Age Ain’t Nothin’ But A Number

Helen Mirren. Susan Sarandon. Diane Lane. Andie MacDowell. Mary Steenburgen. These are all beautiful actresses over 50 (or very close to it), and although I can’t say for sure, it appears that none of them have had any major cosmetic surgery done. I think they all look amazing, not just for their age, but for any age. I personally don’t think “young” translates as “beautiful,” and I think there is a lot to be said for non-physical characteristics that make people beautiful. So this is not a Twelve Ways To Look Younger post (Subtext: 20 Year Olds Are The Prettiest, So Try To Look Like Them). This is about doing, or not doing, certain things that can make you look older than you are.

I have looked at many photos of the aforementioned actresses, and they seem to be avoiding some of the makeup mistakes I see a lot of women make. I’m talking about the mistakes that age a woman, especially one over 40. I’ll get into that below, but first I want to tell you my philosophy on aging as it relates to makeup.

I don’t think wrinkles are the biggest aging factor on a woman’s face. I think it has a lot more to do with an even skintone, flattering eyebrows, skin texture, lip fullness, undereye puffy-ness and dark circles, fullness of the cheeks and how “current” someone’s makeup is. Fortunately, there are a lot of fixes you can do to correct any of the issues that bother you (or those that you might not realize are making you look older!)

Re-Assess Your Foundation. Skin loses some of its natural oils as we age, meaning that the majority of women over 40 have skin in the dry or normal to dry range. (The good thing is, less oil in your skin means your makeup will stay on longer!) Fine lines and wrinkles also tend to creep up as the years pass. For those two reasons, I find that liquid foundations are more flattering on mature skin. Powder foundations don’t typically add moisture to the skin, and they tend to settle into lines, making them more obvious. A good liquid foundation–particularly one with luminizing properties which brighten the skin–will make the skin look its best. MAC Face & Body foundations are a good option, and I recently tried Stila Stay All Day 10-In-One Beauty Balm (Sephora) and thought it would be good for mature skin. I only tried a sample so I can’t totally vouch for it, and it strangely only seems to come in one shade, but swing by Sephora and get a sample if you’re interested.

Consider Cream Blush. I love cream blush for all skin types (I just layer powder blush over it on oily skin to make it last). There is something very youthful and glowing about the texture, which makes it perfect for mature skin. And if you are dealing with dry skin at any age, cream blush is definitely the way to go. The MAC Creme Blend blushes (MAC stores and MACcosmetics.com) and Sonia Kashuk cream blushes (Target) are my faves.

Think Twice About Contour. If your face has lost a lot of fullness–and especially if you already have a long or even oval face shape–I wouldn’t recommend contouring the cheekbones. Instead, focus on using blush on the apples of your cheeks, just blending slightly upward. This will make your cheeks look a little more full and youthful.

Line Those Lips. As we age, our lips lose collagen, making them thinner than they were in years past. Lipliner (in the same color as your lips or lipstick–darker than that can actually age you) is a good fix. It brings back definition to the lips and if you are confident with it, you can slightly overdraw your lips. And when I say slightly, I mean it! Don’t go all Pamela Anderson and think no one will notice. I love the Aqua Lip Liners by Make Up For Ever (Sephora) because they are waterproof (read: long lasting) but any lip liner will do. Lip liners are one of the products I don’t think you have to spend a lot on. Many of the drugstore ones are great.

Plump It Up. For the same reason, lip plumpers can be a good temporary fix for lips that are, let’s say, losing some weight. My favorite is Lip Venom by DuWop (Sephora). It’s a little tingly/stingy, but it does the job.

Highlight Above the Cupid’s Bow. A little bit of highlighter (like NARS The Multiple in Copacabana) above the Cupid’s Bow will give the illusion of a fuller top lip. Use a concealer brush or your pinky to apply it and lightly blend.

Apply Makeup with a Light Hand. Avoid applying too much foundation, concealer, or powder near fine lines. The product will sink into lines, highlighting those areas. Fine lines near the eyes, around the lips and on the forehead are common, and usually those are areas that don’t need much coverage or powder anyway (unless the forehead is oily). Using a primer (like Laura Mercier Face Primer, Sephora) first will help temporarily fill in the lines and keep your face makeup from settling. Having moisturized and hydrated skin will help diminish the lines too, so as always, a good skincare routine is key.

