Thursday, May 29, 2008

Great Smelling Hair

I have this vision in my mind of "the cool girl in school."  I must have watched too many 80's movies as a kid--16 Candles, the Breakfast Club, Lucas, Pretty in Pink come to mind--because I have an image of her in my mind as someone like Phoebe Cates (absolute perfection). This girl was on TV--Blair Warner from The Facts of Life--and in books--Jessica Wakefield from Sweet Valley High (much sexier than her sister Elizabeth, who wouldn't fall into this category).  The girl I'm thinking of wore pink Tretorns, Love's Baby Soft, and had hair like the Breck girl (perhaps today she would wear Miss Marisa by Ebba).  She was the 80's fantasy girl, a little bit preppy, a little bit sexy, a little bit girl-next-door.  She was probably your babysitter growing up, if you're my age!  She was that girl we all looked up to, that girl we wanted to be; your older brother's girlfriend, the cheerleader dating the hottest Senior boy you admired from afar at football games as a Freshman in high school.

An image of her came to me as I was trying to describe the scent of the Sunsilk Straight to Perfection collection of products.  The fragrance is indescribable--you really have to smell it to understand--it just smells like great smelling hair.  It's what you imagine the captain of the football team smelled when Jessica Wakefield put her head of glossy, bouncy, feathered, natural blonde hair on his shoulder at the movie theater (no doubt during "Return of the Jedi" or "ET"), or when she was riding next to him in the front seat of his Camaro and listening to Jefferson Starship.   

I'm normally hooked on haircare from Kerastase, Carita, and Jonathan, and drugstore products usually disappoint.  The Sunsilk products are fine (not earth shatteringly good--they'll just leave your hair shiny, healthy, and clean, like Pantene or Garnier--though I don't get a buildup with Sunsilk like I do with Pantene) and each line of products smells differently (you want the ones in the purple bottle!).  You might want to try using just the conditioner or styling cream with higher quality, less harsh shampoos; it won't matter because the products are so highly fragranced that even just working one of them into your haircare routine will leave you smelling like our beautiful late 70's/early 80's teen queen.  I can't live without this stuff!

30 Days of Bronzing with Sephora

This is too good to miss!  Sephora has been road testing their bronzers with staff members over the past month, and posting their comments on a blog.  All of the products are there as well as photos of the results and links to where you can buy them. 

To see what I'm talking about, click here.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sugar is hot, and so are you!

I'm kind of over self-tanners.  I've been a slave to them since I gave up sun-baking about 8 years ago, and although I love the glow they give me, I can't stand the smell and the residue they leave on my clothes and bed sheets.  This year, I decided to try experimenting with body bronzers; the technology has gotten so good that many of them (like Lorac's and DuWop's) truly are transfer resistant.  I've been walking around work for days playing with these lotions--for the record, I've also tried Sephora's (too light for me and I don't like the scent) and Smashbox's (ditto for them).  

So today I decided to venture into the world of powder bronzers for the body.  Why not? I wasn't getting the amount of shimmer I wanted from the lotions (they're all designed to give more color than shimmer, and I was looking for some serious Jennifer Aniston glow).  The other thing I like about powders is practical: they're easier to clean off my clothes, and they don't get all over my hands when applying.

I was excited when I came across Sugar's new Platinum Body Shimmer; the package's description, "sheer, shimmering bronze pressed powder adorned with flecks of silver and gold" had me enthralled.  When I read that it also tasted like sugar, I was hooked--with all that skin I plan on showing this summer, you never know! ;).  When I finally got a chance to try it out, it did not disappoint.  Indeed, it does taste sugar, and leaves my skin with a veil of color and shimmer that's not dense enough to ever be streaky or blotchy.  I experimented tonight and, although it's great on dry skin, it looks positively gorgeous over body oil (I was feeling dry, so I used this amazing one from Huiles & Baumes I bought at Space NK).   With this kind of a glow, I'm not missing the tan at all!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ingredient Spotlight: Olive

Whenever summertime comes, I always think back to the time I've spent in Italy.  Early mornings in NYC especially take me right back to Rome and my early morning commutes through Trastevere to school--stepping out of the way on narrow streets to let the cars, trucks, and scooters pass; ducking into a pasticceria for a brioche, dolce or salata (depending on my mood)

When I get to feeling this way, I love anything that brings back more of these wonderful memories.  And what better way to get a little bit of Italy in your life than to infuse your beauty routine with olive oil, the secret to a perfect mediterranean glow?

Some of my favorite olive-infused products for summer are:

- Tarte's Lights Camera Lashes mascara (contains olive esters for long lasting, soft volume and length!) 

