Party Season Looks You Haven’t Tried

I thought I’d committed to a once-a-month post, but turns out I literally couldn’t get through party season without a round-up of some current favorite going-out looks. And beings that this week I’m running the holiday party gauntlet (and you may be too), it’s the perfect opportunity to share some serious get-ready inspo. Bring on all the color, glitter, and texture!

If you’re craving a retro moment …

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While the Gucci gown is really what keeps this look centered on the 1960s (and of course we’d all love to wear it to our next party), Dakota Johnson’s hair and makeup here are the perfect inspiration for a retro beauty look. She’s probably got some extensions going on to beef up her ponytail; the outcome is glorious and something I aspire to in all my retro lounge dreams. The smokey cat-eye paired with a bare lip is textbook, as well. Hair by Mark Townsend, makeup by Mélanie Inglessis.

If you’re tired of eyeshadow but don’t want a lip-forward look …

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This look on model Woan Ni was created by Kara Yoshimoto Bua using Shiseido’s newly revamped makeup line. White eyeliner was never a look I cared for much, but I think it’s because I’ve never seen it balanced out well with the rest of the face. This look is so beautifully balanced with a good brow, a shimmery, rosy cheek and a stained, blurry lip. So natural but still so party ready, right?

If you’re feeling classic Christmas but, like, extra …

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Oh, snap! Like, Merry Christmas Batman right?!? And of course, it’s Pati Dubroff (THEE queen makeup artist) for Margot Robbie on her way to the UK premiere of Mary Queen of Scots. The Pati-Margot duo was already blowing me away last year during awards season for I, Tonya and Margot’s premiere looks for Goodbye Christopher Robin. I love just the pat of glitter on the center of the lids- so modern. Pati hasn’t listed what she used yet so everyone’s guess is as good as mine, but who cares?! Go crazy! Use whatever! Recreate your own version.

If you want to focus all your energy on makeup and just get hair over with …

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Over at IntoTheGloss, Tom Newton took some fabulous photos of EmRata featuring some quick, lovely updos by Jennifer Yepez. This one using a claw clip was my favorite; a curly/kinky version would be workable and just as romantic, if not more so. As told on ITG: “Start with a middle part. Leave a few pieces out in the front, and gather the rest into a low bun, leaving the ends out for a more modern feel. Clasp it with your clip and bobby pin as needed to prevent strays from popping out. And then make sure it stays in place all night by giving it a healthy spritz of hairspray (Jennifer used Laque Couture). If you have curls, don’t worry about straightening all of your hair. Just focus on the front pieces by blow drying them straight, followed by a quick run with a flat iron.”

If you’re still bored …

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Don’t let boredom or lack of creativity force that red lip on you (or at least, a red lip with no other interesting details)! What’s a color you’d never associate with this time of year? Got an idea in your head? Good, now find a way to wear it! Or take Katie Jane Hughes’ countless colorful, glossy, glittery looks as a treasure trove of inspo, including this stunning lavender glossed lid. This is literally lip gloss (or anywhere gloss, really) on top of eyeshadow. And how do you keep it from creasing, you ask? You don’t! That’s part of the fun. It creases; just let it. Reapply if you want but enough with the set-in-stone, gotta-last-48-hours makeup. Let texture and skin be the real showstoppers.

If you’re still stumped on the hair question …

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Space buns! Like it’s 2002! I mean, how good is this? And people just don’t really do this anymore so it’s like the cutest Spice Girls throwback and a guaranteed conversation starter. The face framing pieces on Constance provide perfect balance, but I think you could even get away without them. And bonus: this look can probably be pulled off with any hair texture. Hair by Molly Greenwald.

If you’re sick of sequined sweaters …

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This whole shoot of Taraji P. Henson for the latest issue of InStyle is genius. Rip a literal page out of this mag (on newsstands now) and go with a direct Mary Tyler Moore reference for your party outfits. Short jumpers, miniskirts, graphic prints, power suits, flared pants, silk neckties- Moore’s playbook provides the right amount of inspiration for both dressing sharp and using color creatively. Because the holidays deserve so much more than just red and black sparkly sweaters.

xo, MR

All images are screenshots from Instagram except for the image from IntoTheGloss, taken by Tom Newton. In order of appearance: @melaniemakeup, @woanster, @patidubroff, Tom Newton, @katiejanehughes, @constancewu, @instylemagazine

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What I’m Using: December 2018

It’s December! It’s party season! Aren’t you so excited?! All the dressing up, all the food, all the calendared events, all the traveling, all the extraverting, all the schedule maneuvering, all the multiple-party-consulting … oh wait. Maybe you want to hide under a blanket for a month. With a bag over your head. While wearing earplugs. In a cave.

Well, no matter what kind of mood you’re in this season, you must be sure to indulge in our generation’s latest coping mechanism for existential dread some “self care” to ensure that your makeup is properly on fleek and your skin is properly slaying and your hair is properly on point. NO PROBLEM.

But seriously have fun. Getting ready for parties is fun. Here’s what I’m using this month to help.

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The new skincare staple: Honest Beauty Organic Facial Oil

New fave ritual- Wash face, spray on toner, maybe add essence, and finish with this face oil (particularly if I’m prepping for makeup). It’s THEE BEST if you’re in a colder and/or drier climate. There’s something very assuring about patting an oil on to your face that you know won’t just be cheaply absorbed in four seconds flat. Also, this one is yummy because it’s actually USDA-certified organic and not just like “Oh I’m natural and kinda green I swear!” like so many products out there. Hydrating, luxurious, and completely clean- oooohh.

