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Posts tagged ‘beauty’

Embracing Your Inner Nudist

October 16, 2013

Nudist

NARS Pure Matte Lipstick in ‘Madère’, Deborah Lippmann nail polish in ‘Prelude to a Kiss’, Essie nail polish in ‘Mamba’, YSL Ombre Solo eyeshadow in ‘The Naturals’

 

 I’m no goth, but when it comes to makeup I’ve always preferred hues on the darker side of the spectrum. My eyeliner has remained a dark espresso color since the beginning of college — this was a graduation from caked on black eyeliner in high school — and as for eyeshadows and lipsticks, I’ve stuck almost exclusively to the smokey eye and bold red or burgundy lip when craving an extra oomph to my look. This color theory also applies to my nails as I’ve been painting my digits a variation of reds, blacks, and blues since the days of Hard Candy nail polish. This summer however, as my nail polish continued to chip after hours spent in the pool and I had less of a need for a dramatic eye or bold lip — summer is all about low maintenance beauty if you ask me — I gradually stopped painting my nails and began using less and less makeup in my everyday regime.

Now that summer is over and fall is in the air — can I get an, “Ohhh yeah!” — I’ve amped up my beauty routine again and instead of returning to the darkness that is the majority of my beauty products, I’ve opted to continue with this whole nudist theme. What I like about this nakedness is that it allows you to add pops of color without looking like Jessica Rabbit. For example, obviously I’m not wearing nude eyeshadow and nude lips at the time, that would just make me look like a creepy mannequin (or maybe that’s your thing?), but when the eyes are bare, the lips have a chance to make a statement and vice versa. As for nails, there’s something refreshing about a nude nail that lets the rings on my fingers stand out and the whole chipped polish thing become unimportant. The only downside is that more often than not, people can see the dirt buildup beneath your fingernails, but who really cares about that anyways?

The Makeup of Spring 2014

October 1, 2013

When it comes to fashion, I like to think I understand the eccentric (see yesterday’s post regarding gnome heels). I’m all for a drop-crotch, the higher the heel the better, and let’s just say I have no qualms with the voluminous silhouettes that have taken over street style. But in terms of beauty, I’m all about practicality. My makeup routine has essentially stayed the same for nearly a decade, I rarely switch up my skincare products, and the most I’ll do in terms of adding some oomph to a look is apply a bold lip. Consequently, I hardly pay attention to the beauty looks that come down the runway twice a year. But this season the makeup has been beyond eccentric and I can’t help but question what it all means for my face come springtime.

Thom_Browne

Beginning with Thom Browne who showcased an elaborate and sculpted collection, the designer also made up his models in makeup that called to mind one thing: Are these girls coming back from a one night stand? In recent months I have been guilty of the next day smudged eyeliner and lipstick look which I normally would be totally ashamed of — they don’t call it a Walk of Shame for nothing. But suddenly, amidst a collection of beautifully crafted Elizabethan-inspired pieces that my wardrobe and I can only dream about, I’m beginning to wonder if Thom Browne isn’t telling me to continue to forget to remove last night’s makeup and rock the bedhead, smudgy faced look the following day.

Vivienne_Westwood

Then there’s Vivienne Westwood who, based on the makeup mud splatter featured on her Spring 2014 runway, is trying to tell us to get dirty. I always thought one should wash her face after a taxi cab drives through a puddle splashing murky water all over her face, but perhaps Lady Westwood has proved me wrong. As grunge returns to the trend world, maybe, so too is the start of looking as dirty as possible while walking down the streets. But what does this mean for acne?

Givenchy

What it means is Givenchy’s Spring 2014 sparkly face masks designed by Pat McGrath. I don’t know about you guys, but when I have a zit I would much rather cover it up with a Swarovski crystal or sequin than with some skin tone concealer that’s only going to look like a failed attempt at covering up said zit.

So, what can we learn from the outlandish beauty of Spring 2014? Here’s the lowdown: next day makeup smudge is good, getting dirt on your face is even better, and if you have a zit, then just cover it up with something sparkly. And if all of that doesn’t sound appealing, then take a cue from the Dior runway and gild your eyebrows.

