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Video Blog - How To Decide Between Foundation and Tinted Moisturizer

If you can't see the video above click HERE

I'm into video blogging as of late - can you tell :)?  I'm starting another series called "Today's Tip" and this one is all about makiage.

I get asked a lot by my ladies which complexion formula is best for them - foundation or tinted moisturizer.  This video talks about the pros and cons to both to help you choose so you know what is right for you!


My Favorite Eyeshadow Companies

Erin's Faces Mineral Eyeshadows (and Blushes!)
I moved to NYC in October of 2000 and had no idea how I was going to get a job.  I lived with five other people and the one who was getting paid the most was making $12 at The Gap.  I thought I would have to be a waitress since that's what you do when you move to New York with a theatre degree, right?  I happened to walk into Bloomingdale's and, long story short, got a job at the Urban Decay counter (for $18 an hour - I nearly passed out!) and worked with, to quote my mother, "people who looked like they were in the musical Rent".  Thus began my journey of being thoroughly spoiled by working with awesome eyeshadow.

What makes an eyeshadow awesome?  To me it's all about the color payoff - I like it best when you can lightly swipe your finger across the pan and get a saturated shade without having to rub or swipe more than once.  I like it to be super pigmented and easily blendable.  I don't like to have to manipulate it or work hard - I want it to be EASY.  I do find that when companies do huge palettes, at holiday time for instance, the quality is rarely the same as their usual fare so always check it out in person.  Here are my faves:

Urban Decay Naked Palettes
These palettes are obviously fantastic and Urban Decay has made a killing with them and rightfully so.  Urban's pigments are GORGEOUS and I love both their mattes and shimmers.  They're well known for their glitters, Midnight Cowboy anyone?, but I've aged out of that category.  Bottom line, to me they are fantastic and are what I modeled the shadows in my line after. $18 for single shadow (.05 oz), $29-54 for palettes.

When I would kill time in Sephora I always found myself drawn to the shadows at Stila's gondola (that's what they call the shelves there - no idea why).  Their textures are not consistent - some feel like BUTTER and some just feel really good - but they're all GREAT.  Another facet I loved was Stila used to give you the ability to create your own palette (sadly they stopped).  That was an aspect I took for my line :).  $18-20 for single shadow (.09 oz), $39 for palette.

I worked for Lorac Cosmetics for a number of years and always loved working with their eyeshadows.  They always had really unique but wearable colors and never had any glitter in them.  They've exited Sephora (and only do palettes now, no singles) but you can play with them at Ulta.  $15-42 for palettes.

When I first was working shoots and needed extra shadow colors, but didn't have any $ to spend on them, I discovered La Femme at Alcone.  If you are a drugstore girl please start buying these instead of your usual fare - the pigments are SO much better and you get a huge range of colors in mattes and satins.  Most of my drag queens have their boxes stocked with La Femme shadows for more than one reason (price, color range and fun girly name!).  $6 for single shadows.

Kat Von D Butterfly Eyeshadow Palettes
A fun surprise for me was how awesome the eyeshadows from Kat Von D are - they are crazy creamy even though they're powders - my favorite texture!  I find they work best with synthetic brushes as natural brushes tend to absorb the powder.  $16 for single shadows (.09 oz), $46 for palettes.

Erin's Faces Choose Your Own Palette
So my rule for items going into Erin's Faces was that they had to be JUST as good as my favorite equivalent item but they needed to take it one level higher (in my opinion anyhow).  So, when I found an eyeshadow formula that was crazy pigmented, easy to blend AND had a talc-free mineral formula I literally did a happy dance!  It had been holding up my entire line and I had almost chucked the whole idea of Erin's Faces because if I couldn't find an eyeshadow formula there was no point to having a makeup line.  But I did and I do :).  $13.50 for single shadows (.07 oz), $24.50-32.50 for duos/trios, $65 for full face palette (shown above).