The thing that made an actual difference: Ouai Memory Mist

I frequently wash my hair in the evening. I’ll let it air-dry while watching the billionth episode of Forensic Files late at night but unless I want it to look like the rabid child of Jane and Tarzan the next morning, I have to be sure to put some waves in it that evening with a curling iron. However, I used to run into the problem of putting those waves in my hair at night only to have them go wonky and flat after a night’s sleep (which, is an obvious and very first-world problem). Enter Ouai Memory Mist, which not only claims to protect hair against extreme heat but also to maintain its texture and shape from whence you styled it (‘whence’ … very likely I’m misusing the term).

Well, I’ve used the Memory Mist about six times now and it actually works. I spray it on my hair in sections and then find that my hair really does look relatively the same the next morning. Not an easy thing to pull of, especially after a night’s sleep. In the past there has always been need for touch-ups the morning after waving my hair, but maybe four out of the six times I’ve used this stuff, I’ve just shaken my hair a bit and walked out the door. Wild.

The use-for-every-color liner: Maybelline Color Sensational Lip Liner in Toast

In November and December, I have a stereotypical tendency to do more lip-forward looks with a wine- or red-hued lip. However, I’ve never liked using red liner with red lipstick because few things drive me crazier than that lipstick fading and leaving behind a weird red outline. Makes me feel clowny and like I’m some Edward Scissorhands extra. This lip liner is not only cheap, but it’s also a peachy nude that will do the job of keeping lipstick from running without leaving behind a weird lip line should that lipstick fade. It would probably work for a majority of lip shades. Also, it’s a great color to use all over the lips should you fancy that. I actually think I bought it because I saw it used on Gigi Hadid and I thought it looked good. I know. I’m a sell-out.

The canvas: Yves Saint Laurent Touche Èclat Le Teint Radiance Awakening Foundation SPF 22

I’ve run out of my BareMinerals Complexion Rescue, and that stuff was the real business. So, in the meantime, I’ve got this to go through. I like it– I’m not loving it –but it’s making me more creative in experimenting with different methods of foundation application. So for instance, I’ll use a much thinner layer and apply with a beauty blender, or I’ll mix in a bit of liquid highlighter (NARSxCharlotte Gainsbourg Hydrating Glow Tint) for a luminous finish. I think they changed the formula so it’s not quite the perfect foundation it used to be, but I’m still an overall satisfied customer. And it smells nice!

Bonus! The recipe: kale chicken pesto pizza

Spread Trader Joe’s Pesto all Genovese all over Trader Joe’s pizza dough. Dump Trader Joe’s mozzarella cheese all over that. Cover in fresh chopped curly kale with a little olive oil (do NOT use the bagged Trader Joe’s pre-chopped kale- they can’t do everything right and it smells like the Plague). Add cooked chicken (maybe precooked in Italian herbs and balsamic hmmm?). Sprinkle on some red pepper flakes … maybe a lot if you’ve got firemouth like me. Stick in oven at 375-F for 15-ish minutes. Take out. Shove in your face. Get self-righteous about eating kale.

What I’m Using: November 2018

Hi, hello! It’s been a minute.

When it comes to beauty, I’m most passionate about sharing what products I use and love; I enjoy learning about what others are using as well. And so I’ve decided, after taking some serious time off from this blog, that I’m going to return to it with the vision of focusing specifically on what products I’m currently using with a monthly post. These posts may be punctuated with the red carpet season craziness that we all know and love, but the primary intent with this writing project is to simply share what I’m using, once a month.

And so, here we are! November. And snow will very soon arrive to put the, um, “no” in November. Temperatures are steadily dropping, dryness abounds, and hair begins to get that oily-on-top-but-parched-on-the-ends awkwardness. But these are merely seasonal woes. There are other, more peculiar long-term challenges that I’m interested in tackling: namely, the creases on my forehead. Expression lines, as I like to call them- makes me sound so elegant! Scroll down for my current products in rotation.

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The retin-something: Ole Henriksen Goodnight Glow Retin-ALT Sleeping Créme

At age 28, I got my first pair of glasses. I also found my first grey hair. I also noticed for the first time the faint creases cropping up on my forehead. I wasn’t alarmed, exactly; I was more just interested in seeing if the decades of anti-wrinkle research I’d been reading and hearing about all my life was actually going to pay off in the form of a truly effective treatment other than an injectable. I mean, think about how long our scientists have been going after fine lines, wrinkles, crow’s feet, whatever. Defying the symptoms of impending death (you bristled …… am I wrong?) is the very raison d’être for the skincare industry and they’ve been working at it forever. And now, the options are just about as endless as a Dostoyevsky novel. So what’s one to do other than do a little research, pick something that seems right for you, and dive forehead-first into the vast waters known as the anti-aging industry?

Retinol- a topical derivative of vitamin A- has long been regarded as the “breakthrough” ingredient to returning a youthful look to the skin by stimulating collagen production and cellular renewal, but there are so many options that it’s hard to know where to begin. Retinol is far best suited for night and so I wanted something that I’d only be tempted to use at night, like a cream. I tried a retinol suspended in oil for a while, but it really was too oily and nonabsorbent to be comfortable at night. I also am only using this about twice a week as retinol can have a sensitizing effect on your skin; you have to give it time to see how your skin reacts and adjusts. Ole Henriksen’s Goodnight Glow Retin-ALT Sleeping Créme seemed like a new formula that was worth a shot. It features bakuchiol, a plant-based ingredient that supposedly works as a retinol alternative (so maybe not as sensitizing?). It smells lovely, absorbs well, and the texture and dullness of my skin is noticeably improved overnight. The fine lines? Still there, but slightly more faint. I’ll have to get through the whole jar and see where we’re at by then.

The second-in-command: MAC Upward Lash

Why second in command? So the way I work with mascara is this: I always have a CoverGirl LashBlast formula on hand. Always. I feel like they are THEE best. But, I always need a second formula to sort of give my lashes that final “bump”. The CoverGirl ones are amazing but I can’t ever seem to work on one formula alone. And so, things get really exciting when I play around with different “second-in-command” mascaras as I like to call them. I usually choose something with an inkier consistency and a smaller, more precise brush. MAC’s Upward Lash does the job expertly.

