Monday, May 30, 2011

Behind the Scenes! Makeup Artistry

I recently had the amazing opportunity to do hair and makeup for a photoshoot with two of my best friends in the whole world.  It was an incredible collaboration!  Lori Anne and her husband made the perfect models for a session styled, designed, and shot by Jessica Brown of MOONBelle Photography.  Working with them was pure magic!  Here are some behind the scenes shots:

Doesn't she have perfect china doll skin? 

Anddd the finished look!


If you're in the Birmingham/Huntsville AL area, I would be thrilled to do your makeup for weddings, photoshoots, proms, or any other special occasion!  I'd also love to talk makeup with you and help you pick out new products, try out a new look, or whatever you may need.  Email me at to schedule your makeup consultation.  I can't wait to hear from you!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Summer's Best Lips & Cheeks

Whether you prefer lipstick or lip balm, blush or bronzer, there's something on this list of summer's best lips and cheeks that's sure to please anyone!  From the latest lip balm/lipstick combo innovation to a mood-elevating violet scented blush, Applied Glamour's guide has got you covered.

summer lips and cheeks
Top row:
Bare Minerals Blush in Fruit Cocktail is the brightest, most vivid pink blush you'll find.  A little goes a long way, so this will last forever!  Orange is a hot color for lips this summer, so you'll be perfectly in style with Topshop's new Lips in Ohh La La.  For a softer, more subtle blush, try Almay's Smart Shade Blush in Pink Rose.  It has great buildable color and magically transforms to your ideal shade of pink!  Too Faced's Leopard Love palette has everything you could possibly want for your cheeks.  Blush, light bronzer, and a deeper bronzer all packed to look like leopard print! 

Middle row:
NARS Velvet Gloss lip pencil in New Lover is golden strawberry shade with amazing texture that's great all over your lips.  Since it's a pencil format, it won't melt in your bag when temperatures heat up!  New this season is MAC's Surf, Baby! collection of summery, beachy shades with lovely surf-inspired packaging.  Naturally Eccentric lustre lipstick is a great nude that will look perfect with a tan.  The latest and greatest lip product this summer is Pixi's Succulent Lip Twin in Pink Peony.  Inside the tube is a pigmented glossy lip balm, while the cap contains a mini lipstick for extra color.  Genius!  For a true gloss, try Korres Cherry Full Color lip gloss.  It's shiny without being sticky and formulated with vitamins C and E for extra moisture and protection. 

Bottom row:
Physician's Formula Happy Glow and Mood Boosting blush does exactly what the name describes.  Use this violet scented, heart bedecked, perfectly pink blush to brighten your complexion and your morning routine!  Sometimes in summer, tinted lip balm is the only sort of lip product that will do.  Burt's Bees just released a new tinted version of their cult favorite lip balm to keep your lips hydrated and smooth without weighing them down with too much product.  Finally, Bella Bamba is the latest to join Benefit's family of gorgeous cheek powders.  It's perfect for contouring sculpted cheekbones (or faking it!).

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hot Summer Nail Polishes

It's not officially summer till you've got a bright new manicure!  Here are some hot colors to paint your nails in the upcoming months.  What shades have I missed?  Which is your favorite?

summer nails
This bright hot coral shade just screams "summer" to me, I can't get enough!

2.  Essie Smooth Sailing ($8)
A gorgeous pearlized lavender blue from Essie's latest summer collection.  This color is so calm and perfect.

3.  Pop Beauty Nail Glam Turquoise ($10)
Last year powder blue was a huge trend, this year it's turquoise.  I love it!  Grab some turquoise eyeliner and do your eyes to match!

4.  Deborah Lippmann Between The Sheets ($16)
Neon purple in a bottle!  It has enough fuchsia to keep it from looking too goth.

5.  OPI Silver Shatter ($8)
The piece de resistance!  It's like Black Shatter, only...silver!  Perfect for summer.  I can't wait to get this on my nails.  Layer it over Between The Sheets, Smooth Sailing, or even mix it with Black Shatter to see what happens.  Experiment!

6.  Essie Well Red ($8)
You need a gorgeous vampy red no matter what season!  Essie has the best.

7.  Pop Beauty Nail Glam Orange ($10)
Orange always turns up as a hot color for summer, and this year is no exception.  Orange has also recently been spotted on lips and eyes!  This neon shade keeps it unique. 

