Even though I try to wear something dark when I work, I inevitably end up with makeup all over me. It’s what happens when I use my hands and arms as palettes to warm things up on my skin before applying them to faces. I’m obsessed with Stain Devils stain removers, I have most of them but none are more used than the one I have for Mud, Grass, and Makeup. It’s the only thing I’ve found to totally erase creamy long-wearing formulas from clothes without bleaching or ruining the fabric. Totally worth it to have around especially for the $3 price tag.
Have I mentioned before that every client I see gets a false lash? A full strip usually, and it’s always Ardell. Over the years I’ve tried a bunch of different brands, and even had a few years where ModLash 53’s were my go-to but that’s only because I hadn’t discovered how well Ardell’s stay on and how perfect they look. What really sold me was when I was working in in Mexico and used them on a bride for her rehearsal dinner/ pool party who swam wearing Ardell lashes for hours. When she finally jumped out she ran over to show me how the lashes were still on and in perfect condition. I was even impressed.
I think it’s the combination of their adhesive, thin and flexible band, and overall snug fit to the lash line that keep them in place and comfortable (which is key) for as long as you’d like them on. I’ve had several brides tell me that they wore them past the wedding and into the first few days of their honeymoon!
Here are the three I use most:
Ardell 110 are the ones I use 90% of the time. They look the most natural especially when you give them a curl and a coat of mascara after the glue dries – an important step for blending them into your own lashes.
Their 120 lash gives the same natural look but with a little more drama, like a sexy amped up version of the 110. For a wedding, I save these for the bride.
For some moms, grandmothers, and those whose lashes don’t have the length to support a longer lash, I use the shorter Demure lash which gives a natural look to those without a lot of natural fullness.
If you’re doing your own lashes for a special occasion and can’t commit to applying a full strip, check out their flairs, a good compromise that offers the fullness of a strip with the application ease of the individuals.
I can’t stop talking about my new favorite concealer: Miracle Skin Transformer Treat & Conceal. I bought it a month or so ago at Sephora while I was searching for the perfect BB Cream (I ended up buying Boscia’s btw), and was talked into it from the girl helping me since I was out of my Secret Concaler that I’ve used for years. She was enthusiastic and I was hungry, no match for her insistence for me to buy (not just try) this concealer that she was clearly nutty over. Her enthusiasm was a little contageous and because she just had a training on the line, her info was textbook sharp.
“It’s the most amazing concealer and like nothing else you’ve ever tried I swear” she insisted, “I can give you a sample, but you’ll just have to come back to buy it so just buy it now. I promise you’ll love it.”
I’m pretty jaded about these things so I grabbed her business card so I could give her the big ‘whatever’ when I came back to exchange this tube for the Mercier I really wanted.
Damn her though. She was right.
So the thing is this; it’s not *just* a concealer, oh no – it’s a naturally-derrived silicone-based, full coverage concealer that works to hide everything from dark circles to blemishes without any sort of settling or creasing. It doesn’t have a slip to it so it stays on the skin and doesn’t move while the silicone fills in fine lines around the eyes making them look less obvious. I even use it on my lids as a shadow primer where it has been keeping my shadows perfectly in tact. So it replaced the concealer I was using for my face, another for the eyes, and a lid primer all in one easy (and better looking) step.
It’s also filled with vitamins and stuff to protect and heal the skin and anti-inflamitories for calming so it has great skin benefits too.
I literally use the tiniest dab of it for my face, eyes, and lids so this tube will last well over a year (maybe two?) making the $36 price tag reasonable. If that’s out of range for what you typically spend for a concealer, grab a sample first at Sephora to make sure you love it (you will!) before you invest.
I’m slowly starting to figure out that the all-natural stuff just doesn’t make my skin look as good as it does when I throw something more advanced its way. I’d love nothing more than to use straight nuts and berries on my face, but unfortunately it’s not helping to fade out some old scarring and redness I have going on. Believe me, I’ve tried.
