Thursday, 8 January 2015

5 Ingredients: A Look for Busy Mornings

My friend Jenn is amazing. She is one of the women that I really look up to and aspire to be like. From the day we met in 2004, I've been lucky to observe Jenn as she breaks glass ceilings, proves that a woman can be assertive and a self-advocate while also being caring and generous. Basically, Jenn is rock n' roll.

On Monday I posted a safe for work look with a long product list. I clearly had briefly forgotten what it was like for me four months ago when product lists like that one would've scared the devil out of me.  Jenn reminded me when she posted a comment to Facebook saying that while it looked nice on me, the product list made the whole look inaccessible for a lot of people. Jenn made the perfect comparison to recipes she doesn't try because of of ingredient lists like my product list - too long, too complicated, making the whole recipe not worthwhile to try. Both Jenn and I are busy mothers who just don't have time for lengthy sessions in front of the mirror. I momentarily forgot that in my desire to use all the things! I'm back, though. :)

I accepted Jenn's challenge to significantly reduce the product list, all while keeping the look fresh, professional and polished. It was perfect timing because I had a job interview this afternoon, so I took some time yesterday to really think about how to achieve what Jenn (and I!) wanted. Without further ado, here is the finished look, after which I'll take you through the steps:

This is seriously the best hair day I've had in...well, I think it's definitely in the top 5 hair days in my life. Let's leave it at that. Splash your face with warm water, pat dry, and put a moisturizer on. Moisturizer will act as a primer instead of needing a sixth makeup product. Oh, and put some lip balm on before you get started. 

Product #1: MAC Prolongwear Foundation in NW15 
Time: 2 mins 30 secs
Where to get it: MAC stores and counters in department stores (The Bay in Canada), and online.
Price: $38.50CAD/$32USD

How to Use: 
  • Make sure your foundation is your holy grail match. I talk about this in BOT's very first video ever; i.e. how foundation matching works. I really recommend getting matched to a MAC shade and from there you can often identify your shade in many, many other brands. Use Temptalia's Foundation Matrix and then go visit your drugstore or department store for samples to take home. Anyway, watch the video. :)
  • Apply as normal: Shake the bottle, and then I pump three pumps on the back of my hand and then most of the time use either a complexion brush or my fingers to apply. 
  • In place of a concealer, build up your foundation (put a bit more on) in places you want to cover. In this look I had a few blemishes to cover, and using a touch more foundation to cover them worked like a charm. 
  • AN EXTRA INGREDIENT: Powder. I find this foundation doesn't need a powder to set it, but some do. Powdering will add maybe 45 seconds to the process. 

Product #2: NARS Blush in "Orgasm" 
Time: 1 min each side 
Where to get it: Orgasm can be purchased in Sephora, NARS counters in department stores and on the NARS site.
Price: $35CAD/$30USD

How to Use:
  • Orgasm is considered a universal shade, so there isn't much guess work here. You can get this colour, which looks like you have a healthy, rosy glow, appropriate in both winter and summer, in a stick and in cream. 
  • Apply with a blush brush, a fan brush or your fingers in an "L," starting at your temples and sweeping along your cheekbone (if you suck in your cheeks and make a fish face, your cheekbones will be apparent) until you are aligned with the outer corner of your eye. 
  • You can also go old school and touch your finger or brush very lightly with whatever product is left on the bridge of your nose and your chin. This makes it look like you've been out in the sun and the colour hits where the sun would naturally. It's just so pretty and healthy-looking. 
  • Don't apply to the apples of your cheeks. There are reasons for this. Just trust me. 
Product #3: The Balm "The Balmsai" Eyeshadow Palette
Time: 4-5 mins (2-2:30 for each eye, longer if you have less experience)
Where to get it: Amazon Canada, BeautyBridge, TheBalm's site
Price: $29.50CAD (Amazon Canada)/$39.50USD (TheBalm's site and BeautyBridge

How to Use:
*I got this look from Marlena's (the owner of Makeup Geek) shadow tutorial, so have a look. I used more toned down colours and a few small adjustments to make it easier and faster.
  • Apply shade "Hang 10" all over your eyelid, up to a few millimetres below your eyebrow. 
  • Apply shade "Epic" in a 5mm line up from the outer corner of the eye to just above the eye crease, and bring the colour into the crease in a windshield wiper like motion all across the crease. You should have a shape like the top and right side of a rectangle.
  • Apply shade "Woodie" over "Epic" in a 5mm line up from the outer corner of your eye to the crease. 
  • Blend the colours together in small circular motions up the outside (where "Woodie" is placed over "Epic") and into the crease. 
  • Using a very light hand, apply shade "High Tide" in a narrow horizontal line under your eyebrow and over your eyebrow for a highlight. 
  • For eyeliner, use a liner brush (this kind) with "Woodie," and draw a very thin line along your upper lash line. You can skip this if you want. 
Remember, you don't have to use this palette. The same application can be used with any four shadows that are very light with a bit of shimmer, a light shade, a medium shade and a dark shade. I like palettes like this because they take the guesswork out of what colours work together.

