Thursday, March 20, 2014

5 Makeup Essentials to a Quick & Gorgeous Look

This post is inspired by the Facebook post I shared from #NYXcosmetics about 3 essentials girls need: blush, lip gloss, and brow pencil. Now as I said I COMPLETELY agree with those 3 and was SO glad to see that the #NYXcosmetics fan post included the brow pencil since so many people forget about it or worse, think they don't need it. That is never ever ever true. Whether you have thin or full brows, dark or light or almost invisible brows, bushy (hopefully you get them waxed & trimmed) or well maintained, they are individual hairs. With age, like all hair, they thin. With waxing and plucking and so on, they stop growing back in places and you know we've all gone a little too far with the tweezers once or twice, right? Anyway, I'll explain each product and why its 1 of the 5 makeup essentials in my list.

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5 Makeup Essentials:

This is a hands-down number one absolute essential, even if you forget everything else. It just perks up your face. It brightens and widens your eyes, making you look much more awake and alert. It highlights your eyes and darkens your lashes, helping your eyes pop, which is always a benefit if you didn't have time to do anything else, making everyone focus on your eyes! Mascara is now such a fun product too. They come in all different formulas with all different brushes (which is where I think the true difference lies among mascaras), different colors to pop your eye makeup and eye color like purple, blue, green, pink, black & brown obviously and those are just the common colors, and no matter which you choose, mascaras just enhance your beauty. If going to the gym, choose waterproof. Anywhere else (unless you plan on crying) simply grab your favorite and swipe a coat or 3 on and go rock those eyes!

I chose this lovely color since I've been using an Auburn brow pencil to fill in my brows and make my black brows a softer and warmer red-brown to match my new auburn (and a whole bunch of other colors since red washes out so easily, but I love how it's turned out) hair. I put this as number 2 because mascara is so necessary that if you did your brows and forgot mascara, it'd be almost pointless. BUT brow pencils come in right behind mascara in importance. They fill in any sparse places from age, over waxing/plucking, or just natural holes. They give your brow a nice, defined shape and can even help you lengthen or thicken your natural brow line depending on the look you like, the makeup trends, etc. Aside from all those benefits, they just frame your face. They frame your eyes making eye makeup look better and more "completed", but even without eye makeup (except mascara), they just bring the focus to your eyes. To me, and many makeup artists, if you don't do your brows, your makeup just doesn't look quite finished.

3. Lip Gloss (Preferably a Cream or at least Opaque formula)
Most natural lips, even when well taken care of with lip scrubs and balms, age like the rest of our skin. The line around our lips becomes less defined and often the color (especially with natural skin) just makes us look washed out. This simple swipe over your lips can give your face a little uummph. Gloss formulas (basically anything creamy or somewhat "wet" looking in appearance) also makes your lips appear fuller, younger, and less dry/chapped. Now if you have a few extra minutes or are frustrated with lip color in any formula wearing off, add a 6th item to this little list with a LIP PENCIL. I find traditional pencils (the ones your sharpen) to work best for your lips as they stay on best and longest and help hold your lip color (lipstick or gloss) as well. This isn't the 80's anymore so PLEASE stop lining the literal line of your lips like your tracing. Create that line, yes, for a defined look, but don't stop there! Fill in your entire lips, both top & bottom. This helps hold on lip color, giving a more defined look. Use a nude pencil to be neutral with any color or match your pencil to your lip color for more vibrancy and punch.

4. BB or CC Cream
This is certainly not a necessity for everyone. There are people out there (and yes we love to hate you) who have naturally flawless skin. This is much more common among darker skin tones like African Americans or people of a Hispanic or Italian descent, but no matter what your skin tone, color, or nationality, there is no guarantee for perfect skin. I understand many of us simply don't have the time every single day to do a full face. Whether it's early shifts, children, being a stay-at-home parent, etc. or just not feeling like it everyday, sometimes you want a quick & easy alternative. BB or CC Cream is a great option. They each have their own specific benefits, but they basically dim out your flaws, minimize pores, and overall make your face look softened.

