Saturday, April 26, 2014

Experiment of the Week: Pointillist, Seurat-Inspired, "Speckled" Eyes

Some of you may have seen the speckled cat eyes that have been making the rounds on beauty blogs & Instagrams sparked by Jkissa's tutorial, which I love. I decided to take that a step further and create a full-on pointillist-inspired eye look based the colors in Seurat's 1884-6 painting A Sunday on La Grande Jatte. I had so much fun doing this look; even though the basic technique is super simple (I think we can all make dots with liquid liner!) the approach I took was to create an overall sense of light on my lids with whites, yellow and greens and then create shadow in my crease with blues and purples, so playing with colors in that way was really the trick.

Photo source:
I don't have as big a collection of colorful liquid liners as I'd like, so I grabbed several of my gel liners and jumbo pencils to create the shades I wanted. Once I mixed the colors on a small palette (I just used a leftover mini plastic palette and spatula from a Jolen bleaching kit) I used pointed liner brushes to apply the dots. The dots applied in this way came out bigger and less neat than the liquid liner dots, so I applied the cream dots first and the liquid second so that the overall effect would look more polished. I also used the bright blue Sephora liner on both the lid and the crease so that the overall look would be more unified.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Essentials: Eyebrow Extravaganza

Eyebrows: shade-providing friend to our eyes; expressive anchor of our face; damn time-consuming to groom. Developing the eyebrow shaping and styling techniques that work best for you can take lots of time; I've been playing around with mine for years, and I'm still not totally satisfied. But I hope you'll find some of these things I've learned over the years helpful in your brow journey, remembering that nothing I've written below is a hard-and-fast rule. You just have to experiment and adapt the "rules" of eyebrows to what fits your face best!

As a general rule, I believe that the brows you naturally grow are pretty darn close to the brow that'll look best on your face. Of course, there are exceptions on extreme ends of the spectrum: girls with very bushy brows and those with very faint brows will need to do some more work to achieve a look that's polished and frames their face well.

If you have drastically altered the shape and width of your brows with plucking/waxing/threading/whatever, please consider leaving them alone for a month. They may feel unkempt during that time, but I really believe that your original eyebrow was your best guide, again, unless your brows are naturally very, very thick. Once they're grown out, you may want to go in and define your arch a bit more or get rid of some strays. If you've been removing hair from your brow for years via one of those aforementioned methods, there's a possibility that they won't grow back. If that's the case, there are lots of products out there that you can use to create a fuller brow including brow pencils, powders applied with an angle brush and waxes for unruly hairs.

My eyebrows circa December 2012. In retrospect, they 
seem too slim for my face. Not terrible, but I now go with
a more natural look.
When it comes to my personal routine, I don't trust anyone else with threading or waxing them; I pluck them myself. As you can see in the picture to the left, there have been times when I've gone for  a slimmer shape and more dramatic arch for my brows, and I usually ended up regretting that. I started getting too close to the mirror when plucking, debating every single hair and removing some I shouldn't have. It's crucial to remember that your brows add structure to your face overall; they aren't an entity unto themselves and should be considered in relation to the other features on your face. When plucking, take breaks to step away from the mirror every hair or two to see how your brows are looking overall.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Experiment of the Week: Easter Egg Makeup / Springtime Pastels

I live for dramatic, film-noiresque makeup colors like black, plum and emerald, but lately, I've been coming down with pastel spring fever! I think a turning point for me was watching this Lisa Eldridge pastel makeup look (she is my idol by the way; I highly recommend watching every one of her videos multiple times, unless you're not an obsessive superfan like me. In the latter case, just some of her skincare and basic looks are very helpful!). She mentions that unless you're a fair skinned blonde, you need to throw some soft neutrals like taupe into your pastel look to ground your face. Finally, I understood why pastels always made me look so washed-out! If your hair and face have a high level (or any level) of contrast like mine, your eyes and lips need some definition or this song will play every time you enter a room. As you'll see, there are three keys to defining features while letting the pastels shine: tightlining the upper lashline in brown; using a light taupe shadow in the crease; and lining lips with a color a shade deeper than their natural lips before adding a baby-pink lip color. So, let's jump right into this candy-coated, Marshmallow Peeps-approved, sugary unicorn confection of a makeup look!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Hot-Weather Makeup: Dispatch from the Dominican Republic

I'm writing this from a peachy-hued room in the beautiful city of Santo Domingo. I've spent 7 days meeting new people, eating all the great food this city has to offer and, frankly, sweating up a storm. When I was packing for this trip, I tried to be very strategic about the beauty products I packed. I knew I'd be in a climate with high heat & high humidity, which are my skin & hair's nemeses. Yet, I was also meeting my boyfriend's family for the first time, so I still wanted to look polished. So, keep reading for my packing list, the products that sweltered through the weather with me & the ones that slid right off my face. I hope it's helpful as you revise your makeup wardrobe for the summer.

My Traveling Makeup Bag

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Experiment of the Week: Bird of Paradise

Flower photo source

This time next week, I'll be in the Dominican Republic! While it's finally getting a bit warmer here in New York, I still feel like I've only seen gray, black and brown for the last four months. So, to get myself in the warm-weather spirit, I decided to try a very colorful eye makeup look based on the bird of paradise flower. The petals of the plant mimic a series of eyeliner wings so closely (or vise versa!) that I could envision this look right away.