Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Read My Lips

Lip balm is an absolute essential. If I were to be painfully honest, I keep one in my bag, one in my car, several in my bathroom and sometimes they are strewn about the house like little hidden treasures that I come across every once in a while. I am not by any means loyal to a particular lip balm or treatment. I will try anything new at least once. So when I heard Josie Maran was coming out with an Argan Lip Treatment, I knew I would be adding that to my repertoire.

I may be a one lip treatment woman from now on. This Argan oil infused lip balm is a wonder. It helps to protect and nourish lips and instantly moisturizes better than anything I've used before. While it's an angelic looking pink color in the pot (which by the way is adorable) it goes on clear. A subtle ehancement to your natural coloring. It smells of green apples. It doesn't really taste like much of anything, which is just fine by me.

One swipe and my lips feel moisturized and the feeling lasts a good amount of time before you need to reapply. The Argan Oil is a source of antioxidants, Vitamin E, and fatty acids to aid in soft, supple lips. I have noticed a dramatic difference in the softness of my lips and the texture is much smoother.

The only con is for a lip balm, it's a bit pricey ($20). But it moisturizes, heals and most importantly outlasts a large portion of its cheaper competitors, making it worth every penny. And get ready for this....it's not sticky at all! Hooray for lip balm that is not sticky. I, for one, cannot stand putting on balm or gloss and having my hair instantly stuck to my mouth. You can reapply liberally throughout the day. I really like using it at night right before bed. I feel like my lips are hydrated overnight. Love it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Going Nude

If you're like me, it's difficult to find lip color that's truly wearable, especially nudes. While all the things that a nude lip can do (perfectly complement a smoky eye, brighten your skin and eyes) sound like a dream come true, the selection process is sort of a mystery to most.

Finding that perfect nude shade is hard work. And if you're going to work at it, shouldn't the final product look good? Hell yeah it should.

I always gravitate towards softer, more muted shades when I make the conscious decision to wear lipstick (which is not often). And I have always loved a nude lip. It's just so damn chic and glamorous in a way that red lipstick just can't compare. There's an edgy-cool association, as opposed to the sultry, femme-fatale look of a red lip. I find a properly executed nude lip is hard to achieve (apparently I'm not alone in this feeling). It's all about finding the right just-barely-there-without-looking-like-a-corpse shade that fades just so into your natural coloring. You want something that tones down the natural reddish-pink of your lips without looking like you've just caught a nasty flu. The goal is understated, not sickly.

My (very long) search has come to an end. I've found the holy grail of nude lip colors. Smashbox's Lip Tech in Nude is perfection. It's matte but goes on creamy and smooth (it's infused with vitaman E and emollients) so you're not left with a chalky, dry mess. It has a silicone applicator which glides easily over lips, depositing the perfect amount of color. The finished product is ethereal and sweetly pretty. It makes me look positively glowy. Plus, this stood up to the ultimate test: I wore this color to my sister's wedding, and it photographed beautifully and only required a minimal number of touch ups.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

New Obsession: RGB Cosmetics

(two coats of doll plus a top coat)

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love nail polish. I've always painted my toes for any occasion they may be visible. And in the last few years, I have grown to love painting my nails on a regular basis.

A lot of nail polishes can be drying and as we're all aware, the darker colors can stain nails and even leave them looking a little yellow when the color is taken off. Yuck! While these things have not deterred me from using polish, I am happy to have discovered a better way.

RGB is my new obsession, and I mean I'm OBSESSED! As their website states: "RGB is a product line dedicated solely to nail color and care." Their nail colors are free of the drying and damaging ingredients (formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate) used in other formulas. So you can change colors regularly with no damaging side effects (except maybe on your wallet since you'll want all of their colors).

RGB (which stands for Red, Green, Blue) has 10 mainstay shades and adds a handful of new shades each season. Each of RGB's colors is spot on; they are just gorgeous. I recently tried Doll, which has been described as "heaven on your hand" by Harper's Bazaar. I have to agree. It's the perfect nude shade. I'm totally in love with it.

