A makeup artist at Benefit Cosmetics in Bucktown totally blew up my world with one of the single most useful makeup tips, ever. I was in for a brow tint with Kat and sat down for a quick makeup app. My request (per usual) was make me look glowy. She proceeded to layer Erase Paste, a peachy concealer/corrector, with High Beam, a.k.a. supermodel in a bottle, in a ‘S’ formation on each side of my face. I’ve been doing a semi-version of this for years, you know, the ‘C’ shape? Top of cheekbone around the temple to just above the brow. But the ‘S’ is the very definition of game changer. And the layering? Awake and years younger all within minutes.
Here’s the breakdown. So easy!
Use any flat concealer brush (this $3 one is boss) to pick up the Erase Paste. Any creamy concealer will work. I like this one by It Cosmetics as well as this corrector.
Trace the concealer in an ‘S’ shape around your face, bringing it around your nose and around your mouth.
With the same brush, apply the High Beam highlighter in that same ‘S’ formation, layering directly over the Erase Paste. You can use any highlighter with a slightly liquid consistency for this step. Benefit’s slightly bronzier cousin Sun Beam is an excellent alternative, even for fair skin.
Finally, blend the two together and bask in your new glow.
If you’ve got the time, a sweep of bronzer or a few strategic dabs of Cha Cha Tint on the cheeks.
The Pantone powers that be have decided that a vibrant pastel with equal parts pink and purple is the color of 2014. And I’m completely on board with that decision. Radiant Orchid is fresh and springy, the latter of which can’t come soon enough. It’s also one of those colors that looks really good on cheeks and lips. It can look a little bright and borderline neon at times, but it translates so well once you actually put it on your face. It does very awakening things. Promise.
I’ve never met a Benefit stain I didn’t love and it’s a serious moment when a new one comes out. Lollitint is radiant orchid to a T. If you think you can’t pull it off, try anyway. It is the perfect hybrid lilac and pink blush.
Dr. Sponge comes in all colors of the rainbow, but this lavender edition is so 2014. My fascination with konjac sponges is still going strong. They’re completely gentle to massage on your skin daily and I can’t help but watch in awe as my skin gets smoother with each use.
I’ll take my radiant orchid with a side of purple on the eyes. These cute little Laura Mercier baked eyeshadows are just the right price, too.
I just want more ILIA Lip Gloss in my makeup bag. Love Buzz, your number is up. For the sake of radiant orchid.
My iPhone would look good in the color of the year.
Clinique’s floral printed cheek pops are so spring it hurts.
I love this Laqa & Co nail pen and appreciate that the brand works with young artists to design all of their packaging (and then donates a proceed of the profits to each artist). They’re just cool people, ya know?
Tiny radiant orchid polka dots on this makeup bag, from Forever 21 of all places.
I’m not good with goodbyes, but I’m ready to give 2013 its final sendoff. The promise a brand new one holds is pretty thrilling, especially when this year has been so good to me. I hit publish on my very first 312 Beauty post in January, the start of a wild and crazy ride! There was the time Refinery29 included me in a list of bloggers “you need to be reading,” the reminiscing I did on wedding day beauty for POPSUGAR and the segment I did on Chicago’s FOX 32 on Memorial Day. I’m still awestruck from meeting so many incredible women at A Night for Green Beauty and honored I got to interview Butter LONDON’s global colour ambassador Katie Hughes, Space NK founder Nicky Kinniard and Illamasqua founder Julian Kynaston when they came to Chicago. Most of all, I’ve had the best time talking beauty and getting to know so many of you (on the internet and in real life!) Let’s do more of that next year, k?
I can’t wait to see what the next year in beauty will bring. It’s fitting that my last post of 2013 is all about the products I loved most this year. I give you, my top 10!
Deborah Lippmann Glitter and Be Gay is hands down, the best nail polish I bought all year. I wore this constantly! The sparkling yellow gold and bits of blue holographic glitter are killer.
I used to think that salt sprays were drying until I tried Davines This Is A Sea Salt Spray. It’s the best styling aid for my type of hair (stick straight). I spray on dry hair before I curl and get the softest waves that last all day. No small miracle.
