Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ellis Faas Glazed Lips L307

I dislike lip gloss, but the Ellis Faas Glazed Lips ($35) formula feels more like a liquid lipstick that has plenty of shine. Advertised as providing an "ultra-wet, long-lasting burst of color," the finish still lets my own lip pigment shine through. I definitely found that level of shine in L309 (clear) from the Summer Set (also sold individually), and also with L302, which is an outright brown pigment that I occasionally use to tone down too-cool lipsticks. L303 (a deep rose) is, without doubt, one of my favorite lip products of all time. This review, however, is on the color known only as L307, whose color appears as melon, like a splash of fresh cantaloupe-watermelon juice on the lips warmed by the sun.

As with the other Ellis Faas brush dispensers (described and shown here), you just click to load the pen and apply straight to the lips using the attached brush. Color stays put for a few hours, and it fades evenly. While the more deeply pigmented colors, like L303 leave behind a stain, L307 did not stain on my lips. It also did not feather or smear or migrate. 

Glazed Lips are unscented and contain plant seed oils, Vitamins E and C, and omega fatty acids. The texture is gorgeous silky goodness, never sticky or goopy, though your hair will stick if the wind blows it across your mouth. It's just the nature of the beast.

Bottom line: Glazed Lips have quickly become my favorite of the three formulas, and best of all, Ellis Faas lip and eye products are now sold at sephora.com.

All pictures mine

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Rouge Bunny Rouge Matte Eyeshadow: Grey Go-away Lourie and Blackpepper Jay

promo picture from Zuneta

I thought it time I reviewed the Rouge Bunny Rouge Long-lasting Matt Eyeshadows, which I have had since last May.

Grey Go-away Lourie is a mid-toned slate grey. No blue or brown undertones, just grey. I like this because it means whatever pigment already exists in eyelids will transform this color into the most appropriate grey for you. Like a mood ring! If your lids are lilac, the way mine used to be, GGaL will appear as a blue grey. If your lids have taken on that teabag tint that comes with age/sun damage, GGaL will appear more taupe. In the pan, the color reminds me a little of wet cement, but it's the prettiest cement I have ever seen.

Blackpepper Jay is a deep, sooty, charcoal brown, which, no matter how many pictures I took, I could not capture the rich depth (and is the reason why I included the promo shot). BpJ is slightly too intense for me to use as a crease color, but I like it very lightly applied to the outer third of my lid to deepen and add complexity to other shadows. It also makes a nice liner, but because these shadows are so incredibly blendable, they can move around a bit, so to stay put as liner, I need to use an aid, such as Paula Dorf Transformer.

I have already lauded the quality and formula in my other RBR eyeshadow posts. Rouge Bunny Rouge does an outstanding job with mattes. They feel so buttery, it's hard to believe they are powder. Rich and superfatted, it's easy to swipe a swath onto lids with a fingertip. But since I want these to last, I treat the pans with care, typically using the Shu Uemura #10 Natural brush, if I am applying on the movable lids, or the Hakuhodo S133, if I am applying to the crease.

If you have dry skin, don't write these mattes off just yet. I am certain this formula can be worn by dry and oily skins alike, though oilier lids might prefer to use a primer. As for older skin, the finish of the matte formula is so velvety it never looks dry, dusty, chalky, or crepey. My only regret is that there are but four colors--all neutral staples--and only two that flatter my coloring. So far.

Bottom line: Best in class. Excellent basic colors that should become classics for many.

All photos mine except (1) from RBR/Zuneta

Cosmeticus Interruptus: Estée Lauder Chelsea Rose

I'm not going to taunt you with things you can't have, but I am going to start a series about excellent products that have been discontinued just because they weren't selling well. What about meeee, you hateful cosmetic brand? Don't you care that the product you knocked off your line was my favorite?

