All Posts Tagged ‘Beauty


makeup monday: makeup blunders (and how to fix them).

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Whoa! Look at that, I blink and a week goes by and I haven’t posted anything and it’s like I never even started this little blog. Apologies, dear reader (I think I’m back down to one). With two cross-country jaunts and crazy amounts of work and a serious lack of sleep getting in the way, I just haven’t had the time or the zeal to muster a post.

But here I am, a new week has begun and I’m ready to PAAARTAAAYYY. Just kidding, I did plenty of that this weekend (hello, two-day hangover). But I am ready to blog, and today it’s all about ‘what not to do’ when it comes to your makeup. Listen, we all make mistakes in the realm of beauty products (please refer to the several years that I had a passionate love for white eye shadow), but now that I’m a grown-ass woman, I find it relatively easy to avoid major beauty blunders. I’m here to help you do that too. Here are a few of my biggest ‘please don’t’ makeup moments and how to avoid them.

Mismatched Foundation

wrong foundation

Where we go wrong: oh boy, this one’s a doozy. I see so many women out there who do themselves such a disservice by choosing the wrong shade of foundation. It’s either too dark or too light or too orange, and it can be the easiest way to derail your entire look (and age you, which no one wants, am I right?). The function of foundation is in its name — it is the foundation for the rest of your makeup, which means it should only serve one purpose, to naturally even out your skin (both in texture and tone). It’s not meant to add color (that’s a job for blush and bronzer), it’s purely meant to give you the best version of your skin so you can more easily enhance your features with the other makeup that you apply.

What to do instead: for foundation to do its job, it should be as close to your natural skin tone as possible. It will take a little work to find the right shade, but you will be all the better for it. The best way to do this is to grab a friend (for moral support and because shopping for makeup is fun), head to your local makeup store, choose a few shades that you think might work and test them on the skin just below your jawline in natural light. The shade that disappears when applied is your match. Easy peasy.

Clumpy Mascara


Where we go wrong: women go wrong in so many ways here. Tell me, who really enjoys clumpy, spidery eyes? Anyone? Bueller? I didn’t think so. I know that most women would love to have those thick, long perfect lashes that don’t need a hint of mascara, but for most of us, that’s merely a pipe dream. But applying layer after layer of mascara in search of volume just makes you look like a messy clown, especially if you apply equal amounts to the tips of your lashes as you do the base. It’s also worth noting that most mascara wands if used straight out of the tube carry way too much product on them and can send you immediately to Clumpy Town.

What to do instead: getting mascara right is all in the application and in layering. Before applying to your lashes, blot the wand with a tissue to remove any excess product. When you’re ready to apply, place a mirror on the table below you (looking down into the mirror will help to limit mascara getting on your eyelids) and place the wand at the base of your lashes. In an upward motion, wiggle the wand back and forth and then sweep up. This will apply the bulk of the mascara at the base of your lashes, where volume is important, while still coating the rest of your lashes with the right amount. Once you’ve coated your lashes once, let dry for a few minutes, then apply a second coat (you can skip this step if you prefer a natural, ‘no makeup’ look).

Overdrawn Lips

overdrawn lips

Where we go wrong: I’m going to blame this one on Angelina Jolie and her perfect lips. We all want what she has and about 2% of us actually have it (myself not included). In an effort to pump up our pout, we go crazy with the lip liner and the gloss, and in extreme cases, the collagen; and instead of looking like a hollywood starlet, we end up looking more like an ’employee’ of Hollywood Blvd…if you know what I mean.

What to do instead: there are perfectly easy ways to add a bit of volume to your lips without looking like this (First Wives Club, such a classic). First, when you’re applying lipstick or lip liner, smile while keeping your mouth closed. This stretches the skin slightly and allows you to apply product to the full canvas of your lips. If you want to slightly expand your lip line using lip liner, do so only on your bottom lip in the center for the most natural look. If you want to amp up the volume even further, apply lip gloss to the center of your lips — at the cupid’s bow on the top lip and the center of your bottom lip. This amplifies the shape and creates the illusion of plumper lips.

Too Much Makeup, Period.

too much makeup

Where we go wrong: I think this one comes from a few different places, but the biggest offender is lack of self-confidence. When women wear too much makeup, often they’re trying to compensate for or hide something about their face that they don’t like. I know I’ve had plenty of days where I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror (can those bags under my eyes really be that big?), but the problem with applying too much product is it tends to highlight those areas you don’t like instead of hiding them.

What to do instead: listen, don’t get me wrong here, the answer to wearing too much makeup is not not wearing any. Ask any of my friends and they will tell you that I love a great smoky eye or a bold lip, but the key to pulling these looks off without looking crazy is all in the balance. If you’re going to wear a smoky eye or a bold brow, pair it with a nude lip. If you want to try a bold lip, go for more natural eye makeup. By focusing your pop of color in one area of your face instead of everywhere, you’ll look made up in a chic, understated way, while still being able to have some fun with it.

The moral of the story

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, makeup is only meant to enhance what is already there. Each and every one of you is beautiful in your own unique way, and makeup is a really fun way to amplify that beauty. But. Less is more, people. Makeup is not meant to be a mask, so don’t use it as such (unless you enjoy looking like a clown…or maybe you are a clown, you know, as a profession…no judgment). Find something about your face that you really like and focus your beauty efforts there — that will ensure you really like what you see in the mirror each day. And remember, we’re all in this together. So let’s help each other out and celebrate our beauty! It’s the only way we can hope to escape the horrors of white eye shadow.


low/mid/high: dry shampoo.