Everything I thought about natural mascara changed thanks to Kjaer Weis. The 99.8% organic mascara is better than most others (natural or otherwise). Plus, it smells like roses!
I tried at least a dozen facial oils this year and Lina Hanson’s Global Face Serum was easily my fav. It plumps up my skin and makeup looks better when I apply this first. The scent, from a blend of 11+ exotic plant oils, is intoxicatingly good.
ILIA Cosmic Danceris the most flattering gold highlighter. It’s soft and brightening and not the least bit brassy. Word is that it’s limited edition for the holidays, which I’m not ready to accept.
Katie Hughes herself introduced me to Butter London Cheeky Crème Blush in Pistol Pink. It’s a bright pop of color and you can dab it on your lips, too.
This year will go down as the year of MAC RiRi Woo. It was released several times with all of Rihanna’s MAC collections and it sold out quickly with each one. Worth the hype.
My mornings were greatly improved after discovering R.L. Linden & Co Thousand Petal Beautifying Mist, which is like a blast of floral adrenaline. Plus, I want to be friends with the owners. They seem like such cool chicks!
Washing my face will never be the same. Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin B Cleansing Oilexfoliates with plant extracts as it breaks down all of your makeup. Two thumbs up.
I’ll never be Camilla Belle, but at least I have Benefit Gimme Brow to get me a little closer in the brow department. It’s part brow filler part volumizer and takes 2.5 seconds to apply. I’m already on my second tube!
It’s usually one of my favorite birthday treats, a complimentary brow shaping from Benefit, but this year I skipped. For months, I’ve been leaving my brows just be. Resisting the urge to pluck and letting them grow to the point of unruly. At first, it’s really hard to do but with a little time (in my case – almost two months!) and patience you actually start to see results. My brows are sparse and cowlicky, so patience is hard to come by.
I was using this pencil until the folks at Birchbox majorly upped my brow game with Benefit Gimme Brow. If we’re verbing it — they wowed my brows. I’ve tried pretty much every type of brow filler there is with varying results. Wax, powder, gel, pencil, pen…but Gimme Brow is unlike any of them. It’s like brow extensions. You brush on – very conveniently with a tiny brush, I might add – gel fibers that resemble the look of actual hair. Brows don’t just look even, but full. Start at the inner corner and comb through the entire brow. So simple! I concentrate on the inner area towards my nose as that’s where my brows are at their most pathetic state. Your MO may differ.
Is there nothing more satisfying than watching a brow transformation — or as Benefit calls it, a browtification? You win with puns, Benefit. Also, these videos rock. After I watched four of them back to back, I realized the only thing missing from my makeup bag is High Brow.
Note: Birchbox provided a sample of Gimme Brow. The two cents here is all my own!
November has its perks. The holidays are in sight and that means lots of sparkle and shine. Everywhere, really. The streets are now glowing with holiday lights and walking into J. Crew this time of year is like strolling through candy land. If winter decides to encroach on the last bits of fall, even that is welcome. You know…big picturesque snowflakes, infinity scarves and warm boots. Everything is just better in November. Here’s what I’m loving for the month ahead.
Dewy skin. Drier air has moved in and I’m feeling it on my skin. Time to break out the moisture-rich Benefit Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow foundation. I love the finish and the coverage but tend to avoid it in the summer months. It’s just right this time of year.
Bronzed complexion. Who says bronzer is only for summer? I think it’s fresh and modern to wear bronzer and hardly anything else on the skin. RMS Buriti Bronzeris a cream bronzer made with Brazilian Buriti Oil and can be used on eyes, cheeks and lips (see it in action on Bare Beauty – stunning!) Pur Minerals Mineral Glow Bronzeris subtle enough to dust all over and and for a peachy bronze, the creamy Kjaer Weis Desired Glowis where it’s at.
Incense. Diptyque’s holiday collection is sick, guys. They are the ultimate splurge but my gosh, I need no convincing. Nicky Kinniard of Space NK gifted me with a mini of the Indian Incense – frankincense, myrrh and rose, can you even? – and it’s transformed my living room into some exotic destination. It’s all very “we three kings” and puts me in the mood for the holidays.
