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

loreal

Moisturizer: La Mer, Créme de la Mer

la mer

Foundation: BB Cream from Too Faced

too faced

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!

Get the Cheaper Stuff: When to to Buy Discount Beauty

Now that you know where to spend a little extra money, let’s talk about where not to. The divide in quality between drugstore and department store brands isn’t so wide anymore (hello, Olay Pro-X!), so save where you can in these few key categories where I’ve found that it really doesn’t matter.

Mascara: CoverGirl LashBlast

I’ve always been a fan of drugstore mascara – it’s what you’d find both in my professional kit and in my bathroom. While the Maybelline pink and green might be a fav of some, I stick with CoverGirl for all things mascara. LashBlast’s fat tubes are all the rage for a reason – they’re great formulas that wear so well you don’t need to get those impossible-to-scrub-off waterproof formulas that should be a measure of last resort purchase. The one in the orange tube is fine, but I like the purple one – Fusion as it’s called – for a really long, defined look that I can layer on over and over without clumping. For around $9 or so, it’s a third of what some department stores mascaras are and every bit as good. If CoverGirl doesn’t light your fire, check out what Maybelline, Revlon, and others have to offer, you’ll find a $10 formula you love guaranteed.

Long Wear Lipstick: L’Oreal Infallible

Brides are always surprised when I tell them to grab a drugstore brand lipstick for touching-up on their big day. L’Oreal Infallible is one of the best long-wearing lip formulas out there. It stays put a crazy long time without fading, feathering, or getting all globby. It isn’t bulletproof, but I’d say only one touch-up during the day is all you need after your first morning application. Not bad for $12.

Eye Liner: NYX

Love M.A.C’s Liquidlast? Grab NYX Studio Liquid Liner for $4 – a big savings over M.A.C’s $17.50 especially because they both stay as long and have vast color selections. A powder shadow is perfect for those who can never seem to draw on a decent liner shape because it’s so simple to use, Smashbox has one for $22, as does NYX for $6. Same packaging, same applicator, and the same great result. NYX has a liner selection that I adore, most priced less than $10 and all stack up big time against higher priced counterparts.

Brow Powder: Any Line Will Do

Right now I’m using a light taupe mineral shadow for my brows just because I have it laying around. Before that it was this $4 Ardell Brow Defining Powder, but it really doesn’t matter. Yes, a brow-specific color is the best bet since color correctness is key, but as long as you get the shade right you can use any powder you have on hand to get the job done.

Makeup Before and After: Bronzy Bridesmaid

Another day, another makeup transformation. I took these over the weekend at a wedding I worked at the Brown Palace here in Denver. It’s the brides sister (and maid of honor), who requested a punched up version of her usual look with some bronzy highlights that would photograph well. Here’s the before and after along with a few things that made the look possible.

My Hero Products for the Look:

Estée Lauder: Bronze Goddess Soft Duo Bronzer

Finding a bronzer that looks good in the office is one thing, but finding one that photographs well and lasts all day is another. Lauder has gotten good at bronzing and their one-shade-works-for-most duo is a go-to for a lot of makeup artists because of its instant tanning affect that’s perfect in any light. Keep in mind that bronzer isn’t meant to be used all over the face, just the top of the forehead, chin, and under the cheek bones gives a dynamic look. A little bit of brozner is pretty and youthful, bronzer all over is Jersey Shore.

Tarte: emphasEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner in Black

emphasEYES is as good as any gel liner out there (better than Bobbi for precision because it isn’t as slippery) but with mineral-derived pigments and a natural formula.I used it on her upper lash line with the pointy side of the brush (shown below), then I did a smudgy application under her lower lash line with the diffusing side of the brush. I’ve seen girls literally cry over this liner without it moving. Liner is important to a look and this is one I trust.

L’Oreal: Double Extend Eye Illuminator in Black Quartz

I’m still using Double Extend in my kit – I’ve never had a problem with smudging or moving and these are brides and bridesmaids who are basically sweating and crying all day long. Double Extend Eye Illuminator offers the same great formula on one side in black, but replaces the primer side with a shimmering formula and a round tipped brush meant to highlight the lashes. I don’t know how much the glimmer actually brings a highlight to the lash, but I love the shape of the brush to work mascara into the outer part of the lashes where they’re the longest and need some extra bulk.

KohGenDo: Maifanshi Moisture Foundation in Shades 2 and 3 blended together

I’ve blogged about KohGenDo Foundation before, it’s a well-loved pick for Makeup Artists who forgo airbrushing for a more controlled (and safer) application. It enhances skin and gives a good amount of coverage without making it look like you’re wearing a mask. You can see in these pics that some of her freckles are still showing (I outright refuse to cover freckles beyond what the foundation does because I think they’re so cute), but the bulk of her discoloration is gone and her skin is still showing through and glowing. No need to powder over top either, the formula itself contains 10% powder so it’s self-setting.

Review: L’Oreal Magic Souffle Makeup

It’s not often that I rave about drugstore foundations, but I think L’Oreal’s Magic Smooth Souffle foundation ($15) is worth a shout out. I do like it with a few small caveats. I think it’s best geared toward normal to oily skin that’s on the younger side due to the way the primer carries the pigment (ultimately a good thing,) but it might settle into dry or mature skin. It’s a pigment heavy makeup with primer built right into it, hence its unique whipped feel. You’ll save yourself the priming step, just use a sponge to work it into the skin for a more even application. It’s a long wearing formula though that resists heat and humidity so once it’s on – it’s on.

