Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Ultimate Mascara Secret

If there is a holy grail of makeup, it’s almost certainly the highly elusive perfect mascara. The best mascara would be one that lengthens while it thickens, curls while it separates, and stays resolutely clump-free and steadfastly smudge-proof from morning ’til night.
The perfect mascara also would give your eyes that “va-va-va-voom” factor — deliciously envy-worthy lashes that would make people wonder if your lashes just might be fake before deciding that you’ve simply been unfairly blessed with a genetically superior lashline.
While no single mascara possesses all of these qualities, we’ve pinpointed a technique that achieves an effect that comes close to this level of perfection.
The underlying principle of this technique is pretty simple: create a light foundation on your lashes using a non-clumping, lengthening mascara. Then add volume and even more length with a heavier mascara.
Implementing this strategy, however, is a little more complicated than it sounds and may take some practice, but we’ve put together a detailed step-by-step guide to help you out.
Some things to keep in mind before we start:
-For this technique, we recommend very specific products for one very specific reason: they work. We have tested several products for this method and the ones listed below are the ones that we found were truly the most effective.
-Do only one eye at a time. This technique must be performed fairly swiftly and you don’t want your mascara to dry between coats. Applying this technique to only one set of lashes at a time will help prevent this.
-Have a tissue handy for wiping excess mascara off the wand before applying it and to wipe off your lash comb between uses.
Here’s what you’re going to need:
-Maybelline Lash Discovery Mascara (Waterproof Formula). This is a light, smudge-free, lengthening mascara with an extra small brush that allows you to get to even the hardest-to-reach lashes. Using this mascara ensures that you add length and definition to all your lashes, even the littlest ones.
-Maybelline Lash Stylist Mascara (Waterproof Formula). This mascara can weather a tear-storm like only a few others that we’ve encountered and its applicator is a multi-layered comb that offers great control and minimized clumping. This mascara will add the previously mentioned “va-va-va-voom” factor.
-Tweezerman Folding Eyelash Comb. We rave about this puppy all the time. You can read more about .why eyelash combs are essential for getting clump-free lashes If you haven’t bought one yet, what are you waiting for? For lash’s sake, just go get one.
-First, apply all other eye makeup besides your mascara and curl your eyelashes.
-Sweep a light coat of Maybelline Lash Discovery over your lashes, concentrating on the hard-to-reach lashes that are closer to the corner of your eye. Remember to keep a very light hand here. If you over-do this step, you’ll most likely end up with irreversible clumping.
-Immediately after applying the Lash Discovery mascara, swiftly (but carefully!) give your eyelashes a good comb to ensure that eyelashes are separated and clump-free. It’s important to perform this step quickly because you don’t want to give your lashes too much time to dry before moving on to the next step.
-Apply the Lash Stylist Mascara as you normally would, gently wiggling the wand as you comb the mascara up through the lashes. One coat should do it, but don’t be afraid to get in there and touch up any places that aren’t fully coated and to add a little extra mascara to the outer lashes if you like the doe-eyed look.
-Thoroughly comb your lashes to get out any clumps. When the mascara starts to build up on the comb, make sure to tissue it off in order to prevent adding excessive mascara back onto your lashes
-Repeat on the other eye.
-If necessary, comb through your lashes again after the mascara has dried to remove all clumps.
The result should be long, thick lashes with very little (if any) clumping and they should stay that way all day and even into the wee hours of the night.
If you’re going to be in a very muggy environment or dancing the night away in a humid night club, bring a makeup eraser pen (or at least a cotton swab) to eliminate any smudges and, of course, bring along that eyelash comb to fight off any clumps.

Get rid of dry cuticles for good!

Thick, dry, and peeling cuticles are one of beauty’s biggest pet peeves. Whether you get weekly manicures done by a professional or you choose to do your own nails, this tip is indispensable for developing and maintaining healthy cuticles and smooth, moisturized hands. Do not perform this procedure if your cuticles or the skin on your hands is injured, raw, or bleeding because it could worsen your condition. As always, please seek treatment from a physician if you suffer from any serious skin condition.