8.  Deborah Lippmann Yellow Brick Road ($16)
Yellow is another super trendy shade this summer.  It was all over the runways at Chanel and is now appearing everywhere else!  This will look best with a tan and is bright enough so the druggist won't try to sell you anti-fungal cream (always a plus!).

Monday, May 23, 2011

Summer Beauty Essentials! (plus a giveaway!)

When the weather heats up, you may need to make a little adjustments to your beauty routine.  Here's how to do it seamlessly and in style!  Applied Glamour presents everything you need for your ultimate summer enjoyment.  Toss everything in a striped tote bag like this one by Kate Spade and you'll be ready for any adventure!
summer beauty essentials
Tinted moisturizer
Foundation is the last thing anyone wants to worry about in hot weather.  A tinted moisturizer will be your best friend during the summer months.  Laura Mercier makes the best of the best with a formula that's oil free, comes in a variety of shades to match any skintone, and is SPF 20.  One tube will last you through September!  Another great place to get tinted moisturizer on the cheap is to scout for beauty deals.

Makeup setting spray
Urban Decay's All Nighter makeup setting spray is never more essential than in July.  It keeps your makeup from budging through rain, tears, and sweat, and is a face-saver at nighttime parties when you want to look polished.

A great pair of sunglasses
Not only are they incredibly stylish and useful for going incognito, sunglasses prevent you from squinting in bright light, which can cause crows feet and other fine lines around your eyes.   OC Shades has an incredible selection of sunnies priced at only $10-15!  Grab a pair that makes you happy and feel smug, knowing how stylish and wrinkle-free you look!

Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen!
I can't stress the importance of wearing sunscreen enough.  I know too many 20-somethings who are all too eager to spend an hour in a tanning bed.  Please don't do this!  I don't particularly enjoy wearing sunscreen either, but I'd also rather carry a leather handbag when I'm 50, not look like one too!  There are simply too many self tanning formulas on the market today that actually work (see below) to spend another day in the sun or tanning bed without adequate sunscreen.  This concludes your public service announcement!  Now, on to the products...

I'm extremely picky about the sun protection I use on my face, which is why I prefer powder formats.  Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral sunscreen is ready to go, brush and all, perfect for stashing in your beach bag.   For body I really love Coppertone's Continuous Spray: no rubbing in, no greasiness, just amazing sun protection that's ridiculously easy to apply.  Be careful, though, this can burn if you have any cuts!

An amazing self tanner
Self tanning is honestly out of my realm of expertise; I'm about as pale as it gets!  I like it that way, but I know for some lovelies a summer without a tan is sacrilege.  Lucky for you, Elizabeth over at put together a guide of this year's best sunless tanning!  She's tried every product you can imagine and I completely trust her endorsements.  Her top pick overall: Clarins Instant Self Tanning Gel.  Who knows?  Maybe I'll pick up some myself!

A gritty exfoliator
I could probably live without Philosophy's Hot Salt Scrub, but I hope I never have to.  This is the best exfoliating scrub I've ever used!  Use it on dry skin right before you shower for the smoothest skin, the closest shave, and the most even self tanning application you'll ever have.  Plus it comes in all sorts of fantastic scents.  This summer I'm especially loving Coconut Frosting!

Insect repellent that isn't gross
Burt's Bees Herbal Insect Repellent is a blend of essential oils that not only smells amazing, but most importantly keeps bugs far away from your skin.  Rosemary, citronella, and lemongrass oils combine for insect protection that works better than the chemical stuff!  The oil blend sounds weird, but you won't smell anything like salad dressing.  Coating yourself with essential oils definitely beats coating your skin with toxic insect repellent any day.    

A hydrating face spray
There is nothing more glamorous than misting your face with a special blend of water and minerals when it's insanely hot outside!  It sounds decadent and a little ridiculous, but remember my review of the Infotone Face Mist?  It's way more than just water, it's a veritable skincare product!  It worked wonders on my complexion, not to mention cooled me off.  And guess what?  I'm giving one away!  Just for you!  

To enter to win your very own Infotone Face Mist, leave a comment and tell me about your summer plans!

