Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Summer Makeup Must-Haves!

Now that summer is here, I though I would share with you all some great products that will help ensure your makeup's staying power and also help protect your skin from the sun!

In the heat of summer, our makeup can fall victim to heat, perspiration, humidity, and the sun. Oil production increases, foundation slides off, blush fades away, and days spent outside can cause sunburn that can lead to sun damage, premature aging, and even skin cancer.

So, what is a summertime gal to do? She can update her beauty kit with products that will safeguard her look and skin!

One of the most important items a gal should have in her summertime kit is a moisturizer, foundation primer, or foundation that contains SPF. If I am going to be outside for long stretches of time, I rely on RoC Complete Lift Daily Moisturizer in Spf 30 (retails for about $20-25+ USD). I also wear it when I go skiing in Colorado. It provides complete sunblock protection and it goes well under mineral foundation and powder foundation. For some reason, this moisturizer does not pair well with liquid foundation. I am not sure why but it tends to "ball up."

When shopping for a foundation that has sun protection, anything with a SPF of 15+ is ideal. The same goes for a daily moisturizer or foundation primer.  If you are unsure about what SPF to purchase, please visit the Skin Cancer Foundation site:

If you want a foundation and moisturizer with SPF together, then I cannot recommend Laura Mercier's Tinted Moisturizer (1.7 ounce for $42.00 USD) in SPF 20 enough! There are three different formulas in this range: the original, oil-free, and Illuminating (has a pearly highlight effect). I prefer the Oil-Free because my skin is very oily! The shade that I use is the lightest, Porcelain.

This foundation provides sheer to light coverage. It is perfect on lazy weekend days or when you want a no-fuss look. On the days I am doing yardwork or hanging out by my in-laws' pool, I simply wash my face, put on a pea-size amount of foundation, set with loose powder, apply red lipstick, put on a hair scarf and sunglasses, and I am done.

In the last year, I have started using foundation primer occasionally for special events like nights out and Viva Las Vegas.  I first used MAC's Prep and Prime SPF 50 Primer but it contains a lot of silicone which broke me out badly. I was very disappointed because it really made my foundation look better and last so much longer.  However, before I went to my first Viva back in April, Erin from Every Branch Blog recommended Korres 99% Oil-Free (basically means little to no silicones) Natural Foundation Primer for $28.00 USD (available at Sephora stores and Sephora online). This primer is very light and it helps provide a smooth base that makes foundation look more even and last longer. When I was at Viva, this primer did wonders in helping my makeup survive nighttime dancing and cocktails, the pool party, and the car show.

Another important item for summertime makeup is blot powder. I use MAC's Blot Powder in Light ($23.00 USD). This powder is not heavy and it does not coat the face in heaviness. It is very light and very finely milled. It simply blots oil and mattifies skin.

Speaking of blotting oil, I cannot tell you how grateful I am to have discovered oil-absorbing sheets! I use the Target "Up and Up" brand and I cannot remember how much they cost but I suspect they are around 3 bucks. The sheets by Clean and Clear (50 count) are $4.49 USD.

These sheets are also available at MAC but the Target and Clean and Clear brands are identical to MAC's and they are cheaper! Throughout the day (e.g. every couple of hours), I will use one sheet to blot excess oil and then I will re-apply my MAC Blot Powder. This method will help prevent powder build up and a cakey look that can sometimes result from layering powder on top of oil over and over.

When I was in high school and college, I worked at an amusement park. I spent most of my days working outside in the Virginia heat and humidity. I would often pull out my Cover Girl Clean and Natural compact to blot my face and by the end of the day, I looked like a coated, pale pancake from hell! When I started using blot sheets about 8-10 years ago, I soon discovered that not only did my makeup look better at the end of the day, I had less breakouts as well.

In conclusion, summertime makeup essentials should include a good SPF, an oil-free/light coverage foundation or tinted moisturizer, an oil-free foundation primer, an oil-blotting powder, and an oil-absorbing sheets. With these must-haves in your kit, you are sure to look picture-perfect all summer long!

Today's Makeup and New Shoes (cheap!)

Hey all! I hope everyone is well on this Wednesday! It has been so hot here in the DC area! This afternoon while I was at work, we had a major thunderstorm go through. The lightning was glorious! Ask anyone and they will tell you that I *love* thunderstorms! There is just something so powerful and beautiful when Nature puts on a good 'light show!'