Pay Attention to Your Eyebrows. Brows that are too thin or overdrawn can easily age a face. Brow growth does slow as we age and especially if you over-tweezed in your teens or twenties, you may find yourself with thinner brows than you would like. A good brow pencil or powder can help fill your brows in. And if you have a few gray hairs in your eyebrows, a tinted brow gel (like MAC Brow Set) can temporarily change that. A brow gel also adds texture/fullness to thin brows.

Update Your Every Day Look. If you are still wearing the same type of makeup you wore 20 years ago, it’s time to re-evaluate. Styles have changed and your face has changed, so your makeup needs to evolve too. So please, toss that that forest green eyeliner from the 80s, or that matte brown lipstick from the 90s. Sure, those have come back as trends, but unless the rest of your makeup, your hair and your clothing are on trend too, it’s just going to make you look dated. It’s the cold, hard truth, but someday has to tell you!

Beware of Shimmery Eyeshadows. As we age, our eyelids lose their elasticity. The makeup term is “crepey eyelids,” but you can refer to them however you want. It’s okay to use an eyeshadow with a little shimmer in it, but something too shimmery or (please don’t) frosted is bad, bad, bad. It will sink into the small folds on your lids, making them considerably more noticeable. If this is a concern for you, try a cream eyeshadow (Laura Mercier makes good cream eyeshadows). Much like a cream blush, it is flattering on a mature face.

Try An Off-White Eyeliner. If your lower waterline is pink, which I often see in women 60+, a bit of off-white eyeliner there will cover the pinkness and make you look more awake. I like MAC Chromagraphic Pencil in Nc15/NW 20 for this.

Avoid The Number One Eye Ager. I see this A LOT, on women of all ages, but it especially detrimental to those concerned with aging–dark pencil liner at the lower lashline. Especially when it is thick or black…it makes me cringe. It instantly pulls the eyes downward and other than it’s very short shelf life as a makeup trend a few years back, it is dated. I know this is a hard one for many women to give up. I can just hear you saying “But I feel naked without eyeliner!” So, can we strike a deal? First, please switch to a dark brown or gray eyeshadow. Use an angled brush and make sure to apply it at the bottom and top lashline, so that it balances your eyes and keeps them from looking dragged down. Using a shadow with an angled brush gives a soft focus effect which is infinitely more flattering. You can still use a pencil–go easy with it!–on top of the shadow if you want more definition, but make sure to blend it with that angled brush.

Or, just do what you want. Seriously. If you aren’t concerned with how your looks have changed, then ignore all of my suggestions. I created this post for the hundreds of 40+ women who have said “Make me look 10/20/30 years younger, please!” But if you don’t care, then honestly, good for you. I know that I will still be rockin’ Biggie t-shirts and the occasional pink wig when I’m 60, so if you want to use navy blue eyeliner and a frosted pink lipstick everyday–or no makeup at all–then go for it. I’m not being sarcastic (for once). I’m all for people wearing whatever makeup makes them feel good, but I also know that this post might be helpful to those who may be looking to change things up. Again, I’m not trying to imply that looking younger is the ideal, but most women I know and have worked with don’t want to look older than they are.

So, hopefully this post has helped those who needed it. And for those of us born in the early 80s or earlier, let’s take a second to be thankful for everything we have learned since we were in our 20s 🙂

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Sephora Insider Product Recommendations

I am really, really fortunate that I have an amazingly talented and professional team of makeup artists and hair stylists who work for me. Each artist and stylist has a different beauty background, and I love that. It brings a great mix of product recommendations for our clients. For wedding work, we only see our clients a few times (although sometimes we are lucky enough to work with them as bridesmaids, then brides, then bridesmaids again!) But skincare, hair and makeup routines go beyond the wedding day. So we are always happy to recommend products to use.