Makeup Geek's eyeshadows are divine and inexpensive ($6CAD for a single, and MUG's shipping is very reasonable) and you can email to ask which 4 shades go together well for the "How to Blend Like a Pro" look in the video of the same name. MUG agents are very willing to help.

Product #4: L'Oréal Lash Out Butterfly Mascara in "Brown Black"
Time: 2 mins (1 min for each eye, no eyelash curler used)
Where to get it: Drugstores everywhere.
Price: Around $10CAD/$8USD.

Tip: Enlarge the photo to see the wand for this mascara. I will never use another kind of wand again. I have a few extras that are clean and can be dipped in most mascaras. The formula of this is great, but I am desperately in love with the wand!

How to Use:
  • Twist the wand while it is still inside the tube with the product in it. Don't pump your mascara in and out of the tube, as this lets air into the tube with product inside, posing a potential safety problem. As you are putting the wand very close to your eyes, eliminating as many safety issues as possible is important. 
  • Coat the top of your upper lashes (all the way from inner to outer corners - thank you to a very old friend, Mary Golding-Telford, who showed me how to do this with mascara at age 15! One of the best tips I've ever gotten), then coat the bottom side of your lashes. 
  • Continue to go over your lashes until they have the length and volume you want. 
  • If you have an eyelash comb, comb through your lashes to make sure they are separated. Clumpy, spidery lashes are a big no! Most of the time this magic wand does the trick, so you might not have to comb, but it's good practice in order to keep your lashes separated all day.
Product #5: Maybelline ColorSensational Creamy Matte lipstick in "Touch of Spice"
Time: 1min, 30 secs
Where to get it: Walmart (in store and online), drugstores, e.g. Shoppers Drug Mart/Rexall in Canada, CVS/Walgreens in the USA.
**This colour is sold out on CVS' website and I'm finding it hard to find these days. 
**Good alternatives are MAC's "Amorous" and "Twig", which are both satin finish, but really beautiful for an understated look like this.
Price: Around $8-10 in both Canada and the USA. The MAC lipsticks are $19CAD, and I think $16USD. If you know the US price, please let me know in the comments!

How to Apply:
  • Wipe off the lip balm you put on before you started with foundation. Your lips are now ready to receive colour!
  • Using the tip end of the lipstick, follow the outline of your lips. For the top, start at the middle of your top lip and line to the outside corner of your mouth, then repeat for the other side. For the bottom lip, line the middle (about 5mm long), then join up to where the top lip line is in the outer corner. 
  • Fill in your lips with a good coat of the lipstick. Split a kleenex into it's two plies, and use one ply of the kleenex to blot your lips. If you have a foundation powder, either loose or pressed, coloured our translucent, dip a brush in it and swipe across your lips (that should now have one ply of kleenex stuck to them!). This totally doesn't count as a 6th product!!
  • Add another coat of the lipstick, and immediately, if you have one, put the lipstick in a small makeup bag for your purse. If you don't have one, you can get them at Shoppers, (a $17 [including shipping to Canada, $10 in the USA] monthly beauty box subscription service; ipsy's hook is that you get a pretty makeup bag each month and the owner [Michelle Phan] is a very popular makeup artist on YouTtube ) all other drugstores with beauty sections, and Walmart. 
  • You put one of many products on top, but I like the matte look and I found the formula very moisturizing, so I didn't use a colourless gloss or lip balm. If you want more moisture, a clear gloss or balm on top will do the trick and give you a nice sheen on your lips. 

In Conclusion...
  • This low-maintenance look takes 12 minutes and 30 seconds to put on. I actually think the numbers are generous for people who have used makeup before, but I assumed makeup newbie. It took me about 8 minutes to do, and I'm sure I'll get it down further. I like to fuss with eyeshadow. It's my thing.
  • $123 for all products in Canada. Temptalia has a "Dupe List" that show duplicates of these products that are cheaper or more expensive, e.g. this is the list of duplicates for NARS Orgasm blush.
  • If you use an eyeshadow palette instead of just four single shadows that work well together, you'll be able to use all the same application techniques here, but you'll have a different look to this basic one. Fun with colours! 
  • Along that same thought line, you could swap out these pinkish brown lip products for any other that you like. I wore red lips with the shadows (in light to medium beiges and a dark brown) for a "statement" SFW look a few years ago.
This is the look at the end of the day, post-interview, post-doing a bunch of stuff for my grandmother and driving around in the cold! I think it held up. I can see some of my redness coming through, so next time it will be a six ingredient look - this one but with powder!

