Before & After: Just the Basics

Liz, a  bride with an upcoming wedding I got to work with last week has pretty much the ideal face; big eyes, full cheeks, and pouty lips.  I can see why she isn’t a fan of the overly made-up look since she really doesn’t need to wear much day-to-day, so I created a timeless look that she (thankfully) loved using the basics that I reach for over and again in my kit.

What I used:

Face:

Primer: Hourglass no 28
Foundation: Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Moisture Foundation
Concealer: Smashbox High Definition
Setting Spray: Caudalîe Beauty Elixir
Powder: Koh gen Do Maifanshi Face Powder

Eyes:

Primer: Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Makeup Color Base Lavender Pink
Eye Shadow: Urban Decay Naked 2
Liner: NYX Super Skinny Eye Maker
Mascara: NYX Doll Eye
Lashes: Ardell #110
Brows: Anastasia Brow Duo

Cheeks:

Smashbox Blush Rush

Lips:

Liner: Philosophy The Supernaural (discontinued)
Gloss: NYX Mega Shine Lip Gloss 104 Sweet Heart

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A few things:

I’m finding that my go-to concealer these days is Smashbox High Definition. It’s creamy and covers everything so well but also blends into the skin with minimal creasing.

I start with the face first, once you get the skin right the color is easy. I spray the Caudalîe Beauty Elixir on the skin as I blend the foundation which helps it to melt into the face leaving the foundation looking invisible.

Koh Gen Do has pretty much the best everything when it comes to primers, foundations, and powder. I buy it, I use it on myself and in my kit, I love it. Seriously, this line is hard to beat. Yes, it’s pricey but it’s worth it because of how it conceals while leaving the skin so natural and almost dewey looking. Their products do what’s promised.

Everyone in the world should own that NYX gloss. It’s the prettiest shimmery nude ever.

Quick Makeup Essentials for Moms

We’re a month into having our second daughter and I think we’re in a pretty good groove. My goal to shower every day (so sad, but moms you get it right?) and look somewhat presentable has been accomplished, which means my 5 minute makeup routine is pretty streamlined at this point. I used to write about quick makeup tips for moms but looking back I didn’t have a clue. I know now that using basics to look rested is what’s key. Here’s what I’ve been grabbing to look less like a zombie and more like my old self.

I always start off using my Matte Moisture Tint from Jouer. It covers my melasma and blends just using my fingers so I can slap it on quickly and have undetectable makeup that wears all day. Next time I’ll get the luminizing instead of the matte version but I’ll definitely grab another Jouer – their tinted moisturizers rival Laura Mercier’s and they use minerals so they’re better for your skin.

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NYX has a jar of lavender concealer for just $5 that gives my fair skin the same highlight and glow that a yellow concealer does on medium or deeper skin tones. I put it under my eyes down to the tops of my cheekbones. My eyes and face look brighter and more awake which is exactly what I need. I use it over concealer once my dark circles are neutralized otherwise it would exaggerate them by adding purple on top of skin that already looks blue.

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Tarte’s Cheek Stains basically apply themselves with an applicator about the same size as your cheeks. I just smudge a little on the apples of my cheeks and blend. Adding color to the face is essential to looking fresh and rested.

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Neutrogena’s Healthy Lengths Mascara is one of the few I’ve tried where one coat will do the trick. The formula clings to lashes and fattens them up just shy of looking clumpy so one quick coat is all I need.

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Fragrance. Always.

Smelling great is such a big part of feeling put together. Modern Muse, Estée Lauder’s latest fragrance is both a familiar scent and something the feels totally new at the same time. It’s a warm floral, young and sexy but not sweet or heavy. I like to spritz it on my hair where it lingers all day so I don’t have to use it on my skin- something I avoid during the months when I’m nursing.

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So I’m evening out my skin with the foundation, using the concealer to add brightness, giving color to my cheeks, defining my eyes with mascara, and making sure I smell good.
It’s easy and takes about 5 minutes- a reasonable amount of time we can all find in our day.

What Not to Buy: Too Faced Better Than False Lashes Nylon Lash Extension System

Although you probably wouldn’t guess it, I keep my get-ready routine pretty streamlined. Makeup that’s too fussy or hard to apply is needless especially when the trend is going toward BB Creams and other all-in-one type products that save time and money. Too Faced Better Than False Lashes Nylon Lash Extension System $35 is one of those annoying products that shouldn’t exist. My sister bought the system a few months back and wasn’t impressed so she gave it to me to try. They call it a 3-step system (using only 2 products?) where you first base coat using the mascara, then add nylon fibers which are one of the worst ideas ever to be produced in the world of cosmetics if you ask me. They fly off, get in your eyes, and add nothing but clumps to lashes which is exactly what you’re trying to avoid. The third step is more mascara over top which then displaces the fibers and moves them into your mascara tube. It’s just a big mess.

