Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Minor Interruption

Don’t you hate it when bloggers get all “Sorry I haven’t posted!”?  Me too, but that’s exactly what this post is going to be, unfortunately. Bear with me and your regularly scheduled content will be up and running ASAP!

For those of you don’t know, I live in a region of north Alabama that was severely affected by tornadoes last week.  We’ve been without electricity since Wednesday afternoon.  Silence and darkness suddenly reigns supreme in an age when we’ve grown up accustomed to noise and light at our every whim.  The sense of isolation and feeling cut off from the rest of the world is surreal and bizarre.      

Some businesses are able to operate on generators, though.  I'm typing this on the floor of a dark room in a computer store that mysteriously and blessedly has free WIFI.  Last night my friend Lori Anne (you'll meet her in a post soon, I did her makeup on a photoshoot!) and I went to a restaurant the next town over and were able to watch Royal Wedding Coverage!  We were glued to the screen like a pair of ecstatic hillbillies for the better part of an hour, gushing over Kate's dresses.

In any case, I haven't forgotten about you lovelies!  I've been planning and writing out blog posts in longhand.  Fabulous things are still in the works.  I'll be updating as regularly and as often as I can until our we get electricity back into our homes and can get back to a proper schedule! 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Best Red Lipsticks (and how to wear them!)

No makeup item is more glamorous and show-stopping than red lipstick!  This is not for those who are shy; red is guaranteed to get you noticed (in a good way, of course!).  If you want to change up your look, wear something bold, and bring a little glamour into your life, red lipstick is the easiest and quickest way to do it!

Since red lipstick is so bold, it usually looks best if you keep the rest of your makeup relatively simple.  Black eyeliner and lots of mascara is all you really need!  False eyelashes work wonders if you know how to apply them (tutorial coming soon!).  If you want a little extra glam for evening, sweep a shimmery neutral eyeshadow all over your eyelid, and lightly blend a dark brown shadow into your crease.   

L to R: Revlon, MAC, Chanel, Dior, Urban Decay

Best Drugstore Red:  Revlon Super Lustrous Certainly Red
Revlon has the best red lipsticks of any other drugstore brand; all of them are great, but my favorite is Certainly Red.  It's a fantastic bargain and almost as good as MAC.  Almost.

Best Matte Red: MAC Russian Red
There's a reason this shade is a top five favorite of makeup artists, celebrities, and just about every lady who wears lipstick, period.  Gwen Stefani adores it.  Dita Von Teese swears by it.  Russian Red is just that good.  It's a color as legendary and flattering as NARS's Orgasm blush and definitely a red lipstick staple!  It stays put for ages, hardly fades, and delivers the most saturated color of any lipstick I've used.

Best Red Lipgloss:  Urban Decay Pocket Rocket
The packaging is kind of gimmicky (holographic boys! pheromones molded into the plastic tube!), but once you get past it, there are two amazing red lipgloss shades in this collection.  Eric is a true red, while Colin is a brilliant orange red (yes, the shades are named after boys as well).  The gloss is thick but not gloopy and the colors look amazing alone or layered over lipstick.  It's especially perfect if you want to try red lips but still keep the color sheer.

Best Red Lipstick Formula: Dior Addict Red Carpet
AKA the most hydrating lipstick you will ever wear.  It feels like lip balm and shines a little like gloss but lasts like a lipstick!  The light formula is fabulous for summer.

Best Red Ever: Chanel Rouge Allure Passion
Though all the lipsticks on this list are the best of the best, this is the one I wear most often!  It's not the first red lipstick I ever bought, but it's the first I fell in love with.  It's absolutely perfect.  The formula is a little waxy so the color stays forever, but isn't drying like matte lipsticks can be.  I like to dab and blot it on my lips rather than drag the lipstick across.  The packaging is unique and glamorous.  It's pricey but unbelievably chic and the color is marvelous!  It's like a little tube of elegance, I love it.  

Red Lipstick Essentials: Primer, pretty compact mirror, black eyeliner, false eyelashes!

Bonus!  Super cool outfit ideas for rocking red lips.

