What I’m Using: May/June 2019

This past month and the next few will probably be some of the busiest of my life featuring a cross-country drive, some hard good-byes, a new apartment, a new (well, old) state, and a new job (at least for my husband). So, to think about beauty is an opportunity for grounding and practicing small rituals of normalcy. I’ve been traveling a lot and will continue to this summer, so much of what I’m using these days is tiny! Let’s see what we’ve got here.

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The travel essence: Origins Mega Mushroom Relief & Resilience Soothing Treatment Lotion

I can’t carry my whole beloved bottle of Fresh Black Tea Kombucha Essence with me when I travel, but this sample bottle of essence from Origins is so calming and soothing. It’s been the perfect substitute. My skin feels so soft and even after using it; I sometimes forget to apply moisturizer after because my skin feels so hydrated. And a huge bonus- the full-size bottle is $34, which is something like half the price of the Fresh essence. I may have to switch over to this after I finish the Fresh; the Origins seems to have similar effects on my skin for half the cost.

The travel conditioner: Virtue Recovery Conditioner

Whoa. Okay, so I typically just carry Bumble and Bumble’s Thickening line with me when I travel. This time, I decided to switch things up and bring along a little travel size of Virtue’s Recovery conditioner. This has won the occasional award in a magazine or blog, but it’s only carried online or in BlueMercury boutiques (really going to miss those when I leave Chicagoland). I tried it before my recent hair trim – when my hair might be feeling a bit dry – and ooooookkkkkaayyy. My hair felt so, so, so soft and even seemed to air dry better and with more definition (I have wavy hair). Grabbing the full-size bottle before I move this July! Oh and also, it smells like vacation. Trust me.

The tool saving my hairline from sweat: Sephora Collection Alligator Jaw Clips

When I do makeup, I sweat. And the other person tends to sweat too. And it’s always at the most inconvenient of places- the hairline. Not good for your foundation, and not good for maintaining a dry hairline (here come those cowlicks!). Enter these lil’ alligators. I’ll place a couple around the hairline to keep hair out of the way while doing makeup. They’re super lightweight and won’t put a bend in your hair over time, too. No more scrounging for bobby pins and hoping they won’t put a kink in your hair while doing makeup!

The thing I’m not sure I need but it works: Caudalie Beauty Elixir

So, apparently this stuff is good for setting makeup, tightening the appearance of pores, and giving skin an instant boost of radiance, but aren’t there so many other products made specifically for all the aforementioned needs? And I have them all, too! But there’s something very satisfying and very French about haphazardly misting Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir everywhere like it’s this magic stuff that takes things to the next level. I’m not sure if it does, but I love it. Ways I use it: mist my own face with it if my skincare has completely absorbed before doing makeup (because I like my skin to be just slightly damp when I apply makeup), spray my BeautyBlender with it before applying foundation, and mist myself and my clients with it upon finishing their makeup as this totally frivolous and unnecessary final step. It’s a thing!

Bonus! The movie that’ll make you wanna roundhouse-kick your mirror: John Wick 3 – Parabellum

There are four movies that have made me want to work out and get in the best shape of my life: Creed II, 300, Edge of Tomorrow (every time we see Emily Blunt doing that same vinyasa), and now, incredibly, John Wick 3. We only ever see Keanu in a suit so it’s not really about the “shape” he’s in, but the martial arts sequences are so utterly astounding that they had me shrieking in the theatre. The choreography and sheer stamina involved in those scenes was so inspiring, particularly for the supporting actors (who are, no doubt, highly-trained professional martial artists). I left the theatre wanting to destroy things and it felt AWESOME.

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Daytime Makeup- Simple, But Significant

It’s been two weeks since my last post, and I guess I’ll claim the excuse of having my birthday as a valid reason for not writing.  But seriously!  There’s been plenty going on.  And to complicate things just a bit more, my husband and I now use an HDMI cable connected to my laptop when we want to watch TV.  So, if we’re watching something, I can’t write.  That may sound like a silly problem to you, but I am actually most comfortable with writing if I have a program on in the background.  Yes, I blog and watch TV at the same time.  My modus operandi usually involves one of my I Love Lucy DVDs playing in the background while I pound furiously at my keyboard.  Or my Doug DVDs.  Did I just admit I own Doug DVDs?

