Esquire Theme by Matthew Buchanan
Social icons by Tim van Damme

29

Feb

Glow by Dr. Brandt.
A little history — I’m 22 and I’ve struggled with acne since around age 13. I’d describe my acne as mild, with occasional breakouts (that make me want to crawl into a cave and hide). Typically, I deal with many small, but stubborn, bumps. Other than that, my skin is on the oily side. That being said, I’ve tried soooo many different skin care products. I don’t even bother with most drug store brands anymore. Honestly, I’d be terrified to add up my total purchases in high-end skin care. There’s almost no amount I wouldn’t spend for results! Ok, now that the air is clear …
After speaking with my lovely mother who has recently become an estitician, I decided I should use retinol. Salicylic, BP, etc… I see those ingredients as a waste of my time, to be frank. Been there done that. A few years back I used Retin-A-Micro, and while i thought it was helpful, it didn’t completely clear my skin, just helped it be “not so bad.” Anyways, I have only used Glow by Dr. Brandt for one week today after picking up the kit from Sephora for $65. You use the gray bottle at night after cleansing and toning, and the pink bottle in the morning after cleansing and toning as a moisturizer. So far the results are remarkable considering it’s been one week, and you should give your products 4 weeks to see results. One side of my face was really broken out and embarassing and these products aren’t only improving the texture of my nasty side, they are evening out my entire face, softening my skin, providing a natural radiance, and restoring my confidence (not to be too cheesy but it’s true). The last few days I have done something I haven’t done since middle school. I have been going all day without any kind of foundation. I have the Skin79 hot pink BB cream, but lately, I haven’t even needed to use that. I’ve just been using an Origins concealer to touch up on spots that are still red, as the skin heals from nasties. It’s hard to believe that in one week, I already have been complimented on my skin. The full sized products are a bit pricy ($85 for the overnight retinol resurfacing and $65 for moisturizer) but I’d reccommend at least tring the $65 kit for acne or uneven, dull skin, or really just to look famous. Seriously.

Glow by Dr. Brandt.

A little history — I’m 22 and I’ve struggled with acne since around age 13. I’d describe my acne as mild, with occasional breakouts (that make me want to crawl into a cave and hide). Typically, I deal with many small, but stubborn, bumps. Other than that, my skin is on the oily side. That being said, I’ve tried soooo many different skin care products. I don’t even bother with most drug store brands anymore. Honestly, I’d be terrified to add up my total purchases in high-end skin care. There’s almost no amount I wouldn’t spend for results! Ok, now that the air is clear …

After speaking with my lovely mother who has recently become an estitician, I decided I should use retinol. Salicylic, BP, etc… I see those ingredients as a waste of my time, to be frank. Been there done that. A few years back I used Retin-A-Micro, and while i thought it was helpful, it didn’t completely clear my skin, just helped it be “not so bad.” Anyways, I have only used Glow by Dr. Brandt for one week today after picking up the kit from Sephora for $65. You use the gray bottle at night after cleansing and toning, and the pink bottle in the morning after cleansing and toning as a moisturizer. So far the results are remarkable considering it’s been one week, and you should give your products 4 weeks to see results. One side of my face was really broken out and embarassing and these products aren’t only improving the texture of my nasty side, they are evening out my entire face, softening my skin, providing a natural radiance, and restoring my confidence (not to be too cheesy but it’s true). The last few days I have done something I haven’t done since middle school. I have been going all day without any kind of foundation. I have the Skin79 hot pink BB cream, but lately, I haven’t even needed to use that. I’ve just been using an Origins concealer to touch up on spots that are still red, as the skin heals from nasties. It’s hard to believe that in one week, I already have been complimented on my skin. The full sized products are a bit pricy ($85 for the overnight retinol resurfacing and $65 for moisturizer) but I’d reccommend at least tring the $65 kit for acne or uneven, dull skin, or really just to look famous. Seriously.

