Tuesday Thoughts: To Makeup or Not to Makeup?

5 minute face makeup

As I sit here with my coffee and one of my favorite YouTube channels blaring in the background, I shop through some online makeup shops while simultaneously checking for blog reviews. After an hour or so of this (having filled my Nordstrom’s cart to over $200), I pause to think about how much I will actually use these products.

Do I love eyeshadow? Absolutely!

Will I actually wear it? To be honest, most mornings are consumed by coffee and making myself look vaguely presentable for work. Of course, I do usually wear makeup, but only two or three products, and nothing that would require wielding a brush in any kind of precise manner (although my reliance upon concealer borders on addiction).

It feels weird to state that makeup fills any sort of utilitarian purpose in my life, that idea makes my life seem so trivial. However, having said that, the manner in which I actually use makeup IS quite utilitarian.

Am I trying to be artistic or relax myself every morning, hunched over my makeup mirror, attempting to apply products in a pleasing, yet mostly undetectable manner? No, I’m just trying not to look too sick or tired to work. That’s the truth of it, no matter how I attempt to delude myself.

Which brings me to the next logical questions…Am I uncomfortable with how I look? Am I not able to accept myself as I am? Why is that?

It’s true that over the course of history both men and women have worn makeup for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to, status, class, culture, etc. The practice of painting our faces is in no way anything new. However, in this day and age of barefaced models posting selfies on Instagram and everywhere else, one would think that going “un-made” might be more the norm.

The thing that perplexes me the most is that while I desperately want to accept my face as it is and bear it to the world, I am also concerned about the perception it gives. Wearing makeup does give me confidence (by helping me not look dead), and yet it simultaneously saddens me that I can’t allow myself to go to work without it.

It seems like such a *ahem* superficial thing, but my internal conflict about the status of my makeup dependence can get rather deep at times.

There are so many folks I see everyday with beautiful faces, made up and not. I often wonder to myself why or why don’t they wear makeup. It’s one of those questions I wish I could pose to the masses.

Hey, maybe that’s what Twitter is for…

I’d love to hear from you about what your feelings are about wearing makeup; stay cozy!

Review: Laura Mercier Crème Cheek Colour

The first thing to say is that, used with discretion, this is arguably the most natural looking blush that I have ever used.Laura Mercier Creme Cheek ColourI am still perfecting the precise movements of my application method, and so far I am preferring fingers to brushes. I know that many prefer to use brushes with cream products, however, I think this cream lends itself to the cheek better with the aid of the warmth and pressure of finger tips.

This product DOES NOT accentuate any dryness in my skin whatsoever, as I suppose could be expected from a cream product. I was surprised, however, by its lack of greasiness (we’ll see how it fares in the heat of summer).

The color is well concentrated, so not much is needed per use which means that this tiny container should last me at least six months. Also, its dainty size means that this product can fit into any makeup bag and would make a wonderful travel companion!

Speaking of colors, although the selection is small, the colors seem to be both powerful and versatile for most skin tones. I chose oleander, the lightest pink, to match my ghostly skin tone after this long winter. It can also be applied in varied amounts to give more or less color as desired.Laura Mercier Creme Cheek Colour

This product lasts all day on my skin, without accentuating texture or dehydration. Although I do not have oily skin per se, sometimes my cheeks can go a bit greasy and this blush still seemed to work well, not concentrating shine or oil. Therefore, I think most skin types, except perhaps the oiliest, could use this product with ease.

I am in love with the tiny, yet sturdy compact, and have been using this product with gusto over the last few weeks! Highly recommend!

Stay cozy!

Winter 2017 Beauty Wish List

As fall turns to winter and the air gets colder, it’s time for me to look at my current winter beauty essentials and see if there’s anything I may need to edit or add. My beauty routines are adjusted from season to season because my skin tolerates different products according to changes in temperature and humidity. And, well, I also just love trying new products…

Snowflake

Courtesy of Pixabay

I have always been a big fan of drugstore products, and many of them have made their way into my beauty staples. That said, lately, as was the case this last fall, I have been increasingly tempted to explore some more luxury-type items. My skin has gotten a bit drier and bit redder, given the new lack of humidity in my neighborhood, so I am definitely on the lookout for some help in that area. And while my old stand-by blush has done me well for so many years, my aging skin is beginning to not tolerate matte powders quite as well as it has in the past.

