Tag Archives: Laura Mercier

How to Wear Radiant Orchid


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.

This creamy Deborah Lippmann polish needs to get on my nails like yesterday.

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.

A Universally Flattering Bronzer?


{“non-bronzer” bronzers}

Bronzer is the power player in my makeup bag. The cheekbones it whips up in an instant. The much-needed warmth it gives my face in just a sweep. How I can wear nothing but bronzer and look alive. But I’ve realized that bronzer is a divisive beauty product. And there are many women that don’t wear it all. The fears of muddied cheeks and an orange glow ruin it for some. Fair skinned girls, especially. Well, I’ve found a bronzer that is most definitely the answer to those who are on the fence about bronzer. It’s so perfect that it isn’t even technically a bronzer! Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder somehow takes two things that don’t usually go together and whips up a universally flattering “not-bronzer” bronzing powder. It is the perfect mix of matte and glow! And, universally flattering because it comes in a handful of shades designed for fair to deep skin tones. I played with the testers (shown above in a pic I snapped at Blue Mercury) and settled on Bronze 3, technically for medium skin tones. But, hey, I like bronzer so I went a little deeper. The radiance is subtle so dust this one all over without fear of overdoing. Just make sure to emphasize the area under your cheekbones for that definition (do the fishy face to find the spot!)

Laura Mercier Baked Blush Bronze


Bronzer has a place in your beauty routine year-round, yes, but make no mistake, there is an official bronzer season. Parallel to summer, obviously, but kicks in right when spring fever is raging. Also coincides with the time of year I can’t stop drinking Summer Shandy. Coupled, these are my warm weather staples. This is definitely the longest non-spring I can recall in a while and I’m ready for it to be legit bronzer season. Especially since I’ve discovered a bronzer that promises to dominate one of my favorite parts of the year. Laura Mercier’s Baked Blush Bronze in ‘Ritual’ is a vision. It has veins of pink and a few different shades of bronze, and due to the baking process each palette is one-of-a-kind. The result is a dusty bronze flush with tons of dimension. It has a satin finish – no hint of glitter or pore-magnifying shimmer bits – and blends in to skin pretty flawlessly. It’s a total two-fer that gives me the ease I seek in bronzer season. Warm weather in general is less fuss and simplifying the getting-ready process. The bathroom is always the hottest room in the house come summer, so fewer steps is a total must. It’s the reason I quit the blow dryer last year!

Because I take my change of seasons seriously, let me know your favorite bronzers. Got questions? Throw them out there! Suggestions? I want to know! I know collectively, we are all ready for the season to really get started.

Low to Luxe: Rose Gold Eyeshadow


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.

Eyeshadow in stick form is especially convenient. Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow, $20, in 30E and Laura Mercier Caviar Stick, $24, in Rose Gold are top notch. The creamy formula makes blending a breeze with your fingers and they’re both incredibly long wearing.

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!

312 Beauties: Rachel Gillman

I’m rolling out a new feature here, fittingly called 312 Beauties. I’ll be tapping some of Chicago’s most fabulous women to tell me of all of their beauty secrets and dish on makeup must-haves. I’m excited to kick off the series with Rachel Gillman, a PR Specialist and Freelance Writer for NBC, Michigan Avenue and Serious Eats. Rachel is the ultimate media pro and knows all when it comes to BYOB and gluten-free dining in Chicago.  She also has the most enviable lashes you’ll ever see. Lucky for us, she tells all.



How do you start your mornings?

I’ve learned that I do better working out in the a.m. Two mornings a week at 6am, I’ll do the elliptical or an Insanity or P90X video in the living room. On those mornings, I’ll wash my hair. I usually aim to wash my hair every other day. A trick — which you taught me! — is to go to sleep with my hair twisted on top of my head in a clip. It’s a game-changer! It makes two-day hair full and fresh looking. It’s a major time saver in the morning.

You have flawless skin. What is your skin care routine?

I use Cetaphil cleanser, though if I get something in a Birchbox, I always try it out. I use Lancome Bi-Facil to remove my eye makeup. I stock up on it when I buy mascara, whenever there’s a free gift at the counter. I was really hooked on Chanel skin care, the Hydra Beauty Crème, but I haven’t made the effort to splurge all over again on a new tub. Occasionally, I rotate Retin- A into my routine. I recently got a facial at Cellular Intelligence spa and bought the Lumiere Bio Restorative Eye Cream on a recommendation. It’s very light, and I use it every morning. I use Neutrogena SPF 50 as well, especially if I know I’ll be out in the sun. I’m more concerned about protecting my skin lately.


How about your everyday face?

I use a concealer from Benefit and then follow up with this Pür Minerals powder I got from Birchbox — it’s more matte and it helps even my skin out. A makeup artist at the Chanel at Bloomingdales, Ana Oveido, sold me two of the Quadra Eyeshadows in Mystic Eyes and Prelude and taught me how to use all four shadows together or take it down with just one or two. She is fantastic. I’m pretty particular when it comes to my makeup being done because you know what looks like you and what you’re comfortable wearing. She takes everything I do and improves upon it. I use those eyeshadows pretty much every day. And when I feel like I’ve done a good job and I’m near the Bloomingdale’s building, I’ll go and visit her and she’ll tell me how I did!