06

Dec

Whether you’re waking up 10 minutes before your friends at the sleepover or before your husband on your honeymoon, if you want to look effortlessly radiant, gorgeous and fresh-faced first thing in the morning, it’s pretty easy with a few great trick products. Obviously, wash your face and moisturize. For an even complexion that looks like your own bare skin, try Bare Minerals foundation. Swirl, tap and buff! (Go to a Bare Minerals boutique and you’ll hear about swirl, tap and buff. They can color match you to find the perfect shade to match your tone!) Next, apply bronzer in the shape of a 3 on each side of your face, from your forehead, inward on the cheeks, and then back outward and into the chin. Dap just a few dots of benetint on your lips and blend with a finger. Another option is Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm in rose. Swipe Anastasia eye brightener under your brows and in your crease, and basically anywhere around your eyes that have shadows, like your inner corners. To open up the eyes for an awake gaze, glide Paula Dorf’s Baby Eyes across the inner rims of your eyes. You are naturally beautiful, but let’s be honest girls, in the morning… we need just a little help for our natural beauty to shine through. ;)

Whether you’re waking up 10 minutes before your friends at the sleepover or before your husband on your honeymoon, if you want to look effortlessly radiant, gorgeous and fresh-faced first thing in the morning, it’s pretty easy with a few great trick products. Obviously, wash your face and moisturize. For an even complexion that looks like your own bare skin, try Bare Minerals foundation. Swirl, tap and buff! (Go to a Bare Minerals boutique and you’ll hear about swirl, tap and buff. They can color match you to find the perfect shade to match your tone!) Next, apply bronzer in the shape of a 3 on each side of your face, from your forehead, inward on the cheeks, and then back outward and into the chin. Dap just a few dots of benetint on your lips and blend with a finger. Another option is Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm in rose. Swipe Anastasia eye brightener under your brows and in your crease, and basically anywhere around your eyes that have shadows, like your inner corners. To open up the eyes for an awake gaze, glide Paula Dorf’s Baby Eyes across the inner rims of your eyes. You are naturally beautiful, but let’s be honest girls, in the morning… we need just a little help for our natural beauty to shine through. ;)

16

Nov

Hump Day Survey

Feel free to repost this survey with your own answers on your blog!

Survey of Favorites:

1. Favorite foundation- Pur Minerals. I love the coverage, the healthy ingredients and the appearance (skin looks radiant but not shiny).

2. Favorite mascara- Benefit They’re Real. Funny thing about it, whenever I wear this mascara, people literally ask me, “Are you eyelashes real?” and I get to grin and reply, “They’re Real.”

3. Favorite blush- I love blush with some noticable pigment because I don’t like digging my brush into it and applying layer upon layer. I choose Tarte Amazonian Clay blush.

4. Best concealer- For dark circles, you have to go with Paul Dorf Camoflauge. Use the pink side first to conceal and then put the yellow on top to brighten. Miraculous. For on the face, Dermablend cover sticks can really get the job done.

5. Best eyeliner- For pencils, you really can’t beat Urban Decay. They’re water resistent, not waterproof though. For waterproof, Stila is awesome.

6. Best eyeshadow, eye primer- Best investment ever was Urban Decay’s NAKED pallette. It has the most gorgeous neutral shades with some shimmer. Only 2 are matte. They range from light to dark and you can create a look for ANY occasion. The Urban Decay Eye Primer Potion comes with it, and it’s to die for.

7. Favorite lip gloss- Buxom makes the BEST glosses that have the plumping tingle and stay well. Right now I am using Tonya, a hot, hot pink.

