Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cheap & Cheerful

You may be skeptical at first, especially if you're over the age of 16. But everything here is under $10, found in the drugstore beauty aisle and actually delivers (EDIT: Best place to find these products is Rexall Pharmacy or WalMart). What more could you want?!

Wet 'N Wild Creme Gel Eyeliner

Rivals Bobbi Brown and MAC Fluidline gel eyeliners, and costs a fraction of the price. Excellent wearability and goes on smoothly.
 Maybelline Full 'N Soft Mascara

This mascara is the perfect 'natural looking lashes' mascara. The name is bang on, it will give you full ('n) soft eyelashes.
N.Y.C. Sun 2 Sun Bronzer

Two shades of bronzer to create dimension to the face or just use the lighter shade in the winter and the deeper shade in the summer. There's minimal shine/shimmer and a great selection of shades to choose from.
 Wet 'N Wild

Wild Shine nail polish is a great, cheap nailpolish in fun fashion colours.

Rimmel Sun Shimmer Instant Tan Makeup (For Face or Body)

A lifesaver when you want to wear shorts and skirts and realized you're still whiter than white. Also looks great if you want to even out your skin tone. Comes in different versions suitable for the face or body, in shimmer and matte.

Bonnebelle Dr. Pepper chapstick
It's kitsch, but it works and leaves a really subtle berry hue on the lip. Smells great too.
N.Y.C. Blushable Creame Stick

A lightweight creme-to-powder blush in a fun tube package, love these!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Summer Makeup & Hair Tips
Switch from foundation to tinted moisturizer
Generally speaking our skin improves in the summer as the sun and humidity clears up dull skin, acne-prone skin, and sallowness. Therefore a medium-to-full coverage foundation is probably overkill and might exacerbate clogged pores or oiliness. Try a tinted moisturizer instead, which will impart a subtle glow. Look for a tinted moisturizer that suits your skin's needs:

Normal: Clinique Almost Makeup SPF 15
Dry/Normal: Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20
Oily: Almay Smart Shade SPF 15 or Laura Geller Barely There Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20

*Also, concealer is the powerhouse as far as coverage, so it's still a staple in my summer makeup bag.

Steer clear of powder products
When it's hot and muggy powder products, generally speaking, don't work. They streak and drag on your skin and just aren't as flattering as gels and creams. Try using a cream blush and a gel bronzer instead of your usual powders:

Oily skin: Benefit's Benetint/Posietint or Maybelline Dream Mousse Blush
Dry/Normal skin: Clarins Multi-Blush cream to powder or Clinique Blushwear Cream Stick

Blotting papers are your friend!
As mentioned above, powder products fall apart in the humidity. They drag and crease over moist skin, and this is especially true when you're trying to combat mid-day shine. Instead, carry blot papers in your bag or at your desk and touch up throughout the day (it's normal to need to blot a couple of hours after applying makeup, and then again in the evening). They come at all price points and ultimately they all do the same thing.

Try: Sephora Natural Blotting papers or Clean&Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets

When eye liner runs away on you
Some people find it almost impossible to wear eye pencil in the summer because it runs and smears and/or disappears in a few minutes. You can skip eyeliner entirely by pressing eyeshadow into your lash line and blending (use a pencil brush or an angled eyeliner brush) try brown, navy, purple, or black. OR apply an eyeshadow primer such as Urban Decay's primer potion all over lid, then apply liquid liner or waterproof eyeliner if you really can't live without the look of liner. 
Try: Urban Decay Primer Potion, L'Oreal Liquid Intense Liner, or Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes.

Pool hair
Obviously the best way to protect your hair when you take a dip in a pool is to wear a swim cap, but unless you're 8 years old in gym class it's probably not going to fly socially. So here's a great trick:
- Wet your hair with tap water (ie. not pool water) BEFORE jumping in the pool - you can use a hose, bottle of water, shower, etc. This fills the hair cuticle with non-damaging water, making it harder for chlorinated water to get in. (Rinse hair again after swimming)
*Apply a leave-in conditioner to further protect and nourish hair (if you're at a friends pool, you might want to skip this step as they won't appreciate the added product in their pool)

Frizzy hair
Some "anti-frizz" hair products can actually exaggerate frizz prone hair, so in general steer clear of these products (they're full of fake oils and chemicals that don't do much). The best way you can prevent frizz is to keep your hair hydrated and not fuss with it too much. Stay away from hairdryers, straightening/curling irons, etc on a regular basis. as any time you spend drying or straightening will probably be undone as soon as you step outside. Instead, try washing your hair at night with tepid water (not hot), then allow to air dry, then either twist into pin-curls, or braid and sleep on it. You'll wake up with smooth, wavy hair! 

Obviously there are times when you just need to have smooth hair, and using an iron is necessary. Follow these steps:
- Make sure your hair has been washed and rinsed with tepid (not hot) water, use a shampoo and conditioner that is moisturizing (I like Redken Stay Smooth line, or Garnier Fructus line)
- Apply a volumizing mousse, smoothing cream, or whatever you usually use as styling product
- Brush the product through, find your part and leave hair alone.
- Allow to air dry (the most important step!)
- Section off your hair
- Start straightening sections at the back of your head. Leave the front pieces for the end as these are the hardest to keep smooth and non-frizzy.
- Let each piece of hair cool before touching it
- Apply a humidity protecting hairspray (remember to apply under the hair too, and especially around hairline) by spraying it on your hands first, then running it through roots and ends. OR spray it onto a comb and run through hair. Spraying directly on the hair often creates frizz. 
Try: Redken 23 Hairspray, L'Oreal Ellnet, or Dove Shine Spray

Scents change in hot weather, so consider switching out your usual perfume for a lighter, fresh version. Even though I'm not 16 I really enjoy perfumes from the "surfing" culture brands around this time of year, like Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch. What?! They're reasonably priced and perfect for summer! Body mists are a great alternative too if you don't feel like splashing out on a new perfume.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Try a paint pot

Raise your hand if you hate when your eyeshadow creases because of the summer humidity! Raise your hand again if you like alliteration!

I've only just hopped on the MAC Paint Pot in Painterly bandwagon, and I thought I'd share this fabulous summer find with you, especially if you can relate to creased shadow and/or discolouration around your eyes.

Apply Painterly onto your eyelids up to your brow bone for an everyday, non-creasing (seriously) eye look.
Depending on your skin tone Soft Ochre (yellow beige), Groundwork (neutral taupe), or Quite Natural (chocolate brown) might suit you better.
I love these because they're matte and conceal discolouration, bring light to the eye and act as an awesome base for any eyeshadow colour - or wear alone. I wear Painterly on it's own with mascara for work, and then pat on Satin Taupe, Antiqued or Mulch eyeshadow - or any eyeshadow for that matter - around the lash line and/or into the crease for nighttime.

Satin Taupe

Paint pots come in shimmery shades too, which are awesome for smokey eyes and add a lot of depth and staying power.

*This wasn't meant to be an ad for MAC....just wanted to share the paint pot love!*

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

'Sunscreen Causes Cancer' and Other Scare Tactics

This blog attempts to simplify the often confusing and contradictory information that is presented to us as health & beauty consumers. Whether it be in the form of a vague label on a bottle or in a fear mongering report such as the one I'll be discussing in this post. Either way, the cosmetics, skin care and health industries have made it nearly impossible for the average person to distinguish what their body needs and doesn't need, and what might end up harming them in the long run. 

If we listened to every inconclusive, vague report that came out in the past 10 years we'd all be walking around with placenta and algae all over our faces, eating grapefruit and bacon (only!) and wearing tinfoil helmets to protect us from cellphone radiation. I digress...

 A Vanity Fair article from May 24th, 2010 explains the topic of this post:

Just in time for summer, a new set of obsessive worries about something that could kill you: a study released today by the Environmental Working Group—a nonprofit that says it aims to “expose threats to your health and the environment, and to find solutions”—suggests that “almost half of the 500 most popular sunscreen products may actually increase the speed at which malignant cells develop and spread skin cancer because they contain vitamin A or its derivatives,”
In other words, EWG claims that most sunscreens do the opposite of their intended purpose. To say that sunscreen causes cancer is an incredibly sweeping and potentially damaging claim considering the results of their "findings" are inconclusive. Also, to add insult to injury the EWG shows a clear conflict of interest as their list of "safe" sunscreens links to websites where you can purchase these products.

So what does the EWG claim causes cancer? They reported that an additive called retinyl palmitate (a form of vitamin A) in sunscreens is linked to skin cancer and tumor growth.

Paula Begouin to the rescue! Fortunately for those of us who are concerned and skeptical, Begouin has already refuted EWG's claims in her article saying, 

The EWG’s assertions about sunscreen efficacy flies in the face of hundreds of published, peer-reviewed studies from medical and research centers all over the world proving sunscreen can prevent skin cancer as well as wrinkles and skin discolorations.

In terms of vitamin A in sunscreens being a concern, the EWG seems to be completely ignorant of the fact that retinyl palmitate is one of the primary sources of antioxidant protection found naturally in skin (Source: Toxicology and Industrial Health, May 2006, pages 181–191).

So the short answer is: The American Academy of Dermatology, the Skin Cancer Foundation, the FDA and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) all recommend the daily use of a well-formulated sunscreen rated SPF 15 or higher.  

(*Canadians are protected by essentially the same standards, the above still applies)

 What does "well-formulated" mean by the way?
  •  Has an SPF of at least 15
  • Contains avobenzone, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, or Mexoryl SX as one or more of the active ingredients (if they're listed on the general ingredients list, it is not well formulated)
  • Contains antioxidants which are shown to facilitate sun protection and improve the overall health of skin.
  • The packaging is stable (i.e. not in a jar, or in a clear bottle)

Safe sunscreens that work:
For sensitive skin (ie. roseacea, etc) - Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunblock
Non-greasy - Neutrogena Dry Touch Sunblock
For kids - Banana Boat Tear Free Sunscreen

 Water/Sweat proof - Copper tone Sport
I hope this post helps you come to a sound conclusion on whether or not you should be using sunscreen. Personally, I just have to look at my skin after being out in the sun and compare it to the times I've legitimately forgotten or not so legitimately "forgotten" and ended up seared, to know that sunscreen protects me and allows me to be outdoors comfortably without turning into a lobster. The key is to pick the right sunscreen and to apply it frequently and generously. Happy sunscreening!