Link Love (with Some Commentary)

Woman applying makeup
Do you read Jezebel? I am fairly obsessed with the mix of semi-serious and pop-culture content with a healthy dose of feminism mixed in. The comment threads regularly leave me busting up with laughter, especially when ladies get on a tear about hunky, male celebrities.

At any rate, this week the kind Jezebels have been running a series on Beauty 101 after soliciting feedback from readers on what beauty basics they can't seem to master. Unsurprisingly, eyeliner was the #1 complaint. They accumulated literally hundreds of nuggets of advice in the service of simplifying these elusive skills.  For what it's worth, in my humble beauty-blogger opinion, the key to mastering eyeliner is the same as the key to mastering a jump shot (should you be so inclined): you just have to practice. And by practice, I don't mean trying to throw some on quickly before you run out the door for work. I promise you, that is a recipe for disaster. Some lonely Saturday night (like tonight!), sit yourself down with some eyeliner (a soft pencil is easiest to start with), a well-lit mirror and some gentle eye makeup remover. Then, go to town. It really won't take long and you will be able to graduate to more advanced techniques like gel or liquid.

Today, I was happy to see that the Jezebels are tackling the challenging issue of foundation, concealer and powder. I read about half the comments and what is striking is the variety of responses and tips that people have devised. Mostly, I think that this speaks to the fact that everyone's face is different in terms of tone, texture and place on the oily-dry and young-mature spectra. I could probably reiterate a lot of the content on that thread, so I won't and will limit myself to only 2-3 of my own contributions.  Here are my high-yield tips: 
#1. Always test foundation on your jaw. You will know it is a match because it will disappear into your skin. 
#2. Never buy foundation without looking at it in natural light. I don't care what the sales associate says about the liberal return policy, just don't bother shelling out your cash until you look at it outside. Every time I have skipped this step, I have majorly regretted it.
#3. There are good drugstore foundations available (my personal fave is L'Oreal True Match), but if you have had trouble finding the right shade then just skip it and hit the department store counters for some professional help.  MAC and Bobbi Brown have good shade selections across a range of skin tones (including darker shades for ladies of color). But, review #2 before you buy anything.

I can't wait to see what other topics are coming up on the Beauty101 thread!

Also, did you see this NYT article on environmentally-friendly cosmetics packaging? Over-packaging has been one of my major complaints about personal care products and I hope that cosmetics companies figure it out soon!


My New Obsession: tarte Natural Lip Stain

It's not really a secret that I am a complete and total freak for all things tarte. I just love so much about them: the colors, the packaging, the attitude -- it's just so great. So they can almost do no wrong in my book, but this time, they have outdone themselves and created a product that is oh so very right.  The tarte Natural Lip Stains ($24) are a take-off on the classic tarte Cheek Stains ($30). It's no secret that many gals (including myself) would often use the Cheek Stain for double-duty and rub it on the lips as well as the cheeks.  This worked for a short period of time, but wouldn't provide the long-lasting wear that it does on the face.  

However, tarte has now heard our cries for a long-wearing lip stain that has beautiful colors, a moisturizing finish and an unbelievable wear. The result is the tarte Natural Lip Stains with LipSurgence Technology. Let me tell you, these are fantastic.  I've been wearing Joy (peach) for several weeks now and lives up to all the hype.  Here's what you get with these Lip Stains: a beautiful, natural-looking wash of color that is sheer and flattering but actually shows up and then lasts and lasts and lasts.  The texture is quite pleasing -- silky without a hint of stickiness. They claim that the stains increase the lip's moisture content for a plumped and hydrated pout. I don't know about all that, but I do know that they are absolutely, in no way, drying. The small miracle that this is will come as a surprise to anyone who has ever worn a long-wearing lip product and felt the familiar chalky dryness they usually cause. There is none of that chalkiness with the tarte Lip Stains. 

They are packaged in a pen shaped container with a push-up tip so there is no lame and annoying sharpening required to get more product. I've been wearing mine almost non-stop for weeks and the tip is barely worn down, so I fully expect these to last a good long time.  I will say, if you are looking for a really bold lip look, then these stains probably aren't the best choice.  The color selection is limited to six shades right now, but even the most intense colors, Lust (red) and Moody (deep berry), are still sheer. They would be a good base product for a bold lip look, but they won't produce that dramatic, retro red lip you might be wanting. The only other downside is that they are exclusive to Sephora and can't be purchased at other outlets or even on the tarte website. I'm sure there are complicated reasons as to why, but it is still pretty frustrating especially when the Sephoras are constantly sold out of them. I would love to have one of these in every color cannot say enough good things about them. Go get one today, you won't be sorry.


Product Review: Olay In Shower Lotion

The dark days of Winter may soon be a thing of the past, but for those of us who struggle with chronically dry skin, the battle to stay moisturized lasts all year long.  I haven't mentioned this product previously, but  Olay In-Shower Body Lotion ($7) has become one of my go-to products for fighting body dryness.

