Thursday, August 27, 2009

Berry lipstain? Don't mind if I do!

Swoon! Fall makeup trends are always my favorite of the year. Let's just overlook the fact that 09's fall trends don't stray far ( all) from the classic berry lip, pink cheek, smokey eye combo we see every fall. Nevermind! Just look at this promo pic for NARS. How could any makeup junkie resist flushed cheeks and berry colours?

Finally! We get to wear makeup again! Enough with the tinted moisturizers, three-in-one multi-use products, and waterproof mascara, I say. Let's express some creativity and drama now that the weather has decided not to budge above 20 degrees.

The dramatic, moody fall collections presented by NARS, Dior and MAC have got to be some of the best I've seen. Deep purples, greens and greys dominate the colour spectrum for eyeshadows.

These are the type of colours that make creating a smokey eye with one colour a snap. Just wash the entire eye lid up the crease with your favorite colour of the day, then deepen the lash line and crease and blend out to create as dramatic or subtle a smokey eye as you please. A great trick is to blend using a clean, fluffy eyeshadow brush without eyeshadow - this avoids a muddy, messy look. Line waterline with eyeliner for a nighttime look.

While colours for lips seem to wander between super pale and deep burgandy, there's a surprise in the mix: black. Urban Decay already has one of the most outrageous and most anticipated colours for this season on it's shelves, swatch of 'oil slick' to the left. MAC's promotional pictures for their all black makeup line
can be found on beauty blog sites, so we know that black will definitely be a big player in makeup this season.

NARS' lipstick in Fast Ride (swatch to the left) is a deep mulberry colour with faint gold shimmer. A wearable alternative to the goth inspired lipsticks that are inevitable this fall and winter.

A warmer colour palette for fall '09 is earthy green paired with peach and nude lips. Here is MAC's quad from their Makeup Art Cosmetics line by Richard Phillips, called photorealism. A beautiful collection of greens that can be worn by anyone. Green really is a universally flattering colour as it pulls out the warmth in any eye colour. I think it's greatly underestimated, and could be just the colour to add some life to your makeup collection. A great, subtle way to incorporate green into your every day makeup routine is to apply eyeshadow just to the lower lash line, and blend for a smokey look. Make sure the colour is concentrated closest to the lash line, and doesn't fall under eyes, as green will just exaggerate shadows - even if you don't have undereye circles.

This peach blush called Expose, by Illamasqua would really compliment the green shadows seen above. As of right now the UK based cult favorite, Illamasqua, is not available in Canada. No idea if or when Sephora Canada will carry this Make Up For Ever-type brand. But MAC's powder blush in Pinch 'o Peach is a good alternative.

I think there is something for everyone this season, whether you're focussing on the eye, cheek or lip.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Face it! Products that work for some, don't work for all

Major makeup 'gurus' on youtube and bloggers are often sent free samples from various companies in the industry as part of product launches, or as a form of mass marketing and promotion. I've participated in a few of these campaigns - to date I've received samples of two different types of mascaras - and I offer my honest opinion of the product, while still showing appreciation for being asked to participate in the first place. Let's face it, everyone loves free stuff. The idea of these word of mouth campaigns is to give viewers a real-person account of the product, thereby cutting through all the marketing fluff. I think the idea of giving products to high profile youtube gurus and bloggers is ok when the reviewer provides an honest opinion. The focus being on "honest opinion", because what works for some, may not work for all. Unfortunately, I think the grey area surrounding whether a product is appropriate for everyone leads to a lot of confusion, frustration and unnecessary spending.

I recently watched a popular youtube guru's channel in which skin care was the topic du jour. Now, don't get me wrong, the fact that the channel is even offering educational information is great and I'm sure it helped a lot of people. My problem with it was that the average price of the products promoted was somewhere in the $50+ range, (despite the repetition of the phrase, "You don't have to use these products..."). I don't think that specific skin care products should really be a part of the discussion - because like I said before, what works for you, doesn't work for everyone. And to make matters worse, a lot of the products have been reviewed by other sources as being skin irritating and/or unnecessary.

