Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I was recently asked to participate in a marketing campaign here in Toronto and I got to test out a new product that I'm sure most of you have either seen in-store or on tv. Loreal Paris' Double Extend Beauty Tubes Mascara is Loreal's newest mascara, promising 80% more length versus natural lashes. Bam! That's a lot of lash. The Beauty Tubes Mascara act like extensions because once applied the formula dries around your natural lash, extending the diameter and length. Unlike lash extensions though, these little tubes come off easily with warm water and do not pose the same risks as far as damage to your natural eyelashes, or your wallet, like real eyelash extensions.

Long, defined lashes is definitely a strong trend in makeup right now. This look can be worn by anyone really. I'd say a long defined lash is complimented by natural makeup (limit the eyeliner and shadow) and can be dressed up with a strong berry lip or bold pink lip like Alexis Bledel. For more eye definition, use grey eyeshadow as a soft eyeliner - wet your eyeliner brush in water, blot, dip in eyeshadow and line lashline making sure to keep everything soft and subtle.

(Image courtesy of instyle.com)

Any mascara, no matter how expensive or cheap, looks its best when applied with sure strokes and with attention to detail. None of this, skimming the lashes once with a weak wrist, business. Really wiggle the wand into the base of your lashes and glide up. Repeat this a few times without 're-dipping' the wand. When the lashes are still wet you can use the tip of the brush and focus on the ends of your lashes to create extra length and volume too. Either wipe off the mascara brush with a tissue, or use an eyelash brush to brush out all the bumps and clumps. Add another layer (or 4) depending on the look you're going for.

Here's how the Beauty Tubes worked on my lashes compared to Too Faced Lash Injection mascara (another mascara that uses the tube technology). There is a definite difference between the Double Extend formulation versus Lash Injection's. Loreal creates more length and definition, and Lash Injection creates volume, less length. These pictures also really show the difference in the uniformity of length. Loreal creates a more natural look, where as Too Faced creates more of a false lash look -- the difference is subtle.

*bottom lashes: do not need to be primed with Loreal's Step 1: primer. So skip that step and just apply the black mascara as usual.

To give feedback on Loreal's new mascara and perhaps heighten your awareness of your personal beauty and spending habits, try filling out this survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=dAs2aU15mNArGOQbChtfRg_3d_3d

Monday, December 22, 2008

Brow Bar

(pic from whowhatwear.com)

I am of the school of thought that eyebrows are the most important and influential feature on a face. It doesn't matter how bold or sparce your natural pair are, the way they are shaped affects every other feature on your face.

Eyebrows are often referred to as frames, because they add structure to the face. But I like to think of eyebrows as mini-plastic surgeons, because every hair has the potential to lift, brighten and accentuate your face. Without the whole scapel thing.

Removing and shaping the right hairs always creates a stunning result. Getting your eyebrows lightened or darkened can also dramtically open up a face; definitely consider it if your hair colour is distinctly different from your brow colour - then again, you don't need to match your haircolour, just bring your brows to a similar tone.

As odd as it might sound, the fashion industry definitely sets trends for eyebrows. A few years ago thick, straight, Brooke Sheilds' brows were in. Currently, I think that it's still about thick brows, but now it's more about the natural look. "Natural" meaning shaped but without hard lines, for example aim for Ashley Olsen's natural lines instead of Mary-Kate's harsh lines:
If you currently wax your eyebrows (or get them done by a professional) consider tweezing the areas closest to your actual brow, this is the easiest way to avoid that strip-mall brow as seen on various celebs, specifically Amanda Bynes (I think she's so fun, but the brows are bad news):

How to achieve perfect brows:

All brows no matter how thick or sparce they are, need some form of shaping and cleaning up. The result can be dramatic or subtle, but either way it is worth investing in your brows. First time shapers should book an appointment with a professional esthetician. The easiest way to figure out where to go to get your brows done is to ask someone (a friend, aquaintance, etc) who's brows you like, where they get their brows done. Or spend the extra money and go to a spa that is especially known for waxing. Bring pictures of eyebrows that you like and have a similar growth pattern to your own, so that the esthetician has some guidelines. Scroll down for a gallery of brows. Once the brows have been shaped the first time, use this initial shape as the guideline for future maintenance that you can do yourself.