Dior

// photos via Style.com

Trials & Errors in the Mens Beauty Department

September 18, 2013

Mens_Beauty

Mens beauty, unless we’re referring to Ryan Gosling, it kind of sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? When we think of men we think of their empty shower caddies, Old Spice, and their ability to roll out of bed in the morning looking just as good as they did the night before, right? But the truth is, men — I’m making a generalization here if you couldn’t already tell — are about as anal and meticulous about their daily “beauty routine” as women. How do I know this? Because I’m obnoxiously observant and happen to spend time around some fairly groomed men.

Though their showers may be painful to the eyes of us women who enjoy deep conditioners and luscious luffas, one peek into their medicine cabinet and you’ll see that a lot goes into the coif of their hair and impeccably trimmed beards (and chest hair). Designer deodorant, anti-aging facial cream, beard trimmers with multiple blades, hair pomade — he may smell rustic, but I can assure you that his vanity regime is not.

In an effort to further understand the whole “mens beauty” thing, I made mental notes on some frequently seen types of products, and took my curiosity to my local Duane Reade to gather the supplies. Here’s what I learned:

Shaving: OK, guys, you totally win. Why did I ever waste my time using girly shaving gel? Barbasol’s cream is just as it says it is, “thick and rich,” and not only did it make my leg shaving experience that much better (the lather is unreal), but my legs felt exceptionally soft afterwards.

After-Shave Care & Ingrown Hair Prevention Gel: I know I just praised Diaper Cream for being the ultimate solution to ingrown hair, but Avène’s Dermo-K Care and Prevention Gel puts the baby butt cream to shame. Along with being notably less awkward to apply, I found the gel to be soothing and all-powerful in diminishing those irritated ingrowns. And the more I think about it the more I realize that this should have been a no-brainer since men have to shave far more regularly than we women get our waxes.

Deodorant: Because this was a beauty trial, I opted out of buying a designer brand of deodorant; also because I find the whole idea of designer deodorant to be a bit ridiculous, but maybe that’s because sometimes I put hairspray in my armpits. Anyways, I decided to avoid the typical Old Spice deo and went with Mitchum Advanced Control. The application process was nice and smooth, almost refreshing, but I smelled like a man for the rest of the day. Even with a few spritzes of perfume, I still felt like I was wearing a man’s shirt, which was really just a turn on and thus quite distracting. As for fighting B.O., yes, Mitchum did the job, but so does my Dove Visibly Smooth deodorant and that one happens to smell like roses. So, in terms of deodorant I’m sticking to the lady brands.

Pomade: I am a curious cat when it comes to hair products. Though I don’t do much with my hair, I keep waiting to find a product that’s going to make my locks look like a Victoria’s Secret model. Of course the likeliness of this happening with a men’s product is very slim, but I was still willing to give pomade a shot. My first reaction was, “Wow, this smells delicious.” My second reaction was, “Why is it black?” My third reaction was, “OK it’s slightly sticky but is definitely adding more texture to my waves.” Final conclusion? The stuff works, but I’m nowhere near looking like I have Gisele Bündchen hair.

So, what did I learn from this? A couple of things. For starters, there are some serious perks to shopping in the mens beauty department, particularly when it relates to shaving needs. The other thing I learned is that if we ladies ever find ourselves in a beauty-bind, a man’s medicine cabinet could be our best friend. You may smell like his armpits, but wouldn’t you rather that than rotten garlic? And lastly, though not as optimistically, I still have yet to find a product that will give me Victoria’s Secret hair.

Beauty in the Baby Aisle

September 10, 2013

Baby_Products

When people talk about good skin, they often refer to it being as soft as a baby’s bottom. But let me ask you this, have you ever considered all that goes into making a baby’s bottom so soft? Along with the tender care of loving parents, there are a handful of products that are used to keep a tot’s toosh smooth and rash free. Baby wipes. Baby powder. Diaper cream. That’s a lineup equivalent to the number of products I use on my face each evening and let me tell you, a baby’s butt is still winning in softness.