Red lips, black dress
Lilly fancied herself a "goth" in high school and even though she abandoned the combat boots and stark white face powder years ago, she never got over her penchant for black clothing and serious footwear.

red lips, navy dress
Julia's secret once-in-a-while weekend activity was to dress up, head to a coffee shop on the other side of town, and flirt in a faux-French accent with the cute guy behind the counter who made her caramel macchiato and thought her name was Angelique.

red lips, jeans
Carmen was named after the heroine of the famous opera, had an encyclopedic knowledge of British rock bands, and loved prowling for hidden treasures in record stores more than anything in the world.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Oh Hush Face Serum Saved My Skin!

The downside of beauty writing is testing lots and lots of skincare products.  Well, okay, actually that's pretty fabulous in and of itself, but when a new product makes my skin BURN, things get ugly.  Really ugly.  So ugly, in fact, that my skin wasn't the same for a week.  My skin was furious and back-talking me like a rebellious teenager!  It was unacceptable and needed to get under control, stat.  Concealer only goes so far!  In a fit of desperation I searched drugstore shelves high and low for a quick fix, but to no avail.  "Why can't there just be a product that says 'this will make your skin calm the eff down!'?"  I wondered in a head-swirling panic.

Luckily, such a product DOES exist!!!  And just in time!  Everblossom's Oh Hush serum was released a little over a week ago and is made to specifically address grouchy skin!  Isn't the name just perfect?  Oh Hush contains steam distilled ylang ylang and lavender essential oils to whip your skin back into submission the next time it opens up a big fresh mouth!   I've used lavender masks before, so I know my skin responds really well to its calming properties. Plus, I've learned lavender oil is a sort of miracle potion that can help heal burns, calm migraines, and fix a ton of other ailments.  I couldn't get Oh Hush absorbing into my skin fast enough!

I adore everything about Oh Hush, literally everything.  It comes in a huge two ounce glass bottle with a glass dropper that will last, oh, forever!  A drop on my forehead, chin, and both cheeks is all I need to cover my whole face (but of course I use more than that!).  I love the super cool font on the label and how pretty the bottle looks on my nightstand.  The scent is purely delightful.  I'm a sucker for almost anything lavender scented anyway!  Best of all, this serum seriously works.  It delivers clear, calm, smooth skin, exactly like it promises!  Oh Hush absorbs quickly into your pores to deliver calming nutrients to the very deepest layer of your skin.  It's so simple and yet unbelievably luxurious!  Really, I can't say enough good things about this product. 

Nightstand essentials
I feel especially great about purchasing from Everblossom.  You may recall my interview with Kylie, the owner, and my enthusiasm over the body butter she also created!  What I really love, though, is the mission statement on her blog.  Kylie believes that all-natural, healthy skincare products should be available and affordable for everyone.  Her business philosophy is our benefit!  I love supporting Everblossom and will be making an effort to start purchasing more products from indie companies.  Support small businesses, there are tons out there to suit anyone's fancy!  Good karma all around!     

P.S. Kylie will be hosting a giveaway once her Everblossom Facebook page reaches fifty "likes"!  Go go go!  She does custom orders for scented lotions too, and will go to great lengths to make your wishes a reality!  She's working hard on a violet scent for me right now and I can't wait :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Can't Stop Using: Lip Scrub (plus how to make your own!)

Good scrubs are the sort of product every woman should own, whether she wears makeup or not.  I'm especially loving Laura Geller's Lip Strip, which gently exfoliates your lips with sugar and a tingling dash of minty freshness.  Dry cracked lips are a thing of the past and my lipstick goes on much more evenly!  A one ounce jar is $19, but it's simple to make your own lip scrub, too!

You need some fine granulated sugar, a carrier oil (sesame or jojoba oil if you can find them, though olive oil will also work), and a drop or two of lemon juice, peppermint oil, and/or spearmint oil.  The mint oils are optional, but I think they're a nice extra touch!  Make sure to store it in a little jar or other airtight container and this DIY scrub will last for about two weeks.  Massage into your lips as often as you like!

