I’m over summer. Or, in which I discuss Fall 2013 beauty trends far too prematurely.

January and July are the months where I get antsy.  I start getting that mid-to-late season itch for something new, as in new trends, new ideas, and new fashion.  And of course, the magazine industry doesn’t exactly help me out with this struggle.

As you may know, magazines roll out their issues about one month prior to their actual, designated months (Get it?  Because everything is early in fashion.).  So, right now it’s mid-July, which means that just about all of the August issues are out.  Okay, so no big deal right?  Well, here’s the problem with the August issues- they’re one big tease.  All they seem to be is a preview for September (the official kick-off for the fall season in fashion).  And when you have an entire month of nothing but fall previews to deal with, you begin to find yourself looking for … oh, I don’t know … fur vests in the middle of summer?

Yeah, it’s pathetic.  I’ll admit that I’ve been looking for a felt fedora hat for over a week now (not much unlike Rosie’s Rag and Bone one seen here).  I’ve even got a modest Fall 2013 shopping list going, complete with a white fisherman’s sweater.  Try hunting one of those down in July.  But regardless of how early I begin looking for signs of the coming season and how hopeless it may be until mid-August, I have to admit that it is really fun.

So what can we all look forward to as far as beauty trends for Fall 2013?  We’ve got color blocking, heeled loafers, and tons of grey to look forward to in our wardrobes, but how about our faces?  Here are just a couple things I dare you to try when the winds change:

1.  Put some serious color on your lips.  Any color, so long as it’s bold.

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Of course, I don’t tend to favor pink during the autumn seasons simply because it doesn’t feel right against all my black, grey, and muted tones (though I am kind of done with cliche rules like that), but a deep oxblood or a fire engine red like the above look shown at Marc Jacobs will certainly do the trick.  And texture doesn’t matter- glossy, matte, satin, stained, whatever.  It’s all about color saturation in this case, so there’s no real formula so long as it’s committed to its hue.

2.  Braid your hair.  ANY way you want.

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Fishtail braids, Heidi-style plaits across the crown, one long braid down the back, you name it.  If there’s a single braid of the smallest size to be found in your hair, it’s a winner this coming season.  And let it be known that I am a braid IDIOT that can hardly get her own hair into a classic three-section braid without feeling like she needs to Animorph into an octopus.  While I still can’t seem to get my hair into a satisfactory braid that makes me happy, I did find this tutorial on the fishtail style to be extremely helpful, and I’m convinced that I could probably get the job done on someone else’s hair at this point, if not on my own.  My favorite styles were the ones seen like the shot featured above from Viktor & Rolf.

3.  But if you’re not going for a braid, go for something extra sleek and extra modern.

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I tend to feel most confident in my hair when it’s down with loose body and light waves thanks to ten minutes with a curling rod … but next season, I’m planning to change that.  A couple weeks ago, just as I was getting ready to head out the door to commune with some friends, I was fussing over the very flat-against-my-head state that my hair was in.  I’d blown it out straight days prior, leaving me with no volume and quite a bit of oil on the scalp.  I then decided to go for what will be one of Fall 2013’s bigger beauty trends:  I took out my rattail comb and created a deep, severe side part, and I then brushed all of my hair back and set it with shine-imparting, light-hold gel for a sleek, almost wet look.  I then tied my hair into a low ponytail and ran a flat iron over the length of it, just for good measure.  I was left with a style that felt more face-flattering and fashion-forward than my typical soft waves.

Anything of this nature, whether employing the use of a side-part with a bun or ponytail or just slicking the hair back with relatively no part, was huge during February’s Fashion Week.  I particularly love Liu Wen’s style shown above for Jason Wu.  My most current inspiration for this look, however, has been coming from Kate Mara’s character on House of Cards, Zoe, though Kate wears this look quite well herself on the red carpet.

4.  Try going without mascara(!) and let your brows do the talking.  And let them do all the talking.

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I know, I know.  We’re AMERICANS!  We’re OBSESSED with mascara!  So fine.  Let’s get over it.  Makeup on the runways last February exhibited two kinds of extremes: a full focus on the eyes with heavy eyeliner and loud color, or a completely opposite approach that left the eyes completely bare.  And when the makeup artists left the eyelids nekkid, they seemed to compensate for it in either the lip department orrrrrrr ………. the BROW department.  The bold eyebrow is back with a vengeance these days thanks to models like Cara Delevingne, and I’ve gotta tell ya, I couldn’t be happier.  I love this bold, minimalist look seen as a whole package in the image above from the Chloe show, combining both bare lashes and fashion-forward eyebrows.

Now, I myself have never plucked, tweezed, threaded, or waxed my eyebrows until this year.  I am not kidding.  But the whole brow craze just got me so excited about grooming my own that I started dabbling in a little shaping here and there (not without anxiously contemplating for about five minutes over which exact three brow-hairs to pluck).  I started filling in little gaps with pencil a couple years ago, and my hand has just gotten heavier and heavier as models like Cara have grown more and more popular.