I'll also be adding to my fall line up Dove (light blue grey), Haze (smokey violet) and the wildly popular Toast (modern taupe). Literally everyone has been talking about RGB which you can check out for yourself at InStyle, Lucky, and Who What Wear.

Once you try this chip-resistant polish you'll be hooked, too. I have no doubt you'll want them all. Check out the full range of shades at RGB's site, www.rgbcosmetics.com.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Boscia Does It Again

Not many face products can provide the instant gratification of a peel-off mask. Boscia (preservative-free, botanically-based skincare) just introduced its Luminizing Black Mask. As any marketer's dream would, I went out and purchased this immediately. Apparently, I am in good company with all the other product junkies out there, as this is sold out on Boscia's site and currently only available at Sephora (where I purchased mine).

This black goop is wonderful. I'm a huge fan so far. The product is a tar-colored, grease-like liquid. It's recommended you apply so that the color is opaque. While there have been complaints it takes a lot of product to cover your face, I didn't have that problem. The inky mask dried in about 20 minutes (standard drying time). And then the real fun begins. Lots of reviews have stated this product is difficult to peel off, again I did not have that problem. I started at the bottom of my face near my chin and pulled off in several pieces. It tugs a little but what face mask that is supposed to remove impurities and other general ickiness doesn't? It feels similar to pulling off a Band-Aid, not great but certainly not horrible.

It sounds kind of gross, but seeing the dead skin and little blemishes on the other side of the mask (very visible with the black coloring) is oddly satisfying. And indeed my skin looked more luminous afterwards. It was also significantly smoother. Boscia, you had me at blotting papers, but you've definitely solidified a place in my heart with the Luminizing Black Mask. You can get yours here.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Lash Life

(bare lashes)

(with LashBlast Fusion-top lashes only)
Lucky for me, I've been blessed with naturally long and dark lashes. I'm not trying to toot my own horn here but beep, beep. There were occasions when makeup artists would ask if I was wearing false lashes when in actuality it was just a touch of mascara.

Over the years, I've found it's one of my favorite assets to play up. For the most part what I look for over anything else in a mascara is the coloring. It needs to be dark. I'll always pick up the blackest black shade offered. I don't really need lengthening or volume on a regular basis. However, when I saw CoverGirl's LashBlast Fusion, I decided to give it a whirl.

I heart this mascara. The color is perfect (I purchased the Black; Very Black wasn't available) and darkens my lashes nicely without being overwhelming. The consistency is not too inky (i.e. instant smudges on your eyelids) and does not clump at all. Bonus! It performs in both the length and volume departments as you can tell from the images above, all while still looking natural.

Despite hitting the lash lottery, I have never been a fan of curling my lashes. I've done it maybe twice in my life. I'm sure if I made the effort I would enjoy the results. Sadly, I don't see that happening. But this mascara manages to give a bit of curl as well. Yay for me, effortless results! I would whole-heartedly recommend this to anyone in search of a great mascara. This one does it all.

PS- This comes off so easily with either soap and water or makeup remover. And it doesn't leave the telltale racoon eye a lot of mascaras do.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Chop Shop

(images of Scarlett and Jessica via Instyle.com, Emma via Emma's Facebook page)

August can be brutal in terms of heat and humidity, both of which can wreak havoc on your tresses. And it seems like lots of leading ladies are coping by rocking some closely cropped dos. Some of the sassiest young starlets are chopping their locks to beat the heat.

Scarlett Johansson shed her long layers in favor of a playful, tousled bob. Hair master Oribe was behind the recent transformation: "The cut isn't super-angled, and it isn't incredibly severe--it's softer and more wearable. There are a million directions you can take with this haircut--it's not your typical bob." I, for one, love this! If I wasn't in the process of growing my hair out (for the millionth time), I would be running to the salon with this cut in mind.

The lovely Emma Watson stepped out of character when she debuted her new pixie cut. It's decidedly un-Hermione. And she looks positively adorable. The petite star truly shines as the focus is no longer her wild mane but rather her feminine features, which are perfectly complemented by her cropped cut.

And finally, 90210 cutie, Jessica Stroup lobbed her bob. Jessica manages to looked pulled-together and polished while working her shaggy, rockerish pixie.

