All posts by Christina

Essie's Got You Covered

I’ve been a loyal Essie user since I first started getting mani/pedis. I can usually count on every salon I step foot in to have my tried-and-true shades (Wicked for date night, Pretty in Pink for job interviews/dinner with the family).

Most salons I venture into carry them – perhaps this is because they have a reputation for consistently providing trendy and classic colors, with great wearability and durability. I recently had the pleasure of trying out some new colors in the Winter ’08 Collection.

Essie Winter 2009 Collection

Rock Star Skinny – a very much buzzed about color due to its “controversial” name. Despite not being Rock Star Skinny, I lacked offense at the name because I was too busy loving the color. It is a maroon, with a bit of gold frost -a very pretty update to the brownish reds we’ve been wearing every fall.

Sexy Divide – for the bold, risk-taker in you. It is a true metallic violet, perfect for New Year’s Eve, yet subtle enough for every day. If Barbie’s signature Corvette got a paint job, this would be the color!

Damsel in a Dress – my personal fave, is a beautiful dark red, almost like a cooler-toned Wicked. Definitely my staple for the season, as I’ve been wearing it for the last few weeks.

All the colors are fantastically quick drying and for me, wear fairly long (about a week). I know I’ll be rotating these shades for all of my winter needs!

DIY Hair Threading by Face Authority

I regularly attend Shecky’s “Beauty Night Out” in NYC. Its a great excuse to gather up your girlfriends, your checkbook, have some cocktails and shop. In terms of successful shopping, it can be a “hit or miss” but sometimes I am able to discover some of the best independent and upcoming companies.

Epicare Facial Hair Remover

My most recent discovery is a self-threading tool called Epicare that I consider to be the best invention since sliced bread.

Manufactured by Face Authority, the Epicare tool is basically a lightweight spring with colored plastic handles. You twist the spring into a U shape and put near face, then rotate the ends with your fingers. Hair gets caught in the little springs and is pulled from the root.

The motion is very similar to an epilator, but in my experience, the Epicare did not pull or snag my skin like epilators do. The pain factor is similar to tweezing – areas of my face that were less sensitive and were used to tweezing felt fine, yet I winced in pain when I tried it on my peach-fuzzy cheeks. While the product is meant for facial hair, it certainly works anywhere you’d tweeze, like the navel, tops of feet and toes, etc.

Epicare is available in 7 colors for $16.99. Mine is pink – what color will you be buying?

Miss Oops Says NO to Cracked Heels

As you may have read last week on our blog, Miss Oops is a company that provides quick fixes for our many beauty woes. One of such woes is dry, unattractive feet. Having seen Miss Oops “Pedicure in a Bottle” in several stores, I was curious to see if the product held up to the name.

Miss Oops Pedicure in a Bottle Most of the time when I’ve tried foot creams, I’ve been disappointed – they’re usually just a minty runny lotion that doesn’t do much to moisturize. Pedicure in a Bottle actually has ingredients that are meant to chemically slough off dead skin. Ingredients like glycolic and salicylic acid, shea butter, peppermint, menthol, and lavender are powerful weapons against cracks and callouses!

In Miss Oops’ typical campy style, instructions read “apply twice a day until you can no longer sand furniture with your feet, then use once a day for maintenance.” I used this daily at bedtime, then applied thick socks for maximum absorption. The smell was less lavender and more plastic-y, unfortunately. However, I did notice a definite smoothening and softening. Pedicure in a Bottle isn’t exactly the “be all and end all” of foot care, so I found myself prepping with this lotion then using a pumice stone in the morning, revealing fresh smooth skin, quicker than any other method I’ve tried.

If you do get regular pedicures, it’d be great to use to extend the length of time between visits. With the economy being in turmoil, I’ve been on a pedicure hiatus and this product will definitely be the tool to get me through it.

Thank You, Ole Henriksen!

I’ve met my Fairy Godmother and she works at Sephora. Well, Fairy Godfather would be more precise. I recently went to my local Sephora to find a solution for the crazy hormone-induced breakouts I was experiencing. Usually, I stick to a skin regime of mild cleanser, mild moisturizer with SPF and some sort of retinol, prescribed by the doctor. I haven’t had the need for an acne solution from a retail store for years so I felt lost as I entered the familiar store.

Ole Henriksen Roll-On Blemish Attack Sensing my blemish conundrum, a friendly sales associate approached me, asking if he could help. He instantly drew me away from the acne solutions section, and recommended 2 products from Ole Henriksen.  Ole Henriksen grew up in Denmark, then moved to Indonesia where he experienced cystic acne.  He sought out a local esthetician for a solution, and she was able to cure him using natural ingredients.  This became the inspiration for his career and eventually, his line of face products now available at Sephora.

