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Beauty

Embracing Your Inner Nudist

October 16, 2013
tags: bare nails, , deborah lippmann, , eyes, fall 2013, , lips, madere, , mamba, nails, , , , nudist, ombre solo, prelude to a kiss, purre matte, , , the naturals, , ,
by Sonia

Nudist

NARS Pure Matte Lipstick in ‘Madère’, Deborah Lippmann nail polish in ‘Prelude to a Kiss’, Essie nail polish in ‘Mamba’, YSL Ombre Solo eyeshadow in ‘The Naturals’

 

 I’m no goth, but when it comes to makeup I’ve always preferred hues on the darker side of the spectrum. My eyeliner has remained a dark espresso color since the beginning of college — this was a graduation from caked on black eyeliner in high school — and as for eyeshadows and lipsticks, I’ve stuck almost exclusively to the smokey eye and bold red or burgundy lip when craving an extra oomph to my look. This color theory also applies to my nails as I’ve been painting my digits a variation of reds, blacks, and blues since the days of Hard Candy nail polish. This summer however, as my nail polish continued to chip after hours spent in the pool and I had less of a need for a dramatic eye or bold lip — summer is all about low maintenance beauty if you ask me — I gradually stopped painting my nails and began using less and less makeup in my everyday regime.

Now that summer is over and fall is in the air — can I get an, “Ohhh yeah!” — I’ve amped up my beauty routine again and instead of returning to the darkness that is the majority of my beauty products, I’ve opted to continue with this whole nudist theme. What I like about this nakedness is that it allows you to add pops of color without looking like Jessica Rabbit. For example, obviously I’m not wearing nude eyeshadow and nude lips at the time, that would just make me look like a creepy mannequin (or maybe that’s your thing?), but when the eyes are bare, the lips have a chance to make a statement and vice versa. As for nails, there’s something refreshing about a nude nail that lets the rings on my fingers stand out and the whole chipped polish thing become unimportant. The only downside is that more often than not, people can see the dirt buildup beneath your fingernails, but who really cares about that anyways?

The Makeup of Spring 2014

October 1, 2013
tags: , christian, , givenchy, , masks, pat mcgrath, , , , spring 2014, thom browne, Vivienne Westwood
by Sonia

When it comes to fashion, I like to think I understand the eccentric (see yesterday’s post regarding gnome heels). I’m all for a drop-crotch, the higher the heel the better, and let’s just say I have no qualms with the voluminous silhouettes that have taken over street style. But in terms of beauty, I’m all about practicality. My makeup routine has essentially stayed the same for nearly a decade, I rarely switch up my skincare products, and the most I’ll do in terms of adding some oomph to a look is apply a bold lip. Consequently, I hardly pay attention to the beauty looks that come down the runway twice a year. But this season the makeup has been beyond eccentric and I can’t help but question what it all means for my face come springtime.

Thom_Browne

Beginning with Thom Browne who showcased an elaborate and sculpted collection, the designer also made up his models in makeup that called to mind one thing: Are these girls coming back from a one night stand? In recent months I have been guilty of the next day smudged eyeliner and lipstick look which I normally would be totally ashamed of — they don’t call it a Walk of Shame for nothing. But suddenly, amidst a collection of beautifully crafted Elizabethan-inspired pieces that my wardrobe and I can only dream about, I’m beginning to wonder if Thom Browne isn’t telling me to continue to forget to remove last night’s makeup and rock the bedhead, smudgy faced look the following day.

Vivienne_Westwood

Then there’s Vivienne Westwood who, based on the makeup mud splatter featured on her Spring 2014 runway, is trying to tell us to get dirty. I always thought one should wash her face after a taxi cab drives through a puddle splashing murky water all over her face, but perhaps Lady Westwood has proved me wrong. As grunge returns to the trend world, maybe, so too is the start of looking as dirty as possible while walking down the streets. But what does this mean for acne?

Givenchy

What it means is Givenchy’s Spring 2014 sparkly face masks designed by Pat McGrath. I don’t know about you guys, but when I have a zit I would much rather cover it up with a Swarovski crystal or sequin than with some skin tone concealer that’s only going to look like a failed attempt at covering up said zit.

So, what can we learn from the outlandish beauty of Spring 2014? Here’s the lowdown: next day makeup smudge is good, getting dirt on your face is even better, and if you have a zit, then just cover it up with something sparkly. And if all of that doesn’t sound appealing, then take a cue from the Dior runway and gild your eyebrows.

Dior

// photos via Style.com

Trials & Errors in the Mens Beauty Department

September 18, 2013
tags: after shave, , best products, deodorant, mens beauty, , pomade, , shaving cream, , ,
by Sonia

Mens_Beauty

Mens beauty, unless we’re referring to Ryan Gosling, it kind of sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? When we think of men we think of their empty shower caddies, Old Spice, and their ability to roll out of bed in the morning looking just as good as they did the night before, right? But the truth is, men — I’m making a generalization here if you couldn’t already tell — are about as anal and meticulous about their daily “beauty routine” as women. How do I know this? Because I’m obnoxiously observant and happen to spend time around some fairly groomed men.

Though their showers may be painful to the eyes of us women who enjoy deep conditioners and luscious luffas, one peek into their medicine cabinet and you’ll see that a lot goes into the coif of their hair and impeccably trimmed beards (and chest hair). Designer deodorant, anti-aging facial cream, beard trimmers with multiple blades, hair pomade — he may smell rustic, but I can assure you that his vanity regime is not.

In an effort to further understand the whole “mens beauty” thing, I made mental notes on some frequently seen types of products, and took my curiosity to my local Duane Reade to gather the supplies. Here’s what I learned:

Shaving: OK, guys, you totally win. Why did I ever waste my time using girly shaving gel? Barbasol’s cream is just as it says it is, “thick and rich,” and not only did it make my leg shaving experience that much better (the lather is unreal), but my legs felt exceptionally soft afterwards.

After-Shave Care & Ingrown Hair Prevention Gel: I know I just praised Diaper Cream for being the ultimate solution to ingrown hair, but Avène’s Dermo-K Care and Prevention Gel puts the baby butt cream to shame. Along with being notably less awkward to apply, I found the gel to be soothing and all-powerful in diminishing those irritated ingrowns. And the more I think about it the more I realize that this should have been a no-brainer since men have to shave far more regularly than we women get our waxes.

Deodorant: Because this was a beauty trial, I opted out of buying a designer brand of deodorant; also because I find the whole idea of designer deodorant to be a bit ridiculous, but maybe that’s because sometimes I put hairspray in my armpits. Anyways, I decided to avoid the typical Old Spice deo and went with Mitchum Advanced Control. The application process was nice and smooth, almost refreshing, but I smelled like a man for the rest of the day. Even with a few spritzes of perfume, I still felt like I was wearing a man’s shirt, which was really just a turn on and thus quite distracting. As for fighting B.O., yes, Mitchum did the job, but so does my Dove Visibly Smooth deodorant and that one happens to smell like roses. So, in terms of deodorant I’m sticking to the lady brands.

Pomade: I am a curious cat when it comes to hair products. Though I don’t do much with my hair, I keep waiting to find a product that’s going to make my locks look like a Victoria’s Secret model. Of course the likeliness of this happening with a men’s product is very slim, but I was still willing to give pomade a shot. My first reaction was, “Wow, this smells delicious.” My second reaction was, “Why is it black?” My third reaction was, “OK it’s slightly sticky but is definitely adding more texture to my waves.” Final conclusion? The stuff works, but I’m nowhere near looking like I have Gisele Bündchen hair.

So, what did I learn from this? A couple of things. For starters, there are some serious perks to shopping in the mens beauty department, particularly when it relates to shaving needs. The other thing I learned is that if we ladies ever find ourselves in a beauty-bind, a man’s medicine cabinet could be our best friend. You may smell like his armpits, but wouldn’t you rather that than rotten garlic? And lastly, though not as optimistically, I still have yet to find a product that will give me Victoria’s Secret hair.

When In Doubt, Clean Hair

August 1, 2013
tags: allure, august 2013, , , clean hair, conditioner, , , purple shampoo, , shampoo, shower, silver lights,
by Sonia

Shower-2

There are beauty routines and then there’s hygiene, but more often than not they are one in the same. Though I’ve announced that my number one must-have when it comes to beauty is my eyelash curler, I should actually say that the silver tool is second in line to a process I find far more beautifying. With the exception of a few lazy Sundays, I shower at least once a day. While the obvious reasons are for a general cleanliness, it’s really the act of washing my hair that reboots my beauty process like a defibrillator reboots the heart.

            Now I know they say you should only wash your hair a few times a week and that the dirtier the hair, the easier it is to work with, but I couldn’t disagree more. For starters, I have to wash my hair everyday or else it looks like I’ve dunked my scalp into the french fry oil at McDonald’s. And while you may be thinking that it’s all about training my hair to get used to the whole unwashed thing, let me just say that I’ve tried this multiple times and it doesn’t work. I’m a grease machine, break out your deep friers.

The other factor is that a quick shower starts you off with a fresh canvas. I don’t know anyone in the world who says they don’t feel better after a shower. You’re fresh. You’re clean. So fresh and so clean, clean.

            Though most of my showers come first thing in the morning, I’ve been known to shower again before going out at night because a crimp of an eyelash curler and a spritz of dry shampoo just doesn’t produce the same freshness as a quick, 5-minute shower. When you shower, you’ve washed off any makeup buildup, you’ve brought a new dose of shine to your locks, and pending you have a great soap, you smell better than those who’ve opted for another swipe of deodorant and dab of perfume before embarking on the evening’s affair.

            But if none of this convinces you —and it very well might not — then flip open the August issue of Allure magazine where you’ll find none other than Kate Moss herself proclaiming that her ultimate beauty fix is, “Always clean hair. That’s a must. If in doubt, wash it.”

            I suppose this is where I should tell you the shampoos that I prefer. I usually have two different brands in my shower at a time. One is for color-treated hair (gotta tend to those highlights!), Shimmer Lights being my favorite. And the other is a light, everyday formula, of which my go-to is Bumble & Bumble’s Seaweed shampoo and conditioner.

Summer Beauty: The Makeup Edition

July 17, 2013
tags: , , , , , caudalie, , , , , kiehl's, liplicks, , , must-haves, , smoochies, , summer, , , vs makeup,
by Sonia

Summer_Beauty_Makeup_Edition

Makeup that’s not only shvitz proof, but also shvitz complimentary is probably as important as a strong deodorant during the summer. And while I enjoy Heidi Klum’s theory that, “More is more,” something tells me she’s blessed with Central Air and the lack of a sweat gene because let me tell you, Heidi, and the rest of you, when it comes to summertime in the city, less is more.

Along with my desire to walk around naked while clutching a portable air conditioner, I also want makeup that won’t end up dribbling down my face the second I step outside. I made a rookie mistake continuing my normal beauty routine for my first few summers in New York City, but I’ve learned my lesson and have adopted a new regime that’s simple, flattering, and sweat resistant.

The first thing I apply is bareMinerals Original Foundation with SPF 15 to my T-Bone Steak, I mean T-Zone. It not only evens out my skin tone, but absorbs the inevitable shine that accumulates throughout the day.

After that, pending I have a tan, I use Victoria’s Secret Illuminating Face Powder in Next to Nude on my cheekbones. This adds a hint of pinky bronze to my skin as well as a touch of glimmer that gives that much-desired sun kissed look. Careful not too add too much or else you’ll look like Mariah Carey on the cover of her movie Glitter. Or a Real Housewife. Or a My Little Pony. Really just anything fake. Well, except My Little Ponies because those are real. Ok, I’m done.

As you likely read last week, I’ve recently become a fan of thick, bushy eyebrows. Using Anastasia’s Brow Powder Duo, I slightly darken my eyebrows which surprisingly brings out the rest of the features on my face. The powder also lasts throughout a sweaty day, which is more than I can say for my eyeliner, even after applying my beloved goop.

I then apply a generous amount of Kiehl’s Lip Balm, not necessarily because it hydrates my lips (it doesn’t really do it for me), but because I’ve noticed that its sunblock works better than the other sun proof lip balms I’ve tried. Then, if I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll add a swipe of CoverGirl Liplicks Smoochies Lip Balm (who comes up with these names?) in #Text Me (no seriously, who comes up with these names?). A light application is the perfect amount of raspberry pink, while a couple of swipes gives my smackers a hue similar to the one I might get from eating too many cherries.

I finish off my look by brushing my lashes with the one and only mascara every girl should own, DiorShow Waterproof Mascara. The Waterproof is really code for Sweatproof, and no mascara has ever made my lashes look so luscious without clumping them together.

Then I’m out on the town, frying eggs on the sidewalks, and running through fire hydrants to keep me cool, but I never leave home without my Caudalíe Beauty Elixer, which smells fantastic, tones my skin, cools me down, and keeps my makeup in place. One spritz on the overbearingly hot subway platform and I look as fresh as I did when I first applied my makeup. Armpit sweat stains not included in this assessment.

For more summer beauty tips, check out my must-have summer hair products.