5. Blush
Blush is last on my list because while I do consider it an essential, many of us have some redness in our cheeks and if you skip the BB or CC cream to smooth out your discoloration, redness, etc., a blush can end up a little overkill on already rosy cheeks. Now if you have no redness or a fairly even complexion, feel free to skip #4 and apply blush. For the rest of us, only apply a blush if you've somewhat evened out your skin tone. Now I don't want to minimize blush because once you have evened out your skin, your skin is now (basically) one fluid color, which is not natural. Don't forget to always add some color to your cheeks (whether blush or bronzer) to make sure you look like you're still alive and not washed out!

I hope this list gave you all a little information on why those items are my top 5 and a way to get all pretty without setting that evil alarm 45 minutes earlier!  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Green & Gold Makeup

Happy belated St. Patrick's Day! I personally am primarily Italian, but I am also Irish and German. I don't typically celebrate the typical St. Patty's Day fun because my hubby is always working and we now have two little ones so all day drinking and bar hopping doesn't make it's way into my schedule, but I hope you all had one for me! :) Anyway, no matter what the holiday or event (so even if I wasn't at all Irish), it's an excuse to play with makeup! You can use themed colors you don't typically wear and wear more intense colors than your normally would. The look I did is very pigmented, but it's not too over the top either. It works for St. Patty's Day and a Spring (or any season) night out and certainly complimentary to any event with green or gold clothing! Here's a break down of the application and products I used:

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***Before any makeup application, I apply a lip balm to hydrate my lips and protect them against falling makeup. I like to use The Body Shop's lip balm in the jar in "Shea Butter". ***

1. I begin by applying my NYX Above & Beyond Full Coverage Concealer in "Light" to my entire eye area (under eye, inner and outer corners, and the eyelid up to my brow bone). This dims any darkness, discoloration, redness, or veins to make your eye makeup look its best.
2. Next I apply an inch and a half to two inch piece of Scott tape diagonally along my outer eye corner from my lower lash line outward toward my temples. This gives the eye makeup a sharp clear look, a line to follow to wing your eye liner, and give your eye makeup a professionally applied appearance.
3. Then I applied MAC Paint Pot in "Painterly" to my entire eye lid from lash line to brow bone as an eye shadow base.
4. Next I applied MAC eye shadow in "Swimming" using my i.d.| Bare Escentuals "brow" pencil (a tight bristle angled brush) from my outer corner of my lash line following the tape up and outward to just above my crease and back in across my lid just above my crease about 2/3 into my eyelid.
5. Using e.l.f. Crystal Blending Eye Brush, I applied a dark green shadow to my outer corner using the above mentioned outline to define where the shadow would be applied. I dabbed the color on by stippling the shadow and reapplying to build the pigment. For this I used MAC eye shadow in "Humid".
6. Using another e.l.f. Crystal Blending Eye Brush (so to not transfer color), I applied that outline color, MAC shadow in "Swimming" to the middle of my eye lid, stippling and building the color, and blending the color for smooth transition into that deeper green.
7. Using yet another e.l.f. Crystal Blending Eye Brush, I applied MAC eyeshadow in "Goldmine" to my inner corner.
8. I used an all-over eye shadow brush to apply MAC eyeshadow in "Honey Lust" to my brow bone as a complimentary highlight to this deeper look. Using a white or light beige highlight wouldn't compliment this look.
9. I applied my NYX Gel Liner & Smudger in "Jet Black" to my upper lash line from the inner corner outward to the tape. Apply the liner next in a downward motion along the diagonal tape line to your outer corner. Then from your outer corner of your lash line, take the liner and meet it to the line along the tape and fill in if necessary. This creates the wing. This can take practice so don't get discouraged. Practice with the tape and no other makeup on so you can just wipe and reapply until you feel confident.