Body serum. Speaking of exotic…Kahina’s Fez Body Serum. I’ve never been to Morocco, but I think I have a good idea of what it smells like. I tried a mini sample from a recent Spirit Beauty Lounge order and it was incredible. Stay with me – rose and orange blossoms layered over patchouli, vetiver, ylang ylang with hints of cumin and clove. I’ve never smelled anything like it before. I want to take a hot steamy bath every night and layer this on after. Adding to the allure is this New York Times culture piece on Fez, the city. Kahina may be singlehandedly responsible for boosting Moroccan tourism.
Neutral tote. Leopard print is the hardest working neutral. I’ve added this French Connection ‘Animal Mania’ Tote to my wishlist. It would fit my computer and just about everything else I lug around. What do you think?
Mini oils. Can it be November 15, already, so this little trio can be mine? La Bella Figura is launching a value set for the holidays – a rollerball of the Daily Elements Defense, Barberry Fig Renewal Serum and the brand spanking new Travel Therapy Mood Boosterwith some mighty fine soothing botanicals (including rose essential oil – my fav!)
The pretties are packed and I’m ready for a vacation! Seriously ready. I’ve hardly taken any time off this year. A glaring reminder is the fact that I still have 14 vacation days stowed away for the rest of the year. I’m ready to burn a few with a long weekend to DC. Since I moved back to the Midwest from DC in 2009, I’ve hardly been back. Can’t wait to catch up with friends and visit some of my fav places. Though, I’m not too happy about all of this rain heading up the coast from Hurricane Karen. I’m determined to make the best of the dreary days.
The makeup I’m bringing for this trip is a lesson in self-control. Two blushes is editing for me, guys. And please do congratulate me on bringing a single eyeliner. Cream blushes are my jam right now so I couldn’t possibly choose between Butter LONDON Naughty Biscuit and Illamasqua Velvet Blusher in Peaked. The BECCA Radiant Skin Satin Finish Foundation is like a tinted moisturizer with a little more oomph. Wears beautifully all day, so I like to travel with that one. I always over pack eye makeup, so I’m keeping it simple with Benefit Nude Swings, an always perfect with everything rose gold, and the option to go smoky with Chanel Enigma. That one eyeliner I can survive on for four days? Smashbox Always Sharp Waterproof Kohl in Penny Lane. When you twist the cap, it sharpens itself! Since I know there’s probably a handful of lipsticks buried in my purse, I’m only packing two in my makeup bag. Burt’s Bees Sunny Day and MAC Retro Matte in Flat Out Fabulous. If I can’t actually get a sunny day, may as well channel good vibes through makeup!
Welcome, September. While I’m already mourning the demise of summer Fridays, I am excited for the first signs of fall. Plus, football Saturdays are a fair trade-off. I think I might have had my last hurrah of summer over Labor Day weekend at a Brewer’s game sweating it out in the hot sun for three hours to near delirium. It was a good reminder that September can actually be one of the hotter summer months. With that in mind, my list for September is ‘fall light.’ I’m treading lightly with boots, resisting cozy knits and just starting to dip my manicured nails and pedicured toes into deeper colors. Consider ‘the list’ a favorites/wish list all wrapped in one. Here’s what September is all about for me!
Tassel necklaces. It started when I picked up this trio of tassels from Ann Taylor and has now expanded to several more from Bauble Bar (help, I can’t stop ordering!) The gemstone chain and blue pendant necklace is especially amazing with a white tee, blazer and skinny jeans. We’ll just call it the September uniform.
A classic red nail polish. Every fall needs one and Essie Twin Sweater Set is it. I gave myself a pedi with it over the weekend. It’s crimson perfection.
Neutral blush. I’m taking a seasonal break from my corals in favor of something softer. The new Benefit Rockateur is a shimmery rose gold that has just enough pink to still perk up your face. I’ve been layering it over bronzer these past few weeks with this big fluffy brush brush.
Off-black eyeliner. Fall means the return of the smoky eye! It just doesn’t feel as natural to do a heavy eye when it’s hot. Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Eye Pencil in Mahogany and butter LONDON Wink Eye Pencil in Brown Sugar are two not-black options that I love for a softer take on the usually dramatic look.
