September 1, 2014

Amika Swtich Kit Review


With technology in hair appliances constantly evolving, there is no shortage of reputable brands to choose from. Staying educated and really understanding the heat styling lingo and more importantly what this means for our hair is vital when selecting an appliance— Tourmaline or ceramic infused rods to preserve the natural moisture and shine, high yet safe heating options such as infrared and ionic components to break up the moisture molecules and deliver speed for the curling process— All needed to help keep out tresses in good shape, while we style.

Depending on the look one’s after, this determines which styling device best suited for the job. For example,for soft beachy waves, opting for a tapered curling rod gives nice movement to the hair that looks natural, and undone, yet sexy. For a retro Veronica Lake inspired do, a larger barrel iron for those deep S-shaped waves would be best to create this look. The problem isn’t that we need a variety of tools to achieve a multitude of styles but the space and inconvenience of having to purchase and store so many appliances, not to mention all those cords! ( more on how to manage those, later in this post!)

I was introduced to the brand Amika, and to be fair I was only familiar with their line of hair care and styling products not appliances, which surprised me as they seem pretty well established in the marketplace. While they do offer traditional individual styling tools, one of the cooler offerings from this company is their Switch Kit system. This system totally appealed to the Virgo-gilr that I am by its tidy, streamline design. The basic set, called the Switch kit starter set consists of a Switch kit base, a heat resistant glove and an 1” attachment styling rod, which they call the Hollywood Vixen, all for for $100. The starter kit in it self is about average price-wise, however other barrel sizes are available for an additional $30 a pop making the whole the system pretty economical. The base is dual voltage, with digital temperature controls ranging from 150˙-430˙F or 66˙-221˙C and a comfort fit handle. Each rod features a tourmaline-infused, clip free barrel (with the exception of the Supermodel Allure, a 1.5” attachment rod) infared heat and negative ions for faster, healthy styling and longer lasting curls. The four interchangeable rods are pretty much what anyone would want or need with a range from 1.5” clip barrel to 1.0-.7 taper clip free barrel.


The beauty of this system is the utter convenience of it. With one switch base, you may change up to four different styling barrels to the device to create an endless array of looks. I test drove the system on a recent commercial shoot, and found that the system was space efficient and effective, although I should add that the first half-dozen times when switching rods it was a little frustrating. Once I got the hang of it ( a little wiggling back and forth on the barrel to be removed, while depressing the two buttons that held it in place, worked a treat!) Eventually, the connectors that secure each of the rods loosened up sufficiently making it possible to change easily. The performance of each rod was very good overall. Each generated efficient heat to create a lasting curls and waves that were shiny and healthy looking. I loved the fact that there was ONLY ONE CORD to worry about. If I had my usual arsenal of hair appliances in my kit, I would have had at least five cords to deal with, which not only is a space hog but can be a potential hot-mess when it comes to organization. In any case, I love to use velcro cord ties for all my appliances and put one on the Switchbase cord right away so it was easy to pack and also helps to keep the cord from getting tangled and damaged.

I priced out what the cost would have been if I had to purchase five separate high end styling tools and worked out that this system is not only super effective but at $190. for the whole system, a super bargain too. Sephora also offers four clip free rods and Switchbase for $175. Amika Switch Base styling system is available exclusively at Sephora and


For those pro artists out there, Amika has something special just for you— The Titanium 5P Barrel Curler. Similar to the Switch set, the 5P includes the 16mm root lifter which is a must-have for Afro-America hair, a 19mm, a 25-18 taper,and a 32mm barrel. This Pro set is available at for $220.

February 9, 2014

Putting your Best Face forward


Everyone seems to love selfies. I’m not ashamed to admit that I love to take as many with my models and friends as I can, just because we usually have a great time together and it’s a nice way to end our sessions. My photographers always lend a hand by giving me tips like extending the chin slightly for a nice clean jawline, tilting the head up towards the camera to get rid of under eye darkness and look for wrap-around lighting to make the skin look glowy and fresh. Aside from the photographic technicalities of taking a good picture, there are a few makeup techniques that will make your efforts tag-worthy. Recently, my incredibly talented friend Kendall Farr, who is also the fashion director and Chief Stylist at asked me for advice on makeup for the best self portrait and she offers more tips in her post about taking the perfect selfie. Be sure to check it out here:

Here are a few things I’ve put together to help get you camera ready.
The Basics:
The face can tend to read a little flat on camera especially if there is overhead lighting, so it’s important to make sure the skin looks dimensional. To help the skin look even and healthy looking, try a Beauty Balm or Correction Cream ( Aka: BB and CC creams) instead of foundation. They are a fantastic way to blur imperfections and even out skin tone and also hydrate, and protect. Apply with a foundation brush for sheer but even coverage, paying special attention to the corners of the eyes, around the nose, and the space between your lip and chin, which can appear ruddy on camera. Extend the product down the neck as well so there is no color shift from face to neck.

Product suggestions:

Tarte Cosmetics CC clay primer $34.00
Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizing Broad SPectrum SPF20 $36.00
YSL All in one BB cream SPF 15 $50.00
Stila Stay all day 10 in one HD BB cream SPF 30 $38.00
Maybelline Dream FFresh BB Cream $7.44
PERFEKT skin perfection CC créme $42.00
Kelley Quan large vegan domed makeup Brush #16 $65.00

It is important to eliminate distracting imperfections as well as highlight various features. Add a pop of concealer to the inner corners of the eye “wrapping” it from the lower under eye to the inner corner moving upward toward the brow. Don’t forget the outer corners of the eyes to give them a little ‘lift’. A small flat brush or pinky finger to press the concealer into the area to blend works best.The skin around the nose can show some signs of redness because the skin here is a little thinner, so add concealer if needed.

Product suggestions:

NARS Radiant Creamy concealer $29.00 for dryer skintypes
BOBBI BROWN Creamy concealer duo $33.00
Makeup For Ever HD invisible Cover Concealer $29.00
Beauty is Life Camouflage $35.00 for oilier skins
Kelley Quan Vegan makeup brush flat domed brush #3 $24.50

When it comes to contouring and blush, a little goes a long way. A soft touch, applied to the apple of the cheeks and blended toward the temples gives an overall pretty look. Soft apricots, warm pinks work well and cream or powder formulas work well. Bronzers are great if you want to shade the jawline or nose area, but again use a light hand and blend well.

Product Suggestions:

Narsissist Cheek Kit, $49.00
TARTE Cheek stain in Tipsy, Blissful or fearless $30.00
Kevyn Aucoin Creamy glow $26.00 in Pravelle or tansoleil
Smashbox Blush Rush $24.00 in Chiffon, Paradise.
Laura Mercier Matte radiance baked powder $36.00
Kelley Quan vegan makeup Brush #5 for powder blush $38.50 and large vegan domed makeup Brush #16 for creme formulas $65.00

No one wants to look oily, especially in photos and there lies the dichotomy. While everyone wants their skin to look healthy, finding the balance between too powdery to greasy-looking is crucial to a great photo moment. A light dusting of HD powder to set any makeup products will enhance the skin and remove any hotspots on the face. The fine milled powders allow for more control and won’t obliterate the life out of your skin.

Product Suggestions:
Beauty is life Loose Powder $50.00
Makeup For Ever Pressed HD Powder $36.00
Kelley Quan vegan makeup Powder Brush #22 $65.00

And now for some color:

The best angle for a great selfie is to hold the camera up above your head and gaze upward. This extends the neck and removes any top heavy lighting which leads to heavy shadows under the eyes. Since you are looking upwards towards the camera – the eyes should really pop. To do this, create a full, dense lash-line using a heavy pigmented eyeliner pencil. Lift your upper lid slightly and wriggle the pencil in and around the lashes. Smudge the liner with a small brush into the lashes and the upper eyelid, keeping the color as close to the lashes as possible, creating definition. Set the pencil with a layer of matching eye shadow. The lower lid can be lined in the same manner and if you want a softer look, choose a shade that is at least three shades lighter. Finish with a healthy coat of mascara beginning at the lash line, working mascara to the ends of the lashes. This will give a strong lash-line, framed by full, feathery lashes that will mesmerize!