*** Now I know this is the part where you'd apply mascara and so on, but not so since we applied the eye makeup first. Mascara, falsies, and brows come last. ***

10. Remove tape by pulling from the temple down. Give your eye liner a minute to dry/set before doing so then pull down gently a little bit at a time until it's off.
11. I use my e.l.f. Makeup Remover Cleansing Cloths to wipe my entire face to remove any makeup that may have fallen and remove any dirt, oil, etc that may have built up since I washed my face. It also removes any blemish treatments that are left over which would mess up your foundation. I especially focus around the eye area, being very careful to follow the lines of my eye makeup and to remove any residue from the tape. Then gently pat dry using a paper towel (tissues, although softer, can have lotions which you don't want right now) all over your face, avoiding the eye area. Now you're ready to begin you face makeup application.
12. I begin by applying my NYC Smooth Skin Perfecting Primer in "Shade 684" all over my face using my hands, simply applying like moisturizer, but again take care to avoid the eye area so you don't mess up your shadow. Primer minimizes pores, smooths skin, and creates a base for face makeup to hold on to.
13. Next, I apply my NYX HD Photogenic Concealer in "Beige" using the wand applicator to my lower under eye circles, over any blemishes, redness, discoloration, veins, etc. for a fuller coverage. This helps you use less foundation over all also. I use my e.l.f. Flawless Concealer brush to "swirl" in the concealer. (HINT: apply foundation around your lip line and around your nose to reduce redness)
14. Now, I pump some of my smashbox High Definition Healthy FX Foundation in "Light L1" on the back of my hand and stipple and swirl it all over my face using he e.l.f. Kabuki Face Brush.
15. I set my foundation using MAC Select Sheer/Loose Powder in "NW20" with Sephora round powder brush 120 all over.
16. Next comes the contour and highlight for better face definition. I use NYX Highlight & Contour in "HCP01". I apply the contour (deep) shade using e.l.f. Small Stipple Brush outward just under my cheek bones in the direction to the upper ear, creating a well pigmented defined line. Repeat on other cheek. Then apply along your jaw bone and on the temple area and around the hair line.
17. I used my realTECHniques contour brush to apply the lighter shade of the NYX Highlight & Contour to my under eye and upper cheek bones, just under my lower lip and on my cupid's bow, up my nose, and just above my brows.
18. I use my e.l.f. Complexion Brush to blend out the contour lines to smooth them in with the makeup.
19. To bring the entire look together and further blend any harsh lines, I apply using a fluffy powder brush L.A. Colors Pressed Powder in "Nude".
20. Lastly, for the face anyway, I applied NYX Baked Blush in "Foreplay" to my outer cheek bone working the color up toward my temple and downward into your contour line using realTECHniques buffing brush in a stippling motion.

*** You are just about done! Falsies, mascara, brows, and lips are all that are left!***

21. Okay, falsies come first and I know many people find them super intimidating, but a few hints can alleviate the pressure and make this a smooth application. I found my FAVES at the Dollar Tree. They are synthetic, which many people prefer natural, but if you find decent synthetics they can last longer and be less susceptible to wearing poorly if you touch your face often.

  • Begin by removing one lash from the tray at a time using tweezers and hold it up to your eye to see if they are too long and need any cutting. If they do, always cut from the inner corner in little bits at a time until it looks right.
  • Bend the lashes back and forth from the base a little to make them less stiff.
  • Next I use Formaldehyde-Free Eyelash Glue from Eco Tools. It comes with a built in wand to apply to the lash base. I love this glue because it on application it looks like a blue iridescent glue that dries clear. Apply the glue to the entire lash line using a heavier amount of glue on the ends. While holding the lashes in your tweezers, let the glue dry to a sticky feel instead of wet (roughly 15-30 seconds) but this glue goes from blue to bluish white to white to clear so you can watch it begin to change. Between bluish white and white is ideal.
  • Holding the lash with the tweezers in the center, look downwards in a mirror, ideally magnified mirrors that you can get up close to, and gently apply over your lashes as close to the lash line as possible. Use an eye lash applicator or the flat end of a bobby pin to press in the lashes from the outside in, holding as you go along to allow it to set. Repeat on other eye.
22. After you've given your falsies a few minutes to dry and set, apply mascara over both your natural and false lashes to blend them in together, and intensify color. Then apply mascara to lower lash line as well.
23. Once my mascara dried, I used a black eye pencil to fill in my water line to complete the look.
24. Next brush your eyebrows out using a mascara wand, then fill in using a color appropriate brow pencil that you've recently sharpened using short, small strokes for a more natural look. Then use the mascara wand to brush them out again, further blending the pencil into your brows. I used Beautique Eyebrow Pencil in Auburn.
25. Lastly, lip time! Use your makeup remover wipe from step #11 to carefully remove any makeup from your lip area. I applied NYX Black Label Lipstick in "Nude", then NYX Butter Gloss in "Apple Strudel"and finished up with NYX Butter Gloss in Eclair.

