Thursday, July 8, 2010

Lip palette DIY

I've always been a fan of a palette. When it comes to lip palettes, they don't sell well in retail and for good reason. The average person wants to grab a lip color in the morning and apply it- not brush it on from a palette where they have to make too many decisions. And when applying my own makeup in the morning I adhere to this concept. Don't get me wrong: I usually apply a lip stain and then a gloss, so it's not exactly a low maintenance approach.

When it comes to makeup artistry, I have a completely opposite approach. I like to stare into a palette and chunk out a bit of one color and a bit of another (and another and another) to achieve the bestest color I can for any individual. What better way to do this than to make a custom palette?

Too faced had a coolest lip palette a few years ago as a limited edition that was called "Box of Chocolates" and featured about 24 deep welled lip colors that were a wide range of shades. I liked that it had a decent size of each color, so you could potentially chunk some out into a touch-up lip jar (provided for every person in the bridal party). But I wasn't doing weddings much at the time and it wasn't where my head was at....coulda, shoulda, woulda.

So now I have to come up with a clever(er) way to get that great big deep well with lots of choices of colors. Hence, the custom palette. Purchasing an empty palette from a company such as Japonesque with the deep wells will run you about $40 and it still doesn't provide deep enough to chunk out some for others.

One of my makeup artist friends (Allison, hello there) found a fun solution at a craft store: A bead organizer. She can fit about 2 lipsticks worth in each little container in this organizer. This probably ran about $15 and is the size of a phonebook. A little more cumbersome than I want to fit in my kit, which is expanding at a ridiculous rate.

Then, I found the pill separater. You can get the little Mon-Sun containers, all separate and click closed. Perfect. THEN, I found the mother of all pill separaters (after already making 2 smaller palettes): It has room for taking pills 4 times/day, meaning 28 compartments. I picked one up at the Kroger Pharmacy counter area for a whopping $5! Genius. And if I were a more orgaized or particular person I would've labeled each compartment with colors. It actually started off that way and then I messed up/gave up. I'm excited to use my new HUGE variety of colors on a wedding today. And probably still blend 4 colors to achive the desired shade.

I still have my default bag of long wearing lip colors, lip liners, stains etc. And one bag of assorted glosses. But now all of my regular lip sticks and lip creams are compiled into pill separaters.

Good night makeup fans and friends,

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Recent pic of me and Jay:)

Jay and I just did our photo shoot for our invitations and response cards. I got a few shots that fell into good lighting. But the real star of this shoot (besides our friend Jenna who took great pics!) were my fake lashes. I found a seller on ebay that sells these sets of 10 lashes, 30 lashes, or 60 lashes for next to nothing. Of course, I purchased the 60 pairs, since I go through them so quickly with weddings. There were 6 different styles of lashes in this set (totalling under $10 WITH shipping. Yes, it was sent from China and 5 year old orphans probably made them under awful conditions.) Of this, only 30 are wearable for the majority of people. That leaves a fun 30 for me to play around with and not feel too guilty- at 5 cents per lash, I should be popping these on daily.

I chose the boldest, chunky lashes for our photo shoot for a mod look. As usual, it looks SO much more natural in pictures! Well, it's bold, but not compared to how they look in person. I felt like I was wearing a visor of lashes. I even snipped off about 30% of each lash so they were the right length.

Besides the bold lashes, I added black liquid liner, soft nude shadow, airbrushed my face, and finished with a creamy 60's pink lipstick (mac lovelorn). Again, in the photo it's pretty natural looking. This leads me to my own wedding: I want to keep it simple, but bold: Plenty of eyeliner on top, highlighter and some liner on bottom even (softer), big lashes, bright lip stain, and bright pink blush. But eyeshadow barely reads, so that will be nude, and no inner rim liner (too pedestrian and doesn't last more than 2 hours no matter how you apply it). Still debating on tanning or not: I'm not really a "tan" kind of girl, but it'll make my exposed skin look better (read: thinner). I have an appointment next week to try out airbrush tanning to see if I like it. Will keep you posted- My friend, Jessica travels and does airbrush tanning for $35 per person (STEAL!).

In this shot with Jay, I'm obviously directing him. It's funny since I am on set for shoots doing this with models regularly. I guess it's become a habit. The other pic has Jay cropped out- I got the good lighting on this one and shamelessly made it into a headshot. I think it looks vaguely cinematic. The day was scorching hot and I started out with my hair down and that lasted about 10 minutes. Our invitation cover shot does have my hair down, then it was bun city time.

I don't want to post any more from the shoot because it will ruin the invites for anyone who's on the list.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

lifelong obsessions

With beauty products, even the most low maintenance of us will get wrapped up in our own personal vortex of obsessiveness with a particular issue or issues that we want to fix. For those that know me (and even those that have read my other blog, you know that my issues with beauty are: dark circles, darkness around my eyes, and did I mention dark circles?! Yes, overall this trait has taken over, though I could spend a little time focusing on my puny lashes, pale lips, redness on the bottom half of my face (Ugh, why?!) and nose breakouts.

