Tag Archives: makeup

I Put a Spell on You

MAC Spellbinder Shadow The future of eyeshadow is here and it looks like a velvet couch from the 70s.

This past weekend, I had a makeup date with MAC Cosmetics Regional Makeup Artist John Naughton at the Michigan Ave boutique. I was curious to get the scoop on MAC’s new magnetic eyeshadows, the Spellbinders.  a.k.a. those velvet couches. Think a more intense version of MAC’s loose pigments ionized in magnetic jars. The texture, velvet to the touch, is unlike anything I’ve seen before. They’re loose but you can shake them upside down and they stay put. Beyond the novelty, the shadows themselves are intensely pigmented with a metallic finish. Definitely not my every day wear, but I was curious to see how they fared.  As always, I left John’s chair with so many useful bits of knowledge that I couldn’t wait to try myself at home and also share with you.

MAC John Naughton Chicago

That’s John!

To prep my lids, John used a fluffy brush to apply Painterly all over my lid. I knew Paint Pots were an awesome base and this was a nice reminder. I’m going to start applying with a brush. He applied the soft greige-y lilac Quarry over Painterly before doing anything else. Quarry was like the home base, do-it-all hero. He kept on going back to Quarry to blend out everything in the crease. We also did the eyes first – something I almost never do but should. Especially when you’re out to make a mess.

MAC Spellbinder

MAC Spellbinder Dynamically Charged

MAC Spellbinder ShadowJohn layered the Spellbinder shadows in Dynamically Charged and Retrograde on the lid, concentrating the coppery Dynamically Charged on the inner and center of the lid. I love this color – it’s the most neutral of the bunch. They stay well on the lids and I think would be a lot more user-friendly at home than the pigments (I can’t be trusted with loose shadows!)  He sprayed the brush first with Fix+ which also helps any loose bits stay on the brush and intensify the shadows even more. Retrograde challenged my comfort zone in the outer corner but I was into the bold look. I do think that layering these over a black liner close to the lash line is how I would wear Spellbinders in my daily life. They just come to life over a black base.

Mac Soft and Gentle

John went minimal makeup on my skin, using the new Studio Fix concealer sticks instead of foundation and dusting a layer of the new Studio Fix loose powder to set everything. It didn’t feel like I was wearing any makeup. On my cheeks, John mixed the same brush in Soft and Gentle Mineralize Skin Finish (a peachy bronze highlighter) with Gentle Blush and spritzed it with Fix+ to apply slightly damp. The technique was really cool and something I’m trying at home.

MAC Liptensity

mac liptensity smoked almond

I have been wearing almost exclusively MAC’s Liptensity shades this month and John kept with my plan and applied the rosy brown nude Smoked Almond to finish the look.

It was a ton of fun to experiment with the Spellbinders under the guide of a MAC makeup artist. I’m reminded of how much I really love the brand and how fun it can be when you go beyond your daily routine.

On the Celeb Makeup Front

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 07: Taraji P. Henson at MAC Michigan Avenue on September 7, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for MAC)

Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for MAC

Makeup and celebrities go together like me and wine. The connection between the two is always evolving but never wavering.  From being the face of the line to actually developing their own makeup.  Even with the welcome rise of YOU-lebrity (Glossier, anyone?), cosmetic companies will still be a medium for bringing us access to celebs. You know, by way of lipstick. Or in the case of MAC’s most recent collab with actress Taraji Henson, by way of highlighter. With anything, though, its success lies in its authenticity. MAC is known for its celeb partnerships – they release dozens each year that sell out almost as soon as they launch.

Last week, when I was standing in line outside of the MAC Cosmetics store on Michigan Ave waiting to meet Taraji Henson who was launching her three-piece collection in person, I noticed the women standing with me were as excited about the makeup as they were to meet Cookie. “The things we do to feed our makeup addiction,” I heard, as we were all trying to cope with the muggy weather. Taraji is a true MAC girl – she told stories about shopping at the mall growing up and showed everyone how she layered her Mineralize Skin Finishes for that perfect “Taraji Glow” – also the name of one of the sold out powders.  Her obvious influence on the products makes it easy to see why it sold out instantly (before her Mom could even order!)

Victoria Beckham Estee Lauder

If you’d asked me a few years ago, I might have attributed the allure of a celeb makeup line to be about attaining the unattainable. Now, I think it’s about relatability. Like, me and Posh wear the same bronzer so we could be besties, right? We all get ready in the morning to be our best self. We’re the same! ICYMI: Victoria Beckham for Estee Lauder launched this week…and quickly sold out of a few items. It’s Posh so it’s ridiculously glam in that Posh way. The black and gold compacts, statement lips and very evening eyes. Somehow the flack she got for posting a “5 Minute Face” video that clearly showed her “with face” before she started made sense, at least to me. It’s Posh; do we really expect her to be skipping steps for the sake of beating the clock?