Product Suggestions:

Urban Decay 24/7 glide on eye pencil $20.00
Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Gel crayon $25.00
Kevyn Aucoin “The Eyeshadow”single in Black or coffee bean $30.00
Marc Jacobs Lash Lifter-Gel Definition Mascara, $26.00
Maybelline Lash Stilletto Ultimate length Washable mascara in very black $8.95
Kelley Quan Flat liner vegan makeup brush #15 $14.00 and short dome vegan makeup Brush #8 $14.50

Pretty Pout:

If you are video chatting or skyping, you will be talking so don’t use a color that is too aggressive. I like to use a lip stain to shape and add tone, keeping it in the neutral wheelhouse. Lip staining formulas that come in marker pen or swivel crayon styes work extremely well for this. After defining the lips with color, top with a sheer clear gloss or lip balm. Your lips will look defined, pretty but never over-powering. For those who want more expressive lips, opt for a satin or matte finish lip pencil, leaning toward brighter colors over deep, rich shades which can look harsh.

Product Suggestions:

Tarte Cosmetic Lip Lusters $24.00
Pixi Lip Blush $18.00
Tom Ford Lip Color shine $48.00 in Abandon, Bare or for a little color quiver
NARS Satin Lip pencil in Timanfaya
Velvet Matte lip Pencil, Red Square $25.00
DIOR Creme de Rose Smoothing Plumping Lip Balm $27.00
Rosebud Perfume Co. Minted Rose Lip Balm , $7.00

And that’s what we call, a wrap, Folks! Happy Snapping!

October 7, 2013

Take me Back :: Summer Holidays, First love… Mémoire Liquide


Scent is probably one of the most memory provoking elements. A memorable scent can take us right back to a single moment in time with pin-point precision, evoking all the emotions that accompany it.

While many are familiar with Mémoire Liquide, a bespoke, custom-blended perfumierie—It has a coveted cult-following that reads like a Who’s Who list for celebrities and the hip and fabulous everywhere. Yet for those who aren’t able to get into Fred Segal Santa Monica (where the brand launched in 1984) or Henri Bendel in NYC, don’t despair— you may now get your own fragrance that is just as unique and evocative as the original, called Reserve Edition.


These five ready-to-wear eau de Parfums expand beyond the original customized model of Mémoire Liquide Bespoke Perfume counters. With a focus still on the interplay between memory and scent, these individual scents trigger past memories as well as inspire new ones. Each come in a wonderful book box and have companion Creme body lotions as well. Names like Vacances, Soleil, Amour, Fleur and Encens give you an idea of the memory triggers that inspired the set. Each are rich full fragrances, with layers of scent that changed throughout the day. For example, Soleil Liquide, has a whisper of Tangerine and orange that shifts imperceptibly to a denser White Musk and Santal then back again. The effect was quite heady and intoxicating but never overpowering. The interpay of each note is wonderful in all editions, each containing its own vacilating scents and notes. All of the reserve collection share the same DNA as the handcrafted version so for those of you unable to get to a bespoke counter this is a great opton. The Reserve Edition, with its roots firmly planted within the artisan perfumier camp offers a beautiful alternative. Personally, I experienced more than a few flashbacks to some of my favorite vacation destinations, where I have incredible memories—I would encourage you to let Mémoire Liquide Reserve Editions carry you away to your own oasis, wherever that may be.

Available at:, and

September 21, 2013

Beauty Without Boundaries :: Tarte Cosmetics and QVC

Each of us is unique, and in celebration of individual beauty, Tarte Cosmetics introduces this exclusive Beauty without Boundaries 8-piece collection featuring everyday essentials designed for real women. Whether you want a subtle, flawless look or a more sultry, smoldering stare, this limited-edition, customized set has everything you need to defy the boundaries of conventional makeup for a look that’s naturally you!
The Beauty without Boundaries 8-piece collection is valued at over $214, and includes the following 7 products (from left to right), and arrives in the eco-chic makeup bag (retail value: $15) above:
dual-sided diffuser concealer brush (retail price $28)
For youthful-looking eyes, pick up the perfect amount of product using the lighter side of the brush and apply to your undereye area. Then, use the darker side of the brush to smooth and blend for a flawless, crease-free finish.

BB tinted undereye corrector (retail price $32) This multitasking nutrient rich concealer evens skin tone instantly, moisturizes, and balances skin texture, while working overtime to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
shades: fair-light, medium-tan, and deep

BB tinted treatment 12-hour primer (retail price $34)
This powerful, skin-perfecting multitasker can be worn alone or as the perfect base for your favorite foundation!
shades: fair, light, medium, and tan

double ended brush (retail price $36)
For flawless coverage, use the flat side of the brush to lightly dab your BB tinted treatment 12-hour primer on to your face and blend outward for sheer, buildable coverage. Then, use the round end of the brush to target hard-to-reach areas.