Whether you exfoliate with a commercial or DIY lip scrub, be sure to follow up with a lip balm to moisturize and protect your lips.  I'm really loving Burt's Bees Replenishing pomegranate oil lip balm right now!  It smells delicious and is super hydrating.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Birchbox: Better Than a Magazine Subscription

Who doesn't love getting packages in the mail?  I know I do!  And if the package contains makeup and beauty samples, why, so much the better! This weekend a box was delivered straight to my door with five deeeeluxe samples to test and try out!  Next month, another similar box will arrive with all new samples nestled inside.  How, you ask?

Birchbox!  This genius startup company sends a ten dollar box o' samples to your mailbox each month and offers extra incentives (like ten dollar coupons and other rewards) to purchase the products you liked best from their website.  Each box contains five HUGE sample sizes and are a different surprise every month!  It's an incredible bargain and perfect for anyone looking for new products (and really, who isn't?) or as a gift for a friend who loves cosmetics.

And they're packaged up so nicely!  Take a look:

And now, the loot inside!  In honor of Earth Day this month, Birchbox has chosen samples from eco-friendly companies and included adorable seed paper cards that grow into wildflowers if you plant them.  Isn't that clever?

From left to right:

Lavanilla The Healthy Body Butter: I was amazed at the sample size of this vanilla lavender scented cream.  It's almost three ounces!  Which is enormous, considering I've paid $8 for a 2 ounce Tocca hand cream before.  This sample is worth way more than $2 (the approximate cost of each sample per box).  Anyway, the Healthy Body Butter is nourishing, lighter than most body butters, and the vanilla lavender scent is incredibly calming.  It's perfect for applying right before bed for ultimate relaxation.  Plus, it contains no harsh chemicals so it's especially great for those with sensitive skin. 

LIV GRN Earth Eau de Parfum:  I was honestly kind of apprehensive of this sample, because in my mind, eco-friendly perfume can mean only one thing: patchouli.  But I was pleasantly surprised!  This perfume has top notes of jasmine and green leaves with undertones of sandalwood so it's light, airy, and slightly sexy.  It initially smelled a lot like rubbing alcohol, but as it dried, the floral and green notes emerged.  I like it, but I'm not sure it's a scent I'd actually wear.  And such is the beauty of the Birchbox!  I can pass this along to my hippie-esque friend Marian and immediately try something else.  Nice!     

Zoya Nail Polish in Jules:  Natural nail polish?  For real!  Zoya's polishes contain no formaldehyde, toluene, phthalates, or camphor.  Brilliant!   I know a lot of people associate natural products with inferior quality, but I could tell no difference between it and my beloved OPI polishes except for one thing:  Zoya applied flawlessly with just one coat.  I usually end up applying three coats of polish, so this is pretty impressive to me.  Jules is a super trendy shimmery golden khaki shade that would look lovely with a tan.  I'm rather pale so I'm not convinced it suits me, what do you think?

Also included was a little booklet with swatch photos of every shade Zoya has released and a swatch sampler to see how their new Intimate polish collection would actually appear on your own nails.  They have an incredible selection of colors that rivals other top nail polish companies for sure.  I definitely plan to buy more polishes from Zoya in the future.

Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair Moisturizer:  This is the one sample that's in a teeny packet, and unfortunately it's the sample I liked best.  Nevermind that I already have two fancy moisturizers in regular rotation (one for brightening and one that's extra soothing), I'm always looking for another to suit my skin.  And I may just end up purchasing this one from Juice Beauty!  First, it smells amazing, like lemony sassafras.  The texture is perfect, not greasy, and it absorbs like nothing else I've ever tried.  No weird residue is left behind, just smooth hydrated skin!  And maybe it's just my imagination, but I swear I can feel my pores tightening.  This product is marvelous!      

Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel:  I was most excited about this sample, especially after being so thrilled with Juice Beauty's moisturizer, but the peel was rather lackluster.  The tube claims it provides "spa grade exfoliation, revealing a brighter complexion while firming the skin and eliminating fine lines and wrinkles".  I left it on for ten minutes and was also assured on the package that "flushing and tingling are normal".  I waited, but...I couldn't actually feel it doing anything.  No exfoliation, no tingling, nothing.  The peel dried and tightened a bit, but that's the only sort of result I could tell.  Maybe it requires long term usage to really see results.  I'll keep trying it and report back if anything changes!     

