Photo 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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!!
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.
So it's not quite spring yet, but I can't wait for some green and pinks, and those gorgeous tulips that come up and lean effortlessly into the sun. What better way than to incorporate this feeling into my nails?! I decided to give this Doc Marten Inspired Floral nail design a try. I didn't have the exact colors she used in her tutorial, so I used what I have from my crazy extensive nail polish collection. In place of a black base I opted for Essie's No More Film, a gorgeous navy with a violet lean to it. For the rose I used Essie's Lovie Dovie and Fiji for the highlights. For the greenery around the roses I used Turquoise and Caicos. While she used a brush for her design, I found using a dotting tool just as effective. I made the personal choice to just keep it low key to two nails instead of all five. I do love the finished look. I can't wait to try this look again switching up the shades.
Described on MAC's website as as "A 77-Mineral Moist Complex that instantly nourishes lips with maximum moisture in a lightweight, non-sticky formula," I would have to agree! I'm very pleased with this gorgeous coral/pink called Lady at Play. MAC describes it as a cool tangerine but it looked more pink on my olive skin tone (see swatch below!) It was so ultra smooth going on and lightweight that it was a complete joy applying this lipstick! One handful of pistachios and three hours later, it still looks pretty amazing on. One thing that stands out to me about this product is how buildable it is in formula and I love that it's not sticky so on those really windy days in NYC my hair won't be a magnet for it. Speaking of magnets, the bullet has a super cool magnetic closure keeping it secured inside. These things matter for us girls that toss lipsticks in our bag on the go.
A loud bright pout never goes out of style it seems, but it always makes a reappearance in popularity, at least in print around Spring time. Above, are a few of my go to colors for this coming season. The always indulgent Tom Form lipstick in Cherry Lush is the perfect full on red for me. Red, black and white are in for Spring. Think Beyonce at the Grammys. Purchasing a Tom Ford lipstick is a bit of a splurge but after trying it I realize why; like YSL lipsticks this is one of the best formulas out there. It stays put, it's highly pigmented and it's almost featherweight after application. For an everyday, less screaming, more office friendly look I love NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Never Say Never, described on their website as a Pink Lilac, making it a more wearable, warm pink but with some punch to it. It leans violet and it's also a long wearing formula. I will be purchasing more NARS pencils as they're coming out with a new line of Satin Pencils this spring with a great selection of nudes, pinks, and reds. Next is a color I would normally stay away from, but I've learned to love a cool pink with a blue undertone like Chanel's Rouge Allure in Extatique. Of all the lipsticks, this is the sheerest in application. This is a great formula if you like a sheer look with color payoff. Chanel makes great lipsticks and like Tom Ford's, worth a purchase at least once! They also have such great shades for every skin tone. Lastly is MAC's Lickable lipstick. Simply a hot pink lipstick that I believe will work on pretty much every skin tone. MAC has done more and more bright colors as of late, and this is a cremesheen formula which means it's not drying to the lips, it's long wearing and pigmented. Seeing as I'm a great big lipstick fanatic, I will review other colors as they fascinate me. Swatches below.
Left to Right: Tom Ford Cherry Lush, NARS Never say Never Velvet Matte Lip Pencil, Chanel Rouge Allure Extatique, and MAC's Cremesheen lipstick in Lickable.
This winter has been like days of old for some New Yorkers. We had some relatively warm winters recently but this one has been brutal at times. We're all looking ahead to warmer spring days. If you've flipped through the March pages of Vogue, Bazaar and Elle you'll see we have a bright spring ahead of us in terms of makeup; with bright turquoise lids, and a very bright fuchsia pout, which I'll highlight in separate post as it deserves it own. While there were pops of color everywhere, one trend seen during most of fashion week for Spring 2013; fresh, clean, lit from within, unbronzed, natural skin. This might have something to do with the many new releases of beauty balms and high tech foundation formulas hitting the market now. Seeing as I don't have supermodel skin, and I'm slow to ride the silicon packed beauty balm train these are my staples for that barely there look. Good old Olay Complete because it's still a great reasonably priced moisturizer with an SPF and makes for a smooth canvas. MAC Face and Body Foundation because it's still one of the best foundations out there with just enough coverage without looking caked on and it's long wearing to boot. MAC also re-promoted this foundation because it's finally available in a travel size bottle. You need so little of it that it made more sense than the jumbo size it was originally sold in. This foundation is praised time and time again by leading makeup artists because of it's super thin fluid finish. Another great MAC product is the Pro Longwear Concealer. It's creamy, lightweight and wonderful for under the eyes. For the lit from within look I like to use just a pea sized amount of highlighter. NARS Illuminator in Copacabana is still one of the best for a subtle glow, and my new favorite is Becca's Shimmering Skin Perfector. If you haven't tried Becca this is a great product to start with. These Skin Perfectors are so blendable, so easy to use and comes in three amazing pearlized shades. No large glitter particles here! A little goes a long way with both these highlighters.
This season MAC has introduced their Pro Conceal and Correct Palettes. Having somewhat of a difficult skin tone to correct, I was pretty excited about this, and for good reason! I received this in the mail and quickly tried it out on blemishes and some dark spots and it's fantastic. It's creamy but it provides build-able coverage where needed. I always found my prior concealers either too yellow, or too red and not enough peach for the under eye area for example. (Indian skin can be problematic!) This $40 palette allows me to mix the exact color that I need depending on what I'm using it for; covering blemishes or evening out the skin tone. I love love love that MAC has now made their pro products available to the rest of us, after all, we want access to some of the best tools and products too. The other option is spend a whopping $250 on Bobbi Brown's Ultimate face palette. This universal palette is used far and wide by makeup artists everywhere, and covers all ranges of complexions. For little old me, I'm happy with my MAC Pro Conceal and Correct Palette in Medium.