Face Saver

Summer is officially here, and in my neck of the woods that means heat and a lot of humidity. While my inner beach bunny loves the hot summer weather, my office-working self does not appreciate what it does to my appearance. Don’t even get me started on what this weather does to my hair. But even more troubling is what it does to my face. Not only is it plagued with a decidedly non-dewy shine, but my face seems to grow more and more red as the temperature climbs. I’m forced to present my otherwise put-together self to the world looking like a shiny, oily tomato. Not ideal.

Fortunately I recently received a travel-sized jar of bareMinerals Mineral Veil. I must confess I’ve known about this finishing powder for years but have been resisting the hype – I’ve tried mineral makeup in the past and have not been impressed. But this cute little jar came with an even cuter little Flawless Face brush, and the duo won me over. Also, my go-to finishing powder (Make Up For Ever HD High Definition Powder) has been making me look a little chalky lately. I decided to give the veil a try.

I’m so glad that I did! The translucent powder completely disappears on my face, so I’m not left looking powdery. That cute little brush perfectly applies the miracle working Mineral Veil. A light dusting erases shine and continues to absorb oil throughout the day, and if my bright red tomato face can’t be completely undone, it can be greatly improved – the Mineral Veil transformed my general look from tomato to rosy glow, while also hiding pores and giving me an almost airbrushed appearance.

In this heat, I’m not asking for more than that. Almost airbrushed? I’ll take it!

Advertisements

Wedding Belles

Three weeks ago my twin sister married the man she loves. They had a lovely ceremony and an even lovelier reception, all white linens and peach roses and flickering candles. The chilly April air outside was no match for the love and warmth inside that day. And the pretty decor was no match for the radiant bride; I have never seen my sister look more beautiful.

While I remember the way everything looked, and the way we all felt that day – I, for one, was an emotional wreck – the wedding itself flew by in a blur of activity: ceremony-photos-speeches-dinner-drinks-cake-dancing-what-do-you-mean-it’s-over? What I remember clearly, though, are the hours leading up to the big event. I will never forget the time spent “behind the scenes,” helping my sister (the bride) and all of our friends (the bridesmaids) get ready for the beautiful day that awaited us.

It’s obviously no secret that I’m a bit of a beauty fiend. The morning of the wedding I packed my entire beauty arsenal and brought it with me to the suite where we were to get ready. My sister had hired a hairdresser to come to the suite – a long lost childhood friend, with whom it seemed like no time had passed as she joked and chatted and whipped our hair into intricate updos and cascades of curls. We drank mimosas and steamed our dresses and listened to favorite songs as we decided how to go about making ourselves beautiful.

My favorite memories of the big day – memories that I will certainly cherish for the rest of my life – are of the frantic questions my friends were throwing at me as show time drew closer and closer: Can you fix my eye brows? How do I apply this eye shadow trio? Which color looks best on me? Can you trim my hair? It was a whirlwind of beauty activity, and I was honored that my friends trusted me at such an important moment. So I trimmed hair, gave a tutorial on eye shadow application, helped select makeup shades and dusted everyone’s face with finishing powder (Make Up For Ever HD High Definition Powder) to help keep shine at bay in photos.

My favorite memory – and biggest honor – involved the bride herself. Time was running out, and the hairdresser – who was meant to do my sister’s makeup in addition to everybody’s hair – had to make a call. “Can you do your sister’s makeup?” she asked me, a little flustered. “I trust you.”

So, as my sister sat still, getting her hair curled and pinned and hairsprayed for that oh-so-important walk down the aisle, I sat across from her and made up her face, determined to make her look just the way she’d want to – fresh, glowing, flawless, but not to “done” – she’s not really the makeup-wearing type, and I knew she wanted her soon-to-be husband to recognize her as she approached him at the alter.

Not to toot my own horn, but (toot, toot) I have to admit I did a damn good job with her makeup that day. She looked exceptional. And just like herself. Herself with impossibly perfect skin, soft lips, and eyes that were even more dazzling than normal.


So, in case she wants to replicate her gorgeous bridal look, or in case any of you, loyal readers, are looking for a perfect wedding look, here’s what I used and how I used it:

First, I used a warm washcloth to clean her face and dampen you skin – I find moisturizer goes on more smoothly when the skin is slightly damp. She didn’t want a lot of heavy makeup (she, like me, is blessed with pretty darn good skin), so instead of foundation I smoothed on Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint in Pearl. It has a bit more coverage than a typical tinted moisturizer but still has a light feel, and it does give the complexion a luminous glow. I evened out dark circles and any random blemishes with Mineralogie Ultimate Cream Concealer in U2. This is hands down the best concealer I have ever used; it has long lasting coverage and it doesn’t settle into creases around the eyes.

We wanted her eyes to stand out but in a natural way, so we used brown shades instead of blacks. First I had her curl her lashes. Then I lined the outer corners of her eyes with Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner in Lionfish, a rich medium brown. Stila Smudge Sticks glide on ridiculously easily – I highly recommend them. I then lightly lined her lower lash line with the same liner, smudging out ever-so-slightly at the outer corners for just a hint of a cat eye.

After the liner I used a trio of Clinique shadows on her lids. I used Teddy Bear as a highlighting shade from lashes to brow bone. I used Buttered Bronze, a medium brown, as a wash of color from her lashes to her crease, and then finished with a thick swipe of Chocolate Chip, a dark brown, right along her lashes. I finished off her eyes with a generous swipe of L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Hydrofuge Mascara in Black Brown. Her eyes looked stunning.

To brighten her complexion and give her a soft flush, I used a fluffy brush to sweep Tarte Amazonian Clay Long-Wear Blush in Dollface on the apples of her cheeks and along her cheekbones.