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Happy Friday, readers! Who’s excited for this week to be over? Me. I am. It’s been a doozy. Spring is making an angsty teenage entrance to New York City, happy and bright one minute, bitter and dark another. Also, my entire office has contracted the plague, so the week has been an exercise in avoiding wayward germs. I was only half successful. Coughs and fevers and stomach bugs, oh my.

Ah well, the weekend is upon us. And with the weekend comes a new feature on the blog: the low/mid/high series. A fun adventure in which I find my favorite versions of products at low, mid, and high price points. I am always on the hunt for the best price-value relationship for my purchases, knowing that sometimes the cheap thing works and sometimes you gotta throw down some cash for the quality goods. I’m here to guide you on what’s best, then you can decide what you want to spend. Easy peasy.

Today’s feature is all about dry shampoo. Despite my self-proclaimed obsession with beauty products, sometimes I’m lazy. Dry shampoo allows me to be lazy and also still look polished. It’s also great for extending a blowout to day two (or three) or adding a little volume to a hairstyle that might have fallen flat.  Whatever your needs, dry shampoo is a great tool to have in your hair arsenal.

Here are my faves at every price point:

lmh - dry shampoo

Low: Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Refreshing Dry Shampoo, $5.99.

This was a lucky drugstore find that turned into a major win. It’s great at reducing excess oil in your hair and has a pleasant scent to it, which is somewhat rare for dry shampoos. I find your hair stays fresh all day, although it doesn’t add as much volume as the more expensive versions. The bottle goes by pretty quickly for the size, but for the price, it’s a solid choice.

Mid: Ojon Full Detox Rub-Out Dry Cleansing Spray, $13 for travel size, $24 for full size.

First of all, let me just say that for such a great product, I cannot stand the name. It’s like 27 words long and uses the phrase ‘rub-out’. I can’t even. Other than that, it’s fantastic. It keeps your hair looking clean and polished all day long and adds great volume from just a few quick sprays. The smell can be a little strong at first, but that fades quickly. I also like that it comes in two size options; I keep the travel size in my desk at work for touch ups and have the full size version at home.

High: Sachajuan Volume Powder, $32.

This is the Cadillac of dry shampoos, both in terms of features and price. It’s fancy. It’s Swedish. And it is THE BEST dry shampoo I’ve ever used. It usually lasts more than one day, it adds amazing volume and it is the closest thing I’ve found to actually washing your hair. It’s not my every day go-to, mostly due to the price tag, but if I need something with staying power, this is what I reach for. I also sometimes use this as prep for a formal event or a night out. If you want your ‘do to stay fresh all night long (especially if there’s dancing involved), this is a lifesaver.

So there you have it. Go forth and purchase. I hope you enjoyed my first low/mid/high series. What other products should I test drive? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add them to the list!





makeup monday: the best cheap (and not so cheap) tinted moisturizers.

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As you may know (or you may not), I’m a big fan of changing up my beauty routine on a fairly regular basis (my bank account knows this best of all…sigh). Aside from following new trends and trying new products that come on the market, I think there’s also a seasonality to makeup — what you’d wear in November isn’t necessarily what you’d want to wear come April. So as my thoughts turn to spring and all the light and fresh and new that comes with it, my beauty choices tend to follow suit.

Enter tinted moisturizer. This is the perfect time of year to leverage this wonder product for so many reasons: it provides lightweight, sheer coverage that gives the skin a dewy look; it tends to have higher SPF than more full-coverage foundation, which is a must when you start to spend more time outside; and it hydrates your skin without clogging pores because at it’s core, it’s still a moisturizer. It also suits a multitude of skin needs with readily available options for hydration, anti-aging, firming, oil-free, the list goes on.

Tinted moisturizer is also not a product that requires you to spend beaucoup dollars to find a brand that actually performs. While I find the pricier products have more positive long term effects (higher quality ingredients = higher price tag), I have been very satisfied with options at a more wallet-friendly price point. The following are my top three high price and low price brands and why I like them. With so many great options available, there’s a perfect match out there for everyone!

The Cheap

Of the options that you might find at a drugstore (or my favorite low-price beauty destination, the magic that is your local Target), these three really do the trick. I find that all of them provide natural, even coverage, and they make my skin feel hydrated but not overly greasy. The Aveeno option has the highest SPF and is the best option if you like beauty products made from natural ingredients. The Cover Girl option is the most moisturizing of the three, a great choice for those with dry skin, and the Neutrogena is good for more oily or combination skin or if you’re looking for an option with anti-aging properties (aren’t we all).

The Not So Cheap

If you’re willing to spend a bit more on your product of choice, these three options will pay off in spades.  I find all three give me a smooth, even, dewy complexion, and the coverage lasts throughout the day without needing to reapply or touch up. The Dr. Jart+ option definitely provides the fullest coverage of the three (in the best kind of way), which makes sense being a BB cream vs. a tinted moisturizer (typically BB creams fall somewhere between true foundation and tinted moisturizers on the coverage spectrum). It’s also going to be your higher priced all-natural option. The Estée Lauder is my go-to when I want to look slightly tanned; the formula matches to your skin tone and imparts this amazing sun-kissed glow that’s almost like actually going to the beach. Almost. And the Laura Mercier is the true workhorse of the bunch — it’s been around forever, gets rave reviews from everyone, and offers the broadest range of shades I’ve ever seen for a tinted moisturizer. It also comes in a variety of different formulas to suit your specific skin needs; basically if you want it, Laura Mercier has it. All three options are great for all skin types (though the BB cream probably works best on dry skin) and all are well worth the greater investment!