And that concludes this month's Birchbox!  I've got a fabulous new moisturizer from a company I never otherwise would have tried, discovered how great eco-friendly nail polish really is, and slept better from the relaxing scent of a new body butter.  I can't wait till next month's box arrives!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Peter Thomas Roth Unwrinkle Concealer/Brightener

Lately the beginning steps of my makeup routine have consisted of using whatever tinted moisturizer has been on HauteLook recently (Alison Raffaele for now!) and this amazing concealer.  Peter Thomas Roth's Un-Wrinkle Concealer/Brightener duo is definitely one of my new all time favorites.  One end is obviously a concealer; it matches my skin perfectly, blends like a dream, and covers up any imperfections that tinted moisturizer just doesn't, like redness and undereye circles.
The other side is a brightener, a very very pale lightweight shimmer that looks so good blended on the apples of your cheeks, directly underneath your eyebrow arch, and on either side of the bridge of your nose, where shadows are most prevalent.  It's like magic in a tube and will leave you with a perfectly glowing complexion. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Face Serum: What You Need to Know

Skincare products can be confusing to navigate with all the little tubes and jars and bottles full of promises.  Should you pick retinol or vitamin C?  Sun protection or paraben free?  Scrub or mask?  It can get pretty mindblowing, even for product addicts like myself.  One type of product in particular I've always been curious about is face serum.  What exactly is it, what does it do, should I use one?!  I'm willing to bet a lot of you have wondered the same thing!  So here's the deal:

While moisturizers absorb into your skin to keep it hydrated, the smaller molecules of serums allow ingredients and nutrients to absorb even deeper into your pores for more effective treatments.  Think back to high school biology class for a second: remember how your skin has three layers?  A moisturizer will only absorb into the top layer of your skin, but a serum can absorb through all three layers.  If you've got a skin issue that really needs to be addressed, such as fine lines or an uneven skintone, a serum is definitely the way to go.  If hydration and protection is all you need, a moisturizer is your best bet.

Serums work best when applied at night on slightly damp skin.  It should be applied after toner (or after washing your face, if you don't use toner) but before your moisturizer.  Some serums provide all the hydration your skin needs, so you won't even have to use a moisturizer!  If not, though, wait at least five minutes to allow to serum to really soak in before applying anything else.  Applying it right before bed allows the serum to absorb overnight for maximum effectiveness. 

There are many different kinds of serum to target different skin issues, but here are a few standouts to keep your skin glowing and gorgeous whether you need aging protection or general skin improvement.

Best Overall:
Peter Thomas Roth Radiance Oxygenating Serum ($65): I'm obsessed with oxygen-related skincare products. Even though there isn't a whole lot of scientific evidence to back it up, my skin always feels incredible after I use oxygen products.  I can't think of anything more amazing than oxygen soaking deep into my pores.

Best Natural:
By Elizabeth Dehn The Serum ($48): Elizabeth Dehn (AKA Beauty Bets) is my beauty blogging hero.  Her skincare collection just launched this week, featuring luxury products with all natural ingredients!  The Serum contains eleven different plant-based oils to target any skin complaint you can think of AND smells like roses.

Best Bargain:
Boots No. 7 Protect & Perfect Intense Beauty Serum ($23):   Seventy percent of reviewers on can't be wrong; they all saw noticeable results, and eighty five percent saw an improvement in skin texture.  These reviews almost exactly reflect the company's clinical trials, so if you want a great skincare bargain, look no further.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Nail Polishes: Orly Space Cadet and Sephora by OPI Mash-Up

I'm obsessed with the complexity of these two metallic nail polishes.  I could stare at them for hours, watching all the subtle shimmery color changes.  Both are iridescent and reflect a gorgeous variety of shades. 