For extra entries, you can do one (or more!) of these:
1. Follow Applied Glamour via Google Friend Connect (one extra entry) 

2. Follow @AppliedGlamour via Twitter (leave a comment here letting me know who you are!) (one extra entry)
3. Tweet about the giveaway!  Link back to this page and make sure to cc @AppliedGlamour so I can keep track :)  Spread the word! (two extra entries!)

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.  Thanks for your entries!  And congratulations to Kylie, you won!!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Product Obsession: Rosebud Salve (in a tube!)

 I know, I know, I'm late to the party on this one.  I've admired the cute little Victorian-inspired tins and incredible rose scent of this product for years, but ultimately never bought one because, well, it was in a tin and I detest applying lip balm with my fingers.

But now!  Those lovely geniuses at the Rosebud Perfume Co. have managed to package the famous Rosebud Salve in a tube!  Hooray!  I can have deliciously smooth rose scented lips too, but with no messy fingers or icky bacteria-ridden tin!  And so can you.

It's not a lip gloss, but it's not exactly a balm either.  What it is, though, is a miracle.  Rosebud Salve fixed my poor chapped lips after just one application when no other lip balm would.  That alone is enough to make me pledge my undying devotion to this cult-favorite product.  Another plus is the price: at only $6 per tube or tin, it's an incredible bargain.

It turns out Rosebud Salve is useful for healing other ailments, too, like minor skin irritations and cuts or burns.  How fantastic is that?  Neosporin isn't packaged nearly as pretty and doesn't smell anywhere near as nice.  If my chapped lips are any indication, Rosebud Salve works fast.  I'm probably going to buy another tube just for these purposes and alternate it with Neosporin the next time I get a scrape.  I'll let you know how it goes...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Survival Guide: Best Products for Curly/Wavy Hair

Curly/Wavy Hair Products
Last month I was deliriously bored with my hair and decided, for the first time ever, to get a BODY WAVE.  Suddenly I found myself with a tumble of waves and curls I'd always longed for and NO IDEA how to care for them.  Curls left me completely out of my element!  My glorious Rita Hayworth waves quickly dissipated into a giant frizzy mess.  I freaked out a little bit and headed back to my hair stylist (who is fabulous and also my stepmom!) for a keratin treatment to smooth out my hair.  It worked wonders and my hair was back to its normal straight-ness....that is, until our electricity was out for five days.

Devoid of my hairdryer, I finally learned how to properly deal with my wavy curls.  Did you know that brushing curls makes them frizzy?  I never knew!  How could I have known?!  After a lot of trial and error and frantic phone calls to my curly haired friends, I'm embracing my body wave.  I no longer look like a poor man's Carrie Bradshaw and am actually able to achieve Big Hair with hardly any effort!

I've never been one for hair products (I usually get by with shampoo + conditioner), but curl boosting products are essentials for ladies with curls or waves.  I polled my friends on which products they used and came away with a lot of great tips.  It seems everyone has some kind of product obsession!
Britt swears by John Frieda Frizz Ease, which is definitely an essential for any hair type.  I've used it too, both on my straight hair and the Body Wave, with great results.

Marian likes Rusk Str8 when she makes the time to straighten her gorgeous curls. 

Brittani can't live without Aveda Phomollient styling foam to add amazing volume and texture to her wavy hair.    

Jessie gives incredible definition to her curls with Garnier Fructis Curl Shaping spray gel.

For myself, I can't get enough of Hair Milk Lite from Carol's Daughter.  I work a small amount into my damp hair and let it air dry, occasionally scrunching it up for volume.

I'd love to hear from more lovelies with curls and waves! What are your favorite styling products?  Have any of you ever had a body wave?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Almay's Smart Shade Cosmetics

And now, I bring you the amazing properties of Almay's line of Smart Shade cosmetics.  Behold!  Out of the tube, the product is a weird grey color, but don't be misled.  Once you apply it, the foundation or concealer magically transforms to your ideal shade of makeup!  It sounds ridiculous but it is for real.  I have no idea how it works, I just know that it really, really does.  I used both the concealer and foundation recently at a bridal photoshoot where I worked as a makeup artist and it looked good on a variety of skin tones.

While both products are great, I was more impressed with the concealer.  The foundation offers minimal coverage, a little heavier than a tinted moisturizer.  The concealer gave great coverage on every facial woe, from redness and discolorations to acne scars and dark circles.  If you're torn between puchasing the two, I'd recommend the concealer.