While perhaps you are assuming that this post is about to go in the direction of using wipes, powder, and cream on your face each evening, I’m happy to say that I haven’t fallen that far off my highchair; at least not yet. What I am here to say is that those products that our parents used on us before we knew the power of personal  — as in doing it yourself — hygiene, are still just as kind to our acne-prone, wrinkle-ready skin as they were to the skin that was once bound in diapers.

For starters, let’s discuss the baby wipe. Unfailingly gentle and moist, these towelettes (yes, I just gave poop-wipes a fancy term) are ideal for removing excess makeup, hydrating the skin, and still apropos to that extra bit of freshness we may need surrounding our nether regions. What I also love about these wipes is that not only are they affordable and easy to find, but also that every supermarket and/or pharmacy sells mini-sized travel packs, which are ideal for touching up your running makeup in the middle of a sweaty dance floor.

Then we have baby powder, whose power I have already praised on here before. For those new to the importance of baby powder, allow me to enlighten you. Baby Powder is the original dry shampoo. Before high-brow beauty companies started making specifically designed sprays to rid your roots of yesterday’s grime, the number one way to eliminate greasy hair was with a light sprinkling of baby powder. The powder absorbs all of that day-old grease, leaving your hair looking as clean as it did the day before.

Lastly, I bring you my latest discovery in baby-beauty-goods, diaper cream. Though skeptical at first, I was told that using the cream two days after a bikini wax would help control ingrown hairs and unwanted bumps. After a few nights of application (heads up: this is definitely something you want to apply at night since it’s pretty thick and really unattractive), I am happy to report that my lady bits are ingrown free. And though this is the least glamorous of the three baby products discussed here, I think it’s safe to assume that we all would rather a few nights of diaper cream than a month of painful ingrowns.

See you in the baby aisle?

When In Doubt, Clean Hair

August 1, 2013

Shower-2

There are beauty routines and then there’s hygiene, but more often than not they are one in the same. Though I’ve announced that my number one must-have when it comes to beauty is my eyelash curler, I should actually say that the silver tool is second in line to a process I find far more beautifying. With the exception of a few lazy Sundays, I shower at least once a day. While the obvious reasons are for a general cleanliness, it’s really the act of washing my hair that reboots my beauty process like a defibrillator reboots the heart.

            Now I know they say you should only wash your hair a few times a week and that the dirtier the hair, the easier it is to work with, but I couldn’t disagree more. For starters, I have to wash my hair everyday or else it looks like I’ve dunked my scalp into the french fry oil at McDonald’s. And while you may be thinking that it’s all about training my hair to get used to the whole unwashed thing, let me just say that I’ve tried this multiple times and it doesn’t work. I’m a grease machine, break out your deep friers.

The other factor is that a quick shower starts you off with a fresh canvas. I don’t know anyone in the world who says they don’t feel better after a shower. You’re fresh. You’re clean. So fresh and so clean, clean.

            Though most of my showers come first thing in the morning, I’ve been known to shower again before going out at night because a crimp of an eyelash curler and a spritz of dry shampoo just doesn’t produce the same freshness as a quick, 5-minute shower. When you shower, you’ve washed off any makeup buildup, you’ve brought a new dose of shine to your locks, and pending you have a great soap, you smell better than those who’ve opted for another swipe of deodorant and dab of perfume before embarking on the evening’s affair.

            But if none of this convinces you —and it very well might not — then flip open the August issue of Allure magazine where you’ll find none other than Kate Moss herself proclaiming that her ultimate beauty fix is, “Always clean hair. That’s a must. If in doubt, wash it.”

            I suppose this is where I should tell you the shampoos that I prefer. I usually have two different brands in my shower at a time. One is for color-treated hair (gotta tend to those highlights!), Shimmer Lights being my favorite. And the other is a light, everyday formula, of which my go-to is Bumble & Bumble’s Seaweed shampoo and conditioner.