Here is my list of candidates for this season:

Laura Mercier Crème Cheek Colour

I have played with cream cheek colors in the past, but they have always made my skin appear quite greasy (with the exception of some cream-to-powder formulations). This time around, though, I’m considering the effects of the current drought situation on my face and thinking that perhaps a creamier compound might actually be favorable. This one gets great reviews on Beautypedia and comes in great colors, even if only a few. (Review here!)

Nars Blush in Orgasm

Yeah, I realize I just moaned about how dry my skin is and how powders are starting to accentuate that, but I’m intensely hoping that the sheen of this product will give my skin some life, rather than dull it down. This is a cult classic, peachy-pink, shimmery wonder that has been on my internal wish list for a long time. We’ll see if I actually give it a try now. Two blushes on one list? I know, I know. Blush is my absolute favorite beauty product of all time! It honestly couldn’t be helped . . .

Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra 24H Foundation Stick Broad Spectrum SPF 21

I haven’t ever been a big foundation addict. For the most part, I try to look natural and not draw too much attention in my daily life. I like to look pretty, professional, and polished, but I am quite fearful of looking too “done.”

I’ve seen many a Youtuber review this product recently, with mixed results (oftentimes disappointing those who are looking for fuller coverage). One thing they have all mentioned though, is how easily it blends. My hope is that it can disguise some redness and perhaps some pores, for a more finished (but still somewhat natural) look.

Sara Happ The Lip Slip® One Luxe Balm

A tempting-sounding combination of jojoba, macadamia, and sweet almond oils, among other things, this lip balm has already made its way into my shopping cart. I first heard MakeupByTiffanyD extol the virtues of this balm in a recent video on YouTube and the finish it gave her lips after application gave me great hopes! I am optimistic that perhaps it can handle my dehydrated aperture.

Jojoba Oil

I haven’t yet decided on the brand, but I know I am looking for a pure, organic formula. I am inspired to try this for cleansing after watching Tasha do a video about her skin care routine on her family’s YouTube channel (in case you’re wondering, yes, I am a bit of a YouTube addict). Although she used olive oil, I am thinking that jojoba may serve dual purposes as both a cleanser and a moisturizer. I love ease and simplicity . . . and fewer bottles on my counter. I am also hoping the fewer ingredients will help calm my dry and finicky visage. As soon as I get my new night-time skin care routine figured out, I will be sure to post about it!

And there you have it: some of the items that I am looking forward to experimenting with this winter. Is it winter or summer where you are? What are you trying this season?

Peace to all. Stay cozy!

Notes on Beauty and Age (or A Very Minor Midlife Crisis)

grey beard

I think it was perhaps that midlife crisis issue that I swore I wouldn’t have, that made me do it…

Sometime before my 40th birthday, I tried coloring my hair. I suddenly felt as though I needed to hang on to my fleeting youth; this was a new and alarming sensation to me. I had never before concerned myself with age much. When asked by complete strangers I had no problem divulging the digits, as it never really seemed to have much bearing on my happiness, career, or anything else that was important to me. Age was simply that, just a number.

Age still has very little bearing on what projects I choose to take on or what new adventures I seek to have. I feel younger than my age, I suppose. Not young, mind you, I guess I just don’t feel how society tells me I should feel at this age. Not just physically, but, though I’m a little ashamed to admit it, mentally. I think that may be why those little grey hairs suddenly blossoming into faint grey streaks began to alarm me a bit.

Not to say that I don’t find grey hair becoming. In fact, I distinctly remember myself and a few girlfriends gushing over the elegant beauty of our high school counselor’s long grey mane. It was thick, and shiny, and grey as storm clouds, and we all prayed that it would be the kind of hair that we would inherit as we matured beyond middle age.

