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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What’s In My Makeup Bag. Like, Right Now.

The contents of my makeup bag vary on an almost daily basis.

Because I frequently switch up what it is I’m using from day to day, it’s hard to predict what I’ll want to take with me to work, or out on the weekend, or wherever I go.  I want everything with me, readily available, but it’s hard to be sure I’ve got it all as I’m dashing out the door and I’ve put on a different combination of things compared to what I used yesterday.  There’s usually something for my hair, some kind of rollerball or perfume sample, some kind of skincare item, and a variety of other things.  And Lord help me when I’m having a real “night out” and I put a full face on; I end up practically taking my entire kit with me, brushes and all!

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So what was in my makeup bag when I opened it up just before I began writing this post?  There’s almost always some kind of pinky-nude lip color.  Right now, it’s L’Oreal’s Colour Riche Balm in Nourishing Nude for a shiny look, and Burt’s Bees Lip Crayon in Sedona Sands for when I want a more matte look.  However, if I’m not wearing other makeup already (as was the case today), I typically don’t end up using these at all.

There’s really only two unchanging items that have been guaranteed to be in my bag over the past few years, and that’s the Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm and CoverGirl’s Clump Crusher mascara.  Those two are always there, and I have, like five more tubes of each floating around in other nooks and crannies of my life.  Glossier’s Boy Brow hasn’t moved from my bag since I got it either.  It’s so easy to show up at work without it on, dash into the bathroom, and emerge with my brows even and in place five seconds later.

The Alterna Caviar CC Cream has been good for flyaways, and is especially good for smoothing out a midlength cut when it looks a bit too frazzled or feels too dry.  However, when it’s volume I want with perhaps a little bit more texture, Oribe’s Dry Texturizing Spray provides a quick pick-me-up.  I spray my little travel-size bottle a couple times into my roots and then flip my head upside-down and shake it out.  It’s so hard to define exactly what this product does, but it gives hair that elusive, lived-in, cool girl look.  And it smells incredible.  It gives you a little luxurious moment of escape in your day when you use this stuff.

That Vitamin E eye cream by The Body Shop is pretty great.  I’ve used it before and I’ve tried a couple other kinds since, but I came back to this one.  I like that it’s not a pot, making it much more sanitary as opposed to dipping your dirty finger in the same pot over and over and then applying the contaminated product to your eye area (which can technically happen with a rollerball, too).  I think tubes are the most sanitary for eye cream.  And I commonly have bad dark circles, so the Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat is the fastest at getting rid of these without being too thick and cakey like some formulas.  Undereye concealer that’s too thick can sometimes make you look older, or even more tired.  That little Caudalie moisturizer is a deluxe-sized sample I’ve had, and its nice.  It’s very straightforward; it provides plenty of moisture and leaves my skin fairly dewy for the next couple hours.  No sun protection, but it’s easy to throw in my bag because it’s not in some giant jar like so many moisturizers are.

And that white perfume rollerball you see there is Elizabeth And James Nirvana White.  It’s a tea-based fragrance, and I love it.  It’s feminine and light, but very sophisticated.  They sell a dry shampoo of this fragrance now at Sephora, so maybe once I manage to use up ten more product in my empties challenge I’ll be able to get (because I have a list of like, five things I already want to purchase once I use up accumulate more empties).

One thing I notice that’s missing that usually isn’t is a blush compact.  I usually have some kind of blush on hand with a mirror, but there’s my point- I never know what I’ve managed to grab and throw in here until I have a minute to look later in the day.  I only used half the items pictured here today, anyhow!

For some girls I know, the contents of their makeup bags never changes, and it doesn’t change at all for years in the case of some.  I do have some admiration for that quality of consistency and knowing exactly what you like, but I on the other hand am a bit more unsure of my preferences.  And there’s always the fact that I just have too much to begin with.  xo, MR

The Three Products I Don’t Leave Home Without.

As 2013 begins to wrap up, I’m starting to mull over a “Best of” and “Worst of” post for this year concerning all things beauty.  For whatever reason, those posts were really easy last year.  So much seemed to happen in 2012 concerning things like celebrity pixie cuts, heavy makeup seen on camera, and my own discovery of some amazing beauty blogs.  I suppose it’s easy when you haven’t written a “Best of” post before, but this year I’m finding it a bit tough.  So, perhaps I’ll manage to turn something out more along the lines of “Best Products of 2013”, but we’ll see.