Questions? Comments? Rebuttals? Let me know in the comments. I'd love to hear from all of you regarding this look, what you think of it, how you would change it, all the things! I promise prompt replies. :) 

I hope you've enjoyed this one. I've got the "reviews" bug, it' just a question of filming them or writing. What do you think?

Monday, 5 January 2015

Beauty Over Thirty's Very First Video

Have a look at Beauty Over Thirty's inaugural video, featuring the five products I use for a basic face. And perhaps more importantly, I'm not wearing anything other than the five products on my face in the video! No colour at all! I feel like that deserves a watch. :)

Enjoy the video, and please share your basic products and how your basic face has changed over the years. All product info/availability/pricing is in the YouTube description bar.

A Very SFW Look

Last night I worked on a look that is VERY safe for work (SFW). It isn't a "no makeup makeup" look, as there are clear indicators of makeup! It's professional and polished, but has some colour in the eyes to make a lady happy. 

Changes to Makeup Over Thirty - Daywear
I'm finding out that it's important to recognize that makeup needs change as we get older, just like skincare, fashion, shoes (I don't know about you, but my 5" stilettos haven't been used in ages!) and so many other things. We are moving up the career ladder and what a 25 year-old entry-level woman can get away with isn't appropriate for 35 year-olds who are rushing from meeting to meeting. 

Polish and professionalism is where it's at on a day-to-day basis and I'm going to talk more about that in an upcoming video.  However, what are we to do with our huge collections? Here are a few suggestions:
  • Toss makeup that has been open for more than two years. If you love it and it's old, replace it.
  • Curate your daywear collection. Keep products that are your holy grails (i.e. pieces you replace over and over because they work so well for you). 
  • Take the time to find your holy grail foundation. Having a perfect match and formula is essential to a polished look. 
  • Invest in mid/high-range products for day-to-day. Brands like Hourglass, Guerlain, Tarte, Make Up For Ever and most high-end designer brands (Tom Ford, YSL, Dior, etc) produce makeup that is timeless, polished and usually OK for sensitive skin. Most can be purchased at Sephora. 
  • Drugstore brands often produce terrific makeup (Wet N Wild. I'm serious!) but I generally use these products for fun or eye/lip liner. NYX is the exception. If you're on a budget, NYX has everything a lady needs. 
Let me know what you think of this look, and please share your own experiences in changing makeup as you moved forward in your career. I'd love to hear from you!

Product List
*(HG) = my holy grails

Benefit The PoreFessional (t-zone) (HG)
Smashbox Photo Finish Primer in Green (redness reducing)
Hourglass Immaculate Foundation in Porcelain (possible HG, but I love my MAC!)
Jurlique Rose Finishing Powder

Physician's Formula Bronzer in Light Bronze
Fusion Beauty Blush in Crave (linked because not many people know about this brand)
Benefit Girl Meets Pearl highlighter

Urban Decay Eden Primer Potion
NYX Milk crayon
Coastal Scents Revealed 2 Palette (most of the matte pink colours)
Maybelline Eye Studio gel eyeliner in Charcoal
L'Oréal Voluminous Butterfly mascara in Brown Black (HG)
ELF Brow Kit in Dark

NYX lip primer crayon
NYX lip liner in Natural (HG)
Chanel Rouge Allure lipstick in 81 Insouciante

Sunday, 4 January 2015

This is the Very Sad Story (tm) of the Chanel Lipstick.

A few years ago, I was lucky to get a makeup lesson and some beautiful Chanel products from my mum for Christmas. One of the products was a gorgeous lipstick in shade 81, Insouciante. 

However, the mechanism to open and close the lipstick was new to me - it is like there is a spring inside and you push to close and push to open. I was clueless about this and the lipstick has been pushed in since Winter, 2011. Sadness and tears because the shade is so. damn. pretty. 

Today, I decided I couldn't take it anymore and asked Grant (my 19 year-old son) to figure out a way to get the lipstick out, and that destroying the outer part is OK. Oh, did I tell you the outer shell and lipstick holder are METAL? Yeah. Not so easy!

After ten minutes and a broken knife - Grant made the mistake of trying to slip a knife between outer shell and gold part. I have tried this with multiple tools like bobby pins, safety pins, an actual knife, etc over the years - Grant asked for a hammer. This is the destruction. 