Now you're all done up and looking gorgeous!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Amazing Dupe for a Gorgeous Valentino Bag

I fell madly in love with the most perfect, sweet, of course PINK, bag walking through Nordstrom in King of Prussia Mall one day, but of course, it was Valentino so I knew it was out of my budget. When I got up close to it, I just fell more in love so imagine my sincere disappointment when I flipped over the price tag to see "$1395.00"! This was almost 2 years ago now and I have been on the HUNT for a decent brand that made a purse that looked anything like it. Now this purse is the Valentino Lacca Patent Leather Top Handle Bag. It's a medium sized purse in patent leather. It's a soft blush pink color and features a patent leather bow. It is the epitome of girly, adorable, classy, and every other great thing in a bag. And being a blush pink it's virtually in season year round.

I finally, FINALLY found it! It's a Betsey Johnson bag I found in Macy's. It's the Betsey Johnson Bow Satchel (full price $88.00, but it was on sale for $74.99 when I purchased it) in the color: Pink Quilted. Now this bag is not a literal copy. The handles and bow are patent leather, but the bag is a soft, quilted leather, which I love and feel it makes this bag more every day friendly than the dressiness of the Valentino bag. There are also gold decals in the center of the bow and on the handle. It's not perfect, but it's the closest I've found in all my searches in size, shape, color, and of course ... the bow! Take a look for yourself:
Valentino Lacca Patent Leather Top Handle Bag in Pink (light pink) - Lyst   
Left: Valentino Lacca Patent Leather Top Handle Bag ($1395); Right: Betsey Johnson Bow Satchel ($88.00)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

My New Lover

So I have found my new obsession in a tiny little jar and I love it all over my lips :) It's made by The Body Shop and I found it in ULTA. It's super small, inexpensive, delicious smelling, and a MIRACLE!

The Body Shop Shea Lip Butter
Click for enlarged view
^click me to go to The Body Shop and buy me^

It's a life saver (not to mention a lip saver) that can fit in the palm of your hand. Dry, chapped, or peeling lips suck. There's no two ways about it. It's uncomfortable and can be down right painful, can lead to bleeding, and facing facts, it's fugly! Lips, whether full or thinner, are supposed to be soft, smooth, supple, and KISSABLE! Dry, cracked lips do not yell "kiss me" at all. This product is amazing. My number one complaint is that when my lips are dry, I might as well skip any lip color. It looks terrible around the cracks, doesn't last, and gets that awful white line in your lips. But I, as I'm sure every fellow makeup lover out there, knows your look is just incomplete if you don't have SOMETHING on them. Gloss, lipstick, tinted balm, stain ... whatever, just something! I have used ten million and one products that claim to hydrate, soften, smooth and so on and very few do one if any of the things they promise. I love my Victoria's Secret ProFX Lip Scrub and Balm ... the scrub is great. The balm is really nice as a hydrating base under lip color, but as an overnight treatment or for severely needy lips, that just doesn't pack enough punch. This lip butter is my new best friend. It literally feels like rubbing your finger tip into a stick of butter. It's thick, creamy, luscious and one touch, you'll know it's going to help your dry lips. It smells AMAZING, a soft hint of shea butter. There's no real taste either so it's not gross if you get a little on your teeth.

It's $6.00 on The Body Shop's website. I found it at ULTA for $6.50, on sale for $4.50 so by all means, stock up! The Body Shop is offering a Valentine's Day special right now too! "Mix & match any items side wide and buy 3, get 3 free or buy 2, get 2 free". Now's a great time to buy & try!