And then, about two weeks ago, this happened.  Camilla Belle came out of hiding with two spectacularly perfect caterpillars on her face, and I FELL IN LOVE.  Say no more!  I’m hooked on the bold brow, and I’m ready to let the Liz Taylor in me shine!  No no, not that Liz Taylor.  THAT Liz Taylor.  There we go.  That’s more like it.  NO!  I said NOT THAT LIZ TAYLOR!  Or THAT one!  OR THAT ONE!

THAT ONE!  Thank you!  Gosh!  xo, MR

B.B. creams and my scheme for becoming the Hulk.

I have many dream jobs.  Many dream jobs.  I dream of being a makeup artist to the celebrities (though I hear from Laura Mercier that you have ZERO-POINT-ZERO life when you achieve such a status).  I dream of doing animation voice-overs for cartoons because apparently my impressions of Butters and the oh-long-Johnson cat are impeccable.  I dream of writing for fashion and beauty publications (so feel free to pay me for this any time, or do you pride yourself in robbing the poor and disenfranchised?).  I dream of being a spectacular teacher that is somehow able to incorporate culture and film and art into every lesson on American history.  I dream of being a model because I’m hot for approximately two out of seven days during the week so long as I remember to shower and check my feet for toe jam.  I dream of being a professional restaurant reviewer that literally must only eat the best food your sorry fanny can serve up in a five-star kitchen.  And bring me a side of Takis with that lobster bisque, you lemming!

But most of all … I dream of being paid for the oh-so-miserable task of reviewing makeup products.  And I’m even willing to be a human tester for the unfinished products too so the lab rabbits no longer have to suffer!  Animal testing typically involves a product being placed directly on to an animal’s eyes or skin, and if they go crazy from pain and perhaps break their own necks while struggling to free themselves from the restraint they’re being held in, then the consensus is that the formula probably needs some improvement before showing up at your local drugstore as the latest and greatest liquid foundation to slather all over your face.  Am I making this up?  Nope.  So test unfinished products on my eyes, I say!  Maybe a  faulty new eyeliner formula will turn my eyes violet and I can be Elizabeth Taylor come back from the dead with a search-and-destroy mission on Lindsay Lohan for soiling my good name with Liz & Ick (you read that right).  Or even better, a testing of a bad moisturizer will turn me into the Hulk (the Ed Norton kind).  I’ve always wanted to be able to open tightly-sealed jars of salsa without crying and bruising my fingerbones.  HULK SMASH SALSA JAR!  Or maybe it’ll just turn me into Ed Norton.  Either way, I’ll get more respect and more free meals.

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So for the moment, I’ll choose to review a product that’s already passed the rabbit-neck-break test.  Actually, I don’t think the B.B. cream I’ve tried even had a rabbit-neck-break test to begin with because the brand I’ve used says a big fat no to lab rabbits (or as I like to call them, “labbits”)!  That brand would be Boscia, by the way.  It’s a Japanese skincare line that’s a little more on the pricier end of things, but they produce some seriously good stuff.

I first read about B.B. creams (or Beauty Balms, or Blemish Balms) maybe two years ago, I believe in either Vogue or Elle.  The idea sounded fantastic, like the ultimate multifunctional tinted moisturizer.  Their alleged purpose is to provide hydration, conceal imperfections and give natural coverage, firm and even out skin tone, protect from future damage with SPF, and repair existing flaws with ingredients like antioxidants.  It read like a hybrid of makeup and skincare.  They’d originated in Japan and had already started trickling into the United States through brands like Dr. Jart, Boscia, and Dior, and I was interested.  I’m not really into foundation (especially for everyday use), but the idea of something that could provide a light bit of evening-out along with sun protection sounded like a good way to ramp up my routine.

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I purchased the Boscia B.B. Cream SPF 27 PA++ (with PA being a superior grade of UVA protection) at Sephora and gave it a shot.  And you know what?  I liked it, and I still use it!  It comes in one self-adjusting shade and it blends extraordinarily well.  I also can’t express enough appreciation for it’s lack of phthalates, parabens, and sulfates (though it still has PEGs and lots of “-cones”). Now, have I tried any other B.B. creams?  Nope?  Do I intend to?  Nope.  I’ve found a high-quality one that I love and, as far as I know, is the most natural one currently on the market counting both drugstore and luxury brands.  And as I’ve explained before, I’d rather pay more for safer, higher-quality ingredients (or at the very least, fewer sketchy ingredients), especially when it comes to face makeup.  So do I recommend this product?  Yes.  Below, I’ve applied a light layer of the B.B. cream.  Pretty even with a decently dewy finish, I’d say.

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And there you have it- my one review of the only B.B. cream I’ll probably ever use (and I don’t wear it everyday because I don’t wear makeup everyday), and my plan to give myself up for animal rights so I can become the Hulk or an undead Liz Taylor or a reasonably healthy Ed Norton.  Be at peace now that your day has been nothing short of MADE.  xo, MR