LipSurgence™ power pigment in awakening (retail price $24) For a naturally beautiful smile, glide on the ethereal pink shade to add a pop of color and moisture while brightening and enhancing your complexion.

Lights, camera, lashes™ 12-hour waterproof inner rim liner (retail price $22)
Specifically designed for the delicate inner rim, this liner delivers intense, triple-black definition that won’t fade, run, or budge. shade: black

Lights, camera, flashes™ statement mascara (retail price $23) Features a custom-engineered, dual-molded brush to take lashes to the extreme with a 752% increase in lash density.

Check out the video:

Retail availability: September 24th exclusively on QVC and

August 24, 2013

Summer Bronzing :: How to Get your Glow on

It’s high summer. You can always tell because there are a plethora of sun bronzed people strutting around the city showing off their wares, which if you don’t happen to be one of them might make you feel a keen sense of tan envy. But really, while we all know by now that tanning your skin is something we really should avoid, it doesn’t stop our innate desire to attain that glorious glow. I suppose we can thank the likes of Coco Chanel and all the tawny-hued celebutants we know and love, for making it fashionable. But times have changed and we cannot ignore the fact that our love affair with the sun has had major consequences. With skin cancer on the rise, it’s enough to make you run for cover. But do not fret, my lovelies. I have been test-driving some beautiful alternatives to traditional tanning with some beauty items that will give you all the coveted tawniness you desire as well as pamper your skin —All without any of the negatives associated with the ol‘ shake n‘ bake!

Here are a few of my favorites. All give fantastic results and the best part is no one will ever know you didn’t get your glow the old fashioned way.

First and foremost, before you begin any self-tanning adventure the skin must be smooth and polished.I find the best way to acheive this is to exfoliate using a soft body brush. They are one of the best all around beauty treatments for maintaining gorgeous skin. Body brushes are also soft, yet surprisingly stimulating. Utilizing a dry brush encourages dead skin cell removal, increased lymph circulation and skin detoxification. You don’t have to spend a ton of cash for them, some of my favorite ones have come from Muji in NYC. STYROL SHOWER BRUSH $21.50 Available at

St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse

This uber-lightweight mousse is perfect for the novice self-tanner. It’s very transparent, and the mousse formula makes application trouble-free not only because of the smooth formulation but because it’s tinted, it is easy to see exactly where the product is applied on the skin making blending and buffing a breeze. For my test drive, I did my first application in the evening after a shower, and left it to process overnight. I find following this protocol works best for me as it has time to develop while I sleep and I don’t have to smell that tell tale, faux-tan aroma all day. It comes with a handy foam mitt for application which helps avoid getting the product on the hands and wrists. Additionally it alleviates blotchy application issues on some of the more troublesome areas like the knees, elbows and ankle areas where tanning faux pas tend to occur most. Starting with the torso, using circular motions to pull the foam across the skin, i move as quickly as possible then buff out any lines or demarcations as I go. I gradually worked my way outward toward the limbs. Rule of thumb—Go easy at the elbows, knees, near the ears, hands and feet. You don’t want to over apply in any of these areas. Be aware that this product dries quite quickly so if you haven’t buffed out all the product it will make for a blotchy looking tan, but I found I was able to blend it out before it dried. The upside of this is that it allows for almost immediate dressing,

While I didn’t dislike the scent, which was mild during application it did develop into a faint odor once the product began processing, which incidentally, occurs with almost ALL self tanners but this one was much subtler than most. Maybe it was because I slept through most of the processing time, but overall I found it was pretty tolerable and wasn’t bothered by it at all. The following morning, my skin was a healthy, tawny-looking bronze. The formula has a green undertone and therefore as it develops, counters any redness in the skin. The result is a realistic, natural looking tan. I am sure many have experienced the “Orange” effect of some other self tanners on the market but with St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse, you’ll never have to worry about that faux hue giveaway again. Re-application every three or four days was enough to build a realistic , “I spend my weekends at the beach” tan, and once you’ve reached the shade desired, a weekly top up was enough to keep it looking flawless. One 8 oz. bottle of St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse should last about a month.
$42.00 Available at