Bonus: you're helping the world by helping your lips. The Body Shop shares:

  • Shea Butter

    "Our Community Fair Trade shea butter comes from Ghana. Local women hand-harvest shea nuts, dry them in the sun and crack them to extract the kernels. These are roasted and ground into a paste to make the butter. Our trade with the Tungteiya Women’s Shea Butter Association has helped to fund three medical centres and 10 nursery schools. To find out more, visit our Community Fair Trade section."

Monday, February 3, 2014

A Little Advice

Hey there fellow beauty lovers! I just wanted to write a little post with a bit of advice for you for anyone who is just getting into makeup, looking to get back into makeup, or simply needs to refresh their kit. I love makeup. It's my passion, obsession, hobby, and career goal. I just feel that, like my "mission statement", confidence in one's image is essential to happiness. That doesn't mean you need to go all out with your makeup and that doesn't mean you need to keep your daily makeup super simple either. It just means that whatever you do or don't do to your look is fine as long as you feel confident. Everyone loves a confident person and you'll like yourself even more.

Now if you've read my blog, you know I don't discriminate makeup brands. Just because something is low cost doesn't mean always it's "cheap", drug store products don't mean they can't ever work, and high end products don't necessarily mean "over-priced" for the same thing elsewhere. You just need to have some knowledge before shopping like key ingredients in skin care that you need and ingredients cosmetic counters tell you about that are irrelevant. Read blogs and watch vlogs and talk to people that have a look you like and make your shopping list based on that.

One of my favorites is NYX Cosmetics. They are sold directly from the manufacturer online at their website, at Ulta in store and online, and they are now available at some Target locations. I would compare their products to MAC Cosmetics in that they are highly pigmented and great for everyday as well as in pictures, but they are a little less costly than MAC. Now don't get me wrong; I love me some MAC. MAC's Paint Pot in Painterly is my all time favorite eye primer or to wear alone with liner for a simple look and nothing I've tried yet has been better. NYX offers a wide range of makeup, primers, and more like MAC, just a little less costly. Downside to them is that while they can be found in some stores, the best way to shop is from NYX directly because you have the best selection of products, colors, and comparison shopping as stock in store for favorites tend to be low. Now when ordering online, you end up with the issue of shipping costs, feeling like the order isn't worth buying essentially a product  or more in shipping. Luckily many cosmetic sites offer free standard shipping once you hit a certain threshold. NYX offers free standard shipping on orders of $25 or more! That's one hell of a deal. Many places only offer free shipping once you've spent $100 or more, almost making you over shop to get the free shipping. UBER BONUS?! NYX invites you to sign up when you first visit their site by providing an e-mail account, name, and zip code and they e-mail you a coupon code for *get this* 25% off your ENTIRE FIRST ORDER!!!!!!!!!!! AND YOU STILL GET THE FREE SHIPPING!

So go shop away. Google products for reviews, or colors to view swatches people have posted, comment here if you have any questions, or take some time at an Ulta or Target that has NYX and see what colors you'd need with the testers and make a nice list then go splurge with one hell of a discount at NYX Cosmetics.

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Friday, January 31, 2014

Weekend! What's good? You've been missed.

So it is time for the weekend now, which means those eyes get smokier, that liner gets black and done up, and you are going out! I had the pleasure of going out on Wednesday (who says you can't have a weekend night any night?!) Anyway, here's an idea for a "night out" look and how I achieved it! Hope you enjoy! Feel free to comment with any questions!
First, always begin with a clean face for best application and results. I use my Victoria's Secret PRO SMOOTH FX Lip Scrub & Balm to prep my lips. I use the scrub portion, massaging on in a circular motion and then I tissue it off. I then apply a thin layer of the balm to protect my lips during makeup application.