The pic above shows me this morning before I left for work.  As I was taking the picture on my Blackberry, the cat was yelling at me (very loudly), demanding my full attention. She gets extra needy whenever her 'daddy' is away on business. Let me tell you, getting her to go bed last night was practically impossible! Brat!

Nevertheless, I would like to share with you today's makeup!

MAC Paint Pot in Rollickin' (a pearly, seafoam, green-blue cream shadow base) was applied to the lower lids.

MAC Aquadisiac eyeshadow (a shimmery teal) was applied on top of Rollickin' Paint Pot.

MAC Surreal Shadow (a shimmery green-based light blue) was blended onto the crease.

MAC Crystal Avalanche (a bright white pearl) was applied to the browbone.

MAC Liquidlast Liner in Point Black was applied in a cat-wing shape using a MAC 208 brush.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Eyepencil in Electric was applied to the lower lash line and then was set with MAC eyeshadow in Aquadisiac (using MAC 212 brush).

Maybelline Volum'Express One by One Mascara in Black (Waterproof) was applied to top and bottom lashes.

MAC Eyepencil in Fascinating (a stark white) was applied to my waterline. 

On my face, I am wearing Guerlain's Parure Gold Foundation in Beige Claire 01, MAC blush in Pink Swoon, and Murad's Acne Treatment Concealer in Light (to cover a few breakouts). I set my face makeup with Coty Airspun Loose Powder in Translucent and finished the look with Make Up For Ever's Rouge Artist Intense lipstick in #45 and MAC Lipliner in Cherry.

Today, I am also wearing a new pair of Miss Me? black velvet-esque fabric (almost a faux suede-like material) platform shoes. I bought these on (a division of Amazon) for $40.00USD! They also come in purple!
That 'thing' on the far right is my cat's plush catnip mouse toy. She wanted me to play fetch.
These shoes are very comfortable but they do run a 1/2 size+ too large. I am normally a 7 but I ordered the 6.5 (based on the online reviews stating the shoes run big) and they are still a little too roomy for me. I put a pair of Foot Petal inserts in the ball of each shoe and I can feel my heel sliding forward a tiny bit. I can make the shoe tighter by buckling the last hole in the ankle strap. I can also buy some heel inserts or the Foot Petal Killer Kushionz:
 Moreover, one curious and potentially comical (and dangerous for the clumsy like myself) feature of this shoe is that it has velvet soles.
 When I tried them on in my bedroom, I walked for a second and I felt like I was traversing on a "Slip n' Slide!" I pictured myself 'sliding' to my death on my carpeted stairs! Imagine the husband, coming home and finding me at the end of the staircase having been eaten by the cat. At least I died in style..... (JK!)

Interestingly enough, when I walk on concrete surfaces or asphalt, these shoes have great traction. They are a bit tricky on carpet and wood flooring. I suspect the velvet soles will get rougher and therefore easier to control after a few wears.

Overall, I know I will be wearing these shoes a lot! They have a great 40s style that will pair well with many things like dresses, skirts, and even wide leg, high-waist trousers.

I hope everyone is having a good 'hump day!'

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Review of Guerlain Parure Gold Foundation in Beige Clair-Have I Lost My Mind!?

I would like to share with you all my latest cosmetic indulgence: Guerlain's Parure Gold Foundation in Beige Clair ($78.00 USD). I have either lost my mind or I have made a sound investment for my skin. I am not sure which!

Let me tell you, I have never in my life spent this much for a beauty product! The most I have spent is around $45.00. Normally, I will buy MAC Prolongwear Foundation for $29.50 USD (before my 30% MAC Pro discount).

When I read the review for Guerlain's Parure Gold on late last year, I felt compelled to try it but the steep pricetag was holding me back. However, having recently found myself disappointed with my current foundation, I decided to cave and go for the "Gold."

So, what in 'Sam Hill' makes a $78.00 foundation worthy of its lofty cost? Well, according to the information detailed on Neiman Marcus' website, Guerlain Parure Gold is described as follows:

"A Rejuvenating Golden Light Foundation contains an exclusive double-sided Gold Radiance Pigment: the opaque side targets imperfections and dull zones, while the golden side reflects light.

Combined with the regenerating properties of Myrrh Oil and the lifting and smoothing properties of Peptides, long-term results include the diminishment of fine lines and smoother, softer skin.

The luxurious golden flecks leave the complexion with an aura of vitality and beauty. Dull skin zones are illuminated, while wrinkles and under-eye circles are subdued.

Its shine and color combats sallow tones and lifts lackluster complexions with a healthy golden glow.