Orly Space Cadet ($10) looks exactly like it sounds: futuristic, bold, the nail polish equivalent of "Major Tom" by the Shiny Toy Guns.  In bright light it reflects fuchsia, bright gold, and deep green from different angles.  In low light the color is more violet.

Sephora by OPI in Mash-Up ($9.50) is from the new Glee collection and is Space Cadet's lighter counterpart.  I don't watch Glee, but I secretly kind of enjoy their mash up songs, especially this one.  Mash-Up reflects silver, hot pink, mint green, and even faintly gold toward the edges.

Photographing the complex iridescence of these colors was pretty difficult, but you can see it a little better in the pictures of the individual polish bottles.  Sephora's website describes Mash-Up as "opalescent grey", but it's SO much more than that.  Space Cadet is, too.  Which one would you wear most?

Monday, April 11, 2011

NEW! Benefit Cha Cha Tint

Benefit has announced the upcoming release of their brand new lip and cheek stain shade, and I'm already completely in love with the product name.  Cha Cha Tint will join Posie Tint and the original BeneTint in June 2011 as a lovely mango coral color that is absolutely perfect for warmer weather.  I know many, many lovely girls who consider BeneTint or Posie Tint their favorite, must have products.  I confess: I've tried both, and I've never understood the appeal.  Before you send a lynch mob after me, this gorgeous Cha Cha Tint makes me want to give the product a second chance!  I've been scouting for coral lip colors and definitely plan to try Cha Cha Tint as soon as possible.

If you're a BeneTint or Posie Tint devotee, I'd love to hear about it!  I think the nail polish-like applicator is what really turned me off those two; all I managed to get was a thin line of color on my cheeks that was not unlike war paint.  At this point I feel like I'm missing out!  Do you have any stunning application tips?

Stylish Blogger Award!

Melina Bee honored me with an award for stylish bloggers.  Very thoughtful and exciting!  I love the Pay It Forward-ness of it.

The Rules:
1) Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.
2) Share 7 things about yourself.
3) Award 10 recently discovered bloggers.
4) Contact those bloggers and let them know they’ve won.

Seven Things I Haven't Mentioned Here Before:

1. I'll finish up my degree in medical laboratory science this winter!  That means, upon graduation and taking my certification exam, I'll be eligible to work in a hospital laboratory, perform tests, and analyze all sorts of patient specimens.  Like blood work and that sort of thing.  Interesting stuff!

2. I adore animals.  Right now I have a Maine Coon cat named Chin who plays fetch and is almost always my constant companion at home.  She's fantastic.  One day I'd also like to have a papillon or maybe a greyhound.

Chin--she's the prettiest girl in the world

3.  Honestly, I love music even more than makeup.  Thanks to my dad, I have a pretty extensive collection of rare vinyl records.  My favorite is a certified gold Beatles record to commemorate their selling over a million copies of the single "Here Comes The Sun"!   Sometimes I really miss working in a music store.

4.  Although camping is not exactly my idea of a good time, at least once in my life I want to go camp at Burning Man, Bonnaroo, or Coachella.  Those festivals sound so incredibly fun and I think it would be the ultimate out-of-my-comfort-zone experience for me.

5. I despise most "chick flicks."  The Notebook makes me cringe and most romantic comedies these days are utterly insipid and predictable.  But oh god do I love Sex and the City... 

6. I'm obsessed with the idea of modifying a pair of heels into the heel-less shoes Daphne Guinness wears.  I found how-to instructions online, now I just need a pair of shoes to mutilate.  Wish me luck!


7.  It absolutely blows my mind that so many fascinating, wonderful people are interested in what I write here.  You guys are the BEST and I can never thank you enough.

I'm awarding:

Friday, April 8, 2011

Inspiration: Gwen Stefani

Gwen Stefani is pretty much my hero.  I mean, really, do you know another celebrity who can rock pink hair and red lipstick at once?

Gwen is also phenomenally talented...touring with No Doubt during pregnancy, two solo albums, designing her own fashion & perfume labels, raising two sons, and keeping her marriage strong.  She writes incredibly personal lyrics and is the the sort of down-to-earth megastar you feel like could still be your BFF (yeah, I've been listening to Return of Saturn a lot lately).  Plus she rocks red lipstick and black liquid eyeliner like nobody's business and has worn bindi, jelly rolls, and even braces on the red carpet.  Seriously, how cool is she?!   Okay, enough gushing.