Roll-On Blemish Attack is a small, rollerball stick that reminds me of the cherry lip gloss that was my introduction to makeup back in the 80s.  Benzoyl peroxide combines with salicylic acid to kill bacteria and unclog pores.  The roll-on method works well for providing spot treatment.  After using Roll-On Blemish Attack, I noticed a quick reduction of inflammation.  Although it can be used under makeup in the morning, I mostly used it on a clean face at night.  I did not experience the dry, flaky feeling with this product since the ingredients are so mild.

Ole Henriksen Firm Action Mask Another product that my Fairy Godfather insisted on was Ole Henricksen’s Firm Action Mask. Though not touted as an acne product, this mask really did wonders to shrink my pores and return stressed out skin to its natural state.  It controlled the amount of oil my face produced and helped to shrink blemishes, all with a thin layer of product and within a matter of 20 minutes.  This mask also smells AMAZING, you’ll actually look forward to treatments.

I can’t thank my Fairy Godfather at Sephora and Ole Henriksen enough, for solving my skin problems naturally and gently, yet quickly and effectively.

Miss Oops Says NO to Crack

Miss Oops is a company founded for the sole purpose of solving whatever beauty and fashion faux pas that a modern woman may encounter.  From double-sided tape to deodorant-erasing sponges, this company has a solution for your beauty woe. They urge women who love low rise jeans but hate all the backside exposure to “Say No to Crack!” by wearing Jaks. They are a stretchy double band of lacy material that is worn over the waist band of your jeans. The band fits snugly to eliminate “peekaboo” that you might experience when bending over or sitting and the overall illusion is that you’re wearing a lacy cami under your shirt.

Miss Oops Jaks

I had really high hopes for Jaks, as I have, on occasion overexposed myself in the past.  I tried the white Jaks in M/L on top of some low-riding trouser jeans before work.  I liked how the Jaks fit nice and snugly over my jeans, creating a clean line and flattening my tummy a bit.  However, as soon as I walked out the door, it shifted and scrunched all the way up to my natural waist line.  As I walked, I had to pull down the Jaks and hold it, otherwise I’d have a funny looking lace band around my waist.  I was noticeably uncomfortable, more so than if I mistakenly exposed my backside.  As soon as I got to work I ran to the bathroom to rip off the band and haven’t revisited it since.  I am wondering if I experienced trouble due to sizing – they are available in S/M and M/L, perhaps my Jaks was too snug for my hips so it migrated north.

Jaks are available in white, beige and black, and retail for $38.  Let us know if you’ve ever tried it.  Stay tuned for more reviews of Miss Oops products!

Easy False Eyelashes in 5 Minutes

One of the most intimidating and life-changing beauty tools has to be false lashes. They seem scary, hard to apply, and cause a plethora of worries yet they can really make the difference for a special occasion or fun night out.

With Halloween approaching, I decided this would be a great time to share my easy 5 minute method for applying false eyelashes. I actually prefer “strip” lashes to individuals for the quickest application so I used them in this tutorial. I used my friend Vicky and her gorgeous green eyes to demonstrate my method.

Here are the tools needed:

false-lashes-tools

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Alima Pure: New Face in Mineral Makeup

I have always been a fan of mineral makeup – the concept of pure ingredients that would not clog or irritate skin totally gets me! However, the last time I tried to apply Bare Minerals foundation, I ended up spilling half a jar on the guy sitting next to me in the subway. “Ooopsie!” was all I could say, in the meantime I retired my mineral makeup routine until I found this new line, Alima Pure.

Alima Pure is a mineral makeup line based in Portland, Oregon. Founded in 2004, it became the 2nd company to obtain the BDIH natural cosmetics certification, a German certification for natural cosmetics. Also Alima Pure is cruelty free, never tests on animals.

I am in love with their simple, quaint sparrow packaging. They use quality jars that have just enough holes in the sifters so that the messy mineral situation is avoided. The first product I tried was the Satin Finishing Powder. This can be worn instead of foundation for those who don’t need much coverage. It comes in 6 flesh-toned shades and definitely provides enough coverage for day wear to simply ward off oily skin and even out skin tone. When applied over foundation, Satin Finishing Powder provides a flawless, airbrush-finished quality.

I was extremely impressed by the Satin Matte Blush in Pink. The jar is actually very generously sized. I spread a couple of “dots” of this color with a blush brush and achieve the most beautiful pink kewpie glow.

