Monday, January 9, 2012

Best in Beauty: 2011

Without further ado, some of my faves from 2011:

Lip Product: Revlon Lip Butters, around $6

For me, not only a best of 2011, but the single best lip product I have tried from the drugstore. I have tried numerous colors, and they all have great pay-off (Creme Brulee, Creamsicle, and Red Velvet are my faves). They have the texture of a balm, the look of lipstick, and the shine of a gloss. What more could you ask for?

Blush: Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge, $24

I have raved about this product before- the colors are gorgeous, the finish is beautiful, and the application is super easy. I will continue to repurchase and try new colors!

Mascara: Maybelline Falsies and Loreal Voluminous Millions, both around $7

Both mascaras are great on their own, but together they create the perfect combo of volume (Falsies) and length (Voluminous). Drugstore mascaras are really all you need for a fantastic look (for straight lashes, try the waterproof versions to hold curl longer during the day).

Eyeliner: Prestige Total Intensity, around $3 

Why does no one mentioned these liners??? They are like the Urban Decay 24/7 liners on steroids. They have the most gorgeous range of shades (even if not the largest range, they are all beautiful metallic and wearable colors- I especially love the brown and olive tones), and are around $3 at the drugstore! They are soooo long wearing it is ridiculous, and the color payoff is insane. These are a must to replace more expense liner.

Shadow:  Mac Paint Pot in Bare Study and Wet n' Wild Color Icon palettes 

My beloved Mac Paint Pots ($17.50) will always be at the top of my list for their staying power, ease of application, and beautiful sheen. This year, though, drugstore brands knocked it out of the park with their eye shadow formulations. Wet n' Wild palettes range from $2.50-$8 and are all super pigmented, creamy and really wearable. You can find numerous Mac color dupes in the palettes as well. 

Brush: Sephora Collection Pro Foundation Airbrush #55, $34

Because I almost never wear foundation, I hesitated before purchasing this beauty. When I stopped by my local Sephora, however, the luxurious softness won me over. I used this for blush and bronzer, and it wonderfully disperses color onto your face.

Face Product: Bobbi Brown Corrector, $22

I use this as a corrector/concealer under my eyes. It completely brightens my face and cancels out my dark circles. Even though the pot looks alarmingly small for the price, it has lasted my over 3 months (and going strong) of every day use. 

Bronzer: Too-Faced Chocolate Soleil, $28

This is very similar to Benefit's Hoola, but I find the Too-Faced slightly more wearable (plus it smells like chocolate!). Such a great matte finish that brightens your skin without the slightest hint of orange. Even though I love drugstore bronzers (NYC Sunny, Rimmel Sunlight, etc.), most of them have some form of shimmer or don't wear well over time. This one is my ultimate pick and I will continue to re-purchase. 

Nail Polish: Chanel Graphite, $26

This polish is packed with multifaceted silver/gunmetal sparkles- whenever I wear this, all eyes go straight to my nails. It is ultra-glam, and the quality of Chanel polishes is fantastic across the board. The price-point is INSANELY high, so save this product as a special treat. I personally like to think of it as reasonably priced jewelry. 

Hair Product: Moroccan Oil

I am not picky about the brand, but Moroccan Oil has changed my hair. I have been using a pea-sized drop of oil in my hair every time I shower for over a year now, and my hair is soft, manageable and damage-free (my hairdresser even asked what I had been using!). You can find this at a couple of different price points, ranging from $10 up, but all are very similar.

Skin Product: Clean and Clear Morning Burst In-shower Facial and Dr. Hauschka Toner

The Clean and Clear is a great pick-me-up product. You let a small amount sit on your face in the shower while the steam works to open your pores and get a deeper clean. Really brightens the looks of my skin, and the price (around $6 at drugstores) is really reasonable. 

The Dr. Hauschka toner is a fairly new addition to my routine, but the results are undeniable. I love to use toner morning and night, and this one smooths out my skin and cleans out my pores without over-drying. The price is steep at around $35, but I could not go a day without this.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Celebrity Inspired: Emma Watson in Tartan Punk

Celebrity Inspired: Emma Watson in Tartan Punk

The LBD, or little black dress, has been synonymous with glamour and sophistication throughout fashion history. And while I am a huge fan of black cocktail attire, it can quickly become repetitive. Thinking outside the raven box, Emma Watson stuns in this McQ dress, which is devastingly gorgeous and infuriatingly unattainable. To achieve a similar look, keep one principle in mind- the red carpet is a spring board for real life fashion. If you break down Watson's outfit, what are the major elements? Plaid, leather, and tough girl accessories are the main components of this ensemble- and all are easily incorporated into an existing wardrobe and easily found at low and high-end stores. The two dresses above will mimic Watson's get-up, but to achieve volume for her fun party look, try adding a petticoat-style skirt underneath (while this perfectly suits Watson's boyish figure by adding definition at the waist, it would also work to balance out a large-busted gal and would complement pear-shaped ladies). Here Watson chose a pointed toe black pump, which adds miles to her legs and toughens up the cupcake style of her dress. While plain black pairs nicely with the plaid, feel free to play with textures and added touches (love those ubiquitous Sam Edelman studded pumps). Each part of the look would work fabulously on its own (Pointed heels with black skinny jeans? To DIE for! A Leather jacket over a floral spring dress is a fantastic transitional option to stretch your wardrobe!), but if you have the courage (and the occasion) to wear these pieces together, you will stand out in the sea of black sheaths in this youthful and modern look. 