The mascara itself is fine- I like the formula and the brush, but the fiber stuff is just bad. If you’re looking for fuller lashes, skip the gimmics and go get Latisse. It’s FDA approved to be in your eyes and works like magic.

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Still Loving: Jane Iredale PureLash Extender and Conditioner

There are so many products that come and go in my bathroom, but then there are the staples that are as regular to my routine as brushing my teeth. Jane Iredale’s PureLash Extender and Conditioner ranks up there as one of the few things I’ve used daily for 5 years now that I always buy more of when I’m out and never replace with something else. It’s how I plump my lashes everyday under mascara and then I use it again at night on clean lashes to moisturize and protect. It’s a natural formula with beeswax and algae instead of harsh chemicals so it’s gentle which is why I recommend it to women who are post-chemo to start building up lashes again.

I know I’ve reviewed and raved about PureLash before, but after trying dozens of primers over the years I can say that this is one the best one around.

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Beauty Big 3 with Kelly Killoren Bensimon

Fact: when we toured the hospital where I was supposed to deliver Harper (it turned out to be booked the day I went into labor so we high tailed it to another hospital), I really wanted to know if Bravo was a part of their cable package. I couldn’t imagine being there for 2 days without my Housewife fix. I love Watch What Happens Live, Flipping Out, Top Chef, and of course all the Real Housewives (except Miami..) franchises. Some people drink, some people smoke, I watch Bravo. So of course I’m following (most of) them on Twitter and Instagram to see snaps of their lives in real-time even when the cameras aren’t rolling. I’ve been really loving former New York Housewife, ‘I Can Make You Hot’ Author, and fashion it girl Kelly Killoren Bensimon’s pics that she posts on Instagram. It’s a fun glimpse of she and her daughters bouncing around NYC and the Hamptons along with some of her appearances and red carpet stuff sprinkled in every now and again.

Because she always looks amazingly well put together, I thought I’d reach out to her and see if she’d let me in on her favorite mascara, moisturizer, and foundation for my Beauty Big 3 series. It’s the 3 products I feel are most important and the ones I’m always curious to hear what other people are using. She was kind enough to respond with her faves and here they are:

Mascara: L’Oreal Voluminous

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Moisturizer: La Mer, Créme de la Mer

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Foundation: BB Cream from Too Faced

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She also said she likes the Matriskin Cleanser, Tom Ford Eye Color Quads, Johnson’s Baby Lotion, and the Wild Bluebell Cologne from Jo Malone.

I love to hear that she wears Johnson’s Baby lotion! That smell is so powdery and light- it’s just nostalgia at its best. I’m also a fan of the Too Faced BB Cream which has a ton of coverage and a great shade range. Of course she loves Créme de la Mer because it’s amazing (her skin screams ‘there’s something expensive on me!’), and she’s a fan of drugstore mascara just like me.

Kelly Killoren Bensimon

Kelly Killoren Bensimon Photo Credit: wsj.com

Kelly with her daughters Sea and Teddy

Kelly with her daughters Sea and Teddy. Photo Credit: Kelly’s Instagram

You can follow her HERE, and check out I Can Make You Hot via Amazon.com HERE.

Thanks Kelly!

Where to Find Replacement Pads for a Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler

If you have the iconic Shu lash curler (and by now you should), then you probably know that they don’t offer replacement pads for it. I know this because once a year I go hunting everywhere for something that fits its unique design and size and eventually resort to buying a new one which is exactly the reason why they don’t make them I suppose. I get it- it’s something that would otherwise last forever and there’s not as much money to be made on a one time purchase but it’s just such a waste. I think I’ve finally solved the mystery using Shiseido’s replacement pads ($9 for two). It’s the same mushroom design that makes Shu’s so good, the pad is fatter on top than the bottom so it cushions the lashes and provides a lot of stability to get a tighter curl. It isn’t a perfect fit because it stops just a hair short of fitting the entire length of the curler, but it’s close enough to where I don’t notice a difference and best of all it saves you from a purchase you don’t need to make.

Shiseido Eyelash Curler Replacement Pads