Monday, July 28, 2014

The Cover Up

If there's one thing I know about makeup, it's concealing. I'm not talking about covering the occasional dark under-eye circles, I'm talking about blemishes and birthmarks the dreaded double B (um, er - that doesn't sound right). Not a stranger to either, I've been concealing breakouts and birthmarks since high school.

I was born with a very visible, very red V-shaped birthmark located on my forehead right between my eyebrows. I also have another one yes another V at the base of my head, just above my neck. My mom used to joke that the two V's were beak marks left by the stork I must have been carried by my head. The image of a stork flying through the sky with a baby in its beak will haunt me forever. Thanks mom! (And I wonder where I get my weird sense of humor.) Oh, and as I've mention in previous posts, I use flesh-toned eye primers to conceal the red birthmark (a splotch, not another V) that graces my right eyelid.

Over the years my birthmarks have faded, and with a little help from a few good concealers, they're barely visible. Blemishes, on the other hand, have been a constant struggle. As much as I'd like to try every beauty product that hits the shelves, I've found that my skin does best with a consistent routine. Breakouts have lessened but believe me I still need to have multiple concealers on hand.

A rich creamy concealer, like Studio Gear's Hidden Agenda, is good for covering both birthmarks and blemishes. The thick formula yields intense coverage that stays put throughout the day. I apply it with the Sonia Kashuk Synthetic Concealer Brush, which is the perfect size and shape (small and flat) for dabbing on just a touch of product. Afterward, I lock the concealer in place with a setting powder. Lately I've been using the BareMinerals Well-Rested Eye Brightener, a yellow-based ivory, which seems like an odd choice but works amazingly well. It's a good match for my skin tone, blends easily and provides some added coverage.

If I need to mask a larger area (aka major breakout), then I use a medicated liquid concealer. I've been using the Almay Clear Complexion Blemish Healing Spot Corrector for a few years now and I love its coverage and blendability. The formula is meant to help prevent and heal blemishes; I haven't noticed any improvements in my skin after wearing it, but I like the idea that it's not making my skin any worse.

With any concealer, the key is finding the right shade and formula, blending it well and setting it with a powder. Or, you can just avoid baby-wielding storks. Either way.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Neutral is the New Black

Stila Halfmoon// Maybelline Jade// Urban Decay Desperation// L'Oreal Olive// Rimmel Taupe// Revlon Brushed Pewter

I'm what you'd call a "meh" eyeliner gal  sure, I wear it but it's just not my thing. Don't get me wrong, I love a dramatic smokey eye complete with a heavy-handed coat of jet-black liner... just not everyday, and definitely not in the summer. Lately I've been sporting a bevy of neutral liners that bring a bit of soft definition and color to the eye without looking too harsh. Whether worn smudged alone on the lid, or paired with a bright summery eyeshadow, these six sticks are bringing subtle (sexy?) back.

If the thought of any other shade other than black makes you cringe, then the Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof in Halfmoon might be a good option. A matte grey that's easy to use (twist-up liners are da-bomb) and lasts all day, this one's just begging to added to your collection. While we're on the topic of twist-ups, Maybelline's Unstoppable Eyeliner in Jade is not only a gorgeous shade, but an amazing formulation. Reminiscent of the aforementioned Smudge Stick, this waterproof beaut can be yours for less than a Hamilton. Does it get any better?

No eyeliner post could be complete without an Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil shout out. Desperation, a grey taupe, glides on the lash line effortlessly without so much as a tug. Moisturizing ingredients such as jojoba oil and vitamin E merely sweeten the deal. Unfortunately my next pick isn't so sweet. The L'Oreal Bare Naturale Gentle Mineral Eyeliner, a long-time love, has been *dun dun duuun* discontinued. (I should have stockpiled a few more.) Olive, a warm green that looks amazing smoked-out on the lids, is (was) one of my favorite shades. I'll have to try out some other L'Oreal eye liners to see how they compare.

The Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl in Taupe a newbie to my collection  has not only become my go-to eyeliner, but also my go-to cream eyeshadow. The ultra-creamy consistency makes application quick and painless, and once it sets, it doesn't budge. A unique shade, this light taupe brightens the eye for a natural I'm awake look. Wanting something a tad darker? The Revlon Luxurious Color Eyeliner in Brushed Pewter is lovely metallic grey that flatters every eye color. This pencil comes with a built-in smudger, handy for taking the liner from heavy to light. It's not waterproof so set it with an eyeshadow if you want to prevent any slipping and sliding.

What shade of eyeliner, other than black, have you been sporting this summer?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Primers/Concealers For Your Peepers

As a flesh-toned primer enthusiast (a lovely reddish-purple birthmark graces my right eyelid), I'm willing to try my hand at any formula that meets my modest requirementsone that conceals completely and one that doesn't budge come hell or high water. So far two, yep just two, have come close to making the grade. One's an old beloved favorite and the other, a newfangled addition to the pack.

My deep-seated love for MAC Paint Pots, which have been an integral part of my eye-prepping routine for years, is not unwarranted. I rotate between Painterly, a neutral pink-toned base, and Soft Ochre, a basic yellow-toned beige. Painterly works well during those winter months when my skin is pale (paste-y) and Soft Ochre knocks out the deep redness brought on by the sun in the summer. Both neutralizing shades lock into place creating the perfect blank canvasno smudging and absolutely zero creasing. So, why the wandering eye? (Hee-hee! Believe it or not, that was unintentional.) Because Paint Pot has one serious weaknessthe dreaded dry out. The consistency starts off thin and silky but then... I have yet to get through an entire pot without ending up with a mess of crumbly bits. And believe me I tighten that lid like a champ. A friend of mine who knows I apply it with my fingertipsit just seems to blend better that waysuggested I try using a brush instead; maybe my fingers where causing it to dry out? Nope. I continue to end up with a of pot o' crumbles.

Enter Benefit Stay Don't Stray (recommended to me by a random customer in Sephora you know how that goes). I gotta admit that its thin consistency and doe-foot applicator had me concerned. After all, I've been using a primer that starts to resemble caulk after a few weeks. And the shade selection is lacking, to say the least, light/medium or medium/deep. Despite my initial reservations, I've really come to like this primer. Completely different than Paint Pot, SDS gets the job done. It's applicator and thin formula makes it a breeze to apply, and the light/medium shade is spot on. The one downside is a bit of creasing, although I've found that applying a powder eyeshadow over it prevents any shifting. If I want to use just a primer on my lids then I stick with Paint Pot. (SDS can also be used as under-eye concealer although I found it to be problematic, a veritable fine line magnifier. No thanks!)

What primers are in your makeup routine?
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