Nonetheless, now I was currently in middle age, and baffled by this blend of brown and silver that had evolved at my crown over the previous few years. So, I colored it. I went to a professional as I did not trust my clumsy hands and asked her to color my hair, something as close to my natural color as possible. She mixed scads of liquids and gels together and made a dark, henna-like paste that was then slathered over my coiffure.

It stung, and it smelled. Although my colorist was a professional and there was no one I know who could have done a better job, or attempted to make it more pleasant, the whole process was time-consuming and unpalatable. By the time I exited the salon, my scalp burned and I had a vague sense of regret.

Everyone I knew “loved” the new color. I heard about how beautiful it was from all my friends and family. I fully admit that it was pretty. It was shiny and soft and uniform in color, the frosted streaks masked seamlessly by a masterful mixing of colors.

It was just that, now when I glimpsed myself in the mirror, I didn’t recognize me anymore. Perhaps an exaggeration, but it’s true that after seeing (but not) the slow progression of my hair color over several years, having it all erased came as a bit of a shock.

I have a handful of friends who color their hair regularly in order to maintain their look. My theory is that maybe they started years before I did, and therefore never experienced the drastic change that I did. I love their hair on them, and I can’t really picture them with grey hair…

For some strange reason, though, after I had colored my own hair, I felt like a fraud. Not in an “I’m going fool everyone else” kind of way, more like a “what have I done to myself” kind of way. It seemed as though the change I made was accepted so easily by every one around me, but never by myself.

Since then, I have let the color grow out and am dealing with ends than are a different color than my scalp. I cannot say that I will never color my hair again, as I can be slightly impulsive when it comes to things involving beauty. However, I am also learning to accept my limitations when it comes to my own vanity (cost, time, and comfort).

This is obviously not an argument for or against coloring one’s hair (or doing any other beauty procedure-people should do as they like). It is an observation at how such a small, seemingly insignificant change bothered me so much, and how surprising that, in and of itself, was. I am still quite envious of those with a single color in their hair, be it brown, blond, red, black, or grey, artificial or not. Even so, I am attempting to be patient and hoping that eventually my hair will settle into the beautiful thundercloud grey that my high school counselor had.

If patience fails me, I still have my colorist’s number…

 

What are your thoughts on the details of midlife?

Warmth to all, and stay cozy!

Clinique Blended Face Powder Review

I’ll be honest, after the age of thirty-five, I had pretty much sworn off any kind of facial powders. That was about the time that I began to notice how crepey and crinkled my face could appear with powder applied to it. I spent years avoiding powders (with the exception of blush), and learned to accept that, while my face wasn’t exceptionally greasy, I was going to have some shine on my visage most of the time.

Much to my own surprise, and very much on a whim, I recently purchased the Clinique Blended Face Powder, more out of curiosity than anything else. I had seen rave reviews on both the Nordstrom’s website as well as the Beautypedia website. So, with a little trepidation, and full faith in Nordstrom’s excellent return policy, I gave it a try.

clinique powder

I ordered the “invisible blend, ” partly because I am so pale and partly because I enjoy a more casual, natural look on a daily basis. It does seem to blend into my skin pretty well, though I am a bit dubious about how “invisible” it would be on darker complexions. At any rate, I also chose the invisible blend because it contains silica (the other colors are rumored not to) and I was hoping for a bit of pore smoothing in addition to a little shine dampening.

clinique powder

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by this powder. It does mattify quite nicely for me, without making my skin shrivel up with dryness. However, my favorite part is definitely the pore smoothing! It doesn’t necessarily make me look like a porcelain doll, but it does make my skin appear so much smoother. I have plenty of pores and a few scars, and while this doesn’t make them disappear, it does make them much less noticeable, even outside in harsh sunlight.

I’ll admit, it has cooled off recently where I live, so I can’t yet comment on how this powder would perform in high heat. I can convey that it seems to handle a bit of humidity quite well, not smearing or wiping off as easily as other products that I have tried.

All in all, it looks as though this may become a consistent addition to my Five Minute Face routine. (I can’t say much, however, for the brush that is included and I prefer using my own Sephora #55 Airbrush.)

What other powders should I try? Thanks for stopping by!

Stay cozy!

