Thursday, October 15, 2009


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As a recent breast cancer survivor (one year and counting!) I know first hand that having confidence in your appearance can have a tremendous effect on the healing and recovery process. Throughout my treatment last year, sometimes putting on my favorite lipstick was the only thing that truly made me feel like my old self again. In fact, the American Cancer Society even has a program called "Look Good, Feel Better" which aims to help you do just that. It's hard to find anyone who hasn't been touched by this in eight women are diagnosed. In support of those doing battle in the war against breast cancer, here are some makeup and beauty tips to help them along on their journey.

Brow Perfection
Chemotherapy almost always results in complete hair loss, on your head, eyebrows and often eyelashes. It's best to learn how to fill in your brows before you lose them. Chose a brow color that closely matches your natural shade and practice filling in while you can still see them. Pay close attention to where brows begin and end on your face and how full they are. When the time comes, you'll be able to draw them from scratch with no need for an eyebrow stencil. Check my blog archives for the previous posting on eyebrows to find my favorite brow products.

Eye Openers
False eyelashes are great for emphasizing the eyes. And they are much easier to apply when you don't have to worry about blending them in with your own eyelashes! Strip lashes are inexpensive and come in a variety of styles. Try to get use to applying them before you lose your lash hair. Remember, practice really does make perfect. One of my favorites Ardell Fashion Lashes (about $3 drugstores).

If you've already got dark circles and puffiness, during treatment it will probably become even more pronounced. Use a hydrating concealer like Lancome Maquicomplet Complete Coverage Concealer ($27.50) It minimizes the appearance of dark circles and fine lines and contains antioxidents to protect your skin from environmental damage. And best of all, it looks completely natural!

For a more permanent solution there's Eye Serum by RSF Skincare ($175) It contains 50% peptides (most brands have only 17%) along with other vitamins to stimulate the production of collagen, elastin and skin forming fibers. In other words, it makes the eye area look young, healthy, and fabulous!

Exfoliate and Hydrate
The effects of chemotherapy and radiation can cause skin to become extremely dry and lack luster, on both your face and body. Exfoliating and hydrating will not only help enhance your complexion, but it will also invigorate and enliven the skin. Products designed specifically for those undergoing treatment are wonderful, but can be a bit costly. Instead, try switching to a richer, creamier version of your favorite moisturizer and body lotion to help combat excessive dryness. Make sure your doctor approves any product you apply directly onto areas of your skin affected by treatment.

One to try Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion (6.7oz $35). Its not only hydrating but also dermatologist tested and 100% fragrance free. And when you buy this limited edition bottle, $10 of your purchase will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

For the body try Bodiology Silk & Satin Vitamin E Body Lotion (8oz $38) Enriched with Vitamin E it contains yummie ingredients like grapeseed, avocado and vanilla to help soothe, protect and regenerate dry, irritated skin.

Color Me Beautiful
Channel your inner rainbow and add a splash of color to your face. A vibrant eyeshadow or lip color can work wonders, so have fun with it! Check out the Bobbi Brown Limited Edition Pink Ribbon Collection ($40). It features a creamy lip color and glittery lip balm both in shades of pink in support of Breast Cancer awareness month. Or try the limited edition collection hand picked by spokesmodel Elizabeth Hurley for Estee Lauder This Lip Design Collection ($22) includes a lipstick, pencil and gloss along with a portable mirrored case. Through their "World Pink" campaign, the Estee Lauder company and its cosmetic affiliates is actively involved in raising awareness and funding research in an effort to find a cure for breast cancer.

There are many companies out there with products whose proceeds go to help fund the search for a cure. Like Brighton Collectibles Power of Pink Jewelry. Try and support these organizations when you can. To all of my sisters in the fight, stay strong, put your best face forward and wear your beauty proudly from the inside out!


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Bombshell is Back at the MTV Video Music Awards

Hello all!
Aside from the well deserved tributes to the "King of Pop" Michael Jackson, and the drama and controversy of "Kanyegate", from a beauty perspective at this year's MTV VMA's one thing was clearly obvious--the "bombshell" is back!