I also use Chanel eyeliner, in the shade Cassis. You twist it up, so it’s not a true pencil. It’s precise, lasts and really lets you get in between your lashes.  My blush is Laura Mercier Pink Lotus and I use NARS Risky Business Lip Gloss. I also carry around a CO Bigelow tint with me always. A great makeup artist Jenny Patinkin (of Dollface Beauty) coached and shopped with me for makeup. I trust her judgment. She helps you create a better version of yourself.  I fill in my brows with an Anastasia Powder. Jenny helped me pick that out as well. I just use a little bit.

Now about those lashes…

I am obsessed with Lancome mascara – completely loyal to the Hypnose Drama. I buy it two tubes at a time because I never want to be without. I’ve used something from Tarte and another from Sephora but I always go back to Lancome. The amount of time I spend on my lashes could be considered comical. I curl them to start and put on a coat. Not a wimpy one, either, but from the base and I coat every lash. I let it dry, do some other makeup and then come back. I’ll curl my lashes again, use a lash comb to separate and then apply one more coat. It never clumps. The Lancome brush is magic.


Rachel’s lip wardrobe

I love Birchbox, too. What are some of your favorite discoveries?

Let me tell you, this $10 a month service fuels my beauty routine. Some of my favorite items have come from Birchbox. I love the Jouer Lip Enhancer – I need to buy a big tube! Also, I love this chubby Tarte lip pencil in a coral shade. I also got the Benefit primer, POREfessional, and I’m pretty hooked. It helps smooth my skin before makeup.  I love anything skin-related they send.

What is your beauty splurge?

I really have no problem spending money on my hair, but for some reason I do on my skin. I should probably reverse that! I love my hair stylist. I get my hair cut about every three months by Ingrid Trevino at Nancy Angelair  on Rush Street. I’ve followed Ingrid around to three salons. Her blowouts are second to none and she cuts wavy hair so well. I can’t go much longer than three months because my ends get so damaged from heat and styling.

I’ve been using this donut lately to create the perfect bun. It requires a little effort but is so worth it. I was a bridesmaid in a wedding recently and they styled my hair with it so I just held onto it after the wedding. I don’t like too sleek of a look. Just a little bit messy when I wear my hair up.

Where have you been eating lately?

I probably eat out about five nights a week (research!)  My favorite sushi restaurant right now is Kai Zan. It’s BYOB, which is one of my favorite ways to dine. Yuzu has really good maki rolls. I’m on a whiskey kick at the moment, and am enjoying cocktails in a new way with darker spirits. I had this drink called Cocktail at Billy Sunday – potent but very drinkable.

Grange Hall Burger Bar has a gluten-free bun. When I want a true burger experience, that’s my go-to. Bountiful Eatery in Lakeview is a great, healthy gluten-free cafe.  They have these pita wraps with portabella mushrooms or bison burgers inside. It’s affordable and tasty. Prasino is my favorite brunch right now. They have a hippie omelet that is worth looking forward to all week!

Vacation Makeup Bag: Miami Edition


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!

My favorite travel bags are the Stephanie Johnson ML Traveler, and I’ve had it in the Kyoto pattern for years. It fits a ton and has four different compartments which appeals to the perpetual organizer in me. I’m testing a few new products, the Tarte BB Tinted Primer and Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder, so brought both. The other face products are Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Crème Compact and Benefit fakeup, which I’m digging so far. Jouer Bronzer in Suntan will be necessary on this trip and I couldn’t decide between Benefit Fine One One and Tarte Awakening Cheek Stain (a Valentine’s Day gift from my husband!) so I packed them both. Eyes are minimal. I brought my favorite Tarte cream shadow in Shimmering Bronze, a few NARS neutrals (Alhambra!) and CoverGirl Clump Crusher. The lip of this trip is Becca Ultimate Colour Gloss in Miami Vice. Because, obviously, right?

Winter Beauty Survivial: How to Look Radiant


This week has served as a reminder of what winter in Chicago really means. Frigid cold with painful wind chills. I think I’ve softened over the years. While this weather is never welcome and just makes me all around sad for people and animals without homes, it is sort of expected. But it has given me a whole new beauty challenge to tackle. That is, how to not look pale and lifeless. The usual sweep of highlighter over tinted moisturizer just doesn’t do the trick in subzero weather. For those of you feeling frustrated that nothing seems to look good in this weather, you are not alone. No, looking radiant actually takes some work. My approach is to layer brightening products a bit excessively. Overcompensation, if you will.

I like to mix Laura Mercier Radiance Foundation Primer with my moisturizer (the final layer — cause you know one ain’t enough). This product is perfect for winter. The radiance is subtle and though a primer, can be used on top of makeup as a highlighter. One dose of radiance followed by another with BECCA Radiant Skin Satin Finish Foundation. This is like a souped-up tinted moisturizer. I like the extra boost of coverage it lends and the staying power is impressive, despite stubborn wind gusts. For under eyes and along cheekbones, I use a few clicks of  bareminerals Well-Rested Face & Eye Brightener. I consider this stuff to be straight magic. It’s essentially clear yet works in place of concealer. To perk up eyes I pat Origins GinZing Brightening Cream Eyeshadow in Vanilla Vroom all over. It is the perfect match for my skin tone. Then, always, I take Youngblood Eye-Illuminating Duo and swipe the “matte” end along my lower waterline and the “shimmer” end in the inner corner.

Additional makeup is usually a swipe of mascara and a pat of blush. Anything more falls victim to teary eyes. Any tips to winter radiance?