Alexis is one of the rockstar makeup artists who works for me, and she is also a longtime Sephora beauty consultant. You should see this girl’s makeup kit–it is insane. She is always up on the newest products and she gets to try out a lot of what they carry. Alexis has a wealth of knowledge and our clients soak it up.

Below is a list of skincare and makeup products that Alexis recommends, along with a short description of each. If you are like many of the people who walk into Sephora and are immediately overwhelmed, this list is a great place to start.

SKINCARE

Algenist Genius Cream: This luxurious cream provides huge anti-aging benefits. Microalgae oil and plant-based collagen visibly restore the skin’s resiliency and elasticity.

Algenist Genius Eye Cream: Alguronic Acid and microalgae nourishes and repairs the eye contour while improving luminosity.

Algenist Genius Serum: This serum contains powerful Alguronic Acid, microalgae oil and vitamin C to visibly reduce lines, wrinkles and age/dark spots.

Dr. Perricone OVM: This scientifically formulated product is made from bio-matrix technology from eggshell membrane. It is a powerful anti-aging compound with precise ration of nutrients, protein, and peptides to restore skin. Increases appearance of the skin’s volume and firmness for a three dimensional anti-aging effect.
Dr. Perricone Hyalo Plasma: This dermatological grade hyaluronic acid treatment addresses aging skin dehydration by nourishing collagen. It’s an oil-free product that smooths fine lines and wrinkles.
Fresh Black Tea Firming Mask: An intensive overnight moisturizing treatment. This has a corset-like effect on the skin, giving it a more defined and contoured complexion. Black tea ferment, black tea extract, blackberry leaf and lychee seed extract firm, lift, repair and hydrate skin.

Glam Glow Super Cleanse: A revolutionary mud-to-foam daily cleanser. Dissolves oil and makeup, rinsing away any pore-clogging debris. Appropriate for all skin types.

Glam Glow Thirsty Mud: This extreme hydration mask is great for normal, dry and dehydrated skin. Leave on for 15 minutes or apply a thin layer and leave on overnight. It instantly hydrates and plumps the skin.

Luna Retinoid Oil: It minimizes pores, lines, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. Use it before bed to have clear and radiant skin in the morning. It helps clear skin while calming and soothing it. Cold press avocado, chia, and Concord grape seed are just a few key ingredients that help give your skin the ultimate transformation.

Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Cleanser: This cleanser stimulates collagen and circulation with natural essential oils to balance and tone skin.

Sunday Riley Good Genes: This well-loved skin treatment plumps the skin and fills in lines, wrinkles and pores. It restores damaged skin and fades hyperpigmentation and scars. It also increases thickness and firmness of skin.

Tatcha Camellia Cleansing Oil: A two in one makeup remover and cleanser that uses a blend of botanical oils  to cleanse skin without stripping it. It even takes off water resistant sunscreen and the long wearing makeup.
Tatcha Polished Rice Enzyme Powder: A gentle and effective exfoliator, cleanser and toner for daily use. This creamy water-activated powder uses nourishing Japanese rice brand blends and papaya extract to help with anti-aging.

MAKEUP

Benefit Hydrating Lip Tint: This super hydrating lip balm glides on and gives sheer but buildable. It hydrates lips while giving you a soft and pretty pout.

Bite Agave Lip Mask: A leave on lip mask that contains a bio-active blend of agave nectar, jojoba oil, vanilla, CO2 extract and reservatol to help heal even the most damaged lips.

Ciate Lip Glitz Fix: Exclusive to Sephora. This kit includes everything you need for an off-the-runway glitter lip look.

Dior Iconic Overcurl Mascara: A revolutionary mascara that gives amazing volume and curl power without the clumps. High-precision ingredients offer intensive definition and curl and a deep black pigment.
Make Up For Ever Pro Finish Foundation Powder: This can be used as a foundation or setting powder. It gives buildable coverage with a natural finish. It is a very soft and lightweight formula that is good for all skin types.
Smashbox Double Exposure Palette: This palette contains 14 powder eyeshadows that transition to wet shadows–so it’s like having 28 shadows–by adding water. When wet, shadows get more vivid and pigmented. Comes with a great double ended brush and an instructional booklet that includes pro tips and tricks.