And, let us not forget the fast beauty empire Kylie Jenner is building…

About That Bathroom Clutter

Kleenex Radiant Self

I’ve got a serious yin yang situation happening in my bathroom. Against the wall – my beauty annex– there is straight chaos (see Insta proof of my clutter!) Then, there’s this serene sink top where I get ready and wash my face.  Truth: I keep it minimal.  I’ll say though, even in my chaos is a real sense of organization. Trays, glass jars for lipstick, lucite drawers to organize makeup, repurposed candles for lip gloss. Everything has a home; there are just a few too many residents.

The sink side (the yin?) is pared down with some new cleansing staples from Kleenex, of all brands. Why haven’t they been in the makeup removal business previously? I mean, it just makes so much sense. There are five pieces to this line and they’re all super smart and useful. Think refillable containers of facial cleansing wipes, eye makeup removers, exfoliating cushions that you activate with water—a no-brainer for travel; no liquids! And these super swanky cotton soft pads that feel luxe to the touch and are perfect for applying toner or even removing makeup with coconut oil.

I’ve put these to work this past month and am a genuine fan. Kleenex sent me a set but I am getting ready to place my own order for some refills. I definitely have some favorites.

Kleenex Eye Makeup Removers

Kleenex Facial Cleansing Wipe

Kleenex Exfoliating Cushion

I really like the eye makeup removers. They remove waterproof mascara and are gentle – both in formula and feel. No tugging and zero irritation. I love my coconut oil but sometimes I get it in my eyes and fog up my contacts. These are easy.

Same goes for the Facial Cleansing Wipe. I’ve been using the Glossier Milky Jelly to wash my face but sometimes first use a wipe around my hair and jaw line where I apply bronzer so I really get all of makeup off. Following up with the cotton and toner helps along those parts of my face, too.

The exfoliating cushions are uber smart. You just add water and massage onto your face for a serious lather. I’ll be honest, I really thought these would dry my skin out but they did not, at all.

Oh, and there is also a purse component: Shine Away Sheets. For now, the full line and those lovely refills are only available at Kleenex online.

Whatcha guys think?

note: Kleenex provided me with the products and asked me for my thoughts. As always, those thoughts are mine and mine alone. Thanks all for the continued support!

Statement Blush

Bright Pink Blush

This week has me all out of sorts. Could be the staying out late on Sunday for the Oscar’s, Leap Day, snow on March 1, Donald Trump or lack of endorphin release (physical activity has taken a backburner – eek!)

I’m feeling the winter blues, bigtime. I see it in my face, too. I’ve been a little dry and a lot sallow. I’ve had to bust out the mega-brightening makeup. a.k.a. highlighter is not optional. I’m strobing, hard.  I’ve also been using cream everything lately because WINTER and going a little heavier on blush.  I realize that I can be too subtle sometimes. I’ll see myself in a picture and think, hmm…more blush would have made this better. I know cameras eat blush but I think my morning commute does, too. By the time I get to work, I feel less fresh-faced. I’m no stranger to a statement cheek so have been taking cues from years’ past and dialing it up.

Right now, I’m 100% into a bright pink cheek. Stowaway’s Peony, RMS Sublime (technically a Lip Shine but so perfect on cheeks) and IT Cosmetics CC+ Vitality Brightening Crème Blush in Je Ne Sais Quoi. Despite how bright they look, they are all extremely wearable. The IT Cosmetics actually has collagen and silk in the formula – that’s some next level blushing.

Also, one of the most beautiful blushes (ever) is Chantecaille Cheek Gelee in Happy. This is a soft pink sheer blush. It’s more subtle radiance than it is statement maker but it’s completely beautiful and brightening. I saw that Reese Witherspoon’s makeup artist used this shade on her at the Oscar’s and layered another Chantecaille blush over it for more pop. So, now, I’m trying the layering bit out for more oomph. I absolutely loved Reese’s makeup at the Oscar’s. It was statement everything but her cheeks were on point.

The good news is that it’s Wednesday and I’m having a good cheek day. The week can only go up from here, yes?

Shades of Gold

Initial Makeup Bag

Gold makeup is always part of the holiday beauty conversation. As it should be. It’s festive, sparkly and looks great on pretty much everyone. But, here’s the thing: it’s also really great beyond the holidays. Say, when you return from Miami with a sniffly nose and pathetic cough and the accompanying red nose, dry cheeks and foggy eyes. Winter skin and gold do wonders for the complexion. I fooled everyone all weekend! I’ll be gilding my face for New Year’s Eve with my gold trifecta (eyes, lips + cheeks!) and a boat load of liquid liner and mascara but wanted to share the everyday shades of gold look I’ve been favoring.


EcoTools Complexion Collection

For my cheeks, I take ILIA’s Illuminator in Cosmic Dancer – any gold cream highlighter will do – and give a few swipes on my cheekbones then blend it in using EcoTools Eye Perfecting Brush and drag it around the curve toward my outer eye. This brush is part of the Complexion Collection and as is the case with me and my beloved EcoTools, I always use these brushes in unintended ways! This is *technically* for blending concealer – the shape mimics a fingertip – so it’s perfect for blending in precisely. Using whatever’s left on the brush, I also dab it in a few other areas that I’d normally highlight.