In doing a bit of online research, I also discovered there is a Smart Shade blush version!  I immediately picked up a tube and was completely amazed at the gorgeous, natural looking rosy tint it gave my cheeks.  This is probably now one of my favorite products of all time.   

The key to application is blending.  You have absolutely got to blend this product effectively or risk unattractive streaks (pay really close attention to the edges, like around your hairline and jawline).  The biggest complaint I've heard about the foundation was the potential for orange hues, particularly from a friend who has freckles.  No complaints about the concealer or blush.  They're pretty much perfect.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Summer Nails, Summer Necklace

I recently purchased Sephora by OPI's Only Gold For Me topcoat.  Only Gold For Me is unique and different in that it has large round pieces of glitter in addition to smaller traditional glittery bits.  It was released for the holidays and has been out for quite a while, but it looks just as lovely on your nails for summer as it does for holiday parties!  I like to layer it over everything, and right now I especially adore it over OPI's Strawberry Margarita shade. 

I also really like pairing makeup and nail polish looks with jewelry and other accessories!  Like if I'm wearing a scarf with shades of purple, I'll apply a little purple eyeliner, or match my red lipstick to my red shoes.  Do any of you do this, too?  If not, try it sometime!  It's a modern, more fun equivalent of matching your handbag to your shoes (does anybody even bother with that anymore?)!

The most perfect necklace to pair with a pink and gold manicure is this stunning Birds of Paradise statement piece from Stella & Dot.  Could anything be more quintessentially summer?!  I love it!


If you'd like to purchase your own Birds of Paradise necklace, or any other gorgeous Stella & Dot piece, shoot at an email to Lori Anne at shopgirl367 (at) live (dot) com!  They have some truly fantastic collections.  Look for more jewelry/makeup pairings when the new fall pieces debut in July!

What else would be cool to pair with pink and gold nails?  I'm thinking maybe a gold clutch purse worthy of Studio 54, hot pink heeled sandals, or a delicious fruity cocktail (poolside, of course)!  What would you wear or carry?  What are some of your favorite beauty/accessory combinations?  Let me know!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Josie Maran Magic Marker Lip & Cheek Stain

Josie Maran's Magic Marker Lip & Cheek Stains are proof that not all lip stains are created equal.  I had pretty much written off lip stains after Benetint didn't really do it for me and CoverGirl's lip stain turned out to be useless.   Josie Maran's Magic Markers have restored my faith in lip stains.  Isn't it amazing when you find a product that does exactly what it says it will?  That's how I feel about these.  They're wonderful.

As a lipstick enthusiast, I'm accustomed to checking and reapplying the color as needed, identifying my beverages by a lipstick-stained straw, and hurriedly trying to wipe it off before I can even think about kissing someone.  Magic Markers have completely changed all of that.  These stains last like nothing I've ever worn before!  Example: my favorite, most delicious sandwich in the world can also get quite messy, but even after devouring Newk's Q, my lips looked exactly as they did before I ate and my napkin was free of lipstick prints.  The color stayed pristine through cocktails and cake batter consumption (my BFF Marissa and I know how to have a good time), and while I haven't given these Magic Markers the "kiss test" yet, I've got high hopes they'll pass. 

I purchased Flamenco, a perfect cherry red, and Waltz, a gorgeous rose pink that's like my lips only better.  Here they are swatched, with Flamenco on top and Waltz below it. 

They're so much more vibrant in person!  Really, they make my mouth go POW!  Flamenco is my new favorite red shade and Waltz is my new go-to shade when red just isn't appropriate.  I love the dance-themed names, too!  (Fun fact: I'm an accomplished ballroom dancer...the waltz is my favorite!)

I feel especially good about buying Josie Maran products.  Her tagline is "luxury with a conscience", which I can definitely get behind and describes the Magic Marker lip stains to a T.  Plus, they're free of parabens, artificial fragrances, and are cruelty free, which I make a point to buy whenever possible.

The packaging insists they're for lips and cheeks, but I think blending out the lines would take some practice and effort.  If you aren't careful, you could end up with a war-paint look!  Waltz would make a stunning cheek color, though.  