Anyways, I’m kind of just giving a variation on a theme here today- another simple, everyday makeup look.  I don’t have a ton of unique inspiration at the moment so I figured I’d just share the easy stuff I’ve done lately.  And frankly, this is my favorite stuff to do on myself or anyone.  Easy peasy.

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Again, we see that even though this look is “no makeup” inspired, there is actually plenty of makeup that goes into it (relatively speaking).  I’ll start from the beginning:  I cleansed my face and then gave my face a couple spritzes of Lush’s Eau Roma toner water.  I then applied a beautiful essence from May Coop.  Other skincare products layered on top of this just seem to make your face glow brighter than a comet.  Because it was already near evening by this point I chose not to use any other serum or moisturizer with sunscreen.  Instead, I applied Clarins Beauty Flash Balm.  This stuff is a little hard to define because it’s not exactly skincare, but it’s not really makeup either.  It’s this fun little enigma of a product that makes getting ready feel a bit more glamorous, though!  I use it as a primer; I applied a thin layer all over my face and then proceed with makeup right away.  It creates a dewy canvas for makeup, and it brightens and blurs the appearance of pores and imperfections.  It also feels cooling, and it smells fresh and floral.

After that, I went for the natural-looking BareMinerals Complexion Rescue in Buttercream and undereye concealer from NARS (and can I just say that I love my shade names- Buttercream for BareMinerals, Custard for NARS).  On my undereye area, I used my new Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder for the first time.  I had asked a friend a couple months ago what she used for her undereye area because whenever I see her, there’s always this faint, flattering shimmer around her eyes that seems to mask dark circles and give the area just the right touch.  She directed me to this powder, and it really is lovely.  I also love that it sets your undereye concealer; I’ve needed something for so long to stop my undereye concealer from creasing.  It also seems to prevent mascara from smudging down there, too.  I wore Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara (yes, I know *eyeroll*) and while this stuff is amazing at building your lashes, it smears on to my lower lid pretty often.  That didn’t happen with the Laura Mercier!  It didn’t happen the next day either, when I tried it again.  My eyeliner is courtesy of the classics: Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Liner in Black, and Stila Stay All Day Liquid Eyeliner.  I use a very thin angle brush when applying the Bobbi Brown, and I use it to essentially draw my wing, too.  The Stila blackens it, sharpens it, and fills it in.  Here’s a look with my hair back (with both of the following pics sans filter).

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One thing I’ve noticed is that I’ve gotten so pale out here that most of my makeup is now just a teeny bit too dark.  If you see my face compared to my neck area, you can kind of tell.  Oi.  It is just too dang dark out here, and it’s May!

I chose to use some of the lighter shades in the Kat Von D Shade And Light palette, to help with the color of the Complexion Rescue.  This product is beautiful in that the shades can be very helpful and the textures are super creamy and yummy.  However, you really don’t need a contouring palette, in my opinion.  I’ve had a lot of fun with this one and it’s been worth it to watch a couple YouTube videos to see what others do so I can get the most out of it, but I think you can get away with just bronzer and a shimmery highlighter to get the same basic effect.  One thing I don’t like about using the lighter shades in a contour palette is the fact that they mattify things.  You know I like a glowing finish, and using the lighter shades in the Kat Von D took all the shine of the Clarins and Complexion Rescue away (and to be specific, I used the yellowish banana powder one on the middle-top).  You then need to reapply highlighter on top of that if you still want shimmer, so it can create a redundant process.  I prefer the darker shades meant for contouring.

For blush, I dusted NARS blush in Liberte all over my cheeks.  I used my trusty-and-now-discontinued CK One brow duo for my eyebrows.  I still am not sure what I’m going to use as a replacement for this, but I’ll probably just sell out and go the Anastasia route.  And lastly, for my lips, I just used my longtime favorite- MAC Cremesheen Glass in Strictly Plutonic.  It’s a peachy-pink neutral, and the formula is so much less sticky than the classic Lipglass.  I love it so much, but of course it’s from a limited edition collection so never again!

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This is kind of the makeup I do on a more regular basis.  I’ll switch out the type of foundation, or change the shade of blush, or perhaps play around with eyeshadow (that’s getting serious), but this is a pretty straightforward look for me.  I do give myself props for continuing to improve my cateye, but in the future I’ll continue working on making things pop a bit more.  I mean, I like simple things, so simple makeup really is my jam.  In the words of Don Draper, I like to keep it simple, but significant.  xo, MR

“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.