Winter Makeup Inspiration

So, if you follow me in my various social media outlets, you know the SAG Awards were a relative disappointment to me.  I think my favorite dress honestly may have been Brie Larson’s thanks to its unexpected details, but beyond that, I was considerably underwhelmed.  Again.  However, what the SAG Awards were lacking in dresses, the month of January certainly made up for in awesome celebrity makeup.

This is the kind of makeup that I find so inspiring, mostly because it actually seems accessible and real and like something I could repeat on myself.  I love makeup that is still beautiful but doesn’t exist for the sake of itself, and doesn’t insist on completely transforming its subject.  Ironically, red carpet celebrity makeup is much less intimidating to me than anything like what I see on YouTube or Instagram with all the palettes and powders and contour creams, however fun that all may be.

So the following three looks are ones that had me gasping and reaching for my own makeup brushes this past month.  The subjects all happen to look extremely alike, so you’ll need to forgive me for my unintentional-but-glaringly-obvious lack of diversity in this post.  However, it is beautiful makeup nonetheless, and I think everyone can appreciate that.

Kristen Stewart at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival premiere of “Certain Women”

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K-Stew is my jam when it comes to a smokey eye.  She frequently wears a smokey eye and it seems to fit her supposedly moody disposition (though this smile would say otherwise), but I absolutely love the look and am always thinking of either her or Keira Knightley when trying to replicate it on myself.  Friends know this tends to be my go-to look when I really want to “do my makeup” – a smokey, smudged-out eye paired with little else, hence the nearly-bare lips.  Good stuff.  And just yesterday, Kristen was announced as the new face of Chanel cosmetics so I’m pretty sure we have a lot more smokey awesomeness coming down the pipeline.

Makeup artist Jamie Greenberg was responsible for this look, and you can check out her blog for the exact routine and products she used on Kristen (which are almost all Chanel, of course).  And what a fun surprise- Greenberg used Burt’s Bees Lip Crayon in Sedona Sands on her lips.  That little guy is sitting in my makeup bag at this very moment!  I knew that paired well with tons of eyeliner.

Alicia Vikander at the 2016 SAG Awards

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This is the kind of makeup we call “timeless”.  Makeup like this, on any skin tone, on any woman, for any occasion, will never not be beautiful.  Look like this at Prom, look like this on your wedding day, look like this at work – it will never be an issue.  I know it helps to have otherworldly skin like Vikander, but honestly, even if you have acne or some type of skin insecurity, the color features of this look will still work for you.  Yes, they will.  Why?  Because it sticks with the very best strategies for flattering anyone’s features- a rosy-ish lip that looks like it’s just come in from the cold, glittering eyes surrounded by an earth-toned shimmer, full, voluminous lashes, groomed eyebrows, and gently sun-kissed skin.  Even if you don’t have pristine skin (and I’m sure a bit of makeup was involved in giving that illusion, too), your features will still be nothing but enhanced with makeup like this.  You would just vary the choice of shades depending on your skintone.

Charlotte Tilbury created this look to complement Alicia’s stunning Louis Vuitton sequined gown.  The Australian edition of PopSugar did a full feature on the look here, complete with a run-down of every single product used.  Remember that the prices for the mentioned products are translated into Australian dollars, so they don’t cost quite that much stateside.

Natalie Portman at the New York City premiere of “Jane Got A Gun”

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Good ol’ Natalie Portman.  I think the first high-end product I ever purchased as a teen was Stila’s lipstick that they’d made just for her back in the day, appropriately named Natalie.  It was sheer, a berry color with purple-ish undertones from what I remember.  Of course it’s now discontinued and who knows what happened to mine, but I remember thinking as a fifteen-year-old girl that I would finally look like Padme once I got my hands on that lipstick.  Padme isn’t exactly the worst film character to look like, but her choices are pretty questionable and I’m not sure how much the lipstick actually helped my cause.  I managed to date someone similar in character to Anakin Skywalker, so I guess the goal was met?  Minus the whole awesome space opera part that made it actually worth it?

Fast forward some ten-odd years later and here’s Natalie again, still looking gorgeous as ever with a deep, crimson lip.  There’s something so fragile and feminine about Portman’s features that makes a dramatic lip stand out on her in ways that may not be the case with others.  I love her nearly porcelain skin here.  When I try to let my skin lose its color, I find it doesn’t give off a Snow White etherealness so much as it does a yellow-green Tales from the Crypt vibe.  It’s all about those undertones, man.  They’ll get ya.

As the face of Dior beauty, you can count on every product used here on Natalie to be Dior.  Lipstick Lifestyle did a great feature on the whole look recounting all of makeup artist Pati Dubroff’s steps.  I’m eyeing the eyeshadow and liner duo used that’s to be released as part of Dior’s spring makeup collection, but I’m certain it’ll be a little out of my reasonable price range (especially considering my lame empties challenge, which I guess I’m continuing with indefinitely).  I’ll just need to shop what I own.