In the cluttered skincare landscape filled with claims and promises, I can say that skin lighteners typically live up to their hype and are worth a try. There are so many ways to fade out
age sun spots (sounds nicer), scars, discolorations and add more clarity and tons of radiance, it’s just a matter of finding something that works for your skin (and budget). I’ve put together a list of skin lighteners I’ve tried and ones I hear work great- look into them to see which might be best for the changes you’d like to make in your skin.
Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation $45:
I’ve read so much about this line and heard stories from people who are crazy devoted so I bought Sheer Transformation to see if I can kick out the last of my scarring and redness. It’s especially effective when used over Invigorating Night Gel but I use it over Obagi Exfoderm Forte that also has Glycolic and Lactic acids for cell turnover and brightening so it’s along the same lines. It’s a weightless gel/cream that absorbs quickly and gives your skin a dose of vitamins, fruit acids, and licorice for non-chemical fading and brightening. I love the way it feels so far, can’t wait to see the results.
Murad’s serum uses known skin lightener Hydroquinone (2.0%) for a quicker approach to fading out those age spots within weeks. Most people in their trials saw a difference in their spots in just two weeks in fact. If you’re looking for something to work quickly and effectively, this is a serum to check out. There’s still some back and forth about the safety of Hydroquinone (typically when it’s used in a much higher concentration), but it’s still regarded by many as the gold standard for skin lightening.
Idealist has been the most effective in fading out the freckles on my chest that I’ve had since forever. It uses a more gentle approach so the results aren’t instant but if you hang with it you’ll definitely see even, more radiant skin in about a month with better and better looking skin over time. $85 is an investment, but so are the laser treatments I was looking into. I’m glad I found something much less invasive for a lot less money.
Iman Time Control Skin Tone Evener $16:
This treatment is the least expensive of the bunch and hydroquinone free. It’s meant for all skin tones, but it’s especially effective for fading spots on darker skin tones which can be harder to lighten.
Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution $50:
Clearly Corrective is a new lightening serum free of silicones, fragrance, and parabens using vitamin c and white birch to get skin glowing. You should see some changes in just a few weeks with full results after 8, and continued use will help keep future spotting away.
Spots and uneven tone are easy problems to fix, so start with a skin evening treatment before thinking about Botox or more invasive things. You might find that your skin looks so great, you don’t need to do anything else.
If you haven’t watched the adorable Marcel The Shell video that’s such a huge hit on YouTube – you have to check it out below (and click HERE to see it if you get this post delivered via email). The the couple who produces it has already written a book and is in talks to develop a series staring their lovable one-eyed shell after just 2 videos. I watch it religiously. It just makes me smile.
My favorite line is at the end when he says he smiles because it’s worth it. Which caused a mental domino about what’s really ‘worth it’ in terms of popping the lock off the wallet and spending a little more for an investment in your skin looking great. I’m not someone who thinks you have to spend a ton to look great – I recommend drugstore finds as often as department store ones – but there are a few exceptions that are so great that I’ll spend the extra cash because I know they’re worth it.
Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation:
I’m scraping the bottom of my jar of Chantecaille Future Skin that I got almost 2 years ago. I heard so much about their foundations that I purchased the jar at a counter not knowing it was $72 and then tried to play it off when she told me my total like it wasn’t twice as much as I’d ever spent on foundation. I quickly discovered that after I tried every type of foundation that passed my desk, I’d happily return to Future Skin. Its coverage is fantastic, staying power terrific, and the look of it is so natural – which might be because it’s made of 60% water and seaweed. The higher price tag could be attributed to its treatment benefits like reducing sebum and calming redness with chamomile and green tea – but who knows. All I know is that I’m mentally preparing for another $72 purchase very soon, but at least this time I know it’s worth it.