One more minor drawback is that they're kind of drying, but that's de rigeur for most lip stains anyway.  I have a small arsenal of lip balms occupying my purse now, but I can deal.

Overall, I'm really thrilled with these new lip stains.  The colors and staying power are like no other lip color I've ever tried!  

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mascara: A History

Last week I posted a picture of an old-school mascara I found at my grandmother's house.  I think you all were as surprised as I was at this mascara formula and old fashioned application!    

It left me wondering, though: in what other ways has mascara evolved over the years?  When did the mascara wand as we know it come into existence?  I did a little research and dug up some answers!


Like most amazing things in the world, the ancient Egyptians had first dibs on the creation and wearing of mascara.   They believed the eyes were the window to the soul, and that eyes needed to be shaded from evil spirits.  Kohl eyeliner and mascara provided a barrier of protection for both men and women alike!  And then everyone realized, "Hey, this makes our eyes look really nice, yeah?" so eye makeup was also worn to attract attention, to celebrate, and to generally look amazing.  Those hot, genius Egyptians! 

Mascara then went in and out of vogue for the next several centuries, falling by the wayside to other such beauty trends as lead based white foundation and blackening your teeth to look just like Queen Elizabeth I (People seriously did that!  It was a status symbol to show you could afford lots of sugary, teeth-rotting treats.  17th century hotness = eww). 

And then came the Victorians.  Despite being prudish and puritanical to the point of ridiculousness, the Victorians did know a thing or two about beauty treatments.  Well brought up ladies were trained to be vain, protect their complexions, and devote entire days to beautifying themselves.  Mascara was revived, DIY-Victorian style.  Women would mix their own cosmetics, from rose salves to rouge, in the comforts of their homes.  A popular recipe for mascara was mixing elderberry with ashes over a hot fire, then coating your lashes with the mixture.

Look at that stylish girl!  I bet she is most definitely wearing mascara.  Now excuse me while I jealously swoon over her clothes and accessories.  I would have no problem dressing like this!  Where are my smelling salts?!

*ahem*  Anyway...

In 1913, the newly created beauty industry was forever changed when a Mr. T. L. Williams concocted a marketable mascara product for his sister Mabel out of coal dust and petroleum jelly (AKA Vaseline).  And that, dear friends, is how Maybelline was born.  Vaseline is a great eyelash conditioner, by the way.  Mr. Williams was on to something good.  It eventually became the solid version like the one that belonged to my grandmother, and a cream formula you'd squirt onto your brush like toothpaste.

Helena Rubinstein saw a way to improve mascara application, and in 1957, designed a tube with the brush already attached!  What a revelation!  This paved the way for an innovation from the legendary makeup guru Max Factor, who developed the first brush that could be directly inserted into a tube of mascara.  Other companies caught on, Maybelline added a spiral brush, and voila!  Mascara as we know today!

I wish ladies in ads today looked that euphoric and excited about their beauty products, don't you?
Of course, now we have volumizing, curling, lengthening, and strengthening formulas to choose from.  We can coat our lashes electric blue, acid green, or ultra violet if we wish.  We have brushes and applicators in every shape you can imagine.  We even have vibrating mascara wands!  In short: we've come a long way, baby.  May the innovations continue!


Friday, May 6, 2011

The Quickest Makeup Look Ever

Shimmery neutral eyeshadows should be staples in every makeup bag.  They're ridiculously simple to apply, difficult to mess up, and a super quick way to look effortlessly pulled together.  I swear it takes less than three minutes to finish both eyes.  I like to pair it with red lipstick (naturally!) but any lip color will work!  That's the beauty of neutrals, right?

My eyeshadow looks uneven in this picture, but I assure you it's not. Mad photography skillz here!

Also pictured: ukulele!

Sephora Atomic Lash mascara in Ultra Black
In Color FabuLiner black liquid eyeliner
NYX eyebrow pencil in Velvet
Urban Decay eyeshadow in Sin all over lid
Urban Decay eyeshadow in Smog blended in crease
They're from the Urban Ammo eye palette, which is one of my favorites and has shades for a zillion different looks.  Unfortunately mine doesn't look so pristine anymore!  But I use it for everything.  The only color I'm not too fond of is Mildew; the rest are wonderful. 

