Pretty or Chic?

I used to go to this early morning support group. 6am early. In order to get there, I would just roll out of bed, throw on a sweatshirt, ratty jeans, sneakers and a baseball cap and go. For months, I did this. Then I got a job which required me to be there at 8am, so I woke up early and got dressed, put on makeup, etc. before leaving the house.

“Woah! You’re… pretty!” said one of the guys in the group.

Sure, it makes sense. We ALL look “prettier” when we dress up and wear makeup. The late Isabella Blow was notorious for using fashion to feel better, “If I feel really low, I go to see Philip [Treacy], cover my face [with his hats] and feel fantastic… Wearing a hat is like cosmetic surgery.” Blow would transform herself from what some perceived as “plain” into an exotic beauty with the extraordinary use of hats and clothes.

“If I feel really low, I go to see Philip [Treacy], cover my face [with his hats] and feel fantastic… Wearing a hat is like cosmetic surgery.” ~Isabella Blow

On the flip side, think Kim Kardashian or Lana Del Rey. They are both “beautiful”, and they obviously put a lot of effort in their image, but do you think they have great style? Beauty does not automatically give you style.

This year, with the rise of normcore, dressing down has never been more trendy. Baggy jeans, the more ripped, the better paired with Birkenstocks is practically the most trendy thing you can wear this summer. The no-makeup look is also super hot this summer. After several years of over-the-top styling and six-inch platform shoes, I do have to say dressing down is a welcome shift in trends. However, I have to wonder if the people who really carry it off, carry it off because they’re… pretty.

To put it into perspective, if, for my outfit posts, I were to wear the same exact outfit as pictured above, would it get pinned all over Pinterest?

No. I probably would just look like I gave up on life.

Now, this by no means is a ploy to get compliments or support. I’m completely comfortable with my looks …and my insecurities.

But it does make me wonder where the line between beauty and style lies.

Is a person beautiful because they have great style? Does a person have great style because they’re beautiful? Or is it their personality that makes them have great style and/or beauty?

Where do you draw the line between beauty and style?

Eye Primers and Shadows that Don’t Crease, Fade, or Budge

Eye shadow can be challenging. Due to the constant movement of the eyes and oils in the skin, colors tend to crease, settle into fine lines, and fade into oblivion. Sometimes they even slide down the face and give that pretty panda-eye look, as Anne and Nae pointed out last week when they commented on my long-wear eyeliner post. This sort of thing happens year round but it’s so much worse in the summer heat.

Fortunately, it’s a pretty easy problem to fix. A good primer is key in helping the color of any eye shadow stay true and stay put. Another option is to use shadows with long-wear formulas. Long-wear cream shadows are also excellent for creating a soft, smoky line. Here are my favorites that I use all the time.

Urban Decay Eye Shadow Primer Potion

Urban Decay took their best-selling Eye Shadow Primer Potion ($17) and made it even better this year by adding a bit of shimmery champagne color, so Sin gives more bang for the buck by acting as a primer and eye color. I tend to sweep it on all over from lid to brow and then add a bit of liner or powder shadow here and there. It makes a huge difference. If you don’t want any shimmer in your primer, just grab the original Nude.

Urban Decay Cream Shadow
Urban Decay also makes Cream Shadow ($17), which has tons of pigment and a super long-lasting, whipped, gel-based formula that dries down to a weightless layer of beautifully intense color. It’s very easy to blend and never flakes. Use it on top of Primer Potion for even longer wear. If you want seriously vibrant color that lasts, definitely try these. Twelve shades to choose from, including colors with glitter!

Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow/Liner
Multiple award-winning Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow/Liner ($19) works three ways. It provides creamy color as a shadow or liner. It also acts as a primer by making any powder shadow or liner last longer when applied on top of one of these. There are fifteen pretty shades that can be blended together.

shu uemura Cream Eye Shadow
This summer shu uemura introduced Cream Eye Shadows ($30). These feature a waterproof formula that’s silky, creamy, and easy-to-blend with lots of color payoff and buildable coverage. There are nine shades in matte, sheer, and pearly hues.

Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow
Award-winning Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow ($22) goes on incredibly smooth. It has a velvety texture that’s very easy to blend. A whopping twenty shades to choose from. Definitely check out Galaxy, which is a silvery gray with a warm shimmer and sparkle.

Smashbox Waterproof Shadow Liner Duo
And as I mentioned last week, Smashbox has introduced Waterproof Shadow Liner Duos ($25), which work very well as all-over shadow and liner. Each duo includes a lighter and deeper shade in a mirrored compact with air-tight lid. Four duos to choose from.

Pro Tips

Apply eye cream around the eyes but not on the eyelid. That makes the skin oilier so it’s harder for eye makeup to stay in place. Cream shadows work best if you apply them onto clean skin, before powder shadows. For more sheer coverage, apply with your finger. Be sure to keep lids on tight to keep long-wear makeup from drying out.

Next Up

Later this week I’ll be sharing my favorite products for long-lasting lip color, including new long-wear lip glosses from Benefit and Smashbox.

Do Tell

Have you been getting the panda-eye look this summer? Does your eye makeup tend to migrate and fade year round? Do tell.

The Morning Makeup Routine

Wow, there is nothing more eye opening than laying out every product you use every morning. I swear I chalked myself up as someone who doesn’t really wear all that much makeup. Last week’s IFB Project assigned us to talk about our makeup routine, and while I’ve shared bits and pieces, never all at once. So here goes.

Makeup and skincare go hand in hand. Without proper skincare, makeup is just a mess. I tend to put a lot into my skincare regime. Over the years it’s gotten more intense as I’m trying to keep my skin as supple as possible. There were a few years when I didn’t have very much money and tried skimping on skincare, and to be honest, it showed. Now if I have to skimp it would be on the makeup itself, and make investment in the skincare.

For some reason I forgot my cleanser, but if you’re curious, I use Cetaphil. It’s gentile, inexpensive and it gets the job done.

  • Loreal Hydrafresh Toner: For the longest time I skipped toners, but they help keep pores in check by picking up anything the cleanser missed as well as adding the first layer of hydration. It’s great for my skintone and once I started regularly using toner, it’s been hard to go back.
  • Algenist Concentrated Reconstructing Serum: I’ve been using the moisturizer (next bullet) and after reading the reviews on Makeup Alley, I had to give this a try. I’ve only been using this a week, but can say that it’s really made my skin supple. It promises to increase radiance, skin density and reduce wrinkle.. all products do, but so far, I’m smitten.
  • Algenist Regenerative Anti-Aging Moisturizer: On my second pot already, and maybe have found the perfect moisturizer after years of looking. Seriously! I’ve been trying all kinds of products and this one really helps my skin look it’s best.
  • Dermalogica Age Renewal Eye Complex- This has rentinol and caffeine so it’s the perfect eye cream to reduce puffiness and dark circles. I use a very tiny amount, so it’s been a few months and I have to say it’s pretty great.
  • StriVectin Eye Concentrate for Wrinkles: StriVectin is known for thier firming properties as it was developed for women with stretchmarks after giving birth. I really don’t know why I use this so much, but I believe it helps firm up the skin under my eyes.

Now once I got all that moisturizing stuff on my face, now for the MAKEUP!

  1. Apply Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 20: I find that tinted moisturizers tend to be lighter on the skin leaving you look more radiant, so I use this as a way to even out my skintone.
  2. MAC Select Coverup: This little tube goes a long way. I just use a tiny drop under my eyes and around some spots on my skin. It’s a bit heavier than foundation and totally brilliant.
  3. Anastasia Perfect Brow Pencil and Benefit Speedbrow: Having sparse brows means you have to get a great brow pencil and brow gel to set it so it doesn’t smudge throughout the day.
  4. Eyeshadow: Not the best at applying eyeshadow. Now I’m using a Sephora pallet, but could really just use one natural color.
  5. Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner: Because, after 21 years…  I always have the cat eye. Always.
  6. Maybeline Falsies Mascara: After talking about how much I loved Loreal’s Voluminous, someone recommended Falsies. I like Falsies, but will probably go back to Voluminous when I’m done with the tube.
  7. Urban Decay Razor Sharp Finishing Powder (gift) : Used sparingly to take away a bit of shine without looking powdered.
  8. Benefit Cosmetics Dallas: Half blush half bronzer to add a bit of color to my face.
  9. Bare Essentuals Pretty Amazing Lip Color: Quite possibly the best lip color that’s not quite lip gloss, not lipstick, but lush and the color stays for a long time. I can’t quite explain it, but they aren’t lying when they say pretty amazing.