Next, I apply Maybelline's Dream Fresh BB in the Light/Medium shade all over my face. It acts as a primer, but also provides a "candlelight" effect, diffusing and minimizing flaws, discolorations, redness, and blemishes. I next apply my concealer. I use NYX HD Photogenic Concealer in Light. I apply the concealer using a small foundation brush to my under eye circles, inner corner, and eyelids. This makes the entire eye area brighter, helps diffuse any visible capillaries on the eyelid and acts as a good base to your eye shadow base. I also apply the concealer to my cheeks to diminish redness. Next I take the tip of my brush and apply the concealer around my lip line to make the lips more defined and appear fuller. Feel free to apply concealer anywhere else you feel needs a little extra coverage. Remember to dab on the concealer to the intended area then using a stippling effect (quickly dabbing the brush on your face and moving around the necessary area at the same time).

Now it's time for foundation! I use ULTA Fabulous Face Compact Foundation in Nude Beige. This does come with a round sponge, but I always prefer to use a brush. I LOVE Real Techniques Stippling Brush for foundation application. It's a dual fiber brush so it helps to create an airbrushed application. Again, use the stippling effect, but also feel free to apply in small circular motions so you get an even application instead of "painting on", which leaves lines. Be sure to work the foundation well into your jaw line and smooth it into your hairline for an even appearance. Bring the foundation down under your chin and slightly down your neck for consistency. I then set the foundation using NYC Smooth Skin Face Powder in Translucent (this is a loose powder) so apply using a large powder brush for a light application to simply set the foundation. Next, I apply a pressed powder for a smooth, completed finish and work the powder down my neck and into my collarbone for a flawless appearance all the way.

Next, it is time to contour! Remember, when face makeup has been applied correctly you have a blank slate. Your face is flawless; discoloration, redness, darkness, blemishes are all hidden. Therefore, you are washed out. You CANNOT stop here. I know so many people are scared of bronzers because so many people end up with that awful "oompa loompa" look. That just means your using the wrong one or applying too much or applying incorrectly. I use MAC Bronzing Powder in Matte Bronze. I prefer a matte bronzer so your face doesn't look like a glitter bomb exploded. Use a large, loose bristled powder brush for even, LIGHT application. Begin in the center of your forehead and sweep the brush down around the outside of your eye and onto your cheekbone, then back out and around to your chin. Repeat on the other side. Next, make a "fishy face" to suck in your cheeks. In that dip, apply the bronzer in an upward motion up & around your cheek bone. This will give your face definition and create the appearance or highlight natural high cheek bones. This application style provides contouring, but also leaving bronzer only where the sun would naturally "kiss" your face ... aka not under your nose!

Next I apply blush using a blush brush on the apples of my cheeks (smile and they'll pop out) and I sweep the blush up and around my eye on my temple area. This lifts your face and adds natural coloring. Then I take a highlighter and apply it over my cheekbones and around to the temple, in the dip under your lower lip, the dip above the center of your upper lip under your nose, down your nose, and above your eyebrows. You're now contoured and look like you're still alive with natural coloring in your face .. sans flaws! In this look I used a combination of the 4 blushes and the medium highlighter (center shade) from NYX's BUTT NAKED - TURN THE OTHER CHEEK palette. Now onto the eyes.

I first always apply MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot in Painterly. It's my love! Like makes it into the "can only have 3 things when stranded on a desert island scenario" kind of love so go get it now and be amazed! Apply this to the entire eye lid from lash line to brow and into the inner corner of the eye. I then took an eye shadow brush and applied ULTA Eyeshadow in Iceland by dabbing it on from my lash line to my crease and building the color. Then I brought it up under my eyebrow and into the inner corner, as well as just under the tear duct area. This color is a shimmery white, perfect for a traditional smoky eye. Next, I applied a matte black eye shadow, NYX Nude Matte Shadow in Stripped. I began by applying the black with an angled eyeshadow brush, always using the angled side. I began in my outer corner and worked my way in through the crease. Next I took a blending eyeshadow brush and followed the same line working in small circular motions to blend and smooth the black shadow. I was so happy to see I only needed these two colors because the shimmer of the white under the black mixes in creating an easy natural transition. Next I applied a cream black eyeliner using an eyeliner brush, staying as close to the lash line as possible from the inner to outer corner and as this was a "going out" look, I created a winged look too for a little more drama. I also applied some black shadow just under my lower lash line and used a black liner pencil in my lower water line. Finish up with some mascara and you are almost done!