L’Oreal Sublime Bronze :: Luminous Bronze Self-Tanning Lotion

I like to cover a few retails arenas when it comes to beauty products and truly believe that while you can drop more than a few of your hard earned cash at luxury beauty retailers, the local drugstore has a lot to offer at a much lower price point. It’s a matter of choosing the best items from the overabundance of product on the drugstore shelves.
L’Oreal has long established itself as one of the market leaders in skin and beauty care and there is a good reason for that. Quality and performance keep consumers coming back for more and so when I set out to look for a competitive self-tanning product for this post, I didn’t need to look far. L’Oreal launched the Sublime Bronze collection this summer with a collection of eight products to attain the perfect tan. I selected the Luminous Bronzer Self-Tanning lotion because many people prefer a lotion over any other formulation. This product is really lightweight and almost has a gel like feel to it. I immediately noticed the scent. It is really fresh, unlike so many other self-tanning products. During the processing time, it didn’t seem to change so when I used it during the day, I wasn’t smelling the usual tell self tanning odor at all. Like the NUXE dry oil, it has fine gold shimmer particles suspended within the product, that give the skin a nice shimmer yet was didn’t look overdone. Once dry, it was weightless and didn’t leave any sticky residue on my skin at all. The color took a little longer to build than when I used the St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse, but once I achieved the depth of color I wanted, it was easy to maintain. I used this product every other day, to get the density of color I was after, and once a week thereafter to maintain it. I found that this formula went on streak free and was extremely easy to blend. It didn’t grab on the tough areas like the elbows and knees, although as with any self tanner, I would suggest using an application mitt just to keep your hands clean and to evenly distribute the product. I did use more product to get the same results of a more expensive product but I if your beauty budget is limited, this is one of the best self tanners out there.

$10.99 Available at

NUXE Multi Purpose Care :: Huile Prodigienuse OR

This is a wonderful dry oil for the face, body and hair that is a fantastic way to treat your skin and add depth to your faux tan. I love this light weight, illuminating oil— it never feels greasy and will leaves the skin with silky, buttery-looking finish. On bronzed skin, NUXE multi purpose dry oil helps to extend that gorgeous tan and the subtle flecks of golden glitter and pearl reflect the light and add a subtle sheen. This oil nourishes and repairs the skin with a blend of six plant oils and vitamin E and there are absolutely no mineral oils, silicone or preservatives in any of the NUXE line.

I used this product day and night, especially after a shower. It extends my tan and gives it a richness and depth that I really love. If you prefer not to have shimmer, NUXE also offers a formula without it. Whether its for summer or winter use, NUXE multi purpose dry oil will keep your skin in perfect condition all year long. $45.00
Available at

June 27, 2013

Summertime in the city :: Welcome to Neal’s Yard

I have loved Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic since I discovered the brand twenty-odd years ago while living in London. The signature sapphire blue glass bottles house a gorgeous collection of skincare goods that never fail to perform well. So when I had an opportunity to test drive some of the color-line, I didn’t need any convincing. Here are a few products that make for perfect summer makeup accessories.

I don’t know about you, but when the barometer goes up, the last thing I want to do is put a ton of makeup on my face. Don’t get me wrong, I never head out the door without a little something on my face. Be it a slash of lipgloss, or bronzer, to concealer or a little powder—even the smallest amount of makeup can make all the difference on how you feel out in the world. I always remember my Mom telling me that I should be as put-together as possible, because it would be the day you headed out in sweatpants and a bare face that you’d run into the very person you wish would never see you looking like that! Sod’s Law! But when it’s really hot out there ( and especially if you live in a humid climate like I do) nothing feels worse than makeup that feels heavy or rich on the skin. This not only invites breakouts and blocked pores but your skin will feel like it’s being smothered.
So what’s a girl to do?