 Now, Gwen is adding "L'Oreal spokesmodel" to her list of fabulous accomplishments.  She's the face of the brand's new Infallible Le Rouge lipstick line (not to be confused with their original long wearing lip colour).

In her song "Orange County Girl", Gwen makes allusions to "selling makeup at the mall" -- in reality, she worked at a MAC counter!  She admits to having an appreciation for MAC's popular favorite Russian Red matte lipstick.  What else does Gwen love?

Dior Skinflash Radiance Booster pen: Gwen uses this both under and over her makeup to cover undereye circles and other imperfections.

Pantene Pro-V Sheer Volume hairspray: Gwen's hairdresser uses this to create all those incredible hairstyles.  Need I say more?

SPF 50: Though I don't know the exact brand she wears, Gwen never leaves the house without SPF 50 on her face and body.  Even though she grew up in southern California, she still has porcelain, undamaged skin.

MAC Cream Color Base in Fawntastic:  It's a bronzer!  No, wait, a highlighter!  It's even an eyeshadow base!  Gwen loves this super versatile product so much, it's even been spotted behind the scenes at her L.A.M.B. fashion shows and on models.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Weird Obsession: Turquoise Eyeliner

Urban Decay's 24/7 Glide On eyeliner pencils are like, the Holy Grail of makeup, hands down.  They come in all the best colors, apply effortlessly, and stay put for hours.  The only downside the price.  I've particularly been obsessed with Flipside (seen at far left), the most incredible bright turquoise color in the world, but at $18, I couldn't really justify spending that much on a color I wasn't sure I'd actually wear.  It's one thing to love turquoise; it's quite another to love it on your eyes, right?   

I finally found a near dupe of Flipside from NYX with their Aqua Glitter eyeliner pencil.  I'm not usually a fan of pencil eyeliners.  Most of the time I have to press down uncomfortably hard and repeatedly on my eyelid to get the proper shade, but NYX's pencil eyeliner applied almost as smoothly and painlessly as Urban Decay's.  And it's so perfectly subtle!  Turquoise eyeshadow might be a little too '80s for me, but as eyeliner it's the most amazing hint of color.  I applied a thin line of black liquid liner to make the blue even less obvious, and the effect is better than I could have imagined!  I made several attempts to photograph it on, but the color is actually much brighter than what you see in the picture below.   

Turquoise is surprisingly wearable and almost universally flattering.  Chances are, this will look amazing on you!  Go try it out.  I know I want to try every shade of colored eyeliner ever now.

I'm also trying to experiment with photographing color swatches, but with each picture it only becomes more evident that I fail horribly at photography.  I can no longer place the blame on my camera, the true culprit is just my regrettable Lack of Skills.   Any tips for taking pictures of color swatches would be amazingly helpful and appreciated!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Best Kept Secret: TKB Trading


A colored mica is the ingredient behind the colors of many, many eyeshadows.  Several companies have been notorious for ordering TKB Trading wholesale micas and repackaging them as a unique, finished eyeshadow.  Colored mica alone is not a finished product; fixatives are added to make the color last longer and apply more evenly, but will not alter the shade of the mica alone.  While most companies create truly unique colors by mixing micas and pigments, some mica shades are already fantastic colors and inevitably left unaltered.

I suspect such is the case with TKB's Dragonfly mica.  From what I can tell, it's more or less identical to a shade found in eyeshadow collections from two different high end cosmetic companies.  After swatching both shades at Sephora, the two are near duplicates of each other; both are a reddish brown with a reflective greenish-blue sheen.  Which is exactly how TKB describes their Dragonfly mica, and how it looks swatched here.  I don't mean to make any accusations that these higher-end companies repackage their eyeshadows (they obviously don't, as both shadows are pressed and the mica is loose powder).  Rather, my point is that I'm excited to find this unusual shade elsewhere and for a much cheaper price.

