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.

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Four Favorite Berry Lippies

You know that one makeup item you keep buying over and over?  For me, it used to be purple eyeshadow.  I’d find one at a drugstore or at Sephora thinking I’d stumbled upon something so unique and different for me, only to realize post-purchase that I’ve got five that are just similar enough to make me feel like a dummy.

But nowadays, it’s something different.  It’s any kind of berry-hued lippie.  I’ve never jumped on the red lip bandwagon the way I have the berry lip bandwagon.  I’ve always had this thought in my head that a red lip isn’t quite me, that I’m sort of playing dress up or pretending to be someone else when I wear one.  However, whether more purply or reddish, a berry-hued, wine-stained lip feels like me (in a dark, black turtleneck sort of way).  It’s just different enough from everyday to feel special, but it still feels a little to the left of your typical red lip.  And berry shades suit a wide variety of skintones.  I find it easier to pick out a great shade of berry for someone than a shade of red.

A couple favorite formulas for those interested in a roll in the berry patch:

Glossier Generation G lipstick in Jam – This is a great option for those who want only want to gently dip their toes into the wine vat.  Jam is a grape-y, sheer matte (so it’s shine free, like a stain) and is more like a balm than any of these.  No red in this one, just purply-pink.  They’ve changed the formula since I purchased this and I hear the new formula is much better, though I like the original enough.  Jam is easily worn everyday with just concealer and mascara, or alone.

Revlon Super Lustrous lipstick in Black Cherry – Such a classic.  This looks purple-black in the tube but wears as a yummy, juicy shade of cabernet.  It’s the perfect dramatic blend of red and purple, sort of magenta but not too bright.  It’s buildable enough to create a really vampy look, or you can blot it for a super flattering, more reddish stain.  If you’re into knocking out a list of drugstore must-haves, this one’s been famous for a long time.

Honest Truly Kissable Demi Matte Lip Crayon in Mulberry Kiss – It was when I bought this a week ago that I realized I have a problem.  I saw this shade on a picture of Jessica Alba at the opening of Laduree in Los Angeles, and I figured it had to be an Honest Beauty shade.  I had to have it!  And of course, I was certain I didn’t own anything like it …

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This shade has much more of a rosy, innocent feel, and it’s so cheerful!  It’s one of those “in between” shades that I was so sure I didn’t own.  And while I don’t own anything exactly like Mulberry Kiss, it is in the berry family and I couldn’t help but shake my head at myself.  I love this formula though; it’s very moisturizing and comfortable.  It’s the kind of thing you like applying frequently.

Maybelline Color Sensational lipstick in Midnight Merlot – This is for when you want to get serious.  Midnight Merlot is a deep shade of red-burgundy that is not really glossy or matte; it’s somewhere in the middle.  It’s the most opaque of all these formulas, and is the longest lasting.  It’s quite bold, and the only thing I caution folks about when wearing colors like this is they can make your lips look smaller and drier if you don’t prep well.  You’ll want to exfoliate and moisturize your lips, and then blot and reapply once or twice.  If you just wear it straight out of the tube without any prep, dark colors like this can look sort of ruddy and can minimize your lips.

I swatched each formula in the following order from top to bottom: Glossier Jam, Revlon Black Cherry, Honest Beauty Mulberry Kiss, and Maybelline Midnight Merlot.

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Aaaaaaand I tried them all in front of the same window!  However, the sun was going down at the time so the lighting got worse and worse.  I went sans filter for these, too, though I upped the exposure on the bottom right because the sunlight had all but left at that point.

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You may think there’s no difference between a couple of these, but those who know makeup and color know putting two shades of any similarly colored lipstick still leaves quite the decision to make.  On the left is Honest Beauty Mulberry.  From the top down on the right we have Glossier Jam, Maybelline Midnight Merlot, and Revlon Black Cherry.

Do you have any favorite berry or wine-ish lippies that you love?  Fill me in, and let me know if you try any of these!  xo, MR

Photo of Jessica Alba credited to CelebMafia.com (public domain).

Easily my favorite makeup look of 2013. So far.

So, by now most of you know how I’m often bothered by how difficult it is to find out what products celebrity makeup artists actually use on their clients. I don’t want to know how to “get the look”, or what I could “try” to “achieve so-and-so’s look” (all these phrases typically code for “This ain’t the real deal, but buy this stuff anyway cuz yer dumb”).  I want a run-down of the actual goods.

Well, I scored big-time when it came to this stunning look on Jessica Alba at the 2013 Kids Choice Awards.  Leave it to the awesome folks at People StyleWatch to get back to me immediately when I asked them if they could locate the items used on her.  People StyleWatch also credits this gorgeous look to the talents of fabulous Avon Global celebrity makeup artist Lauren Anderson.

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I’ve loved a couple things about Jessica’s makeup these days, with the number one thing being her flawless under-eye area (and yes, I get how obscure that is but you begin to appreciate these things after years of obsessing).  The area fanning out from the inner corners of her eyes always looks luminous and even, as also seen here at the 2013 Golden Globes.  I love that her skin doesn’t just look corrected of whatever flaws there may be; it looks beyond corrected.  Her face is highlighted and contoured in all the right places to the point where she looks lit from within or part of a Renaissance painting.  I also love a dewy, glowing finish much more than a matte finish (which I need to get over though, because I’ve learned that some brides don’t want to look glowy; they’d rather look matte and shine-less, which I can respect).  And that teal eyeliner is so fresh and it makes her eyes sparkle!  The nude lip color looks clean and beautiful too, making this my favorite makeup look so far for 2013.

So what exactly did Lauren use to achieve this perfect look for spring?  All of the following, as reported to me by PSW, are the exact products used:

Avon Ideal Flawless Foundation

Lorac Baked Bronzer

Chanel blush in Tumulte

Cle de Peau concealer

Votre Vu Brow Wax

Avon Glimmersticks in Aqua Flash

Ardell Individual Lashes (in short black)

Avon SuperExtend Infinitize Mascara

Avon Totally Kissable Lipstick in Lovey Dovey

Of course it’s the seventy-dollar Cle de Peau concealer- of cooouuurrrrrrse!  I mean, it had to be, right?  It couldn’t have been my dang L’Oreal True Match!  But then again, Cle de Peau’s concealer does have the top-of-the-line reputation for being the absolute best you can get in concealer, bar none.  So, I suppose I should’ve expected a product of that caliber to be responsible for Jessica’s holy undereyes.  But the real good news to me is the fact that the wicked awesome teal eyeliner is Avon!  Seriously?!  Not, like, ten thousand dollar Dior eyeliner?!  Woohoo!  Those Avon Glimmerstick things cost just seven bucks a pop!  Even the foundation costs just eleven bucks, and the lipstick goes for eight (though currently on sale for five).

My order is currently in for the eyeliner and lipstick.  Let me know if you’ve ever tried any Avon products that you love, OR if you’re an Avon lady!  I’ve always wanted my very own Avon lady to feed and keep in a cage all for myself!  xo, MR