Boyfriend jeans. These are hands-down the hardest pair of jeans to shop for. I want them to be baggy and loose but still be fitted where it counts. Who wants baggy butt, really? The GAP’s version has never fit me right, but they have a new ‘deconstructed’ fit that is looser and longer AND PERFECT. I love the dark rinse.
Matte lips. I’m not ready for full-on berry lips per the usual fall beauty looks, but am craving a matte finish. I’m wishing for the ILIA Lipstick Crayons in every color – especially the berry Dress Me Up and pinky coral Karma Chameleon. Aren’t they just the chicest lip pencil you’ve ever laid eyes on?
Cutout booties. These are the greatest idea for people (like me) who want to wear boots but know it is just too hot still. Compromise footwear at its best! This pair by Steve Madden is calling my name. The only question: taupe or black?
A good hair day is empowering. A good makeup day, for me, gives me that same “conquer the world” (or at least my to-do list) attitude. There is nothing as defeating as walking into the bathroom and seeing a smudge of eyeliner or a less than flawless complexion. Especially when it looked so good in the morning! Fluorescent lights are the enemy. For all of the above reasons, I tend to wear a primer under my makeup. Remember this or that? Well, Benefit Stay Flawless is the other thing. It’s different than any other primer I’ve used. There’s the stick application – packaged up in the most adorable polka dot print, I’ll add – and the light cooling effect you feel immediately. Invisible to the eye but not to the touch, as there is a semi-sticky feel. It doesn’t feel weighty or heavy, rather that stickiness was by design so it would physically grab your makeup like a magnet.
I watched this video from Benefit’s Maggie Ford Danielson applying Stay Flawless under her foundation. My initial instinct was to blend the primer into my skin before applying makeup, but it is most effective to apply makeup directly on top of it without messing or blending first. Taking Maggie’s advice, I also focused this on my problem areas – around the sides of my nose and forehead (typical t-zone drama!) and found my makeup to stay pretty darn near flawless all day. You can shop it here!
Benefit devotees will likely recall when the brand released a lip version of its cult classic Box o’ Powders, ala Hoola, Coralista, Dandelion. Now, that same soft and silky Ultra Plush Gloss formula is available in a handful of bright shades packaged in a fancy new art deco-inspired tube. They look almost neon in the tube, but fear not, the resulting lip color is a more subtle dewy hue of the same color family. Lips look drenched in moisture and there’s a natural plumping effect that comes with all that gloss. The bright pink coral ‘Poutrageous’ (oh, that name!) is my favorite of the bunch. A close second is “Kiss You” a purple that imparts a cool orchid hue on my lips. For more oomph, layer these over lipstick. I’m wearing NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Yu today (see pic here) and after about an hour, it turns into a lovely stain. A fresh coat of Lollibop (the bright pink Ultra Plush) is the perfect refresh throughout the day. If you thought Yu was bright before…this brings it to a whole new level of awesome.
You can check out the full Benefit Ultra Plush Lip Gloss lineup here.
It’s time to get serious about spring beauty. Forget that it’s still winter and we just got our biggest snow of the season last week, spring is practically here. My allergies have already started (wtf?) so really it’s just a technicality at this point. I’m ready for fresh pink cheeks and lips, worn in tandem of course. It differs from the super bright cool pinks I love to wear in winter (like this one on cheeks) in that it’s slightly rosier. When rosy pinks are paired on lips and cheeks, the effect is fresh and youthful. The kind of makeup that looks good with everything.
Allison Williams wore this look on the red carpet last week and of course looked amazing. She is such a beauty! I love how she paired rosy pink lips and cheeks with major lashes. And her brows are nothing short of perfection. To recreate this look, try Jouer Hydrating Lipstick in Whitney, new this spring, on lips. It’s a demi-matte finish, so it leaves a slight sheen on the lips. Another formula I am loving is the Maybelline Color Whisper. They are slightly more sheer, but the shade Rose of Attraction has just the right amount of color. On cheeks, try Benefit Posietint or Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Amused. Both look majorly bright at a glance but take on a more subdued pink on skin. They also have insane lasting power so your fresh, Allison-inspired look lasts all day. And if you’re looking for more on Allison’s eye makeup look, allow me to direct you to Glamour’s Girls in the Beauty Department!
