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It was that wonderful time of year again, and by that I mean Sephora's VIB 20% event. I went with something that I could use everyday. This beautiful eye shadow quad by Clinique called Morning Java will flatter many a skin tone and it's easy to use because it's basically paint by numbers for your eyes as it is numbered from left to right with an instructional guide on the mirror. Of course you can mix it up any which way you'd like, but if you do suggested method it's quite beautiful on. (Pictures to come!) I have a memory of Clinique eye shadows lacking in color payoff and pigment, but the formula has changed quite dramatically.  Clinique has been known for their great skincare for eons now, but they are definitely making a name for themselves in color cosmetics as well. I have been wearing their cake liner for almost 20 years because it was the only liner back then that would stay put all day. These are nicely priced at $28 and they're a great size to just throw into your purse and go.  Wear this quad over a sheer primer and it will last and flatter just about any eye color.

 
 
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These cooler, drier temperatures are already taking a toll on my skin. Living in an apartment where the heat is on full blast does not help matters either.  These are my two favorite products for sloughing away dry skin.

Trader Joe's Lavender Salt Scrub.
It might be hard to believe, but this scrub is pure luxury. When you open it, the lavender just takes over your senses and you're practically transported to some divine exotic location where lavender grows in abundance. This salty scrub is saturated in sweet almond oil, and other natural oils and does double duty in the shower to exfoliate and then puts moisture and goodness back into the skin. You will not need a moisturizer after this! It's wonderfully oily and rich. Also, it's reasonably priced so I'd recommend this as a gift this season as well, as long as you know someone loves lavender and bath products.  Do yourself a favor, and when you're over there at Trader Joe's picking up gyoza from the frozen section, wander over to the beauty section of the store-- you will be happy you did.

Bliss Lemon + Sage Body Scrub
This is a product I've used for a long time. Unlike the the Trader Joe's scrub, this is one you use before showering. This velvety scrub works to get rid of dead skin sitting on the surface, so it's a lot like dry brushing, and when you're done giving all your parts a good scrub, it does rinse off leaving a very very light coating of oil (jojoba) on the skin. It smells fantastic, if you love citrus and sage as much as I do. And it's an old time favorite. I believe this had quite the following when it was first introduced because a lot of scrubs were either oil based, like the one above and/or they weren't all as effective. Bliss also makes their Lemon + Sage lotion if you want to go crazy.

With these scrubs you also get the added benefit of increasing circulation in the skin and body, and I've read over and over again to work your way up to the heart and towards the heart as you massage these scrubs in. You'll feel great and pampered, and sooo soft!



 
 
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I got a little gussied up last night for dinner and a show. I wanted to keep the look simple so I did a quick smokey eye and a nude lip using the products below:

NARS Sheer Matte Foundation
I used a moist beauty blender to give me a smooth evened out complexion, working from the center of the face outward.

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer
Applied my fingers, dabbed & patted this under the eyes and on any existing dark spots from blemishes.

MAC Blot Powder (not pictured)
A dusting with a kabuki brush to set everything in place and eliminate shine.

NARS Blush in Outlaw
Soft rose shade applied using a MAC blush brush just lightly on the upper cheeks. Don't be scared; it looks darker in the compact than it really is.

MAC Paintpot in Blackground
Easiest way to create a smokey eye with one product! Apply with fingers or a flat eye brush close to lash line and bring it outward towards crease and then buff/blend that color out quickly with a MAC 217 brush. Bring a little on the bottom lash line to complete the eye. Smoke it out quickly, as this product sets f and stays set all evening. Finish by curling lashes and adding mascara.

Tom Ford Lipstick in Coco Ravish
Great nude lipstick for an evening look & smokey eye. Tom Ford has one of the best lipstick formulas out there.


 
 
Marilyn Monroe reportedly used Vaseline on her face to create that ethereal glow she's famous for. We've come a long way since then but we still want beautiful "glowy" skin; nothing too shimmery, and nothing too glittery. We want our skin to look fresh and healthy with some extra oomph. These are my favorite products (Left to right) for getting the glow.

