Friday, September 17, 2010

Quick Tip: Well-Behaved Full Brows

Save your money on that next eyebrow appointment. Perhaps you can achieve this look right at home: full and bold eyebrows are hot this season, but you don't have to embrace the monobrow to make a statement. Don't overpluck, accentuate their natural shape and fill in possible little flaws with a pencil or a matte eyeshadow.
Halston Fall 2010

    Eyebrow comb: separates lashes and
    keeps your eyebrows disciplined!
  • How to keep eyebrows disciplined all day:

No need to get all fancy with an eyebrow gel. All you need is hairspray and either a toothbrush (I like to use one of those that come in airplane vanity bags or travel-size ones) or an eyebrow comb. Very simple: mist the hairspray onto the brush side of the eyebrow comb (or toothbrush) and while it's still fresh, brush your eyebrow upwards. With the comb side, draw an imaginary line down and outwards on top part of eyebrows. If you're using the toothbrush, just tilt brush sideways, kind of using it as a ruler.

  • The Bold and The Beautiful
If you must use a pencil to correct minor flaws, use feather-like strokes instead of a line to fill them in. If pencil is not too sharp, even better. Don't be afraid to go one shade lighter than your natural eyebrow color, you're just filling them in and when it's too dark, it draws too much attention to that area, in a Frida Kahlo sort of way. Clearly delineated eyeliner: classy. Clearly delineated eyebrows: not classy at all.

Brian Reyes Fall 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Are Eye Creams Really Necessary?

We all know how important it is to apply a moisturizer to our face daily, regardless of our skin type. Moisturizers literally help lock water in and protect skin from free radicals, which are extremely damaging to our cells.

Years ago, during a trip to Saks 5th Avenue in NYC, a Lancôme sales associate approached me (at Saks, they can be just as harassing as those mall kiosk crazy ladies) and asked me what kind of eye cream I used in my skincare routine. Mind you, I was only 19 years old, so I innocently said "whatever moisturizer I use on my face, why?". She replied with a big, wide-eyed "Oh... OH! OH Nooooooo!". Sacrilege? Oops.

I was learning for the first time that, as it turns out, the skin around our eye area is more sensitive and thin than the rest of our face, therefore needs extra special attention. I instantly felt guilty for apparently neglecting that part of my body for so long.

Ironically enough - and I wonder why - very few eye cream products contain SPF protection, something which is very crucial to me. Most eye creams set their targets towards either fighting undereye puffs and dark circles or wrinkle damage and prevention. If the skin under our eyes is so sensitive and delicate (and it really is), how come they are not packing those creams with heavy duty sunscreen? That never made sense to me.

Eye Cream Guinea Pig
Traumatized by my Saks 5th Avenue lecture, I've tried a lot of eye creams since then and I confess I've yet to find the perfect one. I usually get a lot of samples from Sephora's Beauty Insider program or those gifts-with-purchase from the department stores, but I've also invested on a few "surefire creams" that didn't do much for me, as far as I could tell. Clinique All About Eyes is a classic, but was no different than a plain ol' face moisturizer. I really wanted Benefit's EyeCon to work, but my eye circles stayed right there where they were. Neutrogena Radiance Boost actually irritated my skin a little.

My biggest concern when it comes to my eye area is dark circles, something that even 8 hours or more of sleep can't fix. So whatever claims to help fight that raccoon look, I'm trying, but I'm very skeptical if not reluctant.

So do they work or they don't?
If you don't have wrinkles yet, I would say don't worry so much about a specific cream just for your eyes. If you have puffiness (whether it's chronic or you cried yourself to sleep the night before), however, you might want to try one of those rollerball gel thingies (more info below) that contain caffeine. Caffeine helps with blood circulation and is also anti-inflammatory, which is why most anti-puff creams contain some form of this ingredient.

I don't have much puffiness going on and to combat undereye darkness, the best trick is to keep it hydrated and concealed. None of these expensive creams have worked alone for me so far, so I never skip the concealer. An illuminating concealer or some kind of illuminating powder, stick or cream also helps a good deal by reflecting light into an otherwise dark area and giving you that well-rested appearance. Just be very careful not to use a concealer that's much lighter than your skin tone or you will look very goofy.