You can tell just by looking at Katy Perry, Madonna or even Lady Ga Ga that this sensuous look can work on most everyone. Here are some tips to help you as you channel your inner bombshell.

Classic Rocker Chic
This take on the smokey eye is empasized with black eyeshadow and eyeliner and a subtle lip. False lashes add drama. Lips can go from soft shades of pink or coral to
almost nude. We saw it on Pink, Solange Knowels, reality star Kristin Cavalleri and Amanda Bynes.
DIY tip: Apply eyeshadow and liner before your concealer to minimize the clean up from eyeshadow "fall out". Blend powder shadow over your liner underneath the eyes to add staying power. A full coverage foundation with a mat or semi-mat finish completes the look.
Beauties like Katy Perry, Nellie Furtado and Madonna kept their bombshell look retro by toning down the eyeshadow and eyeliner or skipping it under the bottom altogether. Add the half-up hair poof and you've created the perfect retro look. DIY tip: Stick to neutral tones with your eyeshadow and play up the lip color a bit more to pull this one off. Go slightly heavier on top of the eye with both mascara and liner and keep the area under the eye as clean as possible. Perfectly groomed eyebrows are a must!
If you enjoy dancing to the beat of your own drummer like Lady Ga Ga and Cassie you can also make this look your own. The super dramatic smokey eye is contrasted with white eyeliner and (apparently) an outrageous 'do. Gossip Girl's Leighton Meester opted for a tamer hairstyle but winged out her eyeshadow to help grab attention. DIY tip: I definitely recommend you do a trial run for this look. Go heavy on the eyeshadow in either charcoal or black, line the inner rim of your eyes with white eyeliner and extend past the borders of the eyes with both white and black on the top and bottom. Add highlighter or glitter at the inner corners and under eyes for fun.
Pure Glamour
The night truly belonged to both Taylor Swift and Beyonce. Their class and sheer elegance were evident in their demeanor as well as their style. (How cool was it for Beyonce to invite Taylor onstage to complete her interrupted acceptance speech?). From the soft waves in their hair to their flawless complexions--It was old hollywood glamour at its best. DIY tip: Keep it simple. Stick with eyeshadow colors that are natural for your skintone and opt for liner in black, brown, navy or gray. False lashes are a must. Lips can be subtle or dramatic to complete your bombshell look. If you choose red or deep wine keep lip gloss to a minimum. Cheeks should match the lips but not overpower them.

Until next time!


Thursday, July 2, 2009

BET Awards Beauty Trends

The BET Awards were held last Sunday, and in addition the the moving tributes to the late Michael Jackson, some very distinct beauty trends were evident. They might help you get a jump on your summer sizzle.

Pink Pout
In addition to beautiful skin, actress Zoe Saldana and singers LaToya Luckett and Amerie all rocked perfectly pink puckers. Looks like pink is the new red.

D.I.Y. Choose a shade of pink that compliments your skintone.Vibrant or matte shades works best when the rest of your face is neutral, while a stronger eye requires a more muted pink. Since pink is a vibrant color, a sheer gloss is always a good choice especially on deeper skintones.

Short and Chic

Everyone seemed to be sporting closely cropped do's. Singer Monica, actresses Elise Neal and Terri J. Vaughn and model Toccara of America's Next Top Model fame all went short and sassy to kick off the summer. D.I.Y. If you've ever considered it, now's the perfect time to go short. For some, it may be as simple as foregoing the hair extensions or weave for a couple of months. Have fun with it! Spike it, slick it back, or play with color and highlights. Be sure to visit your stylist for a fantastic cut.

Bright Eyes

Everything old is new again. Jewel toned shadows and eyeliner complimented the stylish outfits. Singer Alicia Keys, actress/comedian Kim Coles and young newcomer Keke Palmer (did you hear her nod to MJ...acapella?) showed us that everyone can wear color. D.I.Y. Apply bright shadow only on the lids, and gently fade into the crease by blending with a shadow brush. Compliment with a neutral eyeliner--black, brown or grey work best. Or go neutral with your eyeshadow and choose a vibrant eyeliner. Teal greens, purples, and shades of blue look fabulous on most skintones. Opt for gold, bronze or silver for a more glamourous look.