Because I am an odd person, I think I shall start this series with a product I never knew existed until after it had been discontinued. I blame Dain, editor and writer of the of Ars Aromatica blog, because this lipstick makes a frequent appearance in her articles, and now I know why. She calls it her version of nude, and I think it might be mine, too. Like Dain, my lip pigment eats up color, so this pretty mid-toned rose appears as a sweet rosy pink on me.

Without further ado, I bring you Estée Lauder Signature Lipstick Chelsea Rose.

Bottom line: A worthy edition to my shrinking lipstick stash, even if it's the only tube of this color I ever get my hands on.

Are there any discontinued lipsticks that you adore and wish were still available?

all photos mine

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What is Less?

Is age slowing you down? I don't mean in an achy, creaky, bone-popping way but in a logistics way, specifically: Getting ready in the morning.

My routine has changed a great deal in the last 2-3 years, and it's not as if I went suddenly from nubile vixen to curmudgeonly crone. I suspect the change has more to do with maintaining the natural, "le no makeup" look I prefer, than with my biological age—but age is a factor, for certain. Looking the way I want takes more product and more time than it used to. Statement of fact. So it's no wonder I feel somewhat paralyzed in the morning when trying to get myself out the door in a timely manner.

My taste in makeup is almost identical to what it has been my entire adult life:
  • Minimal face stuff, just enough to even out the coloring around my nose, but not cover my freckles and pores. Jane Iredale mineral powder has been doing an admirable job for more than ten years.
  • Minimal blush (I am naturally rosy). When I wear it, I like a glowy (not shimmery or matte) finish. My current favorite is NARS Gaiety.

  • One to two eyeshadows that mimic the natural colors already found in my face/hair/eyes. Rouge Bunny Rouge has several eyeshadows that are scrumptious and the finish is so kind to maturing eyes.

  • Lipstick (never lip gloss) with a sheer, glossy finish. I have around six favorites right now, but Laura Mercier Gel Lip Colour in Sweet Cherry remains in the top three since I bought it in May.

So what is less, anyway? I don't know about you and your routine, but I miss the old days when I used to be able to shower and be out the door in under a half hour. My makeup routine was so incredibly simple, I could almost do it in the dark. But when you're 20, a little mascara goes a long way.

I am (20x2)+n. And even though my taste in cosmetics is mostly the same, nature is slowly but surely taking its toll on my face, forcing me to augment and play with areas I never had to before.

In the last couple years I have added several new items to my simple routine:
  • Concealer. My skin thinned, hollowed, and darkened in the area between the inner eyes and the nose, and shadows deepened under my eyes. I never needed concealer until I hit my 40s. But instead of covering the shadows with opaque paste, I prefer a concealer/highlighter hybrid that lightens shadowy areas instead of covering them. It's sheer trickery, but I think it looks a little more natural, and I don't have to worry about creasing or color oxidation.

    YSL Touche Eclat is my current favorite and has been for at least two years
  • Brows. I must now fill in my brows, which have thinned. Many women who go through perimenopause experience hormone imbalances (understatement), and since thyroid is part of the endocrine system, it can get out of whack, too, causing some of us to lose a full outer third of our eyebrows. Luckily, I have avoided that side effect, but the volume has thinned enough that I must fill in the patchy areas with a good, sticky brow powder.

    I have been using Clinique Brow Shaper in Shaping Charcoaled
    since the late 80s.
  • Mascara. One coat of mascara is a must when it was previously a nice-to-have. My eyelashes, which are quite long and dark, have also thinned. I used to have such a nice sooty fringe, but now I have a smattering of Daddy Long Legs legs that definitely need enhancing. I concentrate on the outer third, which helps open the eye. I don't bother with an eyelash curler—it's too much eyelash look for me.
  • I don't like mascara, so I find one I don't hate. Tarte makes a decent one that
    doesn't make my lashes feel crispy or gummy.
  • Eyeliner. Decreasing eyelash volume has left some spots almost bare. I was using an eyelash serum, but instead of getting more volume, I got eyelashes I could braid they were so long. Yuck. Long eyelashes with no volume is as bad as growing your hair very long when it's super fine and thin. So to fill in the gaps (more artifice and trickery), I smudge a densely pigmented powder eyeshadow against the lash line using a thin, firm brush (e.g., Hakuhodo K005). I am too impatient to deal with gel and liquid eyeliner, especially at dark o'clock in the morning, and I am too lazy to wash a brush every day.