But for now, I’m concerned mostly with one thing- getting through the next couple weeks at work leading up to Christmas break.  I’m literally hours away from going back to work after a week off for Thanksgiving, and  let me tell you, this week was the worst kind of teaser.  There was so much shopping, so much sleeping, and so much eating.  I stayed up and watched Psycho one night and a David Lynch film the next night.  My husband and I spent one night at a gorgeous resort in Palm Springs.  And all this revelry went by in a blink.  Combine this sort of holiday hangover with the fact that I’m notoriously bad at waking up at a reasonable time and I can already tell you that tomorrow morning is going to suuuuuuck.

So you see, I’m just concerned about getting through the next twelve hours.  You’d think with a full-time job I would’ve learned to wake up with my alarm and allow myself the time to enjoy a getting-ready routine (you know, with coffee and eyeshadow and morning prayers and Disney cartoon birds singing to you), but noooooooo.  I’m still a zombie.  My husband still has to drag me out of bed about fifteen minutes before I need to literally be in my car on the road.  I have strong feelings about this needing to change and my frustrations with myself are never-ending, and I know I’ve posted on this subject matter before, but for now, here’s my question …

What do I do, as far as beauty is concerned, to not look like a trainwreck when I’m going from bed to desk in a matter of a half-hour?

Well, as far as the hair is concerned, it depends on how it looks when I get up.  Sometimes it’s in well enough shape to just stay down, but it frequently goes up into some kind of knot with a black  headband for a little polish.  But beyond that, it’s really the makeup that I’m concerned with here.  And for these mornings of terror that are more reminiscent of 28 Days Later than The Devil Wears Prada, I rely on the following three products:

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Alright, what have we got here?  That would be lip balm, eyebrows, and undereye concealer.  When I wake up, one of the first things I notice is how dry my lips are.  And it only gets worse once I’ve brushed my teeth.  That has to go, and Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm (the original, in case you’re wondering) is the only product I will use.  The menthol brings a tingly sensation of immediate relief, and I only find myself reapplying it once or twice more during the day (which is a good thing, by the way).  The Burt’s Bees is more of a necessity than anything, and if absolutely nothing else makes it on my face that morning, this does.

I’ve started filling in and brushing my eyebrows just within the past year or so because I’ve found that it makes such a difference in how polished one can look.  Brows frame your face and give it expression; I’ve grown much more fascinated with them over the past two years.  The best product I’ve used in the past year is the CK One Color Brow Pencil + Gel Duo in Crafty Raven.  The convenience of the product obviously sold me, because it’s more than just a pencil (and the pencil is also self-sharpening).  I used to think I absolutely had to walk out the door with mascara on, but when I’ve seen pictures of myself with full mascara and yet ungroomed brows, things just look … I don’t know … like I’ve made the wrong choice?  I guess I’ve grown to prefer a more European standard of good skin and good brows over the years as opposed to color on the face and well-done hair, and so I’ve adjusted my emergency routine to that preference.  When I pull into the parking lot, before I step out of the car I tend to do a quick one-minute brow check.  I tend to feel much more confident with just that one minute’s work.

And finally, we’re at concealer.  I don’t waste my time trying to conceal zits or spots or anything like that.  I just let my zits deal with nature when I have them.  It’s only the dark circles underneath my eyes that I’m concerned with.  I can’t tell you how often I’ve been told how tired I look at work (yeah, I know).  It’s not that I’m shocked, because I know I’m tired.  It’s more just the fact that one will actually say this to another person that I find so frustrating.  If one looks tired, how about saying something that might perk their spirits up?  Or ask them a question about how their day has been?  Just avoid the “You look tired” comment entirely; it conveys neither empathy nor genuine concern.  And it also makes you appear spoiled.

And so, if I must fool the folks I see on a regular basis, I choose to fool with undereye concealer.  For a drugstore choice, I recommend L’Oreal True Match Super-Blendable Concealer.  The shade range is highly impressive, it’s thin consistency is fantastic, and it does a great job at reflecting light.  For two high-end options, I like NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer and Yves Saint Laurent Touche’ Eclat.  I’m actually still giving my YSL product its first real go-round because I just exchanged my original purchase for my correct shade, and so we’ll see if it tops the NARS.  However, I do like that the YSL can also be used as a highlighter on the cheek bones, brow bones, and other areas where light hits the face.  It’s specifically meant to reflect light and give a bit of glow.

So in conclusion, a little polish of the brows, a bit of cover-up for the dark circles, and some moisture for the lips carries me through my work days.  If I, by some miracle, manage to get up any earlier, I still tend to just push for basics like face makeup and blush.  And moisturizer with sunscreen.  Good Lord, the fact that I can’t even make that happen every day is devastating.  I guess I really can’t expect too much from myself, and yet, you wonder why this continues to be the case as I continue writing this at 11:45PM on a Sunday evening.  xo, MR

Would you take makeup advice from a mermaid? I would.