Alima Pure Luminous Shimmer EyelinerI was confused by the Luminous Shimmer Eyeliner in Paparazzi though. I’ll admit, I was a little intimidated by powder liner, not really sure how to apply it but I mixed some bottled water in the cap of the product, scraped a little of it onto my liner brush and applied like a liquid. I found it very hard to get a natural, straight line. Soon after, I met up with a friend and she stopped me mid-sentence to point out the rings I had above my eyes from the liner. It could be that I used too much water so the formula didn’t set right. Since the color is such a pretty sparkly brown, I’ve tried using it as a shadow and it works like a charm!

Alima Pure has a wide range of mineral makeup, most available for $1 sample jars, and if you’ve ever tried mineral makeup you know that a little goes a long way.

Josie Maran is Coming to Sephora!

Quite possibly, the most beautiful face behind a cosmetics line that I’ve ever seen, Josie Maran is celebrating the launch of her line of cosmetics in 25 select Sephora stores throughout the nation.

Josie Maran's Wildflower Powder Palette“Luxury With a Conscience” perfectly describes brand – with sleek, metallic pink bio-degradable packaging, natural ingredients, and fabulous quality products, this line is bound for success. I raved about my experience with Josie Maran Finger Paints and Eyeliner, I highly urge you to head to your nearest Sephora to at least check out this gorgeous Wildflower Powder Palette – it’s begging to be played with!

While you’re visiting Sephora, check out the new expanded lines they are carrying like Miller Harris, Plant Love by Cargo and Yves Saint Laurent.

Lets get fat – with Maybelline Colossal Volum Express

As you may have already noticed, I am a bit of a lash snob. I tend to spend the majority of my “beauty budget” on mascara. I don’t mind using a $20 primer on a $25 mascara if it will add that extra pop to my eyes.

Maybelline Colossal Volum Express After hearing much buzz about Maybelline Colossal Volum Express, I decided I’d take the plunge, go against my instincts and try a drug store mascara. I was a little put-off by the packaging because it resembles a little chubby banana.

The wand is thick, obese and stubby. I applied 3 layers (waiting about a minute in between coats of course) for maximum volume capacity, I didn’t experience the usual clumping with most volumizing mascaras. I didn’t have to comb through either – my lashes were perfectly plump and separated. I followed with Bobbi Brown’s Shimmer Brick as shadow and lined with Josie Maran’s brown eye liner.

That night, I went to a really fun outdoor bar and received several compliments on my lashes (from women, thats how you know they were sincere). When I crawled out of a grimy bathroom stall, my friend couldn’t stop herself and shouted “Your eyes look fab!”

I’m glad I went out of my comfort zone and opted for Maybelline Colossal Volum Express. It really delivered great volume, clearly defined lashes and exceeded my expectations. At $7 a tube, it would be a sin not to try it.

Luxurious Lippmann Collection for Fall

With temperatures dropping soon, I am really looking forward to fall fashion and beauty. We’ve seen a fun nail-color trend in the past few years – the “it” hues went from blood red (Chanel’s Vamp), to navy blue (Chanel’s Blue Satin), and even black (you name em!). This season is no exception and Lippmann Collection’s Fall lineup is not following trends but creating them.

Lippmann Fall Collection 2008

Fade to Black reminds me of the records my parents used to have (anyone remember those? I feel old). It’s a shiny, slick, almost wet black. This color made its debut at the Zac Posen Fall runway show and is sure to be a staple for any good girl who wants to go bad for a night.

Channel your inner 80’s girl with Pump Up The Jam, my favorite shade of the bunch. Although named after the famous Technotronic party song, this color is really regal, rich, and modern – a dark purple with gold shimmer. The shade almost looks like an off-black until held up in sunlight, where the shimmer and pretty purple come alive.

Stop and Stare is a gorgeous, shiny, classic red. Named after the OneRepublic hit, you’ll find that this sexy color wears well and goes with everything in your closet.

An unexpected frosty white lacquer is called Rhapsody in White. Interestingly opaque and frosty, Rhapsody can be a fun shade, especially to achieve a clean, neutral look on hands. I tried this and found that it was a tad stark for my pink skin tone.

Lippmann Collection polishes are extremely high quality, longwearing, and do not dry out nails like other polishes do. They actually contain good-for-you ingredients like green tea extract and biotin. One plus that I have noticed is that the colors are so concentrated and rich, I rarely even need a second coat. Pick up a bottle at your local Barney’s, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom or Bath and Body Works (flagship stores only).