Urban Decay Easy Baked

Gold Makeup Look

For eyes, it’s all about the layer. The key is to go for colors in the gold family so you have more dimension. I start with something deeper – my fav ILIA Silken Shadow Stick in ‘Next to You’ – all over my lid and lower lash line. I get the best results blending it in with EcoTools Blend and Smudge double-sided brush from the Eye Enhancing Duo. From there, I use EcoTools flat Large Shadow brush (secret: it’s not that large and part of this awesome Essential Eye set) to layer a powder shadow in a similar color over. For the finishing touch, I use the EcoTools Smudge Brush (also from the Essential Eye set and slightly smaller than the double-sided version) to layer a pale gold in the inner corners and center.

W3LL People Gold Bio Extreme Gloss

W3ll People Bio Extreme Gloss Gold

Last, but maybe most impactful, is a gold lip gloss. I know, that could get really excessive in theory, but the gold W3LL People Bio Extreme Gloss has just a hint of shimmer and loads of natural shine. It’s actually liquid crystal. Fun, right?

Wherever your plans take you this New Year’s Eve, I hope you have a great time!

This post was sponsored by EcoTools. All opinions, thoughts and experiences are 100% my own. Thank you, as always, for reading and supporting!  

Magic’s in the Makeup

Urban Decay Gwen Stefani

What was your first concert?

I think I was 13 when I saw No Doubt. Thank g*d I started out a lifelong live music passion with something other than NKOTB. Years later, I would surrender any cool girl-ness by screaming like a lovesick nut at a NSYNC show, but at least I started out with Gwen. I had to listen to Tragic Kingdom in full recently – such a great album.

UD x Gwen Stefani

UD x Gwen

I can usually breeze by a celeb-fronted makeup collab. I cannot, however, gloss past a new Naked-esque Urban Decay eyeshadow palette. Is there a magnetic force around these palettes or something? Every single time. Plus, it’s Gwen. You may think punk past and bold fashion equals crazy colors but nah. The UD x Gwen Stefani palette might be the best non-Naked Naked eyeshadow palette ever.  I’m betting that Gwen loves those Naked palettes just as much as we do. I think she just one upped the whole lot!

Details are everything here. The case looks like a collection of tiny eye shadow-sized vinyls and scripted on the mirror is a No Doubt song title, “Magic’s in the Makeup.” Gwen carefully selected the shades and the names are inspired by her life and career. I love every shade, including the lavender pink – very wearable layered with the soft brown colors or buffed out with the cream shade. But my favorite everyday combo is the rose gold Baby and deep burgundy Punk.

And, just in time to mess with your plans to shop for everyone else but yourself for the holidays, behold: it’s back in stock. Welp.

The Best Kept Secret in Makeup is Out

Ciate Olivia Palermo

Familiar with the nail polish from Ciate? See-ah-tay. Ya know, the one with the bows, from across the pond? Turns out they have a seriously incredible makeup line. Talk about flying under the radar! Or, have I been simply not paying attention? Either way, Ciate just blew my mind with their Olivia Palermo makeup line. This isn’t just some vanity line with a well-known name and Creative Director title attached – it’s beautifully crafted makeup. Makes sense that Olivia would create a killer makeup collection – girl has an enviable personal style and signature beauty look. Try and tell me you haven’t pinned at least one image of her to some #inspo board.

Olivia Palermo Ciate

Everything is based on the textures of fabrics and accessories. The compacts mimic leather, the eye shadows suede, the lipsticks satin. I am floored by the Gel Kohl eyeliners – encased in a sleek gold tube with an angled brush on one end that I would pay for separately! Oh, and the fact that it is a gel kohl eyeliner that does not transfer or smudge throughout the day. Tiny miracle. The Fig color is dreamy. The pièce de résistance is the Smokey Suedes Eye Palette. The shadows actually feel like suede and they layer well, like your favorite cardigan does over everything and anything. There’s something so awesome about a great makeup discovery to get you excited again! Guys, I’m excited!!

All About That Base

bare Minerals Complexion Rescue

You know, I REALLY am all about that base. Seriously. No skin trouble.

It’s high time for trying new foundations. Something about winter gets you really in tune with your skin needs. In my case, gimme all the moisture and extra dew. That about describes the new bareMinerals Complexion Rescue. It’s like a BB, CC and tinted moisturizer in one. Superior to just any one of those products, though.  And, I’ve got to say, in the most eloquent way: it feels bomb diggity on the face. Especially when using this brush!

Bare Minerals Smoothing Face Brush

The makers at bareMinerals took an opposites approach to formulating Complexion Rescue and made it so mineral-infused water hits the skin first, followed by color and other hydrating humectants. Apparently, in other TMs, BBs and CCs, it’s usually the reverse. If you too geek out over science-y demos, just watch this.  Mind kind of blown, yes?

This is the kind of makeup for people that don’t really like wearing makeup, and that’s what I love. It enhances what you’re working with but also conceals the right amount. Your freckles will still shine through!

I’m over at Clementine Daily with More on Complexion Rescue and our mission for More in general.