Month: January 2014

January 2014 Favorites

januaryfave2In most parts of the USA January has been cruel, smacking us with record snowfall and arctic vortexes that have brought screaming winds and sub-zero temperatures. With that mess going on outside, January has also been a good month to cozy up indoors and try out some new beauty items. Before the next  blizzard hits, let’s get started with my January 2014 favorites:

Alien by Thierry Mugler – I discovered Alien via my pretend internet best friend LeighAnnSays and after running through a tiny Sephora sample I knew I had to splurge on the full size. Luckily some Christmas cash came my way and gave me the perfect opportunity to pick up this gorgeous fragrance. It has notes of solar accord, jasmine sambac, cashmeran, vanilla, and transparent amber (truth: I don’t know what half of those words even mean, but Sephora tells me it’s so). Overall I’d describe it as a deep, spicy scent perfect for a winter date night. If you’re looking for something that veers from run of the mill flowery/sweet/girly scents, Alien will probably be right up your alley.

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Maybelline Master Hi-Light Hi-Lighting Bronzer (50 Light Bronze) –  Long, silly names aside, Maybelline has had some impressive Spring 2014 launches, and the Master Hi-Light range is no exception. Serving triple-duty as a blush, bronzer, and highlighter, Light Bronze is a mosaic of champagne, rose, taupe, and chocolate colored powders that when swirled together produce a lovely shimmery peachy bronze. Pretend internet BFF #2, ChelseaWears, recently raved about wearing bronzer all over her cheeks as a kind of blush/contour combo, and I figured if my pale sister can pull that off I could give it a try as well. Dusting Light Bronze all over the apples and hollows of my cheeks does a great job of warming up my face and giving it a little extra dimension, especially during these blah January days. Next time Maybelline goes on sale at the drugstore I will definitely be picking up another shade or two from this range.

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Real Techniques Buffing Brush – In the interest of pampering my skin a bit (or at least not torturing it) during this frigid winter I’ve stuck to a pretty strict BB Cream-only regimen for the past month. (I miss you, Revlon Colorstay, but I’m sure we’ll meet again when humid springtime rolls around.) At first I was applying my various BBs/tinted moisturizers with my hands, which got the job done, but still felt a little messy and unsanitary to me. Then I gave the Real Techniques Buffing Brush a shot at the job, and I haven’t looked back since. It seems to blend product seemlessly without irritating my dry skin, and is the perfect size and shape to cover large areas and get into small spots near the nose and eyes. It’s no secret that the Real Techniques line is a major hit, but I’d have to say the Buffing Brush earns top honors in my book.

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Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Eyeliner (001 Black) – At a Sephora makeup class a few months back I discovered the beauty and pain of tightlining. (For those of you unaware, tightlining is the cringe-inducing practice of adding eyeliner to your upper inner lashline.) While I couldn’t deny that my tightlined  eyes looked great, the idea of sticking an eyeliner pencil so close to my eyeball made me seriously squirm. In the end it seems like this just takes patience and practice, but the key to a good tightline is also the right eyeliner. It should be fairly creamy so you’re not dragging and pulling at your delicate eyelid (typing that sentence just made me shiver), but also a product that will set to a waterproof finish so all your hard work doesn’t get blinked away in three seconds. So far I’ve found the Rimmel Scandaleyes Kohl eyeliner to be the best at getting the tightline job done and sticking around for hours. I prefer liquid or gel eyeliner on my upper lashline, so this really only gets used on my upper and lower waterline, but for that purpose it’s perfect.

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NYC Quick Dry Nail Polish (Grand Central Station 202) – After a glowing recommendation on Nouveau Cheap I knew I had to give NYC’s Grand Central Station a try when my Seche Vite topcoat finally devolved into goopy obsolescence. For only $1.99 this is an affordable top coat that dries almost instantly and helps my nails stay chip-free for days on end. I find it works best to reapply a top coat every 2-3 days to keep your color locked in. Of course, top coats work differently for everyone, but with Grand Central Station’s low price and availability at most drugstores, you really can’t lose by giving it a shot.