One of the most common ways of treating dry, thick, or peeling cuticles is to try snipping off the dead skin with a cuticle nipper. The problem with this method is that it is difficult and even dangerous to perform on yourself. People often tend to nip off too much skin, which simply results in your skin growing back even thicker and, worse yet, you could easily cut too deeply and injure yourself. Furthermore, as a practical matter, it is virtually impossible to use cuticle nippers on yourself unless you’re ambidextrous because you’ll always be forced to use your left hand to trim the cuticles on your right (or vice versa if you’re a lefty).

But not to worry! We’ve got an easy and safe solution for you. First, start with clean, dry nails. Take a good, oil- and sugar-based body scrub and apply it to your cuticles and nail area. If you’re running a little short on time, you can do this while in the shower, but you’ll get the best results if you do this while your hands are still dry.
Gently massage the body scrub in small circles over the entire cuticle area, paying special attention to the part of your finger where the corner of the nail meets the skin. Spend approximately 30 seconds exfoliating the cuticle of each nail.
Rinse thoroughly and pat dry. Follow up your cuticle scrub by massaging a rich cuticle cream into the cuticle as well as the nailbed on each of your fingers. For really deep moisturization, slather on some handcream and slip on a pair of cotton gloves.

Again, the absolute key to this is maintenance. Perform the exfoliating procedure weekly and massage your cuticles and nails with a rich cuticle cream twice a day and we promise you can kiss those dry cuticles goodbye forever!

Emergency blotting paper for oily skin

Even though there are a lot of great oil blotting powders, papers, and tissues out there, one of the most effective is extremely common — and free! If you find yourself suffering from an oil slick, head to your nearest ladies room and try blotting your face with one of those ordinary, disposable, paper toilet seat covers. The paper is both sanitary and highly absorbent.

Using firm, but gentle pressure, press and hold the paper seat cover to your face until excess oil is absorbed. It’s an easy way to banish any shine — any time.

Get naked: Find your Perfect Nude Lip Color

Love the look of nude lips, but have problems finding the perfect nude lip color? Lucky for you, it may already be hiding in your makeup bag.

You may have heard it before: the basic rule when it comes to choosing a nude lip color is to choose a shade that is the same or slightly lighter than your skin tone. Opt for slightly cooler shades if you have paler skin and choose a warmer shade if you have olive or darker skin.

While these rules seem simple enough, the quest for a perfect nude lip colour can often be frustrating, since many find that nude lip colors tend to appear too light, too dark, or tend to wash out the complexion.

This simple beauty secret takes the guesswork out of finding the right shade of nude lip color. You can achieve a beautiful nude lip look simply by using lip balm, your own concealer, and a lipgloss.

“You can achieve a

beautiful nude lip
look simply by using

lip balm, your own

concealer, and a lipgloss…”

The regular concealer you use on your face works great for this makeup trick. However, if you buy darker concealer to match your complexion during the summer, this makeup tip can make great use of that lighter colored concealer that you thought you’d have to toss out or stow away.

If you have different colored concealers, try experimenting with both shades to find the look that you like best.
Before you try this look make sure your lips are well exfoliated. Try a lip exfoliator like Tarte FRxtion or make your own homemade sugar lip scrub.

Once you’ve got your lips nice and smooth, apply a lip balm to seal in moisture and help prep the lips. Next, use your finger or a lip brush to blend a light layer of concealer onto your lips.
When applying the concealer to your lips, don’t go overboard or your lips might end up looking a bit muddy. Remember that you can always apply more concealer later if you want a more opaque look.

Give the concealer and lip balm a minute to sink into your lips and then add a layer of clear lipgloss for a basic, lush, nude lip look.

Want a little more dimension for some drop-dead sexy lips? Try adding a little silver or gold lip gloss at the top of your cupid’s bow and on the center of your bottom lip to help lips appear fuller. Another pretty option is to try topping lips with a shimmery gloss instead of a plain clear gloss.