My main source for this information is Paula Begoun's book "Don't go to the cosmetics counter without me", now in it's 7th Edition (I've done a review on this book, here). Paula has 25 years of industry experience and has conducted in-depth, non-biased reviews of thousands of makeup and skin care products, all compiled in her encylopedia of a book. After watching the youtube video on skincare I looked up a couple of the products I was interested in buying (yep, totally influenced) to see whether the claims matched Paula's findings.

I was extremely annoyed to find out that one of the main products discussed as a skin cleanser was in fact totally overpriced and totally dupable ( for 1/14th the price!!). What's the dupe for $78 worth of skin cleanser? MINERAL OIL. As in, stuff you can buy from any drugstore or grocery store for $5 turns out to be a better product than the stuff that the youtube channel suggested - according to Paula. Paula's findings show that the $78 skin cleanser is essentially just that anyway, mineral oil.

The issue is not that they're discussing or reviewing this product, the problem for me is that they were suggesting it as a solution to the skin cleanser dilemna that a lot of us have. I don't think it's appropriate to be offering these blanket statements, saying "this is the product that will work for everyone". Whether it's $5 or $78, it will not work for everyone.

I think that many times people buy into the high cost of beauty products, thinking that if they shell out big bucks, then the results are gaurenteed. Unfortunately, this isn't always true, as some companies don't put as much research into their ingredient lists as other companies. No matter what the price of the product non-irritating, fully tested (not on animals!!) ingredients should be the priority.

I think a safer, more objective way to review products is to explain a) what the claims of the product are and b) if it worked for you, as the individual reviewer. Then readers and viewers can use their judgement and personal experience to decide whether to try the product out or not. In the case of this particular video, which was a sort of synopsis of skin care over all, an appropriate approach might have been to discuss the function of each product, then offer a high and low end alternative. For example, clearly the idea of the $78 facial cleanser is to use an oil-based product to remove oil-based makeup. This type of product exists in various price ranges - so I think it's unfair to only discuss one option.

After reading Paula's book and being an over zealous makeup-industry participant for years, I've learned that research counts when it comes to beauty products. Reading ingredient lists, and having a basic understanding of what those ingredients mean, allows you to better judge if you're getting your money's worth. Knowing what your skin needs and knowing what ingredients to look for in order to meet those needs is the best thing you can do for your skin (and wallet).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fall '09 Hair Trends

Fall?! It's August 19th...So yeah, that seems about right. As depressing as it is for some, September is fast approaching. With it comes a new school year for some and for the rest of us, a new season of clothes and trends to experiment with.

Whether September means 'back to school' for you or not, Autumn feels like the beginning of a new year for many. Having graduated from University over a year ago, I still have all the same urges I used to when September 1st rolls by: new haircut! New clothes! New shoes! Maybe new writing instruments? Uhm, no. More shoes!

It's also the best time for fashion and trend magazines. I think that this is THE time to get inspired and instroduce change to your every-day appearance. One of the easiest ways to feel fresh and start the 'new year' is to get a trim or try a new haircut. I've looked around and compiled some haircuts that I think encompass trends of the season. Scroll down to view.

A great resource for pictures of trendy cuts is UK Hairdressers.

Fall 09/Winter'10 is about extremes in fashion and beauty. Hairstyles will either be extremely slick, or extremely feminine. No matter what your current hair length is, embrace the edge or the glamour.

Short length:
Super short sides and tapered back with long layers

Grown out layers, with little-to-no gradation in length
Medium length:
This is the longer version of the haircut above

Long length:
Long layers (3 or 4 different lengths)

Curly version of the above haircut. If your hair is naturally curly, then focus on curls at the ends and smooth out the roots with a natural bristle brush.
Celebrity Inspiration:

Elisha Cuthbert, pixie with long layers
Kate Moss, medium length, long bangs
Keira Knightly, medium length curls, no bangsChanel Iman, Long wavesThe main trend I have NOT seen in Fall '09 trends is that bob that everyone had (including myself) for the past 2 years. Consider yourself officially relinquished from the clutches of Posh Spice! Even Victoria Beckham has moved on!