The old fave: Glossier Super Bounce serum

Seriously amazing for dry skin. I don’t reach for Super Bounce much from about May through September because my skin seems to rebalance, but wow- as soon as the chill starts up again I’m going through about two bottles in six months or less. I love it right after toner and essence, but before moisturizer. It really does give my skin that bit of plump and coolness when I feel tight and awful after I’ve eaten too much cheddar popcorn the night before. I also love it for makeup prep and find it does a beautiful job at soothing redness.

The (very) intense conditioner: Davines Melu conditioner

I think if I had to select one product I weirdly hoard or am always tempted to buy more of, it’s hair conditioner. I promise, every time I step into Target you will find me wandering down the haircare aisle opening up those tubs of thick, buttermilk-textured conditioner that smell like all kinds of delectable desserts or yummy bubble tea (don’t you think?!?). I’m not particularly inclined to eat the Davines Melu conditioner, but I will tell you that it is rich. Meant to hydrate dry ends and prevent breakage so long hair can sustain itself, it feels more like a hair mask than anything and it makes my hair so soft. The fragrance is more floral and sophisticated, which is a nice thing because let’s face it- our noses must graduate from the fruit cocktail explosions of Bath and Body Works at some point.

Bonus! The espionage read: I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes

Wow. Right? I feel like every other person I’ve mentioned this book to has read it. And I can’t believe I didn’t know it’s being brought to film (the news broke last April- I feel like I should’ve known this already but apparently I don’t follow enough fun people on Twitter)! And if you’re unfamiliar with this work, you should jump on the train before it magically turns into a bandwagon and your mom and your brother and your cat are all there, saying how much they love it too. I will only reveal what IMDb reveals about the storyline: “A former spy is called up out of retirement to assist in an unusual investigation.” Seriously. It is GOOD.

Best Of The 2018 SAG Awards

Alright, the color is back in full force this round. I was most, most pleased with this red carpet. Some seriously stunning choices, and of course, I was all the more happy with the incredible hair make makeup styling at this year’s SAG Awards. The glam teams were bringing nothing less than their best work. Here we go!

 

Saoirse Ronan in custom Louis Vuitton-
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I would wear this. I would totally wear this! Such beautiful art deco inspiration I’m seeing here, and such a cheerful shade of pastel, millennial pink. And I do love a modest silhouette contrasted with two marvelous slits up the side. And Saoirse’s (pronounced SER-shuh) minimalist styling is the right choice, as I don’t believe her face is one that could take “a lot” of makeup if you know what I mean. Her features are so delicate and fairylike, and dark or harsh makeup choices would just overwhelm her. Or at least, those are my thoughts. I could proven wrong, though!

 

Mandy Moore in Ralph Lauren-
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This is the kind of look that makes me want to go on vacation. The ease of the strappy silhouette that makes you want to pack a weekend getaway bag, the dreamy shade of shimmery cobalt that makes you want to dive into a perfectly blue pool after sipping on a Mai Tai beneath your cabana …

Think I’m living in the MidWest in the middle of January? Maybe. Just maybe. Some daydreaming problems over here.

But truly, this styling is fabulous and I can’t wait for a closeup of Mandy’s makeup, too, as I’ve detected a bit of aqua on her lower lids. Oooohhh…

 

Olivia Munn in Oscar de la Renta-

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Ohhhhh sequins! Luscious luscious sequins. And beautious floral appliqués. While this is overall a safe choice- and I’ve appreciated Olivia in the past for bolder choices when it would be quite easy for her to ride on her bombshell looks- the center-parted hair that’s like a shiny black sheet combined with the glowy, rosy makeup makes this a win. It might be safe, but it’s so good that the lack of risk doesn’t matter to me. And check those metallic talon nails! Daaaayyyuuuum.

 

Lupita Nyong’O in Ralph and Russo-

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Mmmmm more metallic perfection. And feathers! Who doesn’t appreciate some good bird now? I used to think I’d know that I’ve “made it” by the fact that I was wearing a sequined dress on a red carpet somewhere, but I’ve since changed my mind. I now know that it’s when I’m wearing a dress with feathers on a red carpet somewhere that I’ll know I’ve made it. Feathers are just so extra, so Marie Antoinette. So unnecessary-but-why-wouldn’t-you.

And does Lupita’s skin have a shimmery finish?! I can’t tell, but I have to find out. It’s positively luminous.

 

Brie Larson in Gucci-

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If you’re not wearing Gucci these days, what are you even doing with your life?! I’ll tell you what you’re doing- you’re wearing knockoff Gucci. Like me. From Target. But don’t blame a girl- sequins and details and jewel-encrusted bows and so many colors and eeeeeeeverything you think of when you think of a fantasy dress- that’s Gucci. Remember Nicole Kidman’s green sequined parrot amazingness from last year’s SAG Awards? Yep, Gucci.

Also, digging the stunning shimmery blue shadows on Brie. So lovely, especially on brown eyes. In other news, Captain Marvel allegedly begins production … tomorrow!

And now, for the obvious-yet-still-too-good-to-be-ignored choice …

 

Margot Robbie in Miu Miu-

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Ladies and gentlemen, another round of applause for feathers! See? I’m telling you, they’re quite fetching and irresistible. I can’t tell at this point if this dress is white or a very light shade of blush. I’m thinking the latter when I see it against the red carpet, and oh, how I love a good rosé as my white girl self should.

I’ve noticed that each of Kate Young’s choices for Margot have all had that bit of figure skating extra-ness as a nod to I, Tonya, whether it’s a touch of sparkle or something like a ribbon and feathers to create the movement that’s so important in figure skating outfits. Makes for a fun press tour, no? But I have to note that it’s the hair and makeup team that’ve really astounded me with Margot on this tour of hers- Pati Dubroff and Bryce Scarlett have been absolute heroes with the hair and makeup game. And I don’t care how beautiful she is naturally! Having a team behind you that consistently takes you from plebeian to goddess is irreplaceable as a celebrity, even for someone as pretty as Margot.