NYR organics have several fantastic colour options for summer makeup that not only protect and nourish the skin, but will help you achieve a polished summer look with ease. Each product is Soil Association Certified and are jam-packed with antioxidants to support good skin health. I test drove several products from the range and was not disappointed with any of them. I absolutely loved the loose powder bronzer and continue to use it daily. This brilliant shade of shimmery bronzer highlights the skin while adding just the right amount of sun-kissed bronze. It is talc-free and packed with some of my favorite skin oils like Avocado, Sunflower and sweet almond oil. If you are worried about added oils, don’t —This powder is so lightweight you’ll forget you even have it on!. Containing only organic ingredients, this bronzer gives your skin a healthy glow while keeping it in great condition as well and the color stays true all day, never oxidizing like some other bronzers. $26.50
Available at:

Another item from this stellar lineup is the lip gloss collection. Like the rest of the NYR line, all contain only USDA certified ingredients like Organic Caranuaba and bees wax, and a host of potent oils like Pumpkin Seed, Flaxseed, Avocado and Evening primrose to create a luxurious formula for your lips. My favorite color for summer is Fig, which a bronzy shimmer gloss. It is perfect for creating a fresh summer look. While having this powerhouse collection of skin protecting oils makes this lipgloss a no brainer as a beauty must-have, the real draw for me was smoothness of the formula and sheen. It is like the perfect lip balm with the finish of a gloss and delectable bonus of a sweet orange scent. Yum! $16.00

Available at

June 15, 2013

Smooth as Silk :: Kevyn Aucoin Beauty

Where can I begin with the attributes of Kevyn Aucoin Liquid Airbrush Foundation? Would it be the delicate texture, the subtle yet effective coverage or the next to nothing feeling on the skin? The best foundations are stellar in all three areas and while it would seem like a no brainer these days given the technology in cosmetics, you would be surprised by just how many fall short.

No so, with Kevyn Aucoin Beauty. This pigment rich, yet dewy finish foundation has buildable coverage which means you can use just the right amount, wherever you need it.

If your are like me and don’t really love the idea of wearing a full coverage makeup, yet you find that adding some color to blur and smooth out any imperfections is a must, then this may be the foundation for you. The product comes in a sleek pump bottle that allows the user to dispense a controlled amount of product at any given time. I use a very large pointed foundation brush when I put my makeup on — I am a bit of a speed freak when it comes to doing my own makeup and really haven’t the patience for a long drawn out makeup session, but I do want the fantastic finish, so a bullet-point brush is my go-to for foundation application. This makeup allows me to do a quick color wash to finish my skin and then go over the areas that need a little bit more coverage. It has a nice velvety finish— Not too dewy-shiny yet not powdery either. I think it makes the skin look polished, yet fresh all at the same time. Because the texture is buttery without looking oily, you need only a small amount of powder if any to set it.

For photo shoots, Kevyn Aucoin Liquid Airbrush Foundation really holds up well and think it would be great for anyone who needs a long wearing base that won’t look cakey or or dry after a long day. Think weddings or red carpet events.

Available in 8 shades, it’s $45.00 at Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus“>Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdales

May 16, 2013

The Makeup Show NYC :: Trippin’ down makeup alley Part 2

OMG!! What can I say about Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics? I just adore the brand. First of all, OCC is Vegan and cruelty free. But the most important quality about this brand is of course, the product itself. It’s just stellar. In particular, the Lip Tar and Lip Tar stained Glosses are simply incredible. These little tubes pack a gigantic color punch—Both formulas are deeply pigmented, which means a teeny, tiny bit goes a long, long way. These mighty tubes of pigment are completely mixable so you can customize each shade to suit your mood, and they last and last. No stick lip feeling, no dried out pout. Just a super rich saturated pop of color. Of course as an art major back in the day, I love that they have several mixing mediums like pure white and jet black so you can tweak any color in the roster. They also have a clear that will make any of the opaque colors stain glass sheer. It’s a makeup artists dream.
Don’t get intimidated but the pro quality of these lip colors. I encourage you to try a few mix n’match and bring out your inner makeup maven!