The Perfect Tinted Moisturizer

Still looking for the best tinted moisturizer? While there are many excellent tinted moisturizers on the market, you may find that some are too dark, too light, too heavy, or not moisturizing enough — the potential list of problems is virtually endless.
If you still haven’t found your perfect tinted moisturizer, you can try this beauty secret for making your own tinted moisturizer that’s perfectly customized to fit your skin’s needs.
The great news is that the best tinted moisturizer for your skin type and skin tone may already be waiting for you in your makeup bag. Simply mix some of your foundation with your moisturizer and voila! A tinted moisturizer that’s personally customized for your skin.
Our favorite method for making your own tinted moisturizer at home is to use your favorite moisturizer and mix it with mineral makeup such as Bare Escentuals BareMinerals. High quality mineral makeup almost seems to dissolve when mixed with moisturizer and when you apply this homemade tinted moisturizer to your face, it creates light, even coverage as well as the soft glow characteristic of mineral makeup.
Not into minerals? Regular liquid foundations also work great as tinted moisturizers when mixed with your face lotion.
Another advantage to mixing your own tinted moisturizer is that you can easily adjust the color. If you need more coverage, add more foundation. Want a tinted moisturizer to match and enhance your tanned, summer glow? Just mix in a little powdered bronzer into your homemade tinted moisturizer.
Quick Tip: We found that one of the easist and least messy ways to mix your own tinted moisturizer is to use a mini plastic cosmetics spatula (available at most beauty supply stores). These little spatulas make scooping out powdered mineral makeup and mixing it into the moisturizer a snap and they’re also great for scraping that last bit of product from the bottom of a cosmetics jar.

Beauty 9-1-1: Quick Fixes For Beauty Emergencies

It’s one of the worst-case beauty-scenarios. A beauty emergency hits while you’re at an important lunch or on a hot dinner date with Mr. Right…and you forgot to pack your beauty essentials.

Don’t let a beauty boo-boo ruin your good time. We’ve got some super quick, do-it-yourself beauty fixes to the rescue.

These unusual beauty tips all involve the use of common, every-day items that are easy to round up at almost any restaurant. Some of this emergency makeshift makeup may already even be in your purse.

Next time you find yourself in a beauty crisis, try out these quick fixes:

Use butter as a moisturizing lip gloss.
One of the last things you want when you’re out on a hot date is to have dry, flaky lips. Keep them soft and moisturized by smoothing on some plain old table butter. The oil from the butter is effective in conditioning the lips and it leaves a nice shine. Yes, it’s a little weird, but it really works.

Separate clumpy eyelashes with a toothpick.
This is an old but effective beauty trick. If your mascara gets clumpy, (carefully!) pick through the clumps with the edge of a toothpick. Please exercise extreme caution when doing this so that your date or lunch meeting doesn’t end in the emergency room.

Curl your eyelashes with a spoon.
If your lashes start to uncurl (or you forgot to curl them in the first place), use a spoon as an improvised eyelash curler. Cup the spoon over your closed eye and position the edge of the spoon as close to your lash line as possible.
Using a finger on your other hand, gently press your lashes against the outer curve of the spoon and hold for a few seconds. Repeat, if necessary, until your eyelashes are gently curled.

Toilet paper seat covers make great blotting paper.
If your T-zone shifts into overdrive and you need a makeshift face-blotting tissue, try using a disposable paper toilet seat cover to blot your face and absorb excess oil.
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Use an ice cube if a surprise pimple appears.
Pimples sometimes surface at the worst possible moments. Nip a zit in the bud by applying an ice cube to the inflamed area for a couple minutes. The cold should help curb the swelling and calm inflammation. If you’re lucky enough to have some Visine eye drops with you, apply a drop to the pimple to help eliminate redness.

Use a matchbook cover as a makeshift nail file.
If you chip a nail, file down sharp edges with the abrasive strip on the back of a matchbook cover or side of a matchbox.

Need a quick fix for hangnails?
Break out the butter again. Butter not only helps moisturize your lips, but it can also help smoothe a pesky hangnail. Use the butter the same way as you would a regular cuticle cream: just dab a little on and then massage until it’s absorbed.

Calm a case of the frizzies with a dab of hand lotion.
Forgot to check the weather report? If humid weather has got your hair hot-wired, smooth down frizzies by using a dab of hand lotion in place of a hair cream.

Fight grease with an improvised “dry” shampoo.
Stave off oily hair by lightly applying an alcohol-based product such as regular anti-bacterial hand gel (the clear, non-creamy kind) or those little, individually wrapped hand wipes available in many restaurants. Alcohol-based products such as these help to absorb oil and freshen hair.
If you’ve managed to bring your perfume with you (but somehow forgot all the important stuff), a spritz of perfume on the roots of your hair is also an effective (and great smelling) quick fix for greasy hair.

One last tip: This probably goes without saying, but if you have to perform any of these makeshift beauty tricks, it’s definitely best to excuse yourself and do this in the privacy of the ladies room. It’s so much easier to say that you have to go powder your nose than it is to explain why you’re buttering your smoocher instead of your dinner roll.

Quite possibly the world’s most perfect eyeshadow

Believe it or not, this universally flattering eyeshadow trick will work for women of any age or ethnicity. Whether you have aging skin and are faced with the problem of finding eyeshadows that will not settle in wrinkles, or if you’re fighting the “mother vs. teen daughter” battle over what makeup a teen or tween can wear without looking too mature or inappropriate — or you’re just someone who has trouble finding great eyeshadow colors for your skin tone, you’ve now got a great solution.

Pressed powder — yes, the stuff for your face — can make an excellent eyeshadow. Since face powder is formulated in natural shades that are designed to accurately match skin tone, you’ll find that, when applied to the eyes, the color is soft, subtle and natural. For a shade to highlight the brow bone, inner corners of your eyes, or to dab on the lid, simply pick a color that is 1-2 shades lighter than your own skin color. Similarly, if you’d like a darker shade for a crease color, pick a powder that is 1-2 shades darker than your natural skin color. Want an even more dramatic, smokey eye look, or a shadow to smudge on as a liner? Go for a shade that’s even darker.

“By considering

all face powders as potential

eyeshadows, you

open up a whole

big, new world of

possibilities. . . “

By considering all face powders as potential eyeshadows, you open up a whole big, new world of possibilities — oil-absorbing matte powder for extremely oily prone skin (or to use as a no-slide eye makeup base), semi-matte for a velvety finish, or a wrinkle-fighting formula that protects the skin as it disguises flaws. Not to mention most powders are now also formulated to be long lasting, which means less eyemakeup mess and fewer reapplications.

The result — particularly if you buy colors from the same line — is a beautiful, highly blendable, low-fuss makeup look that can even be customized for your skin type. If your skin color changes enough that you need to buy different makeup for Winter and Summer, this trick is a great way to use up any leftover powder without having to throw it away. Plus, you get a whole compact full of makeup. Now tell me, what regular eyeshadow can do that?

To try this look out, Loreal True Match Powder is a great starting point, since most stores have a plastic color matching card that makes it easy to find an exact match for your skin tone. Once you’ve got that figured out, it’s a cinch to pick lighter or darker eye shades.
Another great choice is Tru Blend Pressed Powder by Covergirl. Since this “smart” powder works to match 97% of all skin tones, you get a really subtle, well-matched eyeshadow color when you deliberately choose shades that are darker or lighter than your own (since this powder really does match a wide number of skin tones, you’ll probably have to choose shades that appear much lighter or darker than your own).

Other great picks, simply because they have such a silky texture and high-quality pigment are Nars pressed powder and DiorSkin pressed powder.

How To: Remove Waterproof Mascara

Waterproof mascara can be a challenge to remove. If you’re not careful, you might end up pulling out precious lashes, irritating the skin around your eyes, or even developing an eye infection. To keep your peepers healthy and lashes clean, follow these easy steps to remove even the most stubborn waterproof mascara.

The Easiest Way to Remove Mascara

The easiest (but not necessarily ideal) way to remove waterproof mascara is simply to use a good facial cleanser (try Neutrogena One Step Gentle Cleanser, $7.50 or Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser, $6.59). Gently massage the cleanser in a circular motion over your eyes and lashes and then rinse well.

The problem with this method? If you get even a small amount of cleanser in your eyes, it’s going to sting. Furthermore, these kinds of cleansers tend to dry out both your lashes and the skin around your eyes. In particular, those with very sensitive skin or eyes are likely to find this method of removing mascara to be too harsh.
Whether or not this method works well for you, there is a gentler, yet still effective, way to remove waterproof eye makeup.

Makeup Moxie’s Preferred Method for Removing Waterproof Mascara

What you’ll need:
-An excellent waterproof eye makeup remover. One of the best is LancĂ´me Bi-Facil Double-Action Eye Makeup Remover ($26). For a more budget-friendly option, try Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover ($7.99).
-A gentle face cleanser like Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleaner ($17.50) or the classic standby, Cetaphil ($11).
Once you’ve got everything you need, follow these steps to remove even the most smuge-resistant mascara:

-Saturate a cotton ball with eye makeup remover.

-Close your eye and position the cotton ball on the bottom side of your lashes (the side where you’ve applied mascara). Once the cotton ball is underneath your lashes, apply gentle pressure so that the underside of your lashes are pressed against the cotton ball.

-Continue to hold the cotton ball against your lashes for about 10-20 seconds without moving it. Doing this allows the makeup remover to do its job and start dissolving the mascara.

-Begin to slowly move the cotton ball up the length of your lashes. Minimize tugging by always “wiping” your lashes in the same direction.

-Continue to gently wipe the undersides of your lashes with the cotton ball and then check your progress in the mirror. If you still have a lot of mascara left on your lashes, you’ll need to repeat the above steps until your lashes are clean. If you find it difficult to remove the last bits of mascara from the base of your eyelashes, dip a Q-Tip into the makeup remover and use it to gently “scrub” the roots of your lashes.

-After repeating these steps on your other eye, use a gentle face cleanser to remove any last traces of makeup and any oily residue that may be left behind by your makeup remover. Be sure to rinse well with plenty of lukewarm water.

Though it’s more time-consuming than other methods, the steps above allow you to remove even the most stubborn mascara with minimal tugging or stress on your lashes. Most importantly, properly removing mascara greatly lessens the risk of eye infection while reducing lash breakage and keeping your flirt fringe in tip-top shape.

The Skin Care Rules!

The key to looking your fabulous best, with or without makeup, is to have a clear, beautiful complexion. No matter who you are or what your skin type, these top five rules are absolutely essential to getting and maintaining healthy skin.

-Wear sunscreen. There is no greater anti-wrinkle secret in the world than the simple act of wearing sunscreen every day. Sun exposure not only accounts for most of the skin damage associated with aging, but it can also lead to skin cancer. At the bare minimum, make sure you wear a broad spectrum sunscreen (one that contains titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, avobenzone, or oxybenzone) with a minimum rating of SPF 15.

-Put down the Marlboros. Besides the obvious damage it can do to your lungs and heart, smoking also wreaks havoc on your skin. Because smoking reduces the skin’s ability to repair itself, smokers often suffer from enlarged pores, premature wrinkles, and rough skin texture.

-Bottoms up. Staying properly hydrated is essential for having healthy skin. By consuming an adequate amount of fluids every day, you help your body flush out toxins and carry oxygen and nutrients to cells. The ultimate result is clearer, healthier skin.

-Take it all off. While it can be tempting after a long day (or night) to just jump into bed without taking off your makeup, you run the risk of clogged pores and breakouts. Worse yet, the bits of mascara and eyeshadow that can get into your eyes while you sleep can even cause eye injuries or infections. Take the time to remove your makeuo properly or, at the very least, keep some facewipes by your bedside for some quick cleansing before your crash.

-Get your beauty sleep. Anyone who’s suffered through sleepless nights can attest to the fact that lack of sleep often results in puffiness or dark circles or bags under the eyes. Make sure to get your seven-to-eight hours, so you can wake up looking fresh and rested. As an extra bonus, studies have shown that getting enough sleep can actually make you smarter…and that’s always a beautiful thing

Don’t toss that summer makeup!

As tans have faded and trends have changed, you’ve almost certainly built up a collection of summer makeup that’s been making its way to the back of your bathroom drawer. Before you toss out that makeup for good, be sure to check out these tips that can help you save money and expand your makeup wardrobe.

-If you buy darker foundations during the summer, you can still use them long after your tan has faded. Try using your “summer” foundation as a contouring shade under cheekbones or even between your breasts to create the illusion of deeper cleavage.

-Another use for a darker shade of foundation is to mix a couple drops of it with your moisturizer for a subtle faux glow.

-Bronzers and darker face powders become Perfect shades of contouring eyeshadows. Similarly, liquid bronzers and foundations make lovely liquid shadows.

-As for all that neon nail polish that you might never wear again? Get creative and use them for everything from art projects to fraying shoelaces

As always, the trick is to think creatively about all the different ways you can use your beauty products. It’s one of the best ways to help save money, ensure that products don’t go to waste, and expand your makeup collection.

Make Eyes Bright!

Ok so I know that I have basically been on hiatus, but my life has been one big mess lately! One thing that I can say that has been pretty amazing, however, is the compliments that I have been getting every single day without fail on my eye makeup. The funny part about it is that all I ever wear is mascara, and one other magic eye product - Benefit EyeBright.

This is the most amazing eye pencil because it basically just makes your eyes pop. It's a pinkish-white liner that goes on the corner of your eyes and just makes you instantly look awake. The best part about this product is that it comes with instructions!! Basically, Benefit EyeBright is foolproof in more ways than one.

So if for whatever reason you just cannot get enough beauty sleep, Benefit EyeBright is the product for you!

Blue Eyeliner and Risk Takers

I've been seeing a lot of blue liners for the bottom lid recently. On Friday, I went to do a clients ,SEV makeup. Upon doing her eyes, I put a thin turquoise line under her bottom lashes (in addition to lining the inner, bottom lid with black). After all, her dress was this color and I really thought it would accent her eyes perfectly.

When she first saw the color there she was a bit jarred, but slowly got used to it after a while. And when she asked the opinion of others, they told her she needed to leave the color there because it looked amazing. She ended up loving it and said I had made the right decision with the color.

I love taking risks. It does depend on what risk I happen to be taking, but I generally like to do some things that are out of the ordinary. SEV also ended up wearing a pair or orange earrings with her turquoise dress. Was it a perfect match of colors? Absolutely not. Was it daring? Most definitely. Did it look amazing? It certainly did.

And these are just little risks. A change in makeup or accessory can be a slight deviance but it may make a huge difference. Switch it up, be daring, and add some color to your face, especially if black is a staple in your everyday wardrobe - the possibilities are endless.

Recycle MAC Today?

I wanted to quickly mention something that most of you may already know about. However, it's good to mention, nonetheless. S informed me of the MAC Recycling Program a few months ago and it's a cool program! I thought about it this morning as I applied my Ricepaper shadow to my lid - I'm starting to run low on that stuff because I use it every single day!

The MAC Recycling Program essentially has you trade in six of your old MAC products to a MAC store or via snail mail and they will give you a free MAC lipstick in exchange. This way, you are properly disposing of your old makeup materials and getting a little something out of it at the same time. In fact, I believe S was able to get a new eyeshadow when she went to the store in person. That's a great way to try out a new color!

Top Five Tools for Your Makeup Bag

There are just some supplemental tools that every girl needs in her makeup bag. Here are the top five products that you should always consider having on hand when doing your makeup. Every makeup professional is bound to have these tools in her makeup bag!

The Q-tip - mistakes happen and sometimes you need to make a tiny adjustment to a beautiful job you have just completed on your lids. Don't mess up your job with your fingers - use a Q-tip to correct a liquid liner gone wrong or to even apply some eyeshadow primer that doesn't have an applicator, like Benefit's F-Y-Eye, to your lids.

Brushes - it is an excellent idea to invest in a good set of brushes. Although they may be quite pricey, they will certainly last you a long time, especially if you properly care for them and clean them frequently with brush cleanser. In fact, there are lots of brush sets that are available at Sephora and other department stores, especially around holiday time. This can help keep the cost down. The only thing you need to keep in mind with a set is that these brushes are factory processed, rather than put together by hand (as is the case with single, more expensive brushes), but still work just fine!

Wedges - these are perfect to help spread any liquid product, like foundation or primer, evenly onto the skin. Oftentimes, as you spread a product with your fingers, it will get stuck in the crevices of your fingerprints, leaving a lot of your product wasted and washed away. Additionally, the natural oils from your fingers can easily be transferred on to your face, unnecessarily greasing up your clean face. Save time, money, and frustration with these friendly sponges.

Tweezers - even if you get waxed, you'll still find some unfriendly strays growing in prematurely. To keep up with your brows in between waxing appointments, pluck the few strays you've got. But be very careful not to mess with the shape of the brow - that means don't go above the brow or attempt to get a hair that might mean plucking more than needed. Only obvious ones should be tweezed.

Lash Curler - on days when I'm barely wearing makeup, I still manage to use my lash curler to give my lashes a boost. Of course, I think the best one out there is the shu uemura curler, hands down. Use before and after applying mascara so that you really get the fullest and most voluminous-looking lashes possible. And although lash curlers may be intimidating to some, it really makes a difference in your face - promise!What are some of YOUR fave tools for your makeup bag?

CVS or Sephora in a Recession?

Even in a recession, I find myself walking into Sephora and department stores way more often than into a drugstore for my beauty products. Why is this? Well, it's tough to test products when they are closed up and none are on display. Actually, it's impossible. And who wants to spend money on a product that may be a candidate for one-time use?

Beauty products are not really the place where I feel the need to skimp. This is my face after all. This is not to say that there are no good products present in the drugstore. I have come by quite a few that I really have enjoyed and have picked up based on the recommendation of others. Here are some great drugstore products that I've come across through my trials:

-Maybelline Lineworks Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner
-Maybelline Cool Effect Eyelining Pencil
-Cover Girl Professional All-in-One Curved Brush Mascara
-Rimmel London Extra Super Lash
-Clean & Clear Continuous Control Acne Cleanser

Now, just because a product costs more money doesn't necessarily mean that it can do the same exact job. For instance, I really do think that the Maybelline Lineworks Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner (about $7) does a fabulous job when you compare it to MAC's Liquid Eye Liner ($16.50). Both have a felt tip and are rich in color. I find, however, that MAC's liquid liner is a bit more difficult to get off than Maybelline's and the latter is waterproof! I love MAC's products, but this is a case where I'll take a little trip to my drugstore.

My lesson to you here is to be careful what products you buy. Although it may be tempting to buy something because it's cheaper (especially in this economy), it may not have the effect you expected; but a pricier product doesn't mean that it's better either. Do your research and try to make an informed decision!

How To: Lauren Conrad

I got inspired by list look from Lauren's birthday look on The Hills. Her look was typical of what has been trending since the fall season: simple face and eyes, with a stand-out lip color. Although it seems rather BAM and you may not think you can pull it off, you may be surprised. With just the right products you'll have this look in a matter of minutes - seriously!

I really do believe that this look can be achieved super quickly. When I try to do my eyes up with lots of color, it can take a while to really exaggerate my look. But with this look, all I need to do are my basics and just jump in the car with my lipstick, which I can apply in the mirror anywhere and anytime!

Face (these are basics that I would use no matter what look I'm trying to achieve)

Concealer - Prescriptives Camouflage Cream

Primer - Smashbox Photo FinishFoundation - Bare Escentuals bareMinerals

Bronzer - NARS in Laguna

I don't think you need blush in this look; you don't want to look like a clown. And if you want to accentuate your cheekbones, try using a little extra bronzer on the apples of your cheeks.

Eyes (the goal here is to look natural)

Primer - Laura Mercier Eye Basics

Eyeshadow - MAC's Ricepaper (it's a neutral base)

Top Liner - Maybelline's Lineworks (liquid liner used to make a winged line will look the sharpest)

Bottom Liner - Prescriptives Softlining Pencil

Mascara - Clinique High Definition Lashes; Sephora Brand Lash

Lips (here come the dramatics)

Lipstick - NARS Sephora Flame (semi matte deep red brown)

Lipgloss - Cargo blu_ray High Definition Timestrip Lip Gloss in Laredo (shimmering nude)

Lauren's birthday look is really a simple one that is accentuated by your choice of lip color. Just remember to keep the eyes simple if you're going for dramatic lips; use a neutral gloss on your lips if you're going to accentuate your eyes. It's simple! And hopefully, unlike Lauren, you need not worry about waterproofing in case you cry on your birthday!

A Face for Facials

I got a facial yesterday - my second ever - and my esthetician told me that my face was looking much improved from the first time I came to her. I was completely thrilled. I did switch up a few things in my routine since that day and I'm going to tell you about them right now!

1. Cleanser SEV told me about this absolutely divine cleanser that she couldn't live without. It's Bliss' Steep Clean Deep Pore Cleanser. She went on and on about it so much, I just had to see what the hype was all about. She was definitely right. You put this cleanser on your dry face, which seems extremely strange but seriously does wonders. If you think about it, you really get the strongest possible product this way, as you're not diluting it with water. And, although it feels strange at first -- to have this dry product not gliding along your face with ease -- your face will feel so smooth once you wash off the Steep Clean Deep Pore Cleanser.

Tip: Occasionally (or more often than not), you can use your Clarisonic brush with the cleanser. Just wet the brush head after you apply the product to your dry face…

2. Toner I didn't use toner until I left my facial last time. Apparently moisturizing is not enough. You need to also tone your skin. This will ensure that you use less moisturizer than you would need. I bought one of the toners at the salon and have been using it pretty religiously (we all have our off days) each time I wash my face. I have noticed a difference.Tip: There are some toners that are spray-on so you don't need to go through the annoyance of using a cotton ball each time. If you have the cotton-ball-necessary toner, then you can put some in a spray bottle and use it that way -- saves a little time if you're in a hurry.

3. Moisturizer Moisturizer is so key. The first time a makeup artist told me that even oily skin needs moisturizer, I was hooked. It really is true. If you don't moisturize, your skin tends to overproduce oil - and then you are left looking like a greaseball. I'm still looking like this anyway, but I can definitely bring down the degree to which I'm oily. My favorite moisturizer? Prescriptives' All You Need + SPF 15 for Oilier Skin.

4. Mask I haven't been keeping up with using a mask the way I should be. My esthetician told me yesterday that I should use one at least once a week. This will help cut down on oil and keep me looking nice and fresh. The one I want to try was also recommended by SEV - the Steep Clean Facial Mask by Bliss. Once I try it out I will let you know what I think!My skin has been looking so much better in the past few months and I really do believe it's due to my routine and the occasional facial. And since I'm not made of money and can't go quite as often as I'd like to get facials these are just some of the things I can do in between to maintain a healthy, glowing face.

Sharpen Your Eyeliners!!

Upon working with a model this weekend, I perfected an eyelining technique. The thing is that I love liquid eyeliner because it is much sharper than an eyelining pencil and really stands out above carefully-curled lashes. But sometimes, it may not look completely uniform - especially on someone who likes to squeeze their eyes together in fear of foreign objects being placed quite close to their eye by a stranger. This is completely understandable; hence I decided to use both the eyelining pencil and the liquid eyeliner.

Use an eyelining pencil with good pigmentation. I love Prescriptives' Softlining Pencil in Jet. As you close one eye and pull out your lid so that it's pretty smooth, run the pencil from the inner corner to the outer corner of your eye in short, little movements. Once you have your straight line, use the liquid eyeliner (I enjoy Maybelline's Lineworks Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner) to give the line a little more definition. For the liquid liner, I usually start in the middle of the lid so as not to have an excess of product on either end. Be sure to smooth out the line from end to end. And there you have a sharper, more cohesively-lined lid!