I applied the eyeshadow with E.L.F. brushes.  If you don't own these, you need to!  They're between $1-$3 and the most fabulous bargain ever ever ever.  I'm addicted.  My favorite is the Defining Eye brush.  I use it for everything and have bought several.  They're only a dollar!

Peter Thomas Roth Unwrinkle concealer in Light Medium
Guerlain Meteorites powder in Mythic
NARS powder blush in Orgasm

Chanel Rouge Allure lipstick in Passion

Yeah, I really love that blush!

What are your favorite neutral eyeshadows or palettes?  And how do you feel about this sort of post?  Would you like me to do more of them?  Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Science of Skincare: Why Chirality Matters

We've all been there.  We've all bought some expensive, miracle skincare product or another, only to realize that it just doesn't work.  Even after several months of use!  I just experienced this with an eye cream I had such high expectations for, only to be let down when, four months later, my undereye circles are still as dark as they ever were!  Frustrating, isn't it?  Even if 96% of people in clinical trials saw an improvement, there's still a chance you're part of the other 4%, right?  It's possible. Science offers up another explanation, too: chiral isomers.

The word chiral (ky-rahl, rhymes with spiral) instantly brings to mind the miserable summer I spent studying organic chemistry.  If I'd realized back then how it was relevant to skincare, I probably would have paid more attention!  Anyway, the gist of chirality is this: molecules exist in two forms, a D-isomer and an L-isomer.  It's a similar concept to having left and right hands.  Our bodies are naturally more receptive to L-isomer forms of molecules.  When we encounter incompatible D-isomers, our bodies interpret it as waste or a toxin.
What does this mean in regards to skincare?  Ascorbic acid (AKA Vitamin C, a popular antioxidant) makes a great example.  A skincare product that contains an isolated L-ascorbic acid isomer is going to be more effective than a product containing isolated D-ascorbic acid.  The sad truth is, a lot of skincare companies aren't particularly concerned with which isomers they isolate in their products.  This isn't to say that all products from such companies are completely worthless (a moisturizer or cleanser is pretty straightforward), but if you have a skin issue you're extremely concerned about and nothing else is working, you might want to check out companies that are committed to making chirally correct products (i.e., products with the more effective L-isomers).  The downside is that they're probably going to be a little more expensive in most cases, since the isolation process is more complicated.   

Some of these skincare companies include CosMedix, Sircuit Skin, PCA Skin, and Arcona.  I've been hearing a lot about Arcona lately, I'm really intrigued by this company in particular.  They use all-natural ingredients and their products sound absolutely lovely.  They suggest five basic products based on your skin type and have a hydrating gel called Magic White Ice!  I'm also interested in the Wine Hydrating Mask.
Have you ever tried skincare products from any of these companies?  I'd love to hear about it, especially Arcona!  Also, if you've got a great eye cream recommendation to fade dark undereye circles, send it my way!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Vintage Beauty, Rainbow Eyeshadow, and Herbal Eye Treatments

Our electricity is back!  Hurrah!  I'm so excited, I couldn't help but post twice in one day (lucky you)!  I've spent the time (re)reading Neil Gaiman's creepy short stories by candlelight, learning the hard way that car cell phone chargers will reduce your car's battery power to nothing (whoops...), discovering I'm really excellent at playing dominoes, and helping out a friend whose house was damaged.  In addition to all that, here are a few bits and pieces of what I've been up to, beauty-wise.

Vintage makeup talks with my grandmother
I stayed at my grandmother's house for the whole ordeal; she's excellent company, plus she has a gas powered water heater and therefore hot showers!  In one of her bathroom drawers, I was surprised to find this:

Can you tell what it is?  This is how mascara used to be applied, with a little brush like that!  The product came in a solid cake form like this one from Maybelline, and also in a tiny squeeze tube like eyelash glue or toothpaste.  My grandmother told me the squeeze tubes were awful, and the brush was also perfect for eyebrows.  Isn't this crazy?  I was amazed!

Eyeshadow experiments
A few weeks ago I found a "rainbow eye" tutorial and decided I needed to try it for myself.  I love playing with colored eyeshadow, even though I rarely wear it in public since it usually clashes with my beloved red lipstick!  In any case, I wanted a rainbow spectrum of crazy eyeshadows without committing to a full size product.

