Secret Weapon: NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer

Over the course of the last six months or so, I’ve noticed that my under eye area seems angrier than usual. Darker. Crinklier. Certainly more tired.

I’ve tried various serums and eye creams in hopes of improving the situation, but so far the only measurable results have been irritated eye balls. I haven’t given up hope, and I have a few new contenders to try out, but I know I need a little help while I wait for conditions to improve.

Enter NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer. I picked up a mini tube in Vanilla Light 2 during a recent Sephora trip. It turns out this shade is perfect for masking dark circles and works with my fair complexion. This creamy concealer blends easily and provides a surprising amount of coverage with just a tiny dab of product. It’s long lasting and doesn’t crease or draw attention to those extra crinkles I mentioned. And the mini size I purchased for $13 six weeks ago still has plenty of product left in the tube. Which means I can afford to keep using this secret weapon until I find a more permanent under eye solution.

What’s your secret weapon product?

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Make Me Blush

Something about Spring always makes me crave a good blush. The reappearance of lawns after months of nothing but snow as far as the eye can see, the sunnier days and the fresh green buds on all the trees makes me long for a youthful glow. Luckily, there are many options – new formulas and old standbys alike – to get me ready for this most optimistic of seasons.

My all-time favorite blush is relatively new, but has amazing staying power and looks stunningly pretty. Tarte Amazonian Clay Long-Wear Blush in Dollface is the best things to happen to cheeks since Nars Orgasm. The soft pink powder is gorgeous, giving my pale complexion a cheerful wash of color that literally lasts until I wipe it off at night. Plus, it contains Amazonian clay, the hot new cosmetic ingredient that is great for skin and, let’s face it, just sounds cool. The blush comes in an array of colors, but Dollface was by far my favorite; it makes me look flushed, not wind-burned.

Nars Orgasm is of course a classic, a nice medium pink powder blush that looks good on virtually everyone. It goes on fairly sheer and you can layer it for your desired level of color. I personally don’t think it has the same staying power as Tarte’s offering, but it’s a classic for a reason.

If you’re more of a cheek stain kind of girl, Benefit Benetint is another cult favorite, and nothing beats it when it comes to a getting a nice rosy glow. The red liquid is great for lips, too. Unlike other stains that I’ve tried, I find this one easy to apply – you actually have a few seconds to rub it in before it dries, so you don’t end up with an obvious streak across your face instead of the intended wash of color. Benefit also has a pink version, Posietint, for days when you’re feeling less bold. In fact, you can buy a trio of sample sized Benefit complexion enhancers – Benetint, Posietint and the light pink highlighter High Beam – for $15. It’s a great way to add a little variety to your makeup routine.

My favorite way to wear blush is with clean skin, a swipe of mascara, and a clear or light pink lip gloss. It looks incredibly fresh, like you just came inside from a refreshing Spring stroll. And who couldn’t use a breath of fresh Spring air?

What’s in a Name?

A few years back a friend of mine pointed out that the majority of the makeup I buy comes with a cool name. She laughingly pointed this out one day while we were getting ready to go out for a night on the town. While she painted her nails a color named something like “brick” and dusted on eyeshadow in a shade called “desert brown,” I was happily painting my face with my all time favorite makeup palette, Too Faced’s “The Temptress.”

It got me thinking, particularly when it comes to makeup, what’s in a name? Obviously the chicest, most fun name can’t make a lousy product a good one, but, I have to admit, I’d rather apply a product whose name is dripping with sex appeal than one whose name conjures up images of vultures and a cactus.

I have collected a variety of sass-inducing beauty products over the years, and I will confess to using them to boost my mood and confidence in addition to whatever increase in beauty they can contribute. Here, a few of my favorite sexy products:

– I’ve mentioned it before but I have to bring it up again. Ladies, if you don’t own Nars Orgasm blush by now, do yourself a favor and buy some. Yes, it has a naughty name, but the truth is this sheer pink blush looks fantastic on every skin tone I’ve ever seen it on. It goes on light, and you can layer it on for a darker glow or keep it sheer for a subtle one. There’s a reason it’s been a cult classic for years. It’s the second best way to get that glow.

– Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Lust. A metallic purple eyeliner might sound scary, but trust me, it’s not. This stay-put liner is one of my secret beauty weapons. Smudged lightly under the eyes it’s a subtle way to make my eyes pop. Or, when I’m feeling more bold, I use it to create a cat eye. Either way, who wouldn’t feel sexier after lining her eyes with lust?

– Too Faced Lock Down Ultimate Creaseless Cream Eye Shadow in Bedroom Eyes. One of my more recent beauty finds, this cream shadow is made with Too Faced’s Shadow Insurance, a primer that keeps your eyeshadow from creasing and smudging all over your face. Bedroom Eyes is a shimmery golden brown that stays put, even in hot and humid weather. And every time I wear it someone tells me I have beautiful eyes. Sold.

– My last pick is brought to us by OPI, a brand that in my opinion has mastered the art of naming products. My current favorite is their Nail Lacquer in An Affair in Red Square, a vampy red that stays put and looks absolutely fantastic, the perfect blend of classy and sexy.

And really, isn’t that what we want from our makeup?

Lazy Beauty

Maybe it’s the sweltering mid-August heat, or maybe it’s just that I’m way too busy these days, but lately I’ve been practicing what can only be called lazy beauty. My once meticulous nighttime skincare routine of cleansing, moisturizing, and doing regular at-home chemical peels (I like Anew Clinical Advanced Retexturizing Peel, available from Avon) has fallen by the wayside. I’m lucky if I can be bothered to wash my face before falling into bed. Fortunately for my face, I recently tried the new EZ4U 2 GO 4-in-1 facial towelettes from mdskincare. They come in convenient individual packages and are about as easy to use as it gets: remove from package, swipe over face, pass out. The package claims that they cleanse, balance, treat and moisturize in one step, and I have to say, my skin has glowed every time I used one. And, unlike most of the other facial towelettes I’ve tried, these don’t dry out my skin.

Other time saving, multi-tasking products I’ve been using? Venus Spa Breeze disposable razors, which have bars of shave gel built in. In my experience, they don’t give you as close a shave as traditional razors, but they make shaving so much less of a pain that I don’t mind shaving a little more often.

Since it’s summer, I’ve also been skipping out on body lotion (come fall I will have to go back to slathering on a layer of the stuff every time I step out of the shower) and instead have just been spritzing on Victoria’s Secret Beauty Rush Body Double Mist. The perfumed body spray has skin conditioners in it to make you soft while you smell good, and it comes in a variety of scents. My favorite is Coconut Craze.

As far as makeup is concerned I’ve been taking the very easy road: tinted moisturizer, lip gloss, and a little powder on my nose. To give myself a little color, I’ll dust blush on my cheeks and eyelids for a natural, all over pick-me-up. My favorite blush? The classic, can’t-go-wrong shade, Nars orgasm.

I’m not the only one paring down my routine. My boyfriend recently starting using Nivea for Men Active 3 Shower Shampoo and Shave, and 3-in-1 product that, you guessed it, can be used as a shampoo, body wash, and shaving cream. He loves it, and I’ve gotta rave about it too. His hair is soft, his skin is smooth, and boy does it smell fantastic.

Lazy never looked (or smelled) so good.