Let me know what you think, and do tell me if you think I’ve forgotten anyone especially deserving! Cheers! xo, MR

 

Photo credits in order of appearance: Steve Granitz/WireImage, Frazer Harrison/Getty, John Shearer/Getty, John Salangsang/Shutterstock, Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty, Frazer Harrison/Getty

Summer Makeup Essentials

I’m not exactly sure when summer begins on the calendar, but out here in the MidWest, it unofficially-but-very-unquestionably began yesterday.  The temps were in the mid nineties all day, and after a quick little walk to grab some iced coffee my shirt was sticking to me and my cowlick was in full lick mode.  And my toes were swollen.

Changes in season tend to demand a new strategy when it comes to things like what we wear, what our skincare routine looks like, if maybe we’ll just drive to get our iced coffee instead of walk, and what makeup we use.  You could stick to the same song and dance all year, but why not make it easier on yourself?  Go ahead and drive to grab that iced coffee, and stick to items like these:

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Tinted Moisturizer – I don’t know about you, but something about powder foundation in hot weather feels so dusty and yucky.  Images of Dorothy on the tornado-ridden plains of Kansas come to mind.  And yet a regular ole’ liquid foundation in hot weather feels like I’ve willingly modge podged myself.  Something like BareMinerals Complexion Rescue is perfect for higher temps.  Decent coverage, a cooling, gel-like effect, and SPF all make for that perfect summer glow trifecta.  And the finish on a tinted moisturizer doesn’t have to be sheer or glowing!  There are other options, too: Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, Black Up Mattifying Tinted Moisturizer, NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint, and Boscia’s BB Cream all have excellent reputations and a range of finishes.

Cream blush – How I feel about foundation in the summer applies to blush, too.  Powder blush on sweaty skin can look ruddy, do strange things to pores, and be difficult to blend well.  A nice cream formula, whether liquid or in a stick, can be a great solution for adding color to the cheeks without the heavy effect of a powder.  AND you only need your fingers!  Cream blushes also tend to look more natural, as if the pigment is coming from the inside out as opposed to sitting on top of your skin.  I love Glossier’s Cloud Paints as well as Stila’s Convertible Color, which doubles as lip color.

Self tanner – So, during the hotter months (or maybe year-round for some of us), I have a tendency to use a lot of bronzer.  On my cheeks, around my jawline- something about the season just beckons for its use.  But I often encounter the problem of my body not matching my bronzed face thanks to the months of being covered from head to toe in a wearable sleeping bag.  And because we’re not about frying in the sun (naughty!), I’m here to sing the praises of self-tanner.  Or specifically, Jergens Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer.  It’s subtle, the way I like my jokes.  And if I find myself in a swimsuit, the stuff actually manages to make me look even and – dare I say it – somewhat toned?  The heat must be getting to me.

A moisturizing lip stain – Unless it’s during the cool hours of the evening and I’m sipping a refreshing cocktail on a breezy rooftop bar, wearing lipstick during peak hours in the summertime can make me feel like a dog with peanut butter on its lips.  And yet burning, cracked lips without any moisture are the epitome of too-long-on-the-lake-and-now-you-look-like-a-burnt-Cheezit.  Look to something like one of Revlon’s Ultra HD Gel Lipcolors for hydrating and lightweight color, or one of BeneFit’s many lip and cheek stains like Posietint or Benetint so you can just stain your lips for the day and then only worry about reapplying SPF balm.

Something bright! – Come on!  It’s summer!  Teal eyeliner?  Coral lips?  The pink eyeshadow trend that was literally everywhere at the Met Ball?  Try something celebratory and colorful at the next party or wedding or happy hour you find yourself attending.  And there are a gazillion options out there.  Marc Jacobs’s Highliner Gel Eye Crayon alone comes in thirty three shades.  Hung Vanngo used the bright pink shade called (Pop)ular all around Selena Gomez’s eyes for the Met Ball, and I would love, love, LOVE to see someone wear the powder blue Deja Blue shade- just a line across the upper eyelid.

Tell me what you use, tag me in your pics, and enjoy the newfound heat!  xo, MR

Winter Has Come- Glossier’s Priming Moisturizer Rich

Returning to Chicagoland in early January from a vacation back home in California isn’t ideal.  Your body braces for that first blast of windchill once you’re off the plane, and your style goes from something that once resembled femininity to survival gear in a communist gulag.  Fashion in a Chicago winter is more “Wookie” than fashion.  Which isn’t the worst thing, but you get me.

But knowing that a certain Glossier press sample was waiting for me in the mailroom upon return made things a whole lot more bearable!  And to make this latest launch even more perfect, it’s made specifically for meeting the needs of very dry, winter-worn skin.  Um, living in a climate that’s allegedly been colder than Mars lately?  I’m in.  And so, I’m honored to once again be asked by Glossier to try and share about their latest baby, Priming Moisturizer Rich (PMR).

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There she is, sitting next to my good ole’ friend Super Bounce!

For an introduction, here’s some verbiage from the press release and an email or two:  Meet Priming Moisturizer Rich- the sumptuous and dense sister cream to our best-selling original Priming Moisturizer.  Think of this as the answer to your dry skin woes. Rich in ceramides and fatty acids, it reinforces the skin’s barrier and locks in moisture over time, while an anti-redness complex and oxygenating agents prime skin for makeup (or not!).