 

Stila One Step Correct: This primer has ribbons of green, lavender, and peach that instantly improve skintone, with anti-aging properties that fill in pores and lines. A legit beauty product multi-tasker.

Too Faced Melted: A long-wearing melted lipstick. It gives you the shine of a gloss plus the long-wear of a stain with highly pigmented color.

YSL Volupte Tint and Oil: This deep conditioning oil and lip stain contains a blend of four essential oils. It’s lightweight and non-sticky and gives a luminous shine and a tint that enhances your natural lip color.

Thanks to Alexis for sharing her faves!

Have a beautiful day 🙂

You’re All I Need To Get By: MUFE HD Foundation Review

My makeup kit is full of products. There are products I like, but don’t get to use often, there are new products that I am trying out and there are my staples. The HD Foundation by Make Up For Ever is one that I can not live without.

I’ve never written a love letter, but if I did, it would be to this foundation. Why do I adore it so much? Because….

…It gives great coverage, which you can build up by layering, or sheer out with moisturizer.

…It feels like nothing on the skin. Even my foundation-phobe clients have commented on how lightweight it feels.

…It photographs beautifully. Check out my website, http://www.AllisonBarbera.com, for photographic proof.

…As the name implies, it was created for HD (high definition) filming. Since most of the television and film projects I work on are filmed in HD, this foundation is a must.

…The HD Foundation line carries a wide range of colors–25–to suite all skin tones. (Many lines carry 8-12 foundations, and very few for dark skin.) I’ve yet to encounter a skintone that I couldn’t match with this foundation.

…It blends well. Whether you use your hands, a foundation brush, or a sponge to apply, it blends without a problem.

…It stays on. Even without a primer, the HD foundation can easily stay on for 8 hours.

…A bottle lasts a while. As a makeup artist, I go through a ton of foundation, but even the colors I use most usually last me 2 or 3 months.

If I somehow showed up to a job without my HD foundations–this is the kind of thing I have nightmares about–it would be a bad day. The HD Foundation is definitely the best medium-full coverage foundation I’ve ever used and I am borderline obsessed with it.

Want to see for yourself? Take a trip to Sephora and ask to try it. I think you’ll love it.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Well, They Both Start With “P”: DERMAdoctor Picture Poreperfect Review

Here’s why I need to sleep more–because I recently used a product sample without really looking at the packaging to see what it was for. For some reason, I assumed it was a primer. And as a primer, it worked great! I noticed a big difference in how long my makeup stayed on, which was particularly impressive for a girl with an oily t-zone, working long days in hot August weather. Prime primer-testing conditions.

As I went to write this blog post, I picked up the sample–DERMAdoctor Picture Poreperfect Pore Minimizing Solution. Well I’ll be damned! It’s not a primer after all. I had to think back and remember the appearance of my pores during the testing period. And yes, they certainly did look smaller. (Side note: actual pore size can not be changed, but certain products can appear to minimize them.)

My first impression of this product was “Oh no, I got an expired one!” The product is kind of a milky yellow color, like what some moisturizers can look like when they are too old to use. But it smelled fine (not my favorite smell, but it didn’t scream “expired!”) so I used it. What can I say, I’m a risk taker. It took a little while to absorb, but once it did, we were in business.

So as pore minimizer, I’d say go for it. As a primer, I’d also recommend it. But beware–it does contain alpha-hydroxy acid and salicylic acid, so it can make you more sensitive to the sun. I layered on quite a few face products on top of what I thought was primer and was not outside for much time during my testing days, so I didn’t have a problem. But I wouldn’t suggest wearing this alone with no sunscreen on a sunny day. Or if you live in Florida.

You can buy this product at Sephora, Ulta and Dermadoctor. If you buy it and find another use for it, please share!

Have a beautiful day 🙂

For Blissfully Happy Skin: Bliss Lemon + Sage Body Butter Review

Bliss Lemon + Sage
It won’t disappoint.

I’ve been a bad blogger lately and I apologize for that. But it’s for good reason–I have been super busy with my business! Lots of weddings, wedding trials, makeup parties, new hires…I love it 🙂

So let’s get in a quick product review that I’ve been meaning to do for a while.

