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!