Use these guidelines for brow shaping if you've had your brows waxed before and liked the shape or if you are comfortable using tweezers: Before tweezing take a shower or place a warm wash cloth over the brows, to open the hair follicle.

Tip: Mark your brows/skin with an eyeliner pencil to prevent over-plucking, use the above diagram as a guideline.

A. this is where your eyebrow should start. Notice that the line starts straight up from the edge of your nostril. Remove stray hairs before this point, but don't worry about creating a precise line. I'll come back to that.

B. this is supposed to be the height of your arch. It can be measured from the outside of your pupil.

C. this is the end of your eyebrow, remove everything beyond this.

This is just a guideline, and does not guarentee the perfect brow shape for your face. But it is the easiest way to make sure you're on the right track and that the brows are as symmetrical as possible (*did you know that no two brows are identical, the hair growth is always different, so it's nearly impossible to create completely symmetrical brows!)

  • Once you've marked your face and like where the guidelines are placed (the marks you've made with a pencil based on the diagram above), pluck with the direction of growth, not against (ie. you shave your legs against the grain, but pluck brows with the grain).
  • Follow the natural shape of your brow, the idea of shaping is to remove all the extra hairs that don't really accentuate the shape.
  • Remove hairs one at a time to control how much you are removing
  • Pause and step back every 3 or 4 plucks, to make sure you're on the right path and not over-tweezing
  • Try to remove hairs in rows, not randomly.
  • Brush all the hairs up and out, so you look like SJP in the 80's. Then, using manicure scissors, snip the tops of the hairs that fall outside of the natural shape of your brow. Snip along the length of your brows. This extra step is often overlooked, but it's a great tip. It makes your brows lie flatter, and although you're snipping hairs, it actually makes the brows fuller.

Extra extra tips:

  • brush brows with eyebrow gel (or regular hair gel) before tweezing, this will control the hairs
  • use a toothbrush or eyebrow brush and brush out your brows throughout plucking
  • do not rush, take your time and make sure you have the time to do it properly
  • find a mirror you can stand or sit close to, do not use a handheld mirror, you need both hands free
  • tweeze in a room with excellent light, natural light is the best. But if it's not possible then set up 2 desk lamps and position them to shine directly on your face. Avoid creating shadows with light

Glorious brow gallery:

The Dufster

Jennifer Conolly Kate Bosworth:
Joy Bryant
Hall of shame:

Lauren Conrad circa 2005: over-plucked, unnatural shape

Mariah Carey: too round for her face, over done

Celine Dion: too widely set apart, over-plucked

Go here to see a before and after slideshow of celeb brows.

Try eyeliner pencil that is specially formatted to match your specific eye color. See the Makeup Kits here and find your perfect Skin Tone.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Winter Wonderland

In the spirit of the snow that's blanketed the city, I wanted to highlight M.A.C's new Chill makeup line. Frost is the new black. With eyeshadow names like "Apres-ski" and "Arctic sky", I can't help but warm up to the idea of winter makeup.

The chill look seems to focus on greyed eyes with a sweep of black liquid liner, and frosty light lips. Two new glitter colours have been added, although I'd only consider using these lightly on the eyes or collarbone area. Not hair or face, as they suggest. There's a fine line between winter chill goddess, and figure skating princess - from the 80's.
Revlon has debuted new shades of some of their fav products, and I'm a fan of these too. Revlon is upholding the winter theme also:

Nailpolish in an assortment of fun winter colours, I love Midnight Affair in particular:

One final product to help you get through the winter blaws, CoverGirl's new Outlast Lipstain.