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Powder in Light Flush
This is a baked highlighter with pink and bronze all swirled together creating a beautiful rose gold. MAC comes out with a few different shades every season so this specific one may be discontinued, but I love it and a little goes a long way when applied lightly with a big brush to the upper cheekbones and lightly in the t-zone.

NARS Illuminators in Copacabana (small tube) and Laguna (larger tube)
That little tube of Copacabana, believe it or not has had many uses. A pin size amount of that silvery iridescent pink does wonders right above the cheeks and temple area. A tiny bit in the inner corner of the eyes also helps to brighten your eyes. NARS does cream illuminators well because it blends so easily and leaves the slightest shimmer and stays in place all day. The Laguna is a gorgeous bronze that can be mixed into your foundation for a great "just returned from the Islands" healthy glow.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfectors in Opal (smaller tube) and Topaz
I'm not one to play favorites, but honestly Becca does this best. This formula is so fine and smooth it is like magic in a bottle. The consistency is fluid and goes on like a dream, plus the shades are phenomenal. Opal is a lightened gold and super flattering on tan skin. Topaz adds a bronze sheen to the skin and can probably be used as contouring liquid for lighter complexions. I'm so happy Sephora now carries Becca products because it's been hard to find and the line is great.

NARS Albatross Highlighter

Quite deceiving in that sleek black compact, it is quite the powerful powder highlighter. Although it looks vanilla in the compact, it's actually a gorgeous platinum blonde shade. This is a finely milled pressed powder as well and it's great for a finished evening look under the brow bone and on the high points of your cheeks.

Two tips: You want a lit from within look so be light handed, and remember that placement is key.  Now go get your glow!


 
 
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I love Autumn. Okay I admittedly love a new season because of the change in makeup; it's like a quick wardrobe change without a lot of effort. Makeup after all, is trans-formative. This is the season I break out the darker lipsticks and jewel tones.

My new favorite shade this year is MAC's Rebel. I believe this shade would look awesome on any complexion that attempts it, and I double dare you to! It's THEE most beautiful plum/fuchsia shade for this season. At least take yourself to the MAC store and try it on before saying "it looks too dark". It caught the eye of some dude (although not my type) at the Farmers Market at Union Square one Saturday. It will get you noticed and hopefully by someone you're checking out.

Another gorgeous shade that I believe is universal is the YSL Rouge Pur Couture Mat #202. I should mention it's hard to find now because it's a color that came out last year and was very popular. I found mine at SAKS. It's a beautiful red that leans blue so it brightens your smile and it's a velvety matte texture so it stays put and leaves a pretty stain on the mouth later on. YSL lipsticks tend to be perfumey so if you're sensitive about scents in lipsticks, skip it. WAY before there was Tom Ford, there was the great YSL lipstick formula.

I tend to skip gloss in the fall because of the wind factor, but I couldn't not put the most beautiful raspberry shade, NARS Place Vendome here. Great consistency and color pay off.  On to cheeks! This season I'm loving NARS Multiple in G-Spot. This berry shades glides on to leave a wash of color and faintest amount of gold. I say "wash" because if you're sporting dark lips you want to be light handed with blush; it should look complimentary and not compete for attention.

Eyeliner is big this season, especially a winged eye and I especially love it in a shade other than black. I fell for Urban Decay's 24/7 Liquid Eyeliner in Siren immediately. It's a slightly shimmery teal shade that just looks amazing on and lasts without fading or falling off. Think jewelry for the eyes.

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YSL #202, MAC Rebel, NARS Place Vendome, Urban Decay's Siren Eyeliner at the end. Above them all, NARS Multiple in G-Spot.
 
 
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I try to drink as much water as possible, though I could do better in that department. I try to wear sunscreen all year round, though I could probably do better there too. One thing I always do is take my makeup up before I go to bed. No matter how tired I am, no matter how late it is, no matter where I am - I always take it off. When I'm traveling I have taken to using cleansing wipes, or makeup remover pads but when I'm home I like to take my time and do a really good cleansing.