Finding a concealer that works for you:
Makeup professionals say that if you have very dark circles and you use a yellow-toned concealer, the result will be a grayish appearance. Not good. You may want to try a peach or pink-undertoned concealer (that matches your shade). The best way is to test it out on yourself and take a picture. Use flash light and then natural light as well. That will tell you the truth far better than any best friend.

As far as maintenance goes, until I find the most amazing, life-changing eye cream, I will continue to apply face moisturizer to my eye region. I'm currently using Lancôme Absolue Premium Bx, which I got as a sample. The sample size is 0.5oz (pretty much the average volume for a full-size eye cream) and it's been lasting me a while. It's a great moisturizer, feels good on my skin, dries fast, doesn't cause irritation and it contains SPF 15.  They make an eye version of this cream but if the regular-size face version is $125, I don't want to know how much the eye cream costs. Besides, eye version has no SPF! This little pattern puzzles me to no end. When I run out of this one, I will just have to hope for more samples.

Out of all the samples I've tried, the best one so far has been Dior Hydra Life Pro-Youth Protective Creme SPF 15. Yes, they have the eye version, no, it doesn't contain SPF either so yes, I was using the face cream on my eyes. It was really fantastic. It absorbed quickly, it offered great moisture without feeling sticky and worked great under makeup. This is actually a moisturizer I would buy the full-size version.

So here's a quick tip list for common undereye issues and easy (even if temporary) solutions:

  • Puffiness, bags, redness and swelling: 
          Try this: Slices of cucumbers (make sure they're cold) or cotton pads soaked in cold chamomile or green tea. Squeeze excess liquid and let it rest on your eyes for 15 minutes. Follow with a moisturizer.
          Also try: An anti-puff rollerball gel like Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Puff Eye Roller or Clinique All About Eyes Serum De-Puffing Eye Massage). The rollerball gets the blood circulating and caffeine helps de-puff.

  • Undereye darkness and circles:
A highlighter in reverse C shape
on the upper cheek bones
fakes an 8-hour sleep
          Try this: A good concealer. Start with a moisturizer for sensitive skin. Pat gently with your ring finger, don't rub. Let it dry. Apply concealer that doesn't make you look like you went tanning with your sunglasses on, making sure skin looks even on entire face. Use a luminizing concealer, lotion or stick (like YSL Touche Éclat or Nars The Multiple in Copacabana) just below the undereye area, on the upper cheek bones, in a reverse C shape that goes from outer corners of eyes, inwards.

Some people like to keep their eye creams in the refrigerator for added boost. Like a nice cold water rinse in the morning, the temperature really helps waken skin up and get the blood circulation going. Leaving your cream in the fridge can do you no harm.

Skip the expensive eye cream, not the SPF!
Eye creams may be an unnecessary extravagance, but a good facial moisturizer never is. Look for one that is sensitive-skin friendly since the skin around our eyes is indeed very delicate. Some ingredients, such as salicylic acid, are great for the face but a no-go for eyes.  Focus on these 3 letters: S-P-F. No matter what age you are or skin color, your face cannot afford to live without SPF. Sun damage is a fact and it's a fast-pass to early aging. Prevention pays off.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Today's Link Thingies

Enhance your eye color now with these simple tips from a Nars makeup artist for Bella Sugar:

I just watched the movie The Runaways and although I thought it was pretty meh, the makeup artist, Robin Matthews, stole every scene! To get inspired by Joan's and Cherie's fierce 70's glam rock look, Elle magazine and Makeup For Life have some great tutorials. In 3 simple words: Make Up Forever! Watch the videos here and here.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fall Beauty Cravings

Reading Temptalia's blog is extremely dangerous for my pocket. I discover new makeup stuff that I absolutely must purchase asap or my life will never be the same. My latest obsession is eyeshadow. I've been having an eyeshadow year, or perhaps an eyeliner year... Mascara... An all-things eye-related year.

Check out this palette from Urban Decay and tell me if you, like myself, are not tempted to go to Sephora's website right this freaking second, ignore the price tag and just go ahead and hit the purchase button. Add to the temptation factor the little footer note on the product that says it's extremely high demand, selling out fast, limited edition yadda yadda. Oh Sephora, why do you do this to me?