So, every once in a while, I manage to get to know someone with an affinity for makeup similar to my own.  We both fawn over the perfect Dior palette, share similar frustrations with undereye concealer, and just manage to get excited over the same, dumb little things.  But don’t you dare tell us they’re dumb.

My friend Chelsea and I share a mutual lack of shame when it comes to how much we love makeup.  She, however, has had a lot more experience with it in her line of work considering that, for a good part of her life, Chelsea has been performing on the stage in all parts of the world.  And sometimes that has involved fins.  I’m not kidding.

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Yeah, we’re all jealous now.  I know.  At least we can all be jealous together.

Anyways, the other day Chelsea shared a new picture online (see below) and I was just stunned by her makeup.  I’ve known Chelsea to be quite capable at doing her own makeup because of her time doing shows and on the stage, but I had to be absolutely certain that this was her doing and so I asked.  And this was the initial response I got:

You want the honest truth? It’s funny… I HATE getting my make-up done. I never like it and I always feel like I’ve wasted my money. So my friend just got married and since every other bridesmaid and all of the moms were getting theirs done I thought… okay I’ll try it again.  Fail. I think I’m a make-up artist’s nightmare. Or dream? Considering I paid her full price and asked if I could do my own eyeliner, mascara, eyelashes, eyebrows, lips… and then ended up re-doing the foundation, blush, concealer, and touching up the eyeshadow (which was the only thing I liked) with my trusty DIOR palette.

Welp, taking over for your makeup artist didn’t seem to work out half-bad, Chels.  Especially considering the finished product turned out beautifully:

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I myself have sometimes gotten my makeup “done” only to doctor it up afterwards with my own touch.  I think we all do it, especially if you have particularities about what you like to see on your own face (such as the fact that I require at least five coats of mascara to scratch a certain itch in my brain).  So naturally, I then had to ask Chelsea exactly what she did for this full look.  I gave her the green light on giving me a play-by-play, down to every last detail.  She did not disappoint.  Got a special night out or a fancy occasion coming up?  Then keep reading.  What follows is basically my first guest post on The Bright Blush, and it’s brought to you by none other than Ariel herself:

Okay so I’ll give you the rundown. I used MakeUpForEver HD primer… but only for special occasions when I feel like I want to be professional. I actually don’t really wear primer or foundation often. I use BB cream on a daily basis. I found this awesome one by the brand KATE. It stays on for a long time (I even wore it on stage) and it’s not too runny or too thick. It took me a while to find a brand I liked. It also leaves a fresh dewy complexion, which is lovely.

For that specific day though, the make-up artist used airbrush foundation which I later covered up (errr…touched up) with Clinique Super Balanced make-up in cream beige.

Thanks to YOU if I’m wearing eyeshadow I always use the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer. I seriously never wore a primer before you told me about this and I am now obsessed. I ended up recommending it to everyone at work because it is just SO GOOD. It makes the eyeshadow pop and stay on forever. I like to also put it under my bottom lashes just on the outside half so I can use eyeshadow as a liner and it actually stays on. I find eyeshadow makes my eyes look bigger rather than eyeliner but that might just be me… unless you use eyeliner and smudge it a lot. Anyways…

For concealer I use Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat 2.5. IT IS AMAZING!! I only discovered it a few months ago and I am SUPER picky about under eye concealers. You’re talking to the girl who is endlessly on the hunt for a great moisturizing concealer that has good (but not thick) coverage and also one that doesn’t crease or rub off or get flaky or dry up or needs to be re-applied every hour etc etc etc. I buy a million and then never use them because they aren’t ‘just right’. I think I have given away more concealers and mascaras than I can afford. This one is a bit pricey but I feel like under your eyes it’s one area we shouldn’t skimp on. Prevention people! I learned the best way for me to use concealer is actually just below my dark circle and then I gently pat it with my finger to blend it up. I know everyone always says to use powder to hold it in place but I never do. I feel like it makes me look tired for some reason. Which is also why I’m always looking for a good under eye concealer that does everything.

The make-up artist showed me how to use Smashbox Photo Op Under Eye Brightener as well. I don’t own this product but it was really beautiful so I might have to look into that. She used it to highlight under my eyes and I have to say I was a fan. Dab on to the upper cheek bone area under your eyes and it really brightens up your face.