Brow Perfection
Well groomed and strong brows certainly made a statement. From former child stars Tatyana Ali and Tempestt Bledsoe to actress Meagan Good, these divas really know how to accent their "windows to the soul". D.I.Y. If you've never shaped your brows before, visit a professional. Keep re-growth to a minimum by tweezing brows between visits. Fill in sparse brows with brow powder and an angled brush. Hold them in place with brow set or a dab of hairspray on your fingertips.

Until next time!


Thursday, June 18, 2009


Tis the season for blushing brides. Whether you hire a professional makeup artist or plan to do it yourself, the cardinal rule for applying makeup on your wedding day is simple: be true to your personal style! Whether your everyday look is earthy and natural or you're a glam girl diva, don’t stray too far off from the norm. If you do, you may end up looking back at photos from one of the most memorable days of your life wondering, “Who is that girl?” Here are some easy guidelines to follow.

Natural Beauty: Keep it Simple
If you rarely wear makeup then go for a subtle enhancement by playing up your best feature. If your eye and lip palettes are usually neutral color tones, try adding a slightly brighter or more intense shadow or eye liner to your base shade to make your eyes “pop”. Or use a different technique than usual. For example, if you normally apply a lighter shade on your lids and a deeper tone in the crease, try the deeper tone on the lid instead with the lighter shade just under the brow bone.

Glamour Girl
If your daily makeup style is full of glitz and glamour, then choose one feature and play it up! If vibrant lip color is your signature, then pair it with a subtle eye. Or play up your eyes—false lashes and all—with a toned down lip. Don’t overdo it with blush or foundation either. Make sure your colors compliment each other and work well together. You want a look that says "I look beautiful!" not "look at my makeup".

Trend Setter
Don’t get too caught up in makeup trends. Royal blue or lime green eye shadow might be all the rage for the season, but you don’t want that to overwhelm your look for this occasion. Choose colors that are timeless and classic that will compliment an enhance your skintone. Remember, great skin is always in!

Basic Rules For Any Style

1. Always do a “trial run” in advance of the big day. You don’t want any surprises.
2. Avoid foundation or powder containing titanium dioxide. This can cause your face to photograph slightly pale or ghost-like.
3. Consider your hairstyle. Up-do’s often require more shading and highlighting on the face and more color on the cheeks.
4. Don’t forget to groom your eyebrows! Waxing or tweezing should be done and least a week in advance.
5. When in doubt, consult a professional. Most makeup artists will do a bridal preview or makeup lesson to give you some ideas. If you don’t think you can duplicate it, you can always hire them for your wedding day!


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

BROW WOW! Get Picture Perfect Eyebrows

The easiest trick to a subtle updated look is to grooming your eyebrows. Although pencil thin brows are mostly passe (except on the runway), shaping them up a bit will not only open up your eyes, but can also take years off of your appearance. Here are some brow basics to set you on your way.

Where Do They Grow?

First, to determine where your brows should begin and end use a makeup brush or a pencil. First, lay it the long way along the side of your nose pointing towards the ceiling and the floor. Your brows should start there. Remove any hair beyond this growing between your eyes. To find your arch, move your tool to the right just past your iris (the dark circle in the center of your eyeball) to where your eye color begins. This should be your brow's highest point, or arch. To determine where they should end, move the pencil diagonally from your nose (see picture). If they stop short, you should extend them.

Say Tweeze Please.

Plucking is for chickens, we tweeze our eyebrows. Start by brushing your brows straight up. Look closely and you'll notice the stray hairs growing outside of the natural hairline. Those are the ones you should remove. Hold your skin taught with one hand, and with the other gently pull out the strays in the direction that they grow. This process may take up to 40 minutes, so don't rush it. It's best to remove a little at a time to avoid over doing it. The best thing to use? Tweezerman, hands down. (starting at $15) Their slanted tweezers can catch even the finest hairs. They last forever and they'll even sharpen them for free.