The lipstains come in a variety of fun, berry inspired colours and are suitable for any skin tone, really can't go wrong here. I picked up one a couple weeks ago and figured out that the best way to apply is over top of a moisterized lip, then blot. It's a whimsical look, like you've just eaten a cherry popsicle.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Write me!

You can now officially send your comments, questions and post ideas to: gloss.spot@gmail.com

Ask me anything! I'd love to hear your post ideas, questions, etc. etc. etc.

I would love, love, love to hear from you!

(Thanks to "danah" for reminding me about e-mail!)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Everyone should try this at least once...

Try false eyelashes! The party season offers the perfect environment for an extra bit of glitz and glam. Party make-up is always more fun with some majah lashes.

Whether you try individual lashes (literally little bundles of faux-lashes that are applied to the outer corner of the eye), or big dramatic feather lashes (faux-lashes made out of real feathers, or fake feathers), or strip lashes (a line of faux-lashes in either a demi-length or a full-length).

Some faux-lash Q&A:

Q: What style of eyelash should I choose?
A: Faux-lashes come in every shape and form these days. To decide what style will suit you determine what 'look' you are trying to create. Dramatic? Natural? Theatrical? Whimsical? A New Year's Eve party extends itself to sparkle, or extra-extra volume in the lash. Whereas, a more casual party would obviously be less about the sparkle, more about accentuating length or volume. Certain brands are known for certain styles: Make Up For Ever, is known for their theatrical false lashes. MAC makes excellent natural lashes.
Make Up For Ever
M.A.C cosmetics
Q: How do I apply fake eyelashes?

A: This video is a great way to learn, then of course trying it out on yourself. Before you watch the video below (p.s. I like her idea of holding the eyelash container up to the mirror to remember what lash goes where!) remember that your own natural lashes should have a coat or two of mascara, do not dip the mascara wand back into the bottle yet -- leave it out. Then, once you have applied the false set, use the mascara wand (that hasn't been dipped) to blend your own lashes with the false set. This eliminates that obvious double lash effect that sometimes happens...where you literally see two lines of lashes. Cyborg lashes!

Q: Does it matter how much I pay for faux eyelashes?

A: Yes. You get what you pay for. Drugstore brands or ok, especially if you just want to test out faux-lashes for the first time. An added bonus of higher-end lashes, besides quality, is their durability. If maintained, they can be worn several times. Whereas cheaper brands won't hold up, and should be pitched after a night's wear. Try Quo (Shopper's Drug Mart) as a middle-market option, and go from there.

Q: How do I take off faux eyelashes?

A: Wiping the eye with eye makeup remover (or face wash suitable for the eye area) and warm water should disolve the glue enough that you can remove the eyelash without doing any damage to the eye or the lash. When applying the eyelash in the first place remember that the glue is supposed to adhere to the skin on your eyelid, not your own eyelash roots. In most cases the eyelash will peel right off, otherwise, if you've tried makeup remover and warm water and it's still stuck; warm a face cloth and hold the cloth to your eye allowing the steam to dissolve the glue. Repeat until you feel you can peel off the lash. Keep the trays the lashes came in! This is where you can store them for another use -- unless they've been stretched or are falling to pieces, then pitch.

Q: I don't want to look like a common whoore, how can I still wear faux-eyelashes?!

A: First of all, false eyelashes are anything but common! Part of the fun of wearing false lashes is embracing your inner diva. No matter how subtle they look, there's always a sense of frivolity and fun in wearing them. Choose a style that suits the venue and your personality, and you should be able to shake those "omg, they can tell they're fake" feelings pretty quickly. If the stealth mission fails and someone points out the fact that your lashes reach above and beyond your eyebrows, fess up. Hey, false lashes are fun and don't require a down payment. Live a little!

Celebrities known for their lash enhancements:
The Mighty Opes: false lashes open her eyes up

Eva Longoria: wears them to accentuate her 'look', always slightly whimsical and bambi-esque.

LaLohan: Big hair, big lips, big...drug addition... I mean lashes. False lashes hide a multitude of sins.