When I first discovered it (via a suggestion from Jolie Nadine), it was seriously the best product debut in my shower in a long, long time. Basically, Olay In-Shower Lotion is used after cleansing, but before getting out of the shower. You simply apply a good-sized dollop to each area needing moisture, rub it in, rinse it off, get out of the shower and on your way. It completely eliminates the standing-in-the-bathroom-shivering-in-a-towel-while-slapping-on-moisturizer-as-fast-as-possible step. You know what I'm talking about and that is miserable.

I have been using the version shown here on the left with "Age-Defying VitaNiacin" and I can't verify that there has been any age defying going on, but I haven't really been expecting that. What I will say is that my skin has been as hydrated as it is with traditional post-shower lotions and maybe even a little more. There is another variety available, Ultra Moisture with Shea Butter, but I haven't tried it.  I probably should, though, because my one complaint is that I don't particularly care for the ever so slightly chemical smell of the Age-Defying formulation. My suspicion is that the scent is coming from the VitaNiacin, which may or may not be doing anything. So, the shea butter might be more to my liking in that regard.

Either way, this product has all but eliminated the post-shower moisturizing frenzy which is A-OK in my book. Anything that helps me get out of the shower and safely into my warm jammies faster is a definite winner.


Get the Look: Anna Kendrick, Oscar's 2010

I didn't actually watch the Oscars last weekend, but I was interested to see which lucky celebrity wore tarte on the red carpet. It was later revealed that tarte's celebrity makeup artist, Sara Glick, worked her makeup magic on best supporting actress nominee Anna Kendrick. To compliment Anna's flowing, blush colored dress, she was inspired by "youthful, ethereal beauty--think soft, natural glowing skin." Using a combination of Arcona skincare and tarte makeup products, Glick created a softly beautiful look that would work on or off the red carpet.

Continue reading for Glick's play-by-play on mastering this look for yourself.


MAC Give Me Liberty of London Threatens to Liberate Me from My Hard-Earned Cash

Ok ladies. We (meaning "me") are in trouble here. After braving the Nordstrom Spring Trend Show with just one lipstick purchase, I am clearly in a weakened state and very susceptible to the overwhelming charms of this amazing, adorable and infinitely beautiful collection.  Gah!
The very latest in a series of famous M·A·Collaborations, it was only a matter of time before the demure-to-daring kaleidoscopic prints of Liberty of London coloured our world with Brit wit and bohemian chic...Spring 2010 insists on the ultimate flower fusion, with M·A·C joining forces with Liberty, creating cool Britannia compacts and Lipsticks, Eye Shadows, Powder, Blush, Nail Lacquers and, of course – blushing, bountiful, quite British accessories.
My BFF and I visited Liberty of London during our London semester abroad a long time ago. As extremely poor college students trying to survive on something like $50 per week in London, the prices were quite a bit beyond our range. I haven't been back since, but I'm pretty sure that hasn't changed.

But! Never fear because the beauty of the MAC Give Me Liberty of London collection is that you, me or anyone can have a little piece of the iconic store. Even better, that piece is likely to be a gorgeous MAC makeup product that you will love and enjoy for a very long time.  
In pretty, feminine shades of soft pinks and peaches, the collection boasts some really beautiful lipsticks, glosses, blushes and powders. Plus, there are two new nail colors, Vestral White and Blue India. I am dying over Blue India, which is already sold out online. Ridiculous. Maybe I can track one down in a store somewhere.

My favorite piece from the collection, though, is the Liberty of London Scarf ($95). Coral, orange, yellow and blue flowers will add the perfect pop of color to your Spring and Summer outfits. So pretty!

No kidding, if you love the look of this stuff as much as I do, you need to get your piece of Liberty of London ASAP. With colors and packaging this beautiful, these won't be around for long. According to Temptalia, you can use code LIBERTY for free shipping on all orders on

OH!  I almost forgot! If cosmetics aren't for you, Target is releasing their own collaboration with Liberty of London that includes a line of home accessories and clothing. *faints*


    Crazy for Cabana Corals

    Coral turned out to be a hot color on the kisser last year. Proving itself to be incredibly infectious, the color is now making an appearance on lips and cheeks.  Ahead of the curve and ready to go for Spring 2010, Bobbi Brown's Cabana Corals collection seriously takes my breath away. Unexpectedly pretty and almost universally flattering, this collection should stop any anti-coral sentiment once and for all.  

    I had the chance to check it out in person and even take home a little piece of my own (Calypso Glaze Metallic Lip Color, if you must know) and I can assure you that this collection definitely warrants taking a trip to your local BB counter or to Bobbi Brown online. We may still be a few months away from sunny, Summer weather, but try on a few of these shades and you will be only be one margarita away from a Summer-y mood. No kidding, check these colors out.  


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