Desert Essence; All Purpose Cleanser and Treatment Concealer

I love when lines get a little facelift. Desert Essence recently underwent a packaging upgrade which I think matches its modern natural feel. I’ve used their Organic Jojoba Oil in place of body lotion for years, I bought it last it looked like this.

Old school

Shiny new

Maybe they changed the packaging to highlight their USDA Organic seal? Regardless, I’m so happy for this line because their powerful collection of cost-effective organic skin and body care is worth checking out.

Anyone looking for a great daily cleanser to wash without stripping you have to try their Thoroughly Clean Face Wash, a castile soap infused with Lavender, Tea Tree, Goldenseal and a few other skin calming ingredients. It creates a light foam on the skin that very gently washes away everything, even eye makeup. I’ve never heard of the fragrant Awapuhi plant from Hawaii, but I’m obsessed with the lovely, slightly sweet scent it gives the wash.

Tea Tree Oil meets mineral pigments in their Blemish Touch Stick Concealer. I love the idea of treating blemishes as you cover them because some makeup can clog pores and make the inflammation even worse. It blends, it covers, it heals, and it’s only $10.

You can find Desert Essence at most natural food stores (like Whole Foods or Vitamin Cottage) and online HERE. They’ve also added a listing of their gluten free skin and body care found HERE.

So Happy Together; Pairing Up Products for Creative, New Looks

You may not buy things with the intention of using them together, but a little creativity could help you to really see the value in what you have and be able to use it differently.  Here are a few examples of the power of pairing.

Primer + Bronzer = Beautiful, Bronzy Skin

When the temperature starts to heat up for summer, the weight of your makeup should change.  Heavy looking foundations look harsh in the sunlight, so try mixing a shot of bronzing fluid with a primer. Putting the bronzer into something colorless will lighten it a bit so you can use it all over the face for a natural looking bronzed glow. Using the primer evens out the skin’s texture so your skin looks great without foundation.

Napoleon Perdis Auto Pilot Skin Primer used with Noah’s Naturals Glowing Bronzer Fluid
Primer alone, bronzer alone, then both mixed together on the bottom.

Using a lightweight primer like Napoleon’s that isn’t just a silicone gel is more ideal for mixing. Noah’s Naturals bronzer is made without parabens, glycol, and petroleum so it’s gentle enough to use on the face daily.

Liquid Eye Liner + Angled Lining Brush = Lasting Liner That’s Easy to Apply

When it comes to an eyeliner that lasts, liquid is at the top of the food chain, the formula stays on all day and doesn’t smudge. Unfortunately, if you don’t have a steady hand, applying the liner with the wand that’s included can be impossible. Instead, apply the liner with an angled brush so you have better control and a more precision point.

Flirt! Opening Line Liquid Eyeliner in Grapevine shown with Angular Shader 1/4″ brush (just a few dollars from an art store).
Get some liner on the tip of the angled brush

Now you can use a liner that lasts with an easier-to-use brush.

Nude Gloss + Different Lip Liner Shades = Custom Gloss Colors

Finding a gloss that’s perfectly nude (doesn’t lean toward pink or beige) isn’t easy, but once you find one, grab it up. You can wear it solo when you want muted lips (for when you’re wearing more color on your lids), or you can mix it with different lip liner shades to make custom gloss colors.

See, perfectly neutral and nude. Estée Lauder High Gloss in Golden Goddess.
Use the neutral gloss with any color liner, Estee Lauder Double Wear Liner in Pink and Spice are shown.
Now you have a look that has more color than a gloss alone, but is lighter in weight than a lipstick. 

Dense Concealer + A Touch Up Brush = Quick Coverage

Very few women need to wear foundation. Just covering up redness with some concealer usually evens out the skin using fewer steps and a lot less blending. Just be sure to use a thick concealer like BECCA’s Compact Concealer, it will give you coverage that mimics a foundation’s. When you use Bobbi’s Touch Up Brush to apply it, you’ll get a look that’s almost airbrushed. I haven’t found another brush I like as well for applying concealer because it can work it into the skin so perfectly without wiping it all away.

BECCA’s Compact Concealer and Bobbi Brown’s Touch Up Brush
Applying the concealer this way gives as good of coverage as foundation, but with better control.
Blend the concealer in to get as little or as much coverage as you need.

What look are you trying to achieve? Chances are, you have a few things laying around that when paired together, can make all the difference.

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Tarte Review; Smooth Operator, The Eraser, and Eye Couture Palette

In order to visit Sephora, I have to be alone and carve out a few hours so I can get what I need like my signature fragrance (which shall remain nameless), re-stock on the basics (Laura Mercier Illuminating in this case), and check out lines I’ve somehow overlooked, like Tarte. I’ve heard great things about the eco-chic line that blends ‘green’ ingredients into cosmetics that cater not to makeup artists, but to everyday women according to their founder, Kelly Maureen.

After playing for nearly 2 hours in front of their display, I really got a good feel for Tarte. You’d never know it was a natural line unless you read what is (antioxidants, fruit extracts etc.) and isn’t (parabens, petroleum, synthetic dyes and fragrances) included in their formulas. It’s packaged and presented beautifully in violet hues, and what I found was that Tarte has the fun-loving spirit of Stila with the dead-serious approach to quality straight-forward makeup of Laura Mercier.