In part because of my profession, I tend to focus on taking care of the skin on my face instead of the skin on my body. While my face is combination, my body is straight out dry. From the day it first goes under 50 degrees, until it’s solid open-toed shoes weather, my skin is dry, flaky and rough. Not cute. But it’s nothing some exfoliation and a good moisturizer can’t take care of.

The past few months, one of my favorites has been the Lemon + Sage Body Butter by Bliss. It’s creamy, moisturizing and does not leave the skin sticky. I find the lemon and sage scent refreshing, since every other moisturizer seems to smell like cookies, perfume, or poorly masked chemicals. It’s also paraben-free, which makes me happy.

I have nothing bad to say about this little gem. Every Bliss moisturizer I’ve ever tried has been phenomenal and the Lemon + Sage Body Butter did not disappoint.

At Sephora stores and Sephora.com

Have a beautiful day 🙂

$5 Lip Shine!: LAVANILA Lip Shine Review

I panic when I don’t have a lip gloss or lip balm in my purse, I can not fall asleep without applying a balm before bed and I can barely concentrate if my lips feel dry. I’m always on the hunt for some kind of moisturizing lip product and I’ve recently stumbled across a good one.

Want to hear a Sephora.com secret? If you type “sale” in the search box, that will pull up all the products they have on sale. I use this feature a lot when I have an order that totals almost $50, because anything over $50 ships free. A couple of weeks ago, I placed an order that came in at $47, so I searched the sales to see what was around $3 or $4 to move my order into the free shipping range.

I couldn’t find anything I liked for $3 or $4, but I found the LAVANILA Lip Shine in Pure Vanilla for $5. My lip gloss obsession wouldn’t allow me to buy anything else.

Here’s what’s great about it: It’s not sticky, it has no chemicals, parabens, or any of that bad crap and it moisturizes (I’ve read some reviews that said the Lip Shine was drying, but I didn’t find it to be at all). Contrary to its name, it’s actually pretty low shine. I prefer a little more shine, but hey, if it moisturizes and only costs $5, I’ll forgo the shine. And if packaging is important to you, this one is nice. It doesn’t leak or get sticky around the cap, and it doesn’t look like something a 12 year old would keep in her Justin Beiber makeup bag.

What I don’t like: The smell and the taste. The smell is not horrible–it’s got that Burt’s Bee’s/natural scent–but I like things that smell like dessert. Again, just a preference. It tastes like what I imagine beeswax would taste like, but it didn’t make me want to wash my mouth out like some other lip glosses/balms have. I’ve accidentally consumed substantial amounts of what tastes like cherry/passionfruit/coconut covered chemicals from lip products over the years and I’d prefer it if I never had to again.

This is my advice–if you are in the market for a good, cheap, moisturizing lip product, or you need to push your Sephora order into the free shipping zone, give this a try.

http://sephora.com/browse/product.jhtml?id=P212916&shouldPaginate=true&categoryId=5850

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Grape Crush: Urban Decay 24/7 Eyeliner in Ransom Review

There are lots of different purples in the makeup world.  You’ve got your lilacs, your lavenders, your eggplants, your plums, your amethysts, your royal purples and so on. But my favorite purple shade is grape.  It looks great with brown eyes, which the majority of people have.  However, I usually have trouble finding good grape eyeshadows or eyeliners.

Then I met Urban Decay’s 24/7 eyeliner in Ransom.  It couldn’t be more grape colored!  I love the 24/7 liners.  They are smooth, creamy and highly pigmented.  I go through 24/7 in Zero (jet black) quicker than I go through toilet paper, and Bourbon (brown) and Gunmetal (gray) are essentials in my kit too.

Ransom is a perfect color for the brown-eyed girls out there. If you’re going to do a purple smoky eye, this liner will be your best friend.  A word of warning though–these liners are great for smoky eyes because they smudge easily, but if you are going to wear them on their own, trace over them with an eyeshadow to set the liner.