I had less time to use this new product before its launch date today, so I’ve had to be very intentional about looking for its strengths and weaknesses.  We’ll start with the obvious- the packaging of PMR is adorable and lovely.  The pretty jar with a clear, lucite body and pink lid is undoubtedly meant to be shown off on your #topshelf.  The open post where IntoTheGloss asked readers to describe their ideal heavy-duty moisturizer turned up lots of requests for no jar (potential bacterial growth and contamination with one’s fingers are a complaint), but the gTeam was pretty good about providing a detailed explanation as to why they went with a jar anyhow.  I get it.  My only request would’ve been a cute little pink spatula, mais c’est la vie.

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Didn’t brush up my eyebrows because it was bedtime.  Sorry guys.

So when I first opened the jar, this moisturizer looked like the most luscious, buttercream-y frosting.  I might’ve drooled.  I showed my husband and he went ‘Ooohh’, as we’re both now intrigued by luxuriant moisturizers thanks to our current residence on Hoth.  The fragrance is a mild rosy lavender scent, but nothing overpowering.  I’ve used Korres’ Wild Rose Intense Sleeping Facial and while it’s a product that works, you absolutely cannot use it if you don’t care for the scent of rose and it’s made my eyes water once or twice.  I think PMR, on the other hand, will work for most sensitive noses.  But beware- if you’re sensitive to lavender, you might proceed with caution.

As for the effectiveness of PMR, I’ve done some quick evaluating based on three situations I find myself in these days in Chicagoland: inside in a dry, often-overheated apartment, outside in the dry, brutal cold, and in the process of layering multiple skincare products together at night (such as toner, serum, moisturizer, etc).

I’ll discuss layering PMR and how it handles dry indoor heaters first.  For one thing, PMR absorbs quite nicely while still leaving your skin pliable and soft to the touch.  I first used it after washing and just applying toner.  Three hours later in my hot apartment and my skin still felt comfortable.  I assume its effects would last even longer if my apartment weren’t so dry to begin with.  I then used it a second time at night after washing and toning, but this time after applying a vitamin C serum too.  PMR did not cooperate as well this time, and it would sort of roll and rub off if I touched my face.  However, when I used Glossier’s vitamin C serum instead- Super Glow- the PMR did not rub off.  I think the culprit might actually be the first vitamin C serum I used (which shall remain nameless here), as it hasn’t layered well with other products before.  So, just be sure you use serums that absorb fully before applying PMR and you’ll be fine.  If you’d like to know which vitamin C serum I’m referring to that doesn’t absorb well, you can message me.

My highest hopes for PMR, however, boiled down to how it would withstand single-digit temperatures and windchill temperatures of even less than that, especially regarding its anti-redness promise.  Most moisturizers are gone like a vapor misted on to my face after four minutes outside in this weather and my complexion quickly turns pinkish thereafter, so I knew this would be a tall order.  However, I also didn’t want a moisturizer that would just sit on top of my face like a thick layer of Vaseline- barf.

I applied a moderate amount at 8:30am on Sunday and felt immediate relief from the dryness of sleeping indoors with the heat on.  I stepped outside in 3-degree weather and got into the car.  I checked the mirror one minute later after being blasted by windchill on the way out- zero redness, zero stiffness or tightness, and a mild sheen to my skin.  My face felt soft, but the PMR had also fully absorbed.  Not bad!  My skin felt comfortable and without irritation until about 1:30pm, after I’d been back in the apartment for an hour or so.  That’s about five hours of comfort there.  Pretty good I’d say, especially when your environment is doing everything to work against your skin.  I applied one more time, for fun.  The next day, my skin felt comfortable enough to possibly go without any moisturizer, but I knew better that considering the windchill so I applied PMR anyhow.  My face felt protected and hydrated all day at work, without any irritation in a dry, heated office.

So, all this to say (and if you’ve stuck with all this- wow, you’re committed), if you’ve got dry, itchy, possibly reddish skin and you’re stuck in a climate or indoor environment that’s perpetuating that, Priming Moisturizer Rich may be a new friend for you!  Plus, it just feels so nice using it.  There’s nothing better than a quick minute of luxury to go with your morning coffee or your wind-down time at night.  And at thirty-five bucks, that’s a better price point than most quality skincare items you’ll find out there.  Tell me if you try it; otherwise, tell me your favorite yummy winter moisturizer!  xo, MR

Let’s Go To The Movies- Fall 2016 Beauty Inspo

Within the next month or so, there are a lot of new movies rolling out into theaters to look forward to.  And I mean A LOT.  This is the season when most Oscar contenders make their debut.  We also see many fan favorite heavy hitters show up at the box office like the next chapter of the Star Wars saga, the latest Marvel installment, a Disney movie, and whatever narrative Leonardo DiCaprio decides to use as his latest portrayal of a descent into madness.  Bear attacks!  Coke and money!  Matt Damon!  It’s always an adventure with Leo.

But truthfully, my favorite thing about all these movies isn’t actually the movies themselves- it’s the movie premieres and press circuits.  And when I say movie premieres and press circuits, I mean the hair and makeup that come with them.  We’ve got a Jackie O. biopic coming out starring Natalie Portman, along with a 1940s espionage flick with Marion Cotillard headlining.  Do you know how much I’m looking forward to these things just for the shades of Dior lipstick alone?  No, I don’t think you do.

That all being said, I love looking to the red carpet this time of year for some beauty inspiration.  People always seem to get a little more adventurous with fall hair and makeup because the trends are typically darker, moodier, and a bit fancier.  Movie premieres and photocalls, award shows, and press junkets are the perfect place to look if you’re in the market for some new beauty inspo.  Let’s peek at some of my favorite looks I’ve come across this season.