8. Best packaging- Too Faced and Benefit have to duke it out for that one, but I think Benefit has the edge.

9. Favorite skincare- Mario Badescu.

10. Favorite body wash- Yum, anything by Philosophy, but especially the Pink layered cake flavor. YUM!

13

Nov

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day. For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.
Audrey Hepburn
I love finding a lip gloss that feels good and wears long. Too often, I find that stains make my lips look like prunes and glosses wear off all too quick.
For a lip gloss that looks gorgeous and stays on, try Smashbox Limitless Lip Gloss. I’ve recommended this gloss to many brides and bridesmaids who want that polished, pop of color without having to constantly reapply during their photos. For even longer wear, try Smashbox Limitless Lip Stains, which have two tips— a marker-like side with the rich stain, and a balmy top coat to make your lips smooth and comfortable, as well as seal in the color.
Now, when I talk about foundation, you probably understand what I mean when I refer to full coverage, medium coverage, or sheer coverage. Have you given much thought to the coverage of your lipstick/lip gloss? Sheer glosses give just a pop of color, lots of shine, and let your own lips show through. If you like the coverage of lip stick, that full and rich color, but like the texture and shine of lip gloss, a creamy lip gloss like Bare Escentual’s Pretty Amazing Lip Color is sure to turn your head. They have absolutely gorgeous shades that would be perfecto for a holiday party (or any occasion, of course)!
Prices:
Smashbox Limitless Lip Gloss retails for $22, Limitless Lip Stain $23
Bare Escentuals Pretty Amazing Lip Color retails for $16 (pretty good price for a prestige brand, I must say!)
If you like what you see/read, but think the price is a stretch on the wallet (or husband’s wallet, *wink*) then fear not. I love a bargain and my husband and I are really into budgeting and sticking to it! You’ve come to the right girl. This is my first post in my regular series called: If you like this, try this. This series aims to provide comparable alternatives if you can’t afford the product you like. 
If you like both the long wear of Smashbox’s Limitless Lip gloss and that rich, creamy color of Bare Escentuals Pretty Amazing Lip Color, you would love….
L’OREAL INFALLIBLE LIP GLOSS!
I am impressed by the longevity of this gloss for the price! It stays well; the color is rich and absolutely as gorgeous as Bare Escentuals (sorry, BE, still love ya); and L’Oreal offers fabulous colors. PRICE: $8.49 at Target.

I love finding a lip gloss that feels good and wears long. Too often, I find that stains make my lips look like prunes and glosses wear off all too quick.

For a lip gloss that looks gorgeous and stays on, try Smashbox Limitless Lip Gloss. I’ve recommended this gloss to many brides and bridesmaids who want that polished, pop of color without having to constantly reapply during their photos. For even longer wear, try Smashbox Limitless Lip Stains, which have two tips— a marker-like side with the rich stain, and a balmy top coat to make your lips smooth and comfortable, as well as seal in the color.

Now, when I talk about foundation, you probably understand what I mean when I refer to full coverage, medium coverage, or sheer coverage. Have you given much thought to the coverage of your lipstick/lip gloss? Sheer glosses give just a pop of color, lots of shine, and let your own lips show through. If you like the coverage of lip stick, that full and rich color, but like the texture and shine of lip gloss, a creamy lip gloss like Bare Escentual’s Pretty Amazing Lip Color is sure to turn your head. They have absolutely gorgeous shades that would be perfecto for a holiday party (or any occasion, of course)!

Prices:

Smashbox Limitless Lip Gloss retails for $22, Limitless Lip Stain $23

Bare Escentuals Pretty Amazing Lip Color retails for $16 (pretty good price for a prestige brand, I must say!)

If you like what you see/read, but think the price is a stretch on the wallet (or husband’s wallet, *wink*) then fear not. I love a bargain and my husband and I are really into budgeting and sticking to it! You’ve come to the right girl. This is my first post in my regular series called: If you like this, try this. This series aims to provide comparable alternatives if you can’t afford the product you like.

If you like both the long wear of Smashbox’s Limitless Lip gloss and that rich, creamy color of Bare Escentuals Pretty Amazing Lip Color, you would love….

L’OREAL INFALLIBLE LIP GLOSS!

I am impressed by the longevity of this gloss for the price! It stays well; the color is rich and absolutely as gorgeous as Bare Escentuals (sorry, BE, still love ya); and L’Oreal offers fabulous colors. PRICE: $8.49 at Target.

08

Nov

Happiness is inward, and not outward; and so, it does not depend on what we have, but on what we are
Henry Van Dyke
Since I myself was a bride just this past August, you can look forward to my upcoming post on best bridal beauty buys, application and technique. This photo above was taken after a hair and make-up trial. The hair-do was taken out before this photo and as you can see from the background, this was later in the day when I wasn’t at the salon anymore. But that’s besides the point. Keep an eye out for my upcoming bridal tips!
If you’re a bride planning on a tight budget or if you are color scheme-obsessed, my old wedding blog is full of inspiration. www.mystunningweddingforless.blogspot.com. Our wedding was 13 grand TOTAL. I mean that includes everything… every last ribbon and fee is included in my grand total. So yeah, we know how to work the budget!