Fact: there is a singly universally flattering shade of eye color for every woman. I’m talking one perfect match for all, regardless of skin color, tone or lid shape. This uber-flattering color is none other than rose gold. It’s like the LBD of shadows. Whether you have skin like Nicole Kidman or Kerry Washington, or somewhere in between, rose gold will work for you. It fuses the best of pink and gold, leaving out the sometimes tough to wear red and brassy tones. It’s never too pale or too dramatic. And importantly, it’s never boring. As winter drags on (and on and on), I’ve been counting on the brightening effect rose gold lends. With a wee bit more bronzer than a cloudy day calls for, it’s almost as if it the sun is shining out. If we pretend is it true?!
In low to luxe fashion, I’ve pulled together the rose gold eyeshadows that have a place in any woman’s makeup bag.
File this under worth a trip to Walmart: Drew Barrymore’s Flower Beauty Color Play Crème Eyeshadow in Wild Geranium. The gel consistency is unexpected and it feels much more luxe than its $8 price tag.
Benefit is introducing new (and major adorable) packaging this month as well as a brand new formula of eyeshadow that is beyond smooth and finely-milled. There are 12 colors in total, but the soft rose gold Nude Swings is a must-have.
My long-time favorite NARS Alhambra Duo Eyeshadow allows for a truly custom rose gold shade. It’s rose gold dissected! Sometimes I swipe a bit of both colors on my brush and apply, other times I layer them directly over each other on the lid and of course I wear the colors on their own because I can. At $34, this is more luxe than the others but it’s like three shadows in one.
Note to fellow blue-eyed beauties: the additional bonus of rose gold is that it really makes your eyes pop!
There are two products that have seamlessly made their way into my daily beauty routine. Individually, they’re great. But together, they are even better. They are Benefit fakeup concealer and NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder. Fakeup is incredibly moisturizing with a vitamin E-packed hydrating outer layer and a light-diffusing inner core. It reminds me of a tube of lip balm!
The dewy finish lends a freshness to the skin that my winter skin really needs. I am not plagued by dark circles, but the under eye situation tends to be a little dull. I almost never set my concealer but I can’t resist sweeping NARS Light Reflecting Powder over the top of fakeup. It feels wrong to call it a powder because it doesn’t act like a powder. It is weightless and feels invisible to the touch. I will sweep my fingers across the pan and I’m all why can’t I feel anything? It’s an exciting innovation! NARS infused it with a light reflecting technology that actually adjusts to new sources of light throughout the day. The formula is never drying — not even under the eyes — thanks to glycerin and vitamin E. It’s perfect with fakeup because it doesn’t change the way it looks just how long it wears. I use a double-ended eyeshadow brush from Mally to apply. I like to pat it on with the flat side and blend it out with the fluffy end.
I’m pretty fixated with the NARS “not a powder” Light Reflecting Powder for all over, but is especially phenomenal under the eyes. I think I must not be the only one, since every time I go to Sephora it’s sold out!
When you live in the Midwest, it is practically a medical necessity to travel south to a warmer climate for even a few days. By mid-February, I’m usually at my breaking point with winter. This year, my husband and I are seeking refuge in Miami. Per usual, my vacation makeup bag is packed to the brim. Here’s a peek at what I brought!
Benefit is getting ready to launch its newest concealer, fakeup, and hosting a one-day fakeup flash sale at select stores nationwide. We have not one, but THREE, Benefit boutiques in Chicago so I will be making my way to one of them at some point to snag a tube! fakeup looks wildly different than any other concealer I’ve tried. I’m beyond intrigued. It is a crease control formula (my biggest concealer pet peeve!) that hides dark circles, diffuses fine lines and hydrates skin. Benefit says it’s not makeup, but fakeup. Cute, right?
The fakeup flash sale begins and ends Thursday, February 7. If you’re in Chicago, it’s available at the locations below. For more store locations outside of Illinois, check here. I’ll report back on my findings. Let me know if you do any flash sale-ing yourself!
852 W Armitage Ave
Chicago, IL 60614
1616 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
3450 N Southport Ave
Chicago, IL 60657