And now I’m looking forward to seeing what beauty awesomeness (and hopefully gown awesomeness) the Oscars will hold for us.  Hopefully there’s some Leo awesomeness involved in that, too, because if there isn’t there will probably be some type of bear-attacking-you-in-nineteenth-century-Canadian-wilderness hell to pay.  xo, MR

Image credits (in order of appearance) to: Vanity Fair, Getty Images, Mike Coppola for Getty Images

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“No Makeup” Makeup Is A Thing

Ah, yes.  The whole “no makeup” farce.  We roll our eyes at those with the #wokeuplikethis selfies, or the #nomakeup selfies, or #nofilter selfies, or whatever.  We really just roll our eyes too much in general, but for the sake of this post …

Let’s discuss “no makeup” makeup.  Yes, there is such a thing.  One of the things that has frustrated me with the makeup conversation over the years is that makeup is all too frequently assumed to look like the obvious, the dramatic, all the time.  Wearing or loving “makeup” all too often means you must wear full coverage foundation, lipstick, dramatic eyeshadow, and false lashes and all the like on a regular basis.  When I’ve mentioned to new guy friends that I have a beauty blog, I’ve gotten a few perplexed looks because I’m not wearing a Nicki Minaj or Gwen Stefani-level face when I say it, and I rarely do wear this kind of makeup (though I love it when I get to).  And if I really like makeup and enjoy writing about it, well, doesn’t that mean I should be wearing a full face all the time?

Nope.  Not necessarily.

What I frequently go for when I have some time is a “no makeup” makeup look.  I love running errands or going to a friend’s house or the movies with this kind of makeup.  Sometimes I’ll even choose it for something a little more special because no-makeup-makeup has a minimalist feel to it, and I like that. This is my favorite kind of look to create on others as well.

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What this involves is some liquid or powder foundation, primer beneath that if I feel like it, some blush, some eyebrows, some concealer in any necessary areas, and probably lip balm and a touch of “my lips but better” lip color.  The eyes are left completely bare (except for maybe some underage concealer).  I know Jennifer Connelly’s look pictured above definitely features some eye makeup, but see how barely visible it is?  It’s just a bit of sparkle and a little mascara, or maybe a couple individual false lashes.  I love how modern it looks contrasted with that sheet of shiny, raven hair on her head.  I personally never add to the eyes with no-makeup makeup, but perhaps I add a touch of highlighting if the foundation doesn’t give off enough of a glow on its own.  My easiest formula for the look is this: even skin, flushed cheeks, good brows, and “your lips but better” lips.

No-makeup makeup also allows me to focus more on my skin.  I can take my time with serums, oils, and moisturizers with less makeup to worry about, and this kind of care makes a beautiful canvas for foundation.  I need to pay more attention to my skin these days anyhow because it’s starting to become very, very dry.

The weather here in Chicagoland has surprised me in that I did not expect it to be so drying to my skin.  I was bracing for the freezing temperatures, didn’t bat an eye when the first snow arrived, and totally expected the thick, damp humidity during our first month here, but the dryness of winter?  Wow.  And it doesn’t just come from the weather.  The dry, cold winds, coupled with the dry indoor heaters and the hot baths and showers I’ve made a habit of taking have left me dry as a bone.  Therefore, I’ve had to consider an overhaul on my skincare and spend a lot more time focusing on moisture and masks before I even think about makeup.

Anyhow, here’s my own take on no-makeup makeup:

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There’s no filter on this, so it is what it is.  I know I took some time with my skin before taking this, using my favorite serum- Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S. Thirst Quenching Serum, along with a sample of May Coop Raw Sauce.  Can you believe that name?  Raw Sauce.  It’s a Korean essence that contains a lot of maple tree sap; it’s meant to prep skin to receive and more effectively absorb other skincare products.  It sounds really gimmicky but I truly felt a significant difference when I used it.  When applied, it feels so cooling and almost tingly.  I would wear my serum on top of it and my skin would feel cool and smooth to the touch all day.  But the Raw Sauce is a little expensive- $43 – though the bottle is pretty huge and a little goes a long way.  And I like the Caudalie serum better than Shiseido Ultimune, which I tried last year.  I’m almost out of the Caudalie, and if I repurchase it will be my third bottle.  I love it.

For the makeup, I think I actually used my BareMinerals Original SPF15 over some Hourglass Veil Mineral primer.  I’m really trying to blast through that BareMinerals, though sometimes I forget how nice it can look with the right prep beforehand.  The concealer I favor is Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat in 2.5 Vanilla for the undereye area, but I may have used NARS Creamy Radiance concealer in Custard here, too.  The NARS is a little more powerful in my opinion for highlighting, but it’s also thicker which makes it not as great for the undereye area.  You want the thinnest, creamiest formula for your undereye area; nothing thick or cakey which will age you and make you look tired.

For blush, I think I used Stila Convertible Color in Lillium.  It’s a nice, basic pink cream blush that you can also use on your lips.  I just tap (not rub!) it into the apples of my cheeks.  I used my trusty CK One Color Brow Pencil + Gel Duo in Crafty Raven for my brows.  If I go for bare makeup I really like to have my brows stand out, otherwise the look is kind of like an unframed picture.  And I’m just wearing Burt’s Bees here, maybe with a touch of their Lip Crayon in Sedona Sands on top of the beeswax.  I will not use any other lip balm than Burt’s Bees Beeswax.  The peppermint oil in it is so relieving, and there’s no mineral oil in it so it actually works and I only need to apply it about twice a day.  No “chapstick addiction” problem here.

It’s sort of surprising how much makeup is involved in no-makeup makeup, huh?  The fact of the matter is, I did not wake up like this.  I mean, I know I’m not wearing that much or anything terribly obvious, but I am wearing makeup and this did take a few minutes!  So two things not to be fooled by- “makeup” doesn’t always mean a full face, but “no makeup” sometimes involves much more than you’d think.  The trick is to stay honest, and just enjoy it either way!  xo, MR

Image credit of Jennifer Connelly to Getty Images.