DIY All-Natural Laundry Detergent

Natural cleaning products are SO EXPENSIVE you guys!  I just couldn't handle it anymore so I started searching all over creation and found a great recipe for laundry detergent at DIY Natural.  It works wonderfully, will last you a long time and is easily tranportable if you're a NYC'er and have to carry your laundry/gear to the laundromat (put it in a sandwich sized Ziploc).  

You'll need:
1 cup Borax Powder
1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
1 bar of laundry soap - Fel's Naptha or other
Essential Oil of choice (optional)
Food Processor or Cheese Grater

This is a different bar than Fels Naptha - Fels Naptha is what turns it yellow
Use your food processor or cheese grater to shred your bar of soap.  Pour that into your blender (I use a Ninja Blender which works really well) and add the Borax and the Washing Soda.  Add essential oil to your liking.  Blend til the soap is pulverized and everything is mixed together.  Use 1 Tbsp/load of laundry - yep!  One Tablespoon!

The first time I did this recipe I didn't pulverize everything in the blender and found that the soap "shreds" were too big for the washers at our laundromat and they didn't all make it into the wash easily - they got caught in the coils and didn't totally dissolve in cold washes.  So, that's when I started blending it all together and it's easy peasy now.  

The first time I made this recipe it also didn't have essential oil in there and I knew after reading THIS article that we associate clean clothes with clothes that SMELL clean, regardless of if they're clean or not.  So I needed some smell ya'll.  I did a bunch of batches with Lavender Oil but now I'm on a Grapefruit Oil kick - it's amazing!  I pop in about 1/2-1 tsp for a whole batch of detergent.

I also have really sensitive skin and have always bought the dye free formulas of laundry detergents at the store and this recipe works wonderfully for me.  If you have a significant stain you'll want to use a stain remover (I'm working on finding my favorite recipe to share with you!) but if you've got basic stinky clothes with normal wear and tear you'll be fine with this - it works wonderfully!  

For my favorite DIY Natural All-Purpose Cleaner click HERE.


Video Blog - Kit Essentials - Eyeshadow Primer

Click HERE for the video

Another Kit Essentials post!  I'm having a lot of fun with these :).  
Today's essential item is my Brightening Eyeshadow Primer from Erin's Faces.  Paraben-free and made with yummy ingredients like Coconut, Beeswax and Bentonite Clay it hydrates, cancels red and keeps eyeshadow put all day long.  Seriously - all day.  As does the red lipstick on my tooth in this video but I'm posting it anyhow :).  


Girl Crush - Anna Kendrick

I fell in love with Anna Kendrick back when she pushed aside her fellow actor in "Camp" to sing "The Ladies Who Lunch" and have been on board every since.  I'm SO excited to see her in "The Last Five Years" but let's talk hair and makeup - I love all of her choices - I feel like she has so much FUN with makeup and hair while managing to look like a little fairy about 75% of the time which I am totally in support of.

Smoky eyes, soft lip

Serious side part and defined, but not dark, brows 


A rare red lip

Hair up 

Her skin always look impeccable

Hair jewelry!

LOVE this on her - soft and ethereal

Loose waves

Major liner and lashes

Wings and lashes

Classic pony with gunmetal smoke

Silvery shimmer, liquid liner, berry lip

Fun side braids

Classic beauty

Rare flat-ironed situation

Artful liner and wing


And obsessed - liner all the way around the eye, pink cheeks, shiny lips, defined brow, hair up - yes please to all of it!


Video Blog - Kit Essentials I - Parian Spirit Brush Cleaner

To view video click HERE

I'm starting a new series called "Kit Essentials" and it's all about what I can't live without in my makeup kit - random goodies that make my day bright on a long shoot :).  

The first one is an AMAZING brush cleaner, Parian Spirit, that subs in essential citrus oils over chemicals to disinfect and clean brushes so they're ready for the next girl - check it out!


Drugstore Beauty Swaps Part II

You guys loved the Drugstore Beauty Swaps Part I so much I just had to do another one - here are some more items that may, or may not be!, better at the drugstore -

Cover Girl Bombshell Shineshadow ($7.99 for .18 fl oz) MAC Paint ($20 for .23 fl oz) - both have tons of silicones and each have a petrochemical so it's all about color choice on this one though you do get a little bit more product from MAC.  That being said if you can find the color you like I would go with the Cover Girl for more bang for your buck.