Now, I've never been a MAC girl. It's a great brand, don't get me wrong, but I like to use my Beauty Insider points at Sephora and they don't have MAC at Sephora, so in order for me to get something at MAC it must be somewhat irreplaceable, like their waterproof mascara. But oh holy crap, check this thing out! Tartan: awesome. Eyeshadows: awesome. Professional makeup brushes: awesome. All combined: you cruel bastards! It won't be released until the holiday season, so Santa, if you're reading this, insert this item on my wishlist. I have been kinda nice.

Yay! My local Sephora finally has the travel-size Oscar Blandi Pronto Volumizing Shampoo Spray available. It's only $11 and although I'm not a fan of their regular dry shampoo spray (as discussed in my review), I've heard great things about this version, saying it's totally innovative and effective. So guess where I'm heading tomorrow? :)

And Fall is here, for us Northern Hemisphere folks! My favorite season! It's still hot as balls here in South Florida but who cares, I'm gonna start rocking my wellies even if I look delirious doing so and wearing gray nail polish like nobody's business. Gray has been a hot color for nails in Europe and in Brazil (not random, that's where I'm from) for a minute but for some odd reason never made a hit here in the States. Not until now! Chanel (Les Khakis, Paradoxal), Essie and even L'Oreal are coming out with some great shades for Fall. At last!

...And I still wonder where my paycheck disappears to every month...

Monday, September 6, 2010

This I Tried: How To Do The Perfect Cat Eye

The cat eye is glamorous and never goes out of style. StyleCaster has some fantastic video tutorials and this one on how to achieve the perfect cat eye is so simple to follow, I had to try for myself.

I've always struggled with the cat eye look. I think it has something to do with the shape of my eyes or the angle I was aiming with the eyeliner. To try this look on yourself, I urge you to watch the video first. It's quick and easy and will explain far better than my amateurish pictures will ever succeed at doing.

I was going for a more natural cat eye look. Forget Amy Winehouse. This is why I like how they mix just a hint of plum eyeshadow as an eyeliner base and then liquid eyeliner on top.

What you will need:

  • A concealer
  • A setting powder of any kind (translucent is best)
  • A neutral creamy eyeshadow close to your skintone or even a tinted eyeshadow primer.
  • An all-purpose eyeshadow brush.
  • A shimmery neutral powder eyeshadow, also close to your skintone.
  • A plum eyeshadow, creamy, powder, whatever. Plum is hot, invest on it!
  • An angled eyeliner brush. Very important. Just get one. 
  • A liquid fine tip eyeliner. For this look I used black, but why not plum if you feel like it?
  • A q-tip and a tiny dollop of moisturizer, vaseline or even water.
  • Mascara.
1. I started by prepping my entire eye area with Maybelline Mineral Power concealer and Maybelline Mineral Power Finishing Veil in translucent. Don't forget the lids, this is how your makeup will stay on.

2. Using my fingertips, I applied Revlon Vital Radiance Mousse Shadow in Pearl Light (which I bought at the Dollar store!), but any creamy neutral eyeshadow will do. You're basically creating a background for the other good stuff.

3. With an eyeshadow brush, I followed with Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Sin, which is a great multi-tasking, all-purpose nude color. It has just enough shimmer to make your eyes pop and totally suitable for daytime. I use it as a base for pretty much any look.

Powder eyeshadow over creamy one makes color
stand out more and offers better lasting power
4. Next, I dipped an angled eyeliner brush on some plum eyeshadow. I chose L'Oreal HIP Eyeshadow Duo in Sculpted, which is a deep plum, so it doesn't scream "purple".

5. For the liquid eyeliner, I chose Revlon Colorstay Liquid Eye Pen in Blackest Black. It's a felt tip pen rather than a regular liquid eyeliner. It makes drawing extremely easy for the uncoordinated because you never have excess ink all over the place. Bonus: it's waterproof. 


6. Using a q-tip dabbed in just a bit of moisturizer, I drew the eyeliner upwards, kind of making a smiley face on my lash line. The video explains this step better. If you're using a waterproof liquid liner, act fast because it dries very quickly, making it difficult to blend.

7. Finally, I patted some concealer in the outer corners of my eyes, just where q-tip traced before, making sure my face looked even. Finish with some translucent powder (but not over eyeliner!) and then you can use the same powder eyeshadow from before to highlight the inner corners of your eyes and the lower lashline.

8. I used Benefit Bad Gal Mascara on upper and lower lashes and that's it.


Success! \o/