With the mind boggling array of colored micas TKB offers, plus finishing ingredients and other supplies, essentially anyone now has the ability to mix their own eyeshadows!  And it's all so CHEAP!  They've combined ingredients into a kit including enough product to make 30+ eyeshadows for only $22.  I love that TKB even includes gloves.  For separate mica colors, an entire ounce of pigment is around $4.  Four dollars!  They also offer supplies for mixing lipstick, soap, nail polish, bath salts, and so much more.  TKB even sells makeup brushes at wholesale prices!  I'm tempted to never buy another eyeshadow again without consulting this website first, and I can't wait to place my order.  The minimum order is $19.00, but that will get you an insane amount of product!  Everything comes in little bags, which is kind of a pain, but they sell jars, too.  Whatever you can think of, it seems TKB has got you covered!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Sucker Punch Movie Makeup: Interview With the Artist

 Sad (?) but true fact: I often pick movies to go see based solely on the costumes and/or makeup.  Which is why the trailer for Zack Synder's new movie Sucker Punch with its awesome special effects, an even better soundtrack, and the best makeup I've seen in a film since Burlesque (which I think is totally worth watching just for the makeup) left me mesmerized.  And really, after watching it in theatres last week, those were the highlights of the movie, plus costumes.  Hot chicks in leather and glitter fishnet stockings and heavy eye makeup with mile-long eyelashes doing battle scenes to an amazing soundtrack more than made up for the lackluster dialogue and ending.


The makeup, though, was by far my favorite aspect of the film.  Think lots of lip gloss, glitter eyeshadow, thick black eyeliner, and multiple pairs of false eyelashes.  Even the male leads were heavily made up with smeary eyeliner and base of some kind to create a seedy, swarthy effect.  Spending two hours in the makeup chair each day was not uncommon for each principal character.  Luckily there are tons of close ups, which provide many opportunities to see the makeup, well, up close!  This is the meaning of makeup artistry.  It's almost unreal.


I wish you could see the above picture even more up close.  There's a tiny gap between her upper and lower eyeliner, with a little shimmer highlight in between the two lines at the outer corner of her eye.  It's how Marilyn Monroe did her eye makeup!

Rosalina da Silva previously worked with Snyder on Watchmen (yet another incredible film) and was also the head makeup artist on the set of Sucker Punch.  I came across this short but sweet interview with her on The Beauty of Life blog and felt it was definitely worth sharing!  I'm dying to ask her a few questions myself.

Each of the main characters has such a unique, different look. How did you come up with the concepts for each of the girls?
Every girl had a very different and individual personality in the story. Through weeks of prep we defined and created their character, that best suited the illusion created by Zack Snyder. Wardrobe was a big part of it as well -- then we changed hair color and lengths, the makeup just developed to bring the look together.

I love the look you created for Babydoll. What products did you use to get the look?
Babydoll was a lot of fun, inspired by Brigitte Bardot with a splash of Anime characters. A sweet, innocent look but at the same time very fearless. [I used] a 60's eyeliner, long full lashes, nude lips.


There's so much black eye makeup in this movie! What were your go-to products for characters like Amber and Blondie?
My old favorite eyeliner, M.A.C Fluidline in Blacktrack -- tried and true. We airbrushed the foundations on -- we used various brands, Armani, Kevin Aucoin, Kett, Kryolan. 
On long-running shows I often change the foundations, as the skin changes due to the long days on set.  Sometimes with lack of sleep and dehydration, you need to adjust to achieve the best and smoothest results.

What was the experience like on this movie, with all the special effects?
Most of the special effects were in post production, so there was a lot of green screen and staring into empty space. In general the experience of working on this movie was exhilarating ... and exhausting!

How was it working with a bunch of girls for this movie? Were they all really into makeup?
The girls loved makeup! Who doesn't? They were totally into experimenting, pushing the envelope to find their character through their makeup look. We really went to extremes on this movie due to Zack Snyder's incredible vision and the fantasy world that he created. There were no limits, never too much in the world of glamour, color, lashes, glitter and crystals.