Girls, we like our products. And we're always in search of that next cosmetic miracle. None of us has the funds to try every new product that gets our attention, so here are the observations I've made on various beauty products I've tried. Hey, if it helps one person save a buck or snag that soon-to-be-treasured beauty breakthrough, my job here is complete. Cosmetic junkies, unite!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Crossing the Line

As a girl that has been exploring how to play up my eyes since about the 7th grade, there's a special place in my heart for eyeliner.  Kinda like the eyeshadows, there are many options regarding product type and application technique.  I almost never leave home without some type of product heavy around my lashline.  Here are some options:
  • Pick any eyeshadow - preferably a darker one - and use a thin-lined brush to apply it at the lashline (top and bottom).  I have almond-shaped eyes, so I tend to drag that line out a little further and make it a little thicker at the outer corners for effect.  To get a heavier pigment from it, dab your brush in water and make a paste with it before applying OR you can employ a sealant like this one from Illamasqua.  Use the same technique as with the water.
  • In terms of pencils, I've used a zillion products over the years, but I've yet to find one that delivered like the Kohl liners from Mac.  They're fabulous.  They can be applied as a line, OR you can line your eyes and then smudge the product at the lashline for an immediate smokey eye.  Genius, I tell you.  "Teddy" is one of the best browns I've ever used on my blue eyes, but it's hard to beat the sparkly blackish grey "phone number" or the classic black "smolder".  Fabulous products.  It's possible that I own four of them.  I won't confirm or deny.
  • For extra drama and to add a bit of rockstar quality, use eyeliner on the waterseal of the your eye (the part of your lid between the lashes and the eyeball.  See the picture above?  She's got liner on the inside of the lashline AND around the outside on the top lid.  So dramatic, but not overwhelming.  Some pencils will have enough pigment to use there, but many will not stick to the slippery surface there.  I often use a potted gel liner (kind of like a cake) with a super-thin brush to apply it underneath the top lashline and above my bottom one.  
  • Last but certainly not least is liquid liner.  I don't use it that often myself, mainly because a pencil or a brush tend to be way more forgiving.  But for those with a steady hand, it's hard to beat the classic Audrey Cat-eye look.  So chic.  I don't have any recommendations regarding specific products because, again, I don't ever use it.  ;)  I'm going to defer to my friend Jeni the Mac-star pharmacist for that one. 
  • TOOLS: There are a couple of brushes (dipped in various eyeshadows) that I love to use to easily produce a nice line to make my eyes pop.  
    • Your basic angled eyeliner brush is a must.  This cheap one from almost any drugstore is one I use about 5 times a week.   
    • Use a small blending brush to apply shadow at the lashline for an immediate smokey eye look.  This one is one of my favorites!  Regardless of your eye shape or lack of a steady hand, this guy is your friend.  Who knew shadow as a liner could be so easy but effective?
These are good places to start or to build on what you're already doing.  I'd love to hear y'all's suggestions or questions!  Happy lining!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Living in the Shadows...

This girl loves me some eyeshadow.  So much.  It just opens up a world of possibilities like no other individual cosmetic product.  You can use them to contour, highlight, bring focus, take away focus, enhance eyecolor, and so much more!  They come in matte, shimmer, sheen formulas, and there are loose powders, pressed powders, creams, liquids, etc.  See what I mean?  Isn't your head spinning?  And the awesome thing (well, let's be honest, it's just ONE of the awesome things about shadow) is that you don't have to come out looking like a drag queen.  You can use 4 different colors and still be rocking a subtly beautiful "I-didn't-spend-40-minutes-getting-ready", neutral-colored face.  It's all about the choices and the placement.

But I'm not going into all that today.  Today I just wanted to answer one of my best friend's requests to give her some solid shadow recommendations that I believe are solid investments since they will continue to withstand the test of trend and season.  And so I thought I'd share them with you too.  Here goes:
  1. "Kitten" by Stila is my all-time, top shadow pick EVER, and you're looking at it above.  I'm not exaggerating.  It looks good on any complexion, all over the eyelid, for any occasion.  I'm serious.  This perfect shimmering light pink is a wonder product.  Go ahead.  Get you some.  Set yourself free, girl.  (I should also give you a heads up: Stila sells the shadows separate from any type of container.  So you buy a refill pan and you either need a single case, or if you think you'll get more since their shadows are high-pigment, blendable, and stay forever, get the case that holds 4.)
  2. "Queen Tiffany" by Bare Escentuals  is a beautiful shimmery greyish taupe that also works on any skin tone and with any outfit.  It's one that you'd only want to use on the lid and not all the way to the brow.  The 80's are over, sister.  
  3. Everybody needs a good gold.  Use the Queen Tiffany link above to get to "True Gold" by Bare Escentuals.  It's money in the bank- pardon the pun, and it's especially fun for the holidays, fun nights out, or just a little extra for the day-to-day.  
  4. For those of you short on time, grab some easy-to-use cream shadow by Benefit.  It's super easy to apply (requiring only your fingertip), and it should last all day.  Pick a light, versatile color like "Tattle Tale", "RSVP", or "Birthday Suit" that can be used all over the lid or just under the browline and inner corner as a highlighter.  If you're feeling really edgy, try "Skinny Jeans" or "Busy Signal" on the lid or smudged near the lashline.
  5. Pick at least one good, shimmery brown that can be used to contour or as an eyeliner.  One of my favorites is Mulch by MAC.  It really makes blue eyes pop, and it's a softer alternative than the typical black to get a smokey eye for those of us pale-skinned girls. 
I hope these are helpful; they're definitely just a start.  My overall advice with shadows is spend the money for solid products if it's a color you're going to use a lot.  If you're wanting to try that pseudo-electric blue (not that I would know this from experience ;) ) for the season, maybe just grab a cheap version of it at Target rather than buy the >$10 brand?   With the right primer and brushes, you can make almost any shadow fabulous.