    Bobbi Brown Navy or Laura Mercier Deep Night
    do the job admirably
  • Lip pencil. Since both the philtrum and vermillion border flatten with age, I now need to line my upper lip so my lipstick doesn't feather. I don't have vertical lines (at least nothing obvious yet), but lipstick can fade from the top lip in an unflattering way, so anchoring it down with lip pencil is a good idea. I choose a pencil color that matches my lip pigment, not the lipstick, and I connect the tops of the peaks at the cupid's bow, which makes the upper lip look fuller. I don't draw outside the lines, but I don't make the marked dip I used to do in that area. Clinique Sky Violet matches my lip pigment exactly.

  • Primer. I don't need primer as much as I want something on my skin that imparts a subtle glow. I haven't found a moisturizer that does this yet, so I look to primer to do the job, and often, the primer lets me skip moisturizer, sunscreen, foundation, and powder, so this is one new addition that actually cuts out several others.

    Rouge Bunny Rouge Metamorphoses primer gives
    a suede-like finish to the skin
With the exception of the primer, each of the new additions requires time and precision. So putting my face back to the "normal" face I am used to seeing adds time to my routine. It's obviously a choice. I don't need to wear these extra items, but I like to—it makes me feel better to make the effort.

Currently my morning face takes 15 minutes, but as I grow accustomed to using the new additions, I'll get my routine down and be able to shave some time.

As you get older, do you find yourself using more or fewer products? And as you grow older still, will you continue to make the effort

My images and Google images

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Beauty Spotlight 01.22.12

This week the Beauty Spotlight Team previews Spring makeup collections, finds some must-have drugstore treasures, keeps your hair looking great and one member channels her inner Supermodel for a day!

Marcia from Beauty Info Zone continued her search for L'Oreal Infallible eyeshadows and found more to love.

Little cat paw print embossed lipsticks, now what could be more fun… Visionary Beauty shares the lipsticks from the cat themed Paul & Joe collection for Spring.

At Everyday Beauty, Zuzu's Petals dishes about beauty and the aging process.

Modesty Brown reviews the L'Oreal Super Liner in Black Amethyst. It might be designed for hazel eyes but this pretty liner is sure to appeal to purple fans no matter what their eye colour.

Guarentee yourself a good hair day! Pammy Blogs Beauty loves No 4 High Performance Hair Care's Lumiere d'hiver Reconstructing Masque.

Lisamarie from Beauty Crazed starts swatching the OPI Holland collection - wooden shoe like to see it? Then check it out!

Over at Pretty in Dayton, it's Story Time! A Fairy Tail come true - Styrch makes a surprising transition from "customer" to "model" for Sittella, by Althea Harper

Paula, from Older Girl Beauty, shows us one of her foreign beauty faves - this time it's Hissyfit Body Double Sunscreen Lotion from Australia.

Perilously Pale finally satisfied her craving for Fyrinnae and shares with us her first set of swatches of the incredible eyeshadows!

At Lipstick Musings, Shannon's falling in love with Laura Mercier all over again, all because of Shimmerplum Sequin Eye Color.

Prime Beauty fell hard for the Burberry Spring/Summer Collection, a beautiful assortment of neutral and brights perfect for the over 40 woman!

A stain that's glossy? Isn't that an oxymoron? Londonmakeupgirl sees if YSL has managed to make it a reality, when she buys a YSL Glossy Stain 

Photo credit allure.com

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Monte-Carlo #62

My first purchase in the new Rouge Coco Shine formula, Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Monte-Carlo ($32) is a strawberry pink-red that contains subtle pink and gold microshimmers.