Liz Earle Cleanser:
Cleanse & Polish, the cleanser that I’ve referred to as ‘near perfect,’ is so worth an order from the UK based Liz Earle (or from Fred Segal Santa Monica- their only stateside location I know of.) It’s not a pricey buy at $25 for a 3.3oz pump (and around $7 to ship), it’s the ordering that makes it a little more of a challenge than grabbing a bottle at a store like we’re all so used to doing. I’m so addicted to this thick, creamy, lightly Eucalyptus scented gentle cleanser which removes all makeup so effortlessly, that when I try out a new cleanser to review it’s what I measure them all against. It’s a gold standard for a cleanser and one that’s so popular they have an automatic refill service and also a 3 pack available to make getting this perfect cleanser as easy as possible.
SkinCeuticals is renowned for their high-potency, crazy effective serums designed to correct, fade, protect, and calm – whatever your skin happens to need. Their C E Ferulic is probably their best known do-it-all serum with vitamins C and E and Ferulic acid to protect the skin against environmental damage and skin aging. They use the purest, best forms of vitamins (like L-Ascorbic for their C) for maximum benefits and create combinations with other vitamins and acids for the very best skin absorption. Serums compliment any skincare routine and are so beneficial using only a few drops a day making them worth their $100- $150 cost.
Estée Lauder Eye Creams:
Eyes show age. It’s that simple. Getting that thin skin moisturized and protected is important, as is finding an eye cream that has some beneficial ingredients and proven science. So many eye creams are a complete waste – basically just plain moisturizers in a smaller jar without any true benefits. I trust and love Lauder’s eye creams – they have something for every skin type and concern, but their Re-Nutriv eye creams are their supreme offerings. With too much science in them to explain (or understand, really) I just know that when I use a Lauder eye cream, I can see the difference. I can waste money $35 at a time with something that isn’t working, or just fork out the $100 (ish) to see a difference and keep the Botox away a little bit longer.
Don’t worry, I’m also rounding up a ‘not worth it list’ (hello mascara!!) so you can save your pennies on things that are all pretty much the same.
My friend Cassel sent me this video last week (below) about a girl with severe acne who bravely takes all of her makeup off (for almost 3 million people and counting) and starts from scratch showing every step she takes to make sure her red welts are well hidden. Though my skin is temperamental at times, I don’t apply nearly as much makeup as she does (I think she has 7-ish steps!), because one good full coverage foundation should do the trick in most cases. Here are a few of my favorite full coverage foundations for when your skin just isn’t cooperating.
I never really fell in love with Armani’s Luminous Silk, their signature foundation that was all the rage a while back – I found it to be too light in weight to do any serious covering. Their new Designer Lift Foundation however, is like a delightfully thin coat of paint (I mean this in a good way) that covers the worst of it while maintaining a natural finish. The bases for most foundations are white or even black, then pigment is added in to create a skin color – but this one begins with blue pearl giving it a beautiful base to create luminosity and cancel out dullness. It’s one of the best foundations I’ve tried in a long while – worth the $65 especially when you’re serious about coverage.
Make Up For Ever HD Invisible Cover $40 is what she uses in the video to get her liquid coverage, it’s a great foundation that I’ve used it in the past for a before and after post. Its medium to full coverage and luminous finish is best followed up by their HD powder so you can enjoy the glowy look it gives the skin. Blending is your friend, use tiny dots at a time and work it in as you go around each section of the face to build up the coverage you’d like until all of your redness is gone.
Cover FX gained fame when it was rumored to be the foundation used to cover Angelina Jolie’s tattoos on a movie set years ago. Good enough for me. Their Natural FX Water Based Foundation SPF 15 $37 is the one I carry in my kit for when I need to bust out some super serious coverage on the most challenging skin. It’s oil, fragrance, and paraben free and will outlast your desire to wear makeup for the day. I’d say it gives the most coverage of the bunch and it’s especially formulated to cover acne, eczema, rosacea without adding additional irritation or causing breakouts.
Check out the video below, click HERE to see the video if you’ve received this post in an email.