Since I myself was a bride just this past August, you can look forward to my upcoming post on best bridal beauty buys, application and technique. This photo above was taken after a hair and make-up trial. The hair-do was taken out before this photo and as you can see from the background, this was later in the day when I wasn’t at the salon anymore. But that’s besides the point. Keep an eye out for my upcoming bridal tips!

If you’re a bride planning on a tight budget or if you are color scheme-obsessed, my old wedding blog is full of inspiration. www.mystunningweddingforless.blogspot.com. Our wedding was 13 grand TOTAL. I mean that includes everything… every last ribbon and fee is included in my grand total. So yeah, we know how to work the budget!

Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.
Marilyn Monroe

07

Nov

There are so many primers to choose from, all of which have varying textures, ingredients, scents, etc. If you choose the wrong primer for your skin type, you could aggrevate an already-existing condition or create new problems. To pick a primer that is the perfect match for your skin, treat yourself to a facial and ask your asthetician about your skin type. Equipped with the knowledge of what you skin needs and what your skin should stay away from, your make-up consultant should be able to find just the right one that targets your concerns (fine lines, acne, oiliness, dryness, dull tone, etc.). That being said, here are my reviews on primers in my own make-up bag, and a a few other suggestions for certain skin types. Enjoy!
Laura Geller Spackle Under Make-up Primer: I’ll be honest. Laura Geller does have some wonderful products. I like the real deal concealer and I have just today tried the balance and brighten foundation (reviews for another time). In my opinion, which is in line with many reviews on other sites, the name “Spackle” is a bit misleading. From my own experience and from seeing others use it, it does not fill in large pores or do much for fine lines either, like you might expect. I have more noticable pores on my cheeks and this didn’t make much of a difference. On the positive side, the texture is pleasant, light-weight and silky smooth. It does not feel very silicone-ish but still feels like a primer and glides effortlessly. I feel that it did a good job keeping the Laura Geller “Balance and Brighten” foundation on my face throughout my work day, but I did have a little surprise by mid-afternoon… an under-the-skin bump. I do tend to be acne-prone, so if you’re not, you probably have nothing to worry about. But this did break my out so I won’t be using it again myself. Even though it wasn’t the best for me, if you have dry skin, this primer would feel refreshing and hydrating on your skin. If you were interested in Spackle because you are searching for a primer to fill in pores try Benefit’s Porefessional for some seriously noticable results. It really fills in pores. I wouldn’t waste it by applying it all over your face, but rather use it as a spot primer for spots with noticable pores.
BareEscentuals PRIME TIME Brightening: I think BareEscentuals is a beautiful brands that really stands out from others. All of the products are high quality and nonirritating for even sensitive skin. While I have used their foundation for years, I myself and not crazy about the brightening primer I have. I think I had gotten it in a kit or something, but personally I’d probably be better off with their oil-control primer instead of this. The texture is a bit unusual… a little more oily feeling than other primers. As you can see from the picture of my hands, it does brighten the skin and take away redness. My right hand has the primer on it. If you don’t like the texture of this Prime Time primer, try Benefit’s That Gal, which has a lovely light texture, pinkish tint, and a deliciously sweet scent.
Urban Decay Complexion Primer Pore Perfecting: Strangest primer. Ever. It feels like a cream, like a heavy moisturizer. It literally turns your face white and as your try to blend it in, makes your complexion look ghostly. I don’t have much to say about it besides that it was odd. If you have very dry skin, it might be better, but for my oilier skin, it felt too heavy. Plus I looked like a snowman.
Pur Minerals Correcting Primer: If you have rosacea or any kind of redness on your skin, the green Pur primer does wonders. Not only does the texture feel light but smooth, it contains “clinically-proven skin perfecting ingredients.” I love Pur, from their foundation to their skincare. It’s a lovely line and a more natural alternative. Also, on a side note, I believe their lipsticks are gluten free, from what one customer told me as she scanned the ingredients. Anyways, yes this primer suits any skin and holds the make-up well.