Perhaps the lipstick was named after Coco Chanel's first encounter with Hugh Grosvenor, second Duke of Westminster.


Monte-Carlo applies very smoothly and imparts a translucent, high-shine finish, but the glossy finish lasts only about an hour. That said, it leaves behind a lovely stain, and the texture feels exceptionally weightless, almost gel-like and lip balmy. The fact that I need to reapply often is not such a terrible thing, considering how many lipsticks I have. If I actually use one up, an angel will get her wings.

Natural daylight, no sun, no flash

Indirect sun

The Rouge Coco Shine colors appear deeply pigmented in their tubes, but they apply and wear quite sheerly, even if I layer. Unfortunately, Monte-Carlo was too neutral in tone to lift my complexion, and if it contained more pigment, I'd be unable to pull it off because of the yellow undertones. But it really is a pretty lipstick.

Rouge Coco Shine lipsticks are smaller than other lipsticks in the Chanel line. They weigh 0.10 ounces, compared for example to 0.12 ounces in the Rouge Allure formula, but they cost the same.

Bottom line: Rouge Coco Shine offers a gorgeous formula, with a finish that borders on lip gloss. Very comfortable and easy to wear. I'll be interested in trying other colors.

All photos mine except the first promo shot from Chanel and the one of Coco and the duke

Friday, January 20, 2012

So You Think You Can Dance?

How to Avoid Choosing the Wrong Lipstick Color

Has either of these scenarios ever happened to you?

Scenario 1. You head to the makeup counter to buy a new lipstick. You select a few tubes whose innards visually appeal to you and swatch them on the back of your hand. One in particular makes your knees buckle, so you whip out your wallet like a smoking gun out of a holster for a shoot-down at the OK corral. You get home, and with butterflies in your stomach, rip off the packaging and apply your new color. And ugh. It looks awful. Did they give you the wrong color? You look at the box. No, it says what it's supposed to. Oh, wait, was the wrong tube inserted in the box? No, the names match up. You sit there staring at your mouth, which mocks you like two slabs of raw salmon reeking in the hot sun, and you wonder how such a pretty color could turn so bad. You had swatched it to make sure the color complemented your skin tone, after all.

Scenario 2. You head back to your favorite counter, but this time you test the lipsticks on your lips. How else will you know? When you're about to spend anywhere from $14 to $45 you want to be sure. So you begin trying the lipsticks on your mouth, but after the second or third color you test, your lips are so flushed and so stained with pigment, and the skin around your mouth is so red from rubbing the color off, you can't tell what looks good, so you leave the store with nothing. Or worse, you make another bad purchase.

What if there were a way to improve your chances of going home with the perfect lipstick where the only prerequisite is to go to the store without any lip color on your lips?