When I think "Oh, I'll just throw on some mascara and gloss and run out the door", next thing I know I'm tapping on concealer under AND over my eyes, worrying about setting it so it won't crease, then knowing I'll look silly without my eyebrows done if I have on concealer. Then I may as well just do the whole kit and caboodle.

Though there are days when I enjoy the markings of my ethnic background (For those who wonder what my "nationality" is aka WHY ARE HER UNDEREYES SO DARK!, I have Ashkanazi Jewish heritage that originated in Latvia.) Those are the days that I don't touch the circles and also the ones when I end up fielding at least a dozen inquiries of "Are you sick?" or "Are you tired?" So, I cannot rest on my ethnic laurels and allow my heritage to make me look unwell. Instead, I must traverse all the products the world over, to cover these blasted things.

I recommend Clinique's All About Eyes concealer over the others since it's not drying. However, it doesn't set without a crease or twenty. The only one that does this also dries me out- Estee Lauder Double wear concealer. It really does cover AND stay put, but makes me a little dry. Tarte's eraser was a favorite for years, but it really doesn't work for more than a couple of hours (great on the face though).

What are your personal beauty achilles heels? Do you have dark circle remedies? If you say pink undertones or cucumbers, I'm really not going to dignify that with a response since we're obviously dealing with different levels of darkness!

Monday, May 10, 2010

heavy rotation and a product steal at Marshall's

When you have far too many products to choose from, you know that you've found a keeper when you are reaching for it daily. Of late, I have a couple new keepers in my rotation of products.

1st I'm a long-time fan of liquid eyeliners and I've finally found the holy grail of black liquid liner: Stila stay all day waterproof liquid eyeliner, $20. It is by far THE BEST I've ever worn. And when I say I've tried a TON....check out these examples of the brands I've tried: Tarte, Benefit, Urban Decay, Christian Dior, Wet n Wild (I know, but sometimes you find great things dirt cheap and this one wasn't bad at all!), Estee Lauder, L'Oreal, MAC, LORAC, and several others. But the Stila marker style liner (only in carbon black) is firm enough so that it doesn't bend too much with pressure, but flexible enough to curve with the slopes of the eye. And after doing my makeup for over 20 years and professional makeup for a decade, I finally mastered the liquid liner vintage cat eye thanks to this little genius. I should also mention that it is smaller and more tapered than almost any of the others too so if you want a subtle "tightline", it makes it really simple.

To be fair I've heard the new Tokidoki liquid liners are amazing and I tried them on my hand in the store and had them on for over a day with some pretty frequent hand washing. I will update if and when I try it on my eyes, but I see a contender for the top prize.

2nd: Mark i-mark eyeshadow single in "nomadic". I bought about 10 shades of this eyeshadow after reading tons of rave reviews on the website about it and wanting to see if indeed they do live up to the hype. For the most part the answer is unfortunately no. The exception, for some reason is this color nomadic. It's the perfect beigey gold with tons of subtle shimmer that doesn't go frosty, but is more flecked in gold. If you read my previous post, you can see that I'm on a highlighter kick and this little individual shadow also doubles as a gorgeous highlighter for the upper cheekbones, inner corner of the eyes and temples. If you're going to make a mark order, go to my site I don't do much with being a "rep", but since I like to try so much stuff on the market, it made sense to get a discount...I have other recommendations if you're going to place an order so that you can qualify for free shipping. Just send an email to me at I'll also be doing a couple posts on my picks from Mark.

3rd: Bodywash from Bath and Body Works in the new Summertime Vanillas collection in the scent "Lemon Vanilla". It's pretty much a combo of the 2 scents that I love the most. Generally anything with a citrus scent is a favorite, with lemon taking a generous lead over others. But the problem with lemon is that it can be a little too dishwashing liquid/Pledge furniture polish. And the problem with vanilla is that it can be a bit cooking/90's college student. But when you combine the 2, it cancels out anything negative about these scents and really brings out the pleasing crispness of the lemon and warmth of the vanilla. I want to drink and swim in this bodywash. Actually I wanted the moisturizer too, but I went right after the scents were released and I'm not the only person that made a point of seeking out the fragrance. I will be going back for more products in this scent.