I am wholeheartedly a Neutrogena girl, but as my skin has gotten (ahem) more mature I've noticed I need to keep as much moisture in as possible without stripping my skin. I started using cleansing oils a few years ago and was pleasantly surprised at how gentle yet extremely efficient they are. My newest love in cleansing is cleansing balm. I've heard love stories about Eve Lom Cleansing balm, but since that's not in my price range I went for something more affordable and just as wonderful: Clinique Take the Day Off. This generous tub of balm melts away everything including stubborn eye makeup and sunscreen. I rub it on the same way you would cleansing oil and rinse away. It feels absolutely luxurious on the skin and a little goes a long way.



 
 
PicturePhoto courtesy of Style.com
The anticipation of cooler weather always excites me. Fall reminds me of jewel tones, new pencils, and that extra fat, overly indulgent September issue of VOGUE! And yes, it's kind of irritating when fall clothing starts hitting windows in the midst of a heat wave. However, feel differently about makeup. HA! I love knowing what the coming colors and trends are for the season ahead. What I gather this coming fall is that greys, inky blues and dark lips are back. I love the blue/almost violet eye Jason Wu did for his fall collection; it's that blue that looks amazing on all skin tones and on the model to the left, it leans violet which is super flattering on brown skin and brown eyes. I tried to replicate this look using my own products. I used a (now discontinued) MAC Paint in a periwinkle shade and layered the top with Urban Decay's Delux Eyeshadow in Frigid (now on sale for $4 through their website!). I got a very similar finish and with great staying power. Tons of companies make eye paints now that provide the same staying power and there's the old trick of just shading your eye with an eye pencil before applying the eyeshadow. You just might be able to find an eye paint in that perfect shade of blue/violet. I hope you try it!

 
 
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I finally did something I always wanted to do. I visited the NARS Boutique on Bleecker Street here in NYC. It was one of the best experiences in a makeup boutique I've had. My sister told the head artist there what a NARS fanatic I am and we quickly become best friends and proceeded to play with color. That artist introduced himself as Joey and after learning of my love of NARS, he showed me the up and coming (it's out now) Fall 2013 collection, which I admit I'm not as excited as I want to be about it. There's one lip color I have my eye on, and maybe a nail polish. However, he also showed me a new product that NARS will be bringing out soon which is great for women on the go. It's a compact with an insert that clicks in and out for ease, and the application of the panned makeup is velvety smooth and leaves you flawless for hours. I do wear NARS Foundation so I will more than likely try it out eventually. W Magazine had a piece on a new statement eye which was done with eye paints, another product NARS will be introducing this year.  And another reason for me to go back to the boutique. I recommend taking a trip downtown because not only was Joey amazing to talk to and so much fun to hang out with and make-up play with, but you will see colors there that you just don't see at department store counters and you can try it all on. One of these colors is the 413BLKR Velvet Matte Lip Pencil exclusive to that boutique and their online site. It's a gorgeous matte Fuchsia that leans blue and it's a color I'd personally rock all year round -it's just that lovely. So if you ever desire a personalized makeup look using some great products with one on one attention head down there for some much needed playtime!


 
 
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The Fresh Umbrian Clay Purifying Treatment Bar is something I wish I found years ago.
And maybe, just maybe this is a more expensive version Queen Helene's Mud Pack Masque but it's my new favorite skincare treatment. Plus it's much better packaging since there's no tube to fight with since it's simply a bar of clay. I was pretty bad at exfoliating, which should be done at least once a week to remove dead skin cells and to generally help resurface the skin and give it a good glow.



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This bar sits on the edge of my tub, and once a week I'll apply it directly to my face after a hot shower, let it dry while I towel off, and once it's hardened and dried remove it with a wet cloth. While it dries it picks up impurities, and when you remove it, you're essentially buffing the skin and increasing circulation. And from my current use of it, I can tell you it will last a while. It doesn't dry my skin, or leave it tight. I just feel like I've had a good gentle scrub and cleansing.