Eyeshadow- The make-up artist was using the Urban Decay Naked Palette (I don’t know if it was 1 or 2 and some other one that I didn’t see the name of). I later went over top with my DIOR palette in ROSY TAN to make the colours pop and added a shimmer highlight to the inner corners of my eyes. I always highlight right under my eyebrow (on the outer half only) and on the inside corners. I use a medium color on my lid and then use something really dark on the outer crease and blend it up. I also use that dark color under my eyes on the outside half. Pretty typical application and it looks really great on stage too. I think I have to find a balance between stage make-up and regular day make-up. I am so used to seeing myself in heavy amounts of eyeshadow everyday that I just get used to it and think it’s okay for regular life. Hopefully it doesn’t look too drag-queen. And if it does…. I’m still guna work it because I like it and it makes my eyes look big.

I don’t like to wear eyeliner but when you wear false lashes you need a little. I make a very thin line on the upper lash line using ‘Two Faced Perfect Eyes Waterproof Eyeliner in Perfect Black’. I also put a small line over the eyeshadow under my bottom lashes but only on the very outside. Not drawing a line underneath. (Am I being to picky now?)

Mascara- ALWAYS and only.. old school CoverGirl Super Thick Lash in very black. (The skinny red tube) Lots of layers. Just keep loading it on, haha! Sometimes I do another layer of CoverGirl LashBlast Volume (the thick orange tube) if I want it even more intense. I have tried so many mascaras because I’m a sucker for new bright colors and believe the lies that they will make my lashes amazing. But this one always wins and again I have wasted money because I just throw them in the bag with my 239586 unacceptable concealers.

And now for false eyelashes: My eyes hate them. I have tried so many brands. Thick, thin, long, short…because of my job I need to wear something. But literally every time I wear a strip of false lashes my eyes get heavy and watery and I look tired. So I started using Individual lashes by ARDELL (Flare Short Black). WINNER!!! I could wear them everyday if I wanted. Josh thinks fake eyelashes are disgusting and make him want to gag… little did he know I was wearing them all the time. HA!! Now the secret is out because the videographer at our wedding filmed me putting them on while saying.. ‘Surprise hunnie… they aren’t real’. At least they don’t make him want to gag. I use tweezers to put them on and focus on the outer half. It really doesn’t take that long and you can also use it to fill in gaps in your lashes if you have any.

Eyebrows- I am a brow girl. I literally look like a different person if I don’t fill in my eyebrows. I use CoverGirl professional natural lash mascara (clear) to tame those suckers down. And then I use a brush and my dark brown eyeshadow (Which I may or may not have taken from Disney..shhh) La Femme Hollywood in Dark Brown.

I only use a light brush of powder between my eyebrows and on my nose. I do not like a shiny nose. T-zone control is important. I use MAC Select Sheer Pressed NC25.

Bronzer- Again thanks to your recommendation I am a die hard fan of NARS Bronzer in Laguna. It’s perfection and doesn’t give me pimples.

Blush- I may or may not have also taken this one from Disney….. haha it’s ‘La Femme HOLLYWOOD’ in Lilac Champagne. It is VERY pink but I literally dust the tiniest amount on only the apples of my cheeks (Yes while smiling). And its wonderful.

My trick for everyday lips is my Wal-Mart no name brand ‘Ariel’ (yes, like Little Mermaid… you can also get Cinderella) lip chap and then lip liner. I’m not kidding. I get so many compliments on it and I just want to laugh because it’s a dollar.. and probably made for 5 year olds. When I don’t have that I use Carmex and lipliner.

For this certain occasion I used my Ben Nye Rum Raisin lipliner (Thanks Disney) and I wanted really bright lips to match her bridesmaid flowers so I used Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Fuchsia Fusion. It’s not super long lasting but I don’t mind reapplying. For me it’s really all about the liner because my lip line is not very defined.

One more product that I love to use for beautiful glowing skin, especially in a strapless dress, is St. Tropez Skin Illuminator. It’s a shimmery lotion that gives you a beautiful glow and defines your arms and neck/chest. Apparently Jennifer Aniston uses it so I had to give it a go. Turns out she knows what she’s doing. If you don’t want it to be too shimmery just mix it with a regular body lotion.

I think that’s it… Sorry if I rambled on and on. It’s very long. Oops.

And there you have it.  Let me tell you, I LOVE a girl that can talk makeup like it’s nobody’s business.  Music to my ears.  Chelsea may live far away (as she’s been a performer in Hong Kong and continues to live there), but let’s face it- there’s nothing like a heavenly makeup job to bring folks together, though they may live oceans apart.  Come visit soon, Chelsea!  xo, MR