BROWS! They frame your face, define your eyes, and are just freaking necessary! And if you don't do them, they are diminished by the face makeup and are even less noticeable than having no makeup on. I use a disposable mascara wand to brush out my brows first. Then I take an eyebrow pencil, freshly sharpened to be precise, and I fill in the entire brow in short, small strokes. I used ULTA Ultimate Brows Shade & Shaper Pencil in Brunette.

Now, I use a tissue to wipe off the balm from my lips. The balm catches any and all makeup that lands on your lip and helps it wipe off smoothly. I then reapply a very thin layer of lip balm for a smooth base. Then I applied a pink lipstick and gloss. I used an NYX lipstick and Sephora's Lip Gloss in baby doll pink.

Well that's all loves! Feel free to click any of the links above to see the product I mentioned and comment if you have any questions at all! Don't forget to Pin, Like, and Share! Smooches boo!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Prepping for a Night Out

Now this post is coming a little early as it was inspired by my own prep for my date night with my hubby which was supposed to be Thursday, but is now Wednesday & technically today :). We all do the normal things like shower, shave, pick out an outfit and so on, but you can really prep yourself to make makeup application smoother, faster, easier, and most importantly leave your skin looking its best! Less to cover with makeup and a great base to start with!

First, before showering, use a lip scrub. I love Victoria's Secret's PRO SMOOTH FX Lip Scrub & Balm $16. It's a two part container with a larger bottom with the scrub and a screw-off lid. Inside the lip is the lip balm with a flip top. It's a sugar scrub and smells delicious. You rub a pea-sized amount on both lips in a circular motion to remove dry and dead skin and exfoliate to leave your lips smooth, kiss & lip stick ready! For a little extra exfoliation, use a toothbrush to exfoliate in a circular motion with the scrub. After about 30 seconds, you just tissue the scrub off and apply the balm. You can use a little more overnight, but when using right before going out, only use a thin layer as a lip color base. Anyway, use the scrub before showering because when you tissue off, sometimes little bits of the scrub remain and when you rub on the balm, it can be somewhat irritating instead of feeling relieving. Showering will fix that!

Next shower in your normal routine, obviously including washing your face with a face wash. Before doing any type of treatment to your skin, you want to start with a clean face, meaning all dirt, oil, and makeup is washed away so your treatment isn't fighting through all that stuff to get to your skin ... if it even makes it there.

My absolute favorite skin prep for a night out, event, or just a kick-start/refresher for my skin is Philosophy's "the oxygen peel". It uses oxygen to "exfoliate, smooth, and hydrate your skin". You simply break one capsule into the plastic container provided, filled half way with warm water. The instructions tell you to add the water after you break the capsule, but I've found it chunks in the edges of the bottom of the container, wasting product so break the capsule into the water. Shake well and let stand for 1 minute to thicken and form a lumpy gel. Apply this gel to your face and neck (avoid eye area and also avoid the hairline and eyebrows as bleaching may occur ... never had this happen to me though so a tiny bit isn't a big deal). Then apply about a quarter sized amount of the oxygen foam over the gel and massage in. You will feel and see the gel and foam mix and react as the oxygen begins working. Leave on for 1-3 minutes, then remove with the scraper provided in a shaving motion. They say for sensitive skin, just rinse, but I have fairly sensitive skin and love the scraper so see what works for you. Next, just rinse and pat your face dry!

Clean & Clear Now is the time to apply serums, moisturizers, and eye creams. Lastly, I inspect my face for any blemishes and apply Clean & Clear Advantage Mark Treatment with Salicylic Acid. It dramatically reduces the size, redness, and even pain associated with pimples or boils overnight and when used repeatedly, removes the blemish all together ... perfect to get rid of those problem spots before a big night out! Oh and at this point, balm those lips up so they're nice & ready for your big night!