I liked the line and its densely pigmented formulas so well, that I was compelled to buy a few things for myself that I typically wouldn’t, like foundation for example. I’ve only bought a few foundations over the past several years but I found it hard to resist  Smooth Operator, a Tinted moisturizer that has the weight of Mercier’s Tinted Foundation with the coverage of their beloved Silk Creme (I often mix the two together to get this perfect combo effect). Toss out your misconception of tinted moisturizers being only for girls with perfect skin who didn’t need a lot of coverage. Smooth Operator gives the (oil-free) coverage you want with a natural, just shy of luminous finish.

Thick texture and pretty finish that’s in between matte and dewy.

Lately, I feel like dark circles have been creeping up on me. I like a lot of brightness around my eyes and shy away from dark makeup. The Eraser 4-in-1 Natural Concealer has enough weight behind it to conceal darkness and add a brightening boost to the eyes that typically takes 2 different products to achieve.  It’s been keeping my circles away all day without settling into fine lines or creasing and you can use it as a shadow and lipstick base. It’s a yellow-based formula (so it’s meant to cover redness, not circles) but it worked so well around my eyes so well that it didn’t matter what it was for because it worked.

Twist up applicator.

I even bought an eye shadow palette for myself. Crazy right? I have so many shadows already, but the packaging reminded me of something…

I’d know that quilted purple metallic finish anywhere, it’s practically identical to my Chanel 2.55 bag. It looks like a matching wallet so I had to peek inside.

Well hello there delightful array of shadows. It’s the shades that make my heart melt; light and shimmery for everyday, rusty brows, and a few surprises to create drama. They’re the velvety kind of shadows (similar to Stila’s) that blend well and look great on all skin tones and textures (even mature skin). They have an all-day wear time and they don’t crease or lose intensity. Simply put, I love them.

A closer look at the colors in the Eye Couture palette. I dug into that champagne one right away, it’s like Stila Kitten but less shimmery.

In the palette, you’ll also get a double-ended shadow brush and a double-ended eye liner that has a brown on one side, and graphite on the other.

I came thisclose to getting their Lock & Roll eye shadows which have a creme based shadow on one side and a matching powder shadow on the other that’s applied using a roller ball so your shadow wears an extra long time using a layered technique.

Just when I thought I’d tried it all… I’ve somehow overlooked Tarte, but I’m glad I checked it out. Next time I’ll grab a Cheek Stain (their signature product) and maybe their celluFIGHT, a gradual self-tanner that also helps to firm and tone the skin.

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Smashbox High Definition Liquid Concealer

Smashbox knows that a great concealer doesn’t have to look and feel like clay in order to give total coverage. Some concealers are too thick which leads to a whole bunch of problems including an unnatural look since it’s too heavy to blend into the skin surrounding the area you’re trying to conceal.

High Definition Liquid Concealer is smooth as silk completely disappearing into blemishes and imperfections covering them with a natural finish. Just a dab coves most anything, but you can build it in layers for more stubborn spots.

Available in 5 Shades, Fair-Medium/Dark, $18,, Sephora, Nordstrom, and Select Department Stores Nationwide

Smashbox High Definition Liquid Concealer

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Clinique All About Eyes Concealer

Clinique’s wildly popular All About Eyes eye cream is now blended into a creamy concealer to disguise dark circles, and treat dryness and puffiness at the same time. It’s a brilliant tube of makeup and skincare all rolled into one.

If you wake up puffy, but aren’t big on extra steps, this 2-in-1 provides skin care quality ingredients to reduce the puff with a great coverage concealer that hides dark circles in a moisturizing base.

$15.50, 7 Shades,,, various department stores worldwide.

Clinique All About Eyes Concealer

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3 Custom Color Specialists Creme Concealer/ Foundation

Most professional makeup artists have this palette in their kit (or at least they should). What’s not to love? 10 shades of a uniquely textured concealer that beautifully doubles as a foundation. Not a makeup artist, no problem. Each shade also comes in a compact meant for daily use by discerning women who desire flexibility and ease in their foundation routine.

3 Custom Co-Founder, Chad Hayduk explains what makes this best-seller so fantastic and shares another multi-purpose must have.

What makes this concealer so special?

Our concealer is actually both a concealer and foundation all in one.  It is a full coverage crème that you can completely control the coverage of.  It blends seamlessly and it is a staple in many celebrity makeup artists kits because of its multifunctionality. 

You can use it on puffs, blemishes or dark circles in a full coverage using our concealer brush or use it with a dampened or dry sponge to sheer out the formula to use it more like foundation.  It is great on all skin types and comes in 10 shades.  We can even custom blend the perfect shade for you! In addition, you can take a dab of your favorite moisturizer and blend in a bit of concealer to make the perfect tinted moisturizer!

Is your concealer/foundation meant for daily use or just professional?

Anyone can use it! 

What other must haves would you suggest for women? 

Another great “concealing” option is our Light Clarifier which is a lightening brightening flesh toned eye liner that you can use on the inner rim (or waterline) of the eye.  It makes the eyes look bigger, brighter and clearer.  You can also use it as a spot concealer, highlighter for under the brows, lip color corrector and highlighter!  It is water resistant and even the most sensitive eyes can use it.

3 Custom Color Specialists Creme Concealer/ Foundation $22.50

3 Custom Color Specialists Light Clarifier $16.50

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