I also recently discovered Shiro cosmetics, an indie makeup company geared to girls with "geeky" interests, like video games and Internet culture.  When I saw ten eyeshadow samples for $9 in Shiro's Etsy shop, I ordered up a rainbow of shades to try, plus some really pretty shimmery shades.  Experimenting with them has been sooo fun.  Some are even lip safe, so I got to alarm my family with purple and orange lipsticks.  Shiro really deserves its own blog post, so I'll save swatches and more details for later!

Herbal eye treatments
I'll be honest: I don't really like spring.  At least not where I live.  The weather and temperatures are volatile and unpredictable, and everything starts to bloom.  It's pretty, but it also means allergies are in full swing.  It's hard to enjoy the beautiful trees through swollen eyes and migraines, you know?   

I've relied on Wei East's Intensive Herbal Eye Treatments for years to get me through!  I can't believe I've never mentioned them here before.

Two refreshing herbal eye pads come sealed up in a nice little packet that's perfect for travel.  You place them over your eyes for twenty minutes, and before you know it, your eyes are bright again and your migraine has diminished!  I swear, this is a miracle treatment.  It's also wonderful for tired eyes, or when you can't seem to fall asleep at night.  The pads are soaked with green tea, Tibetan chrysanthemum, and peppermint extracts that make for an amazing combination of soothing relief.

Interview: Jessica Brown

Photo by Sasha

If you aren't familiar with Jessica Brown's photography work, you are seriously missing out.  She started her very own business, MoonBelle Photography, just a short year-and-a-half ago and is quickly earning national recognition for her incredibly poignant and personal wedding shots.  If you're a gorgeous bride to be (or enjoy looking at lovely pictures), do yourself a favor and definitely go check out her portfolio!      

Jessica also adores makeup!  We can (and frequently do!) spend hours discussing NARS vs. MAC, Diorshow mascara vs. drugstore mascara, our current favorite nail polishes, and ways to keep our complexions glowing.  She believes in bargains and the importance of monthly facials ($15 at Ulta!  Go go go!).  She has incredible skin and looks fantastic with or without makeup.  Jessica got me hooked on Garnier's Anti Dark Circle Eye Roller and I'm planning to snap up Diorshow's Iconic mascara as per her suggestion.  What other beauty secrets does she have?  Keep reading!  And then go look at her website :)          

At what age did you first start wearing makeup?
Probably around fourteen. Before that there was mostly roll-on scented glitter gel and Bonnebell chapsticks. [Editor's note: Yep, me too!]

How did you learn to apply it?
My mother. She has a huge vanity area with wraparound lights, a full drawer of cosmetics, and an array of MAC brushes. Although when it counted, she applied for me. :)

What products were your favorite back then?
I loooved MAC face powders for their flawless coverage, but found that they tended to really clog my pores and lead to breakouts. I ended up switching to Bare Minerals.

What are your current favorites?
Dior-Iconic Mascara, Garnier Anti-Dark Circle Eye roller, NYC Color Wheel Mosaic Face Powder (a super cheap and gorgeous blush that smells like roses!), and a recently purchased Laura Mercier eye and cheek palette, Almay liquid eyeliner.

Photo by Sasha

What is your usual makeup routine?
Concealer, blush, a liquid liner cat-eye, a little bit of eyeshadow and, MASCARA. I have a love affair with mascara. :)

What product could you never live without?
Mascara. I can't (and don't want to) live without it. My favorite is Dior-Iconic but a less pricey alternative is Rimmel Sexy Curves. Dior is amazing if you can afford it. It has a built-in conditioner that keeps your lashes soft and supple while making them long, thick, and gorgeous. It keeps those with sensitive eyes from having issues with flaky mascara or eyelash breakoff.

Got a special tip or trick you'd like to share?
I put Vaseline on my eyelashes before I go to bed. It keeps my lashes hydrated, helps get off any excess makeup, and makes mascara go on silky smooth the next day. It's a trick I learned from my grandmother.

How do you take care of your skin?

My skin routine is very very simple. I use facial cleansing towelettes before bed, followed by Neutrogena Acne Stress Control Pads. When in the shower, I use Nivea for Men facial scrub. It smells amazing and has the best exfoliating power ever. I also get a facial every 4 weeks. :)

Who are your beauty inspirations?
Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe. I love the classic elegance of Hepburn and the sultry glamour of Monroe.

Photo by Sasha