Rachel McAdams at the London and Los Angeles premieres of Dr. Strange

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Premiere Of Disney And Marvel Studios' "Doctor Strange" - Arrivals

Did you know this woman is almost thirty-eight?!  Thirty-eight!!  I can scarcely believe my eyes.  I guess it probably helps when your sister (Kayleen McAdams) is a celebrity makeup artist.  And a gajillion dollars in the bank thanks to The Notebook alone can’t hurt either as far as booking a regular facial or two.  However, I do think one thing that keeps Rachel looking so fresh and young all the time is her willingness to experiment with color and a bit of funk in the hair/makeup department.  A purple smoky eye paired with pink lips- Aren’t you supposed to be “done” with that stuff when you start pushing forty?  And a segmented ponytail?  Too much when you’re thirty-eight, right?  No!  It’s exactly this kind of playfulness that keeps things exciting.  Mixing up your color palette with your makeup is never a bad thing at any age, and a segmented pony is an easy and unexpected thing to pull off at a holiday party.  Now, if only we could all wear that dress to our Christmas party at work.

 

Lupita Nyong’O at the Los Angeles and London Film Festival premieres of Queen of Katwe

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No one does the bright lipstick-and-eyeshadow combo like Lupita.  No one.  In the second image, she’s even wearing bright blush just to kick up the temperature of her look that much more.  I love it.  One thing I’ve noticed about Lupita’s makeup is that she rarely wears noticeable false lashes.  There’s maybe some black liner on her waterline, but no big lashes.  Because she often wears bright makeup, I agree that it would be a mistake to add a pair of standout lashes because it would just be overkill and would detract from the modern, graphic feel of the makeup.  No crazy lashes necessary.  Makeup artist Nick Barose always seems to know when exercise restraint and yet keep things super playful with Lupita.  And it was so fun to see all of the amazing traditional headwraps Lupita wore on tour, too!

 

Jennifer Connelly at the Rome and San Sebastian International Film Festival premieres of American Pastoral

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This past month, Jesus decided to graciously bless me with a Jennifer Connelly press tour.  Yes, I am passionate about these things and I am not ashamed.  Jennifer must’ve made about fifteen different appearances for this film all over North America and Europe, and it was one fabulous Louis Vuitton ensemble after another.  It was her chic and flattering hair and makeup that consistently knocked it out of the park for me, though.  I particularly love Jennifer’s hair sleeked back and left down in her second look as done by hairstylist Renato Campora; I often like trying to do this myself but it works so much better on hair that’s a single, dark shade like hers.

I asked Kay Montano, the makeup artist responsible for Jennifer’s cat eye pictured first, what products she used to create such a gorgeous look.  She said, “To be honest, it’s less about the products than what you do with them.  I could have achieved the same result with many different products.”  Coy, but true.  Gooseberry green eyes, immaculate eyebrows, and cheekbones that could cut glass can’t hurt either.

 

Mandy Moore at the 2016 Emmy Awards and Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic

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So, these looks may not be from any movie premieres, but thanks to her new TV show This Is Us on NBC, Mandy Moore has been everywhere lately.  I’m not sure what she’s had going on career-wise outside of Tangled insanity the past couple years, so it’s been good to see her making the rounds again.  I will say though, I’ve been following her closely on social media for a long time because she’s a maayyyjor hair and makeup influence of mine.  I’ve definitely used her pictures as inspiration for my own hair (mostly for cut, though possibly for color in the next couple weeks).  The textured mid length shag-type-thingy with bangs has been a beloved thing of mine for a while, and Mandy’s is pretty much perfect.  It’s got that 70s vibe, you know?  She always parts her bangs in the center though, and I still can’t seem to get that right.

I also love that Mandy is always wearing coral makeup, as seen in both images.  It’s a shade that works so, so well on her.  She even wore coral lipstick to the 2011 Academy Awards when she sang her nominated song for Tangled.  It worked back then, and it’s still working now.

I’m sure there’s plenty more to look forward to on the red carpet this upcoming season, and I know there were lots of other looks that I just didn’t manage to squeeze in here.  I can’t wait for Jackie and Allied, and I’m sure Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence will be serving up their usual awesomeness with their upcoming premieres, too.  Let me know what you like best, and keep me posted when you see something amazing on the red carpet!  xo, MR

 

Photo credits in order of appearance: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic, Anthony Harvey/Getty Images, gotceleb.com, John Phillips/Getty Images Europe, gotceleb.com, gotceleb.com, Steve Granitz/WireImage, gotceleb.com

The Supers Are Here!

It’s no secret that I’m an avid reader of famed beauty blog Into The Gloss.  I’ve been reading and commenting since its early days, and it still is probably one of the first four websites I hit up each day when I want to do a little leisurely browsing just to get the creative juices flowing.  It’s also no secret that out of Into The Gloss has come Glossier, a skincare and makeup brand inspired by what real girls (and guys, quite frankly) need in real life.  Glossier’s marketing is genius, their branding is fresh, and their products are BOMB.  You may have read my review for their brow product, Boy Brow, that I posted some time last year.  I’ll be going on my third tube of that stuff in maybe a month or so.

So when I was contacted by an editor at Into The Gloss asking if I would be interested in receiving Glossier’s newest product a week before it launches to try it out and spread the word, I very, very, very quickly said “GIMME”.

Just kidding. I said a very professional why-thank-you-I’d-be-glad-to-help kind of thing.  With probably too many exclamation points.

But it was in the response I received after that, that I knew I’d hit truly the jackpot- the new launch consisted of not one, not two, but three new serums.  And as a tribute to the original supermodels from the 1990’s days of yore, these new serums have been dubbed The Supers.  Because let’s face it- Kendall, Gigi, and Bella would be nowhere without the original Cindy, Naomi, and Linda.

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If you’ve never used a serum before, you may find that they’re a great way to level up your skincare routine as they can deliver very concentrated ingredients to target specific concerns.  Prior to receiving the Supers, I’d been using a vitamin C serum to treat dark spots and improve my skin’s texture.  However, it leaves sort of a film on my face that doesn’t make applying sunscreen or makeup very easy.  I can always tell when I’m not a huge fan of a product when I forget to use it everyday, or even every week.  I’ve had this serum for a while and I’m only halfway through- I can’t blend makeup very evenly on top of it and I can’t put moisturizer on top of it without it rubbing off.  Absorbency is key.