Alas, I don't have a foolproof method. Existing lip pigment, bad lighting, lipstick formula, and other conditions conspire against us, but here's how I minimize the risk of picking a dud:
  1. Select. I choose between 3 to 5 colors from the display. Like wine tasting or perfume sniffing, I can suffer from sensory overload so I try to keep the contenders to a minimum. This means I go shopping for a specific range: red or rose or pink or nude; I try not to go bonkers over the entire lipstick display.
  2. Swatch. Swipe my selection on the back of my hand or on a sheet of plain, white paper. This is the best way to first see if a color will complement my skin tone and let me examine the lipstick's undertones, which lip pigment will mask. It's also easier to write the color names down on the piece of paper, and if the counter person looks at me like I'm a weirdo, I mention that I'm trying to avoid a return. That proves to be a conversation stopper.
  3. Examine. Walk the swatches over to the store entrance and examine the colors in natural light. Anything too (fill in the blank*)  is immediately disqualified. I am ruthless at this point as I remind myself: Why look good when I can look great? (*For my coloring I reject anything warm or colors with obvious undertones of peach, coral, brown, or beige.)
  4. Fingertips. Take my final 2-3 choices and swatch them on a fingertip. Huh?? Yes, my fingertips are almost the same color as my lips when I force the blood into them. See for yourself right now by using your thumb to press firmly just below one of your fingertips on the same hand--between the first knuckle and the fleshy bit. See the blood flow into the tip. When testing in stores, I swipe the color there (making sure I continue applying pressure); then I walk over to the natural light again. (Tip: If you smoke, swipe the fingertips on your non-dominant hand so your skin is as free from overtones as possible.)
  5. Test pt. 1. Now with choices narrowed down to 1 or 2, I can try the lipstick on my lips. I never use lip pencil unless it is clear--not flesh toned--clear like Lipstick Queen's. I start with the lightest color and work toward the darkest. To remove a previous color, I use an oil-based remover and gently blot to avoid making the lip area red. 
  6. Test pt. 2. When I have the lipstick I think I am going to buy, I put it on my lips and ask for a hand mirror. I hold the mirror over my head and tilt my head all the way back so I am looking directly at the ceiling with the mirror over my face. This position helps ameliorate some of the awful  department-store lighting by cutting down on the shadows.
Using the above method usually helps prevent lipstick fails like those shown below, which were all pretty enough for me to buy them, but which did not look good on my lips once I got home:

Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited BR 710
A cool, clear pink in the tube but my lips EAT the pigment into oblivion
Ellis Faas Glazed Lips L301 (Ellis Red)
I love most EF lipsticks, but this version of Ellis Red is too warm
Chantecaille Lip Chic Zinnia
Do you see any color there? Cuz I don't
Ellis Faas L307
Color failure on me--would look great on a warm-toned redhead
Laura Mercier Sparkling Pink
So pretty swatched and in the tube; corpse lips on me

Do you have any near-fail proof lipstick-testing tricks?

Photo credits: (1) Lipstick Tubes Fine Art Print - Garry Gay; (2) sweethotjustice.com; the last 5 are mine

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

On Aging

I'm just going to come out with it. I'm aging. Boo!

Still there? That should come as no surprise to anyone since we have all been growing a day older since the day we were born. Still, I have reached a point where the thought of losing my looks, whatever those are, is starting to feel like something to be swept under the rug and pretend it isn't happening.

When I was younger, my fresh-faced looks opened doors, but now that my once-sharp eyesight is fading, I try not to walk into those doors. In fact, I recently picked up my first sexual deterrent from the pharmacy, better known, dear readers, as READERS, so I can make out the tiny print on the bottom of my lipstick tubes. Mr. Bunny Petals agrees that the OTC spectacles don't foster that Sexy Librarian look, even if I manage to look very stern. Oops.

Some of us visibly age more slowly or quickly than others, but I suspect we all arrive at that fated day when say to ourselves, "Holy cats, I never noticed that before," when suddenly our freckles no longer fade in winter or a less-than-taut neckline are all we see. Or a crazy thought comes to us one morning in the shower that perhaps the real reason our eyelashes stopped holding a curl is because our eyelid creases are pushing against the lashes! Or when we finally lost that weight, The Girls, who used to sit up high and perky, are now pointing due south, such that you could almost toss them around your neck in a flesh-toned pashmina.

I have thought about my own fading outer beauty in the months since I started this blog. I originally created Everyday Beauty to drive traffic to the EDB forum, which is a place for over-40 beauties to discuss our own unique perspectives on whole health and beauty.  Instead I got caught up in product-review fever, and although there is certainly nothing wrong with that, it seems I forgot to put the older-woman spin on it. My apologies. If I were more brave and cared less what people at work might think of my hobby, I'd have put my whole face out there for my makeup looks, not just a lip or an eye—so you could see what over 40 looks like.