The finishing touch, of course, had to be the perfect lip color – something plumping and moisturizing, natural-looking, and kissable – no sticky glosses or chalky lipsticks allowed. I used Tarte LipSurgence Natural Lip Tint in Peaceful, a nude peach. It was absolutely perfect. It’s long lasting, very moisturizing, and not sticky in the least – ideal for a bride.

And, of course, I gave her a dusting of finishing powder, just like everyone else. In the end, mission accomplished – she was flawless.

Here are some other products that proved popular (and effective) as we made ourselves up for the day:

L’Oreal Paris Infallible Lipgloss in Sangria. An ultra-flattering red that did not budge throughout the entire day. It also has a mini mirror on the cap – handy!

Sephora Nectar Shine Hydrating Care Lipgloss in Raspberry Shine. Several of the bridesmaids swiped this berry gloss on before the ceremony. The color is universally flattering and the shiny gloss lasts longer than most.

Too Faced Lock Down Ultimate Creaseless Cream Eye Shadow in Bedroom Eyes. A bronzey taupe, this shadow stayed put through tears and tissues.

Speaking of tear-proof, I picked up Maybelline The Classic Volume Express Waterproof Mascara in Very Black on my way to the wedding, knowing I’d be shedding a few tears throughout the day. Boy am I glad I did – even when I flat-out bawled during my Maid of Honor speech, my mascara didn’t smudge.

And honestly, at a wedding, what more can you ask for?

Fresh Faced

I don’t know any girl who wouldn’t love to wake up each morning and go about her day with glowing skin, perfect hair and a kick-ass outfit. I certainly would. And luckily for me, although my perfect hair days are few and far between and my outfits are usually just a little bit off, I’ve got pretty great skin. Sure, good genes play a part in the equation, but I also credit my skincare routine and a few key beauty products. And so, in the spirit of the season, I’d like to share some of my favorite products and best practices, so you, too, can enjoy the gift of great skin!

First and foremost, it’s important to stick to a regular skincare routine. Daily cleansing and moisturizing is a must, and weekly treatments such as face masks or chemical peels will only improve your complexion. I personally start each day by splashing my face with warm water, patting it dry, and following up with a tinted moisturizer with SPF. My favorite happens to be ultra-affordable: CoverGirl CG Smoothers Tinted Moisture. I have combination skin that’s on the dry side, and this SPF 15 formula leaves my skin soft and flake-free without ever looking oily. Plus, the light tint smooths minor blemishes and evens skintone – it’s my number one tip for faking flawless skin.

Another pretty-skin secret? Complexion enhancers and cheek stains. It’s a rare day that I don’t apply one. I love Benefit’s various versions. My favorites are High Beam, a light pink highlighter, and Posie Tint, a poppy pink stain that creates the prettiest, healthiest, most natural looking glow. It’s my go-to product when I’m looking for a bit of a flush.

Once I’ve smoothed on my tinted moisturizer and a complexion enhancer, I usually finish my face with a dusting of powder. I’m still obsessed with Make Up For Ever HD High Definition Powder. A bit on my nose and chin and my pores vanish and any extra shine is kept at bay.

Those are the products I use on a daily basis to keep my complexion looking fresh, but the easiest way to look like you have healthy, glowing skin is to actually have it! I only use plain water to wash up in the morning, but at night I lather up with my favorite face wash, Philosophy Purity Made Simple. This one-step cleanser is mild and effective; I gently massage it into my skin for at least 60 full seconds before rinsing off with warm water. Then I follow up with a thicker nighttime moisturizer. I vary my evening moisturizer based on season, but right now I’m using Philosophy Miracle Worker. This ultrasmooth anti-aging formula has a satiny texture that my skin drinks right up. After a few days of using it I noticed my skin felt softer and a persistent blemish on my chin was fading fast; after weeks of use, it’s my new favorite skincare product.

These products may work for you or you may have your own favorites, but no matter what you use, the most important thing is to be consistent. Take the time to take care of your skin, and it will pay off. Before you know it, you may wake with a gorgeous, glowing complexion. A perfect hair day can’t be far behind.

Summer Loves

Summer is officially upon us, and with the gorgeous weather comes oily skin, frizzy hair, and often a less than fresh feeling. Happily, I’ve found a few wonder-products that help beat the heat and keep me feeling fresh and clean. Here, my top summer beauty picks:

Burt’s Bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes – These 99.1% natural pre-moistened towelettes slick away oil, smudged makeup, and everyday grime without leaving skin feeling too dry or too greasy. They have a pleasant and super-refreshing scent, and can be used all over the body for a quick all-over cleanse. I use them at night when I’m feeling too lazy to properly wash my face, and during the day when I’m feeling particularly icky.

Make Up For Ever HD High Definition Powder – This translucent finishing powder is AMAZING. A light dusting keeps skin matte for several hours, and somehow manages to hide imperfections and perfect skin tone without any tint. I purchased the mini-size at Sephora.com to give it a try, and it contains plenty of product to get me through the summer. I’ll definitely be buying this one again.

Organix Renewing Moroccan Argan Oil Penetrating Oil – This little bottle of drugstore hair oil contains Moroccan argan oil – the hair oil of the moment – and is a perfect summer hair helper. It features a summery tropical scent, makes hair shiny, fights frizz and keeps grease at bay for several days. Plus, it helps condition hair. It’s an ideal product for beauties who don’t wash their hair every day.

Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine Cologne Absolue – This is my new favorite scent. It has a long-lasting, authentic orange scent, and makes me feel happy and clean when I wear it. What’s more perfect for summer than that?