- Korres Olive & Rye skincare regimen (to firm and restructure dry / mature skin)

Don't forget that regular extra virgin olive oil from your grocery store can work beauty wonders--mix with sugar to create your own body exfoliator; use it as a deep conditioning treatment for hair; makes a great cuticle moisturizer; a drop of warm olive oil in the ear (really!) is my foolproof earache cure.  

Buon divertimento!

Turn up the heat - Hollywood Style!

Hi, my loves!  Welcome back from your holiday weekend.  I have an hour before I have to go to work, so I thought I would take a minute to tell you about a product that I hope has finally arrived at my Sephora store!  It's the LORAC Hollywood Heat collection.  Everyone knows I love LORAC products.  They're the creation of make up artist Carol Shaw, who does celebrities' makeup for red carpet appearances.  I love LORAC products because the quality is through the roof--especially all of her powders, which are so velvety and silky!  This is because they all have a secret ingredient: Nylon-12.  This little beauty helps them go on smoothly, blend easily, and ride flawlessly over any little imperfections in the skin.  

So, given my undying devotion to all things LORAC, I was thrilled to see that this gift set was coming out for summer.  The Hollywood Heat Collection--which is valued at $100 but retails for only $35(!)--is exclusive only at Sephora, and I'm pretty sure that it won't be there for long.  It's amazing!  Here's what it includes:

- TANtalizer : this temporary body bronzer is the best product on the market of its kind.  While it's not a self tanner, it is truly long lasting.  You must apply it to totally dry skin and let it set--do your makeup naked--but once it's on, it's on.  I wore TANtalizer to a wedding at the beach in California last summer, and not a drop of it rubbed off on my Missoni dress.  That's pretty impressive given the heat, sweating, and dancing!  The color of TANtalizer works great on a variety of skin tones, is delightfully shimmery (but not sparkly), and is deliciously (but lightly) scented.  

- Hot & Spicy Blush/Bronzer Duo: I love everything peach for summer because it plays up a tan in an unexpected way.  It looks gorgeous on everyone--from the fairest blond to Alek Wek.  How?   The secret is in the pigment; it's so highly concentrated that its color shows up on any skin tone.  Also, peach is an especially youthful color, and any woman who is concerned about aging will be especially pleased.

- Mocktail gloss in Tropical Dream : this sweetly flavored shimmery peach gloss will leave everyone's lips looking plump and fresh.

- Bronze Bombshell eye shadow trio : these new colors are exclusive to the kit; you've got LORAC's signature formula in three new bronzey nudes that coordinate perfectly with the rest of your look.  With shimmery shades ranging from pale highlight to deep, you've got looks for day to night.

All of this comes packaged in a gorgeous bronze makeup case which will look hot in your beach bag.  These haven't arrived at my Sephora store yet, but they're already available online.  Check out the model below for the finished look you'll get from the kit:

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Makeup for Guys

I am always so excited when guys come into Sephora looking for products.  Why not?  I promise you that every great male star in history has worn makeup, from Cary Grant to 50 Cent.  There are plenty of reasons why guys might need a little boost--from headshots to a TV appearance, but also just the average guy who wants to look his best.

Here are some of the products that I've found are a big hit with my male clientele, who want to look polished but will only use makeup products that are absolutely undetectable:

- The Balm concealer : the finish is neither too dewy nor too matte, so it looks just like actual skin.  This means that it blends perfectly on a face that has no other makeup.  This should be in every guy's bathroom just to cover up the occasional blemish or dark circles.  It offers great coverage and comes in six shades covering a wide range of skin tones--from the fairest porcelain to the warmest tan (works for all but the deepest complexions).  Deeper complexions should try Becca or MUFE, who also make fantastic concealers in every shade (the added benefit for everyone of MUFE is that it's waterproof--great for the guy who wants to wear concealer to the gym).

- A clear bronzing gel like these from Stila, Clinique, and Benefit : add a bit of mistake-proof color (without the commitment of a sunless tanner, and without looking powdery like a powder bronzer)

- Silicone-based mattifying primer: from Make Up Forever, Smashbox bronzing primer (or any of their other color correcting shades), Cargo (this one has a cool, techy name that appeals to guys: "Blu Ray High Definition Mattifier"), or Philosophy.  One makeup artist told me that nothing worked for one newscaster's shiny bald head except for the one from MUFE.  I sold the Cargo one to a male client who was going to appear on TV.  