But the shade! So pretty! I am depotting this and will USE IT! Finally! 

For those who are concerned about the amount of time since opening and I should probably throw it out, I appreciate your concern for my safety. I think that no air has touched this lipstick in a few years, so perhaps that stopped the clock on how long it should be open? We'll see. I'm taking the plunge. 

And that is what we do around here on Sundays. You're welcome to come over!

The Base: Skincare

I learned from reading a fair amount of reddit that makeup really can't do a lot for a person if the base, i.e. your face, isn't shipshape and Bristol fashion. Like all things beauty, I hadn't really paid that much attention to skincare.

I assumed that any old cleanser would be fine as I've never had to deal with any skin problems, other than some oiliness later in the day in the forehead/nose area - aka the t-zone - and some cheek redness. I used a moisturizer after cleansing (usually with an Aveeno ultra calming wipe) at night and in the morning after a shower. I've since learned that wipes are good for removing surface dirt and makeup, but not much more. I've been committed to Health & Beauty moisturizers for several years and have been working their products into my new routines as much as I can. And that, my friends, was that. Until about six weeks ago.

I learned from the good people of a sub-reddit called Skincare Addiction (warning: rabbit hole) that as a person gets older, their skin changes and needs more care, if that person cares about their skin. It began as an "ought to care" and turned into an "I totally care" situation because in my regular mirror I started to see the dreaded fine lines where none had been before. This is the reality of Beauty Over Thirty, friends. If you don't deal with these things, then, well, you know what happens.

The Importance of Being Clean. And Moisturized. And Serumed. And Acid...ed. 
Alright - let's get down to business. Everyone knows why you have to have a clean face. It's because of science and getting a bit older. And as you get older, your skin generally gets more dry, necessitating moisture(izers) and if you want to deal with fine lines and such, serums can pack a real punch.

Finally, you need to help your face get rid of dead skin cells by exfoliating. Manually exfoliating with microbeads and that kind of thing is not only bad for the environment, but also not too terribly effective. This is where the acids come in - AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) and BHAs (beta hydroxy acids). These gentle acids chemically exfoliate your skin and clear out your pores so that the nice new skin forms your base. Cool, huh? I never knew! Just a caveat - if you don't use acids now and have sensitive skin, you might need to build up from 1% to 5% over time. Acids can take some getting used to!

My Skincare Routine
To be clear (punny!), this is just my routine to address my own concerns, which are fine lines, facial redness and overall skin clarity. I cannot recommend Skincare Addiction enough, or alternately, Paula's Choice is an excellent source of information. Yes, she has her own range of skincare, but her education is top notch.

1. Splash face with warm water (cold water first thing is insane) and drink a glass of cold water. 
2. Paula's Choice 2% BHA all over face and neck with a cotton pad. Wait til dry, about 10 minutes.
3. Health & Beauty Lifting & Firming Serum on face and neck with fingers. Wait about 10 minutes.
4. Health & Beauty Pomegranate Firming Cream with SPF 15 on face and neck with fingers.
5. Health & Beauty Anti-wrinkle Eye Cream with SPF 20 on, uh, eyes, out to temples with fingers.

1. Wash face with Aveeno Ultra Calming Foaming Cleanser or Neutrogena thingy. I'm not committed to a cleanser yet.
2. Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Exfoliating Pad (AHA) all over face. Wait about 10 minutes.
3. Health & Beauty Pomegranate Night Cream all over face and neck with fingers.
4. Una Brennan Neroli Firming Eye Cream (just til it's done, then I'll use the H&B eye cream).

2x Each Week
About twice a week I do a masque of some kind, usually one of the Balea masques you can get at Shoppers Drug Mart for 3/$5 in the skin care section. I have several kinds, but I like the exfoliating and the microdermabrasion masques best. Here is a good review on Makeupalley.

A few little things I've learned...
  • You don't need to spend a gazillion dollars on this stuff. No one product I use is over $25. I've got about 1000 high-end skin care samples and have tried them, but not one (not even the Guerlain Abeille Royale serum) is any better than what I use. 
  • SPF is ultra important, even in the winter. Make sure you use it if nothing else!
  • If you're going to use serums and acids, the wait time is essential so that the product sinks in. I've tried it both ways (one quickly on top of the other/waiting for product to dry) and I swear by letting serums and acids dry.
  • When you start using acids, a "purge" is normal, i.e. it's normal to break out as the acids clear out your pores and exfoliate. 
  • Consistency is key. My skin looks frakking fantastic after about 3 weeks with the same routine, day after day. I'm going to post pics so you can see it too. 
Share your skincare tips and routines with the class, will you? I'm not married to my routine and am interested in what everyone else does.