Available at:

Continuing on from my last post from The Makeup Show, I had a few products on my hit list that I just had to checked out. Let’s talk skin for a minute—I love Kevyn Aucoin Beauty, and have been a fan of Sensual Skin Enhancer Makeup for years. At first glance, you might think this tiny pot is a mere concealer, like many others. Don’t be fooled. This creamy, über- pigmented concentrate is actually a multi-purpose foundation that will not only make your skin look flawless, but because it can be applied as a sheer or full coverage as needed, you don’t need concealer. For the perfect skin tint that will result in a beautiful, dewy finish, I mix with a bit of moisturizer like Embryo Lisse and apply with a brush, preferably with a large bullet or flat domed shaped brush. A little goes a long way, and once I have the coverage I want, I buff the surface until the makeup looks flawless . Alternatively, I like to use my fingertips to apply because the warmth “melts” the foundation into the skin, and follow up with the same buffing process. The result is really hydrated, pore-less skin that looks fresh and natural. When I stopped by the Kevyn Aucoin Beauty counter at the show, I saw two newer products that mimicked the sheer coverage I created using moisturizers, yet each had its own distinct texture and finish. Essential skin tint balm and Liquid Airbrush both feel lighter to the touch than Sensual Skin Enhancer Makeup and both offer a great finish. I will be test driving these products in a few weeks, so stay tuned for the reviews!

Kevyn Aucoin is available at: Space NK

May 8, 2013

The Makeup Show NYC :: Trippin’ down makeup alley Part 1

A few days ago, The Makeup Show came to town. As it happens, my Gal Pal about town and talented artist in her own right, Ashleigh Ciucci of beauteousmaximus fame have made it our bi-annual tradition to endure the throngs of people attending this event (and when I tell you throngs, I really mean it—There was no amount of shimmy, shake n’slide that could get either one of us even close to a counter for a time, to see what was what! ) to scour the aisles looking to uncover those gems worth spending your cool greens on.

All the usual suspects were there, and while I didn’t see a whole lot of newly developed product this time around, I did see some fantastic additions to some of my favorite lines. Now I won’t go into what NARS Cosmetics had on offer as I recently wrote about the exciting goodies they have lined up for Fall 2013. See my recent post here: The Beauty Sleuth

I was interested in taking a closer look at Inglot Cosmetics. I have been following them for a few years and while outwardly the collection is impressive, I was never wowed with the lineup. Maybe it was too reminiscent of MAC or Make Up For Ever, from their early days or that it appeared the quality of the product wasn’t elevated enough for me, whatever the rationale, I never felt compelled to run out and stock my kit with Inglot. However, I had recently heard some interesting beauty chatter that had piqued my curiosity about the brands eyebrow waxes and powders, so prior to attending the show, I took a closer look at them online ( I found them on but strangely, they did not offer them on the Inglot site!) The range provided some eye dazzle with a brow creme and powder collection that topped out at 15. Inglot also produce their own exclusive empty palettes which makes building a customized collection easy. I liked what I saw online, and was totally prepared to forget my previous impression of the brand and forge ahead to see it in the flesh.

After finally jostling my way to the front of the counter, I was able to get a sample of the brow colors. First of all, I could tell right away by the surface sheen, that the wax was way too soft. What’s wrong with that you say? It’s simply— If the wax is not firm or dense enough, it will not hold the brows into place. Alas, droopy brow syndrome. You might think that setting with a powder will help but as the body warms the product, it has a tendency to move, so it’s not the best solution. A really good barometer for a great brow wax is that it should have a smooth, matte finish and be quite hard to finger touch, yet pliable enough when applied with a dedicated brow brush. ( Like my patented Wave Brow brush… ok I admit to touting my wares, however even if it wasn’t mine, I’d still be plugging it. It’s just that good!.)

By contrast, when I touched the pan of Inglot brow wax, it immediately melted on my finger and was extremely shiny. Additionally, the pigment was so transparent, it would take a lot of product to make an impression to the overall brow line, and would ultimately make them look unnatural and sticky. The powder versions were much better, with a wide range to choose from. I did like the fact that they had a texture, some almost having a sheen effect. One of my pet peeves with many brow shadows is that they can look flat and harsh because the formula is too matte. Inglot powder formula is not as pigmented and has a subtle texture that looks more natural on the brow area. At the end of the day, my silver lining parting thought is this: If you are looking for a decent powder formula in a variety of colors,that you can customize in a pretty palette Inglot has you covered but I would steer clear of the wax formula altogether.