- MUFE HD Powder : my one true love that can do no wrong.  Will take down shine in an instant and render pores and fine lines invisible to the camera; also, its cool, airy texture is interesting to guys.  Even my utterly product-phobic husband was interested enough when I showed it to him to stick his fingers into the jar!  This would be amazing for a groom who is going to be photographed on his wedding day.  Just tell him that you guarantee it has already graced the faces of Brad Pitt, George Clooney, or whomever... I bet they've even put some on Eli Manning before appearing on ESPN or something.  Hey, whatever works!  It's for his own good.

- Fresh Sugar lip balm : its hefty metal packaging and citrus flavor are appealing to guys; its not too shiny finish will give them moist lips.

- An instant lifting anti-wrinkle product : anything that smoothes fine lines for a temporary boost can be a great product for any guy--I realized this when my friend Guille asked me for something that would make his face look lifted "like Patsy's on Ab-Fab."  The ones from Fusion beauty are in a techy-looking silver package that won't look out of place in a guy's bathroom; anyone with sensitive skin or looking for a natural product will appreciate this one from Skyn Iceland.  My personal favorite is the Peter Thomas Roth Un-Wrinkle Serum because it contains loads of peptides and a muscle numbing synthetic snake venom.  Now that's manly!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Happy Holiday Weekend!

Hey darlings! I'm away from NYC this weekend and back in Columbus, Ohio this weekend helping out with a family event. I'll try to post as much as I can while I'm here, but I might not have a chance to do much until Monday night. Until then, practice your Olsen Twin Eyes, work on your runway walk, and then make a date with your friends to head out and celebrate the holiday weekend looking hot! Love you all!



Olsen Twin Eyes

I can't be the only person who was wondering how Ashley & Mary-Kate achieve that perfect smokey undereye effect. I love how it enhances their eyes, makes them look huge, and still manages to look intentional--not like their makeup ran, or like they have crazy dark circles. Though this is an MK & Ashley signature, I've also seen this look on Cameron Diaz, Katie Holmes, and in the Becca ads for summer. So when I had the opportunity to catch up with Becca National Artist Lynn Furge, I jumped at the chance to ask her how to make this look happen.

According to Lynn, it's all in the brush. You've got to have a good, clean brush to smudge--and the smudging is how you're going to get that clean, graduated effect with color concentrated at the lashline and evenly blended down to an imperceptible finish. The brush Lynn used on me was the Becca Eye Definer #30; at home, I've been using the Sephora Professionel All Over Shadow Brush Large #21 on myself, and I'm thrilled with the effect.

So I've been practicing, and here's the look I've come up with. I'm in love with it!

-Apply Laura Mercier Eye Basics in Linen to lid and lower lashline (to create a long wearing, creaseless base for shadows)

-Brush ID Bare Escentuals shadow in Faux Fox thickly onto upper and lower lashlines. Don't be too precise! This look should be quick and easy.

-Dab a tiny bit of MAC shadow in Embark just into the roots of the lashes.

-Smudge some powdery black liner just into the roots of the lashes--I use the black end of Becca's Ibiza pencil.

-Now take your clean smudger brush and, starting at the inner corner of the eye, press it down until the bristles smush out and down. This pushes the shadow down your undereye area in an even, graduated smudge. Now drag the brush out towards your ear. Repeat on the top lashline. This is the key step!

-Line the inner rims of your eyes with Kevyn Aucoin Eye Pencil Primatif in Basic Black. This is the creamiest, blackest pencil in the world, and I literally would die without it. It lasts all day and looks fierce.

-I like to throw a little more Faux Fox over my lid to smoke up the rest of the eye. This morning, I also dusted a little bit of Becca Jewel Dust in Nixie onto the middle of my lids.

-Finish with some Smashbox Bionic Mascara. I got a sample of this recently and I'm liking it a lot for its deep black color and thickening skills. I'm not getting a ton of length out of it, but the thick lashes are best with this look. My trick for making this work is to hold the brush in front of my eyeball and close both top and bottom lashes onto the brush at once. Then I wiggle the brush from left to right and messily smudge mascara onto my lashes. It's ok with this eye look if you get some mascara onto your skin--it's a little bit messy, a little bit morning after, and a little bit rock'n'roll!

Happy smudging!

Friday, May 23, 2008

I'm Loving This!

I'm a sucker for seasonal limited edition items from my favorite beauty brands.  Actually, I've never been a huge fan of Lancome--it's not that I have anything against them; it's just that I've never fallen hopelessly in love with any of their products--but I've changed my tune lately thanks to the Daria Werbowy Brazilian Earth Colors collection.  Daria is a much buzzed about model who you might have seen in ads for Hermes, Roberto Cavalli, Prada, Missoni, H&M, and others; this spring, Lancome decided to team up with her and come out with a collection of colors inspired by her.  Although she's actually Canadian (of Ukranian descent), she decided to do a collection inspired by the beauty of Brazil.  (Brazil is big right now in the land of beauty--it must be because of Gisele and her tribe of Brazilian Victoria's Secret Model hotness--hence the ingredient Acai popping up everywhere, and the presence of Brazilian inspired products from the department store to the drugstore).  