 
 
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Sweet & sexy! But this Cherry Bomb is a lot more innocent than that famous song by the Runaways. I have seen Tokyomilk products in Ricky's NYC for some time and it was the eye catching packaging that made me more curious about them. My first purchase was this gorgeous makeup tote called Dead Sexy. I just love their imagery and packaging. Check out their "curious things" page.  It also seems their beauty products are made with natural ingredients, for example in this lip balm: Sunflower seed oil, Beeswax, Vitamin E, Aloe Vera and Shea Butter. It smells like a Marino cherry ice we used get at the Good Humor truck. It leaves my lips perfectly supple and soft for lipstick application. I cannot wait to try their lotions and other luxuries!

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Hot. That's one way to describe my favorite colors for the summer. I'm all about candy colored nails this season and these are a few of my favorites. Essie has come out with beautifully bold shades in the last few years (blame the 80's comeback) and this seasons DJ Play that Song is no exception. It's described as "neon plum" on Essie's site and it really is a gorgeous bright purple that looks amazing on tan feet and I'm gonna go for gold and say it's probably one of the few universal neon shades out there. Essie's In the Cab-Ana is described as an aqua blue but for me it's my ultimate turquoise. I always get a blue that's too green which is a big no no for my olive skin so I was thrilled to get this blue and one thing I noticed with this shade is it's staying power. Some blues chip quickly (Essie's Bouncer, It's me, a darker cobalt did NOT last a week without chips). Over the weekend I found that Sephora by OPI was discontinuing their line so I picked up White Hot. A great tip is to apply a white layer before applying neon shades; it makes the color stand out even more instead of blending in with your natural nail. The Q.R.S. neon shades of hottest pink and neon yellow are actually nail stripers with thin brushes for fine art detailing on nails. I got these for under $3 a pop at a beauty supply shop. Lastly is a teenie jar of iridescent orange stars for embellishments. They're super cheap, and also found at the beauty supply store for under $2. Why? Why not!? It's fun!!



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Some products are tried and true products. Having purchased two Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip tars before (in Strumpet and Pretty Boy), I was amped when I found out that they were releasing Lip Tar Stained Gloss. You need so little lip tar and the color payoff is huge. Plus the packaging is super cute with it's little case and small lip brush for precision - what's not to love. So I decided to give the Stained Gloss in New Wave a try. There is a BIG difference from the lip tars themselves. You need a lot more than a "bead" as recommended, and the application is very different because the consistency is different. I found that applying this with the brush provided doesn't work out as well as just pushing the color into your lips with your fingers to create a stained, and somewhat glossy finish. And yes, I realize that is not a sanitary way especially for women on the go who want to carry this around, but it's the most efficient for color payoff. If I had to recommend a gloss for the summer I'd have to recommend NARS Larger than Life gloss, which I'll cover in another post with other NARS products. On to the MAC Lipsticks, also tried and true. I admittedly wanted that MAC lipstick in Feel my Pulse because of the sexy matte bronze packaging. This shade is part of their Temperature Rising collection. While I love love love the casing of the bronze bullet the shade is a little tough to pull off; it's a magenta violet with a blue lean which makes it not as flattering on me as it might be on someone else. My lip line is already dark because of my complexion so maybe it's better with foundation applied to the lips first.  The second MAC color I purchased most recently is one of their cult shades, Rebel. Why would I buy this shade in the middle of summer? It's not exactly punchy or light but it's uber sexy on. I tried this on at a MAC store and I was sold on how gorgeous and flattering this plum shade is. If you're medium to dark this shade will be vavavoom. It picks up light beautifully and as it wears off it leaves you with wine stained lips. It's a satin finish which means it's smooth upon application and it stays put even through a meal. Swatches of color to come.




 

lipstick, eyeshadow, nail polish, essie, OPI, sephora, NARS, MAC, lotion, cream, lipgloss, cosmetics, swatch, Clinique