The latest trend in hair removal is eyebrow threading. It's done by usiing a double strand of cotton thread around a selected area and then twisting to remove the hair. If it sounds painful, it is. Not child-birth painful, but definitely more than a little uncomfortable. But many women like the fact that its quick and clean and often times there is no redness or irritation. I wouldn't recommend trying this one at home, visit an experienced professional.


For the novice, this is best done professionally. If you're doing it yourself, use a quality kit and follow the directions for best results. Brush your brows in place, then warm the wax and apply it to the unwanted hair in the direction that it grows. Smooth a small stip of muslin over the top, and then quickly pull it off. It's kind of like removing a bandaid, except you take the hair with it. For first timers, plan to do this on a day off, as sometimes you may experience some redness or slight puffiness if you're sensitive. This method is great for getting rid of the peach fuzz that can tend to grow around your eyebrows. Like the idea of waxing, but not sure if you can afford the monthly tab? Get them done once to establish the shape, then tweeze the hair yourself as it starts to grow in.

Filler Up

If your brows are sparse or stop short you'll need to fill them in. Use a brow powder or eyeshadow and a flat, angled brush. Budget friendly Milani Cosmetics makes an all-in-one Brow Fix (about $6) that includes brow color and tweezers. Brush in color using soft, light strokes only where you need it. Then use a toothbrush-like brush or your fingers to blend and soften. If you prefer using a pencil, try Lancome Le Crayon Poudre Eyebrow Pencil ($23). Complete with spiral brush on one end, it's a brow powder in the convenience of a pencil. Always choose a color that looks natural with your hair and complexion. When in doubt, go a little lighter. Taupe is a good choice for fair to medium locks. No matter how dark your hair is, NEVER use jet black for your eyebrows, it's much too harsh. If your hair is black, try an off-black or dark grayish tone. To set, you can spray a little hairspray on your finger and smooth over your brows.

Of course, if you make a dramatic hair color change, you can have your eyebrows dyed to match. Always consult a pro if you're going that route. If you're just going a few shades lighter, a facial hair bleaching kit applied to the brows may be just what you need to help soften dark brows.

Until next time!


Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Want to show of the season's best lip colors? You're definitely no trendsetter if you have dry, cracked lips. Here are some tried and true lip tips to help you maintain a fabulous pout throughout spring, summer and all year round.

1. Exfoliate and Hydrate

Removing dead skin from your lips creates a smoothe canvas for any lip product. Some
suggest using a toothbrush or a nubby washcloth. I like using my facial scrub.
Gently massage over and around your mouth for a few seconds after you're done with your face. Be sure to follow with a lip moisturizer or lip balm worn alone or under your lip color. I like Burt's Bees ($3) all natural lip balms and creams designed to repair, heal and moisturize. Worn day or night they are the ultimate in hydration.

2. Color Inside the Lines

Dramatic liner is passe. Instead, fill in your lips after you've outlined. It reduces feathering,
creates a soft look and increases the staying power of your lip product. Choose a color that
matches your own lip's natural tone and you can literally wear it with everything. Try MAC
Lip Pencil in Stripdown or Cork ($13). It glides on easily with no unnecessary tugging.

3. Matte Must Have

Matte doesn't have to mean dry anymore. The latest matte lipcolor formulations are smooth and creamy and won't cause dryness and peeling. One to try: Lipstick Queen Oxymoron Matte Gloss ($20). Feels sheer as a gloss but goes on matte. It even comes with its own lipbrush.

4. Get Your Shine On

Glossy lips are never out of style. Worn alone over lip liner or to spice up your lipstick, you can't go wrong with sensuous, romantic shine. One of my favs Carol's Daughter All Natural Candy Paint in Grown and Sexy($13.50). Shea butter, aloe vera extract and vitamin E all work to condition, protect and soothe your lips. And you get that sexy, elegant shine to boot.

Follow these rules of thumb and you'll always have a perfect pucker! Until next time.