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I hope you enjoyed this roundup of the products I’ve been loving in January. Please leave a comment and let me know what have been some of your favorites from the past month! Stay warm…

-LMC ♥

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Quick Tip: How To Fix Dried Out Cream Eyeshadow

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If you’re a lover of cream eyeshadows and blushes like me then you’ve probably experienced the sad situation pictured above–  you reach for a product you haven’t used in a little while, only to open it up and find it cracked, dry, and ready for the trash. Granted, there are times when makeup is past its peak and it’s time to bite the bullet, throw it in the bin, and pick up a fresh new pot. Sometimes, however, a dry, cracked product is just the result of leaving the lid a little too loose or the effect of the nasty January air. Either way, there’s a quick and easy way to bring your cream products back to life– hooray!

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All you’ll need is some saline solution and any sort of flat mixing utensil. I chose a plastic fork, but a cuticle stick or small spatula would work well too. I like using saline because I know it’s clean and safe to use around your eyes, although I’ve heard of others using distilled water or witch hazel in its place and having good results too. If there’s a different mixing medium you’ve tried and liked, leave a comment and let me know!

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Next, add a few drops of the saline solution directly to your cream shadow or blush. Less is more, so I start with 2-3 drops and then add more as needed. Once you’ve added the saline use the flat end of your mixing tool to begin stirring up the product so the liquid is totally incorporated– for me this only took about 20 seconds. When the saline is totally mixed into the cream product just spread it evenly and flatten it down. And, voila!

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You’re left with a rich, buttery cream product that goes on smoothly and is free from any nasty dry bits. Comparing this photo of my Maybelline Color Tattoo in Inked in Pink with how it looked at the start of the post you can see that the product is much smoother and the color even looks a bit brighter. When applying the product it was much easier to pick up with my brush and went on smooth and opaque, a far cry from its dry and patchy former state. Overall I’d say this is an inexpensive and easy way to revive dry cream shadows, blushes, and eyeliners. Give it a try yourself, and be sure to let me know how it worked for you!

-LMC ♥

Make Up For Ever Academy New York Open House

Last week I had the exciting opportunity to attend an open house at the Make Up For Ever (MUFE) Academy New York to celebrate the launch of their new Intensive programs. Although I’m far from becoming a professional makeup artist, attending this open house was a fun way to learn more about the MUFE educational programs and meet some of their instructors and alumni. There were also about 50 other makeup lovers like myself in attendance and during breaks we got to chat over light refreshments about our careers, hobbies, and of course our favorite products.

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I don’t work for MUFE, so I won’t try to sell you on their program, but I will say I was very impressed by the quality and breadth of subjects covered in their “Long” program (a 6 month makeup artist training course). It seems the intent of these new Intensive programs is to teach short sections of the Long course over sessions that last just a few weeks, or even one day or weekend seminars. For someone like me who’s interested in beauty, but hasn’t made makeup their career, these shorter sessions sound perfect! To learn more about the MUFE Academy and its programs I’d suggest visiting their website here.

Aside from the general information we received about the MUFE Academy and the new Intensive programs, we also were treated to a class in color theory and foundation mixing by their instructors, Floriane David, Jennifer Evans, and Emily Edgar. This lesson utilized the Make Up For Ever 12 Flash Color Case, a product that’s always intrigued me, but I’ve been afraid to try. Using just the yellow, blue, red, brown, and white shades from the palette the instructors showed us how to evaluate skin undertones and mix colors to create the perfectly matched custom foundation. Along with their explanations the instructors demonstrated on two models of varying skin tones and allowed us in the audience to give feedback on what color should be added to the foundation mix next to achieve the perfect match.

Once the demonstration was over we were set loose with our own mini Flash palette and a partner and went about trying to create a match to their skin tone. This totally took me back to my Art 101 days from college, and after about 30 minutes of painstaking mixing, checking, adding more colors, mixing, and checking again, I finally achieved the perfect shade of sand beige to match my partner’s skin. I’ve mixed two or three foundation shades at home before trying to color match myself, but creating a totally custom color just using primary colors was a big accomplishment!

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After about 3 hours at the MUFE Academy I left with some great new tricks on how to customize foundation and a lot of intrigue about their upcoming Intensive courses. Once more information is available online (about one month from now) I’ll explore a bit more and keep you posted on whether I decide to join one of their new short courses. While the Sephora classes I’ve attended have been great (I just signed up for their new 2014 offerings, so watch for more posts coming soon!), taking some courses at the MUFE Academy could certainly help build my beauty knowledge and step up my game, plus it just sounds like a lot of fun!

-LMC ♥