You can find some great beauty bargains in places like TJ Maxx and Marshalls on occasion. They have plenty of hair products, but generally the makeup is shattered generic palettes, picked over closeouts- pretty hit or miss. But fragrances seem to have a constant array of new-in-box scents. What I've noticed is that the little-known sister fragrances to a more popular scent are flush.
I'm a big fan of Lolita Lempicka and their signature scent has been a best-seller for a decade. But their subsequent launches only seem to appeal to rabid users of the original that are jonesing for something new and yet, familiar. While I enjoy the original scent, it can be overly sweet for daily wear. Their 2nd scent "L de Lolita Lempicka" has some of that same sweetness, the super cute bottle (similar to the orginal), and is much lighter. I almost purchased it on vacation in Saint Martin a couple of years ago when it was brand new, but opted for Dior Cherie instead. Last week I lucked out at Marshall's and found "L" for only $19.99, a $69 value. Better than 'not bad', damn good. And the fact that I know that it was launched only 2 years ago means that it can't be any older than that.
One thing you should watch out for at these stores is expiration dates. You can't always tell, but use judgement. And as you can tell by my myriad products, I always use judgement when shopping. (How do you feel about me closing ever blog with a meta expression regarding my awareness of how absurd this makeup addiction is?)

Wal-mart? Really? Yes. Wal-mart.

As a general rule, I avoid Walmart. Not only is that particular big box store a bane on society in their practices with employment, manufacturing, gun-toting, price fixing (I could go on), but it's visually depressing. There hasn't been any reason to go there, since when shopping in mass retailers I'd prefer Target- who wouldn't?! I am not swayed by the BCBG jewelry pairing with Miley Cyrus. She is worse than Walmart, plus- after seeing the "collection" it's more cheaply made than the rest of the junk in that store. But I will admit that I wanted to check out the new(ish) Hard Candy collection. It's one the of the many brands that bit the dust in the past few years and to have it rise from the ashes is intruiging.

It seems that the graphic artists and merchandisers that drugstore brands rely upon eludes the brand so far. I walked by the display 2 times before finally finding it- It was easy to pass by since it had no signage. After the problem finding it, I became overwhelmed with the layout; it's is a confusing mish-mosh of randomness. I like order in my displays, so that made it less appealing. As I scanned further, I noticed that there were stock issues in many of the sections- tons of sold out products. I hope that they can get these problems fixed before Wal-mart drops them, because....wait for it.....everything I have tried is outstanding.

I've never enjoyed a $6 mascara as I do the Hard Candy Ginormous volumizing mascara in carbon black. It's a rubber bristled wand that gives immediate payoff, good separation and the blackest of lashes. If you're looking for subtlety, this is not for you. If you want soft, touchable lashes- again, a no-go. But if you have thin, pale lashes and hate working on them for 10 minutes, adding coat after coat....A goldmine.

My other favorite find is the blush crush baked blush in Honeymoon Peach. I'm often drawn to a peachy blush and find myself using them more often than the pinks, berries and nudes. This looks more like a highlighter in the packaging and sure enough, it doesn't give much of any color payoff. But guess what? Top off your favorite blush with this and you will glow like none other. I've been using it as a basic eyeshadow; makes a wonderful base. Then I put it on the top of my cheekbones for a day to day glow. Great for any age, do not fear glow unless you are seriously oily. I think there's a subtle holographic touch with the varied colors in this swirled pan that catch the light ever-so-softly. And at $7, as opposed to the usual $30 for the department store highlighting powder....or even the $55 Chanel powder I used to love, it's a can't miss!

I've also tried the split personality duo shadow wand in dazed (lavender/silvery purple). This one is really pretty as an under eyeliner since it's a perfect shape to give a softened line of color. You'll have to work a little harder than I prefer to in order to get the powder onto the tip. They could fill the cap a little fuller with shadow than it is, but after 3 times twisting it back on I have a pretty soft shadow under the eye.

The other 2 products I've had the pleasure of using are the eye tattoos and the "button your lip" set of click pen lipgloss and twist up lipliner. For $10 you get 3 "eye tattoos". I chose the glitter set (though I don't have much use for it), but I did sport it a couple of weeks ago just for fun and it was super easy to apply. I actually just used a little bit of one of them by taking off the plastic covering and transferring that to my eyelid- as opposed to the main portion of the shadow that lives on the paper backed side. I got plenty of product and there's probably 2 more uses for that one tattoo. That would mean 3 uses each! It felt more like a cream shadow and it comes with a colorless loose powder to top it with. I opted for my own shadow in similar colors to set it and it held up really well. It completely guides you to where each color should live on your lid.
The lip set was the best bargain at $8 for 2 products. I really just wanted the lip liner, since it's so difficult to find a rosy shade that isn't too brownish. I chose the pinky lavendar gloss color called "flirt" since it's accompanied by a rosy lip liner. Both are so perfect! I love the click pen design- not unlike the YSL gloss or it's low-end sister by mark cosmetics (love that one too!). This one tastes like a sugar cookie and has more pigment than the others click glosses, like a stain. I will definitely be purchasing a couple more colors. The liner is pearly and pinky, just as I has hoped, also with a surprising amount of pigment payoff as well.

Overall- makes me want to try more. And isn't that just what I need? As you either know or can That is exactly what I don't need. So, in essence: Thanks a lot Wal-mart. You've done it again.