I had the chance to play with some of the lip colors from Daria's Lancome collection the other day at Sephora (where it's exclusively sold), and I was pleasantly surprised!  The colors: Color Fever Lipstick in Beige Caracai, and Color Fever Gloss in Nude Prainha.   First of all, the packaging is fabulous--very modern, urban, and refined, using dark, reflective gunmetal and clear deep browns (these products look great in my makeup bag next to my Becca stuff).  I was drawn to the lipstick and gloss initially because both are very creamy, nude beiges, but unlike other pale beiges I've used before (Kevyn Aucoin's Caramellina is my old standby; I like NARS Belle de Jour as well), these are cool toned instead of warm.  I mean very cool--they almost look greyish in the tube.  But on me: wow!  I layer the lipstick and the gloss, and both are great.  The lipstick formula is very smooth and sheer, not unlike Kevyn Aucoin's or YSL's amazing Rouge Pur Shine, but just like those it still offers pigment density and coverage.  The gloss is also fantastic--I love its smoothness and the hollowed out applicator is ingenious, allowing you to apply more gloss in one swipe without disturbing your lipstick (better than the old doefoot; perhaps not as good as a brush, though).  The only downside is that both formulas are so smooth and moisturizing that they're not particularly long wearing.  Still, I don't care: I'm almost out of Caramellina, and there's none available anymore on Kevyn's website.  Get these two winners while you can!  They're only available at Sephora and they're limited edition, so when supplies run out, it's over and on to something else.  

Thursday, May 22, 2008

RuPaul's Trick for Dark Circles

There are so many reasons to love fearless diva RuPaul.  Among other things, she's got makeup skills like no other!  At The Makeup Show, Becca National Artist Lynn Furge shared with me RuPaul's special trick for making those dark circles a thing of the past (this is an especially great trick for all divas with skin tones on the deeper end of the spectrum).  All you need is some Becca cream blush in Byzantine--a gorgeous, deep peachy-gold color (think Nars Multiple in Orgasm, only deeper, denser, and less glittery).  Apply a swipe of Byzantine over the dark circles; its orangey color will correct their blue-purple tones, and its shimmer will diffuse light.  Top with a great concealer (Becca's is available in a whopping 34 (!) shades; Alicia Keys can't live without it), and you're out the door.

A few new things to try with your old friend, DiorShow

There's been a lot of hype surrounding DiorShow mascara for the past couple of years, and due to its popularity the line has really grown and expanded.  Now, the original Show mascara is available at Sephora in four colors: Black, Blue, Chestnut, and Blackout (the ultra-black formula exclusive to Sephora).  It's also available in waterproof (as is the Blackout now, new this summer), and recently DiorShow Unlimited mascara also launched (also in black, chestnut, and azure blue).  

Today a Dior brand representative showed me a few new things to try with this old standby:

-For crazy lashes that don't come off: apply a coat of the classic DiorShow and top with the waterproof formula for water resistance (because we all know that, as much as we'd like to believe otherwise, the waterproof formula never looks the same as the original!)

-For extra length and curl without sacrificing volume: start with a coat of classic DiorShow (giving you depth and volume); then follow with a coat of DiorShow Unlimited (to build length and curl)

-For mega-volume and deepest black color: take the brush from your classic DiorShow and dip it in your tube of Blackout! (the Blackout brush is smaller than the classic brush)

Have fun, experiment, and play!  You'll hear me say this a million times, but makeup is supposed to be fun.  There are no rules; just infinite ways to express yourself, your creativity, and your individuality!

Thank You!

I just wanted to send a quick shout out to everybody who has been reading Profumeria Virtuale and sharing your enthusiasm and support.  THANK YOU!  From the bottom of my heart; this blog holds a passion and a dream of mine that is finally becoming a reality.  Thanks for your support, and please come back often!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Can't Live Without It: Murad Essential-C Daily Renewal Complex

Vitamin C is the BLT of skincare: it brightens, lightens, and tightens--really!  But it's a tricky ingredient because it's so unstable when it's not kept in a powder form.  Other brands, like Philosophy, have come out with C powders you can add to your moisturizer; though effective, they can be messy and inconvenient.  This product from Murad is the first I've found that has come up with a unique solution to the Vitamin C conundrum by suspending powdered C in a waterless creamy compound.  You apply this baby to damp skin (dampened with toner or water), and the C crystals are freshly activated.  This doesn't replace your moisturizer--I put my Bliss' The Youth As We Know It on top where I need moisture.  The result?  Fresh, plump, clear and bright skin in the morning.  This stuff ROCKS!

