, with a variety of shades to choose from. And since you only need a little bit, this product lasts for a long time.

8.) Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Foundation: This is a great one for your wish list because not only is it the best foundation I’ve ever used, but it’s a little pricey and I know it can be hard to justify spending money on yourself during the holiday season. So let someone else get it for you! This liquid foundation gives amazing coverage, feels like nothing and photographs and films beautifully.

9.) Dior Diorshow: My name is synonymous with two things: Biggie Smalls and Diorshow. So for me to not include my favorite mascara on this list would be blasphemous. Basically, it’s the bomb. Long, full lashes, no smearing, flaking, or smudging.  Just get it alreadyyyyy.

Hopefully you’ve been a good girl this year and you get everything you ask for. Because if all you get is coal in your stocking, I can’t help you.  Kohl liner, however, is a different story…

Happy Holidays! Have a beautiful day 🙂

I Know What You’re Doing

I’ve got good intuition (or at least I’m tuned it to it). It’s not unusual for me to know who is calling before I look when I hear my phone ring, or to feel that something is bothering a friend before they tell me. And I have this sense about you, reader. I know what you’re doing. You’re holding onto an eyeliner, lipstick, or foundation because it was expensive, somehow sentimental, or really pretty/cool/different, so you’ll use it…someday. But someday might have already come and gone, and your product has died. Let it go, girlfriend. Or risk the consequences.

When To Toss Products

1) If you’ve been using a mascara for over three months, it’s got to go. Not only do the formulas tend to dry out and clump around that time, but the bacteria that’s been collecting on the wand has built up like crazy and is ready to infect your eyes. Pink eyeshadow can be cute, but pink, swollen eyelids are not. Same timeline goes for liquid eyeliner.

2) I don’t care how expensive that liquid foundation was–if you opened it more than 12 months ago, say bye bye bye. Foundations will generally last one year before they are done. If your foundation begins to separate or smell rancid before then, its lifespan is over.

3) The ingredients in cream eyeshadows and cheek colors only keep them fresh for 12-18 months. After that point they’re likely to dry out, ruining the whole creamy idea. If you use them once they’ve started to dry out, they’re going to apply unevenly to the skin. And that’s not a good look for anyone. Plus, the bacteria from your fingers (which you are probably using to apply the product) has been sitting in that little pot, waiting to cause a breakout or other reaction.

4) Lipstick, lipglosses, and retractable lipliners are good for 12-18 months. Pencils liners will last longer because you need to sharpen them, and sharpening removes some of the bacteria. If you use a lip product when you have a cold sore, throw it out or risk re-infecting yourself.

5) That turquoise powder eyeshadow you bought when you were feeling bold one day? You’ve got two years to try it. Powder eyeshadows and pencil liners are fine to use for those 24 months without a problem. Same goes for any powder product.

If you notice any smell, product separation, or drying out of a product, even if it’s before the expiration dates I mentioned, get rid of it. It’s not worth having a reaction or (gasp!) having your makeup look streaky, patchy, or weird. To protect your makeup from an early demise, keep it out of direct sunlight and don’t share with friends. And if you don’t think you’ll be able to remember when you bought what, stick a dated label on each product or tag it with a permanent marker.

And little know fact: There is a jar symbol on the bottom of each beauty product that tells you in months how long that product is good for. See?

beauty product expiration









Now that you know the deal, take that lipstick from 2012–you know, the beat up looking one that’s covered in products that broke or leaked in your makeup bag–and throw.it.away.

Thank you!

Have a beautiful day 🙂