Favorite Concealer/Foundation Brush

I’m not the first person to claim that makeup application is an art form or creative outlet. I consider the act of choosing and applying products in order to create a desired effect both an aesthetic endeavor, as well as a form of self-care. Although my morning ritual generally doesn’t vary much, it still allows me to feed my inner artist. And, like any artist, I have collected my favorite brushes over the years.

I have experimented with many different methods of applying concealers and foundations: brushes, fingers, sponges, etcetera. I have found several of these methods to either not be very effective at blending the product into my skin, or to create streaks in the finish. This Sigma F82 round kabuki brush solves both of these problems.

sigma f82 makeup brush

This brush is a study in both firmness and softness. The bristles are so silky that they are very gentle on the skin, without a hint of scratchiness. Due to the shortness of the bristles and the manner in which they are packed, this brush provides excellent control (a necessity for applying products in crevices or around the eyes). It does not shed, an absolute requirement for me!

As of late, I have not been wearing foundation (I find that the intense light of summer tends to make it look mask-like on my face), but I wear concealer daily. Because I always tend to have a few spots, and my perma-circles are present perennially, I do end up applying concealer to a large part of my visage. Although I have other concealer brushes that I like, this brush not only blends in my concealer flawlessly (no streaks, period), but also quickly. When I am getting ready for work in the morning, dreading my commute, I know that I can accomplish My 5 Minute Face with the help of this brush.

Sigma f82 makeup brush and Maybelline better skin concealer

My morning concealer routine.

When I do wear foundation, this is my preferred apparatus as well. It does not soak up too much product (a virtue praised by the Sigma website), nor is it difficult to clean. It performs as well with foundation as it does for concealer, producing no streaks or unevenness. This brush has been an indispensable part of my morning routine for several years now; if it ever needs replacing, I would do so without hesitation!

What are your favorite makeup brushes?

Stay cozy!

Fall Beauty Wish List

As we bid summer farewell, and begin to embrace fall, we may contemplate editing our beauty routines so as to compliment the change of season. This time, I thought I would share some of the items that I am considering.

autumn

I have seemed to gravitate to more economical products for skin care and beauty over the preceding year, although I do have a long history of experimenting with products from all spectrums of the beauty world. Lately however, I am experiencing a “wanderlust” of the more expensive varieties (department store at least, if not luxury). Will I actually collect them all? We shall see, but these are the products that I have been secretly coveting for a while now…

Chantacaille Brilliant Gloss (Lucky)

I have had this lip gloss on my mind for almost 2 years, perhaps? Ever since I serendipitously saw Youtuber Amelia Liana feature this on her channel, I have fantasized about picking this item up. It is a beautiful light pink and is said to be very moisturizing. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet been able to justify the over thirty dollar price tag, though this year I may take the plunge!

Kate Somerville Dry Skin Saver Moisturizer for Face, Lips, and Body

Understanding that the onset of the colder seasons will most likely wreak some kind of crepey, and possible peeling, effects on my skin, I find myself craving anything that portends to help keep me moisturized! This moisturizer contains glycerin, squalene and sunflower seed oil, all of which would seem to be very promising aspects! It also comes in a four-ounce tube, which actually also makes it a bit of a bargain, given its pedigree.

Clinique Blush Brush

I love blush, it is my absolute favorite cosmetic product. So I guess it would make sense that my favorite makeup tool might be a blush brush. Given that they can shed, lose their shape, wash badly, etcetera, it can be difficult to unearth a decent one. I love the shape of this one, and I think it would suit my face shape perfectly! I’m not sure what the bristles are made of, but given the shape and the generally quality of the brand, I think I might be willing to take the chance.

Clinique Moisture Surge Face Spray Thirsty Skin Relief

This probably would have ideally been a summertime purchase, but I’m still considering adding it to my fall beauty routine. This is purported to have a fine, pleasant mist and contains aloe, glycerin, and chamomile to help moisturize and calm the skin. (I have heard this can be used on hair as well, intrigued!) This product also gets high praise from beautypedia.com. (Update: I purchased this! Review here.)

