Makeup Before and After: Elizabeth Arden Meets The Girl Next Door

Makeup is amazing. It’s not even the hard core stuff (i.e.drag, fantasy, special effects) that fascinates me most, For me it’s about how you’re only 10 minutes away from a totally different look. Courtney is one of those lucky girls whose fresh faced good looks sans makeup needs nothing more, but a gorgeous wedding awaited so I used the power of color to transform her look enough to match her special day.


Before


After

Elizabeth Arden is what I used to get her glam bride look.


I used their Limited Edition Ceramide Cream Blush in Honey for her cheek color. I applied it along her cheekbones using a fluffy brush to diffuse the color then I worked it into her skin for a natural looking flush which is key for photography.


To disguise the band from her false lash, I dotted black Liquid Eyeliner, along her lash line then I smudged a little black shadow over top to diffuse the line and give it a softened look.


Their Ultra Lipstick in Rose Aurora might be my new go-to because it’s a gorgeously unassuming color that’s flattering to all. You can give it a boost of pink or make it look more beige using different liners and glosses. It’s pretty on its own, but being totally customizable is what makes it so speical.

You Need This: A Big Fluffy Brush for Your Bronzer

If you’re a bronzer lover like me, then the best bet for a natural looking application every time is using a big fluffy brush. The bigger the brush, the wider you can disperse the product so isn’t applied so densely giving the face a streaky or harsh look. I’m loving Elizabeth Arden’s All Over Face Powder Brush ($22) which can be used to apply al things powder to the face. Its coverage is so great that just a few sweeps of bronzer is needed to create a warm glow on the face easily carrying the color down to the neck so there isn’t a harsh contrast between the two. It makes bronzing a ton easier.

And speaking of Arden.. I got to try their bronzers and wow – they’re pretty great. They went straight into my kit actually replacing a few that I didn’t use/like anyway (Bobbi Shimmer bricks if you mush know. Holy shimmer overload Batman.) Pure Finish Bronze Powder ($38) comes in 3 shades of intensity, all being matte but not exactly flat meaning they have a hint of pickup to them so they’re easier to wear and blend without looking shimmery. Not just a makeup, it has antioxidants, minerals, and skin-energizing ingredients with a light hint of rose scent. They’re really balanced and some of the best I’ve used, totally worth checking out.

Laura Mercier Oil Free Supréme Foundation

I’m always excited to try a Laura Mercier foundation. Their Tinted Moisturizer is still the gold standard and their newer foundations are every bit as pigmented and high performing as anything I’ve tried from MAKE UP FOR EVER or even Armani. Their new Oil Free Supréme Foundation is a pigment-rich liquid foundation for those with oil-rich skin. I’ve used it on myself and a few clients and have gotten a beautiful result especially when I buffed it in with a Finishing Brush versus a sponge which can move the makeup around or even remove it- not what you want when you’re looking for coverage. I’ve been priming first before applying it, then spot powdering (if needed), and setting with a finishing spray as I always do on clients and have gotten long wear times without it settling or fading out.

Just make sure that your skin is in fact oily, otherwise opt for the Moisture Supréme because it won’t lay as well on skin that’s even a tiny bit dry. Also, get color matched before you buy so you can see it on the skin, an important thing with a fuller coverage foundation – not as important when the formula is more sheer.

Best Skin Lighteners for Fading Discolorations

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 Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum $60:

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.


Estée Lauder Idealist $85:

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.

Because It’s Worth It… Where to Spend a Little More Money

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.

http://youtu.be/Ta9K22D0o5Q

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 Serums:

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.

Laura Mercier Holiday 2011

When it comes to color, Laura Mercier is hard to beat especially if you’re like me and revel in great quality makeup. Their holiday collection is still available and really worth a look. Just a few new shades and techniques can make for a new updated look for 2012.

Their Baked Eye Colour Palette $48 was probably my favorite offering from all of last year’s holiday collections. Now it’s back with 5 new shades, a double ended brush, and the same rich formula that’s easy to wear and blend.

If a smaller palette is more your speed, check out their Petite Eye Colour Trio $25 in Smoky Neutrals and Smoky Taupes – which is the one I have. It’s a mauve, plum, and neutral pink that compliments most skin tones and gives some fresh options for those who want to escape the ho-hum brown rut we so easily get sucked into.

Their best deal of the bunch, I think, is the Kohl Pencil Set $45 with 5 eyeliners in Stormy Grey, Black Violet, Brown Copper, Black Gold and Black Navy that end up being just $9 a pop. Their creamy formula is so easy to apply because it doesn’t drag on the skin so you can even lay a coat of it down on your lids before you apply shadow for extra dimension to a smokey eye.

And while you’re at it grab a Caviar Stick Eye Colour $24, a creamy liner/shadow hybrid of intense color. They’re pretty unique and way cool for a smudgy, imperfect look which is my favorite for totally sexy morning-after eyes.

All but the Caviar stick (thankfully) are limited, so once they’re gone they’re gone.