As fun as all the reviews have been, I have reached a saturation point. Buying new makeup just isn't as much fun as it used to be—at least not if I do it every week. I'm not a makeup artist, so there's little point in my being a curator. There are too many other things I want, like a comfortable retirement. Too much stuff makes me stressed and unhappy. Remember this, when last summer I drove to Ikea and bought an Alex to consolidate my masses of beauty products?

Since then, I have carefully culled down those six drawers to one. One drawer contains all the products I use every day. And along the way, as I was testing the makeup I wanted to keep or not keep, I made the interesting discovery that I actually look better with less.

No, that was not a typo. This beauty blogger thinks she looks her best with little makeup! And it's not because I am some fine-boned, classic beauty. It's more about looking real. This crazy thought became obvious to me recently when I went through photos of myself from teenage years to present; I was gathering them (looking for my natural hair color!) to bring to my color consultation. I noticed that the candid photos taken of me at times like Christmas mornings (hair by Dairy Queen) or on weekends—both of which are times when I tend to wear little more than tinted lip balm—were times that I looked fresher, younger, even prettier.

The looking-younger revelation should not have surprised me, since one of the fastest ways to add years is to put on makeup. All we have to do is look at the 12-16 year old models on the pages of any fashion magazine to witness that.

So what's "a little makeup" to me? I'll write a separate article for the desert-island items I reach for every day, but for now let's just say that my daily items are the ones that allow much of my own skin to show through, flaws and all, because flawless skin looks good only in advertising. I choose colors that either match my skin completely or are an extension of my own coloring, maybe a little brighter or deeper. Cool beige, pinkish ivory, dusky lavender, blue grey, rose, and blue red. Currently this translates to:
  • The simplest skincare possible.
  • My beloved, holy-grail foundation (Jane Iredale), which I apply to the T zone only, so I don't deaden the glow on the high planes of my face.
  • Well-groomed brows. This part is essential. Eyebrows frame the face, and as we get older, the hairs thin, lighten, and might even turn white.
  • An easy, subtle eyeliner for those days when I want to make my lash roots look thicker. (Brows aren't the only hairy bits to thin—less volume on head, brows, lashes, and ... elsewhere are what many of us have to look forward to. Tightlining lets me skip mascara.
  • A skintone-evening eyeshadow or primer for the entire lid space, preferably in a semi-matte or satin finish.
  • A matte eyeshadows for subtle contouring, one that mirrors the colors found in my skin.
  • A face-brightening lipstick. Being an ashy "Summer" type, I need something to liven up my bland coloring. A sheer, clear, rosy shade is ideal—something just a touch darker than my own pigment but not too dark. A punch of color is more important than ever as I get older and my coloring fades and becomes more cool.
  • No blush needed, I am naturally rosy. If I do wear it, I'll choose something with a glowy finish, like NARS Gaiety or something bright, like Bobbi Brown Pale Pink.
My current don't-leave-the-house-without-it look is:
  • Elta MD Daily Sheild 45 sunscreen
  • Clinique Brow Shaper in Shaping Charcoaled
  • Lipstick (currently loving Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Bonheur or Romance)
All other items negotiable.

I expect the above list will change over time. Certainly the go-to products I used in my 20s/30s do not all work now, and I have even noticed changes in the last 5 years. I also have a few friends 10-15 years older than I who say they no longer wear eyeshadow at all, but most every woman of a certain age I know is still wearing lipstick.

I love makeup. It's part of who I am because I love to adorn myself, even if the adornment is very subtle. So I don't intend to go completely barefaced any time soon, and I still want to have fun.

My personal definition of what real beauty is may evolve as I begin to accept the reality of what I see in the mirror. I would live a very sad and shallow life if beauty were only skin deep, so I wonder what the new face of Everyday Beauty will be this year.

No matter your age, young or not so young, have you noticed any changes? If so, how do you deal with them both mechanically and in your head space?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Beauty Spotlight Team: What's in Perilously Pale's Bag?

Could this pale bag hold a thousand bright secrets! It's hard to say, but you can check out what's inside Perilously Pale's kit here!