There are so many primers to choose from, all of which have varying textures, ingredients, scents, etc. If you choose the wrong primer for your skin type, you could aggrevate an already-existing condition or create new problems. To pick a primer that is the perfect match for your skin, treat yourself to a facial and ask your asthetician about your skin type. Equipped with the knowledge of what you skin needs and what your skin should stay away from, your make-up consultant should be able to find just the right one that targets your concerns (fine lines, acne, oiliness, dryness, dull tone, etc.). That being said, here are my reviews on primers in my own make-up bag, and a a few other suggestions for certain skin types. Enjoy!

Laura Geller Spackle Under Make-up Primer: I’ll be honest. Laura Geller does have some wonderful products. I like the real deal concealer and I have just today tried the balance and brighten foundation (reviews for another time). In my opinion, which is in line with many reviews on other sites, the name “Spackle” is a bit misleading. From my own experience and from seeing others use it, it does not fill in large pores or do much for fine lines either, like you might expect. I have more noticable pores on my cheeks and this didn’t make much of a difference. On the positive side, the texture is pleasant, light-weight and silky smooth. It does not feel very silicone-ish but still feels like a primer and glides effortlessly. I feel that it did a good job keeping the Laura Geller “Balance and Brighten” foundation on my face throughout my work day, but I did have a little surprise by mid-afternoon… an under-the-skin bump. I do tend to be acne-prone, so if you’re not, you probably have nothing to worry about. But this did break my out so I won’t be using it again myself. Even though it wasn’t the best for me, if you have dry skin, this primer would feel refreshing and hydrating on your skin. If you were interested in Spackle because you are searching for a primer to fill in pores try Benefit’s Porefessional for some seriously noticable results. It really fills in pores. I wouldn’t waste it by applying it all over your face, but rather use it as a spot primer for spots with noticable pores.

BareEscentuals PRIME TIME Brightening: I think BareEscentuals is a beautiful brands that really stands out from others. All of the products are high quality and nonirritating for even sensitive skin. While I have used their foundation for years, I myself and not crazy about the brightening primer I have. I think I had gotten it in a kit or something, but personally I’d probably be better off with their oil-control primer instead of this. The texture is a bit unusual… a little more oily feeling than other primers. As you can see from the picture of my hands, it does brighten the skin and take away redness. My right hand has the primer on it. If you don’t like the texture of this Prime Time primer, try Benefit’s That Gal, which has a lovely light texture, pinkish tint, and a deliciously sweet scent.

Urban Decay Complexion Primer Pore Perfecting: Strangest primer. Ever. It feels like a cream, like a heavy moisturizer. It literally turns your face white and as your try to blend it in, makes your complexion look ghostly. I don’t have much to say about it besides that it was odd. If you have very dry skin, it might be better, but for my oilier skin, it felt too heavy. Plus I looked like a snowman.

Pur Minerals Correcting Primer: If you have rosacea or any kind of redness on your skin, the green Pur primer does wonders. Not only does the texture feel light but smooth, it contains “clinically-proven skin perfecting ingredients.” I love Pur, from their foundation to their skincare. It’s a lovely line and a more natural alternative. Also, on a side note, I believe their lipsticks are gluten free, from what one customer told me as she scanned the ingredients. Anyways, yes this primer suits any skin and holds the make-up well.