Four Seasons Denver Shoot with Studio JK Photography: Part 2

Here are more beautiful images from our Four Seasons Denver shoot with Studio JK.

For our second look, we wanted a little edgy but not over the top since she was wearing bridal fashions from Priscilla of Boston. I knew that the gowns would begin to look costume-y and become overshadowed if the look was too strong.

Hair stylist Erin Ferris (Tonto Salon) and I were inspired by the peacock feathers she used in her hair so we created a look inspired by them.

Here are a few things I used to get her look.

Primer:

I placed a coat of L’Oreal Studio Secrets Secret Magic Perfecting Base ($13) under her eyes, but I didn’t rub it all the way in. I wanted a layer of something invisible to grab onto the dusting of turquoise shadow I dropped along her skin.

Eyes:

I used my fingers to dab turquoise hued MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Cream ($22) on her lid into her eye’e crease so there was a base of color on her lid to echo the color below.

I used a small, loose brush to gather a lot of MAKE UP FOR EVER Turquoise Shimmer 83 shadow, then I lightly tapped it over her primer-coated skin under her eyes. It’s a fun look that’s easy to do as long as you prime well and lay the head back so the color goes where you want it instead of all over her face.

Lashes:

I had a hard time deciding which lashes I’d use since I knew they’d be important to the look, but I knew I wanted to stay with the theme and use feathers. I ended up going with NYX EL 174 ($10), a black feather lash with white tips. I liked the way the white mirrored her gown and brought interest to her eyes. Curl and add mascara to the lashes before applying them because you can’t once they’re on.

Lips:

I gave her lips a light coat of Osmotics Blue Copper 5 Lip & Tuck ($35) in French Kiss. It’s a plumping lip treatment disguised as a subtly shiny gloss with just enough color to give some pop.

I’m in love with these images, she pulled off the look really well. Part 3 (and maybe 4) of the shoot coming soon!

Best Cleansers of 2011 (thus far…)

I had a steady stream of cleansers sent my way lately which were quickly adding up, so over the past few months I’d use a different one for a full 7 days, twice a day to get a real feel for how it worked and how my skin responded. They didn’t all make the cut of course, but I did find several I really liked based on the following:

  • Completely cleans skin and removes makeup
  • Has a unique spin
  • Smells good (one was excluded just because it smelled like old lady)
  • Doesn’t dry or strip the skin
  • No irritation or breakouts caused

So here we go, the first batch of cleansers I’m loving in 2011.

Kosmea Clarifying Facial Wash

It’s not only the intoxicating rose scent that makes me love this Clarifying Facial Wash, it’s the feeling it gives my face after using it that I call squeaky soft because although it removes all impurities, there isn’t a hint of tightness once my skin dries. $32

Caudalie Cleansing Water

Now you have no excuse not to remove your makeup nightly. Caudalie’s Cleansing Water is one of the best I’ve used to really remove the day using a quick, gentle solution of Grape Extract and Plant Glycerin. Soak a cotton pad with the water and with just a few swipes, you’ll have a sparkling clean face that even the most sensitive skin can tolerate. $26

Sensai Silky Purifying Creamy Soap

Sensai’s Soap in a tube is such a hit that Saks wouldn’t let you buy more than 6 a month. I can understand why – the travel size I received will probably outlast most of my standard sized cleansers. It’s so rich and dense that just a dab produces a hearty foam nabbing dirt and makeup, and leaving behind a really soft moisture finish. $50

Bioelements All Things Pure Cleanser

A good clay cleanser is hard to find. I like Bioelements‘ version because of the amount of organic aloe it mixes in with the clay to soothe and calm the skin. It’s the first clay-based cleanser I’ve used that would be suitable to all skin types, and it’s definitely ‘green’ girl approved with mostly natural and organic ingredients. $35

Kate Sommerville Detox Daily Cleanser

Facialist-to-the-stars Kate Somerville formulated her Daily Detox Cleanser for those who struggle with breakouts but also want some anti-aging benefits. In short, it’s not a harsh cleanser that will strip the hell out of troubled skin. Daily Detox gives you the foam you want for slightly oily and inflamed skin while also helping to lighten acne scars using Phytic Acid and also stabilize oil production. $32

Wei Chinese Rose Foaming Cleanser

Yes I know I’m slightly obsessed with all things Rose, but this is a perfect example of a great cleanser that didn’t just use the scent to brand the product – Rose Flower Infusion is its first ingredient. I found it to be surprisingly thorough and one of my favorites of the bunch because of its light and easy ability to cleanse and leave the skin looking bright and glowy. $32

L’Oreal Go 360 Clean Deep Facial Cleanser for Sensitive Skin

I tried several drugstore offerings in this batch, some I’ll review for my blog for Walmart.com, but I thought this one was special and had universal appeal. 360 for sensitive skin is a soap-free, gentle cleanser that washes away clean without leaving a trace of irritating residue. $7