Woah… after looking at this list, I’m a product junkie. What about you? What’s your list look like?

Red Lipstick to Brighten up A Rainy Day

It’s gross and rainy. This time, it’s not just gross and rainy, it’s also got this kind of chilly fall vibe. When it’s like that, I usually turn to red lipstick (as if we needed yet ANOTHER post about red!). Red lipstick was the first makeup I ever bought. It was Elizabeth Arden’s Red Door for $10. I had a friend who wore that lipstick and it was just the perfect shade. Since then, red lipstick has been the thing that could make any outfit look put together, and on days like today, it makes an otherwise sensible outfit come together as something special.

Lately, I’ve been wearing Lancome’s Color Fever, which is from a few years ago. I loved the color, but when it was new, it was too dewey and got on my teeth. Afraid to throw it away, I hung onto it, for some strange reason, and it must have aged well because now it stays on perfectly. Who knows? Talk about random lipstick stories!

Here, I’ve been experimenting with my new iPhone… since losing my old iPhone in a London cab… the new iPhone has some pretty amazing video apps, like Videolicious, I was able to put together this video in 30min… not bad if you ever had to put together video before!

Coveted Perfume: Fam by So Oud

I’ve been on the perfume hunt forever… and ever it seems.  Most perfumes give me a headache, they make me sneeze, my skin crawl, scalp tingle. But from a distance the notion of a woman who smells pretty is a very appealing one.  Over the years I’ve been looking at boutique perfumes, as they tend to use higher quality ingredients and made in smaller batches. You won’t have someone saying to you, “Hey, are you wearing Old Spice?” Not that I would wear Old Spice, I dunno, it’s been a while.

When I was in London, I wanted to get something special, something that I wouldn’t find in the US… clothing seemed like the obvious choice, but while exploring the alleyways of Central London, I happened upon Avery, a perfumery with just a small collection of scents. The sales assistant, Asakala, helped walk me through the scents they had, the one catching my eye (nose?) was Fam by soOud. It’s a floral perfume with notes of chili, saffron, and oud wood giving it kick that I’ve never experienced with my nose, it had what they call… depth? Yet it is distinctly powdery fresh. It felt that it represented the complexity of my own nature, soft with a bite? It was then, I knew I had to have it.

Now I have to say, I’m hooked on unusual perfumes, that they have more depth than just smelling nice for that moment. What perfume do you wear, and what was it that made  you get it?


Statement Lipsticks in Secondary Colors

Every now and then I get the lipstick itch. You know, when every color bores you and it’s time to shake things up. I’ve gone through that every now and again, then falling back on a trusted shade. Usually I wear red or nude, so it was time to shake it up. Lately, I’ve seen a lot of great colors. Fuchsia, orange, even black. Last night I went to go pick up a new lipstick and was thinking more along the lines of coral, but walked out with MAC’s Up The Amp in PURPLE. It just seemed right. Thinking back to how much I love orange or fuchsia in place of red, going to purple in place of pink is a nice way to mix things up. Thinking back, I remember the first time I wore fuchsia lipstick in 2002, people thought it was crazy, now it’s everywhere. I think we’ll be seeing a lot more shades of purple again. From lilac to deep violet it’s just the right twist to make a statement.

Over the weekend I also picked up Make Up Forever: Rouge Artist Intense #40. It’s a bit orangier than So Chaud, but it still looks like red on me. Maybe one day I’ll find that brilliant orange, but for now, this is just fine.