The light formula glides onto the skin without thickening and envelopes the face with a lightness that does not accentuate lines.

Subtly concealing spots, irregularities, and dilated pores.

We all know that companies and stores can proclaim their products to be miracle-making elixirs but at the end of the day, it's about real results. Now, Guerlain may never be the 'make-all-my-skin woes-fade away' magic potion but it certainly does something for my skin!

Before I begin with my review, let's start with the glamorous packaging:
The bottle is a heavy, solid black glass container adorned with gold writing. The top of the bottle cap boasts the traditional Guerlain logo. The bottle just looks luxurious on my vanity! I feel like a vintage movie star every time I see it!

In addition, the pump bottle has a 'see through' window on the side so you can see how much product is actually inside:
The Parure Gold comes in six shades, the lightest being the one I bought, Beige Clair 02. I heard there was a lighter shade, 01, but I read somewhere that it is not available in the United States.

In regards to shade reference (for those of you familiar with MAC), I am a NW15. I have very sensitive, very pale skin (and very oily) with a pink undertone but I also have a touch of yellow in my complexion.

When I received my package from Neiman last Friday afternoon, I excitedly opened the box and pulled out my brand-new, posh foundation. I immediately pumped a small dot of liquid on the back of my hand and to my surprise and almost-letdown, the foundation looked too gold/yellow:
At first glance, I thought I needed to put the foundation bottle back in its box and ship it back. But something told me to try it on my face. I felt like I had to give it a proper chance to make it work since I spent so much on it!!

I went into my bathroom, and removed the foundation I was wearing (MAC Prolongwear) on the right side of my face. I again pumped out a tiny amount of foundation and applied it. I stood back from the mirror and thought, "It *looks* okay but I can see a difference in tone." Instead of 'throwing in the towel,' I decided to wait until the next day so I could apply the foundation to my entire face.

The next morning, I washed my face, put on my skincare, brushed my teeth, and put on my usual makeup along with the new foundation. I used one pump for my entire face using a sponge. I set my face with Coty Airspun Loose Powder in Translucent. I looked in the mirror and Holy Toledo, my skin actually looked good! There was a slight glow to my face and my light rosacea, acne scars, along with a few breakouts and some enlarged pores, appeared to be diminished.

Here is how I look overall wearing Guerlain Parure Gold (Still in my nightgown no less!):
I am impressed that a foundation that looked brassy on my hand seems to have transformed into a perfect shade for my skin. I suspect that the gold effects blend onto facial skin better than it does on the body. I wish my camera could capture the soft, ever-so-slight pearl effect. Unlike like some highlight powders that can make skin look oily or like a disco ball, the gold pearl in the Parure Gold formula is very subtle. Moreover, the foundation is a medium coverage that does not feel heavy on my skin. It actually feels light, like my skin can breathe.

I have been wearing the foundation every day since last Saturday. So far, I have not experienced any irritation and/or breakouts. The foundation does not cake, slide off, turn color, or look heavy/unnatural. Since I only need one pump to cover my face, I can see this product lasting me a long time.

Overall, I think this foundation is worth the investment because it makes my skin look amazing.

So, what do you think? What is the most you have spent on cosmetic/beauty items?

Friday, July 1, 2011

My Experiment With Front Curls and Side Rolls

Last night after my shower, I decided to do experiment with my hair set. Normally, I roll my almost-dry/damp hair down from my center part using my Conair Foam Rollers:
In an effort to "change things up a bit" from my usual routine, I wanted to try to do a style similar to Betty Grable (first picture above) and the iconic Lucille Ball:
 To start, I rolled my bettie bangs forward in the smallest curlers in the set (ie the blue). Then, using my rattail comb, I sectioned off a three inch long section of hair behind my bangs (same width as the bangs) and rolled it forward in smaller sections using the yellow curlers. To finish, I rolled the rest of my hair using the green and pink curlers. I wrapped my head in a scarf and went to bed.

This morning, I took all the curlers out and used my ceramic curling iron to smooth out any curler dents. I brushed my hair out slowly and used a light shaping hairspray to help better shape the curls. I brushed the front 'poof' section and sprayed with hair spray.

I rolled a section of hair on both sides of the poof and created two rolls. I secured the rolls with bobby pins. I put in two red daisy hair flowers I made and viola, the style was done.

A side view:
From the front:
I am somewhat pleased with the outcome. I need to further experiment in order to have the style down pat.

What do  you gals think?