02

Nov

Tarte
What is not to love about Tarte? The all-natural products can put your mind at ease. Forget all the pore-clogging, skin-irritating ingredients found in so many cosmetics. Tarte offers high-quality ingredients at a competitive price, on par with most other prestige brand prices.
I’ll admit that it’s one of my favorites. The founder of Tarte is young and vibrant, and I love that she started this line out of her NY apartment because she couldn’t find make-up that’s actually good for your skin. She wanted a natural line, so instead of searching and searching, she provided the solution to millions of women.
Some of their “hero products,” in my own opinion, include:
LipSurgence lip tints, which come in matte for a richly pigmented, long-wearing pout, and glossy for a more natural, sheer shine. Infused with peppermint, the lip tints feel like a light lip balm, but achieve the staying power of stains. Seems impossible right?
Amazonian clay 12-hour blush offers long wear and rich, rich color. If you, like me, too often have to work your brush into the blush with rigor and apply layer upon layer to get some visible pigment, then you’ll be happy to know those days are over. This is my favorite brand for blush, even above NARS. Yes, I have used NARS in the shade Orgasm, like 9 million of you, and the color was lovely, but it had to be reapplied throughout the day. Also, try Tarte’s cheek stains, which may look harsh in color by the bottle but actually flaunt stunning, gentle shades and lasting color. 
Lifted eyelid primer — with “Firmitol,” which is clinically proven to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Unfortunately, though this is a day-in-day-out must for me, I don’t have enough wrinkles to be able to notice if it’s truly effective in line-diminishing. But, I will say, this primer allows my shadows to stay put from 7 a.m. through the evening. Yeah, all day. It’s a light, nude shade so it does not affect the hue of shadow.
Smooth operator tinted moisturizer won me over when I had a guest ask me for a foundation that could cover her skin condition. She was very sweet, but I truly felt sorry for her. I believe it was severe acne, but it’s hard to tell. Her skin was in serious condition though, and I didn’t want to agitate it worse. I tried the smooth operator on her, and I was literally shocked how well it covered, given that it’s a tinted moisturizer! I was sold. It didn’t hide the texture but it covered redness beautifully.
GIFT SETS!! Tarte has fabulous gifts for the Christmas season. Santa doesn’t know much about cosmetics, so it’s up to us as friends/sisters/mothers/daughters to give the ladies in our lives what they truly desire. The clutch where you can snap your pallette right in is genious, and the LipSurgence kit is a steal — $29 for FIVE lip tints, when normally, $29 could typically only buy you ONE lip tint.

Tarte

What is not to love about Tarte? The all-natural products can put your mind at ease. Forget all the pore-clogging, skin-irritating ingredients found in so many cosmetics. Tarte offers high-quality ingredients at a competitive price, on par with most other prestige brand prices.

I’ll admit that it’s one of my favorites. The founder of Tarte is young and vibrant, and I love that she started this line out of her NY apartment because she couldn’t find make-up that’s actually good for your skin. She wanted a natural line, so instead of searching and searching, she provided the solution to millions of women.

Some of their “hero products,” in my own opinion, include:

  • LipSurgence lip tints, which come in matte for a richly pigmented, long-wearing pout, and glossy for a more natural, sheer shine. Infused with peppermint, the lip tints feel like a light lip balm, but achieve the staying power of stains. Seems impossible right?
  • Amazonian clay 12-hour blush offers long wear and rich, rich color. If you, like me, too often have to work your brush into the blush with rigor and apply layer upon layer to get some visible pigment, then you’ll be happy to know those days are over. This is my favorite brand for blush, even above NARS. Yes, I have used NARS in the shade Orgasm, like 9 million of you, and the color was lovely, but it had to be reapplied throughout the day. Also, try Tarte’s cheek stains, which may look harsh in color by the bottle but actually flaunt stunning, gentle shades and lasting color.
  • Lifted eyelid primer — with “Firmitol,” which is clinically proven to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Unfortunately, though this is a day-in-day-out must for me, I don’t have enough wrinkles to be able to notice if it’s truly effective in line-diminishing. But, I will say, this primer allows my shadows to stay put from 7 a.m. through the evening. Yeah, all day. It’s a light, nude shade so it does not affect the hue of shadow.
  • Smooth operator tinted moisturizer won me over when I had a guest ask me for a foundation that could cover her skin condition. She was very sweet, but I truly felt sorry for her. I believe it was severe acne, but it’s hard to tell. Her skin was in serious condition though, and I didn’t want to agitate it worse. I tried the smooth operator on her, and I was literally shocked how well it covered, given that it’s a tinted moisturizer! I was sold. It didn’t hide the texture but it covered redness beautifully.
  • GIFT SETS!! Tarte has fabulous gifts for the Christmas season. Santa doesn’t know much about cosmetics, so it’s up to us as friends/sisters/mothers/daughters to give the ladies in our lives what they truly desire. The clutch where you can snap your pallette right in is genious, and the LipSurgence kit is a steal — $29 for FIVE lip tints, when normally, $29 could typically only buy you ONE lip tint.