Smokey Eye with Sharon Gault

This past weekend, I had the good fortune to attend The Makeup Show in NYC.  There, I managed to catch one of the keynote speeches given by celeb makeup artist Sharon Gault, muse to famed photographer David LaChapelle who has worked with Madonna, Courtney Love, Mariah, and countless others!  

Sharon did a hot smokey eye on one of the models there, and I took step-by-step notes on what she did and the products she used.  I've since tried this look on myself and on a client at Sephora--who promptly purchased every single product I put on her face!  Check it out:

1.  Sanitize your hands with Jao hand sanitizer.

2.  Prep client's skin with rosewater toner to take oil away.  (At Sephora, I like to use Caudalie's cleansing water for this purpose--you can remove eye and face makeup with a cotton pad, and it leaves skin fresh, soft, and prepped for moisturizer)

3.  Use eye cream--Sharon's choice: Embryolisse (the make-up artist's must-have!)

4.  Apply Embryolisse face cream over the whole face with a clean foundation brush.  This product works as a 3-in-1 as a moisturizer, primer, and makeup remover!  (an artist at the Make Up Forever boutique on W. 12th St. told me that guys can also use this as a shave cream in a pinch.  I've heard that this is the only cream that some models will let you put on their faces)

5.  Line eyes with black Face Atelier pencil.  This pencil is a powder-pencil formula, similar to that of Laura Geller's and Becca's.  Rim whole eye with black liner.

6.  Contour crease of eye with same pencil, drawing moon-shaped line.

7.  Use Face Atelier's gel shadow transformer and mix it with some gold powder pigment from MUFE (try Yellow Gold 920); apply over center of lid with brush, tapping and blending.

8.  Blend and smudge with a clean brush.  Add a touch of dark pigment to smoke up the area! (Try MUFE Star Powder in Black Gold 950).  While you're smudging, the eye should begin to take shape with two "points" under the brow; the smoked shadow should come to a point at the outer corner of the eye, like a wing, as well as under the thickest part of the brow (not under the arch).  This should create a subtle, smokey "M" shape.  I don't know why this works, but I tried it on myself and it does!

9.  Go back and hilight with MUFE Flash Color in Gold 4.  Smudge like crazy, until you're really well blended like this:

10.  Clean up any pigment that's fallen down onto the cheekbones with an Alcone makeup wipe (or more of your Caudalie cleansing water).  

11.  Apply RCMA foundation with your foundation brush, blending the right shade right on the client's face by adding the colors as you need them.  This palette is the one she used!

12.  If you're doing stage makeup, roll a little bit of MUFE HD foundation onto the face with a sponge.  This will give extra coverage and make the skin look perfect on the monitor.  (This product won't be available at Sephora until August, but you can find it now at the MUFE boutique in NYC)

13.  Press-don't brush-MUFE HD powder into the face using a kabuki brush.  Then use a small, clean blush brush to apply more HD powder under the eyes and around the nose. 

14.  Paint lips with a nude peach gloss.  (Try Nars Orgasm or Sephora Collection #21)

15.  Dab MUFE Flash Color in Coral 2 high on cheekbones for blush.  

16.  "mess up" eyes a little bit by adding some purple flash color (try Violet 22) to lids with your finger tip.  

17.  Mix Flash Colors in Black 11 and Brown 23 and line under eye again to finish messy, smokey look.  Voila!!!  Instant sex appeal!

(notice: Sharon's model already had on purple false lashes before she did the eye makeup; obviously, if not, you'll need mascara too!  I like a long wearing formula on top of a fiber-based primer; this one does it all, and lasts all day.)

Other pro-artistry tips and tricks Sharon shared with us:

1.  If working on set, keep an eye on the monitor and how your subject's makeup is looking on screen.  Remember that you're working for the camera, not for the eye!

2.  Touch your clients lovingly and sweetly.  If you're working with a celeb client, you might want to consider holding a large powder puff (like Laura Mercier's) between your hand and their face--some celebs prefer that you touch their faces as little as possible.

3.  Always communicate with your client at the beginning of your consultation, and ask them what they want!

4.  Consider lighting a candle at your makeup station.  Anything that smells good will make your client more comfortable and relaxed with you!  (I've also heard that Cinema Secrets brush cleaner will make your brushes smell lovely, and Jao makes your hands smell like lavender.  Don't forget to pop an altoid, too!)