I bought mine from Sephora as part of the Limited Edition 24/7 Eyeliner Duo deal (also comes with a good covered pencil sharpener). It would normally be $43 for two 24/7 liners, but this set gives you two for $29.  http://sephora.com/browse/product.jhtml?id=P276809&categoryId=C10461

Purple eyeliner is a good way to make brown eyes pop without doing the whole eye with bright, vibrant or intense shadow. So if you want a little change in your eye makeup look, give it a try!

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Who Wants a $25 Sephora Gift Card?

This is really easy,  I promise.  As part of the Allison Barbera Beauty Referral Rewards Program, a $25 Sephora eGift card is given to anyone who refers someone for three services, or refers two or three people for a total of three services.  After the services have been performed, you will receive a $25 Sephora giftcard via email.

We have a three person minimum for weddings, so you will automatically qualify if you refer a bride who books with Allison Barbera Beauty.  This also works with Makeup Parties (minimum four people), Spa Parties (minimum four people) and Childrens’ Makeup Parties (minimum six people). Or you could refer, for example, your sister for an Event Makeup session, your friend for a Personalized Makeup Plan and your coworker for a Relaxing At Home Facial. Since that adds up to three services, you’d get the gift card.

Easy, right?  Just make sure you tell anyone you refer to mention your name so you get the gift card.  As always, thank you for all the referrals that you send to Allison Barbera Beauty.  Word of mouth is a huge part of our business, so we really appreciate it.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Spray It, Don’t Say It: Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray Review

Makeup is supposed to be temporary, but not so temporary that it has faded completely by lunchtime. Face primers, eye primers and powders help, but for an especially long day, a setting spray is key. I just found one that I love and I really recommend it.  It’s called “All Nighter Long Lasting Makeup Setting Spray” and it’s made by Urban Decay.

All you need is 4-6 sprays of the product (to cover you whole face) after you’ve finished your makeup and you’re set for the day.  As a test, I’ve used it on myself before workouts and it really does keep the makeup on. It doesn’t feel like anything and doesn’t leave behind a sticky residue or make your skin feel tight.  It’s oil-free, vegan, not tested on animals and contains no parabens.

The All Nighter Spray is now a must for me when I’m doing weddings or event jobs. If you have an all day event to go to, or just have a problem with makeup staying on, this is a great product for you.

Sold at Sephora stores and Sephora.com.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

 

 

Wipe That Makeup Off Your Face: Josie Maran Bear Naked Wipes Review

Josie Maran, Bear Naked Wipes
These wipes are bear-y good. (Couldn’t resist.)

There are some nights when I am so tired I can barely walk. The thought of getting into my pajamas, brushing my teeth, taking my contacts out, removing my makeup and washing my face is too much. But the chances of me going to sleep with my makeup still on are about as good as this diehard Biggie fan buying a Tupac album.  It’s just not going to happen.

So when I’m having one of those nights, I reach for a makeup wipe to cut out a step. In the past, I’ve had a lot of issues with makeup wipes–they didn’t remove all of my makeup, they made my skin feel dry or tight, they stung and/or they made me break out. I also try to avoid using disposable items when I can (you’re talking to a girl who recycles straw wrappers here,  so I never felt good about using something one time then throwing it out.

I recently tried the Bear Naked Wipes by Josie Maran and I absolutely loved them.  They removed all of my makeup, didn’t dry out or sting my skin (I even used them on my eyes without a problem) and I didn’t break out after using them two nights in a row.  Josie Maran is an eco-friendly company, so I was psyched to learn that these wipes are biodegradable. And a portion of every package of the wipes goes to the NRDC’s Polar Bear SOS Initiative to help polar bears, who are now an endangered animal because global warming is melting ice in their habitats.  Did I mention the wipes are also cruelty free and don’t contain parabens?

I still strongly believe that an oil cleanser or precleanse is the best way to remove makeup, but if you need to reach for a makeup wipe once in a while, I think these are the best for your skin.

The Bear Naked Wipes will not only become a part of my own personal makeup supply, but I will definitely keep them in my kit for all the makeup changes during photoshoots and film work. $12 for a pack of 30 at Sephora.

Have a beautiful day 🙂