Makeup primers that add luminosity to the skin make you look younger AND help your foundation stay put are all good in my book!  Almay Smart Shade CC Luminous Primer ($11.49 for 1 oz) has amazing reviews on Makeup Alley and gives a pearly sheen to the skin.  Guerlain Meteorites Light Diffusing Perfecting Primer ($73 for 1 oz) has little pearls of luminosity suspended in a clear gel-type formula that burst as they go through the pump.  Neither line posts their ingredients online (boo) so we can't compare them that way but based on the achieved finish, especially if you're on a budget, I'd go with Almay - though I will say it's very satisfying to watch those pearls burst :).

I used to work for tarte and was a huge fan of their Cheek Stains ($30 for .5 oz).  They've since revamped the formula and they're full of yummies like Maracuja, Pomegranate, Acai and Gogi Berries.  100% Pure's Lip & Cheek Tints ($17 for .26 oz) are a wonderful alternative as their first ingredient is Cocoa Butter while Tarte's is Propylene Glycol - a petrochemical.  100% Pure also uses fruit pigments to color their products so instead of dyes you've got Pomegranate, Blackberry, Raspberry and about 10 other fruits comprising the formula.  In doing a lot of makeup inventories with ladies I find that they keep their Tarte Cheek Stains too long because they still have a lot in there when the year expiration date mark is up so I'm fine with the 100% Pure Lip & Cheek Tints being half the size.  They're also nearly half the price and petrochemical-free - bueno!

BB Creams are all the rage and those of the bronzing variety are hot for summer.  Urban Decay just launched their Naked Skin Beauty Bronzing Beauty Balm SPF 20 ($34 for 1.18 oz) which uses Watermelon, Silicones, Light Diffusing Spheres and the anti-aging Vitasource in their formula.  Their SPF is 2/3 chemical (Octinoxate) and 1/3 physical (Zinc). HERE's why I like physical SPFs more than chemical.  Physician's Formula also just launched their Bronze Booster Glow Boosting BB Cream SPF 20 ($14.95 for 1.2 oz) which uses Shea Butter, Velvet Bean, Vitamin E and Silicones with a physical sunscreens Zinc and Titanium Dioxide (yay!).  The nice thing about the Urban one is you've got a good anti-ager in there.  The nice thing about the Physician's Formula is you've got a total physical SPF.  So, it depends what's more important on this one to you - both are valid - so it's a toss up on this product.

Concealers are SO PERSONAL - it's all about the texture for ladies and for those that like a thin texture that won't crease up the "twist up pen" variety is a good bet.  Makeup Forever's HD Invisible Cover Concealer ($29 for .05 oz) has a little silicone applicator and its oil-free light/medium texture contains Green Algae, Gatuline IN TENS (lifts) and a number of silicones for longevity and an even finish.  L'oreal's Visible Lift Serum Absolute Concealer ($12.95 for .05 oz) is heavier on the petrochemicals (they both contain them, mind you, L'oreal's just has more) but also has silicone to smooth it out and Vitamin A, Hyaluronic Acid and Pea Extract for anti-aging.  L'oreal gives you four color options while Makeup Forever gives you fourteen.  I like the ingredient list more for Makeup Forever so on this one I'm going to pick the more expensive option.

Dry shampoo has become my best friend after going red and so many of them have a white finish that is so not flattering.  Rita Hazan has her Root Concealer for Gray Coverage ($25 for 2 oz) and when I used to be a trainer in Sephoras people went nuts for it.  I used to rec the Rita Hazan as well as Bumble and Bumble's until I saw my friend, Ruthie, whose roots were grown out a couple of inches but you would have never known it because of her Dry Shampoo in Light & Blonde from Batiste ($8.99 for 6.73 oz).  It was AMAZING and it's three times the product for less than half the price.  The red one is already in my bathroom!