With only a few short weeks until the unofficial close of summer, are you thinking of a summery cut or will you wait for the fall before settling on a new style?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Talk To The Tan

While away on vacation I actually got to spend some time in the sun (wearing sunscreen, of course). And I even managed to develop a little bit of a tan, woo hoo. I am, however, really careful about not getting too much sun on my face.

When I got back and realized I was a few shades lighter on my face, I broke out my bottle of Benefit's Talk to the Tan. This sheer bronzing tint is a life saver. Squeeze a dime-size amount out of the bottle and spread all over your face. Be sure to work quickly so you don't get any streaks. And voila, instant, believable tan! No more pasty face for me.

This goes on smoothly, almost like a lotion, and sinks right in. It can look a little orange at first but fear not, the end result is fresh-from-vacation, not Snooki-fied. If you want to go a bit darker just apply a second coat. And best of all, this washes right off in the shower or with soap and water. It's very non-committal, so you can use this any time of year for a little touch of color or to fill in any tan lines (on your face or even your body - goodbye bikini lines).

Sadly, Benefit has discontinued this product. So ladies, I recommend scouring Ebay and any beauty stores that may still have it on shelves and stock up. And if you have any recommendations for a replacement, I would love to hear them.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Iron It Out

My late, great friend

The new flat iron (no temperature dial)

Well, it finally happened. It's a sad, sad day. I knew this day would come, I just didn't think it would be so soon. My flat iron kicked the bucket. One of the ceramic plates is dangling by a thread.

I'm not going to lie, I tried shoving it back in there and tilting my head to the side, trying to keep the plate in to still use it, but it was feeble attempt at best. And pretty unsafe, I'm sure.

Let me note that I received my FHI Heat flat iron 6 years ago (it's had a long run) and it was life changing. I know that sounds a bit dramatic but with unruly, curly and sometimes frizzy hair, it was a godsend. Instead of having to try and rework my hair with a curling iron by pulling it through (and I'm sure ripping tons of it out in the process), to straighten it I could glide the ceramic plates easily over my hair. I was saving a ton of time and lots of hair!

Without the aid of a quality flat iron (sometimes even with one), the mere mention of humidity makes me look like Gene Wilder's stunt double. It's not a good look for anyone, trust me.

Being that I was attending several events for my sister's wedding, I needed to look semi-pulled-together. Crazy hair would not be appropriate. So I brought my "backup" straightener. Yes, I have a backup for just this type of predicament. However, I don't like it. Disclaimer- I did not buy this flat iron, it was given to me. It's also part FHI brand but not at all like my old one. I might as well not have brought it.

My old FHI flat iron had an on/off button and a dial to adjust the temperature. I would never go too high on the heat setting (as recommended) but sometimes for stubborn areas you need to dial it up a bit. However, the new FHI iron has an on/off button and that's it. Ok. So how I am supposed to know what the temperature is and if it will be enough? It says it has "auto sense control [that] automatically calibrates the heater based on hair texture." I'm skeptical.

Turns out whatever the iron maxes out at is not hot enough, at least for me. After several passes over a piece of hair it still doesn't look much different from when I started. Upon finishing I'm left with a semi-straight, puffy head of hair. There is no way it was going to hold up during the day (or to any moisture). Sadly, I was right. After just a few hours my curls were rearing their springy heads.

I LOVE FHI, don't get me wrong. I am absolutely going to purchase a new flat iron from them. But I would not recommend any flat iron (FHI or otherwise) that does not have some sort of adjustment for the temperature. Not everyone has the same type of hair, so of course the same heat level isn't going to work universally. If it's not broke, don't fix it....and if it is, stick with the tried and true!

**Note- almost all of FHI's irons have a heat range dial. http://www.fhiheat.com/

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Back in Business

Sorry for the brief hiatus. I took a vacation to spend some much needed time with my family for my sister's wedding!! It was such a fantastic time.

And then the day I headed back to work, I came down with a nasty cold. Of course, why wouldn't I get a cold right in the middle of summer? I've been laying low trying to kick this bug and I'm finally feeling back to normal. So it's back to regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.