Now on to the Supers.  My first observation was one of relief- trying to meet the needs of every skin type in one kind of serum is incredibly hard, and I am so glad that Glossier really went for it and created three serums and not just one.  I mean, does everyone use the same kind of moisturizer?  Do even you use the same exact moisturizer every single day of the year, day and night?  Of course not.  So why would creating one type of serum make sense?  Everyone’s skin is different, and even our own skin’s needs change from season to season.  In the winter out here my skin becomes extremely dry and dull, whereas in the summer I’m exposed to the sun much more and my eating habits aren’t as great thanks to nights out and restaurant food, which typically means greater acne risk.  So, a combination of three different serums to meet a variety of needs is a dream to me.

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Here’s what each serum is meant for, according to the press release I received from Glossier and from left to right as pictured above:

Super Glow – Vitamin C brightens and Magnesium energizes for days when you didn’t get enough sleep or your skin looks sallow.  It evens skin tone and creates a light-reflective complexion.  The water-like texture immediately absorbs into skin without a trace.

Super Pure – Niacinamide soothes redness and Zinc helps calm blemishes.  Junk food and stress are other skin-disrupting triggers that Super Pure helps counteract.  The light, water-gel formula quickly absorbs into skin.  It helps let go of irritation and flushes out impurities, including excess sebum that builds up inside pores.

Super Bounce – Hyaluronic Acid plumps skin up with moisture and Vitamin B5 brings elasticity back to tight skin for supple softness- the “bounce” you want.  Good for skin that’s depleted from blasting A/C or high high heat.  The smooth, milky texture soaks into skin without any stickiness or residue for instantly softer skin.

Here’s my very, very, very shorthand interpretation of each of these: Super Glow is for anti-aging and dullness, Super Pure is for acne and skin congestions, and Super Bounce is for dryness and roughness.  All three can be used to both prevent and tackle a variety of issues, or perhaps just one can be used daily to treat something specific.  It’s really up to you and what your skin needs.  Here’s what I did …

I chose to use Super Glow each night after removing my makeup, washing my face, and before applying my night cream.  Its consistency is just like water so I admit it’s not very “fun” to apply- no yummy texture.  Also, I’d place the dropper right on my skin and apply the serum directly, quickly patting it in.  Otherwise, if I placed it on my fingers first, it would absorb right into them and would never reach my face.  In the morning, my skin looked refreshed with a light glow.  A notable dark spot on my right cheek seemed to improve along its edges throughout the week, too (and I hadn’t used my previous Vitamin C serum consistently enough to track such changes).  Out of the past six nights, I’ve used Super Glow four nights.

In the morning, I chose to cleanse my face and then apply Super Pure right after applying toner.  Super Pure has that nice whoosh texture- it absorbs very fast and leaves skin ever so slightly mattified, from my perspective.  I liked using this in the mornings because I am always guilty of eating a bit of salty food late at night, and this week was no exception.  I’d hoped to counteract the havoc my popcorn consumption my wreak on my skin by using this, and it did seem to work.  I had no major blemishes throughout the week to track for effectiveness, but my pores were less visible after application and the little bumps I get on my cheeks (the telltale sign of my salty snacks) settled down after about two applications.    Out of the past six mornings, I used Super Pure on three of them.

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I chose to save Super Bounce for the weekend because I had a feeling it would be my very favorite of the Supers, and boy am I glad I did.  It’s definitely my favorite with the quickest payoff in terms of making your skin feel “yummy”, as I so love to say.  This is the most viscous of the three serums, and “bounce” is a completely appropriate term for describing its texture and affects on your skin.  I love using my favorite skincare products right before applying makeup, so I cleansed and then prepped my skin on Saturday and Sunday with Super Bounce.  Whew- my skin looked faboosh!  Glossier definitely delivered on the promise of improved elasticity with this one.  And in the winter out here, I know this stuff will not leave my side- soooo hydrating.  I’ll probably go through a whole bottle just getting through December and January alone.

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I’m going to continue to use all three of the Supers in tandem to see their long-term affects, but I’ll keep saving Super Bounce for weekend makeup prep because I know it’ll really be a lifesaver once the air gets drier.  My main focus will be on dark spots and anti-aging with Super Glow, and fighting little breakouts and pore clogging with Super Pure.  For long term results, I’m most excited to see what Super Glow will do with my dark spots.  For immediate results, I’m loving Super Bounce for its instant softness.

So there you go!  And if you’ve often thought about trying a serum but have been scared away by the expensive price tags, here’s some encouragement- each of the Supers only costs $28, and all three as a set costs just $65.  To put that into perspective, Caudalie’s least expensive serum costs $50.  Ole Henriksen’s least expensive serum costs $50.  The price tag for the Supers, I’ll admit, had me pleasantly surprised.

Let me know if you decide to pick one up, or perhaps try the whole set!  And I want to hear what they do for your skin over time.  The Supers go up for grabs on glossier.com Monday morning, probably at 6AM Eastern time.  So like, in four hours or so.  You’d better get some sleep.  xo, MR

My Dream Spa Resort Destinations. Or, If Money Were No Object.

Here in the Midwest, “back to school” really does signal a change in seasons.  It’s not quite September as I write this and the air is already starting to feel cooler, the humidity has gone, and every so often you’ll notice a singular tree along the road starting to change colors, and you know that the rest are not too far behind.  In southern California, however, the change in season from summer to fall sort of just means pumpkin spice and severe fire hazards.  It sure makes you love and appreciate any whiff of true autumn you catch, though.