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May 6, 2013

being Nude never looked so good :: ProGenius product review

There has been a lot of chatter recently about facial oils and whether or not they are effective for everyone. When I canvased a few people about their thoughts on using an oil as moisturizer or treatment, the responses were pretty typical of what you might expect. ” Won’t that make my skin breakout?”, “I have oily skin, I would NEVER us an oil on it!” and so on. I had shared the same attitude myself, because I do have a tendency toward oilier skin and the thought of adding more oil just seemed wrong to me. There are several brands out there touting the advantages of using treatment oils to improve texture, hydration and even help with skin conditions such as Rosacea or Eczema. That said, I do have to admit that I am not a treatment oil novice and while I could recall clearly some of the reasons I hesitated when it came time to put an oil on my face, I had forgotten what the perks were. Many years ago, I used Clarins Lotus Oil for a time. Lotus oil was developed specifically for oilier skin and I found that while it felt counter intuitive to use an oil on oily skin, the result were balanced, oil-controlled,hydrated skin. So when I had the opportunity to test drive a new skin oil from NUDE Skincare, I felt it was time to re-visit the benefits of using beauty oils again.

In the past I never used a facial oil during the day, simply because my makeup wouldn’t last the day if I did. And as part of my evening ritual, when at the crossroads of choosing oil over lotion, I always skipped a beat before deciding whether to really go there or not. I had to think about what events may or may not be on for the following day —”Would it make my eyes puffy?” “Would I have time to wash my hair if it got oily?” “Would it make me oily all day long?” and so on…You can hear the inner dialogue, right? I am sure if you have ever tried beauty oils yourself, you have perhaps had a few of your own inner convos!

First impressions on Nude ProGenius treatment oil was good— the subtle scent was not over powering at all ( one of my pet peeves with Clarins Lotus Oil ) and is it a very fine consistency. The brands literature says it contains a healthy dose of Omegas 3,6,7 and 9 to nourish the skin and when you think about why we take a a balancing diet of Omegas in the first place, applying externally makes a lot of sense to help keep your skin healthy. This oil is designed for all skin types and the brand has several usage suggestions. As a moisturizer on its own or with a favorite moisturizer by adding a drop or two or as a primer for foundation. For my purposes, I test drove as suggested and found the results were really good overall.

I began my road-test by integrating it with my night time regimen ( I am a huge Epicuren fan ) After cleansing and toning and Pocket Spa hydro therapy, I used two drops of oil all over my face and neck. A little goes a long way so, which is good because this oil isn’t cheap, clocking in at $78 bucks for a 1oz. bottle—You’ll definitely not want to use more than you need. It absorbed fairly quickly and over a course of about three weeks, I did see a noticeably dewier skin quality, without excess oiliness. On several of my test applications, I added a few drops to my Epicuren moisturizer for an extra moisture boost. This made my skin feel really great the following day and I found that when the weather was changing a lot or I was traveling ( at which time my skin tends to be a bit hyper-active; vacillating between excessive oil production or moisture drought!) this was a great way of keeping my skin in good shape and well balanced. Of course the real test came during daytime application. I began by integrating ProGenius slowly, using after my daytime cleanse ritual. I used a single drop mixed with my moisturizer and as with my evening skincare program, I never go without a round or two of Pocket Spa-ing, simply because I find it helps deliver any product deeper into my skin. My skin did not feel oily, in fact after about a half hour, it felt supple and smooth and had a nice sheen. This was a good sign for sure. I continued to use the product this way for about a week or so and would say for me personally there was only one drawback. If you have issue with mascara drooping from your upper to your lower lids, then you will need to be mindful not to get this product to close to your eye/cheek area. Often because I have high cheekbones and long lashes, I am constantly monitoring what I put around my eyes or I’ll end up looking like someone punched me by mid-day! As a primer for my foundation, ( I use Beauty is Life concealer and Tarte clay powder foundation) it was pretty good for all areas, except around the eyes. I use waterproof mascara and when I used the Pro Genius too close to my upper cheek area, it seemed to dissolve some of my eye makeup by mid-day. I alleviated this by avoiding that part of my face all together and stuck to using my usual eye cream there. The end result was luminous looking skin without compromising my eye makeup.

All in all, I would give Nude ProGenius an 8.9 for my test drive. While it did hydrate and give my skin a dewy quality, I could not use it anywhere near my eye areas during day time use. With that, I will limit using this oil to my evening skincare program. The pluses? Waking up to lusciously hydrated skin is always a fantastic mood booster!

Nude ProGenius is $78.00 and available at: