Thursday, January 24, 2013

2013 PCA: Taylor Swift

Taylor's makeup always looks really flawless and but together but in a way that somehow annoys me.  Does that make sense?  Sometimes I just want her to do something risky, different, or at least colorful!  With that being said, I thought this bronze smokey eye she wore at the 2013 People's Choice Award was really stunning.  It's very T. Swift--simple and beautiful. 

The only visuals I could find for this look were of Taylor with her eyes open.  So I’m not positive what was going on with her lids, but I think it’s safe to say this eyeshadow look is pretty monochromatic.  This is great because it doesn’t require a lot of products! Taylor’s eyeshdow is a warm brown, bronzy color that will look great on all eye colors—especially blue eyes!   Here’s what I used:

-Primed my lid with MAC paint pot in “Indianwood.”  I placed the color all over the lead and blended it upwards above the crease.  I also placed it under the eye close to the lash line, blending it down. 
-Using a fluffy brush I blended a bronze color all over the lids & under the eye as well (MAC "Amberlights")
-Next I placed a little bit darker shade on the outside edge and blended into the bronze for dimension (MAC "Bronze")
-Highlight the inner corner of the eyes with a champagne eyeshadow (MAC “Nylon”)
-Using and angled eyeliner brush and a black eyeshadow (“Blackout” form the Naked2 Palette) I liked my upper lash line, and softly blended it out to make it look less like a liner.
-Using a black gel eyeliner (MAC Fluidline in “Blacktrack”) and an angled eyeliner brush, I lined my upper and lower waterlines. 
-Taylor’s brows aren’t perfectly drawn on, they are very natural looking.  I used my Anastasia Brow Pencil in “Ash Blonde” and a little of my Anastasia brow powder duo also in “Ash Blonde” to lightly fill in my brows where needed.
-curl lashes and apply your favorite mascara to the top and bottom lashes
-Taylor is definitely wearing fake lashes, so pick your favorite pair and go for it. 

Taylor’s skin looks flawless, but also really fresh and dewy.  She doesn’t appear to be wearing a full coverage foundation but there aren’t any imperfections showing.  
-I applied MAC’s Strobe Liquid to give skin an instant glow
-For my foundation & concealer I used the Graftobian HD Cream Foundation and applied as usual.
-I decided to contour my face just the slightest big using MAC blush in “Harmony”
-I used a tiny bit of MAC “Peaches” blush along the apples of my cheeks
-Along the tops of the cheekbones, bridge of the nose, & cupids bow I applied a little more Strobe Liquid to highlight.
-Taylor’s skin doesn’t look matte so if you can skip the powder do so. I used a little of MAC’s MSF Natural in “Light” to lightly set areas that I concealed.

Taylor’s lips look as if they hardly have anything on them.  Depending on your natural lip color you could simply use a moisturizing chap stick.  To me they seem to have a pinky-peach tint to them with a satin finish (so skip the shiny lip-gloss).
- Essence lip pencil in "in the nude"
-CoverGirl NatureLuxe gloss balm in "210 Thistle"

Here’s my recreation of Taylor’s look for the 2013 People’s Choice Awards

This whole look is all about the eyes, and it’s a great smokey eye look for people with fair skin because it makes a statement without being overpowering because.  It’s a pretty and simple look so keep it mind the next time you want to doll up!

For the love of beauty & Taylor,
…Casey B

Monday, January 21, 2013

My Skin Care Routine

Last January I posted a “winter skin care tips” post which featured my top 10 products, tips, & tricks to beat winter dryness.  I still love all the products and tips I shared in that post, so instead of duplicating them I decided for this post I would tell you more about my personal skin care routine & the products I’ve been using this winter. 
Since my last “skin” post, my skin has done something it had never done before.  Around August of last year I developed acne for the first time in my life.  To make a long story short, I’ve been going to the dermatologist since then to control the acne.  I’m currently taking one oral medication and a combination of 3 different topical treatments to keep my skin as clear as possible.  I have very fair skin and it’s also more on the sensitive side, so not only am I battling skin dryness from my medications but also from the cooler air outside. 
Since adding acne medications to my skin care routine, I decided I need to be even more conscious of the products I’m using along with them. I don’t want (or need) to use moisturizers and beauty products that have extra ingredients that I don’t need in them.  One of the things I’ve been doing is looking into more natural and organic skin care products.  And I must say, so far so good! **I say “more organic” because some of the products I’m using are not 100% organic.  Eventually I hope to be using 100% all natural products but for now while I continue my research & quest to find the best ones for me, I’m using products that are within my budget, easy to find, and are at least one step closer to being all natural/organic.  Baby steps!**
Here’s my routine!
To cleanse my skin these days, I’ve been using the Neutrogena Naturals refresh cleansing + makeup remover (86% naturally derived).  At first I was only using this cleanser when I was wearing makeup (in the evenings) & using my Cetaphil in the mornings.  However, I’ve slowly started to use this one all the time.  I still LOVE my Cetaphil because it’s so gentle, but I really like how this is also a makeup remover.  Sometimes people don’t realize (or ever think about) that removing your makeup and cleansing your skin are actually two separate steps.  This product makes it a one stop shop, and it’s actually really effective at removing every trace of makeup from my face.  (Ps. I still use my Clarisonic along with this cleanser.)
After cleansing my face I always use my Boots Botanics Rosewater Toner (100% organic).  The description on the back says it’s great for people with fair and dry skin.  Ding ding ding--That would be me exactly!  It’s not like your regular alcohol based toners that dehydrate your skin even more, this one is very gentle and does not sting or burn at all.  Not even around my eyes!  I just put a little on a cotton round and sweep it across my face, concentrating on my cheeks and T-zone where I have larger pores.  It never leaves me skin feeling tight (which is never good) and I always feel like I have a nice glow after using it.
 After toning my skin is when I go ahead and apply my topical acne treatments.  I give those creams a few minutes to absorb into the skin and then I moisturize.  For this I’ve been using the Mario Badescu Rose Hips Nourishing Oil.  I know this has the word “oil” in it, but don’t be afraid.  Adding the right oils onto your skin is actually really good for it!  Especially dry dehydrated skin that a lot of us experience in the winter. Even though this is an oil, it is not greasy at all.  It has the consistency of water and quickly absorbs into the skin.  The product is dispensed through a dropper top so it’s very easy to use and to control the amount of product you are getting out of the bottle.  It’s been a life saver for me and my flakey patches.  At night time use a few drops of this on the areas I tend to get dry skin (around my mouth, chin, and nose) and during the day I mix a few drops into my cream moisturizer before applying it. (For a 100% organic option you can purchase pure rosehip oil, and it’s cheaper!  This is what I’ll be doing next instead of repurchasing this one.)  Rosehip oil is also known to be good for fading scarring which will help with the acne scars and hyperpigmentation I’ve recently developed.

The cream moisturizer I’m currently using (still) is the La Roche-Posay Anthelios SX SPF 15 Daily Moisturizer.  This is not an organic or natural product BUT it has been really good for my skin, and I love the fact that it has the sunscreen I need in it.  When I run out (which will be soon) I am going to try a natural moisturizer option that I have my eye on.  I don’t use this at night with my rosehips oil because I do not need the extra ingredients on my skin while I sleep.
I want to keep my skin care routine as simple and natural as possible and my goal is to be on an all organic/natural regimen as soon as possible.  I’m still learning and researching because sometimes labels and product packaging can be deceiving.  Also if you are looking into purchasing organic products, it’s important to remember they have a shorter self-life than nonorganic products because they do not contain all the preservatives.  Just keep that in mind and remember to check the dates, color, and even smells of the products you are using.
For more information on the why some products use the term “natural” instead of “organic” check this out.
Does this interest any of you?  If you are currently using any all natural or organic beauty products let me know in the comments below.  I’m still on the hunt so I’m interested to hear what works for you!

Here are a few more natural or organic skin care lines that incase you are interested in checking them out:
Burt's Bees
Juice Beauty
Boots Organics
Dr. Hauschka
Kiss My Face
Alba Botanica 
For the love of beauty & going green,
…Casey B

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Save or Splurge?

 To save or to splurge…isn’t that always the question?!  As most of you know I really believe you can find good quality beauty products in the drugstore. And I know I’m not the only one who thinks so.  Bloggers & YouTubers everywhere spend tons of time doing “drugstore hauls” and “drugstore dupes” video/ post.  Which brings up the question, “If the drugstore products are so good, why would you ever spend the extra money on a high-end product?”  Because my friends, sometimes you really do get what you pay for. (I know, it sucks.)
I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot and I decided to make a list of products that I would (personally) tend to save & splurge on.  Remember everyone’s different and will have their own opinions, so take it for what you will.  But I will say, I’ve played with lots of makeup…
For the record my definition of splurging (for today) means you would not find the product at CVS or any other drugstore.  It doesn’t necessarily mean it will cost you an arm and a leg (a little good news!)
I’m going to start with my list of splurges because I believe if you splurge on some things, you can save on others.
Face and Eye Primers
  Having a good base for you face and eye products is the best way to keep your makeup in place all day long.  A good quality primer is also the perfect way to get the most "bang for your buck" when it comes to the products you apply over top -- drugstore OR high-end.  (Faves: Benefit’s The POREfessional and Urban Decay’s Primer Potion)

For covering spots I always go back to my MAC Select Cover-Up.  I’ve found that my drugstore concealers have decent coverage but are never moisturizing enough throughout the day.  I need coverage AND moisture otherwise it becomes flaky (and not cute).

Makeup Brushes
I can’t stress this enough! Having good quality brushes makes all the difference in the world with your makeup application and overall look, regardless of the product you are using.  Also keep in mind if you take good care of your brushes, they’ll last you forever.  Every girl needs a good set of makeup brushes!

Yes, you can find great drugstore lipsticks.  However, I reach for my high-end ones all the time.  They just feel better on the lips, last longer, and wear off more evenly.

This is a pet peeve of mine but I think bronzers should have ZERO shimmer in them.  They should be absolutely matte.  Trying to find a matte bronzer in the drugstore, that’s light enough for fair skin isn’t easy.  My solution is to splurge on one that I know I will love, but more importantly will not turn me into an orange disco ball. (My fave: The Balm’s Bahama Mama Bronzer)

Brow Pencils
I have light blonde eyebrows to begin with, so I always use the lightest brow pencil from any collection.  I find it really hard to find a brow pencil in the drugstore that applies without red in it.  There should never be a hint of red in your brow color.  That’s the #1 indicator they aren’t natural.  So splurge, especially if you have lighter brows to begin with. (My current fave: Anastasia Brow Wiz in Ash Blonde)


You could easily spend up to $30 on high end mascaras.  $30?! ma’am.   Thankfully I’ve tried these outrageously expensive, high-end brands without spending a dime to do so (thank you BirchBox and makeup counter samples!).  For that amount of money I expected these mascaras to turn my natural lashes into fake-looking, long, voluminous, "OMG those are your real lashes?!" lashes.  If your lashes need a lot of work, then you just need a good pair of falsies.  Not an overpriced mascara.  (My fav: Maybelline the Falsies)

Why spend $16 for MAC lashes when you can buy Ardell’s for $4?!  They are just as good, just as reusable, and they have just as big of a variety of styles.  PLUS they are more accessible.

Lip Gloss
Yep, I think you should splurge on lipsticks but not lip glosses.  The drugstore is full of great, great lip glosses.  (My faves: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipgloss & many more)

Nail Polishes
It only took one time for me to give up on high end nail polishes.  It was after a $16 “holy grail” polish chipped on me after only a few hours.  I then quickly decided that if I was going to be spending that much for my nails, I wasn’t going to be doing them myself.  I could almost get a professional manicure for that amount of money! (my faves: Wet N Wild Megalast  & Sally Hansen’s Manicure in a Bottle)

Some products really make a huge difference to your makeup look.  For me it’s mascara, brow products, and blush.  Luckily you don’t have to spend a lot to get great quality blushes! I do love some of my more expensive blushes, but they really aren’t necessary.  I leave my $3 ELF blush in Pink Passion on top of my vanity for daily use.

I’m not gonna lie, I do love splurging on eyeshadows.  I love to try out the newest palettes and formulas…they just get me every time.  But I really do think you can find great eye products in the drug store, especially if you purchase a good quality primer and brushes.  So if you had extra money to spend, I would say to buy some other things first then splurge on the shadows later.

Some of you may be thinking, “What about foundation?!?!”  That’s a good question.  I tend to lean towards if you have a good quality concealer and primer, you can get away with spending less on a foundation.  Personally I use my $5 Rimmel Clean Finish foundation over all my others--but my wants from a foundation could be different than yours.  It’s also important to remember everyone’s skin is different, so what works for may not even come close to working for you.  With that being said, when it comes to foundations I could see it either way: spend OR splurge.  It’s up to you!

What are some of your save versus splurge beauty products?!
For the love of beauty, spending & splurging,
…Casey B