During this transitional time I tend to pay more attention to detox rituals for the skin and hair.  All the summer feasting, wearing my hair up in a bun, and hot weather does a number on the hair and skin, and it’s now back to reality with vacations wrapping up and school/work routines taking full swing once again.  I like to use one or two nights a week to do some kind of mask these days, like Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask to draw out whatever’s been clogging my pores lately.  I’ll also add in an exfoliating treatment like Kate Somerville ExfoliKate or Ole Henriksen Walnut Complexion Scrub for a gentle peel and to restore glow.  I may take a bath on one of these “spa nights” and dump in a ton of epsom salts (so good for you), or some kind of relaxing bubble bath like Aura Cacia’s Comforting Geranium Bubble Bath for a little aromatherapy.  Lighting your fave candle is always an option, but I’ll be honest- a lit candle next to me while in a hot bath just makes things sweatier.

I posted a question on Facebook asking what luxury beauty item or service you’d choose for yourself if money were no object, and spa services were by far the most popular choice. I can’t say I disagree- a weekend at a spa resort would easily be my first choice too. While I love the idea of an at-home spa treatment where you can light a candle or two and sort of pretend that you paid $200 for the services, have you ever done research on those super legit spa resorts you read about in magazines like Travel + Leisure?  These aren’t just hotels- they’re destinations meant specifically for wellness.  They’re sprawling pieces of glorious real estate meant to whisk you away from reality (and people, in general) and into a time of tranquility, rejuvenation, beautiful natural settings, and, depending on what kind of getaway you prefer, something like an energizing bootcamp challenge or a detoxifying yogic experience.

Personally, my preferred kind of spa resort would be isolated, geared toward pampering, and uber-luxurious with a focus on its natural surroundings.  I’m not into the bootcamp idea, because relaxing to me means no pressure and no need to accomplish anything- though having the option for working out is always welcome, and I’m sure I’d take the resort up on a yoga offer.  My ideal spa resort would be quiet, and I might not talk to a single person during my stay there (except to order that second glass of rose` and to say “thank you” to the yoga instructor).  While there are many such resorts around the country, there are a couple that have stuck out to me in my research, with the very last being my most desired.

And if you’ve been to any one of these …… I don’t want to hear about it.

 

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The Lodge at Woodloch, Hawley, PN – The Lodge isn’t exactly your typical lodge rental out by the local lake that you go to for winter camp.  Sitting outside around a fire pit on their “Whisper Lounge” porch with rocking chairs (doesn’t hearing that alone make you fall asleep?), while watching the sunrise over a dense East Coast forest sounds good enough to me by itself.  But throw in peaceful soaking pools with “heated HydroMassage WaterWalls” and I’m drooling.

 

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Four Seasons Hualalai, The Big Island, HI – You’ve gotta throw in a tropical beach on your list somewhere.  I used to tell myself that I wasn’t a “beach person” and that I wasn’t interested in palm trees or sand.  Turns out, if you’ve grown up around palm trees and sand, you’re a beach person whether you like it or not.  Trust me.  At this Hawaiian resort, you can choose ingredients to create your own personalized oils and botanicals to accompany you throughout your spa experience.  Honestly though, I think I’d be down for just a nap in the spa’s outdoor Water of Life Garden.

 

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Miramonte Resort and Spa, Indian Wells, CA – The Coachella Valley is one of my favorite places of all time, partly because it’s very nostalgic to me as I’ve grown up going to the desert for little getaways with family and friends.  Aside from its overrun festival season, so much of what the Valley has to offer comes in the form of peaceful mountain range views, gorgeous world-class golf courses, and luscious spa resorts that provide an escape from the crowds.  All I really need in the desert is a giant pool to lounge by, but at Miramonte I’d probably treat myself to their hot stone massage and a few minutes in their eucalyptus steam room.

 

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Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa, Sonoma, CA – Spanish mission-style architecture and wine country- two things I love. I’d probably go for something like the Willow Stream Elements service here, where all four elements are combined to create a restful and restorative experience. Aromatherapy serves as air, a mineral bath serves as water, an “earthy” mud wrap take care of earth, and finally, you have a massage by a fireplace. Yep.

 

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Brush Creek Ranch, Saratoga, WY – Judging from my parents’ pictures from their recent road trip across the Great Plains, Wyoming is a truly breathtaking state.  Brush Creek Ranch places you right in the middle of the Platte River Valley, and features a resort that manages to fuse Western dude ranch with resort luxury.  For the more adventurous there’s fly fishing, horseback riding, and wilderness hiking, and for folks like me there’s falling asleep and doing nothing in your Western-inspired cabin.  The resort’s smaller, private luxury property called the Magee Homestead has its own spa and wellness center featuring products by Naturopathica, doTerra, and Tata Harper, the creme de la creme of natural skincare lines.

 

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Amangiri, Canyon Point, UT – Of all the spa resorts I’ve come across in my research, the environmentalist architecture and design of Amangiri Utah speaks to me more than all others.  I have such a love for the stark, still beauty of the desert and this resort captures that idea perfectly.  In a funny way, it kind of reminds me of Star Wars and that may only be adding to my love for this place.  It’s set at the base of a canyon in a way that just seems to blend in; it doesn’t seem you’re retreating at a resort so much as retreating within the canyon itself.  Most of the suites have their own outdoor fireplaces and terraces, lap pools, plunge pools or spas, and expansive views of the desert with open sky terraces for stargazing.  Amangiri’s website doesn’t even feature its spa menu so I actually don’t know what services they offer.  All I can imagine is that they transport you into a blissful coma of nirvana, and that they make a Swedish massage at your local Massage Envy feel like a creepy five-year-old playing patty cake on your back in the dark.  The adventure offerings are extensive, from hot air balloons to archaeological excavations to painting in the desert.  I, of course, am still determined to just find the most luxurious place possible to take a nap.

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Happy Napping!  xo, MR

 

Photo credits in order of appearance to: thelodgeatwoodloch.com, fourseasons.com, miramonteresort.com, kuoni.co.uk, brushcreekranch.com, aman.com, aman.com