Miss Selfridge biker jacket, $135
TopShop leather biker jacket, $300
Manoush petticoat skirt, $530
Gail Berry Petticoat skirt, $210
Motel Remember the Tartans Dress, $90
Bourne black high heels, $270
Sam Edelman black high heels, $225
Kelsi Dagger black high heels, $120

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Current Obsession: Stains

I hate lip gloss. **Pauses for reaction** I know, I know. I used to be a junkie (I have the box full of tubes and pots to prove it), but lately the necessary reapplication, the nauseatingly sticky feeling, and the prerequisite feathering have all but put me off my glossy lunch. Enter: Bobbi Brown's Pot Rouge for Lips and Cheeks. This product is fantastic for a plethora of reasons. Firstly, for you low-maintenance ladies, the stain simplifies your morning routine by shrinking the number of products you need and allowing you to quickly create a polished look. The tiny pot fits into any size bag, and you can reapply if necessary during the day without using a mirror. Reapplication will probably be unnecessary, as the color has truly fantastic staying power, especially if you take your time to work in and build up the color. No need to start with a pile of product- simply dab your finger into the color and then dab onto your lips and cheeks. Honestly, it's that goof-proof. Lastly, this product will last you past its expiration date. I have had my stain in Pink Truffle (I prefer a darker color for a stain, because it is more versatile as you can dab lightly for a soft finish or build the color to an intense lip) for about a month, and there is barely a dent. This type of product tends to look more natural than powders, as it blends more easily into your skin, rather than sitting on top of the skin. Translation: You will look effortlessly beautiful and put-together throughout your day!
What you pay-$24
What you get-0.38 ounces of love that will last you forever
Where you buy-Sephora, most department stores
What you do-Dab, dab, dab on lips and cheeks! And work quickly, using the warmth of your fingers or a soft brush to blend.
Other stuff you should know- Only comes in 5 colors, but they are widely flattering. Other options include Laura Mercier's Lip Stain (Mulberry is my current favorite, and while it may look frightening in the pot it is exceedingly wearable and easily buildable) and Benefit's famous Benetint
Zest Official Rating-5/5! This is holy grail status for me, both in terms of a lip and cheek product.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I SPY: Miranda Kerr

I SPY: Miranda Kerr

Winter can get, well, BORING. There are only so many times you can wear your black trousers from J.Crew before your co-workers start to notice your slovenly appearance. When faced with such a dire situation, look no further than Miranda Kerr's edgy street style. The model can be seen stomping down the pavement in fabulous looks that include strong blazers, rich leather accessories, and retro sunglasses- looks that could snap anyone out of their winter slump. The exact look pictured above is definitely more suited for taller gals (cuffed jeans AND ankle boots? yeah, you need to be about ten feet tall to wear her outfit and still  have legs that look a mile long), but with some adjustments (either stick to full length skinnies, or wear a more classic heeled pump) petite ladies could sport the ensemble as well. And while Kerr is strutting in head to toe designer, this look is SO simple to recreate with cheaper pieces. Head over to Forever21 for an enormous selection of blazers, or to ASOS for chic booties that won't break the bank. Remember, celebrity style can serve as inspiration for any outfit- don't feel like you have to copy the look exactly. Each person has a slightly different body, so adapt the outfit to a version that looks best on YOU!

Items pictured above: 
Hollister Co. destroyed jeans, $50
TopShop black booties, $124
Banana republic handbag, $90
Mulberry zebra print scarve, $150
House of Harlow 1960 Chelsea Sunglasses in Black, $139
Wilfred satin jacket, $195

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Beauty Aid: Smudged and Dangerous

Beauty Aid: Smudged and Dangerous

Traveling eye liner is SO not cute- who wants to look like a raccoon come 3 p.m.?! With the right tools and techniques, your eyeliner can stay put through the work day...or through a hurricane...or through a marathon...or whatever else you may be tackling  on that particular day.

First, create a line using either a pencil, gel or liquid liner. I really love Mac pencil in Teddy, a bronze color that is a nice alternative to standard brown or black. In the drugstore, I am obsessed with Prestige Total Intensity Pencils- they stay all day and are ridiculously inexpensive at around $3. I have them in several colors, and they are all fabulous and easily compare to Urban Decay's more famous 24/7 pencils. If gel is more your thing, Physician's Formula, Bobbi Brown, and Maybelline all make fantastic versions. Liquid liner normally takes the most skill and time, but if you have mastered the steady-hand method, my favorite is Maybelline Line Stiletto. Once you have a thin layer of liner, which by no means needs to be perfect (I actually prefer a more smudged, natural look), take a similar color shadow on a flat or angled liner brush and gently press (don't rub or you will move around your base line!) onto the original line you created. And that's it! Just as you would set foundation or concealer with a powder, or as you would finish an up-do with hairspray, the shadow sets your line and intensifies the color and the defining power of any product! I almost always do a brown liner, and so would chose a complimentary brown or bronze shadow. Some of my favorites include NYX in Deep Bronzer, Urban Decay in Smog, and Bobbi Brown in Espresso. To amp up the look for night, take a little of the same shadow onto your bottom lash line with a smudge brush or simple q-tip! This will keep you looking glam all through your day and well into your Friday night.