Herbivore Botanicals ‘Phoenix’ Facial Oil Roller

I must admit, I am curious about this entire line! I’m not usually too concerned (regretfully) about preservatives in my skin care, but I am wowed by some of the ingredients in these products. Specifically, the ‘Phoenix’ oil includes rosehip oil, sea buckthorn oil, and CoQ10; all components that are quite therapeutic for the skin in my recollection. This roller is a more economical version as compared to the full size, and the price just my tempt me to give it a try. (Their packaging is spot on as well!)

And there you have it, my list of beauty cravings for the fall quarter! What products are you lusting after this fall? What should I try?

Stay cozy!

*All products listed here are available at Nordstrom.com. This is not a sponsored post and does not contain any affiliate links. I just really happen to like Nordstrom!

How to Take Better Care of Your Feet (Easily and Quickly)

*Don’t worry, I won’t be posting any pictures of my tootsies on here, I promise.

My feet carry me through my months, transporting me along in all my adventures. I walk a lot during the day and my feet usually conform without much fuss. Occasionally they get a little tired and sore, but that usually means that I’m ready for a break anyway.

I’m sure it seems rudimentary, but I value my ability to move and what my feet allow me to do. In order to show appreciation for my “paws”, I have developed a quick and simple weekly pedicure routine.

Step 1

While in the bath (or more awkwardly, the shower) I use a pumice stone or fine foot file to gently remove the dead skin cells from the bottom of my feet. Because I do this routinely, there’s no need to be rough, a light exfoliation does it.

Step 2

Right after bathing I trim and shape my toenails. I then apply a coat of either a clear or lightly colored nail polish. This means that even if I don’t apply my polish perfectly (as it is a bit awkward painting one’s own toes), it won’t be strikingly obvious should I opt to wear sandals during the week. My long time favorites have been Essie’s Mademoiselle and Dior’s Nail Glow.

pedi polishes

Dior Nail Glow and Essie Mademoiselle

Step 3

After the polish dries (I only use one coat so that I can get out the door quickly), I apply and massage a bit of either a cuticle oil or a vitamin E oil into my cuticles. I never, ever cut them…just can’t, personally.

Step 4

I apply lotion to my feet and lower legs. If it’s nighttime I’ll usually use Aquaphor and if it’s daytime I’ll use a lighter lotion. I ALWAYS put socks on right after; too easy to slip on linoleum if I’m wandering the house afterwards. Cotton or cotton blend socks seem to work best as I find that polyester socks can make my feet feel kind of gross after this regimen.

And that’s it!

I feel fresher and more put together when I keep up with this routine; add a candle and a cup of tea and it makes for a little pampering time as well.

Hope this is helpful. Stay cozy!

 

 

 

My Favorite Concealer

I have tried a lot of concealers in my life. I seem to have developed perma-circles after decades of chasing the almighty degree/job/promotion. Having a child probably added to the sunken blue half moons that usually make their home under my eyes as well. And so, over my life I have probably tried and tested about 20 different concealers.

Lately, this is the one I have liked the most. My skin has changed a lot from the skin I had in my teens and twenties, and so my concealer of choice has had to change with it. In the last several years the quality that has become most important to me is to not excessively dry (or make appear dry) my under-eye area. Something that doesn’t gather to badly in the well-deserved crevices on my face is nice too.

concealer 2

The Maybelline Superstay Better Skin concealer in ivory has been my jam of late.

This concealer blends easily with fingers or a brush and doesn’t make my eyes look older or more crepey than they already are. It’s not oily or greasy either, and is probably one of the most natural looking concealers that I have ever used. This is one concealer that would work for any skin type, in my opinion.

I also happen to have mild, but persistent acne (when will I ever grow out of it?). I don’t have a lot of spots, but they can be quite noticeable. This concealer does a fair job of making them look less apparent. It is not a thick concealer though, so I would not categorize it as full coverage. For me, just blending the spots away a bit so people will look at my eyes and not immediately be drawn to the spots on my chin is enough.

I have repurchased this concealer at least three times since it was released and have been loving it.

This is the first in a series of my favorite makeup items from my 5 Minute Makeup post.

Hope this is helpful. Thanks for stopping by, and stay cozy.